Monday, March 11, 2013
The Cliffhanger, March 11
By: John Hayward
3/11/2013 08:17 AM
Ever since the language of the “fiscal cliff” was appropriated to describe the political battle over a tax increase, it’s become increasingly clear that every issue is a “cliff” now. Here are today’s snapshots from the edge…
** Korean War formally resumes: According to reports from North Korean “news” services relayed through CNN and the Washington Post, North Korea has “completely scrapped” the armistice which ended hostilities in 1953. This is something they’ve threatened to do over the past few weeks, and have threatened before, but they’ve never actually gone through with it. Of course, if it’s all just part of a high-octane mix of bluster and malarkey used by baby dictator Kim Jong Un to keep his slave-citizens in line, and he wants to back down from it a few days from now, the international community will politely agree to ignore it, just like they politely ignore most of his other antics. The Norks have also stopped answering their hotline from South Korea, possibly because Lil’ Kim is busy dispensing what the Washington Post describes as “particularly fiery” rhetoric, some of which portrays the annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States as an act of war. South Korea says the North cannot unilaterally end the cease fire, although on this particular point the psychotic heavily-armed Communist state is probably more correct, and may well prove it by unilaterally murdering some people in the very near future.
** Iran and al-Qaeda are besties: Remember all the “expert” who used to insist that Iran and al-Qaeda would never, ever work together, due to sectarian religious differences? Well, the dirtbag son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, about to begin a multi-year run of near-Broadway performances in a New York City courtroom, was living in Iran for years before making the ill-fated trip to Turkey that got him captured and extradited. A number of other top al-Qaeda operatives and members of the bin Laden inner circle have likewise been guests of the Iranian government (technically under “house arrest” in Tehran, but it’s the kind of arrest that includes “visits to swimming pools and shopping trips,” similar to what happens when Lindsey Lohan gets arrested.) Other al-Qaeda thugs have been living large on the shores of the Caspian Sea. It turns out the Navy SEALs were planning to drop in and surprise them back in 2002, but the operation was scuttled because the precise location of the targets could not be pinned down. The “experts” are still “puzzled” by this Axis of Evil friendship. Just think how puzzled they’ll be when Iran gets its nuclear bombs working and hands one off to its unruly houseguests.
** Noted gun-control advocate buys himself an “assault rifle”: Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, swung through an Arizona gun store and purchased not just a pistol, but also one of those hellish AR-15 “assault weapons” that harbor so much demonic power within their fearsome black plastic attachments. Not only that, but he threw in some “high capacity magazines” while he was at it. Once the purchases were made public, fully three days after the ink on the receipt was dry, Kelly raced to his Facebook page to claim this was all part of an effort to demonstrate that “even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes.” In other words, he bought that evil gun to make a devastating point about how the system… works exactly the way it’s supposed to? He says he plans to hand the weapon over to the authorities when it’s delivered, and promptly sought absolution by attending a gun control rally, so it’s all good.
In other gun-control lunacy, the marathon gun-control debate in Colorado this weekend became a volcano of stupidity, with Democrats asserting that military veterans cannot be trusted to own firearms because “some have mental health problems,” while another admitted her gun-control legislation wound neither “increase or reduce violent crime” but should be imposed anyway; House Democrat leader Jan Schakoswky (D-IL) confirmed that the NRA caricature of gun-grabbing Democrats is absolutely correct by happily chirping that her party intends to use an assault-weapons ban as the first step toward greater (total?) firearms confiscation; and a Republican state senator in Maryland, J.B. Jennings, felt moved to introduce a bill that would prevent school officials from suspending students who chew Pop-Tarts into the shape of a gun, because that just happened. Maybe we should issue paper bags to the gun-control zealots, so they could hyperventilate for a while and calm down before they get innocent people killed.
** Starbucks launches venti double latte rebellion against Nurse Bloomberg: The famed coffee chain has declared that it will partially defy the incredibly complex set of soft-drink rules imposed by the city’s neurotic mayor, Michael Bloomberg, by continuing to offer demon rum no matter what the Volstead Act says… er, excuse me, I was just catching up on some episodes of Boardwalk Empire. Starbucks is going to offer demon coffee in those hellforged 20-ounce venti cups. Bloomberg says their defiance is “ridiculous” because “Starbucks knows how to market things, knows how to package things… they can change instantly when it’s in their interest to do so.” Such as when a madcap tyrant tells them to. Whimsical political domination requires a certain degree of, shall we say, flexibility on the part of private enterprise. Dunkin Donuts is distributing brochures “explaining the complex rules surrounding coffee,” a beverage the dazed residents of New York are not accustomed to treating like a biohazard. There are rules based on how much milk finds its way into a beverage, and whether the customers decide to add their own sugar after drinks have been dispensed into commissar-approved containers. ”I definitely believe it’s going to hurt my business,” complained a pizza shop owner who just threw out $1,000 worth of containers she is now legally prohibited from using. Well, ObamaCare hurt your business too, and you didn’t have anything to say about that either. Get used to it, serfs.
** Progress toward a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction: Remember how Obama lied and lied and lied during the campaign about how he’d propose $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases to reduce the deficit? Well, stop bringing that up, because it’s really starting to annoy him. Once safely back in the Oval Office, Obama’s “balanced approach” promptly became $0 in spending cuts for ever $4 trillion in tax increases. But his plan to inflict punishing hardships on Americans in the name of the tiny reduction in spending increases known as “sequestration,” and blame these horrors on his political opponents, hasn’t worked out very well, so it was back to the drawing board. (The drawing board is apparently located somewhere between the 15th and 16th holes on a golf course.) Now it’s time for Balanced Approach v6.35, which will give us… $6 billion in spending cuts plus $2.6 trillion in tax hikes. Yes, six billion in spending cuts, over 10 years. How in the world could this ratio of two cents in spending reduction for each dollar of tax increases be peddled as “balanced?” Simple: Obama describes some of the tax increases as if they were spending reduction. It’s not much, but it’s progress. Baby steps are the only way to toddle clear of a heroin-junkie spending addiction.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:30 AM
Sowell: Intellectuals and Race
By: Thomas Sowell
3/11/2013 10:03 AM
There are so many fallacies about race that it would be hard to say which is the most ridiculous. However, one fallacy behind many other fallacies is the notion that there is something unusual about different races being unequally represented in various institutions, careers or at different income or achievement levels.
A hundred years ago, the fact that people from different racial backgrounds had very different rates of success in education, in the economy and in other endeavors, was taken as proof that some races were genetically superior to others.
Some races were considered to be so genetically inferior that eugenics was proposed to reduce their reproduction, and Francis Galton urged “the gradual extinction of an inferior race.”
It was not a bunch of fringe cranks who said things like this. Many held Ph.D.s from the leading universities, taught at the leading universities and were internationally renowned.
Presidents of Stanford University and of MIT were among the many academic advocates of theories of racial inferiority — applied mostly to people from Eastern and Southern Europe, since it was just blithely assumed in passing that blacks were inferior.
This was not a left-right issue. The leading crusaders for theories of genetic superiority and inferiority were iconic figures on the left, on both sides of the Atlantic.
John Maynard Keynes helped create the Cambridge Eugenics Society. Fabian socialist intellectuals H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were among many other leftist supporters of eugenics.
It was much the same story on this side of the Atlantic. President Woodrow Wilson, like many other Progressives, was solidly behind notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He showed the movie “Birth of a Nation,” glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, at the White House, and invited various dignitaries to view it with him.
Such views dominated the first two decades of the 20th century. Now fast forward to the last few decades of the 20th century. The political left of this era was now on the opposite end of the spectrum on racial issues. Yet they too regarded differences in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups as something unusual, calling for some single, sweeping explanation.
Now, instead of genes being the overriding reason for differences in outcomes, racism became the one-size-fits-all explanation. But the dogmatism was the same. Those who dared to disagree, or even to question the prevailing dogma in either era were dismissed — as “sentimentalists” in the Progressive era and as “racists” in the multicultural era.
Both the Progressives at the beginning of the 20th century and the liberals at the end started from the same false premise — namely, that there is something unusual about different racial and ethnic groups having different achievements.
Yet some racial or ethnic minorities have owned or directed more than half of whole industries in many nations. These have included the Chinese in Malaysia, Lebanese in West Africa, Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, Britons in Argentina, Indians in Fiji, Jews in Poland, and Spaniards in Chile — among many others.
Not only different racial and ethnic groups, but whole nations and civilizations, have had very different achievements for centuries. China in the 15th century was more advanced than any country in Europe. Eventually Europeans overtook the Chinese — and there is no evidence of changes in the genes of either of them.
Among the many reasons for different levels of achievement is something as simple as age. The median age in Germany and Japan is over 40, while the median age in Afghanistan and Yemen is under 20. Even if the people in all four of these countries had the same mental potential, the same history, the same culture — and the countries themselves had the same geographic features — the fact that people in some countries have 20 years more experience than people in other countries would still be enough to make equal economic and other outcomes virtually impossible.
Add the fact that different races evolved in different geographic settings, presenting very different opportunities and constraints on their development, and the same conclusion follows.
Yet the idea that differences in outcomes are odd, if not sinister, has been repeated mindlessly from street corner demagogues to the august chambers of the Supreme Court.
To read more about experiencing racism, click here.
To read another article by Thomas Sowell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:15 AM
Background Checks Won’t Make Us Safer
By Star Parker
In April of 2007, a mentally disturbed student showed up at the campus of his school, Virginia Tech, brandishing two semi-automatic pistols, and murdered 32 students, teachers and school employees and wounded 17 others. Then he took his own life.
It was the one of deadliest mass shooting incidents in American history.
The nation was in shock, as it is now following the December mass murder at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The press and public outcry was the same then as now. How can we stop horrors like this from occurring? We’ve got to stop criminals and nut cases from getting their hands on guns.
The tragedy spurred passage of the first major piece of federal gun control legislation since the assault weapon ban was passed in 1994.
The new law, signed by President George W. Bush in January of 2008, appropriated $1.3 billion for states to get the names of those deemed mentally ill into the FBI national data base used for gun-purchase screening. This supposedly would solve the problem of lax state compliance and make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) more effective.
If only this had been the law of the land a year earlier, commentators opined, the Virginia Tech tragedy might not have happened.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said it would “close the wide gaps in our nation’s firearm background-check system to ensure violent criminals and the mentally ill no longer slip through the cracks and gain access to dangerous weapons.”
But a more sober message came at the time from the now late professor, American Enterprise Institute scholar and presidential Medal of Freedom recipient James Q. Wilson.
He wrote then: “The tragedy at Virginia Tech may tell us something about how a young man could be driven to commit terrible actions, but it does not teach us very much about gun control.”
Even if there were tougher background checks, Wilson continued, “access to guns would be relatively easy … many would be stolen and others would be obtained through straw purchases by a willing confederate. It is virtually impossible to use new background-check or waiting-period laws to prevent dangerous people from getting guns. Those they cannot buy, they will steal or borrow.”
Now, five years after Bush signed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 into law, we have “déjà vu all over again.”
Not only have we tragically witnessed another deranged young man entering a school and murdering innocent youth, but we now must witness again politicians offering the same non-solution to allegedly deal with the problem: wider background checks.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, who is pushing legislation for universal background checks, was one of the original sponsors of the law that Bush signed five years ago.
It is even worse now. Adam Lanza, the deranged young Sandy Hook murderer, used a rifle from his mother’s collection in their home. No background check could deal with something like this.
Schumer will not solve the problem, yet he will make things worse by making it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms and protect themselves.
And exactly how might expanded checks impinge on both our privacy and our rights?
Those who have ever seen a psychologist may be at risk. Those who have any kind of infraction on their record may be at risk.
Some states require doctors to counsel women considering an abortion that the procedure can result in various emotional problems. Might women receiving abortions in these states have difficulty purchasing a gun?
Let’s stop playing games. The problem is people, not guns. Our society suffers from a deficiency of personal responsibility -- not from an excess of personal freedom.
To read another article about gun control, click here.
To read another articl by Star Parker, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:58 AM
Mr. Clinton, You Are Wrong About Overturning DOMA
By Michael Brown
Dear Mr. Clinton, with all respect to the office of the president which you held for 8 years, I must say that it is not just ironic that you are now asking the Supreme Court to overturn the legislation you signed into law 17 years ago. It is downright tragic.
In your March 7th editorial for the Washington Post, you wrote that although it “was only 17 years ago” when you signed the Defense of Marriage Act, “it was a very different time.”
May I ask you, sir, if 17 years have changed the nature of men and women, of mother and fathers and children, of the essential elements of a family? Have 17 years changed multiplied thousands of years of human history? Have 17 years changed fundamental faith values embraced by several billion people worldwide?
You explain that, 17 years ago, “In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction.”
In point of fact, since 1996, 32 states have voted to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman (the majority of them since 2004), including my current home state of North Carolina, which just last year overwhelmingly wrote natural, organic marriage into the constitution by a vote of 61% to 39%, despite a strong majority of Democrats statewide.
It is true that, for the first time, several states voted in 2012 to redefine marriage, but those were heavily blue states where traditional marriage proponents were outspent by as much as five-to-one, and even then, the voting was close.
Can you really claim some kind of mandate when 9 times out of 10 (32 states out of 36), when the people have been given a right to vote, they have voted against genderless marriage? The mandate is actually against your position, sir, not for it.
In your editorial, you offer a transparently weak justification of your signing of DOMA, which leads me to ask: Mr. Clinton, did you have no conscience when you signed that bill into law? Did you have no gay or lesbian friends? Had you not met any upstanding gay or lesbian couples, working hard to raise a family? I’m sure that was not the case, sir, and with all candor, your justification for signing DOMA in 1996 while asking the Supreme Court to overturn it in 2013 smacks of political correctness more than dispassionate conviction.
You wrote that when DOMA comes before the Court on March 27, “the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional. As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.”
Do you honestly believe, Mr. Clinton, that any of the framers of the Constitution countenanced a day in our great nation when men would be marrying men and women marrying women, and in the name of the Constitution, at that? And since when did our Constitution guarantee the government’s endorsement of all romantic attractions and sexual behaviors? And are you genuinely unaware that redefining marriage is just the tip of the iceberg of a massive societal transformation in the name of LGBT rights, including the undoing of gender distinctions?
And with your brilliant legal mind, sir, are you oblivious to the fact that polygamists and polyamorists, too numerous to be ignored, are also appealing to “freedom, equality and justice” in the pursuit of their “rights”? What will you say to them, especially given the fact that their lifestyles are now being mainstreamed by the very same media that has so shaped American thinking on homosexual issues?
You wrote, “Because Section 3 of the act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples who are legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are denied the benefits of more than a thousand federal statutes and programs available to other married couples.”
But what does this have to with the radical redefinition of marriage? What does this have to do with sanctioning an institution that will guarantee that a child has either no mother or no father? What does this have to do with rendering marriage genderless, to the point that marriage certificates could be reduced to Partner A and Partner B, along with birth certificates being reduced to Parent A and Parent B? (In this context, I should mention the Florida judge who “approved the adoption of a 22-month-old baby girl that will list three people as parents on her birth certificate – a married lesbian couple and a gay man.”)
Mr. Clinton, if marriage is simply the union of two people and not the union of a man and a woman, can you give me one solid intellectual reason or one compelling social argument why marriage cannot involve more than two consenting adults? What is so special about the number “two” if it does not consist of a male and female, with their unique biological and social compatibility and, in normal circumstances, their ability to produce children whom they will raise for the next generation?
You claim to know now that DOMA not only provided “an excuse for discrimination,” but that “the law is itself discriminatory.” Surely you must realize that polygamists, polyamorists, and others will find your current position “discriminatory.” More importantly, the sanctioning of same-sex “marriage” will mean that multiplied tens of millions of God-fearing Americans will be codified as bigots, surely the height of ugly discrimination.
Mr. Clinton, you were right before. You are wrong now. I pray that God will give you another change of heart.
To read another article about gay marriage, click here.
To read another article by Michael Brown, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:39 AM
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Gun Nuts vs Anti-Gun Nuts
By Bruce Bialosky
The battle rages on about whether this country wants to further restrict the availability of guns, the types of guns and the ammunition to be used in those guns. On one side is what is referred to as the Gun Nuts with the point being taken by the NRA. Then there are the Anti-Gun Nuts - you don’t hear that term do you? They are being led by many -- including our President -- who states he is just proposing “common sense” changes. Then there are those of us caught in the middle of a gun fight.
There are plenty of people like us who don’t own a gun and are appalled by the whole thing. We abhor the violence, but seriously question the arguments to restrict the second amendment. The only proposal we can see as logical is the expansion of background checks. Logic makes us question why you have to go through a background check if you go to a gun shop or Wal-Mart, but if you attend a gun show you don’t have to go through a check.
But we are not duped by the idea that background checks will put the kibosh on guns being sold to criminals. It will make it marginally more challenging, but bad guys will obtain guns in ways upstanding citizens cannot envision. The worst part is that it will do nothing to stop these mass murderers from arming. The proposed provisions will alter nothing to stop a Jared Loughner, who was blatantly mentally ill, from getting a gun. The Medical Community, with HIPAA (privacy) laws which protect medical records, and people soft on this issue have stopped that from happening. This is certainly something the NRA has on their side as they have been attempting to restrict gun availability for the mentally ill for 20 years. Adam Lanza was obviously severely mentally ill. After shooting his mother up close and personal, he went to a school, pointed a pistol at small children and shot them one by one. He was not only sick; he was clearly evil, yet not institutionalized.
There are two things that particularly irk us about the arguments from the Anti-Gun Nuts. They use these mass murders as a launching pad for their new laws whether there is a connection or not. These mass murders are usually done by deranged white people against other white people. Think about it: when are the most memorable arguments are made against guns? Here are a few: after Ronald Reagan was shot, Columbine, Gabby Giffords and Newtown. Yet, Black people are slaughtered on a daily basis in major cities from Boston to Los Angeles, with the worst cases being our nation’s capital and the new king of murders – Chicago. While these mass murders are going on daily we rarely hear anything about new gun laws. There are two principal reasons. The first is that in most of these areas there are already stringent gun control laws without any concealed weapon laws that would allow private citizens to protect themselves. The other reason that we have to face is that this society does not care that much. As long as all those killing are over there and not near “us,” who really cares? We have our private patrols, secured buildings and gated communities.
The other reality for us caught in-between comes down to the fact that, in the end, we don’t have faith in our government to protect us. The Anti-Gun Nuts sneer at that thought. We recently saw a quote that encapsulates their thinking. Police Chief Ken James of Emeryville in Northern California stated “One issue that boggles my mind is the idea that a gun is a defensive weapon. That is a myth. A gun is an offensive weapon used to intimidate and used to show power.” But if you are in your home and someone is entering that home to possibly rob you, rape your wife and maybe severely harm you, a gun is not an offensive weapon. But James like many Anti-Gun Nuts thinks we should have total faith in the police to protect us.
Those of us who lived through the Rodney King riots would argue with that. Let us remember when that riot began -- after the verdict was announced. A man was dragged out of his car and beaten to near death. What did the police do? They withdrew. There was no immediate show of overwhelming force and thus the fuse was lit that set off the bomb. It was not until the fourth day of rioting that the National Guard showed up and matters began to get under control.
The rest of us sat in our offices, restaurants, and homes wondering whether the rioters were going to leave South Central (Los Angeles) and start moving into Beverly Hills, Century City, and the San Fernando Valley. We were scared that Chief Daryl Gates’ decision to pull back and not engage left us defenseless. People who never thought of gun ownership before talked of changing their minds. Assuredly from that time, many have acquired guns while questioning the level of protection the police actual provide. That large event plays out daily on a smaller scale every day in communities across America. “To Protect and Serve” may be the motto of the LAPD, but they are almost exclusively a reactionary force appearing after the crime or murder has occurred.
The biggest hurdle for the cause of new gun laws is not the NRA. It is the fact that we the people stuck in the middle don’t buy the arguments of the Anti-Gun Nuts. We see Anti-Gun Nuts talking about guns that says they are truly clueless about guns. We see them making emotional arguments based on newsworthy attacks. But most of all we understand that the Thin Blue Line truly is a Thin Blue Line.
To read another article about gun control, click here.
To read another article by Bruce Bialosky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:30 PM
Budget Nightmares Just Beginning
By Terry Paulson
Do you think the federal government has a spending problem? In private negotiations, President Obama reportedly told Boehner, "We don't have a spending problem." When Boehner countered that "we have a very serious spending problem," Obama eventually replied to Boehner, "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that."
Two days after the State of the Union, Democrat Iowa Senator Tom Harkin stated, "I want to disagree with those who say we have a spending problem." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently took up the refrain, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News, "It is almost a false argument to say that we have a spending problem."
It's also increasingly clear that those who disagree seem to pay a price for their truth telling. Egan-Jones, one of the only credit ratings firms not paid by the institutions they rate but by those investors who use the rating, has downgraded the U.S. credit rating three times in 18 months.
On July 16, 2011, Egan-Jones downgraded the U.S.'s sovereign debt by one notch, to double-A plus from triple-A due to "the relatively high level of debt and the difficulty in significantly cutting spending." Two days later, the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations called Egan-Jones demanding information about its downgrade. That October, the SEC called Egan-Jones to inform the firm it was filing a Wells Notice indicating an SEC probe might be launched. Undaunted, in early April of 2012, Egan-Jones again downgraded U.S. sovereign debt one notch. Later that same month, the SEC brought administrative action and filed a complaint.
Egan-Jones initially questioned the SEC's complaint noting that the SEC had never raised any issues or concerns prior to the first downgrade. Since then, the case has been settled. Egan-Jones affirms that the registration reporting issues indicated by the SEC were addressed, but it neither admitted nor denied the accusations.
One outcome of the SEC's penalty raises questions. Egan-Jones, the only ratings agency not on Wall Street's take, is banned from for the next 18 months from rating U.S. government debt. In short, the Democrats won't have to hear Egan-Jones tell them they have a "spending problem" for 18 months.
Others have paid a price. Two weeks after Standard & Poor's finally downgraded the U.S. credit rating in August of 2011, Devin Sharma, S&P's CEO since 2007, was replaced by a Citibank executive. Is that a coincidence? Or is it more evidence that when you point out that the emperor has no clothes, you pay a price.
Bob Woodward and Lanny Davis can attest to the fact that when you tell the truth as you see it, there is pressure. Both men certainly lean liberal, but when they see the President make irresponsible statements, they have enough character to do a little truth telling. The message from the White House is clear--You will be sorry for crossing the President's version of truth.
Yes, Mr. President, we do have a government spending problem, and you're busy trying to silence those who would dare acknowledge it instead of addressing the problem. Here are some frightening big picture highlights from the Heritage Foundation's 2012 annual spending-by-the-numbers report:
"Over the past 20 years, federal spending grew 71 percent faster than inflation. Entitlement spending more than doubled over the past 20 years, growing by 110 percent (after adjusting for inflation). Discretionary spending grew by 60 percent. Deficits have pushed up the debt each year since 2002 as federal spending exceeded revenue. Fiscal year 2012 marked the fourth consecutive year of $1 trillion deficits.... If current policies continue, debt held by the public will approach 90 percent of total economic output by 2022, and will be twice the size of the entire economy 25 years from now."
Sequestration may not have been the best way to shape spending cuts, but President Obama did nothing to work to negotiate a better one. Instead, you painted a picture of financial Armageddon unless we continue spending more.
He failed to let Americans know that even after the sequestration cuts, the federal government is still spending more money this year than last year. If any government leader can't cut 5% of their budget, it's time to take the 95% and give it to a leader who can.
Mr. President, stop blaming, stop silencing, and start working to "actually" cut the size and cost of government before it's too late to save our grandchildren from a bankrupt country with a bill they can't afford to pay.
To read another article by Terry Paulson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:18 PM
Barack Obama is no Abraham Lincoln
By Matt Barber
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. (Proverbs 14:34)
The name “Abraham Lincoln” enjoys a boundless shelf life. The 16th president of the United States is more popular today than ever. The blockbuster movie “Lincoln” recently took home two Oscars, with Daniel Day-Lewis earning the “Best Actor” nod for his masterful portrayal of the Civil War president.
In his outstanding biography, “Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith and Courage,” author Joe Wheeler observed that “Lincoln has had more books written about him than all our nation’s presidents put together.”
Love him or hate him, Abraham Lincoln remains, far and away, the most admired president in U.S. history.
It’s little wonder, then, that President Obama seeks to associate himself with this great man at every possible turn. Even so, in terms of worldview, political philosophy, integrity and honorability, the two men are as north to south. Their similarities both begin and end with an Illinois mailing address.
Consider, for instance, that, whereas Lincoln was both a Republican and a strong social conservative by modern standards – Obama is a hard-left Democrat and radical Marxist by any standard. Whereas Lincoln ultimately united a nation brutally divided, Mr. Obama brutally divides a nation once united.
While, as noted by Wheeler, Abraham Lincoln was a man singularly driven by unfettered fidelity to both biblical principles and the one true God of the Bible, Mr. Obama is hell-bent on undermining, if not outright defying, every jot and tittle of the Holy Scriptures.
By placing his hand on the Lincoln Bible and swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States … to the best of my ability,” Mr. Obama sought to draw some symbolic connection to President Lincoln.
Instead, and due to his counter-biblical public policy, he not only engaged in brazen duplicity, but managed to underscore the stark contrast between the two leaders. As compared to his pious predecessor, “the best of [Mr. Obama's] ability” has been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln observed: “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.”
I believe that, due to our nation’s near total rejection of God and our government’s official stamp of approval on that which Scripture unambiguously calls mortal sin (i.e., homosexuality, the deconstruction of legitimate marriage, abortion on demand and the like), God has, for the first time in our relatively brief history, “forsaken this favored land.” I believe we are a nation under judgment and that Barack Obama is part of that judgment.
Lincoln also declared, “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.”
Let that sink in. “God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.” God declares homosexual behavior “an abomination.” Mr. Obama celebrates it. God says “thou shalt not murder.” Mr. Obama and his ilk are responsible for the cold blooded murders of 55-plus million American babies at the callous hands of abortionists.
Jesus, in His own words, reaffirmed the definition of legitimate marriage, saying, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Mr. Obama has called Jesus a liar, saying, in effect, “At the beginning the Creator made them lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). For this reason a male, female or shemale will leave his, her or whatchahoozie’s father and mother, father and father or mother and mother and be united to his or her wife – and/or husband – and the two or more will become one flesh. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Contrast Mr. Lincoln’s reverence for God and Christianity with Mr. Obama’s declaration that, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.”
Or consider these words, where Mr. Obama both defamed the Bible and mocked Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”
The Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical that its application the Defense Department would not survive? No, Mr. President, you simply desire it not survive.
Indeed, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” This is not just a flowery aphorism. It’s a self-evident truth – an objective reality. We as an American people have embraced sin and are thusly condemned.
Lincoln said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” As individuals, we will each stand before God and give an accounting – we will all face judgment. As a nation, we can only be judged in the temporal – in the here and now.
Lincoln also said, “let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.” This sage admonition, though certain to infuriate modern-day feminists, is in perfect keeping with 2 Chronicles 7:14, which declares, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Because, as the psalmist observed, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33)
And cursed is the nation whose god is man.
To read another article by Matt Barber, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:06 PM
Not Emperor, Just Plays “The One” on TV
By John Ransom
Donald6189 wrote: Sort of, but not quite on topic, just wondering if anyone has come up with a tshirt with the caption "The government went on Sequestration and all I got was this lousy economy!"? Sort of fits with the topic just not completely. - This Jobs Report Not Actual Size
Dear Comrade Don,
Actually it doesn’t fit with the topic, nor is it correct. It’s not even funny.
The economy was lousy before sequestration. Sequestration is aimed at improving the economy even though the politicians would have you believe otherwise.
The only problem I have with sequestration is that it didn’t start a long time ago and it isn’t big enough.
As Mark Twain once observed of his misshapen theatrical production Ah Sin:
When this play was originally completed it was so long, and so wide and so deep--in places--and so comprehensive that it would have taken two weeks to play it…. [B]ut the manager said no, that wouldn't do; to play two weeks was sure to get us into trouble with the Government, because the Constitution of the United States says you sha'n't inflict cruel and unusual punishments. So he set to work to cut it down….I never saw a play improve as this one did. The more he cut out of it the better it got right along. He cut out, and cut out, and cut out; and I do believe this would be one of the best plays in the world to-day if his strength had held out, and he could have gone on and cut out the rest of it.
If Congress just had just half of the strength of that theater manager, I’d feel less cruel and unusual toward the government.
Half of sequester is aimed at money that is an increase in spending over what we are spending today rather than true cuts.
As Larry Kudlow explains:
For example, the $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually budget authority, not budget outlays. According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion, or one quarter of 1 percent of GDP (GDP is $15.8 trillion). What’s more, that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.
So the actual outlay reduction is only half the budget-authority savings. The rest of it will spend out in the years ahead -- that is, if Congress doesn’t tamper with it.
When I was growing up, I was taught by Keynesian economists that government could borrow about three percent of GDP to sustain the economy in bad times- otherwise borrowings would have a crowding-out effect in capital markets, leaving the private economy to compete with the government.
Assuming a $16 trillion in 2013, even 1970s Keynesians would have to admit that we overshot the mark by double.
But even so, let’s say that the crowding out in capital markets out wasn’t happening. The question then becomes should the government account for 40 percent of our GDP?
Heck. And. No.
Government spending doesn’t not deliver the return on capital that private investment does. When it accounts for such a large part of our economy, you’ll get poor GDP growth mostly.
That’s why I was deliberate in using the phrases “government spending” versus “private investment.”
Government does not invest; it spends.
Government does not say, “Let’s take a trillion dollars and make it turn into five trillion dollars worth of value.” If they did, you wouldn’t have guys like Obama making the case that tax rates should go up based on “fairness,” while admitting that higher tax rates will lower government revenue.
That would be like a computer company arguing that, yes, profits will go down on computer sales, but prices must be lowered based on “fairness.” Government instead says, “Let’s spend a trillion dollars on highways, because construction contractors need the work and that money will come back from construction contractors to fund political campaigns.”
The return on capital to the overall economy is both incidental and accidental when government spends money.
Private investment, in contrast does spending money- even political donations- with a return in mind. That’s why we call it investment.
Here’s an idea even liberals will probably misunderstand: Intention has a direct effect on outcome, by and large. If a society invests with the idea of profit, a society- or economy- will enjoy larger profits than a society that spends money with the intention of taking care of political friends and allies- which is what government is all about.
But it’s not just the deleterious effect that large government spending has on the economy to which I object.
A government that controls your mortgage, your student loan, your car loan, your retirement savings, your healthcare, your right to own property and to defend your liberties- with a gun if necessary- is a government that owns your liberty and just rents it back to you for a while at election time.
Doug3370 wrote: This talk about murder is unfortunate. Are you really wanting to imprison 55 million murderers? Or execute them? And what about the poor mother who miscarries? Is that negligent homicide? Overblown words poison the conversation we must have with our fellow citizens who think differently. - This Jobs Report Not Actual Size
Dear Comrade Doug,
You tell me at what exact time life actually begins. Voluntarily terminating a pregnancy after that moment is murder. No getting around it.
It’s safe, legal and wrong.
Slavery was once legal too.
DG wrote: I just read Mike Shedlock's column on this topic. He provides a good analysis of the details of the Jobs Report. Significantly, the data are showing employers are shifting towards part time workers away from full time workers. .- This Jobs Report Not Actual Size
Yes. Shedlock adds a lot to the conversation on Finance, but if you don’t check out his articles on the employment situation every month- Mish's Complete Look at Employment Numbers- then you don’t really know what the employment situation is in the country.
Swift Boat Captn wrote: And things were so great before Obama took over. Let's go back to the Chimp's economy that he started by turning surpluses into deficits then finished by losing 800,000 jobs per month and Wall Street on the brink of extinction. - This Won’t End End Well: Obama Giveth X and Taketh Away 7.6 Percent More
Dear Comrade Kerry,
In February 2007, when the terrible, evil George W. Bush was president, there were 2,427,000 more jobs than there are today.
In February 2007, when the terrible, evil George W. Bush was president, there were 5,167,000 fewer unemployed.
There’s more money in the system, going to fewer people than ever before.
The average American can’t afford to buy a new car now. Thanks GM/Obama.
The average American is watching as home prices climb for rich Americans, but stagnate for everyone else.
Top tier homes are selling- and have been selling since Obama became pope- outpacing middle tier and lower tier homes.
The rest of us have to make due with home prices that equal those seen in 1894…That’s 1894…not, 1994.
“Whether real or manufactured by record-low foreclosures, bank supply withdrawals, and fed-subsidized cash REO-to-rent trades,” writes Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge, “the sad truth is that jobs (and the GDP-enhancing multiplier effect that they create) are just not coming. Even Bob Shiller prefers the potential for 4% gains in stocks over housing risk in the medium-term as he points out that - inflation-adjusted - house prices are back at levels first seen in 1894... now that is a long-term investor. “
And just because the Dow’s making new highs, you think everything is wonderful. What happened to Occupy Wall Street?
This is a system that was deliberately crafted by your buddy BHO.
Congrats Comrade Kerry!
You’re right: In America, you in particular, have a right to be stupid.
adendulk wrote: Well John ; as you write so brlliantly about all the negative points then with your self proclaimed genias status it would be easy for you to come up with a solution that all of us would and could be happy with Or are you like all the other nay sayers just possed of because the economy is slowly recovering, which is by the way the best way. - This Won’t End End Well: Obama Giveth X and Taketh Away 7.6 Percent More
Dear Comrade Ulk,
Thanks so much for the creative spelling, punctuation and sentence construction.
Obama’s problem- if we take him at his word, which is always dangerous- is that he’s president, not emperor.
Personally, I’m confident that if I were president for just one year, we’d have one of the most robust economies, not just in the world, but also in our history.
The economic problems that we face aren’t unsolvable and neither are the political problems that we face.
Smarter regulation of the financial services sector is paramount, combined with developing our domestic energy resources. New technologies in old energy sources that allow us to “sequester” carbon, develop domestic stocks and innovate will quickly turn us into an energy powerhouse worldwide.
“The use of new drilling techniques to tap oil and gas in shale rocks far underground helped add 158,000 new oil and gas jobs over the past five years,” writes the Wall Street Journal “and economists think that it has created even more jobs in companies supplying the energy industry and in the broader services industry.”
“This is probably the biggest stimulus we have going,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research told the WSJ.
According to the Journal “$145 billion will be spent drilling and completing wells this year, up from $13 billion in 2000.”
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.
As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the green economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse. It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.
The only thing left then for those bitter climate clingers would be the shoddy science of Global Something-or-Another.
Oil from tar sands, reports the BBC on the Keystone decision, “is so plentiful that full-scale development would seriously delay the transition to low-carbon alternative fuels,” which is the holy grail of the left. And along the way, the U.S. would create at least 10 million new U.S. jobs, keeping around $500 billion per year here at home. Over twenty years that would be an additional $12.5 trillion in GDP even at a modest 2 percent growth rate. At 4 percent the numbers are closer to $15.5 trillion.
And that’s just what I would do for our energy economy.
Think: Best. President. Ever.
M.Hillinger__aka__QR wrote: "So 3.6 percent wage decrease plus 4 percent less savings…carry the two, divide the whole number…is… 7.6 percent less for you!" No it's not. Just because I didn't save it doesn't mean I didn't receive it. If I get I 10 dollars but see a 3.6 % (36 cent) decrease, I now get $9.64. Whether I choose to save 4% less of it (about 39 cents) or not has nothing to do with how much I originally received--it is still 3.6% less--not 7.6%. - This Won’t End End Well: Obama Giveth X and Taketh Away 7.6 Percent More
Dear Comrade Mikey,
Actually your math is waaaaay off.
It’s not your fault. You screwed up; you’re a liberal. You’re probably a product of public education, Catholic guilt, or protestant gilt.
I played a trick on you and you fell for it.
Of course 4 percent less savings plus 3.6 percent lower wages doesn’t equal 7.6 percent less. It equals a lot less than that, actually.
Someone who is 35 years old with an average salary of $50,000 per year would be saving about $2,000 per year with that extra four percent. Assuming a 6 percent rate of return, that four percent would turn into about $160,000 by age 65, which is a net of $100,000. If you stretch out the investment time horizon to 75 years of age, the amount doubles to $320,000.
Like most liberals you have a problem with both math and common sense. You really think that the government needs the money more than people who need to save for retirement.
Only a cow-pated idiot liberal would do math as you do, then think to lecture someone who is merely being funny.
I’ll tell you what‘s not funny, though. Your BFF, Obama, just stole $220,000 from people who will want to retire in 30 years. He stole it to support his government spending “habit.”
Get help before you force us all to rock bottom.
Agitator wrote: how come there are no republican comedians?- Will Ferrell Isn’t Very Funny, Ha, Ha
Dear Comrade Agita,
Because I’m busy being finance editor. I can’t help it I’m so talented.
Jerome41 wrote: The Koch brothers also use their vast wealth to deeply influence and change public policy. Let's not pretend they're not like some small time contributor, or even like Will Ferrell. ? - Will Ferrell Isn’t Very Funny, Ha, Ha
Dear Comrade Jerome,
Then thank God for the Koch Brothers.
If Obama’s folks can buy a tour of the White House for $500,000 then I think the First Amendment ought to extend to the Koch Brothers and me too.
Seriously: Do people not know how to use question marks anymore? And words?
Lengld69 wrote: No, we need another party. Ron Paul would have beat the fraud. I truly believe the sorry republicans wanted the fraud to win. They are go along. The want what the fraud wants, new world order. They have to go if we are to survive. - Colorado GOP Elects Former “Fugitive from Justice” as Party Chair
Dear Comrade Lenny,
You mean Wrong Paul?
I think you have the wrong Paul.
Rand Paul? Certainly. Ron Paul? Ha!
Corbett_ wrote: A man doesn't pay a speeding ticket or two and Ransom describes him as a "fugitive from Justice"? What a crock. - Colorado GOP Elects Former “Fugitive from Justice” as Party Chair
Dear Comrade Corbett,
I described him just as his Colorado Bureau of Investigations rap sheet apparently had him described: “fugitive.”
I wasn’t going to bring this up again, but I had so many rude Ryan Call supporters email me that I’ve decided to post the letter and his mug shot so you can decide for yourself.
so'loughlin wrote: Ransom: "We allow people to protect themselves with guns but won’t do a thing about regulating and controlling the crazed, crack-addled asteroids?" John we don't "allow" people to keep and bear arms, they have a right to. We allow liberal anti-gunners to whine about our right to keep and bear arms, but I do understand your tongue in cheek depiction of "the sky is falling crowd". - Guns Gone Mad and Asteroids Gone Crazy
Dear Comrade So’,
Apparently my “tongue in cheek depiction of ‘the sky is falling crowd’“ is the only thing you understand.
Literalist, like you, make me weary, teary and old.
Mercifully, that’s it for this week,
To read another article by John Ransom, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:51 PM
Obama Keeps it Real: Fake Plant for Fake Products for Fake Cars
By John Ransom
Here’s something that slipped through the cracks thanks to the fake drama that was going on during the fake fiscal crisis coming from our fake government in Washington, DC: Another fake green company boondoggle has resulted in federal dollars being spent on …nothing.
According to a report issued by the Department of Energy’s own inspector general, employees at LG Chem, a Korean company that operates a battery plant in Holland, Michigan- a plant that’s supposed to support the Chevy Volt- were paid for playing video games, board games, volunteer work at Habitat for Humanity and other local charities.
Another fake-work program brought to you by the DOE and Nate Silver.
“An investigation by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General,” reports Mlive.com, “blasted the federal government for negligent oversight and LG Chem for wasteful spending of a $151 million stimulus project to build batteries for electric cars. Despite spending a majority of the money, LG Chem has yet to produce a battery.”
LG Chem’s defense seems to be: “Oh. You mean, we were supposed to WORK for that money, not play video games?”
Wired Magazine says, “LG Chem officials submitted those non-productive labor costs [that is, the costs for playing video games, etc.] for reimbursement because they were ‘unfamiliar with the types of costs that were allowable.’”
That seems to be a familiar complaint under the Obama administration.
Not being familiar with stuff is kind of rampant.
See, for example Ghazi, Ben.
This is not exactly a government that recognizes boundaries, laws, the United States Constitution, common sense, Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP), or even basic shapes and colors.
These are the same guys who pay unemployment benefits to convicts serving time for murder; they pay an adult male, who wears a diaper, a disability payment so said male- so-called- can pursue the “lifestyle” of an “adult baby.” Oh, and they pay the diaper changer who tends to him too.
So, really who can blame LG Chem?
Not manufacturing a single battery for the Chevy Volt- the sole purpose for which LG Chem built a plant in Holland, Michigan- actually seems kind of like an act of mercy toward the taxpayers comparatively speaking.
Yes, wasting over $75 million in tax dollars on a plant was fool-hearted, but at least the losses end at some point…probably.
In contrast, three years into manufacturing the GREATEST CAR IN THE HISTORY of the Empire, designed by the GREATEST PRESIDENT EMPEROR EVEH! the Volt just keeps losing money, selling poorly and is still not using the batteries that LG Chem was supposed to provide.
Fake batteries for a fake Car-of-the-Year.
Gee: And some wonder why Detroit is going bankrupt?
So, congrats to the US Senate and Korea’s LG Chem on their new, low scores. Both have gone zero-for-three-years: LG Chem failed to produce a single battery for the Chevy Volt and the US Senate failed to produce a single vote for an Obama budget, fake or otherwise.
Since 2011, it’s gotten so bad that Democrats have pleaded with The Big Zero to submit no budget at all.
Which leads us to the burning issue of the day.
What’s a better use of taxpayer dollars? Funding high scores on Grand Theft Auto for employees of Korean crony capitalists, or funding the United States Senate to be against raising taxes before they were for them?
Although LG Chem has reimbursed Uncle Same Ole, Same Ole about $900,000 for the fraudulent labor, the real fraud here is elsewhere.
Because the fake budget item that allowed the theft to begin with, WAS authorized by the United States Senate.
The problem it seems for LG Chem and “those non-productive labor costs” was that the costs just weren’t big enough. Steal $900,000 and you’re just faker.
Steal over $75 million and you’re an official line item in the last budget passed by fake Democrat majority.
To read another article by John Ransom, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:26 PM
How Baseline Budgeting is Bankrupting My Generation
By Charlie Kirk
Congratulations America! With the sequestration implemented, we finally cut spending!
Wrong! Unfortunately, the American public has just been deceived by politicians and the mainstream media.
Too often we hear politicians boasting about "cutting" spending and how they are "reducing" the federal deficit. During the recent sequestration debate, the vast majority of the media, Congress and President Obama all referred to the sequester as "cuts."
During the past few weeks, we have been told these sequester "cuts" will be detrimental to firefighters, teachers and seniors. In order to realize what they mean by a "cut," we must first look at the definition of "cut." A cut, according to Washington math, means a reduction in the amount of increased spending. The mainstream media and demagogues in Washington are trying to keep our citizens in the dark by neglecting to point out that the net result of these "cuts" is actually an increase in spending!
How is this deception possible? How can Washington "cut" spending, but then end up spending more? It is because of an accounting method Washington has used for years called "baseline budgeting."
The beginning of baseline budgeting started in 1974 with the Congressional Budget Act signed by President Nixon. This bill required the Office of Management of Budget to release projections of federal spending for the upcoming fiscal year. These projections are designed to naturally anticipate population growth, inflation and other market tendencies. When baseline budgeting was implemented, it gave Congress a "baseline" of spending from the previous year. For example, if Congress allocated $50 Billion last year to the Department of State, then the next year their budget would automatically start with the "baseline" of $50 Billion. When you incorporate the automatic increases in spending, for example, a 10% increase, then spending would increase to 55 Billion without Congress acting at all.
This system of budgeting is extremely dangerous for many reasons. If spending is automatically increasing every year without any congressional action, the size of the federal government could DOUBLE over the next 10 years without Congress ever taking a vote. Right now federal spending is on cruise control growing at an automatic average rate of approximately 7%. Therefore, if Congress does absolutely NOTHING during the next 10 years, then government spending will double! Unlike your car, Uncle Sam's cruise control is not maintaining the same speed but rather is increasing speed going faster and faster. Baseline budgeting makes it almost impossible to put the brakes on government spending which is out of control. My generation will bear the brunt of the inevitable crash that will occur. Where are the leaders who have the courage to disengage this dysfunctional cruise control and put on the brakes?
Baseline budgeting is dangerously deceptive to the American people because while politicians and the media talk about spending cuts, government spending and borrowing is actually increasing adding to the debt being passed down to my generation. Baseline budgeting is bankrupting my generation and stealing the future from children not old enough to vote yet. Big government advocates love baseline budgeting because they can increase spending while, in the next breath, proclaim they cut spending! The best way to truly understand baseline budgeting is to compare how a typical American family does its budgeting versus the US government.
Let's say the Jones family typically earns $100,000 and spends $100,000 a year to maintain their standard of living. But due to a lackluster economy, both Mr. and Mrs. Jones are told by their bosses they have to take 10% pay cuts at their jobs. In order to continue living within their means, they decide to "tighten their belts" and cut their annual household spending 10% from $100,000 to $90,000. This type of budgeting makes sense to the common person and is how we would expect our government to operate its budget.
But now let's see how the government does its budgeting.
Let's say, for example, Dan Smith is a government bureaucrat with an annual operating budget of $100,000 to run his small department in 2013. Due to baseline budgeting, Dan's budget may automatically increase 10% to $110,000 in 2014.
Now let's imagine that the President and Congress finally decide to get spending under control and agree to cut spending across the board by 10% starting in 2014. This means the budget for Dan's department will not increase and instead will go down from $100,000 to $90,000 just like the Jones family had to cut its budget by 10%... Right?
WRONG! Dan's budget for 2014 will actually grow from $100,000 to $109,000! The government calls this $9000 increase a "cut" of 10%. Sounds crazy but the government calls Dan's annual increase of $9000 a 10% "cut" because Dan is getting 10% less of the automatic increase built into his department's budget. Dan was expecting $110,000 in 2014, but Congress forced him to "tighten his belt" and "cut" his budget to $109,000 in 2014. In the meantime, most of the country thinks that Dan will be cutting his department's budget to $90,000. What politicians and the media often call a "cut" are in reality "reductions in the rate of growth."
To summarize, let's look at the math formula of the Jones's world of logical reasoning versus the government's insane world of baseline budgeting. In the normal world of the Jones family, $100,000 - 10% = $90,000. But in the irrational world of government arithmetic, $100,000 - 10% = $109,000.
After understanding how the government runs its budget, is it any surprise we are accelerating towards 17 Trillion dollars of debt and over 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities? If politicians and the mainstream media continue to tell the American people we are "cutting spending," when in reality we are merely lowering the rate of growth, then my generation will never see a balanced budget in our lifetime. Thus far, Washington has failed to address the reality of our spiraling debt and deficits and their only solution is to "kick the can down the road" with band-aids like the recent sequestration. Eventually, all these cans are going to end up in my generation's front yard. For the sake of my generation, I hope Washington and the mainstream media begin to tell the truth about why government spending is out of control. Otherwise, today's youth will become the first generation to be worse off than the previous generation.
To read another article about baseline budgeting, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:44 PM
The Unemployment Tragedy the Media Won't Report
By Wayne Allyn Root
It’s breathtaking how we are being lied to about unemployment specifically, and the economy in general. Just Friday we learned unemployment is down to 7.7% with the miraculous addition of over 200,000 jobs. The media was instantly celebrating great news. But is it actually great news?
First of all the REAL unemployment figure (as all economists know) is U6- which is the true measurement of not only those officially classified as unemployed, but those who have stopped looking. That number is over 14%. Why does the media never mention U6? If we have two measures of joblessness- one at 7.7% and one above 14%, why do they choose to only trumpet the lower figure? My bet is that if a Republican like George W. Bush were President, we’d hear the 14% figure bandied about in the national media day and night. But this media loves, adores and protects Obama from the embarrassment of 14% REAL unemployment.
Second, let’s assume the 7.7% is accurate (which it’s not). Dig just beneath the surface of that fraudulent number (that misrepresents the true number of unemployed plus under-employed Americans), and you’ll find that black unemployment is 13.8% versus 6.8% white unemployment. Even worse is 25.1% teen unemployment. None of this is even mentioned by the biased liberal media.
We can assume if the U6 figure was used, both of these numbers would also be much higher. I’m sure REAL black unemployment is in the 20% to 25% range, while REAL teen unemployment may in fact be in the range of 40%.
So let me ask you a question. If black unemployment were 13.8% under a Republican President, would the media ignore that storyline? Or would there be massive million man marches on Washington led by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and U.S. Senator Barack Obama? Wouldn’t black leaders be blaming the disparate numbers between white and black unemployment on racism and “the racist pro business, low tax policies of a cruel, harsh Republican President?” Yet in this case, with a black Democrat President, with the same numbers, we hear not a peep of protest or discontent out of the black leaders. Interesting.
Third if you look beneath the top figure of 236,000 new jobs in February, you see that America actually lost 77,000 full-time jobs, and gained a record number of “multiple job holders.” Somehow the media forgot to mention this.
America under Obama has become a vast wasteland of lousy part-time jobs with low pay and no benefits. If we had a Republican President, don’t you think the media might be mentioning this? Is it possible the “good news” in Friday’s jobs report is actually terrible news? It isn’t actually 236,000 Americans returning to work. It’s simply about 100,000 desperate American workers each taking three part-time jobs, plus dipping into their 401K, plus maxing out their credit cards, to survive for another month.
Or didn’t you hear earlier in the week that Americans are dipping into their retirement accounts in record numbers?
This story has been totally ignored for four long years under Obama. The only jobs being created in this terrible Obamageddon economy are crappy jobs with poor pay.
According to a report released in February by the National Employment Law Project, higher-wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America, but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower-wage industries are accounting for 49 percent of the job growth.
Back in 1980, less than 30 percent of all jobs in the United States were low-income jobs. Today, more than 40 percent of all jobs in the United States are low-income jobs.
Lastly, why does the media trumpet the drop in February’s unemployment (based on part-time jobs), but ignore the fact that under Obama the overall employment picture looks similar to a Great Depression? The real figure we should all be discussing is an all-time record 89,304,000 able-bodied, working age Americans no longer in the labor force.
Incidentally based on that figure America actually lost 296,000 jobs since January.
Friday’s report is actually horrible news, if only the Obama Kool-Aid drinking media would report the truth.
To read another article by Wayne Allyn Root, click here.
To read another article about Real Unemployment, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:37 PM
Living the High Life
By Carol Platt Liebau
It's being reported that Adele and Beyonce have been booked to rock The White House on Michelle Obama's 50th birthday. That should be some party . . .
It's hard to believe that the politics of the sequester have worked out the way the Obama administration intended. Even their usually-reliable friends in the media have been skeptical, as this report from ABC News demonstrates:
Click to view:
Jonathan Karl concluded the report by noting that the President took a 20-car motorcade to travel a short distance to eat with Republicans -- and suggested that next time he save money by eating at home.
It seems to me that it's time that Republicans pointed out the many, many ways The White House could manage to reallocate funds to allow the American people to visit their White House. The President and Mrs. Obama have enjoyed to the fullest every perquisite of their rank; with that enjoyment should come some scrutiny, especially in a time when regular tourists are being told that there simply isn't a dime to spare on something for them, the taxpayers who subsidize it all.
To read another article about the Sequester, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:27 PM
Morning Bell: Busting 5 Myths About the Minimum Wage
Amy Payne March 5, 2013 at 6:28 am(87)
When someone says “minimum wage,” what comes to mind?
Do you think of teenagers flipping burgers? Or a single parent trying to feed several kids?
While President Obama and other proponents of a higher minimum wage want you to visualize that single parent, the truth is that a burger-flipping teenager or college student with a part-time job paints a much more accurate picture of the minimum wage in America.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Today, Democrats in Congress are arguing that the President didn’t go far enough, proposing an increase to more than $10 an hour.
Minimum-wage increases reduce the number of entry-level minimum-wage jobs available—actually hurting many of the workers proponents want to help.
And who are these workers?
The President and others keep going back to five key myths about minimum-wage workers. Heritage labor expert James Sherk has already debunked them all.
Myth #1: Hordes of Minimum-Wage Workers
Very few Americans are actually working for the federal minimum wage—it’s just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.
In other words, 97 percent of American workers make more than minimum wage.
Myth #2: The “Working Poor” Getting By on Minimum Wage
More than half of minimum-wage workers are between the ages of 16 and 24. These young people tend to work part-time, and a majority of them are enrolled in school at the same time—so the after-school burger flipper or college student with a part-time job is the real deal. A hike in the minimum wage primarily raises pay for suburban teenagers, not the working poor.
In fact, America’s poor aren’t the “working poor” at all. Sherk explains that “Contrary to what many assume, low wages are not their primary problem, because most poor Americans do not work for the minimum wage. The problem is that most poor Americans do not work at all.” Cutting down the number of entry-level jobs by raising the minimum wage surely isn’t going to help these people who need jobs.
Myth #3: Minimum-Wage Workers Trapped in Poverty
The average family income of a minimum-wage worker is more than $53,000 a year. How is this possible at $7.25 an hour? Few workers with minimum-wage jobs are the primary earners in their families. This is also true of older minimum-wage earners. Three-fourths of workers 25 and older earning the minimum wage live above the poverty line. In fact, 62 percent have incomes over 150 percent of the poverty line.
Myth #4: Lifelong Minimum-Wage Earners
Minimum-wage earners don’t stay in those jobs forever. It’s easy to get the idea from politicians that “minimum-wage workers” are a permanent class of people. But in fact, two-thirds of minimum-wage workers earn a raise within a year. As they gain experience and employment skills, they become more productive and can command higher wages. Entry-level, minimum-wage jobs are the first rung on many workers’ career ladders.
Myth #5: More Single Parents on Minimum Wage
Very few single parents are working full-time in minimum-wage jobs. Unfortunately, politicians overuse that example. A greater proportion of employees in the overall workforce (5.6 percent) are single parents working full-time jobs, while for minimum-wage workers that proportion is 4 percent—because so many minimum-wage workers are secondary earners.
Don’t be fooled by the myths. A minimum wage increase will not reduce poverty. Instead, it will hurt many of the workers its proponents want to help. As James Sherk and Rudy Takala sum it up:
A higher minimum wage would help some workers, but few of them are poor. The larger effect is hurting the ability of potential workers living in poverty to get their foot in the door of employment. A minimum wage hike might help politicians win plaudits from the press, but it wouldn’t reduce poverty rates.
To read another article about the "minimum wage," click here.
To read another article from The Heritage Foundation - The Morning Bell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 8:13 PM
Gay Activists Bully Tebow, Christian University
By Todd Starnes
Gay rights activists are demanding Tim Tebow back out of a speaking engagement at Liberty University just two weeks after pressuring the New York Jets quarterback to cancel a speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church of Dallas.
Tebow is expected to speak this weekend at Wildfire – a men’s conference hosted by the conservative Christian university. His remarks will be closed to the general public.
The professional football player is well-known for sharing his faith in Christ – but in recent weeks he’s come under fire from the national media and gay rights activists for speaking in churches that follow biblical teaching.
Huffington Post called Liberty a “notoriously conservative private college with an anti-gay reputation.” And more than 10,000 people have signed a petition launched by Faithful America calling on the quarterback to cancel his speech.
“Liberty University isn’t just another conservative Christian college,” the group stated. “its ground-zero for a global assault on the legal rights of gays and lesbians – and a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the religious right.
A Liberty University spokesman refused to comment.
Faithful America said Tebow would give his “Christian faith a bad name” by speaking at the university founded by the late Jerry Falwell.
Several weeks ago Tebow canceled a speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church of Dallas – citing “new information” he had received.
He never elaborated on his comment – but sources close to the church told Fox News he backed out in part over the uproar surrounding the church’s position on traditional marriage – and salvation.
Pastor Robert Jeffress has been an outspoken leader in the nation’s culture wars – affirming from the pulpit traditional marriage and salvation through Jesus Christ.
The national media labeled the pastor as anti-gay and anti-Semitic – charges that were vehemently denied by the church and the many national religious leaders.
“To me, the real issue here is the controversy this has generated,” Jeffress said at the time. “It’s amazing that a church that believes faith alone in Christ is what saves a person and that sex should be between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship – that somehow those beliefs are considered hate speech? That is historic Christian doctrine for the past 2,000 years.”
Right Wing Watch suggested Liberty University was actually more extreme than FBC Dallas and listed a litany of alleged offenses.
They claimed Liberty University bans gay students and shut down its College Democrats chapter over the party’s views on gay rights. They also alleged the university hosted anti-gay conferences and that professors have made anti-gay comments.
Again, the university declined to address the controversy.
“If Jeffress’ anti-gay remarks were too extreme for Tebow, they pale in comparison to the things regularly said by representatives of Liberty University,” Right Wing Watch stated. “Perhaps it is time for Tebow to take another look at some of this ‘new information’ about Liberty.”
Huffington Post wondered if Tebow was giving hints about his position on homosexuality by making an appearance at Liberty.
“Due to Liberty University's reputation for intolerance toward the LGBT community, some might interpret the athlete's appearance as a tacit acknowledgement of similar values,” they opined. Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, is urging Liberty University and Tebow to stand firm – and warned that homosexual activists cannot be appeased.
“Their goal is to marginalize and to discredit Christians,” he told American Family News. “If he cancels this appearance at Liberty University under pressure from the gay lobby, I think his credibility is going to suffer a ton.”
To read more about Gay Bullying, click here.
To read another article by Todd Starnes, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:55 PM
Chavismo and Us
By Mona Charen
"One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous before, time and again." --Dr. Thomas Sowell
The Berlin Wall was demolished by joyful Europeans throwing off the chains of collectivism nearly a quarter century ago. The Soviet Union, its fraudulent promise of a "workers' paradise" long since proved a bitter delusion, fell soon after. But the idea that government control over the economy can improve the lives of ordinary people, particularly the poor, does not die.
Hugo Chavez clawed his way to total power the way other demagogues and thugs -- from Lenin to Peron to Castro to Correa -- have done, by promising to redistribute the nation's wealth (Lenin and Castro also used guns). Like them, Chavez maintained power by crippling the democratic institutions of his nation.
American "useful idiots" are undisturbed by thuggish repression, like shutting down newspapers and opposition television and radio stations, jailing "dissidents," harassing minorities (the Jews, in Chavez's case) and giving aid to narco-terrorists and murdering dictators (as Chavez did with Ahmadinejad, Castro and Assad), so long as he redistributes wealth, sows class hatred, and condemns the United States. Jimmy Carter, cementing his status as the most shameful former president in U.S. history, praised Chavez's "commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen." Rep. Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat, tweeted "Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President." An assortment of Hollywood dunces -- Sean Penn, Danny Glover and Oliver Stone -- have at various times paid tribute to the fulminating despot.
With its huge supply of oil and an educated and urbanized middle class, Venezuela ought to be among the wealthiest countries in the world. Yet since Chavez took power 14 years ago, Venezuela's economy has been ravaged. Even with the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela's growth has lagged behind other Latin American nations. Because Chavez nationalized, expropriated or destroyed other industries, Venezuela's exports now consist almost entirely of oil, whereas pre-Chavez, oil accounted for 77 percent of exports.
Chavez spent many millions on programs for the poor. Yet his assault on the private economy hurt the poor most of all. The currency has been devalued five times in the past 10 years and has lost 66 percent of its value since 2008. Inflation has been running at more than 23 percent annually, robbing the poor, along with everyone else, of purchasing power.
The government's response to food shortages has been two-fold -- forcing producers to meet quotas and placing price controls on more than 400 items. Like Stalin before him, Chavez resorted to his own version of the "saboteur" accusation against businessmen attempting to survive in his tightly regulated world. Forty butchers were arrested in 2010 for charging more than the permitted price for beef. Here's AP: "The government says butchers can charge 17 bolivars -- about $4 -- for a kilogram of beef. Butchers say they have to pay 14 bolivars -- about $3 -- for the meat, leaving them no margin to cover the other costs of their business." In addition to meat, there are chronic shortages of eggs, flour, oil, sugar and gasoline.
Since the nationalization of the electrical power industry in 2007, Venezuela has been plagued by blackouts. Every region of the country is affected several times a week.
And then there is crime. Venezuela had a high crime rate before Chavez, but the murder rate has more than tripled since he took power, making Caracas the most dangerous city on earth. Venezuela now suffers more murders than the United States and the European Union combined, though its population is only 1/28th as large. Most often victimized? The poor. Chavez has opened Venezuela's doors to drug traffickers and tolerates corruption among the police. The U.S. State Department warns travelers of the danger of robbery and kidnapping as soon as they arrive at the airport. ". . . Individuals wearing what appear to be official uniforms or other credentials are involved in facilitating or perpetrating these crimes."
The Chavez legacy is a quintupled national debt, crumbling infrastructure (including hospitals), shortages of food, clean water, electrical power, and gasoline, high inflation, and devastating crime. And that doesn't include the wreckage that Chavismo has made of Venezuela's political culture.
The poor have done much better in free market countries like Chile, Peru, and Brazil. But those on the left, including Chavez's American admirers, will never learn -- or perhaps they just don't care.
To read another article by Mona Charen, click here.
To read another article about Hugo Chavez's death, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:46 PM