Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 01, 2014, 09:26:27 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82128 Posts in 2247 Topics by 1047 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11 Print
Author Topic: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism:  (Read 57275 times)
Mad Scientist
Newbie
*
Posts: 19


« on: February 01, 2008, 03:19:16 PM »

The Doctrine Of Fascism ... by Benito Mussolini (1932): The Cliff Notes
          Again with the cliff notes Mad Scientist!  I just wanted to assert a point I made before that Fascism and Racism (specifically Anti-Semitism) should not be confused.  Here are excerpts of the original document (excuse the annotations) which defined Fascism.  It was Mussolini’s invention.  I know, some Italians don’t like him, get over it.  Really nobody cares anymore.  I searched the original document (which can be found online) and did NOT find those words or ideas which would cause the “tolerant” or multi-cultural to become immediately offended.  I asked the question to myself, “What is Fascism and why do people use this word?  Do they know what it means or not?”.  I looked up the answer and here is what I found.  Also, I think Fascism is a fascinating ideology, but the only problem is that it requires people to care.  And as we all know, 90% of the world does not care.  Let me say here that I think we have the best system in the world here in the United States and I do not now or ever have belonged to any racial supremacy groups.  God Bless America.  Next Cliff Notes I’ll throw up here may be the Communist Manifesto, where the people own the means of production (whatever the hell that means)…   SO, onto the article excerpts…  PS keep it in historical context.

          Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.

          Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind (4). Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (artistic, religious, scientific) (5) and the outstanding importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, by which man subjugates nature and creates the human world (economic, political, ethical, and intellectual).

          This positive conception of life is obviously an ethical one. It invests the whole field of reality as well as the human activities which master it. No action is exempt from moral judgment; no activity can be despoiled of the value which a moral purpose confers on all things. Therefore life, as conceived of by the Fascist, is serious, austere, and religious; all its manifestations are poised in a world sustained by moral forces and subject to spiritual responsibilities. The Fascist disdains an “easy" life.

           The Fascist conception of life is a religious one (7), in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the individual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. "Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought.

          In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life (Cool. Outside history man is a nonentity. Fascism is therefore opposed to all individualistic abstractions based on eighteenth century materialism; and it is opposed to all Jacobinistic utopias and innovations. It does not believe in the possibility of "happiness" on earth as conceived by the economistic literature of the XVIIIth century, and it therefore rejects the theological notion that at some future time the human family will secure a final settlement of all its difficulties. This notion runs counter to experience which teaches that life is in continual flux and in process of evolution.

          Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual (12). And if liberty is to he the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State.
  
          Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number (17); but it is the purest form of  democracy if the nation be considered as it should be from the point of view of quality rather than quantity, as an idea, the mightiest because the most ethical, the most coherent, the truest, expressing itself in a people as the conscience and will of the few, if not, indeed, of one, and ending to express itself in the conscience and the will of the mass, of the whole group ethnically molded by natural and historical conditions into a nation, advancing, as one conscience and one will, along the self same line of development and spiritual formation (18). Not a race, nor a geographically defined region, but a people, historically perpetuating itself; a multitude unified by an idea and imbued with the will to live, the will to power, self-consciousness, personality (19).
  
          The years preceding the March on Rome cover a period during which the need of action forbade delay and careful doctrinal elaborations. Fighting was going on in the towns and villages. There were discussions but... there was something more sacred and more important... death... Fascists knew how to die. A doctrine - fully elaborated, divided up into chapters and paragraphs with annotations, may have been lacking, but it was replaced by something far more decisive, - by a faith.
  
          First of all, as regards the future development of mankind, and quite apart from all present political considerations. Fascism does not, generally speaking, believe in the possibility or utility of perpetual peace. It therefore discards pacifism as a cloak for cowardly supine renunciation in contradistinction to self-sacrifice. War alone keys up all human energies to their maximum tension and sets the seal of nobility on those peoples who have the courage to face it. All other tests are substitutes which never place a man face to face with himself before the alternative of life or death. Therefore all doctrines which postulate peace at all costs are incompatible with Fascism. Equally foreign to the spirit of Fascism, even if accepted as useful in meeting special political situations -- are all internationalistic or League superstructures which, as history shows, crumble to the ground whenever the heart of nations is deeply stirred by sentimental, idealistic or practical considerations. Fascism carries this anti-pacifistic attitude into the life of the individual. " I don't care a damn „ (me ne frego) - the proud motto of the fighting squads scrawled by a wounded man on his bandages, is not only an act of philosophic stoicism, it sums up a doctrine which is not merely political: it is evidence of a fighting spirit which accepts all risks. It signifies new style of Italian life. The Fascist accepts and loves life; he rejects and despises suicide as cowardly. Life as he understands it means duty, elevation, conquest; life must be lofty and full, it must be lived for oneself but above all for others, both near bye and far off, present and future.
  
          Having thus struck a blow at socialism in the two main points of its doctrine, all that remains of it is the sentimental aspiration-old as humanity itself-toward social relations in which the sufferings and sorrows of the humbler folk will be alleviated. But here again Fascism rejects the economic interpretation of felicity as something to be secured socialistically, almost automatically, at a given stage of economic evolution when all will be assured a maximum of material comfort. Fascism denies the materialistic conception of happiness as a possibility, and abandons it to the economists of the mid-eighteenth century.
    
          In rejecting democracy Fascism rejects the absurd conventional lie of political equalitarianism, the habit of collective irresponsibility, the myth of felicity and indefinite progress. But if democracy be understood as meaning a regime in which the masses are not driven back to the margin of the State, and then the writer of these pages has already defined Fascism as an organized, centralized, authoritarian democracy.
    
        The liberal century, after piling up innumerable Gordian Knots, tried to cut them with the sword of the world war. Never has any religion claimed so cruel a sacrifice. Were the Gods of liberalism thirsting for blood?  Now liberalism is preparing to close the doors of its temples, deserted by the peoples who feel that the agnosticism it professed in the sphere of economics and the indifferentism of which it has given proof in the sphere of politics and morals, would lead the world to ruin in the future as they have done in the past.
  

         The Fascist State organizes the nation, but it leaves the individual adequate elbow room. It has curtailed useless or harmful liberties while preserving those which are essential. In such matters the individual cannot be the judge, but the State only.
  
         The Fascist State is not indifferent to religious phenomena in general nor does it maintain an attitude of indifference to Roman Catholicism, the special, positive religion of Italians. The State has not got a theology but it has a moral code. The Fascist State sees in religion one of the deepest of spiritual manifestations and for this reason it not only respects religion but defends and protects it. The Fascist State does not attempt, as did Robespierre at the height of the revolutionary delirium of the Convention, to set up a "god” of its own; nor does it vainly seek, as does Bolshevism, to efface God from the soul of man. Fascism respects the God of ascetics, saints, and heroes, and it also respects God as conceived by the ingenuous and primitive heart of the people, the God to whom their prayers are raised.
  
         This political process is flanked by a philosophic process.  If it be true that matter was on the altars for one century, today it is the spirit which takes its place. All manifestations peculiar to the democratic spirit are consequently repudiated: easygoingness, improvisation, the lack of a personal sense of responsibility, the exaltation of numbers and of that mysterious divinity called n The People a. All creations of the spirit starting with that religious are coming to the fore, and nobody dare keep up the attitude of anticlericalism which, for several decades, was a favorite with Democracy in the Western world. By saying that God is returning, we mean that spiritual values are returning. (Da the parte va it mondo, in Tempi della Rivoluzione Fascista, Milano, Alpes, 1930, p. 34).
  
        The Fascist state claims its ethical character: it is Catholic but above all it is Fascist, in fact it is exclusively and essentially Fascist. Catholicism completes Fascism, and this we openly declare, but let no one think they can turn the tables on us, under cover of metaphysics or philosophy. (To the Chamber of Deputies, May 13, 1929, in Discorsi del 1929, Milano, Alpes, 1930, p. 182).
  
         The concept of freedom is not absolute because nothing is ever absolute in life. Freedom is not a right, it is a duty. It is not a gift, it is a conquest; it is not equality, it is a privilege. The concept of freedom changes with the passing of time. There is a freedom in times of peace which is not the freedom of times of war. There is a freedom in times of prosperity which is not a freedom to be allowed in times of poverty. (Fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Fasci di Contbattimento, March 24, 1924, in La nuova politica dell'Italia, vol. III, Milano, Alpes, 1925, p. 30).
  
  (sic)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 10:29:55 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged

-Why don't sharks attack clowns?
-Because they taste funny.
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2009, 10:37:41 AM »

WSJ

The cavalier use of brute government force has become routine, but the emerging story of how Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke forced CEO Ken Lewis to blow up Bank of America is still shocking. It's a case study in the ways that panicky regulators have so often botched the bailout and made the financial crisis worse.

In the name of containing "systemic risk," our regulators spread it. In order to keep Mr. Lewis quiet, they all but ordered him to deceive his own shareholders. And in the name of restoring financial confidence, they have so mistreated Bank of America that bank executives everywhere have concluded that neither Treasury nor the Federal Reserve can be trusted.

Mr. Lewis has told investigators for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that in December Mr. Paulson threatened him not to cancel a deal to buy Merrill Lynch. BofA had discovered billions of dollars in undisclosed Merrill losses, and Mr. Lewis was considering invoking his rights under a material adverse condition clause to kill the merger. But Washington decided that America's financial system couldn't withstand a Merrill failure, and that BofA had to risk its own solvency to save it. So then-Treasury Secretary Paulson, who says he was acting at the direction of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, told Mr. Lewis that the feds would fire him and his board if they didn't complete the deal.

Mr. Paulson told Mr. Lewis that the government would provide cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help BofA swallow Merrill. But since the government didn't want to reveal this new federal investment until after the merger closed, Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke rejected Mr. Lewis's request to get their commitment in writing.

"We do not want a disclosable event," Mr. Lewis says Mr. Paulson told him. "We do not want a public disclosure." Imagine what would happen to a CEO who said that.

After getting the approval of his board, Mr. Lewis executed the Paulson-Bernanke order without informing his shareholders of the material events taking place at Merrill. The merger closed on January 1. But investors and taxpayers had to wait weeks to learn that the government had invested another $20 billion plus loan portfolio insurance in BofA, and that Merrill had lost a staggering $15 billion in the last three months of 2008.

This was the second time in three months that Washington had forced Bank of America to take federal money. In his testimony to the New York AG's office, Mr. Lewis noted that an earlier TARP investment in his bank had a "dilutive effect" on existing shareholders and was not requested by BofA. "We had not sought any funds. We were taking 15 [billion dollars] at the request of Hank [Paulson] and others," Mr. Lewis testified.

But it is the Merrill deal that raises the most troubling questions. Evaluating the policy of Messrs. Bernanke and Paulson on their own terms, this transaction fundamentally increased systemic risk. In order to save a Wall Street brokerage, the feds spread the risk to one of the country's largest deposit-taking banks. If they were convinced that Merrill had to be saved, then they should have made the public case for it. And the first obligation of due diligence is to make sure that their Merrill "rescuer" of choice -- BofA -- had the capacity to bear the losses. Instead they transplanted the Merrill risk to BofA shareholders, the bank's depositors and the taxpayers who ensure those deposits. And then they had to bail out BofA too.

Messrs. Bernanke and Paulson also undermined the transparency that is a vital source of investor confidence. Disclosure is not a luxury to be enjoyed only when markets are rising. It is the foundation of the American regulatory system and a reason investors have long sought to keep their money within U.S. borders. Could either man have believed that their actions wouldn't eventually come to light, with all of the repercussions for their bank rescue plans?

Mr. Paulson told Mr. Cuomo's investigators that he also kept former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox out of the loop while forcing BofA to rescue Merrill. Mr. Cox wasn't the only one. Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke both sit on the Financial Stability Oversight Board, comprised of federal regulators who oversee TARP. Two days after Mr. Lewis told the dynamic duo that Merrill's losses were exploding and that he was looking for a way out, Mr. Bernanke chaired and Mr. Paulson attended a meeting of this board. Minutes of the meeting show no mention of BofA or Merrill.

At the next meeting on January 8, a week after the merger had closed, the minutes again make no mention of either regulator telling their colleagues that they had committed tens of billions of dollars. Yet the minutes helpfully note that among the topics discussed were "coordination, transparency and oversight."

Meeting minutes suggest Messrs. Bernanke and Paulson finally informed fellow board members at 4:30 p.m. on January 15, after news outlets had already reported a pending new taxpayer investment in BofA. What exactly did Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Paulson tell their colleagues about their plans for TARP prior to January 15?

Let's hope they treated their government colleagues better than they've treated Ken Lewis, whom they hung out to dry. After making him an offer he could hardly refuse, they've let him endure a public flogging from shareholders and the press, lengthy discussions with prosecutors, plus new hiring and compensation rules that limit his bank's ability to compete.

No wonder no banker in his right mind trusts the Fed or Treasury, and no wonder nobody but Pimco and other Treasury favorites is eager to invest in the TALF, the PPIP, or any of the other programs that require trusting the government as a business partner.

The political class has spent the last few months blaming bankers for everything that has gone wrong in the financial system, and no doubt many banks have earned public scorn. But Washington has been complicit every step of the way, from the Fed's easy money to the nurturing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and since last autumn with regulatory and Congressional panic that is making financial repair that much harder. The men who nearly ruined Bank of America have some explaining to do.

 
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 02:22:44 PM »

I see CEO BO is halving the advertising budget for Chrysler.

Oy fcuking vey!!! 

The march to liberal fascism continues, and our Pravda press cheers and the sheople bleat  tongue tongue tongue cry cry cry
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2009, 07:59:34 AM »

Sent to me by Scott Grannis

http://www.washingtontimes.com:80/news/2009/feb/15/the-peron-pattern/
Logged
Freki
Power User
***
Posts: 513


« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 04:48:50 PM »

nice find
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 09:29:00 AM »

In my own thinking more and more I find myself turning to the word fascism to describe what is going on today.  Typically, to distinguish it from certain associations, I will specify "economic fascism".

The destruction of the American Creed which I fear we now undergo is, as I see it, fascism.  There is liberal fascism (the Dems and Liberals) and corporate fascism (the Reps and the Dems-- see e.g. Goldman Sachs).  The Reps used to have a strong strand of the American Creed, but it appears to be a dead man walking at this point.

 cry
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 11:29:44 AM »

Good thing we have His Glibness rolling back the Bush era angry angry angry

This is fascism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWs12ccbOiE

 angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 10:30:43 AM »

TTT
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5873


« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 11:59:16 AM »

I would like to see a moderate Democrat, maybe even someone who hasn't posted anything political on the board yet, start a discussion thread regarding 'the way forward for moderate Democrats'.  I am not a moderate Dem so it won't be me, but there must be people out there who are Democrats in a more conventional sense, that resent the takeover of their party from the extreme left but are not inclined to join conservatives or Republicans.  Just a thought.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 09:05:01 PM »

Interesting idea, and one that might not be seen by such a person on a thread named as this one is  cheesy

Please feel free to suggest it on the "Politics" thread.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2009, 10:20:20 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/11/16/far-lefts-answer-goons-attack-foes-of-illegal-immigration/

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2009, 07:41:28 AM »

Why No One Expects a Strong Recovery
When you repeal sound economic policies you repeal their results

By JEB HENSARLING AND PAUL RYAN

One of the strongest factors promoting recovery from our 10 post-World War II recessions was an unshakable conviction that, regardless of the immediate trouble, the American economy is fundamentally strong. Based on this underlying confidence, recessions and recoveries roughly conformed to the principle of the bigger the bust, the bigger the boom, and vice versa.

Thus real growth in the four quarters following postwar recessions averaged 6.6% and 4.3% over the following five years. As the chief economist for Barclays, Dean Maki, said in this newspaper on Aug. 19, "You can't find a single deep recession that has been followed by a moderate recovery."

That may no longer hold. Since the current recession has lasted a record seven quarters—and has been marked by a near-record average GDP decline of 1.8% per quarter—we should be witnessing the start of a powerful and sustained recovery. Yet forecasts of a 2% recovery in growth are only one-fourth as strong as postwar experience suggests. Meanwhile, unemployment sits at a generational high of 10.2%.

Why all the pessimism? The source appears to be a growing fear that the federal government is retreating from the free-market economic principles of the last half-century, and in particular the strong growth policies that began under Ronald Reagan. A review of the economic policies instituted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress lends credibility to this concern.

Exhibit A is the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. Even among previous stimulus efforts, the 2009 stimulus stands out for its ineffective targeting and sheer size. With interest, it is $1.1 trillion, double the size of Roosevelt's New Deal spending as a percentage of GDP.

View Full Image

Martin Kozlowski
 .Virtually none of the stimulus spending was directed towards encouraging broad-based private investment, and thus failed to encourage true economic growth. An analysis by economists John F. Cogan, John B. Taylor and Volker Wieland, published on this page on Sept. 17, suggests that while the stimulus succeeded in temporarily and marginally increasing disposable personal income, it left personal consumption spending virtually unchanged.

Meanwhile, $112 billion of its $300 billion tax relief was in the form of payments to people who paid no income taxes. These payments, akin to a one-time welfare check, do not change the incentives to save and invest, and do not effectively promote broad-based economic growth.

Exhibit B is tax policy going forward. It is a near certainty that Democratic-controlled Congress will allow most of the tax cuts of 2001-2003 to expire on Dec. 31, 2010. Marginal income tax rates, capital gains rates, dividend rates and death-tax rates will increase—significantly. Hardest hit by these increases will be small businesses that file under the individual income tax code as sub-chapter S corporations, partnerships and proprietorships. Yet these are the very people whose investment and hiring decisions either drive or starve recoveries.

Exhibit C is the administration's intervention in the GM and Chrysler reorganizations. Upsetting decades of accepted bankruptcy law, the administration leveraged TARP funds to place unsecured and lower priority creditors like the United Auto Workers union in front of secured and higher priority creditors. This intervention has arguably had the effect of stifling investment as wary investors watched political considerations trump the rule of law.

As Warren Buffett said at the time, "We don't want to say to somebody who lends and gets a secured position that the secured position doesn't mean anything." Gary Parr, deputy chair of the mergers and acquisitions firm Lazard Freres & Co., stated the problem more directly. "I can't imagine the markets will function properly if you are always wondering if the government is going to step in and change the game," he was quoted in The Atlantic Online in September.

Health care, the administration's signature issue, is Exhibit D. Disregarding its impact on quality and access, its plan will surely cost well over $1 trillion over the next decade. The House-passed version includes an 8% "pay or play" payroll tax and a half-trillion dollar surtax on incomes over $500,000, much of which will strike small business. Both taxes will tend to depress investment and the creation of new jobs.

And looming down the road is the proposed cap-and-tax legislation, which will cost taxpayers $800 billion.

Beyond instilling tremendous political uncertainty into economic decision-making, these policies ensure that deficits will shatter all previous records. In the Office of Management and Budget's 2009 Mid-Session Review, the administration projects a decade of deficits averaging 3.3 times the postwar norm of 1.8%. Yet its projections assume that interest rates will be less than half the postwar norm for interest rates, and that economic growth will be almost 10% higher than the high-growth 1980s. Never in the postwar era have such high deficits, low interest rates and high growth rates occurred simultaneously.

If one substitutes the Blue Chip Economic Forecast's interest-rate forecast for that of the administration, deficits will increase by an additional $1.2 trillion over the administration's projected deficits. If the next decade's interest rates climb to match those of the 1980s, then the deficit would increase another $5.3 trillion. If higher interest rates then slow economic growth, the impact on the deficit would be much worse.

Anyone who believes the Democratic Party's recently expressed concern over the deficit should look at the relentless growth of spending on its watch. Total nondefense spending set an all-time record this year—20.2% of GDP—double federal spending as a percentage of GDP during the height of the New Deal in 1934. Even without this year's stimulus bill and last year's bailout of the financial system, nondefense discretionary spending authority still grew by 10.1% in fiscal year 2009 and is projected to rise by another 12% in fiscal year 2010. Forty-three cents of every dollar of this spending is borrowed money.

Given the magnitude of federal borrowing, there is good reason to expect higher interest rates and strong inflationary pressures in the future.

It is hardly surprising that many investors are reaching the conclusion that this administration and Congress favor policies that virtually guarantee the economy will not return to the climate of low interest rates, benign inflation and strong growth that we knew from 1982-2007. These investors understand a simple truth that current Washington policy makers fail to grasp: When you repeal the Reagan economic program, you repeal its results.

Messrs. Hensarling and Ryan are Republican representatives from Texas and Wisconsin, respectively.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


WSJ
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2009, 06:53:13 AM »

"Too big to fail" means the end of the free market-- that is why this idea is being pushed so sedulously by the Pravdas:

================

'We won't have a real market-based financial system until it is safe to let a financial firm fail," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week. He's certainly right, though you wouldn't know it from Mr. Bernanke's own actions the last two years. Meanwhile, the politicians are preparing to give the Fed and Treasury more power to bail out all and sundry companies on an unprecedented scale, and so far without any objection from the Fed chairman.

Reading the pending bills to "resolve" failing financial houses from Representative Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd, the challenge is to conceive of someone who is not eligible for unlimited taxpayer funds. The list of potential bailout recipients under both bills runs from bank holding companies to hedge funds to auto makers, consumer retail chains and just about anyone else engaging in finance of one kind or another.

While most scholarly investigations of the too-big-to-fail phenomenon start from the premise that it's a problem, Messrs. Dodd and Frank appear to view it as the cornerstone of our financial system. This may not be surprising given their history. Mr. Frank is famous for saying he wanted to "roll the dice" with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Less well known is how Mr. Dodd has labored to make Wall Street increasingly eligible for the taxpayer safety net. By raising expectations that bailouts will be available, he has, as much as anyone in Congress, encouraged the risk-taking that took the financial system to the brink of ruin.

During consideration of the 1991 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act, the Connecticut Senator insisted on reducing the quality of collateral Wall Street would need to present when borrowing from the Federal Reserve in times of emergency. Said Mr. Dodd: "My provision allows the Fed more power to provide liquidity, by enabling it to make fully secured loans to securities firms in instances similar to the 1987 stock market crash." He also fought every serious reform of Fannie and Freddie.

In his current bill, Mr. Dodd allows private market participants to receive emergency cash from both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, without the bailout recipient having to enter either bankruptcy or the vaunted "resolution" process we'll describe in a moment.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd
.
Under "miscellaneous provisions," Mr. Dodd's bill rewrites a portion of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and allows cash going to depository institutions—i.e., commercial banks backed by FDIC's insurance fund—to also go to nondepositories in an emergency. We see no limit in the bill on what these nonbanks can be.

Similarly, Mr. Dodd rewrites the Federal Reserve Act's section on "unusual and exigent circumstances." Bailouts could now go to "any program or facility with broad-based participation." Mr. Dodd's "resolutions" do not require that firms be liquidated or wound down. Regulators can pump unlimited funds into failing firms and choose to rescue creditors.

Alabama Republican Richard Shelby warns that these multiple paths for large firms to avoid bankruptcy "will undermine incentives for investors and executives to effectively monitor risks. They will likely take even more risks because they know that they will reap the benefits, while taxpayers will have to cover the costs." He adds that the moral hazard created by the bill "could set the stage for an even more severe and more expensive financial crisis in the future." That sounds exactly right.

Over in the House, Mr. Frank gives the FDIC new power to pump cash into both banks and nonbanks that are neither bankrupt nor under government "resolution." As for that "resolution" process, which Mr. Frank has described as "death panels" for nonbanks, shareholders and unsecured creditors could still recover money. In fact, they might recover a great deal, because the FDIC can make loans or buy equity in a failing company or guarantee its debts, among other assistance.

The FDIC may "take such action as necessary to put the covered financial company in a sound and solvent condition." So the government can do more than just prevent a "disorderly failure." It can pump in so much cash that the business becomes an orderly success. This sounds like a mandate to treat even more companies like Citigroup, which has been rescued despite multiple failures and with little discipline for shareholders or executives, much less for creditors.

To fund these bailouts, large financial companies will pay fees until the government has collected $150 billion. Republican Scott Garrett has been warning House colleagues that Mr. Frank's "death panels" really add up to a "permanent bailout authority" that would expand the power of government and taxpayer rescues to historic highs.

Mr. Dodd decided against writing a bipartisan bill with Mr. Shelby, and it shows. For years, Mr. Shelby warned about Fannie and Freddie and the rise of moral hazard, not to mention government-selected credit-ratings agencies and bank capital standards. One might think these warnings would have inspired Mr. Dodd to seek the Alabamian's counsel after the disasters of 2008. But down in the polls and facing re-election, Mr. Dodd wants to pose as a populist reformer even as his bill would entrench moral hazard (and cheaper funding costs for the likes of Goldman Sachs) even deeper into the financial system.

Still, it's not too late to consider a bipartisan approach. This would start with an appreciation that any resolution authority has to include some rules of the road for regulators, rather than let Mr. Bernanke and the Treasury secretary decide who to bail out and when out of their hip pocket.

It must also include the guarantee of punishment for firms that come looking for help. The first step in discouraging excessive risks is that the risk-takers understand they will suffer the consequences of their bad bets. Former SEC Chairman Richard Breeden proposes a special bankruptcy court, like the FISA court for intelligence, where experienced judges with ample resources could handle large financial cases.

This deserves consideration and debate. We think it has potential as a venue if a behemoth like General Electric, with its large finance business, or even a bank holding company like Goldman Sachs, were ever to fail. The FDIC could seize the bank to protect depositors and the rest of the firm could restructure under bankruptcy protection.

Barring such a resolution process, the other way to reduce moral hazard is to limit certain kinds of risk-taking by institutions that hold taxpayer-insured deposits, as suggested by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and Bank of England Chairman Mervyn King. This has its own problems. But unlike the emerging plans in Washington, it is credible and would give capitalism a fighting chance to survive regulatory reform.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


WSJ
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 10:54:25 AM »

Big Business can be amongst the most ardent players of fascism:

Big Pharma Sells Out

However the Senate's health-care debate pans out, we'll wager this prediction: The pharmaceutical executives who have endorsed this exercise will eventually be exposed as among the most shortsighted CEOs in the history of capitalism.

In June, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America sealed a deal with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus promising to contribute $80 billion in lower drug costs over the next decade to ObamaCare, plus a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign. In return they were to be spared from price controls and the reimportation of cheaper foreign drugs.

The loophole is that the deal didn't include the House, and now it may fall apart in the Senate. But even if it does somehow survive, by now it is obvious that the industry's political protection will last only as long as it takes to pass a bill, whereupon the same politicians who are trying to override this deal will get back to work.

"You've heard that as a consequence of our efforts at reform, the pharmaceutical industry has already said they're willing to put $80 billion on the table," President Obama said in July. "We might be able to get $100 billion out or more."

Led by Henry Waxman, the House saw that and raised: The bill that passed earlier this month extracts as much as $150 billion from the industry, including demands for a 23.1% "discount" when Medicare buys prescription drugs for some seniors (much like Medicaid imposes now) and gives the government the power to "negotiate" lower prices for everyone.

The pharma lobby was unfazed. "Despite the shortcomings in the House legislation, we remain completely committed to helping the President and Congress pass comprehensive health care reform this year," a senior vice president said in a statement. "This is a three-act play and a good critic doesn't write a review after the opening scenes."

But now the curtain is coming down. The Senate bill is only going to grow more expensive on the floor. Given that Harry Reid is even relying on a 5% "botax" on cosmetic surgery, the drug makers will become ever more appealing targets as the search for revenue to make ObamaCare appear to be deficit neutral grows more desperate.

Meanwhile, the AARP and its media stenographers are levelling allegations that drug makers are already jacking up prices for brand-name prescriptions. John McCain and Olympia Snowe are cosponsoring a bill with Byron Dorgan that would allow pharmacies and wholesalers to import medications from Canada and Europe.

So how has the industry responded? More or less as Lenin predicted. Big Pharma is now running ads against Joe Lieberman, saying his threat to torpedo the Senate bill could cause drug prices to rise by 20%. It is also funding a campaign that targets the fence-sitters Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.

In other words, the industry is trashing the very Senators who stand the best chance to rescue it from government control. Instead, the drug CEOs are making themselves complicit with the Washington mentality of seeing only the costs of medications, not benefits like longer lives or fewer hospitalizations. They are ensuring that they will always be a political target and making the extortion easier in the bargain.

The shame is that there be will fewer resources for the research and development that drives innovation, particularly for the smaller biotech companies that are the future of cutting-edge medicine. When it takes about a decade and a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market, a CEO of a smaller drug company told us recently, most firms are "living on the edge of extinction."

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler
.But it is the biggest players who are engaged in political gamesmanship. At a speech in February at the Economic Club of Chicago, Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler laid out what he called his company's "new approach to legislation and public policy." Rehearsing the health industry's role in stopping HillaryCare in 1994, he announced that the difference this time is that pharma will be "actively supporting appropriate reforms, rather than simply trying to stop things we don't agree with."

Mr. Kindler, a lawyer and former McDonald's executive, went on to endorse even such political inspirations as comparative effectiveness research, which while fine in theory will inevitably be used to "prove" that more expensive medications aren't worth the costs to government when ObamaCare's spending detonates. In England, these kinds of studies were used to try to ban Pfizer's Stutent, a treatment for kidney cancer. The Senate bill contains a Medicare commission with a mandate to go after drugs, though only about 10 cents of every U.S. health dollar goes toward prescriptions.

The irony is that if business began to educate the public about what the current bills will mean for U.S. health care, it might be able to defeat them and force a more modest, sensible reform. National Journal's composite of all health polling finds that 50.9% of the public now opposes health reform in general, up from about 15% in February. Only 43.9% are in favor. The most recent polls put support even lower: Just 35% from Quinnipiac, 38% from Rasmussen.

A Washington Post-ABC poll found that 52% of the public believes ObamaCare will increase their personal health costs and that 37% expect their quality of care will deteriorate. They're right. A survey of registered voters by Public Opinion Strategies found that the more people hear about the plan, the less they like it, and that voter hostility is higher now than it ever was for HillaryCare.

Yet now this son of HillaryCare is headed toward passage, and when shareholders start griping about lousy returns, Mr. Kindler and his fellow executives will be long gone. It's one more reminder that when it comes to protecting economic freedom, you can never trust big business. The biggest losers will be patients, who lack the millions to lobby Congress and in the future will have fewer innovative medicines.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2009, 01:43:31 PM »

Has anyone noticed the MSNBC types trying to marginalize the efforts to expose BO for what he is as a new version of "McCarthyism"?

Trying to link the Becks et al with what possibly was historically rewritten that McCarthy efforts were so terrible in the 50's.
Ah the poor liberals of HWood whe were smeared and black listed.  How they suffered yadda yadda.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2009, 10:56:10 AM »

Every Democratic president since FDR has failed to pass national health insurance. The current legislation in Congress is likely the last chance to enact it.
By DANIEL HENNINGER

If President Obama's health-care initiative fails, there is no longer a rationale for being a liberal in the United States. Everything else on liberalism's to-do list is footnotes.

Passing national health insurance has obsessed every Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt. Even Harry Truman, for some conservatives a model of "moderate" Democratic politics, wanted it. Looking back, Truman wept and warned: "I've had some bitter disappointments as President, but the one that has troubled me most, in a personal way, has been the failure to defeat the organized opposition to a national compulsory health insurance program. But this opposition has only delayed and cannot stop the adoption of an indispensable federal health insurance plan."



No other issue has consumed more political energy in the U.S. than "health-care reform." Congress's half-year preoccupation with health care is only the latest blip in the Democrats' long march to a public option.

As we head to the final act, one element of this history stands out: The liberals' repeated failure to get it done.

The Democratic Mecca—a real national health insurance system available to all—has always encountered stiff resistance in Congress, notably as now from moderate Democrats. In the 1960s, Senate Finance Chairman Russell Long (of Mary Landrieu's Louisiana) railed publicly against Medicare's costs but as now, questions about cost were obliterated.

Frustrated at the failure to pass their "National Health Insurance" bill during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, the Democrats ratcheted back from the Euro-style idea of FDR and Truman to a plan that would cover only Social Security beneficiaries, the elderly. This was Medicare.

Medicare failed all its initial votes in 1960. A compromise known as Kerr-Mills, which limited federal coverage to the "indigent" elderly, passed the Senate by a vote of 91-2. Many said then that Kerr-Mills addressed the U.S.'s main problem, which was medicine for the poor. Ronald Reagan supported Kerr-Mills, arguing that people "worth millions of dollars" shouldn't be getting health care paid for by government.

For Democratic liberals, a lot is never enough. With John Kennedy's election, they resubmitted Medicare for the elderly regardless of income.

The Democrats still couldn't pass a health-care entitlement on the scale of Social Security. The politics they threw into the effort was massive. They put 20,000 elderly in Madison Square Garden to hear JFK's oratory. Rallies were held in 45 cities. Organized labor ran campaigns against members of the Ways and Means Committee in their home districts. For all this, in July 1962 the Senate voted 52-48 against Medicare. JFK denounced the vote on TV.

It is a familiar story that Lyndon Johnson got Medicare passed as part of the Kennedy legacy. But for LBJ in 1965, the political planets were in perfect alignment. He had an overwhelming victory in the 1964 presidential campaign and huge congressional majorities. He had a robust economy, a gift of the Kennedy tax cut passed in early 1964. Also, no House hearings were held that year on the 296-page bill, which Democratic Sen. Philip Hart of Michigan complained was "one of the most complex set of social security amendments ever brought before this body."

Oh, and let us not overlook the party's concurrent quest for money transfers. In a moment of glee over the 1965 bill, Rep. Phil Burton of California, a member of the liberal pantheon, intoned: "All in all, our fair state and its people in the first year will be favored to the tune of some $550 million, a not modest sum." (Norms of spending "modesty" have changed since.)

The Democrats' persistent problems with this issue, including the Clintons' Health Security Act in 1994, suggests a victory for ObamaCare is no sure thing.

Nearly every defeat of broad public health coverage has come amid some turbulence that scared the public or politicians.

For Truman it was the Korean War. For JFK it was a recession, Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis. Walter Lippmann wrote of JFK that a too-confident president was exceeding the public's reach. The Social Security Administration's own history of the Kennedy effort notes, "Some experts still had doubts about the reliability of the cost estimates for the bill."

Now Democrats say this vote is about "history." No, it's about their history. As with past failures to federalize health care, the air in 2009 is full of static—high unemployment, Afghanistan, a terrorist prison in Illinois and a petulant White House. The Democrats' familiar problems with the politics of universal health care have turned the bill into one of the most degraded legislative exercises in congressional history. Left-wing Dems like Howard Dean are screaming "kill" the Senate bill, suggesting a progressive Jonestown over it. Public support is below 40%.

This is probably the final death struggle for universal health care. They may let Harry Reid's Senate seat itself go down in the bloodbath over the 70-year obsession. Anyone remotely opposed to this idea had better step forward. History says ObamaCare isn't a done deal til the fat lady votes.

Write to henninger@wsj.com
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2009, 11:34:54 AM »

"The idea of essentially taxing hardworking citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies"

Perhaps a new thread should be started on the "assualt on the working American taxpayer" or "the new slavery" wherein hardworking American taxpayers are now expected to pay for all those who claim hard times here in our own country and all around the world as well.   Whether or not a tea party could really gain momentum or should merge with Republican party I don't know.  It is not simply as Hannity says we need to go back to our roots.  Republicans are just as corrupt as the Dems.  Their earmarks, their pork, their lobby money.  IN any case,

****The new socialism

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the 1970s and early '80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they began calling for a "New International Economic Order." The NIEO's essential demand was simple: to transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World.

On what grounds? In the name of equality — wealth redistribution via global socialism — with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.

The idea of essentially taxing hardworking citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early '80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.

But such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale, too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an "endangerment" to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means more than a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.

Not everyone is pleased with the coming New Carbon-Free International Order. When the Obama administration signaled (in a gesture to Copenhagen) a U.S. commitment to major cuts in carbon emissions, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb wrote the president protesting that he lacks the authority to do so unilaterally. That requires congressional concurrence by legislation or treaty.

With the Senate blocking President Obama's cap-and-trade carbon legislation, the EPA coup d'etat served as the administration's loud response to Webb: The hell we can't. With this EPA "endangerment" finding, we can do as we wish with carbon. Either the Senate passes cap-and-trade, or the EPA will impose even more draconian measures: all cap, no trade.

Forget for a moment the economic effects of severe carbon chastity. There's the matter of constitutional decency. If you want to revolutionize society — as will drastic carbon regulation and taxation in an energy economy that is 85 percent carbon-based — you do it through Congress reflecting popular will. Not by administrative fiat of EPA bureaucrats.

Congress should not just resist this executive overreaching, but trump it: Amend clean-air laws and restore their original intent by excluding CO2 from EPA control and reserving that power for Congress and future legislation.

Do it now. Do it soon. Because Big Brother isn't lurking in CIA cloak. He's knocking on your door, smiling under an EPA cap.*****

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2009, 09:07:06 PM »

From the WSJ today.   
 
Change Nobody Believes In
A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve
And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too. The Senate Majority Leader has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow.
Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world's greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new "manager's amendment" that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.
Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.
 
The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
***
• Health costs. From the outset, the White House's core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they're sticking to that story. "Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't read the bills," Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.
The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.
These increases are solely the result of ObamaCare—above and far beyond the status quo—because its strict restrictions on underwriting and risk-pooling would distort insurance markets. All but a handful of states have rejected regulations like "community rating" because they encourage younger and healthier buyers to wait until they need expensive care, increasing costs for everyone. Benefits and pricing will now be determined by politics.
 
As for the White House's line about cutting costs by eliminating supposed "waste," even Victor Fuchs, an eminent economist generally supportive of ObamaCare, warned last week that these political theories are overly simplistic. "The oft-heard promise 'we will find out what works and what does not' scarcely does justice to the complexity of medical practice," the Stanford professor wrote.
• Steep declines in choice and quality. This is all of a piece with the hubris of an Administration that thinks it can substitute government planning for market forces in determining where the $33 trillion the U.S. will spend on medicine over the next decade should go.
 
This centralized system means above all fewer choices; what works for the political class must work for everyone. With formerly private insurers converted into public utilities, for instance, they'll inevitably be banned from selling products like health savings accounts that encourage more cost-conscious decisions.
 
Unnoticed by the press corps, the Congressional Budget Office argued recently that the Senate bill would so "substantially reduce flexibility in terms of the types, prices, and number of private sellers of health insurance" that companies like WellPoint might need to "be considered part of the federal budget."
 
With so large a chunk of the economy and medical practice itself in Washington's hands, quality will decline. Ultimately, "our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all," as Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier recently wrote in our pages. Take the $2 billion annual tax—rising to $3 billion in 2018—that will be leveled against medical device makers, among the most innovative U.S. industries. Democrats believe that more advanced health technologies like MRI machines and drug-coated stents are driving costs too high, though patients and their physicians might disagree.
"The Senate isn't hearing those of us who are closest to the patient and work in the system every day," Brent Eastman, the chairman of the American College of Surgeons, said in a statement for his organization and 18 other speciality societies opposing ObamaCare. For no other reason than ideological animus, doctor-owned hospitals will face harsh new limits on their growth and who they're allowed to treat. Physician Hospitals of America says that ObamaCare will "destroy over 200 of America's best and safest hospitals."
 
• Blowing up the federal fisc. Even though Medicare's unfunded liabilities are already about 2.6 times larger than the entire U.S. economy in 2008, Democrats are crowing that ObamaCare will cost "only" $871 billion over the next decade while fantastically reducing the deficit by $132 billion, according to CBO.
 
Yet some 98% of the total cost comes after 2014—remind us why there must absolutely be a vote this week—and most of the taxes start in 2010. That includes the payroll tax increase for individuals earning more than $200,000 that rose to 0.9 from 0.5 percentage points in Mr. Reid's final machinations. Job creation, here we come.
 
Other deceptions include a new entitlement for long-term care that starts collecting premiums tomorrow but doesn't start paying benefits until late in the decade. But the worst is not accounting for a formula that automatically slashes Medicare payments to doctors by 21.5% next year and deeper after that. Everyone knows the payment cuts won't happen but they remain in the bill to make the cost look lower. The American Medical Association's priority was eliminating this "sustainable growth rate" but all they got in return for their year of ObamaCare cheerleading was a two-month patch snuck into the defense bill that passed over the weekend.
 
The truth is that no one really knows how much ObamaCare will cost because its assumptions on paper are so unrealistic. To hide the cost increases created by other parts of the bill and transfer them onto the federal balance sheet, the Senate sets up government-run "exchanges" that will subsidize insurance for those earning up to 400% of the poverty level, or $96,000 for a family of four in 2016. Supposedly they would only be offered to those whose employers don't provide insurance or work for small businesses.
As Eugene Steuerle of the left-leaning Urban Institute points out, this system would treat two workers with the same total compensation—whatever the mix of cash wages and benefits—very differently. Under the Senate bill, someone who earned $42,000 would get $5,749 from the current tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage but $12,750 in the exchange. A worker making $60,000 would get $8,310 in the exchanges but only $3,758 in the current system.
 
For this reason Mr. Steuerle concludes that the Senate bill is not just a new health system but also "a new welfare and tax system" that will warp the labor market. Given the incentives of these two-tier subsidies, employers with large numbers of lower-wage workers like Wal-Mart may well convert them into "contractors" or do more outsourcing. As more and more people flood into "free" health care, taxpayer costs will explode.
 
• Political intimidation. The experts who have pointed out such complications have been ignored or dismissed as "ideologues" by the White House. Those parts of the health-care industry that couldn't be bribed outright, like Big Pharma, were coerced into acceding to this agenda. The White House was able to, er, persuade the likes of the AMA and the hospital lobbies because the federal government will control 55% of total U.S. health spending under ObamaCare, according to the Administration's own Medicare actuaries
Others got hush money, namely Nebraska's Ben Nelson. Even liberal Governors have been howling for months about ObamaCare's unfunded spending mandates: Other budget priorities like education will be crowded out when about 21% of the U.S. population is on Medicaid, the joint state-federal program intended for the poor. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman calculates that ObamaCare will result in $2.5 billion in new costs for his state that "will be passed on to citizens through direct or indirect taxes and fees," as he put it in a letter to his state's junior Senator.
 
So in addition to abortion restrictions, Mr. Nelson won the concession that Congress will pay for 100% of Nebraska Medicaid expansions into perpetuity. His capitulation ought to cost him his political career, but more to the point, what about the other states that don't have a Senator who's the 60th vote for ObamaCare?
***
"After a nearly century-long struggle we are on the cusp of making health-care reform a reality in the United States of America," Mr. Obama said on Saturday. He's forced to claim the mandate of "history" because he can't claim the mandate of voters. Some 51% of the public is now opposed, according to National Journal's composite of all health polling. The more people know about ObamaCare, the more unpopular it becomes.
 
The tragedy is that Mr. Obama inherited a consensus that the health-care status quo needs serious reform, and a popular President might have crafted a durable compromise that blended the best ideas from both parties. A more honest and more thoughtful approach might have even done some good. But as Mr. Obama suggested, the Democratic old guard sees this plan as the culmination of 20th-century liberalism.
So instead we have this vast expansion of federal control. Never in our memory has so unpopular a bill been on the verge of passing Congress, never has social and economic legislation of this magnitude been forced through on a purely partisan vote, and never has a party exhibited more sheer political willfulness that is reckless even for Washington or had more warning about the consequences of its actions.
 
These 60 Democrats are creating a future of epic increases in spending, taxes and command-and-control regulation, in which bureaucracy trumps innovation and transfer payments are more important than private investment and individual decisions. In short, the Obama Democrats have chosen change nobody believes in—outside of themselves—and when it passes America will be paying for it for decades to come.
 
Regards,
Larry N. Smith, M.D.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2010, 07:29:30 AM »


http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2009/11/29/
Logged
michael
Frequent Poster
**
Posts: 63


« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2010, 11:09:28 AM »


That would be funny if it wasn't so true.
Logged

***Look at a man in the midst of doubt and danger, and you will determine in his hour of adversity what he really is***
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2010, 07:51:08 PM »



http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-goods-producing-wrokers-vs-government-payroll-2010-1
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2010, 06:30:52 AM »

Timothy Geithner is back in piñata mode, with House Oversight Chairman Edolphus Towns asking him to testify next week about bailout giant AIG. By all means Members should swing away at the Treasury Secretary, but only if they focus on the right questions.

The trigger for the Towns hearing is the release of emails between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and AIG in November and December 2008. The New York Fed urged AIG to limit disclosure of its deal to buy out derivative trading partners at 100 cents on the dollar. But since AIG went ahead and disclosed it anyway, this line of inquiry doesn't get to the heart of the taxpayer interest.

Likewise, asking if Mr. Geithner helped write the emails to AIG will simply allow him to continue avoiding the bigger questions: Why did he believe AIG could not fail? Why should he receive more authority to declare firms systemically important, when he will still not fully explain his previous multibillion-dollar judgments in the name of countering "systemic risk"?

Mr. Geithner was president of the New York Fed when it began sending what has become $182.3 billion in taxpayer assistance to AIG in September 2008. Much of this money was used to meet collateral calls from big banks that had bought AIG's credit default swaps. AIG had resisted handing over more collateral. But once Mr. Geithner was in charge of AIG, the cash flowed freely to these bank counterparties.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
.The Fed and AIG ultimately bought the underlying securities at par. This was not only much more than the counterparties might have received from a bankrupt AIG, but even a healthy AIG would never have handed over so much cash in the midst of a panic in which cash was king. Mr. Geithner's New York Fed demanded the 100-cents on the dollar deal for these counterparties, and it demanded that their identities be kept secret. The Journal nonetheless reported this sweet deal and the names of some beneficiaries, including Goldman Sachs, in early November 2008, but taxpayers had to wait months before AIG finally released the full story.

Given the sweet deal and the fact that Mr. Geithner sought to keep secret the identities of the beneficiaries, logic would suggest that the AIG intervention was intended as a bailout for these counterparties. Supporting this conclusion is the fact that Mr. Geithner has sold his plan to regulate derivatives as a way to prevent such problems in the future. Yet when asked directly by the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program why he opted to buy out the counterparties at par, Mr. Geithner said "the financial condition of the counterparties was not a relevant factor."

OpinionJournal Related Stories:
•Review & Outlook: Spitzer's AIG Emails
•Review & Outlook: Banker Baiting
•Review & Outlook: Saying No to Spitzer, Four Years Later
.Then last November, he suggested that the systemic risk was in AIG's traditional insurance business. "AIG was providing a range of insurance products to households across the country. And if AIG had defaulted, you would have seen a downgrade leading to the liquidation and failure of a set of insurance contracts that touched Americans across this country and, of course, savers around the world," he said. So which was it?

Taxpayers also still haven't been told why there couldn't have been any sunshine on Mr. Geithner's beloved AIG counterparties. If some of them really would have failed, with systemic consequences, why not announce that they were all getting a deal to bolster liquidity and allow them to resume lending? That is exactly what regulators had just done in October 2008 by naming recipients of TARP capital injections.

On the other hand, if the counterparties weren't the systemic risk, then what's the argument for regulating derivatives?

The evidence builds that AIG's "systemic risk" wasn't a mathematical answer to a rigorous and thoughtful review of data, but rather a seat-of-the-pants judgment by regulators in a panic. If that is the case, someone should ask Mr. Geithner why the American people should give him even more authority to make more such judgments from his hip pocket—with little public scrutiny.

Under the House regulatory reform, Mr. Geithner would chair a new Financial Services Oversight Council. The council could declare virtually any company in America a systemic risk, making them eligible for intervention on the taxpayer's dime. The law firm Davis Polk reports that since this council is not an agency, it will not be subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, the Freedom of Information Act or the Sunshine Act, among other laws intended to allow citizens to scrutinize government.

It's difficult to learn and apply the lessons of AIG because the New York Fed has done so much to conceal them. Mr. Towns appears to be getting closer to the truth, deciding yesterday to issue subpoenas focused on the New York Fed's decision-making, as opposed to whatever it told AIG to say in public. Let's hope lawmakers explore what the "systemic risk" actually was—and why Mr. Geithner should get nearly open-ended power to define it again.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2010, 12:58:18 AM »

The Left and Right are all over this.


http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com...est=latestnews



An obscure 2008 academic article gained traction with bloggers over the weekend. The article was written by the head of Obama's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein. He’s a good friend of the president and the promoter the contradictory idea: "libertarian paternalism". In the article, he muses about what government can do to combat "conspiracy" theories:


...we suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies ... will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.


That's right. Obama's Regulation Czar is so concerned about citizens thinking the wrong way that he proposed sending government agents to "infiltrate" these groups and manipulate them. This reads like an Onion article: Powerful government official proposes to combat paranoid conspiracy groups that believe the government is out to get them...by proving that they really are out to get them. Did nothing of what Sunstein was writing strike him as...I don't know...crazy? "Cognitive infiltration" of extremist groups by government agents? "Stylized facts"? Was "truthiness" too pedantic?


Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald explains why this you should be disturbed by this:
This was written 18 months ago, at a time when the ascendancy of Sunstein's close friend to the Presidency looked likely, in exactly the area he now oversees. Additionally, the government-controlled messaging that Sunstein desires has been a prominent feature of U.S. Government actions over the last decade, including in some recently revealed practices of the current administration, and the mindset in which it is grounded explains a great deal about our political class.


... What is most odious and revealing about Sunstein's worldview is his condescending, self-loving belief that "false conspiracy theories" are largely the province of fringe, ignorant Internet masses and the Muslim world.
It's certainly true that one can easily find irrational conspiracy theories in those venues, but some of the most destructive "false conspiracy theories" have emanated from the very entity Sunstein wants to endow with covert propaganda power: namely, the U.S. Government itself, along with its elite media defenders. Moreover, "crazy conspiracy theorist" has long been the favorite epithet of those same parties to discredit people trying to expose elite wrongdoing and corruption.


It is this history of government deceit and wrongdoing that renders Sunstein's desire to use covert propaganda to "undermine" anti-government speech so repugnant. The reason conspiracy theories resonate so much is precisely that people have learned -- rationally -- to distrust government actions and statements. Sunstein's proposed covert propaganda scheme is a perfect illustration of why that is. In other words, people don't trust the Government and "conspiracy theories" are so pervasive precisely because government is typically filled with people like Cass Sunstein, who think that systematic deceit and government-sponsored manipulation are justified by their own Goodness and Superior Wisdom.
==============

From Salon.com:

Key para from Salon article:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/gl...ein/index.html

"Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups." He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging (on the ground that those who don't believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role." Sunstein's 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story's Daniel Tencer.


Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11997


« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2010, 09:18:12 AM »

Funny enough, the fact that this idea has been publicly disclosed tends to undercut the hypercompitent government usually required for various conspiracy theories.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2010, 08:55:31 PM »


It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.

The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.

Those companies that remain are facing audience fragmentation as a result of new media technologies, are often saddled with crushing debt, and have generally found it difficult to obtain operating or investment capital from traditional sources of funding. In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week, but ultimately fell short of success.

With radio industry ad revenues down for 10 consecutive quarters, and reportedly off 21% in 2009, signs of improvement have consisted of hoping things will be less bad. And though Internet/new media revenues are projected to grow, our expanding online efforts face the same monetization and profitability challenges in the short term confronting the Web operations of most media companies

When Air America Radio launched in April, 2004 with already-known personalities like Al Franken and then-unknown future stars like Rachel Maddow, it was the only full-time progressive voice in the mainstream broadcast media world. At a critical time in our nation's history — when dissent on issues such as the Iraq war were often denounced as "un-American" — Air America and its talented team helped millions of Americans remember the importance of compelling discussion about the most pivotal events and decisions of our generation.

Through some 100 radio outlets nationwide, Air America helped build a new sense of purpose and determination among American progressives. With this revival, the progressive movement made major gains in the 2006 mid-term elections and, more recently, in the election of President Barack Obama and a strongly Democratic Congress.

Laws have changed for the better thanks to this revival.....but all the same our company cannot escape the laws of economics. So we intend a rapid, orderly closure over the next few days. All current employees will be paid through today, January 21. A severance package will be offered tomorrow to full-time current employees with more than six months of tenure.

We will strive to assist affiliates and partners in achieving a smooth transition. Starting at 6 pm EST today, we will provide our affiliates, listeners and users a selection of encore programming until 9 pm EST on Monday, January 25, at which time Air America programming will end.

We are proud that Air America's mission lives on through the words and actions of so many former radio hosts who are active today in progressive causes and media nationwide. In the years ahead, as we look back, we should all be proud of our passionate determination to assure that our nation's progressive voice would be heard loud and clear. Through the hard work and dedication of current staff, and those who preceded you, a lasting legacy was forged which will now continue through other voices and venues.

Thank you.

http://airamerica.com/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2010, 11:27:52 AM »

Paid secret agents of DOJ at work with your tax dollars

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/doj_hires_bloggers_as_propagan.html



http://patterico.com/2010/01/24/stil...-obama-letter/

Example:

Jan Chen of Seattle writes to the Northwest Asian Weekly (a small Asian paper serving the Seattle area):
As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that drop you after you make a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”

Meanwhile, Gloria Elle writes to the Baltimore Chronicle — on the same page as Mark Spivey and Ellie Light:
As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that cancel you for making a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town-hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 11:59:24 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2010, 12:33:39 PM »

Here is the website noted as the source.  There is also a link to "the evidence" of their claims though I don't have time to peruse that at the moment.

The flipside to the argument is if Bama/Pelosi/Reid care were to go through catastropic injuries might not be covered at all due to risk/benefit/cost ratios don't make it worthwhile.  Esp. if one is over a certain age.

In my experience ER care is usually covered and not denied but not always.  If the writer wants us to believe care is rationed now the answer is correct.  If the writer wants us to think it won't under the Dem plan he or she is incorrect.

http://muffledoar.blogspot.com/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2010, 10:55:48 AM »

Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton: Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs
                                    under Bush:  Henry Paulsen of Goldman Sachs
                                    under BO:  Timothy Geithner of Goldman Sachs

From a recent email conversation:

"The real reason that AIG was bailed out was very simple.  All Swap sellers had special terms in their contracts that could be adverse to the Wall Street buyers.  AIG did not have these terms in their agreements at the "request" of Goldman Sacs.  Goldman ran all their Swaps through AIG.  And that is.............the rest of the story."

"I am sorry-- this went over my head a bit.  May I ask you to flesh this out?"

"I have to find the original article again, but here is the essence of it:

"Goldman Sachs demanded that one condition be placed in their Swaps that other firms did not demand.  As a result, Goldman used AIG most of the time.  If AIG had failed, then Goldman could never collect on the Swaps.  As well, when GS securitized loans, there were hundreds of millions of dollars in each pool.  Some went over one billion. The loans were sold to the investors, mutual funds, hedge funds, etc. These loans were headed for failure from Day One.
GS, after selling the loans, immediately took out Swaps on these pools.  They did not have to own the pools or loans to take out a SWAP.  I could even do it.  GS knew the loans would fail, so they took out the Swaps, betting against the loans and knowing that they would make significant amounts of money when the loans failed. GS would buy a Swap, say $20m, and then they would at times sell the Swap to other buyers.......for $40m.  Other times, they kept it, based upon the Pool.  GS was the biggest crook in all of this.  It was criminal what they did.  Yet Timmie and Paulie are covering for them.

"This will eventually come out, in about a decade or so.  Someone will write the definitive book on this. I would, but I would need someone from the Securitization side who understands this part much better than I do.  Actually, I have guy in mind who could do that.  He was former FDIC in the S&L crisis, and led the response team to bailing out banks then.  I am working with him on another project and it might be something to team up with him on the book."               
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2010, 11:10:34 AM »

Please see my post under stock market.  I think this is why GS has had such a long history of outperformance.
They have the inside info all the time.  And they can act on it before others. 
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2010, 09:52:42 AM »



I'm not really sure of which is the right thread for this amazing little report, but put it here as an example of the human reality of the Mussolini-like economic path which we have undertaken.

Some random questions noted by one blogger: 

"This is the same Hank Paulson that, as head of Goldman Sachs, lobbied the SEC in 2004 for relaxed capital standards and self-monitoring of risk for investment banks. Goldman was one of the major players in securitizing private mortgage loans before the bubble burst. How could he not know how these debt instruments were structured by his own firm that he headed? This statement now does not seem very credible to me."

The Adventure continues  , , , tongue
================

Paulson says he was scared and clueless during Lehman collapse

Henry Paulson, the former U.S. Treasury Department secretary, just said in a CNBC interview that in the midst of the Lehman Brothers collapse he had no idea what to do and was so afraid he excused himself from an emergency meeting on the matter and called his wife.

"I'm scared," he said he told his wife on a cell phone, while appearing to the others in the meeting that he was making a business telephone call.  "I didn't know what to do."

He asked his wife to pray for him. "Then, I put on my armor and went back into the room and acted like I knew what to do."

Paulson's just written a new book, "On the Brink," in which he recalls the details of the weekend when he dealt with the Lehman collapse.

More shocking, is Paulson's contention that prior to the collapse, neither he nor other administration officials had any idea how housing debt was structured in various Wall Street creations. Paulson has said that he discovered all of this in the midst of the crisis.  Prior to the collapse, his department had done a study of housing and concluded there was no problem.  The study left out the esoteric financial structures that turned out to be a disaster.

Now, there are two things that must be done, said Paulson.  "We need one systemic regulator" and "we need resolution authority so no institution is too big to fail."

He thinks the public should channel its anger into demanding financial reforms.  But he also agrees with the public's anger over tremendous Wall Street bonuses.

"When I ran Goldman, even during benign times, I thought compensation was out of whack," he said.  He claims he told his staff during meetings "people don't like you" because of compensation levels.

Still, although he headed the company before taking over as U.S. Treasury secretary, he was not able to curtail the bonuses that have so angered the public after bailouts with public money.

And he claims Goldman would have been in danger of collapsing if the government had not stepped into the financial crisis with emergency measures.

"It seemed like there was a good chance Morgan Stanley could go down, and if it did that could take Goldman down," said Paulson. 

If that had happened, added Paulson: "It would have been all she wrote for the American economy."
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2010, 12:08:19 PM »

Gee, it's a good thing that these scary moments have done such a good job of informing our current batch of policy makers. Not.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2010, 11:56:25 AM »

Why are liberals so condescending?
By Gerard Alexander
Sunday, February 7, 2010; B01

Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.

It's an odd time for liberals to feel smug. But even with Democratic fortunes on the wane, leading liberals insist that they have almost nothing to learn from conservatives. Many Democrats describe their troubles simply as a PR challenge, a combination of conservative misinformation -- as when Obama charges that critics of health-care reform are peddling fake fears of a "Bolshevik plot" -- and the country's failure to grasp great liberal accomplishments. "We were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a recent interview. The benighted public is either uncomprehending or deliberately misinformed (by conservatives).

This condescension is part of a long liberal tradition that for generations has impoverished American debates over the economy, social issues and the functions of government -- and threatens to do so again today, when dialogue would be more valuable than ever.

Liberals have dismissed conservative thinking for decades, a tendency encapsulated by Lionel Trilling's 1950 remark that conservatives do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." During the 1950s and '60s, liberals trivialized the nascent conservative movement. Prominent studies and journalistic accounts of right-wing politics at the time stressed paranoia, intolerance and insecurity, rendering conservative thought more a psychiatric disorder than a rival. In 1962, Richard Hofstadter referred to "the Manichaean style of thought, the apocalyptic tendencies, the love of mystification, the intolerance of compromise that are observable in the right-wing mind."

This sense of liberal intellectual superiority dropped off during the economic woes of the 1970s and the Reagan boom of the 1980s. (Jimmy Carter's presidency, buffeted by economic and national security challenges, generated perhaps the clearest episode of liberal self-doubt.) But these days, liberal confidence and its companion disdain for conservative thinking are back with a vengeance, finding energetic expression in politicians' speeches, top-selling books, historical works and the blogosphere. This attitude comes in the form of four major narratives about who conservatives are and how they think and function.

The first is the "vast right-wing conspiracy," a narrative made famous by Hillary Rodham Clinton but hardly limited to her. This vision maintains that conservatives win elections and policy debates not because they triumph in the open battle of ideas but because they deploy brilliant and sinister campaign tactics. A dense network of professional political strategists such as Karl Rove, think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and industry groups allegedly manipulate information and mislead the public. Democratic strategist Rob Stein crafted a celebrated PowerPoint presentation during George W. Bush's presidency that traced conservative success to such organizational factors.

This liberal vision emphasizes the dissemination of ideologically driven views from sympathetic media such as the Fox News Channel. For example, Chris Mooney's book "The Republican War on Science" argues that policy debates in the scientific arena are distorted by conservatives who disregard evidence and reflect the biases of industry-backed Republican politicians or of evangelicals aimlessly shielding the world from modernity. In this interpretation, conservative arguments are invariably false and deployed only cynically. Evidence of the costs of cap-and-trade carbon rationing is waved away as corporate propaganda; arguments against health-care reform are written off as hype orchestrated by insurance companies.

This worldview was on display in the popular liberal reaction to the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Rather than engage in a discussion about the complexities of free speech in politics, liberals have largely argued that the decision will "open the floodgates for special interests" to influence American elections, as the president warned in his State of the Union address. In other words, it was all part of the conspiracy to support conservative candidates for their nefarious, self-serving ends.

It follows that the thinkers, politicians and citizens who advance conservative ideas must be dupes, quacks or hired guns selling stories they know to be a sham. In this spirit, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman regularly dismisses conservative arguments not simply as incorrect, but as lies. Writing last summer, Krugman pondered the duplicity he found evident in 35 years' worth of Wall Street Journal editorial writers. "What do these people really believe? I mean, they're not stupid -- life would be a lot easier if they were. So they know they're not telling the truth. But they obviously believe that their dishonesty serves a higher truth. . . . The question is, what is that higher truth? What do these people really believe in?"

In Krugman's condescending world, there is no need to take seriously the arguments of "these people" -- only to plumb the depths of their errors and ponder their hidden motivations.

But, if conservative leaders are crass manipulators, then the rank-and-file Americans who support them must be manipulated at best, or stupid at worst. This is the second variety of liberal condescension, exemplified in Thomas Frank's best-selling 2004 book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Frank argued that working-class voters were so distracted by issues such as abortion that they were induced into voting against their own economic interests. Then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, later chairman of the Democratic National Committee, echoed that theme in his 2004 presidential run, when he said Republicans had succeeded in getting Southern whites to focus on "guns, God and gays" instead of economic redistribution.

And speaking to a roomful of Democratic donors in 2008, then-presidential candidate Obama offered a similar (and infamous) analysis when he suggested that residents of Rust Belt towns "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations" about job losses. When his comments became public, Obama backed away from their tenor but insisted that "I said something that everybody knows is true."

In this view, we should pay attention to conservative voters' underlying problems but disregard the policy demands they voice; these are illusory, devoid of reason or evidence. This form of liberal condescension implies that conservative masses are in the grip of false consciousness. When they express their views at town hall meetings or "tea party" gatherings, it might be politically prudent for liberals to hear them out, but there is no reason to actually listen.

The third version of liberal condescension points to something more sinister. In his 2008 book, "Nixonland," progressive writer Rick Perlstein argued that Richard Nixon created an enduring Republican strategy of mobilizing the ethnic and other resentments of some Americans against others. Similarly, in their 1992 book, "Chain Reaction," Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall argued that Nixon and Reagan talked up crime control, low taxes and welfare reform to cloak racial animus and help make it mainstream. It is now an article of faith among many liberals that Republicans win elections because they tap into white prejudice against blacks and immigrants.

Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then -- recall former president Carter's recent assertion that opposition to Obama reflects racism -- even though survey research has shown a dramatic decline in prejudiced attitudes among white Americans in the intervening decades. Moreover, the candidates and policy agendas of both parties demonstrate an unfortunate willingness to play on prejudices, whether based on race, regional stereotypes, class and income, or other factors.

Finally, liberals condescend to the rest of us when they say conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic. Former vice president Al Gore made this case in his 2007 book, "The Assault on Reason," in which he expressed fear that American politics was under siege from a coalition of religious fundamentalists, foreign policy extremists and industry groups opposed to "any reasoning process that threatens their economic goals." This right-wing politics involves a gradual "abandonment of concern for reason or evidence" and relies on manipulative propaganda to maintain public support, he wrote.

Prominent liberal academics also propagate these beliefs. George Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley and a consultant to Democratic candidates, says flatly that liberals, unlike conservatives, "still believe in Enlightenment reason," while Drew Westen, an Emory University psychologist and Democratic consultant, argues that the GOP has done a better job of mastering the emotional side of campaigns because Democrats, alas, are just too intellectual. "They like to read and think," Westen wrote. "They thrive on policy debates, arguments, statistics, and getting the facts right."

Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the influential progressive Web site Daily Kos, commissioned a poll, which he released this month, designed to show how many rank-and-file Republicans hold odd or conspiratorial beliefs -- including 23 percent who purportedly believe that their states should secede from the Union. Moulitsas concluded that Republicans are "divorced from reality" and that the results show why "it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country." His condescension is superlative: Of the respondents who favored secession, he wonders, "Can we cram them all into the Texas Panhandle, create the state of Dumb-[expletive]-istan, and build a wall around them to keep them from coming into America illegally?"

I doubt it would take long to design a survey questionnaire that revealed strange, ill-informed and paranoid beliefs among average Democrats. Or does Moulitsas think Jay Leno talked only to conservatives for his "Jaywalking" interviews?

These four liberal narratives not only justify the dismissal of conservative thinking as biased or irrelevant -- they insist on it. By no means do all liberals adhere to them, but they are mainstream in left-of-center thinking. Indeed, when the president met with House Republicans in Baltimore recently, he assured them that he considers their ideas, but he then rejected their motives in virtually the same breath.

"There may be other ideas that you guys have," Obama said. "I am happy to look at them, and I'm happy to embrace them. . . . But the question I think we're going to have to ask ourselves is, as we move forward, are we going to be examining each of these issues based on what's good for the country, what the evidence tells us, or are we going to be trying to position ourselves so that come November, we're able to say, 'The other party, it's their fault'?"

Of course, plenty of conservatives are hardly above feeling superior. But the closest they come to portraying liberals as systematically mistaken in their worldview is when they try to identify ideological dogmatism in a narrow slice of the left (say, among Ivy League faculty members), in a particular moment (during the health-care debate, for instance) or in specific individuals (such as Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom some conservatives accuse of being stealth ideologues). A few conservative voices may say that all liberals are always wrong, but these tend to be relatively marginal figures or media gadflies such as Glenn Beck.

In contrast, an extraordinary range of liberal writers, commentators and leaders -- from Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" to Obama's White House, with many stops in between -- have developed or articulated narratives that apply to virtually all conservatives at all times.

To many liberals, this worldview may be appealing, but it severely limits our national conversation on critical policy issues. Perhaps most painfully, liberal condescension has distorted debates over American poverty for nearly two generations.

Starting in the 1960s, the original neoconservative critics such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan expressed distress about the breakdown of inner-city families, only to be maligned as racist and ignored for decades -- until appalling statistics forced critics to recognize their views as relevant. Long-standing conservative concerns over the perils of long-term welfare dependency were similarly villainized as insincere and mean-spirited -- until public opinion insisted they be addressed by a Democratic president and a Republican Congress in the 1996 welfare reform law. But in the meantime, welfare policies that discouraged work, marriage and the development of skills remained in place, with devastating effects.

Ignoring conservative cautions and insights is no less costly today. Some observers have decried an anti-intellectual strain in contemporary conservatism, detected in George W. Bush's aw-shucks style, Sarah Palin's college-hopping and occasional conservative campaigns against egghead intellectuals. But alongside that, the fact is that conservative-leaning think tank scholars, economists, jurists and legal theorists have never produced as much detailed analysis and commentary on American life and policy as they do today.

Perhaps the most important conservative insight being depreciated is the durable warning from free-marketeers that government programs often fail to yield what their architects intend. Democrats have been busy expanding, enacting or proposing major state interventions in financial markets, energy and health care. Supporters of such efforts want to ensure that key decisions will be made in the public interest and be informed, for example, by sound science, the best new medical research or prudent standards of private-sector competition. But public-choice economists have long warned that when decisions are made in large, centralized government programs, political priorities almost always trump other goals.

Even liberals should think twice about the prospect of decisions on innovative surgeries, light bulbs and carbon quotas being directed by legislators grandstanding for the cameras. Of course, thinking twice would be easier if more of them were listening to conservatives at all.

galexander16@gmail.com

Gerard Alexander is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia. He will be online to chat with readers on Monday, February 8, at 11 a.m. Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion. On Monday, he will also deliver the American Enterprise Institute's Bradley Lecture, "Do Liberals Know Best? Intellectual Self-Confidence and the Claim to a Monopoly on Knowledge."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/04/AR2010020403698_2.html?sid=ST2010020403858
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2010, 10:11:28 AM »

Plan to Seek Use of U.S. Contracts as a Wage Lever
 
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: February 25, 2010
POTH
The Obama administration is planning to use the government’s enormous buying power to prod private companies to improve wages and benefits for millions of workers, according to White House officials and several interest groups briefed on the plan.



By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

Because nearly one in four workers is employed by companies that have contracts with the federal government, administration officials see the plan as a way to shape social policy and lift more families into the middle class. It would affect contracts like those awarded to make Army uniforms, clean federal buildings and mow lawns at military bases.

Although the details are still being worked out, the outline of the plan is drawing fierce opposition from business groups and Republican lawmakers. They see it as a gift to organized labor and say it would drive up costs for the government in the face of a $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

“I’m suspicious of what the end goals are,” said Ben Brubeck, director of labor and federal procurement for Associated Builders and Contractors, which represents 25,000 construction-related companies. “It’s pretty clear the agenda is to give big labor an advantage in federal contracts.”

Critics also said the policy would put small businesses, many of which do not provide rich benefits, at a disadvantage. Furthermore, government officials would find it difficult to evaluate bidders using the new criteria and to determine whether one company’s compensation package should give it an edge, said Alan L. Chvotkin, executive vice president of the Professional Services Council, a coalition of 340 government contractors.

From his earliest days in office, President Obama has called for an overhaul of government procurement policy, citing the contracting scandals of the previous decade involving cost overruns and no-bid contracts.

“The president made it clear that he is committed to reforming government contracts to save taxpayers money while protecting workers and the environment,” a White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said. “The administration is currently gathering data and examining the best ways to do this.”

Two of Mr. Obama’s allies — John Podesta, the Clinton administration chief of staff who headed the president’s transition team, and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union — have repeatedly pressed the president to use procurement policy to push up wages and benefits.

In testimony last year to the Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Podesta said that 400,000 workers employed under federal contracts — like cafeteria workers, security guards and landscaping workers at federal buildings — earn less than $22,000 a year, the federal poverty line for a family of four, assuming just one paycheck in a household.

“We have a president who is talking about bringing more people into the middle class,” Mr. Stern said. “The government should expect contractors to obey the law, and at the same time contractors should not be building a poverty economy, but should be trying to build a high-road economy.”

The officials briefed on the plan said it was being developed by officials in the Office of Management and Budget, the White House Office of Legal Counsel, the Treasury, Justice and Labor Departments and the vice president’s Middle Class Task Force.

Even as business groups press the administration for more details, they are denouncing the plan, tentatively named the High Road Procurement Policy.

The Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, reported Feb. 4 that the plan would “heavily favor government contractors that implement policies designed by organized labor.”

Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor at the United States Chamber of Commerce, called the plan a “warmed-over version” of President Bill Clinton’s regulations that sought to bar federal agencies from awarding contracts to companies with a record of breaking labor, environmental or consumer laws. President George W. Bush vacated those regulations soon after taking office.

“We strongly opposed the Clinton blacklist regulations,” Mr. Johnson said, “and this appears worse than that.”

On Feb. 2, Senator Susan Collins of Maine and four other Republican senators sent a letter to Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House budget office, saying, “We are concerned that the imposition of these requirements, during a time of significant economic turmoil in the private sector and tight federal budgets, could have serious, negative consequences, especially for our nation’s small businesses.”

===========

Page 2 of 2)



One signer was Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who was one of the two main sponsors — the other was Senator Barack Obama — of a bill that sought to increase the transparency and accountability of federal contracting by requiring the government to create a data base of all federal contracts. President Bush signed it into law in 2007.

David Madland, director of the American Workers Project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group founded by Mr. Podesta, argues the new policy could lower government costs, instead of raising them.

Many low-wage employees of federal contractors receive Medicaid and food stamps, he said. Citing studies conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and by academic researchers, he said that contractors that pay their employees well have greater productivity and reliability, while contractors with a record of labor law violations do shoddier construction work.

“This policy is good for workers, it’s good for taxpayers and it’s good for high-road businesses,” Mr. Madland said.

He said that one study done by the state of Maryland found that after the state began requiring bidders to pay a living wage, the number of bidders per contract rose by a third on average. Some higher-wage companies said they began seeking government bids because the new policy leveled the playing field.

One federal official said the proposed policy would encourage procurement officers to favor companies with better compensation packages only if choosing them did not add substantially to contract costs. As an example, he said, if two companies each bid $10 million for a contract, and one had considerably better wages and pensions than the other, that company would be favored.

Some supporters of the new procurement policy — and even some opponents — say Mr. Obama could impose it through executive order. They assert that the president has broad powers to issue procurement regulations, just as President John Kennedy did in requiring federal contractors to have companywide equal employment opportunity plans.

But some opponents argue that legislation would be needed because an executive order may collide with laws that require federal contractors to pay the prevailing regional wage for the type of work being done. The executive order, they fear, would call for higher wages.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2010, 08:39:30 AM »

From Britain:

=========

Too much, too soon
As possibly one of its last acts as government, British Labour bids to make sex education compulsory.
Sex education. The very words strike a note of gloom. Long, long ago, back in the 1950s when schoolgirl pregnancies were a rarity, and anyone who gave children contraceptives and urged them to enjoy “safe sex” would have been arrested, things looked different.

In those days, there was a feeling that, with the advent of television and greater prosperity, with young people enjoying more freedom than had been the case in centuries past, and with a general sense of social change in the air, it might be useful to ensure that the young were well informed about the facts of human reproduction. In this way, greater freedom would not spell social chaos; with knowledge and with suitable moral guidance, the young could enjoy wholesome relationships and understand why it was important to remain chaste.

The accepted wisdom was that sexual experimentation among young people arose out of ignorance: girls did not know how babies happened, and were too shy or embarrassed to discuss such things with their parents. Now things would change; health officials drew up plans. All were agreed on one thing: information about sexual and reproductive matters would come with clear moral guidance and, indeed, the whole scheme was seen primarily in that context.

But things did not work out as planned. Other voices took over as commercial and ideological forces got involved. Golly, how different things are in 2010. We have now had massive schemes of propaganda on sexual issues pushed at the young for decades. Schools arrange talks and brochures, demonstrations and films about contraception and abortion, making official links with abortion providers and with clinics which give youngsters contraceptives without parental knowledge or consent. Posters urge youngsters to consider whether or not they are lesbian or homosexual, and how to feel good about it if they decide they are.

The result? The teenage pregnancy rate has soared, and the problem of sexually-transmitted diseases among the young is now so huge that supermarkets and youth clubs have joined health centres and schools in giving information about how to obtain medical help for these potentially lethal illnesses.

Fewer and fewer young people are marrying. Of those who do, many divorce – especially if they have been living together beforehand. Many people in their twenties, attempting marriage, have had multiple sexual partners. Many girls bring to marriage a background of more than one abortion, with its consequent physical and psychological damage. Almost half of all births are now out of wedlock. Children born to unmarried couples have only a slim chance of remaining in contact with both parents by the time they reach puberty as most such relationships break up before then.
And into this grisly scene the government is bringing – yes, you’ve guessed it – more sex education. Under legislation now in Parliament (Children Schools and Families Bill), sex and relationships education will be a compulsory part of the statutory National Curriculum. Parents will continue to have the right to withdraw their children from these classes, but only up to the age of 15. After that they must attend classes which include information on “how and where to obtain information about health and sex advice” -- to wit, your local family planning/abortion clinic. This is to ensure they get at least 12 months of amoral, utilitarian sex education before finishing compulsory schooling.

However, there is no opt-out at any stage for schools. Faith schools -- which constitute a third of all schools in Britain -- will have to teach a curriculum that starts with talking to five-year-olds about bodily changes, teaches “different relationships” (of which marriage is only one) from the age of seven, and everything else from the age of 11 -- including same-sex relationships, contraception and abortion.

Since the government announced its latest plan in November, the excellent Family Education Trust has produced a a devastating critique in its detailed report, Too Much,Too Soon. Increasingly, informed and professional voices are raised about the sexualising of the young and there is discussion about the links between this and the rising tide of teenage drunkenness, violence, and suicide.  Ironically, the government itself has just released a report warning Britons about the sexualisation of children -- as if it had nothing to do with its own awful agenda.

In response to outrage from many parents and family groups the minister in charge of this draconian bill, Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (yes, this government department really does seem to believe that it is in charge of children and families as well as schools) has insisted that faith schools will still be able to teach the sex content within “the tenets of their faith”. Last week an amendment to this effect was passed in the Commons -- the result of a deal with religious authorities, notably the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales (CES), which seems to regard it as a positive coup.

But there are many sceptics. Jewish columnist Melanie Phillips has taken a liberal rabbi to task for defending the compromise, which she calls “demonstrably absurd”. The Telegraph’s Catholic blogger Damian Thompson has called for the CES to be wound up, and The Catholic Herald says that it demonstrates the need for Catholics to “take drastic action to confront moral relativism in our schools”.

On the other hand the National Secular Society, in tune with much of the press, has portrayed the amendment as a massive concession, saying that the government has “once more bowed to pressure from the Catholic church, betraying the children in faith schools who have a right to objective and balanced sex education."
This, despite Mr Balls’ repeated insistence that there is to be "no watering down" of the government’s scheme. "There's no opt-out for any faith school from teaching the full, broad, balanced curriculum on sex education," he says. "Catholic schools can say to their pupils that, as a religion, we believe contraception is wrong, but what they can't do is say they are not going to teach about contraception."

Meanwhile the CES is emphatic that the character of education in Catholic schools will remain clear: “The teaching of all aspects of the curriculum in Catholic schools reflects their religious ethos. In the same way, the SRE in Catholic schools will be rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching of the profound respect for the dignity of all human persons," it says. This is unconvincing, to say the least. Already – and this is shameful – some Catholic schools promote access to abortion information and use standard leaflets to ensure that children are given material about contraception.

With a general election coming up this year, this ought to be a major issue. What next? Thank goodness for one clear voice – the Cardinal Archbishop of Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, has hit out at the government’s “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values”. He points to the “soaring toll” of abortions, and to the government’s record on forcing all adoption agencies to accept allocating children to homosexual couples, as examples of government anti-family attitudes.

Ordinary Christians – and people of all faiths and none who are concerned about the tragic brokenness of modern British society – look to religious leaders for a voice. Can we hear more voices like that of Cardinal O’Brien, please? And can we ask what a Catholic Education Service is for, if it is not to promote Catholic beliefs and values in education?
Sooner or later, there will be a turnaround in the official policies on sex education. The sheer social chaos that has resulted – and will worsen rapidly in the next few years – from the policies of recent decades will ensure this. We need to speed up the process, and we need people of faith to help in that. At present, the future looks bleak.

Joanna Bogle writes from London.

Logged
Rarick
Guest
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2010, 08:43:19 AM »

Another political fallacy, back in the 50's a majority were still growing up on the farm.  If you just watch the animals, you know where babies come from.  The labor those mothers went thru also served as a warning how much work birth could be.  Raising the livestock and the chores that were required also served as education, all without this "science" of education.

Some of the farmgirls were willing to play, given the information. Others were not willing without a committment, and were in the majority.  So what changed where? More .gov interference?  Lack of a "natural" living landscape due to the migration to the cities?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2010, 10:40:05 AM »

Everyone knows Democrats are planning to use the budget reconciliation process to get ObamaCare through the Senate. Less well known is that Democrats are plotting add-ons to that bill to get other liberal priorities enacted—programs that could never attract 60 votes.

One of these controversial measures rewrites the Higher Education Act to ban private companies from offering federally guaranteed student loans as of this July. Congress has already passed laws in recent years discouraging private lenders from making loans without a federal guarantee. But most college financial-aid departments still want private companies to originate and service the guaranteed loans. That's because the alternative—a public option run by the Department of Education—has been distinguished by its Soviet-style customer service.

The Democratic plan is to make this public option the only option mere days before colleges send out their financial aid packages to incoming students. The House and Senate budget committees issued instructions last year to look for savings in the student-lending program, so the Democrats have prepared in advance their excuse to jam these changes through the reconciliation process.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
.Secretary of Education Arne Duncan portrays the changes as eliminating subsidies to private companies, but no one should misinterpret these comments to mean that taxpayers will benefit. The plan that passed the House includes $67 billion in "savings," according to a Friday estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. But the bill also has more than $77 billion in new spending.

The net loss to taxpayers isn't limited to $10 billion. After inquiries from Senator Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) and Rep. John Kline (R., Minn.) last year, CBO explained that "savings" estimates are artificially high because of government accounting rules that undercount the risks of default when the government is originating the loans, while the new spending estimates are artificially low. This could be significant. Many colleges oppose the government plan specifically because the feds don't make the same effort to prevent defaults that the private lenders do.

Taxpayers have even more reason than academics to fear the impact, in part because the public may not learn the details before this plan becomes law. Democrats aim to bring their education revolution to the floor without a committee vote or even a hearing in the Senate.

Democrats might seek to enact the bill passed by the House last summer, an even more ambitious plan sketched out in the President's 2011 budget, or some mystery meat prepared by chef Tom Harkin, who chairs the Senate education committee. So far he won't tell anyone what's on the menu, and he may not have to. The limited 20 hours of reconciliation debate will no doubt be consumed by ObamaCare, but another new entitlement could be hustled into law under cover of bloviating lawmakers.

Both the House-passed bill and the President's budget increase Pell Grants and also create automatic future increases, so individual grants will grow faster than inflation every year. Colleges will pocket the money by raising tuition, so we have yet another federal program ensuring that higher education costs continue to rise even faster than health-care spending.

Mr. Obama's budget also calls for making Pell Grants a mandatory entitlement. At least now they are subject to annual appropriation and their growth can be slowed when tax revenues fall or other priorities rate higher. Mr. Obama would prefer spending that is quite literally out of control.

"Various changes that the President proposes to the Pell Grant program would add another $0.2 trillion to the deficit between 2011 and 2020," CBO said Friday. That could turn out to be a very optimistic estimate if unemployment remains high and more people seize the educational opportunity to which they have just become entitled. Still another taxpayer trap will be sprung if the President's proposal to forgive some debt incurred by "overburdened" borrowers is included in the bill.

The federal education takeover is another example of the Democrats' willingness to use whatever tactics are necessary to advance their agenda to concentrate power in Washington—while they still can.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2010, 08:45:40 AM »

WSJ:

We're not sure American schools teach civics any more, but once upon a time they taught that under the U.S. Constitution a bill had to pass both the House and Senate to become law. Until this week, that is, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving to merely "deem" that the House has passed the Senate health-care bill and then send it to President Obama to sign anyway.

Under the "reconciliation" process that began yesterday afternoon, the House is supposed to approve the Senate's Christmas Eve bill and then use "sidecar" amendments to fix the things it doesn't like. Those amendments would then go to the Senate under rules that would let Democrats pass them while avoiding the ordinary 60-vote threshold for passing major legislation. This alone is an abuse of traditional Senate process.

But Mrs. Pelosi & Co. fear they lack the votes in the House to pass an identical Senate bill, even with the promise of these reconciliation fixes. House Members hate the thought of going on record voting for the Cornhusker kickback and other special-interest bribes that were added to get this mess through the Senate, as well as the new tax on high-cost insurance plans that Big Labor hates.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y
.So at the Speaker's command, New York Democrat Louise Slaughter, who chairs the House Rules Committee, may insert what's known as a "self-executing rule," also known as a "hereby rule." Under this amazing procedural ruse, the House would then vote only once on the reconciliation corrections, but not on the underlying Senate bill. If those reconciliation corrections pass, the self-executing rule would say that the Senate bill is presumptively approved by the House—even without a formal up-or-down vote on the actual words of the Senate bill.

Democrats would thus send the Senate bill to President Obama for his signature even as they claimed to oppose the same Senate bill. They would be declaring themselves to be for and against the Senate bill in the same vote. Even John Kerry never went that far with his Iraq war machinations. As we went to press, the precise mechanics that Democrats will use remained unclear, though yesterday Mrs. Pelosi endorsed this "deem and pass" strategy in a meeting with left-wing bloggers.

This two-votes-in-one gambit is a brazen affront to the plain language of the Constitution, which is intended to require democratic accountability. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says that in order for a "Bill" to "become a Law," it "shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate." This is why the House and Senate typically have a conference committee to work out differences in what each body passes. While sometimes one house cedes entirely to another, the expectation is that its Members must re-vote on the exact language of the other body's bill.

As Stanford law professor Michael McConnell pointed out in these pages yesterday, "The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form." If Congress can now decide that the House can vote for one bill and the Senate can vote for another, and the final result can be some arbitrary hybrid, then we have abandoned one of Madison's core checks and balances.

Yes, self-executing rules have been used in the past, but as the Congressional Research Service put it in a 2006 paper, "Originally, this type of rule was used to expedite House action in disposing of Senate amendments to House-passed bills." They've also been used for amendments such as to a 1998 bill that "would have permitted the CIA to offer employees an early-out retirement program"—but never before to elide a vote on the entire fundamental legislation.

We have entered a political wonderland, where the rules are whatever Democrats say they are. Mrs. Pelosi and the White House are resorting to these abuses because their bill is so unpopular that a majority even of their own party doesn't want to vote for it. Fence-sitting Members are being threatened with primary challengers, a withdrawal of union support and of course ostracism. Michigan's Bart Stupak is being pounded nightly by MSNBC for the high crime of refusing to vote for a bill that he believes will subsidize insurance for abortions.

Democrats are, literally, consuming their own majority for the sake of imposing new taxes, regulations and entitlements that the public has roundly rejected but that they believe will be the crowning achievement of the welfare state. They are also leaving behind a procedural bloody trail that will fuel public fury and make such a vast change of law seem illegitimate to millions of Americans.

The concoction has become so toxic that even Mrs. Pelosi isn't bothering to defend the merits anymore, saying instead last week that "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Or rather, "deeming" to have passed it.
Logged
Rarick
Guest
« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2010, 04:42:54 AM »

It is these machinations that have shown up, and violate checks and balances and due process that are getting people increasingly dissatisfied with government.  There is a reason the process was a PITA- to make it difficult to pass any new laws, but how many have been passed as riders, earmarks, mandates, exec findings, etc. etc. that bypas what is suposed to happen?

I really think the government is in violation of its contract..............
Logged
rogt
Power User
***
Posts: 229


« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2010, 07:50:46 PM »

A lot of talk here about theoretical "fascism" from the left, but curiously little to say about a case of actual fascism from the Christian right.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/29/AR2010032901891.html

The Hutaree militia and the rising risk of far-right violence

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, March 30, 2010; A25

The arrests of members of a Michigan-based "Christian" militia group should convince doubters that there is good reason to worry about right-wing, anti-government extremism -- and potential violence -- in the Age of Obama.

I put the word Christian in quotes because anyone who plots to assassinate law enforcement officers, as a federal indictment alleges members of the Hutaree militia did, is no follower of Christ. According to federal prosecutors, the Hutaree -- the word's not in my dictionary, but its Web site claims it means "Christian warrior" -- are convinced that their enemies include "state and local law enforcement, who are deemed 'foot soldiers' of the federal government, federal law enforcement agencies and employees, participants in the 'New World Order,' and anyone who does not share in the Hutaree's beliefs."

According to the indictment, the group had been plotting for two years to assassinate federal, state or local police officers. "Possible such acts which were discussed," the indictment says, "included killing a member of law enforcement after a traffic stop, killing a member of law enforcement and his or her family at home, ambushing a member of law enforcement in rural communities, luring a member of law enforcement with a false 911 emergency call and then killing him or her, and killing a member of law enforcement and then attacking the funeral procession motorcade" with homemade bombs.

Nine members of the Hutaree were named in the indictment. Eight were arrested during weekend FBI raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana; one suspect remains at large. The group's Web site shows members in camouflage outfits traipsing through woods in "training" exercises. They could be out for an afternoon of paintball, except for the loony rhetoric about "sword and flame" and the page, labeled "Gear," that links to several gun dealers. Along with numerous weapons offenses, the Hutaree are charged with sedition.

The episode highlights the obvious: For decades now, the most serious threat of domestic terrorism has come from the growing ranks of paranoid, anti-government hate groups that draw their inspiration, vocabulary and anger from the far right.

It is disingenuous for mainstream purveyors of incendiary far-right rhetoric to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are "crazies on both sides." This simply is not true.

There was a time when the far left was a spawning ground for political violence. The first big story I covered was the San Francisco trial of heiress Patricia Hearst, who had been kidnapped and eventually co-opted by the Symbionese Liberation Army -- a far-left group whose philosophy was as apocalyptic and incoherent as that of the Hutaree. There are aging radicals in Cuba today who got to Havana by hijacking airplanes in the 1970s. Left-wing radicals caused mayhem and took innocent lives.

But for the most part, far-left violence in this country has gone the way of the leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. An anti-globalization movement, including a few window-smashing anarchists, was gaining traction at one point, but it quickly diminished after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. An environmental group and an animal-rights group have been linked with incidents of arson. Beyond those particulars, it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.

By contrast, there has been explosive growth among far-right, militia-type groups that identify themselves as white supremacists, "constitutionalists," tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold "Christian" values. Most of the groups that posed a real danger, as the Hutaree allegedly did, have been infiltrated and dismantled by authorities before they could do any damage. But we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

It is dishonest for right-wing commentators to insist on an equivalence that does not exist. The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction -- the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day -- and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies -- is calibrated not to inform but to incite.

Demagogues scream at people that their government is illegitimate, that their country has been "taken away," that their elected officials are "traitors" and that their freedom is at risk. They have a right to free speech, which I will always defend. But they shouldn't be surprised if some listeners take them literally.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 07:52:44 PM by rogt » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2010, 08:39:51 PM »

Wow, the blinders you folks on the left wear. Every time the World Bank meets, every national political convention, at many armed forces recruiting stations, or when conservative speakers appear on college campuses, and on and on leftists let their fascist ya yas out, but some podunk Christian militia that has likely been long infiltrated by law enforcement comes up with some asinine plan they didn't get around to executing and all of a sudden we are supposed to believe goose stepping Baptists or something are about to sweep across the nation. Build a lot of straw men, do you? Next absurd talking point, please.
Logged
rogt
Power User
***
Posts: 229


« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2010, 08:54:52 PM »

BBG, you seem rather quick to dismiss this.  Would you have the same attitude about "some asinine plan they didn't get around to executing" if we were talking about a group of Muslims instead?

I just assumed that people so concerned about fascism would have something to say about this.  Especially since their asinine plans apparently included deliberate targeting of LEOs.  Again, is this what you'd be saying if a group of Muslims were the alleged would-be terrorists?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 08:57:46 PM by rogt » Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5873


« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2010, 09:39:50 PM »

Good to see opposing views Rog.  Answering from my point of view: Assuming what we are hearing is true, I deplore the terrorists and applaud law enforcement for stepping in preemptively. Saying so seems too obvious, like opposing wife beating, racism The rest I don't buy, that  anything I've heard on popular shows or from prominent conservatives caused this.

The piece immediately answered my first point, these people aren't Christians, though you called them the Christian right in your first sentence and they referred to themselves that way.

From the piece: "It is disingenuous...to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are "crazies on both sides." This simply is not true."

 - Unibomber Ted kuzinski, St. Paul homemaker, 'Sara Jane Olson' and Obama friend Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn come to mind.  I don't know the numbers but..."there are crazies on both sides".  He dismisses these as things of the past, but that has more to do with who is in or out of power than right vs. left IMO.  Remember the violence in Seattle 1999 over trade rights, environmentalists attacking loggers etc., it goes both ways.  Today it is the right who feel powerless, that does not justify violence.  No one mainstream and prominent said it did.

Anyone following the uneven recount of the 60th senator (Franken) or the polls tanking on health care and disregard for constitutional limits could easily feel powerless to change government using convention means.  The fringe who act on that with terror plans or war can expect to find themselves arrested, and they did.  

"we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City."

 - And that was RECKLESSLY blamed by President Clinton on Rush Limbaugh.  I listened to the show more than Clinton did and I never saw hint toward violence, much less cause and effect.  Are you saying, or is he saying, dissent should not be expresses because it could be taken the wrong way??  What were those inciteful words and if so where was the federal prosecution??  Clinton's reaction was political opportunism and so is this.

"The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day...is calibrated not to inform but to incite."

 - An example or three might be fitting with a charge like THAT!

"they shouldn't be surprised if some listeners take them literally."

 - If they took them literally, they would go out and vote, lol.  Did I miss some story that these militias interrupt their training exercises at 'show' time and huddle around their radios for marching orders or words they can overreact to.  I seriously doubt these folks look to aging political analysts, entertainers or columnists to find what is wrong in Washington.

So what were those fighting words?

"government is illegitimate" - Also heard that a zillion times about Bush Cheney - not mentioned.  Hard not to notice the people in power today got there using an amazing number of false promises and are exercising and expanding powers not authorized in the constitution.  That does not equate with a declaration of war.

"that their country has been taken away" - true that many freedoms have been taken and things like the work ethic and entitled to the fruits of your labor are replaced with people taking power from the welfare rights side of the spectrum.  Even if done by the majority, mostly by proper procedure, with courts and RINOS signed on, still a part of what many of us value was 'taken'.

"that their elected officials are traitors" - I did not hear that from mainstream conservatives and I listen more than he does.  Fact is the other side is STILL calling for war crimes prosecution against the previous administration.  Those who made such sounds still frequent the oval office.

Hard to conclude 'cause' or that this goes only one way.  But good to see a post that goes too far the other way.  We need the balance.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 12:41:54 AM by DougMacG » Logged
rogt
Power User
***
Posts: 229


« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2010, 10:02:19 PM »

Doug,

No time to respond to all your points, but here's my response.

I remember reading the Unabomber manifesto, and IIRC a lot of it was devoted to "the dangers of Lefitsm" and other denunciations of political correctness, etc.  In short, Ted was no left-wing terrorist.

The article I posted does acknowledge that left-wing violence did exist at one time, but nothing they did came even close to an Oklahoma City bombing and very little left-wing violence (let alone murder) has happened since the 1960s. 

I listen to the right-wingers on the radio all the time, and they would be having a field day if this recent incident involved Muslims instead of Christians.  The Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Sean Hanntiys, etc. would be calling for them to be sent directly to Guantanamo without even a trial.  They've had very little to say about this, and have certainly not called for "profiling" of white, Christian men as potential terrorists.  I can think of many, many examples of the right wingers on talk radio hysterically accusing Obama and the Democrats of all kinds of nasty stuff.  Too many to post here.  I think the author of the column I posted is correct is pointing out that it's only a matter of time before some nut takes them seriously.  No, they don't specifically urge their listeners to do actual violence, but there is a LOT of coded speech that is pretty racist and all but say outright that violence would be justified.  I don't think I'm exaggerating here either.

War crimes charges against Bush & Cheney over Iraq is not likely to happen, but pre-emptive, aggressive war against another nation was officially designated as "the supreme crime from which all others followed" when the Nazis were put on trial in Nuremburg.  Again, not saying this is likely to happen or would even result in a conviction, but I see a legitimate case to made here.  That's not a "crazy" point of view.

Rog
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11997


« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2010, 10:46:21 PM »

http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/iraq/libact103198.pdf

Who signed this into law, Rog? A war criminal?
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11997


« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2010, 11:02:30 PM »

No, they don't specifically urge their listeners to do actual violence, but there is a LOT of coded speech that is pretty racist and all but say outright that violence would be justified.  I don't think I'm exaggerating here either.

**Please cite some quotes of the "coded speech" mentioned above.**
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2010, 11:50:40 PM »

IF the charges against these Hutaree folks are roughly true, then these arrests, a fair trial, and long sentences are in order.  OTOH the timing here is very convenient, and the BO administration is well-populated with Alinsky-ites, progressives, socialists, and marxists.  Let us watch this one closely.

Furthermore, I would strongly quibble with the idea that these folks, if guilty, are fascists.  Fascism, be it corporatist or liberal, is about a very strong state and these folks are quite contrary to that.  A different term is needed.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5873


« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2010, 12:33:31 AM »

GM wrote: "Please cite some quotes of the "coded speech" mentioned above."

GM, As I read your post I heard liberal co-host of 'The View' (I don't know her name) on the Tonight Show say "Karl Rove was attacked today at a book signing - HA HA HA!!!" followed by several derisive comments about him.

An example of not very coded speech, but on the other side.

Rog: The thing with Beck, Limbaugh, etc. is that they fill a gap in the market, not try to cover all stories evenly (obviously).  I haven't listened during any of this, but if everyone is already condemning the wackos, there is nothing of value for them to add.  But when liberal politician x or y tells a lie or breaks a promise and few in the main stream call him on it, then they add value at least to some by filling the void.

Limbaugh has a strong set of views and he wants you to keep listening to the show. That's it.  He makes a big deal that election results don't affect the success of the show.  He plays golf, smokes cigars, looks out at the ocean.  I kind of doubt he has ever thrown a punch or shot a squirrel much less led a militia.  Tells people they can be anything they want to be.  He is an expert at timing the monologues and getting smoothly into commercial breaks. Doesn't do motivational rallies.  Inciting violence is quite a stretch from everything I've heard on the air. 

Beck I find more rambunctious and more open about asking the similar minded to get out and make a difference.  But I have many times heard him say what that doesn't mean, anything overboard especially violence and how anything like that just sets the cause back.  He prays for the health and safety of the President everyday and I find it genuine.

These guys actually love the challenge and set the example of taking on liberal ideas with words, arguments and persuasion.  Beck wants you to punch out the phone calls and be a watch dog for freedom. That is the opposite of telling people they are powerless except to plot and plan to go out and shoot up the place.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31035


« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2010, 07:34:14 AM »

"I heard liberal co-host of 'The View' (I don't know her name) on the Tonight Show say "Karl Rove was attacked today at a book signing - HA HA HA!!!" followed by several derisive comments about him."   This is so common that most of us notice it no more than a fish notices water.  The completely uncoded hatred and violent imagery that was aimed at Bush makes what we see now seem pale in comparison.

"I listen to the right-wingers on the radio all the time, and they would be having a field day if this recent incident involved Muslims instead of Christians.  The Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Sean Hanntiys, etc. would be calling for them to be sent directly to Guantanamo without even a trial.  They've had very little to say about this, and have certainly not called for "profiling" of white, Christian men as potential terrorists."

RL has too low a content/time ratio for me and I find SH to be such an ass and a mental mediocrity that I only watch his show if there is a guest of interest to me e.g. Newt Gingrich-- so I can't speak from a personally informed perspective on them.  I do watch GB quite regularly and think quite a bit of him.    That said, we don't have a world-wide movement of white Christian men making war spearheaded by terrorist tactics on our country.  If we did, I suspect we might see some different reactions from them.

"I can think of many, many examples of the right wingers on talk radio hysterically accusing Obama and the Democrats of all kinds of nasty stuff.  Too many to post here.  I think the author of the column I posted is correct is pointing out that it's only a matter of time before some nut takes them seriously.  No, they don't specifically urge their listeners to do actual violence, but there is a LOT of coded speech that is pretty racist and all but say outright that violence would be justified.  I don't think I'm exaggerating here either."

GB has very consistently and very insistently anticipated that some would go over the edge in response to the dangers to our Republic.  Even the opening graphics of his show for all of 2009 showed MLK as a Founding Father on a par with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson-- which is not what a man who is like how you see GB would do.

This brings us to the larger point.  Liberal Fascism/Progressivism/Corporate Fascism is destroying  our country as we know it.   Our HC system is about to be destroyed by a law that was forced through by the progressives/liberal fascists.   As this law phases in my life will be less free when I go to my doctor-- which inevitably will involve matters of life and death-- because not only will I have fewer doctors from whom to choose and innovations diminished, but those left will be forced by the State to follow courses of treatment in the the treatments that they offer.  The absolutely deranged levels of deficit spending are making debt slaves of us all.  As best as I can figure, under the BO ten-year "plan" (Soviet Russia used to have ten year plans too) each of us, including our children, will be some $30,000 further indebted.  The suffocation of economic freedom, the regulations, the debt burden, and the taxes that go with all of this (many of which are designed to "nudge" us to behaviors the State wishes to impose upon us) all presents the largest threat to American freedom that I have seen in my lifetime.  Government is FORCE and BO et al are massively expanding governmental FORCE into our lives.   

IMHO the best strategy is voting (which is badly diminished by gerrymandering and campaign finance law to the benefit of both the Democrat and Republican wings of the Incumbent Party) and the example of MLK.  IMHO we are still quite far from a situation which calls for the exercise pf the God-given inalienable revolutionary rights of the American people. 

A less violent/force-driven approach to Life by those in Congress and the White House would do wonders in calming things down.

Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2010, 07:43:23 AM »

Quote
BBG, you seem rather quick to dismiss this.  Would you have the same attitude about "some asinine plan they didn't get around to executing" if we were talking about a group of Muslims instead?

What, like the Muslim militia groups who have been training in facilities in New York, Virginia and elsewhere for years without any arrests being made? Seeing how Eric Holder just dismissed charges against New Black Panthers caught on film waving batons at voters in a clear effort to intimidate, I guess federal law enforcement is being selective about their priorities. This incident has an odor about it similar to the Randy Weaver Charlie Foxtrot where a confidential informant wheedled Weaver into committing a crime that SWAT was then sent in to deal with. How 'bout we wait to hear the particulars before leaping to conclusions, or is a rush to judgement what right thinking folks like you demand?

Speaking of inconsistencies, I see in pervious posts you had complaints about Guantánamo, but haven't had anything to say lately about the fact it wasn't closed; took great issue with the term "Islamofascist," but seem to have little complaint about a Christian Fascist label; made a lot of hay over climate change "deniers" being in the pocket of oil companies, but have had nothing to say about how it's come out in the wake of Climategate that those companies funded Warmist research, and so on. Are you really the guy who should be beating his breast about consistency?

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11997


« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2010, 08:37:45 AM »

Will these domestic terrorists get lawyers from big firms lining up to defend them pro bono, like the jihadis in Gitmo did? Will they get tenure at universities like Obama's patron Bill Ayers did?
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!