Saturday, August 13, 2011

Government to Punish S&P for Downgrade

It’s a little too early to really tell what is going on here, but it certainly looks suspicious to me that a week after the rating agency Standard &Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government, we now have the Securities and Exchange Commission starting an insider-trading investigation of who inside S&P worked on the downgrade. This comes on top of an announced Senate probe into S&P’s decision.

I’ve long argued for reducing the role and influence of the rating agencies when it comes to financial regulation. One of the few things the Dodd-Frank Act got correct was pushing for a reduction in regulators’ reliance on the rating agencies. But still, it is nothing short of hypocritical for the same parties who complained that the agencies were too late on mortgages to complain they are too early when it comes to the federal government.

The decisions by the other two major ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, to not downgrade U.S. debt was just as important as S&P’s decision. Are they going to be investigated too? My bet is not. You really have to wonder what our country has come to when you cannot speak an obvious truth without getting investigated by the government. So much for free speech.

Posted by Mark A. Calabria

"The Nazi war machine couldn't break the British, but the modern welfare state has

OUCH! Damn that truth hurts!


Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country.

Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the "disabled" (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.

Congratulations, Britain! You've barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap!

With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.

I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state.

In 2008, a 9-year-old British girl, Shannon Matthews, disappeared on her way home from a school trip. The media leapt on the case -- only to discover that Shannon was one of seven children her mother, Karen, had produced with five different men.

The first of these serial sperm-donors explained: "Karen just goes from one bloke to the next, uses them to have a kid, grabs all the child benefits and moves on."

Poor little Shannon eventually turned up at the home of one of her many step-uncles -- whose ex-wife, by the way, was the mother of six children with three different fathers.

(Is Father's Day celebrated in England? If so, how?)

The Daily Mail (London) traced the family's proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn't break the British, but the modern welfare state has.

A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian island of Goa. The trip was paid for -- like everything else in her life -- with government benefits.

(When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I'm drawing a blank, too.)

While in Goa, Fiona took her entourage on a side-trip, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, in the capable hands of a 25-year-old local whom Scarlett had begun sleeping with, perhaps hoping to get a head-start on her own government benefits. A few weeks later, Scarlett turned up dead, full of drugs, raped and murdered.

Scarlett's estranged stepfather later drank himself to death, while her brother Silas announced on his social networking page: "My name is Si, n I spend most my life either out wit mates get drunk or at partys, playing rugby or going to da beach (pretty s**t really)."

It's a wonder that someone like Silas, who has never worked, and belongs to a family in which no one has ever worked, can afford a cellphone for social networking. No, actually, it's not.

Britain has a far more redistributive welfare system than France, which is why France's crime problem is mostly a matter of Muslim immigrants, not French nationals. Meanwhile, England's welfare state is fast returning the native population to its violent 18th-century highwaymen roots.

Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.

But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation's history of racism.

None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.

Democrats would be delighted if violent mobs like those in Britain arose here -- perhaps in Wisconsin! That would allow them to introduce yet more government programs staffed by unionized public employees, as happened after the 1992 L.A. riots and the 1960s race riots, following the recommendations of the Kerner Commission.

MSNBC might even do the unthinkable and offer Al Sharpton his own TV show. (Excuse me -- someone's trying to get my attention ... WHAT?)

Inciting violent mobs is the essence of the left's agenda: Promote class warfare, illegitimate children and an utterly debased citizenry.

Like the British riot girls interviewed by the BBC, the Democrats tell us "all of this happened because of the rich people."

We're beginning to see the final result of that idea in Britain. The welfare state creates a society of beasts. Meanwhile, nonjudgmental elites don't dare condemn the animals their programs have created.

Rioters in England are burning century-old family businesses to the ground, stealing from injured children lying on the sidewalks and forcing Britons to strip to their underwear on the street.

I keep reading that it's because they don't have jobs -- which they're obviously anxious to hold. Or someone called them a "kaffir." Or their social services have been reduced. Or their Blackberries made them do it. Or they disapprove of a referee's call in a Manchester United game.

A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can't find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there's no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill or Edmund Burke in these crowds.

But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for -- which is fortunate since most of their cops don't have guns.

This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the "Heil Hitler" salute and singing the "Horst Wessel Song."

1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106



President Barack Obama is ignoring heated concerns from within his own administration that new Environmental Protection Agency coal industry regulations will be economically devastating.

The EPA is plowing forward with new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) mandates. The regulations would force coal energy plants to install giant scrubber-like materials inside smokestacks to capture and cleanse carbon particles before their atmospheric release.

The upgrade cost would fall on company employees and coal miners in the form of layoffs, as well as on businesses, which could expect to pay more for energy.

In a lengthy letter to EPA Director Lisa Jackson, Obama’s Small Business Administration advocacy office wrote the EPA “may have significantly understated” the economic “burden this rulemaking would impose on small entities.”

One Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president, Tonya Fischer, told The Daily Caller the entire state of Indiana would be “devastated” by these regulations. “We are definitely in opposition to [the MACT regulations] because it would be devastating for the state of Indiana.” She adds that local businesses, which are struggling with the tough economy already, would be forced to pick up the extra energy production costs Obama’s EPA is pushing. “We get 95 percent of our electricity from coal.”

“The cost to convert those facilities would be passed on to the small business owners, or basically shut them [the coal energy producing facilities] down altogether,” Fischer said. “It would become cost-prohibitive for them [local businesses] to continue paying their electricity bills.”

If the EPA regulations aren’t halted, Fischer expects unemployment numbers in Indiana to skyrocket.
















A Leftist Farce Plays in Tel Aviv

It was probably the cottage cheese protests that gave the left an idea about how to regain a fraction of relevance. The notion was simple enough, shift away from the pro-terrorist protests and union strikes to a cost of living protest movement.

The Israeli left still commands international funding and attention, but it lacks domestic political representation. The Labor party is on its deathbed and the radical left has no hope of gaining anything beyond the usual handful of mandates. That leaves Kadima, the non-party created by corruptocrats, Sharon and Olmert.

Unsurprisingly for a party that only existed to ratify the personal power of its leaders, it has no real ideology. Kadima's only real platform is to get elected. Its leader by default, Livni, makes Olmert seem like a genius. Watching Livni try to give a speech, or even make a statement, tempts you to pit her in a binoculars competition against union thug and former defense minister Amir Peretz, who couldn't tell which side of them to look through.

Livni has her own binoculars problem. Not only does she keep looking through the wrong side of them, she also keeps looking in the wrong direction. Her only strategy for becoming Prime Minister has been expecting Obama to force out Netanyahu out so she can take over. If Israeli archeologists keep finding Second Temple relics, Kadima has found itself a Second Temple politician so dimwitted as to think that Obama is a latter day Roman emperor whose legions will march in to imprison Netanyahu and make her into his puppet.

Finally a taste of cottage cheese has convinced the left that it needs to let go of Rabin and become a revolutionary socialist movement. Unfortunately the only oppressed they're interested in are Ashkenazi middle-class activists in Tel Aviv complaining that housing is too expensive. Imagine Sean Penn as the representative of the Rent is Too Damn High party, and you get some idea of how pathetic all this is.

Take the number of housing activists protesting in Tel Aviv, divide by the politics of the media outlets involved, and then subtract common sense-- and you'll come closer to the actual number. Which is probably less than the voting rolls for Meretz, a left-wing party resembling what the city of Berkeley might be like if it turned into a political party, and still much less influential than any decent sized union.

But fortunately Meretz members are concentrated in all the right places, like Tel Aviv and the media. Which makes a protest movement easier. Normal people with college degrees being supported by their parents would find something shameful about staging a protest calling for a welfare state. But when your only job is trying to play guitar while empathizing with the plight of Gazans who don't even have electric guitars-- shame is not a word you use often.

Tel Aviv is admittedly a tragedy. One of the 50 most overpopulated cities in the world, worse than Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Cape Town. Why would housing in a city with a higher population density than Tokyo be so ridiculously expensive? It's one of those questions that can be answered by anyone who isn't an idiot. But not being an idiot is a disqualifier for participating in middle class protests for a welfare state.

The best way to lower the price of housing isn't with government projects, but by lowering population density. And the biggest enemies of expanding housing territory is the left, which has waged an ongoing war to block housing in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Ethnically cleanse the Jews of Gaza and discover that those people have to go somewhere too. And all of it affects housing prices.

The Negev pipe dream won't solve the problem. And none of the housing protesters are about to move there. Instead they want more housing in Gush Dan, already so overcrowded that in another generation it will look like Cairo. And government subsidized housing at that.

But really this isn't about housing. It's a chance for the left to rediscover the roots that it doesn't have anymore. The Ashkenazi middle-class leftist protests are a reminder of how out of touch the left is with the rest of the country. Imagine if the Democratic party had never been able to reach past Berkeley and you get some idea of how culturally disabled the Israeli left is.

Tel Aviv has become Israel's California-- a dysfunctional overcrowded bubble that believes it's the heart of the country, crowded with subcultures that imagine they're creative and unique when they're actually just the dilettante sons and daughters of the old elite, with migrant criminals to do the dirty work and an infrastructure and traffic situation just short of critical.

But Tel Aviv is really just as out of touch with the rest of the country, as America's coastal elites. The tantrums being thrown in the streets are just another example of that. In a country where many children go to bed hungry, and others expect to run to bomb shelters in the middle of the night, the antics of the spoiled brats waving their Keffiyahs and strumming their guitars appear pathetic and disgusting.

Much of the country does have a bone to pick with the government. With every government. But the left's attempt to manufacture its own version of the Arab Spring isn't about economics, it's about politics.

Kadima and Meretz can't win on appeasing terrorists, but this is their shot at riding popular discontent to the top. Pity for them that Israel has elections. And no amount of chanting in Tel Aviv will convince the army to stick Netanyahu in a cage. The left can take another swing, and maybe score a few runs on social issues, but the average Israeli isn't stupid enough to think that voting left will mean any benefits without Protektsia. And the chief beneficiaries of Protektsia are the sons of the old families throwing their Tel Aviv tantrums.

Most Israelis like their protests. Like Italy, Greece and the rest of the Med-- a round of protests is good popular entertainment. But the ubiquity of the Israeli protest only highlights its ineffectiveness. A 100,000 strong protest in a vast country like the United States is notable. A 100,000 man protest in a small country like Israel is just another week. Protests don't get results, they discharge anger and tension. They remind the government and everyone else that here are people who don't like the way things are and want a change.

But what does the left really want to change about Israel? It wants to roll back the calendar to 1943 when their institutions were dominant, and the Jews of Europe were being turned into Weizmann's dust on the wheels of history courtesy of the Nazi gas chamber. Before the country was overrun by Mizrahi and Russians, and the Nationalist Right was rotting in British prisons. When Israel was on the verge of being swept into another Arab kingdom, to flicker as a small candle of industry at the service of another backward state.

That would be madness, but madness is the only thing that the left has to offer anymore. Combined with ignorance, self-pity and outrage for the sake of outrage. If the Old Left and the New Left had ideas, the New New Left is nothing but brats with degrees in journalism and EU grants to undermine their own country. The truly successful variety move to Europe or America, where they use their background of entitlement and complete lack of manners to fit in perfectly with the domestic left.

Some of these brats have already washed up on American shores. Rahm Emanuel and Jeremy Ben Ami are prime examples of the breed. Smart enough to do the bidding of their betters with an eye to their own careers. And though the Tel Aviv protesters may seem stupid and may even be so-- their protests are also a form of careerism. If they make enough noise and get their names in the paper, they may find jobs as poets, musicians, novelists or professional activists. Enough noise may get them into a party that may get them into the Knesset. And then they'll never have to work again.

That is the trajectory of the Israeli left, which has gone from the fields of the Kibbutz to lazing about in tent cities because real estate prices in one of the most overcrowded cities in the world aren't to their liking.

The Israeli left has become a movement of dilettantes, of losers who will turn traitor for a few Euros and 15 minutes of fame. Its great dream is to move to Paris or London and crank out anti-Israel articles for the Guardian. It has no compass and no shame. It confuses its vulgarity with cleverness and its drug fueled sentimentality with ideals. It began in the factories and the fields, it ends now in a vulgar political ploy of tent cities set up by the lazy sons of the rich. The Tel Aviv protests are not the revival of the left, they are its death.

The Obama Hockey Stick: The Only Graph You Need to See

So the Democrats want more revenue? Seriously?

[This week] for the first time in history U.S debt was downgraded. The Left still denies that President Obama has a lot of responsibility for this situation, instead laying blame on Republican refusal to raise taxes on the rich.

As I have written previously, it is dishonest to give voters the impression that tax increases on the rich is a solution to the deficit. In the latest projection by the Congressional Budget Office, the ten year deficit is estimated at 13 trillion dollars. By contrast, Obama’s various tax increases on the rich will only bring in 1 trillion in the same period.

The 13 trillion dollar deficit which the President helped create and long terms entitlement deficits are the main reason why S&P downgraded U.S debt, not the 1 trillion in tax increases which Republicans prevented...

...As a response to the economic crises and based on ideological conviction, President Obama decided to expand federal non-defense spending more than any President in recent history. This unprecedented expansion of government can perhaps be justified by orthodox Keynesianism. But we should not allow the left to deny the magnitude of expansion itself, which they are trying to do.

...What emerges is what I refer to as the Obama Hockey Stick, parallel to the IPCC global warming Hockey Stick. While federal Non-defense spending was quite constant previous to Obama, it has risen rapidly under his administration...

Spending is the problem. Spending is the only problem.

Obamacare Funded Health Centers Won't Check Immigration Status

They had to pass Obamacare so we could find out what’s in it. Every new revelation brings more bad news. The latest is that the federal government will fund migrant health care centers that won’t be checking the immigration status of patients. We should just put up a sign at the border that says “Enter illegally and get free health care.” Good grief.

CNS News reported:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Tuesday that it has awarded $28.8 million to 67 community health centers with funds from the Obamacare health reform law.

Of that $28.8 million, “approximately $8.5 million will be used by 25 New Access Point awardees to target services to migrant and seasonal farm workers,” Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Spokeswoman Judy Andrews told HRSA is a part of HHS.

Andrews said that grant recipients will not check the immigration status of people seeking services.

“Health centers do not, as a matter of routine practice, ask about or collect data on citizenship or other matters not related to the treatment needs of the patients seeking health services at the center,” Andrews said.

Further, the grant recipients are required to serve ”all residents” who walk through their doors. (Read More)

I guess Joe Wilson was right. (Via Fox Nation)

The Peter Principle liberal personified Voegeli responds to Weisberg

One Solution? Let's Prohibit People From Voting if Their SAT Scores are Lower Than Jacob Weisberg's

Even for those conservatives who are not unreservedly pro-Tea Party, it gets ever easier to be anti-anti-Tea Party. The latest evidence that the Tea Party is fortunate in its detractors comes from Slate's Jacob Weisberg. The culmination of his Krugmanic argument that wise and necessary economic policies are being thwarted by troglodytes is the assertion "that there's no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people." Weisberg doesn't explain how he arrives at this doleful conclusion, apparently feeling he would be wasting keystrokes trying to lay out the bitter truth for readers so dim they haven't already grasped it. The core problem, apparently, is that complicated matters are, well, complicated and the American people are, well, simple.

Given the entire rhetorical cast of his article, which never admits the possibility that the complex choices before our republic are ones about which decent and reasonable people can disagree, there's every reason to believe that what qualifies as successfully explaining complicated matters to the American people, in Weisberg's mind, is getting a large majority of them to assent to Weisberg's policy preferences. The healthy thing for a small-d democrat to do after a political defeat or disappointment is to commit new energies and arguments to the task of persuading his fellow-citizens to adopt his viewpoint. Weisberg is having none of that. If the American people don't agree with him it's because they're stupid, and our experiment in self-government cannot possibly survive such stupidity. We are, instead, doomed to a slow, "excruciating form of self-destruction."

Weisberg's article is the latest attack on the Tea Party that inadvertently clarifies why there is a Tea Party. As Walter Russell Mead argued this week, it's "impossible to grasp the crisis of the progressive enterprise unless one grasps the degree to which voters resent the condescension and arrogance of know-it-all progressive intellectuals and administrators.... The fight for limited government that animates so many Americans today ... is a fight to break the power of a credentialed elite that believe themselves entitled by talent and hard work to a greater say in the nation's affairs than people who scored lower on standardized tests and studied business administration in cheap colleges rather than political science in expensive ones."

Or, as another observer wrote last year, "Our new meritocratic masters have been more conspicuously smart than wise. They know a lot, but don't know what they don't know.... Their expectation that the rest of us will be deferential to their expertise, like citizens of European nations that are social but not especially political democracies, has triggered the Tea Party backlash, and the resurgence of the 'Don't Tread on Me' spirit."

The problem is not that it's impossible to explain complicated matters to the American people. It's that the people who have been making the explanations don't seem to understand the complexities quite as thoroughly as they imagine: "A leadership class that actually improved ordinary Americans' security and opportunities would be forgiven condescension ... It's when the people running the country are both disrespectful and ineffectual that folks get angry." For example, well-educated and utterly self-confident elected officials told us, over and over, that a key part of their economic recovery plans was for the federal government to devote billions of borrowed dollars to "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects, only to admit a year later that "shovel-ready" is more of a punchline than a program.

The American people can be forgiven for tuning out such leaders. It's not because they use big words or complicated equations. It's because, despite the words and equations, they don't really seem to know what they're talking about. It's not a complicated phenomenon. Perhaps someday even Jacob Weisberg will comprehend it.

by William Voegeli

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Screenshots of the Government’s Admission That James O’Keefe Did Not Attempt to Tamper With Landrieu’s Phones

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Screenshots of the Government’s Admission That James O’Keefe Did Not Attempt to Tamper With Landrieu’s Phones

It’s a court document signed by the Assistant U.S. Attorney representing the Government:

The document can be read in its entirety here.

As I noted in a more detailed post below, the Government sought to bury this admission by omitting it from their press release, and attempting to avoid reading it aloud in court when setting forth the factual basis.

I have updated that post to note that I have now obtained the filed version of the document, with the signature of the Government’s representative.

Now I think it’s time to start asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office why they tried to hide this language from the public.

It’s also time to ask Big Media why they aren’t reporting on this

Santorum: Why Do We Protect Rapist from Execution, But Not an Unborn Child?

( - In last night’s Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.) said that a country that decided it was not acceptable to execute a rapist but it was acceptable to abort a child conceived through rape “doesn’t have its morals correct.”

“You know, the Supreme Court of the United States on a recent case said that a man who committed rape could not be killed--could not be subject to the death penalty--yet the child conceived as a result of that rape could be,” said Santorum. “That to me sounds like a country that doesn't have its morals correct. That child did nothing wrong. That child is an innocent victim.”

Santorum was responding to a question that had been put to him by Byron York of the Washington Examiner, which sponsored the debate along with Fox News.

“You would allow no exceptions for [abortion in] cases of rape and incest,” said York. “Polls have long shown that large majorities of Americans support at least some exceptions for abortion. Are your views too much, even for many conservatives to support?”

Santorum did not back down from his defense of life, insisting that the life of every unborn child should be protected.

“To be victimized twice would be a horrible thing,” said Santorum . “It is an innocent human life. It is genetically human from the moment of conception. And it is a human life.

“And we in America should be big enough to try to surround ourselves and help women in those terrible situations who've been traumatized already,” said Santorum. “To put them through another trauma of an abortion I think is too much to ask. And so I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough.”

How Media Bias Is Revealed and What to Do About It

Newsweek magazine has brought the subject of media bias to the forefront with this week’s cover photo and headline. It features a photo of Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann with a crazed look behind the intentionally nasty headline, “Queen of Rage.” Even the most naïve reader could not believe the article would be anything close to an evenhanded look at who Ms. Bachmann is and what she stands for.

This might surprise some journalists, but readers/viewers are much smarter than most of them think they are. They can spot media bias a mile off even when members of the media think they are getting away with it. Here are seven transparent ways media bias is detected by readers/viewers and what journalists can do about it.

Context: A journalist might edit down a 25-word comment into five-words to make someone they don’t like look foolish. What to do about it: Be honest and keep quotes and themes in context.

Facts: Recently MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow played a quote by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh which she said was “made earlier this week.” It wasn’t. It was made over a year earlier, and it is highly likely the host knew it when she played it. What to do about it: Report the facts even if they are not as you want them to be.

Freaks and fringers: Media bias is spotted immediately when a journalist seeks out the most ridiculous representation of a subject or group they are covering. It happened many times with the media coverage of the tea party rallies as well as the Wisconsin state legislature’s battle over union issues earlier this year. What to do about it: Get your information from serious representatives and not freaks and fringers.

Lead or bury: Your bias will be established by what you lead with and what you bury or fail to report. It’s not always about what you say but what you don’t say that reveals your bias. What to do about it: Tell the whole story, not just the part you want told.

Bogus spokesman: Just because someone says they are conservative or liberal does not make them so. The con usually comes from people who claim to be conservative when they are not. Meghan McCain and David Frum come to mind. What to do about it: Don’t be naïve and check credentials before assigning labels.

Headlines: Newsweek’s “Queen of Rage” headline is a glaring example of media bias but there are many, many more. The front page of The Washington Post on August 3, 2010 reads, “Va. Driver had Record of DUIs Before Fatal Crash.” The story was about a drunken illegal alien who killed a nun but the headline writer did not like the sound of that headline. What to do about it: Write honest headlines.

Photos: You can tell the bias of an editor by looking at the kinds of photos he/she selects. Newsweek’s choice of the stern Bachman photo displayed their bias. A pro-Obama editor will use a charming picture of him while an anti-Obama editor will use an unattractive photo. Once again, they may think the readers/viewers don’t know what’s happening but they do. What to do about it: Use photos that tell the true story.

Don’t think you can sneak your bias into a story unnoticed. Your readers/viewers are smarter than you think and may even be smarter than you. Treat them with honest news coverage and recognize their intelligence. They will reward you with their loyalty and read your stuff with confidence.

If you can’t do that, admit your bias up front. Your candor will be refreshing to your readers.

Muslim "conscientious objector" doesn't object to killing American soldiers

A Muslim-American Army private was indicted yesterday on charges he intended to use firearms and explosives to kill American soldiers at Fort Hood. You remember Fort Hood, where another Muslim-American bent on jihad infiltrated our armed forces and killed 13 soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

But wait, here's the best part. This kid who was arrested before he could murder the Real Patriots serving alongside him? He claimed to be a pacifist. Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was approved as a conscientious objector after citing his Muslim beliefs.

Which would be the belief that it's forbidden by Allah for one Muslim to kill another. Even in a war. But killing American infidels? That's sanctioned by the Koran! It's his holy duty! The Palestinians are gonna pin a medal on him.

And yet there are people who wonder why I never take that Religion of Peace™ shit seriously.

Related post: Islam's Greatest Invention

Shared Sacrifice? Mrs. O'BuTTersworth Spent 42 Days on Vacation During Past Year

First Lady Michelle Obama over the last year has spent a total of 42 days on vacation, or a little more than one out of every nine days, according to a White House Dossier analysis of her travel.

Her vacations, the cost of which are mostly borne by taxpayers, include trips to Panama City, Fla., Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii, South Africa, Latin America, Vail, Colo., and her visit this week to her brother in Corvallis, Ore.

The total does not include a nine day sojourn in Martha’s Vineyard that the Obamas will enjoy this month. Nor does it include a trip she made to Ireland and Great Britain in May, which I’m counting as official travel.

The total vacation time would have been slightly higher had the Obamas gone as planned for an April weekend in Williamsburg, Va. The trip was cancelled due to an extended stalemate between President Obama and Congress over the budget.

Mrs. Obama’s extensive vacation travel comes while many America citizens find themselves out of work or having trouble making ends meet as the economic recovery stalls.

Taxpayers pick up most of the cost of transporting the first lady and her extensive entourage – including Secret Service and her staff – to her various destinations. While she may in some cases pay some of the tab for her personal expenses and travel, the amount is dwarfed by the overall cost to the public.

On trips she makes with the president, though, the costs are only somewhat greater that then they would have been had he travelled alone.

Mrs. Obama’s vacations began in August 2010 with a two day weekend trip to Panama City, Fla., where the Obamas stayed overnight at a Gulf of Mexico hotel in a symbolic effort to show that the Gulf area was safe for travel in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

Next up was what has become an annual pilgrimage to ritzy Martha’s Vineyard, where the Obamas stayed 10 days and dined at several exorbitantly priced restaurants.

In December 2010, with President Obama delayed because Congress was still in town, Mrs. Obama decided to leave without him for their annual Hawaiian vacation, racking up at least $63,000 in additional costs because she travelled alone.

Since the president arrived late, he decided to leave Hawaii in January two days later than scheduled – resulting in a 17 day vacation for the first lady.

Mrs. Obama went right back out on vacation the following month, taking a four day skiing trip in February of this year to Vail, Colo.

In March, Mrs. Obama travelled to Latin America for a five day trip. I’m counting two days of this as vacation, though, because she took her children and her mother along, performed some sightseeing, and went to the beach.

The first lady went to southern Africa in June for six days in what was partially an official visit. Since Mrs. Obama took her mother, her children and their cousins along, since the trip was billed in advance as having personal significance for her, and since the travel included several tourist destinations and a safari, I’m counting half of the journey as vacation, or three days.

Finally, Mrs, Obama took her mother and one of her children to visit her brother in Corvallis, Ore. this week. The trip was not announced by the White House and appears to have lasted four days.

by Keith Koffler

2011 Cost of Government Day: August 12

Americans have to work 224 days to pay the full cost of government

Every year, Americans for Tax Reform Foundation publishes its Cost of Government Day report, which calculates the day on the calendar year until which the average American must work to pay for the full costs of government spending and regulation. The study is available online at “Highlights” of the report are as follows:
Overall government burden: This year, Cost of Government Day falls on August 12, meaning Americans labor a full 224 days into the year to pay for local, state and federal government spending and regulations.

Impact of Obama overspending: Americans have lost 29 days of the calendar year thanks to Obama’s overspending and regulatory zeal. 2011 marks the third straight year COGD has fallen in August. Prior to the Obama Administration, COGD had never fallen later than July 21.

Stimulus, bailouts, and federal spending: The effects of the bailouts and failed “stimulus” plan are still being felt by Americans, who must work a full 103 days to pay for the costs of federal spending.

State and local government spending: Americans spend 44 days working to pay off state and local government spending.

Regulatory burden of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank: Americans are forced to labor 77 days to pay for total federal regulations, a workload that will increase exponentially with the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known more popularly as Obamacare.

Cost of Government Day in the fifty states: The report also measures varying government burdens in each state to calculate their respective state Cost of Government Day. As in past years, taxpayers in Connecticut must work the latest to celebrate their COGD, laboring all the way until September 10 to pay off the full costs of government. Taxpayers in Mississippi worked the shortest amount of time to pay off their burden off government, laboring until July 19.

Case Studies: The report also details the impact on COGD of many factors in the growing cost of government. Case studies in the report discuss: The Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul which will severely increase the number of days Americans must work to pay off the regulatory burden; Obamacare, which will fail to rein in health care costs and continue to increase federal spending; The EPA, which has pursued an aggressive regulatory agenda that will further stall economic recovery.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release

Democrats More Interested in Fundraising than Nation’s Future

With appointment of Van Hollen, Clyburn, and Becerra, House Dems follow the lead of the Senate in undermining seriousness of Congressional “Super Committee."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her appointments to the "Super Committee," created by the debt deal, tasked with reining in $1.5 trillion in federal spending. Following the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, these political appointments mimic tax-and-spenders' efforts to prevent significant spending reform in Congress.

With the appointment of former DCCC Chairman Van Hollen, Clyburn, and Becerra, House Democrats, like the Senate counterparts appear to be aiming to undermine any attempt at serious reform in the Joint Committee. Democrats have now chosen the former top fundraiser for Democrats in the House and current top fundraiser, DSCC Chair Patty Murray, in the Senate to lead Congress's efforts to deal with the country's fiscal mess.

Democrats are clearly more interested in turning the next three months into campaign contributions than making the tough choices about our nation's fiscal future. As Politico points out, Representative Becerra wasted no time in seeking to bring in some campaign cash merely two hours after Pelosi's announcement, asking $1500/plate for a fundraiser at the end of the month.

In 2010, after the biggest Congressional Republican victory since Grover Cleveland’s administration, one would think that Congressional Democrats would be willing to get serious about reform in Washington. Sadly it seems that this is simply not true. It seems for them, that using their position on the Super Committee to raise a few thousand dollars is more important than putting our country on a path to prosperity. With the debt deal specifying that the absence of a comprehensive $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan will not give the President enough borrowing authority to go past the next election, the Democrats’ purely political appointments must raise some eyebrows; if they decide to use the committee as a campaign stump instead of a serious policy tool, are they trying to throw their president’s re-election under the bus? Only time will tell.

NLRB Refuses to Comply With House Oversight Subpoena

Time for prison!

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) claimed on Friday that the National Labor Relations Board had refused to comply with a subpoena the committee issued on Sunday. The subpoena asked for documents related to the NLRB’s action against Boeing, and requested they be sent by today at noon.

“The National Labor Relations Board and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon have thus far failed to comply with a lawful subpoena,” Issa said in a statement Friday afternoon. “This refusal by NLRB to abide by the law further heightens concerns that this is a rogue agency acting improperly. The integrity of NLRB and its leadership is clearly in question.”

The NLRB did send 4,300 pages of documents, according to a letter from Solomon, which “should provide sufficient information to allow the Committee to assess the legal merit of the Boeing complaint,” the letter insisted. But Solomon maintained that “full compliance with the subpoena would unquestionably jeopardize the constitutional due process rights of the parties to the case.” The letter also claimed that “the subpoena threatens to undermine the Agency’s independence.”

The NLRB’s letter came shortly after three prominent Democrats – Reps. Elijah Cummings (MD), John Conyers (MI), and George Miller (CA) – asked Issa to withdraw his subpoenas. “You may personally disagree with the laws Congress enacted to protect workers against discrimination,” the three lawmakers said in a letter Friday. “You may also disagree with the judge’s decision in this case upholding the laws. But it is not a legitimate use of the committee’s authority to circumvent those laws on behalf of corporate interests.”

But Issa maintained that the Boeing probe is purely rooted in the public interest:

The public has a right to know the truth about why a government agency would choose to take action to benefit organized labor that threatens thousands of non-union jobs in South Carolina while setting a precedent impacting manufacturers across the country.

It is imperative that Congress get complete facts about NLRB’s decision-making process in this matter. Its continued refusal to fully cooperate will not deter this Committee as it moves forward in efforts to determine what occurred and to hold NLRB officials to account.

Lachlan Markay

Reagan brought the Soviet Union to its knees. Obama brings the United States to its knees


Back in April Timmy Geithner said there was no chance that the US credit rating would take a hit.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday there is “no risk” the U.S. will lose its top credit rating amid a new analysis that revised its outlook on American debt to “negative.”

Geithner took to the airwaves of financial news networks to push back against a report Monday by Standard & Poor’s that lowered its outlook on U.S. debt to “negative,” reflecting political uncertainty over whether lawmakers will reach an agreement to address long-term debt.

There is no chance that the U.S. will lose its top credit rating, Geithner said, forcefully disputing the notion that S&P or other ratings services might downgrade U.S. bonds from their current AAA rating.

“No risk of that, no risk,” Geithner said on the Fox Business Network.


While Obama was partying hearty at his $35,000 a plate bash, S&P was lowering the the US credit rating.

Standard & Poor’s announced Friday night that it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time, dealing a symbolic blow to the world’s economic superpower in what was a sharply worded critique of the American political system.

Lowering the nation’s rating to one notch below AAA, the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” It said the bipartisan agreement reached this week to find at least $2.1 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would not be likely to achieve more savings in the future.

Obama’s only budget offering was laughed out of the Senate 97-0.

democrats went more than 800 days with no budget.

These are not serious people.

I do agree with Obama about something.

“The future is going to be determined by this (the 2012) election,”

Darn tootin’ it is. If Barack Obama is re-elected we are, in the words of Rahm Emanuel,

“Dead! Dead! Dead!”

Obama promised us he’d fundamentally change the United States. Reagan brought the Soviet Union to its knees but it took Barack Obama to bring the United States to its knees.

In 2012, without a change there will be no hope.

Shocker! Four Charged With Voter Fraud Are Registered Democrats

I know, I know, you’re as shocked as I am, because Democrats never commit voter fraud. From WRAL

Three people were charged Thursday with voter fraud after authorities determined that they voted twice in Wake County in the 2008 election, and a fourth was charged with voting twice last year, officials said.

Cherie Poucher, executive director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said evidence showed all three voted early and on Election Day.

The elections board turned the case over to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office to investigate and pursue criminal charges, Poucher said.

Shelia Ramona Hodges, 46, and Kierra Fontae Leach, 26, both of 2707 Pheiffer Drive, Brandon Earl McLean, 25, of 2900 Bethune Drive, and Lela Devonetta Murray, 55, of 3201 Edwards Mill Road, each face a felony charge of voter fraud. District Attorney Colon Willoughby said more arrests are possible.

Hmm, WRAL forgot to mention something, as did ABC11 here in the Raleigh are, as the NC GOP Senatorial committee points out

Yesterday, ABC 11 reported that four Wake County residents were arrested and charged with voter fraud. The alleged crimes took place in 2008. The four people charged are registered Democrats who were presumably trying to vote multiple times for Barack Obama, Bev Perdue, and other Democrats. More arrests are expected.

Democrats trying to vote multiple times unintentionally? Shocking!

Politico spins and squirms, gives Dems a good headline

How many errors can you spot in the following:

S&P: Debt default skeptics fueled ratings downgrade</b>

Politico said:
A Standard & Poor’s director said for the first time Thursday that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default —a position put forth by some Republicans.

Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said.

“That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

The statement seems likely to bolster one Democratic line of attack, that it was tea party intransigence — not a shortcoming of leadership by President Barack Obama — that is to blame for the U.S. downgrade, from AAA to AA+. Obama himself called on Republicans to “put country ahead of party” Thursday — a dig at conservatives in Congress who are blocking his agenda.

[emphisis mine]

Who was it saying a that if the Republicans wouldn't "compromise" with Obama we risked default? That Grandma's social security check might not get sent our? And then, who was it that reminded the country that current taxes will pay for the current debt so there was no risk of default?

Politico said:
“What S&P wanted to see from the deal was a stabilization in the debt-to-GDP ratio over time,” he said. “We wanted to see something other than a line that kept going up. That’s what we didn’t see.”

Who is it that has spent so much over the last two and half years and is spending more and more that we can't hope to have a "stabilization in the debt-to-GDP ratio?"

Prepare for a tidal wave of this kind of reporting straight from the Democratic Party HQ as the 2012 campaign gears up.

Barack Obama’s Emotional State of Mind

I’ve developed an interest in President Obama’s speeches not because they are eloquent or uplifting — they are neither — but because of what they reveal about his emotional state of mind. And Mr. Obama’s remarks in Holland, Michigan yesterday are helpful in that respect.

After once again blaming the economic slowdown on (among other things) the Arab Spring and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Mr. Obama said this:

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in Washington the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock — and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy…. This downgrade you’ve been reading about could have been entirely avoided if there had been a willingness to compromise in Congress. See, it didn’t happen because we don’t have the capacity to pay our bills — it happened because Washington doesn’t have the capacity to come together and get things done. It was a self-inflicted wound. That’s why people are frustrated. Maybe you hear it in my voice — that’s why I’m frustrated. Because you deserve better. You guys deserve better.

Mr. Obama then added, “The only thing preventing these bills from being passed is the refusal of some folks in Congress to put the country ahead of party. There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”

About these comments several things can be said, starting with this: There is something highly unusual in watching a president call attention to his own impotence. The president is declaring to the world that he is simply too weak to govern. Not only that, he wants all of America to know that he’s darn frustrated about it. You can even hear it in his voice. The president is frustrated that on his watch, and for the first time in history, America’s credit rating has been downgraded. He’s frustrated that the economy is getting worse rather than better. He’s frustrated taxes aren’t higher. He’s frustrated that his stewardship led to one of the worst mid-term election repudiations in history. And he’s frustrated that he’s overseeing what many people worry is the decline of the American empire.

The president, who is essentially admitting that he is unable to do anything about this, wants to make sure the country is keenly aware of the state of his emotions, the depth of his frustrations, the deep pain caused by his ineptness. But my guess is that the public isn’t particularly interested in Mr. Obama’s emotional exhibitionism. They care about jobs and growth; they don’t want to hear excuses or complaints, especially since Mr. Obama’s chief selling point in 2008 was that he alone would bring an end to partisanship and gridlock.

As for the president’s claim that some folks in Congress refuse to “put the country ahead of party” and that they would “rather see their opponents lose than see America win”: this repeats a nasty little Obama habit, which is not simply to disagree with his opponents but to impugn their character. The Tea Party and Republican Members of Congress can’t possibly believe that the federal government is too large, spending needs to be reduced, and taxes shouldn’t be raised. And they certainly can’t believe that the philosophy they hold and the policies they embrace are in the best interest of America. It’s easier to assume they are knaves and traitors to their country.

If there’s anything we have learned about Mr. Obama during the last two-and-a-half years, it is his obsessive need to advertise his moral superiority. He wants us to believe – he is desperate for us to believe – that his motivations are pure, that he is the only adult in Washington, that he is a champion for the national interest while his critics are champions of special interests. It is not enough for Obama to be president; he wants us to believe he’s Sir Galahad.

As Mr. Obama is increasingly overwhelmed by events, as he and his presidency shrink before our eyes, his worst tendencies are being exacerbated, his narcissism further exposed, his anger at an unaccommodating world more pronounced. A man of supreme self-regard is watching things crumble before his eyes. He is obviously not well equipped to process any of this. It is enough for one to feel, if only for a moment, some pity for Mr. Obama. These are not easy days for him, and certainly not for his country.

Peter Wehner

The GOP’s Philosophical Straitjacket

One thing that jumped out at me — and perhaps (among conservatives) only me —from last night’s GOP debate was the question first posed by Byron York of the Washington Examiner to former Senator Rick Santorum. In discussing the next round of the deficit/debt reduction process, York said, “Democrats will demand that savings come from a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, maybe $3 in cuts for every $1 in higher taxes.” He went on to ask, “Is there any ratio of cuts to taxes that you would accept? Three to one? Four to one? Or even 10 to one?” To which Santorum replied, “No.” Fox News’ Bret Baier then posed the question up to all eight of the GOP candidates.

“I’m going to ask a question to everyone here on the stage,” Baier said. “Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal, 10-to-1, as Byron said, spending cuts to tax increases…. Who on this stage would walk away from that deal? Can you raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not raising taxes, you’d walk away on the 10-to-1 deal?”

All eight candidates raised their hand. The video can be found here.

Now on one level I understand this response. Republicans should not negotiate with themselves, and a willingness to reveal one’s demands in advance can weaken one’s position down the road. Indeed, if Republicans had signaled they would accept tax increases in the most recent debt-ceiling negotiations, we would have gotten them, thereby relieving the pressure to cut spending, which I believe is the source of the problem. I also understand that not all spending cuts are equal and that the key to solving our long-term fiscal crisis lies with reforming entitlement programs, and most especially Medicare, not targeting discretionary programs. In addition, if any of the candidates admitted he or she would raise taxes, regardless of the conditions, you can bet the other candidates would use it as a political club.

I get all that. But still.

What if what we saw on the stage last night revealed their authentic bottom line? What if there is no spending-cuts-to-tax-increases ratio that any of the GOP nominees would accept? If that were the case — and perhaps it is now the case — it would be serious indictment against the modern-day GOP mindset.

Remember, this thought experiment has to do with (a) a real spending cuts deal and (b) a compromise plan, not what one believes to be an ideal one. It is hard for me to imagine that any serious conservative who wants to limit government wouldn’t accept such a deal. The alternative, after all, would not be to reduce the size and scope of government without tax increases; it would be to keep Leviathan at its current size instead of significantly cutting it at the cost of a relatively small tax increase.

Remember this, too: in 1982 Ronald Reagan was willing to sign what was then the largest tax increase in American history (TEFRA) because he believed he’d get three dollars in cuts for one dollar in tax increase. Reagan came to regret his tax increase — but not because the ratio was wrong but because Democrats never delivered on the spending cuts. If Reagan had gotten the cuts he asked for — and the York/Baier question pre-supposes the spending cuts would be real – he would have taken that deal.

Are Republicans in 2011 saying that a deal that would be far better than one Reagan expected and agreed to is simply beyond the pale?

If so — if taxes cannot be raised under any circumstance — then we have veered from economic policy to religious catechism.

Now one may respond to this analysis by saying that what we saw on the stage in Iowa last night was a show, a pose, a position one takes in the campaign but which they would jettison if they actually had the responsibility of governing. To which I would say two things: First, it’s not a good idea to get in the habit of saying one thing during a campaign while knowing you would do another when you govern; and second, there is something amiss when the political pressure in a party, any party, is so intense that it prevents a serious intellectual conversation from even taking place.

Lower taxes are a very good idea, but it is not a talisman. And if we have reached a point where Republicans running for president cannot envision (or at least admit to) any scenario in which they would raise taxes, even if as a result they could roll back the modern welfare state, then it’s time to consider loosening the philosophical straightjacket they are in. It’s not healthy for the GOP, or the nation, or even conservatism.

Peter Wehner

Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Not A Good Thing

Guest Post: Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Not A Good Thing
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/12/2011 21:37 -0400

Submitted by David Galland of Casey Research

Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Not A Good Thing

I am beginning to feel a bit like one of the French unfortunates stumbling through the fog in the Ardennes, circa 1914. Except that, instead of Germans full of deadly intent coming at me in the gloomy forest, it is a flock of black swans.

As it was for the French in the Ardennes, the number of problems – then Germans, now black swans – is becoming overwhelming.

Consider just a little of what we as investors, and as individuals looking forward to retirement in accommodations more commodious than a shipping box, must contend with:
The Euro-Stone. Despite all the bailouts and bluster flying about Europe, the yields in the wounded “piiglets” of Greece, Portugal, etc. have failed to soften to more tolerable levels. Worse, yields in the fatter PIIGS of Spain and Italy are hardening. This is of no small import to the German and French banks, which together are owed something like US$2 trillion by the porkers. At this point, it is becoming clear that the eurozone’s systematic flaws doom the euro to continue trending down until it ultimately takes its place in the pantheon of failed monies.

The Yen Has Lost Its Zen. This week the Japanese government again began intervening in currency markets because, remarkably, the yen has been pushed to highs against the dollar. This in a nation with a government debt-to-GDP ratio that is better than twice the also horrible ratio sported by these United States.

That ratio ensures that Japan’s long struggles will continue, burdened as it also is with the aftermath of the deadly tsunamis and the ongoing drama at Fukushima. Adding to its woes are the commercial challenges it faces from aggressive neighbors, and maybe worst of all, the demographic glue trap it is stuck in, with fewer and fewer young to pick up the social costs of the old. Toss in the waterfall plunge in Japan’s much-vaunted savings rate – formerly a big prop keeping Japanese interest rates down – and the picture for Japan is anything but tranquil.
China’s Crucible. There are many reasons for being optimistic about the outlook for China, including a large and hard-working populace. But there is one overriding reason to expect a big bump in the path to China’s emergence as the world’s reigning economic powerhouse.

Simply, it’s a capitalistic country with a communist problem.

Now, in the same way that some people believe in leprechauns or any of dozens of other magical beings, some people believe that an economy can be successfully commanded just as a captain commands the crew of a Chinese junk cruising along the coast. It’s a fantasy.

While the comrades in charge have done quite well – largely by getting out of the way of natural human actions – they are fast reaching the limits of their ability to navigate the shoals. As I don’t need to tell you, China is a massive country, with hundreds of millions of people capable of every manner of human strengths and frailties. But if they share one interest, it is in a job that allows them to keep their rice bowls full and a roof over their heads. Said jobs don’t come from government dictate – at least not on a sustainable basis – but rather by the messy process of free-wheeling commerce… and the more free-wheeling, the better.

In the July edition of The Casey Report, guest contributor James Quinn discusses the very real challenges facing China, not the least of which is that in the latest reporting period, official Chinese inflation popped up to 6.4%. Even more concerning was a 14% rise in the price of food.

Scrambling to keep employment high while also keeping inflation low, the Chinese government is throwing all sorts of ingredients into the mix – building ghost cities, raising interest rates, stockpiling commodities, clamping down on dissent, hacking everyone – but in the end, the irrefutable laws of economics must prevail. And so the Chinese government will have to atone for the massive inflation it unleashed in 2008, and for the equally disruptive misallocations of capital that are the hallmark of command economies.

While the blowup in China will wreak havoc in world markets, including many commodities, a bright side for gold investors is that the country’s rising inflation should help keep the wind in the sails of monetary metal. It’s no coincidence that the World Gold Council’s latest data show investment demand for gold in China more than doubling in the first quarter of this year.
Uncle Scam. Then there is the United States. Casey Research readers of any duration know the fundamental setup… The political avarice that dominates both parties… The fear and greed of John Q. Public and his steady demands that the government do more… The scam being run by the Treasury and the Fed to provide the funny money to keep the government running… The cynical attempts by certain politicians to stoke a class war… The cellars full of toxic paper at the nation’s financial institutions… The outright corruption and deceit of the various government agencies as they twist and torture the data to fool the people into supporting them in their scams.

But there’s a growing problem: An increasing number of people and institutions are coming to understand just how intractable the problems are. This has resulted in a steady move into tangible assets – gold, especially – that are not the obligation of any government. And it’s not just individuals and money managers moving into gold, but central banks as well. That is an absolute sea change from the situation even a few years ago.

Meanwhile, with the Treasury unable to borrow since May, a backlog in government financing needs has built up. Which begs the question: With the Fed standing aside (for the moment), where is the government going to find all the buyers for the many billions of dollars worth of Treasuries it needs to flog in order to keep the scam going?

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might look at the sell-off in equities this week, triggered as it was by nothing specific, and see a gloved hand operating behind the curtain. After all, nothing like a good old-fashioned stampede out of equities to send billions chasing after “safe” Treasuries… which has been exactly the case this week.

Regardless, with the crossroads for hard choices now behind us, the global economy finds itself at the top of a long hill… with no brakes.

From here on, it will increasingly be every nation for itself – meaning a return to competitive currency devaluations and, in time, exchange and even trade controls.

And we will see a return of the Fed to the markets. On that topic, I will once again trot out a chart from an article by Bud Conrad that ran in The Casey Report a couple of years back.

I do so because it shows what I think is a very strong corollary between what occurred in Japan after its financial bubble burst and what is now going on here in the U.S. (and elsewhere). As you can see, as a direct result of the Japanese central bank engaging in quantitative easing, the Japanese stock market bounced back strongly. But then, when the quantitative easing stopped, the market quickly gave back all its gains.

If I had the time and the resources to whip up a chart overlaying the quantitative easing here in the U.S. of late versus the equity markets, I would. But I don’t, and so will delve into that fount of all information – the Internet – and grab a chart constructed by someone else (in this case, Doug Oest, managing partner of Marquette Associates – thanks, Doug!)

As one can readily see, the Japanese experience is indeed a corollary to what’s happened here, with QE pushing the stock market higher. Conversely, until the Fed comes back in, equities could be in for a rough ride. Likewise, when the Fed returns with the next round of QE, stocks could put in a very nice rally.

Some conclusions:
The Fed will have to roll out another round of quantitative easing. And it will likely have to once again provide swap lines to the European central banks as it did in 2008 – though this time around, a belligerent Congress is watching the Fed’s every move, so it may not be able to move as quickly as it would have otherwise. In the end, however, given there is less than nothing being done on the front of fiscal policy, it will fall to the Fed to once again ride to the rescue. But it will do so on a lame horse.
A delay by the Fed to act could help the Treasury, at least temporarily. Per above, the U.S. government has to move a boatload of paper by the end of this year. If it wants to avoid the dire consequences of having to pay out higher yields in order to attract sufficient buying, it will have to find a lot of demand in a hurry. Should the Fed sit on its hands a bit longer, especially in the face of the escalating euro crisis, the resulting turmoil in global equity markets could provide the necessary demand to clean up the backlog and keep the U.S. government operating.?(In July’s Casey Report, Bud Conrad dissects the situation and comes to some startling conclusions… and an emerging profit opportunity.)
The return of the Fed may signal the beginning of the end. In the face of broad weakness in the global economy and in most commodities, the fact that gold has held up so well is a clear indication that there has been an intrinsic change in the gold market. Barbarous relic no more, it has clearly been returned to its longstanding role as sound money – unique and increasingly valued when compared to the fiat competition.

This role will only become more crucial as the world’s desperate nation-states fire their currency cannons in the war to remain viable. The Fed’s return to Treasury markets will be, in the rear-view mirror of future history, seen to be a seminal event – the beginning of the end of the current fiat monetary system.

Simply put, too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. And make no mistake, the decades of operating under a fiat monetary system have been a very good thing for the political classes and their pandering cronies.

Those good times are coming to an end.

Obama's Two Picks for Federal Reserve Board

Obama's Two Picks for Federal Reserve Board - By Joseph Lawler

David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the White House intends to nominate two economists for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors: Jeremy Stein of Harvard, and Richard Clarida of the bond fund Pimco and Columbia.

Each of the seven Fed governors (the Board is down to five right now) votes on setting monetary policy. With this week's split Federal Open Markets Committee vote, it's of greater significance that President Obama staff the Board with members likely to vote for the policies he supports -- in this case, to vote with Bernanke in the direction of looser money. As Wessel notes, Stein is a Democrat but Clarida served in George W. Bush's Treasury. It seems likely that the two picks are intended as a package deal to get Senate Republicans to allow their appointments to go through. Earlier this year, Sen. Richard Shelby successfully blocked Obama's nominee, the Nobel Prize-winner Peter Diamond.

Based on their track records and writings, it seems clear that both Stein and Clarida would support further monetary stimulus. Stein is a former assistant Treasury secretary for Obama, and likely to be an inflation dove. And although Clarida is a Republican, he will also probably be a safe vote for more easing. He seems to be on the same page as Bernanke: skeptical of the value of government spending stimulus, but confident in the Fed's ability to use quanitative easing and private sector bond purchases to boost the economy and repair the finance sector. In fact, in this regard he seems to be a Bernanke clone.

Although the Fed's conduct of monetary policy is probably the number one concern for Obama right now, the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill gives the Fed far greater regulatory powers than it had before. The next two Fed will be more than just two extra votes for Bernanke on the FOMC -- if there's more 2008-style trouble in the financial world, they will help to shape the response.

Building Trades Unions to Boycott 2012 DNC Convention

When the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte, North Carolina as the site for its 2012 DNC Convention, some union bosses’ eyebrows were raised (as well were those on the extreme Left) with the DNC’s decision to go union-free. While the underlying issue of the Charlotte choice may be a union rift playing out between AFL-CIO unions and the C2W union because Charlotte is becoming a big pain in the ass donkey for Democrats.

Now, it seems the AFL-CIO’s Building & Construction Trades Division, which comprises the majority of construction trades unions and their 2.5 million members, will be sitting out of the union-free convention.

[Via the Associated Press]

About a dozen trade unions plan to sit out the 2012 Democratic convention because they’re angry that it’s being held in a right-to-work state and frustrated that Democrats haven’t done enough to create jobs.

The move could pose a larger problem for President Barack Obama next year if an increasingly dispirited base of labor activists becomes so discouraged that it doesn’t get the rank-and-file to the polls in the usual strong numbers.

The unions — all part of the AFL-CIO’s building and construction trades unit — told party officials this week they are gravely disappointed that labor was not consulted before Democrats settled on Charlotte, N.C., where there are no unionized hotels.

“We find it troubling that the party so closely associated with basic human rights would choose a state with the lowest unionization rate in the country due to regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers,” Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit, wrote in a letter to Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

While Charlotte was picked over six months ago and the unions waited so long to decide to boycott—which leads one to believe there may be some other reason than the one cited by Ayers—the DNC really, really blew it when they didn’t check with their corporate union sponsors before deciding on Charlotte.

London's Burning - Meanwhile police appologize to criminals. WTFG Fools!

Herein lies your problem!

BBC news just announced: the police are apologising to the family of the gun-toting drug gangster they shot!! Not to all the poor people who have been burned out of their homes or who have lost their businesses.
The Metropolitan police have apologised to the criminals!!

UPDATE 23.12 :22.50 Earlier tonight Turkish and Kurdish shopowners in the Stoke Newington area of North London were guarding their premises with baseball bats. There are reports now of "hundreds" of young turkish men chasing a group of young black men down nearby Kingsland Road, Hackney.
UPDATE:22.30Our reporter in Clapham Junction, South London, Andrew Hough witnessed a motorist being pulled from a car, "bleeding profusely". The shaking man told Hough: "There were gangs everywhere. We couldn't go anywhere."
UPDATE: 22.20 The Telegraph's Josie Ensor reports she was chased by a gang of 30 men who pelted her with stones near Bethnal Green station, East London. She escaped down a side street. A gang of vandals broke the windows of an Islamic bank in Whitechapel but were chased off by a rival gang of 100 Muslim youths who are standing guard outside the East London Mosque. Local shops have been attacked.
While London burns, where is the London mayor and the Prime Minister? Until 5 minutes ago, they were refusing to return to UK.

Looters are breaking into private houses and stealing property: Houses now set on fire in Deptford (near Lewisham). A white woman legged it, black looters straight in through the open door.

One looter /arsonist uses a picture of Obama for his twitter profile:

Latest from the Daily Telegraph:

A shop is set on fire as rioters gather in Croydon Photo: AP
21.50 Alan McCabe, owner of the Old Fox and Hounds pub, Croydon, told the BBC the town tonight is "an absolute warzone" after rioting by a 200-strong mob which left buildings ablaze. This is his account:

It kicked off very quickly, very sharpishly, and we tried moving people out the pub as fast as possible. We blocked up the front doors and moved them out the back. I ripped off all the spirits off the optic behind the bar, so that if anyone did break in they couldn’t be Molotovs. Unfortunately I had a 90 year old woman in the pub. She comes in for a cup of tea, a nice quiet woman. I carried her across the road to the police who were very accommodating. Just as I got her there the riot group, 200 strong, pushed forward. The riot police were doing their best to push back. I’m trapped at the moment in a side street. I’ve got six guys that I work with, the owner, his brother, just trying to box up as much as we could. My girlfriend’s at home with a seven year old daughter. Everything’s exploding around. There’s sirens, there’s helicopters. I’ve just passed west Croydon station; it’s burning hard. I can see down by the market area something’s up in flames. I’ve seen 20 riot police heading down from the High Street towards West Croydon. It’s an absolute warzone. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s insane.
The only reason I’m out here is to get a lassie in her 90s across there. People didn’t give a damn. There were bottles, bricks, smoke everywhere; they just don’t care. I’ve never seen such a disregard for human life. Nice little anarchists, having a nice little party. I hope they rot in hell, because the grief they have caused people, the fear they have put in people’s hearts, decent people who have done nothing to anyone.
I’ve got a girlfriend calling me, terrified, that I can’t get home to. Her seven year old daughter is crying her eyes out because she’s absolutely terrified and these monsters are doing this. I don’t know what they hope to achieve but they have made me so angry.
Some people have been fantastic, trying to get home. Others have been idiots, just standing there looking, looking at this utter, utter carnage and destruction like lemmings. My recommendation is get in your house, look after your family, lock your doors and hope to God."
West Midlands Police are aware of some disorder in Birmingham city centre.
Several premises in the centre have been attacked with some shop windows smashed and property stolen in various locations.

ACC Sharon Rowe said: "We will not tolerate mindless violence and damage anywhere in the West Midlands and are working to ensure that the offenders are identified and caught as soon as possible.

"A policing operation is in place with extra officers in Birmingham to restore calm in the city centre, and protect local people and businesses.

"Our communities have made it clear to us that they do not want this kind of violence in their city and we will continue to work with them to bring anybody who commits acts of crime or anti-social behaviour to justice as soon as possible."
20.30 Bundles of stolen lottery tickets were handed out after being looted from a newsagent on Clarence Road, Hackney, Heidi Blake reports. Rioters were seem using the flames from burning wheelie bins to light cigarettes they had stolen from a looted off license. Bottles of stolen whisky and vodka were being swigged amidst the carnage. As police charged up Clarence Road beating the crowd back with riot shields and battens, scores of rioters scattered into the Pembury Estate where they rearmed themselves with scraps of metal, bottles and bricks.

20.28 Victoria Ward in Peckham sends this picture of a Ladbrokes shop. The windows of Burger King have also been broken. Six police vans and two fire engines have arrived.


British Degeneracy on Parade

The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state
The riots should surprise no one who’s been paying attention.
Theodore Dalrymple

The ferocious criminality exhibited by an uncomfortably large section of the English population during the current riots has not surprised me in the least. I have been writing about it, in its slightly less acute manifestations, for the past 20 years. To have spotted it required no great perspicacity on my part; rather, it took a peculiar cowardly blindness, one regularly displayed by the British intelligentsia and political class, not to see it and not to realize its significance. There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.

Three men were run over and killed as they tried to protect their property in the very area of Birmingham in which I used to work, and through which I walked daily; the large town that I live near when I’m in England has also seen rioting. Only someone who never looked around him and never drew any conclusions from the faces and manner of the young men he saw would have been surprised.

The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state and popular culture in their British form. A population thinks (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class) that it is entitled to a high standard of consumption, irrespective of its personal efforts; and therefore it regards the fact that it does not receive that high standard, by comparison with the rest of society, as a sign of injustice. It believes itself deprived (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class), even though each member of it has received an education costing $80,000, toward which neither he nor—quite likely—any member of his family has made much of a contribution; indeed, he may well have lived his entire life at others’ expense, such that every mouthful of food he has ever eaten, every shirt he has ever worn, every television he has ever watched, has been provided by others. Even if he were to recognize this, he would not be grateful, for dependency does not promote gratitude. On the contrary, he would simply feel that the subventions were not sufficient to allow him to live as he would have liked.

At the same time, his expensive education will have equipped him for nothing. His labor, even supposing that he were inclined to work, would not be worth its cost to any employer—partly because of the social charges necessary to keep others such as he in a state of permanent idleness, and partly because of his own characteristics. And so unskilled labor is performed in England by foreigners, while an indigenous class of permanently unemployed is subsidized.

The culture of the person in this situation is not such as to elevate his behavior. One in which the late Amy Winehouse—the vulgar, semicriminal drug addict and alcoholic singer of songs whose lyrics effectively celebrated the most degenerate kind of life imaginable—could be raised to the status of heroine is not one that is likely to protect against bad behavior.

Finally, long experience of impunity has taught the rioters that they have nothing to fear from the law, which in England has become almost comically lax—except, that is, for the victims of crime. For the rioters, crime has become the default setting of their behavior; the surprising thing about the riots is not that they have occurred, but that they did not occur sooner and did not become chronic.

Theodore Dalrymple, a physician, is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Hypocrisy? As Time Reporter in 2001, Jay Carney Bashed Bush For Taking Vacation

Carney defends Obama's Vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

There was an interesting exchange between Jake Tapper and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney yesterday. Just a short while after Carney proclaimed that the President would "not rest until everyone in America who wants a job has a job", the White House announced that the President will be taking a nine-day August rest in Cape Cod. This means that Obama plans to have unemployment fixed within the next two weeks or his "not to rest" promise dropped very quickly even for this President.

Tapper decided to ask Carney about the contradiction.

Jake Tapper from ABC News asked Carney if the vacation was appropriate.
Jake Tapper, ABC News: "You said the President will not rest until the joblessness and the economy are worked out, but the President is obviously going on vacation.... Is there any concern about the impression that the President going to Martha's Vineyard for 9 or 10 days might leave on the American people? And also, if this is such an important issue for Speaker Boehner, for Harry Reid, for President Obama, why the R&R?"
Jay Carney, WH press secretary:... I don't think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the President would spend some time with his family. It is also, as I think anyone who has covered in the past, either in this administration or others, there is no such thing as a presidential vacation. The Presidency travels with you. He will be in constant communication and get regular briefings from his national security team as well as his economic team. And he will of course be fully capable, if necessary, of traveling back if that were required. It is not very far."
I don't begrudge the President from taking a vacation either, except the timing does seem to be a bit inappropriate. Also the man who defended the President's vacation Jay Carney, bashed President Bush for taking one ten years ago.

In August 2001 (a month before 9/11) Carney was the Washington Bureau Chief of Time Magazine and President Bush was about to go on vacation. The future White House Press Secretary suggested that Bush was going on vacation and the job didn't travel with him. Carney claimed that any work done by Bush during his vacation was nothing more than cynical photo ops.
A Vacationing Bush Works Hard for His Photo-Ops
By Jay Carney Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001

The image-makers who advise George W. Bush got what they wanted this week: a photograph, taken by the Associated Press and published in seemingly every newspaper in the country, of the President lifting a telephone pole as he "helped maintain" a nature trail in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

Back in July, when they were planning what the President should do during his month-long vacation (as part of their effort to persuade the public that he wasn't actually on vacation in the generally accepted sense of what vacation means — i.e., having fun and not working), the image-makers hit upon a clever idea. Every week, they decided, they would send the President somewhere outside Texas for a day or a day and a half to hold an event of some kind in which he would mix with "real Americans."
Gee, I am so happy we have a President who doesn't like fake photo ops of "mixing with real Americans" on his vacation.

Carney Continued:

The events would have little in common, except for the fact that they would be held far from Washington in the middle of August. But to tie them together, to make it seem as though the President were engaged in some concentrated activity of presidential purpose, they would name the entire series of trips — together with his down time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas — the "Home to the Heartland" tour.
Note: "The Home to the Heartland Tour" was just like President Obama's "Jobs Tour" only it was further away from the re-election campaign
During his first week of vacation, Bush ventured all the way to Waco —about 25 minutes from Crawford — to "help build" a house with Habitat for Humanity. Though Bush actually spent about 15 minutes doing anything, the print media dutifully reported his activity. More importantly, of course, the images of Bush at work on a good deed were carried across the nation on television and in photographs.

The same was true of this week’s stop in the Rockies. Bush didn't actually help build that trail so much as he posed for the cameras as he simulated the act of helping build the trail. While the President also gave a speech at the national park, the image-makers shrewdly pinpointed the real value of both visits: It’s the newsreels and photographs showing the President as a regular guy who cares about the poor and cares about the environment. Both were classic examples of that much maligned but ever-reliable staple of political activity: the "photo-op."

Now, I'm not going to feign shock at the fact that this President is using photo ops in an attempt — some might say a cynical attempt — to influence public opinion. It would be news if he weren't doing just that.
So Jay what's the scoop, does the job follow the POTUS on vacation, or is it a series of photo ops? The truth is it doesn't really matter except for pointing out that Carney as a reporter was just another political hack. During normal times most Americans are more concerned about what this President does when he is in Washington than what he does on vacation.

The truth is, if Obama had any sense of leadership, he would send Michelle and the girls to the Martha's Vinyard and stay in the WH (at least on workdays). It doesn't matter whether he does absolutely nothing when in Washington or works himself to the bone. The truth is we are in a major economic crisis and for public perception alone, we need to see that the "Captain is on the bridge," even if it's just for a photo op. That is what a leader
would do.

Obama’s Failures Too Evident for Media to Hide

In 2008, there were people all over the blogosphere and in the conservative movement that said Barack Obama was not up to the job. His experience as a legislator at the state level and then for two short years at the federal level, had not produced enough evidence that he was capable of managing the responsibilities of Commander in Chief.

Video HERE

While this perspective could of course be viewed as subjective, it was at the very least a legitimate narrative, worthy of consideration by the press. They were more than happy to play that narrative out with Governor Palin after all.

But ultimately, these concerns were squashed by the press who, following his media assisted election, were so ecstatic that they got thrills up their legs and compared him to God Himself.

As president, he’s been afforded the same luxury for the majority of his time in office. The media, it seems, would go to any lengths to prop him up and forgive his mistakes and incompetence, without even asking tough questions from the White House Press Corps.

But now, the evidence is simply too great and too obvious to sweep under the carpet. As our credit has been downgraded, unemployment stays high and our economic prospects look more and more bleak, it has become difficult for even the mainstream media to continue their love affair with this president.

Obama's Plan to Starve America

Now Obama wants to force farmers to get commercial drivers licenses.
The Gazette Virginian reported, via Free Republic:

A new rule being proposed by the federal Department of Transportation would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a part of DOT, wants to adopt standards that would reclassify all farm vehicles and implements as Commercial Motor Vehicles, officials said. Likewise, the proposal, if adopted, would require all farmers and everyone on the farm who operates any of the equipment to obtain a CDL, they added.

The proposed rule change would mean that anyone who drives a tractor or operates any piece of motorized farming equipment would be required to pass the same tests and complete the same detailed forms and logs required of semi-tractor trailer drivers.

Drivers would keep logs of information including hours worked and miles traveled. Vehicles would be required to display DOT numbers. A CDL in Virginia costs $64 for eight years, or $8 per year, not including the cost of an instructional class and the written test.

If the DOT reclassifies farm vehicles and implements as commercial vehicles, the federal government will have regulatory control over the nation’s farm workers, estimated at over 800,000, by requiring them to have commercial drivers licenses.

That possibility worries county farmers and others in Halifax County interested in agriculture.

“I have a CDL, but very few farmers have one,” said Nathalie farmer Ronnie Waller. “This is just another bureaucratic hurdle for the farmer.

“It’s hard enough fighting Mother Nature, insects and all…now we have to fight the federal government,” he added. “We’re getting more rammed down our throats, and I could see repercussions across the nation. This move is another inane gesture in my opinion,” Waller concluded.

Et Tu, New York?

Is this even possible? I’m reading this press release from the pollsters at Quinnipiac.

“Alabama voters disapprove 49-45 percent of the job President Obama is doing.”

Wait a second.

That doesn’t say Alabama. That says New York!!

New York? Is Obama in trouble in New York?? I can’t believe dskdgns;orihaeif

Sorry, I passed out on the keyboard.

This has got to have everyone at Obama for America peeing voluminously in their pants. Obama better raise that $1 billion he’s gunning for, because it looks like he’s going to need to defend a lot of states he might have expected to be cakewalks.

He’s still up 15 points over an unnamed challenger in New York, but a good “named” candidate could give the president something to worry about with those kinds of approval numbers.

Remember, New York elected Republican George Pataki governor three times. And the conservatives upstate are going to be highly energized, like much of the Obama opposition.

From the press release:

New York State voters disapprove 49 – 45 percent of the job President Obama is doing, a huge drop from his 57 – 38 percent approval June 29 and the first time the president ever has had a negative score in New York, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Democrats approve 75 – 19 percent, down from 82 – 12 percent in June. Disapproval is 86 – 10 percent among Republicans, compared to a 74 – 23 percent disapproval in June, and 58 – 36 percent among independent voters, compared to a slightly positive 49 – 45 percent in June, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters split 48 – 46 percent on whether President Obama deserves reelection and say 49 – 34 percent they would vote for him over an unnamed Republican.

“The debt ceiling hullaballoo devastated President Barack Obama’s numbers even in true blue New York,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He just misses that magic 50 percent mark against a no-name Republican challenger.”

by Keith Koffler