Bain Capitalism 101
How does a rapacious company get repeat business?
Watching Obama campaign ads or MSNBC, one could easily come to the conclusion that Bain Capital makes money by destroying the companies it owns. So for voters unsure about the business that Mitt Romney founded but still reluctant to trust the financial analysis offered by community organizers, some perspective might be helpful.
The basic Obama-liberal critique goes like this: Bain buys a company, loads it with debt and then sucks out cash before foisting the wounded business upon an unsuspecting buyer or a bankruptcy court. In the risk-taking world of private equity such a scenario can certainly happen, and it's true that Bain likes management fees and dividends as much as the next partnership.
But then how to explain the history of Bain Capital? Mr. Romney started the business in 1984. The company has since bought and sold many businesses and executed thousands of financing transactions.
If Bain's standard operating procedure were to hand the next owner of one of its companies a ticking bankruptcy package, how is Bain still finding buyers nearly three decades later? And who would agree to lend money to a company backed by Bain? Wouldn't word have gotten around by, say, 1987 that Bain's portfolio companies weren't creditworthy?
The liberal critique of private equity assumes that the financial industry is full of saps who have been eager to lose money across the table from Bain for 28 years. This is the same financial industry that the same liberal critics say is full of greedy schemers when it comes to padding their own pay or ripping off consumers. But financiers can't be both knaves and diabolical geniuses at the same time.
Learning about Bain successes like Staples or Gartner or Steel Dynamics confirms the logical conclusion that Bain had to be creating value along the way—for investors, for lenders, and that means for workers too.
Judge halts enforcement of indefinite detention provisions of National Defense Authorization Act
A few months back, NetRightDaily reported on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and how it threatens to dramatically impact the lives of citizens and non-citizens alike. If you are suspected of terrorist activity in any capacity, you can be detained indefinitely until the matter is decided.
Once this law was passed, it sent a shockwave of concern throughout the nation. It seemed as if this crazy law was put in place as an override switch for the Fifth Amendment in the event that the powers that be conjure a need to go around it. Although Obama claimed that the act was only a way to add stability to the Authorization for Use of Military Force for Terrorists Act (AUMF), the country wasn’t too sure.
As you can imagine, the thought of being captured and jailed indefinitely by your own government, in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” just doesn’t sit well with most Americans.
Judge Katherine Forrest, from the Southern District Court of New York, made impressive headway in the fight for freedom when she temporarily stopped the implementation of the law.
Plaintiffs in the case have alleged that the NDAA violates “both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” wrote Forrest in her decision enjoining enforcement of Section 1021 of the law.
Her decision deposed the government’s three main arguments in support of immediately enforcing the heinous bill. One of the arguments made by the government is that because none of the plaintiffs had ever been detained because of the law, that they had no standing to contest it.
Plaintiffs countered, however, that the law was having a chilling effect on activities otherwise protected by the First Amendment. They prevailed.
Forrest wrote that the plaintiffs had “shown an actual fear that their expressive and associational activities” might result in being indefinitely detained, as “each of them has put forward uncontroverted evidence of concrete — non-hypothetical — ways in which the presence of the legislation has already impacted those expressive and associational activities”.
After all, whether or not someone has felt the full force of a law, it may still affect the way they live their lives. The long arm of the law has been a guideline for behavior as long as laws have existed. Their entire purpose is to streamline the attitude of citizens to conform to society’s norms. The reason that most people don’t steal, drive drunk, or take drugs is because those activities are against the law and people fear the repercussions that come with breaking the law.
When asked about this issue, Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson commented that, “The Bill of Rights was designed to work under all circumstances, including wartime, and as such the authorization to use force in Afghanistan cannot supersede constitutional protections to due process.”
He added, “Nor can the government target citizens for activities otherwise protected by the First Amendment as violations of law or threats to national security.”
Although Obama’s administration maintains that the NDAA is only a reinforcement of the AUMF, Judge Forrest found that indeed the NDAA may expand the government’s power, and now will expose the law to full and complete scrutiny over whether it is constitutional. Let’s hope that this law gets thrown out in court. Judge Forrest’s initial actions are a good step in the right direction.
An iron curtain coming for Americans?
Call it the return of the Reichsfluchtsteuer. The president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, did not use the term. But that is what Mr. Norquist was talking about when he spoke to The Hill newspaper about the legislation proposed by Senator Schumer, the Democrat of New York, to tax at a 30 percent rate the $2 billion capital gains of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his American citizenship before Facebook’s initial public offering.
"I think Schumer can probably find the legislation to do this. It existed in Germany in the 1930s and Rhodesia in the ’70s and in South Africa as well,” Mr. Norquist said. “He probably just plagiarized it and translated it from the original German."
The Reichsfluchsteuer, or Reich flight tax, that the Nazis imposed on Jews trying to flee in the 1930s was 25 percent; Mr. Schumer and his Senate colleague Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, want 30 percent. Give Mr. Schumer some credit for creativity, Mr. Norquist; the New Yorker did not just translate, he also raised the rate.
Mr. Schumer is an easy target, but the blame for this one is bipartisan, as is so often the case in Washington. The speaker of the House, John Boehner, a Republican, told ABC News’ “This Week” program that Mr. Saverin’s exit from America was “outrageous” and that he would support Mr. Schumer’s legislation if it is necessary to prevent people from leaving America to avoid taxes. The law that imposed the exit tax Mr. Saverin was trying to avoid, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, was signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush, after being passed in the Senate by unanimous consent and in the House by a vote of 403 to 0.
Mr. Schumer would surely bridle at having his exit-tax policy compared to that of the Nazis, as would Mr. Boehner, so let me be clear: The Reichsfluchsteuer was originally imposed not by the Nazis, but, rather, on December 8, 1931, by the pre-Hitler, centrist government of Heinrich Brüning, who had a doctoral degree in economics.
As Howard Ellis wrote in Exchange Control In Central Europe, published in 1941 by Harvard University Press, “it is worth remarking that the National Socialists inherited it from Social Democrat supported coalition governments after nearly two years of elaboration.”
Others have observed that it is not the only parallel that can be drawn between today’s era and the Weimar Republic, which featured high unemployment, deficits, and the threat of inflation.
Ellis writes that the exchange control policy remained in place “because it was an instrument par excellence of political power,” and concludes, “the political predecessors of Hitler nurtured an institution which paved the way for totalitarianism.”
Shameless Bias by Omission
You'd think the largest legal action in American history in defense of religious liberty would be a major news story. But ABC, CBS and NBC don't judge news events by their inherent importance as relates to the future of our freedoms. They deliver the news according to a simple formula: Does it or doesn't it advance the re-election of Barack Obama? If it doesn't, it isn't news.
On May 21, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations sued the Obama administration over its ridiculously narrow idea of how a "religious institution" can be defined under the Obamacare law. Never has the Catholic Church -- or any order, for that matter -- undertaken something of this magnitude. It's truly jaw-dropping that ABC and NBC completely ignored this action on their evening newscasts, while "CBS Evening News" devoted just 19 seconds to this historic event.
No, let's be blunt: They spiked the news.
This is the worst example of shameless bias by omission I have seen in the quarter-century history of the Media Research Center. We recall the Chinese Communists withholding from its citizenry for 20 years the news that the U.S. had landed on the moon because it reflected poorly on their government. Never, never would the U.S. "news" media behave thusly -- they just did.
This is not an honest mistake. It was not an editorial oversight by the broadcast networks. It did not occur too late for the evening deadline. This was a deliberate and insidious withholding of national news to protect the "Chosen One" who ABC, CBS and NBC have worked so hard to elect and for whom they are now abusing their journalistic influence. Even when CBS mentioned the suit -- ever so briefly -- like so many others, they deliberately distorted the issue by framing it as a contraception lawsuit when it is a much broader religious freedom issue -- and they know it.
This should be seen as a very dark cloud on Obama's political horizon. The Catholic Church, with 60 million Americans describing themselves as Catholic, has unleashed legal Armageddon on the administration, promising "we will not comply" with a health law that strips Catholics of their religious liberty. If this isn't "news," then there's no such thing as news.
This should be leading newscasts and the subject of special, in-depth reports. So what trumped this story? ABC led their evening broadcast and devoted an incredible 3 minutes and 30 seconds to the sentencing of the Rutgers student who spied on his gay roommate with a web camera. NBC aired an entire story on a lunar eclipse. Both CBS and NBC devoted their first 3 minutes and 30 seconds to prostate-cancer screening.
Catholic taxpayers who help fund National Public Radio were also ignored on the evening newscast with that sad joke of a title -- "All Things Considered."
If only some deceased priest had been accused to sexual improprieties in 1953 ... then Catholics would be seen as newsworthy. These "news" operations can't argue these are more important stories than the loss of religious freedom in America.
The print press isn't much better. For the Washington Post, there was a little one-column story buried on page A6. That fish wrap known as USA Today had a really tiny headline and 128-word item at the very bottom of A2. The New York Times had a perfunctory 419-word dispatch on page A17.
Two pages later, the Times defined as "news" what it prefers to report on Catholics: "2 Philadelphia Priests Punished in Sexual Abuse Cases." The paper noted one priest has been suspended from ministry for two years and the other had been placed on leave in December based on abuse that occurred about 40 years ago. This wasn't really "news" as a current matter, but this is always and everywhere the bigoted narrative the Times prefers to perpetuate.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops used the word "horror" to describe what Team Obama is mandating. On the only broadcast show to give him coverage, CBS "This Morning" anchor Charlie Rose asked Dolan if the White House misled him on this issue. Dolan began by saying he hesitated to question the president's sincerity -- even though anyone who heard Obama's 2009 commencement speech at Notre Dame about "honoring the conscience" of his opponents on abortion has proven he is completely insincere.
The cardinal said, "I worry, Charlie, that members of his administration might not particularly understand our horror at the restrictive nature of this exemption that they're giving us, that for the first time that we can remember, a bureau of the federal government seems to be radically intruding into the internal definition of what a church is. We can't seem to get that across."
He's not finding much help getting anything across from those supposed "mediators" of the national press corps.
Stopping Vote Fraud the Kansas Way
The most encouraging news out of Kansas is that the state is taking the lead in cleaning up registration rolls so that people won’t vote in two states or after they’ve died, which is alarming news for Chicago and other cities where the dead vote early and often.
The architect of what is called the Kansas Project, or the Interstate Cross Check Project, is Kris W. Kobach, the Republican Secretary of State who was elected in 2010. Mr. Kobach has set up a database with 14 other states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee. Six more states are considering joining. More information on ballot integrity is at ProtectYourVote.us.
“Double voting is a real common form of voter fraud,” Mr. Kobach told me in a phone interview. “But it’s easy to discover and to prosecute. You have a rock-solid legal case that the crime was committed.”
He noted that Arizona recently found 500 voters still on Arizona’s rolls who are also registered in one of the other 14 states. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler used the cooperative agreement to turn up several people who had voted in both Colorado and Kansas in 2010.
Vote fraud has been around since elections began, but has been a more persistent vice in America since Bill Clinton in 1993 signed the National Voter Registration Act (“Motor Voter Law”), which requires states to offer voter registration to people when they obtain driver’s licenses or apply for welfare or unemployment benefits. States must purge people who died, moved out of state, are convicted of crimes or listed more than once, but two federal election cycles must pass before a name is removed.
“Examiners were under orders not to ask anyone for identification or proof of citizenship,” writes John Fund in his book Stealing Elections. “States also had to permit mail-in voter registration, which allowed anyone to register without any personal contact with a registrar or election official.”
In 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) tightened vote counting systems and spawned statewide databases. The latter are a gold mine for researchers such as those at the Pew Center on the States, which recently reported that 1.8 million dead people remain on voter rolls. As usual, Democrats are hysterically attacking any anti-fraud reforms.
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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)