EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times.

Pushy airport screeners to become even less accountable to the flying public

When Congress decided to take over airport security, it was never about safety. That became clear on Friday when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners formally agreed to a contract that will add 45,000 dues-paying members to the ranks of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

This public-sector union forces members to hand over between $14 and $16 out of each paycheck, meaning the organization stands to collect as much as $16 million each year. This money will help turn out the vote for Democratic candidates and subsidize a number of liberal causes. This year alone, AFGE members directed about $1 million toward electing Democrats like Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tim Kaine of Virginia — only 3 percent of the funds went to GOP candidates. The union spent $2 million on lobbying government mostly to ensure federal workers get paid more to do less.

Under the new TSA contract, employees will win annual leave based not on their performance, but how long they’ve held on to the job. They’ll also be able to wear shorts when it’s hot, with the tab for the new wardrobe picked up by the taxpayers. House Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica, Florida Republican, blasted the deal for focusing on “tie tacks and tattoos” instead of issues that actually matter. Those tie tacks can’t exceed 1/2-inch in diameter and must be gold or silver in color. Tattoos must be covered by a sports sleeve or band that does not detract from the uniform. TSA must also provide office space for designated TSA union officials to work on union business at taxpayer expense.

Over the past decade, the public has been forced to shell out $57 billion for an agency that has made flying an ordeal. All of the groping and indignities passengers have been subjected to has been for naught. TSA has never caught a single terrorist, yet it continues to insist on spending billions on pornographic scanning machines. The European Union, by contrast, refuses to adopt the technology.

In an April report, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks found, “at the population level the possible effect cannot be ignored in the assessment of acceptability of the introduction of the security scanners using X-rays for passenger screening. Due to the substantial uncertainty regarding the potential occurrence of any health effects, risks for special groups within the population could not be evaluated meaningfully, although a higher risk related to exposure in childhood was noted.” X-rated X-ray machines were put in place here after a major lobbying campaign from the companies that eventually landed the lucrative scanning contract.

This is how Washington works. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done to improve safety, we have a jobs program designed to re-elect Democrats and enrich lobbyists.

The Washington Times

 

ZUBRIN: Earth Day’s dark side – Washington Times

The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ZUBRIN: Earth Day’s dark side – Washington Times.

Guardians of Earth, persecutors of humankind

By Robert Zubrin

Sunday is Earth Day, the annual jamboree of the green movement held worldwide since 1970. Unfortunately, a review of the accomplishments of the advocates of environmentalism and population control since that spectacular debut shows very little reason to celebrate.

The seminal scriptures of modern-day environmentalism were Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Paul R. Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” and the publications of the Club of Rome. While stylistically quite different, these books all served to rally the public around a core anti-human philosophy. As the Club of Rome put it, “The Earth has cancer, and the cancer is man.” Such misanthropic views could only have the most horrific consequences.

Some of the worst atrocities can be laid at the feet of Mr. Ehrlich and his co-thinkers who argued – in direct contradiction to historical fact – that human well-being is inversely proportional to human numbers. As a result of their agitation, U.S. foreign aid and World Bank loans to Third World countries were made contingent upon those nations implementing population-control programs. In consequence, over the past four decades, in scores of countries spanning the globe from India to Peru, tens of millions of women have been rounded up and subjected to involuntary sterilizations or abortions, often under very unsafe conditions, with innumerable victims suffering severe health effects or dying afterward.

Mr. Ehrlich also called for the United States to create a Bureau of Population and Environment, which would have the power to issue or deny permits to Americans to have children. While rejected here, this idea was adopted in China. Thus was born China’s infamous “one-child policy,” which has involved not only hundreds of millions of involuntary abortions and forced sterilizations, but infanticide and the killing of “illegal children” on a mass scale.

The pesticide DDT was first employed by Allied forces to save millions of typhus-ravaged victims of Axis tyranny, and after World War II, it was employed to wipe out malaria in the American South, Southern Europe and much of South Asia and Latin America. According to the National Academy of Sciences, by 1970, those campaigns had saved more than 500 million lives.

No matter. Using Carson’s “Silent Spring,” which falsely argued that DDT was endangering bird populations (in fact, it was protecting them from insect-born diseases) a massive propaganda campaign was launched to ban DDT. As a result, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did so in 1971. Subsequently, the U.S. Agency for International Development adopted regulations preventing it from funding international projects that used the vital pesticide. Together with similar enactments in Europe, this effectively banned the use of DDT in many Third World countries. By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from those restrictions has exceeded 100 million people.

The harm done by the EPA has not been limited to stopping DDT. It is no coincidence that U.S. oil production, which had been growing at a rate of 3 percent per year through the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, peaked at 9.6 million barrels per day in 1971, immediately after the EPA’s creation, and has been declining ever since. Today we are down to 5.6 million barrels per day. Had we continued without environmentalist interference with our previous 3 percent per year growth in the period since – as the rest of the non-OPEC world actually did – we would today be producing 35 million barrels per day, and the world economy would not be groaning under the extremely regressive tax represented by $100-per-barrel oil prices. The environmentalist campaign against nuclear power has made its promise for plentiful, cheap electricity impossible as well.

European “greens” also have much horror to account for, notably through their campaign against genetically modified crops. Hundreds of millions of people in the Third World suffer from nutritional deficiencies resulting from their cereal-dominated diets. This can be rectified readily by employing genetically enhanced plants, such as golden rice, which is rich in vitamin A. But as a result of political pressure from green parties, the European Union has banned the import of crops from countries that employ such strains, thereby blackmailing many governments into forbidding their use. In consequence, millions of children are being unnecessarily blinded, crippled or killed every year.

The Earth is not endangered by humanity. But humanity is being seriously harmed by those who portray us as a threat and seek to constrain humanity’s numbers, activities, creativity and liberty.

Instead of Earth Day, we should be celebrating Civilization Day.

Robert Zubrin is a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy and author of “Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudoscientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism” (Encounter Books, 2012).

“Fakegate” Blows Up in Warmist Faces – Tea Party Nation

“Fakegate” Blows Up in Warmist Faces – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

On February 16, I published “Anatomy of a Global Warming Hoax” concerning the theft of the private records of The Heartland Institute’s board meeting and the creation of an alleged forged document intended to harm its reputation as a long time advocate of the real, not fake, science that has been the basis of the global warming—now called “climate change”—hoax.

The Feb 21 issue of The Wall Street Journal published an editorial, “The Not-So-Vast Conspiracy” noting that “As for ‘the largest international science conference of skeptics’ Heartland will, according to the documents, spend all of $380,000 this year on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. That’s against the $6.5 million that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) costs Western taxpayers annually, and the $2.6 billion the White House wants to spend next year on research into ‘global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels.’” (Emphasis added)

The global warming hoax has cost taxpayers billions since it was initiated and earned the purveyors of “carbon credits” millions as industry and others paid for the privilege of emitting “greenhouse gas”—primarily carbon dioxide—as part of doing business. Currently the European Union is trying to shake down the airline industry by charging them a surtax on their emissions as they fly tourists and businessmen to that beknighted continent. Most of the exchanges that sold the credits have since closed.

The infamous “Cap-and-Trade” legislation that thankfully died in Congress was part of this scam.

We now know that the document theft was either perpetrated or abetted by Dr. Peter E. Gleick, a water and climate analyst, and founder of the Pacific Institute. A contributor to Huffington Post and prolific castigator of global warming “skeptics” and “deniers”, Dr. Gleick has admitted his part in the effort to depict The Heartland Institute, its board and its donors as part of the worldwide conspiracy to debunk the hoax.

Since 2008 Heartland has sponsored six conferences that brought together scientists and others who presented ample evidence of the absurdity that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” was causing the Earth to heat up. Unfortunately for the real IPCC conspirators, the Earth entered a natural cooling cycle in 1998 and, in 2009, thousands of email exchanges between the IPCC scientists were posted to the Internet revealing their growing panic over the failure of Mother Nature to cooperate with their lies, most if not all of which were based on bogus computer models.

Even The New York Times that had trumpeted the false allegations based on the purloined documents, published a Feb. 20 article, “Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers” reporting that “Dr. Gleick distributed the documents to several well-known bloggers and activists who support the work of mainstream climate scientists and who have documented the Heartland Institute as a center of climate change denial.”

The Times is incapable to not slandering organizations and individuals who have fought long and hard to rip the mask of respectability from the perpetrators of the hoax. The “mainstream scientists” to whom it refers are, of course, the IPCC scientists behind the hoax. “Climate change denial” is nothing less than the propagation of the truth about the hoax.

For me, the most interesting aspect of all this has been the way The Heartland Institute has responded to Dr. Glieck’s chicanery. From the moment that documents, real, altered and fake, were posted on sites like DeSmogBlog.com and others, Heartland’s president, Joe Bast, went after the then-unknown identity of the person who secured the documents threatening legal action.

When Dr. Glieck publicly admitted his part in a Huffington Post statement, Bast released a statement saying, “Gleick’s crime was a serious one. The documents he admits stealing contained personal information about Heartland’s staff members, donors, and allies, the release of which has violated their privacy and endangered their personal safety.”

The key word in Bast’s statement is “crime.” As John Sullivan, a British-based attorney and an active “denier”, author and blogger, noted, Bast said “A mere apology is not enough to undo the damage”, adding that Dr. Gleick faces being financially ruined by a civil prosecution and “is also liable to a criminal investigation as such falsification of documents is a well-known brand of white collar crime.”

Some time ago I wrote a commentary saying that some of the global warming conspirators needed to go to jail for their crimes. As events unfold, that yet may occur insofar as they were the recipients of public funding and United Nations support as the IPCC published their false “science” amidst alarmist global warming claims.

Perhaps their greatest crime was the debasement of meteorological and climate science. Beyond that, their attacks on the reputation of the brave scientists who stepped forward to refute them is the very definition of slander and liable. The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, the National Geographic, and other “mainstream” news publications will unfortunately be given a pass for advancing their lies even to this day.

The Heartland director’s meeting was devoted to a program to deal with the torrent of false teaching in our nation’s schools intended to warp the perceptions and knowledge of students regarding global warming. That, too, is part of the crime committed against a national and worldwide population that was deliberately misled.

The warmists are in retreat and for that everyone owes a great debt of gratitude to The Heartland Institute and all the others who joined in the effort to refute the greatest hoax of the modern era.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

The Global Warming Hoax is Now Killing People – Tea Party Nation

The Global Warming Hoax is Now Killing People – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

The Global Warming Hoax is Now Killing People - Tea Party NationBy Friday, February 10th, an estimated 500 Europeans had died from the freezing weather gripping the continent. This is the price they and British citizens are paying for embracing the global warming hoax, spending billions for wind power when they should have been building coal-fired and other sources of energy to heat their homes and businesses.

As the British daily, The Telegraph, reported on Friday, “Serbia has started implementing power cuts in a desperate bid to stave off the collapse of its national grid as the country suffers the effects of days of freezing temperatures.”

I and others have been warning for years that the Earth has been cooling since 1998 and that the planet is on the cusp of a new ice age because the average length of an interglacial period of warmth between such ages is now coming to an end after the passage of some 11,500 years.

All aspects of global warming legislation and spending programs must be utterly reversed if we are not going to see huge losses of life and the disruption of entire economies.

The Ottawa Citizen published an Agence France Presse article on Friday reporting that “Thick ice closed vast swaths of the Danube on Thursday, crippling shipping on Europe’s busiest waterway, as the death toll from bitter cold across the continent rose…as it has every day for nearly two weeks.” The report noted that “Navigation was impossible or restricted in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, as ice covered the river or formed dangerous floes in shipping lanes.”

No shipping means no delivery of coal and oil and no shipping of food and other necessities. Europe is freezing over as the United States has been experiencing an unusually mild winter thus far. That, too, is likely to yield to the increased cooling of the planet and then, maybe, Americans will realize the threat to their lives that the closing of coal-fired plants, instigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, really means.

In England, the Mail, reported on Sunday, February 12th, that large numbers of its elderly citizens are being “frozen to death as fuel bills soar: hypothermia cases among the elderly double in five years.” England, now gripped by foolish green notions of renewable energy, has covered itself with wind turbines, despoiling its countryside and coasts while proving unreliable and incapable of meeting its energy needs.

Figures showed that “1,876 patients were treated in hospital for hypothermia in 2010-2011, up from 950 in 2006-2007” reported the Mail. “Three-quarters of victims were pensioners, with cases soaring among the over-60s more than any other age group.”

In Europe, other news organizations reported that “Many of the dead were homeless people, who literally froze to death as the temperatures dropped to minus 50 degrees in some parts of the continent. Their bodies were found in the streets buried under snow, in rivers, and in doorways. Dozens of people were also killed in weather-related accidents.”

Writing in a Turkish newspaper, the Hurriyet Daily News, Sophie Quintin Adali, an analyst for a project of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, said, “As if the debt crisis weren’t bad enough news, the climate freeze sweeping across Europe is wreaking havoc by severely disrupting travel, business and people’s lives. Local authorities, indeed whole countries, are caught poorly prepared.” Turkey is experiencing record snowfall and low temperatures.

“The lack of readiness should come as no surprise because for decades the sensationalist message of global warming has dominated the public area,” said Ms. Adali.

“Politicians and decades of political environmentalism have a lot to answer for,” said Ms. Adali. “The man-made climate theory…is still supported by a mighty European Union bureaucracy and a green network addicted to public funds.” Even now, the Green Climate Fund “through which millions of taxpayer’s money will still be disbursed” is threatening the lives and the economy of people worldwide.

The current freeze is not just affecting Europe, but reaching across the Mediterranean to North African nations. And at some point America will feel it too.

We have not built a single new nuclear plant in America since 1978. EPA rules are forcing the closure of coal-fired plants throughout the nation. The national grid for the distribution of electricity is in need of upgrades.

The nation’s policies are controlled by the most environmentally insane administration in its history, wasting billions on so-called green energy. Its new budget raises taxes and proposes a trillion-dollar deficit without any significant effort to cut the spending that has left this and future generations in debt while the price of gas soars to new heights.

America and the rest of the world have been horribly deceived by the United Nations Intergovernmental Climate Change Panel that continues to drive the global warming hoax. The lying scientists who got on the global warming gravy train, the politicians that embraced it, and the media that misled millions are all culpable, all responsible.

They should be driven from office, defunded, and chased through the streets like villagers in pursuit of Frankenstein.

People are freezing to death in their homes and in the streets. What will it take to drive a stake into the heart of the global warming monster?

© Alan Caruba, 2012

The death rattle of Democracy – Tea Party Nation

The death rattle of Democracy – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

Watching a Democracy die is not a pleasant experience.  The only thing worse is watching one die and having most people not even realize a Democracy just died.

 Which Democracy died?

 Greece, of course.

 Greece is a cautionary tale for America and every other nation in the world.  Perhaps the question we have to ask, is Greece even a nation any more?

 The obvious reaction to that question is, of course it is.  The Greek flag still flies.  There are Greek borders.  The Greek government and Parliament are still there.

 All true.

 But for all intents and purposes, Greece is now a state in receivership. 

 The defining characteristic of a nation state is sovereignty.  The people of the nation state, through their government make the decisions for that state. 

 Greece has lost that.

 Greece has been on a program of unrestrained spending and borrowing for years.  Now the debt has come due.  The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have dictated to Greece what Greece must do to receive a bail out.  In theory Greece had a choice, but it is about the same choice someone has when a loan shark shows up and says pay up or I’ll break your legs.

 The Greek Parliament approved the EU/IMF ordered austerity measures while Greeks rioted in the streets.   The demands from the EU and IMF included radical cuts in social spending, minimum wage, government jobs and pensions. 

 Truthfully, these changes should have been made years ago.   These changes are necessary if Greece as a nation is to survive.  Greece is the poster child for Obamanomics.  The Greeks practiced Obamanomics while Obama was still voting “present” in the Illinois legislature.

 The problem for Greece is that now the real power of the Greek state is no longer in Athens.  The people now calling the shots are the European bankers in Brussels. 

 If you believe in grand conspiracies, Greece is the dry run for what will happen to America when Obama’s economic collapse finally comes about.  If you do not believe in conspiracies, you can see America’s future in the streets of Athens.

 America is going down the road that Greece has already gone down.  We fund the IMF.  If the European Union is hesitant to bailout a tiny economy like the Greek economy, does anyone really think they will help America if America ends up like Greece?  

 To put this in perspective, as of 2010, Greece’s GDP was about the same as the GDP of Dallas-Ft. Worth

 The sum of all the goods and services produced by Greece was about the same as the sum of all the goods and services produced by the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States.

 Watching the Greek tragedy brings up two very important questions.  If we do not stop Obama and his axis of fiscal evil, who is going to bail out America and even if we can find someone who can bail America out, what conditions will they impose?

 Greeks seem more concerned about their own personal budgets being cut.  Takers not makers dominate the Greek economy.   What should scare them is they are no longer a free nation.  The Greek nation is now controlled, not by their politicians but by the EU and the IMF. 

 How will Americans react to being ordered to change our lives in order to receive a bailout from Europe or China?

 If we do not change our policies, this is exactly what will happen. 

 Does anyone want to see what happens with that nightmare scenario?

 I don’t.

How Not to Go Crazy in 2012 – Tea Party Nation

How Not to Go Crazy in 2012 – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Election years tend to create a level of frenzy concerning the selection of the nominees and the outcome. The media feed this in order to keep readers reading and viewers viewing. The history of American elections has always been one of vituperation between the parties, so there is nothing new about this. Indeed, since so much depends on it, the political free-for-all is a healthy exercise.

It can, however, make for a difficult environment in which to go about one’s life; the air filled with charge and counter-charge, polls going up and down, and a general sense that something is very wrong with the way the government functions.

On the bright side, a gridlocked Congress may bring a measure of relief to everyone. Writing about gridlock in January 2011, Marcus E. Ethridge, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, noted that “By fostering gridlock, the U.S. Constitution increases the likelihood that policies will reflect broad, unorganized interests instead of the interests of narrow, organized groups.” In 2011, we saw what happens when advocates of “renewable energy”, wind and solar power, or electric cars, get priority over the needs of most Americans for reliable energy and transportation.

At the heart of the 2012 election will be the recognition that the economy is still not recovering, that government is seeking to extend and expand its control over our lives, and, even among former supporters of Barack Obama, that he has been a failure of historic proportions.

A Friday Rasmussen Reports said that “Voters right now give the edge to Republicans when asked which political party is likely to win the White House and control both the House of Representatives and the Senate in next November’s election”, adding that “a lot of voters are undecided.” Those voters may actually wait until entering the polls to cast their vote.

Another bad piece of news for President Obama is a new comparative analysis of current voter registration data in key electoral states of Nevada and North Carolina. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, there has been “a drastic drop from 2008 levels when a record-high proportion of young Americans turned out overwhelmingly to cast their votes to elect Barack Obama as President.” This is significant because more than two-thirds of young voters supported the Obama/Biden ticket in 2008.

The President had a low moment following the passage of Obamacare that transformed itself into the Tea Party movement and an even worse one in 2010 when it propelled a large number of Republicans into the House of Representatives, causing its control to change hands. He has had, in fact, only one truly high moment and that occurred when he announced the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. At the time, he typically took complete credit. In a speech at Fort Bragg to returning troops from Iraq, the word “victory” was never spoken.

Americans are not unmindful that the downgrade of the rating of the nation’s sovereign debt, the first in the nation’s history, was announced on Obama’s watch. The rate of “official” unemployment has receded to 8.6% but most Americans are well aware that it is far closer to 11% or more. America continues to experience that longest period of long-term unemployment since the 1930s.

For these and a myriad of other reasons, there is little reason to conclude that President Obama has any chance whatever of being reelected. The widespread contempt for Congress is also a hopeful sign for change. These are reasons to remain calm amidst the din of electioneering in the months ahead.

There is, however, all manner of troubles brewing in the world. Europe will have to find a solution to what will happen if its southern tier of nations elects to default on their sovereign debt. Cracks in the European Union are evident. If it falls apart, it will be very messy, but Europe existed before the EU and would if it disbands.

The Middle East is in the midst of a huge struggle between its fanatical Muslim faction and a population unhappy enough with former dictators to have forced out several in 2011 with the prospect that Syria’s Bashar Assad will fall in 2012.

Iran remains the wild card and its nuclear dreams will likely end with a well-timed and well-executed attack by Israel. Israel saved the world from a nuclear Iraq in 1981 and a nuclear Syria in 2007. An attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities could trigger an internal movement to overthrow the mullahs.

There are other wild cards in the Middle East. The Palestinians show no indication of giving up their dream of destroying Israel. That will not happen. Without Iranian support, both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza will be set adrift. Muslim atrocities in nations such as Nigeria where Christian churches were bombed on Christmas Day will contribute to a growing movement against Islamic terrorism. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.

Even the Russians show signs of tiring of their post-Soviet ruling class led by Vladimir Putin.

America faces a long period of restructuring the socialist programs that began in the 1930s and reached their peak in the 1960s. Should the GOP gain control of Congress and Obama is defeated, real change will occur.

Two other factors signal better times ahead. They are the failure of the global warming hoax and the disdain the “Occupy” movement engendered.

In 2012 Americans will take steps to end the scandals and deprecations of the Obama administration.

We shall ignore the anticipated shouts of racism.

We shall see the Supreme Court disembowel Obamacare or set in motion its repeal by a GOP controlled Congress.

We will select a President and a Congress to put things right.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

President Kill-Joy – Tea Party Nation

President Kill-Joy – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

“We have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge,” said President Obama at a recent fundraiser in San Francisco.

Didn’t Obama know that the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam to which he also referred were built in the midst of the 1930s Great Depression? And that, clearly, the people that built them had not lost their ambition or willingness to do great things.

What is the difference between those great construction projects and the building of the Freedom Tower that has now passed a decade in the effort to replace the destroyed Twin Towers? The answer is government at all levels from federal to local makes such projects difficult because of a matrix of laws and regulations, mostly environmental, that slow all enterprises in America today.

Well, let me correct myself. If you are building an utterly useless solar farm, utilizing solar panels made in China because it is too costly to make them here. Ditto for wind farms that even some Greens hate. Or if you are building electric cars that no one wants to buy. Then, yes, you not only get a federal multi-million dollar loan guarantee, but a lot of red tape is cut for you.

One is, of course, reminded of the unlamented Jimmy Carter who also had a low opinion of Americans, particularly those who used energy for any reason…like heating their homes in the winter.

There was a time when Democrat Presidents like Truman and Kennedy actually believed in their fellow Americans and said so. Even Clinton expressed confidence in us, but others like Carter and now Obama have been the great kill- joys, forever blaming their own incompetence on all of us, including those who voted for them.

I have long held the belief that Barack Obama does not like Americans. He spent the first year or so of his term going around the world criticizing America as the source of all the world’s ills.

Increasingly, the only audiences that cheer when the President shows up are largely composed of adolescents and union members. They either don’t know any better or are just happy to have a day off with pay.

And when a President shows up, he’s supposed to lift our spirits and inspire us. Except this one!

“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation.” Says who? We are a long way from becoming an Islamic nation with Sharia law replacing the Constitution. Say amen everybody!

“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world.” Oh, you mean like the way Europe started both World War One and Two? Like the Europe facing a present crisis of sovereign debt that will collapse the European Union like a house of cards?

“We need to internalize this idea of excellence”, adding “Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.” Like you? Did you get your latest polling scores by being excellent? And why have you gone to great length to ensure that no one can see your college grades? Or anything else for that matter.

“I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.” Does that include the Standard & Poors’ downgrade of our credit rating for the first time in the nation’s history? Any more restoration like this and there won’t be enough electricity to keep the lights on.

I could go on but, as they say, the facts speak for themselves and, unfortunately, President Obama just keeps speaking and speaking and speaking about himself.

The one thing we are willing—eager—to do is go to the polls in November 2012 and send this retard back to Chicago.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

ObamaCare Budgeting Could Turn The U.S. Into Greece – Forbes

ObamaCare Budgeting Could Turn The U.S. Into Greece – Forbes.

David Whelan, Forbes Staff

Heard of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, or CLASS for short? It is a new government program that offers long-term care insurance. It was buried in the Affordable Care Act that was signed a  year and a half ago (aka ObamaCare).

If you haven’t heard of CLASS you’ve done your sanity a favor. But while re-reporting and re-fighting the health reform debate is perilous, and potentially boring, the fiasco around CLASS is worth outlining to show how Washington-style budgeting really works.

CLASS was a program championed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Supposedly he was passionate about giving old people more choice over how to pay for nursing homes than the already free Medicaid program (which pays for them if you run out of money) or the panoply of privately offered products sold by Genworth, John Hancock, Prudential and other large insurers.

In reality CLASS is a program that allows health reform to look more fiscally responsible than it really is.

Here’s how the scheme works. CLASS collects revenues for many years before paying out net benefits. In the meantime those premiums paid into CLASS are counted as positive cash flows that offset the actual ten-year cost ($848 billion) of ObamaCare.

Imagine starting a life insurance company from scratch. For many clients you would take in premiums for years before paying out a claim. But you would have to save the money you collected, invest it, and hope to maintain enough reserves to stay profitable once claims are submitted. You couldn’t take that premium revenue and spend it on something else (unless you want to go to prison).

Like a brand new insurer entering the market, CLASS is supposed to begin collecting premium revenue this year. This year the figure is $4 billion, estimates the Congressional Budget Office. Next year that will rise to $6 billion. Over the ten years following ObamaCare’s passage, CLASS will yield $72 billion in new revenue. To see the budget projection in detail, read page six of this CBO document.

So what’s really going on with CLASS? (In the real world, not the world of utopian financial modeling.) Apparently Congress never approved money to get the program started and the Administration didn’t protest. There’s been no effort to implement the program and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently fired its chief actuary (or he resigned, I can’t tell). Meanwhile the Feds are collecting the budget savings ($60 million a month over ten years) from a non-existent program. Does all that make you a bit skeptical about federal accounting?

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, of the Associated Press, wrote an article about CLASS this weekend that calls it a zombie program. To keep the Halloween theme going, it includes this quote:

“It’s a gimmick that produces phantom savings,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that advocates deficit control. “That money should have never been counted as deficit reduction because it was supposed to be set aside to pay for benefits,” Bixby added. “The fact that they’re not actually doing anything with the program sort of compounds the gimmick.”

CLASS reminds me of how the Greeks cooked their books to get into the European Union. The government there created financial products, with help from banks like Goldman Sachs, that would provide an influx of money upfront in exchange for deliberately obscured promises of future payments. The current cash flows from the loan would make the budget deficit go away. Do that over and over with programs like CLASS and you get, well, Greece.

Only Obama Would Build a Jobs Plan Built on Pink Slips – Bill Tatro – Townhall Finance

DAMN!! -- I THINK WE'RE F*%KED

DAMN!! -- I THINK WE'RE F*%KED

Only Obama Would Build a Jobs Plan Built on Pink Slips – Bill Tatro – Townhall Finance.

While all eyes were riveted on Barack Obama’s jobs speech, there were two other speeches this week that had just as much significance. 

The first was delivered by John-Claude Trichet.  In his usual monthly update, he surprised some of his listeners by finally admitting what most people already knew. 

Trichet said the growth rate of the European Union was slowing dramatically, to the point that inflation was no longer a concern. (Some even felt he was hinting at future interest rate reductions.) 

That admission marked the crucial turning point in the so-called battle against inflation.  From Greece to Spain, Italy to Germany, all are reporting significant slowdowns.  Trichet gave assurances that everything was under control, and that he would inform everyone at a later time regarding the actions he would take. 

We have to wait, how disappointing.  Next, we heard from Ben Bernanke, who also stated that inflation was not in the forefront of his concern. 

He promised the Fed has the tools to help reverse the same lack of growth currently enveloping Europe. 

However, Ben still appeared dismayed due to his failing strategies.  I guess the moment wasn’t right for more information because similar to his most recent Jackson Hole speech, and much like Trichet’s lecture, Bernanke promised to enlighten us at the next Fed meeting on September 21st

A second disappointment. 

Finally, the time for the One came. 

The vacation was over, and Barack Hussein Obama took center stage. 

I won’t bore you with the details, they’ve been hashed enough. 

I will say the speech writers must have taken Oratory 101.  To say something over and over usually engrains the thought as a positive in the listeners mind. 

However, in this instance, saying “pass it now” over and over again became an irritant.  It kept me yelling at the television, “pass what, there are no details!”

Once again, I guess the details will come later.  Incidentally, I did learn one thing. 

As a business owner, I could conceivably fire an employee, hire someone else (who has been looking a job for at least six months) and receive a $4,000 credit. 

So, let me get this straight.  I go one-for-one (no increase in the number of people employed), and the government will subsidize the salary.  Sweet! 

That was really well thought out!

Maybe it’s good we don’t have more details.  Three major speeches in one week all culminating in one conclusion. 

The three leaders have absolutely no clue, and will continue doing what they’ve always done, expecting a different result.  I believe that’s called insanity.

A Horrible Week for Global Socialism – Tea Party Nation

A Horrible Week for Global Socialism – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Over the weekend of August 6-7, the Wall Street Journal’s lead headline was “U.S. Loses Triple-A Credit Rating.”

On Monday, August 8, the Journal’s headline was “Markets Brace for Downgrade’s Toll.”

By Tuesday, August 9, it was “Downgrade Ignites a Global Sell-Off.”

On Wednesday, August 10, it was “Markets Sink Then Soar After Fed Speaks.”

Thursday, August 11, the Journal cast its eyes across the Big Pond noting that “Italy’s Woes Weigh on Europe.”

On Friday, 12, the headline said, “Stocks Swing Up in Wild Week.”

A week after the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, in the August 13-14 edition, the Journal took note of a “Global Crisis of Confidence”, adding that “World Policy Makers’ Inability to Agree on Fixes Led Markets on Wild Ride.”

As the new week dawned on August 15, the Journal said, “Markets Gird for Fresh Drama.”

It was a great week for dramatic headlines and a horrible week for the rest of the world. Mostly, though, it was a fulfillment of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s observation that socialism works just fine until you run out of “other people’s money.”

That is a perfect definition of “redistribution” or, as President Obama once observed, “At some point you’ve made enough money.” A more un-American statement has rarely been uttered by an American President.

The U.S. has been engaged in a huge experiment in redistribution since the years of the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man who knew absolutely nothing about running a business and who had spent most of his life living off an allowance from his mother, tried everything he could think of to get the economy going again.

FDR could have tried cutting taxes. He could have encouraged Congress to avoid voting for trade barriers in a fit of protectionism. Instead, he came up with Social Security, among an alphabet soup of government programs which were a disaster when it came to encouraging private sector job creation. Not unlike President Obama’s “stimulus” and other doomed-to-fail experiments

The history of Social Security is one long succession of lies that Americans have been told. By the time Lyndon B. Johnson was President, the funds set aside for Social Security payments were moved to the general fund where they could be plundered by Congress. Under President Clinton Social Security payments began to be taxed as income.

World War Two arrived in the U.S. on December 7, 1941, and full employment followed to defeat the fascists in Germany and Japan. The government that had expanded during the FDR years continued to expand.

Americans emerged from the war without a scratch on the homeland. With the exception of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, none of our cities were bombed. We had a million battle-tested young men returning home in 1945, the GI bill let them go to college if they wanted, and by the 1950s we were on our way to being the greatest military power in the world and the greatest economy ever known.

And the federal government never stopped expanding. It needed more money, but the stock market, with occasional recessions, just kept growing too. As time went along, Great Britain and Western Europe rebuilt, alliances such as NATO were created to thwart the Soviet Union’s ambitions, while Eastern Europe stagnated under Soviet imposed communism.

In Asia, Japan became an economic powerhouse and South Korea too. China which had suffered under Chairman Mao waited until he died to convert its economy to a capitalist model, while retaining all the worst aspects of an Orwellian communist government. In the Middle East, oil allowed nations led by a handful of tribal chiefs and assorted despots acquire wealth beyond belief. Their populations remained oppressed. Now they are in the streets demanding freedom and justice. They will get Sharia law and more oppression.

Economies became increasingly global and interconnected. Europe became the European Union, a huge bureaucratic mess with the Euro as a common currency. Western bankers purchased Europe’s securities and vice versa. When the housing market imploded in September 2008, they discovered that most were de-linked from the original mortgage assets and were essentially worthless to the tune of billions.

The Federal Reserve responded by shipping $600 billion to prop up European central banks and Congress responded by authorizing the Treasury Department to “bail out” U.S. banks and the huge insurance company, AIG, with public funds–your money.

So what have we learned from all this? Foremost of all, socialist economies are inherently unfair and disconnected from the real world of hard work, property ownership, and capital investment. We learned that bankers are greedy and take greater risks than they should.

Great Britain, which has become one of the greatest welfare states in the world, was rewarded for its generosity with looting and rioting by youths whose families had lived on the dole their entire lives. Greece had already had its spate of riots.

Everyone keeps saying that the U.S. must not become Greece, but the U.S. has become Greece and that accounts for all those horrible headlines from last week.

The Obama administration, which has steadfastly ignored every previous “commission” that has studied the economy, has now engineered “a super committee” in Congress. It is composed of the twelve worst ideologues on either side of the economic policy divide in an effort to cut some spending, any spending! Failure has been baked into that cake.

The old way of conducting the affairs of nations, particularly their economies, is coming apart at the seams. It has exposed the hypocrisy of socialism here in the United States and everywhere else it has been practiced.

© Alan Caruba, 2011