Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mitt Romney Is Out of Sync With the Small Government Movement

Mitt Romney isn’t just out of touch; he’s also out of sync with the movement to shrink government. In an interview clarifying his now-infamous speech to donors, captured on clandestine video, Romney said, “I think people would like to be paying taxes.”

Come again? He also said, “The good news is if you are doing well enough financially that you can pay a tax.”

That’s good news?

Romney apparently had low-income people in mind. But if he’d rather see them working than collecting government benefits, the last thing he should want is to reduce the returns to labor — which is what income taxation does. Workers should be free to keep the full fruits of their labor.

I have an idea for the GOP presidential candidate: Test your belief that people like to pay taxes by proposing to end all penalties for nonpayment. Abolish the IRS. Make taxes voluntary. Then we’ll see who would like to pay and who wouldn’t. He says he’s for less government. Okay, Mr. Romney, prove it.

How many people does he suppose would choose to pay for the occupation of Afghanistan, or the drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, or the war on certain drug makers, sellers, and consumers? How many would be willing to pay for all the corporate welfare that riddles our so-called free-enterprise system?

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Soros: Obama, Romney ‘Not Much Difference’

Billionaire financier George Soros thinks that, if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there will be “little difference” between him and Barack Obama in the White House.

Soros offered the reassuring news to liberals across Europe during an interview this week in Davos, Switzerland.

As policymakers from Hong Kong to Canada pressed Greece and its creditors to strike a deal to cut the nation’s debt, Soros pressed in on GOP presidential candidate Romney:

“Well, look, either you’ll have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or Santorum, in which case I think it will make a big difference which of the two comes in,” Soros told Reuters in a videotaped interview.

“If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

CBO raises estimate of those hit by Obama health care tax

Congress‘ official scorekeeper said Wednesday that 30 million people will be uninsured when President Obama’s health care law goes fully into effect, including six million Americans who are expected to pay a tax penalty — about two million more than originally forecast when the law was passed in 2010.

After initially predicting that the law would leave just 21 million lacking health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office has raised its estimate, blaming the slow economy, changes Congress has made to the law and states who said they’ll refuse to expand their Medicaid programs after the Supreme Court said they don’t have to.

The upside for the government is that it will collect more revenue to help pay for the health care law. With two million more Americans expected to pay the penalty, the CBO predicted $3 billion more in collections each year — about $7 billion in 2016, and $8 billion a year thereafter.

But the new projections could also undermine a key goal of President Obama in the new health care law, which aimed to extend coverage to most Americans.

And it gave Republicans an opportunity to recite one of their favorite criticisms of the law — that President Obama is taxing middle-class Americans by penalizing them for failing to buy coverage.

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DHS Enlists Citizen Spies Via New Smartphone App

Homeland Security officials in Delaware are hoping to enlist citizens as spies for the state by encouraging them to use a new app which allows smartphone users to attach pictures of “suspicious” vehicles or persons and send them directly to the federal government.

“The Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC) now offers a mobile app to report suspicious activities in real-time by attaching a photo, sending location information, or entering details about suspicious vehicles or persons. In addition, users can choose to make their report anonymously or can include contact information for follow-up by law enforcement,” reports DailyFinance.com.

The new “Anti-Terrorism Mobile FORCE 1-2 App” is available for both iPhone and Android users and is being touted as a method of leveraging tips provided by citizens to “help protect the State”.

The information received is channeled through the the state Fusion Center (DIAC) and then shared amongst federal, state and local law enforcement.

The federal government has moved to aggressively protect federal Fusion Centers, which are littered across the country, from Congressional insight and has shielded their employees from taking responsibility for their actions.

A memorandum of understanding written by the FBI back in 2008 dictated that information collected by Fusion Centers could only be disclosed to Congress as part of an investigation “after consultation with the FBI.”

The memorandum also, “Exempts even reports and statistics that could show overzealous surveillance and other possible misbehavior by Fusion Center staff,” writes Declan McCullagh.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Demanding justice from Libya, Egypt and Pakistan

By now my colleagues in the Senate are familiar with the tragic story of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi. Since Dr. Afridi was taken into custody by Pakistani officials in May 2012, I have been fighting for his release. I have also been working for a vote on a bill that would cut foreign aid to Pakistan until they free this ally of America.

In the weeks leading up to that attack on the compound by SEAL Team 6, there was a doctor in Pakistan who helped us determine Osama bin Laden’s exact location. Dr. Afridi risked his own life to provide the American military with intelligence that confirmed the particular location of the bin Laden compound. The information provided by Dr. Afridi directly led to bin Laden’s death.

Dr. Afridi remains under arrest and has been subject to torture. If Pakistan wants to be our ally — and receive foreign aid — then they should act like it, and they must start by releasing Dr. Afridi.

As I was fighting this battle, tragedy struck again in the Middle East with the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, at the U.S. consulate, and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Egypt. I, like many Americans, was outraged. I believe that the perpetrators of these senseless acts of violence must be brought to justice, but I also believe that Libya and Egypt must be held accountable in the same way.

Therefore, I have proposed a bill to demand that until the Libyan police hand over suspects to U.S. officials, and until the Egyptian government vows to protect our embassy, any U.S. foreign aid will be suspended.

Last week, I requested that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, provide a brief amount of time for debate and a vote on my amendment to end U.S. aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya. Yet, Senate Democrat leadership blocked it. I will continue my effort this week and have announced my intentions to stop all Senate business with a filibuster.

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