Friday, December 28, 2012

The Hungarian Derierre, Desired All Over The World.

Umgarishen Frauen Haben Die Am Besten Arse Um Die Welt.

Dr. Constantino Mendieta (Dr C) is the biggest advocate for butt augmentation in the world.

Unsurprisingly, his practice is in Miami and overrun with sexy nurses with surgically sculpted butts.

 Butt-hungry patients fly in from all over the globe to have his steady hand in their behind, and with good reason – he literally wrote the book on butts.

 It's called The Art of Gluteal Sculpting. In this article he wants to set the record straight.

All of the women pictured in this article are Hungarian, except for Serena Williams.
(Along the Danube on a warm sunny day, in the merry merry month of May)

None of them have had surgical augmentation. What you see is natural. It is just what God gave them.

Make over herself to be an artist? 
What Dr C does is three-dimensional sculpting. It's not just moving around fat – anyone can do that.

 His prices start at around $14,000, but you may find some plastic surgeons who will charge $4,000 for butt augmentation.
(A working lunch in Budapest calls for a stroll to a nearby cafe for quick service.)
The price tag is the difference between going to a hack or getting a real Picasso.

The problem is that some women see the butts of other people who've already had an underground procedure. Initially underground butt injections with stuff like silicone can look fantastic – the problem often occurs several years later. The silicone can, for example, eat away at the flesh. It's mind boggling to me with the advent of the internet how many people think it is safe to undergo those shady procedures.

The bottom line is that there are four different butt shapes that exist, no matter what part of the world or the country you are in. It has to do with measuring two points – the upper-outer part of the upper butt and the lower-outer part of the lower butt. When you measure those points you start to get the A, the V, the Square and the round shapes. (SEE last picture in this article to view the 4 basic shapes.)

Serena Williams, tennis champion.
There are four famous women that most women want to look like. Number one would be J. Lo or Kim Kardashian, they are running head to head. And then Serena Williams and Beyoncé. Also, ever since the royal wedding we've been hearing a lot about Kate Middleton's sister, Pippa – she's got the smaller cute butt.

Serena Williams has a pretty massive ass. I would think not many people could achieve that level of butt, even with plastic surgery. 
Mainly the African Americans ask for that one. A lot of the time the women who seek a Serena butt are already full-figured. So it is in line with their body type. Occasionally, however, I can't deliver it because of their anatomy, so they have to come back for a second procedure.

The prettiest shape is the A. The most complained about shape is the square. The least attractive is the V, followed by the round – but it is a far second. The A shape is what we are always trying to get.

The A shape is basically where a woman's waist is smaller than her hips at a ratio of 0.7. Psychologist Devendra Singh did a study where she found that men – young, old, American, Afghan, whatever – desire women who posses that magic ratio.

It's probably an instinctive thing because A-shaped women tend to be more fertile and have a healthier lifestyle.

How wide those hips are is the cultural factor. Latinos tend to like the "Jennifer Lopez", which is a little bit fuller on the bottom with wider hips. Asians tend to like a little bit narrower hip area because they want to look taller and more slender. African Americans want a huge caboose that is big, full and round everywhere. Caucasians run the gamut – some like a wider hip and some like a narrower hip.

I have never met a butt that I can't make better. I only turn them down because they're not good candidates for medical or psychological reasons, or they don't have enough body fat.

People who don't have any body fat limit what I can do. I have to send them to a Bootie Camp. To build more fat on their body that I can then move into the buttocks, I send them to booty camp.

 I tell them they can eat whatever they want – McDonald's, Burger King… Once they've puffed up I can grab that new fat and put it in their butt. Booty camp is the best prescription they are ever going to get.

When the news came out late last year that some retardedely desperate girls in Miami allowed a transsexual Frankenstein man with grotesquely gargantuan ass and titties to inject their butts with cement and Fix-A-Flat tire sealant in hopes of ballooning their asses to J. Lo proportions, we knew this whole bootylicious thing was starting to get out of control. Surprisingly, that case is just one of many instances last year where people hired quacks to augment their asses – a 20-year-old student in Philly even died from underground silicone butt injections last February.

This seedy scene of backyard assplasty belies a broader trend of women going to extreme measures to improve the shape and girth of their behinds.

 The sane way to do this, beyond squats and eating lots of bonbons, is to go to a plastic surgeon.

There are two general methods that real doctors use to augment your bum – implants and fat transfers.

 Implants in the butt generally follow the same concept as implants in the breast, and have been slowly rising in popularity in the US over the last few years.

 However, fat transfers, also known as the Brazilian Butt Lift, are where all the action is. This procedure involves liposuctioning fat from unwanted places, prepping it and pumping it back into select areas of the butt to create a delicious flesh-apple.

It's hard to get specific statistics on fat grafting, however, because most surgery societies tally fat transfers under liposuction.

The bottom line is that there are four different butt shapes that exist, no matter what part of the world or the country you are in.

It all has to do with measuring two points – the upper-outer part of the upper butt and the lower-outer part of the lower butt. When you measure those points you start to get the A, the V, the Square and the round shapes. he prettiest shape is the A.

 The most complained about shape is the square. The least attractive is the V, followed by the round – but it is a far second. The A shape is what we are always trying to get.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People. People Kill People.

IF guns don't kill people, BUT people kill people, THEN what kind of people kill people? What kind of people are ready, willing and able to kill people. People with no love of God in their hearts and no knowledge of God in their head.
The debate that is raging misses the point. All the legislation in the world will not stop cold-hearted people from killing each other. A heart without God is cold.
Our education system and our politicians have failed us. Our children are not taught about God or the sacredness of human life. God is leaving us to our own devices. We were created with the ability to choose, and we have chosen to shut God out of our schools, city halls, and our homes. He has not rejected us; we have abandoned him. Now, we are killing each other. If there were no guns, we would choose the most convenient and available method to kill. We are a blood thirsty people, without God. We have become spiritually and morally bankrupt. We would rather be politically correct than morally correct.

We live in an embarrassing, politically correct culture that exalts and rejoices in the bizarre; aggressively promotes an “anything goes” value system.
We will scratch around the margins of the violent mass killings, looking to government to solve the problem, but we will accomplish nothing. We will be doing little more than rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic. Without God, we can do nothing.

On the morning of December 14th, evil descended in full force on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Our eyes beheld a profound scene of weeping, and grieving families. Our hearts are broken; our words are too feeble to comfort the children who witnessed the bloodshed.   The mothers and fathers who kissed their children and said," See you when school is over", have come too soon, to pick up a lifeless child. The pain is deep, and will ravage their lives forever. It will scar our nation for some time. We thank all who came into this helpless situation to rescue, counsel, and comfort, for they were God's heart, hands and feet in this tragedy.
I am reminded of a similar scene described by the words of the prophet Jeremiah long ago:
 "...a voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
Like the Psalmist, I raise my voice to God and ask, "Why have you abandoned the children and teachers?" Yet a small voice in the midst of my anguish, reminds me that God was weeping, and in deep mourning that day as well. With outstretched loving hands, He received the souls from Sandy Hook Elementary school. He is wrapping Himself around the grieving families, and will remain so as long as they hunger for comfort.
There’s something terribly wrong. Something stinks. Something is rotten in America.
Something is causing young loners to pick up guns and slaughter people.
Cops, psychologists, sociologists, politicians and various other talking heads will jabber incessantly about why they think a young man snapped and killed a bunch of bubbly young children who were looking forward to Santa Claus.
They will offer their opinions on what they think can be done to stop future psychotics from committing mass murder. They all will be guessing.
Some blabbermouths already are using the Connecticut school massacre to promote their anti-gun agenda even though more gun laws won’t prevent a psychotic from getting a gun and killing us.
Others will say we need even more security in schools. While this may be true, other mass slaughters have occurred at restaurants, shopping malls, churches and movie theaters. Violence can strike anywhere at any time.
Some will argue we don’t have enough mental health treatment programs, while others will argue that we can’t violate the privacy and civil liberties of the mentally ill.
Others will blame video and computer games and the entertainment industry. They will argue that a constant stream of graphic violence turns some disconnected young men into bug-eyed, raving lunatics who commit mass murders.
They will all be scratching around the margins of the problem, possibly afraid to admit the truth, rather than cutting to the heart of the matter.
The heart of the matter is that our Humpty Dumpty culture has taken a great fall.
Like an iceberg, we only periodically see the psychotic manifestation, the tip of our shattered culture, but what lies just beneath the surface is a gigantic cultural cancer that is rotting America from within.
The ugly and dangerous truth is that we live in an embarrassing, politically correct culture that exalts and rejoices in the bizarre; aggressively promotes an “anything goes” value system; and vilifies, condemns and mocks traditional societal values and customs at every opportunity.
We’ve embraced a culture of contempt that attacks the very institutions that make for a healthy and strong society, and then we’re shocked when it spirals out of control. The only thing I’m shocked about is that anybody is shocked.
More laws and more restrictions won’t fix our culture. The problem we face is much deeper and more insidious. What ails us is a spiritual bankruptcy of cultural values that actually matter. More laws and restrictions can’t cure that.
Until we admit what’s at the heart of the matter, we will continue to put a Band-Aid on gaping wounds and try to convince ourselves we’ve done something meaningful.

As with most things, the cure to this mess begins and ends with the family. Traditional family values have been under siege for decades by our culture of contempt. In the absence of a solid family, the whole thing slowly unravels and rots.
Our greatest fear should be that we’ll scratch around the margins by looking to government to solve the problem  . With the best of intentions, our government will hold commissions, write lengthy reports and pass a new law or two. Like we always do, we’ll then move along, convinced that we’ve done good and pretending we actually accomplished something.
Meanwhile, somewhere in America, another bug-eyed young man is planning the next massacre.

(Nugent, Ted, Connecticut Killings A Result of Moral Decay, Washington Times,19 Dec. 2012, Commentary, p. B1)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ObamaCare Is Dead In The Water

ObamaCare was a poorly conceived and is a constitutionally deficient statute. The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the law has simply made it worse. In the future, that decision is likely to be seen as a prime reason that the federal court judges should just judge and never legislate—even in the cause of rescuing an otherwise unconstitutional law from oblivion.
In the ObamaCare ruling, the Supreme Court correctly held that Congress could not impose the individual mandate as a constitutional regulation of interstate commerce and that Congress could not constitutionally use its spending power to coerce the states to expand Medicaid.
Rather than strike down the law, however, the court construed the insurance-purchase mandate and its penalty as a "tax" on the failure to have health insurance. The justices also interpreted the Medicaid-expansion requirements as optional—permitting states to opt out of these provisions while staying within the traditional Medicaid program. Given that interpretation, the court's majority upheld the statute as constitutional.
The court's determination to preserve ObamaCare through "interpretation" has exacerbated the law's original flaws to the point that it has become palpably unworkable. By transforming the penalties for failing to comply with the law's requirements into a "tax," the court has given the public a green light to ignore ObamaCare's requirements when it is economically beneficial. Law-abiding individuals, who might otherwise have complied with the law's expensive purchase mandate to avoid being subjected to financial penalties, can simply now choose to pay a tax and not sign up for coverage. There is certainly no stigma attached to simply paying a tax, and noncompliance with the law's other requirements—such as those imposed on employers—is arguably made more attractive on the same basis. This effect fundamentally undercuts Congress's original purpose, which was to expand health-care coverage to the greatest number of people, not to improve federal revenues.
Similarly, having reviewed the likely costs and benefits, states are now taking advantage of the court-granted flexibility. Seven states, including Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, have so far opted out of the Medicaid-expansion provisions, and eight (with more certain to come) are refusing to create the insurance exchanges, leaving this to a federal bureaucracy unequipped to handle these new administrative burdens. As a result, a growing number of low-income Americans will be unable to obtain the free or cost-effective insurance that Congress originally meant them to have, although they remain subject to the mandate-tax.
On December 7, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation establishing a state-run health insurance exchange. This was just after he had visited President Obama at the White House to discuss Superstorm Sandy cleanup costs. Governor Christie said he blamed President Obama for failing to provide answers that he needed to make a fiscally sound decision on the best way to comply with the ObamaCare law.
States have until December 14th to decide whether to establish a state-based exchange. They have more time to decide whether to partner with the federal government or to let federal bureaucrats design and run the state exchange. ((Santi, Angela, Christie Vetoes ObamaCare, Washington Times, Dec. 7, 2012)
Policy problems aside, by transforming the mandate into a tax to avoid one set of constitutional problems (Congress having exceeded its constitutionally enumerated powers), the court has created another problem. If the mandate is an indirect tax, as the Supreme Court held, then the Constitution's "Uniformity Clause" (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) requires the tax to "be uniform throughout the United States." The Framers adopted this provision so that a group of dominant states could not shift the federal tax burden to the others. It was yet another constitutional device that was simultaneously designed to protect federalism and safeguard individual liberty.
The Supreme Court has rarely considered the Uniformity Clause's reach, but it cannot be ignored. The court also refused to impose meaningful limits on Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce for decades after the 1930s, until justices began to re-establish the constitutional balance in the 1990s with decisions leading up to the ObamaCare ruling this summer. And although the court has upheld as "uniform" taxes that affect states differently in practice, precedent makes clear that a permissible tax must "operate with the same force and effect in every place where the subject of it is found," as held in the Head Money Cases (1884). The ObamaCare tax arguably does not meet this standard.
ObamaCare provides that low-income taxpayers, who are nevertheless above the federal poverty line, can discharge their mandate-tax obligation by enrolling in the new, expanded Medicaid program, which serves as the functional equivalent of a tax credit. But that program will not now exist in every state because, as a matter of federal law, states can opt out. The actual tax burden will not be geographically uniform as the court's precedents require.
Thus, having transformed the individual mandate into a tax, the court may face renewed challenges to ObamaCare on uniformity grounds. The justices will then confront a tough choice. Having earlier reinterpreted the mandate as a tax, they would be hard-pressed to approve the geographic disparity created when states opt out of the Medicaid expansion. But that possibility is inherent in a scheme that imposes a nominally uniform tax liability accompanied by the practical equivalent of a fully off-setting tax credit available only to those living in certain states. To uphold such a taxing scheme would eliminate any meaningful uniformity requirement—a result that the Constitution does not permit.
(The Opening For a Fresh ObamaCare Challenge, Rivkin, David B. and Casey, Lee A.p; WSJ, Dec. 6, 2012)

How the Supreme Court Doomed the Affordable Care Act to Failure

January 9, 2013
The Supreme Court's surprise ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has left many observers wondering about the implications of the ruling on the law itself, says Thomas A. Lambert, the Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law at the University of Missouri Law School.
  • In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA is constitutional.
  • In writing the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts, argued that the individual mandate is nothing more than a tax.
  • However, the Court struck down the provision that would deny Medicaid funding to states that did not expand their Medicaid roles.
Together, the ruling has a profound impact on the health care market and is likely to raise premiums and the cost of medical care. For example, the cost of paying the tax for not having insurance is not steep enough to encourage young, healthy individuals to enter the health care market. These individuals would rather take the risk and pay the penalty because it would be cheaper than acquiring health insurance.
This is problematic considering that the infusion of younger and healthier individuals is necessary to spread risk in the market and lower overall premiums. In addition, the decision also limits Congress's ability to increase the penalty.
Proponents of the ACA argue that the subsidies in the bill will entice younger people to purchase insurance. However, the subsidies are too small and out-of-pocket costs for insurance will be much higher than simply paying the tax.
Additionally, the efforts to reduce medical costs are likely to fall short of achieving their goals. The ACA has aimed at doing the following:
  • Increased funding for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.
  • Price controls on Medicare charges.
  • Emphasis on preventative care.
There are other measures as well but none of them attack the root of health care inflation: the lack of competition in providing medical services. If consumers were put in a position to pay more for their health care, there would be more emphasis on finding an affordable insurance plan. As a result, insurance companies and other medical services would compete to lower their prices and attract new customers.
( Thomas A. Lambert, "How the Supreme Court Doomed the ACA to Failure,")

Monday, December 3, 2012

Women In Combat

One out of every three cadets at the Coast Guard Academy is a female.

 Under feminist pressure, the military academies have relaxed their physical requirements.
At the Air Force Academy at the base of the ramp leading to the parade grounds was inscribed the words ’’Bring me men... ’’ taken from the poem, "The Coming American," by Samuel Walter Foss. In a controversial move following the 2003 sexual assault scandal, the words "Bring me men..." were taken down and replaced with the Academy's core values: "Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do". 

Like virtually all other major institutions in America today, the armed forces are operating under the tyrannical fist of political correctness, with truth sacrificed to ideology. Back in October 1992, when the George H.W. Bush administration’s Justice Department went to war with the Virginia Military Institute over VMI’s exclusion of women, the PC veil was lifted for a moment.
Col. Patrick Toffler, head of West Point’s Office of Institutional Research, testified as to whether the U.S. Military Academy had lowered its training standards to accommodate female cadets. After much resistance, Col. Toffler admitted under cross-examination that women were taught self-defense while men were taught boxing and wrestling. Pull-ups, peer ratings, rifle runs and certain obstacle-course elements were scrapped.
The point here is not so much about physical allowances made for women but about the military’s denial of the truth. Smart military men and women learn to pretend or kiss their careers goodbye.

Oblivious to important differences between men and women, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the Department of Defense to lift all combat exemptions for women.
Not putting women into combat deprives them of their constitutional rights, the ACLU is arguing on behalf of four servicewomen in a complaint filed in a federal court in San Francisco.

In the ACLU’s parallel universe, women are just as aggressive, strong, fast and warlike as men. You know, like in the National Football League, where female linebackers strike terror in the hearts of Los Angeles Rams' Fearsome Foursome and the Pittsburg Steelers' Steele Curtain.
Much of the pressure for this march toward barbarism is coming from career feminist military personnel, who argue that lack of combat experience hurts their chances for advancement. In other words, because a few women want to climb the ladder of rank, all women in the military should be put at risk for combat duty, whether they want it or not.
Hundreds of thousands of women have served and do serve honorably in the military and perform crucial jobs. They deserve every American’s gratitude and respect. Some have been killed or wounded while serving bravely in very difficult conditions.
The military has kept women out of direct ground combat for a moral reason: Deliberately putting women in harm’s way is not right; and for practical reasons: Women are not as physically strong, and they have an impact on the men around them. In a civilized society, men are raised to protect women. Now some of America’s elite warrior units train men to be indifferent to women’s screams. That’s what passes for “progress” in a “progressive” military.

It’s not primarily about individual capability but military necessity. Anything that detracts from the military’s mission to win wars and bring troops back alive is not worth it, no matter how fashionable.
In a summary of 30 years of research on women’s suitability for combat and heavy work duty, professor William J. Gregor of the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., concludes, “Few if any women possess the physical capacity to perform in combat or heavy military occupational specialties and none will outperform well-trained men. Training women with men to the same physical occupational standards dramatically increases the skeletal-muscular injury rate among women.”
Even conservative lawmakers seem too terrified to ask such questions as:
What happens to women who are captured? Should we care?
If women achieve equal opportunity (and exposure) on the battlefield, do they have an equal ability to survive?
Why is there an alarming increase in sexual assaults against women in the armed services?
Do people realize that their daughters almost certainly will be subject to any future draft if combat exemptions are lifted?
Is it really no more harmful for servicewomen who are mothers to be separated from their infants than when fathers are sent overseas? Should we care?
(See Robert Knight: Deceitful Debate Over Women In Combat)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

There Will Be Changes To Social Security in 2013

Social Security recipients will get slightly bigger checks in 2013. The Social Security Administration announced several ways the program will be changed in the coming year. Here are a few Social Security changes workers and retirees can expect in 2013:
Bigger monthly payments.
Social Security payments will increase by 1.7 percent in 2013. That's considerably less than the 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) retirees received in 2012. Social Security payments are adjusted each year to reflect inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Previous inflation adjustments have ranged from zero in 2010 and 2011 to 14.3 percent in 1980. The average Social Security check is expected to increase by $21 as a result of the change from $1,240 before the COLA to $1,261 after. Couples will see their benefit payments grow from an average of $2,014 to $2,048.
Payroll tax cut scheduled to expire.
Workers will pay 6.2 percent of their income into the Social Security system in 2013, up from 4.2 percent in 2012. The temporary payroll tax cut expires at the end of December 2012 under current law.
Higher Social Security tax cap.
The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes will be $113,700 in 2013, up from $110,100 in 2012. Approximately 10 million people will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Increased earnings limit.
Retirees who work and collect Social Security benefits at the same time will be able to earn $480 more next year before any portion of their Social Security payment will be withheld. Social Security recipients who are younger than their full retirement age (66 for those born between 1943 and 1954) can earn up to $15,120 in 2013, after which $1 of every $2 earned will be temporarily withheld from their Social Security payments. For retirees who turn 66 in 2013, the limit will be $40,080, after which $1 of every $3 earned will be withheld. Once you turn your full retirement age you can earn any amount without penalty and collect Social Security benefits at the same time. At your full retirement age your monthly payments will also be adjusted to reflect any benefits that were withheld and your continued earnings.
Maximum possible benefit grows.
The maximum possible Social Security benefit for a worker who begins collecting benefits at their full retirement age will be $2,533 in 2013, up from $2,513 per month in 2012.
Paper checks will end.
The U.S. Treasury will stop mailing paper checks to Social Security beneficiaries on March 1, 2013. All federal benefit recipients must then receive their payments via direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or loaded onto a Direct Express Debit MasterCard. Retirees who do not choose an electronic payment option by March 1 will receive their payments loaded onto a pre-paid debit card. Most people already receive their benefit payments electronically, and new Social Security recipients have been required to choose an electronic payment option since 2011.

More than 56 million Social Security recipients will see their monthly payments go up by 1.7 percent next year.
The increase, which starts in January, is tied to a measure of inflation released Tuesday. It shows that inflation has been relatively low over the past year, despite the recent surge in gas prices, resulting in one of the smallest increases in Social Security payments since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.
Social Security payments for retired workers average $1,237 a month, or about $14,800 a year. A 1.7 percent increase will amount to about $21 a month, or $252 a year, on average.
Social Security recipients received a 3.6 percent increase in benefits this year after getting none the previous two years.
About 8 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income will also receive the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, meaning the announcement will affect about 1 in 5 U.S. residents.
Social Security also provides benefits to millions of disabled workers, spouses, widows, widowers and children.
"The annual COLA is critically important to the financial security of the (56) million Americans receiving Social Security benefits today," said Nancy LeaMond, AARP's executive vice president. "Amid rising costs for food, utilities and health care and continued economic uncertainty, the COLA helps millions of older Americans maintain their standard of living, keeping many out of poverty."
The amount of wages subjected to Social Security taxes is going up, too. Social Security is supported by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to $110,100. That threshold will increase to $113,700 next year, resulting in higher taxes for nearly 10 million workers and their employers, according to the Social Security Administration.
Half the tax is paid by workers and the other half is paid by employers. Congress and President Barack Obama reduced the share paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012. The temporary cut, however, is due to expire at the end of the year.
Some of next year's COLA could be wiped out by higher Medicare premiums, which are deducted from Social Security payments. The Medicare Part B premium, which covers doctor visits, is expected to rise by about $7 per month for 2013, according to government projections.
The premium is currently $99.90 a month for most seniors. Medicare is expected to announce the premium for 2013 in the coming weeks.
"If seniors are getting a low COLA, much of their increase will go to pay off their Medicare Part B premium," said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst at The Senior Citizens League.
By law, the increase in benefits is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, a broad measure of consumer prices generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education.
Over the past year, housing costs have gone up 1.4 percent but home energy costs have dropped by 3.8 percent, according to the CPI-W. Medical costs, which tend to hit seniors harder than younger adults, have increased by 4.4 percent.
Gasoline prices have climbed by 6.8 percent, but much of that increase happened in the past month, so it is not fully reflected in the COLA for Social Security.
To calculate the COLA, the Social Security Administration compares the average price index for July, August and September with the price index for the same three months in the previous year. The price index for September — the final piece of the puzzle — was released Tuesday.
If consumer prices increase from year to year, Social Security recipients automatically get higher payments, starting the following January. If prices drop, the payments stay the same, as they did in 2010 and 2011.
Since 1975, the annual COLA has averaged 4.2 percent. Only five times has it been below 2 percent, including the two times it was zero. Before 1975, it took an act of Congress to increase Social Security payments.
Most older Americans rely on Social Security for a majority of their incomes, according to the Social Security Administration. Over the past decade, the COLA has helped increase incomes for seniors, even as incomes have dropped for younger workers.
From 2001 to 2011, the median income for all U.S. households fell by 6.6 percent, when inflation was taken into account, according to census data. But the median income for households headed by someone 65 or older rose by 13 percent.

Is America Now A Paper Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Returning from a rare dispatchless vacation weekend, here's a thought for those of you who might want to contribute to this site and have a love for history.  It's an offer I hope you can’t refuse.  I wrote a book back in the 1990s, The End of Victory Culture, in which I saw, early on, that American triumphalism was on its last legs.  Studs Terkel said of the book: “As powerful as a Joe Louis jab to the solar plexus.”  (I’m proud of that one.) It’s a history of the Cold War with a sideline in the comics, toy soldiers, TV shows, movies, and other cultural detritus of my youth.  In its latest updated edition, it’s also a book for the twenty-first century. As you’ll see, it’s the basis for today’s post as well.  I’ve never offered it to site readers before, but for a donation of $85 (or more), I’ll send you a signed, personalized copy.  Check out the offer at our donation page, where signed copies of books by Peter Van Buren, Noam Chomsky, Nick Turse, and me are also available, and many thanks in advance!
And don’t forget to join our ever-livelier Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @TomDispatch.  Tom]

Overwrought Empire
The Discrediting of U.S. Military Power
By Tom Engelhardt
Americans lived in a “victory culture” for much of the twentieth century.  You could say that we experienced an almost 75-year stretch of triumphalism -- think of it as the real “American Century” -- from World War I to the end of the Cold War, with time off for a destructive stalemate in Korea and a defeat in Vietnam too shocking to absorb or shake off.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, it all seemed so obvious.  Fate had clearly dealt Washington a royal flush.  It was victory with a capital V.  The United States was, after all, the last standing superpower, after centuries of unceasing great power rivalries on the planet.  It had a military beyond compare and no enemy, hardly a “rogue state,” on the horizon.  It was almost unnerving, such clear sailing into a dominant future, but a moment for the ages nonetheless.  Within a decade, pundits in Washington were hailing us as “the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome.”
And here’s the odd thing: in a sense, little has changed since then and yet everything seems different.  Think of it as the American imperial paradox: everywhere there are now “threats” against our well-being which seem to demand action and yet nowhere are there commensurate enemies to go with them.  Everywhere the U.S. military still reigns supreme by almost any measure you might care to apply; and yet -- in case the paradox has escaped you -- nowhere can it achieve its goals, however modest.
At one level, the American situation should simply take your breath away.  Never before in modern history had there been an arms race of only one or a great power confrontation of only one.  And at least in military terms, just as the neoconservatives imagined in those early years of the twenty-first century, the United States remains the “sole superpower” or even “hyperpower” of planet Earth.
The Planet’s Top Gun
And yet the more dominant the U.S. military becomes in its ability to destroy and the more its forces are spread across the globe, the more the defeats and semi-defeats pile up, the more the missteps and mistakes grow, the more the strains show, the more the suicides rise, the more the nation’s treasure disappears down a black hole -- and in response to all of this, the more moves the Pentagon makes.
A great power without a significant enemy?  You might have to go back to the Roman Empire at its height or some Chinese dynasty in full flower to find anything like it.  And yet Osama bin Laden is dead.  Al-Qaeda is reportedly a shadow of its former self.  The great regional threats of the moment, North Korea and Iran, are regimes held together by baling wire and the suffering of their populaces.  The only incipient great power rival on the planet, China, has just launched its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Ukrainian throwaway from the 1990s on whose deck the country has no planes capable of landing.
The U.S. has 1,000 or more bases around the world; other countries, a handful.  The U.S. spends as much on its military as the next 14 powers (mostly allies) combined.  In fact, it’s investing an estimated $1.45 trillion to produce and operate a single future aircraft, the F-35 -- more than any country, the U.S. included, now spends on its national defense annually.
The U.S. military is singular in other ways, too.  It alone has divided the globe -- the complete world -- into six “commands.”  With (lest anything be left out) an added command, Stratcom, for the heavens and another, recently established, for the only space not previously occupied, cyberspace, where we’re already unofficially “at war.”  No other country on the planet thinks of itself in faintly comparable military terms.
When its high command plans for its future “needs,” thanks to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, they repair (don’t say “retreat”) to a military base south of the capital where they argue out their future and war-game various possible crises while striding across a map of the world larger than a basketball court.  What other military would come up with such a method?
The president now has at his command not one, but two private armies.  The first is the CIA, which in recent years has been heavily militarized, is overseen by a former four-star general (who calls the job “living the dream”), and is running its own private assassination campaigns and drone air wars throughout the Greater Middle East.  The second is an expanding elite, the Joint Special Operations Command, cocooned inside the U.S. military, members of whom are now deployed to hot spots around the globe.
The U.S. Navy, with its 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carrier task forces, is dominant on the global waves in a way that only the British Navy might once have been; and the U.S. Air Force controls the global skies in much of the world in a totally uncontested fashion.  (Despite numerous wars and conflicts, the last American plane possibly downed in aerial combat was in the first Gulf War in 1991.)  Across much of the global south, there is no sovereign space Washington’s drones can’t penetrate to kill those judged by the White House to be threats.
In sum, the U.S. is now the sole planetary Top Gun in a way that empire-builders once undoubtedly fantasized about, but that none from Genghis Khan on have ever achieved: alone and essentially uncontested on the planet.  In fact, by every measure (except success), the likes of it has never been seen.
Blindsided by Predictably Unintended Consequences
By all the usual measuring sticks, the U.S. should be supreme in a historically unprecedented way.  And yet it couldn’t be more obvious that it’s not, that despite all the bases, elite forces, private armies, drones, aircraft carriers, wars, conflicts, strikes, interventions, and clandestine operations, despite a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy that never seems to stop growing and into which we pour a minimum of $80 billion a year, nothing seems to work out in an imperially satisfying way.  It couldn’t be more obvious that this is not a glorious dream, but some kind of ever-expanding imperial nightmare.
This should, of course, have been self-evident since at least early 2004, less than a year after the Bush administration invaded and occupied Iraq, when the roadside bombs started to explode and the suicide bombings to mount, while the comparisons of the United States to Rome and of a prospective Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East to the Pax Romana vanished like a morning mist on a blazing day.  Still, the wars against relatively small, ill-armed sets of insurgents dragged toward their dismally predictable ends.  (It says the world that, after almost 11 years of war, the 2,000th U.S. military death in Afghanistan occurred at the hands of an Afghan “ally” in an “insider attack.”)  In those years, Washington continued to be regularly blindsided by the unintended consequences of its military moves. Surprises -- none pleasant -- became the order of the day and victories proved vanishingly rare.
One thing seems obvious: a superpower military with unparalleled capabilities for one-way destruction no longer has the more basic ability to impose its will anywhere on the planet.  Quite the opposite, U.S. military power has been remarkably discredited globally by the most pitiful of forces.  From Pakistan to Honduras, just about anywhere it goes in the old colonial or neocolonial world, in those regions known in the contested Cold War era as the Third World, resistance of one unexpected sort or another arises and failure ensues in some often long-drawn-out and spectacular fashion.
Given the lack of enemies -- a few thousand jihadis, a small set of minority insurgencies, a couple of feeble regional powers -- why this is so, what exactly the force is that prevents Washington’s success, remains mysterious.  Certainly, it’s in some way related to the more than half-century of decolonization movements, rebellions, and insurgencies that were a feature of the previous century.
It also has something to do with the way economic heft has spread beyond the U.S., Europe, and Japan -- with the rise of the “tigers” in Asia, the explosion of the Chinese and Indian economies, the advances of Brazil and Turkey, and the movement of the planet toward some kind of genuine economic multipolarity.  It may also have something to do with the end of the Cold War, which put an end as well to several centuries of imperial or great power competition and left the sole “victor,” it now seems clear, heading toward the exits wreathed in self-congratulation.
Explain it as you will, it’s as if the planet itself, or humanity, had somehow been inoculated against the imposition of imperial power, as if it now rejected it whenever and wherever applied.  In the previous century, it took a half-nation, North Korea, backed by Russian supplies and Chinese troops to fight the U.S. to a draw, or a popular insurgent movement backed by a local power, North Vietnam, backed in turn by the Soviet Union and China to defeat American power.  Now, small-scale minority insurgencies, largely using roadside bombs and suicide bombers, are fighting American power to a draw (or worse) with no great power behind them at all.
Think of the growing force that resists such military might as the equivalent of the “dark matter” in the universe.  The evidence is in.  We now know (or should know) that it’s there, even if we can’t see it.
Washington's Wars on Autopilot
After the last decade of military failures, stand-offs, and frustrations, you might think that this would be apparent in Washington.  After all, the U.S. is now visibly an overextended empire, its sway waning from the Greater Middle East to Latin America, the limits of its power increasingly evident.  And yet, here’s the curious thing: two administrations in Washington have drawn none of the obvious conclusions, and no matter how the presidential election turns out, it’s already clear that, in this regard, nothing will change.
Even as military power has proven itself a bust again and again, our policymakers have come to rely ever more completely on a military-first response to global problems.  In other words, we are not just a classically overextended empire, but also an overwrought one operating on some kind of militarized autopilot.  Lacking is a learning curve.  By all evidence, it’s not just that there isn’t one, but that there can’t be one.
Washington, it seems, now has only one mode of thought and action, no matter who is at the helm or what the problem may be, and it always involves, directly or indirectly, openly or clandestinely, the application of militarized force.  Nor does it matter that each further application only destabilizes some region yet more or undermines further what once were known as “American interests.”
Take Libya, as an example.  It briefly seemed to count as a rare American military success story: a decisive intervention in support of a rebellion against a brutal dictator -- so brutal, in fact, that the CIA previously shipped “terrorist suspects,” Islamic rebels fighting against the Gaddafi regime, there for torture.  No U.S. casualties resulted, while American and NATO air strikes were decisive in bringing a set of ill-armed, ill-organized rebels to power.
In the world of unintended consequences, however, the fall of Gaddafi sent Tuareg mercenaries from his militias, armed with high-end weaponry, across the border into Mali.  There, when the dust settled, the whole northern part of the country had come unhinged and fallen under the sway of Islamic extremists and al-Qaeda wannabes as other parts of North Africa threatened to destabilize.  At the same time, of course, the first American casualties of the intervention occurred when Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a local “safe house.”
With matters worsening regionally, the response couldn’t have been more predictable.  As Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post recently reported, in ongoing secret meetings, the White House is planning for military operations against al-Qaeda-in-the-Magreb (North Africa), now armed with weaponry pillaged from Gaddafi’s stockpiles.  These plans evidently include the approach used in Yemen (U.S. special forces on the ground and CIA drone strikes), or a Somalia “formula” (drone strikes, special forces operations, CIA operations, and the support of African proxy armies), or even at some point “the possibility of direct U.S. intervention.”
In addition, Eric Schmitt and David Kilpatrick of the New York Times report that the Obama administration is “preparing retaliation” against those it believes killed the U.S. ambassador, possibly including “drone strikes, special operations raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden, and joint missions with Libyan authorities.”  The near certainty that, like the previous intervention, this next set of military actions will only further destabilize the region with yet more unpleasant surprises and unintended consequences hardly seems to matter.  Nor does the fact that, in crude form, the results of such acts are known to us ahead of time have an effect on the unstoppable urge to plan and order them.
Such situations are increasingly legion across the Greater Middle East and elsewhere.  Take one other tiny example: Iraq, from which, after almost a decade-long military disaster, the “last” U.S. units essentially fled in the middle of the night as 2011 ended.  Even in those last moments, the Obama administration and the Pentagon were still trying to keep significant numbers of U.S. troops there (and, in fact, did manage to leave behind possibly several hundred as trainers of elite Iraqi units).  Meanwhile, Iraq has been supportive of the embattled Syrian regime and drawn ever closer to Iran, even as its own sectarian strife has ratcheted upward.  Having watched this unsettling fallout from its last round in the country, according to the New York Times, the U.S. is now negotiating an agreement “that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.”
Don’t you just want to speak to those negotiators the way you might to a child: No, don’t do that!  The urge to return to the scene of their previous disaster, however, seems unstaunchable.  You could offer various explanations for why our policymakers, military and civilian, continue in such a repetitive -- and even from an imperial point of view -- self-destructive vein in situations where unpleasant surprises are essentially guaranteed and lack of success a given.  Yes, there is the military-industrial complex to be fed.  Yes, we are interested in the control of crucial resources, especially energy, and so on.
But it’s probably more reasonable to say that a deeply militarized mindset and the global maneuvers that go with it are by now just part of the way of life of a Washington eternally “at war.”  They are the tics of a great power with the equivalent of Tourette's Syndrome.  They happen because they can’t help but happen, because they are engraved in the policy DNA of our national security complex, and can evidently no longer be altered.  In other words, they can’t help themselves.
That’s the only logical conclusion in a world where it has become ever less imaginable to do the obvious, which is far less or nothing at all.  (Northern Chad?  When did it become crucial to our well being?) Downsizing the mission?  Inconceivable.  Thinking the unthinkable?  Don’t even give it a thought!
What remains is, of course, a self-evident formula for disaster on autopilot. But don’t tell Washington. It won’t matter. Its denizens can’t take it in.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as The End of Victory Culture, his history of the Cold War, runs the Nation Institute's His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.