Pentagon - The Pentagon unveiled a 2013 budget plan that would cut $487 billion in spending over the next decade by eliminating nearly 100,000 ground troops.
Entitlements - Dependence on entitlement programs continues to soar under President Obama. The number of food stamp recipients is up 45 percent since he took office, while the number of people receiving a government benefit of any kind is up 44 percent.
Europe - Fitch Ratings downgraded the debt of Italy, Spain and three other countries that use the euro this past week, a possible setback as European leaders work to contain the continent’s debt crisis.
Elizabeth Warren - Warren says she is not part of the 1%. “I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I’m not one of them, but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios" she proclaimed. Hard to see how Warren wouldn't be, by most standards, wealthy, according to the Personal Finance Disclosure form she filed to run for Senate shows that she's worth as much as $14.5 million. She earned more than $429,000 from Harvard last year alone for a total of about $700,000, and lives in a house worth $5 million.
Occupy Movement – More trouble in Oakland as nearly 200 protestors were arrested this past week. Part of their activity included burning the American Flag. And what’s worse, a 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his adoptive parents after reportedly arguing with them over how much time he was spending at an Occupy protest camp. Robert Kamin, 55, and Susan Poff, 50, were found strangled under blankets in a car outside their home in Oakland, California. In other news, the World Social Forum wrapped up a five-day meeting in Brazil, urging citizens to "take to the streets on June 5" for the global action, which would be in support of social and environmental justice.
Fast and Furious – New documents reveal that Holder was indeed aware of the operation the day Agent Terry was killed.
Quotes – Bill Maher over the Obama / Brewer exchange: “This kind of thing happens when we allow Negroes to Read”. Obama on GOP: “We weren’t sent her to wage perpetual campaigns”.
ObamaCare - The Department of Health and Human Services has issued an edict that, under ObamaCare, effectively all employers will be FORCED to offer health insurance that covers subsidized contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
Freddie Mac - A recent investigation (NPR) into trades made by the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant shows that while Freddie with one hand is helping consumers get mortgages, it is, with its other, making those mortgages harder to refinance.
Biden – Not surprising, but Biden advised against the Bin Laden raid.
CBO - The Congressional Budget Office this past week predicted the budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012. The CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013. Also, the Congressional Budget Office found that federal workers are compensated 16 percent more than comparable private-sector workers on average.
Arizona Union Bill – According to the Arizona Republic there is a new union bill that would make it illegal for government bodies to collectively bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would be included in the ban. It would also end the practice of automatic payroll deductions for union dues and ban compensation of public employees for union work.
Insider trading - By a 93-2 vote, the Senate passed legislation this past week that “would require disclosure of new stock transactions on the Internet within 30 days and explicitly prohibit members of Congress from initiating trades based on non-public information they acquired in their official capacity,” the AP reports.
Unions - Private-sector unionization continues to decline. Only 6.9 percent of workers in the private sector are union members.
Marijuana – According to Reuters efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are gaining momentum in Washington State and Colorado, despite fierce opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural battle over America's most commonly used illicit drug.
Iran – According to ABC Five men arrested in November in connection with a plot to blow up the only bridge connecting the island of Bahrain with Saudi Arabia and to assassinate Bahraini politicians are allegedly tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and reportedly received military training in Syria, according to information leaked to the media by authorities.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)