September 7, 2011

In Detroit’s Big 3 Auto Talks, AP ‘Forgets’ GM and Chrysler Workers Can’t Strike, UAW’s Conflicts of Interest

UAWfordHandshakeIt’s hard to figure out why Tom Krisher at the Associated Press bothered filing a report on the status of contract talks between Detroit’s Big 3 automakers and the United Auto Workers. The only reason I can discern is that he wanted to brag about how he and his wire service pals have access to anonymously-sourced info about how the talks are going. Surprise: As has been the case almost always for about the past 30-plus years, It’s coming down to the wire with the two sides supposedly far apart at two of the three companies. Knock me over with a feather.

Krisher failed to inform readers of three quite important sets of facts. First (seriously), he never told readers that General Motors and Chrysler workers have no-strike contract clauses prohibiting them from job actions until 2015, i.e., only Ford is financially vulnerable. Second, he failed to note that the government still holds a significant (and probably board-controlling) share of GM, or that a UAW healthcare trust owns 46.5% of Chrysler (down from an original 55%). Finally, because he didn’t disclose the ownership stakes, he failed to note the obvious conflict of interest the UAW has in negotiating with Ford, or the possible government-influenced pressure on the union to drive a hard bargain with Ford on GM’s behalf.

Here are several paragraphs from Krisher’s report (bolds indicate language misleading readers into believing that a strike is possible at any one or more of the companies):

(more…)

Letter to the President From Ohio Tea Party and Liberty Movement Leaders

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:11 pm

Note: I received what follows in an email shortly before 10:00 p.m. It is a letter that was signed by 66 Ohio Liberty Group Leaders and was faxed and mailed today to President Obama in response to the threats and accusations made against the TEA Party movement by union leaders and Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus over the past two weeks.

++++++++++++++

September 7, 2011

VIA FAX AND US MAIL

President Barack Obama
C/O White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear President Obama,

We, the undersigned leaders of Ohio liberty groups, are writing to express our deep disappointment in you personally for your lack of moral leadership over the past several weeks culminating in the accusations made this past weekend at the union rally in Detroit. The hateful comments made against the TEA Party, by your supporters, went noticeably unchallenged by you that day and since, despite your calls this past January for “more civility in our public discourse.” Your silence serves to encourage and condone a threat of physical violence made by teamster union leader James Hoffa against common working Americans who simply disagree with your policies and the actions of the unions that support you and those policies.

Furthermore, as the head of the Democratic Party, and a black American, your unwillingness to rein in the over-the-top racially charged rhetoric of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Andre Carson, and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus is unconscionable. Unless you actually believe that the vast majority of TEA Party participants are indeed racists who truly desire to see blacks “hanging from trees”, you must speak out and denounce these untrue and unsubstantiated accusations as reckless, incendiary and deliberately intended to create civil unrest.

As President of the United States your actions influence the attitudes and actions of many Americans. You have an even more significant impact on many younger Americans. You owe it to them, and you owe it to all Americans, to make it crystal clear that it is the Constitutional right, and in fact duty, of all American citizens to engage in vigorous, civil, political debate without the threat of intimidation or physical violence. You owe it to all of us to make it crystal clear that your administration will protect the rights of all citizens, at all costs, and will condemn anyone who threatens to take away those rights or incite violence. It is your duty as President of the US to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the US, and the rights of every citizen contained therein.

As members of the TEA Party and Liberty movement, we can assure you that we will never be intimidated by any group, either foreign or domestic, including the leadership of organized labor, that threatens our Constitutional rights, individual liberty and economic future. We will continue to vigorously participate in the political process as we work to restore our nation to greatness, regardless of any opposition we must overcome to reach that goal.

++++++++++++++

My comment: Jimmy Hoffa Jr.’s incendiary threat, Joe Biden’s attacks on patriots as “barbarians,” Congressional Black Caucus members’ baseless charges of racism, and President Obama’s determined silence which amounts to the condoning of all of these statements has done one thing: It has totally removed the credibility of any bipartisan or conciliatory pose the President might attempt tomorrow night, and for the foreseeable future.

Comic Relief, Employment Division

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:07 pm

COMIC RELIEF I

Story:

Republicans have decided they’re not going to give a rebuttal to President Obama’s jobs speech later this week, a decision House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took as a high affront to the White House.

At least three GOP lawmakers also have announced they’re not going to show up for the presidential address. House Speaker John Boehner’s office then confirmed Tuesday evening that nobody from the party would deliver an official televised response.

Pelosi said the party’s “silence” would “speak volumes about their lack of commitment to creating jobs.”

Awwwww, poor baby.

Reminder:

Republicans Remind Obama: Democrats Are Blocking House-Passed Jobs Bills

Republican leaders are reminding President Obama that the House of Representatives has passed more than a dozen “pro-growth” measures to spur job creation, but with one exception, Senate Democrats have refused to consider any of those bills.

In a letter to the president on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) listed all the House-passed “jobs” bills that are now languishing in the Senate. They include a bill to reduce the regulatory burdens on farmers and small business owners; a bill to block a “job-destroying national energy tax,” and a bill to boost offshore energy production.

Boehner and Cantor also outlined “potential opportunities for Congress and the White House to work together” on job-creation.

A full list is at the link.

___________________________________________________

COMIC RELIEF II

Never let it be said that yours truly does not provide useful job-seeking advice — in this case, things NOT to put on a resume or potential job-related communications (not necessarily in the order indicated; adapted from the slideshow at the link):

  1. Do not use a shaky email address. “me@shakinmybootie.com” is not helpful.
  2. Don’t forget to put your last name on your resume.
  3. Calling yourself a great dancer with “versatile toes” and “ability to do the moonwalk” gives a less than professional impression.
  4. Don’t insist on getting paid in advance for a scheduled interview because “my time is valuable.”
  5. If asked about your criminal record, try to avoid saying that your arrest was for assaulting your previous boss.
  6. Confidence is good; conceit (“Would you miss the opportunity to hire someone like me? I think not”) is not.
  7. Romance is nice, but if you’re a husband and wife team looking to job share, don’t submit a love poem as part of your application.
  8. You should not use your dog or cat as a reference.
  9. Try to avoid using references working at places from which you’ve been fired.
  10. Though it could be true, don’t indicate that “The more I get paid, the harder I’ll work.”

Now admit it: This is more help than anyone will ever see from Nancy Pelosi — or Barack Obama.

AP’s Partying Peoples and Blathering Blood Celebrate Tea Party Negatives in Cooked AP-GfK Poll

On September 4, Associated Press reporters Steve Peoples and Michael R. Blood celebrated the negatives towards the Tea Party found in a typically sample-skewed AP-GfK poll taken in mid-August. “Somehow,” they failed to report on the president’s growing negatives found in a separate AP-GfK poll report with the same respondents.

Based on what I saw in AP-GfK’s May effort, which had a sample of 46%-29% Democrats vs. Republicans (including independent leaners), I determined that the joint effort’s acronym should really stand for “Absolutely Pathetic Garbage for Koolaiders.” Though August’s sample bias not quite as bad, it was still blatant enough (43-32 Dems vs. GOP) to make the overall results lean left by at least 4-5 points, or 8-10 margin points, on key questions. Peoples and Blood may or may not be koolaiders, but they certainly tailored their narrative (as seen in text bolded by me) to those who are:

Tea party forcefully shaping 2012 GOP race

The tea party is forcefully shaping the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination as candidates parrot the movement’s language and promote its agenda while jostling to win its favor.

That’s much to the delight of Democrats who are working to paint the tea party and the eventual Republican nominee as extreme.

(more…)

Lucid Links (090711, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:53 am

“Memory Hole” (from “1984“) Alert“Rep. Nancy Pelosi House Democrats have dropped the word ‘stimulus’ from their vocabulary.”

Too bad no one else has. But watch the establishment press stop talking about “stimulus.”

The fact that they feel they must flush “stimulus” down the memory hole is proof that: a) it’s unpopular; b) it’s widely perceived not to have worked (because it didn’t); and c) the President’s “big ideas” for generating jobs is more of the same with a different name.

___________________________________________________

Mitt Romney’s not-worth reading jobs plan (reason for not reading explained here yesterday; decision vindicated in a Wall Street Journal editorial today) has a graph with a very obvious error.

Shown here, it claims that the economy lost 300,000 in the 24 months after the recession ended in June 2009. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that according to the Establishment Survey, the one used for reporting job growth, the economy really added 554,000 seasonally adjusted jobs during that period. That’s still be the worst performance among the recessions charted.

To sort-of bail Romney out (excuse the charity), I’ll note that the Household Survey, the one used for reporting the unemployment rate, shows 644,000 seasonally adjusted jobs lost during that period.

Romney could still turn out to be right by the time the next comprehensive revision gets done. We’ll be getting a preview of the impact of that revision on September 29, and the final result in February or March of 2012. The last two revisions, all of which can laid at the feet of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy aka the Fear-Based Economy, were -378,000 in 2009 (covering March 2009 to December 2010) and -902,000 in 2010 (covering March 2008 to December 2009).

___________________________________________________

“Arab Spring” Update: “Jihadists plot to take over Libya; U.S. steps up surveillance of suspects among rebels.”

Given what’s happened with Gunwalker (see next item), “surveillance” would appear to mean: “We’ll watch ‘em take over and do nothing about it.”

___________________________________________________

Gunwalker (or should we now call it “Bombwalker”?) has grown to include 2,000 grenades (HT The Truth About Guns).

It also looks like there was a Gunwalker-like operation in Indiana (should we now call it “Gangwalker”?):

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has acknowledged an Indiana dealer’s cooperation in conducting straw purchases at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Exclusive documents obtained by Gun Rights Examiner show the dealer cooperated with ATF by selling guns to straw purchasers, and that bureau management later asserted these guns were being traced to crimes.

Bob Owens at Pajamas Media:

what Codrea has dubbed as “Gangwalker” appears to be another attempt to provide guns to criminals in order to generate more gun crime and then more calls for gun control.

The biggest difference between the two operations at this early date only seems to be that Gangwalker is a purposeful attempt to create the deaths of American citizens in order to pursue the administration’s fanatical anti-gun agenda.

American deaths, for political gain.

Think about that claim for a minute, and what that would mean.

But according to election prognosticator Allan Lichtman, Obama will get reelected, partially because (Point 9 of 13) “The administration is untainted by major scandal.”

It’s one thing to claim lack of “taint” owing to the establishment press’s failure to cover Gunwalker/Bombwalker/Gangwalker, the Sestak buyoff attempt, and so many other very real scandals. It’s another thing for Lichtman to claim, as he did to US News, that “This administration has been squeaky clean.”

That’s objectively delusional. Hopefully, despite his track record, so is his prediction.

America’s Obama-Induced Irregularity

Very little is as it should be in Obamaland.

__________________________________________

Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.
__________________________________________

Thirty-one months after Barack Obama’s inauguration, the nation has come down with a serious case of irregularity. It reveals itself in so many areas it’s impossible to enumerate them all. The three most visible manifestations of irregularity can be seen in the economy, energy, and in the administration’s exercise of bureaucratic power.

There’s nothing regular about how the economy has performed during the past three years. That’s when what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy, more recently tagged the fear-based economy, began. Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to fundamentally change how the economy operated. To a large extent, they’ve gotten their way, and it’s not very likely that an opposition party controlling only one-half of one branch of government will be able to do much about it in the next seventeen months.

What a horrific change it has been. Until now, as Investor’s Business Daily graphically demonstrated in an August 26 editorial, every recovery since World War II has seen the economy bounce back to where it was before the preceding downturn in one, two, or at most three quarters. Under Obamanomics, we’re currently at eight quarters and counting since the most recent recession ended — and we’re still not there, regardless of whether you believe it began in December 2007, as the National Bureau of Economic Research contends, or in July 2008, as the normal definition of the word would dictate.

Here it is, graphically per IBD, and numerically per yours truly:

ComparingRecoveriesAt0811 GDPchained4Q07to2Q11

The numbers are even worse if you look at what has happened to the private sector, which has shrunk by over 1% since the end of 2007. Warren Buffett, who paradoxically insists that he’s not taxed enough while his firm keeps fighting with the IRS over tax claims going back to 2002, has stated that as far as he’s concerned, the economy won’t fully recover until “real per capita GDP gets back up to where it was before.” By the Buffett benchmark, we’re still in hole by over 3%.

If second-quarter growth stays at an annualized 1.0% in its final revision, and if the third quarter is at or above 0.5%, it will have taken nine quarters for the economy to officially recover, three times longer than any other post-World War II recovery. Keep in mind that those are two very big ifs. Many prognosticators believe that second-quarter growth will take another hit in the government’s late-September revision. Others, including 2001 Nobel Prize winner Michael Spence and lefty Robert Reich, have recently adjusted their odds that we’re either already or about to be in a double-dip recession to 50-50. Pimco’s Bill Gross says that the double-dip odds are “better than 50-50.” Clearly, anything beyond the mildest downturn will push the economy further behind what by historical standards is already an ancient original line of scrimmage.

Keynesian deficit spending in overdrive, while clearly a major contributor to the current malaise, doesn’t deserve all of the blame. The Obama administration’s abuse of Keynes’s theories in its stimulus plan’s energy “investments,” as well as its overall irregular energy policy, deserve dishonorable mention.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directed billions towards solar energy companies and solar projects. During the first five months of 2009, before it could have been influenced by stimulus dollars, solar accounted for 0.132% of all U.S. energy production. Through May of this year, that percentage jumped to, uh, well, 0.145%. That may be the high-water mark. Solar companies are either going bankrupt or getting bought at fire-sale prices. A significant percentage of production is moving to China and elsewhere overseas. Thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost.

Meanwhile, the administration’s clear opposition to meaningfully increasing fossil-fuel production has never been more clear. Rather than speed up its absurdly slow approvals of deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico — down from a monthly historical average of 5.8 to its current 1.7, at a cost of thousands of jobs — Obama decided to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Gas prices still went up. Only as the prospects of his reelection have begun to seriously diminish has Obama moved to appear more fossil fuel-friendly. But, conveniently enough, the administration’s most visible positive move thus far, the State Department’s conclusion that the 1,700-mile TransCanada pipeline won’t harm the environment, will have no immediate effect, and can be reversed later during other regulatory processes if he is reelected.

Never let it be said that the administration is against all pipelines. According to a recent compilation of related statistics by the National Center for Policy Analysis, “The Federal Register notes that more than 4,200 regulations are in the pipeline.” The aggressiveness and innate hostility of Team Obama’s highly irregular regulatory regime is unprecedented in postwar American history.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Obamacare alone has added over 6,500 pages to the Federal Register. The administration recently trumpeted how it will reduce regulatory costs by $10 billion over five years. Big deal. That $2 billion per year average is only 0.11% of the estimated cost of regulatory compliance to consumers and businesses of $1.75 trillion in 2009 alone. Heaven knows how much higher the annual cost is now. According to Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the administration largely undid most of its alleged improvement in July alone, as it “proposed over $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs.”

The relatively firm dollar amounts cited don’t include the difficult-to-quantify costs of regulatory uncertainty. One thing which is certain is that these are also going up. Just ask Boeing, Gibson Guitar, the health insurance companies intimidated into silence, and other businesses affected by the federal government’s heavy regulatory hand.

Besides obviously anemic economic growth, the most visible manifestation of uncertainty’s impact can be seen in the government’s two different sets of job statistics, as seen below:

BLSseasAdjJobsHHvsEst0609ti0711

The more inclusive Household Survey, based on phone calls to homes, shows that the economy had almost 700,000 fewer people working in July 2011 than were working twenty-five months earlier when the recession ended in June 2009. But the Establishment Survey, based on contacts with employers, shows that almost 700,000 more Americans were working for private and government employers. The overall effect is that there are almost 1.4 million fewer Americans who are either working on their own or working at entities the Establishment Survey is unable to find or estimate. About the only way to interpret this anomaly is that, on a net basis, many Americans who might in more regular times have considered starting a business simply aren’t doing it. The engine of future economic growth isn’t engaging.

The danger is that we as a nation may come to accept our administration-induced chronic irregularity as the way things will be indefinitely, or as what Obama cheerleaders in the establishment press try to tell us is “the new normal.” If we do, we won’t recognize our country in several years — which is why the irregularity must be stopped in seventeen months.

Positivity: ‘Miracle man’ wins fight with anthrax

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Alfred Lemire @ 5:58 am

From Montana, Minnesota, and Florida:

Updated: August 30, 2011 – 4:45 PM

Florida man fell ill in Minnesota; source unknown.

Dan Anders and his wife, Anne, were wrapping up a glorious summer vacation when they arrived in Pelican Rapids, Minn., in early August to visit friends.

They had just spent three weeks on the road, visiting the great parks of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. But Anders, 61, an active outdoorsman from Florida, was feeling a little “punky,” as he put it.

“I was overtired,” he said. “That’s what I thought.”

Two days later, he was fighting for his life, with a case of anthrax that triggered a state investigation and brought the FBI to his hospital room.

On Monday, Anders was released from Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he was hospitalized for three weeks, much of it in critical condition.

Doctors say Anders survived a rare and extremely deadly type of anthrax infection, which they assume he picked up from natural sources on his road trip.

His illness prompted a nationwide alert because anthrax can be used as a terrorist weapon. And medical experts are still trying to figure out how he managed to breathe in the deadly spores, which can exist in soil and infected animals, while doing nothing particularly dangerous.

“We were tourists,” said Anne Anders, his wife of 36 years. “And now look where we are.”

Today, her husband is a little weak and prone to coughing fits. But otherwise, as he prepares to head home, he says, “I’m feeling pretty good for what I’ve been through.”

The couple, who live in St. Petersburg, had never been to the Upper Midwest before July, when they flew to Fargo to begin their long-awaited trip. They rented a car and drove west — to Yellowstone and to Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park in South Dakota. “All the dirt roads and ponds, we saw it all,” Anne said.

Dan, who is retired from the irrigation business, occasionally picked up garnets and other rocks to use in making jewelry. The couple drove through a herd of bison, but got no closer than any other tourists did, he says.

By the time they reached Minnesota on Aug. 3, they’d covered thousands of miles. Dan went fishing with his pal the next day. “That’s the last thing I can remember,” he said.

At the hospital in nearby Fergus Falls, he was treated for pneumonia. But Dr. Joe Meyer was alarmed by the X-ray: It was unlike any case he’d ever seen. “I knew that this was going to be something serious,” he said.

Meyer sent a specimen to the lab at the hospital, Lake Region Healthcare; the results showed an uncommon bacillus strain — the same family as anthrax. He overnighted a sample to St. Paul, and the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed it.

Rare and deadly

Throughout history, few people have survived this form of anthrax, which is inhaled through the air. Once in the body, the bacteria release deadly toxins, which can cause organ failure and death.

It’s the same substance that someone mailed to a number of politicians and media figures in 2001, killing five people. In the past, it was mainly an occupational hazard for people who worked with infected animals or hides.

“It’s an extremely rare occurrence,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. “It isn’t something that one would expect in somebody coming to their ER.” So the staff at Fergus Falls, she said, deserves credit for acting so quickly. “They knew what they were doing, and they were able to put the picture together.”

Anders was transferred by air ambulance to HCMC on Aug. 7. Within hours, “he was on life support,” said his wife.

As Anne Anders sat by her husband’s side, a small army of federal and state investigators came calling. They asked the same questions: Where had they traveled? How could Dan have been infected?

The FBI wanted to rule out terrorism, and the agent “was very nice,” she said. “I’m sure he knew everything there was to know about us already.” Health Department investigators, clad in protective gear, combed through the Anderses’ rental car, checking the air filters, wheel wells, souvenirs, everything, for anthrax spores. They found none.

A daughter’s wish

In the meantime, Anders was getting a series of powerful antibiotics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta sent a special treatment called immunoglobulin, designed to fight the deadly toxins.

It was touch-and-go for days. Their daughter, Malita Clark, arrived from Orlando a few days before her 31st birthday. She told her mother she had only one wish: “I want my dad to sing happy birthday to me.”

Slowly, Dan started improving, opening his eyes, squeezing his hands, moving his toes. On Aug. 17, Malita’s birthday, he sang to her.

“That,” says his wife, “was probably the first time that I really realized things were going to be OK.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.