With breathless anticipation the crowd awaits the unveiling of the Obama Statue
Obama’s culture of corruption’s unwitting victims
The Obama Administration’s Solyndra scandal that cost U.S. taxpayers $535 million is just the tip of the iceberg of the scandal enveloping Obama’s use of taxpayer dollars to help his top donors. In the Solyndra case, Obama campaign cash machine George Kaiser personally spoke with the White House about the taxpayer loan, using his clout as a major donor to get the access needed to boost his fortune at the expense of the taxpayer.
Now, we are learning that this practice of using tax dollars to pay off contributors and enrich political allies was not unusual, but in fact was common place.
To show the gravity of the scandal, even Newsweek, in its November 13, 2011, issue writes, “Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money.”
The Newsweek piece continues, “At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants. How much did they get? According to the Department of Energy’s own numbers, a lot. In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers — individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.”
Unless someone just fell off the turnip truck, it is hard to believe that more than 80 percent of the green grant funding requests worthy of receiving taxpayer dollars just happened to be submitted by those with strong ties to Obama or his campaign.
The shock is not that the graft occurred but that it occurred on a scale that no one has ever imagined before.
Obama has nationalized the Chicago patronage system of providing garbage, snow removal and road construction contracts to contributors and relatives, raising the stakes from relatively penny ante corruption to a revolving door pay to play system where contributors get contracts. It would certainly not be surprising to learn that these same lucky grantees are again making major contributions to Obama-controlled political committees. After all, whoever walks away from a slot machine that is a guaranteed jackpot.
This modernized system would make the infamous Boss Tweed proud.
The one bright spot from the scale of the graft is that many of the vanguards of the far left have been outed once and for all as nothing more than Democrat shills.
The silence from left wing “watchdog” groups has been deafening. Could it be that they are recipients of some of the well-washed public loot to provide funding for their efforts to “expose” any group receiving Koch Industries funding?
Environmental guru Al Gore has also been strangely silent. One would think that with the entire world eco-system in the balance, Mr. “Green” would be outraged that public funds are being misspent on politically favored companies which have no hope of saving the planet. But no, Al Gore is now a green venture capitalist who opens the doors for chosen green companies to the very government monies that are in question.
Fred Wertheimer and groups like Common Cause have been deafeningly silent on this massive public corruption. In fact a search of the Common Cause website finds that the word Solyndra doesn’t even appear once, let alone the name of the Obama bundler who profited from the guaranteed taxpayer loan. This startling lack of even a passing acknowledgement of the scandal leaves Common Cause with the same tattered independent watchdog credentials that the National Organization for Women earned following their acquiescence during the Monica Lewinski affair.
And the Washington Post, which brought down a presidency by exposing a White House cover up of the actions of bit players in the Nixon Administration, has failed to headline the Solyndra scandal on their front page even once. This failure to cover the biggest pay for play scandal in U.S. history has been used by one political scientist with a good publicist to give Obama the designation as “scandal free.”
The truth is that on a scale of one to 10, the Nixon scandals were about a three compared to Obama green payoff being a 10. Compare the attempt to cover up the activities of underlings who broke the law, with the funneling of billions of dollars to donors and political friends through objective eyes, and anyone can see that on sheer scale, Obama has out-Nixoned Nixon. Yet, the Post proceeds with the “nothing to see here, move right along” attitude that has effectively reduced its legitimacy to the level of the uber-left Talking Points Memo blog.
As Obama’s “green investment scheme” continues to unravel, his presidency may avoid political fall-out due to the concerted effort of those with “good government” sheen. But, for anyone paying attention, the Post and Common Cause have forever sacrificed whatever moral high ground they might have claimed in the past on the Obama altar.
After all, a reputation is something that you work a lifetime to achieve, and it can be lost in the blink of an eye. I wonder if in 2013, they will still believe that trading their last shreds of integrity to protect Obama was worth it.
157 Air Force Majors terminated without retirement benefits
This is unlikely to be Obama's direct doing but it is a consequence of his cutbacks. A possibility unmentioned below is that many of those who have been retired may be able to join reserve forces and thus qualify for their 20-year benefits -- or so I am told -- JR
One of the best ways to destroy American military capabilities would be to convince career military personnel -- both officers and enlisted -- that their commitment to service will not be rewarded with the retirement benefits they have earned by their faithful obedience to orders, no matter the personal cost or risks they endure. The Obama administration seems to be ready to destroy the belief that service will be rewarded as faithfully as duty was performed, one step at a time.
The latest step in that direction is the announcement that 157 Air Force majors will be terminated prior to retirement, without the opportunity to complete the 20 full years of service necessary to qualify for retirement pay. Caroline May of the Daily Caller writes:
The Chapman University of Military Law and its associated AMVETS Legal Clinic are blowing the whistle on what they say is an injustice set to be perpetrated on 157 Air Force majors on the last day of November.
"The Obama administration has ordered massive reductions in forces, resulting in many officers who are near retirement being involuntarily separated without retirement or medical benefits," explained institute director Maj. Kyndra Rotunda.
The Department of Defense specifies that service members within six years of retirement normally would be retained and allowed to retire on time with benefits, unless extenuating circumstances exist such as disciplinary issues.
According to lawyers at Chapman and the AMVETS Legal Clinic, the Air Force has deviated from the six-year protection "without any legal authority."
The bond of trust between service members and the nation they serve, once broken, is difficult to rebuild. A nation unable to convince its young men and women to devote their careers to military service is left vulnerable to foreign military threat. Is that what we really want for America?
"We'll run against their tax increase, and we'll crush them."
With those bracing words, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and the nation's leading opponent of excessive taxation, framed what is becoming the great issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.
With the demise of the super committee, and on top of years of excessive, extravagant over-spending, the matter of the repeal of the Bush tax cuts is now front and center in the public arena.
Democrats do not assess the state of play, or the upcoming elections, the same as Mr. Norquist. They quote polls supposedly justifying their plans to limit tax increases "only" to "wealthy" taxpayers making over $250,000 per year. In other words, they appear to be fine with the Bush tax cuts expiring, across the board, unless the "rich" are taxed at a higher rate. And, yes, entitlements are untouchable.
Unfortunately for the Democrats rescinding or even threatening to rescind the Bush tax cuts for taxpayers at all income levels, not just whomever they deem to be inordinately or inappropriately prosperous and successful, may be a Pyrrhic victory at best. More likely, it will be the political equivalent of Chernobyl.
The Bush tax cuts expire after the election. If the Republicans hang tough and campaign as Grover Norquist envisions, just how do you think independent swing voters will break? Will they vote based on class resentment, holding out for a Bush-Lite tax cut for those the Democrats deem worthy? Or recalling the last four years of spending, taxing and over-regulating, and seeing the expiration of the Bush tax cuts as a seamless web, vote Republican, or more accurately, anti-Democratic, out of concern for four more years of the same? The question answers itself.
Maybe liberals and Democrats simply can't comprehend the toxic nature of taxing and spending to the American middle class, which is what most independent voters are. Ezra Klein, one of the Washington Post's "progressive" columnists on economic and domestic policy, believes that the Republicans in Congress are in a double bind, facing "two triggers" which, presumably, are a kind of "nightmare" for them. He is referring to the automatic sequestration of $1.2 trillion, set to go off on January 1, 2013, bleeding both defense and domestic spending in equal measure, and, number two, the "extremely progressive trigger worth $3.8 trillion that goes off" on the very same date -- the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
The Democrats have to do nothing to achieve substantial increases in revenue and deficit reduction, claims Klein.
Klein says "the Democrats are in the driver's seat." Yet, he is mystified that the "Republicans don't seem particularly worried about the triggers, and Democrats don't seem particularly interested in pressing their advantage. At least for now."
In truth, Klein hedges his claim that the White House and the Democrats in Congress are sitting pretty. He admits, in a masterpiece of understatement, that "Letting the Bush tax cuts expire is not a popular policy. Nor do crowds cheer for automatic sequestration." Still, if a deal is impossible, and the tax cuts in their entirety are rescinded, does the White House "really think that would be a bad outcome? Or is it a better one than they could have imagined?"
Republicans might find themselves asking, "Is this a trick or what? How could we be so lucky?"
Klein's political tin ear or cluelessness characterizes, not just liberals and Democrats, but also many inside the Beltway at least as it relates to anything as massive as a $3.8 billion tax increase which will result from letting the Bush tax cuts evaporate into a mist of spending and entitlement growth.
Grover Norquist and Ezra Klein are reading the electoral tealeaves in very different ways. Norquist seems to be relishing the thought of crucifying the President and the Democrats on a cross of tax increases. Klein seems to think the repeal of the tax increases, in toto, especially those for the "wealthy" or productive Americans, redounds upon the GOP and benefits of the White House and its congressional allies. Or something.
I'm putting my money on Grover.
The Wall Street Journal recently opined in an editorial entitled, "Thank You, Grover Norquist," expressing their gratitude to him for "reminding Republicans of their antitax promises" and "helping to expose the real reason for the super committee's failure: the two parties disagree profoundly on a vision of government."
The cost of regulation
The Golden Gate Bridge is an ironic American structure. It was finished in just four years and came in $1.3 million under budget. Earlier this month, California Senator Dianne Feinstein acknowledged that could not happen today: “…it would take a hundred years to do it with all the permits we need.” It was a rare moment of candor from a California Democrat, acknowledging environmental and labor regulations make it hard to build things in America.
She actually sounded a lot like Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels – a Republican – who made a similar point at The Heritage Foundation in September. According to Mr. Daniels, Indiana “can build [infrastructure projects] in at least a third less time and sometimes half the money when we do it ourselves.” He also noted that Indiana could build its own bike trails for just $250,000 per mile, whereas it costs $1,000,000 per mile when federal money is involved because of all the accompanying red tape.
If lawmakers are looking for bipartisanship, they should start right here, where there is an actual agreement. Unfortunately, far too many in Washington are part of the Establishment and have no desire to tackle the regulatory hurdles and labor rules that increase costs, delay timelines and destroy jobs.
Aggressive British tax collection agency driving firms abroad
As if aggressive Greenie regulation and high tax rates are not enough!
The crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion is bad for UK business, a leading accountancy firm has said.
UHY Hacker Young said the extra investigations and more aggressive stance by the HM Revenue and Customs risks making the UK a less attractive jurisdiction for businesses.
“The Government and HMRC now seem to believe that they found the secret of alchemy,” said Roy Maugham, tax partner at the firm.
“All they need to do is invest more money in tax investigations and compliance work and the extra tax income will keep flooding in.
“The reality is that much of the money that HMRC collects from compliance work is from businesses that feel intimidated into settling or where HMRC is able to outspend a less well-resourced small or medium sized company.”
Mr Maugham said many UK companies have moved their domicile overseas to Ireland, Switzerland and Malta not just because of the UK’s high business taxes but because of the increasingly aggressive attitude of HMRC to tax collection.
“There is a downside to their tough approach,” he said. The lost tax revenues from businesses that have avoided setting up their headquarters in the UK could be far more costly to HM Treasury than the short-term boost from the increased compliance take, he said.
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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)