Monday, December 31, 2012

CONGRESSIONAL HOLLYWOOD DRAMA, MAGIC AND FASHION … IS THERE ANYONE WHO DOESN'T BELIEVE THE CAN WILL BE KICKED?!

CONGRESSIONAL FASHION ALWAYS ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC …

Manchin introduces bill to ‘soften the landing’ if nation goes over ‘fiscal cliff’ - The Hill's Floor Action

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday introduced a bill he said would “soften the landing” if the nation went over the “fiscal cliff.”(It's gravity that brings reality to their actions!)
CONGRESSIONAL TERRORIST FISCAL FASHIONS
Manchin said his bill, the Cliff Alleviation at the Last Minute Act, — the CALM Act — (perhaps Fiscal Urination Can't Keep Act) would slowly phase in the tax rate increases and allow the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to propose substitute cuts to replace sequestration.

Manchin’s proposal comes as lawmakers neared their year-end deadline to avoid January’s tax hikes and across-the-board cuts. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there would be no votes on Sunday, but added that negotiations for a final deal were still underway. (Congressional drama, pop corn, peanuts, cracker jack)


“If we’re determined to go over the cliff, we’ve got to do something to soften the landing, because at the bottom of the fiscal cliff are immediate and massive tax increases, deep and indiscriminate spending cuts, and the risk of another recession,” Manchin said on the floor Sunday. 

He added that he was not “excited about or proud to offer” the bill, describing it as “merely a better plan than going over the cliff.”

Manchin said his bill would “soften the financial blow of the fiscal cliff,” as well as “calm out financial markets” and more time to “pursue the fiscal grand bargain that has eluded us.”
The bill would phase January’s tax rate increases over the course of three years. In addition, it would grant OMB “the flexibility to recommend what agencies and accounts to cut,” he said. 

Manchin said that if OMB failed to do the job then the slated sequestration cuts would go into effect. Furthermore, Congress would have the “final word” on any changes to sequestration. “OMB’s decisions can be overridden by a joint resolution,” he added.

Negotiations between Reid and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on a fiscal deal hit a roadblock on how to offset $109 billion of automatic spending cuts.

If no agreement is reached Reid said he would bring to the floor a default bill that extends the Bush-era income tax rates for families earning less than $250,000 and extends unemployment benefits.

“This is not a time for politicking and partisan games,” Manchin said. “Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to the American economy is our American Congress.”




























MIXED MESSAGEs, MORAL SUPERIORITY, AND FLAMING ASS-HOLES!!!

GIVE UP GUNS … SURE WHEN THE BAD GUYS GIVE UP THEIR GUNS!!!  SURE WHEN HOLLYWOOD STOPS MAKING MOVIES WITH GUNS!!! SURE WHEN ALL CRIME SHOWS AND OTHERS ON TV STOP USING GUNS!!!  SURE WHEN THE UNITED STATES DESTROYS ALL THEIR GUNS!!! SURE WHEN ALL THE POLICE NO LONGER CARRY GUNS!!!  SURE WHEN ALL THE SPORTING GOODS STORES INCLUDING WAL-MART AND SIMILAR STOP SELLING GUNS!!!  SURE WHEN KIDS TOYS NO LONGER INCLUDE FAKE GUNS!!!  SURE WHEN AMMUNITION MANUFACTURES STOP MAKING BULLETS!!! SURE WHEN THE PRESIDENT GIVES UP HIS SECRET SERVICE DETAIL!!!



Greenwich Village couple busted with cache of weapons, bombmaking explosives: sources

  • Last Updated: 6:25 AM, December 31, 2012
  • Posted: 2:51 AM, December 31, 2012
The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bombmaking explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.

Morgan Gliedman — who is nine-months pregnant — and her baby daddy, Aaron Greene, 31, also had instructions on making bombs, including a stack of papers with a cover sheet titled, “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,’’ sources told The Post yesterday.
People who know Greene say his political views are “extreme,” the sources said.
Morgan Gliedman
Morgan Gliedman
Susyn Schops Gliedman
Susyn Schops Gliedman
Paul Gliedman
Paul Gliedman
Morgan Gliedman, daughter of Realtor Susyn Schops Gliedman and prominent doctor Paul Gliedman, was busted at this building with her OWS boyfriend.
William Farrington
Morgan Gliedman, daughter of Realtor Susyn Schops Gliedman and prominent doctor Paul Gliedman, was busted at this building with her OWS boyfriend.







































Cops found the stash in the couple’s West Ninth Street home Saturday when they went there to look for Gliedman, 27, who was wanted for alleged credit-card theft.
A detective discovered a plastic container with seven grams of a white chemical powder called HMTD, which is so powerful, cops evacuated several nearby buildings.
Police also found a flare launcher, which is a commercial replica of a grenade launcher; a modified 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun; ammo; and nine high-capacity rifle magazines, the sources said.
Cops also allegedly uncovered papers about creating homemade booby traps, improvised submachine guns, and various handwritten notebooks containing chemical formulas.
The couple’s arrest Saturday was a sharp turn from their privileged backgrounds.
Gliedman, who grew up on Park Avenue, graduated from Dalton in 2002. Her dad, Dr. Paul Gliedman, is director of radiation oncology at Beth Israel Hospital, Brooklyn Division.
Paul Gliedman — who was included in New York magazine’s list of top doctors in 2011 — received his medical degree from Columbia University.
Morgan’s mother, Susyn Schops Gliedman, is a realtor with Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Greene attended Harvard as an undergraduate and did his graduate work at the university’s Kennedy School of Government.
He has five prior run-ins with the police, with the charges including, assault, and weapons possession, sources said.
Additional reporting by Kirstan Conley and Jeane MacIntosh

Sunday, December 30, 2012

DEATH ON THE SPOT … ITS JUSTICE … GENE SIMMONS


WHY NO ONE INVADES SWITZERLAND …

IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?


Piers Morgan: Deport me? If America won't change its crazy gun laws I may deport myself … WELL PIERS  THERE'S AN OLD SAYING, "DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON YOUR WAY OUT!!!"

Edited by a conservative:

I have fired guns only once in my life, on a stag party (what a stag party … sex and aggression) to the Czech capital Prague a few years ago when part of the itinerary included a trip to an indoor shooting range. For three hours, our group were let loose on everything from Magnum 45 handguns and Glock pistols, to high-powered  ‘sniper’ rifles and pump-action shotguns.
It was controlled, legal, safe and undeniably exciting. But it also showed me (I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH OF THE TELLY GROWING UP), quite demonstrably, that guns are can be killing machines. in the hands of an out of control government or the mentally unstable, including politicians wanting to be in total control and power.

Rarely has the hideous effect of a gun been more acutely laid bare than at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, two weeks ago – when a deranged young man called Adam Lanza murdered 20 schoolchildren aged six and seven, as well as six adults, in a sickening rampage.  Of course I'm not mentioning China and the unstable and mentally ill individual on the same day used a knife to kill and injure the same number in a school.
Speaking out: Piers Morgan angered 90,000 gun-lovers in the US when he spoke out about gun control
DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON YOUR WAY OUT!
Speaking out: Piers Morgan angered 90,000 gun-lovers in the US when he spoke out about gun control
The Sandy Hook massacre brought back such horribly vivid memories for me of Dunblane, the worst mass shooting in Britain in my lifetime. Obviously I've led a sheltered life.
I was editor of the Daily Mirror on that day back in 1996 and will never forget the appalling TV footage of those poor Scottish mothers sprinting to the small primary school, many already howling with anguish at the thought of what might have happened to their five-year-old children. (I guess its not a nationality type of issue … most likely a human condition of being stressed out, mentally unstable or ill)
It was a slaughter so senseless, so unspeakable, that it reduced even hard-bitten news reporters, including me, to tears.  (It also weighs heavily on every individual with a "normal set of morals" and respect for human life!)
And as I watched the parents at Sandy Hook racing to try to find their children, I saw the same images, the same terror, that engulfed Dunblane. (Piers you should spend some time in the delivery room as a medical professional terminates a new borns life!) And I felt the same tears welling up.
Then, 16 five-year-old children were slain in their classroom. Now, 20  six- and seven-year-olds. Beautiful young lives snuffed out before they had a chance to fulfil any of their potential. It made me so gut-wrenchingly angry.
I have four children. And I still remember the blind terror I felt when I lost my son Stanley, then aged two, for half an hour at a cricket match on a field surrounded by a small running creek. I was sure he’d drowned. But I was lucky: he finally emerged from where he’d been hiding – big, cheeky grin intact.
Every parent has a similar story. To even try to conceive of how you would feel if your child was shot multiple times in the head by a Rambo madman at school is just impossible. I honestly don’t know how you would ever carry on with life.
But my anger turned to blind rage when I saw the reaction to this hideous massacre in America. 
Eager to buy: After the Sandy Hook massacre, sales of the specific weapon used, an AR-15 assault rifle (pictured) rocketed
NO, ITS NOT FOR HUNTING THAT WOULD NOT BE FAIR … ITS FOR PROTECTION!!
Eager to buy: After the Sandy Hook massacre, sales of the specific weapon used, an AR-15 assault rifle (pictured) rocketed
Gun frenzy: People crowd the RK Gun Show in the Smokies in Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday, December 28, 2012. Sales of high-capacity bullet magazines have also risen
LET'S SEE: FAST & FURIOUS, BEN GAZI GUN RUNNING, SYRIA, IRAN, LYBIA, EGYPT, IRAQ, MEXICO, OH  LETS NOT FORGET CHICAGO … AND LONDON, ENGLAND … OF COURSE THE ILLEGAL OWNERSHIP OF GUNS!!! PROTECTION AND 2 AMENDMENT … NOT HUNTING!!!
Gun frenzy: People crowd the RK Gun Show in the Smokies in Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday, December 28, 2012. Sales of high-capacity bullet magazines have also risen
Sales of the specific weapon used, an AR-15 military-style assault rifle, rocketed at gun stores all over America in the days following the Sandy Hook shooting.
And the country’s biggest gun supplier, Brownells, said it sold more high-capacity bullet magazines in three days than it normally did in three-and-a-half years.
What is behind this apparently insane behaviour? The answer is, mainly, fear.
The well-organised, richly funded, vociferous pro-gun lobby were straight out, on my CNN show and many other media outlets, declaring that the only way those schoolchildren would have survived is if their teachers had been armed. It’s been their answer to every mass shooting.
After the shootings at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, in July – where 70 people were hit, the worst victim-count in such an incident in US history, and 12 people died – sales of guns in the state rose by a staggering 41 per cent in the following month as people bought into the theory that if everyone in the theatre had been armed too, they’d have stopped the shooter. Can you imagine the scene as 200 people pulled out guns and started blazing away in a dark theatre?
The gun-lobby logic dictates that the only way to defend against gun criminals is for everyone else to have a  gun, too. Teachers, nurses, clergymen, shop assistants, cinema usherettes – everyone must be armed.
To me, this is a warped, twisted logic that bears no statistical analysis and makes no sense. Do you fight drug addiction with more cocaine? Alcoholism with more Jack Daniel’s? Of course not.
But woe betide anyone who dares suggest this. In the days following Sandy Hook, I interviewed a number of gun-rights representatives and grew increasingly furious as they  trotted out these hackneyed old  disingenuous lines. 
Outspoken: Morgan called gun advocate Larry Pratt 'an unbelievably stupid man' on his show last week
WHICH GUY SHOULD SELF-DEPORT?  
Outspoken: Morgan called gun advocate Larry Pratt 'an unbelievably stupid man' on his show last week
Finally, I erupted at one of them, a man with the unfortunate name of Larry Pratt, who runs the Gun Owners of America lobbying group.
‘You,’ I eventually declared, ‘are an unbelievably stupid man.’
And that was the catalyst for the full wrath of the gun lobby to crash down on my British head.
A petition was created on an official White House website demanding my deportation for ‘attacking the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution’. This, of course, is the one that alludes to an American’s ‘right to bear arms’.
The concerted effort to get me thrown out of the country – which has so far gathered more than 90,000 signatures – struck me as rather ironic, given that by expressing my opinion I was merely exercising my rights, as a legal US resident, under the 1st Amendment, which protects free speech.
But no matter.
This gun debate is an ongoing war of verbal attrition in America – and I’m just the latest target, the advantage to the gun lobbyists being that I’m British, a breed of human being who burned down the White House in 1814 and had to be forcefully deported en masse, as no American will ever be allowed to forget – Special Relationship notwithstanding.
It’s no exaggeration to say that America’s unique fondness for guns pretty much got cemented by hatred of us Brits and the War of Independence. But the main reason the more fervent gun-rights activists give is a fear of their own US federal government using its army to impinge on their freedom. The problem is that America’s historical love of guns means the country is now awash with them – and with gun death. 
Outrage: A petition on an official White House website demanding Piers Morgan's deportation had garnered more than 40,000 signatures by Monday afternoon
THE WHITE HOUSE SCHAM SITE … JUST WANT YOUR IP ADDRESS AND EMAIL
Outrage: A petition on an official White House website demanding Piers Morgan's deportation had garnered more than 40,000 signatures by Monday afternoon

The bare statistics say it all. There are 311 million people in the United States and an estimated 300 million guns in circulation. (Between four million and seven million new firearms are manufactured in the US every year.)
Take out children from the population figure, and that’s comfortably more than one gun per person.
Each year, on average, 100,000 Americans are shot with a gun. Of these, over 31,000 are fatalities, 11,000 of them murders and 18,000 suicides. More than a million people have been killed with guns in America since 1968 when Dr Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.
The US firearm murder rate is 19.5 times higher than the 22 next most populous, high-income countries in the world. And a staggering 80 per cent of firearm deaths in the combined 23 countries occur in America.
My campaign against America’s gun laws didn’t begin two weeks ago when Adam Lanza committed his carnage. It began a week before I went on air for CNN, in January 2011. A US Congresswoman called Gabby Giffords was shot in the head by another deranged young man at an outdoor event in Tucson, Arizona, and miraculously survived. Six others, including a nine-year-old girl, were murdered.
Piers Morgan
Hitting back: Morgan has responded to the growing petition with a series of tweets
Hitting back: Morgan has responded to the growing petition with a series of tweets
It was a horrifying incident but, to my astonishment, nothing happened as a result. A week or so of debate and furrowed brows, and everyone went on with life.
Since then, I’ve watched in despair as the volume of gun-related massacres has escalated. (Six of America’s 12 worst-ever mass shootings have occurred since 2007, when I first came to America to work as a judge on America’s Got Talent.) And I’ve been shocked at how America’s politicians have been cowed into a woeful, shameful virtual silence by the gun lobbyists and the all-powerful National Rifle Association in particular.
The NRA targets pro-gun-control politicians on every rung of the political system and spends a fortune ensuring they either don’t get elected or get unelected. It’s been a concerted, ruthless and highly successful campaign. And to those, like me, who stand up to them, they sneer: ‘You don’t know anything about guns. Keep quiet.’
Well, I do know a bit about guns, actually. My brother’s a lieutenant colonel in the British Army and has served tours of duty in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. My sister married a colonel who trained Princes William and Harry at Sandhurst. My uncle was a major in the Green Howards.
My argument with guns is not based on some universal, pathological hatred of them. I’m not a pacifist. Guns win necessary wars and defeat tyrannical regimes like the Nazis.
Nor do I have a problem with those who use guns for hunting or for sport. I also understand, and respect, how there is an inherent national belief in America, based on their understanding of the 2nd Amendment, that everyone should be allowed to have a gun at home for the purposes of self-defence.
But where I have a big problem is when the unfortunately ambiguous wording of the 2nd Amendment is twisted to mean that anyone in America can have any firearm they want, however powerful, and in whatever quantity they want.
This has led to the absurd scenario where I can’t legally buy six packets of Sudafed in an American supermarket, or a chocolate Kinder egg, or various French cheeses, because they are all deemed a health risk.
Yet I can saunter into Walmart – America’s version of Tesco – and help myself to an armful of AR-15 assault rifles and magazines that can carry up to 100 bullets at a time. 
That weapon has now been used in the last four mass shootings in America – at the Aurora cinema, a shopping mall in Oregon, Sandy Hook school, and the most recent, a dreadful attack on firemen in New York.
The AR-15 looks and behaves like a military weapon and should be confined to the military and police force. No member of the public has any need for a death machine that can fire up to six rounds a second when modified and can clear a 100-bullet magazine (as used in Aurora) within a minute.
The only apparent reason anyone seems to offer up is that using such weapons is ‘fun’. One gun-rights guy I interviewed last week even said admiringly that the AR-15 was ‘the Ferrari of guns’.
Well, I’m sorry, but ‘fun’ is just not a good enough excuse any more. Not when children are being killed by gunfire all over America.
President Obama seems to agree it’s time for action. After four years of doing precisely nothing about  gun control in America, he finally snapped after Sandy Hook and said he’s keen to pursue a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And he wants a closure of the absurd loopholes that mean 40 per cent of all gun sales in America currently have no background checks whatsoever – meaning any crackpot or criminal can get their hands on whatever they want.
These measures, which will be resisted every step of the way, won’t stop all gun crime. Nor all mass shootings. There are too many guns out there, and too many criminals and mentally deranged people keen to use them. But the measures will at least make a start. And they will signal an intent to tackle this deadly scourge on American life. 
After the shootings at a cinema in Aurora (pictured) , sales of guns rose by 41 per cent
After the shootings at a cinema in Aurora (pictured) , sales of guns rose by 41 per cent
Obama should follow up by launching a Government buy-back for all existing assault weapons in circulation (as worked successfully in Los Angeles last week). I would go further, confiscating the rest and enforcing tough prison sentences on those who still insist on keeping one.
Either you ban these assault weapons completely, and really mean it, or you don’t.
He should also significantly increase federal funding for mental health treatment for all Americans who need it. It’s the lethal cocktail of mental instability and ready gun availability that is the key component in almost every American mass shooting.
Nor do I think Hollywood or makers of violent video games should avoid any responsibility – their graphic images can surely only twist an already twisted mind.
I will not stop in my own efforts to keep the gun-control debate firmly in people’s minds, however much abuse I’m subjected to.
And let me say that for every American who has attacked me on Twitter, Facebook or Fox News this past week, I’ve had many more thank me and encourage me to continue speaking out – including one lady who came up to me in Manhattan just before Christmas, grabbed my arm, and said firmly: ‘I’m with you. A lot of us are with you.’
I genuinely think Sandy Hook will act as a tipping point. A Gallup poll released on Thursday showed that  58 per cent of Americans now support new gun-control laws, up from 43 per cent in 2011. That’s a big jump.
President Obama wept as he spoke of the mindless shooting. He seems to agree it's time for action over gun control
ITS HUMAN NATURE AND THE TRIGGER IS MENTAL HEALTH NOT THE TRIGGER OF THE GUN.  WE ARE GUARANTEED FREEDOM OF SPEECH BUT THAT DOESN'T GIVE ANYONE THE RIGHT TO YELL "FIRE" IN A CROWD MOVIE THEATRE.  
The ‘more guns, less crime’ argument is utter nonsense. 
In conclusion, I can spare those Americans who want me deported a lot of effort by saying this: If you don’t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don’t have to worry about deporting me.
Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first – and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years’ time – seriously consider deporting myself.

2013 PARIS RUNWAY UPSTAGED CHICAGO FASHIONS


Chicago police confirm 'tragic number' of 500 homicides - chicagotribune.com

Chicago reached “a tragic number” today, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: Its homicide total for the year hit 500, the highest annual total since 2008.

The city's latest homicide occurred around 9 p.m. Thursday when Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, an alleged gang member with a lengthy arrest record, was gunned down outside a store in the Austin neighborhood.

As of Thursday night, homicides were up 17 percent over last year in Chicago and shootings had increased by 11 percent, according to police statistics. Earlier this fall, Chicago already exceeded the number of homicides that occurred last year, but this is the first time the city has had 500 or more murders since the 512 in 2008.


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Bulletproof Backpacks


Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.

The police department went back and forth for much of Friday over whether Jackson was the 500th murder so far this year, at first confirming it, and then denying it, saying a murder last week had been reclassified as a death investigation, therefore making Jackson the 499th homicide. But by late afternoon, the department once again confirmed there had been 500 murders.

McCarthy issued a statement declaring: “The city has seen its 500th homicide for 2012, a tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods.”

While saying every homicide is unacceptable, he went on to laud the department’s overall crime reduction.

He also said that gang violence reduction strategies the department adopted this year have slowed the increase in violence.

Jackson was shot in the head outside Noah Foods at Augusta Boulevard and Lavergne Avenue, police said. Afterward, police tapped on apartment windows and knocked on doors looking for witnesses.

A few bullet casings, which police believed were from a .45-caliber handgun, were found near the blood-stained sidewalk in front of the store. Police had no motive, and no one was in custody.

Jackson's family sat for three hours in a waiting room at Stroger Hospital when staff members finally walked in and told them Jackson had died. Relatives stood up and exchanged tight embraces.

Jackson grew up on the West Side, a few miles from where he was gunned down, and had been released from prison this past summer after serving a sentence for robbery. He had been shot several years ago, after an earlier stint in jail, and a cousin said she constantly warned him to be careful on the street.

"The last time he was out, someone had shot him several times, in the back," Gave Bates said as she stood outside Stroger Hospital, where Jackson was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. "He was a fighter, he was a survivor."

Bates smiled through tears as she swiped her hand across her phone, flipping through pictures of her cousin playing around and striking goofy poses.

"He was a lot of fun, very good at imitating people," Bates said. "He just had so much fun all the time. And we all grew up together in the same house."












Saturday, December 29, 2012

SO WHAT THE "BLANK" COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!?

EVERY CRIMINAL WAS ONCE A TENDER, INNOCENT AND DEFENSELESS CHILD

THIS IS CRIMINAL … FIRST "THEY" CREATED THE PROBLEM, THEN "THEY" ARE TASKED WITH THE JOB OF FIXING THE PROBLEM … NOW THEY'RE REWARDED!!!

Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers

12:50 PM, DEC 28, 2012 • BY DANIEL HALPER


OBAMA MOST LIKELY FIGURES CONGRESS IS SO FRACTURED AND DISORGANIZED THAT WHY NOT TEMPT THEM AND SEE THEM FOLD LIKE A CHEAP UMBRELLA … AFTER ALL ITS AN EXECUTIVE ORDER AND NOT OF THEIR DOING!
According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he'll now make $231,900 per year.
Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase.
Here's the list of new wages, as attached to President Obama's executive order:
"A new executive order has been issued providing for a new pay schedule beginning 'on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning after March 27, 2013,'" reports FedSmith.com. "The pay raise will generally be about 1/2 of 1%."

Jeryl Bier points to an example of the pay increase for average government executives
"Not much of an increase, but an increase all the same," Bier notes.
And the timing isn't great either: Just as President Obama and Congress try to avert going over the "fiscal cliff," he doles out pay increases to federal workers.
UPDATE: According to a senior Republican congressional aide who has reviewed the executive order and consulted with the Congressional Budget Office, Obama's pay raise will cost $11 billion. "The CBO told us that the President’s pay raise for federal workers will cost $11 billion over ten years," says the aide.
The aide explains, "On the cost-estimate, CBO says the (discretionary) cost of the .5% pay-hike the President is calling for in the Exec Order – relative to a freeze – is about $500m in FY 2013 and $11 billion over the ten years from FY 13 - FY 22.  The reason why the FY ’13 savings is only $500 million is because the pay hike as proposed by the President’s Exec Order would not go into effect until April 1st, 2013 - when the current CR expires. So it only covers half the fiscal year. The annualized cost of the pay hike is about $1 billion/year.

A BILLION HERE, A BILLION THERE … PRETTY SOON ITS REAL MONEY!
A REAL WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!

'Fiscal cliff' 101: 5 basic questions answered

President Obama and congressional leaders are working furiously to stop the United States from going over the “fiscal cliff,” a combination of higher taxes and lower spending set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. What is the fiscal cliff? Where did it come from? And will it get solved before sending the US into a recession? Here are five steps to understanding the fiscal cliff.

By Staff writer
posted November 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm EST

1.What’s in the fiscal cliff?

List Item Image
THE THREE STOOGES 
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky (r.), accompanied by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California (l.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio, speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington on Nov. 16 following a meeting with President Obama to discuss the 'fiscal cliff.'
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The fiscal cliff adds up to more than $600 billion in higher taxes and lower spending in 2013. Of that total, taxes make up about two-thirds of the hit with lower spending making up a third.
The biggest chunk comes from the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 (which Mr. Obama and Congress extended in 2010) and Congress’s failure to patch the AMT, or alternative minimum tax, in order to adjust it for inflation. Together, those issues would raise $221 billion in new tax revenue in 2013.
On the spending side, the big-ticket item is known as the sequester. The sequester means across-the-board reductions to nearly all government programs and services (although military personnel and children’s health care, for example, are exempt). The $109 billion in reductions are divvied up between defense ($55 billion) and nondefense ($45 billion), with the balance coming from reducing the rates at which Medicare pays physicians.
Due to a variety of budgetary factors, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this hit will only amount to $65 billion in the first year, with the balance following in later years.
Other key items include:
  •  $95 billion in higher taxes from the expiration of President Obama’s payroll tax cut from 2010, which lowered the Social Security payroll tax by 2 percentage points for two years.
  •  $65 billion in taxes from so-called “tax extenders,” a passel of provisions that Congress routinely extends for (mostly) business interests.
  •  $26 billion in lower spending from the end of extended unemployment benefits.
  •  $18 billion in new taxes from Obama’s health-care law.
  •  $11 billion in lower payments to Medicare providers stemming from Congress’s failure to pass what’s known as the “Doc Fix,” a patch that covers shortfalls federal Medicare payments.

2.That seems like a lot of things to happen at once. Where did it all come from?

List Item Image
WE INHERITED THIS MESS, REALLY!
This 2011 file photo shows the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the supercommittee, meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. 
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File)

The fiscal cliff wasn’t put together as a policy option – it wasn’t dreamed up by lawmakers as a way to handle the nation’s debt and deficit problems. Instead, the cliff comes as short-term fixes pile up and the parties become locked in intractable policy disputes.

In this case, Washington built the foundation of the fiscal cliff by maintaining policies like the AMT and the Sustainable Growth Rate (the formula that leads to the Medicareshortfalls addressed by the Doc Fix). Neither works as originally intended.

By only patching these items a year at a time, lawmakers can avoid adding them to the permanent budget, which makes future spending look lower – even if they have every intention of changing the law every single year. (The annual tax extenders package falls into this category as well.)
Then there are the Bush tax cuts, which were passed through a legislative work-around that required them to last only a decade. Again, rather than making a permanent change to the tax code that would spew red ink as far as the eye could see, congressional Republicans bet (correctly) that it would be hard for a future Congress to undo their handiwork. At the same time, they could profess to not exploding the deficit over the long run.
So how did Congress and Obama resolve this when the tax cuts expired? By punting the issue down the road and spending more money. In 2010, they not only extended the Bush tax rates for two years, but they also added extended unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut, which would disappear at the same time – Jan. 1, 2013.
And then there’s the mother of all Washington failures, the sequester.

When congressional Republicans balked at raising the federal debt ceiling in 2011, Washington eventually crafted a deal that was supposed to cut $2.4 trillion in government spending during the next decade. The goal was to offset the hike in the debt ceiling with spending cuts.

Half the cuts came as caps on future government discretionary spending. The other half was supposed to be negotiated by a special committee of lawmakers, known as the supercommittee, who would be pushed to find a deal because the alternative – across-the-board reductions to liberal and conservative priorities from Meals on Wheels to theDefense Department – was so brutal.
Yet that committee failed, and the draconian sequester looms.

3.What would the impact of the fiscal cliff be?

INTO EACH LITTLE LIFE A SOME RAIN MUST FALL LEONA HELMSLEY 
If America were to take a full-on cliff dive, the CBO estimates that the US would enter a recession in 2013 with gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking by about half a percent for the year.
Unemployment would rise to north of 9 percent from just under 8 percent at present, and the economy would offer about 2.5 million fewer jobs than it would if all current policy was continued.
Nearly all government functions would see between an 8 and 10 percent cut – from theUS Navy to federal emergency management to scientific research to education. The cuts aren’t targeted at less-valuable programs or services, everybody gets a piece.
Taxpayers would get hit, too. A household earning $50,000 per year would see its taxes grow by $2,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center.
With the eurozone teetering on the brink of another deep financial crisis and China’s growth slowing, the shock of the US entering another recession could reverberate around the globe and send the stock market crashing down.

4.Wow, that sounds awful. Why not just cancel these policies?


President Obama walks from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington after speaking about cutting the US deficit on Sept. 19, 2011.
(Jason Reed/REUTERS)

America has to weigh short- to intermediate-term economic gain against long-term economic solvency.
With debt held by the public north of 75 percent of GDP, the US can’t afford to run $1 trillion dollar deficits (the size of the deficit in 2012) indefinitely. Academic research suggests that debt payments and fear about future tax increases can crowd out economic growth when debt nears 100 percent of GDP.
Simply kicking the can down the road for another year could push the two credit-rating agencies that currently hold US debt in the highest regard to lower their rating, potentially driving up borrowing costs. And borrowing costs could rise even without a downgrade if investors think that America lacks the discipline to get its fiscal house in order. Higher interest costs mean the price of America’s debt to taxpayers could spike, causing even deeper cuts elsewhere.
But every step you take toward lowering the nation’s debt in the long term is a hit against employment and a shaky economic recovery today.
For example, ending long-term unemployment benefits would help the deficit but would cost around 800,000 jobs, the CBO estimates. Extending tax breaks for all household income up to but not above $250,000, as Democrats demand, would cost 200,000 jobs compared with a full extension of all tax cuts, according to the same estimates. And slashing nondefense government spending in line with the sequester, as Republicans desire, would cut 400,000 jobs.

5.So what is going to happen?

I JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD WITH THE SAME "O" THINGS I'VE BEEN DOING … MY GOLF GAME IS IMPROVING!
President Obama acknowledges House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 16 during a meeting about the 'fiscal cliff.'
(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Ah, the $600 billion question.
There are some in both parties who think going over all or part of the cliff is a good thing. Democrats argue that it will put the pressure on the GOP to vote to raise taxes, Republicans say it may be the only way to get the spending cuts they were promised as part of the debt-ceiling deal.
But both Democrats and Republicans have plenty to hate about the cliff and plenty of incentive to make sure the economy doesn’t take a full dive.
There are many reasons to be hopeful about a solution. Leaders in both parties have sounded conciliatory notes since Election Day, with both Democrats and Republicans careful to not “take anything off the table” before engaging in serious negotiations.
The threat of having a recession hung around either party’s neck, the fact that both parties recognize the sequester cuts are terrible policy, and the fear of a stock market collapse or an interest-rate driven hit to the nation’s long-term financial condition amount to a tremendous impetus for both sides to work together.
At most, lawmakers will break all expectations and offer up a “grand bargain” – a deal that cuts federal debt by something like $4 trillion during the next decade and sets up a process to reform the tax code in the process. Getting to that big of a deal in a few post-election weeks is, however, a tall order.
At a minimum, then, Washington lawmakers could produce a small “down payment” of deficit reduction in the lame-duck session of Congress in order to show ratings agencies and investors that they are serious about deficit reduction. Then, they’ll outline goals for entitlement and tax reform to be completed in 2013.
And those fights – entitlement spending and changes to the tax code – may make America yearn for the comparatively peaceful arguments about the fiscal cliff.

YUP, WE GOT ALL HIS MONEY … HE'S CLEAN, WE OWN HIM.  NEXT!