Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obama’s Swing State Strategy: Take Credit for GOP Accomplishments

Obama’s Swing State Strategy: Take Credit for GOP Accomplishments
Will Republicans really let him get away with it?
Tom Blumer
In November 2010, U.S. voters gave the Republican Party majority status in the U.S. House of Representatives and narrowed the Democratic Party’s majority in the Senate. Perhaps as important, in retrospect, to the country’s economic well-being, newly elected GOP governors wrested control of ten statehouses while the party gained roughly 20 state legislative chambers.
Perversely, all the good work the nation’s Republican governors have done since then to keep their states afloat may end up benefiting the presidential reelection prospects of Barack Obama — if the GOP’s candidates and strategists let it happen. Early signs are that they might.

Generously assuming that the second quarter’s gross domestic product growth reading will come in at an annualized 2% (given the weak employment news of the past three months, is there really any chance that it will come in stronger than the first quarter’s 1.9%?), the nation’s economy has grown at a paltry, unacceptable 1.7% annual rate during the past six quarters. What has happened in Republican-dominated states since the 2010 elections may be all that has kept the country from avoiding another recession — so far.
A recent Examiner.com item by Robert Elliott noted that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased since January 2011 in all 17 states which elected Republican governors in November 2010, especially in the ten where Republicans succeeded Democrats, and in the vast majority of cases by more than the overall national decline of 0.9 points from 9.1% to 8.2%. Just a few of the noteworthy declines since then through May 2012, the latest month available, include the following:
  • Ohio (from 9.0% to 7.3%) — Buckeye State Governor John Kasich and the Republican-controlled legislature eliminated a projected $8 billion deficit without raising taxes. Kasich also turned down “free” federal funding for what would have been a disastrous “high-speed rail” debacle. Since then, the state has been able to add over $400 million to a previously fully depleted rainy day fund.
  • Michigan (from 10.9% to 8.5%) — Rick Snyder’s first year showed resolve similar to that exhibited by Kasich. The unemployment rate in the state outside of the basket case known as Metro Detroit is down to 7.7%.
  • Oklahoma (from 6.2% to 4.8%) — Immigration reforms passed several years ago helped the Sooner State keep its unemployment rate relatively low through the recession. Strong governance by Mary Fallin and a booming energy sector have brought its unemployment rate to within striking distance of full employment.
  • Wisconsin (from 7.7% to 6.8%) — The 0.9-point drop doesn’t seem impressive until you consider how many businesses have probably avoided locating or expanding in the Badger State until learning whether Governor Scott Walker would defeat the left’s recall effort. Until Walker prevailed, so-called “progressives” actively worked to thwart not only his public-sector reforms, but his efforts at bringing in new private-sector jobs.
Florida, where the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.9% to 8.6% since Sunshine State Governor Rick Scott took office, deserves an honorable mention. Though Scott technically didn’t succeed a Democrat, his predecessor Charlie Crist governed like one for four ugly years. Scott also resisted Uncle Sam’s “high-speed rail” temptations.

These five states owe their success to governing directly against the tax-and-spend, regulation-gone-wild, crony-capitalist model President Obama has been using in Washington. Meanwhile, Democratic governors who have largely embraced Obama’s agenda and have tried to apply it in their own states have seen results ranging from mediocre to disastrous.

The most obvious failure is California, home of the nation’s third-highest unemployment rate of 10.8%. Governor Jerry Brown’s once-Golden State has seen its projected budget deficit grow to $16 billion. A tax increase, accompanied by the usual “the world will end” threats if voters don’t acquiesce, will be on the November ballot. Not content to waste “high-speed rail” money earmarked for his state, Brown also gleefully gobbled up the funds Ohio and Florida forfeited, and is currently doing a victory lap over the state legislature’s recent approval of the $69 billion (before the inevitable cost overruns begin piling up) folly.

Other Democrat-governed states with serious ongoing problems precipitated primarily by progressivism include:
  • Illinois — The Associated Press reports that “not paying billions of dollars in bills for months at a time” is “the state’s policy.”
  • New York — The unemployment rate in the Empire State has increased from 8.2% to 8.6% since January 2011.
  • Connecticut — The Nutmeg State nuttily raised taxes by a record amount last year, yet still had to close a budget deficit back in May when (surprise!) tax revenues didn’t roll in as expected.
So why should any of this benefit an incumbent Democratic president who, deliberately or not (the argument in favor of the former becomes more powerful with each passing day), has seemingly done everything he can to hold back economic and job growth after claiming two years ago that “I will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job”?

Well, Obama and his apparatchiks want us to believe that his policies alone explain why many states, particularly key swing states, are recovering at all. Of course, President ‘Prompter also has an establishment press which will gladly play along with this outrageous mendacity. On the sycophantic surrogate front, Ted Strickland — Kasich’s Democratic predecessor who saw over 400,000 Buckeye State jobs disappear on his watch – recently claimed that “a more prosperous Ohio owes Obama a vote of thanks.”
You can’t make this up.

Thus far, the response to Obama’s fabulist framing from the Republican Party and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney has ranged from non-existent to pathetic. If you don’t counter it, folks, enough people to matter just might believe it.
Tom Blumer owns a training and development company based in Mason, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. He presents personal finance-related workshops and speeches at companies, and runs BizzyBlog.com.

The Truth Behind President Obama’s Attack on Success

The Truth Behind President Obama’s Attack on Success

Last Friday, President Obama gave a speech in Roanoake, VA in which he excoriated business owners and the “successful” for their rampant greed and confronted them with the truth about how they built their businesses. The short answer? They didn’t build a darned thing. We built it for them. And by “we”, Barack Obama means “the government”.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
This is, of course, a rip-off of famous 1/32 Cherokee Indian Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren’s statement that “the rest of us” paid for the roads on which the rapacious captains of industry move their goods.

Not only is it a rip-off, but it’s also bog-standard left-wing cant and nonsense on stilts. Yes, the President was wrong, and I’ll give you some numbers in just a moment to prove it, but he was also boring. What he said is what progressives have said for more than a century. It wasn’t true in Soviet Russia, in Nazi Germany, in fascist Italy, in poor and oppressed Cuba, or in starving and shivering North Korea. It has not been true anywhere nor at any time. Free markets bring innovation, health, and prosperity for any who will work hard enough to get it. Collectivism brings stultification, sickness, and desperate want for everyone. Everything our government builds in this country, from roads to schools, we pay for. The beauty of our system of government is that we all pitch in to pay for the things we all find worthy of our money. Now, that system has been perverted horribly, mostly by those of Barack Obama’s ilk who demand we pay for things they find worthy of our money but not theirs, but that doesn’t mean the system is bad. We simply need to readjust it by tossing the would-be totalitarians out of office and voting in people who believe in limited and responsible government and will fight for it every day they are in office.

But let me examine a couple of the President’s contentions and bring some numbers to the game.

Barack Obama said that “someone” built the roads and bridges and Internet and he’s right. Someone surely did, and that someone, thanks to our progressive income tax system, was a rich person. The latest data from the CBO show that the wealthiest one percent pays more than 22 percent of all income taxes — the money that builds all the infrastructure that “helped” them get rich. In fact, they pay a larger share in taxes than they earn of the total wealth. In other words, even if the government acted the way Barack Obama says it does, “millionaires and billionaires” pay more into our government than they get out of it. That number holds true for the richest 20 percent, which includes incomes as low as $273,000 a year — the area where you will find nearly every small business owner. They paid almost 70 percent of all income taxes despite earning only 50 percent of all income.

If anything, Barack Obama ought to thank the top 20 percent for paying far more of their fair share of taxes and for allowing the poorest among us (who paid less than three-tenths of one percent of the income taxes) to use the infrastructure they largely built. Imagine what our nation — and your tax bill — would be if we didn’t take far more from the rich than we do from the middle or lower classes. Imagine the condition of our roads and schools or how many fewer fire stations and police officers we’d have.

While I’m here, let me say one thing about police services and the rich. The city of Chicago, from whence our exalted President hailed and which is run to this very day by a deeply-entrenched Democratic political machine, just racked up its 259th murder this year. Few, if any, of those crimes happened in the wealthiest Chicago neighborhoods like, say, the Kenwood neighborhood in which Barack Obama has his home. Each one of those crimes use more police resources than usual, cost more in salary and overtime, and require more people per case. The wealthy don’t demand from the police nearly what they pay in taxes. What do you think would happen if they did?

The wealth of “millionaires and billionaires” doesn’t merely build government infrastructure, though. It also pours into charitable causes in vast amounts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2008 the very wealthiest among us — those who made more than $500,000 a year, which is less than one percent of the population — accounted for 24 percent of all charitable giving (pdf link). Those who made over $100,000 — 13 percent of all wage earners — ponied up 58 percent of the money donated to charity. So not only do “the rich” pay more than their share for the government but they also give lavishly to provide for those failed by the government’s gargantuan entitlement programs.

President Obama is wrong. We have no cause to demand thanks from the successful. We should not demand more from them, not when they give so much, willingly and unwillingly. “The rich” pay far more than their own freight every single year, and they always have. “Millionaires and billionaires”, who in reality are “hundred-thousandaires and five hundred-thousandaires” bear the lion’s share of the cost of our roads, bridges, police, and fire stations even though they use less of all of them than the rest of us. When the President said “somebody” built roads and bridges, he’s talking about the wealthiest among us, even though that’s not who he means.

The President’s speech was an attack on the foundation of rugged individualism that has always supported this country, the foundation on which our greatness was built from the very beginning. Barack Obama wants us to live in an America of his imagining — a magical land of perfect equality where the laws of economics and human nature do not apply, where everyone gets his own unicorn and the only ones who have to pay are the mythical “rich”, who toil endlessly to provide for us all without complaint. That, folks, is not America. Heck, it’s not anywhere in the real world.


Obama Liberates Poland?

Obama Liberates Poland?
by Steven Hayward in 2012 Presidential Election

Obama’s epic gaffe—“If you got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen”—is showing no signs of going away any time soon. It is the gaffe that keeps on giving. It has become a multiple news cycle event, and is prompting frantic efforts from Obama defenders, borrowing the best techniques of postmodernism, to explain why the “context” of the remark shows Obama didn’t mean what every sentient being knows he meant fully: that government is the source of all good things in our life, and as such we need much more of it from him. It has become his “supermarket scanner” moment, showing how, like President George H.W. Bush’s misreported episode in 1992, he is out of touch with the real world.

I think a better comparison that explains why this won’t go away easily is with President Gerald Ford’s famous 1976 debate gaffe where he said “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” It didn’t matter one bit that the background “context” of Ford’s remark was a repudiation of the so-called non-existent “Sonnenfeldt doctrine” that supposedly had the U.S. acknowledging the legitimacy of Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe. It was part of the final farce of d├ętente in the 1970s, and connected to the ambiguity of the Helsinki Accords of 1975. Ford was trying to argue that the U.S. regarded Poland and other “captive nations” of Eastern Europe to be fully sovereign, even if, um, there were 50 Soviet divisions parked inside their borders. The Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco issued a statement bitterly criticizing Ford: “In reality Ford’s slip merely comes down to the fact that he said out loud what he thinks—or, rather, what Kissinger and Sonnenfeldt think for him.” Likewise, we can say that Obama’s gaffe merely comes down to the fact that he says out loud what Elizabeth Warren and the faculty rooms of America think for him. It took Ford more than a week to acknowledge that he misspoke, and by then it was too late. That slip might well have cost Ford the close 1976 election.

Ford’s not-so-clever attempt at diplomatic hair-splitting didn’t work any better than Obama and his defenders arguing today that Obama was merely trying to highlight the importance of those basic functions of government, such as infrastructure and the rule of law, that make commerce possible. Okay—let’s have that debate, and ask what business needs from government today. Not high-speed rail in California (or anywhere else), investments in “green energy,” massive regulatory uncertainty from the EPA and Dodd-Frank, a health care law expanding by the day as the regulators figure it out, massive financial uncertainty from taxes set to explode in January, and a permit-process-from-hell to build anything bigger than an outhouse. That’s just for starters. I note that Obama hasn’t even met with his highly touted Jobs Council for more than six months now, which shows how unserious he is about all of this. Bring it on.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Obama's Enemies List—Part II

Strassel: Obama's Enemies List—Part II

First an Obama campaign website called out Romney donor Frank Vandersloot. Next the IRS moved to audit him—and so did the Labor Department.

This column has already told the story of Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman who last year contributed to a group supporting Mitt Romney. An Obama campaign website in April sent a message to those who'd donate to the president's opponent. It called out Mr. VanderSloot and seven other private donors by name and occupation and slurred them as having "less-than-reputable" records.

Mr. VanderSloot has since been learning what it means to be on a presidential enemies list. Just 12 days after the attack, the Idahoan found an investigator digging to unearth his divorce records. This bloodhound—a recent employee of Senate Democrats—worked for a for-hire opposition research firm.
Now Mr. VanderSloot has been targeted by the federal government. In a letter dated June 21, he was informed that his tax records had been "selected for examination" by the Internal Revenue Service. The audit also encompasses Mr. VanderSloot's wife, and not one, but two years of past filings (2008 and 2009).

Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC.
Zhang Jun/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com

Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers.

The H-2A program allows tens of thousands of temporary workers in the U.S.; Mr. VanderSloot employs precisely three. All are from Mexico and have worked on the VanderSloot ranch—which employs about 20 people—for five years. Two are brothers. Mr. VanderSloot has never been audited for this, though two years ago his workers' ranch homes were inspected. (The ranch was fined $8,400, mainly for too many "flies" and for "grease build-up" on the stove. God forbid a cattle ranch home has flies.)

This letter requests an array of documents to ascertain whether Mr. VanderSloot's "foreign workers are provided the full scope of protections" under the visa program: information on the hours they've worked each day and their rate of pay, an explanation of their deductions, copies of contracts. And on and on.

Perhaps all this is coincidence. Perhaps something in Mr. VanderSloot's finances or on his ranch raised a flag. Americans want to believe the federal government performs its duties without fear or favor.

Only in this case, Americans can have no such confidence. Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot? Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors "less than reputable"?

Mr. VanderSloot says he "expected the public beatings" from the left after the naming, but he "also wondered whether government agencies, anxious to please their boss, would take notice of the target he had apparently placed on me. Now that I'm being singled out for audits, I can't help but wonder whether there is a connection."

As for other Romney donors: "It is un-American and irresponsible for a president to target individual, law-abiding citizens for political retribution, and it is inconceivable that any U.S. agency would stoop to do the bidding for this campaign's silliness," says Louis Bacon, an investor and conservationist who also made the Obama list.

We don't know what happened, and that's the problem. Entrusted with extraordinary powers, Mr. Obama has the duty to protect and defend all Americans—regardless of political ideology. By having his campaign target a private citizen for his politics, the president forswore those obligations. He both undermined public faith in federal institutions and put his employees in an impossible situation.

Every thinking American must henceforth wonder if Mr. VanderSloot has been targeted for inquiry because of his political leanings. And every federal servant must wonder if his inquiries into an Obama enemy will bring suspicion or disgrace on the agency—even if the inquiry is legitimate.

As for Mr. VanderSloot, to what authority should he appeal if he believes this to be politically motivated—given the Justice Department on down is also controlled by the man who targeted him? (The White House did not return an email requesting comment.)

If this isn't a chilling glimpse of a society Americans reject, it is hard to know what is. It's why presidents are held to different rules, and should not keep lists. And it's why Mr. Obama has some explaining to do.


It Worked? Seriously?

It Worked? Seriously?
by John Hinderaker in 2012 Presidential Election, Economy

This new Romney ad, hot off the press, so to speak, illustrates the problem Barack Obama has in running for re-election. His record is simply terrible, so whenever he tries http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/it-worked-seriously.phpto articulate his rationale for a second term, he opens himself up to a devastating rejoinder. On Tuesday he said he should be re-elected because “we tried our plan and it worked.” Watch what the Romney campaign does with that:

Ouch! There is much more of this to come from now until November.
UPDATE: Michael Ramirez weighs in:


Blind Pig. Acorn.

Blind Pig. Acorn.
by John Hinderaker in Barack Obama

On Twitter, a liberal named Jon Lovitz reminds us that we shouldn’t overstate the case against Barack Obama. He isn’t wrong all the time. To be fair, there are instances–a few, not many–when someone achieves success without working for it. Without sacrificing for it. Without taking risks, without innovating. Success that really is due to others, not himself. Mr. Lovitz offers an instance:

We stand corrected.


A sneaky way to control guns

A sneaky way to control guns

A UN treaty could curtail our rights

Gun advocates could have their ownership rights curtailed by a new UN treaty, the author says.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

Gun advocates could have their ownership rights curtailed by a new UN treaty, the author says.

Gun-control advocates and the Obama administration are rushing to complete negotiations in New York on a proposed international agreement called the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

They hope to finish the drafting within weeks, perhaps having a document ready for signature so that President Obama could press a lame-duck Senate to ratify it after our Nov. 6 elections.

Because these UNATT negotiations had long escaped serious media attention, many Americans are only now learning about their disturbing direction.

Gun-control groups, frustrated by years of failing to impose harsh measures on American firearms owners, have pursued a covert strategy. Instead of constant defeats in Congress and local legislatures, they instead shifted their attention to the international realm, hoping to achieve by indirection what they had consistently failed to do at home.

Ostensibly, UNATT is about regulating government-to-government arms transfers or direct sales by manufacturers to foreign governments. But the hidden agenda of the gun controllers is to craft treaty language that, while seemingly innocuous, has long-range implications for the use and ownership of guns here in America.

The real danger lies in vague, ambiguous stipulations gun-control advocates could later cite as requiring further domestic restraints. In other words, they hope to use restrictions on international gun sales to control gun sales at home.

Indeed, the theme underlying the negotiations is that the private ownership of guns is inherently dangerous.

There is, of course, little doubt why dictatorships and authoritarian regimes don’t want their oppressed citizens to have weapons — but such positions do not merit American support.

There are compelling arguments for closely monitoring foreign sales of truly military weapons such as machine guns, crew-served mortars and shoulder-fired missiles. Keeping such arms out of the hands of rogue states and terrorists is, beyond dispute, in our national interest.

But the United States already has a strong regulatory regime under the Arms Export Control Act to license the export of American-made weapons.
Extensive controls surround the ultimate purchasers and the uses to which the weapons are put.

We can be justifiably proud of our regulatory system. Unfortunately, however, there is little or no evidence the proposed UNATT will have any material effect on illicit international trafficking of weapons.

Many other nations, such as Russia, are much less scrupulous than we are. And countries that are unwilling or unable to police their own domestic manufacturers are not likely to change merely by signing yet another international agreement.

Moreover, there is a world of difference between weapons for military campaigns and those used for recreation and hunting. The U.S. has a long history of respecting the individual ownership of firearms. It is against this legitimate tradition of private ownership that gun-control advocates are exerting their efforts.

Their strategy surfaced most clearly in 2001 at a UN conference aiming to restrict international sales of “small arms and light weapons,” a precursor to the current negotiations. I was part of the Bush administration’s diplomacy to block this effort, which we ultimately succeeded in doing.

During the 2001 debate, I spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York, and the reaction to my remarks revealed the gun-controllers’ hidden agenda.

I said merely that the United States would not agree to any proposed treaty that would violate our Second Amendment freedoms. From the gun-control lobby’s reaction, you would have thought I said something outrageous or even dangerous. In truth, they knew we had uncovered their agenda and spiked it.

Indeed, during the Bush administration’s remaining years, despite occasional flareups of activity, the gun controllers laid low, waiting for their opportunity.
They may have waited too long, because their current frantic efforts betray their fear that Obama could lose in November, replaced by a pro-Second Amendment Romney administration. Significantly, a bipartisan letter signed by 58 senators has already rejected any treaty that seeks, however cleverly, to impose gun-control obligations on the U.S.

The gun-control crowd’s strategy of trying to do through treaties what it cannot accomplish in America’s domestic political process is not unique to that issue.

We have seen and will undoubtedly see many more examples of frustrated statists, unable to prevail in free and open debate, seeking to take their issues global, hoping to find more sympathetic audiences.

Stopping UNATT will be one clear way to send a message that such strategies are doomed to failure.

Bolton was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/a-sneaky-control-guns-article-1.1116335#ixzz217bGq0QT

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Obama’s Tax Increase Would Kill 710,000 Jobs

Ernst and Young: Obama’s Tax Increase Would Kill 710,000 Jobs
A new study conducted by Ernst and Young proves conclusively that the President’s tax increase would be devastating to the economy and jobs.
The study finds that, if Congress misguidedly adopted President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on job creators by allowing the Bush-era tax policies to expire for incomes over $200,000 ($250,000 for married filers), the economy and jobs would suffer terribly:
  • Output in the long run would fall by 1.3 percent, or $200 billion, in today’s economy;
  • Employment in the long run would fall by 0.5 percent or, roughly 710,000 fewer jobs, in today’s economy;
  • Capital stock and investment in the long run would fall by 1.4 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively; and
  • Real after-tax wages would fall by 1.8 percent.
There are almost 13 million Americans out of work today. President Obama’s tax increase would needlessly add almost three-quarters of a million people to that already much too large number. Even those with jobs wouldn’t escape the pain of President Obama’s tax increase, as they would see their wages suffer.

The report validates Heritage’s argument that President Obama’s tax increase plan would badly hurt job creation because it would fall heaviest on the most successful businesses that employ workers and pay their taxes through the individual income tax (known as flow-through businesses). The study reports:

The concern over higher individual tax rates has also been a focus because of the prominent role played by flow-through businesses—S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and sole proprietorships—in the US economy and that a large fraction of flow-through income is subject to the top two individual income tax rates. These businesses employ 54% of the private sector work force and pay 44% of federal business income taxes. The number of workers employed by large flow-through businesses is also significant: more than 20 million workers are employed by flow-through businesses with more than 100 employees. (Emphasis added.)

President Obama is fond of saying his tax increase wouldn’t impact 97 percent of small businesses. But those 97 percent of small businesses aren’t job creators. They range from people in their basements selling items on e-Bay to lawyers who practice out of their homes.

The businesses that would pay this tax increase are the businesses that hire millions of workers. Higher taxes on these vital job creators could force them to cut back on their existing workforce and would certainly cause them to slow hiring of new workers.

President Obama couches his argument for tax hikes on the rich in terms of fairness. But it would be anything but fair that millions of unemployed Americans desperate to go back to work would find it harder to land a job to provide for their families because of President Obama’s misguided class warfare.

There can be no doubt any more that President Obama’s Taxmageddon tax increase would devastate jobs. The Ernst and Young study should be the final nail in the coffin for his plan in Congress. It is time for Congress to do what’s right and stop all of Taxmageddon today.


A Tornado of Misinformation

A Tornado of Misinformation
by John Hinderaker in Climate

No matter the season, weather is highly variable. So global warming alarmists never miss an opportunity to turn the latest bad weather into an argument for taxing carbon, or whatever. When tornadoes struck this spring, the alarmists and their minions in the press were quick to blame global warming. Just a few examples:

Think Progress: “Poisoned Weather: Global Warming Helped Fuel Killer Tornadoes.”

CNN: “That’s climate change we are seeing.”

Treehugger.com: “[T]ornado season doesn’t usually begin until April, leading climate scientists to link the warmer weather to earlier (and potentially longer) seasons.”

NBC News: “ANNE THOMPSON: Extreme weather blew March 2012 into the record books. It saw almost three times the average number of reported tornadoes. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says our the unusually warm weather created conditions favorable for twisters. And while there’s no one culprit to blame for the rising thermometer, there is a prime suspect.

TOM KARL [NOAA]: Right now, we have a climate on steroids. What we mean by that is green house gases continue to increase in the atmosphere.”

And there was even more alarmism about global warming and tornadoes last year. So, what are the facts? If someone is going to argue that atmospheric CO2 is causing an extraordinary number of tornadoes, the prerequisite is an extraordinary number of tornadoes. Unfortunately for the alarmists, there is no evidence that tornadoes are increasing in the U.S. or anywhere else. Paul Homewood at Watts Up With That has the data. This chart shows “strong to violent tornadoes” as classified by NOAA from 1950 to the present. As is immediately obvious, there is no upward trend, although 2011 happened to have a lot of major tornadoes:

How about 2012? Is there any evidence of an unusual number of tornadoes this year? No. In fact, 2012 is, so far, a below average year for tornadoes:

It would be bad enough if the alarmists merely capitalized on random increases in bad weather phenomena to support their case. But the fact that the alarmists try to blame global warming in years that are actually below average in adverse weather events illustrates why they have no credibility with the American people.


Obama's Fat Cats


Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod and his hatchet people are still yammering about GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney’s overseas investments. It’s time for the Romney campaign to educate voters about all the shady financial institutions embraced by Democrats right here on American soil.
Republicans can’t make the fatcat-narrative attacks go away by making nice with the White House — or by relying on Beltway journalists to drop their double standards and vet the president’s own bad-bank entanglements. Indeed, the New York Times admitted this week that their staff and other political journalists from every major media outlet submit their work to the White House for unprecedented review, editing, and “veto power.”
Fortunately, the truth manipulators and message massagers haven’t gotten to this column yet. So, let’s talk sleazy Democratic party–backed banks, shall we?
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. Forget Switzerland. The mother and father of all financial-industry outrages are rooted in Washington, D.C. And Obama Democrats are among the biggest winners of lavish, out-of-control compensation packages from fraud-plagued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama confidant James Johnson raked in $21 million.
Former Obama chief of staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel “earned” at least $320,000 for a brief 14-month gig at Freddie Mac. And Clinton Fannie Mae head and Obama economic confidant Franklin Raines bagged some $90 million in pay and stock options earned during the government-sponsored institution’s Enron-style accounting scandal on the public dime.
Self-appointed banking policewoman and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has, uncharacteristically, kept her mouth shut about these wealthy barons.
Superior Bank. One of the Obamas’ oldest Chicago friends and wealthiest billionaire bundlers, former Obama national finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker, headed up this subprime lender. Even after it went under in 2001 and left 1,400 customers destitute, Pritzker was pushing to expand its toxic subprime-loan business. Pritzker and her family escaped accountability by forking over $460 million over 15 years. Obama happily accepted the nearly $800 million in campaign and inaugural funding Pritzker drummed up for him. To protect her family’s multibillion-dollar fortune, Pritzker’s enterprises park their money in the very same kind of offshore trusts her candidate is attacking Romney over.
Broadway Bank. In 2010, President and Mrs. Obama personally raised money for their Chicago friend and fundraiser Alexi Giannoulias. As I reported then, Giannoulias’ Greek-immigrant family founded Chicago-based Broadway Bank, a now-defunct financial institution that loaned tens of millions of dollars to convicted Mafia felons and faced bankruptcy after decades of engaging in risky, high-flying behavior. It’s the place where Obama parked his 2004 U.S. Senate–campaign funds. And it’s the same place that a mutual friend of Obama and Giannoulias — convicted Obama fundraiser and slumlord Tony Rezko — used to bounce nearly $500,000 in bad checks written to Las Vegas casinos.
Chicago’s former inspector general blasted Giannoulias and his family for tapping $70 million worth of dividends in 2007 and 2008 as the real-estate crash loomed.
Broadway Bank was sitting on an estimated $250 million in bad loans. The cost to taxpayers after the bank was shut down two years ago: an estimated $390 million.
ShoreBank. The “progressive” Chicago-based community development bank, a “green” financial institution whose mission was to “create economic equity and a healthy environment,” folded in August 2010. Obama personally had endorsed the politically connected bank and appeared in a video promoting its Kenyan microlending project. But it was a doomed social-justice experiment. After regulators shut it down, Obama crony companies including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs took over the mess courtesy of taxpayer subsidies.
Countrywide/Bank of America. Earlier this month, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report on corruption-plagued Countrywide Financial Corp., which was bailed out by taxpayer-bailed-out Bank of America. The House investigation confirmed the notorious favor-trading scheme, which involved sweetheart home-loan deals for members of Congress and their staff, top government officials, and executives of doomed mortgage giant Fannie Mae.
“These relationships helped [Countrywide CEO and Democratic subprime-loan king Angelo] Mozilo increase his own company’s profits while dumping the risk of bad loans on taxpayers,” according to the new report. Mozilo copped a $67.5 million plea to avert a high-stakes public trial in the heat of the 2010 midterm-election season. Since then, Obama’s Justice Department has taken no action to prosecute Countrywide officials on federal bribery charges.
Among the influence-peddling operation’s most prominent beneficiaries: the aforementioned Obama top adviser Jim Johnson, who accepted more than $7 million in below-market-rate Countrywide loans, and former Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, whose ill-fated 2010 reelection bid was personally endorsed by Obama. Obama stood by Dodd even as sordid details of his two discounted Countrywide loans and record Countrywide PAC donations mounted.
Bank of America, which raked in $45 billion in Obama-supported TARP bailout funds and billions more in secret emergency federal loans, footed the $50 million restitution payment bill for Mozilo and another Countrywide official. In 2008, BofA’s political-action committee gave its biggest contributions to Obama, totaling $421,000. And as I noted in January, Bank of America supplied the Democrats with a $15 million revolving line of credit, along with an additional $17 million loan during the 2010 midterms.
Embarrassed by the party’s ties to shady Bank of America, progressives are now trying to rebrand the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., where Obama will give his nomination-acceptance address. They’re referring to it as “Panthers Stadium” instead.
Obama’s copious crooked friends and funders are going to need a lot more whitewash than that to cover up their ill-gotten gains.
— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. © 2012 Creators.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Top Ten Things Obama Has Not Released

Top Ten Things Obama Has Not Released


As the Obama campaign and the media continue to press Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, and to suggest--without a shred of evidence--that he is a “felon,” it is worth noting how much critical information Barack Obama has withheld from view--both as a candidate in 2008, and during his term in office. Here is a Breitbart News top ten list of things that Obama has refused to release (a complete list would fill volumes):

10. State senate papers. In the 2008 primary, Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for not releasing papers from her eight years as First Lady--but failed to produce any papers from his eight years in Springfield. “They could have been thrown out,” he said.

9. Academic transcripts. His supposed academic brilliance was a major selling point, but Obama (by his own admission) was a mediocre student. His GPA at Occidental was a B-plus at best, and his entering class at Columbia was weak. Can he prove his merit?

8. Book proposal. Obama’s literary agent claimed he was “born in Kenya”--for sixteen years. His original book proposal exists--biographer David Maraniss refers to it--and seems to have embellished other key details of his life. Yet it has never been released.

7. Medical records. In 2000, and again (briefly) in 2008, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain released thousands of pages of his medical records. Obama, who had abused drugs and continued smoking, merely provided a one-page doctor’s note.

6. Small-dollar donors. In 2008, the McCain campaign released the names of donors who had contributed less than $200, though it was not required to do so. But the Obama campaign refused, amidst accusations it had accepted illegal foreign contributions.

5. The Khalidi tape. In 2003, Obama attended a party for his good friend, the radical Palestinian academic Rashid Khalidi. The event featured incendiary anti-Israel rhetoric. The LA Times broke the story, but has refused to release the tape--and so has Obama.

4. The real White House guest list. Touting its transparency, the Obama White House released its guest logs--but kept many visits secret, and moved meetings with lobbyists off-site. It also refused to confirm the identities of visitors like Bertha Lewis of ACORN.

3. Countless FOIA requests. The Obama administration has been described as “the worst” ever in complying with Freedom of Information Act requests for documents. It has also punished whistleblowers like David Walpin, who exposed cronyism in Americorps.

2. Health reform negotiations. Candidate Obama promised that health care reform negotiations would be televised on C-SPAN. Instead, there were back-room deals worth millions with lobbyists and legislators--the details of which are only beginning to emerge.

1. Fast and Furious documents. After months of stonewalling Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder asked President Obama to use executive privilege to conceal thousands of documents related to the deadly scandal--and Obama did just that.

In addition to the above, Obama and his campaign have lied about many facts about his past--his membership in the New Party; his extensive connections with ACORN; and his continued relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, among other examples. Obama’s own memoir is filled with fabrications. And now he is lying about his opponent’s honorable record in business. He--and the media--have no shame.


Study: 9% unemployment if Congress doesn’t stop sequestration

Study: 9% unemployment if Congress doesn’t stop sequestration

by Rob Bluey

The congressional Super Committee is long gone, but the consequences of its failure will be felt by millions of Americans unless Congress addresses mandatory cuts that take effect Jan. 2, 2013.

A new study released today by economist Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University and the Aerospace Industries Association estimates that 2.14 million U.S. jobs will disappear as a result of the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate. That would push the nation’s unemployment rate above 9 percent.
Automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion will hit the defense industry particularly hard. Defense-related jobs makes up about half of the lost jobs, according to the study. The report estimates losses for other sectors of the economy as well: 48,059 jobs in healthcare, 98,953 in construction, 473,250 in manufacturing. California, Virginia and Texas will fare worst.

Fuller predicted an uptick in unemployment without action from Congress:
The unemployment rate will climb above 9 percent, pushing the economy toward recession and reducing projected growth in 2013 by two-thirds. An already weak economy will be undercut as the paychecks of thousands of workers across the economy will be affected from teachers, nurses, construction workers to key federal employees such as border patrol and FBI agents, food inspectors and others.
The first year of cuts will result in a $215 billion drop in America’s GDP. The overall U.S. workforce also faces a $109.4 billion decrease personal earnings.
Cuts to America’s military are particularly alarming. The across-the-board cut of more than $500 billion over the next decade comes in addition to the $487 billion in cuts already proposed by President Obama for the Department of Defense. The Budget Control Act hits the military hardest.

At the release of today’s study, New Hampshire’s two senators — Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen — warned of the consequences of inaction. Ayotte emphasized the impact on America’s military in particular:
Military leaders have been clear that defense sequestration will deprive our troops of the resources they need and undermine our national security for generations. This new study underscores that sequestration will also crush our economy, devastate our defense industrial base, and put tens of thousands of Americans out of work.
Defense readiness is already a mounting concern. All branches of the military are attempting to do more with less, relying on SUVs for combat, extending the life of aircraft and cutting back on our Navy fleet.


Sometimes, environmental justice is neither

Sometimes, environmental justice is neither
by: Katherine Timpf
Sometimes, environmental justice is neither
Hundreds of turbines at the Bliss Wind Farm in Eagle, N.Y., are producing energy without polluting the air, but the massive windmills also produce noise and vibrations that have reduced property values and quality of life for nearby residents. Photo Credit:Wikipedia
Second in a series

Americans hear it every day: The environment is bad, and we need to change it. Life is not fair for minorities, and we need to help them. The Obama administration sees both of these mantras as united under a common cause: environmental justice.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement” of people, regardless of race, “with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."

At the State of Environmental Justice Conference held April 4-5 in Crystal City, Va., people from both the public and private sectors met to discuss how to increase the role of this concept in federal policy — a concept they admitted was broad.

"It covers inner infrastructure, it covers government, it covers public health, it covers social equity, it covers public participation," said Glenn Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice in Transportation Project at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

But Paul Driessen, a senior fellow at the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, a nonpartisan think tank based in Bellevue, Wash., warned against using a buzzword such as “environment” to push policy.

“If somebody says, 'This is going to protect the environment,' lots of folks are reluctant to stand up and ask any questions about that. But I don't think they've given a very good review of the negative effects,” he said.

For years, special-interest groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have changed the American business landscape under the premise of advancing environmental justice. But in many cases, those changes have done more harm than good for the people they are designed to protect.

Mr. Driessen recounted a case from 1998, when Shintech Inc. had planned to build a plastics factory in the poor, black community of Convent, La. Sierra Club activists opposed it, raising fears that dioxins from the factory could lead to increased cancer rates among minority residents there. EPA denied approval of a construction permit, so the company built its factory in a largely white community in nearby Plaquemine instead.

The company had been expected to bring 2,000 jobs to Convent, Mr. Driessen said. Not only did those people lose the chance for employment, but they also lost the health care benefits that would have come with those jobs.

“You are denying people the jobs and better living standards and better health that comes from that,” he said. “Where is the environmental justice in denying them access" to those things?

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and of Project 21, a network of black conservatives, remembers speaking with residents of Convent.

“Folks were very upset, a lot of folks that had come from hundreds of miles away,” he said. “A lot of do-gooders came in, were successful in shutting down the plant, and scores of families who depended on the plant for their livelihoods were left without jobs.”

The Sierra Club never actually had to prove its cancer claims to prevent the factory from being built. In fact, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said in a July 1997 environmental impact statement that “dioxins were never detected … from these manufacturing facilities.”

Mr. Driessen said this is not unusual outcome, and that he often questions data from what he considers to be biased environmental groups — including the EPA itself.

“The EPA has massaged data and ignored many studies,” he said.

As an example, he pointed to the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, which "provides independent advice" to the EPA, according to a statement on the agency's website. However, in March, JunkScience.com revealed that six of the seven members on the committee have received or are still receiving large research grants from EPA, according to the agency's grant database. Some members have received tens of millions of dollars in government grants.

Since it succeeded in blocking that factory in 1998, the Sierra Club has become even more active in its pursuit of environmental justice. Rachele Huennekens, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, explained the organization’s aggressive plans to shut down power plants across the United States.

“There’s actually 500 coal power plants currently in the U.S., and the Beyond Coal Campaign is seeking to close at least a third of the coal plant fleet by 2020,” she said. “109 have been retired so far.”

But not every community wants those plants shut down, Mr. Kirsanow said.

“I think you've got to look at both sides," he said. “You've got all these regulations that I think are well intended. Then, on balance, ask yourself what's best."

"A lot of those folks would prefer to have the job as opposed to shutting down the plant because of some speculative environmental concern,” Mr. Kirsanow said.

Mr. Kirsanow cited his own childhood experience as an example. He said he is thankful that he grew up up next to a steel mill because it provided his and other minority families with jobs.

“We did have a lot of smoke and things like that … but that job provided our family with the income and medical doctors to advance so my father could send me to an Ivy League school.”

It's not just nonprofit groups like the Sierra Club increasing devotion to the cause of environmental justice. The federal government has stepped up its efforts, too.

President Obama encouraged Congress last month to renew tax credits to continue expanding “clean” wind energy. According to his campaign website, electricity generation from wind has more than doubled during his presidency.

Ms. Huennekens hailed wind power as an alternative form of energy that avoids the negative effects of “dirty coal.”

But Mary Kay Barton, an environmental advocate, retired health educator and resident of Castile, N.Y., disagrees. The town of Castile lies within Wyoming County — home to hundreds of wind turbines, which she said ruin the quality of life that environmental justice claims to protect.

Ms. Barton said one neighbor has to leave his home and drive to another town every night to sleep because the turbines give him headaches and raise his blood pressure. Ecosystems were destroyed to build the turbines, she said, and the windmills are hurting home values in her community.

“Would you buy a home that was now surrounded by 250 industrial wind turbines?" she asked. “I used to be a member of Sierra Club. I raised my kids in cloth diapers, for crying out loud. I am all about saving the environment. They say that this is about environmental justice, but this is the biggest travesty to the environment that has ever gone down because it doesn't do anything that they claim.”

Both Mr. Driessen and Ms. Barton pointed out that since wind turbines require large quantities of rare metals — as well as fossil fuels to process, ship and install them — it is misleading to call that energy source “green” or “clean.”

Deneen Borelli, a Fox News Channel contributor and a fellow with Project 21, said green energy is not about the environment as much as it is about redistribution of wealth.

“Our tax dollars are being used for the green energy industry, really being wasted ... and we're also paying on the other end with higher energy prices. It's regressive. ... Those who are least able to afford higher energy prices are paying on both ends of the spectrum.”

Ms. Borelli said American wealth is also being “redistributed overseas,” citing environmentalists' recent defeat of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and Canada's subsequent efforts to export its oil to Asian markets.

“If we don't use that resource, it will go to China,” she said. “Sadly, we have a president who is trying to lower our standard of living and prop up the standard of living in other countries.”

Dr. Darryl B. Hood, a professor of neuroscience and pharmacology at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., opened the environmental justice conference on April 4 by calling on Americans to take on the problems of the world.

"We must begin to view environmental justice through a global health prism," he said. "The goal of global health is the health of all people, all nations."

Kim Lambert, environmental justice coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agreed that environmental justice must have greater influence on federal policy.

Ms. Lambert said President Obama invited her and others to the White House a few weeks into his presidency to brief him on the subject. She said that while he had expressed extreme devotion to the cause, she was disappointed that this had not yet translated into sufficiently extreme policies. 

“We were under the impression some things were going to happen," she said. "We’re not there.”

Perhaps she should be patient. EPA's website details the future of the movement in its Plan EJ 2014, which promises to re-evaluate environmental justice legislation in 2014 — after Obama's re-election.

"In 2014, EPA will make an assessment of its progress in achieving the goals of Plan EJ 2014," a statement on the agency's website states. "Based on this assessment, EPA will produce a report on the accomplishments, lessons learned, challenges, and next steps for continuing the Agency's efforts to make environmental justice an integral part of every decision."

Read more: http://times247.com/articles/66environmental-justice-part-ii-taking-a-second-look-at-green8#ixzz20uKhr66s