Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lesser of two evils come November? I cant see it.


Is there a difference between Romney and Obama? I have been critical of both Mr Romney and President Obama for various reasons but both being so different in terms of background, surly they cant be that similar, right? When the subject comes up of differentiating between the two I find myself scratching my head. The same head scratching can be said for those folks who ask me my support for either two, and when I reveal my support of Ron Paul regardless if he’s third party or not, it’s often met with the same rebuttal: “it’s a waste of a vote, its better to pick the lesser of two evils”. However, I just can’t seem to grasp the difference between the two men as far as policy is concerned.  
Sure, Romney has the business experience, that is unquestionable a difference and he has balanced the budget as Governor in Massachusetts. Both of those are very big props for Romney in my book… but other than that, I looked and I can’t find a difference between the eventual nominee for the Republicans (Mittens) and the incumbent, President Obama (at least not in the pivotal positions).

- Obama has maintained the foreign policy of an empire, just as Romney would do (although Romney said he would actually increase spending on defense) not to mention he chastised the President for pulling out of Iraq. No savings there.    

- Obama has continued to support even more of an assault on our personal liberty’s extending the Patriot Act and signing NDAA, wouldn’t you know it - Romney supports both. Liberty trampled on again.

- Obama passed Universal Healthcare as did Romney. Romney even is proud of his healthcare bill, (‘I’m very proud of my health-care plan and think it should be a model for other states to adopt’) or at least he was before he was against it again.

What do we have left? Taxes. Yes, taxes, death and Mittens oh boy! This is the same guy who didn’t release his taxes because he didn’t wantto show he paid at or under the 15 percentile reserved for Capital gains (between 13.9-15%) on over 40 Million dollars of income. That would show he is using loopholes (although legal) just like many of our corporations do.

Romney said recently that Obama passed 19 tax increases under his terms as POTUS. Most people on the right would believe that to be true, he is said to be the most polarizing president in our history isn’t he? Although the validity to those tax hikes in question has been shaky and even a few of the 19 suspected raises have been actually proved false, Mitt continues his assault. For the record, the Obama tax increases were minimal in nominal terms considering (the large deficit) and directed at very specific small targets; not wide wielding swaths of people and demographics as Romney would have you believe.

The truth of the matter is Obama has cut taxes too. He did so in his 700+ Billion dollar stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) he then cut taxes in the ‘December 2010 tax deal’ that extended the Bush tax cuts. Those tax cuts were worth $654 Billion and if you factor in the 250+ Billion from the ARRA cuts in his 2009 Stimulus act, we are talking 900 Billion in Tax cuts through his administration. I think its safe to say he has cut more taxes than he has increased taxes by a large sum.

Look at the revenue or receipts our government is pulling in. If we were seeing tax increases, wouldn’t we also being seeing soaring revenue? We aren’t. We are in a massive economic quagmire and tax cuts will not get us out of it. And if we continue to cut taxes and keep the budget as is or increase it, we will only cause even more damage down the road. And that seems like the message from Newt, Obama or Mitt.  

While I agree with the Republican field running for the oval office about the over-regulation that we are seeing under this administration; it’s not what ails us either. What we have is a political atmosphere where nobody wants to make the touch decision and cut major aspects off our budget or raise taxes to pay for the bills we have. Obama or Romney will never do it; they lack the thick skin and willingness to lead by example despite the consequences. responsible debt is one thing, what these kooks are proposing is simply not feasible long term. 

Romney has no plan to cut government just spend an equal amount or more and lower taxes for the richest Americans. Obama seems to have no plan at all and while he lowered taxes he increased regulation and didn't do anything to make cuts. Gingrich? He thinks we can save 500 Billion annually on modernization, he’s also the same guy who said Fannie and Freddie hired him as a historian... not a lobbyist. He won’t be the nominee but it further drives home the point. The 900 lb gorilla in the room remains Keynesian economics. Until we face the reality of the magnitude that beast has in terms of influence and destruction we will be here every four years with the same logical outcome: vote for a Paul (Ron or Rand).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Apparently the Grinch does have a heart after all?

Newton Gingrich, who is said to be the Tea-Part choice (it’s good the paper muffles my chuckles) for the Republican ticket for November is angry over cuts Mitt Romney made while Governor. Which I find funny because Gingrich said himself cutting waste and fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid program would save $1 trillion over 10 years.

I disagree with much of what Mitt Romney has to say as I have pointed out on many occasions, but this piece in the New York Post that Gingrich is trying to use against him in Florida (a big Jewish population no doubt) is one where I cant fault Mittens. Apparently, in 2003 as governor of Massachusetts, Romney cast a veto that would nix $600,000 in additional funds for poor Jewish nursing-home residents to get kosher meals.

Romney said it “unnecessarily” would lead to an “increased rate for nursing facilities”. That is because of the costs of Medicade and what it was doing to the budget. We are talking about Medicade here; which means we are talking about government money. Romney’s spokesman defended his opposition, saying the state was in crisis and the kosher funding veto was needed to head off higher reimbursement rates for Medicaid.

Of course there was stiff opposition. Jeffrey Goldshine, the retired CEO of a company that operated a kosher facility in Massachusetts said this when being interviewed by the NYPost: “I was outraged. For the elderly Jewish residents of a nursing home that have always been kosher — they should be entitled to continue.”

There was also Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an Orthodox Jew and Newt Gingrich supporter, who also had this to say: “People who are kosher — it’s not a choice they have, everybody understands what kosher is. You have huge communities of Jews who eat only kosher and you have a huge community of senior citizens”.  

Let me state that I have no religious background nor preference and I feel no religion should be upheld by government and this veto by Romney is no exception. Then you have a Mormon in Mittens who is not only making cuts to Old Jewish folks but Catholics as well according to Newt (who is a Catholic) at a recent campaign stop in Pensacola: “Let me note in passing that Romney as governor imposed on Catholic hospitals provisions against their religious strictures” said at a campaign stop in Pensacola.

We can debate what waste is and we know what’s fraud, but when do you have to make tough decisions as to what to cut? Gingrich wants to make serious cuts to save money as he sees half a Trillion annually in savings on the budget if you modernize. How do you suppose you “modernize” and “cut waste and fraud in Medicade” if you never have to make the tough decisions? You don’t. Newt has no plan to shrink government and this proves he doesn’t even want to make the tough decisions when its time to break out a scalpel.

For Newton to somehow say on the stump: “he (Romney) has no understanding of the importance of conscience and importance of religious liberty in this country” because Romney made cuts to Medicade is insane. Of course it’s not popular. The Assemblyman and retired CEO of the Kosher Company illustrate that. I see it this way; no religion or beliefs should be paid for by government across the board. Secondly, Newt is using fear to drive voters. He even used the infamous “I know of a” to strike his point. “And in at least one parish I know of, the priest talked about the danger of a dictatorship that imposed anti-religious standards in all of us.” Stop it Newt.

Lastly, since there is “huge communities of Jews who eat only kosher” as the Assemblyman says there is, I would suggest they ought to pick up the check and not the government. This goes for all religious beliefs when it comes to Medicare. If I fault Romney for anything in this, it is simply not reaching out to said  community, thus giving them a chance to help.

If Gingrich is running to cut government and restore fiscal responsibility, why does he chastise thou that do? He went after Mittens for his experience at Bain he goes after his for cutting Medicare expenses when he was Governor. I think there is much bigger issues to cut besides Kosher food from Medicare as i think there is more honorable things than basically being a corporate raider, but Mitt's work history and his balancing budgets is in the realm, I don't think you can say the same for the Grinch. Maybe is realm truly is on the moon?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pimp My Crony Capitalist Ride: Starring Prez Obama

There is something about a true free market that is romantic and optimistic, so much so that it arouses the deepest emotions in all of us if we imagine the boundless possibilities. The simplicity and beauty of a true free market is that way because it’s derived from nature itself. Its self correcting, rewards hard work and due diligence but also poetically enough; punishes and discards the losers and Mal-investment. You could call it Darwinian, and it can be cruel but more than anything it you have to call it fair.

Now comes what we have – crony capitalism. American capitalism today and for over a century has been anything but free. The system we have in place today is corrupt and has been completely hijacked by the collusion between big business and legislators on the take. I’m not talking about the overt sleazy ones either; im talking about almost every single one of them outside of maybe a Ron Paul. Capitalism today is being destroyed by itself. We are eating our own. Corporations are collectively smarter than politicians. Politicians also need money. Corporations need favorable legislation and thus what we have today is a shell of a free market.

The overt transparency of fraud became evident in the Obama administrations predecessor (the Bush Administration) who used the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and disasters like Katrina to facilitate no bid contracts and cost plus contracts with huge corporations like Bechtel and Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton (do i really need a cite or link here). There was also Treasury's Hank Paulson (former Goldman CEO) giving his former cohorts on Wall Street inside information as to governments plans weeks and months before things happened during the financial crisis of 2008. Not nearly as talked about but equally suspect was the 1 Trillion dollar (and counting) Medicare prescription-drug benefit that facilitated a giant subsidy to thepharmaceutical industry. Maybe it’s the rise of the information age, maybe its our system finally coming undone; either way this type of corruption is something I have never seen or read about since the days of the industrial revolution.  

This current administration is no stranger to this corruption either (just look at his past contributors). In fact, what we are seeing under this administration is unprecedented on the subject of crony capitalism and that's saying alot considering Bush's track record. . 

One of the most notorious cases has been the solar company out of California, Solyndra. This was a company that received a 535 Million dollar loan from the federalgovernment in 2009 - spent 1 Million dollars in lobbying in 2010 – then went bankrupt in 2011. This put US taxpayer’s on the hook for the 535 Million dollar loan. Solyndra was also influential in the Presidents (who toured Solyndra in 2010 and tabbed it a success) election as its board contributed large sums of money from their own accounts. We also learned via the Tribune Washington Bureau that the Department of Energy employee who helped monitor the Solyndra loan guarantee was one of Obama's top fundraisers.

Solyndra however doesn’t touch the GM scandal. As I pointed out before, the US buying a stake in a company and having it competing with other company’s in the same industry who is not back by the federal government is not supposed to happen. Talk about an UN-leveled playing field? But it did.

GM saw what the Prius was doing a decade ago and for years wanted to get into the hybrid market but never could gain traction. So it concentrates on the next big thing, the electric car. This drive towards the electric car breeds the conception of the Chevy Volt. In September in 2008, the Volt was unveiled. By this time, GM is failing and on its death bed. Nine months later enters Obama and his blank check.   

So here the President sits with a gigantic stake in GM. It’s actually us, the taxpayer with the giant stake, but for the sake of the argument, it is Mr President since he has our check book…we just pay the bills (but only some as we have annual trillion dollar deficits). This could go on forever.

Let’s reset. It’s 2009 and with the US tax payers on the hook for GM, and the economy in the tank, Obama puts together the: Presidents Economic Recovery Board. On that board he appoints several giants across the commerce spectrum; one of them is GE Chairman and CEO Jeffery Immelt. GE is known for many things and being a conglomerate, it is obviously diversified. One of the technologies GE is bullish on is Wind Turbines (read green energy) so it makes sense when you take into account this administrations feverish green outlook. GE is also smart, they havent grown to their size and scope being naive; so they do not take risks that aren’t highly calculated.

So what happens in 2010 is pretty interesting. Remember Jeff Immelt? He cuts a deal with GM to have GE  buy 12,000 Chevy Volts by 2015. This is the same Chevy Volt that there is no demand for, the same vehicle that has serious questions about its reliability and its safety. Yet, one of the richest, most diverse corporations in the world decides to replace half of its fleet with a car that is still much in question? How does Obama show his gratitude, for buying into this boondoggle? He gives Immelt a promotion. One might start to ask themselves, how does a Chairman and CEO of GE…receive a promotion? Simple, President Obama Gave him another chair, and made him Chairman of the: Council on Jobs and Competitiveness on January 21, 2011.

My Congressional representative (3rd district of PA) Mike Kelly, who is a car dealer himself, had this to say recently about the Volt and Administration:
“This is a halo car, not so much for General Motors , but for this administration,” Mr Kelly Said. “If GM thought this was such a good investment, they would have launched it themselves many years ago. If these cars are so great and so marketable, why do we have to subsidize them so heavily?”
Here you have a sitting President with a green agenda buying with US taxpayers a stake in an American company GM who sells cars in the US against other US car manufacturers with no federal coffers to dip into. That is the first strike. Then you have said President in a cozy relationship with a CEO of a company like GE (who also has green interest) buying an enormous amount of cars off of GM, who is backed by the federal government. I mean, why not the Ford Fusion Hybrid? They are an American automaker as well and the Fusion Hybrid is actually a better car, according to many industry experts. Strike Two.

Last but not least is ethics. How can a President (who came in loaded with a cabinet of Wall Street insiders) so stuck in a jobs rut side with a company that has been shipping some of its businesses and jobs offshore all the while using tax loopholes to escape paying taxes while using the Volt as another tax win with its tax credits? Or how can we cut joint venture deals with the Chinese to sell the Volt; then to only have the Chinese steal the technology to turn around and use it against us like they have on so many other occasions across multitudes of industry. It’s pretty obvious that the end game is this: GM must succeed for the President to succeed, regardless of how it’s done. The ends justify the means. The government picking and choosing winners, betting on what technology they think is the best option instead of the market place is why Obama strikes out on this matter.   

There have been numerous examples of crony capitalism over the years but we are seeing some pretty alarming examples at the height of our elected representatives over the last decade, and the corruption starts at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This isn’t a partisan problem; this is a national, state and local problem; as this affects all of us and at every level of our government. If it happens there and is so visible, imagine what we don’t know about? We can call it crony capitalism or call it a plutocracy or a plutarchy but whatever you do; do not call it capitalism and never under these conditions dare call this market free.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

GM and the US taxpayers are at the halfway point to break even on GM

It was learned this week that the US tax payers are still missing the repayment of 132 Billion dollars from  TARP, which was launched in 2008. In a report issued Thursday by Christy Romero, who is the acting special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Program, as we all recall, was to save the financial sector from themselves because of their addiction to the derivatives game (think World Series of Poker).

In 2009, the remaining cash in TARP was split between a variety of business (mostly banks) but there sat GM. Facing Chapter 11, GM was first rebuked then denied by the President. GM had to do what any failed business has to do, it had to file for bankruptcy and they did; wiping out all the stockholders who stocks were completely vaporized into worthless pieces of paper. Then after filing and less then a month off of the stock exchange; GM reemerged with an infusion of American taxpayers borrowed capital. With backing of the US and Canadian government; GM was now owned more by the state then it was private investors.

Fast forward to this week. Here is what President Obama had to say in the State of the Union Address:

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back. 

This is classic example of where politicians say things that are rather hallow but are not completely false, so in lies some grey area (wiggle room). Mr Obama actually did refuse to help GM at first. So therefore, President Obama only refused to let them fail, well... only after he first refused to help. He can say it was because he "demanded responsibility" but the truth of the matter is; he was weighing the political capital in letting it fail or saving it. Being one of the most anticipated Presidents in decades, he wasnt about to start out his presidency by backing a losing horse. Think about it, organized labor are as close to the Democratic hip as the Evangelicals are to the Right's, so for him to not having saved it from the jump means he was weary of the public's growing anger towards the bailouts. 

As far as the 1 million jobs, it is including all the suppliers and they wouldnt have all lost work. There is many small businesses across the country that feed off the automotive industry but many of them would have survived because most of them are diversified enough to withstand the hit. Its also worth noting that even if GM did face liquidation, another automotive company would have stepped in and bought the brand. Thus many jobs would have been saved if not most; even without the bailout.

As far as GM being some kind of triumph or success story... you give me any business and dump 34 Billion dollars of outside investment money into it that costs said company nothing; Ill build you a success story too. Who couldnt, with that type of Capital/lottery/welfare? Now, about the American auto industry being back? In the words of the immortal Lee Corso: not so fast my friends. According to the US Treasury, US Taxpayers would need to sell its GM stocks at $53 per share to break even. Friday, January 27th it closed at $24 per share. How long do we have to wait to see if this investment at least breaks even? Being GM is the "worlds number #1 car-maker" now, don't ya know...lets hope its sooner rather then later. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

In defense of Obama (allow me to explain)

Let me start out by saying, that feels weird uttering out that title to myself. For those that don’t know me... I’m not a liberal, far from it. For those that do, know I would consider myself a Libertarian and Libertarianism is rooted in logic. Freedom across the board seems to be the "fairest" premise one can have in such an unfair game that is politics. With that said, I see a lot of venom spit at the President in terms of his economic approach that I don’t think is quite fair. Again, before you bitch slap your monitor - allow me to explain.

Much has been made recently about the Presidents accumulation debt. We have seen 5 Trillion added onto the 10 Trillion of national debt since he came into office in January 2009, that's no cheap date. So let there be no doubt that the spending is spiraling out of control going forward.  However, the attempt to put this on one man and his quest to outspend any president in history doesn't make him a Marxist as some would like to believe he is; it makes him a loyal solider. First a very crude and broad history.

A curious thing happened during the early 80's... GDP started to escalate as the country found itself in the midst of an economic growth period unlike anything it has seen in decades. One could point to Nixon ending Bretton Woods in the early 70's as a precursor to this expansion but that is another topic for another day. The reality was the country was booming. However, with that came enormous amounts of debt. So much so that the National debt ballooned from 1 Trillion in 1980 to 4 Trillion by 1988; so this explosion of growth came with a price tag (on a credit card).

Even though the debt was piling up as long as the economy kept building and building like it always has, there would be nothing to worry about. So the federal outlays began to climb and so did the deficits. Bill Clinton had his time to shine as being the only president in four decades to pass a balanced budget, although that was much to do because of the tech boom and the validation and explosion of a new business and platform: the Internet. Then the subsequent NASDAQ crash came in 2000, right when the economy was heading into recession.Ouch.

Then something changed. George Bush Jr was elected and began to rapidly increase spending on new entries to the budget like the Prescription drug plan (entitlements or votes) and Homeland Security (not sure what that still does to this day) while cutting taxes in the midst of a recession. Then we added two wars on two separate fronts and before you knew it we had doubled the debt from roughly 5 to 10 trillion in his eight years and oh yhea, the housing bubble bursts bringing on one of the worst financial calamities since the 30's.  And if that wasn't enough, right before his leaving of office the great recession came and wreaked havoc on our economy on all fronts (except for those at the very top) causing us to pass TARP while most taxpayers getting what amounts to a welfare check of 300-1200 Dollars from the Economic Stimulus Act.

Enter the "O" man. Right out of the gate, Mr Obama pushed through a 780+ Billion dollar stimulus bill which had much of the nation in an uproar based on the preconceived notions upon his entering of office. That stimulus act, like George Bush's before him, had large lump of tax credits worth 250 Billion, so it wasn't all spending parse. President Obama's budgets, although record setting high nominally; were in-line with the last budget of President Bush. The subsequent Obama budgets after his first were (and estimated) to be in the 3.5 to 3.7 Trillion dollar range. President Obama therefore is no bigger of a spender than President Bush if you account for the history seen below.

A large part of the deficit spending has to do with the walloping the middle class took as it affected the receipts. The last three years (2009-2011) receipts were roughly 400 billion lower then they were in all three years before (2006-2008). At the same time the outlays keep increasing. This creates tremendous deficits. But, it wasn’t like Obama came in with a blank check. In fact, Obama's first budget had actually less spending than Bush's last year in office. Obama's final budget is actually only 200 billion more than Bush's final budget (and Bush's biggest to be fair). 

So, if President Obama doubles the national debt, he will just be doing his part to continue the legacy that was put in place before him started in the early 80's by Ronald Regan. This is no disrespect to George Bush nor is this some type of vindication for Mr Obama; its simply setting the record straight. If anything, this points to a bigger problem, regardless of who sits in the oval office and its pretty straight forward. We have too many bills and not enough income. How we bridge this gap, will be the most vital national issue of the next decade. Keynesian economics appears to have reached its saturation point. We either slash spending or we dramatically raise taxes... or invent the internet again.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Former Rep. William Delahunt Pockets $90,000 From Earmarks

Former Rep. William Delahunt Pockets $90,000 From Earmarks

Written by Brian Koenig   
Former Congressman William D. Delahunt (left) from Massachusetts established a lobbying firm, the Delahunt Group, soon after retiring as one of the federal legislature’s most liberal lawmakers. After claiming an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper, Delahunt launched his business, and one of his first clients was the small town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, which agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for assistance in launching a wind energy project. 

Delahunt’s lawmaker-gone-lobbyist conversion last year has already reaped a generous bounty, as he stands to rake in at least $90,000 for six months of work for his client. And 80 percent of those earnings come from the earmarked funds he generated through two Energy Department grants administered in his final congressional term.

Philip Lemnios, the city’s town manager, said local officials resolved last spring that a wind-driven power plant would be too expensive, so they began researching wind turbines, which convert kinetic energy from wind into mechanical energy that is convertible to electricity. Lemnios claimed the Delahunt Group would be the most strategic source for effectively pursuing this alternative. "Obviously he’s got connections into the federal government that we don’t have," Lemnios acknowledged in an interview. "We’re hoping he can open doors at the federal level that we could never open."

Naturally, the former congressman’s advocacy has sprouted legal and ethical discussions, according to some legal experts, mainly due to regulations on the use of federal money for lobbying purposes. In fact, some experts who study federal earmarking — the practice of channeling federal money to a specific project — asserted that Delahunt’s shifty political behavior, in this incidence, is one of the worst cases they’ve observed in the history of earmark lobbying.

Government watchdog organizations have already offered their ruling.

"It may not be illegal, it may not be unethical, but it’s certainly another reason why taxpayers hold Congress and its members in such low esteem right now,’’ contended Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based government watchdog group. "It just adds to the perception that members are out to help themselves and not the taxpayers.’’

Schatz, whose organization publishes a "Congressional Pig Book" targeting federal earmarks, mentioned that congressional members had to sign a certification assuring that they would not benefit from an earmark they themselves request. "This is the first I have heard about a member benefiting after the fact from an earmark." However, Schatz added, the certification "does not say, ‘In the future they won’t see a benefit,’ but maybe it should be changed so it does."

Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for the advocacy group Common Cause, added, "This looks like a self-made golden parachute. He appears to be another in a long line of people who leave Congress to cash in. It obviously raises the question of whether he had this in mind when he left Congress and who[m] was he advocating for: his constituents, or himself?"

While Delahunt declined several interview requests, he said in a statement last Friday, "I want to be clear — I have no federal lobbying relationship with any past or current client. I have not lobbied anyone in Washington since leaving Congress. Further, while in Congress, I had no conversations with anybody regarding any future consulting contract, and I am extremely proud of our work and the assistance we were able to bring to many communities throughout our district."

Lemnios rushed to Delahunt’s aid, countering that the city declined to offer the contract as a public bid because municipal light departments are immune from the state’s procurement laws. "[Delahunt] didn’t lobby for it; he didn’t come in and inform the town that he was looking for this work,’’ Lemnios said. "I was aware that he had formed a group, and as I thought about how to move the project forward, I thought about him and brought him to the [light plant] board.’’

But apparently, Hull is not Delahunt’s only political lobbying project, as he also capitalized on a relationship with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, when it paid the Delahunt Group about $40,000 to advocate the approval of a casino. The former congressman had strapped down $400,000 in earmarks for the tribe for a substance abuse program and other projects. 

Further, the New York Times reported:

The city of Quincy, Mass., meanwhile, brought on Mr. Delahunt last year to help deal with federal officials on a downtown redevelopment program. In 2008, Mr. Delahunt secured nearly $2.4 million in earmarks for the city on a separate tidal restoration project. 

And a fishermen’s group on the elbow of Cape Cod hired Mr. Delahunt to navigate regulatory issues; he had helped the group get a low-interest, $500,000 federal loan in 2010, records show. The group, which thanked Mr. Delahunt, then a congressman, for his help getting the loan, used the money to renovate a historic coastal home as its headquarters. 

If that’s not enough evidence to explicitly define Delahunt’s crony actions, noted Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, then maybe this will be:

In 2005 Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat who represents Cape Cod, addressed the Washington Summit of the Travel Business Roundtable, and urged it to lobby more. Fed News reported, "The Congressman called on the industry to wage a more aggressive, bipartisan campaign."
...The Travel Business Roundtable registered as a lobbying organization in 2006, changed its name to the Discover America Partnership, and hired Steven Schwadron, Delahunt's longtime chief of staff, as its K Street lobbyist.

"And then," Carney concluded, "Delahunt introduced a bill to subsidize the travel industry."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of the Union? At least we are out of Iraq (sorta)

I got one paragraph into the State of the Union address before I literally laughed out loud and looked to the DVR and found Mondays episode of "The Bachelor". I figured if I'm going to watch some superficial, shallow empty suit lie to me about something; I prefer it be about how much in awe he is over some 20-year old bimbo's  on national TV looking for true love rather than the (sorry) state of our beloved nation. 

The President was at it again, trying to appeal to every segment of the population without offending none all the while detailing ideas that basically amounted to nothing more than, well... nothing. But for our commander in Chief to lead off with Iraq, sums up his tenure at President. Uninspiring.

For a President who promised and represented so much, especially in the name of transparency; his failures have been catastrophic. Iraq is no exception. This is what Mr Obama said from the very top.

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.

It made me remember an article I read a month ago at Salon.com. Its surprising the President didnt mention the private contractors still stationed over there, all 3,000 - 5,000 of them. Names like Triple Canopy, Global, SOC Inc and Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) are private American security contractors that do not have to be held to the US Military rules of engagement, yet there they still remain just as the giant embassy and its 15,000 people to run it. How about those "fellow citizens"? But hey, we are out of there... I guess.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yawn...another war on concept announced: The "war on women".

I was emailed a link the other day from a friend of mine who frequents the Huffington Post. Him being a self described Marxist and uber liberal and myself as a Libertarian; we do share some commonalities on various points of view across the political spectrum.

So, it’s only natural that abortion is a topic we speak of from time to time. Now, my personal view of abortion is different from my political view of abortion; I am pro life. However, I wouldn’t dream of making that choice for another through legislation (or at gunpoint i.e. the State).

With that said, this article she forwarded was written by a Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) Pro choice America. Quite the mouthful it is, no doubt. Its important to note the name: “Pro choice America” after the acronym “NARAL” for later in this exercise.

NARAL was formed in the late 60’s and had a lot to do with the woman’s movement regarding the right to choose. Of course on January 22, 1973, Roe v Wade gave the woman the right to choose and the rest is history as we have had no encroachments on the legislation since. I applaud the activism and rightfully so, a woman’s choice is just that. Right after the decision on that fateful day in January is where it gets sticky for this author.

Being that abortion laws were in fact repealed thus eliminating the use for half of the acronym in NARAL; those on the board of NARAL decided to keep the “N” for National and shit can the rest. So they replaced ‘Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws’ with ‘Abortion Rights Action League’. Trouble is abortion rights were already secure… so 20+ years later they became ‘National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League - Pro choice America’. This constant reshuffling of the deck basically sums up the message, that you’re no longer relevant… but I have no problem with organizations collectively standing up for things they think are important.

Where I do have a problem is with the hyperbole used by this organization and others like it to inflame fires that don’t exist (non-profit or not). Its simply a distraction from much more pressing issues. To illustrate this point lets look at the first few paragraphs of this piece with my comments after each paragraph.

2011 was the year of the War on Women. Anti-choice politicians ignored the American people's call to focus on jobs and the economy, and instead made attacking a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions one of their "highest legislative priorities."  

“2011 was the year of the War on Women” is complete nonsense. Much like the war on drugs or the war on poverty or the war on terror or hunger etc etc etc… etc. This type of language is used to instantly garner support to eradicate a perceived threat to an enemy that cannot ever lose. Thus the funding is always needed, and that is the point.  
The U.S. House of Representatives held more choice-related votes in 2011 than in any year since 2000, and states enacted 69 anti-choice measures -- one shy of the record number set in 1999. In the more than 30 years I've spent defending a woman's right to choose, I can't recall a time when politicians have been more out of touch with our nation's values and priorities. And we're not out of the woods yet. The very same politicians behind the War on Women are ready to resume the legislative attacks in 2012 here in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures throughout the country.
2011 was the year of the “War on women” yet by this authors own statistics, the years 2000 and 1999 were more egregious… wouldn’t at least one of those two years been the War on Women? Then the author says “I can't recall a time when politicians have been more out of touch” and I hate to beat a dead horse but again, 1999 and 2000 were worse, so…? Lastly, to my point about using specific monikers to evoke passion to defeat a concept that will never lose thus creating endless needs for funding and job security for staff isn’t this following quote indicative of that?

The very same politicians behind the War on Women are ready to resume the legislative attacks in 2012
I had posted a much more condensed version of this rant on the Huffington Post but my comment never made it out of the “pending remarks”. I guess they missed it?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chris Dodd - Most expensive whore money can buy

Chris Dodd is truly one of, if not the biggest scumbag to crawl out of the gutters of DC since Trent Lott. I would contend that the two of them could be pitted into a classic MTV staple (when it was still semi music television) Celebrity Death match as each being the biggest whores from their respective party’s in the last decade, which would be great theater. Two vile - spineless lawyers clawing each others eyes out for a stack of dollars is must see TV.

From his controversy surrounding his dealings with Countrywide getting sweetheart loans to his contributions and support for Frannie and Freddie even as the two were facing collapse to his AIG bonus “reversal”; Chris Dodd has always taken the sleazy route. I would assume it’s safe to say, the path of most lucrative assistance for sure, no doubt. So its of no surprise he would become a lobbyist after he left office.

He is a lawyer, but I can’t find any record he even practiced. He was in the Peace Corps and then the Army Reserve (thus excluding him from being sent to Vietnam) so what’s a 66 year old man with no job experience supposed to do? Kinda late in the game to take an entry level position… and with the amount of slime dripping off his torso; who would hire him anyway? Enter M.P.A.A.

Dodd (who spent 36 consecutive years in office) is on record saying he wouldn’t go through Washington’s "revolving door”. "No lobbying, no lobbying" was his answer to a question when facing "retirement". That however wouldn’t last long as he was tapped to replace Dan Glickman; a former nine time Congressmen (imagine that) as President of the Motion Picture Association of America last march for a reported cool 1.5 million annually. Within six months came SOPA. You have to tip your cap to the MPAA. You talk about fast-tracked? Six months and you got a bill with overwhelming support brewing? Money well spent, do doubt.

But we know SOPA failed. The grassroots movement is what makes the internet dangerous. It takes the power out of the elite and puts it back in the hands of the masses. And the representatives listened. This is what our Republic is about, is it not? Constituents prodding their elected leaders for changes they want... not their elected leaders beholden to corporate interests. 

The establishment was furious and Dodd led the charge; saying that websites that participated in the blackouts were somehow guilty of: "abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace." Dodd, then assumed it was a timing issue. He had the nerve to assume a “Slow timeline” would have produced different results. Code word for: If we rammed this bill through faster, maybe on the eve of a holiday or as a rider on another bill we would have been fine. Transparency is not something Dodd has to worry about anymore, as if.  

To top this off and the most despicable of all was Dodd’s message to Congress and the Senate. In a moment of stupidity or some might say clarity, Dodd summarizes the rotten core of politics today in one fell swoop of a paragraph.  

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake," Dodd said. "Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.” 

I loathe lobbying, but what I loathe even more so is former elected leaders lobbying and talking out of both sides of their mouth. This issue is the single most treacherous and destructive action against our Republic today and in the days to come. Special interest and “K-Street” will bring this country to its knees before they suck every last dollar out of the public’s jugular without any constraint or admission of guilt. If this isnt an example of how in drastic need we are of strict term limits, what is?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

If we only had 1 Trillion...

Jesse Jackson Jr, the esteemed (sic) Congressman from Illinios said recently that we could bail out the states and local governments for just a mere Trillion. Well, its 900 billion to be exact. Now he contends this would be larger than the last two stimulus packages put together, but... who cares right? Its only a Trillion between friends.

“So fore a mere $900 billion in one year, which is slightly more than the last two stimulus packages, we can bail out all the states, most of all of are counties and cities.”

"Mere"? That's almost the deficit of the federal government! So, let me get this straight. The federal government are facing annual budget deficits of 1+ Trillion each year for the foreseeable future and Mr Jackson wants to add to that... to pay for the states and local governments inability to live within in its own means? How does he suppose we get that 900 Billion when we are already 1.3 Trillion in the hole from last year? Add it to the 10+ trillion in the hole in public debt? Which isn't counting the 5 Trillion in intergovernmental debt. This is utter stupidity at its finest.

What about the states and local governments that aren't in the red and who run their governments with efficiency and are responsible with their peoples money? They should be the ones rewarded. Why throw borrowed money at people who cant stay out of debt and cant escape bad policy? Do we assume once these city's and states are in the black, they all of a sudden will become fiscally responsible? Is this not the definition of insanity?  

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” ―  Rita Mae Brown

Is this not the antithesis of sound and reasonable judgement? Is this not the poster-boy of robbing Peter to pay Paul? But this is what happens when you have a name that people recognize. A nice treasure chest behind you in a district that overwhelmingly has supported your party and oh yeah; you share the ethnicity of the predominate race in the district who has always strongly voted within racial lines.

His father has made a living off race baiting and using his color to hijack the supposed pulse of black America all the while using his non profit to cover up and pay for his extra marital affairs and love child. Jesse Jackson Jr has never been a part of anything outside of school and politics; thus how much can he understand about how the real world works? This is the same guy who thought giving the public IPods and Laptops would end unemployment. Its obvious the apple doesnt fall too far from the dumb tree.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Death, Mittens' and Taxes... What doesnt fit?

You have to admire Mittens'. He’s the Charlie Brown of this election and more so than any other election to my recollection. Here is a guy teetering on the edge (of what feels like has been years) of being anointed the Republican nominee; and all he does is have the football pulled out from underneath him at almost every turn. The problem is it’s not Lucy doing it. Lucy (the Establishment) has been there the whole time. Mitt himself is the one who is doing the tripping.  

Everyone from the media - to the Democrats - to the Establishment moderate Republican base all wants Mitt Romney. He looks the part; he would be the opposite of President Obama in background and job experience. Romney could be a brand name; in the Bush and Clinton mold. His father was a Governor and he has kids involved in politics; he's the Manchurian Candidate. So why can’t he close the deal?

“I don’t know how many years I’ll release,” said Romney over-top of a booing crowd. Romney pauses then puts on his best presidential smile. “I’ll release multiple years, I don’t know how many years.” 

Look no further than the issue surrounding his taxes for a perfect example of why. Romney has always been known for doing or saying whatever pleases whomever he is standing in front of. Or whomever his handlers inform him of who is in needing of some spooning. That’s why his insistence to not reveal his taxes is incredibly uncharacteristic of Mr Romney. It’s got him booed in the debates. Its gotten him beat up on the trail. And it justified or not, cemented people’s views of him being an elite-out of touch-aristocrat.

Mittens’ own father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, released 12 years of taxes during his 1967 presidential bid. Mittens’ is on record in the Boston Globe, in 1994 calling out Ted Kennedy for not releasing his taxes: “It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes.” And Romney won’t release his taxes?

This is a guy who everyone knows to be a flip flopper. He has changed his positions unlike anyone since the day of YouTubes inception. Why, considering the heat… considering his past demands for his opponents to release them… considering his own father felt it a need to be transparent. Romney has always preferred political expedience above everything else including character; why not simply release them?

I see it either or both two ways:

  1. His tax rate. Romney is said to worth anywhere between 90-250 million. Gingrich for example showed income of 3.1 Million in 2010 and paid 31% of it to taxes. If Romney is using the 15% Capital gains tax; it would mean he is paying half the tax rate of say a Newt Gingrich who is worth considerably less. That wouldn’t fly in this economy nor would it do much to divorce him from the picture of him being an elitist taking advantage of loopholes (regardless if they are legal).

  1. Romney wants to just get to Super -Tuesday and then coast. Thus wrapping up the nomination and then promptly releasing his returns in April long after the dust is settled. Romney knows he isn’t a conservative, thus getting out of this vetting process will (in his eyes) be his biggest hurdle because he knows the Republicans will choose him over President Obama. Its then, when Romney’s true strengths will take over. His blend of moderate ideals coupled with his keen business acumen can go head to head with Obama in where the election will be won and lost. In that 15-20 percentile of independent voters.
Just one problem with his strategy, he has hit his ceiling. We now know he didn't win Iowa, only won New Hampshire because he lives there and now he looks like he will lose South Carolina. We could be witnesses to a meltdown of epic proportions. One that has been years in the making.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dead on Arrival.. PIPA and SOPA are bleeding out before they even hit the floor

                                                        Graphic courtesy of Propublica

What a difference 24 hours makes? We are seeing firsthand just how powerful the internet has become. The petitions and blackouts virtually killed two pieces of legislation that was aimed at crimping the net's influence; in one day. It stands to reason why those in the power structure wish to blunt its effectiveness. Information is the internet. Information = Power. The powerful don't like competition, therefore we must not allow any attempts to discredit or regulate the ability for us all to have access to it.

If a man empties his purse in his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. - Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Black Power

Whether it was Google's black stripe across its logo or Wikipedia actually blacking out its website for 24 hours, it appears freedom has one a battle in a long war waged by the State and its "business interests" in a conquest who's prize lies in the regulating of the internet.

Many internet users were surprised to see many of the sites the come to rely on so much in their day to day activities be altered or in cases like Wikipedia - shut down in protest of the legislation on the hill that threatens one of the key caveats of the net: anonymity.

That surly led to outrage, as users were directed by sites like Wikipedia to their local elected leaders of the House and Senate via their zip codes. I myself couldn't pass up on the opportunity to tell Mike Kelly, my Representative to the House just what i thought about HR 3261 (SOPA); and i did just that (thank you Wikipedia).

His office was rather cagey when asked of the Congressman's support for SOPA. Just introduced on October 26 2011, and being that its only in Committee, I was not sure where Mr Kelly would weigh in either way. He was not a co-sponsor and there was no vote and a Google search turned up... nothing. That's what his office basically told me... nothing: "we have no comment either way".

According to SOPA Track, Mr Kelly has received $101K from Pro-SOPA interests compared to $29K from Anti-SOPA interests. There has been online petitions with millions of signatures...4.5 million in Googles alone according to Forbes. In just days, eighteen Senators have tucked tail and dropped support due to the public firestorm, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds on a national level and in my case with Mr Kelly; the local as well.

Its a view that usually goes unnoticed, being the people vs big business and the representatives caught in the middle with their pants down. I, like many sit in eager anticipation to see where loyalties and convictions lie.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ron Paul has mass appeal amongst Islam. 2.5 (people) say so.

Interesting story i seen on Huffington Post yesterday pertaining to Dr Ron Paul attracting Muslim support, or as the articles headline points out:

Muslims Say Ron Paul Is Their Kind Of Republican

Now this was not a piece written by the Huff-Post, but rather by a reporter from Religion News Service named Omar Sacirbey, who covers Islam for the organization. It was a story written around the opinions of three people who were presented to be of Islamic faith. One was a convert to Islam in her 50's named Adolf (no joke) and the other two were:

An 18 year old who said he like Paul because "
is the only candidate willing to get tough with Israel." Now that was the authors viewpoint of this 18 year old, those were never his words in the report.

The other, was a man named Rizwan Kadir, a financial consultant in suburban Chicago who voted for Obama (imagine that) in '08 but who now say's he is "very disappointed." Just not enough to give up his support for Obama this year... at least not yet: "If it came down to him and Obama, I don't know," Kadir said.

Nowhere in this piece was anything (statistically speaking) that would indicate Muslim support for Dr Paul is of anything of significance. Maybe there is such support; you just wouldn't know it from this report. The problem is, if its just three people giving thier viewpoints and/or "four 'Muslims for Ron Paul' Facebook pages" or if one of those 3 people aren't even sure they will be VOTING FOR DR PAUL... its not an accurate depiction of the title. In fact, i don't know how a middle school newspaper could approve this of being newsworthy... but there you have it.

Obvious question is, why? Could it be Dr Ron Paul's Foreign Policies are quite controversial in Conservative ranks? Could it be an overwhelming majority of Republican candidates support a war with Iran? Could it be the uneasy topic of Muslim and terrorism and how many US citizens automatically correlate the two? Could it be the crack pot crazy uncle Ron is attracting the gutter once again, like the storm-fronters and 9-11 inside job camp? We have seen this narrative before and the more it goes on the more desperate those drumming up this hogwash look.

I for one, have no issue with Muslim Americans supporting Dr Paul. In fact, I welcome it. Liberty and freedom appeal to all demographics and Muslims that want the same should vote for Dr Paul because he represents just that. However, this tells the reader nothing about this. The Huffington makes no secret of where they butter they're bread. For a website and news-source that has more left turns than Talladega in early May... i find it curious the lengths they too have gone to drive "the agenda". Makes you have to say, hmmm?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interesting piece that someone brought to my attention via email courtesy Twitter.This was the poster:


Sam Amer January 12, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ron Paul surging in South Carolina

, Manchester Independent Examiner

You may not read about it in the manistream press or see it on television but Ron Paul is surging in South Carolina.

According to the statistical average at the New York Times poll crunching blog 538, compiled by analyst Nate Silver, Congressman Paul is running third in South Carolina. Of all the candidates, Congressman Paul has the greatest forward momentum. Paul is rallying in all of the South Carolina polls released after the New Hampshire Primary, in which Paul finished a strong second place. In one poll, from the American Research Group, Congressman Paul has gained eleven points since their last poll was taken on January 5th. In the PPP poll, Paul gained six points and former Senator Santorum dropped five points in one week. In the Rasmussen poll, Congressman Paul is up five points and Santorum is down eight points since last week.

Another factor that is contributing to the optimism of Ron Paul's supporters is his surprising over-performance relative to the polls taken right before the New Hampshire Primary. Congressman Paul had an average poll rating of 17.5 percent in New Hampshire on the morning of the Primary. He finished with almost 23 percent of the vote, a five percentage point discrepancy. Each of the other candidates finished close to his final polling average in New Hampshire. This suggests that some pollsters may be under-polling demographic groups that are coming out strong for Congressman Paul.

The weekend talk shows are focusing on the conflict between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, and Senator Santorum's endorsement from a group of Evangelical Christian leaders. As usual, mainstream writers and political commentators are ignoring a big story - Ron Paul is running a terrific campaign and is seeing his support grow significantly in South Carolina.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getting to know "The Vest" : in his words

Rick Santorum is about as polarizing as an elected official can get in today's era of overly sensitive politically correctness. The man who once compared gay marriage to a person marrying a box turtle, is never short on his disdain for anything not Hetro. But it was this curious quote that attacks all Liberty and freedom that got me curious and i went looking and found two other interesting revelations. Its obvious the more people that got to know him from his surprising finish in Iowa why his bounce from the state of corn was only a thud.

"The definition of liberty as our founders understood it, was freedom with responsibility and we've sort of lost that edge. We have a whole society - you've heard the "me" generation - if it feels good do it - just do it, it's an entire culture that's focused on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness and personal pleasure and it's harming America."

It was the Declaration of Independence that inspired us and led to the revolutionary war and subsequent freedom from the rule of England. It was this document that paved a way for this Republics rise as a beacon of light in a world full of tyranny and oppression because, as it was said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are; Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

These are called the unalienable rights of man; thus they are born with each individual and no government has the right to infringe upon, alter or take them away. These are said to be from "their Creator" and knowing Santorum to be a Christian, his Creator is one that allows free will. How can one have free will if a governing body is to dictate what quantifies and qualifies as morality? Wasnt it Jesus who drew the ire of his Jewish elders for the company he kept? Never passing judgement on anyone? So, why doesnt the Senator ask: What Would Jesus Do?

"The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society." Associated Press, 4/7/03

Wasn’t freedom of religion one of the tenants for coming to this nation? Imagine the irony today where one religion reverts back to the ways of the King of England and would rather impose tyranny rather then freedom to further push their interpretation of God. Has the Religious Right forgotten how much it despises others trying to discredit or infringe upon their freedom to worship?

“One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.” 9/4/05 NPR

Rick Santorum and his ilk hate the individual having the freedom to do as they please even if it’s not harming anyone else. He doesn’t like Libertarianism because Libertarianism is based on… Liberty. Liberty is the ability to act out ones own ideas and wishes without discrimination but with respect for others to do the same. It’s the essence and backbone of this nation and this guy doesn’t like it. Worse, he refuses to stand for it regardless if he doesnt agree with it. Enough said.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Most Powerful, Moving NDAA Video I've Seen Yet

The Most Powerful, Moving NDAA Video I've Seen Yet


This is what the mainstream media doesn't want you to see. (Video below; sent to me by a reader earlier tonight.) They've whitewashed and, at times, altogether blacked out and distorted the groundswell of protests throughout the United States. You know this is the case, even if you want to deny it: your Facebook feed and Google+ stream are flooded with protest invites, photos, videos, and yet there's nothing about it on the evening news.

The silence is deafening.

The Tea Party and Occupy and other groups have vast ideological differences, to be sure. Yet they all realize the grave threat posed by the NDAA, signed into law by President Obama on New Year's Eve. They all realize the censorship and terror that SOPA & the Protect-IP Act would enable, casting a dark cloud over the entire planet's Internet communications in the 21st century.

It is not an exaggeration to say that America is at stake here.

Wake up, readers, friends, and colleagues. As the man in the video says, "I will not stand by and just watch!" Occupy Congress is on January 17th. And the nationwide protests against NDAA are to be held on February 3rd. Continue the conversation, follow me: I don't write articles every day, but when I do, they are on subjects you should know about. You can follow me on Google+ or on Twitter to see my newest posts and keep in touch. I publish content and editorial opinion regarding NDAA and SOPA on my Google+ account that you won't find anywhere else.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2002 predictions come true.

From the deification by the FED and our federal government on the dollar - to the stripping away of civil liberties here at home via the Patriot act, NDAA, SOPA and body scanners - to the middle east destabilization and us clamoring for an invasion not seen since Vietnam. Dr Paul had it right all along. And people call him the kook??

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tea Party Express pulls into Faux News.

Amy Kremer, Co Chair of the Tea Party Express was “On the record” with Greta Van Susteren tonight. The Topic of debate was, who the “Tea Party Express” was going to endorse. I thought to myself, who is this Tea Party Express? So I googled it and this was the heading:

The Tea Party Express is proud to stand for six simple principles
  • No more bailouts
  • Reduce the size and intrusiveness of government
  • Stop raising our taxes
  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Cease out-of-control spending
  • Bring back American prosperity

Then I saw this in the history description:
“The Tea Party Express came into existence as the tea party movement was awakened by the famous Rick Santelli rant that swept across the country in February of 2009.”

My knee-jerk reaction is pretty straight to the point. Wasn’t it Ron Pauls 2007 “Moneybomb” record setting fundraiser in which he raised 4.3 million in 24 hours and protests on Tax day in 2008 that started the Tea Party Movement? Santelli’s epic rant was one year later.
If those six simple principals are what this Tea Party is about, and since they are all being of economic matters – how in the world is their any question who to support? Is there anyone more conservative economically than Dr Paul. How do these people get on national TV if a simple search refutes their whole existence?
Or are my thoughts and feelings about the tea party the last few years indeed more than just loose thoughts and instead obvious facts. The "Tea Part" of economic responsibility was hijacked by the remnants of the Neoconservatives and Obama bashers? Afterall, wasn't the tea party in Boston 200+ years ago about... taxes?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How policies perception and reality are often ambiguous

Part 2 of a 3 part story on the Department of Defense and its coming to the realization of its own shortcomings and the realities it faces; and the motivation for those that will not go down swinging.

As we continue our buildup to combat the dangers of the War on Terror, somewhere along the way; somebody failed to tell our elected leaders that the defense budget was becoming super sized. Wasn’t the Homeland security created to organize our communications and protect us here at home from terrorism? That budget this year was 57 Billion.

But the beat goes on and the defense budget keeps increasing. It was President Bush who was once labeled a war monger by many of us (and rightfully so) yet President Obama has not only kept up the same strategies, he has expanded upon them and increased spending along the way. So what exactly is the defense budget and how does it relate to other nations spending?

First, here is a little perspective:
In 2001 (in 2010 inflation adjusted dollars) the base budget (excludes Nuclear and War funding) for Defense was 390 Billion
In 2011 (in 2010 inflation adjusted dollars) the base budget (excludes Nuclear and War funding) for Defense was 540 Billion

That is a 38% increase in 10 years. Again, this isn’t including the Nuclear Weapons programs or the wars we are fighting throughout the Middle East. If it seems like a lot; it’s because it is. Now the cuts that will take place starting in 2013 are not actually from existing defense… it’s from proposed increases. According to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky:
"This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending because we’re only cutting proposed increases. If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23% over 10 years. If we [make these cuts], it will still go up 16%."
So, in reality this is just slightly blunting the momentum of the leviathan that is the DOD. The Department and its cozy relationship with Congress and Industry (queue the black and white Eisenhower farewell address) remain warm and fuzzy and most importantly to those three love birds: intact and thriving.

And that I believe is the point. It has to be. How can anyone, given the information and the trends not see defense as a bloated bureaucracy, one that should be first in-line on the chopping block? Our ever expanding Department of Defense is not in an arms race yet their budget and approach clearly says otherwise. Shouldn’t we be shaping our military to fight the battles of the 21st Century; instead of preparing for an enemy of the twentieth that doesn’t exist?

In 2010 we spent almost six times the amount on defense than China does and eleven times more than Russia; yet many if not a majority of our elected leaders refuse to accept the notion of making cuts in defense. To me, it’s pretty clear… if we take the 18 nations that spend the most on defense; the US outspends all of her counterparts… ALL 17 of them COMBINED. So cuts are not only logical in our economic situation but they are a necessity; even if we were not drowning in debt.

Isn't it a bit silly for us to be even worried about a war with another super power in the first place? The idea of us engaging in war with a China or Russia is almost laughable because of how implausible it is. For one, it would be certain nuclear mutual devastation and then you have the reality of China and the US being so economically intertwined; it would be disruptive to both countries at so many levels.

In fact so much so that even the funding of a sustainable war would be impossible. Most people in this country see China as an economic threat and rightfully so, but it’s a threat only because we depend on them so much; as they do us. Our 1/4+ Trillion dollar trade deficit with a nation has a tendency to create a little codependency.

We are building a military prepared to wage a war not seen since the days of Hitler and we are outspending every nation at astronomical rates. Who is the war on terror about anyway? Stateless organizations whom hide in caves and target random civilians around the globe. Isnt that a threat to all nations? Why do they not allocate the resources that we do?

It just doesn’t seem to make sense. To fight such an enemy that is no more dangerous or powerful than a drug cartel using conventional warfare with cold war spending and tactics. How we cannot connect these dots is astounding if it wasn’t so downright intellectually offensive.