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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today: The World As I See it!

By Rich Kozlovich

Today’s posts and links will not be listed under separate categories as has been my wont lately.  Today the links will be listed in this post, and in the order I would like for them to be read starting with the video….Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, which was from an e-mail forwarded to me Thursday morning by my friend Dave Deitz, the first director of Oregonians For Food and Shelter.  I found it to be profound and provocative because it clearly shows how the historical patterns reoccur over and over again, and with the same results over and over again. 

We have more than enough history in order to know what the outcome of central planning by a small arrogant elite will be, and yet we still see leaders push for policies and programs that have known negative consequences.   History also shows that even those who promote these policies ultimately suffer from the destruction of civil society caused by the economic collapse as a result of these programs, and yet they continue.  For some time I keep seeing that quote from Einstein that says if we expect different results from doing the same thing over and over again it is a form of insanity.  Why are we seeing this quote so often?  Because that is what is happening to us now! 

The pathways of the past are the stepping stones to the future.  So one has to ask why they ignore the pathways of the past.   Because the past condemns them, therefore they re-interpret the historical record to their own liking, often calling historical reality a myth in order to overcome those who point out the historical consequences of their actions. 

The Five Great Religions of the world are listed as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.  In reality there are six great religions.  The sixth and most dangerous of them all is Socialism, or Secular Humanism, if you prefer.   All the great religions are broken down into sectarian groups and so Socialism is also.  Fascism is the right wing sect of socialism, Communism is the left wing and Environmentalism has become the Church Militant for socialism.  It is this Sixth Great Religion of the world that is the most dangerous, most misanthropic, and most irrational of them all because socialism has no moral foundation other than having an elite coming to power and making all the decisions on daily life for everyone, including what we can eat.  It is a philosophy of hate, envy and jealously while claiming to promote fair play and equality; and it has always been a failure in every way.  Socialism is the serpent in the garden; promising godless utopia and delivering godless dystopia. 

It is clear to me that for anyone to promote such madness must mean they must be insane.   To believe in socialism or modern environmentalism is to be morally defective, irrational and misanthropic.  And the public has been lied to, and misled by a corrupted media, academia, government, big business and self serving labor and activist groups. Let's start with......
Video – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina….America!

Fitch downgrades Argentina and predicts default

Credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Argentina, which is locked in a court battle in New York over its debt, and said the country would probably default.

Fitch cut its long-term rating for Argentina to "CC" from "B," a downgrade of five notches, and cut its short-term rating to "C" from "B". A rating of "C" is one step above default, AP reported.  US judge Thomas Griesa of Manhattan federal court last week ordered Argentina to set aside $1.3bn for certain investors in its bonds by December 15, even as Argentina pursues appeals.   Those investors don't want to go along with a debt restructuring that followed an Argentine default in 2002. If Argentina is forced to pay in full, other holders of debt totaling more than $11bn are expected to demand immediate payment as well. ….To Read More…..

  Editor's Note:  Please take some time and review My Argentina File, which goes back to 2012.  RK
A cliff of their own choosing

With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved health care — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda.

For 40 years the party’s principal sources of energy and money — liberal activists, government employees unions — have advocated expanding government’s domestic reach by raising taxes and contracting its foreign reach by cutting defense. Obama’s four years as one of the most liberal senators and his four presidential years indicate he agrees. Like other occasionally numerate but prudently reticent liberals, he surely understands that the entitlement state he favors requires raising taxes on the cohort that has most of the nation’s money — the middle class.  To Read More…..

All about Taxes
Democrats and the media have ignored the rest of the fiscal-cliff debate.

How many times have we heard that the only thing standing in the way of a grand bargain to reduce our growing national debt is Republican intransigence on taxes? If Republicans would only agree to dump Grover Norquist, Democrats will agree to cut spending and reform entitlements……all join hands and sing Kumbaya as we usher in a new era of compromise and fiscal responsibility. 

Except that now that Republicans have agreed to raise taxes….. as part of an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, liberals appear to have decided that there really isn’t a need to cut spending after all  “Suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn’t that we’ll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we’ll reduce the deficit too much,” warns Paul Krugman. All this worry about debt and deficits is “an entirely contrived crisis,” writes Robert Kuttner in the Huffington Post. After all, as the New York Times explains, “deficits are actually a good thing when the economy is deeply depressed, so deficit reduction should wait until the economy is stronger.” “So,” sums up Robert Reich, “can we please stop obsessing about future budget deficits? They’re distracting our attention from what we should be obsessing about — jobs and growth.”…… Republicans are simply negotiating with themselves and with the news media. Democrats haven’t even come to the table....To Read More…..  

My TakeThey must all be mad!

The invisible establishment Republicans
By Robert Ringer Email | Archive

Now that masochist Republicans have once again managed to find a way to go down to defeat – against a failed, collectivist president who received 10 percent fewer votes than in 2008 – conservatives and libertarians are blaming “establishment Republicans.” Even most of the supposed conservatives roaming the halls of Congress talk disdainfully about them. Which raises the question, who, exactly, are these “establishment Republicans”? …… So, contrary to what many Republicans believe, Barack Obama is not the problem. He is but a symptom of the problem. Over the past hundred years or so, the United States government has been infiltrated by lots of communists. That’s nothing new. But in the days of yore, Republicans and Democrats worked to track down the commies, root them out and, in the case of the Rosenbergs, even execute them.  Let’s face it, on a level playing field, a communist is no match for a true patriot who is passionate about liberty. But therein lies the problem. Today, not only do virtually all Democrats not believe in individual liberty, neither do a majority of Republicans. Sadly, most politicians in both parties are now statists, meaning that they believe the state should have the power to violate the sovereignty of individual citizens at will.  To Read More….

Trading principle for power
By Andrew Napolitano Email | Archive

When President Obama won re-election last month by a larger margin than even his most fervent supporters had expected, though with fewer popular votes than he received in 2008, most commentators initially opined that not much had changed in Washington. The president would remain in the White House for another four years, the Democrats would keep control of the Senate, and the House would stay in Republican hands. Most Republicans re-elected to both houses of Congress had publicly pledged not to vote to raise taxes under any circumstances. And most of those Republicans have adhered to that promise – until now.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the false congressional fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party began to reveal their true selves. Led by the Republican presidential standard bearer in 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain, at least a half-dozen Republican members of Congress have renounced their public promises never to vote to raise taxes. In the case of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Rep. and Sen.-elect Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., they had restated their promises, directly or indirectly, as recently as last month during their successful campaigns. Did they blatantly dupe the voters? Did they genuinely change their minds? Did they ever sincerely accept the pro-freedom anti-tax logic?  To Read More….

Democratic left keeps pressure on Obama
By Richard McGregor in Washington

Just over two years ago, at a low point in Barack Obama’s first term, his then press secretary lashed out at the president’s liberal critics for flaying the White House’s failure on pet policies such as universal healthcare and allowing gays to serve openly in the military.  Labelling the critics the “professional left”, Robert Gibbs said: “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.  Since then the complaints have died down. For anyone on the left, Mr Obama has delivered in the most fundamental way, beating back a Republican candidate and party that had in its sights much of the US postwar social safety net…..

Since the election, many of Mr. Obama’s allies, in Congress, the unions and various lobby groups, have called for these so-called entitlement programmes to be taken off the table in the fiscal cliff talks.  Mr. Obama’s victory, they argue, was a mandate for lifting marginal tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and shouldn’t be traded away by cutting benefits for the poor.  Mr. Obama appears to agree, at least in the short term, and he may welcome his allies’ agitation on his behalf. The united front he is drawing together to press Republicans to move on tax rates suggests he sees no reason to trade on this issue for the moment either…..To Read More…..  

Democrats dig in over reform
By James Politi

President Barack Obama and Democratic candidates for the Senate campaigned heavily ahead of this month’s victorious elections on a simple message: raise taxes on the rich and make them bear a greater share of the burden in deficit reduction.  But with talks to avert the so-called fiscal cliff in full swing, Democrats are resisting proposals championed by Republicans to hit the rich on the spending side by curtailing their government health and pension benefits.  Republicans have made clear that they are willing to accept some higher revenue from the wealthy in any agreement, but only if Democrats concede to some structural changes to Medicare and Social Security, the two largest safety net schemes supporting elderly Americans.   To Read More….

My Take – The wealthy who are receiving Social Security and Medicare paid into it in order to collect.  That means those dollars aren’t subsidies, they are premiums for paying into an insurance or investment plan.  That is why there was never a means test to SS in the past because it was sold insisting it wasn’t a tax; it was sold as an insurance or investment for retirement.  So now… turns out that those who resisted SS in the beginning were right… is a tax after all.  If that is the case then it must be passed accordingly; and I would be willing to bet that it hasn’t.  

Editor's Note:  This next article is a case of historical deconstructionism in order to make right seem wrong and stupid seem smart.   The effect of Smoot Hawley actually went far deeper than reported here.  Unemployment after the stock market crash went to 8%.  After Smoot Hawley it soared to 15%.  Countries apparently paid each other in gold in those days.  This bill impacted the world's economy negatively and countries refused to pay debts owed to the U.S., mostly because they felt they couldn't afford to do so, further depressing America's economy.  Switzerland actually banned trade with America.  For anyone to make such insane claims boggles the imagination.  How could you justify this as anything but insanity?  It has been said that ideology makes smart people dumb.  I think it makes them insane also, all that they need is a charismatic leader and suicide will soon follow.  How To Spot a Sociopath – 10 Red Flags That Could Save You From Being Swept Under the Influence of a Charismatic Nut Job

Brown favors law blamed for Great Depression
By Jon Cassidy 

Sen. Sherrod Brown’s ideas on economic policy are way out of the mainstream, and would torpedo the global economy if ever enacted. That’s not a hypothetical. It’s historical.  In his 2004 book, “Myths of Free Trade,” Brown devotes six pages to a revisionist defense of the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930, which are widely blamed for accelerating the onset of the Great Depression.  “The myths of Smoot-Hawley do not withstand the light of day,” Brown writes, going on to list four “myths” that he tries to debunk. The book was hardly a best-seller, but Brown’s views have been getting attention lately, as his race against Republican challenger Josh Mandel could decide the balance of the U.S. Senate. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 imposed drastic tariffs on more than 20,000 imported goods. By 1932, the average American tariff on dutiable imports was 59.1 percent. Only once before, in 1830, had it been so high.

The tariffs provoked U.S. trading partners to drastic retaliatory measures.  The numbers tell the story. Between 1929 and 1932, U.S. imports fell from $4.3 billion to $1.3 billion. Exports fell from $7 billion to $2.5 billion. By comparison, total federal spending was $2.6 billion in 1929.  Everybody learned a painful lesson.  Except Brown….  To Read More....

Editor's Note: As destructive policies take effect the results will become more and more evident.  Yesterday I linked: 

This is just the beginning.  Tell me the history and I will give you the answer. 

 USPS Chief Lays Out Plan for the Agency’s Survival
Published: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012

The head of the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service said the agency must be allowed to ease the terms of prepayments into a retiree health-care fund and eliminate general mail delivery on Saturday.   Patrick Donahoe told "CBS This Morning" the agency isn't asking Congress for money.   He said, "I think most people don't realize, we're 100 percent self-sufficient. We pay our own way." But the postal chief notes the agency is losing $15.9 billion this year. …to Read More….

Phil Matier: Oakland Crime Rate Soaring As City Loses Officers
November 28, 2012 7:18 PM

Burglaries are up a startling 43 percent in Oakland this year compared to last, part of an ever-growing crime problem in the city.  According to the latest numbers from the Oakland Police Department, more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day. The most popular targets have been cars with more than 5,700 burglarized so far this year.  To Read More…..

State Senator Proposes Dissolving City Of Detroit
November 28, 2012 11:08 AM

It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.  WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.  “If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at. We really have to look at everything that is on the table,” Jones said. “Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”  Local consultant Tom Watkins has proposed this in the past, but the idea has never played well among Detroiters.  To Read More…..

Final Thoughts:

It is interesting that the French Revolution was the foundation for worldwide socialism, and in stark contrast to the American Revolution.  The trouble with the French Revolution was that it strove for utopia imposed from the top.  Socialism is a failure.  It has been a failure everywhere it has been tried.  It cannot be anything but a failure because it isn’t based on individual rights.  Socialism is a system based on envy and hate.  It is a system based on equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.  Is it any wonder that they are on their Fifth Republic?  Can the Sixth be that far away?  Yet America is still on its first Republic.  So why have we adopted European style socialism, which is destroying the European Union.  So what do the French do recently?  They voted in a socialist government because they didn't like the austerity programs imposed by the previous government; which wasn’t all that austere considering they are on the verge of bankruptcy, much like the rest of Europe and the U.S.; and for the same reasons. 

Thomas Sowell once observed that there are some things that seem so reasonable that they can fail nine times out of nine and people will still try them the tenth.  He went on to say that there are things that seem so unreasonable that they can succeed nine times out of nine and people will still refuse to try it the tenth time. That is the story of socialism versus capitalism. Capitalism, with all of its flaws has always been the greatest driving economic force for good in the world because it has brought more people out of misery, squalor and suffering than anything else that have ever existed. Socialism has created more misery, suffering, squalor, disease and death in a shorter period of time than any other philosophy the world has ever known. Between socialism and its sectarian step child, environmentalism, they have killed over two hundred million people in the last one hundred years. And yet people keep trying it over and over again.

We must be insane!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Posts and Links

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.  - Thomas Jefferson

Logical Fallacy of the Week, Week 53: Ignoratio elenchi

Going Green
Scientific Integrity is an Oxmoron
Socialism and its Impact

Logical Fallacy of the Week, Week 53: Ignoratio elenchi

Ignoratio elenchi, also known as irrelevant conclusion, is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may or may not be logically valid, but fails nonetheless to address the issue in question.  Ignoratio elenchi falls into the broad class of relevance fallacies.  It is one of the fallacies identified by Aristotle in his Organon. In a broader sense he asserted that all fallacies are a form of ignoratio elenchi…..A related concept is that of the red herring, which is a deliberate attempt to divert a process of enquiry by changing the subject. Ignoratio elenchi is sometimes confused with straw man argument. For example, it has been described as "attacking what the other fellow never said" by Peter Jay in an article in a 1996 article in New Statesman.   To Read More

Bankrupt San Bernardino cuts $26 million, tries to stay afloat

L.A. Times November 27, 2012 

Saying it had little choice, the San Bernardino City Council voted to cut $26 million in spending in an effort to keep the bankrupt city from dissolving and being governed by the county. The city is already in bankruptcy proceedings and facing a $45.8-million budget shortfall. The $26 million in cuts will help the troubled city stay afloat.
The austerity plan is a required step in the federal bankruptcy process. It freezes vacancies in the Police Department even as the city deals with an increase in violent crime. The Fire Department’s overtime budget also was slashed by 35%.

The city already had stopped making payments to CalPERS, the state's public employee pension fund, since filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection Aug. 1, a move city officials estimate will save San Bernardino more than $12 million.
“This is a document that I’m holding my nose and voting yes on,’’ said Councilwoman Wendy McCammack.  To Read More……  

My TakeOh California, you have always been such a leader.  Thank you citizens of California; your innovative thinking regarding taxes, social change, abandonment of traditional values and regulations keeps showing the world …..”The Way”! 

For without the implementation of your vision the expressions of the normal people of the world could only be classified as speculation.  But we have you……you with your unending penchant for the extreme  provides absolute scientific evidence....evidence that is proof positive that as the world’s laboratory what is good and right for society ...... you are a failure.  Now all the rest of the world has to do is the opposite of whatever it is you are doing, and success will be assured.

Thank you once again and keep up the good work! 

Oh wait….I just had a terrible thought….You aren’t letting economic catastrophe weaken your emotionally irrational thinking so that you might become ….well….. conservative…. are you?  Pleeeeeease don’t do that!  Your willingness to do all the stupid things you do to destroy your economy, and your society, is essential for the world’s understanding on socialism, central planning and what impact discarding traditional values has on humanity. 

Stay strong!  Stay stupid!  IT IS YOUR DUTY!  May Gaia be with you!

Academic Malpractice: The Case of Grover Furr

by Ron Radosh November 13, 2012

I was not going to write about Prof. Grover Furr of Montclair State University. I did not want to call more attention to him, which he obviously craves. But now that the video of his speech at a recent forum has gone viral on the internet, thanks to the Washington Examiner, and is being featured on other sites as well, I have decided it is time to speak out about this particularly imbecilic member of the Academy. Professor Furr is a professor of medieval English literature, but what has led to all the hullabaloo about him is his decades-long defense of the old Soviet Union, and in particular of the years in which one of the 20th century’s most horrendous monsters, Josef Stalin, wreaked havoc on the lives of the people living under his reign of terror. Professor Furr has been in the business of Stalin worship for quite some time.....To Read More.....

Editor's Note:  This is a follow up on this issue with my post of the video on November 7, 2012. 

Halt the baby-butchering

 By Christopher Monckton -  Email

Obamacare – the nationalization of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy – may yet be defeated after all. Liberty University, a magnificent Christian college in Lynchburg, Va., has persuaded the Supreme Court to order the sniveling Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to hear its challenge to the constitutionality of the new law.  Liberty’s ground of attack is a strong one……under the First Amendment, which debars Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”…..

I am going to describe how an abortion takes place.

A suction nozzle not unlike a carpet-cleaner is inserted into the womb. The little child, realizing that its home is being invaded, shrinks away.  But there is no escape. The child is dismembered, limb by limb, and the little pieces are sucked out of the womb and set aside for experiment, incineration, or sale. The ultrasound scan of the womb shows the child’s tiny face distorted with fear, pain and then agony. Its butchers can see it screaming. They do not care, for they do not love.  If by some miracle the little one survives this monstrous cruelty and is born alive, he or she is left to gasp a last, fluttering breath on a cold, metal tray under the cold glare of the strip-lights and the still colder glare of the vicious profiteers who salve their shrunken consciences by declaring to one another, mindlessly, over and over and over again, that “it’s just a fetus.”…To Read More…..

LA Public Pension Problem a Microcosm of California’s Financial Woes

by Russ Pohl on November 28, 2012 

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan abandoned efforts this week to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to reform the city’s public pension plan. Riordan said he didn’t think he could acquire 300,000 signatures by the Dec. 28 deadline to get his measure, which would rquire city workers to contribute more toward their pensions and convert all employees to 401K-type plans, on the May ballot.  It will come as no shock that Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents public service workers in Southern California, and the Los Angeles Police Protective League led the opposition to Riordan’s initiative.  Tyler Izen, the president of the LA Police Protection League, said Riordan’s plan was “both simplistic and costly … for the taxpayers.” But what is truly costly is avoiding reform. According to the Los Angeles Times, the city’s pension shortfall hinders its ability to balance its budget. Miguel Santana, LA’s chief financial officer, said the faces a $222 million budget shortfall now and a $427 million gap by 2014-15.  To Read More…..

Whoda Thunk it?

Front Page 

Romney won 90% of the Jewish Orthodox vote in New York City districts. After the election there were attempts to claim that Obama had won the Orthodox Jewish vote based on a few districts where he broke even............ To Read More....

Satire Be Damned, Fluke In Running For Time Person Of The Year

November 28, 2012 by Sam Rolley 

A Chinese news site got egg on its face when it failed to realize that satire news site The Onion was only joking when it named Kim Jong Un as the sexiest man of 2012. But some Americans are likely wondering if the once iconic Time magazine is taking cues from the satire site as well with its inclusion of Sandra Fluke as a contender to be named its Person of the Year.  Here’s what the magazine says about her:  To Read More……

What Environmentalism Really Means

Written on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by David L. Goetsch

Stand by America—the environmentalists are coming.  Radical environmentalists are practically gleeful over Barack Obama’s re-election because they now have four more years to advance their anti-business, anti-people agenda.  To understand how far modern environmentalists have strayed from the origins of their own movement, consider the definition of “environmentalism” provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment; especially the movement to control pollution.”  If this definition were an accurate reflection of modern environmentalism, the concept would not be so controversial.  However, because of the excesses of so-called environmentalists, Merriam-Webster’s definition more accurately describes people who prefer to be known as conservationists or, even, responsible developers. Conservationists and responsible developers are both interested in maintaining the beauty and integrity of the natural environment—the former for man’s enjoyment and the latter because doing so is good business.

The modern environmentalism movement, on the other hand, is a confederation of earth worshippers, animal rights advocates, abortionists, anti-technology Luddites, and various other factions of the radical left.  It is most accurately viewed as a denomination within the broader religion of secular humanism.  The various factions of the environmentalism movement all have different agendas, but the glue that holds them together is their common enemy: mankind.  In reality, the modern environmentalism movement has become an umbrella organization under which all left-wing groups who regard human beings as the enemy can plant their flags.... To Read More.....

EU rejects French report linking GM maize to cancer


The EU's food safety agency definitively rejected Wednesday a bombshell French report linking genetically modified corn to cancer, saying it failed to meet "acceptable scientific standards."  

Harvested cobs of corn dry on the ground outside a house near Gaomi, in eastern China's Shandong province. A French study published earlier this year said rats fed on NK603 corn developed tumours.  AFP - The EU's food safety agency definitively rejected Wednesday a bombshell French report linking genetically modified corn to cancer, saying it failed to meet "acceptable scientific standards."  "Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Seralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards," the European Food Safety Authority said in a statement.  "Consequently it is not possible to draw valid conclusions about the occurrence of tumours in the rats tested," the agency said.  EFSA, which reviews the use and authorisation of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), added that it "finds there is no need to re-examine its previous safety evaluations of NK603," the genetically modified maize developed by US agribusiness giant Monsanto…To Read More……

Editor’s Note:  This is a follow up on the October 3, 2012 post: French Study on GMO's: Making a mockery of scientific ethics.  Make no mistake about this.  If it wasn't for the internet this piece of junk science would have joined Silent Spring and all the other junk science touted by the greenies as foundational for tons of new and unwarranted regulations.   We are still living with regulations formulated by the EPA based on the fraudulent study from Tulane University regarding endocrine disruption and pesticides. 

Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate

Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.

By Robert Winnett, 27 Nov 2012 2024 Comments

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election. The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.   It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes. George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget earlier this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April. …..However, the number of million-pound earners is still far below the level recorded even at the height of the recession and financial crisis.   Last night, Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP who uncovered the latest figures, said: “Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires.   Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue.   To Read More…..

The Forgotten Bailout

By: Daniel Horowitz Diary November 21st, 2012 

When it comes to setting public policy fires, Democrats get away with serial arson.  A maladroit opposition party and a complaisant media ensure that the public will never pin the tail of blame on the donkey.  Nowhere is this more evident than with interventionist housing policy.

Decade’s worth of government intervention in the housing market almost single-handedly took down the economy.  Bill Clinton’s National Homeownership Strategy did to the housing sector what Obamacare will do for the healthcare sector.  His administration created entire offices and programs dedicated to forcing banks to underwrite risky mortgages under the dubious goal of universal home ownership.  Concurrently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought up the lion’s share of the subprime mortgage securities and fueled the toxic asset bubble.  The bubble popped, bringing down the entire economy with it.

Instead of learning from the deleterious effects of “fair lending” and universal homeownership programs, Obama has juiced up the goals of the Community Reinvestment Act that underwrote risky loans.

So what have we gotten for all the risky loans?  We sunk $140 billion into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now we are on the hook for a $16.3 billion shortfall at the Federal Housing Administration.  Taxpayers have not been reimbursed one dime for the housing bailout.  Just wait until the Fed commences another few years of blowing up the housing market through MBS purchases; we’ll be back in 2008 in no time!

Amidst all the talk over the fiscal cliff, why is nobody talking about the stolen funds sunk into the dead rat GSEs?  Josh Rosner, co-author of the must-read Reckless Endangerment, reminds us all of the forgotten bailout in yesterday’s edition of the New York Times.

Last summer, the United States Treasury decided that, rather than require the G.S.E.’s to pay interest on their debt to taxpayers, it would require any profits generated by Fannie and Freddie to be swept into the Treasury’s coffers. Unfortunately, this has created problems of its own because it has led to the commingling of the still legally private G.S.E. funds with those of the federal government — and it complicates the ultimate recapture of Fannie’s and Freddie’s value. Moreover, as the International Monetary Fund recently warned, the practice adds major risk to the United States balance sheet.

A better approach is possible — but to devise the right plan, lawmakers will have to start giving the issue the attention it deserves.

Well, here is a better solution.  Senator McCain and Congressman Hensarling have a bill (S.693/H.R 1182) that will shut down the GSEs, albeit in a gradual way and with the understanding that they currently back 90% of all mortgages.  His bill would impose a two-year limit on the current conservatorship and chart a course to complete privatization after 5 years.  It would immediately end all affordable housing mandates, force the GSEs to pay back the taxpayer bailout money, cap their maximum portfolio size, reduce their market share and shrink their competitive advantage over private capital.

Housing policy is one of the most banal issues for many casual consumers of news, but it was the catalyst of the Great Recession.  The blood of the entire housing and financial meltdown is on the hands of those who subscribe to Obama’s housing policies.  It’s time someone demand accountability for the egregious federal intervention in the housing market.  Otherwise, we’ll be in the midst of a new housing crisis in a few years.

Cross-posted from The Madison Project

When it comes to setting public policy fires, Democrats get away with serial arson.  A maladroit opposition party and a complaisant media ensure that the public will never pin the tail of blame on the donkey.  Nowhere is this more evident than with interventionist housing policy. Decade’s worth of government intervention in the housing market almost single-handedly took down the economy.  Bill Clinton’s National Home ownership Strategy did to the housing sector what Obamacare will do for the healthcare sector.  

His administration created entire offices and programs dedicated to forcing banks to underwrite risky mortgages under the dubious goal of universal home ownership.  Concurrently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought up the lion’s share of the subprime mortgage securities and fueled the toxic asset bubble.  The bubble popped, bringing down the entire economy with it. Instead of learning from the deleterious effects of “fair lending” and universal home ownership programs, Obama has juiced up the goals of the Community Reinvestment Act that underwrote risky loans.

Editor's Note:   This now appears here, and its now ten years later, and I've published this in full since the RedState site original addresses for their articles seem to stop working, and I don't want to lose the information.  Also you may wish to read my commentary entitled; Sub-Prime Pest Control, which deals with this issue later in the article. The patterns are the same even though the headline is different.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today's Posts and Links

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.  Cardinal Richelieu

Climate and Energy
Civil Liberty
Foreign Affairs: The Lost Treaty
Ground Zero
Leftism Lies and Destroys
Scientific Integrity is an Oxymoron

The U.S. is Blocking Energy Wealth and Jobs

By Alan Caruba

This first appeared here. I wish to thank Alan for allowing me to post his work. RK
What if I told you that the government was blocking America’s prosperity in the form of enormous untapped energy reserves that represent wealth and jobs that would once again put America on the path to fiscal security and growth?

Recently, Matt Vespa, on reported that the International Energy Agency released a report that said the United States has the capacity to outpace Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s leading producers of oil. It projected that the U.S. could become a net oil exporter around 2020. It could become entirely self-sufficient.

Even so, the Obama administration just moved to cordon off 1.6 million acres estimated to represent one trillion barrels worth of oil in the name of conservation. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to so encumber hydraulic fracturing—fracking—with so many regulations it will thwart increased use of this extraction technology that has been safely in use for decades.

As Dan Kish, Senior Vice President for Policy at the Institute for Energy Research, warns, there is a major government effort “to federalize hydraulic fracturing regulation” which is already being done by states “in a very professional and knowledgeable way. Take fracking away, the oil and gas production drops.”

For years, through many administrations, the federal government has been doing everything in its power to restrict drilling domestically and off-shore where billions of barrels of oil remains untapped. In October, a Wall Street Journal editorial noted that “The latest example is the Interior Department’s little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.”

As far back as 1976, Congress designated the Reserve a strategic oil and gas stockpile to meet the “energy needs of the nation”, but oil and gas that is not extracted meets no needs. It keeps the nation dependent on imported oil and gas. In an August 22 letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar from the entire Alaska delegation in Congress called it “the largest wholesale land withdrawal and blocking of access to an energy resource by the federal government in decades.”

Noting that “Most of the other 11.5 million acres are almost indistinguishable from the acreage owned by the state that is being drilled safely nearby” the Journal pointed out that drilling on privately owned land has seen North Dakota pass Alaska as the second highest oil-producing state behind Texas.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, “The federal government owns roughly 635-640 million acres of the land in the United States. Four agencies administer 609 million acres of this land; the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, and the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Service, all in the Department of the Interior.” The Bureau of Land Management manages 248 million acres and is responsible for 700 million acres of subsurface mineral resources.

Mostly by stealth, more and more privately owned land is being purchased by the federal government. In September 2011, Audrey Hudson, writing for Human Events, reported that “The Obama administration is spending $35 million to buy 30,000 acres of private property across the U.S. this year to make permanent homes for mice, fairy shrimp, mussels, prairie bushes and beetles. Those are just some of the 70 critters and plants to benefit from the land purchases in a dozen states as part of the government’s habitat conservation plans for endangered species.”

Quoting Rob Gordon of The Heritage Foundation, Hudson reported that “The federal government already owns more land than Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Poland combined.” The Endangered Species Act is just an excuse to secure ownership of more land and, in particular, to restrict development of every description from housing to hospitals.

Instead of a future in which our oil and gas reserves could unleash all manner of economic growth and the generation of thousands of new jobs, Ben Wolfgang, reporting in the November 22 edition of The Washington Times, “The drilling process that has brought the U.S. energy independence within reach faces renewed scrutiny from the Obama administration and an uncertain future in many states.”

“Next month, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a draft of its long-awaited report on suspected links between water pollution and fracking, which uses huge amounts of water, combined with sand and chemical mixtures, to crack underground rock and release trapped oil and gas.” Fracking, however, occurs well below underground water levels and has been shown to have no effect on it.

What we are witnessing is the deliberate effort by the Obama administration, in concert with earlier administrations, to deny the economic benefit of tapping the nation’s vast reserves of oil and gas domestically and off-shore. This was evident, as well, in the President’s decision about the XL Keystone pipeline on the grounds that it threatened aquifers if allowed to proceed. Thousands of jobs were lost in that single decision with no evidence of the truth of the assertion.

As the nation sinks further into economic decline and default, it is obvious that the nation’s energy sector is being thwarted at a time when it holds the promise of lifting it out of growing unemployment, higher energy costs, and the drumbeat of utterly false environmental claims about greenhouse gas emissions.

© Alan Caruba, 2012