Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of American adults say it’s better for the economy to let American International Group (AIG) go out of business rather than providing federal subsidies to keep the insurance giant afloat.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that only 18% think it’s better to provide the subsidies while 24% are not sure.
But those who align with America’s Political Class have a fundamentally different view. By a 70% to 11% margin, the Political Class believes it is better to keep AIG in business through subsidies.
At the other extreme, 73% of Populists say it’s better to let AIG go out of business. Populists represent a majority of the country and it’s reasonable to consider their views as the views of Mainstream America.
Those who find themselves in the middle, between the Political Class and Mainstream America, say it’s better to let AIG go by a 44% to 22% margin.
The Law: Of all the alarming things going on in Washington these days nothing is as shocking, or disheartening, as the collapse in respect for the rule of law and the Constitution.
Like most Americans, we found ourselves angry and perplexed about the AIG bonuses. Yet, while letting AIG pay some employees retention bonuses might seem wrong or even immoral to some, it wasn't illegal.
Yet Congress, which created the problem in the first place, acted with consummate cowardice by trying to "claw back" the money through a punitive, 90% retroactive tax, one specially levied on those who work at AIG. It wants to do the same thing with recipients of TARP money, too.
Why the big change? Public anger. Welcome to mob rule... [snip]
You don't have to like or agree with the AIG bonuses to understand that Congress is doing something it shouldn't under the Constitution. Once a precedent is set, Congress will be able to go after anyone or any group, at any time, for any reason...
Hard to tell how much of this is smoke and how much is true but it appears that the Predator attacks on al-Qaeda in Pakistan over the last several months is doing a lot of good - killing leaders and sowing distrust among the rank and file: [details, snip]
The information tracks with other news coming from different sources - al-Qaeda has been hit hard and they are in the process of trying to regroup. I doubt whether we worry too much about "anti-US sentiment in Pakistan" since they are perhaps the most anti-American country in the world and nothing we do will change that anytime soon.
Right now, we ar concerned about Afghanistan and as long as Pakistan keeps harboring al-Qaeda and Taliban groups in their wild, Northwest Frontier Provinces, the predadtor attacks will continue.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of U.S. voters agree with President Obama’s decision to put more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Twenty-five percent (25%) are opposed to putting more troops in the war-torn country, and 14% are not sure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Republicans are more supportive of the president’s action than are members of his own party. Seventy-two percent (72%) of GOP voters support the decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, compared to 54% of Democrats. Sixty percent (60%) of voters not affiliated with either party agree.
But 20% of voters overall say the United States should pull all of its troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. Sixty-nine percent (69%) disagree, and 11% are undecided.
Support for this action is highest among Democrats, 31% of whom favor the removal of all troops right away. That view is shared by 11% of Republicans and 16% of unaffiliated voters.
Obama recently announced the deployment of 17,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan, bringing the U.S. military total in the country up to 53,000.
Mr. President: War Is Not A ‘Struggle’ Or ‘Situation’
First, President Obama jettisoned the admittedly empty and useless phrase Next, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano avoided even mentioning the word “war on terror.”“terrorism” in her first congressional testimony. Now the Department of Justice has announced it is dropping the legal designation “enemy combatants.”
The aim of all this muting of the language in the War with No Name is twofold: for the Obama administration to distance itself from George W. Bush’s “politics of fear,” and to whitewash a plain fact that liberals are suicidally reluctant to acknowledge - that we are at [real, bloody, deadly] war with radical Islam... [snip]
The refusal to acknowledge the enemy isn’t just an Obama failing; it’s a congenital blind spot of the left in general. In the New Hampshire presidential debates of a year ago, all four Democratic candidates referred to Islamic terrorism by name a whopping total of zero times - by contrast, their four Republican counterparts mentioned it twenty-two times. This underscores the fact that one party in this country has at least a partial grip on the threat we face - and the other party, the one now in power, prefers either attempting to placate the enemy by “making nice,” or pretending it doesn’t exist... [snip]
And it certainly isn’t about poverty and economic opportunity, a favorite theme of Obama’s. The ranks of al Qaeda and every other Islamist group you can name are packed with moneyed, college-educated professionals; conversely, impoverished non-Muslims worldwide aren’t taking out their frustration by strapping on explosives and targeting Westerners and Jews.
Second, we’re not dealing with an enemy that thinks the way we do in the West or that wants the same things out of life. Obama intoned on al-Arabiya;
“what I’ve come to understand is that. . . regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.”
Actually, they don’t.
In the U.S. and the rest of the West, we’re generally content to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In stark contrast, our Islamist enemies love death more than life, reject freedom in favor of absolute submission to a totalitarian ideology, and won’t be happy until the world is entirely Islamic. They cannot be swayed from their goal by promises of economic prosperity and peaceful coexistence with infidels. [snip]
“Our administration does not believe in a clash of civilizations,”
Vice-President Joe Biden announced at his February address in Munich, referring to the now-famous title of Samuel Huntington’s prescient 1998 book The Clash of Civilizations.
Well frankly, I don’t believe in it either; I believe instead that we’re embroiled in a clash of civilization versus barbarism, and that it is the defining conflict of our time...
[Highly Recommended > ]
Dear American Taxpayer: If only you knew how easily you have been gulled, played like a greenhorn, a rube, a Madoff mark. This $165 million scandal may have unleashed the first genuine feeding frenzy of the Obama administration, but it is a distraction, a sideshow, a smokescreen over what is really going on: namely, the Bush-initiated, Obama-Pelosi-Reid-led incursion into the private sector designed to nationalize the workings of the economy in order to take over, capture and enslave enough of the free market to transform the fundamental character of this nation.
Remember what our 44th president said back in 1995: "In America," he told the Chicago Reader,
"we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations."
That is exactly what's going on behind the $165 million smokescreen -- truly, a masterpiece of misdirection. [snip]
The nationalization of AIG is forcing the American taxpayer to support a very different kind of toxic asset. I refer to AIG's promotion of Sharia (Islamic law) in its Takaful division, the Sharia-compliant insurance sector of AIG...
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dave Gaubatz, the first U.S. civilian (1811) Federal Agent deployed to Iraq in 2003. He is currently the Director of the Mapping Sharia Project
Not only does Al-Farooq provide materials by convicted Islamic terrorists to their worshippers, they practice polygamy (per statements made by Al Farooq worshippers) as allowed under Sharia law, which also advocates children to be taken as ‘child brides’ married to older men...
This, my friends, is not George Bush's fault.
The suggestion by China to remove the dollar as the world's reserve currency and replace it with an internationally regulated system by the IMF is a direct result of the trillions spent by the Obama Administration so far and the promise of more.
Essentially, the Chinese believe that they will be repaid by the US in devalued currency - a result of what most analysts believe will be unavoidable inflation that will start up once our economy gets moving again.
By removing the dollar as the major reserve currency for governments, it will be harder to finance our debt. And, as the Chinese fear, the US would get to repay its obligations in inflated currency which would make it easier to reduce the $11 trillion national debt we will have by 2012.
Or perhaps, as has happened in other countries, we will wake up one morning and the government will announce all dollars will have to be exchanged for the "new dollar" - at 92 cents on the dollar or whatever amount is deemed necessary...
The administration is not only seeking power to regulate risk across the board on Wall Street but also the ability to seize [any] companies that, in the opinion of the Treasury Department, represent a risk to the American economy if they fail.
Now, I've been told that I am being hysterical when I point out that the government's ability to break contracts means simply that the "sanctity" of contracts no longer applies in America and that we are moving toward government by diktat. The fact that the government can "seize" (WaPo's word) a company heightens my concern. But don't mind me. I'm just an old fuddy-duddy who believes in stuff like "founding principles" and other outmoded, outdated concepts.
And you can bet that the whole idea of "risk-reward" on Wall Street and elsewhere will be pretty much thrown under the bus. Risky ventures will be a thing of the past. You will have to present a sure thing to venture capitalists in order to get funding - like creating a company that makes Obama dolls or framed portraits of our president. On the other hand, if you want to be the next Google, you will be SOL...
There has been a lot of push back against the idea that the Community Reinvestment Act nudged banks to give mortgages to people who should have not gotten them. But then here comes this fantastic story about East Bridgewater Savings in Boston.
he FDIC has turned up the heat on Petrucelli's bank, giving it an apparently rare "needs to improve rating," for not making more risky loans under the Community Reinvestment Act...
[For anyone somehow unaware or still not convinced that government is the problem > ]
MSNBC Blames Financial Crisis on Republican Deregulation; Ignores Overwhelming Democrat Support and History
On Friday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow accurately blamed a bill enacted in 1999 for today's financial crisis, but in so doing exclusively pointed accusatory fingers at its Republican sponsors while totally ignoring the overwhelming Democrat support it received in both Chambers of Congress.
Maybe even more egregious, she chose not to address it being signed into law by President Bill Clinton until a guest inconveniently brought it up.
Of course, NewsBusters has been apprising readers about the significance of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley) for many months, including articles on the subject here and here.
With this in mind, Maddow's not only extremely late to this party, but she also apparently thinks only the sponsors of a bill are responsible for its content and not those that vote for or eventually sign it into law (video part I embedded right, part II below the fold with partial transcript):
The government often taxes an entrepreneur's profits twice, once at the business level and then again when the profits are distributed to individuals. This double taxation not only dampens the incentive to invest, but also obscures who actually bears the burden of these taxes. Because a corporation is made up of a group of individuals but is not actually an individual, corporate taxes are really taxes on the stakeholders in the corporation.
Repealing the corporate income tax alone, which would cost approximately $300 billion in annual tax revenue, would produce by 2012:
- 2 million more jobs than the baseline scenario.
- $280 billion more in real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP).
- $4,000 more in real disposable income for a fam ily of four.
- $707 billion more in household net wealth—the base of economic strength and stability.
According to a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) working paper, of the three taxes (income, corporate, and consumption), corporate taxes are most harmful to economic growth. Other countries are aware of this and have steadily reduced their corporate tax rates. The United States has been the exception.
If Congress repealed the corporate income tax, investments would flow into the country. Multi national and international companies would be encouraged to operate in the United States, bringing jobs and new technology to meet today's economic challenges.
Eliminating the corporate tax would also encourage owners to hire and train people and to invest in their workforces because a more competitive tax structure would give corporations a greater incentive to domicile in the United States.
[Don't like 'off shoring'? This is the answer, and would lead to massive 'on-shoring'.]
image toon - 1st mny reps = Bloated Oby tell taxpayers to tighten their belts
The dissenters against Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) have long desired an open and honest debate with Al Gore. But Mr. Gore has never consented.
Here’s the next best thing: a video presentation of edited arguments from 7 renown climate scientists that demolish the rationalizations presented in Gore's movie “An Inconvenient Truth."
It’s good for us to remember that, as I have written before, the whole AGW climate warming theory is hinged on one argument, namely that CO2 causes global warming.
All the politics of AGW including carbon-footprinting, taxation, etc, follow from that one claim. But the supposition on which global warming advocates base their dogma is indisputably wrong, as again documented here.
[I.e., the facts on the 'killer question' alarmists avoid like the plague, and how I know that AWG is a scam: cause cannot trail effect - if you're unaware of what I mean, this 10-minute clip will tell you all you really need know - MUST SEE > ]
The U.S. tax code is heavily weighted in favor of renewable power sources over conventional sources such as coal and oil, Tufts University economics professor Gilbert Metcalf reports in a new study released by the Manhattan Institute.
Under current law, solar thermal and wind capital are subsidized to the greatest extent, with effective subsidy rates of 245 and 164 percent, respectively. While renewable power sources receive substantial subsidies, more efficient conventional power sources are heavily punished by the tax code. [snip]
These numbers paint a clear picture: Renewable energy receives substantial federal subsidies while generating very small amounts of energy and usable electricity. In 2007, less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity was generated by wind energy, while coal contributed over half the nation's electricity that year.
"The tax code is biased toward politically correct energies at the expense of the energies consumers want most -- oil, natural gas, and coal," ... "To this extent, tax policy is anti-consumer."
Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, agrees federal policy punishes the most efficient energy sources.
"In a time of economic crisis, it is reprehensible that politicians continue to throw good money after bad and foist high-cost, low-output energy sources on consumers,"
After nearly two years of drafting and debate, rules imposing new environmental restrictions on gas and oil exploration in Colorado passed their last key test in the state Legislature with preliminary approval Tuesday by the Senate on a party-line vote.
Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, described the rules as "draconian."
"This bill means no business," said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud.
"It means we're shutting down the oil and gas business."
Twelve NHS trusts are being investigated following a damning report which today slammed 'appalling' care at a hospital. Hundreds of patients may have died after bosses at Staffordshire General focused on Government targets rather than safety, the Healthcare Commission said.
After comment from interested parties [special interest groups, political and business], the state's health program for low-income people has re-ranked treatment for various diseases and conditions, currently from 1 to 680, in order of 'priority'.
The health care dollars available determine which priorities are met. As program costs have grown, the list of covered procedures has become shorter. Surprisingly, between 2002 and 2009 there was a fairly radical reordering of priorities.
A great many life-saving procedures that ranked high in 2002, such as treatment for Type 1 diabetes, have been relegated to a much lower position in 2009, while procedures that are only tangentially related to life and death have climbed to the top:
- Bariatric surgery for people with Type II diabetes and a 35 or greater Body Mass Index (BMI) number is ranked 33rd.
- This means that the rationing board thinks that stomach surgery to control obesity is more important than surgery to repair injured internal organs (88), a closed hip fracture (89), or a hernia showing symptoms of obstruction or strangulation (176).
- Abortions rank 41st, indicating that the state considers using public money for abortions more important than treating an ectopic pregnancy (43), gonococcal infections and other sexually transmitted diseases (56), or an infection or hemorrhage resulting from a miscarriage (68).
Various interest groups have spent the last seven years reordering the political* priorities embodied in the list.
[Everything government does becomes politicized. Smoke? Too bad. Ride a motorcycle? That's a problem. Eat too much - or maybe just too much red meat...? Skydive? Ski? ... You're not getting too old are you?...
We don't want government run health care.]
The legislation is most likely DOA in the Maryland House of Delegates -- where a similar bill was shot down in an 86-51 vote -- but the Washington Post is so frightened by a state Senate committee vote approving a measure to make it easier for domestic abuse victims to buy a gun that it thought it important to preach about how "Arming abuse victims is the wrong way to curb domestic violence."
According to a March 24 Post editorial, abused women are just too emotionally unstable to exercise their Second Amendment rights and probably
"have seen one Jodie Foster film too many"
if they think a gun can even the odds against a violent abuser.
[There's a reason they're called 'equalizers', and no one is harmed more by gun restriction laws than are women.]
Rude and shaggy punk rockers who sneer at their president as "a fraud and an a**hole!", who diss their national icons as "pr*cks" and "murderers!" have recently been arrested for attempting to visit a black civil rights activist who is being tortured in prison for quoting Martin Luther King in public.
"Wait a minute?!" you say. "Should'nt all hip people be outraged by this?..How come I haven't heard about this in Rolling Stone Magazine, MTV, VH1, Time, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, People, Vanity Fair, OK, InTouch, InStyle, ABC, CBS, CNN etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.??
It's very simple. The insulted "president" is named Fidel Castro, the dissed national icon is named Che Guevara, and the black civil rights activist was jailed and tortured for campaigning for civil rights in Cuba for Cubans.
Need I say more?
The Associated Press posted a story on the FBI's probe of questionable campaign donations to Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks of Washington state. The possibly worrisome donations were from PMA Group, a lobbying firm founded by an aide of Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania.
With all these politician's names being thrown around in the AP report, though, it is curious that not a one of them were ever identified as Democrats. Not once.
Barbour signs law to ban red-light cameras in Mississippi
Jackson — Officials in several Mississippi cities are scrambling to re-evaluate contracts with private companies after Gov. Haley Barbour signed a new law banning the use of automatic cameras that snap pictures of vehicles running red lights. The new law says the two cities that already have the cameras, Jackson and Columbus, must take them down by Oct. 1. Other cities and counties are banned from starting to use them.
[It's not about safety, it's about revenue.]