Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Is President Obama Siding With Tyrants?


From Iran to Honduras, it seems that President Obama is failing to support the opponents of tyranny. In Honduras, it appears that his administration is actually working against them. Why?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A liberal admits Affirmative Action Housing Crash

Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us by Alyssa Katz, a liberal journalist and NYU journalism professor who writes for Mother Jones, is, believe it or not, a very good book about how the sacred cause of "diversity" led to the Great Mortgage Meltdown.

The book hasn't garnered the attention it deserves—probably because it makes clear the bipartisan responsibility of both her opponents on the Right and her friends on the Left.

Our Lot focuses on the misdeeds of capitalists as well as leftists. But that is a familiar leftist tale. What is intriguing is Katz's honest testimony on the role of her fellow leftists in this mess.

Katz is remarkably frank about how government programs and political pressure to boost minority homeownership helped blow up the economy. She's particularly good at explicating how leftist housing activists, such as ACORN and Gale Cincotta, the godmother of the Community Reinvestment Act, worked with Democratic politicians such as Bill Clinton, HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and Jim Johnson, CEO of Fannie Mae, to lay the groundwork for the Bubble and Bust. She devotes more time to these factors than she does to the Bush Administration's culpability (which, to my mind, is remarkable).

Still, Our Lot makes clear that on housing policy, the Clinton-Bush years form a single continuum with one overarching plan: boost the minority homeownership rate by lowering credit standards. Call it the Era of Multi-Cultural Lending.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some media questions for Barack Obama

If you shake your head in amazement and wonder why a vast majority of Americans aren't demanding that the president, most of his cabinet, all of his czars, and a significant percentage of House and Senate members be criminally investigated, you still haven't grasped the power of the liberal lamestream media. This power has diminished somewhat, as many wise up and turn to talk radio and blogging to vent their frustrations and the Tea Party Movement grows, but the lamestream media power is still strong.
 
This is why hardly any one in the media is talking about the government criminal behavior that is being uncovered.  The reason, of course, is that the Culture of Corruption (Michelle Malkin's scathing indictment of most of the Obama criminalweb) in Washington, at a minimum, goes unreported by most of the major newspapers and magazines, as well as the major TV networks.

And the reason for this is that Obama and his cronies have proven to be masters at implementing the strategy of one of the greatest propagandists of the 20th century, Josef Goebbels.  Said Hitler's infamous propaganda minister: "Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."

None of the criminality of the Obama administration would be possible without the explicit (or, at the very least, implicit) approval of the media. Can you imagine a presidential press conference where, instead of asking the Obamunist about his dogs or his latest demogogue whitey "beer summit", they asked him questions such as:

"You told Joe the Plumber that you believe in spreading the wealth around. Since the Constitution doesn't allow you to do that, from whom did you acquire the moral authority to take people's earnings by force and arbitrarily hand them to others?"

"You are on video in 2003 saying that you believe in a single-payer healthcare system. Why are you now telling the American public that you merely want a 'government option' added to our existing system?  Were you lying in 2003, or are you lying now?"

"How do you reconcile the fact that, within a short space of time, you said that the Medicare system is a perfect example of how well government programs can work, then turned right around and said that Medicare is broke?"

"Why would you appoint an avowed communist, Van Jones, as "green czar?" Did you know that he was a communist before you appointed him? Was he properly vetted? Since communism seeks to destroy capitalism, isn't his appointment a clear indication that you would like to destroy capitalism?"

"Throughout your life, you have, by your own admission, associated most closely with people like Frank Marshall Davis (another communist), Reverend Jeremiah Wright (an advocate of "black liberation theology"), Bill Ayers (a convicted terrorist who stills says that he wished his group, the Weather Underground, would have done more), and Marxist professors (in college). Given these associations and your extreme liberal voting record in the Senate, weren't you being disingenuous with the American public when you tried to position yourself as a mainstream American in the last presidential election campaign?"

"Who, exactly, writes these thousand-page bills that keep getting rammed through Congress on short notice, and why do you not insist that all congressmen and women read them before voting on them?"

"Most of what you have done since you gained office is in violation of the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment specifically states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." In other words, the federal government has no powers other than those specifically granted to it by the seven Articles of the Constitution. Knowing this to be so, how do you justify violating the Constitution on a daily basis?"

"Since thousands of creditable scientists throughout the world say that global warming either does not exist or, if it does exist, it is not manmade, why are you determined to push through a cap and trade bill that will kill American businesses and jobs, dramatically raise taxes, and increase the cost of energy?"

"Why is Tom Daschle, whose tax problems were apparently so severe that he withdrew his nomination for Secretary for Health and Human Services, still coming to the White House and giving you advice on a regular basis while at the same time working for the law and lobbying firm of Alston & Bird and giving advice to UnitedHealth, the nation's largest health insurance company?"

From the $410 billion omnibus bill (with 9,000 earmarks) to the $800 billion "stimulus package" ... from Cash for Clunkers to insulting and dismissing American taxpayers who disagree with his policies ... from appointing a total of thirty six "czars" who do not answer to either the Congress or American taxpayers to bringing criminally infested ACORN into the White House to take over the census ... the stench of government corruption can be smelled throughout the land.

Being the clever devil that he is, to avoid ever having to answer such questions, Barack Hussein Obama apparently made a strategic decision to put a great deal of his creative energy into his pals at the lamestream press.  Goebbels would have loved it.

But perhaps I'm giving him too much credit. Maybe it's the press, on its own, that made a conscious decision, early on, to ignore any wrongdoing on the part of this galling young truth-twister because they have waited so long for an unapologetic "progressive" to slip into the White House with a super majority in Congress to back up his dastardly deeds.

If the media did make a conscious decision to become a government keyboard, they should think about that old maxim: Be careful what you wish for, or you may get it. If people get the government they deserve, the press surely is not immune to the same fate.

When wrongdoings evolve into atrocities, I wonder if any left-wing media pawns will turn to the black market to buy up copies of F.A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom in an effort to figure out how they were duped into participating in their own enslavement.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Praise of Greta Van Susteren

It's funny how the crybaby Commiecrats call Fox News "right wing", even though the network is chock full of liberals like Geraldo, Alan Colmes, Evan Bayh, Paula Zahn, and, of course, Greta Van Susteren. Nor do the pretty cupcakes of Fox News come across as particularly conservative. Of course, Fox News still has many more rightist commentators and journalists than CNN, to say nothing of the completely Marxist-Soviet MSNBC news network.

Still, I must compliment Greta. She may be a liberal, but she is also a very smart woman who tenaciously tries to get at the facts, regardless of whom it hurts or helps. She's a straight arrow who has a deeply ingrained sense of justice about her that causes her to ask pointed questions ... again ... and again ... and again. I doubt that she thinks of herself in strong ideological terms.

I say deeply ingrained sense of justice, because she becomes very impatient when guests talk nonsensically, lie, or try to spin the facts. And in her recent interview with Russell Mokhiber, founder of "Single Payer Action" - a group with a name like "Friends Of Global Progress" out of the novel Atlas Shrugged - there was a lot of all three going on. 

Russell Mokhiber was right on cue with the bogus assertion that "sixty people die every day due to a lack of health insurance." It was clear Mokhiber understood Josef Goebbels' famous words: "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."

In nonstop fashion, Mokhiber vilified Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey, who is famous for his pro-employee philosophy of business and rather liberal politics! Whole Foods, which employs some 50,000 people, has repeatedly been named one of the best companies in America to work for, and it provides insurance benefits to 80 percent of its employees. As a result, Mackey has been something of a populist hero to the average working man and woman.

Why did Russell Mokhiber do this? Because John Mackey took an honest look at the employer provided health care situation and dared to suggest that Obama the Duplicitous Despot's government-monopoly healthcare plan may not be in the best interests of patients, doctors, or America in general. Zap! Mackey went from media hero to media demon quicker than you could say "change you can believe in".

Worse, he had the audacity to offer his own idea of what he believes to be a better healthcare plan for America. Audacious! Who does he think he is, a free citizen? A successful employer who has a proven healthcare plan in place for his employees? A productive individual who has created thousands of jobs? A business owner who has succeeded by giving consumers what they want?

What in the world would make him believe he has a right to voice a dissenting opinion? He's probably just another one of those dreaded teabaggers in disguise.

Mr. Mokhiber was having none of such hype. He wanted Mackey tarred and feathered, and sent his progressive troops to picket Whole Foods stores in Austin, New York, and Washington, D.C.

What really ticked off Greta was Mokhiber's repeatedly saying that because John Mackey is against single-payer healthcare, he's a "bad guy." Gee, most Americans are against single-payer healthcare. The only thing I'll give Mokhiber credit for is that, unlike his Oval Office hero, he didn't lie about what he wants: government-only healthcare.

As everyone in America now knows, BHO continues to claim that government healthcare would be "just another option," even though he was captured on video, in 2003, saying, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health-care program." The man does have a charming way about him, doesn't he?

But this isn't about BHO, who is already way too overexposed. It's about how Greta handled Mokhiber's nasty assertions that John Mackey is a bad guy who should be silenced. True-blue progressives simply don't like to hear dissenting views. Greta skewered him and never backed off, no matter how many times he followed his Goebbels repetition strategy. She simply was dumbfounded that Mokhiber would call a model citizen a "bad guy" for not agreeing with the president's viewpoint.

You can see the whole interview here.

Just remember that Mokhiber is typical of the kind of person that too many RINO Republicans believe they can reason with - you know, "reach across the aisle."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama Goes Postal, Lands in Dead-Letter Office: Caroline Baum

“UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” -- Barack Obama, Aug. 11, 2009

When Obama compared the post office to UPS and FedEx, he was clearly hoping to assuage voter concerns about a public health-care option undercutting and eliminating private insurance.
What he did instead was conjure up visions of long lines and interminable waits. Why do we need or want a health-care system that works like the post office?

What’s more, if the USPS is struggling to compete with private companies, as Obama implied, why introduce a government health-care option that would operate at the same disadvantage?

These are just two of the questions someone listening to the president’s health-insurance reform roadshow might want to ask.

Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day. For all the president’s touted intelligence, his un-teleprompted comments reveal a basic misunderstanding of capitalist principles.

For example, asked at the Portsmouth town hall how private insurance companies can compete with the government, the president said the following:

“If the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning taxpayers aren’t subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do -- then I think private insurers should be able to compete.”

Self-sustaining? The public option? What has Obama been doing during those daily 40-minute economic briefings coordinated by uber-economic-adviser, Larry Summers?

Government programs aren’t self-sustaining by definition. They’re subsidized by the taxpayer. If they were self-financed, we’d be off the hook.

Llewellyn Rockwell Jr., chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com, put it this way in an Aug. 13 commentary on Mises.org:

“The only reason for a government service is precisely to provide financial support for an operation that is otherwise unsustainable, or else there would be no point in the government’s involvement at all.”


Rockwell sees no “economic reason for a government postal system” and would abolish it.

Unfortunately, the post office has constitutional history. Article 1, Section 8, grants Congress the power “to establish Post Offices and Post Roads.” A series of subsequent statutes gave the USPS a monopoly in the delivery of first-class mail. Congress thought that without such protection, private carriers would cherry-pick the high-profit routes and leave money-losing deliveries in remote areas to the post office. (In those days, the USPS covered most of its expenses with revenue.)

It was only through exemptions in the law that private carriers, such as UPS and FedEx, were allowed to compete in the delivery of overnight mail.

Short of a constitutional amendment or a waiver from Congress, we are stuck with the USPS.

But back to our storyline. Everyone makes a mistake or flubs a line when asked questions on the spot, including the president of the United States. We can overlook run-on sentences, subject and verb tense disagreement, even a memory lapse when it comes to facts and figures.

The proliferation of Obama’s gaffes and non sequiturs on health care has exceeded the allowable limit.

He has failed repeatedly to explain how the government will provide more (health care) for less (money). He has failed to explain why increased demand for medical services without a concomitant increase in supply won’t lead to rationing by government bureaucrats as opposed to the market. And he has failed to explain why a Medicare-like model is desirable when Medicare itself is going broke.

The public is left with one of two unsettling conclusions: Either the president doesn’t understand the health-insurance reform plans working their way through Congress, or he understands both the plans and the implications and is being untruthful about the impact.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The disgusting "Harvey Milk Day" agenda

As if kids in our public schools are learning enough actual History, English, and Math, along come the Commiecrats demanding a day to honor Harvey Milk, a disgusting creep.

Contrary to what the leftists claim (Waah! Hater!), it is not his homosexuality that makes Harvey Milk a horrid role model for children. Rather, it is his corruption, fraud, and cozying up to death cult leader Jim Jones.

Randy Shilts, a homosexual San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote a favorable and sordid biography of Milk in "The Mayor of Castro Street." Yet if you read between the lines, even Shilts' favorable biography reveals Milk's disgusting and predatory pedophilia toward minor boys:
  • "...sixteen-year-old McKinley was looking for some kind of father figure...At 33, Milk was launching a new life, though he could hardly have imagined the unlikely direction toward which his new lover would pull him." (pages 30-31)
  • "It would be to boyish-looking men in their late teens and early 20's that Milk would be attracted for the rest of his life." (page 24)
  • "Harvey always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems." (page 180)
  • The dishonorable deeds of Harvey Milk

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Whole Foods Alternative To Obama Care

Sure enough, John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Markets, is now facing boycotts from the Elite Commiecrats who shop at his markets. But his advice bears repeating:
With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

1. Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. 
For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
Routine checkup and prescription costs should not be covered by insurance. Insurance is only supposed to cover major financial catastrophe. Obviously, some medical treatments and specialized drugs ARE a financial catastrophe for many of us, but imagine what your car insurance would cost if it were mandated that oil changes *must* be paid from your car insurance. And what would the oil changes would cost? A hell of a lot more. 3rd party payment tends to do that.
2. Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.

3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable. 
4. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care. 
6. Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

7. Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
One necessary reform is a raising of the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, to at least 70 and probably 75. People are living longer, and there are fewer younger workers per elderly retiree than there used to be.
8. Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
I would add making health care expenses more deductible than they are now, where they are only deductible at above 7.5% of one's adjusted gross income.
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter? 
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America.

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Senators Dodd & Conrad Lied About Mortgage Favors

The Senate Ethics Committee investigation looking into allegedly preferential treatment afforded powerful Senators Dodd (D-CT) and Conrad (D-ND) by mortgage giant Countrywide Financial has sprung a few leaks. And the emerging details do not look good for either senator.
According to The Associated Press:
Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn't know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.
Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide's VIP program, contradicted the repeated denials by Dodd and Conrad regarding their knowledge of the program. When asked directly whether the two Senators were aware they were receiving special VIP treatment, Feinberg simply said, "Yes."

The program was known as "Friends of Angelo," named after Countrywide's chief executive at the time, Angelo Martinez, who was recently charged with civil fraud and illegal insider trading. Dodd used two sweetheart mortgage loans in 2003 to refinance residences in Connecticut and Washington, DC, while Conrad took two loans the following year to refinance his beach house in Delaware and an apartment building in North Dakota.

Aside from Feinberg's testimony regarding the senators' knowledge of the program there is the documentary evidence as well.

In Dodd's case two documents entitled "Loan Policy Analysis" clearly prove Countrywide allowed Dodd to obtain the loan without paying "origination fees," when Countrywide's general policy is to collect these fees, also called "mortgage points."

And as far as Conrad is concerned, the North Dakota Senator sought to obtain a residential loan for his eight-unit apartment building when Countrywide's residential loan limit is for buildings with no more than four units. "...See if the [loan executive] can make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator," Martinez instructed Feinberg in an email obtained by The New York Times.

The email string indicates Conrad was award of the four-unit restriction.

Dodd and Conrad went into spin/disinformation mode, with Conrad gong so far as to compare his sweetheart mortgage/bribe to an airline "frequent flyer" program.

Their Democrat pals control the Senate and the House so don't expect too much investigation into this scandal. House Democrats have zero interest in subpoenaing information about the "Friends of Angelo" program, such as the full list of beneficiaries that is sure to include more politicians from both political parties.

The accusations of preferential treatment are particularly damaging for Senator Dodd, who chairs the Banking Committee, which is responsible for regulating the mortgage lending industry including companies such as Countrywide.

Despite the serious investigation into his corrupt relationship with Countrywide Dodd continues to rake in huge amounts of cash from lobbyists. According to The Associated Press: Even as Dodd "boasts about snubbing lobbyists...the embattled Connecticut Democrat is still cashing lobbyist campaign checks and rubbing shoulders with them at fundraisers and party gatherings."

And, of course, the Senate Ethics Committee investigation is taking place while Dodd is embroiled in a separate real estate scandal. The watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Senate Ethics Complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms.

Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property is still undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up.

Despite these scandals, Dodd continues to head the Senate Banking Committee and Conrad is in charge of the Senate Budget Committee. Think about that the next time you hear these committees talk about banking ethics or balanced budgets!