Sunday, November 27, 2011

David Catanese Was Only Half-Right

Eleven days ago, I emailed David Catanese about factual errors in his reporting of Ann Wagner's third quarter fundraising. Wagner is running against Ed Martin in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. This past October, Catanese reported:
Just over 20 percent of Wagner's third quarter donations came from employees of the national rental car company, where her husband is a vice president, according to an analysis by POLITICO.
Wagner, who is vying for the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Akin, took in about $108,000 from Enterprise employees in Missouri and states as far away as Oregon, Nevada and Alabama.
Steven Nelson sets the record straight over at The Daily Caller. Wagner received about $202k in Q3 from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, it's subsidiaries, holding companies, employees and their spouses. In total, she's received nearly $250k of her million+ funding from sources linked to Enterprise. Catanese needs to correct the figures in his story.

Nelson at TheDC also noted:
In 2008 Enterprise requested bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, writing to Congress to ask for funds. According to the Wall Street Journal, language was inserted in the TARP bill by House lawmakers to enable the government to grant loans to rental car companies.
I hadn't known that Enterprise was on the dole for TARP funding. That explains why I haven't seen the Wagners at any Tea Parties.

Nepotism always has a corrosive effect on politics. In 2010 when Ed Martin was running against Russ Carnahan, Tea Partiers were appalled at the donations Carnahan received from his brother's wind farm business. As TheDC points out, Ann's husband "is Enterprise’s government and public affairs vice president and a registered lobbyist." In other words, we see a similar sort of crony capitalism today with the Wagners that we saw with the Carnahans back in 2010.

The story behind the data showing that Wagner's campaign has gotten about a quarter of its funding from Enterprise sources goes back to the document parties that kicked off in October of 2009. Some of the moms involved in those original document parties began to investigate Wagner's fund raising. That data is easily accessible at sites like The trick is determining who the employers are and if they're connected in an interesting way. In the case of Ann Wagner's Enterprise donations figuring out that the Crawford Group is an Enterprise holding company was a key discovery. This should serve as a rallying cry to Tea Party moms (and others) to dig into the donation data.

I was not involved in researching Wagner's contributions, though I have reviewed the data. Kudos to the moms who did the hard research and one in particular who led the effort. She and they understandably wish to remain anonymous.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lubricating the Banking Machine

ZeroHedge: Why Did The Fed Inject Banks With A Record Amount Of "Other" Cash In The Past Week?

In today's [Friday's] one-day delayed issue of the Fed's H.4.1, literally the very last number on the very last subpage in the weekly update reveals something quite disturbing. Namely the Fed's "other" non-reserve based factors absorbing liquidity. And specifically, the actual number, which rose by an unprecedented $88 billion in one week to an all time high of $115 billion for the week ended November 23!
We wonder: in this day and age of trillions in fungible excess reserves, and discount window stigmata, just what was it that caused US banks to demand a record amount of effectively under the table cash from the Fed?
One wonders what they're trying to fix with that. Was it fallout from the MF Global collapse? Is it a response to Europe's on-going debt crisis?

BUYcott Black Friday to Protest Occupy Wall Street

"Anti-Occupy Wall Street" groups are taking on the protesters of "Occupy Black Friday" with "BUYcott Black Friday."
Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America, a Tea Party coalition of groups countering the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, are challenging the latest move by Occupy Wall Street protesters to occupy or boycott publicly traded retailers on Black Friday by instead encouraging consumers to shop on Black Friday to help the economy recover.

Dr. Gina Loudon kicked off the first Tea Party BUYcott here in St. Louis over two years ago. That BUYcott was launched in an effort to show support for Whole Foods. With the OWS crowd protesting Black Friday shopping, it's fitting to see Liberate Philly/Liberate America promoting another BUYcott.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Video: Newt Gingrich on Occupy Wall Street

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Video: The Difference between the US and EU Constitutions

Friday, November 18, 2011

After Party Photos

Frieda from the Missouri Precinct Project spoke at the St. Louis Tea Party's November After Party about the importance of getting involved as precinct committeemen/women, canvasing for candidates, and volunteering to be election judges/challengers. Thanks to Wes for the pictures above!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Freddie Mac's Ed Haldeman gets a Golden Parachute

ZeroHedge: Congress Shocked To Find That Being CEO Of A Bankrupt Company Is The New Killing It:

Two weeks ago we reported with sheer disgust that the outgoing CEO of bankrupt Freddie Mac, Ed Haldeman, was to pocket over $4 million for his brief two year stay at the nationalized GSE, which money was to reward him for lots of hard work collecting bail out cash from the Treasury. $21 billion to be precise. Apparently it is not easy to beg from Tim Geithner which explains the compensation for a task which is essentially supervising a financial black hole with an attached run off portfolio.

Obviously, it pays to have friends in high places.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music for Veteran's Day: While There's Time

I met Carrie Beth and Stacie Ruth Stoelting of Unite the USA at the Values Voter Summit this past October. They released the video above as a tribute to America's veterans.

Steve Tilley bows out of Lieutenant Governor's Race

Republican Speaker of the Missouri House Steve Tilley has indicated that he will not seek election as Missouri's next Lieutenant Governor (LG), reports Missouri Scout. MOScout also notes that Tilley has amassed a huge war chest for this race:
Tilley had been piling up huge fundraising quarters for the past six month, reporting $1.5 million on-hand last month. That sum, together with a long list of endorsements ready to roll out, helped him clear the field for the Republican primary.
Moving from a state rep district to a state-wide race requires a commitment beyond just the dollars involved. You have to be willing to make a lot of personal sacrifices to put time in on the campaign trail. While I have not seen a statement from Tilley about his decision to abandon the LG race, I suspect he's realized the stress of such a campaign would take a toll on his family. It's good to see that he's taking a difficult step toward spending more time with his daughters. They do grow up and he'll never have that opportunity again.

Best of luck to Speaker Tilley in his future pursuits!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Siren Song of Crony Capitalism

Sarah Palin as quoted by Mickey Kaus at the Daily Caller: Psst! Palin’s speech was better [emphasis in original]:

Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

So, do you want to know why the permanent political class doesn’t really want to cut any spending? Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done? It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed – a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ann Wagner's Foreign Donors Bring Flashbacks of Obama's 2008 Campaign

The race in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District between Ann Wagner and Ed Martin has already been a bit messy. I know people that support both candidates. I was surprised, however, when someone emailed me to say that at least two of Ann's donors live in Europe because that reminded me of the shenanigans of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

I don't know if Cindy Cope of Hessen, Germany, or Lisa Burrell of Weybridge, England, are American citizens or not, but I suspect that both of them are. Remember, Ann Wagner used to be Ambassador to Luxembourg. Perhaps, she met these two ex-pat homemakers while serving across the pond and struck up a friendship. Yes, if either of them is not an American, Wagner will have to return the money. Maybe the FEC would get involved, I don't know.

That said, I do think it's important to remember the illegal foreign donations that fueled Obama's 2008 campaign. Ace of Spades HQ was on point during that fiasco that never really left the blogosphere. It's important to understand how web-based credit card donation systems work, so I'll start with that.

When you make an online donation (or purchase) with a credit card, your transaction is checked through the Address Verification System (AVS). That system verifies that the address you supplied for your donation (purchase) is the same address on file with the credit card companies. If the addresses don't match, then the AVS returns a message explaining the discrepancy and stops the transaction. In 2008, Obama's campaign deliberately disabled this fraud detection tool on their campaign website.

As Ace and other bloggers reported in October 2008:
I cannot stress enough: AVS is default. It is not an arcane option you can choose. It is the default. To turn it off requires deliberate, intentional action. 
And Barack Obama cannot offer any plausible legitimate reason for doing so. 
Why does Barack Obama [have] less security on his credit card donations than my local cheesesteak shop?
With the AVS system disabled, donations could be made from anywhere in the world with any accepted credit card. Cards issued overseas would never be traceable. Obama's campaign did not keep any of the credit card numbers used to donate. That's understandable. If you give a campaign money, you don't usually want to leave your credit card on file with them. That also means that there's a little less substantive evidence to prove this fraud.

When I got an email about Ann Wagner getting foreign donations, that all came rushing back. I think Ann's just got a great fundraising network.

Star Parker: Liberals Treat Herman Cain Like a Runaway Slave

Sean Hannity interviewed Star Parker and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill on his radio show November 2nd. Star had some harsh criticism for of the liberal attacks on Herman Cain.

Interestingly, Star Parker's Wikipedia page has been deleted. Here's a screen grab of the deletion message:

Wikipedia gets bashed a lot in conservative circles because of things like this. They deserve it; however, you can make a difference by creating a free and (optionally) anonymous Wikipedia account ("create account" is in the upper right corner of that page). Once you can login to Wikipedia, you'll be able to create and edit content their encyclopedia articles. That's one area of the Internet that I think needs more involvement from Tea Party conservatives.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In the Fight: Episode 56

The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System produced Episode 56 of In The Fight. Here's their description of this half-hour show:
On this episode, we meet Soldiers living with the daily threat of rocket attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border, U.S. forces consult the Iraqi military as they continue to draw down in Iraq, Afghan security forces take part in a rigorous four month long training program, Marines begin using alternative energy to power the battlefield, and a service member takes it upon himself to help a child.
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Chicago Mercantile Exchange Tightened Margin Requirements

Zerohedge: CME Goes To Margin DefCon 1: Makes Maintenance Margin Equal To Initial For... Everything!?: of close of business on November 4, today, the CME just made the maintenance margin, traditionally about 26% lower than the initial margin for specs,equal. For everything. Which means that by close of business Monday, millions of options and futures holders will be forced to deposit billions in additional capital to the CME just so they are not found to be margin deficient, and thus receive a margin call. Naturally, since it is very unlikely that this incremental amount of liquidity can be easily procured in one business day, we anticipate the issuance of hundreds of thousands of margin calls Monday, followed by forced liquidations of margin accounts across America... and the world. Just like when Lehman blew up, it took 5 days for Money Markets to break.
Those billions in additional capital also represent billions of dollars worth of demand on the CME. By regulatory fiat, that demand has just evaporated which implies that commodity prices will fall.

EnerDel: Another Failing "Green" Company that Received Stimulus Funding

Richard Mourdock (R-IN) for US Senate: Lugar Instrumental in Securing Stimulus Funds for Failing IN Battery Company Tied to Russian Millionaire
“First Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and Beacon Power Corp., now we can add EnerDel to the growing list of DOE loan recipients who have filed for bankruptcy or [are] on life support. Washington bureaucrats have no business picking winners and losers in the business world and this is but the latest example of showing how inept they are as venture capitalist.” stated Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who will be opposing Lugar in the 2012 Republican Primary.
I continue to be amazed at how many losers are picked by the central planners in Washington, DC. Mourdock, who will face Dick Lugar (R-IN) in the GOP primary for US Senate in Indiana, notes the connection between EnerDel and Lugar:
In 2009, Senator Lugar was instrumental in securing $6.5 million in Congressional earmarks for EnerDel. He then urged DOE’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu to approve the company’s application for the $118.5 million grant that was part of Obama’s stimulus bill.  According to EnerDel’s website, the company has received multiple grants and contracts from the federal government.  Earlier this week, it has been reported that EnerDel currently has only 33 Indiana positions being supported by the DOE stimulus grant. This currently amounts to $3.5 million per Indiana job in total stimulus money awarded.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NRSC: Do You Feel Claire McCaskill's Pain?

The National Republican Senatorial Committee asks: Do You Feel Claire McCaskill's Pain?

"Middle Class" Claire McCaskill had to sell her private jet for $1.9 million. She knows what it means to "take a loss." Do you feel Claire McCaskill's pain?