"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Friday, October 28, 2011

Video: OWS vs. TEA (Recommended)

Yes, OWS is just like the Tea Party!

Peter Schiff Schools OWS

The great one decides to take a microphone and a camera and hit the streets of NYC.  What ensues is priceless!  The amount of ignorance these protesters demonstrate in general is mind numbing, though a few seem to be teetering at the border of reasonableness.  Capitalism is a strange notion to them, yet they could not explain why the alternative is preferable.  The interview runs a little long but it is well worth investing 18 minutes to comprehend what kind of intellectually incapable people we are dealing with.  Enjoy:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Book Controversy

As I have been busy the past few days on preparing several blog articles and other matters, I almost missed this one!

Imagine this: You are the President of a modern, civilized country.  You have written a book (at least you claim to have even though the evidence is pretty clear that terrorist Bill Ayers was the ghost writer) - an autobiography of sorts - years ago.  Your State Department buys thousands of copies of your books and distributes them as gifts around the world.  Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

It takes a great deal of arrogance, narcissism, and down right corruption for an Administration to spend tax dollars on buying the President's own book (the proceeds from which will almost undoubtedly go in to his re-election campaign).  Other than the obvious ethical questions, how sickeningly narcissistic must a President be to allow that to happen?  Moreover, since different embassies have ordered the book at different times, obviously the order had to come from high on down. 

Whether Hillary or Barack, we are not simply dealing with ineptness here.  This is the corruption of an Administration down to its rotten, stinking core.  Nearly everything this Administration does is calculated.  I am sure, as always, the media will be glossing over this incident as well.  Oh well, welcome to the 21st century banana republic extraordinaire.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Move Over Solargate: More Crony Capitalist Corruption

I was starting to wonder that although a week had passed since the latest Administration scandal hit the news, no new scandal was raising its ugly head from the cess pool that is the Obama Administration.  Multitudinous non-energy related scandals aside, could it be that we would not be treated to another Solyndra, SunPower, or other failures associated with this Administration's obsession with green initiatives (like Evergreen, SolarCity, Solexel, Majave Solar, LightSquared, Tesla, and GE among others)?  Well, I was not let down as this is the Administration that keeps on giving.

The latest scandalous story unearthed by ABC news revolves around another Obama supporting crony investor who took the tax payers for another half a billion dollar ride.
Yes students, the corrupt crony capitalist of the week is Henrik Fisker

Fisker, a car company backed by a prominent venture capital firm Gore is a partner at, and pumped by Vice President Biden, took over half a billion dollars from the federal loan guarantee program I discussed in earlier posts.  Vice President Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.  The reason?  There are no facilities in the U.S. that can do the job!

Furthermore, Fisker Karma is not only behind schedule but its touted fuel economy is a sham.  Like Tesla - the other electric car company U.S. tax payers are on the hook for - it stands almost no chance to compete in the market place against other cars.  How do I know it?  Just look at GM's Volt that is only selling between 100-200 cars per month.  At a much steeper cost of over $90 thousand, the Karma is sure to be a bust.  So is Fisker as an entity American taxpayers are unwittingly betting on. 

The immediate question that comes to mind is, why did the DOE not know any of this before backing a massive loan for purposes that had no prayer of being realized in this country (or anywhere else in my opinion)?  A second question is how much did the fact that the principal of the company is not only a heavy Democrat contributor but has connections in high places play in securing the loan guarantee?
Despite the unconvincing DOE attempt to defend their policies, the tens of billions of dollars poured down the drain on green energy related ventures is as good as gone.  The question remains, will this Administration ever be held accountable.  I am not betting o it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Quick Question to OWS Protestors...

...Ok, lets say you have a point protesting the banks; then how come you are not protesting in front of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who are just as responsible (if not more) as financial institutions for the current mess, yet were exempted by Frank-Dodd legislation that supposedly imposed necessary regulations on the financial sector?  While you are at it, how come you are not protesting in front of White House (Obama) and the U.S. Capitol (Barney Frank) those Democrats who were in 2008 - as well as today - the number one and two recipients of Wall Street campaign money?

Let me guess, all the parties (and entities) I listed are actively working to destroy the one thing you also want destroyed: Capitalism.  Right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OWS Vs. TEA in Pictures (No Words Needed!)

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Peruse and decide for yourselves
which group might represent your values and beliefs more closely:
Occupy Wall Street                                                       TEA


So, the choce is yours; which will it be?

Better yet:

It is your choice, America.                                                             

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Irony of All Ironies...

A New York Post story points out the OWS protesters' woes with thieves among them.  Some of stolen items are oddly ironic for a group protesting capitalism and, by extension, materialism: a $5,500 Mac and $2,500 in cash!

Here is the irony that I see: The protesters are supposedly protesting against greed of Wall Street bankers, the rich, and corporations, yet not only some of them possess far more than one would expect such warriors for social justice to possess, but they actually get mad about their goodies being stolen - as if what they are promoting is not stealing from those who have earned their worldly wealth.

Oh well, if it was not for hypocrisy, the left would not exist.

Premature Dismissal of CLASS - Update

Yesterday I wrote that the Administration had dismissed CLASS due to its unsustainability.  It simply did not make financial sense to have a long term care component to Obamacare other than to make numbers look more respectable.  As the revenues from the program would not have nearly as much expenditures to off set it in the short run, the cost of healthcare reform for the first ten years was artificially portrayed in a favorable light.

Fast forward a day......now it seems HHS Secretary Sebelius did not check with Barack before taking the only sensible decision she could regarding CLASS.  The word now is that the President opposes dropping CLASS from the healthcare reform bill. 

Even when this gang gets a decision right, they go back and undo it; therefore cementing their image as being intent on destroying this country any which way they can!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Global Leadership a la Barack and Hillary

You have got to love progressives who are not only incapable of learning from history, but make up their own in their alternate universe that no one else lives in.

Just today, Hillary said that she wants to be remembered for reasserting America as a global leader during her time in office.  Clinton said on NBC’s “Today” that the legacy she participated in during President Obama’s first term is that “we have reasserted American leadership.”
She added:
We are going to lead because America is destined to lead,” she said. “We do have to get our own house in order — our economic house, our political house — but we cannot abdicate leadership in the rest of the world.”

Excuse me madam but I would not exactly consider your and this Administration's foreign policy track record a reassertion of American leadership.  In fact, it has been pretty disastrous since the early days.  Just to point out a few inconvenient facts, under this regime:
  • We have turned our back on allies in Taiwan, Tibet, Israel, U.K., Poland, Czech Republic, Honduras, and Colombia to list just a few;
  • We have coddled dictators and similarly unsavory characters in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Russia, Iran, China, Palestine, S. Arabia, and wherever Arab Spring has taken place;
  • We have given away our missile defense trump card in return for nothing;
  • Iran has practically declared victory as prime originator of state sponsored terrorism and come to the door step of acquiring nuclear weapons without a reaction from the Administration;
  • Watched as protesters in Iran who were at the margins of a would-be revolution got massacred;
  • Encouraged Islamic fundamentalism from Cairo to Tripoli to Ankara, to the capitals of Europe via words and inaction which are in tune with the President's convictions;
Well, to say the least, the Obama Administration's track record in the international arena has been so bad that even the Brits had started to wonder as early as in 2009.  They were right.  Barack and Hillary are out of their depths in just about everything they meddle in.  And that, madam, is NOT reasserting U.S. leadership by anyone's definition!





Is the Dismissal of CLASS an Indication of Obamacare's Overall Unsustainability?

Last week, we witnessed the Administration's dismissal of a major segment of Obamacare called The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS).  CLASS was to be sponsored by the federal government but maintained as a voluntary plan to which healthy, younger, working Americans would contribute in the event they became disabled later on in life. Participants would have paid a monthly premium that ranged widely between $235-$3000, depending on income, during their employment years, and then collected a daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they became disabled.

Why did the Administration announce that CLASS was being dismissed?  Unsustainability.
The program was fatally flawed because healthy, young people would need to subscribe to the plan for the premiums to be reasonable for all participants.  Unlike the purchase of long term care insurance in the private sector, CLASS did not offer lower premiums to healthier participants.  Thus, the program would likely attract those who were already disabled in some way, yet able to work to some extent, and who anticipated the need for long term care in the future. Without healthy subscribers paying into the system, these individuals would not likely be able to afford the steep premiums.

Of course, it goes without saying that, had the program survived, it would likely require a costly tax payer bail-out as the premiums collected (due to low level interest on the part of healthy individuals) could never suffice the costs incurred by those recieving payments.  The same "too big to fail" - or too vital to let it fail - mentality as Medicare is concerned is currently bankrupting our nation.
What does the admitted unsustainability of CLASS tell us about rest of Obamacare that astute observers have known since the beginning?
First, the penalty for not carrying insurance under Obamacare is not sufficient for the healthy and the young to acquire healthcare insurance or change their habits.
Second, Obamacare dictates what services must be included with acceptable plans.  This includes all sorts of services not currently covered under insurance plans (for birth control, etc.).
Third, Obamacare will increase demand on healthcare services as subsidizing a service always increases the demand for it.
Finally, taxpayers will have to subsidize the ever increasing costs of Obamacare if the health insurance system is to be kept semi-privatized.  The hope of the progressives is that the system will become too costly and necessitate the final cross-over to a single payer, government run system as the President envisions.
All indications point toward the unsustainability of Obamacare.  If allowed to stand by the SCOTUS, Obamacare will surely cost many times the rosy projections of this Administration.  We may have dodged a bullet with the dismissal of CLASS but, if even Medicare does not bankrupt us, Obamacare certainly will.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When Does 53 Exceed 99?

The Marxist left is up to its usual tricks at OWS and other "occupations" around the U.S. as well as the globe - calling themselves the 99%.  The calls for end to capitalism, redistributing the wealth, and all sorts of new social rights are nothing one does not see at a typical anti-IMF rally or any other rally the left organizes. 

Other aspects of OWS aside, the slogan "we are 99%" is cleverly designed to let people think this movement is about everyone but the super rich; well at least until the gullible finally figure out that the 1% that is being demonized do not possess the resources necessary to satisfy neither the demands of the so-called 99% or their real plans.  The natural progression of this movement would therefore lead to a progressively larger pool of productive Americans being targeted along with the 1%
But now, there is a new - a different kind of movement that really is not a movement in a classical sense.  It is the 53%.  They are not organized in any way, nor are they on the streets; at least not yet

You, me, and all other federal income tax paying Americans are the 53% (as 47% not only pay no federal taxes but actually get tax credits from Uncle Sam.  I urge you all to go to the site and read the notes posted by the 53%.  They make me so proud to be the 53%.

By the way, as one 53%er puts it:
"I don't expect you or anyone else to finance my life style or my choices.  And if you think that a few thousand whiny babies mewling in the streets about how horrible it is to pay back student loans are 99% of the population of this country of 307 million, then you need to pay more attention in math class.  Here's a word problem for you: What is 53% of 307 million and how many streets would that many people fill up?"

That about sums it up.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Administration Outdoes Solyndra Debacle

I know, it would be hard to believe that the $535 million federal loan guarantee to the failed solar venture Solyndra could be outdone.  Well get ready for something more outrageous to be filed under 'crony capitalism gone wild'.

SunPower, a failing California solar company, recieved $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee under the DOE 1705 program on the last day of September, only hours before the deadline.  This one stinks to high heaven so much that I don't know where to begin. 

One would expect the federal government to evaluate the potential recipients of government largesse for integrity and financial as well as business plan soundness.  It is the governments fiduciary duty to assure that taxpayer dollars do not benefit shady companies, are not risked on ventures that are not feasible or do not stand to benefit the public in general.  Companies like Solyndra or Evergreen stand no chance to succeed in a free market environment (as they eventually proved to be the type of losers that only government foolishness can temporarily prop up).  Believe me, if there was a demand for their product/service, they would not need the government to succeed. 

A Bleak Financial Picture:

SunPower (SPWRA - NASDAQ) is a troubled company in the solar energy sector that is heavily shorted (ninth most shorted solar stock in major indices with nearly 11 million short positions - 15x daily volume!) and beset by multiple ongoing share holder law suits including a serious federal securities law violation charge.  It's market cap is down 94% from its high of $13 billion to $800 million while it is indebted to the tune of $820 million.  It's prospects for survival is iffy at best.  Not the kind of company U.S. taxpayers should be risking their borrowed tax dollars on!
Chart forSunPower Corporation (SPWRA)

Cost per Job Created:

Then there is the issue of jobs proposed to be created by this ill-concieved project.  According to the Department of Energy (DOE) website, the SunPower's CVSR project (which the loan was earmarked for) will create 10-15 permanent jobs.  Lets see....$1.2 billion divided by 10 or 15......oh, a veritable bargain at $80 to 120 million per job created


As if that is not enough, there is the troubling (and common place under this regime) cronyism issue, complete with questionably convenient timing.  First, the loan guarantee was heavily lobbied for by a congressman, George Miller (D-CA) and his lobbyist son.  The loan guarantee was literally granted on the last day before the program expired and three weeks after the company announced that it was building a factory in Mexico (so much for creating jobs in the U.S.) to build the panels for the California project.  In other words, they had started building a factory to manufacture the equipment necessary for a project they had no loan guarantees for.  Rather puzzling, if not outright troubling detail! 

This being the Obama Administration, you may be wondering if there were any previous financial ties between Obama/Democrats and SunPower like the campaign cash bundling backers of Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and others.  Wonder no more. 

SunPower’s political action committee (PAC) was not shy about participating in the political process.  According to the SunPower PAC filings for its activities in the 2010 midterm election campaign cycle, it donated more than $36,000, 94% of which unsurprisingly went to Democrats including Congressman Miller who was instrumental in pushing the federal approval.  While SunPower was a financial partner in the congressman’s reelection campaign, it straight-out hired his son - an obvious ethical faux-pas.  Oh, by the way, Rep. Miller's son is not registered to lobby in Washington. 
SunPower's CEO Thomas Werner was also a regular contributor to Democrats throughout the past couple election cycles as I found out following a quick check on OpenSecrets. 

Other Shenanigans:

The SunPower story doesn't quite stop there.  There is also a small matter of the Obama pal insiders getting rich overnight though the story involves the federal government only indirectly.  On April 12, 2010, the company, as well as the DOE, announced that it was seeking federal loan guarantees in the amount of $1.2 billion.  Two weeks later, France's Total Oil announced its friendly buy out of 60% of SunPower at $23.25 - coincidentally a 60% premium over SPWR's trading price on that day.  SunPower CEO Werner is typical of the insiders. On May 24 he exercised his right to purchase 428,343 shares at $3.30 per share, a $18 discount from the day’s trading range.   He sold 478,084 shares June 15, the day the Total Oil takeover closed, at $23.25 for proceeds of $11,115,453.

Remember, Total Oil was offering at $23.25 per share in what was in effect a private sale. The SPWR, Class A or B, shares have not traded above $23 since June 10, 2010.
Had the company not been privately assured of the federal loan guarantee, would the Total Oil take over materialize (which allowed insiders to cash in handsomely; effectively on the backs of the American taxpayer)?


SunPower case is even more troubling than Solyndra in that there are serious questions, any one of which should have disqualified the company from qualifying under the DOE program guidelines.  So, why did the Department of Energy agree to backing SunPower to the tune of $1.2 billion?  There are many yet unanswered questions.  To recap:

  • How could the Department of Energy give a loan to a company that was under a shareholder suit alleging securities fraud and misrepresentations?
  • The son of Rep. George Miller (D-CA) who was paid $178,000 to lobby on behalf of the company represented SunPower as a lobbyist. Why did Rep. George Miller tour the SunPower facility – which is outside his congressional district – and what other official action did Rep. Miller take on behalf of the company that is represented by his lobbyist son?
  • Did the company’s hefty political contributions to the Obama campaign and the DCCC play a role in the deal?
  • Did U.S. taxpayers help pay for the company to open a facility in Mexico after the announcement of the loan?  
  • Was the U.S. government aware that company executives were in the process of selling a portion of the company to a French company – an action that was undertaken two weeks after the loan was awarded? Did the loan allow insider’s to cash out leaving other investors holding on to the stock that has dropped by more than 60% since the loan was awarded?

 The term crony capitalism - the success of a business being dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in various forms, instead of free markets and the rule of law - is tailor made for the relationship of this Administration with companies like Solyndra, Evergreen, SunPower, or any one of dozens of other companies, green or otherwise. In this symbiotic relationship (just like with labor unions or trial lawyers), tax dollars circulate between the administration and their crony benefactors in the form of campaign donations and stimuli of the day to enrich the very people who are eager to return the favor to their Democrat puppets in government.  There is only one clear loser and that is the American taxpayer.

Remember the EO in Lieu of Stupak Amendment? Apparently Obama Does Not!

Those with sharper memories might remember how Obamacare passed in the Congress.  The Stupak–Pitts Amendment was a proposed amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2010 (AHCAA). It was submitted by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA).  Its stated purpose was to prohibit the use of federal funds "to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion" except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.  It was adopted by the House but not included in the Senate version, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Many pro-choice representatives said they would oppose AHCAA with the Stupak-Pitts language and proposed to adopt PPACA. Stupak and several supporters said they would oppose PPACA without the amendment but withdrew their opposition after President Obama promised an executive order to bar such funding.  Following the passage of Obamacare (PPACA), Obama eventually (and discreetly) signed the EO on March 24, 2010.

This issue should have been a non-issue since the Hyde Amendment is (a blatantly ignored) law of the land as it stands and it supposedly bans tax payer funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and/or danger to mom's life.  Well, it was established in 2009 that Hyde Amendment did not apply where Obamacare is concerned, thus the reason for the EO that supposedly had the effect Stupak Amendment would have had.

Those of us who are up to the dishonest games that progressives play knew and warned that this EO would never stand.  Executive orders may carry the weight of law but they are also easy to undo.  Well, we were once again proven right. 

Two days ago, the House of Representatives passed the Protect Life Act (HR358), a piece of legislation that bans federal funding of abortions.  The bill was proposed exactly because saner minds in Congress knew that it has been this Administration's intention all along to fund abortions with taxpayer money as they do with their financial support (worth over $365 million tax dollars) of Planned Parenthood now.  The bill passed with fifteen Democrats joining the majority Republicans.  Even before the bill passed, our shameless President made it clear that if the bill reaches his desk, he will veto it because "H.R. 358 goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law and reinforced in the President’s Executive Order by restricting women’s private insurance choices". 

Once again, the Administration deceitfulness is on full display for the public to see.  Somehow, I doubt very much that many will take sufficient notice.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dumb Quote of the Week

“People who make money with money are getting taxed at a far lower rate than people who make money by their own labor,” -- Warren Buffet (in an interview with CNN Money)

It goes to show that having made billions does not mean your intellectual capability is any higher than a logical thinker who ponders issues before sticking his foot in his mouth!

Mr. Buffet and other progressives out there: Once again, if anything, capital gains from equity transactions should not be taxed at all as in most of the developped world.  Capital gains taxes on equity gains represent double taxation on capital formation.  The reason is that they are taxed at corporate level.  A government can choose to tax either the value of an asset or its yield, but it should not tax both. Capital gains are literally the appreciation in the value of an existing asset. Any appreciation reflects merely an increase in the after-tax rate of return on the asset. The taxes implicit in the asset’s after-tax earnings are already fully reflected in the asset’s price or change in price. Any additional tax is strictly double taxation.

Got it?  I very much doubt it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sham That Is Obama's Jobs Council

The 27-member, Obama appointed Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is nothing short of a charade this administration is putting on to make believe that creating a healthy, job producing economy is their top priority.  A little closer examination of this assembly of odd choices for such a council clarifies this statement to be true.

ABC News just published a story recounting what I and millions of other engaged citizens already knew.  The Council is stacked with at least 15 Obama supporting executives some of whom are also bundlers of campaign contributions, net job cutters/exporters, and at least three comitted Marxists (to varying extents) that include two heads of labor unions and a Berkeley professor we all know.  Moreover, the compensation of at least the corporate members of the council are mostly in the territory (as in eight figures) the Administration finds useful to criticize from time to time as being examples of greed and excess; - of course no one from the Council being mentioned.

Just as outrageously, some of the corporations represented on the Council are recipients of stimulus funds as well as bail outs in one form or another.  Corporations like GE have paid no federal income taxes lately, recieved stimulus funds, and in return not only laid of thousands of employees here but carried operations to China and other countries.  Several executives on Obama’s economic advisory board have held fiduciary positions at companies that, to one degree or another, either fried their financial statements, helped send the world into an economic tailspin, or both.

The President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council) was created to provide non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation's economy and ensure the competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people.

You have to ask yourself some questions:
Why does the majority of the Council consists of major Obama supporters?
What are two Marxists labor union presidents and at least two others who are not pro business individuals doing on a council that is charged with finding ways to create jobs?
Why are there no oil company executives on the Council while the energy sector is represented by Next era Energy and G.E. and their green initiatives?
Why are there no members from small business groups like the NFIB or the Chamber of Commerce?
How about health insurance company representatives?

Well....the questions that you could think of are probably too numerous, but one thing is for sure: the track record of this sham of a council is not good; and why should it be considering that it is stacked with crony capitalists and left wing ideologues whose main, and probably only concern is to benefit their own causes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So Mr. President, Economists Agree, Eh?

The latest whopper to be added to the untruths uttered by the Liar-In-Chief came during this Saturday's Weekly Address to the nation.  Obama, talking about his jobs bill in the Senate that his own majority party blocked last Thursday, said "...this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn here in America.  This isn’t just my belief.  This is what independent economists have said.  Not just politicians.  Not just people in my administration. Independent experts who do this for a living have said that this jobs bill will have a significant effect for our economy and middle-class families all across America.  But if we don’t act, the opposite will be true — there will be fewer jobs and weaker growth."

Oh, really Mr. President?  It is a good thing I caught a glimpse of what economists think in a Bloomberg article ten days ago with a typically misleading heading for the left leaning rag that it is: Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession In Survey Of Economists.  The article itself was of not much value to me as nothing much that left wing Bloomberg says ever impresses me, however the table showing the consensus of economists at the end of the article was very revealing:

                                                   Table of Forecasts
                           GDP     GDP     Jobs (thous)     UR Change
                           2012     2013     2012    2013     2012    2013
Median                0.6        0.2        275      13        -0.2     -0.1
Count                   34         30          28       28          28      26
Action Eco          0.0        0.0           0         0          0.0     0.0
AIG                     0.7        0.1        250     100        -0.5    -0.2
Aletti                   0.4        0.0         n/a      n/a          n/a     n/a
Anderson Eco     0.5        0.5        500     500         -0.5     n/a
BBVA                 1.3        0.9        900     900         -0.8    -0.7
BNP Paribas        0.5      -0.3        500    -300          n/a     n/a
Clearview Eco     0.8       0.8        750     750         -0.5    -0.5
DB                       0.0       0.0            0         0          0.0      0.0
Econoclast           0.0       0.0            0         0          0.0      0.0
Euler Hermes       0.0     0.0              0        0           0.0     0.0
Fact & Opinion    0.5     0.5          500  1,000         -0.1    -0.3
Faifield                 n/a     n/a          300     200         -0.2    -0.3
Fannie Mae          0.7     0.0          500         0           0.0     0.0
Goldberg Inv        n/a     n/a          150     100           n/a     n/a
Goldman Sachs    1.5     n/a           n/a      n/a           n/a     n/a
Guerrilla               1.5    -1.0          200       0           -0.2     n/a
H. Johnson            0.2     0.3            25      45           0.2     0.2
JP Morgan            0.1      n/a          n/a     n/a            n/a     n/a
MacroEco             1.3     n/a           n/a     n/a            n/a     n/a
MacroFin              1.5     1.5       1,000   1,000        -1.0    -1.0
Manulife               1.5     0.5       2,000     700         -1.0    -0.3
Mizuho                 0.2     0.0           n/a      n/a           n/a     n/a
Moodys                 2.0     1.0       1,000        0          -1.0    -0.4
NFIB                    0.0     0.0               0        0           0.0     0.0
Niagara                 1.0     0.1          125        0           0.0     0.0
Nord                     0.4     0.5            n/a     n/a          -0.2    -0.4
Parsanec               0.5     0.5        1,100     700         -1.0    -0.5
Pierpont                0.3     0.0            50         0          -0.2     0.0
Raymond James   0.3     0.2          350       25          -0.5    -0.1
SPSU                    0.9     0.1          110        0            0.0     0.0
SocGen                 1.7     0.8              1        1           -0.4    -0.2
State Street           1.2    -1.0          340    -370          -0.2     0.3
Standard Charter  1.0     0.5          600      300           0.0     0.0
Unicredit               2.0     n/a          n/a      n/a            n/a     n/a
W Hummer           0.2     0.2         150     200           -0.1    -0.1
J Forest                 1.0     1.0          n/a      n/a           -1.0    -0.5
Let's see.....
The administration estimates that the bill will create about 1.9 million jobs.  With the exception of a few economists who have enough integrity not to venture a wild assed guess based on faulty (because you cannot model human behavior, especially when the administration in charge is actively destroying the free market system) econometric models, the range of estimates for what the nearly half a trillion dollar bill would create in the way of jobs is huge: from job losses of 30,000 to job gains of 2.7 million.  The median estimate of new jobs estimates is 288,000 over two years at an approximate cost of quarter of a million dollars per job!  Even if those jobs were created, stimulus can at best create temporary jobs that are hugely expensive - not the productive type that free markets create.
With wildly varying estimates, I don't know about you but that is no consensus in my book.

While at the subject of jobs, the Labor Department reported that there were 108,000 newly created jobs in September.  Exactly 28 years ago, a year after the deep 1982 recession, economy added 1.1 million jobs in September 1983.  The difference between then and now isn't the magnitude of the recessions but the policies the U.S. pursued to restore growth.  Under Reagan, tax rates were cut, loopholes were closed, regulations were eased, and government was in retreat.  Today, we've had a spending and regulatory boom, the threat of higher tax rates, and a hostile, antibusiness political climate.  Policies have consequences, Mr. President.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mr. Obama, You Are No President Reagan; - Not Even In His Worst Day!

Is there anyone left in America who is not getting sick and tired of the President's distortions and otherwise outright lies, and the media's complicity in covering them up?  The latest whopper told by our pathologically deceitful President is that Reagan was also a class warrior by today's Republican standards:

The guy is such a serial liar that he cannot even stop himself from telling an obvious whopper that even a child with access to internet could check for accuracy.  No Mr. President, federal income taxes aren't lower today than at any point during Reagan's presidency as you shamelessly claim.  If you had an ounce of honesty (or competency) you would know and admit that the top individual tax rate in 1988-9 was 28% as opposed to 35% today.  Reagan was no class warrior.  He agreed to reforming the tax code by reducing individual tax rates and eliminating loopholes that made taxes fairer.  Neither Reagan nor anyone who follows his philosophy today advocates such unfairness as to anyone not paying their share of taxes, whether we agree with the amount or not! 

Just how different are you?  Let me count some of the ways....

Reagan understood and passionately spoke about the difference between the natural compassion inherent in conservatism and the poverty of soul that socialism brings.  He knew it was a time for choosing.

He understood what being an American meant.  He inspired a deeply demoralized country and touted the exceptionalism of America in his deeply moving speeches.  His optimism and his pride in America was infectious.

He foresaw the destructive power of government, be it through socialized healthcare or run away welfare society programs unleashed on America by the so-called war on poverty that robs people of their dignity, therefore the human spirit. 

He restored honor and respect that was lost due to the weakness of President Carter's foreign policy. Ronald Reagan’s achievements and legacy and his message of freedom, hope and opportunity throughout the world once again cemented America's image as the shining city on the hill that should be emulated by all countries.

"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women," he told the nation and the world in his 1981 inaugural speech.  With that, he set off to inspire freedom from oppression across the globe and with dogged determination, he helped bring them the most precious gift any oppressed people can hope for - liberty

He presided over two presidential terms during which the nation prospered and 18 million jobs were created despite a Fed triggered lengthy and deep recession in 1982 to stamp out inflation.  All thanks to supply side policies that lowered tax rates, closed loopholes, and reduced unnecessary regulations despite a fiercely hostile congress at times.

He was a truly gifted orator who appealed to people's strength of character and reignited their pride and sense of self-worth.  He was a moralizer and the most inspiring President in the 20th century, bar none.

The current, disgustingly dishonest, occupier of the White House could not even remotely begin to dream about such a noble legacy!

Farewell.  May you rest in peace, President Reagan.  We owe you our deepest gratitude for your foresight, leadership, and inspiration.  In case you are looking down at our sorry state of affairs, I know you are smiling being the eternal optimist that you were.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

AGW Falling On Hard Times

Man made global warming scam is an interesting study in how a small group of scientists can create the illusion of representing scientific consensus where there obviously is none.  The Alinskyite tactics of smearing the other side, while doing exactly what you are smearing them for, works well enough for any leftist cause you might think of.  The President and his gang do it all the time in relation to who is destroying the economy.  Unions do it.  Human rights, animal rights....... you name the group - they all invariably adhere to tactics favored by the collectivist left all over the world ever since the 19th century. 

Case after case the warmists are either proven to be wrong or discovered to be conspiring to manufacture data that support their position.  It has gotten so bad that, the so-called consensus has been breaking for the past several years.  Scientist after scientist are disavowing the fake "consensus" position that man is primarily responsible for global warming, and joining the thousands of climate scientists around the globe in pointing out the scam that AGW is.

The following by Steven Goddard of Real Science sums up the latest developments in the car wreck AGW movement has become:
HadCrut acknowledges that temperatures have declined this millennium. NASA acknowledges that sea level has declined for the past two years. NSIDC acknowledges that multi-year Arctic sea ice has been increasing since 2008. Cryosphere Today acknowledges that Antarctic sea ice has been increasing for 30 years. Rutgers Global Snow Lab acknowledges that winter snow is increasing. Trenberth can’t find the missing heat. ENSO has gone negative. US hurricane strikes are at historically low levels. ACE is at historically low levels. Severe tornadoes are on the decline.

The global warming religion has nothing legitimate to hold on to, so the high priests are now trying to convince people that bad weather never used to happen. The old white males who run this religion complain that old white males are against them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Outstanding Video: Obama Presidency By The Numbers

Good thing they did just the economic highlights.  Had they undertaken the hypocrisies, lies, scandals, and failures otherwise, the video would have to be a mini series several hours long!  Enjoy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Latest News Headlines You Will Never See on the MSM

There is a damned good reason why your (and my) progressive friends know nothing about the depth of scandals Obama Administration is mired in: Almost none of it is reported on the MSM (with the exception of Solyndra on ABC; which by the way is totally ignored by NBC, MSNBC, CBS, etc.)

Although I have given up informing these useful idiots because of their propensity to call me a conspiracy buff who listens to FNC entirely too much, here it goes:
  • Wonder why the Holder and the DOJ dropped their open and shut voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party?  Here is his boss at a NBPP rally in Selma, AL in 2007.  Got it?  Try and distance himself as he might (as he has attempted with every controversial person/group such as ACORN, NBPP, Rev. Wright, and too many others to list), these people are like his shadow; there is no escaping them other than escaping the sunlight (metaphor for transparency).
  • Regarding another under-reported scandal - Operation Fast and Furious -, the Administration has steadfastly denied knowledge of the operation.  According to document dumps, this denial is also another one of the long list of Obama Administration lies.  I am still sticking to my conviction that this was nothing other than providing an opening for restricting second amendment rights in the U.S. - you know, creating a crisis to exploit as this Administration has expertise in.
  • On Solyndra front, as I blogged earlier, this is just the tip of an iceberg I call Solargate. In related latest news, now a geothermal plant that our taxpayer dollars backed is seemingly going the way of the Dodo.  If that is not enough, the Department of Energy, under kooky Dr. Chu, has slipped new loan guaranties totalling over $5billion before the fiscal year ended on Friday.  I am going to have to rename this scandal Green Energygate.  This seems to be a gift that keeps on giving!
  • On the environmental front, the past week witnessed the highly critical EPA's Inspector General report on the agency's approach to preparation of its landmark 2009 “Endangerment Finding” from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, instance of peer review related scandals that mar the climate fraudsters. 
  • Also disclosed today was man made global warming (AGW) NASA scientist, Dr. Hansen's sources of outside income.  Dr. Hansen raked in over a million dollars last year from different activities promoting AGW.  He admits this income began after he escalated his public – and often political – global warming advocacy, for which outside parties have spectacularly rewarded him.  Ethics anyone?  By the way, this is the same charlatan who wrote to Obama regarding using global warming to redistribute wealth, has been arrested multiple times protesting with the fringe elements of the movement, and has been caught on more than one occasion falsifying temperature data.  Yeah, some scientist!
  • On a lighter note, guess who tipped off the AP reporter on Michelle's shopping trip to Target with the common people?  You got it, the White House.  Come on people, have some sympathy!  It is difficult to keep an image of fighting for the people when you are busy at $35,000 a plate campaign fund raisers, wearing $40K bracelets, $11K earrings, and $500 loafers; that is when you are not travelling on lavish vacations at a (so far this year) total tax payer cost of over $10 million!  Poor Mooch.
This is just some of the more newsworthy news items from the past few days that you will not see in your evening news.

The Buffet Rule and Other Fiscal Fallacies (Updated)

What happens when you team up a crony capitalist with a Marxist radical?  You apparently end up with a fallacy and a deception.  Isn't it amazing how fast we've gone from "last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession" to "rich must pay their fair share"?! 

The latest "code word" to be introduced to our lexicon a couple of weeks ago was one with the sole purpose of shoring up support for the President within his own base.  Make no mistake, the so-called Buffet Rule, named after the hypocritical crony billionaire Warren Buffet, is the Administration's latest attempt to incite class warfare.  After all, class warfare is all that is left for this radical administration to hang their 2012 hopes on.  Their hope is that pitting the society against each other will wipe the memory slate clean come election time.  Once again, their political calculus is way off target.  Infact, if it wasn't for miscalculating, they wouldn't be calculating at all!

The whole premise that the rich do not pay their fair share (or for that matter the premise that tax increases as a rule increase revenues to the government) is a ruse.  It is an outright, boldfaced lie that is often repeated by progressives with the hope that enough sheeple will take it on its face value.  It is an easily demonstrable fib at that, which I will do at a later post as the purpose of this one is to point out the hypocrisy and possible crony shenanigans being played out.  For now, be it suffice to state that each higher income quartile pays a greater percentage of total taxes than the income they earned.

As we have heard over and over again from the so-called oracle of Omaha, the rich in this country are not paying their fair share.  Mr Buffet holds himself up as the example of how ordinary working people pay higher tax rates than he does.  The fact that Mr. Buffet makes his billions through capital gains, thus paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary has nothing to do with the bigger issue of tax fairness.  It is a classic case of comparing apples to oranges in a pathetic attempt to create a fallacy. 

The wholly separate issue of capital gains rates, according to the left being as low as they are, needs to be confronted by proponents of true tax fairness and free markets.  Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate for excellent reasons.  They are: 
  • taxed at corporate level already.  Many economists conclude that it is a form of double taxation on capital formation. Economists Victor Canto and Harvey Hirschorn explained:
    A government can choose to tax either the value of an asset or its yield, but it should not tax both. Capital gains are literally the appreciation in the value of an existing asset. Any appreciation reflects merely an increase in the after-tax rate of return on the asset. The taxes implicit in the asset’s after-tax earnings are already fully reflected in the asset’s price or change in price. Any additional tax is strictly double taxation.                                                                That is why many tax analysts argue that the most equitable rate of tax on capital gains is zero as it is in many countries around the world (or at least strictly defined to exclude equities).
  • risk capital - just as you are limited to $3,000 in writing off your capital losses, it makes sense that taxes should be lower on non-ordinary income;
  • the life blood of a capitalist economy that requires free flow of capital
Mr. Buffet, on the other hand is a crony extraordinaire, a la Jeffrey Immelt and others the President has surrounded himself with.  Here are some handy tidbits about Warren:

Mr. Buffet portrays himself as a modest man who lives in the same small house he bought decades ago.  Little publicized are the facts that he owns a multi-million dollar vacation home in California and a $10 million private jet.
Mr Buffet and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, owes the IRS over a billion dollars which they have been litigating over for almost a decade.

Mr. Buffet is heavily invested in the life insurance business.  As such, he has been lobbying the Administration hard to do away with estate tax exemptions.  Without the exemptions, his life insurance companies stand to benefit to the tune of billions of dollars over the long term. 

Furthermore, hypocrisy of Buffet screams the loudest as it relates to his wealth.  He has given most of it to the Gates Foundation, thus avoiding federal estate taxes (as has Bill Gates).  If estate taxes should be retained, why avoid them?  Enough said about Warren.

When it comes to taxation, Washington works in mysterious ways.  Many of your utility bills, for example, are adorned with taxes which were supposed to be "temporary" but somehow outlived the events they were imposed for.  Another great example is the AMT.

The AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) was introduced in to the tax code in 1970 as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1969 by Democrats just because there were 155 individual income tax returns showing incomes of over $200,000 and no tax liability thanks to tax loopholes.  You would think that smart governance would have reformed the tax code to make it flatter, fairer, and simpler; but not when lawyers run Washington!  Today, AMT affects over 4 million tax filers because AMT exemption, unlike regular income tax items, is not indexed to inflation.
In the name of fairness, the Democrat congress passed the AMT that now touches millions of Americans' lives, and even though the congress expresses its dismay over it, nothing changes. 

In other words, when politicians tell you that a particular tax is temporary, or it is earmarked for paying down the debt, do not believe them!  Handing Washington money and hoping they will do the responsible thing is akin to asking a drug addict to safe keep your marijuana stash.

This is so wrong on so many levels that it boggles the rational mind. What does cutting the deficit have to do with the rich paying their fair share? It is akin to blaming one's household budget shortfall on their income rather than their spending habits. It is the height of irresponsibility. No Mr. President, those who need to pay their fair share are the 45% of income earners who pay zero federal income taxes. In other words, those whom you and your party's ideology pander to.


Well, moving forward less than a week after the announcement of the Buffet Rule, Warren has apparently "not read the bill". In an interview last Thursday, he openly disagreed with the President's plan to tax ordinary millionaires at a higher rate. It seems that to Warren, rich means those earning over $50 million per year - not $250,000. Well, well..... now look who the useful idiot is! I hope he enjoys his name on the "rule"; actually he is in luck as the bill stands just about as much chance as that of a snowball in hell thanks to the Republicans.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

About Time: Germans Refute Arrogance of Team Obama

It was bound to happen!  Sooner or later some influential foreign leader would give us the tongue lashing we so richly deserve ever since the Obama Administration ascended to power with all its hypocrisy.  It happened earlier this week.

The latest and the most decisive affront so far came earlier this week when the German finance minister told tax cheat Tim Geithner and the Obama Administration to clean up their own mess before giving gratuitous advice advice to the EU on handling their sovereign debt crisis. Ouch!
The Administration had earlier suggested the EU bail-out machinery be boosted from its current lending limit of 440 billion euros to over 2 trillion euros. The German finance minister rightly called the idea "stupid" as the idea would endanger the credit rating of the member states.

I don't blame the Germans.  Just imagine being lectured by an incompetent who is incapable of using Turbo Tax and an Administration that has driven its credit rating and economy down when, two years in to the recovery, GDP and job growth should be strongly rebounding!  These are the same people who now lecture their counterparts abroad on the need for fiscal prudence.  As if they would know it when they saw it, let alone practiced it.

The U.S., under the Obama Administration, has been refuted on several occasions.  It all started when the IOC affronted his highness by granting the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro despite the President making a special visit to Copenhagen very early in his presidency to sway the commission's opinion in our favor.  Between then and now, several other countries have directly or indirectly insulted the Administration including the Russians,Chinese, Iranians, Cubans, and Venezuelans among others.  And why wouldn't they?  After all, the Obama Administration has back stabbed allies all over the globe including (but not limited to) Israel, Taiwan, Poland, Czech Republic, Honduras, and Colombia.  Heck, we even back stabbed dissident groups in non-friendly countries - remember the Iranian protesters who got massacred while Obama looked the other way in his haste to appease the Islamic world?

This kindergarten foreign policy will not end until these clowns are run out of office and can join the legacy of the Carter Administration for the most disastrous foreign policy in the past half a century.  You know how an anticipated event makes the time go slow?  This will be a long 13 months until the elections.  Lets hope that the reputation of the U.S. can withstand the continuous body blows.