Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Debt Ceiling & Obama

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE

The Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2013, p. 17

Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate rais­ing America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.images-1 It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t bay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Gov­ernment’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have bor­rowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.

And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Med­icaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined….

Our debt also matters internation­ally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than thatln jusUiyears. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose in­terests might not be aligned with ours.

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grand­children. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

Then-Sen. Barack Obama, in a speech on the Senate floor, March 16, 2006

Slanted West Point Report

West Point report outrages critics of federalism

By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times, January 28, 2013

A West Point think tank report that links people who believe in individual freedom with violent “far right” move­ments has stirred strong opposition from imagesconservatives and former members of the military.

They say the report, first revealed by The Washington Times, lumps basic beliefs of mainstream conservatism into an “anti-federalist” movement that in the author’s view directs violence toward the government.

They wonder why an institution that molds future Army officers to fight foreign enemies now is focusing on a perceived domestic threat. They also say that a thorough report on ideologically fed vio­lence would scrutinize unions, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and radical environmentalists.

The West Point report also dispar­ages conservatives in general, saying they live in the past while liberals are future-oriented.

“This report is outrageous in and of itself,” said a Washington Times reader, one of more than 1,600 to post a comment. Continue reading

On Capital Punishment

“Capital punishment is becoming marginalized and meaningless in most of the country.”  Richard Dieter

“Americans generally favor the death penalty by a roughly 2-1 margin—62 percent to 31 percent in the Gallup survey, and 61 percent to 35 percent according to Pew.”  Valerie Richardson

Killing Capital Punishment

Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, December 31, 2012, p. 14

The death penalty, al­ready on the decline across the United States, could face its own demise at the hands of several state legislatures next year.images-3

Accelerating attend, lawmak­ers in Colorado, Maryland and New Hampshire are expected to make a push for pulling the plug on capital punishment in the next legislative session, fol­lowing the moves of Connecti­cut, which abolished- the death penalty this year. Any action would continue the national trend away from capital punishment.

Only nine states carried out executions this year, down from 13 states last year.

The same number of people, 43, were executed this year and last, but it was a steep drop from the 85 in 2010, according to a report released two weeks ago by the Death Penalty Informa­tion Center.

“Capital punishment is be­coming marginalized and meaningless in most of the country,” said Richard Dieter, DPIC executive.

In 2012t fewer states have the death penalty, fewer carried out executions and death sentences, and executions were clustered in a small number of states.”

Despite the decline in the number of executions, polls con­sistently show that voters support the idea of capital punishment. In a closely watched test at the ballot in one of the nation’s bluest states, Californians in No­vember rejected Proposition 34, which would have eliminated capital punishment, by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, even though some late polls suggested that the measure would pass! Continue reading