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If this is it, it’s a big win for U.S. and Trump

Should the missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops turn out to be the extent of Iran's response, then the operation to kill Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani will turn out to be a major victory for President Trump.

Though the Pentagon has yet to release a full damage assessment, preliminary reports suggest that Iran's action resulted in no U.S. casualties. Iranian officials are now claiming that they have no interest in further escalation if the United States does not retaliate. This could be it.

If this is indeed the case, there is no doubt that the U.S. dealt a far more devastating blow to Iran than it absorbed in return.


Read in Washington Examiner

Read here on The Red Line

Iran, not the U.S., is in a dilemma.

Iran, not the U.S. and the Trump administration, is in a dilemma. Tehran miscalculated that prior U.S. patience and restraint in the face of its aggression was proof of an unwillingness or inability to respond.

To retain domestic and foreign credibility, Iran would now like to escalate in hopes of creating some sort of U.S. quagmire, to lure us into situations that have no strategic endgame, do not play to U.S. strengths in firepower, are costly without a time limit, and create Vietnam War–like tensions at home.

But those wished-for landscapes are not what Iran has got itself into. Trump, after showing patience and restraint to prior Iranian escalations, can respond to Iranian tit-for-tat without getting near Iran.


Read in National Review

Read here on The Red Line

Our Real Existential Crisis — Extinction


The Death of the West is not a prediction of what is going to happen. It is a depiction of what is happening now. First World nations are dying.

If Western elites were asked to name the greatest crisis facing mankind, climate change would win in a walk.

For many First World countries, there are more compelling concerns. High among them is population decline, and, if birth rates do not rise, the near-extinction of many Western peoples by this century’s end.

Consider. The number of births in Japan fell in 2019 to a level unseen since 1874, around 900,000. But there were 1.4 million deaths for a net loss of 512,000 Japanese. An even larger loss in Japan’s population is expected this year.


Read on Pat Buchanan Blog Site

Read in The Red Line

State Hospital Tax & Recession

“I viewed the hospital tax as more of a gimmick than a systemic change,” says Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford. Candelora and many of his fellow Republican lawmakers favor significant reductions in state employee benefits. “I think that’s always been the elephant in the room,” Candelora said. “Democrats and the unions are there at all costs to protect each other. We have to start making tougher decisions.”

[Excerpts from full article]

For good or ill, state officials relied on aggressive increases in hospital taxes to keep Connecticut’s finances in balance during an extremely sluggish recovery from the last recession. Between 2013 and this year, hospitals pumped more than $1 billion into the state’s coffers. If another recession arrives in the new year or soon thereafter, Connecticut won’t have the hospitals to bail them out.

Lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the hospital levy in 2011 as a tax in name only. The industry paid $350 million to the state, which responded by redistributing all of those funds, plus another $50 million, back to hospitals. Connecticut didn’t lose out because these supplemental payments helped the state to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars annually in federal Medicaid reimbursements.

But as Connecticut’s recovery from the last recession plodded along far slower than officials anticipated, Malloy and lawmakers gradually increased the tax, scaled back the supplemental payments.  Hospitals, who paid a total of nearly $2 billion more than they received between 2013 and 2019 collectively, sued four years ago on grounds that this system abused the process allowed under Medicaid.

Under this [recent] settlement [of the suit], the state pledges to keep hospital taxes flat through 2026 — even though history suggests Connecticut and the nation are overdue for another economic downturn.

“Most people accepted this settlement was the right thing to do because of the fear of the possible outcome — that a court could say you have to refund all of this money,” said Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, co-chair of the tax-writing Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. “But the discipline part, cleaning up our finances, I don’t know if people are realizing we’re going to have to bite the bullet,” he added.

“If we can’t get any more revenue somewhere else, then we have to cut,” State Rep Toni Walker (D-New Haven) said, “and this is going to become a war.”

“I viewed the hospital tax as more of a gimmick than a systemic change,” said Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford, a veteran of the finance committee and another advocate of the lawsuit settlement.

The “systemic change” Candelora and many of his fellow Republican lawmakers favor involve significant reductions in state employee benefits.

“I think that’s always been the elephant in the room,” Candelora said. “Democrats and the unions are there at all costs to protect each other. We have to start making tougher decisions.”


Read full article in The CT Mirror

Russia’s New Hypersonic Nuclear Missile

[Russia's new hypersonic missile technology has enormous strategic and national defense implications. The article below is the AP's report from Moscow. There are links below to New York Times and Bloomberg News articles as well.]

President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons.

Speaking at a meeting with top military brass, Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States.


Read in The San Diego Union-Tribune


Read here on The Red Line


Read The New York Times article


Read Bloomberg article

Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan for This, and a Tax for That

She’s the candidate with a plan and a tax for everything: That’s Elizabeth Warren’s brand. Despite a recent swoon, she's still a top tier candidate. So, her ideas show where the American left wants to go. Consider just five of her myriad proposed new taxes, then read the full WSJ column to see the massive scale of socialism she intends to fund with these taxes.

  • New Social Security tax: For those earning over $250,000, a new 14.8% tax on wages over $250,000 and on net investment income.
  • Higher capital gains taxes: Tax both realized and unrealized investment gains of the wealthiest 1% at the ordinary income tax rate of about 40%.
  • Wealth tax: Tax net worth over $50 million at 2% a year; at 6% above $1 billion.
  • Global corporate tax: Raise the top business rate to 35%. Overseas, if foreign tax rates are lower, applied to bring combined tax to 35%.
  • Corporate surtax: Tax profit over $100 million at a new 7% rate, atop the regular corporate rate.


Read in The Wall Street Journal

Keeping the Lights On

During this time of the year our neighborhood is aglow for the holidays. My next-door neighbors were famous for illuminating every one of their shrubs and trees for Christmas with several alighted deer figures adorning their front lawn. This year their lights are out, and all is dark. Like many of my other neighbors, they made the hard decision to pull up stakes and take their family to a less expensive state to live and do business. They left behind family, schools, friends and a thriving business.


Read on Connecticut Insights


Read on The Red Line

Big advantage of trucks-only tolls: They will fool most people

With elected officials, the best taxes are those that most people can't see or understand and that can't easily be evaded even by the people who can see and understand them. That's one reason Governor Lamont last week settled on a proposal to impose highway tolls exclusively on trucks. The other reason is that once the toll gantries are in place, they can toll all traffic if trucks-only tolling is found unconstitutional or against federal law.

Read in Journal Inquirer

Read in The Red Line

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