Monday, December 29, 2008

Look Who's Supporting the So-called "Employee Freedom of Choice Act"

The Democratic Socialists of America!

Imagine that!

The "Payback": One More Step Toward Socialism and the Elimination of the Secret Ballot

See this full article in The Washington Post.

"The payback would be Employee Free Choice Act - that would be a vehicle to strengthen and build the American labor movement and the middle class," he said. "It's the condition of the country, it's health care, it's the Employee Free Choice Act, it's some kind of effort made in protection of their pensions. These are big and major items."

Gerald W. McEntee, president of one of the nation's largest unions, stating how the labor movement was damaged when the FBI linked a competing union to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's effort to sell Illinois' U.S. Senate seat and it hurts labor's push to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, unions' big legislative priority. Here he clearly states the expected "payback."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What a Threesome!

Numbers 8, 9 and 10 on the Judicial Watch's Top 10 most corrupt politicians from December 2007:

8. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL): A “Dishonorable Mention” last year, Senator Obama moves onto the “ten most wanted” list in 2007. In 2006, it was discovered that Obama was involved in a suspicious real estate deal with an indicted political fundraiser, Antoin “Tony” Rezko. In 2007, more reports surfaced of deeper and suspicious business and political connections It was reported that just two months after he joined the Senate, Obama purchased $50,000 worth of stock in speculative companies whose major investors were his biggest campaign contributors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that benefited from legislation Obama pushed just two weeks after the senator purchased $5,000 of the company’s shares. Obama was also nabbed conducting campaign business in his Senate office, a violation of federal law.

9. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who promised a new era of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, snuck a $25 million gift to her husband, Paul Pelosi, in a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act recently passed by Congress. The pet project involved renovating ports in Speaker Pelosi's home base of San Francisco. Pelosi just happens to own apartment buildings near the areas targeted for improvement, and will almost certainly experience a significant boost in property value as a result of Pelosi's earmark. Earlier in the year, Pelosi found herself in hot water for demanding access to a luxury Air Force jet to ferry the Speaker and her entourage back and forth from San Francisco non-stop, in unprecedented request which was wisely rejected by the Pentagon. And under Pelosi’s leadership, the House ethics process remains essentially shut down – which protects members in both parties from accountability.

10. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV): Over the last few years, Reid has been embroiled in a series of scandals that cast serious doubt on his credibility as a self-professed champion of government ethics, and 2007 was no different. According to The Los Angeles Times, over the last four years, Reid has used his influence in Washington to help a developer, Havey Whittemore, clear obstacles for a profitable real estate deal. As the project advanced, the Times reported, “Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore.” Whittemore also hired one of Reid’s sons (Leif) as his personal lawyer and then promptly handed the junior Reid the responsibility of negotiating the real estate deal with federal officials. Leif Reid even called his father’s office to talk about how to obtain the proper EPA permits, a clear conflict of interest.

Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Judicial Watch neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. For more information, visit

December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Every Vote Counts

...except these ones.

And in an Escher-like turn of events, thanking the vote counters for counting your vote may cause your vote not to be counted.

The thank-you apparently continues on the flipside of the ballot:

Please take this vote to my candidate or candidates of choice.

To my candidate:
Please accept this vote as a sign of trust. A trust that I am sure will not be abused or betrayed as you serve interests (mainly self and special) near and dear to all of us.

I know you made many promises while campaigning, promises that I am sure will be difficult to uphold. We all were a bit intoxicated, especially during the final six weeks or so. I made some promises, too. (I said I'd get a hybrid, but with gas prices like these, who am I kidding.)

Once you get to D.C., you should have an easier time. Much easier than these past few months, I would imagine. If this Obama fellow is as good as the Internet says, your term should be a cakewalk, due to an unprecedented amount of public goodwill and bipartisan backscratching.

Enjoy your stay in office. We'll see you again should you run for reelection. (Please do, as I find it troubling to stay abreast in current events and am terrible with new names. Oh, and please retain your current party affiliation since I like my voting ticket to be as straight as the day is long.)

Thanks once again for counting my vote.

John Q. Public

P.S. Perhaps in the near future, these difficult voting ballots could be streamlined. Perhaps with an all-democrat or all-republican checkbox located near the front of the ballot. Or at the sign-in desk.

I also had another small nit to pick. I went into the polls intending on voting for change but could not find that name or those words anywhere within the ballot. I did write "change" several times in all of the write-in areas and in some of the margins. I also taped some change to the backside of the ballot. Hope that sends the message. Thanks again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Congress Gets a Pay Raise???

Under existing law, as part of a deal to give up outside income from speeches and other sources, Congress receives an automatic pay raise unless it votes otherwise. In January, Congress will receive a raise of $4,700 to an average of about $174,000 (plus all the perks).

I don't think Congress deserves a pay raise, so this is what I told them:

I oppose giving Congress a pay raise this year because they have NOT been doing their job. Congress' job is to maintain a government competent to defend the rights of citizens against oppressors both foreign and domestic; and to limit its own powers so as to render it (the federal government) harmless to the liberties of those it governs.

The current economic debacle is clear evidence that Congress either does not KNOW its duties to U.S. citizens or it has entirely lost its way in pursuing those duties.

What are YOU going to tell them?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Management "plunder" on the Shareholders' behalf

"Paper entrepreneurialism is both cause and consequence of America's faltering economy. Paper profits are the only ones easily available to professional managers who sit atop organizations designed for a form of production that is no longer appropriate to America's place in the world economy. At the same time, the relentless drive for paper profits has diverted attention and resources away from the difficult job of transforming the productive base. It has retarded the transition that must occur, and has made change more difficult in the future. Paper entrepreneurialism thus has a self-perpetuating quality that, if left unchecked, will drive the nation to further decline."

-- Robert B. Reich, "The next American frontier," Atlantic, March 1983, pp. 43-57.

It's been 25 years! Haven't we learned anything.

An Open Letter to U.S. Leaders

22 December 2008

President George W. Bush,
Honorable Senators, and
Honorable Representatives:

W. Edwards Deming, writing in Out of the Crisis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), p. 98, a book written when U.S. automaker Chrysler sought federal loan guarantees more than 25 years ago, says:

“As William E. Hoglund, manager of the Pontiac Motor Division, put it to me [Deming] one day, ‘Blue Cross is our second largest supplier.’ The direct cost of medical care is $400 per automobile (‘Sick call,’ Forbes, 24 October 1983, p. 116). Six months later he told me that Blue Cross had overtaken steel. This is not all. Additional medical costs are embedded in the steel that goes into an automobile. There are also direct costs of health and care, as from beneficial days (payment of wages and salaries to people under treatment for injury on the job); also for counseling of people depressed from low rating on annual performance, plus counsel and treatment of employees whose performance is impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

I should think that the U.S. automakers have had more than sufficient time to get their house in order. It is clear that short-term thinking – the desire to earn quarterly bonuses – has overtaken any constancy of purpose on the part of executive management to keep the U.S. automakers viable (let alone successful).

The assets owned by U.S. automakers will NOT evaporate overnight if they must declare bankruptcy. Other firms with fresh new ideas will soon take advantage of the void in the marketplace and will leverage the labor and assets that become available to establish successful and profitable new manufacturers.

It is NOT the responsibility of the U.S. taxpayer to underwrite the long-term failure of private sector managers (or the failures of union managers to properly assess their own organization’s long-term viability). Please, NO MORE BAILOUTS to “save us” from the BAD ECONOMICS of Democrats and their cronies in the unions and elsewhere. Let the Democrat economics FAIL so that we can move onward, upward and away from more socialist means and methods.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Post-election, Obama looks back at the campaign

Perhaps making millions of t-shirts wasn't the best idea.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Abandoning Capitalism to Save Capitalism?

Over the past few months we’ve seen the most extensive government intervention in the economy since the 1930’s. In fact, today’s interventions sometimes make those of Franklin Roosevelt look tame by comparison.

Depending upon how you calculate the numbers—and that is made particularly difficult because neither the Federal Reserve or the Treasury is being particularly transparent about what they are doing—the Federal government is already on the hook for around $8 Trillion to address the current economic crisis. The CATO institute puts the number at $8.4 Trillion.

Much of that money has gone to direct investments in the financial industry, which has been partially nationalized. All indications are that soon the taxpayers will become part owners of one or more automobile manufacturers, and that the next President will be appointing a “car czar” to direct the restructuring of the auto industry, as if a government appointee can devise a magic formula for making the car companies profitable again.

This is nuts.

It would be one thing if there was any evidence that all this mucking about in the economy was doing any good, but in the months since government intervention in the economy went into overdrive the economic slump has only gotten worse. Much worse, in fact.

George Bush says that in addressing today’s financial crisis he has had to “abandon free-market principles to save the free-market system." Well, the President has certainly succeeded in abandoning free market principles, but it’s hard to see how doing so has succeeded in saving the free market system.

All this government activity has been driven by an illusion that is shared by most politicians: that somehow, some way they can control the economy. That illusion has caused more harm over the past century than all the recessions that are an inevitable part of a capitalist economy.

There has been a growing consensus among economists that the great depression became “great” precisely because of a series of policy mistakes made by Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Federal Reserve. Japan experienced a “lost decade” of economic decline after its own real estate bubble collapsed because its government tried to prop up “zombie” banks and businesses long after it was clear that they needed to go out of business. Japan blew so much money on useless “stimulus” packages that their national debt makes ours look responsible by comparison (so far). Sound familiar?

The shortest path out of the economic mess we are in is to allow the markets to correct, however painful that might be in the short run. The alternative—abandoning free market principles and the long-term benefits of free markets—promises not just a difficult recession, but a permanent slowing of economic growth and a huge increase in the national debt.

The best way to “save the free market system” is to allow it to work.

By David Strom, Senior Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute

Hands off our cottages, livery stables and haylofts

As the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (and its amendments) continue to be eroded, it's good to know there is a group doing all they can to fight back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I just sent this message to Congressional leaders

I oppose using TARP funds to provide emergency loans to the auto industry. As famous business professor and author Peter Drucker has said, "It is inevitable that some businesses will fail." The U.S. automakers have had their day in the sun and their management has proven themselves to be totally inept at seeing the long-term consequences of producing short-term gains based on foolish decisions.

The automakers' assets will not evaporate if they are allowed to go bankrupt. Someone will take possession of those assets and re-employ many of the people, but they will do so with a fresh, new vision about how to succeed in TODAY's economy, not the economy of the 50's nor the dream-world in which Ford, Chrysler and GM management have been living.

-- Richard D. Cushing

Monday, December 15, 2008

2/7 Marines Battle for Shewan

November 22nd, 2008 Bouhammer Originally Posted in Afghanistan Tour, News Stories

Marines’ heroic actions at Shewan leave more than 50 insurgents dead, several wounded

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it. Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

Smoke billows from a 500-pound bomb dropped during the intense battle for the city of Shewan.  During the battle, Marine snipers attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

Smoke billows from a 500-pound bomb dropped during the intense battle for the city of Shewan. During the battle, Marine snipers attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

A Marine sniper attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, fires at targets on a range on Camp Barber, Afghanistan. The marksmanship skills of the Marines proved far superior during the Battle of Shewan, enabling the Marines to reduce the enemy force that was more than eight times the size of their own. (Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Steve Cushman)

A Marine sniper attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, fires at targets on a range on Camp Barber, Afghanistan. The marksmanship skills of the Marines proved far superior during the Battle of Shewan, enabling the Marines to reduce the enemy force that was more than eight times the size of their own. (Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Steve Cushman)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

(My sister sent this to me in an email.)

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
"I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Bad Week for Team Obama

This has been a bad week for Team Obama. Since Election Day, these characters have been desperately trying to recast themselves as "centrist," and distance their captain from the cadre of unsavory characters which gave him rise.

The big news was the arrest of one of the team's former coaches, Illinois Gov. Milorad "Rod" Blah-goy-ah-vich, in what is arguably the most impressive case of public corruption since the Clintonistas were in the White House.

I am shocked -- SHOCKED -- to report that Barry Obama's hometown of Chicago is a cesspool of political corruption. At least Bill and Hillary had a chance to hang the White House drapes before their patrons and benefactors began to collect indictments. But then, Obama did promise "change you can believe in."

-- Mark Alexander writing in ThePatriotPost.

Going "Green" Means Going "Red"?

Cato Institute's "techknowledge" newsletter reminds us that the whole "going green" approach by the federal (and state) governments will likely lead to more "going red" in two ways:
  1. Increasingly socialist political manipulation of the economy, and

  2. Increasing government debt (and taxes) as the politicians push agendas that are counter to growth, productivity and private investment.
One of the problems with the government throwing money at "green" initiatives is that some businesses will be incented to participate simply because they will benefit from the federal monies in the program. They will do this for short-term gain, even though the net and long-term effect on the general economy may be negative.

Take for example the foolishness of making our machines competitors for our food supply via the government-back ethanol subsidy programs. The corn supply -- a staple in the food chain -- is being diverted to provide fuel while there is a severe shortage of corn for food products such as livestock feed (leading to increased prices for meats), corn meal, corn syrup, and more.

Despite this craziness, major players like ADM and others are participating in the ethanol market simply because it is presently beneficial for them to do so. The problem is, on the one side, ADM's willingness to sacrifice the larger marketplace "good" for short-term gain. However, if the governments (state and federal) were not throwing non-market-driven money into the arena and distorting the market value, this foolishness would be entirely unsustainable.

Think about it.

NCLB Plan for the Big Three

Jay Greene offers his model for the auto bailout, based on the No Child Left Behind Act:

All companies will have to achieve profitability by 2014. And they can define for themselves what “profitability” really means. Each year they must make adequate yearly progress toward that goal. If a company fails to make AYP they must offer their consumers the option to buy a different product that the same company sells. After all we have to have choice!

No Economic Slowdown on Capitol Hill

Despite all the cost-cutting and downsizing in the private sector as a response to the sluggish economy, Congressional spending habits remain as healthy as ever.

We're all well aware of the auto bailout and the financail market "rescue", but let's take a look at some other gems that have helped our representatives saddle us with a $10 trillion deficit.

From Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) "2008:Worst Waste of the Year Report:"

Search for extraterrestrial life - $9 million (California)
SETI pulled in another $1.6 million from the Department of Defense. The lack of response from outer space has not dampened the government's enthusiastic separation of tax and taxpayer.

Voicemail for the homeless - $15,000 (Ohio - part of a $1 million grant)
Compared to only $10,000 spent to provide "traditional housing for homeless single parents."

Tennis court and artificial baseball turf - $1 million (New York)
A followup to a $1 million grant in 2000 that went to waste due to park management's "notorious inability" to perform routine maintenance. Dorothy McCloskey, president of the park's oversight committee, has vowed that she "will not let another million dollars go to waste."

Portraits of Cabinet officers - $167,000
Spent on six (6) [half-dozen] {an extremely low number} hand-painted portraits of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Commerce, the NASA Administrator, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Director of the National Cancer Institute.

Bailout of Senate restaurants - $2 million
The restaurants lost $1.34 million last year and a total of $18.1 million since 1993. In fact, the restaurants have only shown a profit seven times in the last 44 years.

Remounting "World's Largest Mounted Fish" - $135,000 (New York)
Apparently, if it contains a superlative and is located anywhere in the U.S., it is up to the taxpayers to maintain it.

Remodeling train station - $1.9 million (New Jersey)
According to officials at the Rutherford Train Station, the funding has allowed them to meet the demand of up to 940 passengers a day.

Revitalization in Cleveland - $1.1 million (Ohio)
The government purchased 33 homes to renovate at prices well above market levels. The median housing price in Cleveland at the time was $15,000. Uncle Sam was able to pick the houses up at a cool $83,000 each, overpaying by nearly $1 million.

Low-income student program used for employee bonuses - $3 million (California)
The San Diego school district misused funds intended for nutritional programs to pay bonuses for employees leaving the district.

National Drug Intelligence Center - $39 million (Pennsylvania)
Despite being rocked by scandal and numerous Department of Justice attempts to shut it down, Congress still awarded this agency nearly $40 million in 2008.

Captain John Smith Water Trail - $446,500 (Virginia)
The nation's first trail that is completely under water.

Mississippi River Flood Memorial Plaza - $200,000 (Illinois)
New plaza is built in the middle of the flood plain.

"We could say they spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair – to drunken sailors. It would be unfair, because the sailors are spending their own money."
‐ Ronald Reagan on Congress

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bailout Parade Panic and the Benefits of Bankruptcy

Let's not allow Congress and members of the bailout parade panic us into allowing them to do things, as was done in the 1930s, that would convert a mild economic downturn into a true calamity. Right now the Big Three auto companies, and their unions, are asking Congress for a $25 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy. Let's think about that a bit.

What happens when a company goes bankrupt? One thing that does not happen is their productive assets go poof and disappear into thin air. In other words, if GM goes bankrupt, the assembly lines, robots, buildings and other tools don't evaporate. What bankruptcy means is the title to those assets change. People who think they can manage those assets better purchase them.

Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, where the control of its business operations are subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the court, gives companies a chance to reorganize. The court can permit complete or partial relief from the company's debts and its labor union contracts.

A large part of the problem is the Big Three's cozy relationship with the United Auto Workers union (UAW). GM has a $73 hourly wage cost including benefits and overtime. Toyota has five major assembly plants in the U.S. Its hourly wage cost plus benefits is $48. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out which company will be at a competitive disadvantage. Then there's the "jobs bank" feature of the UAW contract where workers who are laid off workers get 95 percent of their base pay and all their benefits. Right now there's a two-year limit but in the past workers could stay in the "jobs bank" forever unless they turned down two job offers within 50 miles of their factory. At one time job bank membership exceeded 7,000 "workers." GM, Ford and Chrysler face other problems that range from poor corporate management and marketing, not to mention costly government regulations.

Two vital marketplace signals are the profits that come with success and the losses that come with failure. When these two signals are not allowed to freely function, markets operate less efficiently. To be successful a business must take in enough revenue not only to cover wages, rents and interest but profits as well. In order to accomplish that feat executives must not only satisfy customers but they must do it in a manner that efficiently utilizes all of their resources. If they fail to cover costs, it means that resources are not being used efficiently and/or consumers don't value the good being produced relative to some other alternative. When a firm routinely fails to turn a profit, there are bankruptcy pressures. The firm's resources, workers, building and capital become available to someone else who might put them to better use. When government steps in with a bailout, it enables executives to continue mismanaging resources.

How much congressional involvement do we want with the Big Three auto companies? I'd say none. Congressmen and federal bureaucrats, including those at the Federal Reserve Board, don't know anymore about the automobile business than they know about the banking and financial businesses that they've turned into a mess. Just look at the idiotic focus of congressmen when the three auto company chief executives appeared before them. They questioned whether the executives should have driven to Congress rather than flown in on corporate jets. They focused on executive pay, which is a tiny fraction of costs compared to $73 hourly compensation to 250,000 autoworkers. The belief that Congress poses the major threat to our liberty and well-being is why the founders gave them limited enumerated powers. To our detriment, today's Americans have given them unlimited powers.

-- by Walter E. Williams

Found at: Capitalism Magazine (online)

Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Walter E. Williams holds a bachelor's degree in economics from California State University (1965) and a master's degree (1967) and doctorate (1972) in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Memo to Obama: They're Winning

Terrorism expert Steve Emerson says there's no hope of victory in the war on terrorism until we call it what it really is

This past Saturday, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece entitled "What They Hate about Mumbai," focusing specifically on the free market sins of that great city. With contrived evenhandedness, the op-ed managed to blame both Hindus and Muslim extremists—without blaming either party in particular for the murderous attacks.

Without realizing it, the Grey Lady had hit upon a great travel series. In the best spirit of jihad for dummies, why not a year's worth of op-eds focusing on "Why They Hate____" filled in, mad-libs style, with the U.S., Britain, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Kenya, and the other 74 countries where radical Islam has reared its violent head? With only the moral blindness that the New York Times could capture, each op-ed would portray the attacks in a contrived even-handed way, without blaming, or even naming, the perpetrators of the attacks—Muslim jihadists.

Watching and reading the last 5 days of reports of the Mumbai attacks was an Alice in Wonderland experience. Even after an Islamic terrorist group took credit, TV anchors and reporters assiduously avoided the term Islamic terrorist. They must have consulted with the Thesaurus for the Politically Correct to determine that the word "gunmen" would not offend any jihadist.

The real truth is that there is war against the West and the Jews by Islamic jihadists.

On Wednesday, even though everyone knew by then that the perpetrators were jihadists, CNN constantly referred to the terrorists as "extremists"—with no modifier. Hell, they could have been the Basque ETA or the ultra right wing U.S. militia. Then a CNN anchor asked his guest with totally innocence, "Now why would an extremist group target a Jewish house of worship?" Because, my dear politically correct anchor, it was an Islamist terrorist group.

The most that government officials, in cahoots with mainstream media, could utter were names like Al Qaeda (AQ) or Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) as potential suspects. Yet even here, the discussions were mindless. One talking head said it could not be AQ since AQ behavior is to have massive simultaneous explosions (as if Al Qaeda follows a pre-programmed script). Another expert said LeT did not have the resources to carry it out, forgetting ever so slightly that all Islamic terrorist groups share resources, recruit from other terrorist groups, train each other, provide each other with equipment and, most importantly of all, want to destroy their "enemies."

In the United States, after 9/11, a group of American men (mostly converts) pleaded guilty or were found to be guilty of training with LeT and of trying to "wage war" against the United States. Evidence produced in the trial showed that LeT's website—before being taken down—focused disproportionately on two enemies: Americans and Jews. In 2004, Ismail Royer, an official with the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) who had trained with the Taliban, pled guilty to weapons and explosives charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In later grand jury testimony, Royer admitted that the cell's primary goal was to fight with the Taliban against United States forces in Afghanistan.

Our politically craven governments, followed in part by the media, have now started to ban the use of the term "Islamic terrorists" or "Islamic militants," insisting that they simply be called "extremists" or militants. The government's rationale was a page picked right out of the playbook of western radical Islamic strategy: Portray the use of the term "Islamic terrorist" as "racist" and as allegedly stigmatizing all Muslims.

Last year, the Departments of State and Homeland Security issued an internal memorandum that henceforth no one could use the term "Islamic terrorists" and could only use the generic term "militant" or "extremist." Even President Bush, who once invoked the term "Islamofacism," now refuses to use the term Islamic terrorist. In Canada, the author Mark Steyn was the subject of three human rights complaints and subsequent trials for calling radical Muslims terrorists and other such "slurs." He won all three tribunals.

It is time to stop caving in to the PC crowd. If we refuse to use the term Islamic terrorist, we conveniently take away any onus of responsibility for Islamic groups to halt the murderous ideology they propagate. In fact, in nearly EVERY claim of responsibility, which I studied, for hundreds of violent Islamic attacks which took place since 9/11, the common justification by the Muslim terrorist perpetrator was that there was a "war against Muslims" by the West and the Jews that had to be avenged. The real truth is that there is war against the West and the Jews by Islamic jihadists. And no amount of territorial withdrawal or peace negotiations will assuage them.

But thankfully, there remains a glimmer of hope, and not from the condescending columnists of the New York Times or the State Department know-it-alls, but from courageous Muslim moderates in this country like Zuhdi Jasser or brutally honest Muslim columnists in the Middle East. While the West refuses to utter the term Islamic extremists and as a corollary holds no one responsible, at least one Muslim columnist has the guts to tell the truth of where the responsibility lies.

Aijaz Zaka Syed, a Muslim columnist who wrote a column for Sunday's Khaleej Times Online:

"It's all very well for us to say Islam has nothing to do with extremism and terrorism. We can go on deluding ourselves these psychopaths do not represent us..."

"The great religion that preaches and celebrates universal brotherhood, equality of men and peace and justice for all has been hijacked by a demented, miniscule minority. And, as my friend says, only Muslims can solve this problem. Only Muslims can confront these anarchists in their midst..."

"Only they can get their faith freed from the clutches of extremism. This is no time to hide. It's time to stand up and speak out. For the terrorists will continue to speak on our behalf, until we do not speak up. This is no time for silence. Enough is enough!"

Indeed, enough is enough. It is time to start listening to folks like Mr Syed or the courageous Zuhdi Jasser, rather than cave in to the PC crowd. Reporters seem incapable of reporting Islamic radicalism at home unless there is a conviction. And even then, as The New York Times has so dishonestly but consistently demonstrated, there are only good sheiks and good Islamic groups, not bad ones that preach jihad.

Even after the conviction of the defendants of all 108 counts in the Holy Land Foundation (Hamas) trial this past week, The New York Times poignantly focused its reporting not on the convictions for abetting terrorism and contributing to countless deaths of civilians, but on the tear jerking sobs of the wives and daughters of the convicted defendants who (surprise) claim their fathers were innocent. Now can you imagine the New York Times focusing its coverage sympathetically on the families of the convicted members of the KKK or neo-Nazis? Now further imagine reporters from the top newspapers getting their exclusive information for stories from un-indicted co-conspirators in the Hamas case.

It all comes together. After more than 7 years since 9/11, we can now issue a verdict: Islamic terrorists have won our hearts and minds. Let's thank those who made it happen: the U.S. government, European governments and the mainstream media. It's time to stop placating or being intimidated by Islamic front groups who masquerade as civil rights groups. In 2007, the perversity of was demonstrated when the FBI released its annual 2007 hate crime reports. Of the total 1,628 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, 69.2% were Jewish and 8.7% were Muslim. Yet by my still unfinished account, there were at least 40 times more stories last year about Islamophobia than about anti-Semitism.

The Mumbai massacre was a heavily planned plot carried out by Islamic terrorists. Period. Memo to Obama: Until the onus of responsibility is put on Islamic "civil rights" groups that want to ban free speech and claim that anyone who uses the term Islamic terrorist is a racist, there is no hope of winning the battle.

by Steven Emerson
The Daily Beast
December 1, 2008


Crooked and Stupid?

The Chicago Way, on Tape

This wiretap was golden.

The list of crooked politicians is long, and the list of stupid politicians even longer. But if the criminal allegations made yesterday against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich are proven in court, rarely will a politician have combined the two qualities with such efflorescence.

[Review & Outlook]
Rod Blagojevich.

The second-term Democrat knew that a grand jury probe was under way into corruption in Illinois politics, and that one of his fund raisers, Tony Rezko, had been convicted and is cooperating with prosecutors. Yet according to those prosecutors, Mr. Blagojevich talked openly in recent weeks about selling a U.S. Senate seat, trading government favors for campaign cash, and punishing the owner of the Chicago Tribune if it didn't fire members of the newspaper's editorial board.

The Governor's comments were taped in court-approved wiretaps and include such self-incriminating classics as: "I've got this thing [the power to appoint Barack Obama's Senate replacement] and it's [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there." We recommend the entire 76-page FBI affidavit for every high school civics course as proof of the need for political checks and balances.

If convicted, Mr. Blagojevich would be the second consecutive Illinois Governor to be found guilty of a felony, and the fourth in 35 years. We'd ask if it's something in the water, but that would be unfair to the Chicago River. It is certainly something in the Chicago political culture, where money and government power seem especially fungible.

Among the remarkable facts of the recent Presidential election is that Barack Obama emerged from this political culture virtually untainted -- and with Chicago's political mores all but unexamined by the press. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said yesterday there is no evidence that Mr. Obama knew about the Governor's allegedly crooked ambitions. However, as a Chicago-area pol himself, Mr. Obama did help Mr. Blagojevich plot his first statehouse victory in 2002.

Now would be a good time for the President-elect to say that Mr. Blagojevich and his cronies should have nothing to do with naming Mr. Obama's successor. And that, given the taint of corruption that now hangs over any choice, the state should hold a special Senate election.

-- Wall Street Journal (link)

How deeply was Barak Obama involved?

"I know he's [Obama] talked to the governor [Blagojevich] and there are a whole range of names [mentioned to fill the Senate seat to be vacated by Obama] many of which have surfaced, and I think he [Obama] has a fondness for a lot of them." -- Obama adviser David Axelrod on 23 November 2008.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicago Sit-In, et al

The other day my wife showed me a blurb for a $250 short-course on "Constitutional Law" with the thought that I might be interested in taking it. I told her that I'd probably only be willing to pay for such a course if I were thinking about running for Congress in the next couple of years.

I later recanted because it is all too obvious that understanding the Constitution is not a prerequisite for serving in Congress. In fact, it appears that blatant disregard for Constitutional principles is becoming the key factor in getting elected and re-elected to federal Constitutional offices.

In the event our Congressmen and Senators have forgotten, we already have a federal program in place for dealing with the situation in Chicago (the sit-in by displaced workers in a failed company) and for the U.S. automakers. That program is called the "Bankruptcy Courts."

We don't need to have Congress and President-elect Obama using these situations as an excuse to drive forward with their Socialist agenda.

Call, write, or otherwise trouble your Senators and Representatives to let them know we do not want to become another failed attempt at Socialism. The free market and free enterprise work when given a chance.

Auto industry ailing???

Apparently it's not the "auto industry" that's ailing.

See this article in the Detroit Free Press.

It's bad management by the auto companies and wrong-headed thinking on the part of the U.S. trade unions that caused the disease afflicting U.S. auto manufacturers.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Marine Christmas Poem

New Christmas Poem

Twas The Night Before Christmas,
He Lived All Alone,
In A One Bedroom House Made Of
Plaster And Stone.

I Had Come Down The Chimney
With Presents To Give,
And To See Just Who
In This Home Did Live.

I Looked All About,
A Strange Sight I Did See,
No Tinsel, No Presents,
Not Even A Tree.

No Stocking By Mantle,
Just Boots Filled With Sand,
On The Wall Hung Pictures
Of Far Distant Lands.

With Medals And Badges,
Awards Of All Kinds,
A Sober Thought
Came Through My Mind.

For This House Was Different,
It Was Dark And Dreary,
I Found The Home Of A Soldier,
Once I Could See Clearly.

The Soldier Lay Sleeping,
Silent, Alone,
Curled Up On The Floor
In This One Bedroom Home.

The Face Was So Gentle,
The Room In Such Disorder,
Not How I Pictured
A United States Soldier.

Was This The Hero
Of Whom I'd Just Read?
Curled Up On A Poncho,
The Floor For A Bed?

I Realized The Families
That I Saw This Night,
Owed Their Lives To These Soldiers
Who Were Willing To Fight.

Soon Round The World,
The Children Would Play,
And Grownups Would Celebrate
A Bright Christmas Day.

They All Enjoyed Freedom
Each Month Of The Year,
Because Of The Soldiers,
Like The One Lying Here.

I Couldn't Help Wonder
How Many Lay Alone,
On A Cold Christmas Eve
In A Land Far From Home.

The Very Thought
Brought A Tear To My Eye,
I Dropped To My Knees
And Started To Cry.

The Soldier Awakened
And I Heard A Rough Voice,
'Santa Don't Cry,
This Life Is My Choice;

I Fight For Freedom,
I Don't Ask For More,
My Life Is My God,
My Country, My Corps.'

The Soldier Rolled Over
And Drifted To Sleep,
I Couldn't Control It,
I Continued To Weep.

I Kept Watch For Hours,
So Silent And Still
And We Both Shivered
From The Cold Night's Chill.

I Didn't Want To Leave
On That Cold, Dark, Night,
This Guardian Of Honor
So Willing To Fight.

Then The Soldier Rolled Over,
With A Voice Soft And Pure,
Whispered, 'Carry On Santa,
It's Christmas Day, All's Secure.'

One Look At My Watch,
And I Knew He Was Right.
'Merry Christmas My Friend!
And To All A Good Night.'

This Poem Was Written By A Marine.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Raising Taxes = Less Tax Revenue

As various state governments experience budget shortfalls or general mismanagement, they turn on their constituents to bail them out. Unfortunately, the public is often smarter than their representatives...

In Chicago, an increase in tax on bottled water fails miserably and hurts inner city businesses:
Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are trickling in -- at a rate nearly 40 percent below projections -- exacerbating a budget crunch that has already prompted Mayor Daley to order $20 million in spending cuts. January collections were $554,000. That's far short of the $875,000-a-month needed to meet the city's $10.5 million-a-year projection. Wendy Abrams, a spokeswoman for the city's Budget and Management Office, said it's too early to sound the alarm. "Since January is generally one of the coldest months of the winter, we don't think January collections are a strong indicator of potential revenue for the remainder of the year," she said.
David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchant's Association, acknowledged that bottled water consumption rises with the temperature. But that doesn't explain away what Vite calls "enormous increases" in suburban bottled water sales, particularly in stores near the Chicago border.

Maryland picks a fight with smokers with an increase in taxes to $2/pack:
Residents of Maryland's Washington suburbs can shop in nearby Virginia, where the tax is only 30 cents a pack, and save at least $15 per carton.The Maryland pols are so afraid this is true that they've made it a crime for residents to carry two packs of cigarettes that weren't purchased in the state.

In other words, the state says it's legal to smoke, so long as you use cigarettes that the government can tax and thus become a financial partner in your bad habit. But if you dare to buy smokes across state lines, you can be fined.

More info on Public Enemy No. 1.

Tobacco taxes always increase revenue?

Not in South Dakota:

The increased tax on cigarettes produced $11.1 million for the state in the past two months, about $300,000 less than state revenue officials had estimated.

Not in Alaska:

In 2004, tax revenue from tobacco sales was at $838,666 but has steadily dropped and is predicted to fall to $514,425 by 2011.

Not in Pennsylvania:

While the amount of cigarette tax revenue decreases, the state also is owed about $9.3 million in cigarette and $1.1 million in sales and uses taxes Pennsylvanians are to pay when they purchase cigarettes online from companies outside Pennsylvania.

And where to go next?

Blair Candy Controller William Ajay said the business isn’t against government programs, but he doesn’t want to see one product beaten with taxes.‘‘Fast food — they’re starting to demonize that. It’s just a matter of time,’’ Ajay said.
Pat Dandrea agreed that fast food and other products may be next on the list of items to tax when the state needs money.‘‘Then they’ll come after glasses and lawnmowers,’’ he said. ‘‘It hits everyone. Look out on your cheeseburger at McDonald’s next year because they must get the money somewhere.’’

Not in Tennessee or New Jersey:

Tennessee has collected $47 million less than projected after a recent tax increase, and New Jersey’s cigarette tax revenues actually decreased between fiscal years 2006 and 2007, despite a cigarette tax increase.

Not in Maryland (also, see above):

Preliminary figures kept by his office show a drop-off in tax stamps on cigarette packs at the wholesale level from about 132.2 million in the first half of last year to about 99.5 million in the first half of this year.

The nearly 25 percent decline exceeds a 17 percent drop-off that fiscal analysts in Maryland had predicted when the tax increase was approved last year.

Although the higher tax rate has increased tobacco tax collections significantly, the larger-than-expected decline in sales means the state could be short of its budgeted revenue by $40 million to $60 million this year if current trends continue. The state had been projecting about $440 million in revenue from the tobacco tax this year.

William R. Phelps, manager of media affairs for Phillip Morris USA, said he is not surprised that tax collections are not meeting expectations in Maryland. During the special session, his company distributed research showing that revenue met projections in only eight of 40 states that raised tobacco taxes between 2003 and 2005.

As a counterpoint, here's some relentless optimism on Maryland's tobacco tax. Further down, lost amongst all the cheering and self-congratulation:

While the new revenue generated by the tax increase will go into the state’s general fund, the Legislature plans to use a portion of the revenue to expand access to health care for more than 100,000 uninsured Marylanders by making health insurance more affordable to small businesses and expanding Medicaid eligibility to lower income parents and other adults. Unfortunately, the Legislature did not allocate any of the new revenue for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Long before all the smokers have quit, died, etc., state governments will have to start looking somewhere else to make up for $14.9 billion.

With Gas Prices This Low...

National Average: $1.89 (lowest price since February 2005) (via) just don't hear much hype about ethanol anymore.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

American Automakers Bailout?

Click on this link to read an article that clearly articulates the situation and solution of the U.S. automakers.

Thank you.

If We Lose This Battle, We May Lose the War

Wise men have always understood than men of equal intelligence, equal brilliance, and equal learning may hold differing viewpoints on the same issue. To hold these differing opinions under the same circumstances requires that the men with differing opinions must, in the end, be seeking differing goals out of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

This is the situation in which we find ourselves today, we have a radical left-wing President-elect supported by a Democrat Congress that is, in turn, supported by the radical left-wing of the Democrat party. I repeat, Congress is not supported by mainstream (or even "Main Street") America, but rather driven by their own leftist avant garde agenda.

I implore you to consider carefully how closely the present leftist agenda in the newly elected federal executive and freshly reinforced Democrat Congress reflects that agenda set forth by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels in The Communist Manifesto.

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes: Understand here that the intent is the "nationalization" of private property for "public purposes." We are seeing the first steps being taken in this direction with the acquisition by the federal government of "stakes" in U.S. banks.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax: Increasing taxes on the so-called "rich" has been the hew and cry of the Democrats for years. However, in the recent election cycle Obama made it his war cry.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance: The Obama administration has already laid out its plan to increase the "death tax" to 55%. That would put the U.S. half way to the goal of the "abolition of all right of inheritance," would it not?
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels: Here's one the Democrats have not seized upon, as yet. The question is, how long will it be before those who stand for the U.S. Constitution and its original intent are labeled as "rebels"? Will the government then seize their property in "self-defense"?
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly: Is not this the direction in which we are headed with the $700 billion placed in the hands of Henry Paulsen to "rescue" the U.S. citizenry from the present "crisis"? NOTE: This "crisis" itself is entirely the making of the long-term philosophies and encouragement of the liberals and Democrats.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State: With a history of undermining privately owned and individually operated transportation (the personal automobile) through policies that have made them increasingly expensive to own and operate; and, over the same period, being powerful advocates for "public transportation," I believe we can see that the leftist Democrat agenda is certainly showing tendencies in this direction.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan: This is indicative of a plan for the federal government to take more and more of the private economy under its control. In just the last several months we have seen moves in two specific areas: banking and automobile manufacturing. However, we have a "promise" from the President-elect and the record of prior attempts by Democrats in Congress to take control of the healthcare sector of the U.S. economy.
  8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture: Was it not Barak Obama's words that he would establish a "citizen army"? The similarity of language is stark and frightening.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country: Here is the one missing point from the presently exposed leftist agenda of the Democrats.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools: Of course, "public school" education is only for the masses. It's not good enough for the Obama's, nor is it good enough for most of the Congressmen and Senators that are such "supporters" of "public education" for us, "the teaming masses." Of course, the purpose of the "free education" has proven to be more for indoctrination than for education, for surely we are witness to the fact the average product of "public education" is far better indoctrinated than educated by almost any measure.

Fellow citizens, if you love this great nation as I do, I beg of you that you stand up with me and fight against any acts of this Congress or the forthcoming federal Administration that would tend along these lines. Arm yourselves with the knowledge of the telephone numbers, fax numbers, and addresses of your Congressmen and Senators, House and Senatorial committee members of pertinent committees, and support with your finances organizations that are taking historic stands against the onslaught of leftist legislation and actions.

We must fight for those who do not yet see! We must fight for the generation that has been indoctrinated by public education -- for those who foolishly thought that a vote for Barak Obama was like casting a vote for an "American Idol" contestant.

We must fight NOW! For I fear that if we lose this battle now, we may lose the war. So much damage may be done and so many things my be cast into law that will be virtually impossible to reverse in the future if we do not now take a firm stand.

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Excuse to Do Anything or Everything

Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama's new Chief of Staff declare, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”

Throughout history, those who wished to take despotic actions that the citizens would otherwise reject have moved rapidly to take those actions in times of crises. Almost any crisis will do as an excuse for those bent on moving government in directions counter to the long-term interests of the people. In recent history we have seen Hitler was one such opportunist, leveraging Germany's post-World War I economic failures as grounds for taking drastic Socialist actions.

Rarely, however, are despots so candid as President-elect Obama's emerging administration. Rahm Emanuel (quoted above) enunciates this crisis-based opportunism precisely.

The present Democrat-controlled Congress, brazenly encouraged by its recent victories at the polls and the most radically left-wing President-elect in the history of our nation, is poised to take just such actions. Using the current economic crisis as its excuse, the left-wing radicals presently sitting at the helm of our national legislature are prepared to take control -- one way or the other -- of the U.S. automakers in order to "remake" them according to their leftist and eco-Nazi agenda.

Under the euphemistic term "retooling," the Democrat leftists intend to force Ford, Chrysler, and GM to produce cars for "the green economy." As in the former Soviet Union, the only cars that will be available from U.S. factories will be those that meet approved "government designs." You can be sure that if these leftists have their way, protectionist measures will be put in place to assure that foreign auto manufactures will be priced out of the market, as well.

Next on their list of "crisis" measures will be steps to assure that gasoline prices are pushed higher again. And, of course, a grasp at another huge portion of the U.S. private economy -- the "nationalization" of healthcare.

Please take action now to stand against these kinds of actions by the current (and future) Congress and the Obama administration. Write and call your Senators and Representatives.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing

How Is This Happening?

From "The Patriot Post" and worth spreading:

When the pundits signed off on Election Night knowing that Barack Obama had won the White House, there were still four Senate races up in the air. Oregon's Gordon Smith later lost to Democrat challenger Jeff Merkley and Georgia's Saxby Chambliss faces a 2 December runoff against Democrat challenger Jim Martin. On election night in Minnesota, incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman led purported comedian Al Franken by only a few hundred votes. In Alaska, convicted felon Ted Stevens still held a lead of about 3,000 votes over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

Oddly enough, Republican leads tended to vanish during post-election counting. When Alaska counted 60,000 of the 95,000 early voting, absentee and disputed ballots left after Election Day, Stevens' advantage disappeared, and Begich won by nearly 4,000 votes. The 85-year-old Stevens' 40-year Senate career is now over, though it would have been better for Republicans to run him out of town on a rail. He would then have been replaced by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

More mysterious, though, is the situation in Minnesota, where a recount is under way. Franken has steadily cut into Coleman's lead through oddities such as finding absentee ballots in the trunk of a car and "miscommunication" from election officials in two liberal strongholds which added more than 350 votes to Franken's count. Interestingly, the additional vote total for Franken from these sorts of "errors" is larger than the sum total of mistakes in all the other congressional and state legislative races combined, and the two Senate race miscommunications were the only ones from the local electoral boards in question -- all the other races were unchanged. Indeed, it's most curious that nearly every mistake has favored Franken.

Franken's recount strategists are also calling on the state to do a complete recount and to re-evaluate ballots initially thrown out, including the assumption that any disputed vote for Obama would naturally indicate a Franken vote, despite the fact that Al trailed Barack statewide by double-digits. The question becomes whether Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (a Democrat and ACORN supporter) can prove his counting is honest.

If Coleman loses, the only obstacle remaining for a filibuster-proof 60-seat Democrat majority in the Senate is Saxby Chambliss. Democrats meanwhile ensured that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) stayed on the reservation by striking a bargain leaving him as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as well as head of the Armed Services subcommittee in exchange for sworn loyalty.

Public school: good enough for the public

As a follow up to an earlier post on school choice hypocrisy, a study released by the Thomas Fordham Institute shows that urban public school teachers are more likely to enroll their children in private schools than the general public.

In Obama's hometown of Chicago, the study found that 38.6% of public school teachers sent their kids to private schools as compared to 22.6% of the general public. In fact, across America, public school teachers enroll their children in private schools at twice the rate of the general public - 22% to 10%.

Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem makes this connection:

Employees at Health Clinic X and their families are offered medical care at no additional cost as a benefit and yet most employees of Clinic X pay out-of-pocket for medical services at Clinic Y.

The NEA itself has gone so far as to label school voucher bills as "misleading" and refer to private schools as "unaccountable" and unable to meet "highly qualified standards". All the while, their own employees are more than willing to roll the dice and place their own children out of reach out the "highly qualified standards" set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NEA's assault on school choice for parents continues with these two gems:
  • A voucher lottery is a terrible way to determine access to an education. True equity means the ability for every child to attend a good school in the neighborhood.

And if there are no good schools in the neighborhood? Should all children be allowed to fail equally at underperforming schools?

With this quote, the NEA seems to believe that education is a zero sum game. This kind of thinking pervades liberal ideology (taxing the rich, Affirmative Action, etc.), under the misguided notion that one person's success is directly related to someone else's failure.

  • Vouchers were not designed to help low-income children. Milton Friedman, the "grandfather" of vouchers, dismissed the notion that vouchers could help low-income families, saying "it is essential that no conditions be attached to the acceptance of vouchers that interfere with the freedom of private enterprises to experiment."

At this point, the NEA decides to use a direct quote from Friedman as damning evidence, when in fact, it makes a completely opposite point. Friedman was trying to ensure that the voucher situation would not help only one set of people: poor, rich, black, white, urban, suburban. No conditions means the freedom for any parent to make the best choice for their child's education.

If public school teachers don't use public schools, why should you?

Worth Considering At This Time

"If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs." --Theodore Roosevelt

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." --W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama's Limousine-Liberal Hypocrisy

Worth repeating:

"Barack and Michelle Obama are poised to commit a classic act of limousine-liberal hypocrisy -- in this case, turning their backs on tens of thousands of inner-city kids in Washington, D.C. Public schools, it seems, are good enough for poor and middle-class families, but not for rich families like the Obamas.

"In July, when he addressed the NAACP's annual convention, Sen. Barack Obama expressed his devotion to American public schools, vowing he would not 'walk away from them' by supporting school-choice programs like Sen. John McCain did. ... There were 59,616 students enrolled in the D.C. public schools in 2006, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If McCain's plan to increase by 2,000 the number of vouchers available in the District were enacted, taxpayers would still be spending $15,798 per student per year to send more than 55,000 kids through a school system where about nine out of 10 students do not learn to read or do math at grade-level proficiency by the time they 'graduate' from elementary school.

"What is Obama's plan to deal with this? Spend $18 billion more in federal tax dollars on public education (as he promised in his campaign) -- and send his own kids to extremely expensive private schools. Currently, Obama's two daughters (ages 7 and 10) attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where tuition is $18,492 for grades 1-4 and $20,286 for grades 5-8. When Michelle Obama visited Washington this week, she toured only two prospective schools for her daughters: Sidwell Friends, where lower-school tuition is $28,442; and Georgetown Day, where tuition is $27,445 for grades 1-5."

Credit to columnist Terence Jeffrey as reported in "The Patriot Post" 17 Nov 2008, Vol. 08, No. 47.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are U.S. Automakers and Congress Telling the Truth About Jobs?

“The auto industry supports one of every 10 jobs in the United States,” Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has said multiple times in her pleas for a bailout of the Detroit Three.

Is it true?

Click here for the real story!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is This What Suicide Feels Like?

On January 26, 1837, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on the subject of "The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions." Much of what he said has great pertinence for the U.S. citizen on this date in 2008.


"We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them; they are a legacy bequeathed us by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed, race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves us, of this goodly land, and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; it is ours only to transmit these--the former unprofaned by the foot of an invader, the latter undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation--to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

"How then shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect the approach of anger? by what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

The might of the U.S.'s military and industrial capabilities makes it virtually invulnerable to external foes. However, if we are the author and finisher of our own destruction, who is left to stop it?

"As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Despite President-elect Obama's self-aggrandizement and apparent self-delusion about being like Abraham Lincoln, he is no Abraham Lincoln. "Father Abraham", as he was known, cherished and preserved the U.S. Constitution and respected the limits of the federal government. He would not have tolerated -- let alone promoted -- an activist Federal court, and he loved and preserved life, even the life the weakest of the common citizen.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing

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Monday, November 17, 2008

A Warning from Alexander Hamilton - The Federalist Papers #1

It was Alexander Hamilton that warned citizens so many years ago that we must be watchful, for he said, "... dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."

It was just such speech as Hamilton describes that has been the ladder upon which every socialist and communistic threat to the liberties of the people first climbed within reach of their despotic control.

We must beware lest obsequious speech and the promise to "rescue us" in the time of economy emergency become also the steps by which our American liberties are overrun by liberal politicians hungry for ever larger governments and ever more control over the economy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bailout for the U.S. Automakers?

An announcement was made today that Congress is presently preparing legislation to bail out the U.S. automakers. Like the bailout of the mortgage industry, the act is both senseless and needless.

Also, similar to the mortgage industry bailout, this proposed bailout is not really for the U.S. automakers, it is a bailout for the United Auto Workers union. The same union that has driven the U.S. automakers to the brink of collapse now wants their Democrat friends to throw taxpayer money at the problem so the union leadership -- or unions, in general -- will not suffer the consequences of their years of wrong-headed thinking.

Participants in unions should wake up to realize that unions only benefit two groups of people:
  1. The union executives -- those who draw a salary predicated solely on having established a monopoly on labor in some factory or industry.
  2. The below-average workers -- because above-average workers could, in the absence of the union, most likely negotiate a better wage and benefits package for themselves individually.

As we are seeing, however, in the real long-term, unions benefit no one!

  • Unions do not benefit the consumer because they cause prices to rise faster than the rate of inflation in almost every instance.
  • Unions do not benefit the worker because they ultimately make the businesses and industries they dominate to become less and less competitive, ultimately reducing the workers' wages to zero as increasing numbers fall victim to unavoidable layoffs.
  • Unions do not even benefit the union executives in the end -- although they will bleed the union workers and their captive industries for as long as possible -- because when all the workers have finally lost their jobs, then the union executives will also finally lose their jobs.

Do not take me wrong. I am not opposed to groups of workers organizing to strike or negotiate for better working conditions. However, each worker should be able to negotiate their own agreement with the employer as to wages, benefits, working conditions and work practices. They should not be coerced to pay some worthless executives to come around to aid in making the workers' employers less competitive and less successful in the marketplace.

Now, back to the bailout.

Three Steps the Government Could Take to Save the U.S. Auto Industry Without a Bail Out

  1. Reduce corporate and personal income taxes immediately to give the U.S. consumers more money in their pockets to spend on durable goods. Note: The U.S. consumer pays both the corporate income taxes and the individual income taxes. Don't let political tom-foolery trick you into believing anything different than that.
  2. Lift needless federal regulations that cost U.S. automakers millions of dollars while providing absolutely zero value-add to the consumer. The CAFE standards, for example, are absolutely without justification. U.S. automakers should be able to make cars and trucks that consumers want to buy. If the politicians and environmental groups can hoodwink enough consumers into believing they are "saving the planet" by buying a hybrid or some other fuel-efficient automobile, then the automakers will manufacture such vehicles in response to that consumer demand. We do not need the government to tell us what kind of vehicles we ought to buy.
  3. By executive order, liberate the U.S. automakers from the ridiculous union contracts to which they are presently bound. Allow the automakers to hire and fire at will and to negotiate compensation plans with each worker individually.

These three simple steps:

  • Do not require the U.S. taxpayer to be burdened with additional bail-out debt;
  • Would stimulate the economy; and
  • Will not lead to the nationalization of private industry.

This approach is safe, sane and reasonable -- all of which are reasons that the Democrat leadership and Republicans that have lost their bearings will reject them.

(c)2008 Richard D. Cushing