Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Nightmare Presidency

This is a bad morning. I was greeted by a headline in the New York Times that said Defense Secretary “Chuck Mullet” Hagel was planning to submit a budget to Congress to cut the size of the military to a level not seen since 1940, before the U.S. entered World War II.
 
The article went on to say that the Pentagon realized that this would be an inadequate force for even very small wars and certainly would not allow the U.S. to police the world and keep control of contingencies like a North Korean attack on the South or a Chinese attack on Japan or an Iranian assault on Saudi Arabia or a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. 
 
The Defense Department officials further said that because U.S. forces would be stretched so thin, the U.S. could not win wars quickly and there would be more casualties in any future war.
 
So, in other words, the President (of course it’s not Hagel…he’s just a bobble head for Obama and his ultra-leftists) is deliberately disarming America to the point where he cannot guarantee his ability to defend the nation.
 
Now, my wife says this is just plain treason. I don’t know if she’s right because the Constitution has a fairly strict definition of treason. But it is surely the grossest kind of betrayal of country. This kind of action is the kind taken by a man who hates the country of which he is president. To knowingly lay bare the life of American fighting men to our enemies is something a lot like murder.
 
In a way, it stuns me. In a way, it horrifies me. 
 
But in another way, it does not surprise me at all. Mr. Obama has never liked America. He is a part of this ultra-left cabal, especially powerful among certain socio-economic segments in Chicago who also like Minister Farrakhan, that just loathes America for its racist past. Never mind that he had benefited fantastically in his life by having an African father. Never mind that he has gotten every possible kind of preferment on racial bases. He still is part of that little knot who do not love this country. And now he’s in a position to do something about it.
 
It’s exactly like what Phil DeMuth said about him after he was elected the first time in 2008. “All that counts now,” said Phil, a highly credentialed psychologist, “is Obama’s unconscious feelings about America.” All you have to do is read Dreams From My Father to know that Mr. Obama is not a fan.
 
So, now we have explicit unilateral disarmament. Next will come nuclear disarmament and then a world basically ruled by Iran, Russia, and China. We’ll be little mice hiding underneath the bed.
 
Frankly, there is plenty of blame to go around. The GOP theories about cutting taxes to raise more revenue were always claptrap. They have resulted in desperately unfortunate deficits. This is not the fault of the Democrats. Bill Clinton, whatever his flaws, left us with budget surpluses. If we still had them, we would not need to cut defense the way we are doing.
 
Mr. Bush 43, whom I know and love, got us into a war in Iraq which was not totally his fault in that he was wildly misled by his advisors. But it was a disaster in every possible way: costly in blood, costly in money, a huge help to al Qaeda, and left a massive distaste for war in the U.S. mind and soul. Can it possibly be that we would have been in this position where Mr. Obama would have been elected, would have this budget rationale for his hateful defense cuts, if Mr. Bush had not plunged us into a catastrophic and unnecessary war and massively wrecked the fiscal situation of this country? I don’t think so.

But Mr. Bush at least built up the military. He did not slash it. He did not choose to double the number of people on food stamps rather than adequately defend the nation.
 
Oh, it gets worse. Mr. Obama, through his henchman, “Chuck” Hagel, is also cutting military benefits and pay and mocking those who offer up their lives for their country. When I read that one, I realized how much Mr. Obama not only loathes America, but is consumed by rage at men and women who are far braver and more morally advanced than he is. 
 
This is all part of the Obama program for demolishing the America we know and love. I see two other super dangerous parts playing out.
 
Mr. Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, is hard at work destroying the federal system. I read in today’s news that he’s told state attorneys-general that in his opinion, they do not have to go to court to uphold state laws of which they disapprove. In this specific instance, the cause of Mr. Holder’s passion was state laws barring same sex marriages. In the Obama administration’s view, if a man or woman serving as a state A.G. does not want to enforce those laws, he or she does not have to. That is, as Messrs. Obama and Holder see it, the fact that a law has been duly enacted by a state government means nothing compared with the opinion of a state government official—or compared with the opinion of Mr. Holder or Mr. Obama.
 
But wait a minute: Isn’t that exactly what it means to have a government of men and not of laws? Isn’t that exactly what it means to have a dictatorship where law is enforced on the basis of one human’s whim rather than on a process of law-making and enforcement?
 
This kind of Obama/Holder attack on how law is enforced is, of course, also a powerful attack on the federal system. Under that system, within limits, states can make their own laws. As far as I know—and I don’t know everything—there is no Supreme Court case law that says the wishes of a federal attorney general supersede the laws of a state without some kind of congressional or Supreme Court authority.
 
Can it be that Messrs. Obama and Holder do not know that they are suggesting abandonment of the basic principles of representative government? Can it be that they don’t know that they are attacking the federal system?
 
Two possibilities: One, they know how subversive they are and they want to be subversive as long as it fits their political-cultural goal of pleasing the gay community. Two, they simply are so ignorant of the Constitution and the history of law that they don’t realize how anti-Constitutional their acts are. Or, maybe some of both.
 
In any event, it is a terrifying situation. What is the government for if not to uphold the law? And if the high reaches of government are determined to attack the law, who is going to save the Constitution?
 
It gets even worse: Mr. Obama has appointed a man with a name I cannot even spell, let alone pronounce, as assistant attorney general for civil rights. I will try “Debo Adegbile,” a name as made up and phony as if he were called Princess SummerFallWinterSpring. This man defended the most notorious cop killer in the history of Philadelphia, Mumia Abu-Jamal, when that last creep killed a cop in cold blood. He cannot be blamed for working on a criminal defense case. But he also spearheaded public relations efforts on behalf of the cop killer. As a high official of the NAACP, he led a crusade to get the convicted killer, who never at any time showed remorse for his crime, who taunted and mocked the court and the victim’s widow in court, freed as a purported victim of racial injustice.
 
This man, who just as an opinion of mine should be in a prison for the dangerously insane, that is, Mr. Adegbile, is now going to be one of the highest officials of the Justice Department.
 
Incredibly, he was confirmed for that post by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote. (I learned about this in a fine article in the WSJ by Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey.)
 
So, we have the most virulent kind of anti-white radical now as head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
 
This is far worse than even my worst nightmares about Mr. Obama.
 
I knew he was angry. I knew he was highly influenced by the black and white haters of his beloved Chicago, and assorted America haters in the extreme left. But to think that he would name someone at the level of screaming racial rage that Mr. Adegbile is at…that’s terrifying.
 
What’s the solution? For one thing, a GOP Congress. That’s at least possible. But we will still have Democrat presidents as far into the future as we can see. Unless her health fails, Hillary can beat any Republican. She’s angry too, and she will be beholden to the same interest groups as Mr. Obama.
 
Then there will be Cory Booker, and by the time I am being laid to rest, or maybe sooner, we will see the nightmare of racial score settling—against totally innocent people—and lawless dictatorship that will be the end of America. You can already see the train coming down the tracks. A free society under law is a fragile animal. One might say an endangered species. It isn’t guns in the hands of hunters we have to worry about. It’s the government in the hands of people who make hate their daily diet.
 
We won’t have to wait for al Qaeda to do it to us. We’ll do it to ourselves.

The Great Litmus Test

By November of 2016, America’s voters will have had five chances to redeem themselves for their stupidity in electing Obama in 2008 (even if we give them the benefit of the doubt for being conned by Obama in 2008):  

-          They had the opportunity to correct their mistake in 2010 and chose to keep the Senate in Democrat hands

-          They had the opportunity to correct their mistake in 2012 and chose to keep the America hating Obama in the White House

-          They had the opportunity to correct their mistake in 2012 and again chose to keep the Senate in Democrat hands

-          They will have the opportunity to correct their mistake in 2014 by giving control of the Senate to the Republicans

-          They will have the opportunity to correct their mistake in 2016 by putting a Republican in the White House 

If they fail to correct their 2008 mistake by November of 2016, you can turn out the lights, the party’s over. 

Fingers crossed…

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy New Year America --Here is what happened on January 1st 2014

Top Income tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%

Top Income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%

Capital Gains tax went from 15% to 28%

Dividends tax went from 15% to 39.6%

Estate tax went from 0% to 55%

Remember this fact
: These taxes were all passed only with Democrat votes and with the full support of Barack Obama.

Anonymous Facebook Comment About Obamacare from a Health Care Industry Insider

"I am in the industry. It is destroying families. I have been helping people for the last 90 days. Not one person has benefited from it. I see it everyday. If it is so wonderful why did they close the enrollments. People can't get signed up now until next November or December.

People who have a private insurance now are paying way less than ACA. People who are uninsurable can't afford it. Why are there way more people willing to pay the penalty than get insured? Six million people have signed up. That is less than half the people who work in New York City each day."

Editor's comment: Also, how many of the six million sign-ups are people who lost their coverage because of Obamacare, and how many are the freeloaders who get free, subsidized, health care paid for by you and me?

Charles Koch: I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society


Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination


·       By CHARLES G. KOCH

Updated April 2, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.
Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation's own government. That's why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.
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A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.
More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. "The natural progress of things," Jefferson wrote, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." He knew that no government could possibly run citizens' lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we're "un-American" and trying to "rig the system," that we're against "environmental protection" or eager to "end workplace safety standards." These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:
Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.
Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our "commitment to a cleaner environment" and called us "a model for other companies."
Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.
Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.
Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I'm dedicated to fighting for that vision. I'm convinced most Americans believe it's worth fighting for, too.
Mr. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.

When was the last time you saw her waving an American flag?


Definition of Social Justice


Obamacare is a Huge Success

Why Obamacare is a Fantastic Success (for him) 
    By Wayne Allyn Root 
  
There are 2 major political parties in America. I’m a member of the na├»ve, stupid, and cowardly one. I’m a Republican. How stupid is the GOP? They still don’t get it. I told them 5 years ago, 2 books ago, a national bestseller ago (“The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide”), and in hundreds of articles and commentaries, that Obamacare was never meant to help America, or heal the sick, or lower healthcare costs, or lower the debt, or expand the economy. 
  
The GOP needs to stop calling Obamacare a “trainwreck.” That means it’s a mistake, or accident. That means it’s a gigantic flop, or failure. It’s NOT. This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism. It’s not a failure, it’s Obama’s grand success. It’s not a “trainwreck,” Obamacare is a suicide attack. He wants to hurt us, to bring us to our knees, to capitulate- so we agree under duress to accept and become dependent on his socialist big government. 
  
Obama’s hero and mentor was Saul Alinsky- a radical Marxist intent on destroying capitalism. Alinksky’s stated advice was to call the other guy “a terrorist” to hide your own intensions. To scream that the other guy is “ruining America,” while you are the one actually plotting the destruction of America. To claim again and again…in every sentence of every speech…that you are “saving the middle class,” while you are busy wiping out the middle class. 
  
The GOP is so stupid they can’t see it. There are no mistakes here. This is a planned purposeful attack. The tell-tale sign isn’t the disastrous start to Obamacare. Or the devastating effect the new taxes are having on the economy. Or the death of full-time jobs. Or the overwhelming debt. Or the dramatic increases in health insurance rates. Or the 50% of doctors now thinking of retiring- bringing on a healthcare crisis of unimaginable proportions.   Forget all that. 
  
The real sign that this is a purposeful attack upon capitalism is how many Obama administration members and Democratic Congressmen are openly calling Tea Party Republicans and anyone who wants to stop Obamacare “terrorists.” There’s the clue. Even the clueless GOP should be able to see that. They are calling the reasonable people…the patriots…the people who believe in the Constitution…the people who believe exactly what the Founding Fathers believed…the people who want to take power away from corrupt politicians who have put America $17 trillion in debt and still climbing… terrorists? 
  
That’s because they are Saul Alinsky-ing the GOP. The people trying to purposely hurt America, capitalism and the middle class…are calling the patriots by a terrible name to fool, confuse and distract the public. 
  
Obamacare is a raving, rollicking, fantastic success. Stop calling it a failure. Here is what it was created to do. It is succeeding on all counts. 
  
#1) Obamacare was intended to bring about the Marxist dream- redistribution of wealth . Rich people, small business owners, and the working middle class are being robbed, so that the money can be redistributed to poor people. Some who have never had a job. (who vote Democrat). Think about it. If you’re rich or middle class, you now have to pay for your own healthcare costs (at much higher rates)   AND   40 million other people’s costs too (through massive tax increases). So you’re stuck paying for both bills. You are left broke. Brilliant. 
  
#2) Obamacare was intended to wipe out the middle class and make them dependent on government. Think about it. Even Obama’s IRS predicts that health insurance for a typical American family by 2016 will be $10,000 per year. But how would middle class Americans pay that bill and have anything left for food or housing or living? People that make $40K, or $50K, or $60K can’t possibly hope to spend $10K on health insurance without becoming homeless. Bingo. That’s how you make middle class people dependent on government. That’s how you make everyone addicted to government checks. Brilliant. 
  
#3) As a bonus, Obamacare is intended to kill every decent paying job in the economy, creating only crummy part-time jobs.   Why? Just to make sure the middle class is trapped, with no way out. Just to make sure no one has the $10,000 per year to pay for health insurance, thereby guaranteeing they become wards of the state. Brilliant. 
  
#4) Obamacare is intended to bankrupt small business, and therefore starve donations to the GOP.   Think about it. Do you know a small business owner? I know hundreds of them. Their rates are being doubled, tripled and quadrupled by Obamacare. Guess who writes 75% of the checks to Republican candidates and conservative causes? Small business. Even if a small business owner manages to survive, he or she certainly can’t write a big check to the GOP anymore. Money is the “mother’s milk” of politics. Without donations, a political party ceases to exist. Bingo. That’s the point of Obamacare. Obama is bankrupting his political opposition and drying up donations to the GOP. Brilliant. 
  
#5) Obamacare is intended to make the IRS all-powerful.   It adds thousands of new IRS agents. It puts the IRS in charge of overseeing 15% of the U.S. economy. The IRS has the right because of Obamacare to snoop into every aspect of your life, to go into your bank accounts, to fine you, to frighten you, to intimidate you. And Obama and his socialist cabal have access to your deepest medical secrets. That information is now in the hands of Obama and the IRS to blackmail GOP candidates into either not running, or supporting bigger government, or leaking the info and ruining your campaign. Or have you forgotten the IRS harassed, intimidated and persecuted critics of Obama and conservative groups? Now Obama hands the IRS even more power. Big Brother rules our lives. Brilliant. 
  
#6) Obamacare is intended to unionize 15 million healthcare workers.   That produces $15 billion in new union dues. That money goes to fund Democratic candidates and socialist causes- thereby guaranteeing Obama’s friends never lose another election, and Obama’s policies keep ruining capitalism and bankrupting business owners long after he’s out of office. 
  
Message to the GOP: This isn’t a game. This isn’t tiddly-winks. This is a serious, purposeful attempt to highjack America and destroy capitalism. This isn’t a trainwreck. It’s purposeful suicide. It’s not failing, it’s working exactly according to plan. Obama knows what he’s doing. Stop apologizing and start fighting. 
Oh and one more thing…Conservatives aren’t “terrorists.” We are patriots and saviors. We represent the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. We are the heroes and good guys. Unless you get all this through your thick skulls, America is lost… forever. 

Obama Is My Co-Pilot

 
LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Is the Stuff of Third World Dictators


White House is foiling FOIA - Requiring that documents requested by Congress be sent to White House first. Entirely Illegal.  

There are two problems with the unprecedented White House review that the Obama administration has instituted. The first is that it takes forever. White House lawyers can simply sit on a subpoena until a year or two have gone by, and the potentially embarrassing issue has been forgotten. But the second problem is still more diabolical. The White House is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that if White House lawyers decide to cover up an Obama scandal by shredding documents that make the administration look bad, no one–no reporter, no Congressional committee, no private citizen–can serve a request that requires the White House to disclose what documents it destroyed. So adding a layer of White House lawyer review to the production of any sensitive documents–those with “White House equities”–means that inconvenient information may sink without a trace. We have no way of knowing how often this has happened over the last five years.

Which is, of course, exactly the way the least transparent administration in history wants it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Cabal Conservatives Are Battling


Subject: Washington Post and Journalism Today

John Hinderaker

On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin titled “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” The article’s first paragraph included this claim:

The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The theme of the article was that the Keystone Pipeline is all about the Koch brothers; or, at least, that this is a plausible claim. The Post authors relied on a report by a far-left group called International Forum on Globalization that I debunked last October.

So Thursday evening, I wrote about the Post article here. I pointed out that Koch is not, in fact, the largest leaser of tar sands land; that Koch will not be a user of the pipeline if it is built; and that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would actually be harmful to Koch’s economic interests, which is why Koch has never taken a position on the pipeline’s construction. The Keystone Pipeline, in short, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Koch brothers. My post garnered a great deal of attention, and Mufson and Eilperin undertook to respond to it here

. It isn’t much of a response: they don’t deny the truth of anything I wrote, and they don’t try to sustain the proposition that Koch is even in favor of the pipeline, let alone the driving force behind it. They lamely suggest that if Koch leased 2 million acres, rather than 1.1 million as they reported on Thursday, then Koch might be the largest leaseholder. But they make no attempt to respond to the official Province of Alberta maps that I posted, which clearly show that Canadian National Resources, Ltd., for example, leases more acreage than Koch.

The Post’s response attempted to explain “Why we wrote about the Koch Industries [sic] and its leases in Canada’s oil sands.” Good question! What’s the answer?

The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.

So in the Post’s view, it is acceptable to publish articles that are both literally false (Koch is the largest tar sands leaseholder) and massively misleading (the Keystone Pipeline is all about Koch Industries), if by doing so the paper can “stir and inflame public debate in this election year?” I can’t top Jonah Goldberg’s comment on that howler:

By this logic any unfair attack posing as reporting is worthwhile when people try to correct the record. Why not just have at it and accuse the Kochs of killing JFK or hiding the Malaysian airplane? The resulting criticism would once again provide “strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”

Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin

Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points.

Which frames a very interesting contrast. The Keystone Pipeline is by no means the only energy-related controversy these days. “Green” energy is also highly controversial. “Green” energy is controversial, in part, because, unlike the Keystone Pipeline, it harms the consumer: solar and wind energy are inefficient, and therefore raise energy costs to consumers. “Green” energy is also controversial because it harms taxpayers: because they are inefficient, solar and wind energy can survive only through taxpayer-funded subsidies. Further, the federal government has invested in numerous “green” energy projects that have gone bankrupt, sticking taxpayers with the tab. Solyndra is only one of a number of such debacles.

“Green” energy is also controversial because it has been used to enrich government cronies. Let’s take, for instance, the billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has made much of his fortune by using his government connections to secure support for uneconomic “green” energy projects that have profited him, to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. See, for example, here, here ,here ,here, herehere and here. As is explained here, Tom Steyer is a bitter opponent of the Keystone Pipeline. His financial interests, in “green” energy and perhaps also in pre-pipeline oil sources like BP, stand to benefit if Keystone is killed.

Haven’t heard much about Tom Steyer, you say? Maybe that’s because he isn’t heavily involved in politics. Heh–just kidding. Steyer, as you probably know, is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This year, he has pledged to contribute $100 million to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, as long as they toe the line on environmental issues–which includes, presumably, taxpayer support for “green” energy and opposition to Keystone.

So the Post could have written a very different story about the Keystone Pipeline. The Post could have written that opposition to the pipeline is being funded in large part by a billionaire who has a personal financial interest in the pipeline not being built. And that’s not all! The billionaire is a political crony who has used his connections in Washington to get rich and to fleece consumers and taxpayers. Now, with Keystone, he is doing it again! How is that for a story that would “stir and inflame public debate in this election year?”

The Post, of course, didn’t write that story. But the Post has written about Tom Steyer. Not only that–what a coincidence!–Juliet Eilperin has written about Steyer. In this February 2013 puff piece, to which Mufson also contributed, she promoted Steyer’s campaign to be named Energy Secretary: John Podesta, who chairs the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, said Steyer has “got the right skill set, the understanding and attitude to lead an energy transformation in this country.”

“I think he would be a fabulous choice for energy secretary,” Podesta added, “and I’ve let my friends in the administration know that.”

Here is a thought experiment: imagine Juliet Eilperin writing about a campaign to get Charles Koch named Secretary of Energy. Eilperin went on to describe a public appearance by Steyer in glowing terms:

On Sunday, he spoke to a crowd that organizers estimated at 35,000, gathered on the Mall to call for a stronger national climate policy.“I’m not the first person you’d expect to be here today. I’m not a college professor and I don’t run an environmental organization,” he said. “For the last 30 years I’ve been a professional investor and I’ve been looking at billion-dollar investments for decades and I’m here to tell you one thing: The Keystone pipeline is not a good investment.”

The move stems from an uncomfortable conclusion Steyer has reached: The incremental political victories he and others have been celebrating fall well short of what’s needed to avert catastrophic global warming.

There is lots more, all of it adoring. Of course, neither Steyer nor Eilperin mentioned that killing Keystone, capping carbon emissions and so on would all benefit Steyer financially.

So we have a contrast that couldn’t be clearer: the Washington Post published a false story aboutsupport for Keystone because it fit the Democratic Party’s agenda. It covered up a similar, but truestory about opposition to the pipeline (and about “green” politics in general) because that, too, fit the Democratic Party’s agenda. I don’t think we need to look any further to connect the dots.

And yet, a still deeper level of corruption is on display here. Juliet Eilperin is a reporter for the Washington Post who covers, among other things, environmental politics. As I wrote in my prior post, she is married to Andrew Light. Light writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress, a far-left organization that has carried on a years-long vendetta against Charles and David Koch on its web site, Think Progress. Light is also a member of the Obama administration, as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the Department of State. The Center for American Progress is headed by John Podesta, who chaired Barack Obama’s transition team and is now listed as a “special advisor” to the Obama administration. Note that Ms. Eilperin quoted Podesta, her husband’s boss, in her puff piece on Tom Steyer.

Oh, yes–one more thing. Guess who sits on the board of the Center for American Progress? Yup. Tom Steyer.

This kind of incest is common in Washington. You can’t separate the reporters from the activists from the Obama administration officials from the billionaire cronies. Often, as in this instance, the same people wear two or more of those hats simultaneously. However bad you think the corruption and cronyism in Washington are, they are worse than you imagine. And if you think the Washington Post is part of a free and independent press, think again.

The New "Uncle Sam"


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Price of Nationalized Healthcare


Wisdom from Tacitus

 
The Great Roman Historian, Born 70 AD

Your Tax Dollars at Work


$1.2071 TRILLION IN FEDERAL CONTRACTS AWARDED TO THE FORTUNE 100 SINCE 2000

The federal government contracts with private enterprise across the entire continuum of public service. Competitively bid contracts can bring in “best-in-class” services to fill needs. However, many times the government’s incumbent contracts are “amended and/or extended” and the corresponding lack of competition by circumventing the procurement process can result in waste of taxpayer dollars.  

We advocate the frequent use of real-time “reverse auctions” to transparently bid-down the cost of government services to qualified bidders.  

Among our findings: 

The Top Five Fortune 100 in Contracts: 

1. Lockheed Martin ($392.039 billion),

2. Boeing ($269.623 billion)

3. General Dynamics ($170.469 billion),

4. United Technologies ($73.248 billion),

5. General Electric ($35.875 billion)  

Over two-thirds ($832 billion) of Fortune 100 contracts went to three defense contractors: General Dynamics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Plains All American Pipeline was the only company in Fortune 100 receiving ZERO federal monies: searches for its subsidiaries and acquisitions also zeroed.

General Electric received $35.8 billion- an amount equal to 7X more than the $5 billion GE 2010 profit.

Coke is it, for the feds. Coca-Cola ($1.0642 billion) beat PepsiCo ($436 million)

Kraft Foods received $1.4 billion in Dept. of Defense Commissary food contracts

Google received only $1.4 million while Microsoft gleaned $900 million and Apple received $29 million in contracts.

Built Tough - Ford ($3.4 billion) out drove General Motors ($2.3 billion).

Home Depot received $36 million in contracts ahead of Lowe’s at $2.8 million.

The world on time- FedEx ($14 billion) out-delivered UPS ($3.042 billion)

Berkshire Hathaway received $2.4 billion in contracts, but no monies in grants, loans, direct payments, or insurance.

IBM ($18 billion) out-sold Dell ($12 billion), but Hewlett-Packard ($29 billion) beat them both.

AT&T ($8.4 billion) out-contracted Verizon ($7 billion). Both companies have a more robust product suite than Comcast ($38 million).

Prudential scored $1.185 billion, MetLife ($188 million) and Allstate, State Farm, New York Life and Mass Mutual all had very low dollar amounts.

Somehow, Walt Disney received $19 million in federal contracts.

Phillip Morris ($1.246 million) received mostly “personal service” contracts

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General Electric: General Electric (GE) ($35.8 billion in federal contracts since 2000) has seen its share of federal contracts under the Obama Administration cut by 29.2%. In the last year of the Bush Administration, GE had $3.835 billion in contracts and by 2012 GE contracts amounts were the lowest since 2005- only $2.712 billion. Despite this, GE has grown their federal contract awards 58% since 2000. That’s nearly double inflation.

The Problem With Keynesianism


The Problem with Keynesianism

By John Mauldin

Let’s start with a classic definition of Keynesianism from Wikipedia, so that we can all be comfortable that I’m not coloring the definition with my own bias (and, yes, I admit I have a bias). (Emphasis mine.)

Keynesian economics (or Keynesianism) is the view that in the short run, especially during recessions, economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand (total spending in the economy). In the Keynesian view, aggregate demand does not necessarily equal the productive capacity of the economy; instead, it is influenced by a host of factors and sometimes behaves erratically, affecting production, employment, and inflation.

The theories forming the basis of Keynesian economics were first presented by the British economist John Maynard Keynes in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, during the Great Depression. Keynes contrasted his approach to the aggregate supply-focused “classical” economics that preceded his book. The interpretations of Keynes that followed are contentious, and several schools of economic thought claim his legacy.

Keynesian economists often argue that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes which require active policy responses by the public sector, in particular, monetary policy actions by the central bank and fiscal policy actions by the government, in order to stabilize output over the business cycle. Keynesian economics advocates a mixed economy – predominantly private sector, but with a role for government intervention during recessions.

(Before I launch into a critique of Keynesianism, let me point out that I find much to admire in the thinking of John Maynard Keynes. He was a great economist and taught us a great deal. Further, and this is important, my critique is simplistic. A proper examination of the problems with Keynesianism would require a lengthy paper or a book. We are just skimming along the surface and don’t have time for a deep dive.)

Central banks around the world and much of academia have been totally captured by Keynesian thinking. In the current avant-garde world of neo-Keynesianism, consumer demand –consumption – is everything. Federal Reserve monetary policy is clearly driven by the desire to stimulate demand through lower interest rates and easy money.

And Keynesian economists (of all stripes) want fiscal policy (essentially, the budgets of governments) to increase consumer demand. If the consumer can’t do it, the reasoning goes, then the government should step in and fill the breach. This of course requires deficit spending and the borrowing of money (including from your local central bank).

Essentially, when a central bank lowers interest rates, it is trying to make it easier for banks to lend money to businesses and for consumers to borrow money to spend. Economists like to see the government commit to fiscal stimulus at the same time, as well. They point to the numerous recessions that have ended after fiscal stimulus and lower rates were applied. They see the ending of recessions as proof that Keynesian doctrine works.

There are several problems with this line of thinking. First, using leverage (borrowed money) to stimulate spending today must by definition lower consumption in the future. Debt is future consumption denied or future consumption brought forward. Keynesian economists would argue that if you bring just enough future consumption into the present to stimulate positive growth, then that present “good” is worth the future drag on consumption, as long as there is still positive growth. Leverage just evens out the ups and downs. There is a certain logic to this, of course, which is why it is such a widespread belief.

Keynes argued, however, that money borrowed to alleviate recession should be repaid when growth resumes. My reading of Keynes does not suggest that he believed in the continual fiscal stimulus encouraged by his disciples and by the cohort that are called neo-Keynesians.

Secondly, as has been well documented by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, there comes a point at which too much leverage on both private and government debt becomes destructive. There is no exact number or way of knowing when that point will be reached. It arrives when lenders, typically in the private sector, decide that the borrowers (whether private or government) might have some difficulty in paying back the debt and therefore begin to ask for more interest to compensate them for their risks. An overleveraged economy can’t afford the increase in interest rates, and economic contraction ensues. Sometimes the contraction is severe, and sometimes it can be absorbed. When it is accompanied by the popping of an economic bubble, it is particularly disastrous and can take a decade or longer to work itself out, as the developed world is finding out now.

Every major “economic miracle” since the end of World War II has been a result of leverage. Often this leverage has been accompanied by stimulative fiscal and monetary policies. Every single “miracle” has ended in tears, with the exception of the current recent runaway expansion in China, which is now being called into question. (And this is why so many eyes in the investment world are laser-focused on China. Forget about a hard landing or a recession, a simple slowdown in China has profound effects on the rest of the world.)

I would argue (along, I think, with the “Austrian” economist Hayek and other economic schools) that recessions are not brought on by insufficient consumption but rather by insufficient income. Fiscal and monetary policy should aim to grow incomes over the entire range of the economy, and that is accomplished by increasing production and making it easier for entrepreneurs and businesspeople to provide goods and services. When businesses increase production, they hire more workers and incomes go up.

Without income there are no tax revenues to redistribute. Without income and production, nothing of any economic significance happens. Keynes was correct when he observed that recessions are periods of reduced consumption, but that is a result and not a cause.

Entrepreneurs must be willing to create a product or offer a service in the hope that there will be sufficient demand for their work. There are no guarantees, and they risk economic peril with their ventures, whether we’re talking about the local bakery or hairdressing shop or Elon Musk trying to compete with the world’s largest automakers. If they are hampered in their efforts by government or central bank policies, then the economy stagnates.

Keynesianism is favored by politicians and academics because it offers a theory by which government actions can become the decisive factor in the economy. It offers a framework whereby governments and central banks can meddle in the economy and feel justified. It allows 12 people sitting in a board room in Washington DC to feel that they are in charge of setting the price of money (interest rates) in a free marketplace and that they know more than the entrepreneurs and businesspeople do who are actually in the market risking their own capital every day.

This is essentially the Platonic philosopher king conceit: the hubristic notion that there is a small group of wise elites that is capable of directing the economic actions of a country, no matter how educated or successful the populace has been on its own. And never mind that the world has multiple clear examples of how central controls eventually slow growth and make things worse over time. It is only when free people are allowed to set their own prices as both buyers and sellers of goods and services and, yes, even interest rates and the price of money, that valid market-clearing prices can be determined. Trying to control those prices results in one group being favored over another.

In today's world, the favored group is almost always bankers and the wealthy class. Savers and entrepreneurs are left to eat the crumbs that fall from the plates of the well-connected crony capitalists and to live off the income from repressed interest rates. The irony of using “cheap money” to try to drive consumer demand is that retirees and savers get less money to spend, and that clearly drives down their consumption. Why is the consumption produced by ballooning debt better than the consumption produced by hard work and savings? This is trickle-down monetary policy, which ironically favors the very large banks and institutions. If you ask Keynesian central bankers if they want to be seen as helping the rich and connected, they will stand back and forcefully tell you “NO!” But that is what happens when you start down the road of financial repression. Someone benefits. So far it has not been Main Street.

And, as we will see as we examine the problems of the economic paper that launched this essay, Keynesianism has given rise to a philosophical framework that justifies the seizure of money from one group of people to give to another group of people. This is a particularly pernicious doctrine, as George Gilder noted in our opening quote:

Those most acutely threatened by the abuse of American entrepreneurs are the poor. If the rich are stultified by socialism and crony capitalism, the lower economic classes will suffer the most as the horizons of opportunity close. High tax rates and oppressive regulations do not keep anyone from being rich. They prevent poor people from becoming rich. High tax rates do not redistribute incomes or wealth; they redistribute taxpayers – out of productive investment into overseas tax havens and out of offices and factories into beach resorts and municipal bonds.