Galluping Inability

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

According to Gallup, here are the job approval numbers for other presidents at this stage of their terms, a year before the re-election campaign:

— Harry S. Truman: 54 percent.

— Dwight Eisenhower: 78 percent.

— Lyndon B. Johnson: 44 percent.

— Richard M. Nixon: 50 percent.

— Ronald Reagan: 54 percent.

— George H.W. Bush: 52 percent.

— Bill Clinton: 51 percent.

— George W. Bush: 55 percent.

Barack Hussein Obama  43 Percent

What’s more, Gallup finds that Obama’s overall job approval rating so far has averaged 49 percent. Only three former presidents have had a worse average rating at this stage: Carter, Ford, and Harry S. Truman. Only Truman won re-election in an anti-Congress campaign that Obama’s team is using as a model.

Heard last night on MSDNC on the Rachael “Mad Cow” Maddow show Barney Frank’s advice to President Obama on his re-election (where Obama has had 54 events in the 42 days) was to run against the Republicans pointing out that “they are nuts”.

Thanks Barney, it sounds very much like the one I have been saying for a very long time — “Vote for Me, the Other guy’s an asshole!”

The fact that the Democrats are more nuts doesn’t come into it. After all, most extreme liberals think they are “centrists” and the “extremists” are anyone that isn’t them (aka Republicans, Independents, and Conservatives).

Then there’s this: Which is Brilliant and to the Point.

Debt scale update: The U.S. government is already borrowing every three days what all of America spent on Black Friday. And that was the biggest Black Friday on record.

In the last three years, the president has taught us a great deal about America, the world, and himself.

Before Obama, many Americans still believed in massive deficit spending, whether as an article of fairness, a means to economic growth, or just a lazy fallback position to justify an out-of-control federal government. But after the failure of a nearly $800 billion “stimulus” program — intended to keep unemployment under 8 percent — no one believes any more that an already indebted government will foster economic growth by taking on another $4 trillion in debt. In other words, “stimulus” is mostly a dead concept. The president — much as he advised a barnstorming President Bush in 2005 to cease pushing Social Security reform on a reluctant population — should give it up and junk the new $500 billion program euphemistically designated as a “jobs bill.”

Obama has also taught us that prominent government intervention into the private sector often makes things worse, and invites crony-capitalist corruption. Nearly three years into this administration, it is striking how seldom Barack Obama brags about Cash for Clunkers, the Chrysler and GM bailouts, or Solyndra. He either is quiet about them or sort of shrugs, as if to say, “Stuff happens.” Even creative bookkeeping cannot mask the fact that the auto-company bailouts (begun, to be sure, by the Bush administration, but made worse under Obama) will prove a huge drain on the Treasury. No one even attempts any more to convince us that we will like Obamacare once we read the legislation, or that it will save us costs in the long run, or that it will cheer up businesses so that they will invest and hire. All that was dreamland, 2009, and this is reality, 2011, when we hear only “It could have been worse.”

Obama has also taught us that a president’s name, his father’s religion, his ethnic background, loud denunciations of his predecessor, discomforting efforts to apologize, bow, and contextualize past American actions — none of that does anything to lead to greater peace in the world or security for the United States. And by the same token, George Bush’s drawl, Texas identification, and Christianity did not magically turn allies into neutrals and neutrals into enemies.

The Obama legacy in the War on Terror is as Predator-in-Chief — boldly increasing targeted assassinations tenfold from the Bush era, on the theory that we more or less kill the right suspected terrorists; few civil libertarians care much, apparently because one of their own is doing it.

Even Chris Matthews’s leg has stopped tingling. There will be no more Newsweekcomparisons of Obama to a god. Even the Nobel Prize committee will soon grasp that it tarnished its brand by equating fleeting celebrity with lasting achievement.

“Green” will never be quite the same after Obama. When Solyndra and its affiliated scandals are at last fully brought into the light of day, we will see the logical reification of Climategate I & II, Al Gore’s hucksterism, and Van Jones’s lunacy. How ironic that the more Obama tried to stop drilling in the West, offshore, and in Alaska, as well as stopping the Canadian pipeline, the more the American private sector kept finding oil and gas despite rather than because of the U.S. government. How further ironic that the one area that Obama felt was unnecessary for, or indeed antithetical to, America’s economic recovery — vast new gas and oil finds — will soon turn out to be America’s greatest boon in the last 20 years. While Obama and Energy Secretary Chu still insist on subsidizing money-losing wind and solar concerns, we are in the midst of a revolution that, within 20 years, will reduce or even end the trade deficit, help pay off the national debt, create millions of new jobs, and turn the Western Hemisphere into the new Persian Gulf. The American petroleum revolution can be delayed by Obama, but it cannot be stopped.

One lesson, however, has not fully sunk in and awaits final elucidation in the 2012 election: that of the Chicago style of Barack Obama’s politicking. In 2008 few of the true believers accepted that, in his first political race, in 1996, Barack Obama sued successfully to remove his opponents from the ballot. Or that in his race for the U.S. Senate eight years later, sealed divorced records for both his primary- and general-election opponents were mysteriously leaked by unnamed Chicagoans, leading to the implosions of both candidates’ campaigns. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in the history of public campaign financing to reject it, or that he was also the largest recipient of cash from Wall Street in general, and from BP and Goldman Sachs in particular. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to disclose either undergraduate records or even partial medical. Or that remarks like “typical white person,” the clingers speech, and the spread-the-wealth quip would soon prove to be characteristic rather than anomalous.

Few American presidents have dashed so many popular, deeply embedded illusions as has Barack Obama. And for that, we owe him a strange sort of thanks. (Victor David Hanson)

But remember, “Vote for me, The other guys nuts!!” 🙂

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Moral Hazard

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc-ra-cy)- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing,and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed,are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

THE $7 Trillion Dollar Secret

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
‘Change Their Votes’

“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”

The size of the bailout came to light after Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, won a court case against the Fed and a group of the biggest U.S. banks called Clearing House Association LLC to force lending details into the open.

The Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma — investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort — and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.

$7.77 Trillion

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.

The Fed has been lending money to banks through its so- called discount window since just after its founding in 1913. Starting in August 2007, when confidence in banks began to wane, it created a variety of ways to bolster the financial system with cash or easily traded securities. By the end of 2008, the central bank had established or expanded 11 lending facilities catering to banks, securities firms and corporations that couldn’t get short-term loans from their usual sources.
‘Core Function’

“Supporting financial-market stability in times of extreme market stress is a core function of central banks,” says William B. English, director of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs. “Our lending programs served to prevent a collapse of the financial system and to keep credit flowing to American families and businesses.”

The Fed has said that all loans were backed by appropriate collateral. That the central bank didn’t lose money should “lead to praise of the Fed, that they took this extraordinary step and they got it right,” says Phillip Swagel, a former assistant Treasury secretary under Henry M. Paulson and now a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland.

The Fed initially released lending data in aggregate form only. Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.

The secrecy extended even to members of President George W. Bush’s administration who managed TARP. Top aides to Paulson weren’t privy to Fed lending details during the creation of the program that provided crisis funding to more than 700 banks, say two former senior Treasury officials who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak.
Big Six

The Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank. Paulson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The six — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley — accounted for 63 percent of the average daily debt to the Fed by all publicly traded U.S. banks, money managers and investment- services firms, the data show. By comparison, they had about half of the industry’s assets before the bailout, which lasted from August 2007 through April 2010. The daily debt figure excludes cash that banks passed along to money-market funds.
Bank Supervision

While the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001. The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says.

Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”

On Jan. 14, 2009, six days before the company’s central bank loans peaked, the New York Fed gave CEO Vikram Pandit a report declaring Citigroup’s financial strength to be “superficial,” bolstered largely by its $45 billion of Treasury funds. The document was released in early 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to probe the causes of the crisis.
‘Need Transparency’

Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the New York Fed, declined to comment, as did Jon Diat, a spokesman for Citigroup.

“I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability,” says Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Judd Gregg, a former New Hampshire senator who was a lead Republican negotiator on TARP, and Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who chaired the House Financial Services Committee, both say they were kept in the dark.

“We didn’t know the specifics,” says Gregg, who’s now an adviser to Goldman Sachs.

“We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Frank says. “We didn’t know the specifics.”
Disclose Lending

Frank co-sponsored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, billed as a fix for financial-industry excesses. Congress debated that legislation in 2010 without a full understanding of how deeply the banks had depended on the Fed for survival.

It would have been “totally appropriate” to disclose the lending data by mid-2009, says David Jones, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who has written four books about the central bank.

“The Fed is the second-most-important appointed body in the U.S., next to the Supreme Court, and we’re dealing with a democracy,” Jones says. “Our representatives in Congress deserve to have this kind of information so they can oversee the Fed.”

The Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to release details of some emergency-lending programs in December 2010. It also mandated disclosure of discount-window borrowers after a two- year lag.
Protecting TARP

TARP and the Fed lending programs went “hand in hand,” says Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former chief economist at the New York Fed. While the TARP money helped insulate the central bank from losses, the Fed’s willingness to supply seemingly unlimited financing to the banks assured they wouldn’t collapse, protecting the Treasury’s TARP investments, he says.

“Even though the Treasury was in the headlines, the Fed was really behind the scenes engineering it,” Shaffer says.

Congress, at the urging of Bernanke and Paulson, created TARP in October 2008 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made it difficult for financial institutions to get loans. Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup each received $45 billion from TARP. At the time, both were tapping the Fed. Citigroup hit its peak borrowing of $99.5 billion in January 2009, while Bank of America topped out in February 2009 at $91.4 billion.
No Clue

Lawmakers knew none of this.

They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Had lawmakers known, it “could have changed the whole approach to reform legislation,” says Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Senator from Delaware who, with Brown, introduced the bill to limit bank size.
Moral Hazard

Kaufman says some banks are so big that their failure could trigger a chain reaction in the financial system. The cost of borrowing for so-called too-big-to-fail banks is lower than that of smaller firms because lenders believe the government won’t let them go under. The perceived safety net creates what economists call moral hazard — the belief that bankers will take greater risks because they’ll enjoy any profits while shifting losses to taxpayers.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, a person with insurance against automobile theft may be less cautious about locking his or her car, because the negative consequences of vehicle theft are (partially) the responsibility of the insurance company.

If Congress had been aware of the extent of the Fed rescue, Kaufman says, he would have been able to line up more support for breaking up the biggest banks.

Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.

“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.
Getting Bigger

Instead, the Fed and its secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.

Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.

For so few banks to hold so many assets is “un-American,” says Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “All of these gargantuan institutions are too big to regulate. I’m in favor of breaking them up and slimming them down.”

Employees at the six biggest banks made twice the average for all U.S. workers in 2010, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics hourly compensation cost data. The banks spent $146.3 billion on compensation in 2010, or an average of $126,342 per worker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up almost 20 percent from five years earlier compared with less than 15 percent for the average worker. Average pay at the banks in 2010 was about the same as in 2007, before the bailouts.
‘Wanted to Pretend’

“The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out,” says Anil Kashyap, a former Fed economist who’s now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “They shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people find some of the stuff that happened totally outrageous.”

Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch & Co. at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Paulson after buying the biggest U.S. home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. When the Merrill Lynch purchase was announced on Sept. 15, 2008, Bank of America had $14.4 billion in emergency Fed loans and Merrill Lynch had $8.1 billion. By the end of the month, Bank of America’s loans had reached $25 billion and Merrill Lynch’s had exceeded $60 billion, helping both firms keep the deal on track.
Prevent Collapse

Wells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank by deposits before the 2008 acquisition. Because depositors were pulling their money from Wachovia, the Fed channeled $50 billion in secret loans to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank through two emergency-financing programs to prevent collapse before Wells Fargo could complete the purchase.

“These programs proved to be very successful at providing financial markets the additional liquidity and confidence they needed at a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

JPMorgan absorbed the country’s largest savings and loan, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., and investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. The New York Fed, then headed by Timothy F. Geithner, who’s now Treasury secretary, helped JPMorgan complete the Bear Stearns deal by providing $29 billion of financing, which was disclosed at the time. The Fed also supplied Bear Stearns with $30 billion of secret loans to keep the company from failing before the acquisition closed, central bank data show. The loans were made through a program set up to provide emergency funding to brokerage firms.
‘Regulatory Discretion’

“Some might claim that the Fed was picking winners and losers, but what the Fed was doing was exercising its professional regulatory discretion,” says John Dearie, a former speechwriter at the New York Fed who’s now executive vice president for policy at the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based group consisting of the CEOs of 20 of the world’s biggest financial firms. “The Fed clearly felt it had what it needed within the requirements of the law to continue to lend to Bear and Wachovia.”

The bill introduced by Brown and Kaufman in April 2010 would have mandated shrinking the six largest firms.

“When a few banks have advantages, the little guys get squeezed,” Brown says. “That, to me, is not what capitalism should be.”

Kaufman says he’s passionate about curbing too-big-to-fail banks because he fears another crisis.

‘Can We Survive?’

“The amount of pain that people, through no fault of their own, had to endure — and the prospect of putting them through it again — is appalling,” Kaufman says. “The public has no more appetite for bailouts. What would happen tomorrow if one of these big banks got in trouble? Can we survive that?”

Lobbying expenditures by the six banks that would have been affected by the legislation rose to $29.4 million in 2010 compared with $22.1 million in 2006, the last full year before credit markets seized up — a gain of 33 percent, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics. Lobbying by the American Bankers Association, a trade organization, increased at about the same rate, OpenSecrets.org reported.

Lobbyists argued the virtues of bigger banks. They’re more stable, better able to serve large companies and more competitive internationally, and breaking them up would cost jobs and cause “long-term damage to the U.S. economy,” according to a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to members of Congress from the FSF.

The group’s website cites Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, for demonstrating the greater efficiency of large companies.
‘Serious Burden’

In an interview, Williamson says that the organization took his research out of context and that efficiency is only one factor in deciding whether to preserve too-big-to-fail banks.

“The banks that were too big got even bigger, and the problems that we had to begin with are magnified in the process,” Williamson says. “The big banks have incentives to take risks they wouldn’t take if they didn’t have government support. It’s a serious burden on the rest of the economy.”

The Moral Hazard.

Dearie says his group didn’t mean to imply that Williamson endorsed big banks.

Top officials in President Barack Obama’s administration sided with the FSF in arguing against legislative curbs on the size of banks.
Geithner, Kaufman

On May 4, 2010, Geithner visited Kaufman in his Capitol Hill office. As president of the New York Fed in 2007 and 2008, Geithner helped design and run the central bank’s lending programs. The New York Fed supervised four of the six biggest U.S. banks and, during the credit crunch, put together a daily confidential report on Wall Street’s financial condition. Geithner was copied on these reports, based on a sampling of e- mails released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Geithner, declined to comment.
‘Punishing Success’

Lobbyists for the big banks made the winning case that forcing them to break up was “punishing success,” Brown says. Now that they can see how much the banks were borrowing from the Fed, senators might think differently, he says.

The Fed supported curbing too-big-to-fail banks, including giving regulators the power to close large financial firms and implementing tougher supervision for big banks, says Fed General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. The Fed didn’t take a position on whether large banks should be dismantled before they get into trouble.

Dodd-Frank does provide a mechanism for regulators to break up the biggest banks. It established the Financial Stability Oversight Council that could order teetering banks to shut down in an orderly way. The council is headed by Geithner.

“Dodd-Frank does not solve the problem of too big to fail,” says Shelby, the Alabama Republican. “Moral hazard and taxpayer exposure still very much exist.”
Below Market

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says banks “were either in bad shape or taking advantage of the Fed giving them a good deal. The former contradicts their public statements. The latter — getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis — is quite a gift.”

The Fed says it typically makes emergency loans more expensive than those available in the marketplace to discourage banks from abusing the privilege. During the crisis, Fed loans were among the cheapest around, with funding available for as low as 0.01 percent in December 2008, according to data from the central bank and money-market rates tracked by Bloomberg.

The Fed funds also benefited firms by allowing them to avoid selling assets to pay investors and depositors who pulled their money. So the assets stayed on the banks’ books, earning interest.

Banks report the difference between what they earn on loans and investments and their borrowing expenses. The figure, known as net interest margin, provides a clue to how much profit the firms turned on their Fed loans, the costs of which were included in those expenses. To calculate how much banks stood to make, Bloomberg multiplied their tax-adjusted net interest margins by their average Fed debt during reporting periods in which they took emergency loans.
Added Income

The 190 firms for which data were available would have produced income of $13 billion, assuming all of the bailout funds were invested at the margins reported, the data show.

The six biggest U.S. banks’ share of the estimated subsidy was $4.8 billion, or 23 percent of their combined net income during the time they were borrowing from the Fed. Citigroup would have taken in the most, with $1.8 billion.

“The net interest margin is an effective way of getting at the benefits that these large banks received from the Fed,” says Gerald A. Hanweck, a former Fed economist who’s now a finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

While the method isn’t perfect, it’s impossible to state the banks’ exact profits or savings from their Fed loans because the numbers aren’t disclosed and there isn’t enough publicly available data to figure it out.

Opinsky, the JPMorgan spokesman, says he doesn’t think the calculation is fair because “in all likelihood, such funds were likely invested in very short-term investments,” which typically bring lower returns.
Standing Access

Even without tapping the Fed, the banks get a subsidy by having standing access to the central bank’s money, says Viral Acharya, a New York University economics professor who has worked as an academic adviser to the New York Fed.

“Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free,” he says. “Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”

In the September 2008 meeting at which Paulson and Bernanke briefed lawmakers on the need for TARP, Bernanke said that if nothing was done, “unemployment would rise — to 8 or 9 percent from the prevailing 6.1 percent,” Paulson wrote in “On the Brink” (Business Plus, 2010).
Occupy Wall Street

The U.S. jobless rate hasn’t dipped below 8.8 percent since March 2009, 3.6 million homes have been foreclosed since August 2007, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc., and police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters, who say government policies favor the wealthiest citizens, in New York, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, California.

The Tea Party, which supports a more limited role for government, has its roots in anger over the Wall Street bailouts, says Neil M. Barofsky, former TARP special inspector general and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor.

“The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability,” Barofsky says. “When people don’t know the details, they fill in the blanks. They believe in conspiracies.”

In the end, Geithner had his way. The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.

They take full effect in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kaufman says, “we’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent not prepared for another financial crisis.”(Bloomberg)

Feel better now? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Matter of Identification

A Classic Thanksgiving Moment, Brought to you by your friends at WKRP:

And as God is my witness, I still think Spending Even More will work!! — Barack Obama. What a Turkey. 🙂

Here’s another reason to throw them all out:

The Senate is set to vote on a bill next week that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial.

“The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” writes

Chris Anders of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

Under the ‘worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial’ provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.1867:, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor Monday, the legislation will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports the bill.

But remember who controls the Senate– The Democrats.

So throwing them all out sound pretty good at this point.

In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved so-called DNA barcoding – a standardized fingerprint that can identify a species like a supermarket scanner reads a barcode – to prevent the mislabeling of both locally produced and imported seafood in the United States. Other national regulators around the world are also considering adopting DNA barcoding as a fast, reliable and cost-effective tool for identifying organic matter.

And since humans are “organic matter” how long before they come for you!??

Then there’s money and power.

The war against the financial sector is no accident. Rather, it was carefully planned over decades as part of a social crusade to wipe out what the left calls “financial apartheid.”

Starting in earnest in the 1990s, coat-and-tie radicals gathered in Washington and conspired to use banks to “democratize” credit. They socialized the mortgage industry after declaring traditional underwriting standards “racist.” Bankers were ordered to “reinvest” in unprofitable areas, and reallocate capital to people who posed credit risks.

When those risky loans went bad, radicals blamed “greedy” bankers and “predatory” lenders. Today, they want to punish bankers and lenders by forcing them to “repair the damages” that they themselves caused. And they don’t care if it drives many of them out of business.

In fact, President Obama is deliberately trying to downsize the financial sector. He and his social engineers think it accounts for too big a share of the economy. Obama says his sweeping new regulations are designed to clamp down on bank profits and limit the finance industry’s influence in the U.S. economy.

“What I think will change, what I think was an aberration, was a situation where corporate profits in the financial sector were such a heavy part of our overall profitability over the last decade,” he said, adding that his “more vigorous regulatory regime” will “inhibit” the industry’s growth.

Think about it: Obama is engineering a controlled starvation of America’s most vital industry — capital, the lifeblood of the economy — as punishment for allegedly causing a crisis that anti-bank community organizers and housing-rights zealots like him actually caused.

Why is Obama at constant war with “fat cat bankers” and Wall Street? His mentor, Chicago socialist Saul Alinsky, identified banks as one of the “power sectors” topping the industrial food chain, and therefore a top “target” for street agitators like Obama.

“The target, therefore, should be the banks,” Alinsky wrote in “Rules for Radicals,” the bible of the left.

This was drilled into Obama by his Alinsky trainer, Jerry Kellman, who first hired Obama as a South Side Chicago organizer, according to the book, “The Great American Bank Robbery.” “The real enemy,” Kellman told Obama, are “the investment bankers.”

Obama was trained in Alinsky agitation tactics in Los Angeles and Chicago. After Harvard, he returned to South Side to train Acorn and National People’s Action leaders. They, in turn, deployed busloads of thugs to terrorize bankers into making easy loans and subsidies in a multitrillion-dollar shakedown that sped the collapse of the banking and housing industries.

Obama also represented alleged victims rounded up by Acorn and NPA in class-action lawsuits against Citibank and others. The ilk that wrote “Rules for Radicals” wrote the rules for “fair lending.” Now they’re helping write them again to leverage banks anew, and make credit for the uncreditworthy even easier.

This financial disaster didn’t just happen. It was engineered. It was designed by people with radical agendas to redistribute credit and, ultimately, your wealth. And they are just getting started. (IBD)

Big Brother is Watching.

But at least you’ll have your bar coded fish!!

 

The Wacky & The Sublime

Irony Alert:

Am I the only one that finds this ironic?

The Associated Press is reporting that Occupy Wall Street is planning a benefit album, the proceeds of which will help fund the movement protesting income inequality.

They hope to raise between $1 million and $2 million with the project.

So I guess not all millions are bad. Apparently, if activist groups have them and not Wall Street, it’s totally fine.

I’m sure you’re intrigued enough now to want more details, which includes this gem: Michael Moore is planning to sing.

Occupy Wall Street has a benefit album planned with Jackson Browne, Third Eye Blind, Crosby & Nash, Devo, Lucinda Williams and even some of those drummers who kept an incessant beat at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

Participants in the protest movement said Wednesday that “Occupy This Album,” which will be available sometime this winter, will also feature DJ Logic, Ladytron, Warren Haynes, Toots and the Maytals, Mike Limbaud, Aeroplane Pageant, Yo La Tengo and others.

Activist filmmaker Michael Moore is also planning to sing.

I’d give them money just to avoid hearing Michael Moore Sing!! 🙂

“We are the Occupiers!!!”

Catchy. 🙂

The Senate Republican Budget press office sent out this rather incriminating timeline of the Democrats’ complete lack of leadership and responsibility on the deficit issue. We’re now over $15 trillion in debt, and they don’t look like they’re taking it any more seriously than back in January. Case in point: the country still doesn’t have a budget. (and on Jan 12, 2012 it will be 1,000 days!)

Here’s the timeline sent out by the GOP Budget Committee press office:

January 25 – In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposes freezing “annual domestic spending for the next five years.” This freeze would lock in elevated spending levels (24 percent non-defense discretionary, not including stimulus) and produce an estimated $3.8 trillion in deficits over the period in question. Subsequent analysis revealed that, because the White House shifted and hid new spending, non-defense discretionary spending would actually increase even further next year.

February 14 – President Obama proposes a budget with $8.7 trillion in new spending (CBO’s re-estimate actually finds $9.6 trillion in new spending).

February 15 – The House of Representatives begins debate on a bill that would cut spending by $61 billion. President Obama promptly issues a veto threat.

April 11 – Press Secretary Jay Carney: “We should move quickly to raise the debt limit and we support a clean piece of legislation to do that.”

April 13 – President Obama delivers a speech where he lays out a “framework” that he claims will lead to $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10–12 years. In reality, using OMB’s own numbers, deficits under the “framework” are $3.2 trillion higher than the president’s own fiscal commission.

April 15 – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passes its budget, which cuts $6 trillion in comparison to the President’s budget.

April 19 – S&P assigns a negative outlook to the U.S. credit rating, signaling at least a one-in-three likelihood that the agency will lower the nation’s long-term rating.

May 1 – Total federal spending since President Obama took office reaches approximately $8 trillion.

May 11 – Austan Goolsbee, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, says it is “quite insane” to tie spending cuts to the debt limit increase.

May 17 – Chairman Conrad continues to delay the unveiling of his latest secret budget, announcingthat “I’ll say something later — not today, probably… There are a lot of conversations under way.”

May 18 – Majority Leader Reid says it would be “foolish” for Senate Democrats to offer a budget.

May 19 – Chairman Conrad announces he will not reveal a budget to the public until after the Gang of Six produces a proposal.

May 25 – The Senate rejects President Obama’s budget by a vote of 0-97.

May 23 – Senator Schumer, when asked why there is no alternative to the House-passed budget, answers, “To put other budgets out there is not the point.”

May 26 – GOP Senators join Ranking Member Sessions in asking Reid not to break for the Memorial Day recess until Senate Democrats bring forward a budget so the Senate can fulfill its duty.

June 7 – Even some Senate Democrats become anxious about their party’s lack of a budget.

June 29 – Chairman Conrad tells Politico, “Senate Democrats have reached an agreement on a plan — just now — and we’ll be putting that out sometime soon.” (Note: the plan was never made public, but a leaked outline revealed that it contained as many as $2 in tax hikes for $1 in spending cuts.)

June 29 – Sessions renews call for the Senate to remain in town to deal with its budget and debt ceiling work.

July 1 – Sessions and Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch ask the president to reveal, in detail, what his deficit reduction plans actually are. No response is received, and the president’s February budget remains the only plan he has ever put on paper (thus the only plan that can be estimated by CBO) and shared with Congress or the American people.

July 8 – On the 800th day since Senate Democrats passed a budget, the unemployment rate rises to 9.2 percent (the third straight month above 9 percent).

July 19 – Amid continuing calls for the president to reveal what spending cuts he actually supports, Carney says that “leadership is not proposing a plan for the sake of having it voted up or down…”

July 22 – At a press conference discussing his position on negotiating a debt limit increase, President Obama declares, “The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.”

August 2 – Following passage of the debt limit increase package in the Senate, President Obama callsfor America to “live within our means” immediately before advocating a further increase in government spending, framed, as usual, as “investments.”

August 3 – Government borrowing tops 100 percent of GDP as the U.S. accumulates $4 trillion in gross debt under President Obama, well above the 90-percent threshold identified by economists Rogoff and Reinhart as when debt harms economic growth and brings down job creation.

August 5 – S&P downgrades the U.S.’ credit rating from AAA, the first time the nation has had less than the top rating since receiving it in 1917.

September 8– Shortly after the passage of the debt limit deal and the spending cuts that went with it, President Obama announcesa second stimulus bill that would cost $447 billion. CBO later admitsthat stimulus spending depresses long-term economic growth.

September 18– President Obama unveilsa deficit reduction plan that he claims will reduce deficits by $3 trillion through a combination of tax increases, war savings, and other spending cuts. But a Budget Committee analysis reveals that, thanks to a number of budget gimmicks, the plan would reduce deficits by only $1.4 trillion and would rely entirelyon tax increases.

October 14– 900 days pass since Senate Democrats last offered a budget plan.

November 7– The Congressional Budget Office reportsthat total federal spending increased in Fiscal Year 2011 by $145 billion over the previous year’s level.

November 9– House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claims that Democrats didn’t pass a budget when they controlled both chambers of Congress because “Republicans would have filibustered it,” but as she should know, budget resolutions can’t be filibustered.

November 11– As the supercommittee continues its tense negotiations, President Obama departsfor a nine-day trip to Bali, Indonesia, and Australia.

November 13– Supercommittee member James Clyburn, the House Assistant Democratic Leader,saysthat a draft Democrat proposal has been outlined. A Budget Committee analysisestimatesthis outlined proposal to contain a dramatic tax increase-to-spending cut ratio of 4:1.

November 16– On the 931st day since Senate Democrats offered a budget, the U.S. gross national debt tops $15 trillion.

November 18– In search of common ground, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey puts forwarda draft proposal with both spending cuts and tax revenue. Democrats summarily rejectthe offer.

November 21– New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chides President Obama, saying that “It’s the Chief Executive’s job to bring people together & provide leadership. I don’t see that happening [with the] #SuperCommittee”

November 22– President Obama placesmultiple calls, over the course of the month, to European leaders regarding their countries’ debt problems. Meanwhile, Jay Carney says it was “absolutely not” a problem for “him not to have been as involved” with the supercommittee negotiations.

(and liberals will swear he was in there actively from the beginning!)

Now he’s off Golfing again….Now that’s quite a turkey!

Small Business Saturday

Remember the outrage from the administration over hefty bonuses paid to AIG executives in 2009? Back then, shortly after AIG was bailed out by American taxpayers, the company went through with already planned bonuses to top executives.

The bonuses, which totaled $165 million, sparked a hot national debate over how much freedom private companies should have to pay large bonuses after they had become dependent on taxpayers. The House and Senate passed measures calling for the taxing of executive bonuses for bailed-out companies to the tune of 70-90 percent.

The president reacted forcefully: “”[I]t’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?”

Last week, another set of bonuses for bailed-out companies got decidedly less bad press. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to whom taxpayers have already given hundreds of billions, doled out $12.79 million in bonuses to its executives for meeting modest goals.

One could argue that there’s no outrage from the administration over the Fannie and Freddie bonuses because the total amount of bonuses is so much smaller.

But in fact, the average executive bonus is far larger.

Fannie and Freddie spent $12.79 million on 10 bonuses for an average of $1.27 million per bonus.

AIG spent $165 million on 400 bonuses for an average of $412,000 per bonus.

That’s about three times the level of bonus for bailed-out Freddie and Fannie execs compared to AIG. Some have argued that the AIG bonuses were different because they went to people who caused the problem, which is true, but only partly. A lot of them were going to people outside the parts of AIG that caused the trouble, but the criticism of AIG remains valid.

At Fannie and Freddie, the bonuses are going to those who are attempting to mitigate taxpayer losses, and the argument is that Fannie and Freddie have to compete with private sector salaries in order to get the best to do the mitigating.

Nonetheless, lawmakers are moving toward limiting bonuses for these executives. Even if true, it is a galling argument that we must shell out more money to Fannie and Freddie simply because they’ve already lost so much of our money that we need to give them lots of our money to prevent the loss of more of our money.

Doesn’t the president wonder, “How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” (Mary Katherine Ham)

Nope. From what I hear, he’s been off golfing again. Gotta have your priorities. 🙂

After all, wouldn’t you want to make millions of running your company into the ground!!

WACO, Ga. — A west Georgia business owner is stirring up controversy with signs he posted on his company’s trucks, for all to see as the trucks roll up and down roads, highways and interstates:

“New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone.”

“Can’t afford it,” explained the employer, Bill Looman, Tuesday evening. “I’ve got people that I want to hire now, but I just can’t afford it. And I don’t foresee that I’ll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C.”

Looman’s company is U.S. Cranes, LLC.  He said he put up the signs, and first posted pictures of the signs on his personal Facebook page, six months ago, and he said he received mostly positive reaction from people, “about 20-to-one positive.”

But for some reason, one of the photos went viral on the Internet on Monday.

And the reaction has been so intense, pro and con, he’s had to have his phones disconnected because of the non-stop calls, and he’s had to temporarily shut down his company’s website because of all the traffic crashing the system.

Looman made it clear, talking with 11Alive’s Jon Shirek, that he is not refusing to hire to make some political point; it’s that he doesn’t believe he can hire anyone, because of the economy. And he blames the Obama administration.

“The way the economy’s running, and the way my business has been hampered by the economy, and the policies of the people in power, I felt that it was necessary to voice my opinion, and predict that I wouldn’t be able to do any hiring,” he said. 

Looman did receive some unexpected attention not long after he put up his signs and Facebook photos. He said someone, and he thinks he knows who it was, reported him to the FBI as a threat to national security. He said the accusation filtered its way through the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and finally the Secret Service. Agents interviewed him.

“The Secret Service left here, they were in a good mood and laughing,” Looman said. “I got the feeling they thought it was kind of ridiculous, and a waste of their time.”

So Bill Looman is keeping the signs up, and the photos up — stirring up a lot of debate.

“I just spent 10 years in the Marine Corps protecting the rights of people… the First Amendment, and the Second Amendment and the [rest of the] Bill of Rights,” he said. “Lord knows they’re calling me at 2 in the morning, all night long, and voicing their opinion. And I respect their right to do that. I’m getting a reaction, a lot of it’s negative, now. But a lot of people are waking up.” (11alive.com)

Comment on website: Herbert Hubbel · Howell High School

Last year I was unemployed the early part of the year. I had one very good position that I was first in line for. But as soon as Obamacare passed and he learned more about it from his insurance carrier, he cancelled hiring me or anybody else. I am still in touch with the company owner and he still has not hired anybody due to his benefit cost and other expenses climbing rapidly due to Federal Government rules and regulations implemented by the Obama administration.
#2: We are not hiring because there are not enough sales to support more employees. The view over the horizon, because of Obama, is cloudy and risky, at best. We are already in precarious positions and just trying to hold on. Many, many businesses have folded. Many, like me, have put all our retirement funds into the business just to keep the minimum number of employees just to hold on, waiting for the next election, hoping for anyone but the destroyer of this economy. The economy goes up and down. Obama is using the bad economy as a tool to accoumplish his goals. Read his books. Listen to his words. He gets more of what he wants when we are suffering and vulnerable. OWS is a great example.

The US economy is resilient and will recover on its own, excluding the unthinkable decisions Obama has made. If those decisions are not obvious to any of you, then you are not paying attention, or you wouldn’t believe them if they were explained to you. But just a very few are the housing failier and domestic oil. Obama gets an F-. How about Cash for Clunkers and $8500 for home purchases, all at the expense of gov. spending at taxpayers expense. Union payoffs for political campaign funds. The list is endless.

 It’s not that businesses want to punish Obama by not hiring. Businesses exist to make a profit, hire and expand, and make more profit. We have no choice now in not hiring because Obama’s decisions are destroying this economy and our futures. We have no choice until sanity returns to DC. Don’t forget to vote against EVERY Democrat US Senator. It will take real power to undo what has been done.

Fascinating…

Because what celebration of small business would be complete by the Obama administration without reaffirming the mounds of red-tape that Obama and his confederates have saddled small business with?

“Overall, the Obama Administration imposed 75 new major regulations from January 2009 to mid-FY 2011, with annual costs of $38 billion,” reports Heritage. 

In contrast, there were only six deregulatory actions by the Obama administration saving $1.5 billion says the Heritage report. 

And those costs were just the cost by the government to implement the regulations, not the overall cost to industry- that is; not the costs to you and I.  

In terms of the overall impact on the economic health of the country, the figure is much higher. 

“More specifically, the total cost of federal regulations has increased to $1.75 trillion,” writes the federal government’s own Small Business Administration.

Heritage reports that that’s nearly twice the amount that the government collects annually in individual income taxes. Ouch!

The costs are a hidden tax, not just on the rich, says Heritage, but on everyone equally.

But because regulations prevent the creation of new jobs, it hits the poor and middle class particularly hard, “while the updated cost per employee for firms with fewer than 20 employees is now $10,585 (a 36 percent difference between the costs incurred by small firms when compared with their larger counterparts),” says the SBA.

In other words, small employers take it on the chin at the rate of $3,810.60 per employee more than the big guys do.

It’s not hard to figure why the Obama administration is creating jobs at a post-war low. Jobs aren’t the goal. Fundraising is. That’s why dog and pony shows like Small Business Saturday loom so large for Obama and his corporate pals.

They serve as a reminder that Obama “cares” about little guys [cough, hack], while giving him an opportunity to put the squeeze on the Big Guys. 

If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Obama is the Great Fabricator.

For Obama, every day is just another episode of the Beltway Unreality show, where acting is much more important than actually doing something; where pop-culture trumps substance. (John Ransom)

And as we all know, it’s all about him.

 

A History Lesson

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Ann Coulter: Bored with the Penn State scandal because it didn’t implicate any prominent Republicans, the mainstream media have suddenly become obsessed with Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” They are monomaniacally fixated on luring Republicans into raising taxes.

And then if they do, it will be a campaign commercial against every Republican 24/7/365 for the next 3,000 years! A Multimedia Sensation! A Divine Revelation!

Just look at how obsessed they are with the Bush Tax Cuts, Reagan, etc.

If Democrats could balance the budget tomorrow and quadruple government spending, they’d refuse the deal unless they could also make Republicans break their tax pledge. That is their single-minded goal.

But the media are trying to turn it around and say that it’s Republicans who are crazy for refusing to consider raising taxes no matter how much they get in spending cuts.

Tell a Lie often enough, especially 24/7/365 on dozens of channels and you tell the people anything you want and it can become “truth”.

At Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate on foreign policy, for example, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates for the one-millionth time if they would agree to raise taxes in exchange for spending cuts 10 times larger than the tax hikes.

Why are Republican refusing to have anyone but a Liberal as moderator so they can bait them. Are they masochists too?

Terrorism can wait — first, let me try to back you into a corner on raising taxes.

Amazingly, Blitzer cited Ronald Reagan’s statement in his autobiography, “An American Life,” that he would happily compromise with Democrats if he could get 75 or 80 percent of what he wanted — implying that today’s Republicans were nuttier than Reagan if they’d refuse a dollar in tax hikes for $10 in spending cuts.

Wolf should have kept reading. As Reagan explains a little farther in his autobiography: He did accept tax hikes “in return for (the Democrats’) agreement to cut spending by $280 billion,” but, Reagan continues, “the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.”

Yeah, but that’s not liberal “history”. The one that always favors them. Orwell would be proud.

Maybe that’s why Republicans won’t agree to raise taxes in exchange for Democratic promises to cut spending.

For Americans who are unaware of the Democrats’ history of repeatedly reneging on their promises to cut spending in return for tax hikes, the Republicans’ opposition to tax increases does seem crazy. That’s why Republicans need to remind them.

From the moment President Reagan succeeded in pushing through his historic tax cuts in 1981 — which passed by a vote of 323-107 in the House and 89-11 in the Senate, despite Democrats’ subsequent caterwauling — he came under fantastic pressure to raise taxes from the media and the Democrats.

You will notice it is the same culprits pushing for tax hikes today.

So in 1982, Reagan struck a deal with the Democrats to raise some business and excise taxes — though not income taxes — in exchange for $280 billion in spending cuts over the next six years. As Reagan wrote in his diary at the time: “The tax increase is the price we have to pay to get the budget cuts.”

But, of course, the Democrats were lying. Instead of cutting $280 billion, they spent an additional $450 billion — only $140 billion of which went to the Reagan defense buildup that ended the Evil Empire.

Meanwhile, Reagan’s tax cuts brought in an extra $375 billion in government revenue in the next six years — as that amiable, simple-minded dunce Reagan always said they would. His tax cuts funded the entire $140 billion defense buildup, with $235 billion left over.

If Democrats had lied only a little and merely held spending at the same level, Reagan could have smashed the Russkies, produced the largest peacetime expansion in U.S. history with his tax cuts and produced a $235 billion budget surplus. (Jobs created in September 1983: 1.1 million; jobs created in September 2011: 150,000.)

But the Democrats not only refused to implement any budget cuts, they hiked government spending. To the untrained eye, that appears to be the exact opposite of cutting the budget.

Even the gusher of revenue brought in by Reagan’s tax cuts couldn’t pay for all the additional spending piled up by double-crossing Democrats — more than twice as much as Reagan’s spending on defense.

Reagan’s defense spending crushed the Soviet war machine. What did Tip O’Neill’s domestic spending accomplish? (I mean, besides destroying the black family, increasing single motherhood and creating government bureaucracies that can never be eliminated.)

Unable to learn from the first kick of a mule, President George H.W. Bush made the exact same deal with Democrats just a few years later.

Pretending to care about the deficit — created exclusively by their own profligate spending — Democrats demanded that Bush agree to a “balanced budget” package with both spending cuts and tax increases.

In June 1990, Bush did so, agreeing to tax hikes in defiance of his “read-my-lips, no-new-taxes” campaign pledge.

Again, Democrats, being Democrats, produced no spending cuts, and within two years the increased federal spending had led to a doubling of the deficit.

The Democrats didn’t care: All that mattered was that they had tricked Bush into breaking his tax pledge, which they celebrated all the way to Bush’s defeat in the next election.

On CNN’s “Crossfire,” then-congressman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., gloated: “All the spin control in the world can’t undo the fact that the president is moving away from (no new) taxes.”

An article on the front page of The New York Times proclaimed that “with his three words, (‘tax revenue increases’) Mr. Bush had broken the central promise of his 1988 campaign.”

As the next presidential campaign got under way, CNN interviewed a “Reagan Democrat,” who said: “Bush says, ‘Read my lips.’ Remember when he said that? We got taxes anyway. Clinton says, I will raise your taxes because we have to do something about that national debt.”

Democrats had effectively taken away the Republican Party’s central defining issue — low taxes — and the Republicans got nothing in return.

(I take that back: We got a stained blue dress for the Smithsonian. So, an OK trade.)

On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton taunted Bush for breaking his tax pledge, saying, “He promised 15 million new jobs, no new taxes, the environmental president, an education presidency. It was a wonderful speech. But now we don’t have to read his lips; we can read his record.”

Apparently, Republicans can read the Democrats’ record, too. They know that Democrats will promise to cut spending in exchange for tax increases and then screw Republicans on the spending cuts.

It’s been 20 years since they pulled that scam, so Democrats figure it’s time to make Republicans break a tax pledge again. As long as no one knows the history of these “deals,” the media can carry on, blithely portraying Republicans as obstructionist nuts for refusing the third kick of a mule.

Good, I hope not.

Who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows it? Or in this case, whose the bigger fool, the fool who thinks Democrats will keep any promises to cut spending or any Republicans who’d believe them??

And to celebrate the passing of another Turkey day, a real “fish” story to tell your kids about how generous and kind Big Government is.

IT’S THE ONE THAT WAS TAKEN AWAY!

This fish story may lack the epic qualities of Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 classic“The Old Man and the Sea,” but for New Bedford’s Carlos Rafael, the outcome was about the same. In both cases, despite capturing and bringing home a huge fish, powerful circumstances conspired to deprive the luckless fishermen of a potentially huge reward.

Boat owner Rafael, a big player in the local fishing industry, was elated when the crew of his 76-foot steel dragger Apollo told him they had unwittingly captured a giant bluefin tuna in their trawl gear while fishing offshore.

“They didn’t catch that fish on the bottom,” he said. “They probably got it in the midwater when they were setting out and it just got corralled in the net. That only happens once in a blue moon.”

Rafael, who in the last four years purchased 15 tuna permits for his groundfish boats to cover just such an eventuality, immediately called a bluefin tuna hot line maintained by fishery regulators to report the catch.

When the weather offshore deteriorated, the Apollo decided to seek shelter in Provincetown Harbor on Nov. 12. Rafael immediately set off in a truck to meet the boat.
“I wanted to sell the fish while it was fresh instead of letting it age on the boat,”he said.“It was a beautiful fish.”

It was also a lucrative one. Highly prized in Japan, a 754pound specimen fetched a record price at a Tokyo auction in January this year, selling for nearly $396,000. These fish can grow to enormous size. The world record for a bluefin, which has stood since 1979, was set when a 1,496-pound specimen was caught off Nova Scotia.

However, when Rafael rolled down the dock in Provincetown there was an unexpected and unwelcome development. The authorities were waiting. Agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement informed him they were confiscating his fish — all 881 pounds of it.

Even though the catch had been declared and the boat had a tuna permit, the rules do not allow fishermen to catch bluefin tuna in a net.

“They said it had to be caught with rod and reel,” a frustrated Rafael said.“We didn’t try to hide anything. We did everything by the book. Nobody ever told me we couldn’t catch it with a net.”
In any case, after being towed for more than two hours in the net, the fish was already dead when the Apollo hauled back its gear, he said.

“What are we supposed to do?” he asked. “They said they were going to give me a warning,” Rafael said. “I think I’m going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can’t catch them?”

No charges have yet been filed in connection with the catch, but a written warning is anticipated, according to Christine Patrick, a public affairs specialist with NOAA who said the fish has been forfeited and will be sold on consignment overseas. Proceeds from the sale of the fish will be held in an account pending final resolution of the case, NOAA said. No information on the value of the fish was available Friday.

“The matter is still under investigation,”said Monica Allen, deputy director with NOAA Fisheries public affairs. “If it’s determined that there has been a violation, the money will go into the asset forfeiture fund.”

Aka, the government’s coffers.

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life time”  as long as he abides by everyone of the thousand of petty regulations, fees and permits that will allow the government to tax you and then take it from you because you missed 1. 🙂

“I think I’m going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can’t catch them?” (The Hull Truth)

The Permits were to fund some government bureaucrats fat ass pension. Now they’ll have to raise taxes to make up for it!! 🙂

http://townhall.com/video/fisherman-bags-the-big-one-only-to-lose-it-to-big-government

Be Thankful they are  from the Government and they are here to help you!

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Thanksgiving 2011

I am just thankful to be alive.

After yesterday’s car accident that totaled my car what else is there to say.

The false accusations of  “sexual harrasment” at Fry’s Electronics an hour earlier is another story for another day.

What a day!! 😦

So I turn it over to one of my favorite writer, Thomas Sowell.

“Alice in Wonderland” was written by a professor who also wrote a book on symbolic logic. So it is not surprising that Alice encountered not only strange behavior in Wonderland, but also strange and illogical reasoning — of a sort too often found in the real world, and which a logician would be very much aware of.

If Alice could visit the world of liberal rhetoric and assumptions today, she might find similarly illogical and bizarre thinking. But people suffering in the current economy might not find it nearly as entertaining as “Alice in Wonderland.”

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the world envisioned by today’s liberals is that it is a world where other people just passively accept whatever “change” liberals impose. In the world of Liberal Land, you can just take for granted all the benefits of the existing society, and then simply tack on your new, wonderful ideas that will make things better.

For example, if the economy is going along well and you happen to take a notion that there ought to be more home ownership, especially among the poor and minorities, then you simply have the government decree that lenders have to lend to more low-income people and minorities who want mortgages, ending finicky mortgage standards about down payments, income and credit histories.

That sounds like a fine idea in the world of Liberal Land. Unfortunately, in the ugly world of reality, it turned out to be a financial disaster, from which the economy has still not yet recovered. Nor have the poor and minorities.

Apparently you cannot just tack on your pet notions to whatever already exists, without repercussions spreading throughout the whole economy. That’s what happens in the ugly world of reality, as distinguished from the beautiful world of Liberal Land.

The strange and bizarre characters found in “Alice in Wonderland” have counterparts in the political vision of Liberal Land today. Among the most interesting of these characters are those elites who are convinced that they are so much smarter than the rest of us that they feel both a right and a duty to take all sorts of decisions out of our incompetent hands — for our own good.

In San Francisco, which is Liberal Land personified, there have been attempts to ban the circumcision of newborn baby boys. Fortunately, that was nipped in the bud. But it shows how widely the self-anointed saviors of Liberal Land feel entitled to take decisions out of the hands of mere ordinary citizens.

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says, “We’re facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country.” People talk that way in Liberal Land. Moreover, such statements pass muster with those who simply take in the words, decide whether they sound nice to them, and then move on.

But, if you take words seriously, the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, “as a country” — which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us.

The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.

Making choices “as a country” cannot be avoided in some cases, such as elections or referenda. But that is very different from saying that decisions in general should be made “as a country” — which boils down to having people like Timothy Geithner taking more and more decisions out of our own hands and imposing their will on the rest of us. That way lies madness exceeding anything done by the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland.”

That way lie unfunded mandates, nanny state interventions in people’s lives, such as banning circumcision — and the ultimate nanny state monstrosity, ObamaCare.

The world of reality has its problems, so it is understandable that some people want to escape to a different world, where you can talk lofty talk and forget about ugly realities like costs and repercussions. The world of reality is not nearly as lovely as the world of Liberal Land. No wonder so many people want to go there.

AMEN.

Now stay safe.

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Unpopular Popularity

President Obama hugs an increasingly unpopular, vulgar, and lawless movement. The Hill reports that after President Obama was heckled by protesters at an event in New Hampshire, he said: 

“I appreciate you guys making your point; let me go ahead and make mine,” Obama said before continuing his speech. “I’ll listen to you, you listen to me, OK?”

A few minutes later, Obama acknowledged the Occupy protest movement again, saying: “You are the reason I ran for office.”

Shiftless, lazy, violent, anarchist squatters who expect you and me to support them because they are entitled to it.

Isn’t that a good enough reason to make sure we don’t have 4 more years??

And then there’s The Global Warming Fraud:

Almost exactly two years since damning email messages were released from Great Britain’s University of East Anglia showing a pattern of deception and collusion between scientists involved in spreading the global warming myth, a new batch of such correspondence has emerged that seems destined to get as little press coverage as the original ClimateGate scandal did in November 2009.

James Delingpole reported in Britian’s Telegraph Tuesday:

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person – or persons – unknown. And as before, they show the “scientists” at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa – all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they’d like it to be.In other words, what these emails confirm is that the great man-made global warming scare is not about science but about political activism. This, it seems, is what motivated the whistleblower ‘FOIA 2011′ (or “thief”, as the usual suspects at RealClimate will no doubt prefer to tar him or her) to go public.

The BBC is reporting that these email messages also come from UEA, and number around 5,000. The entire set is available at MegaUpload.

As you might imagine, climate realists across the globe are beginning to sift through these messages. Our friend Tom Nelson has already uncovered some whoppers:

<3066> Thorne:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run. […]

<2884> Wigley:
Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive […] there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC […]

<4923> Stott/MetO:

My most immediate concern is to whether to leave this statement [“probably the warmest of the last millennium”] in or whether I should remove it in the anticipation that by the time of the 4th Assessment Report we’ll have withdrawn this statement – Chris Folland at least seems to think this is possible.

<3062> Jones:

We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written […] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff. […]

<3373> Bradley:

I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”. […]

<4369> Cook:

I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.

Of course, the “Mike” and “Michael” being regularly disparaged by his peers is Michael Mann, the creator of the thoroughly-debunked Hockey Stick graph which so much of this myth is dependent on.

As physicist Lubos Motl notes, these messages “surely show that Michael Mann is a fraudster even according to most of his colleagues.”

Also for those not connecting the names, Jones is the infamous Phil Jones of UEA. Speaking of which:

<2440> Jones:

I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

<2094> Briffa:

UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails] anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.

… <1577> Jones:

[FOI, temperature data]

Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

Briffa of course is Keith Briffa, the man exposed to have manipulated tree ring data in order to assist Mann’s Hockey Stick charade.

As previously stated, realists from around the world are just starting to go through all these thousands of messages, and it will likely be days if not weeks before we know everything they contain.

Regardless, people that have been pushing back on this myth for years are beginning to weigh in.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.), the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Even before the Climategate emails were released in 2009, the so-called ‘consensus’ peddled by the IPCC was already shattered,” Senator Inhofe said. “Nevertheless, the Obama administration is moving full speed ahead to implement global warming regulations that will impose the largest tax increase in American history, significantly raise energy prices, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Remember, the Obama EPA is basing these regulations on its endangerment finding, which relies on the flawed science of the IPCC. Now a recent report by the EPA Inspector General has revealed that EPA cut corners in the process leading up to the endangerment finding: it shows that EPA did not engage in the required record-keeping procedures or conduct an independent review of the science underpinning these costly regulations. If the first Climategate scandal – and the over one hundred errors in the IPCC science that were revealed in its wake – were not enough, the apparent release of the Climategate 2.0 emails is just one more reason to halt the Obama EPA’s job killing global warming agenda.

“The crisis of confidence in the IPCC translates into a crisis of confidence in the EPA’s endangerment finding. The IPCC science has already disintegrated under the weight of its own flaws, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before the endangerment finding follows suit. It’s time for the Obama administration to stop trying to resurrect policies that are all pain for no gain, and get to work on reviving our economy.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell issued the following statement Tuesday:

“If there were any doubts remaining after reading the first Climategate e-mails, the new batch of e-mails that appeared on the web today make it clear that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an organized conspiracy dedicated to tricking the world into believing that global warming is a crisis that requires a drastic response,” said Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center on Energy and Environment.

“Several of the new e-mails show that the scientists involved in doctoring the IPCC reports are very aware that the energy-rationing policies that their junk science is meant to support would cost trillions of dollars,” said Ebell.

And Climate Depot’s Marc Morano wrote Tuesday:

“It appears that Climategate 2.0 has arrived to drain what little life there was left in the man-made global warming movement.

“The new emails further expose the upper echelon of the UN IPCC as being more interested in crafting a careful narrative than following the evidence. The release of thousands of more emails is quite simply another victory for science.”

As this is just the beginning of this latest round of email messages from UEA, readers are advised to stay tuned to NewsBusters for regular updates as well as to see how the global warming-loving media are responding.

UPDATE

Tom Nelson has found some remarkable observations concerning these email messages from warmist David Appell:

On a second reading of the stolen UAE emails leaked today, and just reading the README file emails, these sound worse than I thought at first – their impact will be devastating…The original release of emails 2 years ago had a significant impact. My guess is that these are going to throw the science off-kilter for perhaps the rest of this decade, and may well lead some people to rethink how they are doing business (including certain journalists).

But don’t worry, the faithful don’t care, for proof denies faith and without faith they are nothing.

So here’s another way of looking at it:

Consider California’s new mandate. The state’s peak electricity demand is about 52,000 megawatts. Meeting the one-third target will require (if you oversimplify a bit) about 17,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. Let’s assume that California will get half of that capacity from solar and half from wind. Most of its large-scale solar electricity production will presumably come from projects like the $2 billion Ivanpah solar plant, which is now under construction in the Mojave Desert in southern California. When completed, Ivanpah, which aims to provide 370 megawatts of solar generation capacity, will cover 3,600 acres — about five and a half square miles.

The math is simple: to have 8,500 megawatts of solar capacity, California would need at least 23 projects the size of Ivanpah, covering about 129 square miles, an area more than five times as large as Manhattan. While there’s plenty of land in the Mojave, projects as big as Ivanpah raise environmental concerns. In April, the federal Bureau of Land Management ordered a halt to construction on part of the facility out of concern for the desert tortoise, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Wind energy projects require even more land. The Roscoe wind farm in Texas, which has a capacity of 781.5 megawatts, covers about 154 square miles. Again, the math is straightforward: to have 8,500 megawatts of wind generation capacity, California would likely need to set aside an area equivalent to more than 70 Manhattans. Apart from the impact on the environment itself, few if any people could live on the land because of the noise (and the infrasound, which is inaudible to most humans but potentially harmful) produced by the turbines.

Industrial solar and wind projects also require long swaths of land for power lines. Last year, despite opposition from environmental groups, San Diego Gas & Electric started construction on the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink, which will carry electricity from solar, wind and geothermal projects located in Imperial County, Calif., to customers in and around San Diego. In January, environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the $1.9 billion line from cutting through a nearby national forest.

Not all environmentalists ignore renewable energy’s land requirements. The Nature Conservancy has coined the term “energy sprawl” to describe it. Unfortunately, energy sprawl is only one of the ways that renewable energy makes heavy demands on natural resources.

Consider the massive quantities of steel required for wind projects. The production and transportation of steel are both expensive and energy-intensive, and installing a single wind turbine requires about 200 tons of it. Many turbines have capacities of 3 or 4 megawatts, so you can assume that each megawatt of wind capacity requires roughly 50 tons of steel. By contrast, a typical natural gas turbine can produce nearly 43 megawatts while weighing only 9 tons. Thus, each megawatt of capacity requires less than a quarter of a ton of steel.

Obviously these are ballpark figures, but however you crunch the numbers, the takeaway is the same: the amount of steel needed to generate a given amount of electricity from a wind turbine is greater by several orders of magnitude.

Such profligate use of resources is the antithesis of the environmental ideal. Nearly four decades ago, the economist E. F. Schumacher distilled the essence of environmental protection down to three words: “Small is beautiful.” In the rush to do something — anything — to deal with the intractable problem of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental groups and policy makers have determined that renewable energy is the answer. But in doing so they’ve tossed Schumacher’s dictum into the ditch.

All energy and power systems exact a toll. If we are to take Schumacher’s phrase to heart while also reducing the rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions, we must exploit the low-carbon energy sources — natural gas and, yes, nuclear — that have smaller footprints. (NY Times)

So a Liberal scheme turns out to be worse than the “cure”. Gee, that never happens.

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Super Failure

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

 

So the Super Committee Failed?

Who’s surprised by this?

Not me. I predicted it. It wasn’t hard.

But I find it humorous the Democrats are the one saying that it was all the Republicans fault for being intransigent. But the fact that they were intransigent is not an issue to them.

But the ideological Grand Canyon IS THE PROBLEM! And neither side willing to compromise IS THE PROBLEM! Party Ideology is more important than the country. Their political ideology is more important than you and me.

$1.5 Trillion over 10 years is too tough for them. How do you solve $1.3 Trillion deficits PER YEAR!?

By the way, the automatic cuts start in 2013 AFTER THE ELECTION. How cowardly is that?

Democrats were coming to believe that Republicans were only interested in using the debt panel to cut taxes, not deficits.

Republicans, meanwhile, say they were becoming exasperated with Democratic refusal to consider any meaningful cuts to welfare programs including Medicare, Medicaid – which provides health insurance to the poor – and Social Security, the government pension system.

Between them, the three programs are set to devour 100 percent of federal tax income by 2047.

“Our Democratic friends were never willing to do the entitlement reforms,” Republican John Kyl told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

There were deals and talks and at every turn someone “leaked” the secret negotiations to their favorite media types to crush it.

What was meant to be a secretive debt panel was now being undone by leaks. By then, aides say, trust had evaporated, and the work of the super committee was essentially over.

At an early breakfast meeting of the panel, Democrat James Clyburn, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, rebuked his fellow committee members when they kept saying how hard it would be to strike a deal.

“Do you want to know what’s hard?” Clyburn asked. “Desegregating South Carolina in the 1960s. I met my wife in jail.” (Reuters)

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

But don’t worry, you’re just too lazy to care.

Congratulations, average American! It’s your turn to be blamed for President Obama’s — and America’s — problems.

This is the biggest honor you’ve won since Time magazine named “you” the Person of the Year.
Being the root cause of our dire national predicament puts you in some very august company indeed. You are joining the ranks of George W. Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the Arab Spring, Wall Street fat cats, and other luminaries, both living and merely anthropomorphized.

Last week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Obama explained, “We’ve been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — ‘Well, people would want to come here’ — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.”

The White House and its proxies insist that Obama wasn’t talking about Americans per se. He just meant we’ve been lazy about attracting foreign investment.

We’ll come back to that in a minute. For now, let’s take him at his word.

Still, you can understand the confusion. In September, the president reflected in an interview that America is “a great, great country that has gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.”

Shortly after that, he told rich donors at a fundraiser that “we have lost our ambition, our imagination and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam.”

So, Obama thinks Americans lack ambition and are soft, but don’t you dare suggest that he also thinks they’re lazy.

The point of all this is pretty obvious. Obama has a long-standing habit of seeing failure to support his agenda as a failure of character. The Democratic voters of western Pennsylvania refused to vote for him, he explained, because they were “bitter.” He told black Democrats lacking sufficient enthusiasm for his reelection to “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’.”

And in the context of the country’s economic doldrums, Obama sees a lack of ambition, softness, laziness, etc., in anyone who doesn’t support his agenda. He has spent several years now exhorting Americans about how we have to “win the future” by doing what he says. He has told us repeatedly that this is our “Sputnik moment” when all Americans must drop their selfish, cynical, or foolish objections to his program. People who disagree aren’t putting their “country first.”

He’s constantly stoking nationalistic and quasi-paranoid fears of China to goad Americans into supporting ever more “investments” in green energy and high-speed white elephants.(Jonah Goldberg)

Now some humor:

A sheriff’s deputy was dispatched last week to a Florida elementary school after a girl kissed a boy during a physical education class.

HORROR!

School brass actually reported the impromptu buss as a possible sex crime, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The assistant principal of Orange River Elementary School called in the cops after a teacher spotted the smooch Wednesday at the Fort Myers school. In fact, Margaret Ann Haring, 56, initially called child welfare officials, who directed her to contact the sheriff.

The kiss apparently occurred after two girls debated over whom the boy liked more. That’s when one of the girls “went over and kissed” the boy. The redacted sheriff’s report notes that Haring “stated there were no new allegations of sexual abuse as far as she knew.”

Deputies do not appear to be further probing the preteen kiss.

Maybe they should just pepper spray them!!! 🙂
Occupy Orange River Elementary!! 🙂
It has to be a Republican plot!
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino
Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

 Political Cartoons by Dana Summers
Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Morning Glory Problem

Chris “Tinkle Up my leg” Matthews (MSDNC) on Obama:

http://tv.breitbart.com/thrill-is-gone-matthews-turns-on-obama-i-hear-stories-that-you-would-not-believe/

Fascinating…

More Peter Schweizer: http://www.breitbart.tv/glenn-beck-interviews-peter-schweitzer/

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388130n

If you have connections, however, you can game the system to your advantage. As government grows larger and larger, the influence of special interest becomes entwined within the bureaucracy. It’s like allowing Morning Glory to grow in you flower bed. At first, the plant might stay where you put it and help populate your trellis with a blanket of leaves and the morning flowers. Left unchecked, however, it will quickly take over everything within reach and begin altering the intended appearance of your flower bed. If left to go to seed, you will spend the rest of your life trying to keep it from coming up every spring.

Our government has reached the stage of a garden overrun with Morning Glory. It can no longer be contained within its intended boundaries. It has morphed into a hideous weed that threatens to destroy any appearance of a garden. It’s now providing cover for other undesirable elements like rodents and herbivores, which we call lobbyists and legislators. Mosquitoes and bureaucrats hide in the shade of its leaves during the day and then attack us at nightfall.

There is only one answer to correcting such a state. The garden must be completely uprooted an tilled over before you can replant. It might take a few seasons to rid yourself of unwanted growth, but in time, the garden will once again take on its intended appearance. Never again can Morning Glory be allowed to take hold.  (roderic deane)

Prior to the release of Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer’s blockbuster book, Throw Them All Out, legislative efforts to pass a bill banning insider trading by members of Congress had floundered.

But all that is changing—and fast.

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) says that before the 60 Minutes report on Schweizer’s book, his STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act, H.R. 1148, had only garnered four cosponsors in Congress since he and Rep. Louise Slaughter  (D-NY)  (one of the key votes for Obamacare by the way…) re-introduced the legislation on March 18, 2011.

In the two days since the 60 Minutes program aired, Walz says the number of House members supporting the bill has shot up to thirty-five, and climbing.

The rock has been removed and all the cockroaches are scrambling for cover!

According to Walz’s website, the STOCK Act:

  • Prohibits Members and employees of Congress from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information they obtain because of their status;
  • Prohibits Executive Branch employees from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information they obtain because of their status;
  • Prohibits those outside Congress from buying or selling securities, swaps, security based swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information obtained from within Congress or the Executive Branch;
  • Prohibits Members and employees of Congress from disclosing any non-public information about any pending or prospective legislative action for investment purposes;
  • Requires Members and employees of Congress to report the purchase, sale or exchange of any stock, bond, or commodity future transaction in excess of $1,000 within 90 days. Members and employees who choose to place their stock in holdings in blind trusts or mutual funds would be exempt from the reporting requirement; and,
  • Requires firms that specialize in “political intelligence” and that obtain their information directly from Congress to register with the House and Senate, much like lobbying firms are now required to do.

The legislation, which was originally introduced by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) in 2006, has also attracted bipartisan support in the Senate, with Sen. Scott Brown (D-MA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) proposing their own version of the bill.

Congressman Walz says the 60 Minutes report on Throw Them All Out is making all the difference.

“If you didn’t think Congress’ approval rating can go any lower than 9 percent, have them watch the 60 Minutes story,” he told the Mankato Free Press.  “And that’s a problem.”

Everyone should. Then go buy the book. Then Vote the bums out!

http://www.amazon.com/Throw-Them-All-Peter-Schweizer/dp/0547573146/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321881685&sr=8-1

Big Government’s story says Pelosi and her husband purchased $1-$5 Million of the stock, which then skyrocketed in value to a 203% return on the Pelosi’s investment.

“Soft Corruption” is the term Peter Schweizer uses for the “honest” graft available to members of Congress – insider trading, for example, which is not illegal for our Congressional “public servants.” Repeating: insider trading laws do not apply to Congress.

Oh, and the Super Committee failed due to partisan intransigence. SURPRISE! 😦

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Greece-ing the Skids Too

“We all have a set of mutual obligations towards each other — we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper — and that those mutual obligations have to express themselves through government policies,” – US Senate Candidate Barack Obama in 2004

Although many hope members of the super committee will reach an 11th hour deal on spending cuts before the November 23 deadline, New York Times columnist David Brooks doubts that any deal will ever be reached, now or in the future. Brooks suspects that the United States is headed toward a fiscal crisis much like that of Greece.

On Friday night’s broadcast of PBS’s “NewsHour,” Brooks said that despite the best possible groundwork being laid to reach a deal, a deal still couldn’t be made.

“Yes, I mean, I’m hearing the exact same thing,” Brooks said. “I think the tragedy of it is, if it was ever going to work, it was going to work under these circumstances. The rules were rigged to make a deal as possible as possible as possible, which is to say there was going to be a clean vote on the House. They were going to meet in private. They had this sword of Damocles hanging over them. And they still couldn’t reach a deal.”

According to Brooks, with this missed opportunity and other missed opportunities over the years – it doesn’t bode well for any deal in the future. And that he says means the United States will eventually face a Greek-like situation.

“And still – and so it’s a history of really 10 or 15 years of potential moments where we could have – somebody could have made a deal with doing some spending cuts, some tax increases, jam it all together in whatever form you want to do,” he continued. “And every think tank has their own version. But the two sides are just too far apart. And as Mark [Shields] says, there is no center. And so, you know, they hope the election will solve it. That is what everybody is saying on the Hill. I’m a little dubious the election – why should this election solve it, when all the other elections haven’t solved hit. So the short answer is, welcome, Greece. We’re going to be Greece.”

And we all know the punchline here: “It’s the Republican’s Fault!!”

Not both of them. Entrenched in their ideological warfare. Democrats unable to cut spending and wanting to raise taxes on “the rich”. The Republicans not wanting to raise taxes and wanting to cut spending (but not nearly enough).

So we have fire and water and all we get is a lot of heated steam.

Neither will give an inch because of the 2012 campaign. Compromise is what the other guy does to let you do whatever YOU WANT to do.

Rock Meet Hard Place.

It’s not like it wasn’t predictable.

From a blog I wrote May 10, 2010: https://indyfromaz.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/greece-ing-the-skids/

In Greece:

They are angry because for years they have been encouraged to live beyond their means, taking advantage of the cheap credit on offer since Greece joined the euro in 2001. Now, the rug is being pulled from under their feet. People who have taken out mortgages to buy homes, loans to purchase cars and credit cards to pay for overpriced basic goods are being asked to meet all these commitments with a much lower income than they had budgeted for.

Fannie and Freddie anyone??

UK Guardian: Saddled with burgeoning public sectors (which help sustain muscular trade unions)– SEIU, UAW, NEA anyone?

This is not what angers Greeks most, though. What you will hear time after time, both at the protests and at workplaces and cafes, is that this crisis confirms the failure of the country’s political system. In other words, that for years politicians have been bleeding the country dry, looking after themselves and their friends and failing to build a robust economy and a country equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

:)

There is anger at the pervasive, high-level corruption for which no politician is ever punished. People are also furious that no government has ever tackled influence-peddling in the public sector. The Greek branch of Transparency International estimated that Greeks paid almost euro800 million ($1 billion) in bribes last year. This is another drain on household budgets but more importantly it creates a sense of injustice, a sense that to get anything done you have to play by the system’s warped rules.

Sound familiar??

This feeling of unfairness is compounded when tax evasion also goes unpunished.

“Turbo Tax” Geithner anyone? Barney Frank? Charlie Rangel?? Jeffrey Imhelt?

Salaried professionals and civil servants have their wages taxed at source but many Greeks do not. And, what they declare often bears no resemblance to what they actually earn. The government believes that tax evasion could be worth up to euro30 billion ($38 billion) a year, or 12 percent of the country’s GDP. Allowing one part of the population to consistently get away without paying while Greece’s public finances are propped up by the same people all the time creates incredible resentment. That’s why you hear many Greeks say they will put up with the austerity measures if the government ensures that everybody pays their fair share. If people believe that the usual suspects, who in many cases are wealthy businessmen, doctors and lawyers, are allowed to get away with it, then the level of anger will go up several notches.

47% of all Americans pay NO TAXES whatsover!

Union workers and civil servant can make more in retirement than on the job.

But we aren’t going down that road…oh no…the Nazi, Racist, Violent Tea Baggers are just wrong. :(

Some of the measures imposed on Greece by the EU in order to bail them out (BBC):

The plans hope to achieve budget cuts of 30bn euros over three years – with the goal of cutting Greece’s public deficit to less than 3% of GDP by 2014. It currently stands at 13.6%. (in 2010)

PAY CUTS

The government is planning a freeze pay for all public sector workers.

Some pay cuts will also be implemented, and public sector contract workers are set to lose their jobs.

This follows several years of continuous increases in pay, with salaries rising by an average of 30% since 2006.

Annual bonus payments – paid as 13th and 14th month salaries – will also be scrapped for high earners and capped for lower earners.

Other bonuses will be scrapped.

In the private sector, the legal maximum number of people companies can lay off each month will be doubled from 2% of personnel to 4%.

PENSIONS

The reforms seek to prevent early retirement. Currently the average age of retirement in Greece is 61, though it is not uncommon for public sector workers to retire in their 50s.

Under the planned changes, the retirement age, which is currently 65 years for men and 60 years for women, will be linked to average life expectancy.

In addition, the minimum number of years someone will have had to have worked to qualify for a full pension will rise to 40 years from 37.

Pensions will also be reduced so that they reflect a worker’s average working pay rather than their final salary.
TAX REFORM

VAT will be increased to 23% from 21% – just the latest in a series of recent increases.

Indirect taxes – including those on alcohol, fuel and cigarettes – will see a 10% rise.

There will also be a clamp-down on tax evasion – widely regarded as a big problem in Greece – and on untaxed illegal construction.

Tax-evasion alone is estimated to cost the Greek government at least 20bn euros a year.
PRIVATISATION

In the longer-term, the government will look to reduce the reliance of the Greek economy on the public sector, reducing the number of people on the public payroll.

This will require growth in the private sector, and possible privatisation of some industries.

Getting eerily uncomfortable I hope.

See our future if  Obama and The Democrats (and Republicans too) are not stopped.

According to a December report from the BLS, state and local government employers spent an average of $39.83 per hour worked ($26.24 for wages and $13.60 for benefits) for total employee compensation in September 2009. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.49 per hour ($19.45 for wages and $8.05 for benefits), see chart above. In other words, government employees make 45% more on average than private sector employees.

According to an analysis by USAToday (thanks to Michael Jahr for the pointer), “The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to an analysis of federal salary data.” For example, the number of federal employees making $100,000 or more has increased by 120,595, from 262,163 employees in December 2007 to 382,758 in June 2009, for a 46% increase. The number of federal workers making $150,000 or more has more than doubled since the recession started, from about 30,000 to more than 66,000 (see chart above).

The fire rate for government employees is .0055%. Their unemployment rate is 3%.

And do the Democrats look concerned?

Do the Republicans?

Do they?

Now: And if want a perfect Greece model look at California sometime. It’s Greece, trust me.

Josh Barro writes for the Manhattan Institute about the “Two Americas” and the “sharp difference between two classes of employees: those who work in the private sector and those who work for the government. Workers in the public sector have experienced a very different recession from those in the private sector.”

So is this Greece-ing the skids for what the government knows is coming if things don’t change?

I think so.

“I firmly believe that. I think, in 10 years – I don’t know when it will happen, but I’m very pessimistic that we will actually have the sort of deal we need,” Brooks said. “And at some point, what is happening in the Europe will happen here.”(DC)

It’s Party Politics over the good of the country. On BOTH SIDES.

“It’s less than a week until the deadline, and no language has been made public, and the American people should be able to make their voice heard before the committee votes. Because the truth is, once that vote happens, there’ll be no opportunity to change their product,” <Senator> Sessions said.

“People will make many promises about what this deal will be about if it passes … hopefully they’ll reach an agreement that’s one that can be honestly defended and that we’ll all be happy to vote for,” he added.

“But what we’ve seen so far indicates that secret deals, while they remain secret, are promoted to be far better than they are when you begin to see what’s really in them. The devil will always be in the details,” Sessions said.

He pointed, for instance, to the budget plan proposed by President Barack Obama, which was advertised as not adding to the national debt, but, he said, would in fact double the debt over the next decase.

He picked out several gimmicks in particular for which congressmen should be on the look out.

For instance, he said, the super committee could set a cap on war spending that was less than the baseline set by the Congressional Budget Office, and in that way claim they were making spending cuts. But since it would be less than the CBO baseline, that money would never have been spent in the first place.

Another possible gimmick by which the super committee could claim money was saved, he said, would be a proposal of tax increases now, to be balanced by spending cuts in future years.

“The pattern around here is, that once a tax increase is passed, it’s there,” Sessions said. “But a promise of a spending cut in the future very often does not become a reality.”

He warned that the super committee could direct standing committees to make cuts in future years, for instance, reduce entitlement spending or find a way to raise revenue.

“These committees have not followed through on that in the past,” Sessions warned, “and the super committee’s directions to them, we have to know, are not likely to occur based on history around here.”

At times, Sessions cautioned, cuts to programs have been proposed that are “unrealistic” because they do not come along with the reform necessary to actually cut costs for that program. For instance, cuts to health care providers’ reimbursements are supposed to made each year, but that fact is consistently ignored, Sessions said.

Another possible gimmick would be to claim spending cuts based on assumptions that the CBO baseline will change in a way that is “unrealistic,” for instance, by being “overly optimistic” about future economic growth.

“More and more, we’re hearing that coming out of this recession is going to be a long, tough, slow slog,” Sessions said. To claim cuts based on an alternative vision, Sessions said, would be “phony accounting.”

Lastly, he warned of calling savings on interest, as a result of a debt lessened by tax increases, a spending cut, as no money would actually be saved — money would still be paid out, just less than the year before. (DC)

As if 1.5 Trillion over 10 years wasn’t a gimmick to begin with… Because it was.

Be Prepared to be GREECE-d.
But be comforted in the knowledge that when you are paying $400 hyper-inflated dollars for that loaf of bread and you can’t afford to drive your car, heat your home or watch “America’s Got Talent” because you can’t afford it…. it was  the other guy’s fault! :)

We Can’t Wait

“The President’s plan is to simply say ‘no’ to new energy production,” House Natural Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash, said to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a hearing pertaining to hydraulic fracturing. “It’s a plan that is sending American jobs overseas, forfeiting new revenue, and denying access to American energy that would lessen our dependence on hostile Middle Eastern oil.”

But it make environmentalist wackos happy and brings us more Solyndras. That can’t be bad, can it?

President Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a mineral lease auction for Wayne National Forest (WNF). The move was taken in deference to environmentalists, on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing.

“Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed,” announced WNF Supervisor Anne Carey on Tuesday. “The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.” The study will take up to six months to complete. The WNF study reportedly “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land,” despite the significance of hydraulic fracturing to united proponents of the delay, “and not how it could affect groundwater.” …

The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) recently estimated that drilling in the Utica shale, which is affected by the suspension of the mineral lease auctions, would produce up 204,500 jobs by 2015.

And what about the jobs and the energy from Canada that the President refused earlier in the month, The Keystone Pipeline?

Keystone XL also has been challenged by lawmakers and activists in Nebraska who say the pipeline might break and spill oil into the Ogallala aquifer, a major source of water for Nebraska ranchers. This is not impossible, but after the world’s many years of experience with operating oil pipelines, it’s a bit like refusing to allow airplanes to fly over Nebraska for fear they might crash. (Barrons)

But the most nakedly political part of it is, they just delayed it until after the 2012 election, like most decision today. Because no one wants to confront them during a campaign. And a campaign is all we have now.

On Nov. 12, the White House and the State Department decided to give the pipeline route more study, at least until after the election in November, 2012. “This was not a political decision,” said an assistant secretary of state who must have practiced in front of a mirror to keep a straight face.

Political or not, final or not, investors and consumers should hope that the Keystone XL non-decision will not much hamper the development of the Alberta oil resource. Petroleum can be shipped to the U.S. by truck or train, and the capacity of existing pipelines can be increased, all without a pass from the State Department or the president.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, offered another possibility. He said that his government will work with pipeline companies to ship more Alberta oil to the Pacific coast for export to Asia. Harper observed, however, that the Keystone XL pipeline or something like it will eventually go through “because it makes eminent sense.”

But as the U.S. government has shown, making sense doesn’t have the same priority as political survival.

Charles Krauthammer: In 2008, the slogan was “Yes We Can.” For 2011-12, it’s “We Can’t Wait.” What happened in between? Candidate Obama, the vessel into which myriad dreams were poured, met the reality of governance.

His near-$1 trillion stimulus begat a stagnant economy with 9 percent unemployment. His attempt at Wall Street reform left in place a still too-big-to-fail financial system as vulnerable today as when he came into office. His green energy fantasies yielded Solyndra cronyism and a cap-and-trade regime not even a Democratic Congress would pass.

And now his signature achievement, Obamacare, is headed to the Supreme Court, where it could very well be struck down, just a week after its central element was overwhelmingly repudiated (2-1) by the good burghers of Ohio.

So what do you do when you say you can, but, it turns out, you can’t? Blame the other guy. Charge the Republicans with making governing impossible. Never mind that you had control of the Congress for two-thirds of your current tenure. It’s all the fault of Republican rejectionism.

Hence: “We Can’t Wait.” We can’t wait while they obstruct. We can’t wait while they dither with my jobs bill. Write Congress today! Vote Democratic tomorrow!

We can’t wait. Except for certain exceptions, such as the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline, carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence.

For that, we can wait, it seems. President Obama decreed that any decision must wait 12 to 18 months — postponed, by amazing coincidence, until after next year’s election.

Why? Because the pipeline angered Obama’s environmental constituency. But their complaints are risible. Global warming from the extraction of the Alberta tar sands? Canada will extract the oil anyway. If it doesn’t go to us, it will go to China. Net effect on the climate if we don’t take that oil? Zero.

Danger to a major aquifer, which the pipeline traverses? It is already crisscrossed by 25,000 miles of pipeline, enough to circle the Earth. Moreover, the State Department had subjected Keystone to three years of review — the most exhaustive study of any oil pipeline in U.S. history — and twice concluded in voluminous studies that there would be no significant environmental harm.

So what happened? “The administration,” reported The New York Times, “had in recent days been exploring ways to put off the decision until after the presidential election.” Exploring ways to improve the project? Hardly. Exploring ways to get past the election.

Obama’s decision was meant to appease his environmentalists. It’s already working. The president of the National Wildlife Federation told The Washington Post (online edition, Nov. 10) that thousands of environmentalists who were galvanized to protest the pipeline would now support Obama in 2012. Moreover, a source told the Post, Obama campaign officials had concluded that “they do not pick up one vote from approving this project.”

Sure, the pipeline would have produced thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs. Sure, delay could forfeit to China a supremely important strategic asset — a nearby, highly reliable source of energy. But approval was calculated to be a political loss for the president. Easy choice.

It’s hard to think of a more clear-cut case of putting politics over nation. This from a president whose central campaign theme is that Republicans put party over nation, sacrificing country to crass political ends.

Nor is this the first time Obama’s election calendar trumped the national interest:

• Obama’s decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is militarily inexplicable. It comes during the fighting season. It was recommended by none of his own military commanders. It is explicable only as a talking point for the final days of his re-election campaign.

• At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to veto any agreement that was not long term. Definition of long term? By another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).

• Tuesday it was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned Oct. 28 announcement of layoffs until Nov. 3 — the day after the midterm election.

A contemporaneous email from a Solyndra investor noted: “Oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date.” The writer was clearly born yesterday. The American voter was not — and (s)he soon gets to decide who really puts party over nation and re-election above all.

We can’t wait.

Additionally: “Well, no one is asking him to go out there and asking him to be a jingoistic cheerleader. But when you call your own country ‘lazy’ when you are abroad and you call it unambitious and soft when you’re home, I think what you are showing is not tough love, but ill-concealed contempt,” Krauthammer said on FOX News’ “Special Report.”

“Obama is ready to blame everybody except himself for the lousy economy. And the lack of investment. Look, why are people reluctant to invest? We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, in the industrialized world. Obama has spoken about it. It’s the one issue on which the Republicans would have agreed on lowering that rate, eliminating loopholes. In three years in office, he’s done nothing. He has an NLRB trying to shut down a $1 billion plant Boeing has constructed, as a favor to Obama’s union allies. People look abroad and say this isn’t a place I want to do business. Its his issues, his over-regulation over taxation and all the red tape he has added. And now he blames Americans’ laziness. I think it’s unseemly.”

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1283879431001/obama-putting-his-campaign-ahead-of-his-job-part-1

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1283879437001/obama-putting-his-campaign-ahead-of-his-job–part-2/?playlist_id=87937&intcmp=obinsite

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Dana Summers

 Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

More is Better

https://i2.wp.com/www.lucianne.com/images/lucianne/DailyPhoto/2011-11-18-LEFVI.jpg

Obama’s Spending Addiction

By Victor Davis Hanson

President Obama does not care much about deficits — other than worrying that big debt might matter in his re-election campaign.

In his first three budgets, Obama borrowed nearly $5 trillion. Currently, the government is borrowing about 45 percent of everything that it spends. Obama’s projected 10-year plan would add nearly $10 trillion to existing U.S. debt. This spring he proposed the largest annual deficit in U.S. peacetime history, which is why his $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 was rejected in the Senate by a 97-0 vote.

In other words, under Obama, the government during the last three years has borrowed on average about $4 billion each day. That staggering sum is far in excess of the $1.6 billion per day during the eight-year tenure of George W. Bush, who until Obama’s presidency had borrowed more than any peacetime president.

Apparently in Obama’s worldview there are advantages to deficits that explain his fondness for unprecedented borrowing. In Keynesian terms, massive government red ink is supposed to foster economic prosperity by creating goods and services that a purportedly less efficient private sector cannot.

The administration certainly has added an additional 100,000 federal jobs and expanded food stamps to nearly 50 million recipients — and in the process enlarged the pool of potentially grateful constituents. This belief in the superior wisdom of the state explains why almost all the Cabinet secretaries in the Obama administration came out of state or federal government, not from private enterprise.

Massive deficits not only empower more federal hiring and entitlements, but at some point lead to higher taxes. This gorge-the-beast notion is the flip-side of the Reagan-era idea of “starving the beast” of big government by cutting federal revenue through reduced tax rates

Higher taxes to Obama are not necessarily bad if they serve to redistribute income from the affluent to the less well off — a sort of “spread the wealth” government way of addressing the supposedly inherent unfairness of private-sector compensation.

So why, then, has Obama suddenly turned to deficit reduction?

In a word, politics: The downside of massive borrowing finally outweighed the upside of bigger government. The Tea Party-inspired midterm election brought Republicans to power in the House of Representatives and scared congressional Democrats silly. That’s why Democrats in the Senate voted unanimously to reject Obama’s record-deficit 2012 budget — the sort of intervention that is the fiscal equivalent of a concerned family forcing a binging relative into rehab.

That political anxiety explains why suddenly Obama is now referencing his long-neglected Bowles-Simpson commission on fiscal responsibility and reform — as if the former public relations move is suddenly welcome proof of the president’s long-held fiscal sobriety and sincerity.

The mega-borrowing also did not lead to the robust economic recovery of the cyclical sort that usually follows a steep recession. Unemployment is still at 9.2 percent. GDP remains anemic. Energy prices are still sky-high. The housing market continues to be depressed. Consumer and business confidence is flat.

Finally, it is almost impossible to find any major economist who still argues for greater deficits. Those who once advocated printing our way out of the doldrums — Austan Goolsbee, Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, and Larry Summers — have all left the administration, or intend to, about midway through its first term. They seem more likely to assign the administration’s 2009-2011 economic record to others than claim it proudly as their own.

Note that there is no current example that might suggest big deficit spending leads to national prosperity. The unsustainable debts of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have nearly wrecked the European Union. Most consider a fiscally prudent Texas or Utah to be a better job creator than debt-ridden blue states such as California, Illinois and New York. Scholars who analyzed the 2008 financial meltdown see its origins not just in Wall Street greed, but also in massive government intervention into the subprime mortgage markets and in misdirected federal efforts to ensure capital for bankers to lend to unqualified buyers.

So opposition to the president’s budget proposals amounts to more than just a know-nothing rant about no taxes, period. The unease reflects genuine puzzlement — and, yes, anger — over a president addicted to debt, who suddenly wants to preach to others about their responsibility to pay back what he once so zealously advocated that we should borrow.

In short, those in recovery rarely make good puritans.

And there is no more addicted to spending than Liberals.

But at least it’s Bush’s Fault! The Republicans! The Tea Party! The Rich! Corporate America! CEO’s! Wall Street!

More Cronyism & Debt

It’s no secret that many members of the U.S. House and Senate are millionaires — 47 percent of them — their salaries paid in part by the American taxpayers.

The Center for Responsive Politics has crunched the numbers and released the results on its Open Secrets blog:

About 47 percent of Congress , or 249 current members are millionaires. … In 2010, the estimated median net worth of a current U.S. senator stood at an average of $2.56 million,” according to the Center’s research.

The vast majority of members of Congress are quite comfortable, financially, while many of their own constituents suffer from economic hardships,” said Sheila Krumholz at the Center For Responsive Politics.Few Americans enjoy the same financial cushions maintained by most members of Congress — or the same access to market-altering information that could yield personal, financial gains.”

Like Insider Trading, IPO shares, and Non-Public Data Mining…

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the federal debt has climbed to a record $15 trillion — a staggering figure that caps a precipitous decade-long rise.

The exact total stood at $15,033,607,255,920.32 as of the end of business Tuesday, marking a jump of $56 billion over Monday’s tally. All told, federal debt has risen $4.407 trillion since President Obama took office.

Mr. Obama is averaging a debt increase of more than $1.5 trillion a year during his term in office, compared with an average of $612.4 billion for Mr. Bush and $192.5 billion a year under President Clinton.

The New Ceiling they will ignore: $15.194 trillion. At their current rate they will hit the ceiling in 65 days. (The super committee is a joke and will just postpone it slightly so expect another nashing of teeth and caving of Republicans in 2012).

But that’s Bush’s/Republicans/Tea Partiers Fault, we all know that! Just ask a Liberal. 🙂

Democrats were silent on the $15 trillion debt milepost, though on the broader issue of deficits they say the economy is so weak that it needs more spending in the short term.

SPEND EVEN MORE! 15 Trillion is not enough!!

In the longer term, they argue, government cannot be cut down to the size it was for most of the post-World War II era, and instead must raise taxes to pay for all of its promises such as Social Security and Medicare while funding defense, education, food stamps and other basic domestic needs.

Tax & Spend!!! What a Surprise from Liberal DemocratS!! 🙂

—MORE CRONYISM

President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee-turned Department of Energy official.

It’s just one more in a string of eye-opening revelations by investigative journalist and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer in his explosive new book, Throw Them All Out.

The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. However, one clue might be found in the person of Sanjay Wagle.

Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.

From an objective vantage point, investing taxpayer monies in BrightSource was a risky proposition at the time. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, was up to its eyes in $1.8 billion of debt obligations and had lost $71.6 million on its paltry $13.5 million of revenue.

Even before BrightSource rattled its tin cup in front of Obama’s DOE, the company made it known publicly that its survival hinged on successfully completing the Ivanpah Solar Electrical System, which would become the largest solar plant in the world, on federal lands in California.

In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, BrightSource further underscored the risky nature of the Ivanpah venture and, more broadly, the company’s viability:

Our future success depends on our ability to construct Ivanpah, our first utility-scale solar thermal power project, in a cost-effective and timely manner… Our ability to complete Ivanpah and the planning, development and construction of all three phases are subject to significant risk and uncertainty.

Ironically, in 2008, Kennedy wrote a CNN article praising Obama as reminiscent of his famous father and uncle.  The article, titled “Obama’s Energy Plan Would Create a Green Gold Rush,” proved prophetic. However, the “green gold rush” came in the form of $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money flowing into the pet projects of rich venture capital investors like Kennedy, not average citizens.

What’s more, BrightSource touted the Ivanpah project as a green jobs creator.  Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 jobs at its peak construction and 650 jobs annually thereafter. Even using the peak estimate of 1,400 jobs, that works out to a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created.

As Schweizer writes in Throw Them All Out, “A billion dollars in taxpayer money being sent to wealthy investors to bail them out of risky investments—does this sound familiar to anyone?” (Wynton Hall)

#2

With Energy Secretary Steven Chu set to testify Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the government’s $573 million loan to failed solar panel maker Solyndra, an explosive new list of energy loan amounts to President Obama’s top fundraisers, bundlers, and supporters has been released by Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer, author of Throw Them All Out.

As the list reveals, 80 percent of all $20.5 billion in Department of Energy loans went to President Obama’s top donors. Furthermore, some of those dwarf in size those given to Obama bundler George Kaiser, owner of the now defunct Solyndra.

The list—which features the likes of Google owners Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ted Turner, John Doerr, and Al Gore—raises new questions about the procedures used to administer the now-controversial DOE loans.

Obama Bundlers_ Large Donors_ and Supporters fixed pdf

Schweizer’s list stands in sharp contrast to President Obama’s promise that the allocation of all federal “stimulus” monies would be nonpartisan and fair: “Let me repeat that: Decisions about how Recovery money will be spent will be based on the merits. They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists,” Obama said in 2009.

But as Schweizer’s charges in his book, Throw Them All Out, the Obama Administration may be guilty of “the greatest—and most expensive—example of crony capitalism in American history.”

PLEASE DON”T TELL OBAMA WHAT COMES AFTER A TRILLION! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

The Ruling Elite Exposed

One of the biggest scandals in American politics is waiting to explode: the full story of the inside game in Washington shows how the permanent political class enriches itself at the expense of the rest of us. Insider trading is illegal on Wall Street, yet it is routine among members of Congress. Normal individuals cannot get in on IPOs at the asking price, but politicians do so routinely. The Obama administration has been able to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to its supporters, ensuring yet more campaign donations. An entire class of investors now makes all of its profits based on influence and access in Washington. Peter Schweizer has doggedly researched through mountains of financial records, tracking complicated deals and stock trades back to the timing of briefings, votes on bills, and every other point of leverage for politicians in Washington. The result is a manifesto for revolution: the Permanent Political Class must go.
For the Palin Deranged, let it be known he has worked for her and shares her ideas so you may want to consult your Thought Police Manual before continuing…Thank you.
Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson
The Point is not that it’s the Democrats or The Republicans doing it, it’s both!
The fact is NEITHER of them should be doing it is the point!
Martha Stewart went to Jail for “insider trading”.
Congress does it as matter of course. It’s a normal part of the day. Nothing special.
Perfectly Legal. They wrote the laws that say so! 🙂
They get opportunities that would send us normal people to jail, they can do it with abandon.
It turns out that it is not illegal for member of Congress to make stock trades using inside information they learn while working on legislation.
So they can use, say, the passing of Health Care Laws to buy and selling stocks that would be effected by it to enrich themselves.
Or an earmark for a major road to be built conveniently near property you just bought.
They could get out of the Stock Market before it crashed in 2008.
You could buy IPOs not available to normal people (Nancy Pelosi).
Conflict of Interest is not illegal for Congress. Everyone else, yes, Congress, No.
Political Intelligence groups data mine and gather the non-public info in Congress and sell it to Wall Street so they can all make money.
Yes, that evil Wall Street that is so “evil” and so is the subject of so much hypocritical demonizing.
Thus you may surmise that a political opposition to Big Brother Obama was psychologically necessary in order to provide an internal enemy posing a threat to the rule of the Party; the constantly reiterated ritual of the Two Minutes Hate help ensure that popular support for and devotion towards Big Brother is continuous.
So it’s Orwell’s  Hate Week is an event in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, designed to increase the hatred for the current enemy of the Party, as much as possible but now they have 24/7/365 newscasts and cable channels along with newspapers to keep it going ad infinitum!
But again, it’s Both Republicans and Democrats.
The Democrats tell the masses to hate Wall Street, but they are using Wall Street to get rich.
Rich people are evil.
Then they use info that would be a normal person a prison sentence to get rich.
They are the Political and Economic Elite.
They are in fact, the very thing they are saying is evil and that the class warfare is supposed to be about but they have re-directed it.
Class Warfare is a fraud. It’s a Diversion. It’s an Orwellian Hate ploy.
Fascinating. Disgusting. And perfectly Legal, for them.
One set of rules for the Ruling Elite. One set of rules for the peasants.
Is that Democracy?
No.
This is both Republicans and Democrats!
By the way: Mr. Warren “tax me more” ‘Darling of the Left’ Buffet is one of the major influences. Aw shucks…
One of the most damaging things reported by Schweizer is how Warren Buffett profited with millions from the government bailout programs he helped design. Wynton Hall, writing in Big Government says: In the wake of the $700 billion TARP bailout, Warren Buffett apparently shaped a plan to clean up toxic assets that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner later adopted–resulting in massive profits for Buffett.
Buffett proposed something he called a “public-private partnership fund.” For every $10 billion the private sector invested, Buffett said the government should put up $40 billion.
As the political debates surrounding the proposed $700 billion TARP bailout bill heated up, Buffett maintained an appearance of naivete, an “aw shucks” shtick that deferred to the judgment of politicians.  “I’m not brave enough to try to influence the Congress,” Buffett told the New York Times.
During the meeting, Buffett strongly urged Democratic members to pass the $700 billion TARP bill to avert what he warned would otherwise be “the biggest financial meltdown in American history.”
That soundbite sound familiar? 🙂
After Paulson’s exit, incoming Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner tweaked the plan and rolled it out in March 2009. But according to quarterly reports from Buffett’s holdings company, Berkshire Hathaway, between the time the billionaire crafted his plan and Geithner adopted it, Buffett quietly purchased 12.4 million shares of Wells Fargo stock and 1.5 million shares of U.S. Bancorp. Once the government unveiled its “Public-Private Investment Program,” bank stocks jumped, resulting in large profits for Buffett.
In September of 2008, Buffett invested $5 billion in the over-leveraged investment house of Goldman Sachs, having obtained impressive terms: Berkshire Hathaway would receive preferred stock with a 10% dividend yield, and the option to buy another $5 billion at $115 a share.
Buffett had a strong financial interest in the bailout’s passage, says Schweizer. “If the bailout went through, it would be a windfall for Goldman. If it failed, it would be disastrous for Berkshire Hathaway.”

Yet Buffett had little reason to worry; his insider political connections afforded him two guarantees. First, many members of Congress were themselves investing heavily in Berkshire Hathaway throughout the bailout talks–a move that may simply have been a good investment in an unsteady time, or else a shrewd exploitation of unique information. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), for example, snatched up $130,000 worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) also bought shares in Berkshire Hathaway, as did Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who purchased half a million dollars’ worth just days after the Wall Street bailout bill was signed.  Second, Buffett knew he had an ally in the surging Barack Obama. Buffett had backed Obama in 2008. And as Obama has himself conceded, “Warren Buffett is one of those people that I listen to.”

When the TARP bailout passed, Berkshire Hathaway firms received a staggering $95 billion in bailout cash from U.S. taxpayers. In total, TARP-assisted companies made up almost a third (30%) of Buffett’s entire publicly disclosed stock portfolio. The payoff:  by July 2009, Buffett’s Goldman bet and his congressional jawboning had yielded profits as high as $3.7 billion.

Incredibly, in a breathtaking public relations move, Buffett publicly complained that the government bailouts had put his company at a disadvantage,  because funders “who are using imaginative methods (or lobbying skills) to come under the government’s umbrella–have money costs that are minimal.”  Rolfe Winkler of Reuters best captured Buffet’s audacity: “It takes chutzpah to lobby for bailouts, make trades seeking to profit from them, and then complain that those doing so put you at a disadvantage.”

Still, despite Buffett’s apparent, and brazen, display of crony capitalism and political manipulation to produce billions in profits, Schweizer says that the most egregious part is that his behavior appears to have been entirely legal. Buffett merely leveraged his unique and powerful political connections to turn taxpayer money into massive private profits.

Now, with the 2012 presidential election right around the corner, Buffett plans to back President Obama again. In August 2011, the two men vacationed together in the plush surroundings of Martha’s Vineyard. Shortly thereafter, Buffett hosted an Obama fundraiser in New York City where contributors spent $35,800 for VIP tickets and the chance to discuss the economy with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO.

If Buffett’s political track record is any indication, his time spent alongside President Obama was an investment intended to yield a high rate of return–at taxpayers’ expense. (Big Government.com)

Aw shucks, Tax me More Warren is part of the disease, what a shock. And of Course, Obama has his ‘full support’ $$$$

In January, Obama specifically said, “But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

We were told to change our rhetoric, to have a new “tone” of civility free of violent references.

Fast forward to now, and Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden, is telling unions they “fired the first shot” at a campaign events.

“Folks, you fired the first shot. It’s not about Barack Obama. It’s not about Joe Biden. It’s about whether middle-class people are going to be put back in the saddle again – because you are the people who make this country move,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Ohio today.

Thanks for leading by example, Biden.

But then again, The Unions are the Brownshirts, the army of this Adminstration and as has been chronicled in this blog many times, the incestuous $$ partners of Democrats.

So the Circle of Sleeze continues. But don’t worry, it’s <fill in the blank>’s Fault! 🙂

Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain…

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

The Media Machine

More words of wisdom from Ms. Food Police Herself, Michelle Obama:

American children need to “get their palates adjusted” so they will begin eating properly.

And she’s just the Government Mommy to do it!

Mrs. Obama also said that children in “underserved communities” become obese because they “aren’t growing up with vegetables because there are no grocery stores.”

Has this hit the stupidly condescending level yet?

First Lady Michelle Obama said that “arugula and steak” was her “favorite” meal.

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Four years ago, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows celebrated the “rock star” Democrats running to replace George W. Bush, and no candidate set journalists’ pulses racing faster than Barack Obama. Now, after three years of high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits and an onerous new health care law, how are those newscasts covering Obama’s re-election campaign and the candidates vying to replace him?

To find out, Media Research Center analysts examined all 723 campaign segments which aired on the three broadcast network weekday morning programs from January 1 to October 31, 2011, using the same methodology we employed to study campaign coverage on those same programs for the same time period in 2007.

Four years ago, the network coverage promoted the Democratic candidates and cast their strong liberal views as mainstream. This year, our study finds the networks are disparaging the Republican candidates and casting them as ideological extremists:
Labeling:

– This year, network reporters have employed 49 “conservative” labels to describe the Republican candidates, compared with only one “liberal” label for President Obama.

– Four years ago, when Obama was a relatively unknown candidate, the morning shows also provided just a single “liberal” label to describe his ideology, and never once labeled Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or the other Democrats as “liberal.”   
Agenda:

– By a 4-to-1 margin, ABC, CBS and NBC morning show hosts have employed an adversarial liberal agenda when questioning this year’s Republican candidates. But those same hosts’ questions for President Obama leaned in his direction, with mostly liberal-themed questions.

And the Republicans do themselves no favors having liberals like these “journalists” moderating their debates so they can throw “gotcha” questions and condescending lobs.

– Four years ago, questions for the Democratic candidates tilted by more than two-to-one to the left, a friendly agenda.

Tone:

– In 2007, Democratic candidates were regularly tossed softball questions. This year’s interviews with Republicans have been much more caustic, with few chances for the candidates to project a warm and fuzzy image.

– Despite the poor economy and low approval ratings, the morning shows continue to treat Barack Obama as more of a celebrity than a politician, airing positive feature stories about the President and his family — a gift not bestowed on the conservative Republican candidates.

During the 2008 campaign, the network morning shows acted as cheerleaders for the Democratic field. This time around, they are providing far more hostile coverage of the various Republicans who are running, while treating Obama’s re-election campaign to the same personality-driven coverage that was so helpful to the then-Illinois Senator four years ago.

If the real decisions in our democracy are to be in the hands of voters, then the news media owe viewers a fair and unbiased look at the candidates in both parties. That means asking the candidates questions that reflect the concerns of both sides — liberals and conservatives alike. And the syrupy coverage awarded year after year to the Democrats’ celebrity candidates in no way matches the pretense of journalists holding both sides equally accountable, without fear or favor.

As might be expected, given the lack of a contest for the Democratic nomination, most of the segments were about the Republican nomination process. Yet of the approximately 60 percent of items that mainly focused on just one candidate, there were more than three times as many segments about President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign (129) than about any individual Republican candidates. (This tally only includes stories that discuss Obama as a candidate, excluding items that dealt with him strictly as President.)

Bill Maher: “You’ve got to feel very bad for Mitt Romney,” Maher observed. “I mean, he has been led so far by Trump, then Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain.” “He hangs in there!” exclaimed Stephanopoulos. “He’s everyone’s second choice.” “I’m rooting for him. Look, because in a country with two political parties, the Republican can always win. I mean — at least he eats with a knife and fork! I mean — he is all that stands between us and the rise of the apes.

Republicans are apes. 🙂

“He’s today the political equivalent of a rock star,” then-CBS correspondent Gloria Borger trumpeted on the January 17, 2007 Early Show. The next day, NBC’s Matt Lauer agreed: “He’s got rock star buzz around him.”

On Oct 31st the Herman Cain “scandal” broke so Herman has gotten much more talk, all of it bad. The piling on has been non-stop.

Hitting Republicans With a Liberal Agenda: As might be expected, most of the questions posed to the Republican candidates had to do with campaign strategy and personal controversies. But our analysts counted 104 “ideological questions” — policy-based questions that incorporated either a liberal or conservative premise.

    Of those, the vast majority (85, or 82%) reflected a liberal policy agenda, vs. just 19 (18%) that highlighted the concerns of conservative voters. Thus, instead of functioning as a surrogate for the Republican rank-and-file voter who probably won’t get a chance to question a candidate, TV journalists used their time with the candidates to push a standard liberal agenda.
    A central policy issue for many of these interviews was the economy and the growing national debt, and network hosts consistently pressed the candidates for their reluctance to agree on the need for a tax increase. On the April 13 Today, for example, co-host Matt Lauer hit Bachmann: “Is raising taxes on the table?” before employing liberal rhetoric: “Why shouldn’t the burden be equally shared? Why shouldn’t we put some of that burden on the wealthy and corporations?”

  And in September, Hill hit Newt Gingrich for backing the Tea Party: “There’s a feeling by some folks that this very small group of people is starting to control the conversation. Do there need to be more voices at the table, in general, at this point?”

    A month later, she went after the ex-Speaker again, this time for criticizing the left-wing “Occupy Wall Street” protests: “You have had some pretty outspoken words, though, for the folks behind Occupy Wall Street, that you don’t think this is a great move, that you don’t really see what their point is. Yet, a number of Americans say they’re behind it.”

They are earnestly Liberal aren’t they. 🙂

So next time you hear that the Liberal media isn’t biased, you can laugh cynically just like I do.

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

 

Oikophobia

Brilliant!

“assault on ‘bourgeois’ society result[ing] in an ‘anti-culture’ that took direct aim at holy and sacred things, condemning and repudiating them as oppressive and power-ridden.”

Meanwhile, they are oppressive and power-ridden. Just look at the expansion of government since the beginning of Political Correctness and especially the Left that is obsessed with government control of everyone and everything because you are too incompetent to do it yourself.

So they have to do it for you.

President Barack Obama said America has “been a bit lazy” over the past few decades at attracting international business (his anti-business attitude and the highest corporate taxes in the world have nothing to do with it!).

But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” he said at CEO summit at the APEC meeting in Hawaii. “We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.” -President Obama this weekend

It’s not the first time the president has accused Americans of being lazy.

– In October, he told donors in San Francisco that “we’ve lost our ambition, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.” That story was reported by Bloomberg.

– In a September USA Today article, Obama said, “This is a great, great country that has gotten a little soft and we didn’t have the same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.”

So his policies having failed is your fault! You Lazy SOB…

And if you don’t like it, you’re an angry white racist domestic terrorist and a crazy loon who just wants to coddle rich people!! 🙂

What accounts for this madness? Charles Krauthammer notes a pattern:

Promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Krauthammer portrays this as a cynical game: “Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. . . . What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.” (WSJ)

But who is greedier? The person who earns his wealth and protects it or the person who demands that YOU give them your wealth because THEY deserve it and you “don’t need it”?

And guess what, The Radical Muslims the Left coddles are back:

Preacher Anjem Choudary claimed the festival was the ‘pathway to hell’ and urged his followers to boycott it.

‘In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in Western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas,’ he raged in a sermon broadcast on the internet.

‘Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners.

‘Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah.

‘Many still practise this corrupt celebration as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus.

‘How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring?

‘The very concept of Christmas contradicts and conflicts with the foundation of Islam.

‘Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire.

‘Protect your Paradise from being taken away – protect yourself and your family from Christmas.’ Sounds pretty tolerant to me. (Katie Pavlich)

Islamophobia!!! 🙂

Object to his views: You evil bigot! 🙂

“prepare them to better handle freedom,” would “practically enslave . . . the Negro, and make . . . the [Emancipation] Proclamation of 1863 a mockery and delusion. What is freedom? It is the right to choose one’s own employment. Certainly it means that, if it means anything; and when any[one] undertakes to decide for any man when he shall work, where he shall work, at what he shall work, and for what he shall work, he or they practically reduce him to slavery.”– Fredrick Douglass, 1865.

For the progressives (aka Liberals), in contrast, government’s obligation to promote the fullest possible growth of all trumps whatever right anyone might think he has to make decisions for himself — to exercise, that is, freedom in the Founders’ sense. (NRO)

So you’re lazy, have no right to decide anything for yourself, and are a racist if you disagree.

Fascinating… 🙂

 

Let The Cronies March In…

More Crony Favoritism By Obama:

Another Millionaire (1%er) and “evil” profit-monger has gotten a contract to produce something that is not needed, except by his companies profits and Obama Campaign War Chest.

If you’re going to kick back to Obama, you’re always an approved business. Ain’t that right, comrade? 🙂

$443 Million dollars this time.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor. (he was 52nd in the world in 2010 according to Forbes)

More like the .01%!! 🙂

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a “sole-source” procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government’s specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.

If there were an attack, the government could draw on $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine it already owns to inoculate the entire U.S. population and quickly treat people exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which costs the government $3 per dose, can reliably prevent death when given within four days of exposure.

Siga’s drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.

The government’s pursuit of Siga’s product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?

No. But party politics, cronyism, and Obama’s Re-Coronation War Chest are more important than any force on Earth anyhow, aren’t they?

As much as Obama can funnel to his “friends” and they can funnel back to him. The “rich” and Corporate CEO’s are only evil and worth demogogueing if they aren’t in the Obama Inner Circle.

You have to look after your “rich” apparatchiks while demonizing the “rich” overall for your class warfare strategy. Making two sides so you can play both of them.

“We’ve got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use — how much more do we need?” said Dr. Donald A. “D.A.” Henderson, the epidemiologist who led the global eradication of smallpox for the World Health Organization and later helped organize U.S. biodefense efforts under President George W. Bush. “The bottom line is, we’ve got a limited amount of money.”

SINCE WHEN HAS THAT EVER STOPPED OUR DEAR LEADER?  NEVER!

Dr. Thomas M. Mack, an epidemiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus. He called the plan to stockpile Siga’s drug “a waste of time and a waste of money.”

But smallpox isn’t the purpose. Kickbacks to donors and kickbacks to his campaign coffers is. Besides, it’s taxpayer money, it’s free and it easy!

Besides, we can always blame it on someone else!! 🙂

The Obama administration official who has overseen the buying of Siga’s drug says she is trying to strengthen the nation’s preparedness. Dr. Nicole Lurie, a presidential appointee who heads biodefense planning at Health and Human Services, cited a 2004 finding by the Bush administration that there was a “material threat” smallpox could be used as a biological weapon.
See, when it fails or makes them look bad, IT WAS BUSH’s IDEA! So it’s his Fault!! 🙂

A Liberal just can’t go wrong on anything, no matter what it is, when they can blame Bush for it! 🙂
Smallpox is one of 12 pathogens for which such determinations have been made.

“I don’t put probabilities around anything in terms of imminent or not,” said Lurie, a physician whose experience in public health includes government service and work with the Rand Corp. “Because what I can tell you is, in the two-plus years I’ve been in this job, it’s the unexpected that always happens.”

Negotiations over the price of the drug and Siga’s profit margin were contentious.

I thought profit was evil and unfair. Don’t let the Occupiers know… 🙂

In an internal memo in March, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, chief medical officer for HHS’ biodefense preparedness unit, said Siga’s projected profit at that point was 180%, which he called “outrageous.”

In an email earlier the same day, a department colleague told Hatchett that no government contracting officer “would sign a 3 digit profit percentage.”

In April, after Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, complained in writing about the department’s “approach to profit,” Lurie assured him that the “most senior procurement official” would be taking over the negotiations.

“I trust this will be satisfactory to you,” Lurie wrote Rose in a letter.

Profit is good when it benefits Socialist Politicians. Profit is bad when it benefits Socialist Politicians.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.

And is there anyone better at it than Obama and his apparatchiks? 🙂

National Debt today: 14.986 Trillion. 🙂

The Green Menace

Obama, The Job Killer…..Again!

“Only days after we learned that at least 9 percent of Americans were unemployed for the 30th straight month, the president has made a decision that will only prolong this suffering,” <Republican Candidate Newt> Gingrich said in a statement.

The Obama administration’s decision to delay a controversial oil pipeline was cast by critics as a political ploy to placate environmentalists ahead of the 2012 election. 

But if that’s the strategy, it could backfire. 

While the decision pleased environmentalists who had earlier suggested they might withhold support for President Obama over the project, it did not please the labor unions who were banking on the estimated 20,000 jobs tied to the pipeline.  (Not counting any ancillory jobs i’m sure because they wouldn’t be union)

And in a jobs election, the support of unions and business interests is arguably more critical than that of the green base. 

But I’m betting, he’s betting that since the Unions are already incestuously in bed with him anyhow they will still vote for him regardless because the alternative, a Republican, is like a vampire voting to have Buffy The Vampire Slayer as President. It ain’t going to happen.

They’ll bitch and moan, he’ll buy them off with some other “stimulus” or some other pork. But he keeps his greenie-weenie loonies from bolting on him.

Republican strategist Brad Blakeman said he was puzzled by the decision on the pipeline project — diplomatically, politically and economically. 

“The reasons not to do it are far outweighed by the reasons to do it,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to punt it until after the election, when you could have a victory on numerous levels today.” 

But that’s Obama. And you know it’s all politics. And it’s all about him!

“The administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs — job-killers win, American workers lose,” Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said in a written statement. 

The incestuous couple is having a spat. Obama will just have to buy them an even bigger “make-up” gift- at someone else’s expense, of course.

“By punting on this project, the president has made clear that campaign politics are driving U.S. policy decisions — at the expense of American jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner said. 

The Chamber of Commerce chimed in with a similar lament. 

Administration officials, though, deny politics was in any way at play. 

“This is not a political decision. We have been … out there as listening to what the public has to say,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, an environmental official in the State Department. 

Everything Obama and the Liberals do is political. The fact that they had a flunky deny it means that’s precisely what they were doing.

The president and his team were in a tough spot with the Keystone XL pipeline. On one side, unions were clamoring for jobs. On the other, liberal activists warned of the health and environmental impact of the pipeline and were protesting in large numbers near the White House. 

Occupy Obama! 🙂 And boy did he cave in fast!

Maybe We the People should Occupy The White House! 🙂

In the end, the administration gave a nod to the latter. 

“We should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said, citing “health and safety “concerns, as well as environmental concerns. 

The very same platitude he’s been using.

May 2011: “safe and responsible” oil production. “We should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said, citing “health and safety “concerns, as well as environmental concerns. 

Sound familiar? This leopard never changes his spots. He just gets other (mostly in the media and his flunkies) to make you think he’s changed.

Pelosi also said that same day: The Democrats’ energy plan “eliminates breaks for Big Oil; encourages oil companies to drill on the public land they already control; increases safe oil production in Alaska and in the Gulf; and uses the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase the oil supply and combat gasoline price hikes from Wall Street speculation,” Pelosi said.

Was that Politics? 🙂 You Betcha!

A new environmental review would likely push off any decision until 2013, after next year’s elections.

This from the Calgary Herald: “If TransCanada cannot reasonably expect to have a commencement date of December 31, 2013, then the shippers are not bound to the original agreement.”
“The critical issue is what happens to the 445,000 barrels per day plus of shipper contracts in place, which are necessary for the project to proceed, said analyst Chad Friess, with UBS Research in a research note Friday. “With the delay, we expect most shippers will have the right to opt out of their contracts under various ‘sunset clauses’ and commit their volumes to other Gulf Coast projects.

“Other alternatives are being pursued to ensure market access over the medium term,” president David Collyer said. “Delaying Keystone XL

will motivate exploration of other markets for Canadian crude oil products,”

The sentiment was echoed by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who questioned the project’s survival if subjected to another lengthy regulatory review.

“It may mean that we may have to move quickly to ensure that we can export our oil to Asia through British Columbia,” Flaherty said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu.

Business will go elsewhere. The Anti-Business Only-Want-Politically-Correct-Business Obama strikes again!
So yet another thing is “off the table” until 2013. Anything Obama doesn’t want to deal with goes into 2013. Anything the Republicans don’t want to deal with him on, goes to 2013.
That’s going to be a very ugly year.
But don’t worry, no matter who wins, it will be the Republican’s Fault! 🙂
Remember, there are 2 countries involved in this one, but one 1 enormous Ego- Obama.
And you want 4 more years of this, don’t you?
Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

The Imperious Holder

It seems as though the Obama Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is getting a bit nervous the Supreme Court of the United States may rule in favor of Arizona over anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to stay out of a lawsuit involving Arizona’s immigration law, saying lower courts properly blocked tough provisions targeting illegal immigrants.

Gee, what is the “Chicago Way” with the Supreme Court??

The state law is a challenge to federal policy and is designed to establish Arizona’s own immigration policy, the department’s solicitor general said in a filing with the justices. Arizona says the law is an effort to cooperate with the federal government.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is seeking to overturn the judge’s decision and wants Supreme Court review of the case, arguing that the issues are of compelling, nationwide importance.

The Justice Department disagreed.

So they will sue Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and anyone else who dares to challenge them but there is no “nationwide” importance to 12 million illegal aliens running around the country unchecked and a porous border that the Justice Department and Homeland Security are ignoring.

And they don’t even want the Supreme Court to get in the way of them ignoring the law!

Chris Crane, president of the union that represents the nation’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, has provided the House Judiciary Committee [with] internal ICE emails [that] verbally ordered officers in the field not to arrest illegal aliens who did not have prior criminal convictions–even if they were fugitives evading deportation orders or were individuals who had illegally re-entered the United States after being deported and were thus committing a felony.

“Increasingly, ICE headquarters leadership refuses to put directives to supervisors, agents and officers in the field regarding law enforcement operations in writing… Orders and directives are given orally to prevent the activities of ICE’s leadership from becoming public,” Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council 118, testified. “Agents and officers in the field are frequently under orders not to arrest persons suspected of being in the United States illegally.

“That several states have recently adopted new laws in this important area is not a sufficient reason for this court to grant review” of the first appeals court decision affirming a judge’s preliminary ruling against part of one of those state laws, Justice told the high court.

The Justice Department, about 30 civil rights organizations and prominent church leaders are challenging Alabama’s law. Still standing there are provisions that allow police to check a person’s immigration status during traffic stops and make it a felony for illegal immigrants to conduct basic state business, like getting a driver’s license.

Last week, the federal government sued South Carolina in an effort to stop the state’s tough new immigration law. The South Carolina law requires that officers call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally following a traffic stop for something else.

We are the Department Justice and we are all powerful. Stay out of it!

More Fast & Furious Deception:

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Attorney General Holder was hammered on it this week. He was hammered for never having contact the family of slain Border Agent Brian Terry.

Politico, which is largely a liberal organization broke the Herman Cain con job and now they throwing up a snow job for Eric Holder.

Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder sent a “private letter” to the family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, apologizing for his death. But friends of the Terry family have told The Daily Caller that no such letter has made it to the Terry home.

“Eric Holder has told the grieving family of slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry that he is ‘sorry for the loss of your son’ and offered to meet with them,” reporter Tim Mak wrote.

Holder’s letter, Mak wrote, praised the fallen Border Patrol Agent: “Brian was a hero who served his nation bravely and made the ultimate sacrifice. I agree with you that the tactic of allowing guns to ‘walk,’ as was permitted in Operation Fast and Furious, is completely unacceptable.”

The Holder letter may exist, but Politico hasn’t published it. And friends of the Terry family told The Daily Caller on Thursday that they haven’t received it.

Either Holder never sent his “private letter,” or the Justice Department leaked it to Politico before the Terry family received it.

“He never sent a letter,” Lana Domino, a Terry family friend, told TheDC on Thursday.

“I talk to them daily,” Domino added. “They never received an apology. They never received a letter.”

The reports of such a letter come mere days after Holder refused to apologize to Terry’s family during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn gave Holder the opportunity to apologize to Terry’s family during the Tuesday hearing, but Holder refused to say sorry — and admitted he’s never spoken with the family or offered to meet with them.

Politico claims the letter was dated and sent on Wednesday — but Domino said no member of the family received such a letter on Wednesday or on Thursday. “If Holder claims he sent it yesterday [Wednesday], he didn’t overnight it,” Domino said in a phone interview.

Mak didn’t respond to TheDC’s request for comment about why Politico didn’t publish the letter he claims to have received.

Tell Lies repeatedly often enough and they can become truth. Blow enough smoke up people’s ass their brains choke on it.

Deception and Intimidation, it’s the “Chicago Way” 🙂

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

We’re Doomed.