Friday, June 19, 2009

Away for a week.

I'll be traveling in remote places next week so won't be blogging 'till the 28th or so. Those who are desperate for pearls of wisdom here are invited to visit the archives. Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another missive from a recovering liberal

"Robin of Berkeley" has been writing a series of articles about what it's like for a lifelong liberal to wake up one day and discover that everything she's believed for all these years is nonsense, and that conservatives have been right all along. These are well written pieces with an insight into both liberal and conservative thought, in other words, a good read.

Her latest piece is on the possibility of becoming a gun owner. It's worth forwarding to any of your favorite liberals. Here's the intro:

"I've been thinking about learning how to fire a gun, maybe even buying one. Now if you are a lifelong conservative, Red State dweller, and NRA member, you might be thinking, "Big yawn. What's next? She'll be telling us what she had for breakfast?"

So let me try to convey to you the enormousness, the Alice in Wonderland quality of my even posing the question, something I've never, ever considered in my life. No one I know owns a gun. I've never seen a gun (well on a holster of a police officer but I never wanted to get up close and personal with it). I have given lots of good money over the years for gun control. Learning to fire a gun seems as ludicrous as deciding to take up brain surgery...."

Some things never change

If you haven't already seen it, above is a cartoon from The Chicago Tribune in 1934. (Click on it to enlarge) It would need little updating to be completely current.

Those who've read Amity Shlaes' book, The Forgotten Man, a history of the 1930's depression, know that there are lots of parallels between the mindless government activism of the 1930's and of today. Government meddling in the '30's turned a garden variety downturn into a depression, and the much larger scope of meddling today has the potential to do the same, or at least retard a recovery.

What's interesting is how little has changed in the past 80 years. The same sorts of remedies are trotted out, no matter how many times they have failed in the past. If you haven't read The Forgotten Man, it is an excellent refresher course on the history of the '30's, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the political economics of today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama's huge foreign gas tax giveaway

As everyone knows, gasoline prices are rising again, recently topping $3 per gallon in California, that "green" tax and regulation hell. It would have been nice during the breather from sky high prices last summer if the government had taken steps to increase domestic production to forestall future increases, but instead the Obama administration has been working to reduce domestic production and increase our vulnerability to hostile foreign suppliers.

Gasoline has what's called an inelastic demand curve. That means that it takes large price changes to cause much change in the demand for gas. This works in both directions, which is why prices fell so much after the big run-up last year. It also works on the upside, so gradual increases in worldwide consumption are leading to the large upward price movement we are seeing now.

This tendency to large price swings means that relatively small increases in production put a large downward pressure on price. America has plenty of oil locked away offshore and in vast oil shale deposits in Utah, Colorado, and neighboring states, so it would be relatively easy for us to produce a couple of million extra barrels a day if the government would let industry do it.

The cost of Obama's anti-production strategy is probably a dollar or more per gallon increase in gas prices. The US consumes over 800 million gallons of oil per day, so about half a billion dollars a day due to unnecessary price increases goes overseas to benefit the Hugo Chavez's and Saudi princes. Obama's anti-production policy is, in effect, a huge tax imposed by his administration on Americans for the benefit of America's enemies.

With the help of an absolutely clueless and fawning media, he touts meaningless green energy fantasies as if they are a substitute for real energy production, and the population snoozes in ignorance as they work to provide billions of dollars for the benefit of foreign oil plutocrats.

It's really enough to make you weep.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Total economic collapse caused by unions

This article describes the demolition of American urban areas where unionized employers once had businesses as the population leaves in search of employment.

"The government [is] looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

Flint, sixty miles north of Detroit, was the original home of General Motors. The car giant once employed 79,000 local people but that figure has shrunk to around 8,000.

Unemployment is now approaching 20 per cent and the total population has almost halved to 110,000.

The exodus – particularly of young people – coupled with the consequent collapse in property prices, has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned."

This collapse is the result of the false promise that unions can raise the standard of living of the average worker. Instead they have raised costs to their employers to the point that most unionized companies have had to shed workers or shut down entirely. Flint Michigan is the poster child for the damage caused by unions.

Who has benefited from their drive for higher wages? Against the rapidly dwindling number of union workers still employed are the millions who've lost their jobs or who never got jobs in the first place at companies infected with the union virus, as well as the other workers who lost jobs when local economies collapsed.

An ever shrinking percentage of the private workforce is unionized as these private employers close plants, lay off workers, and shift jobs overseas. The Obama proposal to allow unions to intimidate workers by getting rid of secret balloting would only accelerate the loss of manufacturing jobs in America.

If unions ever were a good idea, they certainly aren't any more, unless you want to see more unionized areas return to farmland. The process of de-urbanization taking place in Flint is going on in former union strongholds around the country.

"Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside."

More Obamacare posters

From Michelle Malkin, a couple of the reader generated posters she's been putting up. It will be interesting to see whether enough citizen backlash can be generated to stop government run healthcare.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is Russia planning another invasion of Georgia?

"'About 8,500 Russian troops will take part in military exercises starting this month in the country's North Caucasus region, just north of Georgia, the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday...'up to 200 tanks, 450 armored cars and up to 250 artillery pieces of various types will be used,' the defense ministry said in a statement detailing its plans...

The Russian exercises will run from June 29 to July 6 [and] will involve more troops than the 'Caucasus 2008' when some 8,000 soldiers took part in exercises in the same region, just weeks before the Russia-Georgia war."

Large scale military exercises along a border are often used as a prelude to invasions of neighboring countries, and Russia conducted a similar exercise last year prior to invading Georgia.

The Putin government tried very hard to bring down the Georgian government so it could install a puppet regime, both during the invasion and by supporting pro-Moscow forces within Georgia during the past year. One of these attempts led to a failed coup earlier this year. Putin never accepted the breakup of the Soviet Union, and seems to have Georgia in his sights for a forcible return to the Russian fold.

With Obama in the White House, Putin knows the time will never get better for Russia to take Georgia by force. The announcement of these war games may be an indication that plans are moving ahead for such an action.

If it happens, expect an effusion of nuanced verbiage from Barack and Hillary, and perhaps a sternly worded, though nuanced, note. Our "allies" in Europe will no doubt counsel caution to avoid "escalating the situation," mindful that they are dependent on Russian energy and have no military capability to speak of.

Barack will give a wonderful speech during which he will equate the Russian invasion with the American invasion of [fill in the blank]. He will declare that we shouldn't blame others for what we have done ourselves, particularly during the Bush administration. Finally, Barack and Hillary will deplore the "tragic situation" and offer humanitarian assistance to the displaced Georgians - and Russians.

If Russia does grab Georgia, it may not be satisfied with just one bite at the apple. Once Georgia is digested, Putin may decide that reassembly of the Soviet empire should take place before the Obama administration leaves office, since he knows any reaction is likely to consist of empty rhetoric.

It will be interesting to see whether an invasion of Georgia becomes the "big test" that Joe Biden predicted.

Crony capitalism, Obama style

People watching the news probably know that new Government Motors CEO Edward Whitacre has announced that he doesn't know anything about cars. In the Obama administration, that in itself would qualify him to run what used to be the world's largest car company.

However, he's even got a better qualification as the man who made White House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel rich with a very sweet deal during Whitacre's time as head of telecom giant SBC.

In short, SBC picked up a residential security outfit in acquiring telecom Ameritech and was ordered in 2000 by the Federal Communications Commission to divest itself of the property. Ameritech had sunk $1.4 billion into the subsidiary -- SecurityLink -- and SBC thought it could sell it for about that much.

Instead, according to the story, SBC ended up selling the company in 2001 to an investment group represented by Emanuel for $479 million. Six months later, the group sold it to Tyco for a cool $1 billion.

Rhambo ended up with his biggest payday outside of politics - a $16 million windfall courtesy of his ties to the machine."

But that's not all,

Bill Daley, Bill Clinton's commerce secretary and brother of Chicago's popular Democratic mayor, was named SBC's president by Whitacre in 2001. His responsibilities, according to the official release, included regulatory matters, governmental initiatives, and external and international affairs.

In other words, he became a lobbyist/door-opener for the corporation. He got a $1.1 million signing bonus from Whitacre, a starting salary of $600,000 and a bonus of no less than $600,000 in 2002, plus stock options, a country-club membership and a monthly car allowance, including free fuel and maintenance."

No wonder Obama decided that
Whitacre was the perfect man for the job. Taxpayers and investors will get hosed, but there should be major money making opportunities for Obama's political friends.

Imagine the headlines in all the major media if Bush had made this kind of appointment.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ocean heat trends falsify global warming theory

As this article points out, "Water is a more appropriate metric for heat accumulation than air because of its ability to store heat. For this reason, it is also a more robust metric for assessing global warming and cooling...

For any given area on the ocean’s surface, the upper 2.6m of water has the same heat capacity as the entire atmosphere above it! Considering the enormous depth and global surface area of the ocean (70.5%), it is apparent that its heat capacity is greater than the atmosphere by many orders of magnitude. Consequently... the ocean must be regarded as the main reservoir of atmospheric heat and the primary driver of climate fluctuations.

Heat accumulating in the climate system can be determined by profiling ocean temperature... These measurements are now possible on a global scale with the ARGO buoy array and from satellite measurements of ocean surface heights. ARGO consists of a world-wide network of over 3000 free-drifting platforms that measure temperature and salinity in the upper 2000m of ocean. The robotic floats rise to the surface every 10 days and transmit data to a satellite which also determines their location.

Pielke’s Litmus Test

In 2007 Roger Pielke, Sr. suggested that ocean heat should be used not just to monitor the energy imbalance in the climate system, but as a “litmus test” for falsifying the IPCC’s AGW hypothesis... One of the world’s foremost atmospheric scientists, he has published nearly 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 50 chapters in books, and co-edited 9 books.

Though other criteria... can be used to test the AGW hypothesis, ocean heat has one main advantage: Simplicity... Ocean heat touches on the very core of the AGW hypothesis: When all is said and done, if the climate system is not accumulating heat, the hypothesis is invalid.

It is evident that the AGW hypothesis, as it now stands, is either false or fundamentally inadequate. One may argue that ... not enough time has elapsed to falsify this hypothesis. This would be true if it were not for the enormous deficit of heat we have observed. In other words, no matter how much time has elapsed, if a projection misses its target by such a large magnitude (6x to 8x), we can safely assume that it is either false or seriously flawed."

More evidence of Obama administraion corruption

From Byron York at the Washington Examiner:

"Some strange and potentially suspicious events tonight concerning the Obama White House and the AmeriCorps program. I've been told that on Wednesday night the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, received a call from the White House counsel's office telling him that he had one hour to either resign or be fired. The White House did not cite a reason...

Inspectors General are part of every federal department. They are given the responsibility of independently investigating allegations of waste, fraud, and corruption in the government, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House. Last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which added new protections for IGs, including a measure requiring the president to give Congress 30 days prior notice before dismissing an IG. The president must also give Congress an explanation of why the action is needed. Then-Sen. Barack Obama was one of the co-sponsors of the Act.

Now, there is the hurried attempt to dismiss Walpin, without the required notice or cause...

The firing apparently stems from Walpin's investigation of a non-profit group, St. HOPE Academy, run by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California (and a big Obama supporter). "[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car," the AP reports. In April, the U.S. attorney declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and criticized Walpin's investigation. But at the same time Johnson and St. HOPE agreed to repay about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.

Bottom line: The AmeriCorps IG accuses prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money. Prominent Obama supporter has to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money. Obama fires AmeriCorps IG."

Change we can believe in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Still More "Obamafacts"

Obamafacts are just like real facts, except they're not true. But it's ever so liberating to be able to make up "facts" to support your theories and worldview when the real facts don't. And it's especially nice when the MSM is too busy bowing before its Messiah to bother with little things like truth.

Victor Davis Hanson has a nice, if incomplete, collection of Obamafacts about history in this article.

On Obama's Cairo speech,

"Obama also insisted that 'Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.' Yet the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478; by then Cordoba had long been re-conquered by Spanish Christians, and was governed as a staunchly Christian city.

In reference to Iraq, President Obama promised that 'no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.' Is he unaware of how the United States imposed democracies after World War II?

Obama also stated: 'For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights...'

The only thing that ended slavery in the United States was the Civil War, which saw some 600,000 Americans — the vast majority of them white — lost in a violent struggle to ensure that nearly half the country would not remain a slave-owning society."

The problem with Obamafacts is that they lead to Obama's policies, based on make believe, which don't work as well when they collide with the world of real facts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get ready for major inflation

Arthur Laffer is the economist who created the famous "Laffer Curve" showing that higher tax rates can result in lower tax revenues. In this article in the WSJ, he points out that:

"The percentage increase in the monetary base is the largest increase in the past 50 years by a factor of 10 (see chart nearby). It is so far outside the realm of our prior experiential base that historical comparisons are rendered difficult if not meaningless."

As a result, "The 12-month growth rate of M1 [one of the main measures of money in circulation] is now in the 15% range, and close to its highest level in the past half century...

It's difficult to estimate the magnitude of the inflationary and interest-rate consequences of the Fed's actions because, frankly, we haven't ever seen anything like this in the U.S. To date what's happened is potentially far more inflationary than were the monetary policies of the 1970s, when the prime interest rate peaked at 21.5% and inflation peaked in the low double digits. Gold prices went from $35 per ounce to $850 per ounce, and the dollar collapsed on the foreign exchanges. It wasn't a pretty picture...

Alas, I doubt very much that the Fed will do what is necessary to guard against future inflation and higher interest rates. If the Fed were to reduce the monetary base by $1 trillion, it would need to sell a net $1 trillion in bonds. This would put the Fed in direct competition with Treasury's planned issuance of about $2 trillion worth of bonds over the coming 12 months. Failed auctions would become the norm and bond prices would tumble, reflecting a massive oversupply of government bonds...

In addition, a rapid contraction of the monetary base as I propose would cause a contraction in bank lending, or at best limited expansion. This is exactly what happened in 2000 and 2001 when the Fed contracted the monetary base the last time. The economy quickly dipped into recession. While the short-term pain of a deepened recession is quite sharp, the long-term consequences of double-digit inflation are devastating. For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke it's a Hobson's choice. For me the issue is how to protect assets for my grandchildren."

It's not widely known that the major cause of the 1930's depression was ill-advised manipulation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve. It looks like we are on track for a repeat of this devastating episode of economic history. Ben Bernanke has let the inflationary genie out of the bottle, and as Arthur Laffer has shown, it will cause tremendous economic pain to get it back in. Mr. Bernanke will almost undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst Fed chairmen ever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Income Inequality"

Perhaps the central fallacy of liberalism/socialism is that capitalism causes the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. This is simply impossible in a free market economy, because it is the capital of the "rich" which makes possible jobs which lift people out of poverty.

Since jobs must be financed with capital, more rich means more capital, which provides more jobs, so there are fewer poor. It's really that simple.

Anyone who doubts that formula should look at the overwhelming evidence. The wealthiest countries have the most rich people and the fewest poor. According to Marx and his benighted followers, it should be just the opposite.

However, their mantra, ignorant as it is, is still powerful among the economically illiterate, which includes essentially all liberals. As the great development economist Peter Bauer pointed out, it's quite possible for economists to get PhD's by studying some point of arcane minutia without having an understanding of basic economic principles. One must assume that most liberal economists fall into this category.

This article points out a number of the fallacies in the way income distribution data is typically presented. However, it seems to miss one very important point. Even if the top income bracket increases its share of total income, that doesn't mean the lower brackets receive less absolute income. To the contrary, that is an artifact of basic arithmetic.

By definition the lowest income brackets are closest to zero, which forms one end of the scale, since income statistics don't go below zero. By contrast, there is no limit on the upper end of the scale, so billionaires can make twice as much while all the other brackets earn more as well. In fact, when the richest percent of Americans make substantially more, that means they have substantially more to invest providing jobs for people in the lower brackets.

So taking money away from the richest percentage directly reduces the amount they have to invest in providing jobs, thus reducing income growth and increasing unemployment across the board. The socialist program of reducing income inequality by heavily taxing the rich inevitably creates higher unemployment and poverty, just the outcomes socialists say they oppose.

As their modern alliance with environmentalists shows, socialists really don't have the slightest concern for the poor. Virtually every environmentalist initiative, cheered on by socialists, hurts the poor. But the economic ignorance of the voting public allows their mindless mantra "the rich get richer while the poor get poorer" to continue to do its incredible damage to the very poor they claim to be helping.

In fact, both the environmentalist and socialist movements are all about gaining power, not about helping people or the environment. With the help of the supine major media, they're both much more successful in that endeavor than in achieving their stated goals.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Obama's Cairo speech

Mr. Hitchens can be a wickedly good writer, though he is wickedly wrong about Christianity. In this case, however, he has some interesting points about both Guantanamo and Obama's speech in Cairo. On Gitmo,

"Nothing prepared me for the way in which the authorities at the camp have allowed the most extreme religious cultists among the inmates to be the organizers of the prisoners' daily routine. Suppose that you were a secular or unfanatical person caught in the net by mistake; you would still find yourself being compelled to pray five times a day (the guards are not permitted to interrupt), to have a Quran in your cell, and to eat food prepared to halal (or Sharia) standards.

I suppose you could ask to abstain, but, in such a case, I wouldn't much fancy your chances...I asked how they justified the use of taxpayers' money to create an institution dedicated to the fervent practice of the most extreme version of just one religion...[Gitmo is] a state-sponsored madrasah."

On the Cairo speech,

"Any person with the smallest pretense to cultural literacy knows that there is no such place or thing as 'the Muslim world,' or, rather, that it consists of many places and many things. (It is precisely the aim of the jihadists to bring it all under one rulership preparatory to making Islam the world's only religion.) But Obama said nothing about the schism between Sunni and Shiites, or about the argument over Sufism, or about Ahmadi and Ismaili forms of worship and practice.

All this was conceded to the umma: the highly ideological notion that a person is first and foremost defined by their adherence to a religion and that all concepts of citizenship and rights take second place to this theocratic diktat. Nothing could be more reactionary.

Take the single case in which our president touched upon the best-known fact about the Islamic 'world': its tendency to make women second-class citizens. He mentioned this only to say that 'Western countries' were discriminating against Muslim women! And how is this discrimination imposed?

By limiting the wearing of the head scarf or hijab (a word that Obama pronounced as hajib—imagine the uproar if George Bush had done that). The clear implication was an attack on the French law that prohibits the display of religious garb or symbols in state schools...

But to the women who are compelled to dress according to the requirements of others, Obama had nothing to say at all, as if the only "right" at stake were the right to obey an instruction that is, in fact—if it matters—not found in the Quran. In Turkey, too, head scarves for women are outlawed in some contexts. Is this, too, Islamophobia?

Does the president think that the veil and the burqa are also freely chosen fashion statements? This sort of naiveté is worrying, and it means that among the global Muslim audience, the wrong sort of people were laughing at us, while the ones who ought to be our friends and allies were shedding a disappointed tear."

More "Obamafacts"

As has been mentioned here a number of times previously, the "facts" in Obama's mind don't have to correlate with the facts everyone else except the media sees. Yet another example from a recent Karl Rove column in the WSJ:

"Mr. Obama has an ingenious approach to job losses: He describes them as job gains. For example, last week the president claimed that 150,000 jobs had been created or saved because of his stimulus package. He boasted, 'And that's just the beginning.'

However, at the beginning of January, 134.3 million people were employed. At the start of May, 132.4 million Americans were working. How was Mr. Obama magically able to conjure this loss of 1.9 million jobs into an increase of 150,000 jobs?"

Rove points out that, of course "the White House press corps has let Mr. Obama's ludicrous claim go virtually unchallenged."

An Obamacare poster (or two)

From Michelle Malkin come these "advertisements" for Obamacare. If it can't be stopped, we'll all have to get used to pain, suffering, and dying unnecessarily. That's change we can believe in.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Obama's "stimulus" is failing according to his own projections

As this article points out, the economy is doing worse than it would have done without any "stimulus" spending, according to the Obama administration's own projections. Of course, the whole premise of "stimulus" spending has been discredited by 70 years of failure by governments around the world.

The last major trial of "stimulus" in the United States during the 1970's led to stagflation, that wonderful combination of high unemployment, low economic growth, and high inflation. Remember the "misery index"?

The fact is that there is no logical basis for the theory of stimulus through deficit spending. More importantly, it has never worked in practice. However, since one of the key criteria for major media personalities is a complete lack of economic knowledge, the term "stimulus" is repeated as if it actually means something.

Not only does "stimulus" not stimulate, it actually makes things much worse, and we are now starting to see the economic trend lines diverge in a negative direction from Obama's own projections of what would have happened had he not spent any of the trillion plus taxpayer dollars on so called "stimulus".

The old saying is that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. There are lots of historical illiterates out there, and it appears they have doomed the rest of us to repeat some very painful economic lessons.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama's new industrial policy looks just like old industrial policy

Barack Obama assured Americans that his takeover of the auto industry was done reluctantly, and that the government wouldn't try to manage the companies directly. That policy didn't last long enough for him to finish the sentence.

Now Congressmen are doing what they do best, looking out for their constituents by interfering in the companies' restructuring efforts. The latest example is by that paragon of Congressional virtue, Barney Frank, "who intervened this week to save a GM distribution center in Norton, Mass. The warehouse, which employs some 90 people, was slated for closure by the end of the year under GM's restructuring plan. But Mr. Frank put in a call to GM CEO Fritz Henderson and secured a new lease on life for the facility.

Mr. Frank's spokesman, Harry Gural, says the Congressman discussed, among other things, 'the facility's value to GM.' We'd have thought that would be something that GM might have considered when it decided to close the Norton center, but then a call from one of the most powerful Members of Congress can certainly cause a ward of the state to reconsider what qualifies as 'value.'

A CEO who refuses the offer can soon find himself testifying under oath before Congress, or answering questions from the Government Accountability Office about his expense account. To that point, Mr. Henderson spent Wednesday with Chrysler President Jim Press being castigated by the Senate Commerce Committee for their plans to close 3,400 car dealerships. Every Senator wants dealerships closed in someone else's state."

So our new industrial policy looks exactly like the old industrial policy of governments that own large businesses. The ink's hardly dry on the takeover documents before business decisions are subject to political interference at every level. Welcome to Government Motors.

John Murtha, a modern Pharaoh

In ancient times, Pharaohs forced their subjects to build pyramids as monuments to themselves. Now the modern Pharaoh, Congressman John Murtha has forced taxpayers to build an unused airport as a monument to himself. This ABC news report shows what an incredible waste of money this airport is.

Remember when candidate Barack Obama promised to scan the federal budget line by line to excise any wasteful spending? If you do, you have a better memory than he has.

If any of your liberal friends try to argue that a federal takeover of the healthcare system will reduce costs, send them this link. If the feds take over healthcare, we can look forward to the John Murtha unused medical center monument, and all our other little Pharaohs will want medical monuments of their very own.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eric Holder bans honest elections

Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has always been a political hack of the first order. During the Clinton years he sued banks for not making enough sub-prime mortgages, thus helping to instigate the downward spiral in lending standards that led to the current economic meltdown.

Now he's at work preventing the state of Georgia from verifying the identity of voters so the massive illegal population can vote with impunity. This is electoral corruption on a huge scale.

"Georgia's secretary of state, Karen Handel, has blasted DOJ's move:

'The decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to deny preclearance of Georgia’s already implemented citizenship verification process shows a shocking disregard for the integrity of our elections. With this decision, DOJ has now barred Georgia from continuing the citizenship verification program that DOJ lawyers helped to craft. DOJ’s decision also nullifies the orders of two federal courts directing Georgia to implement the procedure for the 2008 general election.

DOJ has thrown open the door for activist organizations such as ACORN to register non-citizens to vote in Georgia’s elections, and the state has no ability to verify an applicant’s citizenship status or whether the individual even exists. DOJ completely disregarded Georgia’s obvious and direct interest in preventing non-citizens from voting, instead siding with the ACLU and MALDEF. Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy.'"

No doubt the MSM will bury this story like all the other stories showing the Obama administration's disregard for the law and for honest elections. That's why people have to read blogs to understand what is going on.

The key question is what can be done about it, but the first step is to let everyone know what's happening.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Check out PJTV

As internet speeds increase, on-demand video is getting more and more common. This is leading to the ability to create the equivalent of network news programs on the internet at a small fraction of the cost. Ultimately, internet TV news may do to NBC and the other left wing news broadcasts what the blogs and Craig's List are doing to liberal newspapers.

One such conservative TV website is PJTV, which offers a large number of video news and analysis clips on topics of the day. One such clip is on the subject of media bias by internet reporter Bill Whittle. It's well worth watching.

Another program is the news analysis by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt is a former attorney, a relentless interviewer on his radio program, as well as a blogger and columnist. His TV segments radiate the kind of intelligence that is so obviously lacking in virtually all TV news venues.

Many of us have shifted away from major newspapers to the blogs for more and more print reporting. It's time to begin shifting away from the insipid, biased TV news as well, and turn to internet sites like PJTV. If we can keep the 1st Amendment intact, we should learn a lot more from internet TV news than from the dying relics of the MSM.

Obama has decided we are "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world"

One of the interesting aspects of the Obama presidency is his tendency to state "facts" that are completely false without being called to account by the MSM. If George Bush had mis-stated half the phony facts Obama comes up with, he might have been accused by the MSM of being a dunce - or, actually, he was accused of being a dunce.

But no matter how many false "facts" Obama cites in major speeches, there is no danger anyone in the MSM will accuse him of being a dunce, especially when they're bowing to him, as shown below.

His latest false "fact" is the statement that America is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Not only are we not one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, we aren't a Muslim country at all.

So we can add this to the ever growing list of phony facts which Obama apparently believes. We're told he's a very smart guy - whatever he believes, true or not.

Now media bigwigs are bowing before Obama

Here's a Youtube video showing NBC's Brian Williams bowing to his Messiah. Just when you think the media can't go any lower in their groveling before the Anointed One, they show us they can.

A trillion for "stimulus", and now they're running out of cash for roads!?!?

According to this article, "The Obama administration said as much as $17 billion in additional federal money is needed to maintain roads and bridges over the next two years...

The highway trust fund will need an injection of as much as $7 billion by September or states would not receive all the money they are counting on to finance construction projects later this year, the administration said.

In addition, the fund will need as much as $10 billion more, or roughly 25% of what it distributes to states each year for road work, in the 12 months after September"

Wasn't infrastructure such as roads supposed to be one of the primary beneficiaries of the trillion dollar porkulus, excuse me, stimulus spending package? How is this even conceivably, remotely, imaginably possible? Are we living in some alternate universe where words and facts have completely lost their meaning?

Oh that's right, we're living in the Age of Obama, where a trillion dollars in spending is authorized, and there is apparently no money available to spend. But don't worry, Democratic lawmakers are on the case, "trying to identify new money sources to maintain the nation's infrastructure." Right, now we get it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 100 billion dollar payoff to the UAW

The United Auto Workers went all out for candidate Obama in the 2008 election, and Obama is now repaying the union with about a hundred billion dollars in taxpayer money. Talk about return on investment!

The so-called bailout of Chrysler and GM is not about saving the companies - that could have been done more effectively with a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing similar to that which most of the airline industry went through in the past several years. The problem was, that would have put unsupportable union wages and benefits at risk.

The airline and auto industries were both driven to bankruptcy by union demands that amounted to a choice between bankruptcy now or later. If the companies didn't agree to past contracts, strikes would have killed them on the spot, so it was always better to cave then and postpone the inevitable until later.

Well, later finally became now, and virtually the entire airline industry endured bankruptcies that wiped out stockholders, but resulted in reductions in extravagant union contracts that kept the companies from going completely out of business.

That could have been the route the auto industry took as well, but that didn't suit the UAW. With their political ally in the White House, the unions made a special deal that will cost the American taxpayers about $100 billion to enable these moribund companies to continue to fund lavish wages and benefits for current employees and retirees, but will do little to improve their competitiveness in the long run.

We now have a government run auto industry that will continue to lose tens of billions a year making cars the government wants, not what customers want. Taxpayers will be asked to pony up again and again as this financial black hole continues to suck in and destroy capital that could have been used for productive investments.

But this is not to rescue the companies, it is to pay off their unions. For the millions they spent to elect Barack Obama, they are getting a thousand to one return on their investment. Democrats love to bleat about corporate corruption. The auto union bailout is an example of political corruption on a colossal scale.

Yet another example of back to basics education working in inner city schools

This article in the LA Times, of all places, tells about 3 inner city charter schools in Oakland, CA which score near the top of all California public schools using an unapologetic approach which emphasizes discipline, hard work, and traditional values.

"Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: 'We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multicultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.'"

"School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded 'self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,' to quote the school's website."

How well does this approach work?

"Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serves mostly underprivileged children."

Don't expect public schools to embrace this model any time soon. Only competition can force the public school monopoly to make the kind of real changes necessary to emulate success stories like this.