September 30, 2010

Ohio Tea Party PAC Endorses Archie Wilson for Clermont Commissioner

Filed under: Activism,General,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 12:08 pm

…and evidently that’s not the only one. Here is the complete list of organizations that have endorsed Archie Wilson for County Commissioner to date:

Pretty strong line-up.

There was a slight buzz about this race a while back when the 8-year incumbent backed out of the Republican primary to run as an independent after failing to procure the party’s endorsement. According to my sources, the incumbent did however, seek the Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsement along with Wilson. Since the PAC has shown that it adheres to principles over party, and isn’t afraid to endorse an independent if/when they are the more conservative choice, I think the PAC’s decision to endorse Wilson says a lot.

Here is the survey that all candidates seeking an endorsement must answer. The $64,000 question is, with which statements and to what extent did those not receiving the endorsement, disagree?

Ohio Tea Party PAC Endorses Owens Over DeWine…

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 9:13 am

…showing the Ruling Class establishment how to stand on principle.

From Chris Littleton:

Tea Party Endorsement in Ohio Attorney General Race
Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,

Robert Owens, Constitution Party candidate for Ohio Attorney General, becomes the first statewide candidate to receive an endorsement from Ohio Tea Party PAC in a general election.

Requiring a 7/8ths majority of voting members, endorsement from Ohio Tea Party PAC makes a strong statement about support for Robert Owens amongst tea party and liberty groups throughout Ohio.

All Ohio Liberty Council member groups may have a representative vote for their organization on Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsements, and with over 50 groups represented on the Ohio Liberty Council – an Ohio Tea Party PAC endorsement is quite an accomplishment for any statewide candidate.

We are proud to stand with Robert Owens in his campaign to bring a strong sense of liberty minded principles to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. We know that in keeping with his responsibility to uphold the law for Ohio citizens, he will pursue an agenda consistent with our belief system rather than those of his two major party opponents.

In contrast to the history of this office, we fully expect Mr. Owens to prosecute corruption and avoid frivolous lawsuits. This is still an office that serves the people of Ohio, not a personal agenda.

To inform their decision, Ohio Tea Party PAC requested candidates complete a survey addressing a wide variety of topics designed to flush out philosophy and approach to elected office. Survey found HERE.

Several other races around the state are being evaluated for endorsement with announcements being made over the next 2 weeks. All endorsed candidates can be found at www.ohioteapartypac.com

About Ohio Tea Party PAC
Ohio Tea Party PAC provides advocacy and support to candidates and issues which embody the principles of the Ohio Liberty Council – principles which focus on a fundamental limitation to government.

Ohio Tea Party PAC represents over 50 member groups of the Ohio Liberty Council, liberty minded grass roots organizations including Tea Party Groups, 9/12 Projects and many more.

Follow us on Twitter @OLCPAC
Sincerely,

Chris Littleton
President and Co-Founder, Ohio Liberty Council
President, Cincinnati Tea Party

Owens is the only statewide candidate to be endorsed by the Tea Party PAC. Given that, and having checked their [regional] lists of endorsed candidates, it looks as though the Tea Party PAC is very purposefully and strategically, maintaining their autonomy by only endorsing Republicans who are the clear, conservative choice.

More of that, please.

Final 2Q10 GDP: Annualized +1.7%; Debunking the ‘Consumer Spending Drives the Economy’ Myth

The BEA’s full release is here. Expectations were for no change from August’s estimate of an annualized +1.6%.

Immediate (but clearly planned) AP reax from Jeannine Aversa (bolds are mine):

Many think the economy grew at around the same anemic pace, or slightly worse, during the July-to-September quarter. Little improvement is expected in the final quarter of this year. That’s why unemployment – now at 9.6 percent – is expected to stay high or even rise in the coming months.

Americans just aren’t spending at a robust pace to bulk up companies’ sales and make them confident enough to beef up hiring. Consumers and businesses, battered by the worst recession since the 1930s, are clinging to their cautious ways.

Consumers, in particular, are paring down debt, aren’t spending as much as they normally do during an economic recovery and they are saving more. Their spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity, so their frugal behavior explains why the economy is stuck in a slow-growth rut.

So the problem is that we dummies just aren’t spending enough.

Wrong.

An e-mailer has pointed me to a great article addressing foolishness such as what Aversa has written above.

First, a fundamental economic truth: GDP isn’t spending of dollars; it’s production of goods and services. The government measures GDP by referencing spending as an indirect way to get at (really back into) production. Alternative methods of measurement are either too difficult, too imprecise, or take too long.

Which takes me to the e-mailer’s article. It’s a Monday National Review item (“70 Percent: The Myth of the Consumer Economy”) by Kevin D. Williamson. Behold the wisdom, and the clarity (bolds are mine; internal links are in original):

God defend us from man of one datum, particularly if that man is an economist, and particularly if the datum is wrong.

Exhibit A is the constantly repeated but entirely untrue statement that consumer spending represents 70 percent of the U.S. economy, and that it is therefore imperative that we give consumers some stimulus, in the form of tax rebates, more generous unemployment checks, or cocaine-monkey research grants, in order to put some schmundo in Joe Consumer’s hip pocket, the better for him to carry that seven-tenths of the economy he allegedly holds upon his shoulders like some debt-ridden Atlas chained to Mount Wal-Mart, his liver pecked by a winged and deathless Visa bill.

Who is guilty of repeating this?

(after naming several others–Ed.) Reuters repeats this canard. Martin Crutsinger, the clueless economy reporter for the Associated Press, publishes it all the time. Fareed Zakaria and Pauly K. sing from this hymnal. Practically everybody saying the stimulus should have been bigger (and, for those of you outside New York and Washington: yes, such creatures walk among us) cites that datum.

It is not true.

As Michael Mandel documents copiously in his Bloomberg Businessweek column, what government statistics call “consumer spending” is not — get this! — consumer spending. Most of it isn’t, anyway. (actually, by Williamson’s math, it’s about 57%, or 40% below divided by 70%, but that really doesn’t detract from his point. — Ed.) Lots of that so-called consumer spending is in fact government spending; Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, are lumped in there, as is most health-care spending, which amounts to, oh, $2 trillion a year, which might tend to throw the consumer-spending numbers off a bit. Health-care spending isn’t really driven by consumers (which is why our health-care market is so messed up, incidentally!), but by insurance companies, government, and other non-consumer enterprises. Something on the order of 15 percent of health-care spending actually comes out of consumers’ pockets. Chickenfeed, in the vulgate.

All sorts of other stuff is dumped into that category: the money spent by nonprofits, for instance, along with political parties and campaigns. … the truth is that consumer spending, in reality, represents less than half of U.S. economic activity, probably around 40 percent.

Whatever fraction of our economy is represented by household consumption, 100 percent of our economy — and every economy — is represented by production. We cannot consume that which has not been produced.

The problem of economic policy is not getting people to consume. It is getting them to produce.

… the ultimate in magical thinking (is saying that): We’ll just borrow another few trillion dollars and consume our way out of what ails us! You want fries with that?

I’ve got some bad news for you, Sunshine, some ancient and unalterable and inescapable bad news: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. We’re presently sowing jack, and the Obama administration, the Pelosi-Reid Congress, the Krugmans and Reichs of the world are working hard to make sure that we sow even less. Real prosperity only comes from real productivity, which means real savings and real investment. Everything else is a Beltway full-employment program for social engineers, unicorn wranglers, and fairie-dust sprinklers.

So how do you get people to produce more?

Let people keep more of the fruits of their labor and investment, and they’ll work and invest more. People who haven’t been working will enter the workforce. Businesses will reinvest increased profits in growing their enterprises, or will save more, thereby making more capital available to others. That’s why tax policy is so important.

Along these lines but a bit off the beaten path of current debate, I think I had a pretty interesting idea towards the end of this post earlier this morning. My non-objective assessment is that it’s worth a look-see.

On Final 2Q10 GDP Revision Day, WSJ’s Henninger Touts Growth, Yours Truly Touts Regulatory Relief

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:47 am

G-g-g-g … growth. Remember that?

We had a decent (not great) run of it from mid-2003 through the end of 2007. It was driven by across-the-board income tax cuts and targeted investment-related cuts.

We had a nice run of growth during the late 1990s. It was driven not only by a key tax cut in the capital gains rate but also by John Kasich, who is running for Governor of Ohio. Kasich, as the Associated Press wrote in June 2009 when he announced his candidacy, “was the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee in 1997 that balanced the nation’s budget for the first time in more than 30 years.”

As one can see from the graphic in the far right column of this blog (“Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics”), we had a really nice run of growth starting in the first quarter of 1983. It was driven by the Jack Kemp-Bill Roth tax cuts of 5%, 10%, and 10%, in 1982, 1983, and 1984. By the end of 1989, using annual growth figures (which differ from the quarterlies for reasons unknown), the economy was 34% larger. That’s why the period from 1983-1989 is appropriately referred to as “The Seven Fat Years.”

Replicating such growth wouldn’t be a panacea, but it would go a long way towards it’s a prerequisite to addressing the country’s serious structural financial problems, which is why Daniel Henninger’s Wall Street Journal column today is so timely:

… it looks as if they (voters) are about to repudiate a formerly popular president who has disappointed them, throw over a Democratic Party they think has failed them, and hand power to a Republican Party they don’t trust.

… Ben Bernanke, speaking at this summer’s gathering of the world’s financial elites in Jackson Hole (said): “Central bankers alone cannot solve the world’s economic problems.”

Translation: Nothing the politicians have done works …

Solution No. 1 was to throw nearly $1 trillion of stimulus at the economy. But Keynes failed. Then they sprayed the economy with gallons of Chairman Ben’s Quantitative Elixir, or QE. Nothing happened. They could have extended the Bush tax cuts, but instead the Pelosi Democrats punted the subject past the November election, the equivalent of kicking the ball straight up in the air.

It looks to me as if there’s only one policy they haven’t tried: economic growth.

Economists dispute among themselves about a lot, but not about the proven wonders of strong economic growth. It creates jobs, increases individual wealth, reduces debt, and enhances national well-being. Strong, as opposed to the middling, economic growth the U.S. has now, is so vital that a great nation should want to do whatever it takes to get it.

With it, we win. Without it, we lose. Economist Paul Romer, in an essay on economic growth, bluntly explained why: “For a nation, the choices that determine whether income doubles with every generation, or instead with every other generation, dwarf all other economic policy concerns.”

The problem is that the Democratic Party is no longer able to sustain real growth policies.

The United States doesn’t have Eurosclerosis yet, but the Democratic Party does. That’s because the party has welded itself forever to the public-sector unions, as the social-democratic parties have in Europe (see the current wave of national strikes in Spain and France). Strong growth has no meaning to the public sector, so its political foot soldiers don’t waste time pushing it. Exhibit A is the Obama administration’s abandonment of trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.

The growth issue has defaulted to the Republican Party. That’s the pity. Hardly anyone in the party remembers how to give economic growth the starring role it deserves.

The last Republicans able to talk about growth as a crucial, creative, essential force, a driver of American prosperity and primacy (think the China threat) were Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes. The current crop of Republican leaders and presidential contenders, about to be handed the opportunity of a generation, are in danger of reverting to the party’s austerity-only obsessions. Austerity-only policies are producing Europe’s riots.

Reducing spending, controlling entitlements, reforming public pensions—all of that matters. It’s important. But any population being asked to “sacrifice” needs to be able to believe something better is possible. That’s the challenge of political leadership.

… Voters—Americans—want the chance to do what they do best: work, innovate, compete. That’s the world of strong, long-term economic growth. What the Republican Party needs are leaders willing to do what’s necessary to get it.

Here’s an idea beyond tax cuts, which are of course still important: Apply Kemp-Roth to federal regulations. Cut ‘em by 10% a year for the next three years.

A Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy study (overview here) pegs their total annual cost to businesses at $1.75 trillion. That’s about 12% of GDP.

From Heritage:

More than 50 agencies have a hand in federal regulatory policy, ranging from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Together, these agencies enforce more than 150,000 pages of rules, with purposes and impacts as varied as the agencies themselves. Many of these regulations provide needed benefits. … But each regulation comes at a cost–a “regulatory tax” imposed on all Americans.

No one can credibly claim that 150,000 pages of bureaucratic rules and regulations (300 reams of paper) are required to enforce the “rules of the game” and to accomplish appropriate regulatory goals, or that carefully culling 15,000 pages a year for the next three years can’t be done. Appropriately chosen, they would reduce the regulatory burden by at least $175 billion a year (10% of $1.75 trillion), but probably more, if we go after the most costly items with non-existent benefits first). The regulatory relief would reduce business costs, leading to a combination of increased tax revenues (because of higher reported profits) and higher economic growth (as freed-up business resources and reinvested profits are employed to pursue other economic opportunities).

Three years from now, we can then debate whether 105,000 pages (150,000 minus 45,000) are still too many. I’d bet on the answer being “yes.”

These would be “supply-side” cuts in the sense that they would increase the resources devoted to productive business and commercial activity.

Continuing on the current path, with the worst economic recovery in decades and pathetic economic growth currently projected as far as the eye can see, is, as Henninger notes, not an option.

Positivity: Kimberly Dozier Back on the Front Lines As an AP Reporter

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:59 am

Original News Report, May 31, 2006:

LANDSTUHL, Germany — A CBS News correspondent seriously wounded by a car bomb that killed two colleagues in Iraq briefly regained consciousness during a flight to Germany, where she will be treated at a U.S. military hospital, the network said Tuesday.

Kimberly Dozier was being treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for injuries to her head and legs and was in critical but stable condition, the “CBS Evening News” reported.

CBS said Dozier, a 39-year-old American, underwent two operations in Baghdad before being transferred to Landstuhl, the U.S. military’s largest medical facility abroad. Vice President Sandy Genelius told The Associated Press that Dozier was expected to stay at Landstuhl for several days.

“We are encouraged by reports from her doctors,” Genelius said. “Generally, it’s positive in that she’s certainly stable and the doctors are feeling more positive than they have been.”

Col. W. Bryan Gamble said Dozier was responsive during the flight, opening her eyes and moving her toes as she was transferred, but that it was too soon to speculate on her recovery.

_______________________________________________

Previous Related Positivity Posts:

  • June 2, 2006 — Soldier with Heart of Gold Gives Purple Heart to Seriously Injured Newswoman
  • August 6, 2006 — CBS Correspondent Kimberly Dozier Recovering “Ahead of Schedule”
  • November 9, 2007 — Writing helped Dozier overcome Iraq injuries

_______________________________________________

Dozier Returns to Front Lines

Yesterday, I read an Associated Press report from Afghanistan (“Petraeus fights time, enemy in Afghanistan”; saved here for future reference), and saw that its author was Kimberly Dozier.

Wow.

Dozier’s report is a clinic on how to do a fair and balanced report in a difficult, controversial situation. Read the whole thing.

God bless you, Kimberly Dozier, and may He keep you safe.

September 29, 2010

Obama’s Cites GOP’s Intent to Cut Education Spending; Press Ignores Its Meteoric Current Year Rise

USDeptOfEducLogo0910In New Mexico yesterday and probably in several other appearances, President Barack Obama criticized the House Republicans’ Pledge to America on several fronts. To me, only because I tend to look at the real numbers during most months, his most obviously off-base critique had to do with federal education spending (as carried at Jake Tapper’s Political Punch blog at ABC):

Obama said the Republicans would to cut education spending by 20 percent in order to pay for some of the tax breaks, a charge House Republicans say is inaccurate.

Tapper is one of the few establishment media reporters left who isn’t afraid to question liberal authority, but he missed a golden opportunity to dig into facts that might have left him wondering why the Republicans are being so timid.

According to the September 2009 Monthly Treasury Statement (go to Table 3 at the link), the Department of Eduction spent $53.4 billion during fiscal 2009. This year, projecting the August 2010 total of $81.6 billion for another month, it will probably come in at about $89 billion.

Does anyone have any idea what marvelous benefits have come about as a result of the current year’s 65% or more increase in spending? Neither do I.

Cutting this year’s spending by 20% next year would still leave the Department of Education spending about $70 billion per year — still over 30% above fiscal 2008. Again, for what tangible benefit?

Jake Tapper and others in the press could easily have and definitely should have checked out the numbers yours truly did, and didn’t. C’mon, people. Stop taking transcription and do a little work, why don’t you?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

In Coverage of Latest Court Ruling, AP Continues Press Tradition of Stem Cell Obfuscation

StemCellsIt is truly remarkable to observe how press outlets continue to misreport and misinform the public in the area of stem cell research.

One of the latest examples came yesterday at the Associated Press. In a report covering a court ruling on government funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), the AP’s Nedra Pickler completely failed to acknowledge that there are any other kinds of stem cells. Every single use by Pickler of the terms “stem cell” or “stem cells” has no modifying adjective, except the very first, whose modifier is “embryonic.”

It’s as if there are no other avenues besides ESCR for “scientific progress toward potentially lifesaving medical treatment.” In fact, Pickler’s less-informed readers would have no reason to believe that there is any form of stem cell research besides ESCR. The reality, which will be shown later for the umpteenth time, is that non-embryonic stem cells, often referred to as adult stem cells, have already shown that they can do virtually everything embryonic cells can with far less potential for side effects and, of course, no loss of human life. The word “adult” does not appear in the AP report.

Here are several paragraphs from Pickler’s pathetic piece, which also includes a deeply deceptive quote (is there any other kind?) from Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (bold is mine):

Court OKs US-funded stem cell research for now

An appeals court ruled Tuesday that government funding of embryonic stem cell research can continue for now.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington granted the Obama administration’s request to allow the funding from the National Institutes of Health while it appeals a judge’s order blocking the research.

The administration had argued that stopping the research while the case proceeds would irreparably harm scientific progress toward potentially lifesaving medical treatment.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had blocked President Barack Obama’s research funding guidelines because he said it’s likely they violate the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court issued an unusually quick decision, a day after hearing arguments over whether the funding could continue while it considers the case. The court also said it would expedite the case.

Researchers hope one day to use stem cells in ways that cure spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments. Opponents say the research is a form of abortion because human embryos must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells.

… “President Obama made expansion of stem cell research and the pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and cures a top priority when he took office,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement after the ruling. “We’re heartened that the court will allow NIH and their grantees to continue moving forward while the appeal is resolved.”

The bolded sentence above is false. Let’s take it one item at a time.

Adult stem cells have already been used to treat spinal cord injuries. Here’s one example that was recounted in testimony this month before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations:

The first example Dr. Peduzzi Nelson gave was that of Silvio, who was quadriplegic after a spinal cord injury at the base of his neck, “AIS Grade A”. Grade A is considered the worst, indicating a “complete” spinal cord injury where no motor or sensory function is preserved in the lower body. Silvio was left with no movement of his legs and minimal movement of his fingers. At 2 years after injury, and after intensive rehabilitation failed to lead to an improvement, he received his own nasal adult stem cells and partial scar removal.

Today Silvio can maintain a standing position and wave without help. With a walker and short braces, he can walk over 30 feet without anyone helping him. He can now move his fingers, which he could not do before.

Silvio’s improvement is astounding. Usually only 5% of AIS Grade A patients improve in grade if a treatment is given at 1 year or greater after spinal cord injury. But using adult stem cells for treatment, Silvio is not an isolated case.

Adult stem cells have successfully treated Parkinson’s disease (Life News; February 16, 2009):

Scientists have published a paper in a medical journal describing the results of the world’s first clinical trial using autologous neural stem cells for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. A leading bioethics watchdog says the results show more money should be put behind adult stem cells.

UCLA researchers published their results in February issue of the Bentham Open Stem Cell Journal which outlines the long term results of the trial.

“We have documented the first successful adult neural stem cell transplantation to reverse the effects of Parkinson’s disease and demonstrated the long term safety and therapeutic effects of this approach,” says lead author Dr. Michel Levesque.

The paper describes how Levesque’s team was able to isolate patient-derived neural stem cells, multiply them in vitro and ultimately differentiate them to produce mature neurons before they are reintroduced into the brain.

The team was able to inject the adult stem cells without the need for immunosuppressants. Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cell injections don’t cause a patient’s immune system to reject the cells.

The adult stem cells were highly beneficial for the patient involved in the study.

Are the AP and Nedra Pickler going to quibble over whether the two instances cited represent “cures,” when the ESCR cupboard is utterly bare of success stories such as these?

As to other ailments, several years ago, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life wrote that “ASCR has produced treatments for more than 73 medical conditions, including brain cancer, breast cancer, type I diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis, and stroke damage.” The number is probably higher now.

Advocate Don Margolis’s web site lists well over 50 categories of diseases and conditions that have been improved and/or cured with adult stem cells.

At some point, the oh-so-cute obfuscation of the press stops being funny. That’s the point where people who could be gaining knowledge they could use to help themselves or their loved ones get desired treatment for chronic diseases and conditions are kept unaware because of consistently irresponsible journalism. I would suggest that we’re really close to being there, i.e., we’re not far from the point where people will be needlessly suffering and perhaps even dying because they are being kept in the dark by an establishment press that is all about ESCR uber alles while continuing to ignore and/or downplay available adult stem cell progress and treatments.

Graphic found at LifeNews.com.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘GM-PAC? GOP Should Just Say No — But They Won’t’) Is Up

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:22 am

GovernmentMotors0609It’s here.

The sub-headline:

Supposedly conservative politicians can’t possibly defend their acceptance of political contributions from GM’s political action committee.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday (link won’t work until then) under a slightly different title after the blackout expires.

____________________________

On Saturday, friends and fellow TIB broadcasters Matt, Mark, and I discussed GM’s political contributions and its PAC’s GOP recipients, including Eric Cantor ($2,000); Roy Blunt ($5,000); Dan Coates ($5,000); and Ohio’s own alleged champion of free enterprise and small government, Rob Portman ($5,000).

During the lively conversation (all three people involved were alive, so it WAS lively), I was informed that I’m just about the only person making an issue out of this.

Well, though I would have expected more attention than what I’ve seen to this point, I’m not totally alone.

At the Atlantic, David Indiviglio’s answer to his own question (“Should We Be Outraged That GM Has Resumed Political Giving?”) is “no”:

Such political giving should not be permitted. The U.S. government is majority shareholder of GM. It controls the company. This effectively means GM is providing non-dividend money to select decision makers of its biggest shareholder.

… If nothing else, it would likely have been wise for GM to encourage its employees to give to political campaigns on their own, instead of through the PAC, until the government no longer owns a majority share in the company so avoid the seeming conflict-of-interest.

The riposte, which Indiviglio notes, is that GM’s PAC is a collection of employee contributions and that the money doesn’t actually come from the company itself — an argument that almost never comes up in news coverage of other companies’ PAC contributions. The column addresses that issue, but suffice it to say that it takes a leap of faith to believe that Ron Bloom and the car-czar clan in Washington aren’t involved in directing the GM PAC’s money, or that Uncle Sam’s shadow doesn’t loom large over contribution decisions the PAC makes.

At the Christian Science Monitor, unlikely ally Robert Reich is also opposed:

Last time I looked, you and I and every other U.S. taxpayer owned a majority of GM. That means some of the money we’re earning as GM owners is being used to influence how we vote in the upcoming mid-term election.

To put it another way, we taxpayers are paying some people (GM executives) to tell us how we should vote for another group of people (House and Senate candidates) who will decide how our taxes will be used in the future.

… Since TARP, suspicions about big government in cahoots with big business have fueled angry tea partiers on the right and despairing cynics on the left. GM’s crass disregard for the spirit if not the letter of the law continues to fuel them.

Yours truly had a column about the too-comfortable relationship between Big Gov and Big Biz back in February.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton raises an interesting parallel at the Washington Examiner:

Now it should go without saying that a company that is owned and operated by the government has no business making campaign contributions to members of Congress, no matter how the company tries to spin it. But this is exactly the kind of suspicious, shady and corrupt arrangement we can expect now that the government has decided to meddle so obtrusively into the private sector.

I checked with a spokesman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), another “private” corporation funded and controlled by the federal government. He told me that CPB does not have a PAC.

… “General Motors, Chrysler and Citigroup are just three of the biggest bailout recipients who have continued to remain politically active, through their political action committees, federal lobbying or direct donations to the pet projects of lawmakers.”

There has also been a bit of a ruckus in some election races:

Those who got contributions tend not to be facing highly competitive races — suggesting these are mostly relationship-maintenance dollars. But some are engaged in competitive races, and for them the money is causing headaches.

Since the government still owns 60 percent of GM, angry challengers to four members — (Ike) Skelton (D-Mo.); Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), a longtime champion of the auto industry; Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), a conservative Blue Dog; and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) — are demanding that they return the money to the auto giant’s PAC.

Blog attention has indeed been pretty light. A Google blog search done at 8 a.m. ET on ["General Motors" "political contributions"] came back with about 40 items. Of course, that’s pending a possible PJM Instalanche (noted for Mark’s benefit :–>; Update: Here it is).

Here are some who have weighed in. Most of them don’t specifically note that GM’s PAC directs money collected from employees:

  • Sweetness & Light — “It’s not like GM is one of those evil corporations that Mr. Obama and the Democrats insist should be prevented from contributing to political campaigns. GM is owned by ‘the workers.’”
  • Bungalow Bill’s — “General Motors has no business making political contributions when they can’t account for every dime of tax payer money in repayments to the taxpayers.”
  • The Truth About Cars — “A government owned company (is) using taxpayers’ money to ‘contribute’ to politicians to help them get re-elected, and the main beneficiaries are the people who saved your company with more taxpayer money.”

As they say, developing ….

Positivity: USCCB pro-life chairman issues statement on upcoming Respect Life month

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:48 am

From Washington:

Sep 28, 2010 / 03:03 pm

In light of the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston issued a statement on what he perceives to be the greatest threats to human dignity in society, calling on Catholics to work towards transforming culture “into one that welcomes every human person.”

Cardinal DiNardo, who serves as chairman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, opened his remarks on Sept. 28 by stating that with “each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.”

“With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions – due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child.”

“Yet the loss of even one child,” he noted, “and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.”

“In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government,” the cardinal continued.

For example, although “Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins,” he said, in “March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

Dems Practicing Their Chavista Tactics

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:23 am

Here in Ohio (more at Riehl World View):

And out west in Oregon (more here):

BizzyBlog flashbacks (November 2008): Remembering –

The “Or what?” answer is what I always thought it was.

__________________________________________________

UPDATE: Instapundit — “I blame the Administration’s extremist, eliminationist rhetoric.”

UPDATE 2: An ID in Ohio? (via RightOhio) –

GOPpossibleCoffeeAttacker0910GOPpossibleCoffeeAttackerWithTed

September 28, 2010

AP to Obama: Find Your Bus, and Throw Andy Stern Under It

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:43 am

The Associated Press plays the “hide the Democratic Party affiliation” game so often that when the party’s name appears as obviously as it does in the item that follows — and is tied to tons of money involved in political campaigns — you can’t help but figure that there’s something else going on:

APonSternFBIinvestigation092810

The “something else” is, of course, Stern’s participation in Obama’s deficit reduction commission noted in the sixth paragraph. The commission’s credibility, such as it is already, will be seriously hurt by Stern’s continued presence.

The AP is helpfully telling the president that Stern’s got to go.

For once, they’re right.

P.S. Though it is interesting that the “Democratic” reference doesn’t include the word “Party.”

Cleanup at AP: Report on Serious Consumer Confidence Drop Omits Its Size, Deletes Previously Included Context

conference-boardToday’s report from The Conference Board shows that consumer confidence fell steeply in September:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in August, retreated in September. The Index now stands at 48.5 (1985=100), down from 53.2 in August.

In a report issued in the run-up to the Board’s release (go to the text which follows the “Breaking News Update” here; saved at my web host for future reference), the Associated Press’s Stephen Bernard revealed economists’ consensus prediction (52.5) and helpfully told readers the level of result (90) that would represent “a strong, healthy economy.”

In his 10:36 report consolidating the breaking news with info presented before its release (saved here), that useful information disappeared. In fact, even though it was in the “Breaking News Update” of the earlier report, Bernard omitted the Board’s specific reading from his revision. Amazing.

Here is what the AP reporter told readers in his run-up story (bolds are mine throughout):

Growth in consumer confidence in Germany comes on the same day where a key report on consumer confidence in the U.S. is scheduled for release. The Conference Board is expected to say U.S. consumer confidence dipped slightly this month compared with August.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters forecast the consumer confidence index dipped to 52.5 from 53.5 last month. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a strong, healthy economy.

Confidence remains low in the U.S. as unemployment remains high and economic growth is tepid. But investors have been able to drive stocks sharply higher throughout September because economic data indicates the country is strong enough to avoid falling back into recession.

Here is how the related information looked in the revision:

Stocks slipped Tuesday following news that consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level since February.

The Conference Board said its September reading on consumer confidence fell sharply from August and was well below forecasts. Stocks have rallied throughout September as many major economic reports suggested that economic growth was slightly better than previously thought.

Why would Stephen Bernard and the AP not want readers to know what the Board’s reading actually was, or just how far below expectations it came in? And why is it no longer important that readers understand what kind of reading is seen when an economy is strong and healthy?

The questions answer themselves, don’t they?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (092810, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:30 am

At Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com“AFL-CIO Head Calls for ‘Popular Control Over Private Corporations’”:

Building for the future, he (Richard Trumka) said, “we need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That’s a long-term job, but one we should start now.”

It comes straight from the AFL-CIO Now Blog.

The most obvious point to make is that most of the “private corporations” he is criticizing are “publicly held” — that is, they are owned directly through individually purchased shares or indirectly through mutual funds by millions of Americans, young and old, rich and not-so-rich. Though they are heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, companies such as these whose stocks are publicly traded are already in a very real sense “popularly controlled.” The fact that shareholders don’t exercise their right to have a say in how companies are run very often is a separate issue, but it’s there to use if they wish to use it.

I’m thinking that Trumka is advocating going further than “merely” getting the government’s boot more firmly on the necks of publicly-held companies. Given that Koch Industries, which truly is privately held, has made it to the top tier of Barack Obama’s enemies list, Trumka’s “fundamental restructuring” may be about exercising “popular control” over entities such as these.

“Popular control” in leftist parlance normally means “government ownership” — which, in Trumka’s world, might imply that once a private entity reaches a certain size, the government can demand to become a “partner.”

If this seems like a stretch, look at the “small business loan” legislation that just passed. The law requires that participating lenders accept “government capital investment” (i.e., partial government ownership) as a precondition of participating in these loan programs.

One fundamental difference between the U.S. labor movement and those found in the rest of the world was the basic understanding here that free-market capitalism works, with the only open questions relating to whether or not companies were appropriately paying the help and treating them fairly.

Trumka’s statement would indicate that the labor movement’s leadership has now moved firmly into the leftists’ May Day, “workers of the world unite” camp. George Meany and Lane Kirkland are spinning in their graves.

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From AP Add Russ Feingold to the list of key Dems who don’t want to be seen with President Obama:

Democratic Party Chairman Timothy Kaine says he sees no slight in Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold skipping a campaign rally tonight where President Barack Obama is appearing on his behalf.

Sure, Tim.

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At CNS News:

Just seven days after he sparked controversy by omitting the word “Creator” when he closely paraphrased the passage from the Declaration of Independence that says all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” President Barack Obama again omitted the Creator when speaking about the “inalienable rights” that “everybody is endowed with.”

This is the kind of “cute,” in-your-face crap immature, defiant punks engage in — which is why my description of Obama’s term as the Punk Presidency has remained appropriate since the day it was first coined. It would be a barely tolerable sideshow if it weren’t for the fact that the Punk Presidency has, as Michael Barone has frequently noted, come with the actions of a Gangster Government.

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Birds of a Feather (HT Mark Hemingway):

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s six nights in New York featured a secret sit-down with militant minister Louis Farrakhan, heckling in a hotel bar, and a fear of being rubbed out that bordered on paranoia.

The president shared a hush-hush meal with Farrakhan and members of the New Black Panther Party Tuesday at the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street.

The meeting of the podium smackers took place in a banquet room, where the fiery leaders presumably exchanged theories on what’s wrong with the world.

To get a handle on what’s wrong with the world, all they had to do is look at each other.

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“Obama Presses for Longer School Years” — I might be receptive to the idea if a) it doesn’t come with a 9% pay raise, which the teachers’ unions will expect for going from roughly 180 to 196 days, and b) the extra days are devoted to academics instead of garbage like Arne Duncan’s “sustainable economy” brainwashing:

On Tuesday, the conferees were addressed by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who stated that the Department of Education had “been mostly absent from the movement to educate our children to be stewards of our environment” and had not “been doing enough in the sustainability movement.” But the Secretary further stated, “I promise you that we will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society.” The Secretary went on to speak to the issue of the central role educators must play in promoting a culture of change in our schools and in our communities. “President Obama has made clean, renewable energy a priority because, as he says, it’s the best way to ‘truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet.’”

Until the extra days are dedicated to genuine learning, they shouldn’t waste everybody’s time. That’s not going to happen any time soon.

Through the first eleven months of the fiscal year, the Department of Education has spent $81.6 billion this year, up from $50.3 billion the previous year — and that’s before digging into what looks to be some unusual accounting. During August $9.24 billion in actual spending was nearly offset by $8.57 billion in “Proprietary Receipts From the Public,” leaving total “spending” for the month at $667 million. Huh?

Positivity: Years later, bravery on a Laos mountain is honored

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:09 am

From Washington:

For decades, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. “Dick” Etchberger’s courage under fire was kept as secret as the mission that placed him on a remote Laotian mountain, high above the clouds, in March 1968.

Now, his bravery that day can be written in stone.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday posthumously recognized Etchberger for service “beyond the call of duty” by giving him the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. Obama said those three words can now be etched into a granite monument to Etchberger’s memory at Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana.

“Even though it’s been 42 years,” Obama said at a ceremony with Etchberger’s three sons, “it’s never too late to do the right thing and it’s never too late to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans and their families.”

Etchberger was part of a radar team that came under attack by North Vietnamese soldiers who had improbably scaled the heights to Lima Site 85, a radar installation helping to direct U.S. bombing of Hanoi. The mission was secret because the U.S. was not supposed to have troops in officially neutral Laos.

The 35-year-old radar technician from Hamburg, Pa., with no formal training in combat, acted on instinct. Using an M-16 and a radio to call in air strikes, he single-handedly held off the attackers until helicopters arrived at dawn.

He then braved enemy fire to help three wounded comrades into rescue slings.

After climbing into the chopper behind the others, Etchberger was fatally wounded when enemy fire struck the aircraft. The others in the helicopter made it to safety.

“Today,” Obama told Etchberger’s sons in the East Room ceremony, “your nation finally acknowledges and fully honors your father’s bravery.”

“We knew that he was that kind of person,” Richard Etchberger, who shares his father’s first name, said afterward. “He would be here just saying ‘I was doing my job up there.’ I think he’d be really humbled but proud of his achievement.”

Etchberger was secretly honored by the Air Force months after his death and his wife, Catherine, knew the truth of his mission. But his children, and others, at first did not.

Go here for the rest of the story.

September 27, 2010

Lickety-Split Links (092710, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:27 am

Insight of the Day, from Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion, who channels those “When E.F. Hutton Talks, People Listen” commercials of yesteryear (examples here and here) — “Boehner Talks Obama Listens.”

The great and powerful Oz has nothing on the Great and Powerful Republican Leader. Go there and see what Matt is referring to.

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Here’s an interesting August 2008 flashback, considering Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern’s characterization of ObamaCare opponents last week (Warning: F-bomb is at link) — “Dem. Party Chairman Says Americans are Selfish and Against ‘The Least Among Us’”

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Mickey Kaus (HT Instapundit), on the possibility of lame-duck mischief by defeated Congressional Democrats — “Nothing makes me more paranoid … than the left’s attempts to say my fears are paranoid.”

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From China, via Jamie Glazov at Pajamas Media (links are in original):

The torch-carriers for Mao Tse-tung’s Red Guards have seen to it that Degang’s … books have been purged from all of Beijing’s store shelves. … The country’s media has launched a smear campaign against (him), making all kinds of defamatory accusations, which include financial corruption … and the seduction of married women. The authorities have … squashed his media appearances. Degang himself remains out of sight and the Chinese people do not dare utter his name.

Although it reads like it’s from the 1960s after I purged more modern and high-tech references to what the Chinese Communist government is doing to comedian Guo Degang, it’s really happening now.

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“Obama: Teacher unions can help boost schools” — An interesting statement, tacitly acknowledging that they been a serious stumbling block for decades.

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From “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same” Dept.:

  • John Kerry, October 2006 — “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
  • John Kerry, September 2010 — “John Kerry: Democrats’ woes stem from uninformed voters.” Specifically, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.”

The common thread, of course, is elitist Ruling Class contempt for Tea Party patriots specifically and the Country Class in general, whether they’re serving overseas or sincerely attempting to improve their country through activism. Not surprising, coming from a guy who thinks taxes are for other people and uses the “Do you know who I am?” method to bully his way through waiting lines — but definitely contemptible.