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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for February 15th, 2010

Two Writers at AP Take on Obama

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

The Associated press has been in the tank for the left for a long time, but for the second time I have noticed these two writers at the AP taking on the president. Appearently they have had enough of rhetoric that doesn’t jive with reality. You know its bad when a Democrats start losing the AP. 

Here we go:

FACT CHECK: Obama likes both sides of an argument

By JIM KUHNHENN and CALVIN WOODWARD
Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON (AP) – In President Barack Obama’s hands, the $700 billion financial rescue fund offers a bit of bookkeeping magic: an opportunity to pay down the deficit while also spending more—thereby adding to it.Under law, any paybacks to the bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program must be used to reduce the deficit. But in an economic speech on Tuesday, the president sought to have it both ways. Increased repayments from banks to the Treasury will reduce the deficit all right, but it will give Congress the budgetary room to spend more—and the president encouraged just that.

“There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits on the one hand, and investing in job creation and economic growth on the other,” Obama said. “But this is a false choice.”

To be sure, governments spend money during recessions to prime the economy, and they must be wary not to pull back too soon or to spend too long. But TARP returns are required by law to be used for deficit reduction. Yet if banks can help lower the deficit through one program, Congress can bump it up elsewhere.

What’s more, even under Obama’s rosier expectations the $700 billion TARP would still add $141 billion to the deficit.

It wasn’t the president’s only attempt at having his cake and eating it, too, in his speech.

OBAMA: “We were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve,” he said, describing his administration’s infusions of money to banks and the auto industry.

Later, however, he conceded that the TARP program was “launched hastily under the last administration,” and argued the policy was flawed.

THE FACTS: Obama’s partisan swipe glosses over some of the circumstances before he took office. First, he and his fellow Democrats presided over some of the decision-making that led up to the crisis, because they controlled Congress for two years before Obama became president. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also had a hand, as chief of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under the Bush administration.

Moreover, the $700 bailout fund was initiated under the Bush administration by then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. It was endorsed at the time by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and by Geithner. As Illinois senator during the presidential campaign, Obama backed that package.

______

OBAMA: “Finally, we are no longer seeing the severe deterioration in the job market we once were; in fact we learned on Friday that the unemployment rate fell slightly last month. This is welcome news, and news made possible in part by the up to 1.6 million jobs that the Recovery Act has already created and saved, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

THE FACTS: How many jobs were created or saved by the $787 billion economic stimulus that Congress approved in February has been one of the most contentious questions facing the Obama administration. Recipients of direct assistance from the government say they have created or saved about 650,000 jobs, though some of those calculations have been questioned.

The Congressional Budget Office was much more circumspect than Obama’s characterization. The stimulus policies, CBO said last month, “raised real GDP by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points, and increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million compared with what those values would have been otherwise.”

And CBO offered numerous caveats about its numbers, noting “it is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.”

_____

OBAMA: “We cannot continue to accept an education system in which our students trail their peers in other countries.”

THE FACTS: The long-held perception that U.S. pupils lag those in other countries has been based on misleading comparisons, and is getting outdated in any event. Developed Asian countries do tend to be ahead, but the U.S. has been gaining for many years, making bigger strides on international tests than Singapore and Japan in math, and more progress than Japan in science. The U.S. is highly competitive with Europe, including Britain, Russia and Germany. Global assessments do not account for the fact that U.S. is growing ever more diverse, with a large share of children who are learning English.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Video Economics 101 – Government Run Monopolies, Mortgage Industry, Education, Insurance, Cable TV, etc.

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Brilliant:

Posted in 2012, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Corporatism, Culture War, Government Gone Wild | Leave a Comment »

Shocker: AP gets a story right about the GDP quarterly growth.

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Usually the elite media is so bad that I am just filling you in on the worts of the worst, but I found an article on the 5.7% growth in GDP last quarter that actually had a good, solid factual point that they weren’t trying to spin for Obama. That surprised me so I am writing about it.

Before I go on, 5.7% my rear, as we have pointed out and the article rightly points out, consumer spending is in the tank and without consumer spending real growth doesn’t take place, only growth on paper does. Just like the rosy growth news of the last quarter, I fully expect this 5.7% number to be adjusted down next month, not because I delight in seeing Obama’s wasteful spending fail, but because of the obvious, when the consumers and investors have low confidence, the economy doesn’t boom.

AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy boomed at the end of 2009, growing at the fastest rate in more than six years. Now if only it could keep it up.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the second straight quarter of growth. But analysts warn it’s unsustainable.

Consumer spending, chilled by double-digit unemployment and scant wage gains, remains weak. And the benefits of government aid and higher company output to feed stockpiles will dwindle.

Many analysts predict gross domestic product will expand at a rate closer to 2.5 to 3 percent in the current quarter and 2.5 percent or less for the year.

That won’t be enough to significantly reduce the unemployment rate, now 10 percent. In fact, most analysts expect the rate to keep rising for months and to remain close to 10 percent through year’s end.

To drive down the jobless rate by just 1 percentage point this year, the economy would have to grow by 5 percent for the whole year. No one thinks that will happen.

Until companies step up hiring and raise pay, consumers will feel squeezed. For all of last year, workers’ compensation rose by the smallest amount on records going back more than a quarter-century.

“Consumers are walking, not running,” said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics.

Roughly two-thirds of the quarter’s growth came from increased manufacturing as businesses drew down their stockpiles of goods at a slower rate. But companies will eventually let those inventories fall again unless consumers — who account for about 70 percent of the economy — spend more.

Bingo..refering to the part in bold text.

Much of the “growth” is nothing more than government printing money and having politicians spend it, but the inventory spending is the lions share of the portion this quarter.

To translate, when the economy falls businesses stop refilling their inventory, they sell what they have on hand and in storage until they are forced to buy. These inventories are there as a buffer for supply issues, market shocks and changes in the economy. Eventually businesses have to have something to sell even if sales are down so after a time they restock their inventories. The AP has reported this properly, but should have explained it for the lay people.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Economics 101, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | 1 Comment »

Libertarian Destroys Progressive On Central Control of What We Eat

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Yes, she actually wanted the government to control what people eat….

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Culture War, Economics 101, Health Law | Leave a Comment »

Leftist Polling Firm: Fox News Channel is the most trusted name in news

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Politico:

Posted in 2012, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Culture War, Larry Browning | Leave a Comment »

Paul Ryan Reintroduces GOP Health Care Plan

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

The Democrats refused to even look at this plan, or tort reform, or the ability to form health care consortium pools, a supported high risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions, or the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, all of which are popular ideas among Democrat, Independent, Republican, and Tea Party voters. So why isn’t it getting done?

…and its the Republicans who the media calls “the party of no”?

Here is an excerpt:  

The plan ensures universal access to affordable health insurance by restructuring the tax code, allowing all Americans to secure affordable health plans that best suit their needs, and shifting the ownership of health coverage away from the government and employers to individuals.

  • Provides a refundable tax credit – $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families – to purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs.
  • Provides transparency in health care price and quality data, making this critical information readily available before someone needs health services.
  • Creates state-based health care exchanges, so individuals and families have a one-stop marketplace to purchase affordable health insurance without being discriminated against based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Equips states with tools like auto-enrollment programs and high-risk pools, so affordable health coverage can be accessed by all.
  • Addresses health care’s growing strain on small businesses, by allowing them to pool together nationally to offer coverage to their employees.
  • Encourages the adoption of health information technology and assists states in establishing solutions to medical malpractice litigation.

http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=8516

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Economics 101, Health Law, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | 2 Comments »

Tony Blankley: Repeal the 17th Amendment

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

The 17th amendment allows you to vote for Senators. Yes believe it or not for most of our history Senators served at the pleasure of the state legislature.

One might think off the cuff, “thats a good thing, I like picking my senator” but in reality it created problems that actually made the Senate less responsive to you, the voter in the state.

As it stands now people from other states, special interests from other states and in some cases foreign money get involved in your state senate race as cross state donations for Senate are massive. The corrupt Chris Dodd from Connecticut had a massive campaign war chest and almost all of it was from out-of-state interests.

As an individual voter, I cannot sway my senator worth a darn with a phone call, but if they were answerable to the state legislature I could call up Jackie Walorski or Joe Zakas locally and have a voice that will be much more responsive.

With the 17th amendment one party can sweep an election and vote themselves and their allies money out of the public treasury. This is happening right now with the corrupt spending in earmarks, stimulus bills etc.

State and local interests were represented in the Congress by the Senators who served at the pleasure of your home state, now Senators vote for things that are out of the interests of you and the state you live in regularly. The teeth of the check and balance of federalism that the Founders put into the Constitution by having the Senators serve at the pleasure of the state legislatures was removed with the 17th amendment. Before the 17th was passed, if a Senator voted against local interest or inappropriately increased the power of the central government over the local government they didn’t stay a senator for long.

UPDATE October 2010 – With that said there may be a way to deal with the unintended consequences of the 17th without repealing it. One good way to put some teeth back into federalism is to pass a new amendment that gives a 60% majority of states the power to repeal any act of Congress. The 9th Circuit is out of control and issued a judgment just days before the election saying that Arizona cannot attempt to determine of registered voters are citizens. Now the Supreme Court of course will reverse this ruling, but not in time for the election. The 9th is famous for stunts like this. To fix this for example 60% of the states could pass a resolution striking down the judicial act of Congress that created the 9th Circuit – WHAM all those judges are instantly out of a job. That’s teeth.

Tony Blankley at Rasmussen Reports:

As I was preparing to write a column on the ludicrous maligning of the Tea Party movement by liberals, Democrats and the mainstream media (which I hope to write next week, instead), I started thinking about one of the key objectives of the Tea Party people — the strict enforcement of the 10th Amendment (“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”).

As an early 1960s vintage member of the then-new conservative movement, I remember us focusing on the 10th amendment during the 1964 Goldwater campaign. It has been a staple of conservative thought, and the continued dormancy of 10th amendment enforcement has been one of the failures of our now half-century-old movement.

But just as the Tea Party movement in so many ways seems to represent the 2.0 version of our movement, so I again thought about the 10th amendment anew. After about 10 seconds’ thought, it struck me that the best way to revive the 10th Amendment is to repeal the 17th Amendment — which changes the first paragraph of Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution to provide that each state’s senators are to be “elected by the people thereof” rather than being “chosen by the Legislature thereof.” (As I Googled the topic, I found out that Ron Paul and others have been talking about this for years. It may be the only subject that could be proposed and ratified at a constitutional convention with three-fourths of the state legislatures.)

At first blush, this might seem counterintuitive, as the 17th Amendment was brought about by a populist movement supercharged by muckraking articles in the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst. Those articles exposed corporate bribery of state legislators to control senatorial votes. As the direct election of senators by the people was a reaction to the corrupt lobbying of state legislatures that so aggrieved late-19th-century Americans, it might seem odd to recommend its repeal now — when again, corrupt lobbying and the aggrandizing of excessive government power over the people is part of the fuel that is driving the tea parties. It certainly seems particularly odd for me to suggest this just a week after the election of Scott Brown to the Senate by an aggrieved public that has just overwhelmed with their individual votes the Boston Democratic machine.

But in my defense, let me initially note that the 17th amendment has not yet ended the legal but appalling bribery of U.S. senators — it has merely moved it to Washington. Senators today succumb far too often to such influence — whether from the White House, the leaders of the Senate or national lobbying forces. Moreover, it has been since 1913, when the 17th Amendment was enacted into law, that the 10th Amendment increasingly began to be ignored.

The nature of our government is largely a product of political power being applied to lawmakers and executors. The U.S. Constitution remains in force to the extent that its arrangement of political power tends to be the happy byproduct of power’s self-interested exercise. The genius of our Founding Fathers was to recognize the inevitable victory of power over principle — and to so arrange the distribution of power that in that exercise of self-interest, offsetting forces would keep constitutionally guaranteed rights in existence nonetheless.

With episodic waxing and waning, that arrangement has worked reasonably well for over 200 years as among the separated powers of the three federal branches: Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court.

It has almost completely failed as between the once sovereign states and the federal government. The sovereignty of the state was overturned (or, if one prefers, disproved) with the conclusion of the Civil War. The remaining states’ rights began to be undermined with the post Civil War 14th Amendment. Through expansive interpretations of the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court progressively reduced states’ rights by nationalizing the Bill of Rights, starting in 1897 (Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. Chicago); continuing in 1947 with Justice Hugo Black’s famous dissent in Adamson v. California; and concluding in 1961 when the court in Mapp v. Ohio totally incorporated the Bill of Rights to the states through the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.

For about a hundred years after the Civil War, defense of “states’ right’s” was most conspicuously made to defend continuing limitations on the rights of blacks. Thus, states’ rights were seen as a mere euphemism for a repugnant and retrograde proposition, and were therefore a weak banner under which to defend more noble political propositions.

As federal power was expanded at the expense of state rights in order to vindicate the rights of blacks (and, less visibly, to aggrandize other powers in Washington), a dangerous constitutional imbalance came into being regarding all federal/state jurisdictional matters.

The most efficient method of regaining the original constitutional balance is to return to the original constitutional structure. If senators were again selected by state legislatures, the longevity of Senate careers would be tethered to their vigilant defense of their state’s interest — rather than to the interest of Washington forces of influence.

The Senate then would take on its original function — the place where the states are represented in the federal government.

Senators still would be just as likely to be corrupted. But the corruption would be dispersed to the 50 separate state legislatures. The corruption more often would be on behalf of state interests. And its remedy would be achievable by the vigilance of voters for more responsive state legislative seats (typically, about less than 50,000 residences per state legislator), rather than Senate seats (the entire population of the state — usually millions.)

Only by changing the architecture of power will we change the shape and exercise of power.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Government Gone Wild, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Washington Post: Denizens of the Main Stream Media try to be objective, she says, but have “got a liberal point of view. The balance is not there.” Otherwise, viewers can be “duped.”

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Washington Post Howard Kurtz:

It’s about time that most mainstream journalists admitted they are Democrats.

That argument comes not from some rabid right-winger but from Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of “Morning Joe” and the daughter of Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser.

In an interview with WNBC’s Julie Menin, Brzezinski, who’s promoting her book “All Things At Once,” says it’s time to “stop pretending. . . . Every journalist should tell us what their political affiliation is,” and which candidates they have voted for.

Denizens of the MSM try to be objective, she says, but have “got a liberal point of view. The balance is not there.” Otherwise, viewers can be “duped.”

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Journalism Is Dead | Leave a Comment »

Video Economics 101: Moral Hazzard. How Government Caused the Mortgage Crisis

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

We have posted a series of articles with indepth information on how this mess came about, but this video gives the best 4 minute synopsis of the problem as I have ever seen.

Posted in 2012, Campaign 2008, Chuck Norton, Corporatism, Economics 101, Mortgage Crisis, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Hillarious Video: Hitler Finds Out Democrats Lost Massachusetts

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Culture War, Leftist Hate in Action, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | 1 Comment »

Evan Bayh not to run for another term in Senate….but…. UPDATE – Bayh says that Congress has not created one (private sector) job in the lats six months.

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

….he is running for president in 2012 or 2016. This is right in line with his usual political strategy.

Bayh is the leader of the “Conserva-Dems”, the Conserva-Dems were long on moderate rhetoric, and long on voting for almost every piece of outrageous legislation that came their way. They voted for the government take over of the health care system, then they voted for the second version of the bill designed to tax and blow-up private insurance to make people “cry out” for a public option later.

The rhetoric from the Conserva-Dems has been designed to guard their right flank from traditional voters without putting the votes where their mouth is on the really tough votes. This move by Evan Bayh is to help him to triangulate himself over the failure of the Democrats and his own failure.

UPDATEBayh:

“But if I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months. If I could help educate our children at an institution for higher learning, that would be a noble thing. If I could help a charity, cure a disease or do something else worthwhile for society — that’s what has motivated my life and that’s what I think Congress needs to focus on, things that will help the American people meet the challenges they face in real ways in their daily lives. That’s what I want to do with my life. And if you’ll invite me back on your show in 11 months, I’ll be able to tell you!”

Eleven months is when the 2012 presidential campaigns would begin.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Star Trek Online: Doomed just as it begins?

Posted by iusbvision on February 15, 2010

Computer games and college students go together like bacon and eggs, death and taxes, politics and corruption, and marxism and academia. 

What marks the difference between a great game and merely a game that has some nice action and eye candy, but is played a few times and left on a shelf forever? The answer to that question is a compelling storyline, with characters that are deep, well-defined and epic in scale. 

Games with brilliant and long-term character development are Bioware’s magnificent and award-winning Knights of the Old Republic and Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft

The main characters in these games have a deep history, life experiences that include success and failure; even the villains are three-dimensional characters who can generate sympathy and feelings. Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind World of Warcraft actually hires real historians to generate the story arcs that go on for years in the game before those arcs complete. 

Several of the villians in the story such as Prince Arthas, Lady Vashj, Kil’Jeaden, Illidan and others started with Warcraft in 1994. Many of the heroes such as Jaina Proudmore, Malfurion Stormrage, and unlikely heroes such as the Dark Ranger Sylvanas Windrunner have been with the game since that time or shortly after. Imagine a gaming experience that starts in 1994 and just recently does the Prince Arthas storyline come to a close. When Blizzard Entertainment sets out to provide a truly epic and brilliant story line, they are dead serious. The story lines are magnificent literary stories in their own right. 

It takes more than eye candy and action to keep intelligent and engaged people interested over the long-term and no entertainment franchise demonstrates that more than Star Trek. Star Trek always delivers the eye candy and action, but it also often presents storylines that would make the most discriminating ancient Athenian audience applaud with satisfaction. Like those discriminating Athenian audiences, most Star Trek aficionados are intelligent people. 

This is why my basic introduction to Star Trek Online (STO) is such a shocking disappointment. 

Most of STO is about one thing, fighting. While every game requires conflict, the encounters are too linear and there are not enough side stories to give the game a culture and depth. You start out as a captain of a small ship and as you gain experience you can “unlock” a couple of bridge officers and get bigger ships. 

Sylvanas Windrunner

The story arc is one that gave me a great deal of concern. The game takes place after the events of Deep Space Nine and the Klingons have allied with the Orions and the Norsicans against the Federation.  This presents a major problem. 

The Klingons have just fought a valiant war allied with the Federation to defeat a common enemy called the Dominion. The Klingons are in no shape to wage a war against anyone. The new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire is Martok, who has deep respect for humans and the Federation, the Chancellor’s best friend is Worf, the famed Klingon who served in Starfleet till he took a position as Klingon Ambassador. 

Arthas’ Destiny from World of Warcraft  

Klingon’s fight for a purpose and have a strict code as to how and when and why they fight and consider Norsicans and Orions to be petty, honorless thugs and crooks beneath contempt and would never, ever ally with them. 

STO has failed to be true to the basics of the story line that made star Trek what it is. You cannot just take a deep character development that took years to develop and toss it out the window for the purpose of providing easy conflict. It’s cheap and unimaginative. Real Trek fans will not accept this over the long run. 

I was eager to see if I was the only one who got this bad impression from STO and I was relieved to see that I am not. 

The UK Guardian, a British newspaper, gave this review: 

The trouble is, whether you choose space or planetary missions, combat lies at the heart of them all. On land, this involves stabbing the number keys or left mouse button, whereas from the Bridge the Spacebar fires phasers and CTRL launches torpedoes. As for interaction, hitting the F key takes care of almost every object and although there are plenty of NPCs hanging around, disappointingly few of them could be communicated with. Ultimately, STO’s concentration on combat seems to overlook half the appeal of Star Trek. Where is the exploration, the moral dilemmas, the sense of the unexpected? 

Bingo. 

The first problem is that you start out as a Captain. That is just plain dumb. STO could start to provide the background story arcs with players as they start at Starfleet Academy. They could play mostly a “quest line” with some diversions until such a time when they could become a captain, or the head of a hazard team, or a high-ranking science officer etc. Instead you jump in a ship and soon start shooting Klingons. To give the game genuine literary depth would have taken some time and imagination; it seems clear someone didn’t want to make the investment. 

As one plays the game after a short while one begins to get the feeling that the developers just don’t get it. I am tired of bad video games that have the Trek name put on it for a quick cash in. If the STO developers don’t realize this very quickly, just another bad, unimaginative Star Trek  game is exactly what STO will be doomed to.

As far as the game engine, the targeting in ground combat is buggy, but I expect that to be fixed. Another problem is in ship combat where you cannot pitch all the way up and all the way down, much less do a loop. I find that very frustrating. In 2010 there is no excuse for limits like that in a game engine.

Posted in Chuck Norton, Culture War, Other Links | 6 Comments »