Sunday, August 19, 2012

THE GUTSIEST STRAW MAN

Posted by Woody Pendleton

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The Gutsiest Straw Man


Design on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail,
See nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust
-Samuel Johnson

The nation is struggling with the idea that envy can be the same as toil and that a man's hard-earned riches can be taken and distributed to the masses. The same people that think American millionaires (80 to 95% of all millionaires depending on the source) didn't "build" their own wealth somehow believe a thug that kills someone didn't do that either—it was the "gun's" fault. (Last week the New York Daily News wrote a flattering story on the Son of Sam who they portray as a changed man whose wisdom now extends to the elimination of guns. Sick!!!) Watching this battle of values and responsibility versus unaccountability and irresponsibility is difficult and scary.

I will never accept that the person that sacrifices so much to become successful is somehow in debt to the person that mostly sleepwalks through life.

Now this battle moves to another level. With the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, those that champion confiscation of wealth over individual accountability have the perfect straw man. Of all the congressmen, senators and political parties, and of course the president, only Ryan has sat down and thoughtfully put together a plan to make sure America remains great by making tough choices now. His plan is designed to save America's social safety net as well as keeping its military the strongest in the world. But those looking to save massive food stamp distribution, massive welfare rolls and socialistic taxes will throw up grandma losing benefits as a cover not unlike putting up policemen and teachers when it's time to cut waste in local governments.

This is a nation of merit for now. It's hard to become a successful business person by accident and no sweat. It's hard to climb the corporate ladder if you are in at nine and out at five every day ... and never finish the year with unused vacation days. Yet, in this new (un)American movement, people come back from vacation looking for more money or fret in rush hour traffic about the lack of upward mobility. The nation is moving at a fraction of its ability and the only reason it's moving forward is because we already have an economy built to last.

In "Young Guns," Paul Ryan speaks of an America in which hard work was rewarded and slacking off penalized. When he was a kid, for just on B on his report card his allowance was cut to $2.00 from $4.00 and for a C he got nothing at all. In President Obama's world, the A student is greedy and must pay a price while the B student is still too high and the C student is the victim of something and even his laziness is a byproduct of something nefarious by the A student. So that $4.00 allowance is chopped up with the A student holding $1.50 the B student $1.50 and C student $1.00 - and even that would be seen as a compromise that's still unfair to the underachiever.

Merit is being buried ... along with it America, too.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, NOT SO ILLEGAL

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Illegal Immigrants, Not So Illegal


Illegal Immigrants, Not So Illegal

When you hear of people in Chicago sleeping on the sidewalk to be first in line in the morning, you may figure they are hoping to snag tickets for Lady Gaga or a Cubs World Series. But those were not the explanation Wednesday when thousands lined up at Navy Pier. They didn't want to get something. They wanted to avoid getting something: a deportation order. It was a scene that immediately put every American into one of two groups: those heartened by the throngs of illegal immigrants thirsting to stay in this country, and those appalled. It also framed a choice for voters, because the crowd was responding to a decision by President Barack Obama to stop deporting some foreigners who arrived without benefit of the law.
It's not really accurate to call them foreigners, though. These are young people who were brought here when they were still children. Many arrived as infants or toddlers; many speak English like natives; and many have no memory of their birth country. Everything about them says "American" except their birth certificates.
For years, they've had to live with the possibility of being caught by immigration agents and evicted from the only home they know. But in June, Obama announced the administration would stop removing those who meet certain criteria.
The exemption would cover those under age 31 who came before age 16, have lived here five years or more, are attending school or have graduated from high school or have served in the military, and have no serious criminal record.
The reprieve would last two years -- or, possibly, until Mitt Romney moves into the White House. Republicans in Congress denounced the change, and their prospective nominee says, "I will build my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure."
The change does more than lift the threat of being deported. It also lets those affected work legally, qualify for college financial aid and get driver's licenses. Unlike the farsighted Dream Act, which Congress spurned, it doesn't provide them a path to citizenship or any permanent immunity.
Critics say Obama has brazenly usurped the authority of the legislative branch by implementing something he couldn't get lawmakers to pass. But the executive has long exercised discretion over which illegal immigrants to banish and which to keep. Utah's Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff supports Romney but says, "This is clearly within the president's power."
John Lennon, who should not have been allowed in because of a drug conviction, was in line to be deported in the early 1970s until his lawyer got the immigration agency to classify him a "non-priority," allowing him to stay until his death in 1980.
Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney in Anchorage, Alaska, tells me that deportable foreigners have long been eligible for "deferred action status." She has sought it for many clients and says, "Previously it was really the whim of the local office whether you got it or not."
Until now, she says that "it was pretty much one of those things that lawyers knew about but the general public didn't." The Obama administration has merely extended to a large, well-defined group an option that used to be available mainly to a few with the cash and savvy to hire a lawyer. British pop icons? Sure. Mexican janitors? Probably not.
Republicans say Obama's policy rewards people for breaking the law. But the young people affected by the change had no say in the decision. Banishing those who grew up here because of what their parents did punishes the innocent, not the guilty.
The other complaint is that the policy will force Americans to compete for jobs and college admission with those allowed to stay. But immigrants, legal or illegal, not only fill jobs but create them. Historically, there is no correlation between higher immigration and higher unemployment.
And if foreign-born students have done everything to qualify for higher education, why shouldn't they be allowed to pursue it on the same terms as their peers? What the 13,000 people who showed up at Navy Pier want is what conservatives are fond of promising: not a guarantee of success, but an opportunity to make the most of their abilities.
It's a dream that is American to the core. No one should be surprised that on Wednesday, they interrupted the proceedings to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

TERM LIMITS FOR THE MEDIA

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Term Limits for the Media



Years ago, working for a pro-term limits group, I was asked by a reporter what was meant by a clumsily-worded statement in our press packet announcing that we “provide information about term limits for the media.”
The reporter was fixated on the phrase “term limits for the media” and, well, sorta panicked. Term limits are popular, after all. I jovially explained that “for” people laboring in the media we would “provide information” — that is, studies and press releases and backgrounders and stuff . . . about term limits for politicians.
In other words: relax, reporters; we weren’t launching a campaign to limit your tenure on the beat.
Sometimes, when witnessing political agendas getting in the way of decent journalism, I recall the specific discomfort of that one reporter to the very idea of term-limiting the media, extrapolate that state of mind, and . . . enjoy.
Two months ago, I noted in my Common Sense e-letter that much of the news media and left-of-center political punditry didn’t much seem to care about their ability — or the public’s right — to see the tens of thousands of Fast & Furious documents Attorney General Eric Holder still refuses to make public.
Whether Congress’s request for documents is purely partisan and politically motivated or completely justifiable on the merits, how does a journalist not want to see the material? Whether one thinks the information will be of little import or amount to an ammo dump full of smoking guns, how does a reporter not want to see it? Whether the gun-walking operations operated by the federal government were mostly effective police work or the stupidest arming of one’s enemies ever imagined, how does a columnist not want to see the actual emails and memos and other documents associated with a program that went so badly astray . . . or with any cover-up?
We need to find out the facts. The public has a right to know.
So we can make better decisions regarding our government going forward.
Isn’t all this loosely associated with the purpose of “journalism”?
Not according to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, whose response to the battle over executive branch transparency wasn’t to urge the release of the documents, but to suggest that those interested in seeing them were racist. Because President Barack Obama and General Holder are African-Americans.
For this or another reason, much of the media has effectively ignored the story.
Then, last week, the journalistic maxim “if it bleeds it leads” was mysteriously repealed. It’s already been a blockbuster summer for news, what with several highly publicized mass shootings. Now comes a gunman with a political ax to grind, smack dab in the middle of the great culture wars that drive the 24-hour news cycle, walking into the capital office of a powerful political group; he opens fire.
Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the lobby of the Family Research Council headquarters, made a statement about not liking the group’s “policy” prescriptions, and reportedly shot Leo Johnson, whose duties include functioning as the group’s security guard. Johnson, though hit in the arm, subdued Corkins and prevented a potential mass murder. Not only a great security guard, but a real hero.
As if the story weren’t interesting enough, it turns out that Corkins had spent the last six months volunteering at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, an outfit politically at odds with the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage and believes homosexual behavior to be sinful. Along with the gun, Corkins had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his bag.
It’s not that there was zero coverage for a news story combining gun violence, the guts of our political culture wars and an honest-to-goodness hero, but . . .
The story got 20 seconds on The CBS Evening News. Still revving from their Olympic coverage, NBC’s Nightly News spit out all the details in just 17. The story led off ABC’s World News for two-and-a-half minutes. But none of the three senior TV networks reported the information about Corkins’s political connections, leaving any such motivations vague.
Two stories in the Washington Post on the days following the shooting made no mention of any of the summer’s other shootings, as if the incident ought not be considered when covering other such mega-news events.
Thankfully, there was no death count at the Family Research Council shooting. Maybe that’s why the media coverage seemed so understated. But, then again, it is hard not to wonder to what degree partisan motivations, the press playing politics, might have resulted in reduced coverage for a crime committed against what they may view as a politically incorrect victim.
Of course, the political affiliations of deranged murderers, or just wannabe killers, are not usually very instructive. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. The point isn’t to play up the shooters to smear the innocent, but for major media outlets to report the news evenhandedly, including violence committed against their political opponents, and to pursue the truth of what our government is doing, such as on Fast & Furious, even when the outcome might not further their various political agendas.
As much as they might deserve it sometimes, we cannot constitutionally term-limit media folks, whether they be journalists, TV reporters, or mere “talking heads.” And I wouldn’t want to — for one, they don’t really have “terms.” Instead, we can push reform as customers by watching, listening and reading those profit-seeking media companies that do a better job.

THE AMERICAN DREAM? OR THE DREAMS OF OBAMA'S FATHER ?

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The American Dream, or the Dreams of Obama’s Father?

 The American Dream, or the Dreams of Obama’s Father?

You think President Obama is avoiding the subject of the economy?
Think again.
In reality, thoughts and ideas about the economy, and about economics, and about money – especially thoughts about other people’s money – animate just about everything that President Obama says and does. He is fixated on his belief that it is a grave injustice for a private individual, family or organization to be financially successful, and he is determined that his presidency will be the one to save our country from this “problem.”
So, while President Obama conveniently ignores the data on our current economic conditions – 8.3% unemployment, a decline in manufacturing, a rise in unemployment benefits claims and a drop in the labor force participation rate – he nonetheless cannot stop talking about the economy, and his vision of economic “transformation.” His contempt for individual economic achievements is a part of who he is – he cannot stop being himself.
The President’s recent obsession about Mitt Romney’s tax returns is only his latest in a long history of fussing about other people being wealthy. And the President’s disdainful attitude towards privately possessed wealth should surprise absolutely no one- his own father was also a powerful governmental figure who displayed this same kind of indignation.
Barack Hussein Obama Sr., the biological father of our President, was a bureaucrat in the communist government of Kenya back when the nation first declared its independence in the 1960’s. And while Kenya’s government was at that time moving towards pro-Western, free-market economic reforms, Obama staunchly opposed such changes.
Thus, Mr. Obama published an academic paper in 1965, responding to his government colleagues who supported the westernization of Kenya. Entitled “Problems Facing Our Socialism,” Mr. Obama advised Kenya’s then-President Jomo Kenyatta against relying on private investors, private capital, and private property ownership, as a means of improving the country’s dreadful economy. Why was private capital and investment a problem? Because, Mr. Obama reasoned, private investors inevitably seek to earn “dividends” from their investments, and “turning a profit” was the gravest of all immoralities. Instead, Mr. Obama proposed higher taxes on the wealthy, and a redistribution of that money, for the “collective good” of the nation.
“Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income,” Mr. Obama wrote, “so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed.” In the view of Barack Hussein Obama Sr., the right of the individual person to freely work, earn, and invest, meant nothing. All that mattered was the “collective good” of the nation. And if confiscating certain people’s hard-earned money could help benefit “everyone,” then so be it. That wealth would be put to better use, Mr. Obama argued, if it were controlled by the leader of the government.
Given this bit of President Obama’s familial history, it is not surprising that throughout his public life he himself has advocated for many of the same ideas that his father did over half a century ago. During the last presidential election cycle, alone, then-Senator Obama pushed for higher income taxes on “the rich” and higher business taxes on “excess profits” (his definition of “rich” and “excessive” changed almost weekly during the campaign); higher taxes on energy companies; government-imposed limits on private corporate salaries; and – his father would be so proud – higher taxes on dividend earnings. He even suggested at one point that the U.S. government should start taxing capital – not a new tax on interest or dividends derived from investment capital, but a tax on money sitting in banks doing nothing.
Now, four years later, the President is running for re-election in an economic environment made weaker by his own policies and ideas. And it is easy to dismiss as “mere politics” the President’s obsession with Mr. Romney’s net worth, his past work at a venture capital firm, and his annual tax returns – presumably the President is trying to portray Mr. Romney as a heartless aristocrat who is “out of touch” with everyday middleclass Americans.
But given what we know of President Obama and his expressed views of the world, it also stands to reason that, for him, the wealth that private citizen Mitt Romney possesses – as well as the wealth possessed by other private citizens like Mr. Romney – really is the most serious problem facing America today. Even just last week, amid more negative economic reports, the President delivered yet another of his speeches on his “new vision of America where prosperity is shared.”
What the President does not seem to understand (and what his father seemingly never understood), is that prosperity must first be created – by inventors, executives, entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, and yes – sometimes even by “rich people” – before it can be re-distributed and “shared” by anybody. And if a society chooses to punish its wealthy members with ever-expanding taxation, rather than encouraging them to create more wealth, then eventually even the smartest of politicians run out of wealth to re-distribute.
So will the U.S. return to being a country where anybody can pursue the “American dream” without fear of retribution? Or has President Obama successfully supplanted the American dream with – to paraphrase one of his book titles – the dreams from his father?
We, the people, will have our say on this in November. Let’s hope we all make an informed choice.

RYAN SAYS "BRING ON MEDICARE FIGHT"

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Ryan: ‘Bring on’ Medicare Fight

Ryan: ‘Bring on’ Medicare Fight

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says he wants “to bring on” the Medicare debate with the Obama administration in the campaign for the White House.
“We are heading towards a European-like debt crisis which means a deeper recession, fewer jobs, lower revenues and bigger deficits if we don’t get our fiscal house in order fast,” Ryan said on Thursday in an interview with the Tribune-Review.
The Wisconsin congressman, tapped last weekend by Mitt Romney to join the GOP ticket, discussed the campaign after a rally and an unscheduled stop for hot dogs and hand-shaking at The Hot Dog Shoppe in nearby Warren.
“President Obama has punted on this issue. He has ducked the issue of fiscal responsibility, and that is a huge threat to our economy,” Ryan said.
He criticized the president for “raiding” Medicare to pay for the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The Obama administration wants to use $716 billion from Medicare over the next decade to pay for portions of the new health care law.
“This is a debate we need to have. It is a debate that we are starting and very confident in winning,” Ryan said.
Senior citizens will be upset when they realize Obama’s signature legislative achievement will put their Medicare in jeopardy, he said.
Romney has vowed to overturn the legislation and restore the $716 billion to Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors and the disabled. The program accounts for 15 percent of all federal spending, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan offered a plan to trim more than $700 billion from Medicare and install a voucher program to help reduce the federal debt. He has voted to repeal Obamacare.
Ryan told the Trib that the $716 billion in cuts will lead to fewer services for seniors and creation of a government board to oversee those cuts.
“The Independent Payment Advisory Board is made up of 15 bureaucrats that are appointed by the president unelected, unaccountable, and their job is to put further price controls and cuts to Medicare providers, which will lead to even more denied services to current seniors,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s emergence has changed the campaign’s focus to fiscal matters, experts say. That could boost the GOP ticket, “given the public’s concerns with debt and deficits,” or the unpopularity of Ryan’s proposals could become a hurdle for the Romney campaign, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College.
The Ryan budget is important because it clarifies a different governing policy from Obama’s, said Alison Dagnes, a political scientist at Shippensburg University.
His plan would “dramatically roll back the size and scope of the government, which varies wildly from the governing philosophy of President Obama, who sees the government as one that can do good for people,” she said.
Since joining the ticket, Ryan said, he has not adjusted any of the changes he championed in the past.
“We are applying the exact same principles to solve these problems, and we have the same exact goal: Repeal Obamacare, replace it with patient-centered health care,” he said.
In its monthly poll of battleground states released on Wednesday, the Washington-based Purple Strategies, a bipartisan consulting agency, said Ryan appeared to bolster the Republican ticket by 3 percentage points, pushing Romney to a thin lead over Obama (47 percent to 46 percent) in 12 states surveyed. Obama last month led by 2 percentage points in those states.
“Of the four candidates, Ryan is the best-liked, and his selection has bolstered Romney’s image,” said Bruce Haynes, a partner in the firm.
He said Romney’s image improved after his choice of a running mate, putting his favorability ratings (45 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable) on par with Obama’s.
“Ryan is giving Romney the opportunity to refresh his brand” after a summer in which voters heard about Romney’s management of Bain Capital and his personal wealth and taxes, Haynes said.
Ryan said the election comes down to a referendum on Obama.
“It comes down to jobs and the economy because that is the biggest problem we have right now, and he is compounding it by his reckless fiscal behavior. He is compounding it by taking it to Washington and spending it and borrowing it with no end in sight,” he said.
Ryan also took a shot at his fellow vice presidential running mate.
When he took the stage at Walsh University on Thursday in a packed Alumni Arena, Ryan said, “Hello, Ohio! Or as Joe Biden would say, ‘Hello, Nevada.’”
The line brought down the house, magnifying the vice president’s recent string of gaffes.
Ryan said he is not afraid of making a gaffe, but he believes he would have been treated much worse if he made the mistakes Biden has uttered.
Ryan wooed voters on the heels of an Ohio visit by Romney, hoping to drive home the importance of making difficult changes to Medicare and the federal budget.
“Coming to Miami was like a homecoming,” said Ryan, 42, who graduated in 1992 from the liberal arts school in Oxford with degrees in economics and political science.
Because of his no-nonsense approach to the nation’s debt, Casey Crooks, 32, a coal miner from Morristown, believes Ryan makes an outstanding running mate for Romney.
“He just shows that young people are serious about fixing the budgetary problems,” Crooks said. “Look, I understand that change is hard; it always is. But it is irresponsible to continue on this course.”

VOTERS WANT A CHAMPION

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Voters Want a Champion


Voters Want a Champion

BEALLSVILLE, Ohio – Seventy-plus men walked out of the ground, overalls and hardhats covered in coal dust, and onto the risers of a stage built for a Mitt Romney speech.
To onlookers, mostly press and staffers, the image was stunning.
To the 2,600 family members gathered in the gravel parking lot or under tents, eating hotdogs and drinking pop, it was a moment of immense pride.
This is what we do, said Tim Wiles: “We make things. We provide energy for the state, food for our families, and businesses are sustained around the county because they make money from us.”
The 54-year-old miner added, after listening to Romney, “This election is his and Paul Ryan’s for the taking. They need to be bold and remind people of what we stand for, that we are the backbone of this country.”
“America still is that competitive frontier,” said Josh Kinney, 32, standing beside him.
Energy issues have played a large part in driving dissatisfaction with President Obama in Ohio. For some, it is an economic issue; jobs are at stake. However, for even more folks, oil and coal are priorities and values.
“Ohioans think of themselves as explorers and inventors,” said Curt Nichols, a Baylor University political science professor. “And they have come to question the priorities of decision-makers in Washington when they aren't allowed to reap the natural harvest under their feet.”
How much of this dissatisfaction can be turned into votes for Romney depends on how well Romney can establish himself as the champion of these swing voters.
They want to know, will Romney fight for them? And, if they place their faith in him, is he going to be a winner?
How important is Ohio? If money is any indicator, both campaigns have spent small fortunes on political ads in the state this summer.
Ohio has voted for the winner of every presidential election since World War II except in 1960, when it chose Richard Nixon over Jack Kennedy. It is the quintessential bellwether state, earning the motto, "As goes Ohio, so goes the nation."
Nichols said many analysts believe Romney cannot win the election without carrying Ohio, “a state George W. Bush won only by about 200,000 votes in 2004.”
Democrats find their strongest support in Ohio along Lake Erie – basically, from Toledo to Cuyahoga County and Cleveland. Republicans maintain a stronghold in the Cleveland suburbs of Geauga County.
Democrats also are strong along the Pennsylvania border around Youngstown. And they recently turned Columbus into a blue island in the red sea of central and western Ohio, where Republican support is the strongest.
“The energy-rich hills of southeastern Ohio are traditionally competitive grounds for both parties,” Nichols said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson is a Republican representing the 6th Congressional district that makes up most of that southeastern Ohio territory that has been held historically by larger-than-life Democrats such as former congressman and governor Ted Strickland.
According to Johnson, the region is swinging strongly for Republicans this time.
“They are unhappy and disconnected by the policies of the president,” he said of voters there.
He points to the health-care law and the stealth cap-and-trade regulations on the coal and natural gas industries – issues on which he won a surprise victory over then-congressman Charlie Wilson in 2010 – as still fierce motivators to vote Republican.
Romney will not be able to simply rely on such extreme dissatisfaction to drive swing voters into his camp. Ohio voters are dissatisfied enough with Obama to cost him the state; however, they are not yet sold sufficiently on Romney to indicate to pollsters whether they will make the switch in November.
In short, a bad economy has provided Romney the opportunity to upset Obama. Now, he has to seize it.
To do so, Romney must find a way to connect with working men and women of America, said Nichols.
“He cannot rely on economics or policy disagreements to drive dissatisfaction,” he explained. “Rather, Romney must exude the kind of command presence and confidence that converts potential supporters into followers.”
His conclusion: If Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, “convince the disaffected working folks of Ohio that Romney is going to win, he probably will.”

THE MENTAL ILLNESS OF OUR POLITICAL CLASS

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The Mental Illness of Our Political Class

JasonCharleston wrote: Sociopaths pay off the government so they can act dishonestly. They are always going to find someone to pay off in government to work dishonestly.
This should be completely obvious after the Obama administration. Apparently, not for some.- Washington and Wall Street are Broken; Here's Proof
Dear Jason,
I think you might be on to something.
While Michael Savage turned the phrase Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, I would take that a step further.
I would say that a fair number of people who seek elected office suffer from some sort of mental disorder that involves the ego, such as sociopathy or narcissism.
They learn how to mimic the traits of conscience without actually having empathy for others.
Only a mind so buffeted from reality could be as venial say as an Ed Towns, or Jon Corzine without suffering from some sort of breakdown.


We know that criminals in jail have much higher tendencies to these ego disorders. Perhaps a fair portion of politicians are just high-functioning sociopaths or narcissists, who by dint of higher intelligence choose their victim in a more socially acceptable way- through the ballot box.
It would be an interesting study to see if this were true.
But here’s the practical point: Our Founding Fathers understood that self-interest guided politics. They designed a system that limited political power and took advantage of individuals’ venality to create a system of laws, not men.
This is why modern liberalism is bound to fail. There is no morality in government, as our Founders knew. Only people are moral, not governments, not corporations, not non-profits. Liberals have the mistaken belief that by giving organizations power, they also give them morality.
In fact, just the opposite is true.
Goverment, as we know, is made up of elected officials who too often are ruled by matters of ego rather than public good. Why would we give them more power over our lives?
Jarnette wrote: If Romney gets in office, won't we have competitive bidding with insurance companies? Won't medicare as we know it change for the worse? i wish someone would sit down and detail the info we need to make a decision on who we want in office! And so does everybody else.- Washington and Wall Street are Broken; Here's Proof
Dear Comrade Jarnette,
Can Medicare get worse? We already know that Medicare will go bankrupt. They even have a date for it. 4,152 days from now, Medicare will go bankrupt under the current scheme.
Obama promised to fix it, but has done nothing essentially then siphon off Medicare dollars to pay for Obamacare- the signature reform that Obama pushed through that voters already dislike; the one over which the Democrats took historic defeats in the House, lost seats in the Senate; the Obamacare which has subjected Obama’s presidency to the vote of a death panel of voters in November.
If you don’t have the information to make a decision on who to vote for, then I would suggest skipping the elections entirely and watch re-runs of American Idol.
DoctorRoy wrote: You guys had that during the 107th Congress and what did they do? Passed Sarbanes- Oxley with only 3 no votes in the House and by a 99-0 vote in the Senate with one abstention. It was then signed by a Republican President. There was obviously a perception by everyone that something had to be done. - Washington and Wall Street are Broken; Here's Proof
Dear Comrade Doctor,
So you are saying that the GOP combined with the Democrats to pass a poor law- and it’s OK because “everyone” did it?
Whatever anyone’s intentions, the law hasn’t made the U.S. financial system or the stock markets any better. In fact, those markets operate inefficiently now.
One of our contributors had a very nice article talking about market transparency and how the various financial “reforms” passed under Obama have made markets more opaque, not transparent.
“Dodd-Frank was one of the worst laws ever signed into history,” writes Jeff Carter. “It’s that bad. One of the things many people paid lip service to was transparency. But because of the way the regulations are being written, markets will be less transparent than ever before.”
But getting back to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), as I said in the column, the cost of complying with just one section of SOX annually is more money than is raised by IPOs. Where’s the cost/benefit in that?
There is none. And the numbers prove it. We’ve gone from doing 509 offerings in 1993 to 81 offering in 2011. We’ve gone from being a financial leader in the world, to be an also-ran. And we have done in the typical liberal way. Instead of elevating everyone else, we’ve done it by ensuring that we are just as craptastic as the rest of the world.
The Audacity of Mediocrity.
JDeere wrote: Dear Mr. Ransom, The only millstone around the neck of the economy is the refusal of the House Republicans to allow the Bush tax cuts to die. Bush declared war on terror, then cut taxes on the rich - twice! Those tax cuts, reversed, would have help. -The Bucks Never Stop with President What's-His-Name
Dear Comrade Deere,
The House Republicans don’t get to “refuse” to let the Bush tax cuts “die.” The tax cuts are temporary and have been extended by both Democrats in Congress and by Barack Obama. All the Democrats and Obama had to do was nothing and the tax cuts would have died on their own.
There’s a simple disagreement amongst liberals and Republicans: Liberals want the government to control money and distribute it to various interest groups. The GOP tends to favor tax cuts because that puts money into the hands of individuals and free markets, instead of the central planners at the White House.
Both Liberals and Republicans, however, miss the real point.
Our tax system- just like entitlements- no longer works in the interest of the people of the United States.
It’s just a land grab designed to punish enemies and reward friends.
Clearly, our government, as it operates now, doesn’t work. They pass laws that don’t address actual problems, they foster a tax code that is corrupt at its core, they borrow money in excess of what future taxes can support and they refuse to listen to calls for reform.
The last several election cycles the voters have voted for change. This time the politicians better get it right- or I fear for the future.
Aura wrote: What alternative universe do you conservatards live on??? The Bush/Great Recession started 7 years AFTER 9/11 happened, and for reasons that had nothing to do with 9/11. Within months of Obama taking office, the economy stopped hemorrhaging jobs, and started improving. -The Bucks Never Stop with President What's-His-Name
Dear Comrade Aura,
You should probably read a book or something.
You should at least read The Economic Effects of 9/11: A Retrospective Assessment.
9/11 caused severe financial dislocation in the country. The country was already under pressure of contraction before 9/11. 9/11 made things worse. Stocks markets were shut down for days insurance companies took historic losses. “Nearly 18,000 businesses were dislocated, disrupted or destroyed by 9/11,” reports the Congressional Research Service.
The difference between Bush and Obama?
Bush, while not perfect, did the right things to get the economy back on track. Instead, Obama tried to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Obama's actions, not circumstances, have brought us the weakest economy since World War II. I understand that Obama doesn't know enough about economics to know that his policies wouldn't usher in a period of social prosperity, but that truth furtther disqualifies him for the office he now holds.
Why do liberals have such a huge problem just admitting the truth?
Obama’s goal has never been to get the economy back to where it is the power plant for America. He only cares about the economy to the extent that he can use it to enact social change and redistribute wealth. He has sacrificed economic growth to social goals. That’s his problem right now. And the sooner he admits it to the American people, the better it will be for him.
Liberals should at least have the courage of their convictions and admit them publicly.
Jack said: I was told many years ago, that nothing in politics ever happens by accident. So Mike replied: Nah, that's wrong. Dying in office is always not forseen. -The Bucks Never Stop with President What's-His-Name
Dear Mike,
Tell that to Kennedy or Lincoln or McKinley.
SageAdvice wrote: John, have you not heard the old axiom, "be careful what you wish for". For I have noted of late how many of these TH board TROLLS are attacking Congress to deflect from all the bad which has happened during their messiah's first term. -And Please Deliver us from Congress, Too, Oh Lord
Dear Sage,
Yeah, they are trying to use the old “Do-nothing Congress” playbook from Harry Truman, for sure. But Obama’s not Give ‘Em Hell Harry. He’s not even Give ‘Em Heck Harry.
He’s more like Give ‘Em Herpes Harry.
He’s hoping that people will love him enough that the pus-filled infection on the lip of our economy just won’t matter.
Election results from 2010 onward have tended to confirm that Democrats are in trouble even if, generally speaking, public perception of Congress is at an all-time low. I wouldn’t read much into that in terms of how the next election will shake out. The right type of incumbents are probably pretty safe.
But incumbents like Ed Perlmutter in Colorado, who supported bailouts for everyone and has generally had a liberal voting record, will be in trouble. For Democrats, there are too many Perlmutters to defend right now because president Obama has swung the party too far to the left.
Today more than ever, what you believe- and what you have done- on matters relating to taxes, fiscal policy and money weigh pretty heavily in elections.

Dalspartan wrote: Do I remember correctly? Wasn't Iran-Contra all about the Reagan administration's bypassing Congressional fiat by a funding scheme in direct violation of a supposed law? - The First Church of Obama
Dear Comrade Dal,
Iran-Contra? Really?
Here are two questions for you: 1) Would you trade arms in exchange for the lives of hostages? I’m not sure I would, but then I’m not president of the United States; and 2) Do you think it was wrong for the U.S. to supply arms to the Contras? I don’t think it was.
Makir wrote: You are the pot calling the kettle black comrade Ransom, worker for fabian socialism of the rich and its parasitic hold on world government, politics, banking, food, water, oil, and other aspects, people just apathetically want a few crumbs, like you. -Exposed: The Secret Plot by Writers to Take Over the World
Dear Makir,
I’m a tad bit more than just a few crumbs. But who am I to deny the people what they want?
If all they want is just a few crumbs, like me, I’m all for it.

OUR IDIOT VICE PRESIDENT

Posted by Woody Pendleton

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Our Idiot Vice President

Our Idiot Vice President

If Vice President Joe Biden didn’t exist, you couldn’t invent him. You couldn’t invent him because no one would believe such a character possibly could exist. No Hollywood producer ever would believe someone that dumb could rise to that level without an “R” after his name.
But if someone did attempt to pitch a TV show with a character like Joe Biden, here is how it might go:
We’ve got this guy, and he’s an idiot. But he’s also vice president of the United States. Stay with me. He says things that are provably untrue, and he does it constantly. And not just untrue but outrageously so.
For example, he tells a crowd of black voters that his opponent is “going to put y’all back in chains” in the south. Then he mocks the woman doing sign language for the crowd with a bunch of hand gestures. But he’s not done.
See, he’s in Virginia, but like a member of Spinal Tap, he tells the crowd he’s in North Carolina. And he does all of this not over the course of a campaign, but in one speech.
As background on his character, this sort of stupidity is nothing new for him. In fact, he’s sort of legendary for gaffes like this. See, he’s VP for the first black president, and when he was running for president himself he called the future president “clean and articulate.” He could end it by saying something even dumber, such as, “That’s a storybook, man.” Even I admit that sounds a bit crazy, that no real human would say that, so maybe not that last bit. Still…
But anyway, we could make him saying dumb things on race a part of his history too. He could say something about going into a 7-Eleven or Dunkin’ Donuts and needing a “slight Indian accent,” or some other stereotypically stupid thing.
Obviously, we’d have to make it an absurdist farce so it would be believable, but that’s doable.
As such, we could give him a full history of lies and saying dumb things.
One option would be to have a scene, years earlier, where he chews out someone who asks him about how he did in college and law school. His answer could be like someone really worried his attempt to come off as intelligent could come crushing down, so he snaps at the guy.
He could say something absurd, such as “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect.” Then he could rattle off a list of academic scholarships he earned, how he didn’t really care his first year of law school but then started to and graduated in the top half of his class, etc. Only it’s all a lie. He eventually has to admit it was all a lie. His scholarship was based on need, not academics, he didn’t graduate in the top half of his class – he was 76th out of 85 … stuff like that.
Better yet, it’s the New York Times that calls him out on it. Years later the Times will defend him when he’s running for VP because Democrats must be protected, so they paint him as some sort of foreign policy genius. But actually, he will have advised against the raid that kill Osama bin Laden. Absurd, I know. But that’s this character. That’s what makes it a farce.
Just to make it so over the top, so no one would ever think this caricature is real, we can sprinkle in some plagiarism in law school that he’ll pass off as not being sure how to cite things properly. For good measure, we’ll even have him plagiarize a biographical passage from a speech of someone else, because who would believe that?
What do you say? Are we in business?
The producers would look at you and say, “No one’s going to believe that character exists. There’s no way someone with that baggage, that many gaffes, that stupid, could ever become vice president of the United States. But we like the idea, so here’s what we suggest. We change his name to Quayle, make him a Republican and change it from a comedy to a drama.”
That’s about how it would go, but everything I’ve written about the fictional Joe Biden was said and done by the real one. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So as you watch the media “vet” Rep. Paul Ryan, just remember how little vetting they did of Joe Biden in 2008. Yet what little vetting the media did of Biden was like a colonoscopy compared to the vetting they did of Barack Obama.

ATHIESTS CLAIM GROUND ZERO CROSS GIVES THEM MENTAL PROBLEMS

Posted by The Circuit Rider

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By Michael F. Haverluck
A lawsuit that challenges the placement of the cross at the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center alleges atheist plaintiffs have suffered serious physical and mental illness because the religious symbol has made them feel excluded.

Nonsense, says a new friend-of-the-court brief to be filed Monday in the case by the American Center for Law and Justice. The brief, which carries the signatures of more than 100,000 people, argues there have been no known sightings of suicides or uncontrolled vomiting at or around the Ground Zero cross.
“The legal argument is absurd,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow charged Wednesday.
American Atheists, he said “is making some astonishing claims.”
The group contends the placement of the 17-foot-tall symbol at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is making some atheists unbearably sick.
“The plaintiffs, and each of them, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross,” the lawsuit American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey states. “Named plaintiffs have suffered …. dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”
The suit explains the named plaintiffs “have seen the cross, either in person or on television, are being subjected to, and injured in consequence.”
Sekulow doubts the claims are true, finding it uncanny that only a select group of non-believers is susceptible to such a debilitating “disease.”
“These claims are ridiculous,” the ACLJ founder insists. “And so is the lawsuit. In just a matter of days, we will be filing a critical amicus brief defending this Ground Zero cross, which consists of two intersecting steel beams that survived the Twin Towers collapse on 9/11. We have a unique opportunity to not only urge the court to reject this flawed lawsuit, but to send a powerful message to the court: that more than 100,000 Americans are standing with us in this brief ─ urging the court to keep this powerful memorial in place.”
If American Atheists’ demand to remove the cross doesn’t succeed, organization officials already have an alternative: something else must be erected next to the cross.
“They even make a bizarre suggestion about erecting a ’17-foot-high A for Atheists’ to promote their non-beliefs at the site,” Sekulow said.
The American Atheists group is suing numerous individuals and organizations over the cross, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center Properties, Church of the Holy Name of Jesus and Friar Brian Jordan, who blessed the cross.
The main point of the action appears to be the indignation American Atheists President David Silverman feels about the God of the Bible and those who express faith in Him.
“The cross has become a Christian icon,” Silverman stated. “It has been blessed by so-called holy men a few times, and presented as a reminder that God, in his infinite power of goodness, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists, or stop the fire, or hold up the buildings to stop 3,000 people from being crushed, cared enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross. Ridiculous.”
Silverman and other atheists argue that the cross unconstitutionally represents the government’s establishment of religion, but Sekulow disagrees.
“Our initial legal analysis of their complaint reveals that while the lawsuit argues that it is unconstitutional to ‘plac[e] a religious symbol of Christianity on government-owned property,’ it ‘fail[s] to note that the cross is actually a remnant of the ruins of the Twin Towers,’” Sekulow shared.
Christian organizations aren’t the only ones who concur.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum described the cross in a document submitted to the court as an “important and essential artifact [that] comprises a key component of the retelling of the story of 9/11, in particular, the role of faith in the events of the day and, particularly, during the recovery efforts.”
The museum stated it is “not in the business of providing equal time for faiths, we are in the business of telling the story of 9/11 and the victims of 9/11.”
“This steel remnant became a symbol of spiritual comfort for the thousands of recovery workers who toiled at ground zero, as well as for people around the world,” the head of the museum’s proclaimed. “In the historical exhibition, the cross is part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the story of 9/11 in a way nothing else can.”
The ACLJ points out three out of four Americans have said they support the Ground Zero cross. The Christian legal organization also notes that the cross has strong support from the Anti-Defamation League.
“Allowing this cross to be included in the memorial along with other artifacts found at the site does not constitute government endorsement of a religious message,” the ADL declared in a public statement. “Rather, it is an acknowledgement that these beams – part of the infrastructure of one of the towers – acquired historical significance by giving comfort to many who lost loved ones in the attacks, as well as those who spent days and weeks sifting through the ash and debris.”
Even a fellow atheist calls the legal battle a “frivolous lawsuit.” Susan Jacoby, who writes the Washington Post’s “The Spirited Atheist” blog, acknowledged the suit “misconstrues the First Amendment” and questioned whether Silverman “really believes this nonsense.”
Even Silverman himself realized his legal attack on the cross would gain little to no support.
“As president of the American Atheists organization, I promise to make sure that everyone, even those who are indifferent to our cause … will hate us,” the American Atheists president said.
Silverman is no stranger to unpopular protests. His organization took a stand against the city of New York naming a street “Seven in Heaven,” contending the title honoring seven first-responder firefighters who died on 9/11 drew a biased link between Christianity and heroism.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation entered into a decade-long lawsuit to remove a World War I memorial cross – erected in 1934 in a remote area of California’s Mojave Desert – because it offended an atheist who happened to hike near it. A court ordered the cross to be covered, and it eventually was stolen while the lawsuit was moving forward. After going to the U.S. Supreme Court, a land swap was approved.
Months ago in Camp Pendleton, Calif., the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation pushed the U.S. Marines to remove a cross on the base that was erected to replace a cross that burned down. The crosses were put up to honor fallen soldiers.
But MAAF had another way of looking at the cross.
“We still have continuing exploitation of military service and veterans to promote Christian privilege,” a statement on MAAF’s blog reads, referring to the presence of memorial crosses on armed forces bases. “[It] sends a message of exclusion rather than inclusion on this secular holiday.”
ACLJ Director of International Operations Jordan Sekulow said the atheists seem to be getting their way.
“They are setting a new precedent,” he asserted. “They are saying, ‘We don’t have to go to court; we’ll just complain.”
Sekulow said the military is so politically correct “at this point that it will build an $80,000 pagan worship center for witches to come in and have séances and cast spells for three pagan students at the Air Force Academy, but it will pull down every cross it can, whether it’s in a base in Afghanistan or Camp Pendleton or a Jesus statue that’s been up in Montana in the mountains since World War II.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

LORD, PLEASE DELIVER US FROM CONGRESS TOO

Posted by Woody Pendleton

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And Please Deliver us from Congress, Too, Oh Lord





Maybe 15 terms in Congress is enough.
In at least one case, we now have proof that it’s more than enough.
California Rep. Darrell Issa finally confirmed today what has been generally known for a long while: Even as Democrats were promised to get to the bottom of the scandal surrounding sup-prime mortgage loans, a least one top Democrat was working hard to cover-up the names of Democrats who got favors from Countrywide Financial Corp. Countrywide was the biggest abuser of sub-prime mortgages and was one of the main culprits in the housing collapse that eventually infected the rest of the economy.
According to the Associated Press, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y, “overrode his own subpoena three years ago in an investigation of former sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. to exclude records showing that he, other House members and congressional aides got VIP discounted loans from the company, documents show.


The procedure to keep the names secret was devised by …Towns. In 2003, the 15-term congressman had two loans processed by Countrywide's VIP section, which was established to give discounts to favored borrowers.”
Wow.
This comes as a big surprise.
Imagine: The guy whose job it is to police the United States House of Representatives from conflicts of interest, ethical challenges and other practices that abuse citizens and taxpayers, would himself use his unassailable incumbency to get a pay-off. He took favors from industries that he and his fellow members were so anxious to regulate in order to protect us from “predatory lenders.” In turn, those lenders got their hunting license directly from Congress; from guys just like Town.
I find this hard to believe.
Not the general set-up, but that Towns only took two loans.
Towns at the time was the, um, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Talk about predatory.
Kind of like the morally-impaired leading the morally-challenged.
And a con-man shall lead them… because it was his turn to.
But the chairmanship under Towns had to be worth more than just two VIP loans to a Congressman-for-life, ranking member, writer of 408 bad checks on the House Bank; the man who won his last campaign with 91 percent of the vote.
Chicago politics was perfected in Chicago, but Brooklyn has a very long and dishonorable history in graft, greed and general machine-inspired corruption.
And Towns fits that mold.
He uses taxpayer dollars to lease a Mercury Milan hybrid at a cost to taxpayers of $1,285 per month according to the New York Post. The total lease will cost taxpayers more than the MSRP price of $28,180 says the Post:
At $1,285 per month, Towns’ 2-year lease on a 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid for tooling around his district will cost taxpayers more than $30,000 — enough to buy the vehicle new.
“That’s too much!” roared a salesman at a Ford dealership in Brooklyn that sold and leased Mercuries before Ford discontinued the brand.
“That price is for a big, luxury truck . . . like a Lincoln MKT,” which sold for about $49,000 in 2010, said the salesman, who didn’t want to be identified as he talked about a congressman’s spending.
Just more “green” policy chaff from the Democrats that helps everyone except citizens and taxpayers.
FYI to government economists: A lease is supposed to be less expensive than buying, healthcare reform is supposed improve healthcare; deficit reduction is supposed to reduce the deficit; an energy policy is supposed to make energy cheap, plentiful and stable.
Perhaps there was some sort of a VIP program on that lease too.
The good news is that Towns announced he is retiring from Congress after this term expires in 2012.
The bad news is that the district will likely vote in another Congressman-for-life, who will hang on long enough for his turn at the trough; a writer of bad-bills, who will figure other ways of bilking voters and taxpayers while helping provide the moral tone for the nation.
So please, this election year, deliver us from Congress, too, oh Lord.
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