Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Openness", Obama-style

Don't ever expect Leftist talk to be matched by their actions

Officials at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public” (emphasis mine, and if that link goes down, The Examiner has kept a copy for its records).

UPDATE: Phacil has changed their job description on their website (without making a note), however here is a link to another job description for the same job that still uses the above as a qualification. They also have not yet returned calls to The Examiner. The side by side comparison of the old and modified versions are at the bottom of this post.

This means that the entire OFS, which is tasked with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is trying to hire people who will withhold information from release to the public.

In fact, according to the website of the staffing company, Phacil (pronounced Fa-SEAL), co-founders Rafael Collado and Sascha Mornell were “thanked by President Obama,” and “commended at the White House during National Small Business Week for being selected the SBA New Jersey State Small Business Persons of the Year.” The contract is listed under service contracts of the Office of Financial Stability in a recent report from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Collado and Mornell are among the top donors at the firm. Mornell has given $12,600 over the years, while Collado has given $6,700. Another donor, Robert Cottingham, listed Phacil as his employer, stating his position as vice president of government affairs.

That Treasury outsourced its mechanism for transparency to a firm with such partisan ties casts new light on a report from Bloomberg News in which Treasury officials have repeatedly obstructed reporters’ requests for information.



Liberal "ideas" boil down to coercion and more coercion

Here’s a letter to the New York Times Book Review from economist Don Boudreaux

A theme that runs with approval throughout Jonathan Alter’s review of recent books on modern “liberalism” is that “liberals,” in contrast to their mindless Cro-Magnon opposites, overflow with ideas (“The State of Liberalism,” Oct. 24).

Indeed they do. But these ideas are almost exclusively about how other people should live their lives. These are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, habits, and even moral sentiments.

Put differently, modern “liberalism’s” ideas are about replacing an unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of ‘Big Ideas’ that are politically selected, centrally imposed, and enforced not by the natural give, take, and compromise of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by guns wielded by those whose overriding ‘idea’ is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history, namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.




Herbert London

You have undoubtedly heard of existentialism, a philosophical position based on personal choice without the benefit of normative judgment. Well I reject it since driving through a red light is hazardous to your health.

However, I am a resistentialist, an eponymous condition in which adherents categorically reject the fatuities of modern life. Let me cite several examples.

Automobile manufacturers produce a car with 300 horse power that can easily achieve speeds of 120 miles per hour so that the car can remain stalled on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour.

Art is often described as post-modern, a school that has flash but no pan. However, if modern is new, how can you be post new? In fact, at what point does new go post?

Texting is the communications channel of the young. But from what I can discern it is an addiction to banality since the text hasn’t any substance and the language is puerile shorthand, e.g. RUOK?

The IPod is one of those devices that permits cultural toxins such as rap music to enter the brain without filter. It inflicts a form of Parkinson’s disease on its adherents who find it very difficult to stand still.

These examples are the symptoms of modernity that resistentialism oppose. Fortunately personal liberty suggests you don’t have to drive a car with a turbo engine or admire Michael Graves’ architecture or use a handheld device to communicate or put any electronic wiring in your ears. But it is hard to avoid the conditions of modernity since they are osmotic, in the cultural air surrounding us.

There aren’t many triumphal moments for the resistentialist, but the few he does experience are memorable. I recall with satisfaction my resistance to the plasma screen TV. After all, I noted, is it really so different from the conventional color TV? “Well,” said the salesman “yes it is different and it will change the nature of viewing.” I wasn’t about to change my viewing patterns and would certainly not do so for $2500. So I resisted. A year later this same television set sold for $2000 and despite entreaties from my family, I remained firmly opposed. By the third year the price was $1200 and I conceded, but at least I had the satisfaction of knowing my resistance saved $1300.



The Meltdown: A brief history lesson

1977: Jimmy Carter (D) signs the Community Reinvestment Act, guaranteeing homes loans to low-income families.

1999: Bill Clinton (D) puts the CRA on steroids by pushing Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (F&F) to increase the number of sub-prime loans (owning a home is now a 'right'.)

1999 (September): New York Times publishes an article, 'Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending', which warned of the coming crisis due to lax lending policies of the Clinton (D) administration.

2003: White House calls Fannie and Freddie a "systemic risk". The Bush (R) administration pushes Congress to enact new regulations.

2003: Barney Frank (D-CN) says F&F are "not in a crisis" and bashes Republicans for crying wolf and calls F&F "Financially Sound" Democrats block Republican sponsored regulation legislation.

2005: Fed Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan voices warning over F&F accounting "We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk"

2005: Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) says "I think F & F over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world."

2006: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) again calls for reform of the regulatory structure that governs F&F.

2006: Democrats again block reform legislation.

2008: Housing market collapses: Democrats blame the Republicans.

Obviously the Republicans aren't free of guilt concerning the cause of this crisis because they didn't try hard enough to prevent it and in some cases allowed it to happen. But as can plainly be seen the Democrats hold the lion's share of blame for the economic meltdown we're currently enjoying.

I received the above by email but it seems pretty right -- JR


Some news summaries from Richard Viguerie

Why NPR must go: Pat Buchanan writes that the issue of terminating federal funding for PBS, NPR and the CPB will be an early test to determine whether the GOP is serious about having learned its lesson from the days of Big Government “conservatism,” arguing that these taxpayer supported entities are ripe for elimination. Buchanan says the firing of Juan Williams helped highlight the need to cut funding, but the main reason for eliminating the money is the simple fact that the government shouldn’t be in the news and entertainment business in the first place.

The voter fraud perpetrators are at it again! Michelle Malkin highlights a pervasive problem throughout the United States, namely rampant voter fraud perpetrated by various leftwing groups that are determined to fix the elections using any means possible – including through largely unaccountable absentee and early voter schemes. Malkin provides the evidence from different parts of the country and underscores the need for Americans to elect state secretaries of state who will enforce the law in determining legal voter registrations.

Good news for the GOP and great news for conservatives from the Battleground poll: Bruce Walker examines the results of the most recent Battleground poll and argues that it bodes very well for Republican candidates in the upcoming elections, and for conservatives in general. Walker says the Battleground poll has been the most consistent over the course of the years, and there’s no reason to doubt that America is truly a conservative-leaning country and that people will vote that way next Tuesday when they go to the polls.

Fed-up Americans: Don’t stop with kicking out incumbents, fire the judges too! Connservatives all across the country are working hard to toss out liberal incumbent congressman, state legislators and governors that don’t listen to the People, and in Iowa, they’re getting the opportunity to “fire” Justices on the state Supreme Court who have proven to be equally contemptuous of tradition and the will of the majority. The Iowa Supreme Court recently overturned the state’s Defense of Marriage Act in order to allow homosexuals to “marry,” and three of those jurists are now on the ballot. Fire the judges too!

President Obama pushes the myth that fat cats favor the GOP: Timothy Carney examines myth (as espoused by President Obama) versus reality (actual figures from the Center for Responsive Politics) in who donates money to candidates, arguing the real numbers would surprise people who only rely on the mainstream media to feed them the “news.” Carney debunks the notion that Republicans are the main beneficiaries of Wall Street contributions (as well as lobbyists and other various special interests), a fantasy that is perpetuated by lazy and biased “journalists” who should be reporting the facts.

Latinos are rejecting Obama’s socialist policies and are going conservative: Hispanic conservative Chris Salcedo states it plainly: President Obama’s greatest accomplishment may be the awakening of the conservative movement in the Latino community. Salcedo cites polls that show Latino support for President Obama’s policies has dropped significantly in this year alone as the traditionally conservative Hispanic culture realizes that liberal socialistic policies are not in line with what they believe. As a result, Salcedo argues, a major shift could be taking place in the country’s fastest growing demographic group.




WikiLeaks leaks all over the anti-war cause: "Is WikiLeaks just a curnning front for the American military-industrial complex? First its latest document dump showed that Lancet exaggerated by 600 per cent when it published its notorious paper claiming the liberation of iraq cost the lives of 655,000 Iraqis. Now it’s confirmed that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction - and the experts to resume production once the US backed down: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction".

Protect deployed parents’ rights: "Divorced or separated military parents often lose custody of their children — and sometimes permanently forfeit any meaningful role in their lives — simply because they have served their country. Many married parents deploy overseas, never suspecting that their parenthood essentially ended the day they left home. The divorce rate in the Armed Forces has skyrocketed during the long deployments necessitated by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Obama’s imaginary tax cuts: "How many times have you heard the president and the congressional Democrats say Americans who make less than $200,000 a year have not had, and will not have, any of their taxes increased? Unfortunately, it is not true, and it is likely to become a whole lot worse. The 111th Congress has already enacted $352 billion in net tax increases and may, in the upcoming lame-duck session, enact the largest tax increases in history, which will hit every man, woman and child — as well as every business in America.”

To fix the economy, let bad banks die: "Two years ago, many of the nation’s largest banks should have failed — because their business model failed. That business model was willful incompetence. Back then, banks, including Countrywide Financial, now part of Bank of America, showcased this incompetence in helping homeowners borrow money they could never repay. Today, thanks to Washington’s bailouts, the bad banks are still alive. So is their disastrous business model.”

Ethiopia shows the damage that aid can do: "HRW have shown in chilling detail how aid money given to the Ethiopian government has been used to coerce people into supporting the regime. Aid-funded education programmes are turned into government ideology reeducation camps; projects aimed at feeding the country’s poor are used to deprive the regime’s opponents of food; and other aid money is channelled to fund ‘retraining’ of judges and teachers. In short, Western aid money is being used by the Ethiopian government to create a totalitarian regime.”

Animal rights fanatics in New Zealand ban kosher meat: "New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to outlaw kosher slaughter since the Nazis enacted similar legislation in Europe over 70 years ago. New Zealand Jews may soon be the only Jews in the world who can no longer eat chicken. Your children or grandchildren may never experience a Passover with chicken soup and matzah balls, or ask the meaning of the lamb shank on your family’s Seder plate. "Some kosher meat (but not chicken) may be able to be imported, for a limited period. It is likely however that if we lose the right to practise shechita, then the ability to import kosher meat will soon follow."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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