Friday, September 30, 2011

The Hoover Myth

The Hoover Myth
Jonah Goldberg
From The Goldberg File
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Even though this seems to be an all-media bias G-File, that doesn't mean we can't go high-brow. ("This is usually where you'd make a pull-my-finger joke" -- The Couch.) Pull my finger!

My friend and AEI colleague Nick Schulz has done something I don't have the intestinal fortitude to do: Read John Judis's New Republic cover story on the economy. Apparently Judis believes he's cornered Mitt Romney on the Achilles heel of Romney's -- and the GOP's -- economic agenda. Judis confronted Romney and asked him:

I want to ask you something about history. You know, when Herbert Hoover had to face a financial crisis and then unemployment, his strategy was to balance the budget and cut spending, and that made things worse. When Roosevelt came in, unemployment was twenty-five and went to fourteen percent by 1937. With deficits. Aren't you repeating the Hoover mistake?

Ah, the "Hoover Mistake," capitalized for your eternal reifying pleasure.

If you ever doubt that liberal historians have imbibed the partisan talking points of the New Deal, you need look no further than the maligned figure of Herbert Hoover. Judis's characterization is simply what "everyone knows" to be true about Hoover's response to the Depression of 1929. I say "the Depression" and not "the Great Depression" because it took FDR, the Tony the Tiger of liberalism, to make it Grrrrrrrrrrreaaat!

The problem is that almost everything "everybody knows" about Hoover is wrong. This creates a real challenge for conservatives and libertarians because while Hoover the man was very impressive, Hoover the Progressive Republican was, well, a Progressive Republican. As anyone who's read Liberal Fascism should remember, Hoover was all-in on Wilson's war socialism, serving as national food administrator; he considered "supper . . . one of the worst pieces of extravagance that we have in this country." He promulgated the Little American's Promise, a pledge card every child was expected to sign:

 At table I'll not leave a scrap
 Of food upon my plate.
 And I'll not eat between meals but
 For supper time I'll wait.
 I make that promise that I'll do
 My honest, earnest part
 In helping my America
 With all my loyal heart.

 For kids who couldn't read yet, he offered them a nursery rhyme:

 Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn!
 The cook's using wheat where she ought to use corn
 And terrible famine our country will sweep,
 If the cooks and the housewives remain fast asleep!
 Go wake them! Go wake them! It's now up to you!
 Be a loyal American, Little Boy Blue!

Hoover was such a card-carrying Progressive, guess who considered running on his ticket as vice president in 1920? Wilson's toady at the Navy Department, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

But none of that matters. Hoover was a crazy, heartless libertarian, don't you know anything?! I mean, just look at what a (tightwad) he was during the Great Depression! Hoover mistake, Hoover mistake, Hoover mistake! I'm not listening to you!

Well, if you tell a certain breed of libertarian that Hoover was a budget-balancing fiscal tightwad, you'll get punched in the face, at least figuratively. Here's Tim Taylor (Via Nick's post):

Hoover's budget strategy over his term of office was not to balance the budget. The budget ran a small deficit of -.6% of GDP in 1931, followed by a much larger deficits of 4.0% of GDP in 1932 and 4.5% of GDP in fiscal year 1933 (which, as Judis points out at a different point in his discussion, started in June 1932 and was thus mostly completed before Roosevelt took office in 1933).

Let me say it clearly: Hoover didn't cut spending. In nominal terms, federal government spending went from $3.3 billion in 1930 to $4.6 billion in 1933. As Taylor notes, given the price deflation that came with the crash, the real federal outlays nearly tripled from 3.4 percent of GDP in 1930 to 8.0 percent of GDP in FY 1933.

In the spring of 1930, the New York Times said of Hoover's efforts, "No one in his place could have done more" and "very few of his predecessors could have done as much."

 But, hey, maybe Hoover's reputation as a (tightwad) of Jack Fowlerian proportions (Jack, as you should know, is the head suit here at NR; he'd object but he's busy searching for a 10 percent off at Arby's coupon I told him was in the corner of a round room) is derived from his effort to cast himself as a responsible steward of the public fisc. Er, no. Here's Hoover defending his record in his acceptance speech at the 1932 convention as he prepared to run for another term:

Two courses were open to us. We might have done nothing. That would have been utter ruin. Instead, we met the situation with proposals to private business and to the Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counterattack ever evolved in the history of the Republic. We put that program in action. Our measures have repelled these attacks of fear and panic . . . We have used the credit of the Government to aid and protect our institutions, both public and private. We have provided methods and assurances that none suffer from hunger or cold amongst our people. We have instituted measures to assist our farmers and our homeowners. We have created vast agencies for employment.

Perhaps because I am so cynical, I'm no longer shocked that liberal historians and Democratic politicians still cling to the Hoover myth, but what is amazing to me is how liberal economists who swear they are empiricists and fact-finders propagate it as well. Paul Krugman is constantly invoking the Hoover myth. So is Brad DeLong, who has driven many decent students of economic history to the point of sputtering rage with his insistence that Hoover was a "liquidationist."

The Hoover myth endures for a simple reason -- it has to. Because otherwise the FDR myth will tip over.


Published with Mr. Goldberg’s kind permission. I thought this was history worth knowing. His e-newsletter is worth subscribing to. He noted in his permission, “I didn't mean to suggest that Hoover ran in 1920, merely that FDR wanted to be on the ticket with him.” “Tightwad” I edited for clarity. Also, think when I copied I lost some links in the original--sorry. ~Bob

From the Smartest Man in the World

Obama hails America's historic building of 'the Intercontinental Railroad'

Good Political Cartoon Site

Political Digest for September 30, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Blog Removed.
If you log on to the Old Jarhead blog and get this notice, please check back. From time to time, Google’s Spam Filter pulls my blog. They restore it when I appeal, but they don’t seem to have the technical ability to fix the problem. I hate to move to another platform with page views running to 7k a week and over 1,100 followers here. Sigh.

Bumper sticker: Cain is Able

Man arrested in ‘step-by-step’ plot to blow up Capitol, Pentagon
Excerpt: The FBI arrested and charged a man Wednesday for allegedly plotting to blow up the Capitol and the Pentagon. The 26-year-old Massachusetts man, Rezwan Ferdaus, was arrested as part of an FBI sting operation in which he was made to believe he was working with members of al Qaeda, who were actually undercover agents. Ferdaus allegedly gave the undercover FBI agents a detailed set of attack plans “with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol,” according to the Department of Justice. … Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate with a degree in physics, allegedly visited Washington in May, taking pictures of his intended targets and proposed launch-sites for the remote-controlled aircraft, according to the DOJ. (Another disadvantaged Muslim led into terrorism by poverty and want. ~Bob.) According to the DOJ, a focal point of Ferdaus’s plots revolved around “jihad” and his desire to carry out the will of Allah. The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, stressed that any underlying religious motives to Ferdaus’s actions should not reflect on the Muslim culture at-large. (Quick, alert the leftist media to start fretting about a backlash against Muslims—that never comes. If your kids are murdered by a Jihadist, it will be a great comfort to know that it isn’t a reflection on Muslim culture at large. Here’s how Muslims can stop worrying about a “backlash.” Stop trying to kill people for Allah! Duh. ~Bob.)

Must Read: Not a CLASS act: Poof goes $70 billion in alleged deficit reduction
Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the program would cut the federal deficit by about $70 billion over a decade. You might ask, really? How? The deficit reduction numbers looked good because the program would collect premiums but wouldn't pay any benefits in its first years. Huge surpluses would pile up as people paid in. But then … people would start receiving benefits. Experts predicted that CLASS could quickly be swamped by costs … but that would happen beyond the 10-year window of the CBO score. Medicare's chief actuary, Richard Foster, wrote: "Thirty-six years of actuarial experience lead me to believe that this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue." CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, whose office calculated the deficit reduction projections, told Congress there was a "key caveat": "The CLASS program could be subject to considerable financial risk in the future if it were unable to attract a sufficiently healthy group of enrollees." In other words, if too many sick people signed up, the program would tip quickly into the red. No, you didn't hear much about this from Democratic leaders before the health care reform vote. They needed that $70 billion to make the law look like a deficit buster. (Another reason ObamaCare makes me sick. From the Chicago Tribune, which endorsed him. ~Bob.)

Draft spending bill would defund Obama healthcare law
Excerpt: House Republicans released a draft spending bill Thursday that would cut off funding for many parts of the healthcare reform law, though the bill remains deadlocked in the Appropriations Committee. The draft legislation would attempt to derail implementation of the law. It would specifically block any money from going to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight — the office handling the bulk of the implementation effort — as well as the recently disbanded office in charge of setting up the controversial CLASS program.

No, “Crony Socialism”: Crony Capitalism: $737 Million Green Jobs Loan Given to Nancy Pelosi's Brother-In-Law
What would the media have said if bush…ah, hell, never mind. ~Bob. Excerpt: On SolarReserve's website is a list of "investment partners," including the "PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC." As blogger American Glob quickly discovered, PCG's number two is none other than "Ronald Pelosi, a San Francisco political insider and financial industry polymath who happens to be the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives." But wait... there's more! One of SolarReserve's other investment partners is Argonaut Private Equity: Steve Mitchell and Argonaut Private Equity might have a chance to recoup some of their losses in the Solyndra debacle now that the Department of Energy has given a $737 million dollar loan guarantee to a company backed by Argonaut that also lists Mitchell among its board of directors. Mitchell served on the Solyndra LLC Board of Directors. He also serves as Managing Director for Argonaut Private Equity, a company that invested in Solyndra through the LLCs parent company. After Solyndra declared bankruptcy, two Democratic members of the U.S. House asked that Mitchell testify about Solyndra. Though he has not appeared before Congress, he has "been asked to provide documents to Congress" pertaining to Solyndra. And for good measure, it's also noteworthy that Obama is about to hold a big money fundraiser at the home of Tom Carnahan in St. Louis:

Guest Post: Why Are Some People Reluctant To Do What Works?

A bogus chart on Obama and the debt gets a new lease on life
Excerpt: So imagine our surprise when we found in our Facebook feed this week a chart, purporting to show how Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — had increased the debt by a significantly greater percentage than either Bill Clinton or President Obama. Pretty impressive chart, “liked” by at least 7,000 people on a posting by the liberal group But this chart, originally created by the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is as phony as a three-dollar bill. Our friends at PolitiFact did a pretty thorough takedown of it in May, giving it their worst rating: “pants on fire.” They even caught the Pelosi people in a bad mathematical error, based on the fact that the Democrats calculated the numbers as if Obama took office a year later than he did. … But even with the corrected number, this is still a Four-Pinocchio whopper. Let’s explain why. … If the chart were recast to show how much the debt went up as a percentage of GDP, it would look pretty bad for Obama after not even three years in office. In fact, Obama does almost twice as poorly as Reagan — and four times worse than George W. Bush.

Euro Crisis Makes Fed Lender of Only Resort as Funding Ebbs
Excerpt: The Federal Reserve, chastised by Congress for lending money to foreign institutions including a Libyan-owned bank, is once again the lender of last resort for banks around the world it knows little about. Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., money-market borrowing rates for dollars are rising, leading the Fed and European Central Bank to make the currency available to Europe’s institutions for as many as three months. U.S. prime money-market funds cut their exposure to euro-zone bank deposits and commercial paper, or short-term IOUs, to $214 billion in August from $391 billion at the end of last year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. data. The failure of regulators worldwide to address European banks’ fragile dependence on short-term funding is “putting the Fed in a really awkward position,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington regulatory research firm whose clients include the biggest U.S. banks. The swaps with Europe “are an extremely advantageous political football” for critics of the Fed, she said. The extended funding comes as the U.S. central bank is already under fire for its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Republican leaders including Representative John Boehner of Ohio and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wrote Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and the Board of Governors on Sept. 19, asking them to “resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy.” (Hey, why not: Euro banks want to bum a $100 billion final cigarette from the Fed. –Iowahawk)

Our White House Bully Problem
Excerpt: Spin, baby, spin. Throughout his frenetic jobs tour across the West this week, President Obama tried to seize the narrative. Republicans, he told champagne-sipping, tea party-trashing Hollywood moguls and tech titans, are intolerant bigots, know-nothings and thugs. They've made his hair "grayer" and left him "all dinged up." But who's battering whom? Since Day One, Obama has been the Chicago bully in victim's clothing. The mask is wearing thin.

Federal judge upholds most of Alabama immigration law
Excerpt: A Birmingham federal judge today upheld most sections of Alabama's tough new immigration law. U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn ruled on a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to block the law. Blackburn refused to block a provision of the state law related to police stops and detentions of people suspected of being in the country illegally. Similar laws in Arizona and Georgia had been blocked by other federal judges, but in her 115-page order, Blackburn disagreed with those rulings. She determined Congress has not prevented states from playing a role in immigration enforcement.

Full Employment, for Lawyers
Excerpt: The Obama administration has the worst employment record in modern history, but it is pressing forward boldly to create a raft of new jobs — for trial lawyers. To the existing menu of protected classes in job-discrimination cases — race, sex, physical handicap, etc. — President Obama proposes to add a new one protecting the unemployed. Which is to say, being unemployed would put one in the same position as being black or being a woman when it comes to making claims of discrimination in hiring practices. This is a bad decision for a raft of reasons, but one that must be deeply appealing to the White House: Institutional racism is a thing of the past in these United States, but the extraordinarily profitable industry that grew up around discrimination claims funds an army of “community organizers,” diversity consultants, community-outreach officers, and similar sinecures. It is a large part of the political infrastructure of modern liberalism.

Must Read: Obama’s Racial Crisis: Our post-racial president has set race relations back decades.
Excerpt: In the current racial circus, the president of the United States, in addressing an assembly of upscale black professionals and political leaders, adopts the style of a Southern Baptist preacher of the 1960s. He alters his cadences and delivery to both berate and gin up the large audience — posing as a messianic figure who will “march” them out to speak truth to power. In response, the omnipresent Rep. Maxine Waters goes public yet again, to object that the president has no right to rally blacks in this way, when he does not adopt similar tones of admonishment with Jews and gays. (Should Obama try to emulate the way he thinks gays and Jews talk in his next address to them?) Hope-and-change has now sunk into little more than a tawdry spectacle of racial spoils, as the president of the United States desperately cobbles together squabbling special-interest racial, ethnic, and gender groups in lieu of restoring the nation’s prosperity. Before the age of Obama, I don’t recall that some members of the Black Caucus were so ready to invite political opponents to “go straight to hell,” or to allege that they were veritable murderers eager to lynch blacks and restore slavery. Unspoken, of course, is the truth that Obama’s statism, deficits, interferences in the private sector, and spread-the-wealth rhetoric have frightened business owners into stasis — and the resulting slowdown hurts blacks most of all. But in this fantasy world of racial spoils, Obama’s profligate spending and borrowing can be faulted only for not being profligate enough. To suggest any other diagnosis would be to call into question the entire federal racial industry of the last 50 years — and those who have benefited the most by administering it. (As usual, Hanson is on-point, clear, convincing and courageous. If your doorbell rings, Professor Hanson, peek out first. If it’s guys in purple shirts carrying baseball bats, don’t open the door. ~Bob. Les Miserables, a wonderful musical (opera, really, as it is mostly through-composed) by Claude-Michel Schonberg and based on the Victor Hugo novel of the same name, is the story of the grinding poverty and callus tyranny that led to the French Revolution. Actual starvation—not mere discomfort or having to eat things one doesn’t prefer—was a common cause of death, along with exposure to the elements due to lack of shelter. There are numerous parts of the world where that sort of poverty is still common today; the USA isn’t one of them by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, we have agencies advertising on television that benefits—cell phones, for example—are available at little or no charge to recipients because it is paid for by the taxpayer. (When did cell phones become a “human right?”?) The next revolution may well be on the part of the neo-slaves being forced to pay for these indulgences. Ron P.)

Leader of ICE in South Florida pleads not guilty to child porn charges
Excerpt: Anthony V. Mangione, who has served as the high-profile leader of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for South Florida, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three child pornography counts for images reportedly found on his home computer in Parkland. Appearing handcuffed and shackled in West Palm Beach federal court, Mangione betrayed no hint of emotion as he sat among other criminal defendants waiting to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins. Mangione is charged with transportation of child pornography, receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography. If convicted of all the charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison.

Elizabeth Warren, Class Warfare
Guess Warren is too dumb to realize that the "Rest of Us" includes all of us that paid in before and even more after we started our businesses. I filed my first income tax return myself at 13 years old and believe that I have always paid in my fair share. Fact is that for the last 35+ years I believe that I have paid in much more than my fair share. One thing that the "Rest of Us" does not include is the high percentage of Americans that pay in no tax or pay in less than they receive back in government assistance. –Milton

Turkey's Diplomatic War on Israel
Excerpt: Turkey's prime minister has called for United Nations sanctions on Israel at the same time that Turkish prosecutors are threatening to indict Israel's prime minister and others in connection with the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla raid. Coupled with other aggressive moves, including threats to break Israel's Gaza blockade with military force, Turkey is waging a diplomatic war on its former ally. Leading the charge is Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has become one of Israel's most outspoken critics on the international stage. Erdoğan has repeatedly attempted to humiliate and isolate Israel internationally, while forging military and intelligence ties with nations sponsoring terrorism against the Jewish state.

Fact Check from Washington Post: President Obama’s claim of lower small business taxes
Excerpt: But there is less here than meets the eye, which is usually the case when a politician brags about a large number of tax cuts. There are important tax cuts—and then there is small beer. The list includes simplified tax deductions for cellphones (in other words, fewer reporting requirements) or for reducing the penalties for investing in tax-shelter schemes. (We kid you not; here is the technical explanation for these provisions.) The list also appears to be inflated. The first group of eight tax cuts includes bonus depreciation; the second group of tax cuts extends this provision. There is also an expansion on the limits of small-business expensing in the first list; the second set of tax cuts includes this provision. To us, these seem to be more or less the same tax cut, though others may disagree. Moreover, these tax cuts are often quite limited in impact. Not only do many require the small business executive to do something to get the tax cuts—as opposed to a real cut in tax rates--but they have sometimes narrowly drawn criteria. … Obama is engaging in some grade inflation. The number of tax cuts, be it 17 or 16, does not really explain that many are so heavily targeted to such a narrow slice of the business community. Only in the most technical sense could the president argue that small business taxes overall are lower, given that there are tax increases coming down the pike. He would do better to explain exactly what he’s done, as opposed to tossing out a rather meaningless figure.

Our "Allies" and Enemies are More Forthright than Our Leadership!
Excerpt: In the war of ideologies, there is no more frustrating battle than the battle for truth. In the battle for truth, there is no more frustrating effort than trying to enlighten the hard-headed. Our enemy has been telling us for decades who he is and what his intent is. He has shown us over, and over again that he is committed to defeating us and has used every means at his disposal to that end. In just as frustrating a fashion, our leadership has seen fit to ignore those facts as if seemingly to muse; "oh, you're just funnin' us!” As discussed here in the past, the Pentagon actually hired an expert on the subject, who delivered a message that was apparently "too much to bear" and who was summarily fired for his effort. As this operation ages, two things will continue to be true; one, the ROE will become increasingly tighter and deadlier for our troops and, two, that Stephen Coughlin's warning about Islam was dead-on-the-money!

The Real Solyndra Scandal
If solar power is destined to become competitive with conventional fuels in the long run, then it will happen in the long run, and in the long run it won't matter whether it was seeded with government tax credits, loans and other handouts. We leave the press, the FBI and Congress to their investigations of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt company lured by federal loans to expand its output of $6 solar panels that it could sell for $3. Even with the Solyndra folly in front of us, one thing nobody has to worry about is a dearth of investors to keep pursuing the Holy Grail. Let's review. In 1893, physicist Henri Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect. In 1954, three scientists at Bell Labs created the first silicon-based PV cell. For all kinds of reasons, money has been available ever since to throw at innovation even when commercial payback is remote. In 1991, Sanyo rolled out a hybrid solar car prototype. A company now owned by Siemens built a massive photovoltaic array in California that, between 1983 and 1994, pumped out six megawatts of peak capacity at several times the cost of competing coal or nuclear.

A Bear of a Problem for Obama
Excerpt: "You woke the bears! Why did you do that?" That's from one of my favorite scenes in "Anchorman." In the Oscar-robbed film, Ron Burgundy (played by Will Ferrell) loudly leaps into a bear pit to rescue his girlfriend and then falsely blames her for waking them up. Watching President Obama these days reminds me of that scene. In March 2010, liberal columnist Peter Beinart argued that, for decades, Democratic politicians treated America's innate conservatism like a slumbering bear: If you make no sudden moves and talk quietly, you can get a lot done. But if you wake the bear, as Democrats did in the late 1960s and early '70s, the ursine silent majority will punish you. But Obama promised to change that. He was tired of the timid, almost apologetic talk. He was going to be an FDR, or at least a Reagan for liberalism. He was going to "fundamentally transform" the country. And to those who counseled that Democrats can't govern that way, Obama and his followers responded with shouts of "Yes, we can!" You might think it was those shouts that woke the bear, but that's not what happened. After all, Obama enjoyed stunning popularity when he entered the Oval Office. No, it wasn't words but deeds that roused the beast. The poorly crafted, deeply partisan stimulus was like a sharp stick to the bear's belly. But it was "Obamacare" that ended the hibernation.

The Bailout Gravy Train is Over
Excerpt: As I’ve noted in previous articles, Bernanke is finished as Fed Chairman and will be stepping down within 18 months. The reason is simple: he’s become politically toxic (even Obama won’t be backing him) and will be facing legal troubles in the future. Regarding the legal troubles, as the Great Crisis gets underway, the lawsuits are going to come fast and furious. We’ve already seen Goldman Sach’s CEO hire a defense attorney. A lot more of the big shots on Wall Street will be doing the same. And when push comes to shove in the courtroom, they’re going to pin their crimes (the ones committed during the 2008 collapse) on Bernanke with a “the Fed pressured me into doing it,” defense. We’ve already seen one round of this with Ken Lewis of Bank of America. The only reason Bernanke got away on that one was because the political and social landscape still viewed him as the savior of capitalism and the economy.

Israeli Father, Baby Killed After Palestinians Threw Rocks at Their Car, Causing it to Overturn
Excerpt: Israeli police said Sunday that 25-year-old Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan were killed in a terrorist attack after Palestinians threw rocks at their car, causing it to overturn on a highway.

One of the American hikers who was held "hostage" in Iran, Shane Bauer, graduated with honors from Berkeley, where he majored in "peace and conflict studies" (from a letter to Mark Steyn on his website.)

Illegal immigrant responsible for Pollack's death
Excerpt: Police confirm the man recently arrested in the hit-and-run death of a 31-year-old Scottsdale man earlier this month is an illegal immigrant.

Exploding toilets injure 2 federal workers
Signs of the Apocalypse. ~Bob. Excerpt: Washington is known for explosive situations. Just this week Congress pulled itself back from the verge of a government shutdown — the third in less than a year. But the explosive situation in the General Services Administration headquarters on Monday was a doozy, even for the nation’s capital. Toilets literally blew up into tiny shards of porcelain, seriously injuring two federal employees. One was taken to the hospital.

GOP's Solyndra probe threatens to ensnare Energy Secretary Chu
Excerpt: The controversy over a $535 million loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt California solar firm Solyndra is threatening to dim the star of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a physicist and Nobel Prize winner who has rarely been thrust into the political spotlight. Republican lawmakers have set their sites on Chu, who for three years has managed to avoid being dragged into a litany of political battles waged by Republicans and the White House on energy and environmental issues. The GOP has for weeks lobbed a slew of allegations at the administration, arguing officials rushed a final decision on the loan guarantee and missed a series of red flags that hinted at the company’s financial troubles. Solyndra declared bankruptcy two years after receiving the Energy Department loan, resulting in layoffs for 1,100 workers. (The wolves are gaining, Comrade. We must throw someone else from the troika. ~Bob.)

Solyndra violated loan terms in 2010 but got more federal money, DOE confirms
No money, no more photo ops, guys. ~Bob. Excerpt: The U.S. Department of Energy learned in December that Solyndra was violating its federal loan deal, but the agency changed the loan terms to allow the solar company to continue receiving taxpayer funds, federal officials confirmed Wednesday. Executives at Solyndra, which had been awarded a $535 million government-backed loan to spur its solar-panel production, confided to the Energy Department late last fall that the Fremont, Calif., company was running out of money and at risk of liquidating. The company was unable on Dec. 1 to make its first $5 million payment into a special reserve fund, which was required under the loan terms and designed to help protect taxpayers. Congressional investigators have questioned why the Obama administration agreed to help the company in late 2010 when it was warned that the firm was at risk of collapse. Internal e-mails show federal reviewers initially estimated they could save the taxpayers as much as $168 million by letting the company go under in December 2010, rather than resuscitating it and allowing it to draw down more federal money. Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera confirmed Wednesday that the agency knew Solyndra had violated the loan terms but agreed to change the requirement to help Solyndra.

Hispanic kids the largest group of children living in poverty
Excerpt: Hispanics now make up the largest group of children living in poverty, the first time in U.S. history that poor white kids have been outnumbered by poor children of another race or ethnicity, according to a new study. In a report released Wednesday, the Pew Hispanic Center said that 6.1 million Hispanic children are poor, compared with 5 million non-Hispanic white children and 4.4 million black children. Pew said Hispanic poverty numbers have soared because of the impact of the recession on the growing number of Latinos. The rise in childhood poverty is another signal of distress for the nation’s 50.5 million Hispanics, who have been hit harder by the bleak economy than any other group. They have one of the highest unemployment rates and saw their household wealth decline more steeply than either blacks or whites, largely because so many lost their houses to foreclosure. (Importing poverty. Poor Hispanics here are still better off than in resource and agriculture rich Mexico, due to their corrupt systems. And since studies show that Hispanics who speak English are more likely to be employed and financially better off, “Press Two for Spanish” helps keep them in poverty. Maybe that’s the idea. ~Bob.)

Calculating the Market Price of Public Sector Pension Liabilities
A key part of the coming collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: State and local public sector employee pensions are widely known to be underfunded, but pension financial reports do not reveal the true extent of funding shortfalls. Pension accounting methods assume that plan investments can earn high returns without taking any account of the market risk involved. This gives a false sense of the financial strength of public sector pensions and understates risks to taxpayers. Since accrued pension benefits are legally and constitutionally protected, any pension funding shortfalls must be met by taxpayers. This benefit guarantee amounts to an effective put option on plan investments, the cost of which is not disclosed under current actuarial accounting, says Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In a new paper, Biggs uses an options pricing method to calculate the market value of taxpayer guarantees underlying public sector pensions. The average funding ratio declines from 83 percent under actuarial accounting to 45 percent under this options pricing approach. The typical state has unfunded public pension liabilities three times larger than its explicit government debt. Public pension shortfalls equal an average of 27 percent of state gross domestic product, posing a significant fiscal challenge in coming years. Accurate measures of public pension liabilities are important for policymakers, taxpayers, investors considering the economic environment in which to start or locate a business, and bond purchasers considering the risk premia appropriate to municipal government bonds that are in practice subordinate to public pension liabilities, says Biggs.

The Jobs Bill: Pretending to Fund Social Security
Another key part of the coming collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: The President’s latest “jobs” proposal would extend and deepen cuts in the Social Security payroll tax. While as a conservative I generally prefer to see lower taxes, as a Social Security trustee I am deeply concerned that the troubling implications of this proposal have been scarcely discussed. Instead the public debate has focused mostly on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of such temporary tax relief as a stimulus measure. Before this legislation is seriously considered, there needs to be greater understanding that it would take a major step toward transforming Social Security from what it has long been -- an earned benefit, funded by separate worker payroll taxes -- into an income-tax based system more akin to welfare. A former colleague of mine has astutely observed that sometimes the most consequential policy decisions happen simply because too few realize that they are being made. In 1983, for example, Social Security faced an immediate financing crisis, which legislation was said to resolve for decades to come. What the public wasn’t told, and which too few policy makers recognized at the time, was that the solution would produce enormous annual Social Security imbalances going forward – big surpluses in the near term, followed by even larger deficits in the long term. And so for decades after the 1983 reforms, mounting Social Security surpluses allowed elected officials to mask deficits elsewhere in the federal budget, without meaningfully amassing resources to pay for the looming costs of the Baby Boomers’ Social Security benefits. So here we sit in 2011, with Social Security still technically “solvent” but running an annual $150 billion deficit of tax income relative to costs, and holding $2.6 trillion of debt in its trust funds that the general government is hardly in position to redeem.

Important: Our Achievement-Gap Mania
Excerpt: A decade ago, the No Child Left Behind Act ushered in an era of federally driven educational accountability focused on narrowing the chasms between the test scores and graduation rates of students of different incomes and races. The result was a whole new way of speaking and thinking about the issue: "Achievement gaps" became reformers' catch phrase, and closing those gaps became the goal of American education policy. … Such sentiments are admirable, and helping the lowest-achieving students do better is of course a worthy and important aim. But the effort to close gaps has hardly been an unmitigated blessing. In their glib self-confidence, the champions of that effort have refused to confront its costs and unintended consequences, and have been far too quick to silence skeptics by branding them blind defenders of the status quo (if not calling them outright racists). The truth is that achievement-gap mania has led to education policy that has shortchanged many children. It has narrowed the scope of schooling. It has hollowed out public support for school reform. It has stifled educational innovation. It has distorted the way we approach educational choice, accountability, and reform. And its animating principles — including its moral philosophy — are, at best, highly questionable. Indeed, the relentless focus on gap-closing has transformed school reform into little more than a less objectionable rehash of the failed Great Society playbook.

Keeping Rural Communities Connected
Excerpt: A new report by M.J. Bradley and Associates for the Reason Foundation compares the current subsidized air service provided to rural communities under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, to an alternative method of connecting these communities to the air transport system. The alternative is the use of scheduled intercity coach bus service between these rural communities and nearby regional hub airports. The results of the comparison, both in financial cost to the traveler and government, in addition to the environmental impact, are significant: While the current system of two to three flights per day has a maximum passenger volume of 1,539,720, the bus system maintaining the same frequency would have capacity for 4,347,200. Total costs for the current EAS program for the 38 communities examined amounts to $131,490,975 (46 percent of which is subsidized by the government), while the bus system's expenses (accounting for additional travel time) would be $41,958,794. Total fuel use is currently 7,930,259 gallons per year, compared to bus estimates of 2,213,595. Emissions would drop dramatically, notably carbon dioxide emissions (88,149 tons annually to 24,605). Given the financial figures alone, it becomes clear that the bus system makes a great deal more fiscal sense. Passengers would pay cheaper fares, the government would allocate fewer subsidies and the environmental impact would be lessened. Source: Dana Lowell, Tom Curry, Lily Hoffman-Andrews and Lea Reynolds, "Keeping Rural Communities Connected: Comparison of Essential Air Service Program to Alternative Coach Bus Service," Reason Foundation, September 2011.

Now He’s Blaming Europe
Excerpt: On Monday, during a fundraiser in California, President Obama declare that Europe’s debt problems and their inability to solve them was “scaring the world.” He went on to explain that Europeans “have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with the challenges that their banking system faced” and that “they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.” This of course is coming from a President who has done nothing to deal with our own country’s enormous debt crisis and who is in fact eager to incur even more debt with another useless stimulus bill (now called a “jobs bill” though the last stimulus failed to produce the jobs it promised, which is perhaps why Harry Reid doesn’t seem too eager to bring this new bill to a vote despite the President’s demands to “pass this bill”). Yes, Europe has serious debt problems, but for President Obama to be lecturing our allies about not being “quite as quick” in dealing with a debt crisis is downright hypocritical. When his all-too-common finger-pointing is directed at Republicans, President Obama’s search for a scapegoat is swallowed as merely the typical Beltway politics of our permanent political class. But pointing fingers at our allies when they are working to get their own financial house in order is counterproductive and can have a serious negative affect on our ability to lead the free world. (Say, didn't Bush's ancestors come from Europe... ~Bob.)

Obama Jobs Tour: White House Mixes Up Wyoming, Colorado Geography On Press Credentials
Excerpt: The White House mixed up Wyoming and Colorado when issuing press credentials for President Barack Obama's tour of Western states this week. The press credentials show California, Washington, and Wyoming highlighted in white. However, the president spoke Tuesday in the other rectangular-shaped state: Colorado. Wyoming was not on the itinerary.

Ex-Marine scares off would-be-rapist in Queens
Excerpt: The NYPD is seeking a would-be-rapist who dragged a woman off the street into the woods near a Queens highway. Police say a 31-year-old man who heard the woman's screams yelled at the suspect who then fled the scene. Local media identified the good Samaritan as ex-Marine Bryan Teichman. (As this story proves, there is no such thing as an “ex-Marine” or even “former Marine.” The correct term is “Marine Veteran.” ~Bob.)

Al Gore praises Scots renewables 'but dearer bills loom'
Excerpt - Alex Salmond's aspirations to make Scotland a world leader in renewables have been both damned and praised as a business leader warned the commitment was "misguided" hours after Al Gore applauded the country's green energy plans. Mike Salter, chairman of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC), warned the cost to businesses of subsidising Scotland's renewables ambitions could leave them bankrupt due to massive hikes in electricity bills. His criticism came as a dampener to an impassioned speech yesterday from Nobel Laureate and former US vice-president Mr Gore in which he described Scotland's response to climate change as "inspiring".

Courage to Fail: Is Time To Let the Economy Collapse So That It Can Finally Heal?
Video after ad for their site. We may not have a choice…~Bob.

Pentagon Cuts General And Flag Positions To Reduce Top-Heavy Force: Marine Corps has smallest ratio, Air Force the largest
They call it “star creep.” As the military downsized after the Cold War, the ratio of general and flag officers to lower ranking personnel grew. Now, in the face of at least $350 billion in cuts to national security spending over the next decade and criticism of a top-heavy force, the Pentagon is culling its highest billets. By the end of 2014, 103 general and flag officer positions will be eliminated, according to Senate testimony this month by senior military representatives. The overall size of the Army and Marine Corps swelled in the last decade to meet the demands of ground combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the twilight of those conflicts, both services are planning to reduce their numbers through attrition. The Navy and Air Force, meanwhile, are forcing some into early retirement.

Worth Reading: The weirdness of modern class warfare
Excerpt: President Obama is in a populist frenzy against “Them,” who supposedly “are not paying their fair share.” But 21st century class warfare is a weird thing. Take the technology that gives most what only the few once could afford. Most Americans now expect as a birthright iPhones, iPods, DVDs and big-screen TVs. The typical welfare recipient now owns a sophisticated cellphone; a fat cat corporate CEO not long ago did not. For the president, riding on a private jet from New York to Los Angeles is supposed to be privilege. But a poor person on a discount nonstop ticket can still get there as safely and almost as quickly for about one-thousandth of the cost in fuel and overhead. Once they land minutes apart at LAX, was the Gulfstream passenger all that blessed, the guy in steerage with headphones and a TV screen all that deprived? The president believes that those who make more than $200,000 are synonymous with millionaires. But such income levels are not good barometers of wealth in a world where graduated taxes can eat up to 50 percent of a salary, and high-income areas have sky-high housing costs. Some of the less-well-off go to school for near free on scholarship packages to state universities. Other students pay $200,000 for a four-year private college -- sometimes for the prestige of the degree rather than any quantifiably better education. Nor do we talk about off-the-books labor, where millions earn money without reporting either income or sales receipts -- and often while on state subsidies. (The more the government interferes in the economy to pick winners like Solyndra and losers like a “millionaire” who has worked for years to build a small business, the worse the economy does and the more jobs and capital flee the country. ~Bob.)

Obamacare's Soaring Price Tag
Excerpt: On January 21, 2009, Barack Obama stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and, in his inaugural address, pledged to America that he would "wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost." What he did wield, of course, was a 2,000-page bill known as Obamacare. More than a year on, we now know that health care costs are soaring, and the President's signature legislation is to blame. Most Americans know that medicine is getting more expensive, but a new survey puts a shocking sticker price on the rapid increase. The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust report that between 2010 and 2011, family premiums increased by 9 percent and for individual premiums by 8 percent. According to the survey, "The average premium for single coverage in 2011 is $452 per month or $5,429 per year ... The average premium for family coverage is $1,256 per month or $15,073 per year."

Rick Perry isn't the perfect candidate the Republicans dreamed he was
Excerpt: For many Republicans and other victims of wishful thinking, Rick Perry is a dream candidate. He is, so say the pundits who always know best, everything that George Bush claimed to be but was not: a fifth generation Texan, a rancher, a tough and principled leader who is not afraid to handle the big issues, whether the issues are job creation, social security, or Texas' constitutional right to control its own affairs. It helps that he is virile and ruggedly handsome.

Freedom of speech is dead in Australia
Excerpt: For my money probably the best political blogger in the world is Australia's Andrew Bolt. He was one of the first journalists onto Climategate (he got there before me) and his takedown earlier this year on his radio show of an EU Climate Commissioner spouting nonsense was magisterial. But he's by no means a single issue commentator: he has strength in depth. His war, like mine, is against those who would constrain our liberty by imposing on us more tax, more regulation, more control. He's firm but fair: one of the good guys. This is why we should all worry greatly about the latest bizarre ruling from the Australian federal court, which has found Bolt in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Obama's green jobs agenda rife with corruption, says ranking lawmaker
Excerpt: The Solyndra scandal has ignited fury among congressional leaders who are chastising the commander-in-chief for responding to an economic recession with a failed “green energy subsidy experiment.” In fact, this week a House committee released a special report blasting the president for wasting nearly $100 billion to create “green jobs.” Undue political influence has determined how much of the money has been disbursed, investigators found. As President Barack Obama’s disastrous and costly green energy agenda becomes the focus of a congressional investigation, the administration celebrates the multimillion-dollar “green makeover” of a public housing facility in Washington State. (Obama’s a creature of the Chicago Machine. Anyone who didn’t expect this in November of 2008 is a chump, to put it as kindly as possible. ~Bob.)

Cities with the highest, lowest unemployment rates
Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of large U.S. cities in August, despite zero job growth nationwide. Here are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:

See what Obama promises Arabs after 2012 election: Democrats fear treatment of Israel is voting liability
Excerpt: The Obama administration told the Palestinian Authority it cannot significantly help advance a Palestinian state until after the 2012 presidential elections, a top PA official told WND. The official, however, said the U.S. will press for a Palestinian state quickly if President Obama is re-elected. "The main message we received from the U.S. is that nothing will happen in a serious way before the 2012 elections," said the official. (This has a credibility problem. Why would an “unnamed PA official” help WND trash their chances? ~Bob. Obama really is an idiot. He does and says these things out in the open and expects no one to report his statements. His mistake is obvious: He should have waited until after the elections to make this promise. I would normally discount this as fiction except that Aaron Klein is a crack reporter for WND and has been infiltrating Palestinian groups for a long time. –Donald Hank.)

Taxpayers foot bill for Hill harassment claims
Excerpt: The number of discrimination and harassment claims on Capitol Hill has doubled in the past five years – and taxpayers have shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle those disputes. A new report out Thursday says 168 claims were made in fiscal 2010 alleging discrimination and harassment – compared to 87 claims reported in fiscal 2006. Fifty-seven of the claims made last year were based on race, while 41 claims involved age, 34 involved gender and 28 involved disabilities, according to the report from the congressional Office of Compliance. (Is there more discrimination? Or just more folks encouraged by trial lawyers to see litigation as having better odds than the lottery? ~Bob.)

Democrats’ House Hopes Hinge on Obama
Excerpt: Just a day before Election Day, the painful reality hit home for Jimmy Carter: He was toast. As recalled in Dominic Sandbrook’s excellent history of the late 1970s, Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right, President Carter’s chances for a second term — despite the Iran hostage crisis, a lousy economy and terrible approval ratings — were apparently alive and well until the final days of the 1980 campaign. Going into the final weekend of the campaign, Sandbrook writes, Gallup had Carter’s Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, up three points. Harris had him up five points, while Newsweek and The Washington Post had Carter up one. But at the end, the bottom fell out for Carter. “I’ve never seen anything like it in polling,” said Pat Caddell, Carter’s pollster. What was a close race turned into a big Reagan lead in the last hours of the campaign; he ended up winning 489 electoral votes and a 51%-41% victory over Carter. Likely aiding Reagan at the end was the one and only debate between the two, held just a week before the election, when Reagan memorably asked voters “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

100,000 Copts emigrated since Mubarak overthrown
This article is in German but there are no English language reports that I know of and I don’t have time to translate this. Hany Salib writes in German and some gets translated on the site, some does not. You are welcome to check his site for an EN language article on this. I usually don’t find any. But the title tells it all: The Coptic Christians, who have been in Egypt for close to 2000 years, are leaving in droves, thanks to Obama and his allies in Western Europe forcing him out. I have warned of the fact that Western "leaders," while absolutely packing Europe with Islamic emigres, are destroying what is left of Christian culture in the Middle East: Can there be any doubt that the most powerful enemy of Christians everywhere is the Western Power Elite? Meanwhile, Christianity continues to grow in leaps and bounds in China. The first shall be last. --Don Hank
Mexican Cartels and the Pan American Games: A Threat Assessment
Excerpt: The 2011 Pan American Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Oct. 14 through Oct. 30. The games will feature 36 different sports and will bring more than 6,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators to Mexico’s second-largest city. The Parapan American Games, for athletes with physical disabilities, will follow from Nov. 12 to Nov. 20. Like the Olympics, the World Cup or any other large sporting event, planning for the Pan American Games in Guadalajara began when the city was selected to host them in 2006. Preparations have included the construction of new sports venues, an athletes’ village complex, hotels, highway and road infrastructure, and improvements to the city’s mass transit system. According to the coordinating committee, the construction and infrastructure improvements for the games have cost some $750 million.

Pakistan’s Terror Treachery on Trial
Excerpt: Outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, caused a ruckus in both Washington and Islamabad when he stated flatly before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Taliban-supported terrorist group Haqqani was “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). Although this didn’t come as a surprise to those following the US-Pakistan saga, what was stunning was the fact that he uttered the charge on the record — a first for the US government. The United States has been complaining to the Pakistani government privately for years about the duplicity and treachery of the ISI as they support the Afghanistan Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network as a matter of state policy. However, actually charging the ISI with collusion in attacks on Americans escalated the tensions between the two countries to historic levels. The Pakistani government reacted angrily to the charges and thousands took to the streets around the country to protest against what they perceive as American threats to deal with the Haqqani network on their own. The government also went out of its way to praise China as an “all-weather friend” as a reminder to the US that they have a few cards to play in the region as well.

The Defense Contractors of Islam
Excerpt: One of the more peculiar twists in the caliphate’s tale is that a sizable amount of the funding for Islamic propaganda aimed at Americans comes from Muslim-owned defense contractors. Sabtech Industries recently made the news when it lost its security clearance after some suspicious donations to Muslim charities cost its president, Rahim Sabadia, his security clearance. Sabtech’s work on upgrading the Navy’s AEGIS system on warships put it at the nerve center of one of the most important defense technologies in the United States. The real question, though, is not how Rahim Sabadia lost his security clearance, but how he got it in the first place. Sabadia was foreign born and had close ties to Pakistan as a member of (COPA) the Council of Pakistan-American Affairs. After being stopped on his return trip from Turkey, he used his favorite congressman to introduce a bill allowing people with their names on no fly lists to have them removed. Through the Sabadia Family Foundation, Rahim was a major funder of CAIR to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars and also sits on the board of the One Nation Foundation, which exists to promote the confusingly dual proposition that Muslims are persecuted in America and that they are loyal Americans.

Al-Qaeda Eyes Yemen
Excerpt: President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s recent return to Yemen has been met by continued massive, violent protests calling for his immediate ouster. With separatists and al-Qaeda insurgents continuing to gain ground, the total collapse of Yemen’s government looks to be nearly at hand. Saleh had spent the past three months in Saudi Arabia recuperating from burns he received in a June rocket attack on his presidential compound, an attack which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100. While waiting for Saleh to return, his sons and relatives were charged with maintaining control over Yemen’s government, its armed forces and the capital city of Sanaa. However, their heavy handed attempts to maintain order have only served to expedite Yemen’s descent into a state of near anarchy. In the past two weeks alone, savage street fighting has claimed over 150 lives as Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) forces have rained mortars and anti-aircraft fire onto crowds of anti-government protesters.

Mexican Army in armed standoff IN AMERICA!
From left-apologist MSNBC?! ~Bob. Excerpt: Elements of the Mexican army have been crossing the border and aiding the drug cartels by shooting border patrol agents and sheriffs. (From none other than mainstream MSNBC! The forwarded message in pink letters below, written by a conservative friend, indicates that the Democratic congress is allowing Mexican army incursions into the US for the NOW. Yes and no. Actually, most Dems in congress don’t dare oppose Obama on anything, even though they know he is committing political suicide and taking them down with them. After all, they supported him unconditionally. All they can hope for is that the news media won't pay attention to the criminal behavior of the administration. But they are. And there is one very important reason why they might be doing this. They are, in my opinion, hoping to knock out Obama from the 2012 race and replace him with Hillary, who has a better chance to win. We had better pray that she doesn't get the nomination because she is more likely to win and yet there is only one difference between Hillary and Obama: HE is destroying the country quickly by blatant open means. SHE wants to destroy the country slowly by stealthy means. The end result will be the same, so we need a good strong and conservative candidate. From where I am standing, I believe Bachmann is the most conservative, although Herman Cain could perhaps fill the bill. My problem with Herman? He has too many pals in the upper ranks of the GOP. I see Bachmann as a bit less controllable. On the other hand, there is no perfect candidate out there. --Don Hank)

MSM Sheep: Ignoring the Scandal of the Century
Excerpt: I don’t wish to understate it: elements of the U.S. Departments of Justice, State, Homeland Security, and Treasury are responsible for supplying an arsenal to narco-terrorists waging a civil war against an American ally. Our federal government may bear responsibility for at least 200 murders committed with “walked” firearms, in what Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales describes as a “betrayal” of her country by the Obama administration. Are there legal ramifications? Perhaps. According to Title 18, 2331 of the U.S. Code, Operation Fast and Furious may amount to international terrorism, which carries with it stiff penalties for conspiracies that result in homicide. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act — which was originally used to prosecute the mafia — and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) may also fit, as may assorted state and federal charges. Charges may also result from two investigations launched by Mexican authorities, and Mexico could conceivably file charges with the International Criminal Court. This is objectively the most important political and legal story in America right now. But despite the revelations from of documents and testimony obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and repeated calls for full disclosure from senators and congressmen, mainstream media organizations have done everything in their power to bury the scandal. This can only be viewed as a partisan media’s attempt to protect a criminal executive branch.

Totalitarian Temptations from Carter to Obama
Excerpt: I keep having flashbacks to Jimmy Carter. The Cairo speech was in many ways a throwback to Carter’s famous “we are now free of that inordinate fear of communism” pronunciamento at Notre Dame. Those old enough, will recall that President Carter in essence said the Soviet Union and international Communism were really nothing to worry about, that the Cold War was over, and that we would henceforth conduct a suitably modest foreign policy instead of the strident, aggressive, morally improper kind that his predecessors had waged. We would support human rights everywhere, but not in such a way as to threaten hostile tyrants. Thereafter, throughout what used to be known as the Third World, Carter not only abandoned several friendly tyrants (the most famous was the shah of Iran) to insurrections organized by our enemies, but piously acted as if we couldn’t do anything about it anyway, nor should we wish to do so. After all, we had sinned by supporting those tyrants, and it was only right for them to be overthrown.

Easier and safer to track veterans and Christian fundamentalists. You don’t get sued for Islamophobia. ~Bob. Excerpt: Two Bangladeshis who were caught by Customs and Border Protection illegally crossing the border in June 2010 admitted under questioning that they were members of a designated terrorist organization that signed on to a fatwa by Osama bin Laden pledging to wage war against Americans. But amazingly, after one of the men requested asylum, he was released on bond. And now one Homeland Security official tells me, concerning the released terror operative, “We don’t have the slightest idea where he is now.” The two men, Muhammad Nazmul Hasan and Mirza Muhammad Saifuddin, were intercepted near Naco, Arizona, not long after they had crossed the border on June 25, 2010. During their interrogation, one of the men admitted that they were members of Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), which was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in February 2008. Earlier this month the group claimed responsibility for a bombing a courthouse in New Delhi. That attack killed 11 and wounded at least 45 others.

Two Bad Presidential Election Ideas Require Rejection
Excerpt: In response to these results, eight blue states and the District of Columbia have agreed to an “interstate compact” whereby the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote will select participating states’ electors, regardless of who won each state’s popular vote. As written, the compact will take effect if states representing a majority of the country’s electoral votes agree to it. California joined the compact in August. Having rounded up a total of 132 electoral votes, NPV proponents are almost halfway there. If they get to 270, NPV supposedly becomes the law of the land, and the constitutionally designed presidential voting system effectively goes into history’s dustbin. Why NPV-approving states believe that their compact presumptively passes constitutional muster is a mystery. True, Article II, Section 1 (“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors”) gives the states exclusive control over how they award their electoral votes. But, going back to Franklin’s warning, does that mean they can base their decision on the Election Day temperature, the winner of an intrastate college football game, or even the flip of a coin? More seriously, do these legislatures and governors agree that deliberately overriding the majority of their own voters is what the Founders intended? Do they really believe that twenty or so states can lawfully conspire to take an action which contravenes the Constitution’s clear intent — namely that each state have its own, distinct say in the matter of who should be the nation’s president — without going through the deliberately more difficult process of amending the Constitution itself? I don’t think so. At a more practical level, NPV could and probably would turn a close popular-vote election into the legal equivalent of hand-to-hand combat over qualified and disqualified votes in all 50 states and their 3,100 counties, a debacle which would make Florida 2000 look like a walk in the park. (While I agree making Electoral College votes conform to “national popular vote majorities” is opening all sorts of doors for rascalry and may be unconstitutional as well, I see no inherent problems with Electoral votes by congressional districts. Exactly how the states are to apportion their Electoral votes is up to the states, it says. Not only would this change make campaigns more national in nature, it would raise the odds of anyone’s vote being reflected in the Electoral College’s vote. But, there really needs to be some very stiff penalty for Electors who vote contrary to the election’s result, perhaps a large fine and instant forfeiture of any current or future elective office for some period of years (3? 5? 10?). Incidentally, switching to Electoral votes by congressional districts wouldn't have changed the outcome of the 2008 election (see, but it would have made it a lot more interesting and difficult to call for the news organizations. Ron P. I favor awarding votes by Congressional District. It would make the campaigns national, as the parties couldn’t write off most states. ~Bob.)

Man with terror links held after raid
Excerpt: A SYDNEY man with ''demonstrated connections'' to one of the world's most dangerous terrorist preachers has been arrested by Sydney police over allegations he broke into a cash machine. Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai was arrested after three other men were prevented from robbing a cash van at gunpoint in far western Sydney yesterday morning. … He was arrested shortly after three other men, aged between 24 and 29, were found by detectives in a car park in Cecil Hills in Sydney's outer suburbs.
The three men were in two stolen cars and police allege they found a rifle, two handguns and several balaclavas with them. An armoured cash van was also in the car park when the arrests occurred.

Islamic charity leader sentenced to nearly 3 years
Excerpt: The leader of the U.S. branch of a defunct Islamic charity was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison after being convicted of helping smuggle $150,000 to Saudi Arabia. U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan said that while he has no doubt the money went to Islamic fighters battling the Russian army in Chechnya, as the prosecution maintained, there's no proof directly linking Pete Seda to terrorism. For that reason, Hogan said he wouldn't apply the so-called "terrorism enhancement" that could have sent Seda to prison for eight years. … Seda, also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty, is an Iranian-born U.S. citizen who ran the U.S. chapter of the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation based in Ashland. He worked in Ashland as a tree surgeon and was an outspoken proponent of the peaceful aspects of Islam. He was known for marching in the local July 4 parade with his camel. (The camel has filed for divorce. ~Bob.)

Great Socialist statesmen aren't made, they're still-born. --Hector Hugh Munro

At Least Perry Has an Excuse
Pundits seem hell bent on singling out a dismal performance by Governor Rick Perry on Thursday night’s FOX/Google debate, which was the most watched debate in history—proving voters are paying attention in record numbers as the economics tighten. Nine Republican candidates took the stage, but only one took the hearts of Florida’s Straw Poll participants on Saturday: Herman Cain. Pulling a whopping 37% in a field of nine was no small accomplishment. But wait a minute. Mitt Romney “won” that debate handily, didn’t he? At least that’s what pundits are declaring. He gave the right answers…spoke with confidence…demeaned Perry cunningly…railed at President Obama effectively…and of course, looked good. Campaigning non-stop for four years, he has no other job. And before this he campaigned at least four more for the last presidency. He has spent millions of his own dollars and by now we all know at least in part, his oft recited resume. So why didn’t he win the straw poll? Governor Perry has a full time job. Most recently he was off the campaign trail to handle the enormous wildfires threatening his state. And Governor Romney was right in the last debate: Massachusetts is NOT Texas. Texas is about 38 times the size of Massachusetts with a budget the size of Canada. Governor Perry is good on the economy and most social issues, but his position on illegal immigration is anathema to conservatives. Still…he stood on the stage and like a true Texan, stuck to his guns. That drew boos from the audience, but on some level, was a refreshing contrast from the former Governor of Massachusetts. As Governor Romney chided Perry over giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, no one pointed out that before he was a candidate in 2008, Romney supported a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. No one reminded the audience how he hammered McCain in particular for holding the same position he once had held or how he demagogued Giuliani and Huckabee for being soft on illegal immigration. “This could be extreme political repositioning, even for Romney,” stated the Boston Globe.

Euro-Collapse: It was predictable.
Excerpt: The admirable Seth Lipsky of the New York Sun, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and the (English-language) Jewish Forward, seems to be the first American commentator since Walter Lippmann to recognize the prescience, in post–World War II matters, of Charles de Gaulle. He was referring especially to de Gaulle’s recommendation of a restored gold standard as de Gaulle and his chief economic adviser, Jacques Rueff, feared what would happen to the world’s currencies if they were valued only in relation to one another. Their fear was not misplaced; the U.S. dollar, euro, and yen are all engaged in wholesale inflation, thinly disguised by phony calculations of domestic inflation and by relatively stable relationships between one another, because they are in almost free fall together, like three mountain climbers all sliding down the face of the peak and toward a hard landing. As Ron Paul pointed out to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke a few weeks ago, in eight years the U.S. dollar has lost 85 percent of its value opposite an ounce of gold, and this is not the roseate picture revealed by official inflation figures.

Worth Reading: Southern Like Me: What Americans, and President Obama, can learn from the Great Migration South.
Excerpt: I’m a Jersey boy. I was born there, went to high school and college there, and assumed I’d spend the rest of my life there. But though I loved the people and food, the Jersey Shore summers, and short rides through the Lincoln Tunnel to Broadway shows and Madison Square Garden, I gave it all up and moved south. Very far south. I’m not alone. According to the latest Census figures, and stories in USA Today, the Associated Press, and elsewhere, the South was the fastest growing region in America over the last decade, up 14 percent. “The center of population has moved south in the most extreme way we’ve even seen in history,” Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau, said a few months ago. … I then explained the move. I started with some humor. I explained that we have electricity in Mississippi. And indoor plumbing. We even have dentists. I told them we have the internet in Mississippi. And cable TV. I told them I travel a lot, and Memphis airport has planes, too. I then told them about the quality of life in Oxford, and how far a dollar stretches. And the ease of doing business. When I show them pictures of my house, and get around to my property taxes, things get positively somber. On a home valued at $400,000, my tax tab is $2,000. My parents in New Jersey pay $12,000. And for a whole lot less house. On no land. When I remind friends about the pension liabilities they’ll be inheriting from the state unions, things get downright gloomy. I then explain that my work is mostly done by the phone or internet. So where I live has little bearing on how much I earn. But it has a whole lot to do with how much I keep. (I, too, am a Jersey boy. I’m now job-locked in Blagobamaville. I love south Jersey, but wouldn’t think of retiring there, due to the financial crunch. Same with Massachusetts where I served in the Senate. When my wife and I talk about retiring, it’s to one of several states that once flew the Stars and Bars. May not be possible as we need to help a granddaughter in Wisconsin, but the South is the first choice. ~Bob.)

Californians remain staunchly in favor of death penalty, poll finds
Excerpt: As death penalty opponents work to get a ballot measure before California voters next fall to abolish capital punishment, a new Field Poll indicates the initiative would be a tough sell. More than two-thirds of state voters – 68 percent – favor keeping the death penalty, the poll found, with 27 percent favoring abolition and 5 percent expressing no opinion. (as the Mexican drug cartels expand in California, this number will grow. ~Bob.)

Supreme Court Might Kill ObamaCare Before Election -- If Obama's Lucky
Excerpt: Why did the Obama administration, after dragging out the various court challenges to ObamaCare, suddenly step on the gas? The administration surprised court watchers by passing up a chance to slow down ObamaCare's long march to an eventual Supreme Court ruling. In failing to request a hearing by all the appeals court judges of the 11th Circuit -- to overturn an anti-ObamaCare decision by three of its members -- the administration now puts the matter on a faster track to the Supreme Court.

Anthony Kennedy, Running Mate
Excerpt: The Obama administration is no glutton for punishment. At least that seems to be the case after the Justice Department declined to press for a rehearing of a Circuit Court finding that the administration's signature health care law contained an unconstitutional individual mandate. The law would have ended up before the Supreme Court eventually, so why delay the inevitable? But that decision carries significant political risk. The Justice Department's decision not to ask the Atlanta-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the panel's decision in an en banc hearing means that the law is more likely to end up before the Supreme Court this term, which begins Monday. That would make a ruling likely by the end of the term in late June. And that means the most controversial, and least-popular, aspect of President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment during his first term will be judged just four months before voters decide whether he deserves a second term. And there is a very good possibility that the Supreme Court would rule against the individual mandate, -- and perhaps the entire law. A verdict like that would not only remind voters that they viewed the health care reform law unfavorably in the first place, it would also give Republicans the chance to have those views validated by the highest court in the land.

France: Iran risks attack if it continues to develop nuclear program
Excerpt: The French envoy to the UN warned Iran on Tuesday that it risks a military strike if it continues to develop its nuclear program. Ambassador Gerard Araud said in New York that "If we don't succeed today to reach a negotiation with the Iranians, there is a strong risk of military action," AFP reported. (I notice France doesn’t say who would be making the “attacks.” Ron P. Sacre Bleu, Mon Ami, who always aids la belle France in war? ~Bob.)

Iran begins large-scale production of new cruise missile
Excerpt: Iran says it's started large-scale production of a domestically-developed cruise missile designed for sea-based targets and capable of destroying warships. Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said an unspecified number of samples of "Ghader," or "Capable" as the missile is called in Farsi, were delivered to the Revolutionary Guard's navy, assigned to protect Iran's sea borders. His remarks were reported by state TV on Wednesday.

To The Banksters: You’re Losing
Excerpt: In a bizarre twist of fate, a growing movement of New York City Police Department officers are banding together with the Occupy Wall Street movement, while the main stream media continues to relatively ignore this escalating event. The Occupy Wall Street movement issued the following statement on their website: “Today we received unconfirmed reports that over one hundred blue collar police refused to come into work in solidarity with our movement. These numbers will grow. We are the 99 percent. You will not silence us.” (I believe there may be a general sentiment among conservatives that the
Occupy Wall St
movement is a bunch of red-eyed leftists, and that may or may not be true. It could also easily have a big following in the tea party and libertarian movements. I explained to a friend last night that the opposition to bailing out banks and businesses or generally giving tax payer money to rich bankers or others is NOT a leftwing OR rightwing issue. It is one of those issues that both left and right naturally agree on -- the right because we want government out of our lives and out of capitalism, and the left because they generally hate the rich. Hey, I've got to tell you, the way the Obama-Bush team gave OUR money to those bankers and Big Businesses did not endear me to the rich either. NOT because they are rich but because they are rich through cronyism. I am mildly encouraged by this article. --Don Hank)

Obama tells Hispanics not to blame him
Did he mention that for two years, Democrats controlled everything, including a veto-proof majority in the Senate before Brown? ~Bob.) Excerpt: Facing weakening support among Hispanics, President Barack Obama expressed deep frustration Wednesday over what he called an inaccurate and damaging perception that he can fix the nation's flawed immigration system on his own. "This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true," Obama said during a White House roundtable targeting Hispanic voters, a key constituency for the president's re-election campaign. The president said comprehensive immigration reform continues to be a "top priority" for his administration. But he blamed Republicans in Congress for failing to join Democrats in supporting legislation that would address the flow of foreigners into the U.S. and deal with illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

Gestapo Tactics against American Churches
Excerpt: In a previous article on GodfatherPolitics, I pointed out that leftist groups are attacking churches that address social issues that are near and dear to liberals. These groups monitor broadcasts, websites, and sermons of Christian leaders that address any topic that is critical of a leftist agenda. We’ve seen these types of tactics in Europe, England, and Canada. They’re coming to America, even though we have a set of iron-clad freedoms in the First Amendment. But if the Supreme Court can find a right to kill pre-born babies in the “shadows” of the Constitution, then no freedom is safe.
There is a long history of religious intimidation. Using Nazi Germany as an example for anything these days is often viewed as extremism. Even so, the comparisons are there, and we shouldn‘t be afraid to make them when we see them.

Excerpt: Vice President Joe Biden told Florida radio station WLRN on Thursday that voters should hold President Barack Obama, not former President George W. Bush, accountable for the poor state of America’s economy. Conservative PAC American Crossroads circulated the startling statement Thursday afternoon, expecting it will take Democratic campaign strategists by surprise. “Right now, understandably — totally legitimate — this is a referendum on Obama and Biden and the nature of the state of the economy,” Biden said. Polls indicating that more Americans blame Bush for the economy than Obama are not relevant, Biden said.

The "Muddle Through" Has Failed: BCG Says "There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis"
Excerpt: Denial. Denial is safe. Comforting. Religiously and relentlessly abused by politicians who don't want nor can face reality. A word synonymous with "muddle through." Ah yes, that "muddle through" which so many C-grade economists and pundits believe is the long-term status quo for the US and the world just because it worked for Japan for the past three decades, or, said otherwise, "just because." Well, too bad. As the following absolutely must read report, which comes not from some trader of dubious credibility interviewed by BBC, nor even from an impassioned executive from a doomed Italian bank, but from consultancy powerhouse Boston Consulting Group confirms, the "muddle through" is dead. And now it is time to face the facts. What facts? The facts which state that between household, corporate and government debt, the developed world has $20 trillion in debt over and above the sustainable threshold by the definition of "stable" debt to GDP of 180%. The facts according to which all attempts to eliminate the excess debt have failed, and for now even the Fed's relentless pursuit of inflating our way out this insurmountable debt load have been for nothing. The facts which state that the only way to resolve the massive debt load is through a global coordinated debt restructuring (which would, among other things, push all global banks into bankruptcy) which, when all is said and done, will have to be funded by the world's financial asset holders: the middle-and upper-class, which, if BCS is right, have a ~30% one-time tax on all their assets to look forward to as the great mean reversion finally arrives and the world is set back on a viable path. But not before the biggest episode of "transitory" pain, misery and suffering in the history of mankind. Good luck, politicians and holders of financial assets, you will need it because after Denial comes Anger, and only long after does Acceptance finally arrive.

Adventures in liberal tolerance, part 999,901
Excerpt: Anti-Obama signs in New Orleans — on private property — have set off a frenzy of prog protests against free speech. Former and current politicians have “met” with the property owner as mobs gather near the offender’s home. Local city council members are plotting ways to punish the homeowner and squelch his speech: … Of course. RAAAAAAAAAACIST. The most unreality-based, snortalicious complaint? That no one would tolerate disrespect of Bush. So you want to compare offensive Obama signs to offensive Bush signs/displays (Bush assassination chic refresher course here). Really?

United Kingdom: Now Brussels Orders Us to Pay Benefits to All European Union Nationals, Whether or Not They Come Seeking Work
Excerpt: As things stand, if someone arrives in Britain without intending to support himself, he doesn't automatically qualify for the same benefits that are available to British nationals – or, indeed, to foreigners granted the 'right to reside'. We can, in other words, distinguish between those who mean to pay into the system and those who don't (see here). Despite a fierce rearguard action by Chris Grayling, the minister responsible, Eurocrats have now ruled that all EU nationals, even if they have no previous link to the United Kingdom and do not pretend to be able to provide for themselves, must be free to access the full range of government benefits: pension credit, employment and support allowance, council tax rebates, housing benefit, the whole hog: totus porcus.

Jeaneane Garofalo: Cain's Rise in Support Proves Republican Racism Or Something
Excerpt: Basically, [Jeaneane] Garofalo is kind of like a cult member who insists that every data point supports her religious belief, regardless of whether it contradicts with other data points that are also used in defense of groupthink. (Yeah, I know, it's sick but funny. - Kate in LA.)

Raising Cain
Excerpt: A lot of my acquaintances around New York City are calling Obama’s reign a “David Dinkins presidency.” Dinkins (1990-93) was NY’s first black mayor. To date he was also the last. Indeed, this very “blue” city has not merely not elected another black guy since Dinkins stepped down, they haven’t elected another Democrat. People are predicting the Obama presidency will be like that. Whites will say: “OK, we did that, elected the black guy, got it out of the way. Now let’s go back to real politics.” They are even seeking out parallels: “Hey, look—Obama’s ticked off the Jews. Just like Dinkins!”