Thursday, July 31, 2014

Obama’s Environmental Corruption Agency

Obama’s Environmental Corruption Agency:

The lofty motto of the Environmental Protection Agency is “protecting people and the environment.” In practice, however, EPA bureaucrats faithfully protect their own people and preserve the government’s cesspool of manipulation, cover-ups and cronyism.

Just last week, Mark Levin and his vigilant Landmark Legal Foundation went to court to ask federal district judge Royce Lamberth to sanction the EPA “for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages that may have helped document suspected agency efforts to influence the 2012 presidential election.” [PDF]The motion is part of a larger Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to force EPA to release emails and related records from former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and others “who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election.”

Thanks to Levin and Landmark, Jackson and other EPA officials admitted in depositions that they used personal, nongovernmental email accounts to hide communications about official EPA business sent and received on their government-issued BlackBerries and smart phones. The agency has continued to drag its feet for two years in response to Landmark’s FOIA requests.

Levin minced no words: “The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution.” Not to mention disdain for the public’s right to know. As Levin added: “When any federal agency receives a FOIA request, the statute says it must preserve every significant repository of records, both paper and electronic, that may contain materials that could be responsive to that request.”

The agency is legally obliged to notify all involved in the suit to preserve everything in their possession that could be discoverable in the litigation. But the feds have bent over backward to delay and deny. “(T)he people at the EPA, from the administrator on down, think they’re above the law, that no one has the right to question what or how they do their jobs,” Levin blasted. “Well, they’re wrong. The laws apply to everyone, even federal bureaucrats.”

That’s a bedrock principle the EPA has defied over and over again. As I first reported 13 corruption-stained years ago in 2001, former EPA head Carol Browner oversaw the destruction of her computer files on her last day in office under the Clinton administration—in clear violation of a judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. Browner ordered a computer technician: “I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files.” In 2003, the agency was held in contempt and fined more than $300,000 in connection with another email destruction incident under Browner’s watch.

It was Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation—upheld by Judge Lamberth—that held the corruptocrats accountable then, as they are now.

As President Obama’s energy czar, Browner went on to bully auto execs “to put nothing in writing, ever” regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated on a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. She was also singled out by Obama’s own independent oil-spill commission for repeatedly misrepresenting scientists’ findings and doctoring data to justify the administration’s draconian drilling moratorium.

Browner previously had been caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to more than 100 left-wing environmental organizations. She abused her office to orchestrate a political campaign by liberal groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform.

The names may change, but the politicized rot stays the same. The GOP staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee issued a detailed report this week on the secretive “Billionaire’s Club” behind EPA. The analysis exposed how a massive network of left-wing foundations, activists and wealthy donors exploits IRS-approved “charitable” status and tax-deductible donations to lobby illegally on behalf of the EPA and operate a “green revolving door” between government and far-left groups.

Among the key players: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, which coordinates green grants and refuses to divulge its membership list to Congress, and Democracy Alliance, the dark-money outfit led by Philip Gara LaMarche that does not disclose its members or donor-recipients.

“These entities propagate the false notion that they are independent citizen-funded groups working altruistically,” according to the report. “In reality, they work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors’ tax-deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a focus on the EPA.”[Full report: PDF]

Saving the planet? Ha. The leftist-controlled Environmental Corruption Agency is only in business to serve its pals and subvert its political enemies, while endangering resource security and sabotaging the deliberative process. Real environmental protection starts with draining this fetid swamp.

Michelle Malkin [email her] is the author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin is also author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild and Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies

Obama’s claims of economic progress are mostly bunk

Obama’s claims of economic progress are mostly bunk:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has been saying that Americans are doing a lot better than they were before he was sworn into office in 2009.

It’s a claim he’s been repeating everywhere he goes, at party fundraising events and in nearly every interview he’s had in recent months.

“There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not better off now than we were when I took office,” he told Democrats earlier this month at a campaign fundraiser in Dallas. “We are indisputably better than when I was elected,” he says.

It’s a fundamentally specious, slippery and exaggerated claim that contains more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese — a defensive political ploy that asks Americans to ignore the painfully sluggish, job-challenged economy that he’s put us through for the past six years.

He took office in the midst of a severe recession when just about all of the relevant economic data was bad, from soaring unemployment to a shrinking economy.

But the average length of time it has taken our country to emerge from postwar recessions has been about two years. We are in the sixth year of the so-called Obama recovery in which the economy’s performance is still being widely called “mediocre,” “disappointing,” “sub-par,” “uneven” and “weak” in countless newspaper reports across the country.

“I don’t think the facts on the ground merit anybody spiking a football and celebrating,” economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says about Obama’s boastful claims.

Indeed, this year began with the nation’s economic growth rate actually shrinking in the first three months by 2.9 percent, a shocking plunge that the administration blamed entirely on the winter weather.

It was the economy’s worst first-quarter performance since 2009, the U.S. Commerce Department said, though the second quarter was better, economists said this week.

But the fact of the matter is that U.S. economic growth under Obama has been at a meager 2 percent annual rate for some time now, which no economist worth his or her salt would say is worth cheering about.

Democrats say slower economic growth is the “new normal” in the Age of Obama, but wiser economists dismiss that as pure bunk.

“Since 2000, GDP growth has averaged 1.7 per year, whereas during the Reagan-Clinton years, it was 3.4 percent,” says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

Obama points to the Labor Department’s unemployment rate of 6.1 percent as proof that more Americans are better off under his presidency. But there are a number of reasons to doubt the government’s figures.

The decline in the official unemployment rate is in large measure due to millions of discouraged, long-term jobless Americans who have quit looking for work and thus are no longer counted among the unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report was expected to show the economy created 235,000 jobs in July, with the jobless rate holding at 6.1 percent. “But that hardly tells” the full story, Morici says.

Many Americans who want and need full-time jobs “are stuck in part-time positions … at lower wages,” which a lot of businesses find preferable. After all, “Obamacare’s employer health insurance mandates will not apply to workers on the job less than 30 hours a week.”

When you add discouraged adults, who say they’d look for work if the economy improved, to part-time people who want full-time jobs, “the real unemployment rate becomes about 15 percent,” Morici says.

Another huge hole in Obama’s self-serving claims has to do with the extraordinary lengths to which the White House and the news media go in exaggerating the significance of the nation’s monthly job numbers.

“The economy has created only about 6 million new jobs during the Bush-Obama years, whereas the comparable figure during the Reagan-Clinton period was about 40 million,” Morici reports.

The Gallup Poll surveys Americans across the country weekly to measure the nation’s real employment data. Its latest numbers put the national unemployment rate at 6.4 percent and the underemployment rate at 15 percent.

As for Obama’s preposterous claim that Americans are “better off now than we were when I took office,” Gallup’s polling data suggests otherwise.

When Gallup asked Americans this week how they’ve been doing economically, 40 percent of them said they were “struggling,” 4 percent said they were “suffering” and 8 percent said they were under “stress.”

If the White House needs further hard evidence of how the American people view the Obama economy right now, they should take a look at the survey data Gallup released Tuesday showing that economic confidence was “down sharply.”

Its U.S. Economic Confidence Index plunged six points last week, “the largest one-week drop since last October, and the lowest weekly index score since December.”

The index measures what Americans think of the U.S. economy now and whether they think it is getting better or worse.

Only 19 percent said the Obama economy is “excellent” or “good”, while 35 percent said it is “poor.” But when they are asked what they think about the economy’s future, 60 percent said it was getting worse. Just 35 percent said it’s getting better.

If Obama truly believes Americans have never had it so good since he took office, he’s been talking to the wrong people. He’s presided over an underperforming, slow-job- growth, declining-income economy, according to just about every available economic measure.

Original enclosures:

Dysfunctional Authority

Dysfunctional Authority: American society is currently in a dysfunctional state, and like all things dysfunctional, it will implode if not addressed very soon. We live in a world that contains a vast amount of knowledge, but little understanding. The United States has not experienced extreme tyranny, but it is headed in that direction. The shift of authority from private sector to public sector has created a serious imbalance. As a country, there is great arrogance. We take for granted that we will always be the land of the free. Like all civilizations prior, we’re moving from liberty to totalitarianism and it’s happening...

Egyptian Army DEFENDS Israel Against Terrorists

BREAKING: Egyptian Army DEFENDS Israel Against Terrorists: The mainstream media likes to portray the nation of Israel, which is sees as a leftover from the largely discredited colonial period of western history, as isolated, threatened, and ultimately unable to exist on its own, like the many other nations established by the colonial powers. Although it sometimes seems as if Israel is fighting

The problem instead is Hillary Clinton herself.

The problem instead is Hillary Clinton herself.: She is not a very good speaker, and is prone to shrill outbursts and occasional chortling.

She has a bad habit of committing serial gaffes (e.g., speaking too candidly), and what she says on Monday is often contradicted by her rantings on Tuesday. She seems cheap and obsessed with raking in free stuff. When Bill steps in to correct her mistakes, either sloppily or out of some strange psychological spite, he usually makes things even worse. We saw that often in 2008 and are seeing it again now. But aside from the cosmetics of her political style, the Clintons are faced with two fundamental obstacles in 2016.
Works and Days サ All Clintoned Out

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers:

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers
New CEI Report Offers Policy Recommendations to Rein in Overzealous Regulators

WASHINGTON, July 31 – A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report digs into a campaign by federal regulatory agencies to shut down businesses that are politically disfavored but perfectly legal, under the pretext of preventing fraud.

“Operation Choke Point targets perfectly legal industries by designating them high-risk, which in turn has a chilling effect on the willingness of banks to do business with them,” said Iain Murray, author of “Operation Choke Point: What It Is and Why It Matters. "The administration is not investigating fraudulent activity; it is investigating and targeting certain industries and asking banks to do its work for it. Choke Point is the world’s largest fishing expedition and the administration is using it to create fear and uncertainty."

Murray was one of the first people to detail Operation Choke Point in a January National Review article. The report includes a comprehensive timeline of the development of Choke Point dating back to 2011, as well as policy recommendations for Congress to rein in overzealous regulators.

“Policy makers should weigh Operation Choke Point’s few successes in stopping fraudsters against its significant adverse effects for American consumers,” said Murray. “The primary victims are often low-income customers of legal businesses who will lose the ability to access services they want, like, and rely upon. The Dodd-Frank Act has already made banking unaffordable for some, and now Choke Point is taking away millions of unbanked Americans’ only other means to finance their American Dream.”

Murray offers Congress policy recommendations to rein in Operation Choke Point. Among them are:

  • Congress should refuse to allow any funds to be used for Operation Choke Point unless the Attorney General requests funds through the appropriations process for the purpose of enhanced fraud deterrence.
  • Congress should remove the burden of criminal investigative duties from banks and amend Dodd-Frank and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to make clear that “deputizing" third parties in that way is not an appropriate regulatory action.
Operation Choke Point is a joint effort by several agencies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), ostensibly aimed at curtailing fraud in a certain “high-risk” industries, which regulators identify through high rates of returns, cancellations, or complaints. Payday lending is a particular target, but other industries include: the gun industry, ammunition sales, cable box de-scramblers, coin dealers, credit repair services, home-based charities, lottery sales, and many others.

In a six-month status report, issued on September 9, 2013, the government acknowledged Choke Point might be deterring banks from dealing with legitimate lenders.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Publication Type: 

More evidence that ‘competition’ breeds ‘competence’

More evidence that ‘competition’ breeds ‘competence’:

The AP is reported a few weeks ago that “Seattle taxi drivers hit charm class to improve customer service in response to competition” based on this report from Komo News:

Call it a charm school for cabbies. The region’s long-established taxi companies are sending some of their drivers to a hospitality class to improve their customer service skills.

About 130 drivers, most from Yellow Cab, sat in a classroom to listen to instructors from the Hospitality Management program at South Seattle College. The idea was hatched in response to increasing competition from app-based ride services companies like Uber and Lyft that are taking business away from the traditional companies.
HT: Bill Greenway

It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’

Genevieve Wood: It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’:

“One of the reasons we have these political shenanigans that we do is that people are almost told that you’re somehow anti-immigrant, that you’re inhumane if you want to secure the border. And that’s just not true.”

Watch Genevieve Wood’s full interview:

The post Genevieve Wood: It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’ appeared first on Daily Signal.

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Europe Has an Anti-Semite Problem

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Europe Has an Anti-Semite Problem:

The current war in Gaza has been an opportunity for anti-Semites throughout Europe to mass in the streets—and often do much worse. In the Wall Street Journal, TAI board member Bernard-Henri Lévy denounces the selectivity of European protesters who rage over civilian deaths in Gaza while ignoring atrocities committed by Assad and Hamas. He asks:

About the crowds on Friday in Paris chanting “Palestine will overcome” and “Israel, assassin”: Where were they a few days earlier when news broke that over the previous weekend Syria’s civil war had produced 720 more dead, adding to the 150,000 others who have not had the honor of demonstrations in France? [...]

Will these people, “outraged” for a day, claim that they did not know, that they saw no images of the others who died, and that today only images have the power to stir them to action? That is not going to work. Because they had seen what was happening in Syria. As reporters later discovered, those same grisly images, or older versions of them, were appropriated, doctored and retweeted by organizers of the anti-Israel demonstrations under the dishonest hashtag GazaUnderAttack.
As Lévy observes, those who really want to save the lives of Palestinian children should demand Hamas stop storing missiles in UN schools, or running their operations from hospitals. And be sure to note this and be horrified:

[The anti-Israel protesters] are also unperturbed upon learning, from the very mouth of the Hamas leadership (Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, No. 4), that in 2012 alone the construction of the infamous Gaza tunnels cost the lives of 160 Palestinian children who were turned into little slaves and buried in the rubble.
We urge you to read the whole thing. If only Europe’s anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic, protesters would do the same.

“Border Security” Is NOT “Border Security” Without A Long, Strong, High, Double-Sided Fence

“Border Security” Is NOT “Border Security” Without A Long, Strong, High, Double-Sided Fence:

Interrupting vacation one more time to bring this message to House GOP leadership. On Wednesday I was encouraged by Speaker Boehner’s message to Harry Reid about a House bill on the border.  I tweeted as much.

Today I read Bill Kristol’s assessment and realize that the House GOP leadership has no idea what they are doing on the topic of border security, which absolutely requires a long, strong, high, double-sided fence with a road running between the two fences.  This “fence project” is a necessary though not sufficient condition to border security, emphasis on “necessary.”  Other things, like visa reform, are also key, but the double-sided fence is what voters want to see built.
Consultants and pollsters have told the House GOP leadership that they must be for “border security,” but that they cannot be for the only thing on which genuine border security depends –a fence.  This creates the dilemma of having to pretend to be for border security when in fact you are doing nothing to advance it because without the fence project, nothing will work.

Because the elected lack the courage to make the common-sense argument that a law forbidding unpermitted entry is in fact a “legal fence” that assumes physical fences where necessary, the electeds lose the argument with their base and with the undecided public that knows the score. Bill Kristol is right.  Kill the fake border security bill and go home until the House leadership gets serious about passing a real border security bill.  The president is already losing the election single-handedly by allowing the world to slide towards chaos.  It would make sense for the House GOP to pass a bill based on good policy –a fence– but it makes no sense to throw the president a rope via a self-inflicted political wound over a pretend border security bill that everyone knows is a fake bill.

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols o…

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols o…:

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols on the ideas pushed by their fringe?

The media is entirely biased in favor of the Left.

EPA colludes with Billionaires; “chain of environmental command”

EPA colludes with Billionaires; “chain of environmental command”: U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental Works,  Minority Report issued 30 July 2014, link here: REPORT: The Chain of Environmental Command EPW Republicans release in-depth environmental collusion report, “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA” July 30, 2014 U.S Environment and Public Works […]

Andrew Napolitano: Obama's Executive Overreach 'Incompetent Madness'

Andrew Napolitano: Obama's Executive Overreach 'Incompetent Madness': President Barack Obama has vastly abused his executive discretion and so severely violated his oath of office that he should either be considered chief lawbreaker, or his tenure characterized as one of "incompetent madness," said Andrew Napolitano.

On every policy level, Obama has made things worse

On every policy level, Obama has made things worse:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s approval polls slipped precariously closer to the high 30 percent range this week, as more Americans expressed deep dissatisfaction with his failed presidency.

As Obama frantically runs around the country trying to find a motivating message that resonates with the base of his party, it’s obvious that he’s in over his head, without a serious, substantive agenda, or any workable idea of how to get America moving again.

He’s still peddling the same shady shell game to raise the minimum wage, an idea the Congressional Budget Office says would kill up to 1 million jobs.

The Gallup Poll on Sunday reported that barely 40 percent now approve of the job he’s doing, as more Americans — 41 percent in its recent survey — point to a sluggish economy, stagnant incomes and the dearth of well-paying, full-time jobs as their biggest concerns.

There are other signs of the economy’s weakness that are getting a lot more attention lately in the national news media than they have in the past.

Last week, for example, The New York Times’ economic analyst Neil Irwin focused on the lack of capital investment in the still-uncertain, risk-averse Obama economy.

Yes, “businesses are making record profits, cash hoards are strong and borrowing is exceptionally cheap,” Irwin writes. “But companies aren’t plowing much money into big-ticket investments for the future.”

Indeed, “what businesses spend on equipment, software, buildings and intellectual property … still hasn’t bounced back to its pre-crisis share of the economy, let alone made up for lost ground from the record lows of 2009,” Irwin says.

You may ask, “What has this got to do with me, or my search for a good job?”

Higher capital investment translates into more jobs and in the process more productivity and a stronger economy.

But it isn’t just businesses who are leery of reinvesting more of their income. Consumers have been just as risk-averse, too, according to recent reports.

Americans are stashing away more money in their bank accounts and other holdings than at any time in the past two decades, according to a report by Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

That’s a sign that wary consumers, worried about the economy or losing their jobs, or the lack of any raises in the future, are cutting back on spending, the report says.

In yet another sign the Obama economy is hurting low- to middle-income Americans — people he says he wants to help most — look no further than what’s happening to Wal-Mart, the king of America’s retail industry.

Over the past five quarters, foot traffic and sales growth have fallen in its U.S. stores, whose once-loyal customer base is heavily made up of low-income consumers. Last week, the company’s board replaced its CEO.

Wal-Mart is “very exposed to the low-end consumer, and that consumer has really suffered a lot,” says Faye Landes, a managing director at Cowen and Company, a major investment banking firm.

Earth to Obama: When it gets tougher to make ends meet at Wal-Mart, something is seriously wrong with this country. The people your policies are hurting the most are low- to middle-income Americans.

Last week, the administration received more bad news on the economic front: New home sales fell 8.1 percent in June, and May’s sale rates were also revised significantly lower, the Commerce Department said.

Realtors are reporting slower home sales, a further sign of a weak economy where the housing industry continues to struggle in many areas of the country.

Meanwhile, in debt-ridden Washington, the government is still spending as if there is no tomorrow. The Congressional Budget Office projected last week in its long-term budget outlook that the government expects to rack up deficits of at least $7.6 trillion over the next nine years. Gulp.

When was the last time you heard Obama call for reining in spending? His entire presidency has been made up of a wish list of higher spending for an unending line of special pleaders.

Instead of cutting, consolidating and shrinking the size and cost of the government, making it more efficient, the president has been rapidly expanding it with one program, bureaucracy and federal regulation after another, from Obamacare to the ill-named Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under the former, health insurance premium costs have risen dramatically ever since Obama signed it into law. As for the latter, six years of monster federal budget deficits and increasingly costly government regulations have given consumers higher prices for just about everything we buy — from food to gasoline.

A U.S. Labor Department report last week said a surge in gasoline prices drove inflation higher in June, with gas costs accounting for two-thirds of the increase.

When Obama was sworn into office on Inauguration Day 2009, regular gasoline was selling for $1.90 a gallon — and soon after, more than doubled.

The price hikes were in large part the result of Obama’s oil drilling moratoriums and blocking the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, which would have sharply boosted America’s oil supply, reducing gas costs in the process.

Struggling Americans, with families to feed and home mortgages to pay, were forced to foot the bill.

In little more than three months, the voters will have a chance to send a message to Washington about what they have endured over the past six and a half years under this president and his accomplices in Congress.

On just about every domestic and economic policy level, Obama has made things worse. The average length of every recession we’ve had over the last several decades has been about two years. Under Obama, many states, including some of the largest, are still in recovery.

On Nov. 4, we will get a chance to tell him directly what we think of his presidency and his policies.

Original enclosures:

Kevin Williamson: The Jews Mean to Live

Kevin Williamson: The Jews Mean to Live: Well said, Mr. Williamson. 

"The Jews mean to live, Hamas means to exterminate them, and there will be war until Hamas and its allies either weary of it or win it and the last Israeli Jew is dead or exiled."

"It is Hamas, not the Israelis, that stashes rockets and soldiers in schools and hospitals, but it is the Israelis the world expects to take account of that situation. Every creature on this Earth, from ant to gazelle, is entitled to — expected to — defend its life to the last: The Israeli Jews, practically alone among the world’s living things, are expected to make allowances for the well-being of those who are trying to exterminate them. No one lectures the antelope on restraint when the jackals come, but the Jews in the Jewish state are in the world’s judgment not entitled to what is granted every fish and insect as a matter of course."

Obama’s Command Economy—Incompetent at Every Level | The Fiscal Times

Obama’s Command Economy—Incompetent at Every Level | The Fiscal Times: "Prepare yourselves for a shock –- federal government bureaucracies produce incompetence. These days, the evidence of this is almost impossible to ignore, whether it’s the Department of Veterans Affairs and its wait-list fraud, or the IRS and its epidemic of hard drive failures that was curiously confined to those targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. One would be hard put to find evidence of government-produced excellence at any level, and most of us would be satisfied to discover a modicum of competence.


'via Blog this'

Another fake VA fix–‘reform’ bill changes little

Another fake VA fix–‘reform’ bill changes little: Members of Congress are rushing to pass a bill “fixing” the deadly Veterans Administration backlog before they go on vacation. Don’t fall for it: This bill won’t save sick vets...

Original enclosures:
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It’s Milton Friedman’s birthday: Here are 10 of the most timeless quotes from his 1962 classic, ‘Capitalism and Freedom’

It’s Milton Friedman’s birthday: Here are 10 of the most timeless quotes from his 1962 classic, ‘Capitalism and Freedom’:

On this day 102 years ago, Milton Friedman was born. In recognition of the life and contributions of the leading “Chicago School” economist, below are ten of his most timeless quotes according to readers, from his influential “Capitalism and Freedom.”

The quotes were compiled based on Amazon Kindle’s popular highlights feature, and are listed in descending order based on number of highlights.

Noted economist Milton Friedman. (Associated Press.)

Noted economist Milton Friedman. (Image Source: Associated Press.) 
“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
1. ”[Of the two key Constitutional principles for preserving freedom] [t]he second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed.”

2. ”Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place.”

3. ”Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it does this task [protects individuals against coercion] so well. It gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

Capitalism and Freedom

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4. ”[Of the two key Constitutional principles for preserving freedom] [f]irst, the scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom both from the enemies outside our gates and from our fellow-citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets.”

5. ”To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them.”

6. ”a society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom.”

7. ”The possibility of co-ordination through voluntary co-operation rests on the elementary—yet frequently denied—proposition that both parties to an economic transaction benefit from it, provided the transaction is bi-laterally voluntary and informed.”

8. ”The nineteenth-century liberal regarded an extension of freedom as the most effective way to promote welfare and equality; the twentieth-century liberal regards welfare and equality as either prerequisites of or alternatives to freedom.”

9. ”These then are the basic roles of government in a free society: to provide a means whereby we can modify the rules, to mediate differences among us on the meaning of the rules, and to enforce compliance with the rules on the part of those few who would otherwise not play the game.”

10. ”Fundamental differences in basic values can seldom if ever be resolved at the ballot box; ultimately they can only be decided, though not resolved, by conflict. The religious and civil wars of history are a bloody testament to this judgment.”

Note: The links to the books in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

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This anti-Israel hysteria is the opposite of a peace movement

This anti-Israel hysteria is the opposite of a peace movement: Anti-Israel activists are the attack dogs of a new Western imperialism.

Estonia- 0% corporate tax and still kicking ass. Why can’t the US learn from this…?

Estonia- 0% corporate tax and still kicking ass. Why can’t the US learn from this…?: tallinn estonia 102832 10tf689 Estonia  0% corporate tax and still kicking ass. Why can’t the US learn from this…?

July 31, 2014
Tallinn, Estonia

In the absurdly best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey wrote about abundance vs. scarcity.

With the abundance mindset, people confidently view the world as full of resources and opportunities… that there’s more than enough to share… and that more success is coming soon.

The opposite is the scarcity mindset, where people view everything as scarce and finite. If you’re winning it’s because I’m losing.

The scarcity mindset reinforces that there’s never enough time, never enough money. And since we can never be sure about the future, we have to ration every last possible resource and grab every bit for ourselves.

This ‘scarcity’ mindset pretty much sums up tax policy in most ‘rich’ Western nations.

In the US, tax revenue as a percentage of GDP has been almost exactly 17.7% of GDP since the end of World War II.

It hasn’t mattered how much they’ve raised tax rates; when tax rates go up, overall tax revenue, i.e. the government’s slice of the GDP pie, stays about the same.

For years they’ve been bleeding cash.

Yet rather than say “How can we support abundance? How can we help set the right conditions to make the PIE bigger,” they punish and intimidate everyone.

The Land of the Free is one of the only supposedly civilized nations in the world where you can be criminally convicted and thrown in jail over tax discrepancies.

They maintain one of the LEAST competitive corporate tax rates in the world, and then blame the companies who have a problem paying that much.

They need the money. There’s never enough. So they’re obsessed with bullying citizens for every last penny they can get their hands on.

It’s classic scarcity mentality.

Thousands of miles away, Estonia is one of the few countries that gets it.

Estonia has reduced taxes to a low, flat rate of 21%. And this number has been falling; from 26% in 2004, it hit 21% in 2008 and has remained at this level since.

One major innovation here is that Estonian companies are only taxed when they actually make a distribution.

In other words, a company that reinvests its profits back into the business pays ZERO tax.

Not to mention there are tremendous incentives and financing programs available for startups. So building a business here is definitely a great option.

Plus there’s no estate tax– the Estonian government isn’t looking for its ‘fair share’ when you die. There’s no gift tax or wealth tax either. It’s Paul Krugman’s worst nightmare.

But perhaps most importantly, the ENTIRE tax code itself is just 43 pages, and filing a return can be done online in just minutes.

In contrast, the US tax code could fill entire football stadiums. And tax preparation wastes tremendous resources that could otherwise be put to productive use.

But here’s the incredible thing: Estonian tax revenues, GDP, and standard of living have been rising year after year.

And at roughly 10% of GDP, Estonia has a laughably low debt. In fact, Estonia has the LOWEST general government debt of any country in the EU.

In Estonia they have truly worked to make the pie bigger. It’s an abundance mentality, plain and simple.

Now, let’s pretend for a minute that you’re flat, crazy, dead broke. And there’s a guy down the street who really has his stuff together.

He has a nice house, he’s saved money, he’s conservative, and he’s doing quite well.

Wouldn’t it make sense to learn from this person?

Wouldn’t it make sense to spend a little time checking out what they’ve done right, what they’ve learned, and see how you could apply that to your own life?

Sure it does.

But not if you’re the US government. Or France, Spain, Italy, etc.

Their only approach is to ignore the obvious success of other countries who have figured it out.

Instead their scarcity mentality pushes them to continue confiscating, intimidating, and terrorizing in a desperate, failed attempt to make ends meet.

It’s quite sad. But this is our reality.

Edging Toward Moral Equivalence

Edging Toward Moral Equivalence:

Beware: It can happen to anyone, as is illustrated by this misstep from the usually more reliable Peter Grant:

I've found myself - yet again - nonplussed at the outpouring of emotion over the situation in Gaza. All over the world Israel is being condemned for defending itself against terrorist attacks, which aren't even mentioned by most of its critics. At the same time, many of those defending Israel are ignoring the fact that Palestinians have a legitimate grievance against being dispossessed of lands that were theirs and being treated like dirt by the 'occupiers'. [Emphasis added by FWP]
The remainder of Peter's article is far better. I exhort my Gentle Readers to read it in its entirety, if only out of fairness. But the emphasized portion above tripped my triggers in a way I would never have expected from the fairly intelligent and generally sensible "Bayou Renaissance Man."

The "dispossession" to which Peter refers occurred in 1947 and 1948, following a United Nations Partition Plan designed to end Britain's Mandate over Palestine. It included the establishment of a state of Transjordan (later simply Jordan) as the new homeland for the Arab Muslim residents of the region allocated to the Jews. Rather than accept the Partition Plan, the Muslims of the region chose to go to war. The Jews won that war, and in 1948 declared the formation of the state of Israel, the Jewish homeland they hoped would secure them against persecutions of the sort that had occurred throughout world history.

That makes the Palestinians' "grievance" sixty-six years old as of today. How long must we wait for that "grievance" to expire? Are American Indians still entitled to claim a grievance against the European colonists of North America? Incidentally, the newborn state of Israel offered the "dispossessed" compensation for the lands and homes it had claimed. Though some of the Muslims thus dispossessed stepped forward to collect said compensation, many declined to do so, believing that they could recapture by force of arms what they had lost. As anyone familiar with the history of the region will know, Israel's uniformly hostile neighbors made several attempts to do so, all of which came to an abrupt end with Israel's acquisition of a nuclear deterrent.

The argument against "reparations for slavery" here in the United States has always been that the relevant injustices occurred so long ago that there can be no accuracy in identifying either the persons to be compensated or the persons to be mulcted for that compensation. Must Israel wait 149 years before it can say the same?

Are the Palestinian irredentists "treated like dirt" by Israel? What about the surrounding Muslim nations, all of which have absolutely refused to allow the Palestinian irredentists to settle in their countries? Give the Palestinians weapons? Certainly. Use them as a stick with which to beat Israel? Of course. But nothing more than that. Israel, meanwhile, has provided the Palestinian autonomous zones with water, natural gas, electric power, medical services, and a great deal of other aid -- all while being under constant assault by missiles and a continuous threat of terrorist strikes, which have reaped many Israeli lives and many millions of dollars in economic harm. And as is often mentioned on the Right, Muslims in Israel proper have more political and economic rights than Muslims anywhere else in the Middle East.

Later in his article, Peter writes that "I don't believe for a moment that Israel is blameless in this fight." If his entire reason for believing thus is the original war that gave birth to Israel, I must oppose his position. However, he goes a little further:

One can condemn Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian lands, and its mistreatment of the Palestinian people. Those are undeniable realities that no objective observer can ignore.
...but provides no specifics. Yet Israel does not "occupy" either of the Palestinian autonomous zones in any sense. It maintains security fences that limit Palestinian access to Israel, thus greatly reducing attacks by suicide bombers and other terrorist squads. It forbids Gaza to have a functioning seaport, fearing -- quite reasonably, in light of recent events -- that such a port would be used to funnel heavy weapons to HAMAS, which controls that zone. What other "mistreatment...that no objective observer can ignore" can anyone cite? If such mistreatment is genuinely occurring, and is not in the nature of offenses done by one or a few private Israeli citizens rather than by the government of Israel, I've missed it completely.

The point to all this is that credence granted to a claimed grievance must have an objective basis. The evidence must be in plain sight, not merely a representation by the propagandists of a group known for implacable hatred of its adversary and an oft-stated desire to see that adversary destroyed to the last man, woman, and babe in arms:

Though glossed over in major media reporting on the Israel-Gaza confrontation, the Hamas conflict with the Jewish State remains deeply ideological. Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV broadcast a sermon Friday reaffirming the Hamas ideology that according to Islam, it is Muslim destiny to exterminate the Jews.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) carries a new video of an official television broadcast in which a Hamas cleric states:

Our belief about fighting you [Jews] is that we will exterminate you, until the last one, and we will not leave of you, even one. For you are the usurpers of the land, foreigners, mercenaries of the present and of all times. Look at history, brothers: Wherever there were Jews, they spread corruption... (Quran): "They spread corruption in the land, and Allah does not like corrupters." Their belief is destructive. Their belief fulfills the prophecy. Our belief is in obtaining our rights on our land, implementing Shari'ah (Islamic law) under Allah's sky.

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 25, 2014]
Killing Jews as religious practice is a basic message of Hamas, which believes that Muslim struggle against Jews—not only Israelis—and eventual extermination of Jews at the hands of Muslims is intrinsic to Islam. Hamas includes this message in its charter:

Hamas Charter Introduction: "Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave..."

Article 28: "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims..."

Article 7: "Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet (prayer and peace be upon him) said [in a Hadith]: 'The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: o Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!'"
In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, it's well to remember that the Jews of that region were driven out of it in the first centuries after the rise of Muhammad, by Muslim armies resolved upon conquest under the banner of Islam. Indeed, Muhammad hated no other group nearly as much as the Jews, who were the first to reject him and his pseudo-religion. He was determined that they submit to him or die, despite truces he had made with them. The ferocity of the Muslim armies of those years got him his wish. Is it not ironic that Jewish arms should have redressed that ancient wrong -- and more ironic still that it's the far more numerous Muslims crying foul over it?

Central Bank Induced Substitution Of Debt for Income Is Not Success–It’s Failure on an Epic Scale

Central Bank Induced Substitution Of Debt for Income Is Not Success–It’s Failure on an Epic Scale: The Fed's substitution of debt for income has only doomed the nation to a deeper, more painful realignment of real income and expenses.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Leftist Intelligentsia and Academics Are Really Not All That Smaught, Are They?

Leftist Intelligentsia and Academics Are Really Not All That Smaught, Are They?:

Dumb rednecks, unwashed Faux news watchers, stupid righties and trailer dwellers tried to warn the know-it-all pinheads on the left. They warned that Obamacare was going to bite them on their corduroy asses. But they wouldn’t listen. They knew better.


After years of singing the praises of universal health care, college professors are now shocked at how badly it has turned out — for them.

Starting Jan. 1, ObamaCare makes employers offer all full-time workers health insurance or pay a fine. In response, hundreds of colleges have simply cut instructors’ course loads to dodge coverage. Others are thinking about laying off untenured faculty by the thousands.

The other option is raising tuition, but President Obama is cracking down on colleges over student debt.

“This is an unfunded mandate that’s coming down on us,” UNC System COO Charlie Perusse complained. No kidding. Belatedly, academia is waking up to the business realities of ObamaCare.

The American Association of University Professors says it’s “dismayed” by the ObamaCare-tied cutbacks, calling them “reprehensible.” A Stark State College adjunct professor facing cuts at his Ohio institution whines that it should cover part-time workers, too. “It goes against the spirit of the law,” says the English prof.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: 

In their world businesses are going to pay $15 minimum wage and give $6000 a year health care coverage to people working part-time. Uh huh. And what does this business do, sell Unicorn milk?

ht/ Just the tip

Thoughts on ‘Political Suicide’ and other tales from ‘Cloud-Cuckoo-Land’

Roger’s Rules » Thoughts on ‘Political Suicide’ and other tales from ‘Cloud-Cuckoo-Land’: "Frankly, I prefer the straight talk of folks like Sarah Palin.  I know, I know: she is supposed to be beyond the pale, and besides she didn’t attend the right schools and doesn’t wear the same sorts of eyeglasses the swell folks sport.  She is not as smooth as David Brooks, as measured as Charles Krauthammer.  But maybe, just maybe, she is right.  What then?


'via Blog this'

CNN’s Oddly Pleasant Interviews With Hamas Makes One Doubt Whether They Know It Is A Terrorist Group

CNN’s Oddly Pleasant Interviews With Hamas Makes One Doubt Whether They Know It Is A Terrorist Group:

While the U.S. Department of State, the European Union and many other allies designate Hamas, the group of fighters relentlessly launching missiles at Israel from Palestine, as a terrorist organization, this video makes it difficult to think that CNN agrees with them.

From Washington Free Beacon:

Hamas asks Gaza civilians to serve as human shields, has employed suicide bombings to kill Israelis, and its charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Yet, in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, CNN has on numerous occasions invited on spokesmen from Hamas for questions such as how they feel about the Federal Aviation Administration banning flights into Tel Aviv and how they “respond” to Benjamin Netanyahu’s accurate characterization of Hamas as a thuggish terror group.
Frequent guest Osama Hamdan likened Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler in one segment with Wolf Blitzer, who chose not to follow up on that one despite the irony of an anti-Semitic group comparing Israel’s leader to Nazi Germany’s.
Perhaps CNN’s reporters are just trying to make their guest feel comfortable and, in turn, willing to answer their questions, but one thing is certain:

Terrorist groups that use civilians as human shields and train their fighters for suicide bombings are not the same as sovereign nations or humanitarian groups – and should not be treated as such.

The post CNN’s Oddly Pleasant Interviews With Hamas Makes One Doubt Whether They Know It Is A Terrorist Group appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Original enclosures:
140711175257-wolf-blitzer-interviews-hamas-spokesperson-00031815-horizontal-gallery.jpg?888352 (image/jpg)

Ted Cruz: the Export-Import Bank is a ‘corrupt crony-capitalist fiasco’

Ted Cruz: the Export-Import Bank is a ‘corrupt crony-capitalist fiasco’:

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) encourages his fellow Republicans to kill the Export-Import Bank in a USA Today editorial, in which he describes the bank as a “corrupt crony-capitalist fiasco” that does a good deal of deliberate harm to American companies:

The Export-Import Bank is big businesses’ big-government bank backed by U.S. taxpayers. It sends huge amounts of assistance toforeign corporations, buyers, and companies that are hostile to our economic and security interests, but can afford armies of lobbyists to access easy financing backed by American taxpayers.

Contrary to the values that keep America strong, safe and free, the Export-Import Bank has facilitated lending to governments in Congo and Sudan, countries with horrific human rights records. It has financed Chinese power plants and backedRussian billionaires buying luxury planes. And, it has provided lots and lots of financing to oil companies in Russia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that compete directly with America’s energy companies.

Americans shouldn’t be forced to finance those who are actively working against them, as a basic matter of prudence. The Export-Import Bank operates outside of commonsense.
Whatever the Ex-Im Bank is supposed to do in theory, in practice it’s another disaster for managerial liberalism – perhaps not on the scale of ObamaCare or the Department of Veterans Affairs, but there are some construction equipment manufacturers in the upper Midwest who will tell you it’s plenty bad enough:

There’s nothing inherently wrong with big business — and President Obama is wrong to constantly demagogue them — but they don’t need special handouts from government. Especially when the government favors hurt other U.S. businesses and jeopardize American jobs.

For example, last year the Export-Import Bank was rebuked by a federal court for failing to fully consider that the support it sent to a state-owned Indian airline wasundercutting Delta, putting up to 7,500 American jobs at risk.

Similarly in 2013, Democrat Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and Carl Levin sent a letter of concern to the Export-Import Bank’s Chairman, noting that the Bank’s subsidy of earth-moving equipment for an Australian mining company would hurt their American competitors in Michigan and Minnesota, ultimately leading to an estimated loss of over $1 billion in domestic sales of iron ore.
Things aren’t looking much better over in the accounting department:

A 2012 report by the Bank’s own Inspector General found that it lacks a systematic approach to managing its risk, with an alarming concentration of its risks in only a few industries, particularly the airline industry. According to the Bank’sown annual reports, last year it could justify less than a third of its activity as dedicated to countering foreign competition, the core of the Bank’s mission, and it could not account for its second-largest category of financial assistance, listing it as “unknown.”

What kind of bank doesn’t understand its risks, doesn’t follow its mission, and doesn’t know where its money is going?
And then you’ve got the good-old fashioned corruption we’ve grown so accustomed to in the Obama years, with “74 cases of documented fraud at the Export-Import Bank since 2009.”  Cruz mentions one investigation that resulted in three dismissals and one dose of administrative leave, which the Wall Street Journal happens to have published an updated on just yesterday.  One of the employees who got fired for “allegedly accepting cash payments in exchange for trying to help a Florida company obtain U.S. government financing to export construction equipment to Latin America” was summoned to testify before a House subcommittee, and wouldn’t you know it, he pulled a Lois Lerner and took the Fifth.  This government doesn’t care for most of the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but they love that Fifth Amendment.  I wonder if firing those employees will make it harder to get to the bottom of the corruption scandals.  They’re each involved in a different one, according to the Journal.

Cruz finishes up by dissing the Export-Import Bank as “little more than a corporate welfare fund.”  No, wait, sorry, that was Barack Obama in 2008 – Cruz was merely quoting him.  Obama now thinks corporate welfare funds are super awesome, and wants to sweeten this one by a cool $20 billion.  If that’s not enough to convince you he’s in love with corporate welfare, provided he’s the one doling it out, wait until you see what he does for his little partners in the health insurance industry.

Plenty of Republicans are behind the Ex-Im reauthorization too.  That could prove inconvenient to the party’s campaign theme about battling crony capitalism – a banner that cannot be carried half-heartedly, especially since Republicans live in the guillotine shadow of “hypocrisy” accusations on matters such as these.  Cruz draws a battle line with a strong dash of populist appeal: “Those siding with foreign corporations, lobbyists and crony politicians will be on one side. Those fighting for the values and interests of American workers will be on the other.”

That’s quite a bit different than the traditional Democrat-Republican or liberal-conservative split.  Cruz’s prospective 2016 presidential rival, Senator Rand Paul, has been working to build cross-party appeal on opposition to the Surveillance State; perhaps Cruz can do it over the corpse of the Corporate Welfare State.  Or we could slay both dragons and have a big old dragon barbecue.  There’s plenty of political energy to be tapped in the resentment of the little guy for a system in which only the big and well-connected prosper… worse, in which the small are taxed and regulated to subsidize and protect the huge.

Original enclosures: Already Cost $840 Million — And It’s Not Even Finished Already Cost $840 Million — And It’s Not Even Finished: Report faults Obama administration's management

Krauthammer: The United Nations is Completely Corrupt [WATCH]

Krauthammer: The United Nations is Completely Corrupt [WATCH]: The United Nations is a corrupt organization, full of representatives from socialist countries, autocratic tyrannies, radical Islamic nations, corrupt third world and banana republics, and people whose views are completely opposed and antithetical to American ideals and national interests. The UN doesn’t respect US sovereignty, and seeks to infringe upon our Second Amendment protected right

The Carbon TAX Scam

The Carbon TAX Scam:

By Alan Caruba

In a recent appearance before a congressional committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told them that the agency’s proposed sweeping carbon-regulation plan was “really an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.”

If the plan isn’t about pollution, the primary reason for the EPA’s existence, why bother with yet more regulation of something that is not a pollutant—carbon dioxide—despite the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision that it is. Yes, even the Court gets things wrong.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is vital to all life on Earth, but most particularly to every piece of vegetation that grows on it. Top climatologists tell me that it plays a very small role, if any, in the Earth’s climate or weather. Why would anyone expect a gas that represents 400 parts per million of all atmospheric gases, barely 0.04% of all atmospheric gases to have the capacity to affect something as huge and dynamic as the weather or climate?

When something as absurd as the notion the U.S. must drastically reduce its CO2 emissions is told often enough by a wide range of people that include teachers, the media, scientists, politicians, and the President, people can be forgiven for believing this makes sense.

What Gina McCarthy was demonstrating is her belief that not only the members of Congress are idiots, but all the rest of us are as well.

Faking Climate Data

“The science is clear. The risks are clear. We must act…” Sorry, Gina, a recent issue of Natural News, citing the Real Science website, reported “(in) what might be the largest scientific fraud ever uncovered, NASA and the NOAA have been caught red-handed altering historical temperature data to produce a ‘climate change narrative’ that defies reality.”  As reported in The Telegraph, a London daily, “NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

The EPA has been on the front lines of destroying coal-fired plants that produce the bulk of the nation’s electricity, claiming, like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth that coal is “dirty” and must be eliminated from any use.

On July 29, CNSnews reported that “For the first time ever, the average price for a kilowatthour of electricity in the United States has broken through the 14-cent mark, climbing to a record 14.3 cents in June, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

A Carbon Tax

What the Greens want most of all is a carbon tax; that is to say, a tax on CO2 emissions. It is one of the most baseless, destructive taxes that could be imposed on Americans and we should take a lesson from the recent experience that Australians had when, after being told by a former prime minister, Julia Gillard, that she would not impose the tax, she did. They get rid of her andthen got rid of the tax!

As Daniel Simmons, the vice president of policy at the American Energy Alliance, wrote in Roll Call “Australia is now the first country to eliminate its carbon tax. In doing so, it struck a blow in favor of sound public policy.”  Initiated in 2012, the tax had imposed a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants.” At the time President Obama called it “good for the world”, but Australians quickly found it was not good for them or their economy.

Favored by several Democratic Senators that include New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Alaska’s Mark Begich, and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, the Heritage Foundation, based on data provided by the Energy Information Administration, took a look at the impact that a proposed U.S. carbon tax would have and calculated that it “would cut a family of four’s income by nearly $2,000 a year while increasing its electricity bills by more than $500 per year. It would increase gas prices by 50 cents per gallon. It could eliminate more than a million jobs in the first few years.”

Simmons noted that “It only took (Australians) two years of higher prices, fewer jobs, and no environmental benefits before they abandoned their carbon tax.”

We don’t need, as Gina McCarthy told the congressional committee, “investments in renewables and clean energy” because billions were wasted by Obama’s “stimulus” and by the grants and other credits extended to wind and solar energy in America. They are the most expensive, least productive, and most unpredictable forms of energy imaginable, given that neither the wind nor the sun is available full-time in the way fossil fuel generated energy is. Both require backup from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy plants.

In addition to all the other White House efforts to saddle Americans with higher costs, it has now launched a major effort to push its “climate change” agenda with a carbon tax high on its list. A July 29 article in The Hill reported that “Obama is poised to sidestep Congress with a new set of executive actions on climate change.”

If we don’t jump-start our economy by tapping into the jobs and revenue our vast energy reserves represent, secure our southern border, and elect a Congress that will rein in the President, the U.S. risks becoming a lawless banana republic. Carbon taxes are one more nail in the national coffin.

© Alan Caruba, 2014
Alan Caruba blogs daily at An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.

'Rotten, broken IRS cannot be repaired'

'Rotten, broken IRS cannot be repaired':

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, attorney Cleta Mitchell, a partner in the Washington-based law firm Foley & Lardner, testified the only solution to the IRS abuses of discriminating against conservative groups applying for tax-favored status was to repeal the 16th Amendment, end the income tax and close down the IRS.

“The IRS is such a corrupt, rotten and broken agency that it cannot be repaired,” she said.

“I am convinced the IRS has used FEC filings of political contributions to go after individuals who contributed to Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The IRS is lying when IRS officials testify there is no targeting going on to the disadvantage of conservative politicians and conservative groups.”

The three other expert witnesses testifying Wednesday argued that the IRS has no business regulating political speech.

“Get the IRS out of the ‘speech police business’ as soon as possible,” David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics testified. “The IRS has proved it is incompetent at policing speech.”

He argued the current law as written places political advocacy groups seeking tax-favored status at the mercy of IRS agents who are not competent to make determinations of whether the advocacy speech rights of any given group are or are not within bounds of First Amendment protections.

“I’m concerned that the mistrust of the IRS developing out the demonstrated IRS abuses in administering existing IRS rules will cause tax delinquencies to increase, costing the taxpayers millions of additional dollars.”

Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, explained to the committee that regulating political speech is outside the legal mandate of the IRS.

“The IRS should get out of the business of regulating political speech,” he testified, seconding Keating’s recommendation.

Among his suggestions, he recommended the IRS should be made into a more politically accountable agency by constituting several commissioners, chosen from both Republicans and Democrats, to direct the agency, modeled on the type of bipartisan management structure Congress created for the Federal Communications Commission.

James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation, explained to the committee that current laws and labor union protection make it virtually impossible to fire IRS employees, even when there is clear evidence a IRS agent has engaged in misconduct and abused their authority.

“Managers frequently let misconduct slide in the federal bureaucracy,” he argued.

“This practice sheltered IRS employees who targeted Americans for their conservative political beliefs. Congress can fix these abuses by reforming the Selective Service Act to streamline the firing process to include such provisions as immediate suspension without pay when misconduct has been demonstrated.”

Under questioning by the members of the committee, Mitchell explained that in her decades of tax practice representing organizations seeking tax-favored status, it was only recently, under the Obama administration, that her applications for conservative groups began being delayed for months and submitted to heavy scrutiny.

“Tea party groups under the Obama administration were quarantined to an IRS office in Cincinnati where they were scrutinized for a period of years and some have yet to get a determination,” she explained.

“The standards were different for progressive groups that were placed under minimum scrutiny and approved quickly. The IRS was looking to target any group that had ‘tea party’ mentioned in its name. The word ‘progressive’ was mentioned in some IRS targeting reports, but what IRS agents were instructed to do when ‘tea party’ was seen or when ‘progressive’ was seen involved two very different standards of scrutiny.”

She argued the IRS achieved its desired “chilling effect” by harassing conservative groups applying for tax-favored status while giving a quick green light to progressive groups making similar applications.

Under questioning by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, all four agreed a pattern of IRS stonewalling and lying to Congress justified the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“I don’t think there is any question there should be a special prosecutor,” Mitchell answered. “The problem is that the longer Congress waits, the harder will be the investigation, in part because of the spoilage of evidence over time.”

The Democratic members of the committee pressed the theme that the IRS also targeted progressive groups, though little support for that argument was received from the witnesses.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the Oversight Committee, in his opening statement noted the committee had asked Democrats to suggest witnesses to testify in Wednesday’s hearing but no names had been forthcoming.

Former Aide To Bill Clinton: “My Party Has Lost Its Soul”

Former Aide To Bill Clinton: “My Party Has Lost Its Soul”:

Zero Hedge

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

One reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

image: sodahead

Pelosi: Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Is she delusional, or is it just me?

Pelosi: Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Is she delusional, or is it just me?: Who votes for this person??

Original enclosures:

As much as you’d like to, don’t fall into the impeachment trap

As much as you’d like to, don’t fall into the impeachment trap: We have to do what the Democrats really fear: take the Senate.

Original enclosures:

Conservative author Horowitz: Progressives use minorities as ‘human shields to protect their own vulnerabilities’

Conservative author Horowitz: Progressives use minorities as ‘human shields to protect their own vulnerabilities’:

Outspoken conservative author and frequent Blaze guest David Horowitz believes he has an answer for why Republicans lose elections: the race consciousness and prejudice in America sowed by progressives has created a “racial Teflon” that protects Democrats.

Horowitz asserts that while leftist policies damage the very minority constituencies — “human shields” as he puts it – on which their political coalition relies, the racial Teflon the left has developed by disparaging their opponents as racists and bigots insulates them from paying a political price for the disastrous consequences of their policies.

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder take their seats during the 32nd annual the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. (AP)

President Obama and Attorney General Holder have frequently asserted that some of their critics are animated by racism. Both Obama and Holder have interjected in a variety of individual instances of perceived racial injustice, including the murder of Trayvon Martin. (Image Source: AP)
In his new book, “Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left,” Horowitz writes:

No one [neither John McCain or Mitt Romney] would confront [President] Obama the way he deserved to be confronted [for his various policy failures], because he is black. Actually, Obama is half-black, raised by whites and one Indonesian–but no matter, since racist liberals have made the color of a person’s skin decisive. Because Obama is a man “of color,” no political figure will hold him to the standard to which others are held or confront him with his failures. Every Republican consultant will advise that this can’t be done. That is how race conscious and prejudiced America has become under the influence of Progressive ideas…
When all is said and done…racial Teflon is the reason Republicans lose elections.
When all is said and done…racial Teflon is the reason Republicans lose elections. For what is true of Obama is true of the Democratic Party and progressives generally. They succeed in presenting themselves as the defenders of minorities, whom they use as human shields to protect their own vulnerabilities while they go on the offensive and portray their critics as racists. If conservatives are unable to repel and neutralize these squalid Democratic attacks, they can’t hold Democrats accountable. They can’t hold Obama accountable, and by extension they can’t hold any progressive accountable. Because this is how they fight.

The Left’s campaign narrative is always the same: We are the defenders of the underdog, the advocates of equality and fairness. if you attack us, you are really attacking minorities, women, children, and the poor. If you oppose us, you are racists–the people who supported segregation and lynching…Kathleen Sebelius…said exactly this about opponents of Obamacare, glossing over the fact that segregation, like slavery, was once a plank in the Democratic Party platform. [Link and emphasis Horowitz's]
But as the title of his book indicates, Horowitz has an action plan to counter this narrative:


Featured Book

Title: Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left

Author: David Horowitz

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Any effective counterstrategy to these Democratic offensives must take the form of an attack. The attack must expose the Democrats’ hypocrisy, tarring their character in the same way and to the same degree that current Democratic attacks taint conservatives’. It must pack the emotional wallop that will neutralize the assaults…
How can believers in individual rights and free markets expose this charade and repel the attacks? How can they neutralize the slanders and show that it is actually conservatives who defend opportunity and independence for minorities and the poor, for working Americans and the middle class? How can conservatives turn the tables on the Left? It’s not rocket science: Turn their guns around. Fight fire with fire.

Remind people that in the real world, progressives make the lives of poor and minority Americans worse–much worse. Shove this fact in their faces every time you open your mouth to speak. here is the mantra: In every inner city, the selfish exploiters of the poor are Democrats, progressives, and so-called liberals, and they have been for fifty to a hundred years. Democrats fatten themselves on the votes of the poor while blocking their opportunities fora better life.
Echoing in many ways the arguments of Jason Riley’s “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (top quotes here and author interview here), Horowitz bolsters his argument by citing a number of examples of the negative effects of progressive policies, from the dramatic decline of Detroit, to pervasive black and Hispanic unemployment under Presient Obama, to the fate of former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, who fought to reform the city’s public schools with great effect — only to lose his seat in large part due to attacks from unions and others on the left.

Summarizing the argument that Horowitz believes needs to be put forth in order to turn the tide against the left, Horowitz writes:

The winning strategy is this: Attack the Democrats and progressives for their war against minorities and the poor. Use the same morally infused language that they do. Expose their empty promises and their hypocrisy. Subvert their message by focusing relentlessly on their betrayal of the very people they pretend to support. In attacking Democrats as enemies of minorities and the poor, conservatives will show that they care what happens to minorities and the poor. This will put the Democrats on the defensive and neutralize their malicious attacks…
The winning strategy is this: Attack the Democrats…for their war against minorities and the poor
Going negative is important…But people also need hope, and they are looking for change…the positives should highlight the negatives. Positive proposals should spotlight the way progressive policies specifically hurt minorities, working Americans, and the poor…

Even if [initial reform campaigns don't] win on the first or second offering, it will still change the perceptions of everyone in politics. Conservatives will no longer be seen as defenders of the rich but as defenders of principles and policies that benefit minorities and the poor, along with everyone else. And progressives will be seen as oppressors. If campaigns like this are conducted correctly, they will change not only the way conservatives frame their message but the political landscape and the prospects for the nation’s future.

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