Monday, April 30, 2012

Obama's Claim Of 4.2 Million Jobs Saved - Did It Happen?


President Obama's team has come out with a new video of his accomplishments.  Top on the list is saving the economy by spending hundreds of billions of dollars on "shovel ready" jobs.  He claims to have "saved" 4.2 million jobs.  Did he?  What are the employment facts?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published monthly data on employment going back quite awhile... more than enough to track from the end of George Bush's administration to March of 2012 for this post.

U.S. Unemployment rates:

While it is true that unemployment rates are falling, there is little to indicate that anything President Obama did was of significance because it has taken over three years to get back to near the unemployment rate that existed at the beginning of his term... near, but not yet there and still over his promise to keep the rates below 8.0%  And these numbers don't count those who have given up looking for work.
U.S. Employment numbers (000):

Disregarding the rates for unemployment, if we simply look at the absolute number of people employed, we can see that the numbers are still below those when Obama took office.  That is despite an increasing population.

So, is this another example of Obama's creative accounting?  Especially if you see that 2 years after taking office there were more than 2,000,000 less people employed?  Given that, Obama must be claiming that if he hadn't done what he did, there would be 6,000,000 more people unemployed than when he took office.  Of course, it's hard to argue with make-believe numbers.

There are so many other misrepresentations in Obama's video that it would take much long than I'm willing to go into today.  But this is a start.  It's good enough to say that there is nothing in Obama's policies that have really turned the economy around.  It's more realistic to say that his policies have been a major impediment to recovery.

2012 IS HERE


London Missiles To Deter Terrorists From Switzerland


It seems that the spirit of friendly athletic competitions has been somewhat dampened by the continued threat of Swiss terrorists.  These terrorists, known for shouting "Secret Accounts" during their horrific attacks around the world, have forced British authorities into conscripting the tops of apartment buildings as make-shift military missile installations:
The sites, chosen from an original list of 100, include the Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets and the Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, east London. [read more]
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has spoken out against the British actions as "provacative" and "antithetical to the process of a peaceful Olympics."  She says she may withdraw from the speaking marathon event.
The overall 23,700-strong security force for the Games includes a mix of military, private security guards and at least 3,000 unpaid London 2012 volunteers who will be used at the start of the security process. 
There will be 7,500 military who are set to be deployed inside venues to do screening and search tasks, largely in the vehicle search areas.
Meanwhile, several more violent Swiss attacks have occurred around the world this week.  British authorities are warning citizens that if they see any suspicious persons similar to those shown below, they should contact authorities immediately.

The world would be so much more peaceful without those Swiss fanatics.

2012 IS HERE


Can Politicians Be Principled?


Politics has never been a gentleman's pastime.  It is first about power and then about staying in power.  Principles, it seems, are something to parade, but not to pursue.

Now let me say that I don't ascribe to that notion.  Certainly there are unprincipled politicians.  There may not be general agreement about who they are, but most people will nod their head "yes" that there are.  One man's principle is another's unprincipled.

Principles are often the basis of positions that many view as problematic.

In two recent posts, the issue of principles came up.  The suggestion that Ron Paul be the Vice President choice of Mitt Romney perturbed principled Libertarian partisans.  It would be unprincipled for Ron Paul to accept a position in the administration of a Statist.  Then I questioned whether the actions taken by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin were based on conservative principles or those of an unprincipled conservative.

It seems that the problem with principles for politicians is that they must answer to the people of their party.  This pushes them on to paths that prevent cooperation or compromise or compassion.  Some would argue that is a good thing.  Perhaps.  Ronald Reagan did not compromise with the Soviet Union.  He remained true to his principles and precipitated the demise of our greatest political adversary... the Evil Empire.

Principles that unite a country against an adversary are different from principles that divide a country internally.  Politicians, once elected to the leadership of a country or a state, must weigh whether their actions are proper for all.  It seems to be the common tendency to take actions that are highly favorable to your party and extremely punishing to the other.  The common excuse is that it is being true to one's principles.  To that, I can only infer that such principles are less than perfect.  Perhaps that is because they are the principles of politicians... and not those of leaders.

2012 IS HERE


Sunday, April 29, 2012

EPA Has Lost Its Way


The EPA was originally authorized to seek out sources of air, water, and ground pollution... poisons that fouled our environment... and seek to remedy that.  Unfortunately, along the way, the EPA has become an advocacy agency for radical environmental groups with the intent of minimizing human presence.  What better way to do that then to attack the sources of energy needed for our survival?  Below is a copy of the video that was originally on YouTube, but then pulled. American Power blog got it through Daily Caller which got it from MRC-TV:

Needless to say, the EPA has been under assault from Congress and private citizens on this one.  Here is the text of an email I sent on April 25:
Mr. Gray: 
This video of Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz is one of most disgusting examples of government arrogance I have witnessed in my nearly 7 decades. [since removed]
I would hope that the "government of the people" doesn't just mean the government of the elite bureaucratic people who believe they have all of the answers. Mr. Armendariz' threat of heavy-handed Nazi-type government is purely inappropriate under any circumstances. Perhaps it is time for the EPA to go back to its roots rather than being a front for every misguided eco group. We don't need, for example, E15 fuel when E85 and E10 have been around for years and provide minimal benefit while raising the cost of corn for animal feed. Naturally, you are aware that non-subsidized ethanol will increase gas prices, again making the EPA a very popular agency. 
We don't need CO2 scams and schemes when most scientists now admit that the backcasting by climate models is so poor that any forecasts of climate change is pure fiction. Focus on clean air, clean soil, and clean water. Chasing vapor schemes at taxpayer expense and then threatening the energy foundation of our great nation is not, nor should it be, in the EPA charter. 
It is no wonder that the EPA is no longer seen as a beneficial agency and is rapidly overtaking the TSA as the most despised arm of government. With PR from the likes of Al Armendariz, the EPA will absolutely be the most despised agency. 
Also via American Power, "Ed Morrissey has the apology, at Hot Air, "EPA: Hey, sorry about that whole “crucify” thing, we’re all about being ethical.""

Take the time to read that post and this: 
SCOTUS hits EPA with an epic smackdown on Sackett
That is something which could impact any individual.

2012 IS HERE


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jewish and Arab Parliamentarians


Out of curiosity, I researched how many Jews were in the parliaments of nearby countries and how many Arabs were in the Israeli parliament.
  • Iran - 1 Jew
  • Syria - 0 [formerly 1 Jew]
  • Jordan - 0 Jews
  • Lebanon - 0 Jews [1 Lebanese member assigned as representative of 7 minority groups]
  • Egypt - 0 Jews
  • Israel - 12 Arabs
That's not fair you say.  After all, most of the Jews were driven out of those other countries.  And your point is?

Israel is roundly condemned by many pro-Arab organizations for annexing land after defeating its neighbors in a series of wars dating back to the 1940s.  Many Arabs chose to leave Israel as a result, but fully 1/5 of the population of Israel is Arab and are represented in the parliament.

Ask yourself, given the experiences in Iran, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, how many Jews would still be living in what is presently Israel if the Jews had lost any of those wars?  How much of Israel would be annexed by the Arab neighbors if the Jews had lost any of those wars?  How many Jews would be in the new Arab-controlled parliament if the Jews had lost any of those wars?

THE United States has raised concern to ally Israel over a decision to legalise three settler outposts, calling the move unhelpful to making peace with the Palestinians.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reiterated Washington's opposition to settlement activity on the West Bank and said the United States asked Israel, through its embassy in Tel Aviv, for "clarification." 
"We are obviously concerned," Nuland told reporters. 
"We don't think this is helpful to the process, and we don't accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," she said. [source]
Wonder what the State Department would have said if Israel had lost the wars?

2012 IS HERE


Friday, April 27, 2012

Obama Attempts To Intimidate Donors To Romney's Campaign


From The Wall Street Journal:

Richard Nixon's "enemies list" appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice. 
Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules. [full story here]
Hoping for some change soon.

2012 IS HERE


Conservative Principles Or Unprincipled Conservatives


Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker has accepted a lot of credit and taken a lot of abuse for his approach to Wisconsin's fiscal problems.  He instituted significant changes in employee benefits, particularly teachers' benefits, so that what had been paid for by the state is now partially paid for by the employees.  This is consistent with most private benefit programs.  While this was a painful adjustment, there was a strong element of reason and reasonableness in his position.  The way it was implemented, however, was effectively a large pay cut with no phase-in period.  That left many teachers in very vulnerable economic positions.

But then, in my opinion, Governor Walker's administration went way too far.  He became a communist.  He wanted something for nothing.  He wanted to change the rules so that the rewards of others' labor and effort went to his administration.  He was no longer operating under conservative principles; he was operating as an unprincipled conservative.

This will explain it:
The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) General Counsel Peter Davis has confirmed that a new rule recently approved by Governor Walker, together with Act 10, will prohibit school districts and other governmental bodies from including most so-called "add-ons" in the pay scales of new contracts. While years-of-experience add-ons largely will be preserved, additional education, advanced degrees and most other add-ons will be prohibited from being put in the contract. 
This will hit all public sector workers hard, but will teachers the hardest. 
Davis agreed and said that a commonly used "guesstimate" for the effect of the changes was that about 30% of the wages actually paid to teachers would not be counted as part of the total wages. [source]
No, it doesn't quite explain it.  You have to understand that teachers, as most professionals, are normally paid based on experience and qualifications.  Some jobs require just the basic qualifications, so pay is set based on those basic qualifications.  Pay increases come over a period of time as experience and working knowledge increase.

But some jobs require special skills and knowledge.  You don't go to a general practitioner for delicate brain surgery; you don't ask a teacher with basic skills to teach deaf children with learning or physical disabilities.  Yet under the new "Act 10" legislation, that is exactly what Gov. Walker's administration is demanding.  Teaching positions that required advanced degrees were paid a premium for that knowledge and skill.  Now, although the knowledge and skills may be necessary, those teachers will no longer receive the "add on" pay that should be attached to the skills.  Try doing that with your brain surgeon.
As an example of how this will play out, below is the pay scale for the Monticello School District's teachers. Previously, the maximum a teacher could earn in the district was $52,927-- which is what someone who has a Masters degree, 24 hours of college credit and 12 years of experience is paid. Under the new rule, the maximum a teacher will be able to earn in future contracts is $38,167, which is the maximum for a teacher that has the minimum educational requirements, but many years of experience.

Sorry Governor Walker, but as a die-hard conservative, even I find that unprincipled.  I'd say Wisconsin has swung the pendulum just a bit too far with regard to teachers' pay and benefits... especially using a technicality like "add-ons" to take away legitimately earned pay.  That is classic redistribution of wealth.

So, Governor Walker, don't call yourself a conservative anymore.  You're giving us a bad name.

2012 IS HERE


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ron Paul For Vice President


It's now a two-man race for the presidency: the incumbent and the challenger, Mitt Romney.  Let the games begin.  How about the selection of the Vice President?

If you believe in polls, you might want to consider this:
Romney-Santorum? Romney-Gingrich? Romney-Paul? Not so fast, voters say when asked about a potential Republican ticket for this fall’s election.  Just 22% of Likely U.S. Voters, in fact, believe the eventual Republican nominee should pick one of the other three remaining candidates as his vice presidential running mate. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephones survey finds that 37% of voters don’t think that’s a good idea, but a sizable 41% aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
For the most part, the selection of the Vice President has been a fairly cavalier matter... an afterthought... a ruse to strengthen the draw from a region of the country where the candidate for President might appear weak.  They seem to come from nowhere as did Sarah Palin.  Or they have an undistinguished record of public service as did Joe Biden.  Although they are supposed to be next in line if a President dies or is incapacitated, they seldom have any claim to popular support.

I don't see much advantage for Mitt Romney to select either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich as a running mate.  It's hard to see either of them working well in a Romney administration.  But Ron Paul might be a different matter.  He has independently polled very strong against Barack Obama.  His positions are clear, consistent and appeal to the conservative factions as well as a surprisingly high proportion of the younger voters and military... areas where Romney's support is questionable.

Dr. Paul's quasi-isolationist positions with regard to foreign policy and the military don't always sit well among conservatives who do not consider themselves Libertarians.  That, and his age -- 76-years old -- are negatives, although Ronald Reagan did quite well at that age.

It would be both a risk and a big commitment for Mitt Romney to choose Ron Paul as a running mate.  Dr. Paul is not known for his reticence on matters political.  He will speak his mind and his mind may not be in tune with Mitt Romney's on some key points.

But I could see Romney selecting Dr. Paul with the objective of having him chair a "Get The Economy Going" committee ... an in-depth spending and regulation review with the goal of reducing the waste, fraud, and abuse in government ... and streamlining agencies and eliminating onerous regulations so that the marketplace can work rather than stumble over incomprehensible regulatory obstacles.  If there is one person who would turn that into a personal crusade, it is Dr. Paul.  He may be the one person who could actually pull it off.  If Mitt Romney couldn't support that, his business background would be meaningless.

Can't you just imagine Dr. Paul at a press conference stating that his committee has identified $500 billion in waste and fraud and believes there are so many redundancies among agencies that many could be eliminated or combined and greatly reduced in complexity while simultaneously becoming more effective?  He would be the nightmare of every pork barrel congressman and special interest group... and bureaucrat.

It is likely, under this scenario, that Dr. Paul would choose to serve only one term and that during his term would groom a potential replacement... a Paul Ryan, for example.  At some point, the GOP has to make room for their young, dynamic corp.

Let's just say that Mitt Romney could do much worse than selecting Dr. Ron Paul for Vice President... and, unfortunately, that may be the case.  Dr. Paul would have to be thoroughly convinced that there was meat on the bone being tossed to him.

Cut 2% Annually From Federal Spending

2012 IS HERE


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Economy - Déjà vu All Over Again


Five years ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 13,000 for the first time.  Five years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is right at 13,000.

The obvious question is: what's next?

2012 IS HERE


Cut 2% Annually From Federal Spending


There are some estimates that around 10%... maybe more... of government spending for major programs go to waste and fraud.  A Cato testimony to Congress showed:

Medicare and Medicaid are rife with fraud and other types of improper payments. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that Medicare made at least $48 billion in improper payments in 2010.9  That figure does not include improper payments in Part D, which auditors believe is also highly susceptible to abuse.10  Nevertheless, $48 billion amounts to more than 9 percent of total Medicare spending and nearly four times the combined profits of private health insurance companies.11  CMS also estimates that the federal government alone made $22.5 billion in improper Medicaid payments in 2010, making the combined total of improper payments in the two programs somewhere north of $70 billion per year.12  In one infamous case, a New York dentist once billed that state's Medicaid program for 991 procedures in a single day. In 2005, the New York Times reported that New York's Medicaid program "has become so huge, so complex and so lightly policed that it is easily exploited," and that "a chief state investigator of Medicaid fraud and abuse in New York City said he and his colleagues believed that at least 10 percent of state Medicaid dollars were spent on fraudulent claims, while 20 or 30 percent more were siphoned off by what they termed abuse, meaning unnecessary spending that might not be criminal."13  Some experts estimate that improper payments are even more prevalent in these programs. Harvard University's Malcolm Sparrow estimates that improper payments account for 20 percent of spending in federal health care programs.14  
That suggests Medicare alone makes $100 billion in improper payments annually. The Government Accountability Office has for two decades designated both Medicare and Medicaid as posing a high risk for fraud.15
Add to that the waste and fraud around military expenditures, dubious energy subsidies to unproven technologies, wasteful agricultural programs, and all manner of spending for special interests in nearly every bill that crosses the Oval Office desk... and we're beginning to talk real money.

So, here's the answer: an across-the-board reduction in SPENDING by 2% annually for the next 5 years.  Not 10% all at once.  2% annually for 5 years.  Let each department determine how to absorb the cuts... either through better auditing, better planning, or through better management... I like the last part.  But we mean REAL CUTS, NOT CUTTING ESTIMATED INCREASED SPENDING.

Let the GAO and a consortium of private accounting firms be the watchdogs.  Then we can see where the wheels are squeaking the loudest after 5 years.

If there is that much waste and fraud in government spending, a guy in a trailer park in Arkansas could figure out how to manage 2% cuts.  After all, it still leaves him 98% of the money to screw around with.

While the above seems like rather small potatoes and 10% of $3.8 trillion is only $380 billion... over five years of projected growth, the annual government expenditures would be about $4.5 trillion.  If the 2% annual reductions were implemented from a base of $3.8 trillion, then the annual savings in five years would be $1.1 trillion per year.  That's not small potatoes.

2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Obamacare Bites Medicare


From Investors Business Daily:

[image source]
Backers like to say the more people know about ObamaCare, the more they'll like it. So why is the administration spending $8.3 billion to hide a key provision from millions of seniors until after the election? 
That's precisely what administration officials are doing right now as a way to mask the effect of ObamaCare's deep cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. [read full article]
When President Obama says "transparency", he means "invisibility".  That's why Congress had to vote for Obamacare before they got to read the 2,700 page leviathan.  That's why Obama's team is trying to hide a provision that guts the Medicare Advantage program to shift costs to fixed-income seniors.

All will be revealed once Obama is re-elected and has more "flexibility."

More at Forbes.

2012 IS HERE


Spring Snow Brings May Flowers


It's spring.

2012 IS HERE


TSA = Totally Stupid Agents?


This makes me really look forward to flying again.

Weeping four-year-old girl accused of carrying a GUN by TSA officers after she hugged her grandmother while passing through security

"The TSO loomed over my daughter, with an angry grimace on her face, and ordered her to stop crying."


Ford Motor Company Is Back


Good news for Michigan and U.S. manufacturing.  An indication that Ford's management has been successful and that the American economy has improved.

April 24, 2012, 9:05 a.m. EDT

Fitch lifts Ford rating to investment grade

On Tuesday, Fitch said Ford's management has heavily focused on increasing profitability, growing liquidity, lowering debt and reducing the company's pension obligations since the last recession. 
The firm said Ford is "in a solid position to withstand the significant cyclical and secular pressures faced by the global auto industry" and said it expects the company's liquidity, cost structure and free cash flow potential to provide Ford with sufficient financial flexibility to maintain an investment-grade rating in a period of economic stress.

2012 IS HERE


Saudi Arabian Beauty Contest


Everyone has his own view of the world.  Some just seem stranger than others.

Reminds me of the convent across the street from where I grew up.

I found that strange, too.

2012 IS HERE


The Silent Danger Of Electric-Powered Vehicles


Blissful silence?  Except if it can kill you.  We may be facing a world of strange whirs and chirps.

2012 IS HERE


Monday, April 23, 2012

Climate Skeptic - Somewhat


From Climate Depot:

Alert: 'Gaia' scientist James Lovelock reverses himself: I was 'alarmist' about climate change & so was Gore! 'The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago'

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added...Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I'm not a denier.”
Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems, but if he not a believer and not a denier, he must be confused.

We have tried to explain why there might be confusion, but the message is not what people want to hear.
A Non-Linear Perspective Of Climate Change 

2012 IS HERE


Unemployment Rates Do Not Just Happen


The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a neat little section of their website that geographically maps unemployment rates by MSA - Metropolitan Statistical Area.  I found it because, as I was reading a post at Econbrowser economics blog, there was this comment about the following map:

The trouble is, in terms of unemployment, the number of people per square mile on the ground varys a lot; yet this graph gives the area on the screen to LA and NY as it does to a single county in N Dak.

That's true.  I was stationed at Grand Forks AFB, ND for 4 years 4 decades ago.  North Dakota is mostly empty.  But perhaps we can learn a bit by just looking at those MSA maps.

Here is California by MSA.  California has an abundance of natural resources from oil to agriculture as well as tourism.  But it also has a government that believes the government's job is one of redistributing wealth and creating restrictions on business and agriculture.  California also has its version of the EPA on steroids.  And California never met a tax it didn't like.  California is losing population.  That makes many in California's government quite pleased with themselves.

Now compare this with Texas' MSA map.

Yes, there is unemployment, but pretty much under 10% in most of the urban areas... and some of those urban areas are pretty well populated.

These states have pretty much the same resource bases and enjoy a similar climate in many respects.  They both have a large Mexican illegals population as well.  What differentiates these states is a remarkable philosophical difference about the role of government.  Texas takes what California does... and doesn't do it.

Texas is open to business expansion and lower taxes.  It allows the marketplace to work which puts people to work.  It balances the needs of the environment with the needs of its people.  The population of Texas is growing.

So, yes, it isn't fair to compare North Dakota with California or New York... but it is fair to compare California with Texas.

And North Dakota?  It doesn't have much in the way of MSAs, but what it has is doing quite well.  It, too, is open for business.

YOU CAN CHECK OTHER STATES HERE.  Just select the state you want.  You can also select an option to look at the 12-month change in unemployment rates.

2012 IS HERE


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maybe Jews Are Not As Smart As We Think


I have always held a very high opinion of Jews... personally, as business entrepreneurs and leaders, and as generally smart people.  The one area I cannot fathom their loyalties... is politics.  It has always been a mystery to me why they have been and continue to be as left-leaning a group as they are... especially after the Jewish experience in Russia and Germany.  If any ethnic group should be leery of a strong central government, it should be the Jews.

Others have wondered the same thing.

2012 IS HERE


Marion Barry Would Like "Asians" To Get Out Of Washington, D.C.


From Reason:

"There is a cultural difference...."

Looks like there is a "cultural difference" between former DC mayor Marion Barry and the principles upon which this nation was founded.

2012 IS HERE


Iran Tries To Reverse-Engineer U.S. Drone... With A Little Help From Its Friends?


From the BBC:

Washington has long said that Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory. 
Although analysts believe lessons could certainly be learnt about how the machine was put together, reverse-engineering has generally been seen by experts as beyond Iran's capability.
That may be, but Iran has a "trading partner" who might be sympathetic to Iran's anti-American positions and willing to "share" reverse engineering expertise... for a share of the product.


2012 IS HERE


Obama Headline Of The Day


Low cost loans for college are the answer... or so says President Obama.  From the Boston Globe:

Obama casts GOP as barrier to low-cost education

"This is a question of values," Obama said in his weekly commentary. "We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of people struggle to get by." 
Obama is calling on Congress to extend a law that cut interest rates on a popular federal loan program for low- and middle-income undergraduates. If the law expires, the rates will double on July 1, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. 
While Obama blames Republicans for voting against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, it was House Democrats who cut interest rates on the school loans in 2007 and included an expiration provision that placed the looming increase in the middle of an election year.
This is the same President Barack Obama who allowed funding to vocational education to be dramatically cut. For the 30% of students who do not go on to college [and half of those who start drop out], how does that work for you?  In fact, for the 20% of students who fail to complete high school, how worried are you about those low-cost college loans?

And perhaps those going to college might have lower tuition if the federal government did not have so many administrative requirements for colleges that administrators outnumber instructors.

At the University of Michigan there are 3 people in administration for every 2 instructors.  Meanwhile, down the road a bit at Ford Motor Company, there is 1 salaried worker for every 2 hourly workers... and many of those salaried workers are in engineering, research, design or other non-administrative positions.  In other words, education is significantly top-heavy in people filling out forms and telling others what to do rather than teaching.

2012 IS HERE


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Obama Headline Of The Day


If you don't like corporate contributions to political campaigns, how about political campaign "contributions" to corporations?  From HOT AIR:

Unbelievable: Jon Corzine still bundling mega-bucks for Obama’s campaign

Ace asks a good question: “Why is a man under investigation by a government agency permitted to raise money for the man who controls that agency?” Wouldn’t be the first time Corzine’s used his political leverage to personal advantage.
If you missed it a few days ago, read Ed’s post on Patrick Kennedy claiming that the White House rewards its rich donors with certain quid pro quosCan’t wait to see what Jon Corzine gets in return for his extreme diligence on behalf of the “Not a Republican” reelection effort.

2012 IS HERE


Tax Headline Of The Day


If you thought the idea of taxing CO2 vapor was an ingenious scam, here is another great, big softball being served up to the government:

Tax on salt could reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 3 percent

I'll have those fries without salt please... and refund the tax, too.

2012 IS HERE


NASA's Dr. James Hansen - If The Data Does Not Fit The Theory, Change The Data


Via Climate Depot:

Spectacularly Poor Climate Science At NASA  Dr. James Hansen of NASA, has been the world’s leading promoter of the idea that the world is headed towards “climate disaster.” There is little evidence to back this up. [Please read full article here]
The key point is that in order to use science to back up your theory, the data should support your theory.  However, in the case of NASA and Dr. James Hansen, the data has been adjusted to fit the theory.  Below are extracts from the full article.
The animated image below shows the changes which Dr. Hansen made to the historical US temperature record after the year 1999. He cooled the 1930s, and warmed the 1980s and 1990s. The year 1998 went from being more than half a degree cooler than 1934, to warmer than 1934.
 Spectacularly Poor Climate Science At NASA 
But the effort wasn't limited to the U.S. record:
He has done the same thing all over the planet. Below is one recent example in Iceland, where he dramatically cooled the first half of the century, and warmed the present. He appears to be trying to erase evidence that there was a very warm period in much of the Arctic around 1940.
 If this were just a case of scientific dishonesty, we could all just yawn and go on our way with the thought that the perpetrators would go down in history as buffoons and nothing else would come of this.  We would be sadly mistaken.  This is the federal government we are talking about. This is tax money we are talking about.  What has science to do with it?
... and some of that has leaked across the border.

So, if this isn't science, then we are left with faith-based legislation.  It may not be your traditional definition of religion, but it fits.

2012 IS HERE


Friday, April 20, 2012

Obama's Dictatorship In The Name Of The Environment


At Human Events, this story unfolded:

President Barack Obama has an ambitious plan for Washington bureaucrats to take command of the oceans—and with it control over much of the nation’s energy, fisheries, even recreation in a move described by lawmakers as the ultimate power grab to zone the seas. 
The massive undertaking also includes control over key inland waterways and rivers that reach hundreds of miles upstream, and began with little fanfare when Obama signed an executive order in 2010 to protect the aquatic environment.  [read more] h/t Gateway Pundit
No laws have been enacted by Congress.  No reviews have been made by the courts regarding constitutionality.  President Obama has declared that all water related to the oceans within the territorial control of the U.S. ... including water sources such as rivers, streams, snow, rain, and human perspiration ... now fall under his "zoning control."  He won the election; he can do what he wants.

Want to go fishing?  Maybe not.  Want to have a boat race?  Maybe not.  Want to develop some property along the ocean?  Maybe not.  Want to drill for oil and natural gas.  Definitely not.  The President is "protecting" our water from us.  The Great Lakes?  He owns that now because they flow out to the Atlantic.  The Sierra Nevadas?  Snow melts and flows into streams and rivers and into the ocean.  He owns that now.  Your small lake?  Water evaporates and falls into the ocean.  He owns that now.

Clean fresh water is now scarce.  Clean ocean water is now scarce.  It is time for the government to manage and allocate water uses so that we will survive this scarcity.  The government must exercise such power to protect us.
They are much more comfortable spreading fear about scarcity. They are much more comfortable being experts about scarcity. They are much more comfortable being in charge of the scarcity they want to implement.  [source]
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."  George Owell - 1984

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)