November 13th 2009
Sgt. Mark Todd, 42, of the Killeen police department is the person who actually shot Major Nidel Malik Hasan in last week's massacre.
My son's a hero, too!
The mother of a civilian cop whose role in ending the Fort Hood massacre was overshadowed by his tiny, female partner insisted Thursday her son deserves commendation.
"When he told me what happened, I was thinking, 'Why are they giving this woman all the credit?'" Mary Todd, 66, the mother of Sgt. Mark Todd, told the Daily News.
"I don't want to diminish what she did. I just hope they give him credit, too."
In the days after Thursday's mass shooting at Fort Hood, Sgt. Kimberly Munley was widely lauded for her role in taking down gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.
One Fort Hood official described how a wounded Munley stayed on her feet in a raging gun battle with Hasan and ended his rampage with two well-placed bullets into his torso.
That account appears to be false.
Todd, 42, said Thursday his bullets felled Hasan. Providing the most detailed account of the takedown, Todd said he and Munley arrived at the base processing center at the same time, but split up.
Munley encountered Hasan first and was shot three times in the ensuing gun battle. It's unclear if Hasan was hit.
Still on his feet, the blood-thirsty Army psychiatrist paused to load his handgun before Todd found him.
"I came around. I challenged him. I saw him turn toward me and I started taking fire again, and then I returned fire," Todd told NBC's "Today" show.
Todd said that his shots knocked Hasan off of his feet and he then he checked the gunman for other weapons.
"I thank God to this day that I wasn't hit," Todd added. "It was a miracle."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Civilian cop Mark Todd was REAL hero whose shots ended Ft. Hood masscare, says his mom! By Rich Schapiro
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/14/2009 02:19:00 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
November 09, 2009
Old-fashioned parents know how important it is to teach their children the “value of a dollar.” Uncle Sam doesn’t seem to have learned this lesson though, which has grave implications for our future standard of living.
For most of this decade, the Federal Reserve has pursued a policy of having a “weak” dollar, a dollar that’s cheap in relation to other currencies. Current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke prevailed on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to adopt this policy, and Bernanke is now continuing it. And if continued much longer, a weak dollar policy—combined with overspending and bad tax policy--will irreparably reduce America’s standard of living.
Inherent in the idea of standard of living is the level of our present and future consumption. America’s “standard of living” is generally considered a measure of how easy it is for us to satisfy our material desires. There are many ways we might look at this--how many televisions or computers we have per household, how much health care we consume on a per capita basis and how many families in our nation live below the poverty level. But however our standard of living is measured, current monetary, fiscal and tax policies will diminish it if we stay on our current path.
Now, clearly some people benefit from a weak dollar. Farmers and other exporters who sell abroad benefit because their products are cheaper (and thus more attractive) on world markets. But because we purchase so many more foreign goods than we export, a weak dollar policy is very bad for consumers and decreases our purchasing power.
Over the last 20 years, America’s appetite for foreign goods has increased multifold. And it is not that easy just to “buy American.” In many cases, there may not be an American choice in a particular product category and if there is, the “American” product may still have significant foreign content in it. This means that as the dollar weakens, our purchases of foreign goods cost much, much more. We will see our household purchasing power decline in future years as effects of the weak dollar policy filter through our economy.
Another effect of a weakening dollar is that investors fear holding assets in dollars. And so the steadily weakening dollar has produced capital flight from the U.S. which harms our economy, as investors seek assets denominated in other, stronger currencies. This leads to a downward spiral as dollars become less and less desirable.
U.S. per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen over 25% since 2000 when measured in euros (a more stable gauge of value than the weak dollar), according to top Wall Street economist David Malpass. Germany’s GDP has overtaken America’s GDP on a per capita basis. And America’s standard of living relative to the rest of the world is falling off a cliff -- with President Obama’s policies giving it a two-armed push over the edge.
Spending plays a major role. The Obama budget also includes record shattering federal spending increases and trillion dollar annual deficits, doubling the national debt in five years, and tripling it in ten. The Administration’s own budget numbers now show total Federal debt reaching $23.3 trillion in 2019. That debt will exceed 100% of GDP by 2011, giving us the honor of the 7th highest government debt-to-GDP ratio in the world. As Judy Shelton recently reported in The Wall Street Journal, that puts us in the company of Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Singapore, Jamaica, Japan, and Italy.
To put our national debt in perspective -- a country cannot even join the European Union unless its government debt-to-GDP ratio does not exceed 60%. This means that even if we wanted to join the EU, our economic fundamentals may soon be seen as too weak.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) projects that under current policies, the federal debt will climb to almost 300% of GDP by 2040. Even during World War II, the national debt peaked at 113% of GDP. This was only a temporary condition and at least we vanquished Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in return for spike in the debt. Now, huge debts are a way of life in America. Obama’s budget busters include increasing federal welfare spending by one third in just his first two years, with total welfare spending soaring to $1 trillion by 2014 and $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Consider also the effect of taxes. President Obama’s budget provides for increasing the capital gains tax rate by 33% at the start of 2011. The top federal income tax rate would also increase by almost 30% if a health care reform bill similar to the one passed by the House this weekend becomes law. These prospective tax increases on earnings in dollars would cause further capital flight, increasing the downward spiral of the dollar and our standard of living.
These soaring tax rates and crushing deficits will lead to a continued decline of American living standards. Based on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s GDP and inflation assumptions, continued declines in household wealth holdings are projected from 2009 to 2014, with real U.S. per capita GDP falling to below 2000 levels. So much for the Obama recovery.
But the hit to our standard of living could be much worse than even these numbers show. The economy has performed substantially worse this year than was assumed in the Obama budget, with our growth lower and unemployment at a much higher level. Economists predict that these negative trends will continue in the near future. -- This means future deficits and debt will be far higher than the administration projects.
Unlike our government, Americans have drastically cut back on their discretionary spending in response to frightening economic conditions. In some cases, Americans have done this because they are unemployed and can’t afford to spend, but many others have done this out of fear of what may be to come. We may think that it is appropriate for Americans to learn to consume less. But even if we chose now voluntarily to reduce our consumption of cars, electronics and houses, we still want to be able to afford to purchase them in the future.
The decline of America’s standard of living can be reversed with a dramatic change in course to pro-growth economic policies. But American voters need to wake up, or face declining standards of living far into the future. While a Susan B. Anthony dollar may be larger than a euro in size, it will take change to our fiscal and monetary policies to make the value of our dollar approach that of the euro any time soon.
Mallory Factor is the co-chairman and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, an influential meeting of economic conservatives, journalists and corporate leaders in New York City. Mr. Factor is a well-known merchant banker and speaks and writes frequently on economic and fiscal topics for news stations, leading newspapers and other print and online publications. Mr. Factor appears on "Fox & Friends," "The Strategy Room" and other Fox News Channel programs. He is a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum . Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 03:23:00 PM
President Obama recently delivered a special address aimed at quelling small-business owners' concerns about Democratic plans for health care reform.
The legislation, he assured, would "benefit millions of small businesses" and was "being written with the interests of Americans like you and your employees in mind."
That's a nice sentiment. But it's not backed up by the facts. Several new studies show that ObamaCare will dramatically increase health costs for most small businesses.
One study relied on actuarial data from WellPoint, a large health insurer that provided customer data in 14 states where it operates Blue Cross plans. The report concluded that 70% of small businesses would experience higher health insurance premiums if the Democrats' health plan passes.
For the average small employer in New York City, the increase in premiums would be modest just 6%. But in Franklin County, Ohio, a typical small business would be hit with an 86% increase. Similarly sized businesses in Louisville, Ky., and Richmond, Va., would see their premiums go up 20% and 25%, respectively.
These findings align with the results of a different study, produced by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the consulting firm Oliver Wyman. It estimated that the average small business would experience a 19% jump in premiums within the first five years of ObamaCare's passage.
A third study, from America's Health Insurance Plans and PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that the reform bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee would result in a 28% increase in premiums for firms with fewer than 50 workers by 2019.
Simply put, the Democrats' reform plans would raise the cost of insurance for small businesses. A quick look at the various elements of their legislative package shows why.
For starters, the Democrats' proposal would require every insurance policy to cover a minimum set of benefits, even if the customer doesn't want or need them. At the state level, such benefit mandates can increase the cost of a basic insurance plan by 20% to 50%.
Why? Insurers price their products based on how much they might have to pay out in claims. The more treatments an insurer is on the hook for, the more costly it is to cover each customer, and therefore the higher the premium.
The Democrats' package would also institute a federal "guaranteed-issue" law, which would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to customers based on pre-existing conditions.
This reform is well-intentioned. But it ensures that many people will wait until they get sick to buy health insurance. Insurers' risk pools will dry up until only those with chronic health problems remain. Companies will respond by jacking up premiums. Indeed, states that have implemented guaranteed-issue laws have seen premiums jump 227%.
Of course, rising health-insurance prices hurt all employers big and small. But the bigger ones have the luxury of spreading those costs among many workers. They can also use their purchasing clout to negotiate lower rates with carriers.
Small businesses don't have these advantages. That's why, on average, they pay 18% higher premiums than their large counterparts, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
Even without the Democrats' "reforms," small-business health premiums were expected to go up, on average, by 15% over the next year. And to add insult to injury, the House would also impose a 5.4% surtax on individuals with annual incomes of more than $500,000 and families of more than $1 million.
The tax would not be adjusted for inflation, so more and more small-business owners would be ensnared by it each year.
Managers would likely compensate for these new costs by discontinuing health benefits, cutting wages, holding off on new hires or even laying off workers. Can the Democrats' efforts really be called "reform" if they'd leave workers and businesses alike worse off?
The administration has dismissed accounts critical of its health reform plan out of hand. But the facts don't lie. The Democrats' reform package will make health insurance more expensive for small firms. If the president and his congressional allies are serious about defending the interests of small businesses, they need to get a new plan.
Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is "The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 02:35:00 PM
Health Care Reform: Failure to buy health insurance in the just-passed health care bill could get you five years in jail with a $250,000 fine. How can violating a law that's unconstitutional be a felony?
The passage last Saturday night of the House health care measure by a fragile 220-215 margin may well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. In polls, townhall meetings and tea parties, Americans have shown they don't want a "reform" that costs a staggering $1.2 trillion yet fails to meet the left's desire of insuring all the uninsured.
And they certainly don't want a bill that threatens them with incarceration if they don't comply.
This monstrosity would raise insurance premiums and taxes to prohibitive levels and add unconscionably to the national debt.
It will force physicians to leave the medical profession in droves, exacerbating an already perilous doctor shortage. This and so-called cost controls will lead to rationing.
The mechanisms for deciding who gets what, if any, care and even what care will be available are already in place. Some, like a cost-effectiveness board, slipped into the failed stimulus bill.
Under sections 7201 and 7203 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill, Americans who don't maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay a fine/tax of up to 2.5% of income are subject to fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
As Dave Camp, R-Mich., ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, observed, "This is the ultimate example of the Democrats' command-and-control style of governing buy what we tell you or go to jail."
Evading the income tax is punishable by jail time. But the income tax required a constitutional amendment; it was not imposed by judicial fiat.
When asked by CNSNews where in the Constitution Congress is authorized to force Americans to buy insurance or imprison them, Pelosi gave the wide-eyed response, "Are you serious?"
Yes, Madam Speaker, we are. The Supreme Court, in United States vs. Lopez in 1995, has already specifically rejected the idea that Congress can regulate non-economic activities of individuals simply because, through a chain of events, they might have some impact down the road.
The U.S. Senate should give this nonsense a decent burial. Otherwise, that classic film line might take on a whole new meaning: "What are you in for?"
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 02:28:00 PM