Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Virginia Judge Upholds Healthcare Legislation

The Hill is reporting that a Virginia judge has upheld the new healthcare reform law:
A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to the healthcare reform law, the second time the law's mandate that people buy insurance has been ruled constitutional.


"Far from ‘inactivity,’ by choosing to forgo insurance, Plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now, through the purchase of insurance. As Congress found, the total incidence of these economic decisions has a substantial impact on the national market for health care by collectively shifting billions of dollars on to other market participants and driving up the prices of insurance policies."
I appreciate the fact that there's now a judicial precedent that collective cost shifting is wrong. I'm sure my children will also once they realize the national debt is almost $14 trillion. Perhaps we should all take a page from the auto bailout to forestall the moral hazard of cost shifting. In particular, instead of passing that debt along to our (or someone else's) children, why don't we give the bond holders a "haircut".

Sarah Palin Takes on the Obama Administration over WikiLeaks

Cubachi provides the political backdrop for today's dose of WikiLeaks news. Here's her take on Ambassador John Bolton, Sarah Palin, and Representative Peter King:
Former Ambassador John Bolton on Fox News this morning said the release of confidential material via WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange an “anti-American organization” and successful in damaging our reputation and trust among our allies. Anything they confide in us, is no longer confidential.


Bolton is not the only conservative outraged by these leaks. Sarah Palin astutely informs us how nonsensical it is for the US government to not pursue prosecution for those behind the Wikileaks release of this confidential information. As you may recall, Palin brought the website Gawker to court and won her case against the website for publishing excerpts of her book without permission. So what is this government waiting for when it comes to WikiLeaks?

Rep. Peter King called this information release worse than a physical attack. He called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.

“This is worse even than a physical attack on Americans, it’s worse than a military attack.”

“By doing that we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them with any help or contributions or assistance whatsoever. The Attorney General and I don’t always agree on different issues. But I believe on this one, he and I strongly agree that there should be a criminal prosecution.”

I am not holding my breath. This is the third or fourth time WikiLeaks has released confidential material in a two-year span. And has this government done anything previously? Sure this information is not a surprise, but as Ambassador Bolton pointed out, this is just another blatant evidence of an administration that has turned a blind eye to foreign affairs.
The post from Sarah Palin is interesting because she's become such a lightning rod. We'll come back to her post in a minute. First, I want to consider what else we learned on Monday.

In particular, we learned that Julian Assange's next mark is corporate America. In an article titled WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Wants To Spill Your Corporate Secrets in Forbes:
In a rare interview, Assange tells Forbes that the release of Pentagon and State Department documents are just the beginning. His next target: big business.

Early next year, Julian Assange says, a major American bank will suddenly find itself turned inside out. Tens of thousands of its internal documents will be exposed on Wikileaks.org with no polite requests for executives’ response or other forewarnings. The data dump will lay bare the finance firm’s secrets on the Web for every customer, every competitor, every regulator to examine and pass judgment on.
Assange is rapidly running out of friends in America. One wonders if any of the countries that might grant him asylum could actually facilitate his protection.

He's taken on the American military and State Department. Those two parts of government are designed to disagree on everything, but Assange has managed to bring them together. Now he wants to go after corporate America.

That's the wrong move.

Let's return to Sarah Palin for a second. In a post on Facebook, she raises Serious Questions about the Obama Administration's Incompetence in the Wikileaks Fiasco:
What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?
As I wrote in my first post on the WikiLeaks document dump: "if you were genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from WikiLeaks, you would ask Congress to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal so that enterprising American hackers could destroy WikiLeaks.org."

In the late 1700s when the Constitution was written, piracy on the high seas was still relatively common. Letters of Marque and Reprisal were one mechanism for dealing with it. Ships that were issued Letters of Marque were often called privateers. There mission was to hunt down pirates and bring them to justice... Well, not actual justice. The problem then (as with Julian Assange) was that piracy often occurred outside of any legal jurisdiction, so adjudicating the crime could be tricky.

By going after banks, Julian Assange has guaranteed that the people who hate him will be well financed. Banks also have a lot of clout on Capital Hill. With Congress just as unpopular as ever, it stands to reason that they might want to do something populist, so why not issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal for taking down WikiLeaks?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Communist influence in Minnesota?

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
—attributed to Josef Stalin

New Zeal is reporting that evidence of Minnesota's Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's ties to the Communist Party will be released this week:
At 9am EST Tuesday November 30, 2010, New Zeal will post documentary evidence linking Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, to the Communist Party USA.

Why is this important?

A key part of Mark Ritchie's job is to oversee electoral recounts in Minnesota.

In early 2009 Mark Ritchie judged that his Wellstone Action Advisory Committee and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party colleague Al Franken had won a Minnesota U.S. Senate seat, even though Republican opponent Norm Coleman was ahead on election night.

The recount was dogged with controversy, with allegations that felon's votes were illegally counted.

Currently, Mark Ritchie is overseeing another election recount. This could give the Minnesota governorship to another of Ritchie's Wellstone Action Advisory Committee and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party colleagues, Mark Dayton.

One of the Communist Party USA members linked to Mark Ritchie, labor leader Mark Froemke used his union to endorse Al Franken.

In October 2009 Mark Froemke was the Fargo Moorehead organizer for a 10 Days of Labor Action campaign in support of Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton.

The Communist Party has infiltrated the Democratic Party in several states and openly supports the Democrats against the Republicans in its publications.

The fact that Mark Ritchie has documented covert ties to the Communist Party USA must bring his neutrality as an election overseer into severe doubt.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Secrets of Diplomatic Channels

Germany's Der Spiegel created an interactive map to show the location, sensitivity (color), and quantity (circle size) of the diplomatic cables recently published on wikileaks.
The New York Times has written a good introduction to the recent WikiLeaks dump of US diplomatic communications. Their title asserts that Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy; however, they also reveal the emperor's new clothes:
WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

...A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

“President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal,” the statement said. “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.”
How does hiding diplomatic communications behind a veil of secrecy support responsible, accountable, and open government? It clearly does nothing of the sort, so the administration and its enablers scurry for cover behind the cause of human rights and the lives and work of [human rights advocates]. Reuters provides the full text of another letter from the State Department which was released Saturday:
As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.

It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents.
Maybe our betters at Foggy Bottom could orchestrate trilateral talks with The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel with particular emphasis on the pressing question: Why does the WikiLeaks founder (Julian Assange) hate us?

The Saturday letter then rehashes the same talking points noted above before devolving into preachy hypocritical sermonizing:
Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would:

* Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals -- from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

* Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

* Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries - partners, allies and common stakeholders -- to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.

In your letter, you say you want -- consistent with your goal of "maximum disclosure" -- information regarding individuals who may be "at significant risk of harm" because of your actions.

Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger. We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials. If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks' databases.
And, you, Mr. Preachy Self-Important State Department Hack, if you were genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from WikiLeaks, you would ask Congress to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal so that enterprising American hackers could destroy WikiLeaks.org. You wont do that. You'll continue to negotiate. Therefore, you will continue to be embarrassed every few months.

Obviously a leak like this is damaging; however, it is also amusing. In addition to revealing the irony of our own government ("responsible, accountable, and open government") we learn via Der Spiegel (h/t Gateway Pundit), that physical abuse is not limited to the prison system in Iran: Ahmadinejad was smacked by one of his generals:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emissaries also learn of a special "Iran observer" in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku who reports on a dispute that played out during a meeting of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. An enraged Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari allegedly got into a heated argument with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and slapped him in the face because the generally conservative president had, surprisingly, advocated freedom of the press.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sarah Palin's Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States

Gov. Sarah Palin has breakfast and visits with...Image via Wikipedia
Sarah Palin posted A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States making light of the recent media attacks on her:
My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…
The errors in that opening paragraph are all linked to YouTube videos of President Obama saying exactly those things, so go read the whole thing. Her point is simply that people misspeak and berating her for it is unfair. Palin is gifted in many ways, but perhaps her greatest asset is her grace.

What QE2 Hath Wrought

Chicago Boyz explains economics 101 in a post titled Bleeding and Purging to Balance the Humors of the Economy:
Peter Suderman at Reason [h/t Instapundit] observes in his article on “Quantitative Easing” that:
There’s a similar sentiment behind arguments for the Fed’s new policy, a simplified version of which goes something like this: Quantitative easing is probably a good idea. Why? Because we need to do something to increase economic activity. Fiscal stimulus is off the table for political reasons (at least). Inflation has been running a little low, which makes it an obvious policy lever. Expanding the monetary supply—and thus spurring on inflation— may not do much, but it’s what can be done. And that means that, well, quantitative easing is a good idea. QE2, motherfucker!
The old saying, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails,” doesn’t really give the entire picture. More comprehensively, we should say that when the only tool policy makers have is a hammer, they developed incredible baroque theories to rationalize why hammering is the solution to every problem.
This has led to the bizarre world in which Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is "unusually critical of China for its currency manipulation", while pounding the table for manipulating our own currency via another round of quantitative easing. So is it any wonder that Russia And China Drop Dollar For All Bilateral Trade?
St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Rep John Conyers (D-MI) caught reading Playboy

He guards our homes from erotic tomes
By reading them all himself.
—fragment from Invocation by Ogden Nash

Mr. Smut goes to Washington:
While November’s election brought a tsunami of change to Michigan policies, some incumbents are untouchable. So untouchable, apparently, that they openly read girlie magazines on their trips to and from Washington. Detroit Congressman John Conyers was caught on camera in a late July flight to DC this summer ogling a Playboy magazine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ex-con Jeff Smith Encourages Russ Carnahan to Tell the Truth

Jeff Smith missed this year's political season because he was spending time in jail for lying to the FEC. Smith lost a primary challenge to Russ Carnahan in 2004 and lied in response to an FEC complaint filed by Carnahan. After leaving jail, Smith offered some advice to Carnahan: Tell the truth:
In a touch of irony, Smith offered some advice for his one-time opponent, who now faces a Federal Election Commission complaint filed by [Ed] Martin that his campaign improperly coordinated a late-campaign attack against the Republican on a Web site run by former Carnahan staffers.

The allegations are similar to what Smith originally faced in an FEC complaint that had been filed by Carnahan against him.

'Several people forwarded to me the articles when it came out -- given the connection between the allegations this year and on the 2004 campaign,' Smith said. 'I don't have any knowledge about what happened. But I would encourage anybody responding to an FEC complaint to do so wholly and honestly.'
 I blogged about Carnahan's late hit on Ed Martin about a week before the election.

S.510 The Food "Safety" Bill

American Thinker takes on S.510 the food "safety" bill:
S510 puts all U.S. food production under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. And the Department of Defense. We lose not only private-citizen control of our food supply, but sovereignty as well. The bill sets in motion standardization of the food animal supply chain, focusing on eliminating biodiversity in food animal genetic stocks. It further mandates that the federal government control and empower hormonal, genetic, and antibiotic additions to our food supply while postponing most definitions of what will constitute 'food crimes' under the bill's sweeping and generalized powers.


This bill constitutes some of the worst of the worst of corporatist policies favored by the political class controlling our federal government. Conservatives must rebel at any sign of government intrusion into our private affairs, and criminalizing private food production is as wrong as it gets. S510 does just that, if reading between the lines of its muddy language suggests where the lame duck Pelosi-Reid Congress is headed. If implemented, S510 can define as a crime to clean, store, and own seeds or seed stocks unless granted that right by the federal government. Think you'll be granted that "right" when arguing against Monsanto's lawyers?
You can make a difference by calling your Senators. Their contact information is available at the NICFA website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Censoring Rush

Radio Equalizer reports on Al Sharpen's call for the FCC to censor Rush Limbaugh:
With Democrats holding a majority on the FCC's board, lefties are salivating over a post-election opportunity to quietly impose a crackdown on free speech in talk radio. There's little risk in approving a rule change during the holidays when few are paying attention and it can no longer be raised as a campaign issue.

Brazenly suggesting that Rush Limbaugh personally be targeted, the Reverend Al Sharpton is most certainly on board with this idea.
When Ted Rall called for armed rebellion and a second civil war, did Al ask for him to be censored? When The Won told his minions to hit back twice as hard, did Al decry the violent rhetoric? When the New Black Panthers brandished weapons at a polling place in 2008, did Al seek remedies for the voters that had been disenfranchised? Having lost in the arena of ideas, Al and the left have nothing but violence as a means of spreading their message.

Higher Taxes and More Spending

Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder in The Wall Street Journal: Higher Taxes Won't Reduce the Deficit:
Using standard statistical analyses that introduce variables to control for business-cycle fluctuations, wars and inflation, we found that over the entire post World War II era through 2009 each dollar of new tax revenue was associated with $1.17 of new spending. Politicians spend the money as fast as it comes in—and a little bit more.
 Nothing short of a balanced budget amendment will fix this problem.

Bulgarian Nukes

Does Bulgaria scare the hell out of you: "The National Nuclear Security Administration today announced that the agency had commissioned some mobile radiation-detection equipment that will be deployed 'throughout' Bulgaria to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials." Well, that's a relief!

Ending Medicaid

Some States Weigh Unthinkable Option: Ending Medicaid: "Huge budget shortfalls are prompting a handful of states to begin discussing a once-unthinkable scenario: dropping out of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Video from Saturday's End the Fed Rally

Thanks to kinoxxbb for the video above. Supporters of sound money gathered in downtown St. Louis to protest the Federal Reserve at the third annual End the Fed rally.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Coming Tax Storm

Pajamas Media reports on the taxes coming in 2011:
Focus instead on the simple fact that the last budget that a Republican Congress had control over had a deficit of approximately $162 billion dollars — a large number to be sure, but not so large that the Democrats and our “progressive” president couldn’t expand it in under two years by nearly a factor of ten. Under the Obama administration and with the Democrats in complete and total control, we have record debt, record deficits, record unemployment, record underemployed, record foreclosures, record bankruptcies, and soon, record tax increases.

2,000+ Human Fetuses Found in Buddhist Temple

NY Daily News is reporting that more than 2,000 human fetuses were found in a Buddhist temple in Thailand:
More than 2,000 human fetuses have been found in a Buddhist temple in Thailand after police raided the house of worship this week.

Authorities had originally discovered 348 fetuses wrapped in plastic bags and newspapers on Tuesday, when disturbing odors alerted them to the Wat Phai Ngern temple in Bangkok. That number skyrocketed after a more exhaustive search of the temple's morgue uncovered hundreds more stored in vaults, The Associated Press reported.
 The temple workers who collected the fetuses from area clinics were paid about $16 per fetus. The BBC elaborates on Thai abortion law:
Abortion is illegal in Thailand unless pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or a mother's health is at risk.

Police say they have begun raiding some of the 4,000 clinics in Bangkok they suspect are used to perform illegal abortions.

Boehner Bans Earmarks

We have some great news out of Washington. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Republicans in the House have banned earmarks:
In a nod to the wave of conservative lawmakers who arrived in Washington this week, House Republicans today unanimously adopted a ban on earmarks, the lawmaker-requested funding for pet projects that became a black-eye for Congress during the past decade.


While the vote is an obvious nod to the new Republicans, it’s also a big win for House Minority Leader John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting, who has never requested an earmark and tried — unsuccessfully — for years to impose a ban.
It's nice to see someone in Washington finally lead by example.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ron Paul may have Oversight of the Federal Reserve

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ron Paul may oversee the Fed in the new Congress:
One of the most exciting features of the new Congress is the prospect that the chairmanship of a House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve will go to Ron Paul. Final assignments are still being worked out, and the leadership may yet shy away from giving the position to a congressman who doesn't believe the Fed should exist. But Dr. Paul, an obstetrician, has been the ranking Republican of the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology subcommittee, and tradition suggests he will be the next chairman.


More far-reaching still is the prospect that Dr. Paul might use the committee to open up the deepest monetary issues, pressing for audits of America's gold holdings and of the Fed itself. At one point this week, the congressman's book, "End the Fed," ranked No. 2 on Amazon's list of the best-selling business books dealing with money and monetary policy, ahead of volumes by such luminaries of the right and left as Milton Friedman, George Soros and John Maynard Keynes himself.

Most exciting is the prospect that Dr. Paul will be able to bring into the national conversation such figures as, say, Edwin Vieira Jr., the visionary lawyer who has become the sage of the idea of constitutional money. That's a reference to the unit of account to which the Founders were referring when they twice used the word "dollars" in the Constitution, and which they codified in the Coinage Act of 1792 as 371¼ grains of pure silver, the same as in a then-ubiquitous coin known as the Spanish Milled Dollar, or its free-market equivalent in gold.

If Dr. Paul does accede to the chairmanship of the monetary subcommittee, he will, in but a few months, gavel it to order on the 40th anniversary of the summer in which President Nixon closed the gold window and brought an end to Bretton Woods. Yet a few weeks ago, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan himself, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned that "fiat money has no place to go but gold." Even the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has just called for restoring a role for gold in the monetary system.

The great debate is finally starting up again. Who better to host it in Congress than the diminutive doctor who, more faithfully than anyone else on the Hill, has for more than a generation stood for the idea of sound money?
That quote from Greenspan is interesting for two reasons. First, gold bugs think his tenure at the Fed was something of a disaster for monetary policy. And, second, Greenspan wrote a pro-gold essay back in the 60's.

You might want to show your support for Ron Paul or simply help get out the "audit the Fed" message this weekend. End the Fed rallies are being held across the county including one here in St. Louis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Dengue Fever, Now Cholera

South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports on the first case of cholera found in Florida:
A Naples-area woman has been confirmed as the first Floridian to contract cholera after visiting Haiti, and other potential cases in other areas also are being tested, state health officials said Wednesday.

But Department of Health doctors said the woman's infection poses virtually no risk to the public in Florida because U.S. sewer and water systems eliminate the bacteria from drinking water, which is primarily how it spreads.
Last week we learned that dengue fever had moved north from the keys to Miami. Now, cholera is coming to town.

Roger Altman considered for President's Nation Economic Council

The Wall Street Journal reports that Roger Altman might be joining the President's National Economic Council:
Roger Altman, a Wall Street executive who was deputy Treasury secretary early in the Clinton administration, visited the White House on Tuesday to discuss leading the president's National Economic Council.

The administration's interest in Mr. Altman is a sign that the White House is still pursuing a top corporate executive to succeed economist Lawrence Summers, who leaves at year's end and is expected to return to his professor's post at Harvard University.


In 1996, Mr. Altman founded Evercore Partners, a boutique investment bank based in New York, where he is currently chairman.
It would be nice to get someone from the private sector in the White House, but... a banker? Obviously, the midterm shellacking didn't mitigate President Obama's tone deafness.

We're All Tea Partiers Now

The Wall Street Journal reports on a poll showing that the Public Strongly Wants Spending Cuts:
A new poll shows the intense public pressure on Congress and President Barack Obama to cut federal spending, as they try to reduce ballooning federal debt and deficits.

In a survey of people who voted in the 2010 midterm election, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation found that 72% believe it is “very important” for Congress to take steps to reduce the national debt. Another 24% said it is “somewhat important.”

More to the point, 60% said they want Congress to reduce debt “through spending cuts only.” Only 35% opted for “a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.”
 That's just amazing. Of course, when the actual spending cuts come, we'll see if those numbers hold up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holding Roy Blunt to his Promise of Fiscal Responsibility

The St. Louis Tea Party issued the following press release this morning:
Senator-Elect Roy Blunt Faces First Test of His Term

(November 16, 2010) Just two weeks after defeating Robin Carnahan in the Missouri Senatorial race by a whopping 13 point blowout, Senator -Elect Roy Blunt is now posed with but one question: Will he hold true to his word?

On October 4, 2010, then-Candidate Blunt signed onto the Tea Party Treaty, thereby conveying the message that he understands the concerns of his constituents, as well as his duty to them. That being said, it is now time to put his ink-mark where his mouth is. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina has pushed forth a challenge to the GOP for a 2 year moratorium on Earmarks. The ban, which looks to be voted on next Tuesday, is co-sponsored by 15 other Senators and Senator Elects. Blunt is not on that list.

With a fired-up base, burdened by a flailing economy amidst pork-barrel spending, Blunt will have to choose between the will of the people versus business as usual. Stakes are particularly high in this vote, as accountability has now entered into the formula. . .accountability Blunt chose to enter into.

St Louis Tea Party Coalition, along with Jefferson County Tea Party, Franklin County Tea Party and K & N Patriots (St Charles, MO), call Senator-Elect Blunt to task. These four groups are among the most active Tea Party Organizations in the St Louis area, with collectively, thousands of active members, and are signed to the same Treaty Blunt signed onto weeks ago.

Multipe calls made to the Senator-Elect’s office were not returned for comment. Interestingly, his Twitter account, which was highly active during his campaign, has seemingly gone inactive since his election. Despite the hundreds of queries and comments of outrage directed at @RoyBlunt, the message this blatant silence speaks to the constituents: “I lied. I got your vote. I will do what I want. Burn on you.”

Jen Ennenbach
Media Liaison
St. Louis Tea Party Coalition
Previous Coverage:

Monday, November 15, 2010

End the Fed Rally this Saturday

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake‐up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
—Thomas Jefferson

Campaign for Liberty and End the Fed are organizing a protest this Saturday at the St. Louis Federal Reserve. The rally runs from 11AM to 2PM at One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza.

Bring your homemade signs! I have a feeling that quantitative easing (QE) will be a popular topic. If you're looking for inspiration for your sign  this video explaining QE is worth watching. I hope someone re-purposes the President's quote: "I do think at a certain point, you've made enough money."

Below is the flyer that I was sent.

The Certainty of Tax Accounting

Over at the lefty Mother Jones, Kevin Drum is bewildered by the uncertainty meme:
The only significant real uncertainty that American businesses face right now is financial uncertainty: that is, whether there will be enough consumer demand next year to justify hiring more workers and buying more equipment today. PPACA and carbon taxes rank very far down the list.
Elsewhere, Kevin acknowledges that Congress really should've dealt with the Bush tax cuts before now; however, I don't think he understands why those tax cuts have introduced so much uncertainty.

I was self-employed for a few years. My accountant repeatedly advised me to "accelerate my expenses and defer my income." In practical terms, this meant that I'd try to make big purchases before the end of the year and I'd hope and pray that my clients would send the check for my December work the slowest way possible since the IRS doesn't require you to recognize revenue until it arrives in your mailbox. My clients, of course, wanted to realize the expense of paying me in the current year, but I didn't want to realize the revenue until the next year. My clients were accelerating their expense so that their adjusted revenue would be lower, thereby lowering their tax obligation. I wanted to defer that income so that I wasn't pushed into a higher tax bracket or so I could benefit from a lower tax bracket the following year.

All companies play this game. Some have entire accounting departments devoted to it.

The Bush tax cuts are set to expire January 1st. Obama does not want to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000. I'd guess that most of those people making north of $250k are small business owners. Now the rule of thumb is "accelerate your expenses and defer your income," but that no longer works in the Twilight Zone of Obamanomics. If you expect your taxes to be higher next year and you know that the tax brackets under $250k aren't going to have higher rates if Obama has his way, two things that those $250k+ small business owners understand, then you should defer your expenses until next year and accelerate your income. That's precisely the opposite of the rule of thumb.

If the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250k are extended, then businesses would know how to handle their accounting: accelerate expenses and defer income. If the Bush tax cuts simply expire, then everyone can figure out what to do for their individual circumstance. The same applies for the Obama plan of only extending the tax cuts for people making under $250k; however, by promising lower rates for people under $250k, more small business owners will be inclined to defer expenses until next year.

The upshot of all of this is that the uncertainty that alludes Kevin Drum is what next year's tax rates will be. Once that's known, everyone will know whether or not income and expenses should be deferred or accelerated. Everything will become clear once Congress acts (or doesn't), but because of the uncertainty business decisions about income and expenses have been much harder to make this year. FWIW, if the left is right and the underlying economy is good, then businesses will ramp up early next year regardless of what Congress does... just in time for the Republican controlled House to claim credit.

Disclaimer: I'm not a tax accountant. Tax law is complicated and everyone's situation is a little bit different. Contact a tax professional for guidance on your tax obligation.

Gateway Pundit at Right Network

The Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, has moved to Right Network. The transition was a little bumpy resulting in his site being down for a few hours on Saturday. When I saw him this evening, he was apologetic about the outage.

RightNetwork.com is a recent addition to the constellation of conservative media outlets. Gateway Pundit is obviously a big get for them, but I don't think their engineers were really prepared for the onslaught of traffic. Here's hoping that this is the last of their growing pains. Best wishes to Jim.

Now go update your bookmarks: http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained

Absolutely hilarious! There's some strong language so it's probably not appropriate for the homeschooling set.

Saving Hayek from the People Who Think They’re Saving Hayek | Cato @ Liberty

CATO has an interesting article about saving Hayek from the left:
Although it’s probably true that most socialists‘ idea of justice would be satisfied if income from private property were abolished, it does not follow that this was Hayek’s idea of justice. Hayek didn’t think it was “okay” to collectivize the entire means of production, whether by the state or by private action.

The ability to accumulate capital and to believe that one held it justly was, for Hayek, a most important incentive for the formation of responsible individuals. If the means of production were collectivized, individual character would suffer, and society would suffer with it.
One of the interesting developments of the Internet Age is the emergence of  the knowledge economy. The idea of "collectivizing the means of production" in the knowledge economy is downright Orwellian.

Budget Crisis

The Blue State Budget Crisis: "the blue-state financial misery continues and deepens the ideological crisis of American liberalism." Soon states like California and New York will be asking red-states like Texas and Indiana to bail them out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Cost of Federal Pay

From Instapundit:
MICKEY KAUS: Psst! Rand Paul Was Right About Federal Pay. “So you have apples in that pay basket! When I heard that Rand Paul had claimed that average federal employee’s compensation (including benefits) was more than $120,000, I thought that can’t be true. Then I read Media Matters’ lengthy response to the claim.”
I have to scold both Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and Mickey Kaus: they fail to adequately account for the high cost of living that many Federal employees face. Many (most?) Federal employees live and work "inside the beltway." Well, it turns out that seven of the ten wealthiest counties in the United States are around our nations capital: Loudoun County, Va.; Fairfax County, Va.; Howard County, Md.; Arlington County, Va.; Montgomery County, Md.; Calvert County, Md.; and Charles County, Md.

Profligate government spending in and around DC has driven up the cost of living to the point that an honest Federal employee needs to make a small fortune just to get by. How about a little more sympathy for their lot in life!

Dengue Fever Turns up in Miami

The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the first locally acquired case of dengue fever has turned up in Miami: "The first locally acquired case of dengue fever in Miami-Dade County in more than 50 years was confirmed Thursday by health officials. They warned people to take precautions against the mosquitoes that carry it."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Walmart Survey Shows Inflation Already Here

CNBC reports on a secret Walmart survey that shows inflation is already here:
A new pricing survey of products sold at the world’s largest retailer showed a 0.6 percent price increase in just the last two months, according to MKM Partners. At that rate, prices would be close to four percent higher a year from now, double the Fed’s mandate.

The “inaugural price survey shows a small, but meaningful increase on an 86-item grocery basket,” said Patrick McKeever, MKM Partners analyst, in a note. Most of the items McKeever chose to track were every day items like food and detergent and made by national brands.

Obama at the G-20

POLITICO reports from the G-20 meeting in Seoul South Korea where Obama was miffed by questions on US domestic policy:
Obama, speaking during a press conference at the end of the two-day G-20 summit, knocked down reports that he’s settled on a compromise with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts. He gave a bland endorsement of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bid for leadership in the new Congress. And he said he intends to push Republicans to support a range of his proposals to speed up job growth, including infrastructure investments and tax incentives for businesses.

'This is just the beginning'

Those were the words The Guardian reported hearing from someone at the student fees protest in London the other day:
Ministers and protesters acknowledged that the demonstration – by far the largest and most dramatic yet in response to the government's austerity measures – was 'just the beginning' of public anger over cuts. Police, meanwhile, were criticised for failing to anticipate the scale of the disorder.
Why not put the college curriculum on YouTube and then shutdown the universities? This would make it possible for anyone to get an education at practically no cost. Obviously, it would put a lot of faculty and staff out of work, but they could be retrained as corporate cubicle dwellers from one of the YouTube-based curricula outside of the humanities.

Greenspan Warns of Weaker Dollar

The Financial Times is reporting that Alan Greenspan has warned about a weaker dollar:
Mr Greenspan argues that with China also holding down the renminbi, the upward pressure on currencies elsewhere risks a return to widespread trade protectionism. Mr Greenspan criticises China for continuing to prevent the renminbi strengthening, saying it reflects a misguided view that a weak currency is necessary for export growth and political stability. “China has become a major global economic force in recent years,” he writes. “But it has not yet chosen to take on the shared global obligations that its economic status requires.” More unexpectedly, Mr Greenspan adds: “America is also pursuing a policy of currency weakening.

Mr Greenspan does not specify which agency in the US system is implementing policies to weaken the dollar"
Ah, our old friend, quantitative easing again...

Worldwide Bankruptcy

NASDAQ is reporting on remarks from outgoing Brazilian President Lula da Silva:
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Thursday the world economy was headed for 'bankruptcy' unless rich nations raise consumer demand rather than relying on exports to power recovery.
So a left-of-center world leader thinks the US needs to consume more of the world's resources? Sounds like Lula isn't in step with America's liberal progressives.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Godspeed Smitty!

Smitty over at The Other McCain is taking some much deserved time off from blogging to go to Afghanistan courtesy of the US Navy:
I hold orders to activate in mid-November and report to Kabul, Afghanistan in time for Christmas. Bandwidth, and latitude for skylarking online will not exist until the end of 2011.


If I’ve done you any favors, I’d ask that you make this the single most linked post in this blog’s history. I do have one other project that I want to get out, and something for Pearl Harbor day, but the regular features I’ve been doing are in a hangfire for the nonce.

Yes, there is a ‘Dread Post’ positioned in Draft, backdated to November 2009. Pray that Stacy lacks occasion to publish it.
Thanks for all the Rule 5 links (mostly to pictures of the lovely Dana Loesch). Keep your head down over there, but do enjoy the food. Kadu Bouranee and Qabili Pilau are my favorite two Afghani dishes. Of course, we'll be praying for your safe return so you can link to my blog some more enjoy many more Veterans Days to come.

Thanks for your service!

A Tea Party Response to Ted Rall

How should Tea Parties respond to Ted Rall's call for violent revolution within the United States?
Focus the next Tea Party on the question: "Why do they hate us?"
Build bipartisanship by singing Kumbaya at street corner protests
Retreat to basement and cling to guns atop cases of canned goods, ammo, and toilet paper
Hold $100/person concealed carry (CCW) fund raiser to finance future Tea Parties

Free polls from Pollhost.com

Tuesday I was shocked to read about leftist lunatic Ted Rall's call for violent socialist revolution in the United States as reported by Gateway Pundit and Verum Serum. Verum Serum runs a lengthy quote from a recent manifesto from Rall:
We are here because the U.S. is going to end soon. There’s going to be an intense, violent, probably haphazard struggle for control. It’s going to come down to us versus them. The question is: What are you going to do about it?…

Christian fundamentalists, the millennial end-of-theworlders obsessed with the Left Behind series about the End Times, neo-Nazi racists, rural black-helicopter Michigan Militia types cut from the same inbred cloth as Timothy McVeigh, allied with “mainstream” gun nuts and right-wing Republicans, have been planning, preparing, and praying for the destruction of the “Godless,” “secular” United States for decades. In the past, they formed groups like the John Birch Society and the Aryan Nations. Now the hard Right has a postmodern, decentralized non-organization organization called the Tea Party.
While Rall is busy smearing Tea Partiers as violent, we are still awaiting justice for a left-wing terrorist accused of firebombing Russ Carnahan's campaign headquarters last August. Have any arrests been made? Have charges been filed? Since the firebombing occurred in the campaign's financial office, what records were lost?

Before we return to Rall's book, Gateway Pundit notes that Rall was walking back his bellicose comments:
Can you guys read? In the excerpt from the Manifesto I explicitly state that the extreme right is better armed. That’s the problem: uneducated fools who think the earth is 6,800 years old are dangerous.
I find this refreshing. It's like a ray of sanity amidst thick clouds of delusion. You see, my initial shock had not been that an anti-American leftist was in fact a pro-civil war Stalinist, but that he had decided to go public with that sentiment. It's as if he didn't consult this map:

While the population of the United States may be split about 50-50 on most issues, the distribution of conservatives (red force) and liberal-progressives (blue force) is uneven. Red force tends to live in the open spaces while blue force tends to live in cities. This is a strategic disadvantage for blue force who, shortly after starting a civil war would be confronted with the reality that food does not come from the grocery store nor water from the tap. In short, they are surrounded and easily isolated.

But their strategic disadvantages are in fact much worse as the riots in ThailandGreece, France, and most recently England have demonstrated. Those riots invariably occur in the liberal enclaves—cities. You can't very well bring the coming insurrection to a cornfield in Nebraska if your base of operations is on fire. And if your base is on fire at your own hand, then a segment of your followers are going to think better of following you.

Let's return to Rall's manifesto:
Right-wing organizational names change, but they amount to the same thing: the reactionary sociopolitical force—the sole force—poised to fill the vacuum when collapse occurs. The scenario outlined by Margaret Atwood’s prescient novel The Handmaid’s Tale—rednecks in the trenches, hard military men running things, minorities and liberals taken away and massacred, setting the stage for an even more extreme form of laissez-faire corporate capitalism than we’re suffering under today—is a fair guess of how a post-U.S. scenario will play out unless we prepare to turn it in another direction…
The targeting of minorities will no doubt be blamed on red force, but since the conflagration will begin in urban areas there is also little doubt that it will have been instigated by blue force for the purpose of blaming red force. Seeing through this ruse will undermine the blue force in their power base (cities) precipitating a schism within blue force. This schism may very well collapse blue's revolt.
A war is coming. At stake: our lives, the planet, freedom, living. The government, the corporations, and the extreme right are prepared to coalesce into an Axis of Evil. Are you going to fight back? Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?…
There you have it: the call to arms.

It's absurd. Blue force will not be able to maintain communication between cities and they will have a limited supply of fuel. Therefore, they will be unable to coordinate or reinforce. And their energy needs will swamp their logistical capabilities forcing the cities to go dark.

It's completely absurd for Rall to talk about this. It's hatefully offensive that he should wish to mount such a campaign with left-leaning doves as foot soldiers against right-wing hawks. Hawks unconstrained by the anti-war left as a result of the war instigated by Rall and his fellow travelers.
The millions of partisans who follow Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and right-wing televangelists happen to be the best-armed people around, and they despise just about everyone who doesn’t think and pray like them. They will see collapse as affirmation of their beliefs that secular liberalism is destructive. They will also see it as an opportunity to create a new, ordered world atop the ashes. They will act to stop teenage sluts from getting abortions, teach n*gg*rs a lesson, and slaughter those sp*cs, d*ts, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into their vision of what and who is right…
We do not need "affirmation of our beliefs" because the facts already show that secular liberalism is destructive. Do you want to talk about crime? Divorce? Out-of-wedlock births? Education?

Do you want to compare the performance of cities on any of those metrics to rural America?

How about just one graph:

Rall concludes:
I want to kick people in the ass. To get them thinking. To get you thinking. I want you to understand the situation—your situation. I want you to see that revolt is a good idea, and that it has never been more necessary. I also want you to size up the opposition (both the government and the extreme right): They will never get weaker.We have as good a chance at taking them on as ever.
"We have as good a chance at taking them on as ever" has an air of desperation about it. His violent, revolutionary intent is unmistakable. His urging of a second American civil war is both obvious and appalling, so it is time to consider our response.

In the poll at the top of this post, I expect the last answer to carry the day. Tea Party groups have an ongoing need to generate money to finance their activities. They also have many members who could volunteer space and/or time to provide concealed carry courses. I know political candidates that held concealed carry fundraisers to help finance their campaigns.

Organized across the country CCW fund raisers would indicate to people like Rall that we take their threats of war seriously while simultaneously providing a constructive, educational forum to cultivate our second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pelosi as Minority Leader

Jay Cost has documented the leftward slant of House Democrats for some time now, but even he is surprised that Pelosi is in the running for Minority Leader. His reflections on House Democrat dynamics are interesting:
This points to a collective action dilemma for the Democratic caucus. Pelosi has been an aggressive and unyielding advocate for the left during her four years as speaker of the House. Even if we suppose that the Democratic party in general would be better off by getting rid of her, we still must ask whether these remaining Democrats are individually better off. An alternative like Steny Hoyer or Heath Shuler would probably be more willing to compromise with the Republicans, which might be good for the whole party. However, does that serve the political or policy interests of a majority of individual Democrats who remain in the caucus? Maybe not.
Cost goes on to criticizes Democrats for blaming their losses on messaging. He cites the following statement from Pelosi:
"In addition, we must build the capacity for effectively communicating our message of job creation and opportunity for all, while supporting our signature achievements of health care, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare," she wrote. "In the 2006 election with our ‘New Direction’ and ‘6 for 06’ message, we spoke with great clarity and unity — and we won. Now, we must further modernize not only that message but the way in which we communicate with constituents."
Cost and I agree that Pelosi is simply wrong about this. If messaging was all that was required, why didn't embattled Democrats tun on their "signature achievement of health care"? I like the idea of Pelosi as the Minority leader. She's so disliked that she's red meat for Republicans. The fact that she so often says things that are obviously insane, just makes it that much easier to poke fun at her.

Oh, and she's really an alien lizard from another planet sent to Earth to harvest humans for food. Here's the video proof:

Visualizing the Demplosion

Great work ivressePublique! This was done before last week's midterms, so the color change is not completely accurate. Still, it's a really nice effect.

Your Tax Dollars at Work!

USA Today reports on the growing number of federal workers earning more than $150,000: "The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds." So more government employees are making more money while unemployment across the US remains at 9.6%. Given that unemployment in DC is at 6%, it's hard for me to see how a government shutdown would be unpopular.

I increasingly believe that we should model government pay on the system used aboard pirate ships.

George W. Bush's Decision Points

President George W. Bush's new book Decision Points, has been released. In it, the former president details the moments that shaped his presidency beginning with the hotly contested 2000 election. Decision Points debuted at the top of the Amazon Best Sellers List. Buy a copy just to offend your lefty friends!

At a Certain Point You've Made Enough Money

The day after the midterm elections, the Federal Reserve announced that it would begin a second round of quantitative easing: "the Committee intends to purchase a further $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011, a pace of about $75 billion per month." Quantitative easing is a term that was recently created to replace the more familiar term printing money. Because the historical record of printing money is so grim, that term developed a negative connotation. Of course, printing money was coined specifically to replace the older jargon debasing the currency for largely the same reason. All three mean the same thing: the government is going to create money to pay its obligations and, in so doing, your money is going to become less valuable.

China doesn't like this. Germany doesn't like it which is important because they're the ones responsible for making the term printing money so unfashionable. Brazil, Thailand, and South Korea are also opposed.

In a different context, President Obama has said: "at a certain point, you've made enough money." In the context of this second round of quantitative easing, I want to know have we reached that point?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Palin on the Dollar, Zoellick on Gold

The Wall Street Journal looks at some surprising comments from Sarah Palin and Robert Zoellick, the World Bank technocrat:
Stressing the risks of Fed 'pump priming,' Mrs. Palin zeroed in on the connection between a 'weak dollar—a direct result of the Fed's decision to dump more dollars onto the market'—and rising oil and food prices. She also noted the rising world alarm about the Fed's actions, which by now includes blunt comments by Germany, Brazil, China and most of Asia, among many others.


Mr. Zoellick, who worked at the Treasury under James Baker in the 1980s, laid out an agenda for a new global monetary regime to reduce currency turmoil and spur growth: "This new system is likely to need to involve the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound and a renminbi that moves toward internalization and then an open capital account," he wrote, in an echo of what we've been saying for some time.

And here's Mr. Zoellick's sound-money kicker: "The system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today." Mr. Zoellick's last observation will not be news to investors, who have traded gold up to $1,400 an ounce, its highest level in real terms since the 1970s, as a hedge against the risk of future inflation.
The rediscovery of Say's Law continues. As I wrote last week, Say's Law states:
"the demand for any commodity is a function of the supply of noncompeting commodities."

Within this context, think of dollars as a commodity with few competitors. As a result, the "demand for dollars" will go up if the supply of dollars goes up. This "demand for dollars" is what we commonly call the price tag on each of those noncompeting commodities. This is why debasing the currency/printing money/quantitative easing is inflationary.
Within the context of Zoellick's proposed international system the price of gold in competing international currencies would reflect the current and anticipated supply of each currency versus the growth in the supply of gold. The supply of gold is constrained by mining and processing costs, so it would be a barometer for the paper alternatives.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What Causes Do NPR's Leaders Support?

Matthew Shaffer of National Review Online takes a close look at Public Radio’s Political Sympathies [emphasis added]
I investigated the political sympathies of every power player on two boards of directors: that of NPR itself, and that of the NPR Foundation, which controls the flow of private money from donors to NPR. I obtained lists of board members from guidestar.com, a website that keeps up-to-date information on non-profits, as NPR was not eager to provide information about the Foundation. I found information about their political sympathies on campaignmoney.com, voterfactory.com, city-data.com, the Huffington Post’s Fundrace blog, Google, and opensecrets.com. The results are presented here. And they are telling.

I found information about all but seven of the 55 board members (50 directors plus the five “public” members of the NPR board). Of these 48 members, nearly all have demonstrably liberal political sympathies, with heavy support for the Democratic party, pro-abortion-rights groups, and environmental activism in particular.

...Presumably, NPR doesn’t have an official policy that board members must be liberal. But de facto, they have sure done a good job making their boards members indistinguishable from that of an openly partisan organization.

...The scandal is the uniformity of the institution as a whole. Its board members also sit on the boards of explicitly progressive advocacy groups, and have given millions of dollars to Democrats and liberal PACs — at the same time that they control the country’s “public” radio network.
Obviously, Congress should de-fund NPR; however, that only represents a small portion of their revenue. Conservatives should stop sending them money, too. But most importantly, bookmark Matthew Shaffer's article. That way, the next time some leftie goes on about the conservative dominance of Clear Channel or Fox, you can send them a link to his post.

The Twinkie Diet

So this nutrition professor eats nothing but Twinkies, Little Debbies snack cakes, Doritos, and Oreos for ten weeks. He wanted to demonstrate that dieting is all about cutting calories. He cut his pre-diet daily intake from 2600 calories to 1800 calories of pure, sugary junk.

And he lost 27 pounds.

That's not the interesting part. This is:
...you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.

Haub's 'bad' cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his 'good' cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

'That's where the head scratching comes,' Haub said. 'What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?'
I'm going with "missing something." This also reminds me of a great F. A. Hayek quote: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

Update: Video coverage of the story:

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

The Isolated President

Politico examines how President Obama isolated himself heading into 2012:
President Barack Obama has performed his act of contrition. Now comes the hard part, according to Democrats around the country: reckoning with the simple fact that he’s isolated himself from virtually every group that matters in American politics.

Ed Martin Concedes

This morning, Ed Martin (R) called Russ Carnahan (D-MO) to congratulate him on winning last Tuesday's election. Martin has alleged voter fraud in the election; however, today he has acknowledged that to the extent that voter fraud occurred in Missouri's Third Congressional District, it does not account for the 4400 vote margin in the race. With almost 49% of the vote, Russ Carnahan will continue to represent the district.

Martin also updated his website with a post entitled election day review - final report which reads in part:
In the early hours of Wednesday, November 3rd we learned that a slim lead our campaign enjoyed disappeared in a surge of votes. At the time we understood that these votes were coming from as few as three precincts from the city of St. Louis. On its face this sudden end-of-night surge was suspicious. We understood that St. Louis had finished reporting. Mathematically, several thousand votes from a small number of precincts was implausible.

Given the history of St. Louis and the state of Missouri where our Secretary of State has refused to take responsibility for compelling local boards of election to purge voter rolls of ineligible registrants, voter fraud looms large in the mind of voters. A sudden wave of votes is easy to associate with an unscrupulous few who might have a few thousand votes on standby in case an election was close and their candidate needed help.


Since Wednesday afternoon we have learned that the votes were not from three to seven precincts in the City, but rather included unreported votes from the northwest precincts of St. Louis County encompassed by Missouri’s Third Congressional district. In light of this new information, the implausibility factor evaporates along with my concerns about voter fraud in that late surge. And, although I have concerns about other incidents and improper conduct on election day, I no longer believe these concerns are sufficient to continue our review of what has occurred or delay agreeing that this election is over.


Finally, after asking for input, we have heard from hundreds of citizens about problems with voting or voter registration. These problems are real and far too common – or so it seems. The heart of our republic is a voting system that works fairly, with regularity, and which inspires confidence. I fear that the legion of problems threatens the integrity of our voting system.

Our campaign was about empowering people to get involved in politics to change the course of our nation by stopping one-party rule in Washington. This has been accomplished by other victories even as we came up short. Our campaign also sought to instill confidence in the citizens that their voices and votesmatter. Mishaps and misconduct like we saw last Tuesday threaten this confidence. In the coming weeks and days, I will continue to seek to highlight the importance of protecting our voting system and will ask you to assist me in this effort.

Thank you to all and thanks be to God for the blessing that is the United States of America
Ed, thanks for running and best of luck in your future endeavors!

The Debt Cap and Spending Cuts

The Wall Street Journal reports that Republicans plan to use the debt cap as leverage to push spending cuts:
Republicans are planning to demand major spending cuts next year before they would agree to raise the amount of federal debt that can be issued, setting up a clash between the Obama administration and a Congress stocked with lawmakers who campaigned as deficit hawks.

The U.S. can't accrue debt above a certain ceiling set by lawmakers. In the most extreme scenario, the government would default on certain debts if the cap doesn't move.
This might precipitate a replay of the mid-90s government shutdown. The Republicans were punished for that shutdown. One important difference today is that the unemployment rate inside the beltway is about 6%. With  higher unemployment everywhere else and simmering anger directed at Washington, I think a shutdown might play well this time around. After all, do we really need all of these agencies overseeing our financial system if we just print the money we need anyway?
  1. US Treasury
  2. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  3. Federal Reserve ("The Fed")
  4. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  5. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  6. Bureau of the Public Debt
  7. Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI)
  8. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  9. Federal Inspectors General
  10. Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)
  11. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

Global Borrowing Boom Hits Your Wallet

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the Number of the Week: $10.2 Trillion in Global Borrowing:
As the debts of advanced countries rise to levels not seen since the aftermath of World War II, it’s hard to know how much is too much. But it’s easy to see that the risk of serious financial trouble is growing.


In the U.S., domestic investors could pick up the slack. The Federal Reserve has committed to buy an added $600 billion in U.S. government debt over the next eight months. Demand from households has been very strong as U.S. consumers boost their savings rate. Tighter regulations could push banks to buy more safe assets such as U.S. Treasurys.
Got that? If things get really bad, the government will force banks to buy bonds with your savings. The country is in the very best of hands.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Highlights from St Louis Veterans Observance

Highlights from Saturday's Veterans Observance at Soldier's Memorial in downtown St. Louis. The video includes the presenting of the colors, national anthem, and excerpts from Mayor Francis Slay's remarks.