Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I COME IN PEACE ... AND YOU GO IN PIECES

"I am afraid that God has sent these men to lay waste the world".
----Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria, while negotiating the surrender of Alexandria to the Muslims, 640 AD


"For these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God…they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil…and not only do they commit these crimes, but even — what an aberration — they believe that God approves of them. This is what I think of them [Muslims], now that I know precisely about their way of life."
----Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica, 1354


"I studied the Kuran a great deal ... I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammed. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself."
----Alexis de Tocqueville, (1805-1859) French political thinker and historian, known for authoring "Democracy in America"


"The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force".
----John Quincy Adams, 1829


“Islam was not a torch, as has been claimed, but an extinguisher. Conceived in a barbarous brain for the use of a barbarous people, it was - and it remains - incapable of adapting itself to civilization. Wherever it has dominated, it has broken the impulse towards progress and checked the evolution of society.
----Andre Servier, 1922--- Algerian historian who wrote "Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman" translated by A.S. Moss-Blundell, 1924.


"Unlike Christianity, which preached a peace that it never achieved, Islam unashamedly came with a sword."
----Steven Runciman, (1903-2000) English historian who wrote "The History of the Crusades" 1951-1954


"Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything," he said. "There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society."
----Pope Benedict XVI


"Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thorough going cult of death. As a matter of doctrine, the Muslim conception of tolerance is one in which non-Muslims have been politically and economically subdued, converted, or put to sword. The penalty for apostasy is death. We would do well to linger over this fact for a moment, because it is the black pearl of intolerance that no liberal exegesis will ever fully digest. There are other ideologies with which to expunge the last vapors of reasonableness from a society's discourse, but Islam is undoubtedly one of the best we've got. The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific notions of martyrdom and jihad that fully explain the character of Muslim violence.
----Sam Harris, September 20, 2006, American author, neuroscientist


"Islam deserves criticism on account of the logical consequences of its dogma, namely, that the murder of fellow human beings is to be rewarded with sensual pleasure in a hedonistic 'Paradise'- a concept born in the fantasies of an Arab rebel some fourteen centuries ago. The religion of Mohammed is a dangerous system when the teachings and example of the 'prophet' are believed and followed."
----Richard Dawkins


"Yes, 'imperialism,' ... The deliberate and determined expansion of militant Islam and its attempt to triumph not only in the Islamic world but in Europe and North America. Pure ideology. Muslim terrorists kill and slaughter not because of what they experience but because of what they believe."
----Dr. Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid), Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt


"A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy. Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities. The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.
To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization."
----Sam Harris, September 20, 2006, American author, neuroscientist

Monday, May 30, 2011

FOR ALL THOSE THAT HAVE SIGNED THAT CHECK WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IN THE AMOUNT UP TO AND INCLUDING YOUR LIFE ...


HAVE YOU STOPPED BEATING YOUR WIFE ... APPARENTLY NOT! WE HAVE RULES. WE ARE CIVILIZED SAVAGES!

OIC FATWA ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN ISLAM: BEAT YOUR WIFE (AN OXYMORON ... OR MAYBE JUST A MORON) 

The OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), the organization largely driving the UN and the movement to ban free speech worldwide, issued its fatwa on Islamic misogyny, gender apartheid, subjugation and oppression of women in 2009. Thanks much to Mark Durie, who translated it for us:
In April 2009, the Islamic Fiqh Academy made a ruling entitled ‘Domestic Violence’.  This is a highly significant document which reflects a high-level consensus of leading Muslim scholars in the world today. It was clearly issued in the context of criticisms of Islam and Muslim societies for the treatment of women.
The Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) was established by the Organization for the Islamic Conference in 1981. It is comprised of 43 scholars, who are elite Islamic jurists of their respective nations. Many are chief justices or grand muftis of their nations.  IFA's resolutions are in Arabic, and they can be found on their website at http://www.fiqhacademy.org.sa/.  
IFA's aims are:
  • to unite the Ummah (the global Muslim community, conceived of as a single nation, by conforming conduct to the norms of Islam at all levels (from individual to international); 
  • to apply Islam to contemporary problems; 
  • and to create a body of Islamic jurisprudence to meet the needs of modern life.  

In IFA's deliberations, issues are subjected to extensive research, with prior distribution of papers, extensive consultation and discussion, before rulings are agreed upon and issued.  These rulings are very distilled.  The process “allows for a Muslim to see the final opinion without having to use up time and effort considering the research consultations that may extend to hundreds of pages”. 
Undoubtedly IFA speaks for the Islamic mainstream.  In the words of Dr Abdul-Salam Al-Abbadi,  Secretary General of IFA, it is intended to function as the ‘supreme juristic reference for the Muslim world’.  Furthermore, IFA's rulings have the backing of the OIC, which is one of the most significant groupings of states in the world today.
IFA's fatwa or ruling on domestic violence warrants detailed study.  It is not possible to do justice to it in this blog post.  A translation into English is given below.  A few key features are:
  1. This fatwa represents the unapologetic assertion of the absolute authority of the sharia over all understandings of human rights as they apply to women and the family, specifically including international human rights conventions and covenants.  Islamic states are instructed to ignore every article of any convention or covenant which is inconsistent with the sharia.
  2. The fatwa upholds the right of a husband to beat his wife: wife-beating is specifically excluded from its definition of 'domestic violence', as long as the beating conforms to sharia requirements.  The memorable phrase 'non-violent beating' is coined to express this perspective.  Note also the implied threat which warns against'slander' in the context of resolving marital disputes (implying that a woman must not criticize her husband).
    Here are some hadiths of Muhammad on wife-beating from Sunan Abu Dawud:
     Muhammad: 'When one of you inflicts a beating, he should avoid beating the face.' 
    • Muhammad: "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife."  – this principle means that a man cannot required to answer to a sharia court for beating his wife.
    • Muhammad: "Do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl." 
    • Muhammad: "They are not the best among you." – said of women who complained to Muhammad when he gave permission for their husbands to beat them.
  3. This fatwa also upholds the right of a husband to rape his wife, for it is not 'domestic violence' for a man to insist upon his conjugal rights (section 2(F)).  The key term ihsan 'preservation' is very difficult to translate into English.  It is derived from the root h.s.n which means to fortify or make something inaccessible by building a fortified wall around it.  A 'fortified' woman is a married woman who has a husband to protect her. He also has conjugal rights over her (as she is kept inside his fortress).  The meaning of ihsan is defined by Lane as: ‘With the lawyersihsan means the act of coitus conjugalis in a case of valid marriage.’  This fatwa is written in legal language, so what 2(F) is saying is that it is not domestic violence for a Muslim man to 'fortress' his wife, and force her to have sex with him, even if she is unwilling.
  4. The fatwa also upholds the right of a male guardian to contract the marriage of a virgin female (2(H)): he has the right to marry her to another.  Muhammad said that a virgin gives permission to a marriage 'by her silence': in practice this often means the guardian has the sole say over who she will marry.
  5. The fatwa also implicitly upholds the sharia's laws concerning the treatment of adulterers (2(A)).
  6. The fatwa endorses a husband's guardianship over his wife: this means that he legally controls her in many respects.
  7. There is implacable opposition to principles of equality between the sexes.
  8. The right of women to move around freely in public without a supervising male is rejected as contrary to sharia law.
  9. The fatwa upholds sharia law's non-reciprocal approach to divorce, which make it easy for man to divorcehis wife, but very difficult for a women to obtain a divorce, except through a difficult legal process. (In fact Arabic has two different words for these: a divorce initiated by a man, and one initiated by a woman are regarded as two quite different things.)  If a man divorces his wife, this is halal 'permitted' - although disprefered – but if a woman divorcesher husband without "just cause", this is a mortal sin:
    • Muhammad said: "If any woman asks her husband for divorce without some strong reason, the odor of Paradise will be forbidden to her." (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  10. This fatwa implicitly upholds many other aspects of sharia law which are opposed to women's rights.  An example is the rule that if a woman sues for divorce for excessive beatings, she must return the brideprice he paid for her (i.e. she must pay him to win her divorce). Another is the shockingly humiliating law that a woman irrevocably divorced by her husband can only remarry him after she has married another, had sexual relations with the new husband, and beendivorced by him (or he dies first).  These regulations, and the way in which they work to deny women basic rights of safety and equality before the law have been well-documented by others and can be found in Islamic legal texts, but deserved to be better known.  This fatwa upholds such conservative time-honored principles of sharia law without conceding an inch to modern understandings of human dignity or human rights.

I find it quite incredible that this fatwa has been in circulation in Arabic for two years, and it is backed by the most eminent and credible of Muslim jurists, yet western human rights activists and feminist scholars appear to have paid it no attention whatsoever.  

Does the status in sharia law of hundreds of millions of Muslim women attract such little interest?!  Are the intellectuals of the West really so morally depraved?  Do our silences not tell the truth about who we are?  Have we really become so heartless and cruel?  I  would warmly welcome any information which could lead me to revise this assessment for the better.  (Suggested improvements to the translation from Arabic are also warmly welcomed.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING ... DO YOU TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT?


GO FIGURE FOR YOURSELF ... PLUG IN A DOLLAR VALUE AND DATE THEN CLICK ON CALCULATE ... TO SEE HAVE THINGS HAVE CHANGED. NOW JUST CHECK WWW.EIA.GOV FOR PRICES OF GAS/DIESEL FOR SOME YEAR AND USE THE VALUE TO DETERMINE INFLATION.  ACCORDING TO THE BLS CPI INFLATION CALCULATOR WE'RE IN GREAT SHAPE. NOW FOR THE GUT CHECK ... PLUG IN THE COST OF YOUR HOME AND THE YEAR YOU PURCHASED IT ... NOW THE REAL GUT CHECK ... PRESS THE CALCULATE BUTTON ... SO EVERYONE VOTE OBAMA BACK IN OFFICE!

CPI Inflation Calculator  From the US BLS website




About the CPI Inflation Calculator

The CPI inflation calculator uses the average Consumer Price Index for a given calendar year. This data represents changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. This index value has been calculated every year since 1913. For the current year, the latest monthly index value is used.
When housing was 20% to 25% of the CPI and housing was going up, they didn’t count it, saying rents weren’t going up, and then when home prices started going down, they counted it. It’s the same with many things. It’s staggering some of the tortuous reasoning that the BLS has used over the past 25 or 30 years. When the price of gasoline goes up, they say it’s not really going up because it’s better gasoline, better quality, therefore you’re getting more for your money. I mean, it’s endless, the stuff that they say and for some reason people sit there, although more and more people are catching on, and accept what the government says. As I said, in other countries, they acknowledge that there’s inflation. I don’t know how there could be inflation in Australia and not in the US; how you can have inflation in Norway or India and not in the US, but the US says there’s no inflation.
Inflation in the UK
CPI 4.5%, RPI 5.2%

This is a graph showing Annual inflation rates - 12 month percentage change
Annual inflation rates - 12 month percentage change

CPI annual inflation – the Government’s target measure – was 4.5 per cent in April, up from 4.0 per cent in March. The last time CPI annual inflation was higher was September 2008 when it stood at 5.2 per cent (the record high for CPI).


The timing of Easter in 2011 had a significant impact on certain travel costs included in the CPI due to the collection periods for air transport, sea transport and international rail travel including the Easter holidays. Easter in 2010 was much earlier and did not affect the April 2010 CPI.


The largest upward pressures to the change in CPI inflation came from:


  • transport: by far the largest upward effect came from air transport where the timing of Easter contributed to fares rising by 29.0 per cent between March and April 2011; between the same two months in 2010, fares fell by 1.0 per cent. There was also a large upward effect from sea transport where again Easter was a factor; fares rose by 22.3 per cent between March and April 2011 compared to an increase of 3.1 per cent a year ago

    Partially offsetting these upward effects within transport was downward pressure from petrol and diesel where prices rose by less than a year ago. This was partly due to the fact there was a decrease in excise duty that influenced fuel prices in April 2011 whereas in April 2010 there was an increase in excise duty
  • alcoholic beverages and tobacco: prices, overall, rose by a record 5.3 per cent between March and April 2011 compared with a rise of 2.1 per cent a year ago. The increase in excise duties on alcohol and tobacco this year had a more significant impact than the increases a year ago
  • housing and household services: the largest upward effect came from gas where average bills were unchanged between March and April 2011 but fell by 2.9 per cent a year ago. The next largest upward effects came from sewerage collection where charges rose this year but fell a year ago and rental costs for housing, which rose by more than a year ago


The largest downward pressures to the change in CPI inflation came from:


  • miscellaneous goods and services: the largest downward effects came from appliances and products for personal care and transport insurance
  • clothing and footwear: prices, overall, rose by 1.3 per cent between March and April this year compared with a 2.2 per cent increase a year ago. Although there is a smaller price rise this year, the increase of 1.3 per cent is still the second largest rise for a March to April period


In the year to April, RPI annual inflation was 5.2 per cent, down from 5.3 per cent in March.


RPIX annual inflation – the all items RPI excluding mortgage interest payments – was 5.3 per cent in April, down from 5.4 per cent in March.


As an internationally comparable measure of inflation, the CPI shows that the UK inflation rate in March was above the provisional figure for the European Union. The UK rate was 4.0 per cent whereas the EU’s as a whole was 3.1 per cent.


The next publication date is 14 June 2011.
Notes:


CPI is the consumer prices index. It is the measure adopted by the Government for its UK inflation target. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is required to achieve a target of 2 per cent. In the June 2010 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the CPI will also be used for the price indexation of benefits and tax credits from April 2011. Prior to 10 December 2003, the CPI was published in the UK as the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP).


RPI is the retail prices index - the uses of the RPI and its derivatives include indexation of index-linked gilts. Historically the RPI has also been used for indexation of pensions and state benefits.


Inflation is the percentage change in the index com




























WELL FARE, WELL FAIR, OR IS IT WELFAIR ... NO ITS WELFARE

From: U.S. Department of the Treasury
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 14:40:14 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Remarks by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the Release of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports
Department of the Treasury
 
As Prepared for Delivery
 
For the Social Security Report, visit link
For the Medicare Report, visit 
link.
 
The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees met this morning to complete their annual financial review of the programs and to transmit their reports to Congress. 
 
I’d like to welcome my fellow Trustees and particularly our two new Public Trustees, Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer.   Public Trustees are essential to the process of completing these reports, and I am pleased that these two gentlemen are now involved.  I also want to acknowledge the chief actuaries, Stephen Goss and Richard Foster, and their staffs. Thank you all for your hard work.
 
Today’s reports make clear that while both Social Security and Medicare have sufficient resources to meet their obligations for at least the next decade, it is important that we put in place reforms to strengthen these programs.  Fundamentally, Social Security and Medicare benefits are secure today, but reform will be needed so that they will be there for current and future retirees.
 
The Social Security program has dedicated resources that will cover benefits for the next 25 years.  But in 2036, one year earlier than was projected in last year’s report, the Social Security Trust Fund will exhaust its assets and incoming revenues will be insufficient to maintain payment of full benefits.  Due to technical changes in the economic assumptions underlying the projections, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will exhaust its assets in 2024, five years earlier than was projected in last year’s report.  The Medicare report illustrates the importance of the Affordable Care Act, which has significantly strengthened Medicare’s finances and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.
 
The Trustees Reports underscore the need to act sooner rather than later to make reforms to our entitlement programs.  Last year, the President and Congress took a timely first step by enacting the most significant entitlement reform in decades.  But we must go beyond the Affordable Care Act and identify additional reforms.  Americans are living longer, and health care costs are continuing to rise.  And if we do not do more to contain health care costs, our commitments will become unsustainable.
 
In light of these realities, the President recently proposed a balanced, comprehensive framework for deficit reduction.  This framework includes health care reforms that will generate substantial additional savings on top of those generated by the Affordable Care Act.
 
We should not wait for the Trust Funds to be exhausted to make the reforms necessary to protect our current and future retirees.  Larger, more difficult adjustments will be necessary if we delay reform.  And making reforms soon that are phased in over time would help reduce uncertainty about future retirement benefits.
 
As the President has said, Social Security and Medicare are more than just government programs.  They are commitments that define America as a country where government can make a difference in people’s lives.  They are commitments that make our society more fair and more progressive.  They are commitments that we have kept for generations.  Our imperative to make reforms is an imperative to maintain these commitments and to ensure that the next generation of Americans can count on retirement security.
 
On Monday, May 16 – just three days from today – the United States will reach the debt limit set by Congress.  Because Congress has not yet acted, we have now set in motion a series of extraordinary measures that will give Congress some additional time to raise the debt limit.  I want to again encourage Congress to move as quickly as possible, so that all Americans will remain confident that the United States will meet all of its obligations – not just our interest payments but also our commitments to our seniors.

WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

7 Americans Killed in Explosion in Afghanistan
Published May 26, 2011 | Associated Press

WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? WHO'S WAR IS IT? THESE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY AND WOULD BE HAPPIER IF WE JUST LEFT, SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

Nine NATO service members were killed Thursday in Afghanistan, including seven U.S. troops among eight who died when a powerful bomb exploded in a field where they were patrolling on foot, officials said.  SO, HOW MANY BRAVE MEN/WOMEN WERE KILLED?

Two Afghan policemen also died and two others were wounded in the explosion in the mountainous Shorabak district of Kandahar province, 12 miles from the Pakistan border, said Gen. Abdul Raziq, chief of the Afghan border police in the province.

"Two months ago, we cleared this area of terrorists, but still they are active there," Raziq said. SO WHO ARE THE TALIBAN AND WHY ARE WE PLAY MILITARY WACK-A-MOLE?

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast.

"A bomb was planted for them in a field," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press in a telephone call.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, confirmed that seven American service members died in the bombing. WHY DO WE HAVE TO GET OUR NEWS UNDER "CONDITION OF ANONYMITY"? WHERE IS ARE MILITARY REPORTING, SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?
The international military coalition reported that one additional NATO service member was killed Thursday when a helicopter crashed in the east. WHO'S HELICOPTER WAS IT ... WHO ARE NATO FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN, WHAT ARE THEIR FORCE NUMBERS, ... WHO PAYS? SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

U.S. officials said seven American soldiers were killed in the bombing. NATO said an eighth soldier was also killed, but his nationality was not immediately released.

It was the deadliest day for coalition forces in Afghanistan since April 27, when a veteran Afghan military pilot opened fire at Kabul airport and killed eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor. ISN'T THIS ENOUGH OF A HINT ... SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

Thursday's blast was the worst single attack against NATO forces by one of the Taliban's crude, homemade bombs since October 2009. Seven soldiers from a unit based in Fort Lewis, Washington, died Oct. 27, 2009 when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Arghandab district, also in Kandahar province.

"It was a big, powerful blast," said Gen. Tefeer Khan Ghogyaria, who oversees Afghan border police in three provinces in the south. "A container of explosives was placed in the ground and it exploded when the NATO forces were passing. They were on a foot patrol."

Roadside bombs killed 268 American troops in Afghanistan last year, a 60 percent increase over the previous year, even as the Pentagon employed new measures to counter the Taliban's makeshift weapon of choice. Defense officials attributed the rise in casualties to the surge in U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year. SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

The number of U.S. troops wounded by what the military terms improvised explosive devices also soared, according to the most recent U.S. defense figures. There were 3,366 U.S. service members injured in IED blasts -- up from the 1,211 hurt by the militants' crudely made bombs in 2009, the figures show.

Officials with the Pentagon's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, based outside Washington, has said that additional explosive sensors, bomb analysts and specially trained dogs have helped battle the roadside bombs.

Last year, the Pentagon provided $495 million to buy 34 tethered surveillance blimps that give troops a bird's eye view of certain areas and sent in more unmanned surveillance aircraft so route-clearance patrols would have the benefit of full-motion video. The Pentagon also delivered more than 5,000 hand-held bomb detectors, improved training and sent additional equipment to Afghanistan to counter the threat. THIS HAS GOT TO BE SURVIVAL TRAINING, SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? 

Southern and eastern Afghanistan are the most volatile areas in Afghanistan. HERE'S MY QUESTION, WHO CARES? SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

Tens of thousands of U.S., NATO and Afghan forces have been working for months to rout the Taliban from their strongholds in the south. The Taliban have retaliated with targeted assassinations of Afghan officials and attacks on Afghan and coalition forces. Eastern Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border, also has been the scene of heavy violence. WHO ARE THE TALIBAN? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? WHY DO WE CARE? AND, WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

On May 1, insurgents declared the start of a spring offensive against NATO and the Afghan government. NATO has been expecting the Taliban to stage a series of spectacular and complex attacks, and the group has already carried out a number of them recently. THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE SOUNDS LIKE THE TALIBAN PR MAN. SO WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?

The effectiveness of the Taliban's long-awaited spring campaign, code-named Badr after one of the Prophet Muhammad's decisive military victories, could affect the size of President Barack Obama's planned drawdown of U.S. troops in July. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has said the size of the withdrawal will depend on conditions on the ground.

The alliance has committed itself to handing over control of security in the country to Afghans by 2014. SO IT SOUNDS LIKE 2014 IS THE END OF THE EXERCISE ... WHO CARES?

Thirty-eight international service members have been killed so far this month, including at least 13 Americans. So far this year, 189 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan. WHAT A SHAME FOR SO MANY LIFE'S TO BE WASTED ON A CAMPAIGN OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION; WHILE AT THE SAME TIME NO ONE CAN TELL US WHY ARE WE STILL THERE? AND MY FOLLOW UP QUESTION ... WHO CARES?

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/26/7-nato-service-members-killed-afghanistan/#ixzz1NjnDwMaz

Saturday, May 28, 2011

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE THE ADMINISTRATION TO SHUT DOWN THIS OIL PRODUCTION?

May 27, 2011

Shale Boom in Texas Could Increase U.S. Oil Output

CATARINA, Tex. — Until last year, the 17-mile stretch of road between this forsaken South Texas village and the county seat of Carrizo Springs was a patchwork of derelict gasoline stations and rusting warehouses.
Now the region is in the hottest new oil play in the country, with giant oil terminals and sprawling RV parks replacing fields of mesquite. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months.
The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.
There is only one catch: the oil from the Eagle Ford and similar fields of tightly packed rock can be extracted only by using hydraulic fracturing, a method that uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals to blast through the rocks to release the oil inside.
The technique, also called fracking, has been widely used in the last decade to unlock vast new fields of natural gas, but drillers only recently figured out how to release large quantities of oil, which flows less easily through rock than gas. As evidence mounts that fracking poses risks to water supplies, the federal government and regulators in various states are considering tighter regulations on it.
The oil industry says any environmental concerns are far outweighed by the economic benefits of pumping previously inaccessible oil from fields that could collectively hold two or three times as much oil as Prudhoe Bay, the Alaskan field that was the last great onshore discovery. The companies estimate that the boom will create more than two million new jobs, directly or indirectly, and bring tens of billions of dollars to the states where the fields are located, which include traditional oil sites like Texas and Oklahoma, industrial stalwarts like Ohio and Michigan and even farm states like Kansas.
“It’s the one thing we have seen in our adult lives that could take us away from imported oil,” said Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, one of the most aggressive drillers. “What if we have found three of the world’s biggest oil fields in the last three years right here in the U.S.? How transformative could that be for the U.S. economy?”
The oil rush is already transforming this impoverished area of Texas near the Mexican border, doubling real estate values in the last year and filling restaurants and hotels.
“That’s oil money,” said Bert Bell, a truck company manager, pointing to the new pickup truck he bought for his wife after making $525,000 leasing mineral rights around his family’s mobile home. “Oil money just makes life easier.”
Based on the industry’s plans, shale and other “tight rock” fields that now produce about half a million barrels of oil a day will produce up to three million barrels daily by 2020, according to IHS CERA, an energy research firm. Oil companies are investing an estimated $25 billion this year to drill 5,000 new oil wells in tight rock fields, according to Raoul LeBlanc, a senior director at PFC Energy, a consulting firm.
“This is very big and it’s coming on very fast,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of IHS CERA. “This is like adding another Venezuela or Kuwait by 2020, except these tight oil fields are in the United States.”
In the most developed shale field, the Bakken field in North Dakota, production has leaped to 400,000 barrels a day today from a trickle four years ago. Experts say it could produce as much as a million barrels a day by the end of the decade.
The Eagle Ford, where the first well was drilled only three years ago, is already producing more than 100,000 barrels a day and could reach 420,000 by 2015, almost as much as Ecuador, according to Bentek Energy, a consultancy.
 The shale oil boom comes as production from Prudhoe Bay is declining and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is being more closely scrutinized after last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.
What makes the new fields more remarkable is that they were thought to be virtually valueless only five years ago. “Everyone said the oil molecules are too large to flow in commercial quantities through these low-quality rocks,” said Mark G. Papa, chief executive of EOG Resources.
EOG began quietly buying the rights to thousands of acres in the Bakken and Eagle Ford after an EOG engineer concluded that the techniques used to extract natural gas from shale — fracking, combined with drilling horizontally through layers of rocks — could be used for oil. Chesapeake and a few other independents quickly followed. Now the biggest multinational oil companies, as well as Chinese and Norwegian firms, are investing billions of dollars in the fields.
The new drilling makes economic sense as long as oil prices remain above $60 a barrel, according to oil companies. At current oil prices of about $100 a barrel, shale wells can typically turn a profit within eight months — three times faster than many traditional wells.
But water remains a key issue. In addition to possible contamination of surface and underground water from fracking fluids, the sheer volume of water required poses challenges, especially in South Texas, which faces a severe drought and rapidly diminishing water levels in the local aquifer.
At the rate wells are being drilled, “there’s definitely going to be a problem,” said Bay Laxson, a local water official.
Dave Thompson, regional production superintendent for the oil company SM Energy said the industry knew that water issues were “an Achilles heel.” He said his company was building a system to reuse water in the field.
But unlike Pennsylvania and New York, where fracking for natural gas has produced organized opposition, the oil industry has been mostly welcomed in western and southern states.
Thanks to the drilling boom, the recession bypassed North Dakota entirely. Here in Dimmit County, Tex., the unemployment rate has fallen in half, and sales tax receipts are up 70 percent so far this year, allowing the county to hire more police officers and buy sanitation and road repair equipment.
“In my lifetime, this is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Jose Gonzalez, 78, a retired teacher and son of migrant farm workers, who leased mineral rights to Chesapeake for $27,000 and sold another plot for $100,000 to a company building an RV park for oil workers. “You can see I’m happy.”

2012 IS COMING AND YOUR OBLIGATION IS EDUCATION ... READ THE BILL!

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/connelly.asp

http://conservativeemailcrap.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/obama-care-bill-hb-3200-review-from-a-texas-judge/

http://forums.twobillsdrive.com/topic/105527-judge-kithil-on-obama-care/

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS!!

At age 76 when you most need it, you are not eligible for cancer treatment. What Nancy Pelosi didn't want us to know until after the healthcare bill was passed. Remember she said, "pass it and then read it!!." Here it is!

Obama Care Highlighted by Page Number

THE CARE BILL HB 3200
HB3200 PDF DOCUMENT
THIS IS THE 2ND OFFICIAL WHO HAS OUTLINED THESE PARTS OF THE CARE BILL.

Judge Kithil of Marble Falls , TX - highlighted the most egregious pages of HB3200

Please read this........ especially the reference to pages 58 & 59

JUDGE KITHIL wrote:

** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.

SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.

    (a) In General- Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.
    (b) Implementation- To implement the requirement set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, promulgate such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to insure that all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act are provided (whether directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements) without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.
** Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts. 

** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN).

** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax. (How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)

** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors' fees.

** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age.

** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.

** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every five years. (Death counseling..)

** Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.
HAD ENOUGH????
Judge Kithil then goes on to identify:

"Finally, it is specifically stated that this bill will not apply to members of Congress. Members of Congress are already exempt from the Social Security system, and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a very quick 'fix' to make the plan financially sound for their future."
 
- Honorable David Kithil of Marble Falls, Texas

CAN THEY'RE BE A HAPPY ENDING ... YES, 2012 VOTE O'BAMA OUT


A 62% Top Tax Rate?

Democrats have said they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. In reality they're proposing rates like those under President Carter

Media reports in recent weeks say that Senate Democrats are considering a 3% surtax on income over $1 million to raise federal revenues. This would come on top of the higher income tax rates that President Obama has already proposed through the cancellation of the Bush era tax-rate reductions.
If the Democrats' millionaire surtax were to happen—and were added to other tax increases already enacted last year and other leading tax hike ideas on the table this year—this could leave the U.S. with a combined federal and state top tax rate on earnings of 62%. That's more than double the highest federal marginal rate of 28% when President Reagan left office in 1989. Welcome back to the 1970s.
Here's the math behind that depressing calculation. Today's top federal income tax rate is 35%. Almost all Democrats in Washington want to repeal the Bush tax cuts on those who make more than $250,000 and phase out certain deductions, so the effective income tax rate would rise to about 41.5%. The 3% millionaire surtax raises that rate to 44.5%.
Images.com/Corbis
But payroll taxes, which are income taxes on wages and salaries, must also be included in the equation. So we have to add about 2.5 percentage points for the payroll tax for Medicare (employee and employer share after business deductions), which was applied to all income without a ceiling in 1993 as part of the Clinton tax hike. I am including in this analysis the employer share of all payroll taxes because it is a direct tax on a worker's salary and most economists agree that though employers are responsible for collecting this tax, it is ultimately borne by the employee. That brings the tax rate to 47%.
Then last year, as part of the down payment for ObamaCare, Congress snuck in an extra 0.9% Medicare surtax on "high-income earners," meaning any individual earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. This brings the total tax rate to 47.9%.
But that's not all. Several weeks ago, Mr. Obama raised the possibility of eliminating the income ceiling on the Social Security tax, now capped at $106,800 of earnings a year. (Never mind that the program was designed to operate as an insurance system, with each individual's payment tied to the benefits paid out at retirement.) Subjecting all wage and salary income to Social Security taxes would add roughly 10.1 percentage points to the top tax rate. This takes the grand total tax rate on each additional dollar earned in America to about 58%.
Then we have to factor in state income taxes, which on average add after the deductions from the federal income tax roughly another four percentage points to the tax burden. So now on average we are at a tax rate of close to 62%.
Democrats have repeatedly stated they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. But after all these taxes on the "rich," we're headed back to the taxes that prevailed under Jimmy Carter, when the highest tax rate was 70%.
Steve Moore of the editorial board on the prospects for tax reform in Washington.
Taxes on investment income are also headed way up. Suspending the Bush tax cuts, which is favored by nearly every congressional Democrat, plus a 3.8% investment tax in the ObamaCare bill (which starts in 2014) brings the capital gains tax rate to 23.8% from 15%. The dividend tax would potentially climb to 45% from the current rate of 15%.
Now let's consider how our tax system today compares with the system that was in place in the late 1980s—when the deficit was only about one-quarter as large as a share of GDP as it is now. After the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986, which closed special-interest loopholes in exchange for top marginal rates of 28%, the highest combined federal-state marginal tax rate was about 33%. Now we may be headed to 62%. You don't have to be Jack Kemp or Arthur Laffer to understand that a 29 percentage point rise in top marginal rates would make America a highly uncompetitive place.
What is particularly worrisome about this trend is the deterioration of the U.S. tax position relative to the rest of our economic rivals. In 1990, the highest individual income tax rate of our major economic trading partners was 51%, while the U.S. was much lower at 33%. It's no wonder that during the 1980s and '90s the U.S. created more than twice as many new jobs as Japan and Western Europe combined.
It's true that the economy was able to absorb the Bush 41 and Clinton tax hikes and still grow at a very rapid pace. But what the soak-the-rich lobby ignores is how different the world is today versus the early 1990s. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over the past two decades the average highest tax rate among the 20 major industrial nations has fallen to about 45%. Yet the highest U.S. tax rate would rise to more than 48% under the Obama/Democratic tax hikes. To make matters worse, if we include the average personal income tax rates of developing countries like India and China, the average tax rate around the world is closer to 30%, according to a new study by KPMG.
What all this means is that in the late 1980s, the U.S. was nearly the lowest taxed nation in the world, and a quarter century later we're nearly the highest.
Despite all of this, the refrain from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and most of the Democrats in Congress is our fiscal mess is a result of "tax cuts for the rich." When? Where? Who? The Tax Foundation recently noted that in 2009 the U.S. collected a higher share of income and payroll taxes (45%) from the richest 10% of tax filers than any other nation, including such socialist welfare states as Sweden (27%), France (28%) and Germany (31%). And this was before the rate hikes that Democrats are now endorsing.
Perhaps there can still be a happy ending to this sad tale of U.S. decline. If there were ever a right time to trade in the junk heap of our federal tax code for a pro-growth Steve Forbes-style flat tax, now's the time.
Mr. Moore is a member of the The Journal's editorial board.