We Are Taking A Holiday Hiatus

We’ll be shutting down operations for the remainder of the year. Enjoy the archives.

We’ll check in on the site in the meantime. If you see the fiscal cliff make sure you push the turds in Washington over it. Problem solved.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The Editors.

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WE INTERRUPT THIS HIATUS TO BRING YOU….

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!    Although the hiatus continues, a cure is being sought, testing on political prisoners continues, Obama claims he will “focus like a laser” on finding a cure……..

Although the hiatus continues here at TWE, I have launched another site you may be interested in visiting.

After the November pleasantries, I decided to take on the real enemy of our Nation – MSM.

We are where we are due to their deliberate actions – and inactions

Here is a link to the site : http://4thestatemedia.com/

Take a look, add your e-mail for new content alerts – your contact info is NEVER shared.

Please leave a comment about what you like, hate, or would like to know more about.

I have a page that will be dedicated to media contact information, if your local network news source, or local newspaper insists on reporting ONLY the administrations point of view, send me the contact info for them( look for the news desk contact) and we can create a database for others to use to contact them and remind them that WE are the consumers of their product – biased news coverage can translate to closed wallets.

I look forward to hearing from you all – we are the only ones that can make a difference.

we now return you to our regularly scheduled hiatus………

Posted in American Politics, Blogs and Blogging, Conservatism, Current Events, Humor, Site News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

US Ranked Fourth Among World’s Educated Countries

Time | News Feed

Snagging the number two most-educated spot was Israel, which trailed Canada by 5%. Japan, the U.S., New Zealand and South Korea all ranked with more than 40% of citizens having a higher-education degree. The top 10 most-educated countries are:

1. Canada

2. Israel

3. Japan

4. United States

5. New Zealand

6. South Korea

7. United Kingdom

8. Finland

9. Australia

10. Ireland

Read the original article here at 24/7 Wall St., for a detailed breakdown of each nation and its education status.

Based on population the United States has upwards of 120 million people with a higher education degree. America’s large population and access to universities gives the US a strong advantage in the world. The US doesn’t have to be first in this category to stay ahead in research and technology. According to the Scientific American the US estimates that approximately 30,000 scientists and engineers—about 18,000 of them American citizens—who earn PhDs in the U.S. each year.

However, though the numbers are high when considering population there is still an issue.

its growth rate for post-secondary education – 1.3 percent per year – is quite low in comparison to the OECD average of 3.7 percent, which means other countries could outpace the US in the coming years.

The good news is the West continues to lead.

Posted in American Society, Western Education | Tagged , | 2 Comments

I Don’t Want to be a Grinch But We Are Going Over the Cliff

What, with all these wonderful times ahead of us and I still find a way to be a grinch? We have the usual stalemate in Congress between the Republican controlled House and a Democrat controlled Senate and White House. Neither side likes the other’s deal but both sides speak desperately about avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.

House Republican leaders on Monday made a counteroffer to President Obama in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations that would cut $2.2 trillion from the deficit with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

Republican officials said their 10-year plan contained more deficit reduction than the offer the White House presented last week while standing firm against Obama’s demand to increase tax rates on the wealthy.

The White House quickly panned the offer, saying it contained “nothing new” and did not “meet the test of balance.”

At this point it is getting hard to figure what “meets the test balance.” It was President Obama that commissioned the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson, then rejected their plan because of the cuts it suggested to government spending. But somehow defense cuts and tax increases are a better alternative?

Here’s a secret, we are going over the cliff. The pedal has been screwed to the floor.  There will be no deal because no one wants a deal. Let me explain.

If we go over the so-called fiscal cliff four things will happen.

  1. The Bush tax cuts will expire
  2. Clinton era tax rates will be adopted
  3. Automatic defense cuts kick in
  4. Some human service programs will be cut

Presumably all of these combined will work at reducing the deficit so the country can start paying down its debt. “Presumably” being a very key word.

These are all the things Democrats want (minus the fourth point). The Republicans can’t give them these things without putting up a fight. They have to if they do not wish to face an army of primary challengers during the next midterm election. So they make an offer, then a counteroffer but neither side will come to an agreement. In fact, for an agreement to work it will have to look a lot like the four points mentioned. So it is a wonderful dilemma for both parties.

One side can save face with its constituents “by fighting fiercely ” and the other side gets exactly what it wants, while blaming the program cuts on Republicans. The Democrats see this as 3 to 1. They’ll take it.

The GOP can cave without caving. The president can say he tried without ever trying.

 

Posted in American Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Are Governors Useless for Presidential Candidates?

First, let’s start with the ideas. If the majority of voters in a state decide to elect a governor of a particular party, wouldn’t that fact bode well for a presidential candidate of the same party? According to a study released by Smart Politics, it doesn’t at all.

Obama did not lose any of the battleground states in which Democrats fell flat in gubernatorial races two years ago.

In fact, almost all of the closest races in the country saw a presidential nominee carry a state with a governor in office from the opposite party – including all seven key GOP gubernatorial pickups in 2010.

Of the 16 states decided by single digits in 2012, 11 voted for the presidential nominee of a party other than its sitting governor, including each of the five states with the narrowest margin of victory.

As Chris Heinze at GOP 12 points out

Quickly think of some of the 2012 evidence: Scott Walker didn’t help Romney win Wisconsin, John Kasich didn’t help Romney win Ohio, McDonnell didn’t help Romney win Virginia, Terry Branstad didn’t help him win Iowa, Tom Corbett didn’t help him in Pennsylvania.

Romney essentially avoided Florida Gov. Rick Scott, so this should silence the throng of critics (no one) who think Romney should have hooked up with Scott.

There is obviously some truth to this, especially in the wake of the presidential election. Many people, including myself, took the 2010 midterm elections and a slew of GOP governors in battle ground states as indication of a friendly environment for Mitt Romney. Particularly, Scott Walker’s successful recall in Wisconsin, in addition to Paul Ryan on the ticket tended to make many consider Wisconsin was in play. In the final analysis, that proved not to be the case.

There are a few factors worth pointing out to helps us reconcile the idea of governor influence.

First, the state economies in states such as Ohio, Virginia, and Florida were doing well comparatively speaking. While this increased the favorability of the Republican governors, it didn’t do a lot for Romney. On the the other hand, it helped Obama since the economy was a very important issue. It allowed Obama to campaign in those states and point to their growing economies as taking place on his watch. In a sense, Romney was an outsider on the issue and behind the eight ball with voters.

Secondly, it’s a trite statement but a true one: Politics is local. State politics is a different animal when trying to compare how someone, who votes locally, will vote nationally. The issues are different and the interests expand. Furthermore, the 2010 midterm elections were about high turnout in districts that were already favorable to GOP voters. Obviously in a state wide election, the playing field expands as total population comes to account. Take Virginia, for example, Romney did extremely well throughout the state but lost the heavily populated northern counties. It happened in Ohio too. More voters turned out for Obama than they did for Democrats in 2010.

Thirdly, which is an extension of the previous point, the issues are different in national elections. The voter who voted for Walker or McDonnell as their governor may not choose to vote for them if they ran as president. Therefore, they probably did not vote for Romney based on whatever reasons they happen to be.

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Did the Homeless Man Sell Those Famous Boots?

The now popular image of a New York police officer giving a barefoot homeless man a pair of boots has caused quite the sensation. The photo of the kind gesture circulated heavily and made both men famous. The officer’s name is Lawrence DePrimo. The other man’s name is Jeffrey Hillman. It was the kind of gesture that happens a lot but goes unnoticed. Fortunately, this particular time it did not. It made headlines almost immediately afterward.

However, the story has changed recently. The homeless man, Mr. Hillman has been spotted barefoot again. It’s cold in New York and being without any means of transportation, it’s safe to assume that he must walk to and from his destinations. So why on earth is he barefoot again? Was he a victim of violence?

Since Mr. Hillman’s bare feet became famous, other people reported seeing him without shoes — one even after Officer DePrimo’s gift — and one woman said she had bought him a pair of shoes a year ago. Whatever the case, Mr. Hillman seemed accustomed to walking the pavement shoeless.

No. According to Mr. Hillman, the boots are hidden because of their value. He said if he wore them, his life would be in jeopardy. I suppose a homeless man could hide a pair of boots in a alley some place but why would he want to in the dead of winter?

The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Skechers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”

He could also lose his life from sickness or lose his feet from frost bite.

These famous boots have taken on a life of their own. They have made both men celebrities for better or worse. The officer, Mr. DePrimo, did it out of an obligation to his duty and as a caring person. He received nothing in return but gratitude and appreciation. It was an act of kindness that happened to be captured in the moment. I doubt he wanted or needed the attention that came with it.

The other man, Mr. Hillman was grateful for the police officer’s concern.

“I want to thank everyone that got onto this thing. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. It meant a lot to me. And to the officer, first and foremost.”

However, all of the attention afterward is leaving him a bit unsatisfied.

“I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?” he said. “This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.”

It appears Mr. Hillman has a history of losing his shoes and relying on the kindness of strangers. That isn’t an occupation. It’s not even a station in life. It’s simply breathing an occupying space. Do I mean to sound cold and callous? No, I don’t. But it shows that the character of people cannot be changed. This is a lesson that some people do not want help. They want handouts. The feel good part of the story has been removed from a candid statement by a man with street smarts.

As he was being interviewed, several people noticed him. “What happened to the boots?” one man asked.

It has been revealed that Mr. Hillman is an Army veteran and has a trade as a cook. He also has two adult children of whom he has no contact. Being a cook may not make him rich but it would give him more of a livelihood than living on the streets terminally barefooted.

*Officer DePrimo’s "piece of the pie" was a set of cuff links.

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Napoleon’s Masterpiece at Austerlitz

Emperor Napoleon’s Proclamation after the Battle of Austerlitz: December 3, 1805

"Soldiers: I am satisfied with you. In the Battle of Austerlitz you have justified all that I expected from your intrepidity. You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory. An army of one hundred thousand men, commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been, in less than four hours, either cut in pieces or dispersed. Thus in two months the third coalition has been vanquished and dissolved. Peace can not now be far distant. But I will make only such a peace as gives us guarantee for our future, and secures rewards to our allies. When everything necessary to secure the happiness and prosperity of our country is obtained, I will lead you back to France. My people will behold you again with joy. It will be enough for one of you to say, ‘I was at the battle of Austerlitz;’ for all your fellow citizens to exclaim, ‘There is a brave man.’"

The Battle at Austerlitz was not by grand design for Napoleon. He had his sights on a rival he could never quite pin down, England. The Battle at Austerlitz, widely considered his greatest military masterpiece, and by his own admission was his greatest achievement as a military commander, was in reaction to new adversaries: Russia and Austria. Napoleon was forced to abandon his plans against Great Britain and concentrate his attention east. "Concentrate his attention" is a bit of an understatement. Napoleon quickly seized the initiative and sent 200,000 fine men of the Grande Armee across the Rhine to crush the armies of Austria and Russia.

After winning several early battles, on 2 December 1805, Emperor Napoleon lured the Allied Army under Czar Alexander into attacking him on favorable ground personally selected by himself , "Study this ground well, it will be a field of battle" that became one of the most famous traps in military history. The Allied army attacked but was split in two by a French counter-attack and disastrously defeated, giving Napoleon one of the greatest victories in the history of war

Military History Online

Austerlitz was a decisive and great victory for Napoleon, there is no doubt. Despite the fact that many things went right for the French army on that day, almost all that went right were conditions that were made by Napoleon. These actions included preparing his army to be a serious fighting force, long before the battle occurred; continually inspiring his troops; choosing the terrain on which to fight; using deception to lure the enemy into a trap; and then employing his troops wisely. It showed that Napoleon understood his enemy. The downfall of Austerlitz would be that many historians consider that it was after Austerlitz that Napoleon started to lose touch with reality and would became arrogant and cocky. That after Austerlitz, French foreign policy became personally Napoleonic.[31] It would also give his enemies insight into what determination it would take to defeat him. Despite these drawbacks, the battle itself was a triumph for Napoleon. He had created all the conditions to make his own luck, and luck did indeed reward him well with a victory that could be justifiably called his greatest masterpiece.

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Redrawing the Middle East After Assad

NY Times | Thomas Friedman

Without a strong, galvanizing Syrian leader with a compelling unifying vision, backed by the international community, getting rid of Assad will not bring order to Syria. And disorder in Syria will not have the same consequences as disorder in other countries in the region.

Syria is the keystone of the Middle East. If and how it cracks apart could recast this entire region. The borders of Syria have been fixed ever since the British and French colonial powers carved up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. If Assad is toppled and you have state collapse here, Syria’s civil war could go regional and challenge all the old borders — as the Shiites of Lebanon seek to link up more with the Alawite/Shiites of Syria, the Kurds in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey try to link up with each other and create an independent Kurdistan, and the Sunnis of Iraq, Jordan and Syria draw closer to oppose the Shiites of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

We could be entering a new age of Middle East border-drawing — the do-it-yourself version — where the borders of the Middle East get redrawn, not by colonial outsiders from the top down but by the Middle Easterners themselves, from the bottom up.

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Susan Rice Comes Clean

Last week UN Ambassador Susan Rice was before members of the US Senate and faced questions over the terrorists attacks in Benghazi and the administrations official public response. As the headlines stated at the time, the meeting resulted in more questions than answers.

Particularly troubling was Rice’s own admission that the administration mislead the public. The official message was “incorrect in a key respect.” Furthermore, Rice admitted that the administration knew that neither a “protest nor demonstration in Benghazi” ever took place.

Rice apologized for misleading the public during a Meet the Press interview on September 16th, five days after the Benghazi attack. During the interview, Rice recited talking points prepared by the CIA, claiming that the Benghazi attack was sparked by a “hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” The talking points were aimed at deflecting the liability of President Obama’s failed leadership over the Benghazi events, in the wake of his re-election campaign.

It is not clear whether the Obama Administration had influence or oversight during the CIA’s preparation.

Though Rice claims the talking points were not intended to mislead the public, she continues to deflect questions regarding whether the Obama administration was aware that the Benghazi attack could have been related to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

Rice’s lack of full disclosure left many in the Senate with more questions than answers, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C).

Senator McCain said that he was deeply “troubled” by many of the answers presented by Ambassador Rice, and “some that we didn’t get.” McCain continued, “It is clear that the information that she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video.”

Senator Graham voiced his concern as well. “Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before [by] the 16 September explanation about how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya, by Ambassador Rice,” said Graham.

At least 97 House Republicans have informed President Obama they would oppose his nomination of Susan Rice as the next Secretary of State.

Posted in American Politics, National Defense | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Profile on Romney’s Post-Political Life

Not sure if this WAPO article is throwing salt in the wound or not. Nevertheless, its a good profile sketch of a highly ambitious man who was very recently on the cusp of history. Romney was an overachiever in academics and enormously successful in business. A man who would eventually emerge as the de facto leader of the GOP.  A candidate who was this close to winning the presidency.  Now he is left with his thoughts, self doubt, and the reality of facing his setting sun with time available to imagine what might have been.

I can’t imagine for a man intensely driven and who probably felt he was destined to win the White House, to simply flip the switch over to living an ordinary personal life as something being a smooth and easy transition for Romney.

Continue reading

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What is President Obama’s Alternative Plan for Gitmo?

What’s happening now is the Senate approved (67-29) Senator Feinstein’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which does not authorize military detention of citizens or lawful permanent residents captured during acts of terrorism, though it can authorize force, within the US unless but detention can be determined as an Act of Congress “if it expressly authorizes such detention.” And there is the rub. The “express authorization” can be interpreted as grounds for Congress to “expressly authorize” detention.

The Feinstein amendment provides that no authorization for the use of military force may be construed to authorize the detention of U.S. citizens or lawful resident aliens who are captured inside the United States, unless–and this is a big “unless”–an act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.

As I read the amendment, it says the military detention of U.S. citizens may be authorized in accordance with the law of war as long as this action is expressly authorized by Congress. Further, the amendment’s requirement for express authorization applies only to the detention of U.S. citizens who are captured inside the United States. So no such authorization would be required for the detention of a U.S. citizen in the course of military operations overseas. I believe it is appropriate that Congress focus on the issue of military detention at the time they authorize the use of military force, as would be required by the Feinstein amendment.

President Obama, meanwhile, has threatened to veto any provisions that restricts his transfer powers of Guantanamo detainees into the US or other countries. That is an understandable reaction on the part of the President as Commander in Chief. However, the president and members of his national security council still believe that Gitmo should be closed. This latest debate has resurrected Obama’s early Gitmo policy. The president has never come out and said that he is against detention without trial, however.

Continue reading

Posted in American Politics, Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

When We Are Done Nation Building Abroad, Can We Start Nation Building At Home?

America is still a special place. It has enjoyed continuous economic growth throughout its existence. She churns out research scientists and engineers in great numbers. Science and innovation has been our legacy in creating a vibrant economy and a modern industrialized nation.

But we have problems. We have an aging and inefficient infrastructure. Our classrooms are overcrowded and the highways and interstates that move people and produce are congested. According to some estimates this costs the US over $300 billion in economic activity every year.

We import oil from a region of the world that is unstable. But we must because fossil fuel is the staple to modern economies. The US relies heavily on imported oil and consequently is victim to oil price manipulation and political instability in the Middle East. This is in spite of having our own reserves that rivals Saudi Arabia. Perhaps, our untapped resources surpass Saudi Arabia. But we don’t know for sure because we have not invested enough to find out.

We can tackle these problems but it will cost money. Actually, it will cost lots of money that will need to be pulled from elsewhere and used to empower our research scientists and engineers to modernize our society and infrastructure.

Continue reading

Posted in American Society, Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Word of Caution on Tax Hikes

And consider a real world observation.

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election. The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government. It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.

Responding to Marginal Tax Rates

After the election, my wife and I are going partial Galt. We’re in California, so our state income tax went up in addition to what’s sure to come out of Washington.

My wife quit her job last week. I increased my participation in a tax deferment plan offered by my employer to bring my taxable income as close to $250K as possible. We’ll be cutting back a little, but the government is going to getting a whole lot less.

My wife’s entire salary barely covered our tax bill – she was 100% slave to the government, while I was a 10% slave. Now she is 100% free, and I’ll be a ~35% slave As a couple, 17.5% of our time is slaving on the government plantation from an astounding 55% previously.

My wife is deliriously happy, our children are delighted to have mom home, the dog gets more walks, and I find not spending money rapturously satisfying.

I guess the Laffer Curve matters.

 

Posted in Economics | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learn Absolutely Nothing About the Fiscal Cliff

Here are the links.

George Will | Liberals See the Fiscal Cliff as an Opportunity

For 40 years the party’s principal sources of energy and money — liberal activists, government-employees unions — have advocated expanding government’s domestic reach by raising taxes and contracting its foreign reach by cutting defense. Obama’s four years as one of the most liberal senators and his four presidential years indicate that he agrees.

J. Melchior | Taxing Millionaires Won’t Solve the Deficit Problem

America’s deficit problem can’t be solved simply by taxing the rich. Regardless of which definition of “millionaire” is applied, the tax revenue just doesn’t cut it. Furthermore, while Obama has stated that his purpose in calling for higher taxes is to reduce the deficit, it’s reasonable, given his history, to expect that much of any new revenue will go to spending, not deficit reduction.

J. Chon | Now Is Not the Time for Health Care Spending Cuts

But it’s a mistake to think that health care spending has to be cut right now. Strange as it sounds, the best strategy for reducing the deficit might be to delay making those reductions—at least until we know whether we need to make them at all.

Washington Examiner | Bowles: We Are Going to Go Over the Fiscal Cliff

“I believe the probability is that we are going over the cliff and I think that will be horrible. It will be devastating to the economy,” he said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor this morning.

Senator Durbin | Sen. Durbin: Fiscal Cliff Shouldn’t Include Entitlement Reform

Changes to the program shouldn’t be rushed as part of an effort to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

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