A conservative news and views blog.
- Name: Timothy Birdnow
- Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Timothy Birdnow Reading the comments on my American Thinker article http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/prediction_global_warming_will_cause_everything_comments.html#disqus_thread about my insurance troubles, (I was denied coverage for a portable defibrilator, the purpose of which was to protect me from sudden heart stoppage resulting from Congestive Heart Failure) I was struck with the realization that Barack Obama wants to demand that all insurers cover contraceptive costs, essentially freeing women like Sandra Fluke to have as much sex as she wishes, yet coverage for another sort of protection - from Near Death Syndrome - is considered unnecessary. So, protection is good if the purpose is essentially for pleasure but unwarranted if it is about survival. In short, Mr. Obama wants the public to get screwed either way. Food for thought.
Prediction: Global Warming Will Cause Everything
Daren Jonescu The following news headline appeared on the internet last week: "Scientists warn global warming will fuel spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease." http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/scientists-warn-global-warming-fuel-spread-ticks-carry-000250902.html?_esi=0&ugccmtnav=v1%2Fcomments%2Fcontext%2F74fda373-2762-3d4c-a0d5-c8af7709ae70%2Fcomments%3Fcount%3D20%26sortBy%3DhighestRated%26isNext%3Dtrue%26offset%3D20%26pageNumber%3D1 The corresponding article begins this way: Another effect of climate change may be crawling up your leg this summer as you frolic in the woods. Scientists say our warming world is speeding the spread of ticks that carry potentially debilitating Lyme disease. Okay, given that many in the climate change fraternity -- including, famously, Phil Jones of East Anglia University -- have been forced to concede that global warming has been on "pause" since 1995 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm, how exactly is it "speeding the spread" of disease-carrying ticks? Don't read this news article for an answer. In fact, from the third paragraph on, the article is a straightforward discussion of the slow spread of the tick population into various southern regions of Canada, and the new risk ofLyme disease that this brings. There is no further mention of global warming, and no attempt is made to establish a significant relationship -- or even a coincidental one -- between the movements of the ticks and changes in mean annual temperatures in the relevant regions. So why mention global warming in this context at all? Because the first rule of all modern discourse related to weather, disease, happiness, poverty, famine, wildlife, or almost anything else is that tribute must be paid to the god Climate Change Theory. One cannot discuss the spread of disease without mentioning climate change. So the article mentions it. No further reason is required. It is simply a matter of faith, of public policy, and of good breeding to acknowledge climate change as a preface to any observation about anything. (If you think this seems overstated, I recommend this 2007 American Thinker blog post http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/11/everything_is_caused_by_global.html, listing over six hundred nasty effects that have been attributed to global warming. One suspects that if you mentioned that number to one of our sustainability experts these days, he'd earnestly tell you that the list is far too conservative.) One senses that journalists, scientists, and laymen are afraid to talk about any subject that might be explained by climate change without mentioning climate change, lest they be seen as climate infidels -- i.e., as people who do not accept the centrality of climate change to all modern events. This leaves the rest of us reticent to utter casual niceties such as, "Boy, it's hot this week," for fear of getting some stupid response about global warming. A few years ago, I was teaching a book of science readings to a very advanced group of Korean middle school students. One chapter of the book, regrettably, was on global warming. (This book was published before evidence of non-warming necessitated the "climate change" makeover.) I began the discussion by asking the students whether they had noticed any significant warming during their lifetimes. Dutifully regurgitating their public-school propaganda, they all promptly acknowledged that the summers were much hotter, and the winters shorter, than when they were young. (The oldest student in the room was fifteen.) Once I had confirmed everyone's agreement on this, I proceeded to explain that according to the advocates of global warming theory, the global mean temperature has risen by approximately three-quarters of one degree Celsius over the past century. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/decadaltemp.php Then I asked them again whether they could feel the difference. They grinned bemusedly, and looked sheepishly at their desks. And this utter falsification of one's own perception and memory, drilled into the heads of our children as the new catechism, is equally pervasive among adults. Who hasn't had to listen to someone drone on about how much hotter it is these days, or how much more violent the weather is these days, or how much less/more snow we're having in recent years, etc.? The advocates of global warming in the scientific, political, and educational communities have gone to great lengths to foster these data-defying assumptions of extreme change, and they do nothing to counter the absurdity of the resulting statements. And yet if the warming advocates' own numbers are correct, these statements, and the assumptions underlying them, are completely ridiculous. Can you think of another scientific theory whose defenders promulgate urban myth folly and irrationality as a way of persuading the general population of the theory's truth? Ought not science to be in the business of divesting the public of urban myths and other silly ideas, rather than fostering them as a means to its own end? After all, what is the end of science, if not to discourage irrational beliefs? The Lyme disease/global warming non-story with which I began is just one of many such speculative studies cloaked in the science fiction of climate change. And this example is nothing compared to a related 2008 article, "The Deadly Dozen: 12 Diseases Global Warming Incubates." Lyme disease is merely one of the serious illnesses discussed there, in what is a perfect example of both the deliberate manipulations of climate change theory and the sense of neo-religious allegiance to global warming demonstrated by scientists themselves. Read this opening sentence carefully: "The Wildlife Conservation Society has identified the 'Deadly Dozen' -- 12 diseases that are likely to spread due to global warming." Notice that no claim is being made that these diseases have been spread by global warming. The "study" is identifying diseases that may spread due to global warming. The article's litany of fear-mongering is replete with observations such as the following (all emphases added): "Current data indicate that the movement of H5N1 from region to region is largely driven by the trade in poultry, but changes in climate such as severe winter storms and droughts can disrupt normal movements of wild birds and can bring both wild and domestic bird populations into greater contact at remaining water sources[.] Diseases that have previously been thought to have limited impact, such as babesiosis, must be watched closely in a changing climate to assess how environmental conditions may tip the scale[.] Rising global temperatures due to climate change are expected to increase incidence of [cholera.] As climate change disrupts and exaggerates seasonal patterns, we may expect to see outbreaks of [ebola] occurring in new locations and with more frequency." end excerpt. As one commenter on The Daily Green website responds, "This is scary." And so it is meant to be. Notice, however, that in none of these cases are the researchers claiming that climate change has had any effect on anything. In each case, they are predicting what will happen in the future -- assuming there is global warming. Climate change theory has replaced metaphysics as the primary science. It provides the grounding for all other inquiries. This comports with the endless models forecasting drowned cities, polar tropical islands, and all the rest. If one simply assumes that warming will resume, and increase at exponential rates, one can predict any effects one wants. That assumption, however, is precisely what the warmists have lost the right to make. Or, to be precise, they have lost the right to make the assumption their political masters and grant committees really want, which is that this predicted future warming is man-made. The collapse of the theory's core element, the CO2/temperature causal relationship, denies them this. The climate fear-mongers, seeing that the jig is up for their theory -- the CO2 is there, the necessary effects aren't -- are stealthily skulking along to the next stage of the project -- namely, cross your fingers that the propaganda has taken hold so that most people will not ask you to prove anything, and then carry on making dire predictions, carefully framing them to appear to the casual reader as descriptions of events that are already happening. Thus, from various "reputable sources," we get this: http://globalwarmingisreal.com/2009/05/07/global-warming-does-not-only-cause-ice-caps-to-melt-it-effects-disease/ " Peter Mertens, a UK scientist, warns that African Horse disease, a virus that's closely related to bluetongue, has a strong chance of making it to Europe due to warmer temperatures." And this: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-512920.html "If the climate becomes permanently warmer and wetter, as some predict, Rift Valley fever epidemics will become frequent." end quotes. And this warning from Cornell entomologist Laura Harrington regarding an impending outbreak of mosquito-borne chikungunya in New York: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47358597/ns/us_news-environment/t/chikungunya-disease-nyc-warming-could-make-it-happen/ "This is right now, and we know temperatures are just going to increase, and we know the population of Asian tiger mosquitoes is going to increase, so it will only get wider and wider." "Some predict" that there is "a strong chance" that "we know temperatures are just going to increase." And if this predicted chance knowledge comes to pass, all of your worst fears will be realized. Mosquitoes do not breed without global warming. Ticks carried by animals to new breeding grounds do not travel without global warming. No disease ever developed and spread before man-made climate change. Global warming will cause everything. Some may wonder why this fraud-cum-occult science is even worth debunking anymore. To answer this, one must remember the second great oddity about global warming theory. Not only is it the only scientific theory promoted by means of deliberate urban-myth absurdity, such as that we can feel the mean temperature changes. It is also perhaps the only scientific theory vigorously endorsed, funded, and defended by the governments and policy-makers of the world -- the only one treated as a top priority agenda item by both the United Nations http://www.un.org/sg/priorities/sustainable_development.shtml and the Obama administration. http://blog.epa.gov/administrator/2010/01/12/seven-priorities-for-epas-future/ Now that's scary. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/prediction_global_warming_will_cause_everything.html#ixzz1ytpPNP84
Monday, June 25, 2012
Bio-Degradable for Barack
Jack Kemp When the Obama campaign sent out requests for people to give money to his re-election efforts instead to wedding celebrants http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/obamathe_bride_at_every_wedding.html it touched off a string of speculative writing saying that the Obama campaign may soon asked to be named as the beneficiary of people’s wills, completing the phrase “the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.” For those who recall former sensational press stories worthy of a La Comedie Francaise farce, you may remember that in 1982 Alfred Bloomingdale, the heir to the department store fortune, died at age 66 after being discovered to have had a 12 year affair with a mistress that began when she was only 18 years old. I recall a woman I worked with at that time who would joke that the young mistress must have (honestly) told her friends when she went to tryst with Alfred that “she was going to Bloomingdale’s!” Alfred’s wife Betsy got some degree of revenge when she arranged for a funeral home to bury Mr. Bloomingdale in the cheapest type of coffin available, one made of a “strong” cardboard, perhaps with a wood grain design paper covering. These low cost products are still sold in the U.S., but now they are pitched as “environmentally friendly” and “perfect for green burial.” http://eeternity.com/ This makes the situation perfect for a new Obama campaign letter. I can see it now… BIO-DEGRADABLE FOR BARACK Fellow Democrats, Why spend a fortune on a tin lined, burnished oak casket with brass handles for the departed? You can Save the Earth as you Save the Obama Campaign from underfunding by having your loved ones buried in a bio-degradable cardboard casket – and give the difference in coffin costs as a donation to keep Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House. Sure, Michelle and her entourage will be flying off to the London Olympics this October, but that will be paid for by Rich Republican tax collections, so that is not your concern. And this way, your newly departed can show their love for both Barack and Mother Earth at the same time. We’re sure they’d appreciate the gesture as much as Barack Obama does. Why he might even reciprocate one day by writing you into his will, but you have to make the first move before this November. END OF LETTER Maybe the Obama campaign can arrange for Anna Wintour or Sarah Jessica Parker to come to a loved one’s funeral? But I shouldn’t be giving their campaign any more ideas.
"The Valley of the Shadow of Death Panels" at American Thinker
Timothy Birdnow The Valley of the Shadow of Death Panels appears today at American Thinker. http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/the_valley_of_the_shadow_of_deathpanels.html It's the story of my battle with the insurance company, which is refusing to pay for the portable defibrilator I had to wear when my heart failed. I surmise they are being so nasty about it because of the coming health care law. Check it out.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
A little incident in the M.E
Dana Mathewson Seems that the Syrians have shot down a Turkish fighter plane. The Turks are, understandably, not happy. Why, they aren't even blaming the Israelis! Read about it here: http://www.urgentagenda.com/PERMALINKS%20VII/JUNE%202012/23.PLANE.HTML As William Katz at Urgent Agenda says, "May you both lose!"
America's Fearful Future
By Alan Caruba It’s a cliché that nations and men repeat the same errors, stumbling into various crisises. The locations may change, but the patterns of history remain. The world is teetering on a new Great Depression. Democracies are at risk. In the 1930s there were an estimated two billion people worldwide. Today there are seven billion people in the world; the pressures to feed them and meet their other needs have increased exponentially. It strains relations between nations and within them. In the U.S. the Great Depression began in 1929 and lasted until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 that brought the U.S. into the conflict. World War Two had begun in Europe when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and then invaded France in 1941. In Asia the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, expanding further into China in 1937. Over eighty years ago the time was ripe for aggression by those with the will to pursue it. At the time it was lacking in the U.S. that had a long tradition of avoiding “foreign entanglements.” The military was hardly prepared. By contrast the U.S. has acted since the end of World War Two as the global policeman protecting the sea lanes and its allies. What America had, however, was an industrial base that was up to the task of becoming “an arsenal for democracy.” Today our manufacturing base has been hollowed out with much of it outsourced to other nations or harmed by unions, excessive regulation, and trade policies that left them at a disadvantage. China, by contrast, is largely self-sufficient and has built its energy production sector while our manufacturing base, along with the ability to provide the energy it requires, is being destroyed by Environmental Protection Agency regulations and Interior Department restrictions on new mining and drilling. I cite this because, in my view if not the official one of economists, the U.S. is in a Depression. Across the Atlantic, Europe is facing the collapse of its political and financial union. There are huge numbers of unemployed in the U.S. even if there are no soup lines as existed in the 1930s. Much of the middle class has seen some forty percent of its wealth disappear, mostly in the depreciation of the value of their homes. Many are on some form of government dole whether it is food stamps or unemployment compensation The U.S. debt is historic--$15 trillion and climbing--and could prove catastrophic. The present times mirror earlier ones in which empires trembled and fell. Neither Russia nor China would be unhappy to see the greatest capitalist democracy in the world fall into ruin. Syria’s internal conflict bears an eerie resemblance to the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 when that nation fell under fascist control, preceding World War Two. In Syria, the United States, Europe, and their Arab allies are aligned against the dictatorship of Bashar Assad while, on the other side there is Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy that controls Lebanon. Just as the League of Nations proved incapable of ensuring peace in the run-up to World War Two, so too the United Nations has no such capability today. It is utterly corrupt and has its own agenda to impose itself on the world as a global government. America has been weakened since the financial crisis of 2008, almost entirely the result of federal government housing programs, the pressure on banks to make bad mortgage loans, and the resulting “bundling” and sale of “toxic assets” that undermined our largest financial institutions. For the first time in our history, our credit rating has been downgraded. Several large banks have suffered a similar ranking. The Obama administration has exacerbated the banks’ ability to recover by imposing excessive and likely unconstitutional regulation. National security is at risk as well. These days the U.S. Air Force is flying a fleet of geriatric planes, some of which were manufactured in the 1950s. Our Navy has the fewest number of ships since the end of World War Two. Our Army and Marines are worn out from a decade of non-stop fighting. The President has been determined to reduce our nuclear arsenal. America entered a new era with a sneak attack on 9/11, the result of the frenzy of Islamists who may well sense that they must either conquer the West or see Islam wither away as a failed system. As various Middle Eastern nations overthrew their dictators, the more moderate, secular factions within them are at risk of being ruled by the most ruthless mullahs who fear the loss of their power over the people. Financial crisis. Military conflicts. Enemies of democracy. It has the look and feel of the 1930s and 1940s. America needs to make some essential and rapid changes—making the federal government smaller, revitalizing our military, protecting our borders against massive illegal immigration, reforming “entitlement” programs, eliminating wasteful spending—or we could be living in the last years of its influence and power. © Alan Caruba, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Philip K. Dick Quotes: Observations of the LIberal Mind
Timothy Birdnow Philip K. Dick was a science fiction writer who explored the metaphysical. He wasn't exactly a Conservative; he came out of the '60's drug culture, and yet his observations are, in my opinion, quite damning to the modern Left. Here are a few quotes that I thinki are quite appropo to today's Liberal: (Insanity) is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate - confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man The Man in the High Castle (1962) “Everything is true”, he said. “Everything anybody has ever thought.” * Chapter 20 (p. 227) do androids dream of electric sheep 1967 Where there’s dope, there’s hope! * Chapter 7 (p. 118) +A NOTE FROM TIM: Hear that, Obama! Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost...perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well. * Chapter 11 (pp. 185-186) A Scanner Darkly 1977 * The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (1978) When two people dream the same dream, it ceases to be an illusion. Lies, Inc. (1984)
The Magical Mystery Lure; Liberals, Magic, and the Fundamental Differences between Left and Right
Timothy Birdnow In a recent brilliant piece Daren Jonescu observed that "some guy who lives in my neighborhood", Barack Obama's friend William Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground and now champion of Indoctrination, er, education, sounds an awful lot like Mr. Obama himself, strangely changing his personal story to fit a given narrative. http://tbirdnow.mee.nu/the_unknown_ayers_and_obama_convergence This sparked an interesting discussion which I want to share with our readers. This from me: "I've always said that one of the key differences between Conservatives and Liberals is that the liberal does not believe in a concrete reality, but thinks that the real world is subject to manipulation by his or her thoughts and emotions, and Ayers (who sounds just like Obama in the quotes you supplied) clearly does likewise. To many on the Left reality is a show, a play that is acted out by characters and not a real thing with real people responding. They think that if they can get enough people to buy into their narrative it will make it real. "visualize world peace" for example. It's part of why they are so dilligent (and so good) and propoganda and media manipulation. I suspect Ayers is doing precisely that with his smug, third person narrative about his own life." End To which Daren replied: "I think your analysis of leftists is quite right. I can't think of a precise Greek word for that psychological state at the moment. However, the modern left has been heavily influenced in its post-Marxist outlook by existentialism and phenomenology. The German phenomenologists, beginning with Heidegger's teacher, Edmund Husserl, used the Greek word "epoche", bracketing, to describe the need to detach considerations of external reality from philosophy proper, which would henceforth be focused strictly on "the phenomena," i.e. the world as constructed through experience and perception. (We "bracket" material reality off, as a way of dispensing with it for theoretical purposes.) Though phenomenology was an attempt to revitalize philosophy as the study of the human world, rather than of mere logical constructs, it has had the effect of engendering multiple generations of "intellectuals" who think that the only "world" that matters is a product of our way of perceiving it, and hence that it is fundamentally malleable. (Husserl didn't believe this, but ideas always devolve through generations of lesser students trying to carve out their own "new" twist on the original idea.) I believe that phenomenology is a major contributor to today's leftist psychology. We are not "experiencers," we are "creators," so, to some degree, even our own personal history is a "narrative" (a now-popular expression that comes directly out of phenomenology) that is subject to tweaking and adjusting as we go along. After all, "What really happened?" is a false question, as it presumes the objective existence of a "past." The past itself is a product of creative perception, like everything else. So in describing their pasts, the human products of this theory feel that they are free to re-imagine the events as they go along, as there is no stable "truth" about themselves anyway". end Daren And my reply: "It's unfortunate that the German philosophers should come around just before the discoveries of Relativity and Quantum Physics because both buttressed their arguments quite well; the observer is very important to the nature of reality in both. Einstein showed that time is dependent on the viewpoint of the observer, and the Heidelberg interpretation of quantum physics says that the observer is critical in the collapse of the particle wave-front, meaning that a particle is only in a certain place and time because it is observed. These two theories had much to do with the rise of modern relativism in liberal thought, I am certain." End Liberals must be understood to be defeated, much like an exterminator learns about the pests he fights so he can better eliminate them. How many homeowners have tried to get rid of an infestation of roaches, or ants, or wasps, and had no luck? They fail because they do not understand the enemy. Too often that is the case, and we often fail to understand the roots of Progressivism, the thinking that makes the Left operate in the fashion they do. Liberalism is the triumph of wishful thinking over reality. It's one of the oldest impulses of Mankind, and can be seen going back into the mists of time. Magic we call it today; the idea that Man can manipulate his reality by some sort of proper incantation or through some sort of mental repitition (often in the form of prayer to some artificial deity he fashioned out of stone or wood). And, of course, if Man can practice magic, can change reality by wishful thinking, then he himself is God. That is why the Israelites were given the First Commandment "I the Lord am your God, you shall not have other gods before Me." This was given as the very first order from Yahweh because it is perhaps the most damaging human failing. Oddly enough we see it today not in the worship of Baal or Horace or Zeus but in a strange kind of nature worship involving science and the powers of rational thought. This is strange because it is an attack on rational thought in the name of rational thought, and a corruption of science in the name of science. The end is to deify Man and to empower Man with the divine ability to shape his reality as he sees fit i.e. to replace the God who created the Universe with the will of Man. It's the same tired magic in a new pacikage, and this package actually works because it uses some scientific principles to manipulate the natural world. Many fall into the trap, bedazzled by the success of modern science and believing that this success is solely to the greater glory of Man and that nothing is beyond human reach. But anybody who thinks about it knows there is PLENTY beyond human reach, and the Liberal is no different. He chooses instead to believe that he can wish things to go his way. That is not to say that he takes no concrete steps; the Left is better at organizing and campaigning than the Right precisely because they are materialists and do not believe that there is someone above us with His hand on events. But that materialism justifies the belief in the godlike nature of Man in the Liberal mind, and sets up a strange dichotomy whereby the Liberal bot rejects the supernatural and yet makes it the core of his belief system. In short, there is a huge hole in the liberal where God should be. Nature abhores a vacuum, and that hole is filled with all manner of things conflated in the liberal mind. It's why they seem so incapable of accepting the truth and so very capable of exaggeration and establishing fanciful narratives. Or, as Pontius Pilate put it at the trial of Jesus "what is Truth?" Pilate was the first Liberal, or an early one at any rate. It's why we have the entire Global Warming scare; the narrative suggests Man is a worthless slug, a malignant tumor that should be removed from the organism of Gaia and at the same time has this Godlike power to destroy the planet. We are both worthless and divine. Much "science" goes toward establishing this narrative, and much of this science is purest rubbish, cargo cult science, the purpose of which is to advance the narrative even when the evidence does not fit with reality. It is goal oriented science, intended to advance a worldview and a political purpose rather than advance Man's knowledge of the Universe. Therefore it is acceptable to cherry pick data, to suppress data, to hide your methodology, to strongarm editors into spiking papers that disagree with you, to boycotting publications that allow those who disagree a forum, to launch personal attacks on skeptical scientists, and to generally trash the scientific method. This is science because the collective I.E. the Liberal says it's science, and his will be done! It's about creating a narrative, and by creating that narrative recreating reality. It's about empowering Man as god, and by Man we necessarily mean the State which is the collective will of Man. In the end it is a form of magic, an attempt to bend reality to your wishes by chanting incantations. It can be argued that no man knows anything except for photons. We do not actually perceive reality but merely an image of reality produced by photons striking our bodies in some fashion: receptor cones in the eyes, the eardrum being struck by molecules vibrating from photons, ditto the skin, which gives us touch, and taste and smell are related phonomena. So what is real? Is there something outside of us that exists independent from our inner existence or not? In the end, the differences between the Left and Right go back to the simplest of beliefs; is there a concrete reality or is reality a function of how we perceive the Universe. Conservatives believe the former, that reality exists whether we believe in it or not (Phillip K. Dick's definition of reality http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick) or is it something subject to our whims and beliefs. Conservatives take it as it is, Liberals demand that it be what they want it to be. God lies at the intersection of these two viewpoints; is there an independent entity that establishes what is real, or are we the ones who do that. While there are liberals who believe in God, their view of God is ultimately dependent on their subjective vision. Liberals simply refuse to believe they aren't the ones in the driver's seat.
Old Navy Store insults the military
Jack Kemp Here's an article quote which also has an embedded television news video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/army-veteran-old-navy_n_1618422.html?1340373493&icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl3|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D172257 An Army veteran claims an Old Navy store in Jacksonville, Fla., kicked him out after he commented to the store's management about an employee's uniform. Aaron Bennett says he was shopping at the store's location in Orange Park when he noticed an employee wearing something unusual: a Marines dress uniform that "had rank on the side, couple rows or ribbons and a weapons badge," he said. It's illegal in the United States under the "Stolen Valor" act for civilians to impersonate military by wearing uniforms or medals. Bennett, who comes from a military family, said he told the store manager about the staff member's apparel. He claims he was then approached by a deputy and members of mall security, who told him he was banned from the store. END QUOTE And here's a video: The store's executives are already backtracking from these local jerks in Jacksonville, a city with a large US Navy (the real Old Navy) population. Others have chosen to boycott the store. I maybe have been in an Old Navy once in 10 years and will continue my ongoing de facto boycott.
Sustainable Development: The latest UN scare
Paul Driessen The UN's Rio+20 Conference on “Sustainable Development” was intended to dictate US and world energy, environmental and economic policies for decades to come. However, many of the policies advocated in Rio were not just misguided. They would have wreaked extensive harm on developed country economies and living standards – while perpetuating poverty, misery, disease and premature death in the poorest nations on earth … and severely damaging the very environmental values that eco-activists claim they want to protect. David Rothbard and Craig Rucker’s article exposes the UN's ploy to advance its Green agenda through “sustainable development” as a substitute for the rejected notion of “imminent manmade climate change cataclysm.” It is a timely warning for free people everywhere to block the anti-development Green agenda. David Rothbard and Craig Rucker The UN's Rio+20 agenda would harm health, welfare and nature – and make poverty permanent. Twenty years ago, the Rio de Janeiro “Earth Summit” proclaimed that fossil fuel-induced climate change had brought our planet to a tipping point, human civilization to the brink of collapse, and numerous species to the edge of extinction. To prevent these looming disasters, politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists produced a Declaration on Environment and Development, a biodiversity treaty, Agenda 21 and a framework for the Kyoto climate change treaty. In developed nations, government responses to the purported crises sent prices soaring for energy, increasing the cost of everything we make, ship, eat and do – and crippling economic growth, killing jobs and sending families into fuel poverty. In developing countries, governments restricted access to electricity generation and other technologies – forcing the world’s poorest families to continue trying to eke out a living the old-fashioned way: turning forest habitats into firewood, cooking over wood and dung fires, and living with rampant poverty and disease. This year, recognizing that people are no longer swayed by claims of climate cataclysms, Rio+20 organizers repackaged their little-changed agenda to emphasize “sustainable development” and the need to preserve “biodiversity.” To garner support, they professed a commitment to poverty reduction, “social justice” and the right of all people to “fulfill their aspirations for a better life.” However, mostly far-fetched or exaggerated environmental concerns remained their focal point, and (as always) they have been willing to address today’s pressing needs only to the extent that doing so will not “compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Of course, no one can foresee what technologies future generations will develop, or which raw materials those technologies will require. Sacrificing the needs of current generations to safeguard unpredictable future needs thus makes little sense. Moreover, preventing energy and mineral exploration in hundreds of millions of wilderness, park and other “protected” areas today could well foreclose access to raw materials that will be vital for technologies of tomorrow – itself a violation of sustainability dogma. It is equally difficult to determine what resource uses are “not sustainable.” If changing economics, new discoveries or new extraction methods (like hydraulic fracturing) mean we now have 100-200 years of oil and natural gas, for example, that would appear to make hydrocarbon use quite sustainable – at least long enough for innovators to develop new technologies and sources of requisite raw materials. By contrast, wind, solar and biofuel projects impact millions of acres of wildlife habitats, convert millions of additional acres from food crops to biofuels, and kill millions of birds and bats. Calling those projects “eco-friendly” or “sustainable” may be inappropriate – a misnomer. Of equal or greater concern, activists have repeatedly abused the term “sustainability” to justify policies and programs that obstruct energy, mineral and economic development, and thereby prevent people from fulfilling their “aspirations for a better life.” Set forth in a 99-page report, the UN’s latest “blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity” continued this practice. “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing” (RP2) called for a global council, new UN agencies, expanded budgets and powers, greater control over energy development and other economic activities, and “genuine global actions” by every nation and community – supposedly to ensure “social justice,” poverty eradication, climate protection, biodiversity, “green growth,” renewable energy, an end to “unsustainable patterns of consumption and production,” and other amorphous and self-contradictory goals. RP2 also sought to prevent “irreversible damage” to Earth’s ecosystems and climate, as defined and predicted by UN-approved scientists, activists and virtual reality computer models. Reports and campaigns by the UN, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, Greenpeace and similar groups supported the agenda. To ensure that they would have sufficient funds to implement the agenda – without having to rely on dues or grants from developed nations – the Rio+20 organizers also wanted the power to tax global financial transactions and other activities, with revenues flowing directly to the United Nations. Rio+20 was clearly not about enabling countries, communities and companies to do a better job of protecting environmental values, while helping families to climb out of poverty. It was about using sustainable development pieties to target development projects, limit individual liberty and market-based initiatives, and provide sufficient wind and solar power to generate and demonstrate modest improvements in developing countries’ living conditions – while ensuring that poor families never become middle class, and communities never actually conquer poverty, misery and disease. Advancing “social equity” and “environmental justice,” in ways that Rio+20 sought to do, would actually have meant perpetuating poverty for developing countries, and reducing living standards in wealthier countries. The goal, as in all previous incarnations of Rio+20, was to ensure more equal sharing of increasing scarcity – except for ruling elites. The real “stakeholders” – the world’s poorest people – were barely represented at Rio+20. Their health and welfare, dreams and aspirations, pursuit of justice and happiness were given only lip service – then brushed aside and undermined. The proceedings were controlled by bureaucrats who do not know how to generate new wealth, generally oppose efforts by those who do know, and see humans primarily as consumers and polluters, rather than as creators and innovators, protectors and stewards. If Rio+20 had achieved what its organizers had set out to accomplish, citizens of still wealthy nations would now have to prepare for new assaults on their living standards. Impoverished people in poor nations would now have to prepare for demands that they abandon their dreams for better lives. That is neither just nor sustainable. It is a good thing that the radical Rio+20 agenda was largely rejected. Now we must all work together to find and implement constructive and sustained solutions to the real problems that continue to confront civilization, wildlife and the environment. ______________ David Rothbard serves as president of the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org and www.CFACT.tv). Craig Rucker is CFACT’s executive director. This essay was originally published in National Review on June 20, 2012, as “The UN’s Rio+20 Agenda: The “sustainable development” agenda will harm health, welfare, and nature. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/303268/un-s-rio20-agenda-david-rothbard?pg=1
Friday, June 22, 2012
We are all Keynesians Now - at least at National Review
Timothy Birdnow The editors at National Review have gone mad. http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/300951 Now that you have read the piece by Ramesh Ponnuru and former Bush Treasury economist David Beckworth you are invited, nay, stronly encouraged to close your mouth lest flies nest there. I'm still picking them out of mine. Yes, you read that right; NRO, the legacy of William F. Buckley, is advocating kickstarting inflation as the way to start the economy. According to the article: "The Fed’s initial response to the recession that began in 2007 and deepened in 2008 was to tighten money. It did so actively by paying banks interest on reserves at a rate higher than they could get from alternative safe investments such as U.S. Treasury securities. The banks, therefore, were incentivized to hold money instead of investing it. The Fed passively tightened by failing to offset the sharp drop in the total number of dollars being spent in the economy. When this number — called nominal spending — drops, it is because the demand to hold money increases or the supply of money decreases. By mid-2008 both forces were at work. Households and firms were holding more money and spending less at the same time financial firms were creating fewer assets that serve as money. When the number of dollars spent falls, so of course must the number of dollars made (nominal income). Either prices have to fall, the real economy has to shrink, or both. We got some of both. The Fed has not done nearly enough since then to correct its mistake." End excerpt. Or to put it in plain language, people stopped spending and started saving, and banks did likewise. Banks wouldn't invest in T-bills because they were seen as bad investments. They were seen as bad investments because they didn't pay back well and, more importantly, Obama's spending spree made Treasury Bills appear too risky; who knows if the government would pay them back, or pay them back in worthless dollars? That's the point that is ignored here; these "traditional investments" are dangerous in an inflationary period. Inflation traditionally helps the borrower, because he pays his loan back with money that is worth less than when he borrowed it. Deflation tightens credit because there are less dollars available, and it hurts the borrower who must pay his loan back not only with interest but with dollars that are worth more than those he borrowed. Banks earn less in an inflationary period but there is more money floating around. But lending to the government during an inflationary period is risky because the government may change the rules midstream and the lender has no recourse, and lending to the government is risky because there just isn't as much profit in it as during a period of stable currency. Ponnuru and Beckworth are arguing for precisely that. And of course inflation eats away at the buying power of the citizenry, making the public cut back, which reduces economic activity over the long haul. The reality is inflation is a tax, albeit a hidden one. National Review is calling for a tax increase on the American People, one that can be hidden in price increases. If the Reagan era taught us anything it is that reducing taxes and inflation stimulates economic activity, increasing revenues to the government. Ponnuru and Beckworth have fallen into the trap of thinking of inflation as something different than taxation. I suppose Beckworth and Ponnuru do not remember the 1970's ended in a period of Stagflation, something the Keynesians said was impossible; stagnant economic growth and inflation. As things stand we are going to get inflation with Qualitative Easing expanding the money supply and with the explosion of government spending; that spending can only be paid for by expanding the money supply or raising taxes if you do not have robust economic growth, and there is no incentive to cut spending - something that our betters in Washington are unwilling to do anyway. So B and P think the answer is to print our way out of it ala Weimar Germany. They won't put it that baldly; they argue for a 5% inflation of the currency. But they surely cannot be so foolish as to misunderstand that government is a chained dragon, and letting the beast off the chain means a dragon running wild. Nobody has found a way to stop inflation once started except through the most arduous of efforts (which can only come in a most painful fashion) and given the mountains of debt we are currently amassing that simply won't happen until the value of a dollar approaches absolute zero. I am not using excessive hyperbole here; it's happened before, in Weimar Germany, in Argentina, and elsewhere. Hyperinflation. How these brave Conservatives at the NRO could not understand this is beyond me. The economy is not suffering from an excess in austerity, but from an overlarge government eating up too much of the assets and overregulating the private sector. It really is that simple. Inflation will simply let the government off the hook for spending, giving it more money to play with. There will be no effort to rein in spending, no effort to rein in regulation, no effort to reduce the size and scope of our out-of-control Leviathan. Take a look at this chart. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_debt_chart.html Gross Federal Deb Debt Held by Public FY 2013* $17.5 trillion $10.6 trillion FY 2012 $16.4 trillion $9.7 trillion FY 2011 $14.8 trillion $8.5 trillion FY 2010 $13.5 trillion $8.2 trillion FY 2009 $11.9 trillion $6.8 trillion FY 2008 $10.0 trillion $5.3 trillion While the balance between private and public debt have not changed much the gross numbers have. Remember, a trillion dollars is a thousand BILLION. The entire U.S. economy is only equal to $188 Trillion dollars - that's everything - or 13.4 times GDP. So, we have crossed the entire Gross Domestic Product (roughly $14 trillion) in terms of what we owe http://rutledgecapital.com/2009/05/24/total-assets-of-the-us-economy-188-trillion-134xgdp/, and our debt is eating up that much of the economy. At best, government spending moves money from point a to point b without any multiplier effect, and actually it loses money as there are many sticky fingers between here and there. So, 6.4 trillion dollars have gone down the rabbit hole, becoming nonproductive. What is forgotten here is that these numbers will skyrocket in a few years as the bill for excessive government spending comes due. Also, please note the 10.6 trillion dollar private debt; much of that private debt is there do to governmental policies (such as subprime mortgages) and there is a real chance it won't be paid back. Where does the money needed to keep the economy afloat come from if sizable portions of the private debt defaults? Government bailouts one debtor but at the expense of economic growth in general. Inflate the currency and everyone pays, the productive as well as the unproductive. Yes, inflation can get us out of that trap, but at what cost? Inflation has DESTROYED countries in the past. I am horrified to see this argument not on the pages of Time magazine or the New Republic but at National Review. This is every bit as bad as the Heritage Foundation's scheme in the '90's arguing for an individual mandate for health care. The article makes the following point: "It is once again time for regime change. The crisis in Europe and our stagnation at home both have primarily monetary causes, and a solution will require a new approach to monetary policy that learns from both the successes and the failures of the past." End If by monetary policy they mean chronic overspending, then I agree with them. But their argument for ending austerity measures belies the obvious here. The fact is that the crisis in Europe stems from an overly generous welfare state spending entirely too much money for entirely too long, and the crisis here at home could have been averted had WE not spent our way to the poor house. It is not a crisis of monetary policy but of political will. To paraphrase Dan Rather's comments on Ronald Reagan "we had a big party and now we have to pay for it". The housing bubble was driven by government money in the housing market, by over-regulation and demands by government that standards be lowered. It was draconian environmental standards imposed by government that wrecked the U.S. auto industry by preventing the development of new sources of oil and makng the automakers vulnerable, as well as CAFE standards, and this lead to the automaker's bailout. It was the "too big to fail" mantra that caused government money to bail out the banks rather than let bankruptcy take it's course. All of these things have led to market uncertainty and caution. Monetary policy has been part of the problem, but only part. Certainly inflated prices for oil damaged the car manufacturers, but that was a result of inflation - precisely what our dear friends at NRO are in favor of promoting. It is also interesting to note that Ponnuru and Beckworth make the argument that ending the gold standard somehow ended the Great Depression. First, one must ask what is meant by a gold standard; there are different varieties. Britain moved from a gold species standard (where actual gold coins were in circulation) to a gold buillion stadard where gold acted as backing for base metal or paper money in 1925. One could argue that gold backing of currency rather than gold being currency made it subject to manipulation, which made Britain vulnerable to the crash and subsequent Depression. Britain ended the gold standard in 1931. Yes, the British economy improved, but that was inevitable given that Depressions rarely lasted more than six months prior to the Great Depression, and the recovery seen in Britain was not exactly miraculous. Ditto the other countries of Europe. What would have happened had the gold standard not been abandoned? We have no way of knowing, but perhaps the Depression would have actually ended and not smoldered on for another decade. The point is, a true Conservative argues for an economy governed by Adam Smith's "hidden hand" and not by men. Men cannot see the resutls of their actions in a clear way, and often have motives that do not jibe with the health of said economy. The Conservative view is that the best medicine for an ailing economy is to get out of the way of recovery, which means reducing government spending and regulation. To argue for inflation is to argue for more government, because that is the ultimate end of currency manipulation, after all. Government is what caused this problem to begin with. Government is empowered by money. Giving more to government is guaranteed to make it grow, and it is the growth of that government that has caused our current economic crisis. It is sad to see so great an iconic institution as National Review fall so low. I suppose it's inevitable; the old guard ossifying and the new order sweeping in. But it still saddens me. Perhaps Ponnuru and Beckworth should think about retiring; they have become part of the Establishment and hence part of the problem.
The Vulgarian vs. the Hooker
Jack Kemp This week in an article entitled "Vulgarians on the Loose!" Ann Coulter stated that: http://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2012/06/20/vulgarians_on_the_loose BEGIN QUOTE A Michigan legislator, Lisa Brown, gave a speech in the statehouse last week... She commented on a pending abortion bill by first announcing that she was Jewish, kept kosher, described her various sets of plates, and then saying that Jewish law makes abortion mandatory to save the life of the mother. END QUOTE I am no expert on Jewish law, but it is plain to see that by giving the most extreme example, Brown is trying to use it to bludgeon us all into looking at every case of pregnancy as if the woman is at extreme risk - perhaps to her ability to party and drink - and so should be considered righteous in her wanting to end a life despite the Old Testament Hebrew exhortation to "pri veh rhabi" - Be Fruitful and Multiply. Quoting Coulter's article further, we see why if Anthony Weiner ever gets divorced, there is a prime candidate for his next wife in Michigan: BEGIN QUOTE Then she said: "I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?" Her smashing crescendo was: "And finally Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no'!" (Coulter's comment follows) It's not clear where Rep. Brown got the idea that the Republican caucus was planning on date-raping her, but I think there's been a terrible misunderstanding. The bill under consideration merely ensured the safety of women having abortions -- and, in a small way, the safety of the fetus, whom the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited legislatures from protecting directly. END OF QUOTE Have you figured out by now that Lisa Brown is a Democrat? Good, you're smart enough to operate a light switch. For making these inappropriate remarks, Brown was also forbidden to speak on the State Legislature floor for one day. As for her claiming to be a spokeswoman for Orthodox Judaism, Lisa Brown falls far short. She is guilty of engaging in "Lashon Ra" - bearing an evil tongue or speaking evil and harmful language - and closely resembling the woman mental inmate who got up on a table and did an imitation of a chicken in the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather," in which the inmates took over an asylum. I'll go "out on a limb" here and assume that at this year's High Holiday Services, the rabbi's wife will not be rushing to want to sit next to Rep. Brown. I hope I am right in this regard. In my observations of Orthodox Jewish women on the streets and subways of New York, none of them use such language as Lisa Brown used at the Michigan State House. As for the comparison with hookers - prostitutes - in the title here, let me tell you two personal stories. No, they don't involve truly racy details. In 1997, the biggest convention of the year in Las Vegas was Comdex, the annual computer show which has since been discontinued. Conventions draw prostitutes and the biggest one in the country was a prime example of this. Walking into the New York, New York Casino at 2:30 a.m. one night, a woman started to talk to me as if I were her old friend. I ignored her friendly, civil banter and kept walking, as it was plain that she wasn't in town to buy new computer chip designs for her company. As a young man visiting Israel, I found myself in the port city of Haifa one day at an outdoor cafe near the docks looking to do nothing more than buy a hamburger. Taking my wallet out to make sure I had enough cash, I couldn't help but notice a young woman actually leaning over my shoulder to see exactly how much cash was inside. I assume she wasn't a buyer for leather goods manufactures, makers of wallets and purses. We had an awkward moment as I stared her back because my only interest that afternoon was in lunch, not her "professional services." In neither of these two examples, did the hookers speak in anyway near the vulgar tone or act with the in-your-face belligerency that Lisa Brown exhibited on the floor of the Michigan State House. Exactly what level of respect for women - or Jews - did Lisa Brown think she would be creating with this language? Only a leftist believes that their agenda trumps any need for civility whether it be secular civility or the civility required of them by their supposed religious beliefs. In the last analysis, a leftist's religious belief is in leftist power, not showing reverence for God. Brown wanted the rest of the legislature to show pious respect for her religious beliefs at the very moment she was throwing all piety out the window. As writers such as Michael Savage and Dennis Prager have noted, leftist beliefs invariably lead to a pattern of behavior that is hard to distinguish from insanity and toxic egoism. Lisa, you're too crude for the Las Vegas Strip.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Rio+20 is greatest threat to biodiversity
Paul Driessen and David Rothbard 99% of species and humans are ill served by the 0.1% UN and environmentalist elites. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is underway in Rio de Janeiro. This time, 20 years after the original 1992 Rio “Earth Summit,” thousands of politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists are toning down references to “dangerous man-made climate change,” to avoid repeating the acrimony and failures that characterized its recent climate conferences in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. Instead, “Rio+20” is trying to shift attention to “biodiversity” and alleged threats to plant and animal species, as the new “greatest threat” facing Planet Earth. This rebranding is “by design,” according to conference organizers, who say sustainable development and biodiversity is an “easier sell” these days than climate change: a simpler path to advance the same radical goals. Those goals include expanded powers and budgets for the United Nations, UN Environment Programme, US Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies, and their allied Green pressure groups; new taxes on international financial transactions (to ensure perpetual independent funding for the UN and UNEP); and more mandates and money for “clean, green, renewable” energy. Their wish list also includes myriad opportunities to delay, prevent and control energy and economic development, hydrocarbon use, logging, farming, family size, and the right of individual countries, states, communities and families to make and regulate their own development and economic decisions. Aside from not giving increased power to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats and activists, there are two major reasons for stopping this attempted biodiversity-based power grab. 1) There is no scientific basis for claims that hundreds or thousands of species are at risk Up to half of all species could go extinct by 2100, asserts astronomer and global warming alarmist James Hansen, because of climate change, “unsustainable” hydrocarbon use, human population growth and economic development. At Rio+20 activists are trumpeting these hysterical claims in reports, speeches and press releases. Fortunately, there is no factual basis for them. Of 191 bird and mammal species recorded as having gone extinct since 1500, 95% were on islands, where humans and human-introduced predators and diseases wrought the destruction, notes ecology researcher Dr. Craig Loehle. On continents, only six birds and three mammals were driven to extinction, and no bird or mammal species in recorded history is known to have gone extinct due to climate change. The massive species losses claimed by Hansen, Greenpeace, WWF and others are based on extrapolations from the island extinction rates. Some are just wild guesses or rank fear-mongering, with nothing remotely approximating scientific analysis. Other extrapolations are based on unfounded presumptions about species susceptibility to long or short term climate shifts – fed into clumsy, simplistic, non-validated virtual reality computer models that assume rising carbon dioxide levels will raise planetary temperatures so high that plants, habitats, and thus birds, reptiles and animals will somehow be exterminated. There is no evidence to support any of these extinction scenarios. Indeed, there is no empirical evidence to support claims that average global temperatures have risen since 1998, or that we face any of the manmade global warming or climate change cataclysms proclaimed by Hansen, Gore and others. 2) The greatest threats to species are the very policies and programs being advocated in Rio. Those policies would ban fossil fuels, greatly increase renewable energy use, reduce jobs and living standards in rich nations, and perpetuate poverty, disease, death and desperation in poor countries. Today, over 1.5 billion people still do not have electricity, or have it only a few hours each day or week. Almost 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Millions die every year from diseases that would be largely eradicated by access to reliable, affordable electricity for cooking and refrigeration, clinics and hospitals, clean water, sanitation, and businesses and industries that generate jobs, prosperity and health. Opposition to large-scale electricity generation forces people to rely on open fires for cooking and heating – perpetuating lung diseases and premature death, from breathing smoke and pollutants. It also destroys gorilla and other wildlife habitats, as people cut trees and brush for firewood and charcoal. Wind turbines slice up birds and collapse bat lungs, exacting an unsustainable toll on eagles, hawks, falcons, and other rare, threatened and endangered flying creatures. Turbine and solar arrays cover and disrupt millions of acres of farmland and wildlife habitat, to provide expensive, intermittent power for urban areas. They require backup generators and long transmission lines, and consume millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass, polymers and rare earth minerals – extracted from the Earth, often in countries whose pollution control regulations and technologies are substantially below US, Canadian, European and Australian standards. Corn-based ethanol requires tens of millions of acres, billions of gallons of water, millions of tons of fertilizer and insecticides, and enormous quantities of hydrocarbon fuels. And yet, President Obama told Ghanaians in 2010 that poor, electricity-deprived, malnourished Africans should rely on biofuel, wind and solar power – and not build even gas-fired power plants. Hunting, subsistence living and poverty are among the greatest risks to species. Denying poor families access to reliable, affordable electricity is a crime against humanity The Rio+20 biodiversity and sustainability agenda means artificially reduced energy and economic development. It means rationed resources, sustained poverty and disease, and unsustainable inequality, resentment, conflict, and pressure on wildlife and their habitats. Simply put, 99% of humans and wild kingdom species are being ill served by the 0.1% UN and environmentalist elites gathered in Brazil, and purporting to speak for mankind and planet. Our Creator has endowed us with a world rich in resources, and even richer in intelligent, hard-working, creative people who yearn to improve their lives and be better stewards of our lands, resources and wildlife. The primary obstacles to achieving these dreams are the false ideologies, anti-development agendas and suffocating regulations being promoted at the Rio+20 Summit. If we can eliminate those obstacles, the world will enjoy a rebirth of freedom and opportunity, voluntarily stable populations, and vastly improved health, welfare and justice for billions. We will also bring far greater security to Earth’s wondrous multitudes of wild and scenic areas, and plant and animal species. That would be an enormous gain for our planet and people. __________ Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death; David Rothbard serves as CFACT’s president.
In Praise of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)
William Kay Breaking News! from http://www.ecofascism.com/ In Praise of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38) INTRODUCTION In the May 2, 2011 election Prime Minister Harper and his Conservatives capped 5 years of leading minority governments by winning a majority of House of Commons seats. In the next 10 months they: - pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change; - delivered notices of impending redundancy to 3,500 civil servants employed in 3 bastions of state enviro-activism (Parks Canada, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada); - slashed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s budget by 43%; - cut 10% from the budget of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the principal propaganda organ of Canadian environmentalists); - discontinued funding for the EcoENERGY retro-fit and renewable energy programs - publically denounced Canadian environmentalists for: (a) hijacking consultation processes, (b) accepting funding from foreign radicals, and (c) laundering political money behind a curtain of charitable activity; - allocated $8 million to the Canada Revenue Agency to investigate the improper use of charitable donations (a move aimed at environmental non-profit societies); - eliminated the $547,000-a-year stipend for the 34-year-old Canadian Environmental Network (a pivotal non-profit within the Canadian green movement); - eliminated funding for sacred green cows like the Experimental Lakes Area, Prairie Shelterbelt, etc. These salvos onto the environmentalists’ camp are of trifling consequence compared to the Harper government’s Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)…
Massacre of Tea Partiers a Hoax
Dana Mathewson In regards to the claim floating around that there was a massacre of Tea Party people recently http://tbirdnow.mee.nu/foil_hat_time_government_massacre_of_tea_party Happy to be able to report that this is a 100% hoax! The "author" of this is a guy who has been debunked scores of times. And my friend Tom Schneller's brother-in-law lives just a few miles from this town and was in the town on the night this supposedly happened -- would have certainly known if something like this had gone down. Tom's talked to him since and nothing was said about it! No, folks, we have not yet come to this!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
We Are All Keynesians Now - at Least According to National Review at Conservative HQ
Timothy Birdnow We are All Keynsians now, at least according to National Review. http://www.conservativehq.com/article/8502-we-are-all-keynesians-now-least-according-national-review In an astonishing piece, NRO argues in favor of currency manipulation and inflation to stimulate the economy, and I take them to task at Richard Viguerie's Conservative HQ. This gets to the heart of what it means to actually be conservative. We believe not in the hand of government manipulating events, not in central banks controlling our money supply, not in the notion that a sinful, flawed humanity can so create a more perfect human condition through tireless effort of reform but rather we believe in concepts like Natural Law, which says that God has a system and it's our job to follow (or if you prefer that there is a way things work according to nature, to Adam Smith's hidden hand, and that we do well to let that hidden hand move events rather than fiddling with it ourselves). Liberals believe in currency manipulation, in central banks, central planning of the economy, in the godhead of Man. The LIberal sees nothing but unremitting toil by self-styled experts because they cannot conceive that things actually can work themselves out. Or, to use a climatological analogy, that there are negative and positive feedback loops that will fix the economy (and the rest of civilization) if allowed to proceed unhindered. Sadly, we are ready to try everything except leaving things alone. Franklin Roosevelt made the same mistake - and the Depression dragged on through his entire Presidency. It's sad to see NRO succumb to the Progressive worldview. Many thanks to George Rasley, Jeff Rendall, and Mark Fitzgibbons for their kindness and support at Conservative HQ; they are a class act!
U.S. Top Transgressor of Internet Privacy
Timothy Birdnow According to Google, the United States is the second leading nation in requests for the removal of content from the internet to the search engine. http://www.conservativehq.com/article/8486-big-brother-obama-administration-and-google You read that right; it's not China, Russia, zimbabwe (well, they probably don't have internet), Venezuela, Cuba, or any other tinhorn dictator or communist. It was the little old U.S. of A. And perhaps more frightening is that in the last six months of last year the U.S. was the top-ranked nation in the world requesting data on users. It seems that the Obama Administration is spying on a lot of Americans. When word leaked out that the Bush Administration was checking telephone records of long distance calls to known terrorists (and those records only revealed the telephone numbers making the calls) the Left went Aldo on us (Planet of the Apes anyone?) yet now they are strangely silent. Seems tyranny is just fine when it's their guy doing it. Americans have the right, among others, to be secure in their papers and effects. This is a Constitutionally protected category, and surely this applies to electronic papers and effects. Government has no right to study your Google records. Much was made of the Bush Administration studying patterns of library books on making explosives and whatnot to see where terrorists may be, and yet they are happy with this far more onerous invasion of privacy. But for the Left it was never about privacy, or the rights of Americans, but rather it was a club to beat their enemies with. Liberals use freedom as a policeman uses a baton. They don't worry about violating someone else's but are jealous of their own, because theirs can be used to stop those who would stop them. America is sinking into banana republican status. The biggest banana in the bunch labors tirelessly to fundamentally remake America, and he's doing a stellar job of it. This Administration is as repressive - at least in attitude - as any Latin American thugocracy. Banana republics do not last. The fact that they are personality driven and run for the benefit of the ruling Junta means that they rarely outlive the generalissimo. The United Banana Bunch of America will doubtlessly be as short-lived.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
ALERTS TO THREATS IN 2012 EUROPE
Dana Mathewson Received this morning from my daughter Heather. As you can tell, she's always on the lookout for good stuff. I especially liked the"final thought." -- "Dogs aren't like family members, they are family members." -- Frank DeCaro ----- Forwarded Message ----- ALERTS TO THREATS IN 2012 EUROPE By John Cleese (British writer, actor and tall person): The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit... Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada. The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years. The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides." The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose." Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels . The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy. Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level. -- John Cleese - British writer, actor and tall person A final thought -" Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC."
"Sustainable justice" = redistribution of scarcity
Paul Driessen and Duggan Flanakin Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised that his Administration would “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” He gave a clue to exactly what he had in mind when he told now-congressional candidate Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher: “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Not necessarily – especially when activists, regulators, politicians and ruling elites do all they can to ensure there is less and less wealth to spread around. Just this week, the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives released a new report to the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development. The executive summary of No Future Without Justice begins with the heading, “The World Is in Need of Fundamental Change.” The document then offers “solutions,” which include “universal fiscal equalization” and a “massive and absolute decoupling of well-being from resource extraction and consumption.” The 18-member Group includes no Americans – but condemns the US and other governments for their dedication to economic growth, rather than wealth redistribution, and demands that governments play a key role in promoting “sustainability” and welfare. They insist that all governments provide universal access to public health care, guaranteed state allowances for every child, guaranteed state support for the unemployed and underemployed, and basic universal pensions and universal social security. It is, in short, the total nanny state – but with little or no resource extraction or economic growth to support it. In other words, it guarantees sustained injustice and redistribution of increasing scarcity. The Group admits that human civilization “will still need some form of growth in large parts of the world, to expand the frontiers of maximum available resources for poor countries.” However, the massive investments needed to shift to a totally renewable energy and resource-based economy will require “massive de-growth (shrinkage) of products, sectors and activities that do not pass the sustainability test” – as devised by them, affiliated organizations and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Key financial support for the push toward “sustainability” includes a “greener” and “more progressive” tax system featuring a financial transaction tax, abolition of subsidies for all but renewable energy, cutting military spending while dramatically increasing “stimulus” spending, a compensation scheme to pay off “climate debts” to poor countries supposedly impacted by hydrocarbon-driven climate change, a new regulatory framework for financial markets, a financial product safety commission, and still more regulations for hedge funds and private equity funds. The Group also demands public control of financial rating agencies and a government takeover of international accounting standards. To ensure that “sustainable development” permeates every aspect of society, the Group proposes a new “Sherpa” for Sustainability (with cabinet rank), a parliamentary committee on policy coherence for sustainability, a UN Sustainability Council, a Universal Periodic Review on Sustainability, and an Ombudsman for Intergenerational Justice and Future Generations. It also proposes an International Panel on Sustainability that builds on the “success” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Of course, guiding all this would be the world’s premiere political body and bastion of freedom, fairness, democracy and human rights – the UN General Assembly. To guide this “fundamental” shift toward the sustainability paradigm, the Group laid down eight principles – the key being the “precautionary principle,” which forbids any activity that might involve risk or “do harm.” Its own sustainability prescriptions are, of course, exempted from any reviews under the precautionary principle. The objective, they state, is to build economies that drastically limit carbon emissions, energy consumption, primary resource extraction, waste generation, and air and water pollution. Society must also stop the asserted and computer-modeled loss of species and ruination of ecosystems. All this naturally will require mandatory changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles (at least for the common folk), and the recognition that work (unlike capital) is not a production factor. Indeed, says the Group, work is not even a commodity. Moreover, only “decent” work qualifies under the sustainability paradigm. (While “decent work” is never defined, it presumably includes backbreaking sunup-to-sundown labor at subsistence farming, which under the Group’s agenda would be called “traditional” or “organic” farming and would not be replaced by modern mechanized agriculture.) What is the source of all of this gobbledygook? Agenda 21, the centerpiece of the original Rio Earth Summit – which is being perpetuated, refined and redefined at parallel proceedings in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, while the main sustainability discussions are ongoing in Rio de Janeiro. Agenda 21 states, for example, that “achieving the goals of environmental quality and sustainable development will require ... changes in consumption patterns.” This too would be achieved under UN auspices because, as Earth Summit creator Maurice Strong has explained, the days of national sovereignty are over, and the world needs to embrace a system of wealth transfer to ensure environmental security. In short, “sustainable development” is a system that requires a redefinition of business activity, away from the pursuit of personal profit – and of government activity, away from the pursuit of individual happiness and justice – and toward the pursuit of societal good, as defined by activists and the UN. Simply put, as Brian Sussman points out in his new book, Eco-Tyranny, the ultimate goal of those who endorse the sustainability paradigm is to expunge “the most precious” rights expressed in the American Declaration of Independence: “that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” The Agenda 21 and sustainability paradigm also rejects and undermines Adam Smith’s belief that mankind’s natural tendency toward self-interest, profit and self-improvement results in greater prosperity, opportunity, health, welfare and justice for all. Most of all, the UN/Maurice Strong/ Civil Society Reflection Group vision is merely the latest embodiment of Plato’s Republic. Under Plato’s thesis, an educated, elite, but benevolent and mythical, ruling class acts on the belief that its self-appointed philosopher kings have all the right answers, and do not require the Consent of the Governed. The rest of humanity must fall into lockstep or face the consequences; however the results will be exemplary. Unfortunately, as Alexander Hamilton observed, men are not angels. Moreover, it defies experience and common sense to suppose that the elitist UN, UNEP and environmental activist community will ever display wisdom detached from ardent ideology – or benevolence toward the humans they seek to govern. ____________ Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org and www.CFACT.tv) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. Duggan Flanakin is director of research and international programs for CFACT.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Lovelock Supports Frakking
Timothy Birdnow I wrote a while back about James Lovelock, the Gang-greeniest of the Gang Green, the father of the Gaia hypothesis (in which Lovelock suggests that the Earth's ecosystem is rather like a single organism). Lovelock has done a 180 on Global Warming, admitting that it just ain't a happenin', although he still holds with the theory. http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/04/the_last_days_of_global_warming_theory.html Lovelock has now approved hydraulic fracturing in Europe. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory This is the equivalent of the Pope saying Jesus was a fraud. Lovelock better be careful, lest they take his green card away.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
One of President Obama's more bizarre quirks consists of referring to his "sons" when speaking in public. (Go here to see a partial list of Obama's other outlandish comments.) Mr. Obama has done this repeatedly; saying that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin, and saying he wants his daughters to have the same economic opportunity as his sons. Mr. Obama seems to think his family is considerably larger than it appears. Perhaps it is a deep-seated desire to have sons? Mr. Obama has spent his life in a largely matriarchal familial structure. His father did more than dream; he vamoosed while Junior was still in diapers, and his step-father (Mr. Soetoro) seemed to be, well, not that important to young Barry, and he wasn't around too long. Barry's male role models were his grandfather and the communist poet Frank Marshall Davis, neither of whom were exactly fathering types. Granted, gramps had wanted a son, and had named his daughter Stanley to make the point, but he seemed to have made his daughter into the son he never had and she appears to have taken the dominant male role in Obama's life. Stan the wo-man certainly whisked young Barry around enough, smothering him in her feminine charms. There seems to have been estrogen aplenty surrounding Obama, but he lived in a testosterone wilderness, a food desert of the male hormones. Certainly his current circumstances feature an arugula-eating Amazon and two dainty young girls; hardly a he-man universe. Dana Milbank calls Obama the first female President.http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/barack-obama-the-first-female-president/2012/05/14/gIQAViBlPU_story.html So did Bonnie Erbe of PBS and Scripps-Howard http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/02/pbs_host_gone_wild.html, who made this claim prior to the 2008 election: "Still Clinton's female supporters who are watching Obama's movement coalesce, solidify and take over should console themselves there will be a woman Democrat in the White House either way if the Democrats win the general election. The nominee will either be a woman with double-X chromosomes, or one with XY chromosomes who votes more like a woman than most with XX." Is it a desire to prove his manhood, to sire sons, that drives Obama to claim male children? Ernest Hemmingway was dressed as a girl for the first two years of his life by his mother http://www.worldwar1-history.com/Ernest-Hemingway-Biography.aspx, leading the emotionally-crippled Hemmingway to seek out all the he-man stuff he could, desperately trying to prove to himself he was not in fact a girl. Is Obama all that different? Does he desperately need to validate his manhood with sons? Oops, he did it again! http://www.barackobama.com/om-fathers-day-card-c Yes, Michelle (the pushup queen) invites you to sign a Father's Day card for the president, the man Native Americans long ago supposedly called the "Great White Father in Washington." Who would want a Father's Day card signed by a bunch of strangers? Well, the Russian Czar may have; he was proclaimed the father of the Russian People and looked on his role as surrogate papa. Lord knows, Obama loves czars. Peter the Great was titled "the Great, Father of His Country, Emperor of All the Russias. " Seems Petey saw himself as the abusive father the people always wanted. Given Mr. Obama's desperate desire to get the approval of the Russians (his famous "reset" meaning craven appeasement) we must assume he has similar ambitions. Or perhaps Mr. Obama sees himself as the new George Washington, recreating the nation as Mr. Washington first created it. Washington is known as the father of his country, too. At any rate, Barack Obama has some strange notion that he's the father of us all. Daren Jonescu has suggested that there is something more, that Obama does not speak of his biological progeny or even with the royal I, but rather believes humanity forms a composite of which he is the end product: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/obamas_sons_they_are_real_for_him.html "He is not "all of us," in monarchical fashion. Rather, we (by which I mean all things in the known universe) are all him. Thus, he can legitimately lay claim to having sons, for all fathers are Obama. He can refer to himself as both Muslim and Christian, for all faiths are Obama. Composite girlfriends can be discussed in detail in a supposed work of non-fiction, for his romantic past includes the infinite list of all possible girlfriends, as all boyfriends are Obama. He is the world spirit and the end of history." Composite, world-spirit, or just over-estrosgenized, Obama has a bizarre view of fatherhood. Of course, all Progressives see themselves as surrogate fathers to the benighted public. They think the public is so simple-minded that the average joe cannot put the correct shoe on the correct foot without government assistance. Government exists in the Progressive worldview to micromanage the behavior of the People. (This is what Benito Mussolini meant by the term Totalitarianism http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/600435/totalitarianism, which he coined not as a pejorative but as a way of saying that the State should act as an intimately involved father, a helicopter parent involved in all aspects of life.) Barack Obama undoubtedly thinks of himself as the ripest cheese in the Progressive delicatessen, and so envisions himself as the father of fathers. I suspect Obama sees himself as a sort of reverse George Washington, a guy who is the father of our NEW country, the remaker of America. "We are the ones we have been waiting for" he once proclaimed, and he believes it. What Obama has sought to foster is a cult of personality, much like tinhorn dictators and Communist strongmen have sought for a long time. He seeks to portray himself as bigger than life, bigger than the average man. And the key to being bigger is to be Il Papa, the father. He wouldn't be the first man in history to attempt this trick in political life. But it's hard to play both ends. Obama wants to capture the John F. Kennedy persona of youth and enthusiasm and at the same time portray himself as the father. It's a dichotomy that cannot stand on its own; people don't look up to a father who is younger than they. Obama finds himself unable to make this crazy scheme work because, like everything in his life, he can't stick to it. There is no there there, because he doesn't have enough experience doing either. Obama does not share the youthful experiences of Middle America; he went from his overseas childhood to a life in a very left wing academic setting to ACORN and the political left in Chicago. He had but a few normal years in Hawaii. It seems likely that his mother was at least a left-leaning woman, and he was perhaps a red diaper baby. He simply has no connection with the American youth culture. And he certainly lacks the gravitas to appeal as a father. It worked last time around because the media hid who Obama really is. Now, after four years of seeing the man, America knows him for a vacillating, supercilious, shallow man more at home with stuffed shirts and foreign leaders than his own people. But it won't keep Obama from trying; he is stubborn that way. Just call him Daddy Dearest! Thanks to Jack Kemp for some important suggestions and editing assistance. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/obamas_fathers_day.html#ixzz1y3fjylTN
The Incredible Shrinking Rental Market
Timothy Birdnow I've worked in the property management field in St. Louis, Mo. for 15 years now, and have seen many ups and downs in real estate. What I have seen in the current market is unlike anything that has come before. The market is strange, to put it mildly. Our inventories are down - way down. People aren't moving much, and buildings that we have always struggled with are filling up and staying full. That would be good news, no? If you were to listen to the media you would come away with the impression that the rental market is booming, and prosperity is just around the corner. If you believe that you would be wrong. First there is this. http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar=&articleID=5617442162904936512&ids=djkRej4Pc38Pc30Uc30Ve34SdiMQczgTdjgVe3cTdj8Se3AUcjoRb34UcP8Ve38MczwRcPgNejsNdzkIcP4Scz4MdzkTcPcScPoPe34SdiMOcjkScPAQc3AOdz4Od3gTcjoR&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod2-b-ttl-0&ut=3f6nRWFR1zLBg1 Seems the LA Times is arguing for an improving housing market because there has been a huge drop in the time it takes to sell a house. Good times, right? According to the article: "Housing inventory has sunk to levels not seen since the bubble years. The number of American homes with a "for sale" sign hit 2.5 million in April, the lowest number for an April since 2006, according to the National Assn. of Realtors." End excerpt. But what does that mean? First, the big wave of foreclosures ended with the lawsuits filed against Bank of America and other lenders http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-01/ma-sues-bofa-citi-jpmorgan-ally-wells-fargo.html, and as a result many of the people who would have been forced to give their homes to the bank (and then those homes would have ended up on the market) got extra time in them. This will end now that the foreclosure rate is ticking back up. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/money-power-wall-street/home-foreclosure-rates-on-the-rise-again/ (Foreclosures have risen by 9% since April.) Also, it means that many borrowers are under water, owing more than they can sell for, and as a result are forced to put their houses on the rental market, which has been very tight since people who used to own are now forced to rent. Which brings us to exhibit B: http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar=&articleID=5618363633756012613&ids=djkRej4Pc38Pc30Uc30Ve34SdiMQczgTdjgVe3cTdj8Se3AUcjoRb34UcP8Ve38MczwRcPgNejsNdzkIcP4Scz4MdzkTcPcScPoPe34SdiMOcjkScPAQc3AOdz4Od3gTcjoR&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod2-b-ttl-1&ut=3c9U-qcjFzLBg1 Rental properties are stuffed fuller than Michael Moore at a Western Sizzler buffet. I can personally vouche for this fact; any decent property has been rented by homeowners in foreclosure, and we have had to loosen our credit requirements because they all are bad thanks to the mortgage market collapse. Single family homes have been renting below market rate for a few years, although that is changing because of the high demand, but we still cannot get past certain ceilings because the renters simply cannot afford high rents. It's very easy to price yourself out of the market these days. So rents are depressed but there are few of them on the market. According to the U.S. Cenus Bureau http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/historic/files/histtab3.xls, in the first quarteer of 2007 vacancy rates for single family homes were 10.3, that has dropped to 8.2 in the first quarteer of 2012. Duplexes and fourplexes have dropped from 10.2 to 9.3, and multi-families from 10.7 to 9.9 nationwide. I suspect these numbers do not really tell the whole story; properties in depressed areas have lost much more than good units in good locations, and no doubt small town properties are way down. It should be pointed out that vacancy rates rose then dropped, indicating that people lost their ability to pay and were forced out or voluntarily moved in with family. The slight decrease in vacancies since the crisis first hit is no indication of a healthy economy but rather of a kind of surrender by those who had hoped for better. People are renting instead of buying, and downgrading. We have almost no one or two bedroom apartments; people who would rent houses have gobbled them all up, and the houses are being rented by former owners. It should also be pointed out that many properties have been purchased by investors who realize they can rent these properties and when (if) the market improves make a tidy sum. As I said, renters are easy to come by provided you do not overprice the property and are willing to accept people with foreclosures. Which brings us to this Bloomberg story. http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar=&articleID=5618900800320319555&ids=djkRej4Pc38Pc30Uc30Ve34SdiMQczgTdjgVe3cTdj8Se3AUcjoRb34UcP8Ve38MczwRcPgNejsNdzkIcP4Scz4MdzkTcPcScPoPe34SdiMOcjkScPAQc3AOdz4Od3gTcjoR&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod2-b-ttl-4&ut=0TLzZ_N2hOLBg1 Yes, home equity is on the rise. Why? The story attributes it to record mortgage rates, but what does that say? Those rates are low because the FED can think of nothing else to do to jumpstart the mortgage industry. Low rates are wonderful for investors and refinancers who have stellar credit, but it places new mortgages - especially for first time buyers without adequate credit or plenty of money to put down - out of reach. Many investors are gobbling up foreclosed or distressed properties, and so the numbers show an uptick, naturally. But is it a sign of returning health to the economy? No. Paying off loans is a sign of economic weakness. People borrow during boom times because they know they can pay back the money. Austerity is a symptom of economic hardship, and the fact that equity is rising suggests that the people who can are trying to pay their mortgages down while they can. Of course, this is money the borrowers won't have for other items, which means they scale back their expenditures, which means that other industries suffer. If someone foregoes a vacation, say, to pay down their mortgage it hurts the travel agents, the airlines, the gasoline industry, the hotels, the restaurants, etc. Yes, the banks get some money back, but due to the interest rate dropping they get less of it, and inflation gobbles up much of it, too. At some point the profit on a dollar drops too low to be worth lending and the banks sink their money into safe and unproductive things. No matter how one looks at it, the housing market is still dead - and the rest of the economy, too. And we are doing the same things today that caused the bubble in the first place. Interest rates are at historic lows to encourage lending. The U.S. Justice Department is still pursuing legal action to force lenders to make loans in high-risk areas, which will force them to make bad loans. Fannie and Freddie are still in-tact and distorting the lending market. The only reforms that have been made are limits to risk management and reductions in profitability for the lenders. The market cannot heal if the banks aren't allowed to make a profit. So don't expect any improvements in the economy soon.
Deliberately Destroying America
By Alan Caruba It has taken three and a half years into Barack Obama’s presidency for most Americans to realize that he has been deliberately destroying America by driving up the nation’s debt and deficit, reducing privately held wealth, forcing millions onto the public dole, undermining its moral structure, and weakening the nation’s reputation internationally.. His latest lie is that “the private sector is doing just fine”, but the numbers tell the whole story and one can find them on an excellent blog, Economic Collapse, that offers seventy examples: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-u-s-economy-by-the-numbers-70-facts-that-barack-obama-does-not-want-you-to-see -- The official U.S. unemployment rate has been above eight percent (8%) for 40 months in a row. Unofficially, it is estimated to be closer to fifteen percent (15%). -- In 2007, about ten percent (10%) of all unemployed Americans had been out of work for 52 weeks or longer. Today that number is above thirty percent (30%). -- An astounding forty-nine percent (49%) of all Americans live in a home where at least one member is receiving government benefits. -- The middle class is shrinking. Ninety-five percent (95%) of the jobs lost during the current recession were middle class jobs. -- Instead of cutting spending to reduce debt, the Federal Reserve is “monetizing” much of the U.S. debt. It purchased “approximately sixty-one percent (61%) of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury in 2011. -- Perhaps the most frightening statistic cited was a survey that found that sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans “believe that the U.S. economic model is broken.” It is not broken. The economic model that propelled America into a superpower would continue to provide prosperity if the nation’s “entitlement” programs were reformed, if the obscene government spending and production of regulations were reduced, if government housing finance entitles such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were eliminated, if the federal government’s purchase of the nation’s land mass was ended, if environmental laws without any basis in science were struck from the books, and if government control over the exploration and extracting of its vast energy reserves was greatly reduced. It’s a tall order and it would require cleaning out a Congress that has imposed unsustainable burdens, including the highest corporate income tax in the world, and a level of taxation that requires those still holding jobs to annually work 107 days to earn enough money to pay local, state, and federal taxes. If you check out the Progressive Caucus website, you will find nearly seventy members of the House are members and there is one from the Senate, the Socialist Bernie Sanders. In the 1950s they would have correctly been identified as Communists. http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/ When Liberals and liberalism became unpopular, they began using the term Progressives. They are the descendents of every Democrat that voted for the New Deal, the War on Poverty, the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the creation of the Departments of Energy, Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are the people who in the early years of the last century imposed the income tax and engineered the creation of the Federal Reserve, a banking cartel that controls the economy. At this point most conservatives have heard of Saul Alinksy’s 1972 book, “Rules for Radicals”, a guide to bringing about the destruction of the nation’s capitalist economic system and replace it with the kind of government that Barack Obama has tried to impose with the help of the many Communists and liberals in Congress. Lesser known is the roadmap spelled out in 1988 by Columbia University sociologists, Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven, both members of the Democratic Socialists of America. The “Cloward-Piven Strategy” advocated a “massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls” in order to sabotage it and bring about "a political and financial crisis." http://www.rightsidenews.com/2011081114275/us/politics-and-economics/collapsing-the-system-on-purpose.html As it turned out, it was the collapse of the housing market that brought about the financial crisis they wanted, but following the Bush administration emergency bail-out of the banking system, the Obama administration with its Democrat-controlled Congress set about imposing historic debt through its $821 billion “stimulus.” Present debt exceeds the entire annual Gross Domestic Product. It followed that with an unnecessary and wasteful bail-out of General Motors and Chrysler (instead of permitting a normal bankruptcy that would diminish the power of the unions that brought it about), and massive “investments” in failed solar and other alternative energy companies. The EPA was set free to try to impose regulations that would shut down a major portion of the nation’s producers of electricity. Even though voters returned majority power to Republicans in the House of Representatives in 2010 the trail of destruction has continued and the bills they have passed to end our present financial troubles have been locked up in a Democrat-controlled Senate that has not passed a budget in the last three years. We are now five months from an election to remove Obama from power and electing conservative lawmakers to office. It’s a start in restoring America to its former prosperity. © Alan Caruba, 2012