Intelligence Boss: If Budget Cut, al-Qaeda Will Get Us

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
October 2, 2013

Shut down and sequestration grandstanding was at an all-time high as the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, went before the Senate on Wednesday.

Clapper said a double whammy of a government shut down and sequestration budget cuts “seriously damages” the ability of government to protect its citizens.

“This is not just a Beltway issue. This affects our global capability to support the military, to support diplomacy, to support our policymakers,” Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee as it held court on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a repeatedly amended 1978 law providing a paper excuse for the government to surveil the American people. “The danger here, of course, [is] that this will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious, so each day that goes by the jeopardy increases.”

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US Air Force Combat Aircraft No Longer Grounded

Commentary by:  Gordon King

So the Federal government grounded the air force due to budget cuts.  That says a lot about our homeland security.

I find this fascinating due to the fact that the government can spend untold amounts of money on billions of rounds of hollow point ammunition, militarizing the Department of Homeland Security, building hundreds of FEMA camps around the country, and purchase hundreds of thousands of coffins, yet, it has to cut back on the military defense of our country!

It seems as though the government does not have it’s priorities straight and/or the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, or possibly has other motives.  This is our government hard at work….but for who?

Is this what they call “Operational Readiness”, to serve and protect?

By BROCK VERGAKIS – Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va.—Grounded since April because of budget cuts, many of the Air Force’s combat aircraft started flying again Monday, the military has announced.The grounding affected about one-third of active-duty combat craft, including squadrons of fighters, bombers, and airborne warning and control craft.

Officials at Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia said the order affects planes in the U.S., Europe and the Pacific. The popular Thunderbirds demonstration team comprised of F-16s also will start flying again.

“Since April we’ve been in a precipitous decline with regard to combat readiness,” Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, said in a statement. “Returning to flying is an important first step but what we have ahead of us is a measured climb to recovery.”

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Medicare increase could ding some in middle class

Retired city worker Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON —Retired city worker Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru.

Pugach doesn’t see herself as upper-income by any stretch, but President Barack Obama’s budget would raise her Medicare premiums and those of other comfortably retired seniors, adding to a surcharge that already costs some 2 million beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a year each.

Due to the creeping effects of inflation, 20 million Medicare beneficiaries also would end up paying higher “income related” premiums for their outpatient and prescription coverage over time.

Obama administration officials say Obama’s proposal will help improve the financial stability of Medicare by reducing taxpayer subsidies for retirees who can afford to pay a bigger share of costs. Congressional Republicans agree with the president on this one, making it highly likely the idea will become law if there’s a budget deal this year.

But the way Pugach sees it, she’s being penalized for prudence, dinged for saving diligently.

It was the government, she says, that pushed her into a higher income bracket where she’d have to pay additional Medicare premiums.

IRS rules require people age 70-and-a-half and older to make regular minimum withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement nest eggs like 401(k)s. That was enough to nudge her over Medicare’s line.

“We were good soldiers when we were young,” said Pugach, who worked as a computer systems analyst. “I was afraid of not having money for retirement and I put in as much as I could. The consequence is now I have to pay about $500 a year more in Medicare premiums.”

Currently only about 1 in 20 Medicare beneficiaries pays the higher income-based premiums, which start at incomes over $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples. As a reference point, the median or midpoint U.S. household income is about $53,000.

Obama’s budget would change Medicare’s upper-income premiums in several ways. First, it would raise the monthly amounts for those currently paying.

If the proposal already were law, Pugach would be paying about $168 a month for outpatient coverage under Medicare’s Part B, instead of $146.90.

Then, the plan would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue from the top tiers of retirees.

But its biggest impact would come through inflation.

The administration is proposing to extend a freeze on the income brackets at which seniors are liable for the higher premiums until 1 in 4 retirees has to pay. It wouldn’t be the top 5 percent anymore, but the top 25 percent.

“Over time, the higher premiums will affect people who by today’s standards are considered middle-income,” explained Tricia Neuman, vice president for Medicare policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “At some point, it raises questions about whether (Medicare) premiums will continue to be affordable.”

Required withdrawals from retirement accounts would be the trigger for some of these retirees. For others it could be taking a part-time job.

One consequence could be political problems for Medicare. A growing group of beneficiaries might come together around a shared a sense of grievance.

“That’s part of the problem with the premiums – they simply act like a higher tax based on income,” said David Certner, federal policy director for AARP, the seniors lobby.

“Means testing” of Medicare benefits was introduced in 2007 under President George W. Bush in the form of higher outpatient premiums for the top-earning retirees. Obama’s health care law expanded the policy and also added a surcharge for prescription coverage.

The latest proposal ramps up the reach of means testing and sets up a political confrontation between AARP and liberal groups on one side and fiscal conservatives on the other. The liberals long have argued that support for Medicare will be undermined if the program starts charging more for the well-to-do. Not only are higher-income people more likely to be politically active, but they also tend to be in better health.

Fiscal conservatives say it makes no sense for government to provide the same generous subsidies to people who can afford to pay at least some of the cost themselves. As a rule, taxpayers pay for 75 percent of Medicare’s outpatient and prescription benefits. Even millionaires would still get a 10 percent subsidy on their premiums under Obama’s plan. Technically, both programs are voluntary.

“The government has to understand the difference between universal opportunity and universal subsidy,” said David Walker, the former head of the congressional Government Accountability Office. “This is a very modest step toward changing the government subsidy associated with Medicare’s two voluntary programs.”

It still doesn’t sit well with Pugach. She says she’s been postponing remodeling work on her 58-year-old house because she’s concerned about the cost. Having a convenient utility room so she doesn’t have to go out to the garage to do laundry would help with her back problems.

“They think all old people are living the life of Riley,” she said.

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Liberals fuming over Social Security cuts in Obama’s budget proposal

Barack Obama, pictured here on February 15, 2013, will become the first serving US president to receive Israel's presidential medal (AFP)

President Barack Obama will make key concessions to Republican foes next week when he unveils his US budget that proposes cuts to cherished entitlement programs, the White House said Friday.

Obama’s fiscal blueprint slashes the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, in what a senior administration official described as a “compromise offer” that cuts federal spending, finds savings in Social Security and raises tax revenue from the wealthy.

Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner are opposed to new tax hikes, after the president secured $600 billion in increased tax revenue in a year-end deal.

Boehner’s party controls the House of Representatives, and passage of the president’s budget is unlikely if it contains new tax revenue provisions.

But Obama’s concession to conservatives in the form of reduced cost-of-living payouts for Social Security benefits could revive consideration of a deficit-reducing “grand bargain” that has proved elusive in recent years.

Such cuts to public pension programs and public health insurance for the elderly — seen as sacred cows for Obama’s Democrats — have been longstanding demands of Republicans.

“While this is not the president’s ideal deficit reduction plan, and there are particular proposals in this plan like the CPI (consumer price index) change that were key Republican requests and not the president’s preferred approach, this is a compromise proposal built on common ground,” the official said.

Obama is willing to “do tough things to reduce the deficit,” but only in the context of a package that includes new revenues from the wealthy, the official added.

Liberals immediately fumed that Obama appeared to be caving in to Republicans, with the group Democracy for America worried about the “profoundly disturbing” proposal for Social Security cuts.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, warned the move would slash $120 billion from Social Security benefits over 10 years, and pledged to “do everything in my power to block” Obama’s so-called “chained CPI” proposal.

Even moderate Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told MSNBC television that he has “serious concerns” about its impact on seniors.

The White House insisted that the Social Security cut was part of a recognition of the need to make some painful changes in federal programs in order to reduce spending.

“This isn’t about political horse trading; it’s about reducing the deficit in a balanced way that economists say is best for the economy and job creation,” the administration official said.

Obama’s new revenues will draw in part from capping retirement savings plans for millionaires, and closing some loopholes that benefit the rich.

The annual budget deficit is projected at 5.5 percent of gross domestic product for the fiscal year ending in September. Under the Obama budget, that would decline to 1.7 percent of GDP by 2023.

Combined with the $2.5 trillion in savings already achieved since negotiations in 2010, the Obama budget would bring total deficit reduction to $4.3 trillion over 10 years, slightly higher than the overall goal agreed to by both parties for stabilizing the national debt.

But Boehner warned that Obama had “moved in the wrong direction” by making skimpier entitlement cuts than he had offered in negotiations with Republicans last year.

And “if the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward,” Boehner said.

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Breakdown of Law and Order: “We Can’t Depend On the Police Department”

Budget cuts across the country have stripped local police departments of personnel at an alarming rate. So much so that Americans from coast-to-coast are now being forced to fend for themselves.

SOURCE

Our latest example comes from East Oakland’s Arcadia Park, where law and order have broken down to such an extent that residents have been been left with no other choice but to band together to police their own streets.

According to one member of this neighborhood watch on steroids, it’s turning into the Wild West.

With criminals running rampant, when seconds count, police are often minutes away:

KPIX 5 cameras caught up with a half dozen neighbors in East Oakland’s Arcadia Park neighborhood Monday as they walked the streets on the lookout for crime. The vigilance has never seemed more necessary than now; 25 homes in the neighborhood have been burglarized over the last two months alone.

In a neighborhood that has started to feel like the wild west, people have even started posting “wanted” signs.

You have to walk around in your house with a gun to feel safe here,” said Alaska Tarvins of the Arcadia Park Board of Directors.

The people who live in the area are nothing if not gutsy, but they need help. A plan to gate their community has been stalled. With the police force stretched painfully thin, they may be forced to follow other Oakland neighborhoods and hire private guards.

We don’t have a choice. Either die or we hire some security ourselves, because we can’t depend on the police department,” said Tarvins.

Source: KCBS San Francisco

But Oakland is not alone.

With cities, towns and their respective state governments having overspent billions of dollars over the last decade, many are so broke they have no choice but to lay off emergency services employeesthat include cops and medical first responders.

It’s gotten so bad in some parts of the country, that there are areas of major cities where police refuse to go.

The city of Chicago, in an effort to save money and deploy officers to more critical areas, has literally stopped taking 9-1-1 calls for crime reports such as armed robberies, car thefts, and burglaries.

With anti-gun politicians at all levels of government now attempting to disarm Americans and restrict their access to personal defense weapons, and police departments running so thin that they can no longer respond in any reasonable amount of time, criminals will only be more empowered to target law abiding Americans who are left with no means to defend themselves.

The economic malaise that includes millions of unemployed will only further add to the problem, as those with nothing left to lose will do whatever it takes to put food on the table.

We are witnessing the slow but steady degradation of law and order in this country, and it’ll soon be coming to a neighborhood near you.

The end result will be a citizenry so terrified that they will call for military intervention to help police our streets. In fact, in Illinois state representatives have already called on the governor to deploy the National Guard and residents in Detroit have followed suit.

We have yet to experience a full scale fiscal crisis on the state and local level, but it’s coming. When it does, you can fully expect nationwide crime waves to spread like wildfire.

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