January 26th, 2011
Wow! Another surprise!....Governor cuts through red tape in Hawaii as "Governor" and finds no birth records in Hawaii...uh-oh...and this was Obama's buddy
January 26th, 2011
CAIRO (Reuters) – Police fought with thousands of Egyptians who defied a government ban on Wednesday to protest against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old rule, firing rubber bullets and tear gas and dragging away demonstrators.
In central Cairo, demonstrators burned tires and hurled stones at police. In Suez, protesters torched a government building as protests intensified in other parts of the country.
Two people died in Cairo as protests unfolded but security officials contradicted each other on the circumstances. One told reporters a protester and a policeman were killed in clashes. But another official later said they died in a traffic accident.
The scenes, rare in a tightly run nation with a fragmented opposition movement, follow the overthrow two weeks ago of another long-serving Arab strongman, Tunisian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in a popular revolt.
Emboldened by the Tunisian uprising and frustrated by corruption, poverty and repression, protesters in Egypt have demanded that the 82-year-old Mubarak step down.
"The people want the regime to fall," they chanted. On Tuesday, the first day of rallies known as the "Day of Wrath" among activists, three protesters and a policeman were killed.
Security forces have arrested about 500 demonstrators over the two days, an Interior Ministry source said. Witnesses said officers, some in civilian clothes, hauled away people and bundled them into unmarked vans. They beat some with batons.
The coordinated protests were unlike anything witnessed in Egypt -- one of the United States' closest Middle East allies -- since Mubarak, a former air force commander, came to power in 1981 after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamists.
Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid canceled a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. He gave no reason.
Police fired shots into the air near the central Cairo court complex, witnesses said. In another area, they drove riot trucks into a crowd of about 3,000 people to force them to disperse.
One anonymous protester in Cairo told Reuters: "The main tactic now is we turn up suddenly and quickly without a warning or an announcement. That way we gain ground."
Prominent reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei, who lives in Vienna, has decided to return to Egypt on Thursday, his brother said. Baradei, formerly head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog authority, is a vocal advocate of political change. But the exact purpose of his trip was not clear.
TWITTER AND PROTESTS
Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been a key means of communications for the protesters. Egyptians complained Facebook and Twitter were subsequently blocked, but many accessed them via proxies. The government denied any role.
Showing their determination to continue, a new Facebook group was created calling for a weekend protest on Friday. It secured 18,000 supporters within hours. A Facebook spokesman in London said it had not seen any major changes in traffic from Egypt. Twitter confirmed its site was blocked on Tuesday.
The United States said Egypt, the most populous Arab state, was still a "close and important ally." But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also urged the government to allow peaceful protests and not to block the social networking sites.
"We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," she said.
Analysts said the United States probably wants to avoid adding to political uncertainty by abandoning Mubarak. Egypt's peaceful if chilly relationship with Israel is, for Washington, a bulwark of stability in the unsettled region.
Elections are due to be held in September but few had doubted that Mubarak would remain in control or bring in a successor in the shape of his 47-year-old son Gamal.
"Mubarak never experienced this level of public anger and such a rejection of his legitimacy in 30 years of power," said analyst Issandr El Amrani. "This looks quite bad for him."
Father and son both deny that Gamal is being groomed for the job but the Egyptian street does not believe them.
"Gamal, tell your father that Egyptians hate you," protesters yelled in Cairo on Wednesday.
Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered early on Wednesday outside the morgue in Suez, at the southeastern end of the canal which links the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. They demanded the release of the body of a protester killed there on Tuesday.
"The government has killed my son," the Suez protesters chanted outside the morgue. "Oh Habib, tell your master, your hands are soiled with our blood," they said, referring to Interior Minister Habib al-Adli.
Hundreds also gathered outside Cairo's journalists' union. Police beat some with batons when they tried to break a cordon and protesters on buildings threw stones at police below.
Demands posted on Facebook included the resignation of Mubarak and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the dissolution of parliament and formation of a national unity government.
The prime minister said the government was committed to allowing freedom of expression by legitimate means and said police in Tuesday's demonstrations had acted with restraint.
Egypt's population of 80 million is growing by 2 percent a year. About 60 percent of the population -- and 90 percent of the unemployed -- are under 30 years old. About 40 percent live on less than $2 a day, and a third are illiterate.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, said reform was needed to address Arab citizens' demands for better lives.
"The Arab citizen is angry and we feel broken as citizens. Reform is the name of the game, and reform has to happen now all over the Arab world," Moussa told Reuters in Davos.
Investors fretted over the instability. Egypt's stock market, shut on Tuesday for a holiday, fell 6 percent on Wednesday, the Egyptian pound hit a six-year low against the U.S. dollar and the cost of insuring Egyptian debt against default rose.
(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed, Marwa Awad, Sarah Mikhail, Tom Pfeiffer and Patrick Werr; Writing by Angus MacSwan, Edmund Blair and Maria Golovnina; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
Tops On Yahoo
January 26th, 2011
Surprise!!! (Not really) as we have said time and time again...
January 26th, 2011
By Barry Secrest
As a number of bemused Americans await the highly touted "Bipartisan Congressional Kumbaya Chorus," which was earnestly suggested by certain Liberal Legislators regarding the seating arrangement for the State of the Union address, still more Citizens stand confused. The confusion emanates from a new set of Democratic talking points which comically suggests that the new Healthcare law will actually end up reducing the deficit. While we have heard a number of Conservative pundits constructing grandiose analogies in order to try to explain why this simply isn't possible, our conclusion to all of this would simply be for them to stop wasting their green energy.
In fact, the premise of a huge new Government Healthcare program which both the President and the Democrats say will result in a reduction in spending and thereby lower the deficit is so ridiculous on its own merits that to try to simplify it down any further becomes an exercise in talking down to the entire Nation. "Shoot! We might even profit from it"--is essentially what the Lefties are telling us. But this is apparently how stupid both the Liberals and the Media thinks that most Americans are--barring the usual suspects who routinely believe this sort of drivel.
However, the madness does not end there, but rather it becomes a sort of starting point. We have somehow moved from a radical left-wing nut's murderous rampage into Sarah Palin's, somehow, being culpable (??), to a media-wide relanguaging effort aimed at anything having to do with...aiming, to Healthcare miraculously being an exciting to way to lower costs. Perhaps all of this is the run-out of a bold and yet new Democratic slogan:
To Seem Rather Than To Be
Even as December drew to a close, the newly Republican-controlled Congress prepared to take over the reins of US legislative Government to the stark relief of millions the world over. Speaker Boehner, in a move that drew cries of "foul" from many Liberals, shortly thereafter declared that the entire House would take turns in a televised reading of the US Constitution before Congress. The fact that this had never been done before, in over 220 years of congressional history, was the hue and cry that went up from the Progressives, and many of the moderate Democrats, as a firestorm of media attention ensued. And therein, Ladies and Gentlemen, lies the artful beauty of the thing....(continue reading)
January 26th, 2011
Paul Ryan delivered a heck of a rebuttal tonight, especially if you wanted to make one of those "Sarah Palin breathing" videos. But as far as the facts -- on taxes, stimulus, and health care reform -- go, a lot of Ryan's rebuttal came rebutted-back in advance of its delivery.
Ryan: Not Exactly A Budget-Busting Genius
Ryan's budget plan doesn't balance the budget:
The CBO score that people are relying on to reach that conclusion doesn't actually estimate how much revenue Ryan would raise, instead it just takes Ryan's word for it that his ideas would raise 19 percent of GDP. That's because the CBO doesn't score tax issues, that's done by the Joint Committee on Taxation. But if you look at what Ryan's ideas would actually do, the truth is rather different.
Ryan's Neat Trick On Taxation
As often as Ryan despairs over the high burden taxpayers face, it often goes unsaid that Ryan's own tax plan is an idiot exacta: It slashes government revenues while simultaneously raising taxes on 90 percent of taxpayers.
Ryan and the "Failed Stimulus"
Ryan has declared the 2009 stimulus package to be a failure. This does not appear to comport to factual reality.
That's from the New York Times's David Leonhardt, who adds:
Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody's Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.
The Affordable Care Act: Getting It Right
Rep. Paul Ryan, in tonight's rebuttal:
What we already know about the President's health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees. Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree - and we think his health care law would be a great place to start. Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage.
As Janet Adamy of the Wall Street Journal reports:
The actual impacts of the bill are more complicated. Overall, the report that the president cited found that, for most Americans, the Senate bill would keep their insurance premiums roughly the same. Employees of small firms would effectively see their insurance premiums unchanged, while workers at large firms would see something between unchanged and slightly lower premiums under the bill, according to the analysis, which was released in late November.
More than half of people buying their own coverage would qualify for the new insurance tax credits, available to families of four earning up to $88,000 a year. Those credits would significantly lower their health-insurance costs, leaving them paying 56% to 59% less than if no bill were passed.
The wrinkle in whether this would actually increase premiums is that consumers buying policies on their own with a new insurance exchange would be required to buy plans that, on average, are more generous than the ones they currently have. Because of that, they would pay higher premiums, the report found.
So overall, the bills would mean that more consumers would pay less for their insurance.
As to the matter of losing coverage, the answer is no. Per Politifact:
As for "hundreds of millions of people" losing their coverage, there is little evidence to support this. Republicans have been making the claim based on a study by the Lewin Group, which stated that 123 million people would choose a public option for health insurance if it were cheaper than their current coverage. (The Lewin Group is respected by many health care analysts and operates with editorial independence, but it is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, whose primary business is private health insurance.)
Health care reform will spur job growth. Per the Center for American Progress:
Dealing with persistent unemployment is one of the top priorities of President Barack Obama and the leaders of Congress. One important way to create jobs is to slow the growth of medical spending. If health care cost increases slow down, then businesses will find it more profitable to expand employment, and workers will more readily move into those new jobs. ... In the analysis that follows, we combine these two studies to show that health care reform could increase the number of jobs in the United States by about 250,000 to 400,000 per year over the coming decade.
And repealing health care? Well, that would make the deficit boom. Per the CBO:
As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012-2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion (on the basis of the original estimate), plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes.
And thanks to the CBO, we can see the stark human impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act in one graph:
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