Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Progressive" disdain for the Constitution

When bureaucrats and judges ignore the will of the people through their elected representatives, this country is no longer a democracy nor a democratic republic, which ever definition you prefer, though the second is more accurate.

The Obama administration and the liberal judges in bed with the left-wing of the Democratic party have been silently, but ruthlessly, defying the will off Congress, and therefore, the American people. Obama looks more like Hugo Chavez every day.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposed provision in Medicare legislation, the Constitution of the United States makes the elected representatives of "we the people" the ones authorized to make such decisions. But when proposals explicitly rejected by a vote in Congress are resurrected and stealthily made the law of the land by bureaucratic fiat, there has been an end run around both the people and the Constitution. [Thomas Sowell]
The EPA has also been creating new regulations, or changing existing ones, behind closed doors, without Congressional approval. But these dealings are coming to light, as the recent case with Texas. And in a separate case, Sen. Harry Reid wants to do an end run around Congress and change the rules of how legislation is passed, without the Senate voting on these new rules.

In other words, Obama and the Democrats (and some Republicans) continue to say to the American people: "FU. We know best."

When will the people wake up? We need to continue to vote these "progressives" out of office as quickly as we can, regardless of party affiliation.

The alternative is to lose our liberty.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite TV commericials for Christmas season

There are two tied for first place, but both are PSAs for the Marine's Toys for Tots program.




Friday, December 17, 2010

Kerry complains about the reading of a bill

John Kerry calls having to read a spending bill a "delay" tactic. I find the continuing arrogance of our political class amazing. They just don't get it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Progressives" wish for higher tax rates

Joseph Thorndike at the HuffPo today about the estate tax:

It's much easier to raise a tax than create one. When revenue needs make tax hikes unavoidable, the estate tax will still be on the books, blessed with a remarkably low rate just begging to be raised.
Notice the term "revenue needs?" If the government keeps spending like it is, then of course we'll have justification for raising taxes. In this case, the estate tax.

The rate set for 2011 is 55 percent over $1 million. The Dems wanted 55 percent over $5 million. The new tax "deal" sets it at 35 percent over $10 million. That's remarkably low, according to Thorndike. I think not.

So let's say I've amassed a $15 million dollar estate, with earnings, dividends, or other investments that I've made over my life, which have already been taxed.

Under the current law for 2011, my estate would pay $7.7 million in taxes. Under the Dem-preferred plan, the tax bill would be $5.5 million. In both these cases, if my estate were tied up in real estate (family property), or a small farm, or a business, my heirs would most likely have to sell. Under the proposed rate, my estate would pay $1.75 million, which is still a lot of money, but may not be catastrophe.

What is even more frightening is the thinking process of many people, like this reader:

If we gave one million dollars to every adult in the country, within a few years the same people would be broke and the same people would be in possession of most of that money. Since some do not save or plan for the future, we need to take away the accumulate­d wealth of those that did not waste their resources.
Punish success, reward failure. This is what they must teach nowadays in our school systems. It will be the downfall of the American way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Budget Bill: 1,900 pages with 6,600 earmarks

Hard to take a break when Congress is in session.

Did they not get the message? More spending, more earmarks? Is this, our government, giving us, the people, the finger?

I think so.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taking a break for the holiday...

One thing before I go: Congress Weiner (as in post below) made a good point on one of the new shows I happened to catch while surfing. The Democrafts, right now, control both houses and the white house, so why can't they get what they want? Should be they have the votes, but I guess not.

My suggestion: Make the cutoff for the new tax stuff at $200,000 for individual, $400,000 for married filing jointly and split the difference on the tax rate. Make it 37 percent. Do away with the payroll tax cut, except for those earning under $50,000.

Or something like that. Just get it done.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Arrogant political elite

According to Rep (D-NY) Weiner, you don't pay estate taxes because you're dead. You don't pass on your estate to your children because you're dead. So don't worry about what the government does, you're dead.

Megan Kelly keeps asking Weiner if the estate tax is fair, and he keeps saying that the question is at what level should estates be taxed. When asked if it's double taxation, he says no, because you're dead.

Watch this arrogant jerk. (One of the great things about living in the United States is you get to call your politicians jerks without fear of jail, torture or execution.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bush lied, or did he?

Of course, if you say something you believe, and most others believe, and find out later it is not true, is it a "lie?" No. How could it be?

As Larry Elder reports today, WikiLeaks actually supports the case that Sadam did have yellowcake, intended to restart his nuclear program, and owned huge stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Let's recap.
Bush, in building the case for war against Iraq, lied to the nation. He falsely claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase yellowcake from Africa. Time magazine specifically referred to the yellowcake "lie" in accusing Bush of fabricating the case for war. Therefore, were Iraq to have had yellowcake -- an assertion called a "lie" -- it would have confirmed the presence of WMD, giving credence to Bush's declaration of Iraq as a "grave and gathering threat."

But ... there ... was ... yellowcake. This brings us back to WikiLeaks.
Wired magazine's contributing editor Noah Shachtman -- a nonresident fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution -- researched the 400,000 WikiLeaked documents released in October. Here's what he found: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House's staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks' newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction (emphasis added). ... Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam's toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict -- and may have brewed up their own deadly agents."

In 2008, our military shipped out of Iraq -- on 37 flights in 3,500 barrels -- what even The Associated Press called "the last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program": 550 metric tons of the supposedly nonexistent yellowcake. The New York Sun editorialized: "The uranium issue is not a trivial one, because Iraq, sitting on vast oil reserves, has no peaceful need for nuclear power. ... To leave this nuclear material sitting around the Middle East in the hands of Saddam ... would have been too big a risk."

Now the mainscream media no longer deem yellowcake -- the WMD Bush supposedly lied about -- a WMD. It was, well, old. It was degraded. It was not what we think of when we think of WMD. Really? Square that with what former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said in April 2004: "There were no weapons of mass destruction." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow goes even further, insisting, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that "Saddam Hussein was not pursuing weapons of mass destruction"!
Bush, hammered by the insidious "Bush Lied, People Died" mantra, endured one of the most vicious smears against any president in history. He is owed an apology.

Gee! I'll bet even this evidence won't overcome Bush Derangement Syndrome. But facts are facts, even if you don't like them.

Robert Reich: Higher taxes is always his answer

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. Robert Reich, a previous Treasury Secretary (under Clinton) and currently a proffessor at Berkeley, wrote this on Dec 9:
Apart from its extraordinary cost and regressive tilt, the tax deal negotiated between the president and the Republicans has another fatal flaw. It confirms the Republican worldview. This makes it not only bad economics; but also disastrous from the standpoint of educating the public about what has happened to this country over the last three decades and what needs to happen in the future. It reinforces the Republican story that the economy is in the gutter because of big government and makes mincemeat out of the truthful one Democrats should be telling -- that an increasing share of the benefits of economic growth have gone to the top 1 percent and the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going. (As summarized for the HuffingtonPost e-mail newsletter.)
Well, let's look at his "facts."

Extraordinary cost: Really? All the figures I've seen on the cost show this may cost about 2.5 percent of the budget. If you gave me a 2.5 percent raise, I wouldn't call it extraordinary. If the deal spurs growth, this won't "cost" us anything, as revenues will increase even under current tax rates. The use of superlatives doesn't change facts.

Regressive tilt: Raising the top tax rate would be regressive. His logic is backwards.
The Republican view is a fatal flaw. Really? Only in his own mind. While I have a lot of criticism of Republican behavior over the last 10 years, their worldview is generally correct, if based on empirical evidence. (I'm not talking far-right, or far-left here. There is a full sprectrum of ideology to consider.)  Democrats seem to base their worldview on mostly anecdotal evidence, which can be extrememly skewed,  when compared with empirical evidence.

The rest is typical liberal class warfare. Yes, the rich seem to have gotten richer. But have they? A million dollar salary today would equate to about $180,000 in 1970. The median family income has grown 30 percent (adjusted for inflation) since 1970. So where does he figure the middle class has less purchasing power now? If my income is up 30 percent, don't I have more purchasing power?

I don't understand why a CEO, movie star or sports celebrity needs to make millions a year, while the average worker makes something like $40,000 or $50,000. But you aren't going to change this via taxation. It's a free market thing that seems out of whack, but it doesn't make me poorer that Harrison Ford gets $20 million a picture.

I once had the opportunity as a reporter to interview Michael Jordan. He explained it this way: If he could bring in $100 million in revenue for his team, why shouldn't he get paid $5 million a year. He called it star power. He had a point.

To consider consumer spending the holy grail over economic growth ignores certain facts. As reported by Investors Business Daily, during periods of the greatest growth, it's business investment that has proved to be the underlying factor, more so than government or consumer spending. This is another economic myth for those who don't understand economics, which is just about everyone, including the idiots in Washington D.C. who are trying make the rules. Rules that don't work. Spreading the wealth never makes anyone wealthier, only makes everyone poorer. Look at the history of planned economies and you'll see the truth, which will set you free.

Reich is a typical liberal in his worldview. He distorts actual data to give his opinions more weight. Many people believe this tripe. I am not one of them.

The latest tax deal is not perfect. Maybe we should tax millionaires more (Reich thinks 70 percent for income over one million should be done, which he says will pay off all future deficits!), but I think taxing $250,000 family income more is not a good idea. Some millionaires are beginning to step forward and say "I'll contribute more." Good for them (but giving more to private charities would do more good than the government). Also, the 2 percent reduction in payroll tax actually hurts those families making less than $40,000 because it replaces the Make Work Pay deduction.

But this deal is better than no deal. And liberal "facts" aren't facts at all, at least when used by Robert Reich.

Time to reign in the beast

Federal spending has grown 8 times more than the median family income. This can only be destructive. During the last 40 years, the Democrats have had control of the House for 30 years and the Senate for 24. But even with a nearly even mix of Democrat and Republican presidents, this out-of-control spending still continues. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. Historians will soon get to write about the rise and fall of the American experiment.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's spending, not tax rates, that is the problem

With everyone agog over the recent deal between Obama and the Republicans, most are missing the most important point: A small increase in the highest tax rate don't mean shit.

Sure, the lying liberals say it will cost us $700 billion. But that's just deception. First of all, that's over 10 years, and the deal on tax rates is for 2 years. So we're talking $140 billion (if that's actually the right figure, which I doubt), out of deficit spending of $3,000 billion.

If the Republicans are right and keeping tax rates the same will spur job growth, then the $140 billion will easily be made up in increased revenue. However, extending unemployment benefits will most likely result in higher unemployment anyway. So we're screwed both ways.

Spending is the problem. The only problem. No one should have to pay any more of their hard-earned dollars just because the idiots in Washington can't control themselves.


Note: If you look closely at the chart above, you'll see after the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, revenue went up. Same thing in the early 1980s. Now try telling me that tax cuts don't result in increased revenue and I'll sell you some swamp land in Arizona.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Orianthi Panagaris: kicking some butt

Carlos Santana says of Orianthi: "It's not cute anymore, it's seriously ass-whooping. She can kick some butt."

Is any deal better than no deal?

Now that Obama and the Republicans have reached a compromise on taxes and unemployment bennies, is this a good deal? Well, sometimes any deal is better than no deal. At least it brings certainty. It's been that uncertainty that has been holding back a lot of investors and business leaders on any plans for expansion.

The market (futures are up sharply as of 7:30 am CST) will most likely rally, creating a lot of wealth, wealth that has been lost in the last two years. The market likes certainty. Though there is no guarantee.

If the tax rates had gone up in January, that would have been a disaster, worse than not extending unemployment, which is of dubious value, unless you've been unemployeed for two years. But with a European-type unemployment system now, how many people are simply choosing to remain unemployed?

So in the light that we have tentative deal, we're good. But it still has to get through Congress, and many liberals there seem upset that Obama compromised on anything.

The cut of 2 percent in payroll tax was a surprise to me, but it would allow the average person ($60,000 annual income) to keep about $1,200 next year.

Some of you out there think that this is a tax cut for millionaires, but that's just stupid. It's just not a tax increase for those making more than $200,000, or $250,000 (why isn't this $400,000, which would be much fairer) for those filing jointly. And the rest of us, as well. Take-home pay won't go down. There are just not enough millionaires to pay off our debt.

But for a husband and wife who each make $125,000, they are not rich, nor are they millionaires. This is just deception. If you've ever made $125,000 a year, you know what I'm talking about. If you are at that point in your life, hopefully, and have kids in college, you're certain not even that well off.

Why should the U.S. government take more of their hard-earned dollars? Because a small minority of liberals -- who are very loud and lie to us every chance they get -- in this country who hate the "rich." It's just a game of deception and dishonesty.

Allowing working people who have incomes -- all working people -- to keep more of their own money is a good thing. If you're a millionaire or billionaire you probably don't care, because most of your wealth isn't in income.

The problem isn't our current tax rates, but spending, which has exploded under the Democrats. But we always knew they are the party of tax-and-spend. This explosion of spending was done on purpose.

So all in all, while not perfect, this deal is better than no deal. I'm just irritated that it has taken this long to reach.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another plan to cut the deficit

As I mentioned on Nov. 30, I've been on the lookout for deficit reduction plans. Most aren't worth mentioning. But I think this one is a better start than most. It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and would cut more than $300 billion from government spending. Still not enough, but you gotta start somewhere.


Table 1: Spending Cuts for FY 2012
(in millions of dollars)

Agriculture

$15,000

Replace farm subsidies with Farmer Savings Accounts and improved crop insurance.

$2,033

Eliminate the Foreign Agriculture Service.

$1,500

Merge all four agriculture outreach and research agencies and cut their budget
in half.

$1,000

Fund the Food Safety and Inspection Service with user fees.

Commerce

$500

Eliminate business subsidies from the National Institute of Standards and
Technology.

Community Development

$6,000

Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program.

$598

Eliminate the Rural Utilities Service.

$523

Eliminate the Economic Development Administration.

$480

Eliminate NeighborWorks America (formerly the Neighborhood Reinvestment
Corporation).

$200

Consolidate the Rural Housing and Development Programs and convert them into
block grants.

$73

Eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission.

$48

Eliminate the Denali Commission.

$31

Eliminate the Minority Development Business Agency.

$8

Eliminate the Delta Regional Authority.

Education

$8,000

Return Pell Grants to their 2009 funding level of $24 billion, which is still
double the 2007 level.

$2,000

Trim Head Start by $2 billion and convert it into vouchers.

$2,000

Scale back the Education Department bureaucracy.

$1,500

Eliminate dozens of small and duplicative education grants.

$298

Eliminate state grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities.

Energy and the Environment

$6,500

Reduce energy subsidies for commercialization and some research activities.

$600

Block grant and devolve Environmental Protection Agency grant programs.

$200

Restructure the Power Marketing Administrations to charge market-based rates.

$63

Eliminate the Science to Achieve Results Program.

Government Reform

$44,000

Halve federal program payment errors by 2012, especially by reducing Medicare
errors and earned income tax credit errors.

Tighten oversight by spending $5 billion on new resources, such as updated
computer systems, and then recover $49 billion in payment errors.

$20,000

Rescind unobligated balances after 36 months.

$12,500

Halve the $25 billion spent to maintain vacant federal properties.

$10,000

Cut the federal employee travel budget to $4 billion (half of FY 2000 spending).

$3,000

Freeze federal pay until it can be reformed.

$1,000

Suspend acquisition of federal office space.

$600

Trim the federal vehicle fleet by 20 percent (a reduction of 100,000 vehicles).

$300

Cut the House and Senate budgets back to the 2008 level of $2.2 billion.

$215

Eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

$100

Tighten controls on federal employee credit cards and cut down on delinquencies.

$70

Require federal employees to fly coach on domestic flights.

Health Care

$6,200

Reform Medigap.

$5,000

Repeal Obamacare (larger savings in later years).

$3,700

Require Medicare home health co-payments.

$673

Eliminate the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.

$414

Eliminate Health Professions grants.

$327

Eliminate Title X Family Planning.

$150

Eliminate the National Health Service Corps.

$98

Repeal Rural Health Outreach and Flexibility grants.

Homeland Security

$2,700

Eliminate most homeland security grants to states and allow states to finance
their own programs.

Income Security

$500

Better enforce eligibility requirements for food stamps.

Interior






$1,500

Open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing.

(The savings are leasing revenues, which are classified as negative spending in
the federal budget.)

$200

Suspend federal land purchases.

International

$2,636

Eliminate the Development Assistance Program.

$625

Eliminate the State Department’s education and cultural exchange programs.

$321

Eliminate the International Trade Administration’s trade promotion activities or
charge the beneficiaries.

$183

Eliminate the Democracy Fund.

$68

Eliminate the International Trade Commission and transfer oversight of
intellectual property rights to the Treasury Department.

$56

Eliminate the Trade and Development Agency.

$29

Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

$19

Eliminate the East–West Center.

$17

Eliminate the United States Institute of Peace.

$2

Eliminate the Japan–United States Friendship Commission.

Justice

$7,334

Eliminate all Justice Department grants except those from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics and the National Institute of Justice,

thereby empowering states to finance their own justice programs.

$398

Eliminate the Legal Services Corporation.

$32

Eliminate the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.

$30

Eliminate the duplicative Office of National Drug Control Policy.

$26

Reduce funding for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by 20 percent

because of its policy against race-neutral enforcement of the law.

$4

Eliminate the State Justice Institute.

Labor






$4,300

Eliminate failed federal job training programs.

$2,000

Eliminate the ineffective Job Corps.

$576

Eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

National Science Foundation

$1,700

Reduce National Science Foundation funding to 2008 levels.

$86

Eliminate National Science Foundation spending on elementary and secondary
education.

Transportation

$45,000

Devolve the federal highway program and most transit spending to the states.

$1,900

Privatize Amtrak.

$1,009

Eliminate grants to large and medium-sized hub airports.

$554

Eliminate the Maritime Administration.

$125

Eliminate the Essential Air Service Program.

Treasury

$26,646

Eliminate the additional child refundable credit.

$103

Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Veterans

$2,500

Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending.

$1,930

Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security
Disability Insurance payments.

Cross-Agency and Other

$60,000

Repeal unspent stimulus spending.

$8,000

Switch to using the “Superlative CPI” in funding calculations.

$6,000

Repeal the Davis–Bacon Act.

$2,250

Eliminate Federal Communications Commission funding for school Internet service.

$2,000

Ban project labor agreements on all federally funded construction projects.

$1,000

Eliminate the Small Business Administration, which unnecessarily intervenes in
free markets.

$736

Eliminate the National Community Service programs, such as AmeriCorps.

$253

Eliminate the Institute of Museum Services and Library Services.

$140

Eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities.

$133

Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.

$61

Eliminate Army Corps of Engineers funding for beach replenishment projects.

$10

Eliminate the Commission of Fine Arts.

$8

Eliminate the National Capital Planning Commission.

$5

Eliminate the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Total


$343,207 million

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DADT: The media slants the report

I heard this on the radio (and you can find the same report from many news sources): About 70 percent of military personnel think there is little or no risk in unit effectiveness if the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law is repealed, allowing gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly.

What are the real facts? Not what the media is telling you.

This is based on the Pentagon's study and survey of some 115,000 military personnel. You can find a copy here.

For those personnel who believed they had served with "homosexuals" (to use the terminology in the report), when asked what was the effect on unit performance, about 46 percent said it was negative, with 45 percent said equally negative or positive (what this really means to me is undecided.)

When all personnel were asked how the repeal of DADT would affect day-to-day unit performance, only 18 percent said positively while 32 percent said equally positively and negatively. This equally positive and negative is unclear to me, because there is also an answer for "No Effect." In my experience, and I have studied the methodology of surveys and have conducted surveys while in the military, this equally negative and positive should not have been asked. It tends to skew the results, in my opinion.

It really should have been "I'm undecided, because I really don't know what the affect on unit performance will be."

But in any regard, I could not find 70 percent, even with the equally negative and positive. In the example above, only 50 percent were in the "low or no risk" category. I still can't find a 70 percent response rate that equals what the media is reporting.

Whether or not you support DADT, just know that the media is not telling you the actual truth.  As I've scanned the results of the 267-page report, I see about a 50-50 split in opinion. There is no clear majority in favor -- at least in the military -- of repealing DADT.

The media, as usual, is pushing a left-wing agenda. Shame on them for not reporting the facts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top 10% of earners pay 71% of income tax

To be in the top ten percent, you need to earn (taxable income, not total) at least $113,000. The top 1 percent ($461,000+) pay 40 percent of all income tax. Our system is currently very progressive, but the Democrats want it to be more progressive, which in my opinion, will actually cause more harm than good. When you have 50 percent of wage-earners only paying 3 percent of income taxes, the system is too skewed. Too many people don't have a stake in paying for services, only receiving them. I support a flat-tax.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An alternate plan for deficit reduction

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), one of the 18 members of the Deficit Commission, has offered her own plan in response to the Commission's proposals, which she has rejected.

One of her proposals is to:

Provide $200 billion to invest over the next two years in measures to create jobs and spur economic growth, including passing the Local Jobs for America Act; and funding for education and law enforcement; Unemployment Insurance, Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program extensions; and infrastructure.

Sound familiar? Sounds like more spending to me, more into government programs. A mini-stimulus. If $1 trillion didn't work, why will $100 billion a year work?  So where will this $200 billion come from?

First, cut $117 billion from the defense budget in 2015. And she proposes we'll save $32 billion in health care costs. She doesn't mention how.

Another $7 billion by cutting agriculture subsidies. That's it on spending cuts.

The rest is to raise taxes by about $400 billion, about half going after businesses.

Doesn't sound like much of a plan to me. With our annual deficits running nearly $1,500 billion a year, she's cutting the deficit by about $200 billion.

Can someone come up with a better plan? Please?

Over the next several days, I'll be doing a search for other plans. But I'm willing to bet there isn't one that will actually work.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Say what? The rich are embarrassed?

I just have to shake my head when I read things like this (a posted comment on the Washing Post).

Lot's of rich folks are embarassed [sic] by the money they get from the Bush-Cheney tax cuts which were suppose to end. They were designed to end. But Republicans for some reason would rather give the wealthier folks money that they really do not need or want, and yet plan to vote against helping the unemployed pay rent and buy food.
If the rich folks are embarrassed, why don't they give more to the government? Why is it the role of government to take someone's earnings? Isn't that legalized theft?

And the Republicans aren't against "helping the unemployed," but only with money we have. We've borrowed enough. And it's been proven again and again that extending unemployment "benefits" only extends the high unemployment rate. Two years of unemployment benefits is insane.

We wouldn't be having this discussion at all if the government didn't overspend, especially on liberal programs that have only made things worse (which has been proven over and over, yet no one listens).

Here's another gem, from Robert Kuttner on HuffPo:
The economy will be fixed only with more public investment, more progressive taxation, and more regulation.
Stuck on stupid! More spending, more taxation and more regulation! How idiotic. How many times do we have to do this crap and have it fail before people wake up? This is nothing but socialism, but with a different label.

Problem in this country is that about half of it's citizens are too brain-washed by the liberal educational and media establishments and can't think their way out of a paper bag. Instead they base their decisions on  feelings. If it feels good, especially if it makes me feel good, it must be good.

Bullshit, is what I say.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Keith Urban

For those of you who love guitar, Keith Urban is one of the best, but I think is overlooked as one of the best. (And I love guitar).

I'm alive and free...



Or even better:

You Look Good In My Shirt

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Al Gore and his ethanol sham

For a couple of  years I've been commenting on the problems with ethanol, such as its high-energy-cost of production, the increase in food prices, and the billions going to companies that produce the stuff. Also, when you use ethanol in cars and trucks, you actually get fewer miles to the gallon.

But the truth is emerging. Al Gore supported and pushed ethanol not for his environmental policies, but to get votes.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Reuters quoted Gore saying of the U.S. policy that is about to come up for congressional review. "First-generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president," the wire service reported Gore saying.

But of course, the ethanol industry will disagree, because they are getting nearly $8 billion a year of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis has released a statement in response to Gore's regrets regarding his past position on corn-based ethanol:

"The contributions of first generation ethanol to our nation's economy, environment and energy production are not a mistake, but a success story."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Warfighting: Not what it used to be?

I don't mean to be an armed-chair general, but I guess this makes me so. But I was a little surprised to learn that after nine years in Afghanistan, we are only now sending heavy armor, or tanks.

In my day, I think we viewed warfighting a little differently, or at least the doctrines we studied were different. I know times and places change, but certain concepts remain valid, I believe. Otherwise, why would military students still study Clausewitz.

The doctrines I mention here I call the Weinberger-Powell doctrines.

The original Weinberger doctrine, created in 1984 by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, stated:

1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

Gen. Colin Powell, as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, later refined and added to Weinberger's doctrine in the run-up to the first Gulf War as a series of questions that needed to be answered before committing U.S. military forces.

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7. Is the action supported by the American people?
8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

So would someone tell me what doctrine we're using now? Has the Counter-Insurgency manual replaced this. My one big criticism of Rumsfeld is that he did not follow the two doctrines that were formed over 30-plus years of experience.

The fact that after nine years we are just now using heavy armor lets me think something is wrong here, other than the fact we're still there.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ron Paul: Enough is enough

In my opinion, our government is out of control. There are many others who agree.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'll screen myself

It just keeps getting better and better. Lynda Mclaughlin is an associate producer and call screener for the Sean Hannity radio program. You gotta have a sense of humor these days...

Test your knowledge of current events

The Pew Research Center has a short on-line quiz, based on a survey they did Nov. 10-11, 2010. It's only 12 questions, and fairly basic, so that you'd think the average person would know most of them. I scored 12 out of 12 correct for 100%, but then I tend to pay more attention than most people, partly to keep this blog going.

But does the average person at least score more than 50 percent? Nope. Only college graduates scored more than 6 correct, with the average being 6.8.  Every other demographic group scored less than 50 percent.

Take the test and you can see how you compare to your fellow citizens.

Random Thoughts

There's a lot of talk about Sara Palin running for President. I don't think I've paid much attention to her, especially in this blog. But she would not be my choice. Enuf said on that I think. Don't really know why some hate her so much, but I've come to accept that hate toward conservatives -- especially conservative women -- by the left.

This TSA search thing has gone too far. Can you image the reaction if Bush was still in the White House. I won't be flying anytime soon, not necessarily because of the new search program (went through that when I was stationed in Italy in the 1980s and traveled several times to Turkey.) My biggest complaint is against the airlines. At 6-feet, I can't really fit into economy class seats anymore, and if I have to pay business class, I'd rather just drive. Then I don't have to pay ridiculous car rental fees.

And answer this one: How many terrorists has the TSA apprehended?

This whole thing about Obama's trip overseas costing $200 million a day, along with 34 Navy ships deployed, shows how real journalism has ended up in the basement. When I worked as a reporter for the European Stars and Stripes, if you didn't have two credible sources for your story, no matter how juicy it might be, it didn't make it in print. And I did some juicy stories, some which made the military look bad, and some that made them look good. And I had some stories that never made it to print, because I couldn't find that credible second source. Doesn't anyone think critically these days? It used to be that reporters were trained to be skeptical of every "fact" that came across their desk. Guess that ain't so anymore. Too bad.

The term "progressive" used by many on the left is really a misnomer, if you understand anything about the historical roots of classical liberalism. Because the left has taken over the Democratic party, it is no longer "progressive." Their big-government plans take us back before the founding of this country, when an armed revolt was needed to through off the weight of big government. (Note: I'm not advocating armed revolt today.)

For those of you who criticize Fox News, but defend Maddow, Olbermann, and Matthews, et al, are just as hypocritical as those who think Fox is the only source of valid "news." These days, it's pretty damn hard to get the straight news from any network or publication. But at least people like Hannity admit their slant is hard conservative. Maddow thinks she's a news anchor, and Olbermann -- well, I don't know what this angry man is really all about. But when MSNBC tries to claim neutrality, Fox blows them out of the water for at least being less hypocritical. Bottom line: It's ok to have a liberal-slanted show, but at least admit it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ban on American Flag reversed, but...

After being banned from flying the American flag from his bicycle, a Denair Middle School  (near Modesto, California) student, Cody Alicea received an apology from the School District.

According to a local news report, Cody was notified by a school official that the flag shouldn’t be on his bike at school as it is offensive to other students.

What is going on in this country? This is not the first time we've heard this. When has the U.S. Flag become offensive? When conservatives say things like "let's take back our country," it's because of left-wing loons who are in our school systems, teaching left-wing ideology.

But a community of Americans won this battle:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rangel walks out during ethics hearing

(Update for Nov 16, 2010: Rangel was convicted on 11 counts of ethics violations by a House subcommittee, though it is doubtful he will be expelled.)

I think it's time to make our politicians follow the same laws we have to.

From the New York Times:

The public ethics trial of Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, on 13 charges of unethical behavior took a stunning turn Monday morning when Mr. Rangel walked out of the hearing 40 minutes after it began, complaining that it would be unfair to continue the process because he could no longer afford a lawyer.

But the hearing continued without him.

















And Rangel got nearly 80 percent of the vote in the last election. One might claim a rasicist slant to to this, since the demographics of his district is largely black, but so was his Republican opponent. I guess the people of Harlem and surrounding neighborhoods like Charlie, even if he is corrupt. It's interesting -- and sad -- how people will vote for their party regardless of the candidate. I suppose that happens on both sides. bottom line: We get the government we vote for...

Hat tip: American Power

Obama: Didn't get cooperation from Republicans

According to the Washington Post today, Obama made this statement on 60 Minutes:

Obama has criticized Republicans in Congress for not working with him, but framed that in a personal way, saying on "60 Minutes" that "I couldn't get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I'd hoped for."
What Obama means is that the Rebuplicans wouldn't fall into step to support programs that just won't cut it. And he spurned their ideas at every turn.

Bill Clinton used to talk to Republican leaders daily. It took Obama 18 months to talk face-to-face with the house minority leader.

Obama really doesn't want Rebublican support or ideas. He'd rather they go away and shut up. But that's not how our system works.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Factcheck.org: Pelosi, Obama overstate their case

Two days ago, I posted an article about Nancy Pelosi and her outrageous claims of accomplishments. Today, Factcheck.org released a similar article, which came to the same conclusion I did.

Here's what Pelosi said in a USA Today article:

We achieved more progress over the last four years for our veterans and military families than any time since the passage of the original GI Bill in 1944. And we did all of this while restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress by making the pay-as-you-go rules the law of the land.
Here's what Factcheck.org had to say:

The fact is the federal government ended fiscal year 2009 with a $1.4 trillion deficit — the highest deficit as a share of the gross domestic product since 1945. And it only dipped slightly to $1.3 trillion in the fiscal year that just ended on Sept. 30.

It is true that Congress restored the pay-as-you-go rule, which requires new spending in certain cases to be offset with new revenue or spending reductions elsewhere. The House adopted a PAYGO rule in 2007, and it became the "law of the land" in 2010 legislation. But the new PAYGO law was part of a larger bill that raised the debt limit by $1.9 trillion — a fact the speaker doesn’t mention.

President Barack Obama signed the PAYGO bill into law on Feb. 12, and it was promptly ignored. The PAYGO law was waived less than two weeks later on Feb. 24, when the Senate voted for $15 billion job creation bill.
Obama also chimed in on his greatness during an interview with 60 Minutes:

We’ve probably done more than any administration over the last 20, 30 years when it comes to increasing veteran spending. Because we’ve got over a million folks who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan who’ve come back with post-traumatic stress disorder you know, traumatic brain injury.

Factcheck.org came up with a different set of facts, as I did earlier this week.
That was true last year, but only in terms of raw dollars. Bigger percentage increases took place under Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
Final spending figures for fiscal year 2010 (which ended Sept. 30) show that total spending on all "veterans’ benefits and services" reached $108 billion, an increase of $13 billion over the previous year. That’s the largest one-year increase in that category on record, according to official historical budget figures.

But in percentage terms, the increase amounted to 13.6 percent. And the fact is, spending on this category increased 112 percent during the eight fiscal years for which Bush signed the spending bills, and there were bigger one-year increases in fiscal years 2005 (17.4 percent) and 2008 (16.3 percent).
An oh, let's not ignore his statement about there being over a million "folks" with traumatic brain injury. Hard to believe someone with a Harvard degree would say that. I think I know what he was trying to say, but it didn't come out right. And some people call George Bush a dumb-ass. Hey, Obama, ah, ah, ah, was your teleprompter broken?

Spin it anyway you want, and you are entitled to your own ideas and opinions, but not to your own set of facts. SO QUIT LYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Our version of democracy is a noisy system, mostly because of our Constitution and our freedom of speech. We still have it, and a large group of men and women made many sacrifices -- some the ultimate sacrifice -- so that we can keep our freedoms.

Nancy Pelosi and politics

She claims the Democrats put the American people ahead of politics. But she is definitely playing politics. Her article in USA Today (see my post from Nov 10) was more of a campaign message for minority whip.

But she didn't expect to lose her Speaker job, even as late as Nov. 2. Or did she?

"The early returns show so far that a number of Democrats are coming out and we are on pace to maintain the majority in the House of Representatives," said Pelosi.

The speaker does not expect to lose her job and says that this election is going to be decided by the people. "This election will not be determined by the pundits or it won't be determined by a few precincts in the East, it's an election that will take place all across America and we are very proud of it."
But the history books have been written, and she is wrong again.



One note on the map: I believe the author left a couple of blue districts red, but in some cases, the results still haven't been determined. But the map, in general, does illustrate the historic election of 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nancy: Do you know when to shut up?

Nancy Pelosi is at it again. She is so proud of her accomplishments over the last four years. She even had a party this week to celebrate. Such a productive Congress it was. Especially if you count the pages of legislation that had to be passed so we, the common people, could know what was in it.

In USA Today, Pelosi states:
President Obama and this Congress were job creators from Day One, saving the country from the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. The Recovery Act created or saved more than 3 million jobs, and America is moving forward. October marks the 10th straight month of private sector job growth.
What's Obama got to do with this? Nancy, you and your henchmen (henchpeople?) wrote all the legislation. Obama just sat back, played some golf, and watched from afar.

She also claims that they were job creators from Day One (why the capitals? I guess this was the very beginning of all things.) and did you know that the Recovery Act created or saved more than 3 million jobs? Really? This is no longer believable, but I guess like all politicians, if they say it enough, they think us dunderheads will believe it. Well, I don't.

From Oct 2009 through Oct 2010, total nonfarm employment, according to the BLS, increased about 800,000, but the unemployment rate has stayed in the high 9s and the level of first-time jobless claims has remained stubbornly high. So the RA saved 2.2 million jobs? Prove it. I don't believe you. Besides, why would anyone spend $800 billion to save 2.2 million jobs? The private sector could have done this much better, but you took $800 billion out of the economy for your pet projects.

The RA (which has turned out be a Rheumatoid Arthritis for the nation) was supposed to limit the unemployment rate to under 8 percent. We know how that worked out.

She continues:
Our Democratic members took tough votes to support America's working families, putting the American people before politics and thinking of the next generation, not the next election.
Tough votes? You had super majorities, yet you still had to work very hard to get enough votes to pass your B.S. Nancy, everything you do is about politics. You could care less about the American people. Thinking of the next generation? Why did you add $5 trillion in debt?

Pelosi focused on seizing 17 percent of our economy by passing ObamaCare at a time when Americans were struggling to find jobs, buy food and pay rent. Rather than focusing on America, she pushed for her own personal achievement – government healthcare. Not only do Americans not believe in her core values – the government takeover of a private industry – but her timing couldn’t have been worse.

She says: "Our small business bill is now extending credit to small business owners so they can grow and hire." Nancy, small business won't hire if there isn't more demand. The demand for their products and services must grow, or at least forecast to grow, before they'll borrow money. A small business isn't like the federal government where -- as Joe put it -- you have to spend more money to get out of debt.

Here's another one, and I'll leave it at this, but the whole article smells of tripe:
We achieved more progress over the last four years for our veterans and military families than any time since the passage of the original GI Bill in 1944. And we did all of this while restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress by making the pay-as-you-go rules the law of the land.
Did you hear my jaw drop to the floor? I'm a veteran, so I know that you can't compare what you have done now with the GI Bill in 1944. Completely absurd. Want to really help veterans? Quit tying our health insurance to Medicare reimbursement rates.

And you did all this while restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress. How nice. The deficit in October 2010 (and that's all yours, baby) was just over $180 billion (annualized rate of nearly $1.7 TRILLION). You call that pay-as-you-go? Was this after or before you racked up $5 trillion in extra debt.

Anyone who believes this woman is either just plain stupid, delusional or ignorant. I guess we now know that makes up an unbelievalbe 80 percent of her constituents in San Francisco.


Nancy Pelosi "represents" the 8th Congressional District in California.