Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Australian Prime Minister is pro-American in an unmistakeably heartfelt way



Very rare in a Leftist leader. Her speech to Congress in March was also notably warm. Her speech yesterday in Hawaii:

Ms Gillard paid tribute to America's war dead at a moving Veterans Day ceremony. The ceremony at Honolulu's picturesque Punchbowl Cemetery was Ms Gillard's first official engagement of her trip for APEC.

Just a few kilometres from the site of the infamous Pearl Harbor attack of World War 2, Ms Gillard was given a 19-gun salute as she arrived at the cemetery.

She told the crowd of veterans and their families it was a great privilege to be with them. "In this beautiful and hallowed American place where so many of America's own lie in graves which they found too soon you would be well entitled to say: They died for us. This is a day and a place for ourselves alone," she said.

"But we Australians know that this is not your way. "Because we know that so many of these buried here died for us too. "When we were under attack in the Pacific, so many of these buried here were among those who came to our aid. "They fought with us, together, side by side, step by bloody step."

It was US sailors during the Battle of the Coral Sea that eliminated Australia's fears of a Japanese invasion, she said. "It is a battle which is immortal in Australia," she said.

The importance the US places on Veterans Day says something about the country's peace-loving nature, she said. "It is not the anniversary of the onset of a great conflict. "Not the commemoration of a great victory or great feat of arms, it is the day and the hour of the end of the Great War.

"You remember your veterans in the moment to which each one of them dedicated their dearest hopes - you remember them at the moment when peace began."

Australia will never forget the sacrifices the US has made for peace, she said.

Ms Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson then joined local luminaries and veterans in laying wreaths at the memorial.

SOURCE

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Obama's New Job Plan: Kill 400,000 Jobs Immediately

John Ransom

The decision by the Obama administration to delay any action on the XL Keystone pipeline until after the election is a fitting development for an administration that has pursued a bankrupt energy policy, a bankrupt jobs policy and is quite literally bankrupting the country with politics thinly veiled as policy.

And the beauty for Obama in this latest axe he's taken to jobs in the USA is that he doesn't even have consider Congress while he's swinging it. He can kill close to a half-a-million jobs all on his own.

“The State Department said Thursday it would take up to 18 months to review alternative routes for the Keystone expansion,” reports MarketWatch, “so it avoids carrying heavy Canadian crude past Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region and a major regional aquifer.”

The pipeline could ultimately supply about a million barrels of Canadian oil to the US per day and 400,000 US jobs, most of them almost immediately. But instead, the president, who has been railing against Congress for not passing another expensive jobs bill just killed 400,000 American jobs, while making sure the price of gas stays high for citizens.

And despite everything the Obama administration has done to slow down domestic development of oil and gas resources, the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest growing jobs markets in a very anemic job market. While other sectors are shedding jobs, oil and gas is hot.

“The six fastest-growing jobs for 2010-11,” according to Economic Modeling Specialists Inc’s (EMSI) latest quarterly employment data, “are related to oil and gas extraction. This includes service unit operators, derrick operators, rotary drill operators, and roustabouts. Each is expected to grow anywhere from 9% to 11% through this year, in an otherwise mostly stagnant economy.”

Imagine what would happen if we could get Obama to cooperate with creating jobs just a little bit.

The State Department had already issued an approval for the XL Keystone project back in August and it was just waiting on Obama’s desk for action.

Obama could have approved the pipeline easily on economic grounds- the project will create 20,000 construction jobs, plus another 350,000 ancillary jobs- but he’s being bullied by his friends on the left to stop the project in its tracks. The green meanies want him to put their anti-growth, anti-development, anti-job, misanthropic agenda above the welfare and prosperity of US citizens…again.

And he’s complied with them now temporarily, likely with the message that if they get him reelected, he’ll kill the project permanently.

Environmental whackos have been getting arrested by appointment at the White House for the last two months hoping to put pressure on Obama to scuttle the most significant development in energy for our country in the last 50 years.

If successful, the Keystone pipeline will not only significantly reduce US imports of oil from place like the Middle East and Latin America, but it will also help open up huge new oil resources in the United States by providing the confidence to develop oil reserves in the Rocky Mountain region.

While it’s estimated that Canada may have as much as 2 trillion barrels of oil in reserves, “the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the [US] has 4.3 trillion barrels of in-place oil shale resources centered in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, said Helen Hankins, Colorado director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management” according to the Associated Press.

4.3 trillion barrels is 16 times the reserves of Saudi Arabia or enough oil to supply the US for 600 years.

But the newest delay has noting to do with aquifers in Nebraska; rather it has to do with activists on the left who want no fossil energy development under any circumstances. Obama thinks that if he alienates these activists, that he can forget about reelection. He’s already alienated the right and center. The only place he has to go is to the left.

The left doesn’t care about jobs. They only care about their agenda.

"The road to viability for the oil shale industry is reliant on a predictable regulatory structure and an environment in which companies can invest in research and development and create jobs," said Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO), who has accused Obama of delaying the commercial extraction of shale oil by adding regulatory obstacles.

"The proper implementation of our environmental and safety regulations already on the books is a far better strategy than adding additional layers of bureaucracy to the process," said Tipton who held hearings on the subject in Colorado in the summer.

Earlier this summer the high priest of climate change, Nobel Prize winner, Al Gore blasted Obama for being timid on environmental matters, perhaps because he sensed a sell-out coming.

It will be a tough sell to the American people struggling under massive unemployment that the 400,000 jobs that could have been created by Keystone aren’t more important than the worries of environmentalists who think that a grouse has more value than a baby.

After all, the oil shipped through Keystone will replace oil that is being purchased from countries that don’t like us very much. And the project will add good paying, US jobs.

And this latest delay will undercut Obama’s demand that Congress pass his jobs bill “immediately,” a demand that started before the bill had even been written.

“The question, then, is, will Congress do something?" the president said at a press conference when he announced his jobs bull, but before he presented it to Congress.

"If Congress does something, then I can't run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town, because they are frustrated."

Frustrated? Yeah. Obama still doesn’t understand the half of it. It will be US Against Him until he’s out of office.

SOURCE

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With Friends Like These...

Caroline Glick

The slurs against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama after last week's G20 summit were revealing as well as repugnant. Thinking no one other than Obama could hear him, Sarkozy attacked Netanyahu, saying, "I can't stand to see him anymore, he's a liar." Obama responded by whining, "You're fed up with him, but me, I have to deal with him every day."

These statements are interesting both for what they say about the two presidents' characters and for what they say about the way that Israel is perceived by the West more generally. To understand why this is the case it is necessary to first ask, when has Netanyahu ever lied to Sarkozy and Obama?

This week the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's report about Iran's nuclear weapons program made clear that Israel - Netanyahu included - has been telling the truth about Iran and its nuclear ambitions all along. In contrast, world leaders have been lying and burying their heads in the sand.

Since Iran's nuclear weapons program was first revealed to the public in 2004, Israel has provided in-depth intelligence information proving Iran's malign intentions to the likes of Sarkozy, Obama and the UN. And for seven years, the US government - Obama included - has claimed that it lacked definitive proof of Iran's intentions.

Obama wasted the first two years of his administration attempting to charm the Iranians out of their nuclear weapons program. He stubbornly ignored the piles of evidence presented to him by Israel that Iran was not interested in cutting a deal.

Perhaps Obama was relying on the US's 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran's nuclear weapons program. As Israel said at the time, and as this week's IAEA report proves, it was the NIE - which claimed that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 - not Israel that deliberately lied about the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program. It was the US intelligence community that purposely deceived the American government and people about the gravest immediate threat to US national security.

Israel, including Netanyahu, was telling the truth. So if Netanyahu never lied about Iran, what might these two major world leaders think he lies about? Why don't they want to speak with him anymore? Could it be they don't like the way he is managing their beloved "peace process" with the Palestinians?

The fact is that the only times Netanyahu has spoken less than truthfully about the Palestinians were those instances when he sought to appease the likes of Obama and Sarkozy. Only when Netanyahu embraced the false claims of the likes of Obama and Sarkozy that it is possible to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River could it be said that he made false statements.

Because the truth is that Israel never had a chance of achieving peace with the Palestinians. And the reason this has always been the case has nothing to do with Netanyahu or Israel. THERE WAS never any chance for peace because the Palestinians have no interest in making peace with Israel.

As the West's favorite Palestinian "moderate," Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with Egypt's Dream TV on October 23, "I've said it before and I'll say it again. I will never recognize the 'Jewishness' of the State [of Israel] or a 'Jewish state.'" That is, Abbas will never make peace with Israel.

Acknowledging this, on Tuesday Netanyahu reportedly told his colleagues that through their recent actions, the Palestinians have abrogated the foundations of the peace process. As he put it, "By boycotting negotiations and by going instead to the United Nations [to achieve independent statehood], they [the Palestinians] have reneged on a central tenet of Oslo."

That tenet, which formed the basis of the Oslo peace process, was "land for peace." As Netanyahu explained, Israel gave up land within the framework of the Oslo Accords. In exchange the Palestinians committed to resolve their conflict with Israel through direct negotiations that would lead to peace.

Their UN gambit, like Abbas's statement to Egyptian television, shows that the Palestinians - not Israel - have been lying all along. They pocketed Israel's territorial concessions and refused to make peace.

So why do the likes of Sarkozy and Obama hate Netanyahu? Why is he "a liar?" Why don't they pour out their venom on Abbas, who really does lie to them on a regular basis? The answer is because they prefer to blame Israel rather than acknowledge that their positive assessments of the Palestinians are nothing more than fantasy....

Scarcely a day goes by when some foreign leader, commentator or activist doesn't say that being pro-Israel doesn't mean being pro-Israeli government. And like Obama's campaign-trail statement, Clinton's diatribe, Sarkozy and Obama's vile gossip about Netanyahu and Britain's self-congratulatory declarations and veiled threats, those who make a distinction between the Israeli people and the Israeli government ignore two important facts.

First, Israel is a democracy. Its governments reflect the will of the Israeli people and therefore, are inseparable from the people. If you harbor contempt for Israel's elected leaders, then by definition you harbor contempt for the Israeli public. And this makes you anti-Israel.

The second fact these statements ignore is that Israel is the US's and Europe's stalwart ally. If Sarkozy and Obama had said what they said about Netanyahu in a conversation about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, or if Netanyahu had made similar statements about Obama or Sarkozy, the revelation of the statements would have sparked international outcries of indignation and been roundly condemned from all quarters.

And this brings us to the other troubling aspect of Sarkozy and Obama's nasty exchange about Netanyahu. Their views reflect a wider anti-Israel climate. Outside the Jewish world, Sarkozy's and Obama's hateful, false statements about their ally provoked no outrage. Indeed, it took the media three days to even report their conversation.

This indicates that Obama and Sarkozy aren't alone in holding Israel to a double standard. They aren't the only ones blaming Israel for the Palestinians' bad behavior. The Western media also holds Israel to a separate standard. Like Obama and Sarkozy, the media blame Israel and its elected leaders for the Palestinians' duplicity. Like Obama and Sarkozy, the media blame Israel for failing to make their peace fantasies come true. And that is the real message of the Obama- Sarkozy exchange last week. Through it we learn that blaming the Jews and the Jewish state for their enemies' behavior is what passes for polite conversation among Western elites today.

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Friday, November 11, 2011

Europe's Entitlement Reckoning

From Greece to Italy to France, the welfare state is in crisis

In the European economic crisis, all roads lead through Rome. The markets have raised the price of financing Italy's mammoth debt to new highs, and on Tuesday Silvio Berlusconi became the second euro-zone prime minister, after Greece's George Papandreou, to resign this week. His departure may keep the world's eighth largest economy solvent for the time being, but it hardly addresses the root of the problem.

In Italy, as in Greece, Spain and Portugal and eventually France, the welfare-entitlement state has hit a wall. Successive governments on the Continent, right and left, have financed generous entitlements with high taxes and towering piles of debt. Their economies have failed to grow fast enough to keep up, and last year the money started to run out. The reckoning has arrived.

If the first step in curing an addiction is to acknowledge it, there is little sign of that in Europe. The solutions on offer are to spend still more money, to have the Germans bail out everybody else, or to ditch the euro so bankrupt countries can again devalue their own currencies. France's latest debt solution includes raising corporate, capitals gains and sales taxes.

Editorial board member Matt Kaminski discusses Italy's economic and political problems as Berlusconi fights to stay in power.

Yet Europe's problem isn't the euro. If it were, Hungary, Iceland and Latvia—none of which use the euro—would have been spared their painful days of reckoning. The same applies for Britain. Europe is in a debt spiral brought about by spendthrift, overweening and inefficient governments.

This is a crisis of the welfare state, and Italy is a model basket case. Mario Monti, who is tipped to lead a new government of technocrats, once described the Italian economy as a case of "self-inflicted strangulation." Government debt is 120% of GDP, making Italy the world's third largest borrower after the U.S. and Japan. Its economy last grew at more than 2% a year in 2000.

An aging and shrinking population is a symptom, but not a leading cause, of the eurosclerosis. A fifth of Italy's 60 million people are 65 or older and make increasingly expensive claims on state-paid pensions and other benefits. In fast-growing Turkey, only 6.3% fit that demographic. Italian women have on average 1.2 children, putting the country's birth rate at 207th out of 221 countries.

But the bulk of the responsibility lies with politicians. Mr. Berlusconi, Italy's richest man, promised a shake up each time he ran for office (in 1994, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2008). He was the longest serving premier in post-war Italy, from 2001 to 2006, controlled parliament and could have pushed through reforms. He didn't. Promises to lower taxes and hack away at regulations and protections for Italy's powerful guilds—from taxi drivers to pharmacists to journalists—were broken.

"It is not difficult to rule Italy," Benito Mussolini once said, "it is useless." The so-called concertazione, or concert, of Italian coalition politics that brings together numerous parties in the Parliament makes for unstable and indecisive governments. So does the fear prominent in many European countries that any serious reform will provoke street protests. An unhappy byproduct of a welfare state is that it creates powerful interests that will fight to the last to preserve their free lunch, no matter the cost to the country.

But now hard choices can no longer be postponed. And the solution to Europe's debt crisis must begin with reforming, if not dismantling, the welfare state. Europe rose from the economic grave in the 1960s, it rode the Reagan-Thatcher reform wave to more modest growth in the 1980s-'90s, and it can grow again. A decade ago, Germany was called the "sick man of Europe," bedeviled by Italian-like economic problems. But a center-left coalition, supported by trade unions and German society, overhauled labor and welfare codes and set the stage for the current (if still modest) export-led revival in Germany.

The road from Rome may now lead to Paris, Madrid and other debt-ridden European countries. But this is no cause for U.S. chortling, because that same road also leads to Sacramento, Albany and Washington. America's federal debt was 35.7% of GDP in 2007, but it was 61.3% last year and is rising on an Italian trajectory. The lesson of Italy, and most of the rest of Europe, is never to become a high-tax, slow-growth entitlement state, because the inevitable reckoning is nasty, brutish and not short.

SOURCE

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More on Small Business And Regulation

When Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, said in 2009, “Make no mistake about it: The Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business,” it wasn’t entirely clear what she meant. Small businesses have since found out.

IBD interviewed Monty Friebel who runs Cooper Enterprises for the first part in this series on small businesses that struggle with government regulation. During that interview Friebel said:
When I first got involved, the (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) would come in and point out things that were not correct. They’d issue citations but there were no fines associated with it. They’d give you time to take corrective action and if it met their satisfaction that was the end of it. Today they come out and they fine you first. You still correct it, you demonstrate to their satisfaction that it is corrected and you still get to pay the fine.

“That’s the feedback I’m getting from our customers,” said Ty Baker-Baumann, who runs Rebsco, Inc. in Greenville, Ohio. “We belong to some different business associations and when I talk to the directors of those associations that’s what they’re hearing from their members pretty consistently.”

Baker-Baumann is a second-generation owner of Rebsco, which provides design, engineering, fabrication and installation services to businesses such as agriculture, asphalt and aggregate (stone and gravel used in construction). Rebsco has about 20 employees.

She relayed two stories about regulations that harmed two businesses she worked with. The first was an aggregate business that had closed down temporarily. The owner posted a sign out front that explicitly said that the business was closed temporarily.

But an inspector from the Mine Safety and Health Administration fined the business for closing down permanently without notifying MSHA.

“Now they have to go through all the hoops with the regulators and dealing with the fine and trying to appeal it,” said Baker-Baumann. “That costs a lot of time and energy at a time when this business owner should really put his energy into selling product, not dealing with a regulator.”

In the other instance, a small feed and grain facility in the area was visited by an OSHA inspector in August.

“The owner’s comment to me was, ‘If I can get through an OSHA inspection with $10,000 in fines or less, I feel lucky,’” she said. “He could be using more productively to make an improvement or pay for health insurance. Instead, he’s paying a fine, but for what useful purpose?”

She states that this more adversarial relationship between regulators and business began with the current administration. “It’s a very anti-business climate. When you see all the new regulations coming out of the Department of Labor, it doesn’t give you the sense that business is highly valued.”

She thinks that most small-business owners want reasonable regulations that promote safety and are cost-effective. Nevertheless, she said:
From a small business owner’s perspective, the proliferation of regulations and enforcement hit small businesses more heavily than a larger corporation. Your fines tend to be a bigger part of your profit margin, and if you really can’t see the cost-benefit in it, it’s a struggle. Further, small business owners wear many different hats. They do sales, human resources, marketing, operations, accounting and so on. The burden of regulatory compliance also falls on those same shoulders. I can’t go out and hire someone to go through all the information out there and help me figure out what new regulations are coming down the pike that I have to tend to. No small business owner can do that. So we would greatly benefit, as would our employees and our communities, with a regulatory environment that is more thoughtful, more supportive, and more conducive to a partnership.

SOURCE

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Republican Senator Calls on Obama to Cancel Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Bonuses

A Republican senator is calling on President Obama to cancel the $12.8 million in bonuses that were approved for 10 executives at the government-seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that received a $170 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

“I am calling on the president of the United States to cancel those bonuses and explain to the American people, the taxpayers who bailed out Freddie and Fannie, why he continues to reward failure,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at a news conference Tuesday.

The two housing giants have received about $141 billion in taxpayer funds since the government took them over in 2008 during the financial crisis. Sen. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., is pushing a bill to suspend pay packages at Fannie and Freddie and require executives and employees of government-sponsored enterprises to be paid according to the federal pay scale.

Politico first reported the $6.46 million in bonuses for the top five officers at Freddie Mac -- including $2.3 million for CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr., who is stepping down next year -- and $6.33 million for Fannie Mae officials, including $2.37 million for CEO Michael Williams, for meeting modest goals.

A second bonus installment for Freddie executives in 2010 has yet to be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Politico reported.

White House aides say the president took a lead on cleaning up excessive compensation on Wall Street with the Dodd-Frank bill, but those provisions do not apply to Fannie and Freddie.

“The White House was not involved and nor should it be,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

But during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama had a slightly more aggressive view.

“I’ve always said that any action with respect to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac needs to put taxpayers first and can’t under any circumstances bail out shareholders or senior management of that company,” Obama said.

More HERE

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The Left's Many Double Standards

David Limbaugh

Today's liberals would have you believe they occupy the moral high ground on every political and cultural issue. But have you ever taken inventory of their double standards?

The left's inconsistency in applying their principles based on the party affiliation of those they're judging, gives fuller meaning to the concept of moral relativism. The only thing that's consistent is their reliable inconsistency, whether in the area of economic, social or national defense issues.

Let's consider just a few examples:

-- When "bimbo eruptions" threatened to derail Bill Clinton's campaign, his hit squad, the commander in chief of which was Hillary Clinton, eviscerated every accuser, inventing tales to destroy their character and distorting the facts of what occurred. When Ken Starr accused Bill Clinton of lying under oath, liberals turned their venom on him, accusing him of sexual perversion just for delving into the subject.

When Republicans argued that Clinton's serial sexual exploits, some of which had then occurred quite recently, demonstrated poor character, Democrats defiantly dismissed his actions as irrelevant to the performance of his presidential duties. These guardians of the fairer sex -- watchdogs of government corruption -- didn't care that Clinton's taking advantage of an intern in the Oval Office was a quintessential case of sexual harassment, given the power disparities between his station and that of Monica Lewinsky's. They even defended Clinton's perjury concerning the matter. Some argued that it was almost virtuous that he chose to lie under oath and protect his family rather than take the easy way out and come clean.

Today, liberals are in high dudgeon and probably higher conspiracy over sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that supposedly occurred 14 years ago. CNBC's GOP presidential debate moderators pointedly asked Cain and one of his rivals Mitt Romney, whether a man guilty of such conduct had the requisite character to be president of the United States.

-- Democrats maligned former President George W. Bush's economy for the better part of his two terms, despite the robust growth, unemployment below 5 percent and a 2007 deficit less than 10 percent of what it is today. They tell us that President Obama's horrendous economy, on the other hand, is not even his fault.

-- Frustrated with their inability to succeed in talk radio and the resulting loss of their decades long national media monopoly, liberals have resorted to demonizing conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, saying they habitually engage in hate speech of a sort that gives rise to violence. Following the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill Clinton himself shamelessly suggested there was a causal connection between that heinous crime and conservative talk. That there was no proof of such a connection didn't deter him and his ideological colleagues even slightly.

Similarly, when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, liberals immediately jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that the shooter had been stirred into violence by conservative hate speech and particularly, a bulls-eye image from Sarah Palin. Discovering that the shooter was anything but right-wing didn't keep President Obama from framing his Tucson speech around the theme of civility in our political discourse. If he'd talked about European demographic trends in Late Antiquity, his speech couldn't have been any less relevant. But it would have been less politically inflammatory and exploitive.

Relevance aside, did Obama follow his own gratuitous admonitions to avoid embittered partisan rhetoric? Obviously not. He has repeatedly demonized Republicans both before and after Tucson, his favorite theme being class warfare. Just last week, he branched out from the politics of greed and envy and preposterously accused Republicans of blocking his recklessly wasteful environmental initiatives because they want dirty air and dirty water.

-- On a related matter, Democrats have slandered genuine grassroots Tea Partiers as lawless, racist, AstroTurf scofflaws who are sometimes even domestic terrorists, despite the Tea Partiers' peaceful, respectful behavior, no evidence of racism and almost no arrests at any of their events. Liberals pejoratively labeled them Tea Baggers and mocked their legitimate protests against the unprecedented spending of the Obama administration. But when leftist Occupy Wall Street protesters have truly been organized from above, have engaged in lawless and violent behavior leading to many arrests and have spewed anti-Semitic bile, liberals, including President Obama himself, have lionized them and identified with their cause.

-- When President Bush attacked Iraq with the Democrats' approval, based on a perceived and possibly actual national security threat, liberals savaged him as a lying warmonger. But when President Obama attacked Libya, let alone Egypt, without any discernible national security interest and without Congress's endorsement, liberals hailed his foreign policy acumen.

-- Democrats vilified Bush for enhanced interrogation techniques and domestic surveillance against terrorists, but now glorify Obama for his literal assassinations of terrorist leaders, and they look the other way as he continues many of the Bush era anti-terrorism strategies.

I'll stop here, even though I'm not yet halfway through my list.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pakinsanity: Now Even Being an Active Anti-American Terrorist Doesn’t Make You Off-Limits for The Obama Administration

Even the New York Times is shocked. Here’s how the story begins:
“Just a month after accusing Pakistan’s spy agency of secretly supporting the Haqqani terrorist network, which has mounted attacks on Americans, the Obama administration is now relying on the same intelligence service to help organize and kick-start reconciliation talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.”

There are two problems here:

–Despite massive financial aid, Pakistan has proven to be unreliable in fighting terrorists or helping the United States capture them. It is also a major sponsor of terrorism. In Afghanistan, it has worked secretly with the Taliban and other violent Islamist groups.

So why is the United States making that country the centerpiece of its Afghanistan plans? Note the parallel to making the hostile Islamist Turkish regime the manager of its Syria policy. It’s also coddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood as well. If it weren’t for the power of pro-Israel sentiment in the country, I’d bet the Obama Administration would be making nice with Hamas and Hizballah as well.

–The Administration is also ready to deal with the Taliban, remember that it was an enabler for the September 11 attack, and the Haqqani network, a group close to al-Qaida and one that is very active in terrorism against Americans, including a recent assault on the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and now a suicide bomber attack killing ten Americans in Kabul.

As usual, double-talk is employed to make this absurd policy sound reasonable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls it, “Fight, Talk, Build.” The United States will attack Haqqani while trying to get it to negotiate.

Aside from an ideology that portrays the United States as a minion of Satan (a serious barrier to becoming friends), the Haqqani and their Pakistani sponsors know that the United States is leaving any way. So why not just outwait the attacks? Moreover, the United States is not able to hit them hard enough to make a difference.

Or as the New York Times puts it so well, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence chieftains, “see little advantage in forcing those negotiations, because they see the insurgents as perhaps their best bet for maintaining influence in Afghanistan as the United States reduces its presence there.”

As senseless policies and failures proliferate, dissent grows inside the administration. A “senior American official” summarized the Pakistani position as “Cease-fire, Talk, Wait for the Americans to Leave.”

In sharp contrast to Iraq, Afghanistan is likely to collapse in bloodshed after the U.S. departure and a radical, probably Islamist, and anti-American regime will come to power. That would be still another monument to the Obama Administration policy of rewarding enemies and punishing friends.

SOURCE

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Small Business And Regulation again

Sheila Ogle is somewhat like Jessica Hadler Baines from Tuesday’s small business profile. She too has seen the financing woes that Dodd-Frank has caused for smaller firms.

“One of the tenants in my commercial buildings, she’s a veterinarian,” said Ogle. “She’s been trying for over a year to borrow money to build her own building. She’s been in business three years and showing a profit. She’s been to six banks and overwhelmed with paperwork.”

Ogle’s own struggle with regulations has come via the Environmental Protection Agency. She owns three small businesses in Cary, North Carolina: MRPP, an advertising firm; the Matthew’s House (used for receptions); and the Matthew’s House Catering.

A few years ago, Sheila and her husband expanded the kitchen at Matthew’s House so that it would be a full-service catering kitchen. To do this, they had to expand the retention pond on the land. A retention pond is a basin designed to catch run-off water.

“When you have a commercial building, the EPA can require you to have a retention pond that retains storm water run-off so that impurities don’t get into the city water,” said Ogle. The pond takes up about a quarter of an acre at Matthew’s House.

“There are lots and lots of guidelines you have to follow (to get the EPA to approve)” she said. “When we expanded Matthew’s House we had to add more depth to the pond, more gravel and more vegetation.”

The cost to do that was about $30,000. That’s $30,000 she was not able to invest in her business.

SOURCE

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In Praise of Capitalist Inequality

As both Ayn Rand and Steve Jobs would remind them, the economic inequality that the OWS protestors oppose is not something to be condemned, but to be celebrated

For several weeks now, the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York City and around the country have been demanding “economic justice,” which includes a mishmash of leftist goals including universal health care, forgiveness of student loan debt, and higher taxes on the wealthy. To the extent the OWS protestors have a unifying theme, it’s that capitalism is bad and that redistributing wealth to reduce “inequality” is good.

The Irish socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” The Occupy Wall Street protestors demanding government redistribution of wealth from the richest Americans (“the 1%”) to themselves (“the 99%”) would certainly agree. But as some of them are starting to learn, if their ideas were actually put into practice they’d end up being the Peters, not the Pauls.

Already, some of the OWS protestors are finding their ideas coming back to bite them. Recently, OWS kitchen staff staged a mini-revolt because they were tired of working 18-hour days to prepare meals for “freeloaders.” Another OWS protestor was upset that someone had stolen her $5500 Macintosh computer. Redistributing wealth suddenly became a lot less appealing when one was the victim of the “redistribution,” rather than the recipient.

The OWS protestors are learning first hand about something that novelist Ayn Rand discussed more than 50 years ago in Atlas Shrugged, in her vignette about the Twentieth Century Motor Company. In the novel, the new owners of the factory decided to run the company according to the supposedly noble precept of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Workers would be assigned duties based according to their expected ability — but paid according to how much money they needed, rather than how much they produced.

In theory, this would result in a more equitable distribution of wealth. But in practice, it meant the men of greater ability worked longer hours without hope of reward. Hence, the more competent workers either left or deliberately underperformed. In contrast, the more irresponsible workers received more money because of their “need” — regardless of how hard they worked. Of course, eventually the company went bankrupt.

But Rand’s lesson was not merely that such a model was economically unsustainable. She also made a deeper moral point about the motivations of the workers who supported this scheme. As one of the characters in the story said:

There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own.

This is precisely the lesson that the OWS kitchen staff (or the woman with the laptop) have learned the hard way. Most people who advocate robbing Peter to pay Paul always imagine themselves as Paul — never as Peter. But when their desired forced redistribution is applied at a national level, the result is the near-universal misery and squalor of socialist countries like Cuba and North Korea. Except for a few political elites, everyone is equal — but poor.

In a free society, the economic inequality that the OWS protestors oppose is not something to be condemned, but something to be celebrated. A fully capitalist society allows people to rise as far as their ability and efforts allow. Because people differ in their talents, work ethic, and personal priorities, the natural result would be unequal levels of wealth.

Unequal “power law” distributions are the norm in a free society. A small number of authors sell a disproportionate number of books — just ask Harry Potter author JK Rowling. A relatively small fraction of blogs attracts a majority of web traffic. Or as anyone who works in a customer service field knows all too well, a small minority of customers always account for the majority of complaints.

Hence, it’s natural that a relatively small fraction of individuals might possess a disproportionate share of the wealth. In a free society, such inequality per se is not a problem, especially given that there is still income mobility for people to rise (or fall) as they deserve based on their talent and willingness to work hard — which is still the case in America.

Fortunately, many Americans still have a healthy respect for earned inequality. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently passed away, William Stoddard poignantly wrote:

I’ve given many thousands of dollars to Apple over the decades, a substantial part of which went to Jobs. And every dollar I’ve spent has brought me something that was worth more than the money was. Jobs spent his life giving me things of greater value than the money he accepted in exchange. And the same is true for his other customers. He gave the world far more value than the value of his personal wealth. If his fortune looked huge, it was a measure of the immense number of other people he made better off.

The fact that Steve Jobs earned a greater fortune than most others reflects the fact that he created much more value than most others — and in the process enhanced others’ lives to a proportionately greater degree. Steve Jobs’ earned wealth was a direct reflection of the value he added for himself and others — and his wealth should be praised and respected as a noble achievement.

It is also important to recognize that America is not currently a capitalist country, but rather a mixed economy with both capitalist and socialist elements. Hence, some Americans have become undeservedly rich through political “pull” and favors. But the OWS protestors aren’t opposed to government favoritism in principle — they merely want to shift those special favors onto themselves.

The OWS protestors claim to want “economic justice.” But real economic justice doesn’t consist of looting others’ wealth, but respecting others’ right to keep what they’ve earned. Unlike the OWS protestors, I don’t want to destroy the 1% to achieve a dubious “equality” where everyone is equally miserable. I don’t want to live in a dog-eat-dog world of constant “redistribution” and mutual predation where I survive only by looting from those wealthier than me, while those poorer than me survive by looting from me. Instead, I want a capitalist society which allows the top 1% the freedom to make their lives better — and in the process makes my life better as well.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Russia orders five Yasen class nuclear subs: "Russia announced plans to build five nuclear submarines and made $9 billion worth of orders for the navy on Wednesday as part of an ambitious programme to modernise its army and fleet spear headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin."

Safety risks seen in computerized medical records: "The nation’s transition to electronic medical records, now in full swing, risks overlooking potential patient safety problems, independent advisers warned the Obama administration in a report Tuesday. Computerized medical records have been sold as a powerful tool to improve patient safety, for example by automatically alerting a doctor about to prescribe medication a patient is allergic to. But the report by a panel from the influential Institute of Medicine said such benefits shouldn’t be taken for granted."

Does Mars have rights?: "It may be technically possible to transform Mars so that it is more hospitable to terrestrial life, but some ethicists argue that it would be wrong to do so. Do we have a moral obligation to leave Mars and other worlds alone?"

Doug Casey on Occupy Wall Street: "Casey: "I am, clearly, one of the 1%. So are you. In fact, almost everyone who has worked hard, saved money, and not invested it unwisely is at least in the top 10%. What the OWS people are angry about -- or should be angry about -- are the people who made their money through government contacts, or connections. They didn't produce anything; they're really just sophisticated thieves. I have only contempt for those who feed at the public trough."

The FDA is killing us: "Recently, there have been shortages of some medicines. Cancer patients can't get drugs they need. Why not? One reason is that a big drugmaker shut down for a year in part to meet Food and Drug Administration rules. The FDA makes it so expensive and difficult to sell drugs that there isn't an eager pack of companies rushing to the fill the gap. ... Does the FDA say it's sorry for its part and back off? Of course not. Regulators almost never do that. In fact, the FDA wants more power."

SCOTUS wrestles with sticky Jerusalem passport case: "In a dispute that evokes Arab-Israeli tensions and important divisions of federal power, Supreme Court justices voiced doubt Monday that Congress could override the president and require U.S. passports of children born in Jerusalem to list the place of birth as Israel. For more than six decades, since the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, the U.S. government has declined to recognize any country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem."

We’re still not cutting: "In the spring fight to avert a government shutdown, Republicans promised $100 billion in real cuts but then compromised for $38.5 billion in future savings. In reality, the Congressional Budget Office found the deal still resulted in an increase of more than $170 billion in federal spending from 2010 to 2011. The 'largest spending cut in history' ended up being a spending increase."

The threat of electromagnetic pulse: "From an enemy's point of view, a single large device exploded 250 to 300 miles above Iowa would disrupt the entire United States. But getting a missile that far inland could be a problem for them. On the other hand, because the radius of destruction of one high-altitude explosion is very large (as much as 1400 miles), three missiles, launched almost straight up, from freighters off the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, should just about cover the lower 48 states with EMP surges that would all but incapacitate our nation."

The truth will get you fired: "What kind of friend is Hamid Karzai? If it weren’t for U.S. involvement in his corrupt administration propping him and his cronies up, and the deaths of thousands or our soldiers, Hamid Karzai, assuming he were lucky enough to still be alive, would be living in a cave and picking poppy flowers somewhere in the Afghan hinterland. Karzai takes our blood and treasure while stabbing us in the back. We should be firing him instead of General Fuller."

AL: County files for largest municipal bankruptcy: "Alabama's most populous county filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history Wednesday, years after being plunged more than $4 billion into debt by a corruption-riddled sewer project. Just two months after it seemed Jefferson County could stave off embarrassment by striking a deal with creditors, talks broke down over about $140 million, said Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, who made the motion to file for the protection."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Great American Memory Hole

John 8:32 -- "Know the truth and the truth will set you free". Lefists know that the truth is fatal to them so many of them are busy revising and erasing history. They are even altering legal records. Keep your own notes and records to thwart them

In the fictional world of George Orwell's 1984, when printed information conflicted with the newest version of truth as Oceania's government proclaimed it, relevant documents were promptly revised by the Ministry of Truth and damning remnants of evidence stuffed down Memory Holes.

In the real world, when information conflicts with the truth as the Obama team defines it, inconvenient facts are spun, obscured, or sealed. Often important data is never collected or produced at all, eliminating the possibility that discrepancies may be revealed or inconsistent conclusions reached.

The pattern of clouding Obama's personal history began in 1995 with the publication of his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. In a 2008 NY Times article, Janny Scott noted: "In the introduction, Mr. Obama acknowledged his use of pseudonyms, composite characters, approximated dialogue and events out of chronological order." Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama, would likely add a few words to the end of Scott's article title, "The Story of Obama, Written by Obama," such as: "With Lots of Help from Some Guy in his Neighborhood."

Yet Dreams, admitted by its author (whoever that may be) as not entirely factual, was practically the only thing the media placed in Obama's vetting file. Cashill also raised doubts as to the authorship of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and Stanley Kurtz uncovered varying versions of the inspirational Jeremiah Wright sermon by the same title.

If any other scant investigating revealed inconvenient associations or facts, they were promptly spun and flushed down a Memory Hole by those Cashill calls the "Fifth Estate."

Mondo Frazier, in his new book, The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama, wrote:
In an age in which seemingly every facet of a person's life is recorded, on file, and increasingly available on the Internet, the total absence of Barack Obama's vital records is an almost singularly unique phenomenon...In Obama's case, the records either don't exist, haven't been released, or have disappeared.

Beginning in 2008, when citizens questioned whether Obama, with his unusual background, was really born in Hawaii (recall that even MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2007 described Obama as "born in Indonesia") and whether his dual citizenship made him ineligible, the media maligned the doubters as "birthers," and Obama's relevant records were sealed even tighter. As Frazier noted: "Asking questions was no longer the mark of an informed electorate; it was considered bad form."

Another Orwellian phenomenon surrounding the "birther" controversy was recently discovered: "JustiaGate," in which 25 Supreme Court decisions that cited to the same case that defined "natural born" citizen were altered on Justia.com's public database sometime mid-2008. The changes consisted of deleted references to the case name (Minor v. Happersett), "mangled" numerical citations, and other instances of missing text. Within days of the Portland Examiner's publishing of attorney Leo Donofrio's findings, Justia removed Wayback Internet Archives access, making it difficult to ascertain the plausibility of Justia owner Tim Stanley's explanation to CNET.

Although the decisions remain intact at other reliable sources, Justia is a popular free site, referred by many law schools for research. Journalists and attorneys frequently link to Justia's SCOTUS decisions in articles such as this recent posting on the WSJ Law Blog that cited Dirks v. SEC. In fact, google "Dirks v. SEC" and note the first search hit.

The unexplained omission of two important words ("of parents") from an 1862 Congressional Globe quotation that defined "natural born," cited in an amicus brief for a citizenship case before the Supreme Court, was noted in a previous American Thinker article. The column also described another instance in which the phrase "whose parents are citizens" was changed to "with an American parent" in an updated version of a 2008 scholarly article -- a small rewrite that made a world of difference regarding Obama's eligibility.

The "Requirements to Hold Office" page on the NY Board of Elections website is the subject of another recent controversy over a couple of qualifying words: "natural born" vs. "born a" citizen, and yet again, the tracks left behind in the Internet archives have been obscured.

Small words, their arrangement and placement, and nuances in their meaning can have great impact. So can small footnotes, as the 789 terminated Chrysler dealers learned. Donofrio represented 76 of them in an appeal after discovering that the presiding bankruptcy judge included an inexplicable footnote in his decision allowing the terminations to take place pre-sale (and therefore negating the dealers' rights as unsecured creditors). Judge Gonzalez wrote: "... [Fiat's representative Alfredo] Altavilla also responded affirmatively to a question regarding whether a dealership network needed to be restructured for the Fiat Transaction to close, stating that a 'restructuring needs to occur.'"

But previous testimony revealed that Fiat's representative, when asked whether the terminations were a prerequisite, actually asserted: "...a restructure needs to occur. Whether it occurs before or after the closing of the deal is not a material difference." Note the material difference in meaning, however, implied by the arrangement of words in the judge's footnote.

CNBC recently uncovered a Ministry of Truth-style edit by "someone affiliated with the Department of Energy" of two press releases on the same loan guarantee program offered Solyndra. The congressional investigations into that DOE program and Project Gunwalker may result in both Obama's Blackberry and the missing "Third Gun" stuffed down the same Memory Hole. The DOJ is also attempting to throw in Elena Kagan's documents relating to her involvement with ObamaCare as Solicitor General.

The Daily Caller reported on the Justice Department's proposed "revision to Freedom of Information Act rules [that] would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don't exist." The agencies could then slip "certain records" down Memory Holes -- legally. But last week, the resulting "pushback" forced the DOJ to drop the proposal, although questions remain as to the department's internal guidance that allows certain "exclusions."

And if all the shovel-ready shovels are still lying around after Obama's presidency, they can be employed to dig Obama's "official" Memory Holes: according to the Judicial Watch blog, "a group of congressional Democrats has introduced legislation ... that will allow the commander-in-chief to keep presidential records secret after he leaves office."

Rather than contrived or directed by a central figure such as Orwell's Big Brother, some conspiracy-like movements can simply consist of many individuals motivated by a similar goal or worldview, independently creating, spinning, revising, or obscuring information -- a word, a sentence, a footnote, a record at a time.

More HERE

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More information suppression

The White House laments that America hasn't built enough massive government infrastructure projects. Nonsense. At the rate it's growing, the Great Stonewall of Obama may soon be the second largest manmade object visible from outer space.

While many construction workers across the country remain idle, Team Obama's attorneys have been laboring overtime to erect impenetrable information blockades around three festering scandals: Solyndra, LightSquared, and Fast and Furious.

This much is clear: The "most transparent administration ever" is hyper-allergic to sunlight and subpoenas.

During another trademark Friday news dump, the White House revealed that it would fight a GOP House subpoena for internal documents related to the half-trillion-dollar, stimulus-funded, now-bankrupt Solyndra solar energy loan bust. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler fumed that the information request placed an "unreasonable burden on the president's ability to meet his constitutional duties." (Said duties, it should be noted, which the president has had no qualms circumventing during his "We Can't Wait" orgy of executive orders.)

Indeed, pestering the White House for a full accounting of how Solyndra and its largest investor -- Obama campaign finance bundler and billionaire gambler George Kaiser -- left taxpayers holding the bag is a most unwelcome intrusion into Obama's executive privilege. So someone summon a wahmbulance. He's feeling put upon.

Ruemmler further complained that the subpoena represents "a significant intrusion on executive branch interests." Then she uncorked a full-throated whine:

"As written, (the subpoena) encompasses all communications within the White House from the beginning of this Administration to the present that refer or relate to Solyndra, and the subpoena purports to demand a complete response in less than a week. Thus any document that references Solyndra, even in passing, is arguably responsive to the Committee's request, and you reaffirmed this week that you intend for the request to be that broad."

While she paints the request as a last-minute surprise, the White House has been stonewalling on Solyndra all year long. And as Reason magazine's Tim Cavanaugh points out: Compliance would be "the work of a few hours, at a time when the executive branch has 2.8 million employees. The whole thing could be done by staffers, leaving the president to focus on golf and fundraising and long, boring speeches."

More HERE

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Liberal Programs Deserve Blame for Income Inequality

The Congressional Budget Office documents income gains for everyone, not just the wealthy

Liberals are treating a new Congressional Budget Office study showing that income inequality increased in America over the last three decades as the smoking gun they’d always been looking for—the ultimate indictment of America, capitalism, and apple pie.

The Nation’s George Vornick wrote a piece titled “Yes, Virginia, There Is Income Inequality,” billing the CBO’s finding as “dramatic.” And he wondered whether the study, released as the Occupy Wall Street protests gather steam, would finally force the Republicans on the deficit reduction super committee to face some “uncomfortable truths.” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wasted no time in accusing those not in a tizzy over the study of being “blinkered ideologues” and “income inequality deniers.”

But if not everyone is alarmed by dubious claims about rising Gini co-efficients, a metric that measures income inequality, is it because they are “blinkered ideologues” and "deniers." No. Income inequality tells us zilch about the only thing that really matters: Are the lives of Americans, rich, poor, and in between, getting better or worse?

The finding that generated the most headlines was that the after-tax household income of the top 1 percent of Americans grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007. But this figure was based on outdated pre-recession data that omitted 2008 and 2009, when the “1 percenters” saw a decade's worth of gains wiped out. This is nothing to weep over. They took the risk and they lost.

But is the fate of those lower on the totem pole cause for panic? Not really. The study reports that in the same period, households in the top quintile saw a 65 percent income gain; the vast middle in the 21st to 80th percentiles saw about a 40 percent gain; and the bottom quintile saw an 18 percent gain.

In other words, no group lost ground or even stagnated. So why all this breast-beating?

Few, besides vulgar Marxists, believe in the “immiseration of the masses” theory of capitalism anymore—the idea that the wealth of the top few is extracted by exploiting the labor of the bottom many. Burying this notion is one of the enduring intellectual victories of market theorists.

The post-liberalization successes of India and China have convinced even ardent liberals that markets play a crucial role in raising productivity and relieving scarcity, vastly expanding the proverbial social pie so that everyone has more to go around.

Of course, some gain more than others. But so what? Isn’t an unequal distribution of wealth preferable to an equal distribution of poverty? Is there any amount of inequality that liberal worrywarts would accept? Suppose the CBO had found that every group’s income increased by exactly 65 percent. Would they celebrate everyone’s good fortune or mourn the unwavering income gap? The question answers itself.

If liberals accept the market’s productive capacity but reject its distributive verdict, it’s because they think of the market as an abstraction that spews out wealth like a spigot, with who gets what being completely up for grabs. Rich people get more, they believe, because they are more skilled at clawing their way to the head of the line.

But in functioning markets, there is a connection between creating and gaining wealth. Those on the front lines of wealth creation get more than those at the back, regardless of whether they began as rich people or poor. Steve Jobs, whose net worth upon his death was $8.3 billion, got rich because he created a $360 billion company, not because he cut ahead of others. It bespeaks a profound conceptual misunderstanding to talk, as the CBO study does, about the growing concentration of income in the hands of the rich, as if the “rich” existed apart from the wealth—the value—they create.

Another thing liberals are worked up about is that the study attributes rising inequality to fewer “federal transfers” to the poor. But that’s not because poor people are getting less money from Uncle Sam in absolute dollars. In fact, they get more every year. It is just that they are getting a smaller portion of total transfers. This is not something that “income inequality deniers” have made up. It is what the study itself says.

It found that in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers. “The shift reflects the growth in spending for programs focused on the elderly population (such as Social Security and Medicare), in which benefits are not limited to low-income households,” the study explains. “As a result, government transfers reduced the dispersion of household income by less in 2007 than in 1979.”

In other words, poor people are getting relatively fewer handouts thanks to the Great Society programs that liberals themselves put in place for the elderly. This demonstrates the core problem with unfettered redistributionism: Eventually, you run out of other people’s money. And when you do, you have to make hard choices about whose needs to prioritize—not demonize opponents.

SOURCE

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The folly of corporate taxes

What about raising taxes on corporations as a means to get them to pay their "rightful share of government"? If a tax is levied on a corporation and if it is to survive, it will have one of several responses or some combination thereof. One response is to raise the price of its product, so customers share part of the burden. Another response is to lower dividends, so shareholders share a part of the burden. And a considerable portion of reduced dividend burden falls on ordinary non-rich people. According to the Tax Foundation, 19 percent of federal tax returns report dividend income but 42 percent of taxpayers older than 65 report dividend income. Therefore, it is people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, who bear the burden of the tax. Because corporations have these responses to the imposition of a tax, they are merely government tax collectors.

The largest burden of corporate taxes is borne by workers. We discover that by asking a simple question, such as: Which workers on a road construction project earn the higher pay, those employed moving dirt with shovels and wheelbarrows or those doing the same atop giant earthmovers? You'd guess the guys operating the earthmovers, but why? It's not because they're unionized or because construction contractors have a fondness for earthmover operators. It's because those workers have more capital (tools) to work with and are thereby more productive. Higher productivity translates into higher wages.

Tax policies that raise the cost of capital formation -- such as capital gains taxes, low depreciation allowances and corporate taxes -- reduce capital formation. As a result, workers have less capital, lower productivity and lower wage growth. In 1980, Joseph Stiglitz, now a Nobel laureate, said that workers share the highest corporate tax burden in the form of lower wages. A number of economic studies, including that of the Congressional Budget Office, show that workers bear anywhere from 45 to 75 percent of the corporate tax burden.

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

****************************

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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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

IBD Blog Series on Small Business And Regulation‏

Each day this workweek Capital Hill will feature a small business owner who struggles with government regulations. The companies were provided to us via the National Federation of Independent Business which, in recent weeks, has been blanketing Congress for reform as part of its Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations program.

The first business in this series is Cooper Enterprises, which manufactures wood and laminated components like office furniture and flooring. Located in Shelby, Ohio, it is owned by Monty Friebel. The business has been in his family since 1965. It currently employs 61 people.

Friebel’s biggest regulatory difficulty is dealing with the sawdust produced at his business. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration deems this to be “combustible dust.” Friebel spends over six figures making sure his business meets OSHA’s standards on combustible dust. The problem is that it’s not very clear what those standards are.

“There are no specific guidelines on dealing with combustible dust,” said Friebel. “OSHA addresses it under its ‘General Duty’ clause.” The General Duty clause merely states that “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

That provides no guidelines as to how much combustible dust is unsafe or what procedures must be used for handling it.

“We have very highly sophisticated dust collection systems in place for all of our equipment and we have good housekeeping practices to keep the place clean and organized,” said Friebel. “But it is impossible for me to cut or mill anything without generating some level of uncaptured dust. So I’m automatically in violation of the OSHA General Duty clause. I can’t be in business and not be in violation of the clause.”

While Friebel has never been fined for combustible dust, other people he knows in the business have. But that hardly means that Friebel pays no cost. “I’ve had to add an additional person to the safety team and I’ve had to spend more money with my outside safety consultant trying to mitigate this concern.” He estimates that costs him between $120,000 and $150,000 annually.

It’s not even clear how much of a safety hazard combustible dust is. Friebel doesn’t think sawdust is all that combustible. He says it requires a fuel source, air and an ignition source. In the over twenty years he’s been involved in with Cooper Enterprises, he’s had no explosions due to combustible dust and only two small fires in the dust collection system that were easily extinguished.

In short, Friebel is spending a sizable amount of money on an unclear regulation to deal with a substance that is of minimal danger, money that is not being spent on a new employee, or increasing sales, or developing a new product.

“These costs are at the point right now I question why I still have a business, and you have to question why other businesses have left the U.S. and gone elsewhere,” he said.

SOURCE

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Latino Small Business Owners Tell Their Stories of Lawsuit Abuse

Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime del Campo are the owners of La Casita Mexicana, a small restaurant in Bell, California that has become increasingly popular for its authentic Mexican dishes. Yet one day, Jaime and Ramiro were shocked to receive notice that they had been sued, along with dozens of neighboring businesses, by a plaintiff who has filed more than 500 lawsuits – including many against small Latino-owned businesses.

Roberto Guerrero found himself with a similar problem. The owner of Cumaica Coffee in San Francisco was also sued by a serial plaintiff. Several neighboring businesses were sued by the same plaintiff, and at least two were forced to close.

Unfortunately, these stories of lawsuit abuse are all too typical for small business owners, an increasing number of whom are Latino Americans. In fact, U.S. Census figures show that Latino Americans are creating small businesses at a rate three times higher than the rate for the non-Latino population.

To reach out to this growing community, ILR has created a new Spanish language version of its Faces of Lawsuit Abuse website (www.abusosdedemandas.org) and launched two new videos, in English and Spanish versions, that tell the stories of Jaime and Ramiro as well as Roberto.

More HERE

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Taxpayers Beware: More irresponsible housing expenditure coming

Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, a massive lobbying effort is underway. On a seemingly small issue with scant public attention, powerful special interests are looking to cash in their chits and strike a deal – a deal that will come at the expense of taxpayers.

This week, House and Senate conferees will negotiate a minibus appropriations measure. Many Americans will focus on the inflated levels in spending and wonder how any self-described conservative could vote for a spending increase. The media will focus on the threat of a government shutdown and hope it will spike their rating. However, those powerful interests will focus like a laser on securing an increase in the conforming loan limit.

Wait! Don’t stop reading. Conforming loan limits sound boring, but that is by design because boring doesn’t invite scrutiny. In reality, this stealthy, special interest lobbying effort has major ramifications for America’s housing market and it could be the most significant legislative action this Congress.

An increase in the conforming loan limit would increase taxpayers’ exposure to additional bailouts by allowing the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) to purchase and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure home loans up to $729,750. As of October 1, the stimulus-era increase ended and the limit dropped to $625,000. Before the financial crisis, it was $417,000.

In practical terms, it would mean taxpayers would now be on the hook for guaranteeing home loans for as much as $729,750. If you’re looking to buy a home in that price range, you’re probably a fan of this idea because it would amount to an “upfront subsidy” of more than $123,000 since the down payment is not risk-based, according to the folks at Economics21. However, as we saw last week when taxpayers shelled out another $6 billion to keep Freddie Mac solvent, there is a serious risk to the taxpayer.

That is why Republican presidential candidates have mentioned Fannie and Freddie repeatedly. Even a former Freddie lobbyist is lobbying against the increase. There is widespread recognition the current housing system is broken, and it cannot be fixed without serious reforms to Fannie and Freddie. To their credit, House Republicans laid out a strong position in their Pledge to America last fall:

“Since taking over Fannie and Freddie, the mortgage companies that triggered the financial meltdown by giving too many high risk loans to people who couldn’t afford them, taxpayers were billed more than $145 billion to save the two companies. We will reform Fannie and Freddie by ending their government takeover, shrinking their portfolios, and establishing minimum capital standards.”

Now, an array of special interest housing groups, including the National Association of Home Builders and National Association of Realtors, are lobbying those same House Republicans to turn back on their Pledge to America. And make no mistake, “Big Housing” carries a lot of sway inside the Washington Establishment.

SOURCE

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Prepare for the coming Entitlement Nightmare

At a recent National Speakers Association convention, agewave.com futurist Ken Dychtwald shared a startling fact, "Two-thirds of the people who have ever lived past 65 throughout history are alive today." That's not surprising when he reports that that for 99% of human history life expectancy was 18 years of age. By 1900, it was only 47.

But by 2030, over 20% of America's population could be over 65, and they'll expect the government to honor its promise to take care of their retirement and healthcare needs for the rest of their lives. They'll have more political clout to demand it than they have now. If not dealt with soon, funding their entitlements may very well bring America to its knees.

When German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck first set 65 as the age for receiving state pensions in 1889, life expectancy was 45 years of age. Using that difference from our current life expectancy of 78, today we'd start benefits at 98.

That won't fly in this age of entitlement, but politicians on both sides of the aisle better start facing reality. We need bold leaders willing to make dramatic changes to our outdated and underfunded Social Security and Medicare system so that future generations to avoid a financial collapse.

Unfortunately, expecting bold leaders to emerge from our promise more, spend more, owe more political culture seems Pollyanna at best. As Will Rogers said, "We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress." Waiting for bankruptcy and chaos on the streets is not leadership. But besides voting for politicians who will tackle the entitlement addiction, what can citizens do to age responsibly?

Start by facing the challenge. Seeing families cope with the financial and health challenges of aging is sobering. Even with planning and resources, Social Security, Medicare, long-term care insurance and offspring who can afford to help, the financial and time strain on caregivers can tax all involved. Just remember, it's not the number of years, but the quality of the life lived that determines whether a long life is a blessing or a curse.

You can't control everything that happens to you as you age, but you can take responsibility for improving your odds of aging well. Some advice is obvious. Pay off debts early. Save more. Spend less. Think simple. Downsize. Get rid of stuff you don't need. And of course, spend time with grandkids. Love on them as they love on you. But if you want them to keep loving you, do what you can to make it less likely you will ever become a burden.

Use it or lose it. Phyllis Diller loves to say, "Maybe it's true that life begins at 50... but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out." It's no wonder seniors are "spreading out" when the average senior watches 48 hours of TV every week. Aging well requires developing exercise and eating habits that will give you a body ready for action. What's the best exercise? The one you'll do consistently. Trade watching more TV movies for more movement.

Keep working as long as you love it. Instead of sliding into retirement, invest in reenergizing and reinventing yourself. You become an old dog when you stop doing new tricks. Invest 5-10% of your time in developing a Plan B--a career or side business you can continue beyond your retirement. Many companies are creating part-time, project-limited career options for seniors with the right skills and experience. Other seniors have started service businesses out of their homes. As a professional speaker, I treasure the words of George Burns, "I can't die; I'm booked."

With aging, more and more of your friends and loved ones pass away. One woman shared her Senility Prayer: "Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”One of the best ways to find and nurture new caring relationships is to participate in a faith community of your choice. Not only will you nurture your faith and connection to God; you'll find people of all ages who care about you. You will find strength both in helping and in being helped.

Finally, take aging seriously, and yourself lightly. Art Gliner had a great perspective: "We're only young once, but with humor, we can be immature forever." When you stop laughing, you become "old" faster! Read funny books. Watch comedies. Spend time with people who love to laugh. Laughter is a tonic for the soul that can bring momentary joy into the darkest of your days. Rest assured that aging will give you reasons to laugh or to cry. Choose more laughter, and start by laughing a bit more at yourself.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

"Occupier" scum attack 78-year-old woman: "We posted video last night in which degenerates from Occupy D.C. stormed the Washington Convention Center where Americans For Prosperity was holding a dinner. In the course of their riot, the Occupiers attacked a 78-year-old woman who had been attending the dinner, and pushed her down a flight of stairs. Her name is Dolores Broderson, age 78. She rode on a bus for 11 hours from Detroit to get there. She went to the emergency room with a bloody nose and bruises on her hand and leg.”

Vietnam war vets seize back hijacked ship: "Taiwan hailed on Monday the bravery of five Vietnamese war vets who launched a surprise assault on six armed pirates and successfully took back their vessel after it had been hijacked off East Africa. The former Vietnam war fighters had been recruited by Taiwan to be part of a 28-man crew on the Chin Yi Wen .... The crew, who had been out of contact with the ship since Friday according to the foreign ministry, forced the six armed Somali pirates to jump overboard" [I like that last bit]

Obama’s contraceptive mandate will snare religious organizations: "A proposed Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate emanating from President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act will require all private health insurance plans to cover contraceptive and sterilization prescriptions as 'preventative services' for women. Contraception and sterilization are currently causes of religious tension in many states, and this mandate has become a serious issue for religious institutions."

Government bureaucrats can’t prevent data breaches: "Sony’s popular PlayStation Network suffered a massive data breach earlier this year, exposing 100 million users’ credit card numbers, home addresses and more. Numerous other firms, including Morgan Stanley and marketing firm Epsilon, also have suffered major breaches in recent months. With this epidemic of data breaches making headline after headline, it was only a matter of time before Congress got involved. But more government intervention will only make things worse."

US economic recovery remains anemic, at best: "As the chart shows, real GDP has recovered its losses during the recent contraction and is now running at about the same rate as it was at its pre-recession peak in late 2007. So, the rate at which the U.S. economy produces total output has gained nothing during the past four years, and its present rate of growth, even if it continues, is too slow to bring back into employment many of the would-be workers now without work, including a disturbing number who have been without employment for years."

The varying states of US freedom: "The thought of learning another language in itself gives most Americans hives. Further still, most Americans like where they live and love their country, warts and all, and would never think of leaving. However, for anyone who has a constraint to internationalizing, a compromise solution to securing greater personal freedom without fleeing the homeland does exist: choose your state of residence wisely."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Monday, November 07, 2011

Were the lying Dutchman's lies important?

Rush Limbaugh makes a case that the now discredited Dutch psychologist Diederik Stapel was riding the old Leftist hobbyhorse of trying to prove scientifically that conservatives are psychologically defective: Good projection but bad science.

The paper that Rush concentrates on is here and it implies that we dislike blacks because we often see them in messy "slum" environments. Even if that were a genuine finding, however, I don't really see it as much of a problem. Stapel did not claim that he had isolated the ONLY cause of negativity towards blacks and the possibility that the very high rate of violent crime among blacks has a central bearing on attitudes towards them was not addressed at all.

Stapel did however claim that a "heightened need for structure" was behind the effect that he observed -- i.e. it was only people with a heightened need for structure who let the messy environment influence them. That too seems innocuous enough at first sight but when one realizes that a heightened need for structure has been identified by many psychologists over the years as characteristic of conservatives, we begin to see the "conservatives are defective and that's why they don't like blacks" story emerging.

That a need for structure is a bad thing is of course highly debatable (does it mean that Leftists have a need for chaos?) but in any case I did many years of research on the "conservatives have a greater need for structure" hypothesis and other hypotheses like it and found that all the "proof" offered was based on research methods not much better than Stapel's. You can read my papers on the subject here.

Stapel also claimed that meat-eaters are a bad lot but I think Rush deals well with that claim.

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Conservatives don't let imperfections ruin their lives

The imperfections in the world can bring some entertainment. I am glad for that. Unbroken comfort can make you more numb than jumping into that frozen lake with a polar bear club.

Recently I enjoyed sitting outside during the dirt storm that hit the area. My young daughter enjoyed it with me. She ran around laughing as the dirt engulfed her - obviously exhilarated by the novelty of the situation. We could have hunkered indoors and complained about the weather, but look at the joy we would have missed. Adverse conditions can be fun to sit through, with the right attitude. Witness storm chasers.

Some people live lives of bitterness just because everything in the world isn't perfect. They seem to believe the only way to make themselves feel better is to force everyone else to conform to their idea of "perfect." That is sad. Sure, there are so many things that could be better, but you may as well enjoy what you can when the opportunity presents itself. You are only responsible for your life, and you have an obligation to mind your own business. Remembering that frees up a huge amount of your life.

For example: I value liberty, but I can still enjoy life even though I am surrounded by a government that I don't need, I don't want, I don't respect, and that only gets in the way. There is no Utopia. Even in a free society there will still be bad guys trying to use coercion or other aspects of the political method in order to deprive individuals of their life, liberty, and property. If you can't enjoy life now, under government, you wouldn't be able to enjoy a life of liberty, either. If you can't enjoy a little dirt storm now and then, you probably can't enjoy the rainy days. There will always be something you could complain about.

That doesn't mean you let evil go unnoticed or unchallenged. It just means you call a spade a spade, then move on and don't let it ruin your day. In fact, you can probably get on with the business of living more easily when you clear the air and stop trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Just weather the storm, try not to get blown away, and laugh at the foolishness of it all. Especially the foolishness of those who mistake the storm for life.

SOURCE

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How to Fix the Housing Crisis

Fannie and Freddie must die

The foreclosure crisis has crawled on for going on four years now with no end in sight. The S&P/Case-Shiller index for August fell 3.8 percent from a year ago. The index includes home prices for 20 US cities.

"Continued house price declines could lead to even more defaults, foreclosures and distress sales, undermining wealth, confidence and spending," William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said. "Breaking this vicious cycle is one of the most pressing issues facing policy makers." ...

Any business dominated by entities only in business because of the good graces of the government cannot be considered part of the free market. The reason the housing market is not clearing is that the government stands in the way by propping up the large mortgage holders.

No reasonable person sees Fannie Mae and sister entity Freddie Mac, which were seized by the government in September 2008, as the product of spontaneous order. To stay in business, the two firms together have needed about $169 billion in taxpayer bailout funds, with no end in sight.

Changes to FASB rules 157, 115, and 124, which allowed banks greater discretion in determining at what price to carry certain types of securities on their balance sheets and recognition of other-than-temporary impairments have made the big banks wards of the state as well.

The real help for underwater homeowners will only arrive when Fannie, Freddie, and the rest are allowed to fail. The equivalent of a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing (liquidation) would put these underwater loans out for bid in the market place.

No one can get a loan for a 110 percent of value in this market, let alone 125 percent, or 100 percent for that matter. Those looking for mortgages should expect to put 20 percent down. Values in a bankruptcy sale would reflect this reality and then some. Based on the liquidation prices received by the FDIC and other distressed debt sellers, this mortgage paper would likely be scooped up for half or a third of the home's value.

Buyers of the paper would immediately negotiate with borrowers to create loans that are conforming (80 percent LTV) and performing.

For instance, Selene Residential Mortgage Opportunity Fund purchased the mortgage secured by the home of Anna and Charlie Reynolds in St. George, Utah, for a deep discount, the Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story. The Reynolds were struggling with a $3,464 monthly payment and the value of their home had plummeted.

Selene, run by Wall Street legend Lewis Ranieri, buys loans to make a profit on them, not as a public service, but company officials say it is often more profitable to keep the borrower in the home than to foreclose. If a delinquent loan can be turned into a "performing" loan, with the borrower making regular payments, the value of that loan rises, and Selene can turn around and either refinance it or sell it at a profit.
Home values in St. George had plummeted in similar fashion to that of Las Vegas, only a two-hour drive away. Selene slashed the principle balance of the loan due from $421,731 to $243,182 and lowered the interest rate, reducing the Reynolds' monthly payment to $1,573.

"Around 90% of Selene's loan modifications involve reducing the principal," James R. Hagerty wrote in the WSJ, "compared to less than 2% of the modifications done by federally regulated banks in the first quarter."

And while many upside-down borrowers can't even find a human to talk to about their loan, let alone sit down and renegotiate terms that will benefit both parties, Selene immediately tries to contact the borrowers on the notes they have purchased, "sometimes sending a FedEx package with a gift card that can be activated only if the borrower calls a Selene debt-workout specialist." It's hard to imagine Fannie and Freddie being so proactive.

Ludwig von Mises explained that one government intervention leads to an endless succession of interventions to deal with the effects of the first and subsequent interventions. Ultimately, it comes down to two choices. "Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way," Mises wrote.

Likewise, there is no middle way to solve the housing crisis. For capitalism to work its magic and set underwater homeowners free, mortgage holders must be allowed to fail.

More HERE

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Obama's Economic Team: Charlatans and Quacksalvers

If a man is judged by the company he keeps--what does Obama's choices say about him? Consider Obama's choices for his economic advisors. There seem to be three overarching principles that guide their decision-making--all bad.

First, Obama's advisors believe that economic growth can be achieved by rewarding dubious, but favored, industries. Second, Obama seems to think that the financial assistance provided to his "favorites" can be achieved by taxing and placing additional regulatory burdens on small businesses, prudent savers and job creators. Third, Obama seems to think he can act irresponsibly with other people's money--take enormous risks--and refuse to accept any responsibility for failure as the cumulative effect of his policies expands the role and power of government.

Americans have watched, over the past three years, as the recommendations of Obama's economic advisors have crashed and burned, exacerbating rather than improving the economic situation in the U.S.. Nowhere is this flawed approach to economic growth more apparent than in the recent debacle surrounding M F Global Holdings and Jon Corzine, the President Obama's "Wall Street Guy".

What the current MF Global scandal has shown is the likelihood that Corzine has been flimflamming investors. Huge and irresponsible risks were taken, all with someone else’s money, in the blind hope that government would bail out any losses. Worse yet, according to most recent reports in the press, Corzine seems to have illegally tapped as much as $900 million dollars from individual investor accounts in a vain attempt to cover and hide his many misdeeds.

Playing fast and loose with other people’s money was a skill Corzine developed and refined as the Democratic Governor of New Jersey, but, when exposed in the real world, the inevitable result is Chapter 11. Here, too, it is important to note that Corzine’s ruinous actions will almost certainly result in the immediate termination of the jobs of 3000 employees that once worked for MF Global and were dependent upon Jon Corzine's stewardship.

As his investors and former employees now face economic ruin, Jon Corzine’s vast, personal fortune, estimated at $300 million or more remains unaffected. Small business owners that make boneheaded decisions face certain economic ruin, but Corzine is, incredibly, eligible for a $12 million severance package after plundering MF Global Holdings, ruining employees' jobs, and losing investors' private funds.

The Corzine Affair also offers insights into the Obama Administration's compendium of new rules, regulation and increased oversight designed monitor the level of risk within financial institutions. The system clearly didn't work--or at least not well enough to save the MF Global Holdings investors.

Americans should also remember that Obama believed so strongly in Jon Corzine back in July of 2009 that he campaigned aggressively for Corzine against Chris Christie. Obama even went so far as to claim that Corzine was "one of the best partners I have in the White House."

Corzine has been closely involved with the Obama Administration as far back as Obama's presidential campaign--where Corzine was often cited and photographed as being one of Obama's close economic advisors.

Obama has shown a consistent pattern of keeping bad company, bad advisors and the result has been bad for the American economy. Most of the President's early economic advisors have abandoned him.

Christina Romer, Chief of the Council of Economic Advisors, left after only one year, when neither the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus had any effect, nor did unemployment decrease, despite her promises and predictions.

Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, left after a year, during which increased regulations strangled small businesses and unemployment remained at staggering highs.

Austan Goolsbee, Romer's replacement, only lasted 11 months.

Peter Orszag, Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the first to leave and move on to greener pastures, left Americans with a federal budget almost $3 trillion dollars more annually than when he first entered the job and the realizations that the economic growth promised by critical infrastructure projects that never occurred left the nation worse off than ever.

What is somewhat startling is the sheer number of Obama's economic advisors who have departed the White House. Many of the lower levels of Obama’s National Economic Council team (Sarah Cannon, Eric Lesser, Bryan Jung, Kyle Watkins, Pascal Noel) abandoned the sinking Obama ship. This mass exodus of Team Obama’s economic advisors seems a clear vote of no confidence in the President’s economic policies.

Americans are left with many questions-- but two rise to the top. First, is President Obama the only one who still believes wealth distribution schemes, favoritism, and punishing job creators is the best way to advance the American economy? Second, who has replaced Jon Corvine and the many other mountebanks who provided Obama with such poor economic advice over the past three years?

Obama gave us the answer to one of the questions. Where is he getting his economic advice now? Looks to me like Obama is now getting his economic counsel from The Occupy Wall Street crowd, who seem to be the only people left that still believe it is possible to expand government and all entitlements, reward favorite industries, despite the growing number of bankruptcies and failures, and fund the madness by punishing job creators. If that doesn't scare Americans--then nothing will.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

UK army chief secretly visits Tel Aviv: "Richards who is Britain's Chief of the Defense Staff reportedly held several meetings with the senior commanders of the Israeli regime's army though there are no details on the subject of his talks. He also visited the northern parts of the Israeli occupied territories at the regime's borders with Lebanon. The secret visit comes as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are reportedly making efforts to rally enough support in the cabinet to launch a military attack on Iran though an Israeli minister has dismissed a conflict as imminent. Moreover, after it emerged that Richards secretly met with Israel's military and intelligence senior staff, Barak arrived in London on Wednesday to meet with Richards and Britain's Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and National Security Adviser Sir Peter Ricketts."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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