Obama's Emmy Nomination?

Al Gore got an Oscar for a so-called documentary which used faked footage of ice calving to make a point. So why shouldn’t Barack Obama get the Aaron Sorkin “West Wing” Award for the best delivery of a written speech?

The triumph of style over substance?

Somehow, looking Presidential in front of a famous and revered Abraham Lincoln – complete with Obama’s favorite columns – is somewhat spoiled by the TelePrompTer that is necessary to turn Obama into the telegenic orator he often plays on television. Hence, he should be a clear winner of an Emmy for best political drama.

Capture1-18-2009-10.16.55 PM

Personally I am tired of Obama’s desire to be connected with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Here is a man who has not spent a single day in the Presidency, with not even a hint of greatness apparent – playing a role – just like any other empty suit telegenic actor.

While the jury is out until 2012 – I would much rather Obama deal with solving the problems at hand and making himself available to the working media than striking arrogant poses and delivering TelePrompTered speeches.

And speaking of the media, when are they going to get over their slavish devotion of someone whose record of achievement, other than be elected to the Presidency, is less accomplished than, say, Sarah Palin?

-- steve 


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


What? Global warming is a myth? How can this be with all the smart people like Al Gore promoting their new religion?

In spite of those self-interested parties who would have us enlarge the government, pay more in taxes, allow the government to curtail our personal freedoms – all based on the supposition that man can affect the global climate … there are people who are beginning to smell a hoax or, at least, the birth of a new cultish religion.

According to the Flint Journal …

“If you're wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.”

“At December's U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world's top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?"

I asked myself, why would such obviously smart guy say such a ridiculous thing? But it turns out he's right.

The earth's temperature peaked in 1998. It's been falling ever since; it dropped dramatically in 2007 and got worse in 2008, when temperatures touched 1980 levels.”

“Meanwhile, the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center released conclusive satellite photos showing that Arctic ice is back to 1979 levels. What's more, measurements of Antarctic ice now show that its accumulation is up 5 percent since 1980.”

“In other words, during what was supposed to be massive global warming, the biggest chunks of ice on earth grew larger. Just as an aside, do you remember when the hole in the ozone layer was going to melt Antarctica?”

“But don't worry, we're safe now, that was the nineties.”

Dr. Kunihiko, Chancellor of Japan's Institute of Science and Technology said this: "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or the other ... every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so." Now why would a learned man say such a crazy thing?

The myth of CO2 as a determinant factor in global warming …

“This is where the loony left gets lost. Their mantra is atmospheric CO2 levels are escalating and this is unquestionably causing earth's temperature rise. But ask yourself -- if global temperatures are experiencing the biggest sustained drop in decades, while CO2 levels continue to rise -- how can it be true?”

“Ironically, in spite of being shown false, we must now pray for it. Because a massive study, just released by the Russian Government, contains overwhelming evidence that earth is on the verge of another Ice Age.”

“Based on core samples from Russia's Vostok Station in Antarctica, we now know earth's atmosphere and temperature for the last 420,000 years. This evidence suggests that the 12,000 years of warmth we call the Holocene period is over.”

“Apparently, we're headed into an ice age of about 100,000 years -- give or take. As for CO2 levels, core samples show conclusively they follow the earth's temperature rise, not lead it.”

It turns out CO2 fluctuations follow the change in sea temperature. As water temperatures rise, oceans release additional dissolved CO2 -- like opening a warm brewsky.”

Give the money to the banks …

“To think, early last year, liberals suggested we spend 45 trillion dollars and give up five million jobs to fix global warming. But there is good news: now that we don't have to spend any of that money, we can give it all to the banks.”

Obviously this column was based on the Pravda article which I covered in my blog entry “Are the Russians stepping up their propaganda war in America?”

But the scientific findings and the opinions of the scientists remain valid. It does appear that the CO2 levels lag the global temperature by 800-1000 years and that this can be easily explained by the temperature-dependent oceanic-atmospheric balance of CO2. Of course, a simple answer makes it extremely difficult for the politicians to work their magic if they cannot easily convince citizens to enter the Orwellian world of politics where “up is down,” “right is left,” and “good is evil.”

Common sense tells us when there is a simple solution to a problem, the special interests will find reasons to support their version – proving once again that special interest money in politics trumps logic and the rights of the citizens.

Reference Links:

It's time to pray for global warming, says Flint Journal columnist John Tomlinson - Flint, Michigan Columns, Letters & Opinion - The Flint Journal – MLive.com


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


OBAMA INAUGURATION: HYPOCRISY ABOUNDS!

Don’t do as we do, do as we say …

Politicians and their cadre of so-called Hollywood elites such as Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks  Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and Danny Glover are all fond of telling us how we should live our lives and sacrifice for the common good. (A socialist theme that has historical roots)

So where is Al Gore and the rest of the global warming crowd when we are told that:

Obama’s inauguration is projected to generate 575 million POUNDS of CO2 which “would take the average U.S. household 57,598 years to produce a carbon footprint equal to that of the new president’s housewarming party.”

I wonder how much of this “alleged damage to the planet” will be covered by the politicians and celebrities who plan to pay a “guilt tax” and purchase Al Gore’s carbon credits?

And it is all detailed in a free 9-page downloadable report from the Institute for Liberty…

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Some of the reports highlights:

  • “The 600 private jets expected to fly visitors to and from the event will produce 25,320,000 POUNDS of CO2”
  • “Personal vehicles could account for 262,483,200 POUNDS of CO2”
  • “In the parade, horses alone will produce more than 400 POUNDS of CO2”
  • “The total carbon footprint for the Inauguration will likely exceed 575 million POUNDS of CO2”
  • “It would take the average U.S. household 57,598 years to produce a carbon footprint equal to that of the new president’s housewarming party”

But don’t worry …

The hysteria over CO2 as a greenhouse gas that demands immediate reduction, has little or no basis in fact. In fact, it is a trumped-up factoid to make you think that the “carbon cap and trade” system which benefits nobody except politicians, the Wall Street Wizards and the special interests is vital to containing global warming.

It’s not real – and those who are promoting this scheme – are acting in their self-interest.

Point One:  Even if we curtail carbon dioxide, it will not produce a measurable result since any benefit would be lost in the noise of nature’s natural climate variability. If you can’t measure progress, than no program can be fairly judged. If CO2 lags temperature rise by 600-1000 years, the Earth will be in 600 years into the next ice age before we see a reduction in CO2. A free pass for evildoers and freebooters.

Point Two: The research shows that the rise in carbon dioxide lags the rise in temperature (by 600 to 1000 years)and as such can not be a causal factor in global warming.

Point Three: A more likely explanation for the rise in carbon dioxide is the warming of the planet which allows more carbon dioxide to be emitted from our oceans into the atmosphere. When the planet cools, the oceans are able to absorb more carbon dioxide from atmospheric sources.

One need think only of a cold soda bottle. As the bottle warms, CO2 bubbles up from the cold liquid and enters the atmosphere.

Point Four: there are natural cycles dealing with the Earth’s passage around the sun, its inclination and other technical factors which correlate with global mean temperatures.

Only by controlling the production and use of energy, can governments increase their size, increase their revenues and curtail the freedom of its people. And the politicians and others who promote this scheme are as big a danger to the free world as socialism and communism. Whoops, lets add another point: our enemies, the socialists, communists and despotic dictators would all benefit from a weakened United States – and therefore have infiltrated the environmental movement to use our own laws, rules and regulations against us as they act in their own best interests. Leading one to the conclusion that the majority of our politicians and others are: intellectually lazy, corrupt, fellow travelers or just plain stupid.

What can YOU do?

Remember: common sense in government and politics is never common.

Always, follow the money and decide who gains and who loses when public policy is implemented. Consider that it is rarely the public in matters not involving safety and security.

It took the Nobel-prize winning Cal-Tech physicist, Richard Feynman, to find the cause of the space shuttle Challenger explosion due to a cold o-ring. He often postulated that the simplest explanations were often the answers – as they did not require twisting assumptions and great leaps of faith. Think about the soda bottle analogy to the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

It takes hubris (pride) and chutzpah (gall) to believe that man’s puny efforts can affect global weather – especially since those who believe in the concept of “perfect people for a perfect planet” are always pushing for advanced population controls.

Remember, the Obama Administration will also pass into history. To be followed, perhaps, by an Administration which will have to work harder to reverse the damage that they may do to our society, our military, our economy and to our freedom.

Participate in the political name and never be afraid to stand up and say NO!

Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." -- Sir Winston Churchill

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Carbon Bigfoot|Institute for Liberty

A thank you to the folks at the thechillingeffect.org project who sent me the heads up on this report. Their site contains a wealth of materials which should be considered before you make up your mind on global warming.

Capture1-15-2009-3.37.13 PM


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: State of the State Speech Demonstrates INCOMPETENCE!

Schwarzenegger's 11 minute speech said nothing ... and was a demostration of his incompetence as California's governor.

According to Arnold’s Official Website …

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
38TH Governor of California

Capture1-15-2009-10.37.17 AM

“The world knows Arnold Schwarzenegger as a famous bodybuilder and a Hollywood action hero, but he is also a successful businessman, generous philanthropist and California's 38th Governor.”

Unfortunately, many Californian’s now know Governor Schwarzenegger as a narcissistic, ego-driven "movie star” who seeks adoration over results.  He is no politician – he merely plays one!

Notable accomplishments?

“Governor Schwarzenegger's most notable accomplishments in his first five years in office include the nation-leading Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - a bipartisan agreement to combat global warming by reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions - and overhauling the state's workers' compensation system - cutting costs by more than 35 percent. In addition, Governor Schwarzenegger is the first governor in decades to make major investments in improving California's aging infrastructure through his Strategic Growth Plan, helping to reduce congestion and clean the air. He established the Hydrogen Highway and Million Solar Roofs Plan, continuing his leadership in creating a greener environment.”

There is no proof that any program that Arnold Schwarzenegger recommends will change the global climate one iota. In fact, there is absolutely no way to measure any weather-related deviation as any miniscule change would be lost in the noise of the weather’s normal variability.

Fails to notice the fat, bloated government and his fat cat special interests …

“As Governor, he has been California's most effective marketing tool, traveling across the country and around the world promoting California-grown products, cutting-edge technologies and the state's diverse travel destinations. In addition, using his background as an internationally recognized athlete, Governor Schwarzenegger has made restoring health and fitness a top priority. He signed legislation making the state's school nutrition standards the most progressive in the nation and continues to promote healthy habits by taking harmful trans fats out of California restaurants and ensuring nutritional information is available to diners.”

Fiscal reform?

Additionally, since he took office, Governor Schwarzenegger has worked to reform California's fiscal policies, create a better business environment, reduce burdens on employment, boost exports and stimulate job growth. Through the end of 2007, California's Gross State Product had grown by 29 percent since the governor took office in 2003.

The governor is a stone cold, bold-faced liar! Under his watch, spending has increased over 40% in real dollars. His promises of eliminating waste, fraud and corruption in the California Government is a sham public relations effort – as he appointed his cronies and politically important people to the high-paying boards he vowed to eliminate.

The governor’s entire public policy can be defined as “LOOK AT ME, I AM GREAT, IT IS SO BECAUSE I SAY IT IS SO!”

2009 State of the State Speech …

In approximately eleven minutes, three or less if you take out the acknowledgements of other politicians and the routine crap, there was nothing of substance contained within the speech.

"Let me tell you, I have big plans for this state. They include action on the economy, on water, environment, education, and health care reform, government efficiency and reform, job creation, and the list goes on and on," Schwarzenegger said. "But our first order of business is to solve the budget crisis."

What the hell has Schwarzenegger done in the past five years? He stands before the people and claims we are in a major fiscal crisis and then goes on to say he wants to spend even more.

This man is delusional and will do or say almost anything to get approval …

His proposal that legislators should lose their salaries and per diem if the budget is not submitted on time – like a few measly dollars would mean something to people who raise and spend multi-million dollar amounts on their campaigns.

“We should make a commitment that legislators -- and the governor too -- lose per diem expenses and our paychecks, for every day the budget goes past the constitutional deadline of June 15.”

“You have to admit it is a brilliant idea.
I mean, if you call a taxi and the taxi doesn't come, you don't pay the driver. If the people's work is not getting done, the people's representatives should not get paid either.
That is common sense in the real world.”

Additional stupidities …

  • “So, I am encouraged that meaningful negotiations are underway. And, as difficult as the budget will be, good things can come out of it.”
  • “Because, in spite of the budget crisis, when we have worked together in the past, we have passed measures that moved this state -- and even the nation -- forward.”
  • “There is no course left open to us but this: to work together, to sacrifice together, to think of the common good -- not our individual good.
    No one wants to take money from our gang-fighting programs or from Medi-Cal or from education.”
  • No one wants to pay more in taxes or fees.
    But each of us has to give up something because our country is in an economic crisis and our state simply doesn't have the money
    .”

Sacrifice to ratify and continue the legislature’s continued profligate spending? Where are the substantive budget cuts? Where are the real dollar cuts rather than the phony claim that a reduction in a budgetary increase is a tax cut?

What is he trying to do …

It appears that he wants to take the current budget deficit and roll it into the next budget and then fund both together … all with the purpose of papering over the problem, kicking the can down the road – so he can run for the Senate in 2010 with some form of accomplishment. No mention of the other real problem facing the state: illegal aliens and their union and church supporters.

Bottom line: Schwarzenegger has been an abject failure as a governor and would make an even worse Senator.

What can YOU do?

Remember what Schwarzenegger failed to do in two terms of as California’s governor.

Remember the broken promises to curtail spending and reduce the costs of government.

And remember that the man is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and turned his back on those who bought his loyalty with their votes and money. He is a liar, cheat and thief – when you consider he took money under false pretenses when he ran as a conservative Republican and then morphed into a liberal sycophantic democrat.

END SCHWARZENEGGER’S  POLITICAL CAREER AND ELECT A GOVERNOR WHO ACTUALLY CAN FUNCTION WITHOUT PUBLIC RELATIONS COUNSEL AND HOLLYWOOD STYLE SMOKE AND MIRRORS.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

2009 California State of the State Speech Text|Los Angeles Times

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - About Arnold, Biography


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


John McCain Launches PAC to 'Better Define the Republican Ideals and Message'

The time for the better definition of Republican ideals and message should have preceded the McCain candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.

I, among many others, was willing to hold my nose and vote for John McCain simply to stave off a democrat winning the White House; and a toxic democrat at that.

I often regarded John McCain as I regard California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a RINO (Republican In Name Only). A person who will say or do anything to get elected – and one who claims that they are “post partisan” politicians who are above the fray of party politics as the “verk for da people” 

Wrong, wrong, wrong …

He was massively wrong on McCain-Feingold campaign financing which led to empowering George Soros and 527 advertisements. More money is washing through the system than ever before. And there are suspicions that there is also a significant amount of illegal foreign contributions which have been laundered through lawyers, lobbyists, corporations and American nationals at play in the political system.

He was massively wrong on McCain-Kennedy immigration reform which was a sham amnesty program offered to illegal aliens in return for the Hispanic votes. The reform was bogus as was the idea that Hispanics were going to overwhelmingly vote for McCain.

He is massively wrong on global warming which is based on unsupported scientific supposition and less-than accurate computer models.

John McCain’s struggle to remain relevant and engaged …

The sad fact is that tales of his POW hardships cannot overcome his negatives into propelling him onward to the leadership of the Republican party. A party which is as need of reform as our current financial regulatory system.

Financing John’s  “Hillary Clinton-style” listening tour …

From CNSNews …

John McCain Launches PAC to 'Better Define the Republican Ideals and Message'

“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has registered a political action committee (PAC) with the Federal Election Commission and is circulating e-mails asking for donations.”

“The e-mail announcing ‘Country First PAC’ says it ‘will allow us to strengthen our Party, better define the Republican ideals and message, recruit and back strong, dedicated candidates and continue our efforts to bring real reform to government by always putting our country and the noble ideals she stands for first.’”

“E-mail recipients are asked to make a ‘generous contribution’ to help the PAC to elect governors, state and federal lawmakers, and ‘to continue fighting for the worthy cause of revitalizing both our democracy and our Party.”

McCain is no Newt …

In my mind, nobody has put forth an agenda, backed by poll-tested concepts, like that of Newt Gingrich and his American Solutions organization. And there is absolutely no chance that McCain can bring the equivalent of Newt’s historical knowledge and political abilities to the table. The only similarity that I can find between both men, outside of being politicians, is that both have notably “testy” behaviors when agitated.

I am not the only one questioning the futility of McCain’s project …

“Some conservatives, however, are questioning the influence McCain’s new PAC will wield, given his failed bid to win the presidency and Democratic President-elect Barack Obama’s victory.”

“ ‘McCain is a general without an army, a leader without followers,’ conservative activist Richard Viguerie told CNSNews.com. “’He never found his voice during the campaign, and he’s not likely to find it with his PAC.’”

“Viguerie added that McCain’s own reforms – carbon caps, comprehensive immigration reform and campaign finance reform – are partly responsible for the Republican Party’s downward spiral in recent years.”

For those who point to his remarkable political comeback in the campaign …

For those who believe that McCain once again can stage a comeback to relevance, need only consider the complicity of the media who wanted John McCain as an opponent for Hillary Clinton – Barack Obama was still an afterthought at this point in time.

Unless McCain is supported by the democrats, perhaps led by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and the media in an effort to produce a “Judas Goat” to lead Republicans astray, there seems to be little hope for McCain’s efforts.

A secondary consideration …

Cynic that I am, perhaps this is just a method to retire any remaining McCain campaign debt without reaching into his own pockets – after all, that is the way of politics and politicians.

What can YOU do?

Rethink your political contributions. It is far better to keep your money in your own pocket and pursue your own opportunities than it is to support politicians who have learned not much more than how to lose.

Before giving another dime to the Republican party, wait until it selects its leadership and posts a preliminary statement of principles. Until then, any contribution will be for naught.

Consider Obama’s inauguration as the start of a countdown to a 2010 victory in the House and Senate and a prelude to a 2012 run at the presidency. While we wish Obama well in governing our country, time and breeding will tell. A man borne of political corruption and who is without core values is likely to revert to type as he attempts to govern using polls and focus groups as a poor third-rate substitute for vision, guts and core values.

Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “If we find a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

flag

Reference Links:

CNSNews.com - John McCain Launches PAC to 'Better Define the Republican Ideals and Message'


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Schwarzenegger: I can be bought!

I am rich and powerful ...

For a man who said he was t0o rich and independent to be bought or be required to cater to the special interests, it's ironic that Governor Schwarzenegger has exceeded the fundraising prowess of his predecessor Gray Davis and caved in to liberal democrats and their special interest  spending whenever possible.

According to the Sacramento Bee ...

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he has a price."

"If he is going to give up the no-new-taxes stance on which he staked his 2006 re-election campaign, he says, Democrats must agree to shove aside environmental rules for 11 highway projects and let private investors and builders play a larger role in state construction."

The triple whammy ...

Like a RINO (Republican In Name Only), Schwarzenegger is abandoning his so-called "conservative" principles and talking about raising taxes in a time of universally acknowledged recession.

Like a committed environmentalist and the  spearhead of California's efforts to fight global warming, Schwarzenegger seems all to ready to abandon environmental rules -- especially as they may apply to concrete production.

And as one who is too rich to pander to the special interests, he is openly advocating to let private investors play a larger role in state construction.

But what do you expect from a man who declares himself to be no longer the candidate the people elected, but a post-partisan politician who is above party politics. A convenient cover for a political turncoat who is willing to turn his back on the party who elected him and do deals with the profligate spenders he was elected to rein in.

It's a role to be played and it's only an writer's words ...

"Schwarzenegger has long believed that higher taxes damage the economy; he said in 2006 it would be the 'worst thing' to do."

Notice how he is looking ahead to 2010 -- to clear his record before facing a Senate run?

"Now, facing a $40 billion budget deficit over the next 18 months, he says he is willing to bend if the state can offset the impact of raising taxes by making regulations friendlier to businesses."

Switch hitter?

Only months ago, the budget deficit was said to be somewhere between $12 BILLION and $24 BILLION -- with $14 BILLION mentioned as a likely number.

So how did we suddenly get to $40 BILLION or his Schwarzenegger trying to clear the whole deficit before his Senate run? Or his he trying to pull a Pete Ueberroth? Ueberroth, as you may well remember was the head of the Los Angeles Olympic effort and overstated all costs in order to have a major surplus at the end of his watch.

Switching subjects: it is no longer about taxes or spending, it's about jobs and infrastructure...

Parroting the Obama line, Schwarzenegger has apparently turned into a liberal democrat.

" 'Really, the whole idea was that we help the people as much as possible in these very terrible times,' Schwarzenegger said last month as he rejected a Democratic plan to reduce the deficit by $18 billion because he said it didn't do enough to promote job growth."

" 'This proposal that they have sent down … does really only one thing, and this is punish the people of California,' he said."

Truth be told, Schwarzenegger is complicit in "punishing the people" as he signed off on every budget since he was elected. There is no "they!" It Schwarzenegger and the legislature who have spent the last five years spending California into an abyss -- and with little or nothing to show for all of that massive spending except nice new freeway sound walls which are graffiti magnets.

It's not his lifestyle that he is gambling with ...

"Schwarzenegger's action was risky; continued stalemate means the state will run out of cash in February, unable to pay tax refunds or state vendors."

He can move out of state to another one of his homes at a moment's notice. Not that he was even in the state when the new budget proposal was revealed during the New Year break. He was enjoying life in Sun Valley, Idaho -- at one of his other homes.

Diversionary tactic: look over there ...

"Democrats say the Republican governor is holding up the budget over a stimulus package they consider largely irrelevant to closing the state's massive deficit."

" 'Economic stimulus is extremely important, and we need to get Californians back to work,' Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, said Wednesday. 'However, economic stimulus proposals will not address the (cash) situation that the state controller has indicated we will be facing in February. So it is our belief the governor should sign the proposal we put forward to address the immediate cash crisis.'"

More smoke and mirrors: seeking a position of plausible deniability?

Is the governor's goal to set the stage, so to speak, so that he can claim he fought hard against the democrat's dastardly budgetary plans?

"Despite issuing a separate budget proposal last week, the governor continues to negotiate with Democrats over their $18 billion package with the possibility he could sign it before February."

I can be bought; and I don't mind selling out my own party in the process ...

"The governor said last month that if Democrats give him what he wants, he'd sign the package even though it skirts the state's two-thirds vote requirement for taxes, making opposition by lawmakers of his own party irrelevant in a way they say is illegal."

What environmental impact?

Schwarzenegger is primarily asking to waive environmental restrictions so that $1.2 billion in road projects can begin as soon as this year, which he estimates would establish 21,600 jobs, including those created in other sectors by worker spending.

Can you say "special interests?"

"The governor is also asking to change construction guidelines to make it easier for private firms to build state projects, which he suggests would allow California to take advantage of even more federal and private capital."

Hollywood Lesson One: Looking Good ...

"Schwarzenegger's demands, if met, would allow the governor to say he scored some wins for business interests, even as he capitulated on taxes. It's a strategy likely to reappear during summer budget talks, when the governor is expected to ask Democrats to loosen rules over meal and rest breaks in exchange for further tax increases."

Looking tough by threatening the union or would the meal and rest breaks only apply to non-classified workers?

It doesn't matter if the results are mostly symbolic and can be exploited in the media for maximum advantage ...

"In the meantime, the governor's list of $1.2 billion in road projects likely won't have a game-changing effect in a $1.7 trillion statewide economy, though the administration believes it would help the recovery."

"The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said the proposal has some merit in a down economy, such as taking advantage of lower prices for materials and highly competitive bids as more firms are desperate for work. But it faces numerous challenges, principally the need for federal waivers."

"The analyst also noted that the plan would only accelerate construction by a few months, since several projects are already on track to begin in early 2010, not creating as immediate an impact as advertised. And the analyst report noted that stimulus would be confined to those areas where highway projects are located."

Special interests?

"But with the state desperate for new jobs, the governor likely believes there is no greater political opportunity than now to press the Democratic-controlled Legislature to make concessions that enable more long-term private involvement in state construction."

"Democrats oppose the governor's plan because they want the 11 specified road projects to undergo environmental review, whereas Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate that hurdle. Democrats also want more oversight over a procedure that incorporates the design and construction sequences into one, a change that Schwarzenegger wants because it is more favorable to private builders."

Only "acting" like a Republican?

"The governor's proposals would require Democrats to give up protections that environmentalists and state employee labor unions hold dear. Steinberg said there is room for agreement but that the governor shouldn't expect to get everything he wants."

The political way?

Do or say anything to pursue your own agenda has always been the way of politics, regardless of political party -- no matter whether or not you style yourself as a  post partisan politician.

"In 2006, Schwarzenegger focused heavily on two messages – his opposition to taxes and his environmental credentials. Faced with far different economic circumstances in 2009, Schwarzenegger's message has shifted to creating jobs.

"While he once promoted his ability to balance environmental concerns with economic ones, he says the economic ones win out for now."

" 'What we want to do is strip away some of the rules and regulations that are holding us back now to do infrastructure in the first place," Schwarzenegger said last month. 'So we need jobs right now. For me the people are the most important thing, then we can worry about all the other regulations.'"

Bottom line ...

Schwarzenegger has abandoned the conservative principles of the Republican party and has joined the ranks of those politicians who will do or say anything to pursue their own personal agenda: in this case moving  Schwarzenegger beyond Hollywood into a well-respected statesman.

-- steve

Reference Links:

Analysis: Schwarzenegger shifts budget focus from opposing taxes to creating jobs - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


ECONOMIC STIMULUS: RUSHING FORWARD TO DISASTER

Wrong from day one?

I do not even know what is contained in President-elect Barack Obama’s stimulus package and I know that we are rushing toward another Bush-style fiscal disaster.

One, according to Nancy Pelosi, every effort will be made to get the broad guidelines from Obama’s economic advisers so that the democrats can begin crafting the language of the bill as soon as possible. According to Pelosi and members of the Obama contingent, it is desired that this legislation be signed into law as soon as practical after Obama’s swearing in ceremony.

Two, it is unlikely that this bill is going to be crafted with a bi-partisan team and will most likely be drafted in secret.

Three, it is unlikely that this bill will go through the committee process as does most other legislation. This shortens the time that legislators have to re-think and re-work the actual language of the legislation.

Four, it is likely to be presented to the Senate and the House as a fait accompli, with little time for legislators to read and really study the impact of the legislation. 

Five, the legislation is likely to contain broad-brush concepts and ideas rather than specific details regarding implementation, including financial controls,  reporting methods and deadlines.  But most of all, I am willing to bet that there are no significant penalties for missing reporting deadlines and actually conforming to the legislative guidelines.

Six, it is likely that there will be “special interest” accommodations for the unions and others who have supported the democrat push towards the presidency. These accommodations may not be blatant, but they will be in the form of requiring “union wage scales” rather than “prevailing wages” when letting contracts. It is likely that these conditions will come in the second round of implementing legislation, technical corrections or the rules and regulations promoted by democrat-led Agencies.

And seven, any outcome will be hailed as a great success as the politicos will claim to have “averted a financial major crisis,” or moderated the “Bush-caused” financial crisis.

“Trust me” legislation …

How do I know what will happen before it happens? Rest assured, I am not a psychic with a crystal ball, just someone who has observed over the years what politicians tend to produce under “emergency” conditions.

Or more recently, watching the Republicans completely cave in to a so-called recovery package that was larded with democrat pork to insure passage, had absolutely no controls or penalties for non-compliance; and worst of all, ceded enormous power to the Treasury Secretary with little or no accountability. The very essence of “trust me” legislation. Only to subsequently find that the Treasury Secretary admitted that the program, as originally envisioned, did not work and was seeking to re-purpose the remaining available funds.

Even the amount of the recovery bill, $700 BILLION, was a wild-eyed estimate with absolutely no basis in fact. And if one really counts the monies disbursed by the Treasury Department and other government agencies, added to those funds disbursed by the Federal Reserve and guaranteed by the government –- we are already in the TRILLIONS.  Or as they say on Wall Street where so much of the money went – BILLIONS are the new MILLIONS.

Why I am not comfortable with an unchallenged democrat proposal …

Considering the corruption and malfeasance that has swirled around democrat-controlled cities and states, I am worried that the pervasive culture of corruption and special interest deals will override any public interest.

One need only look at the current scandals involving democrat fundraising, possibly even that linked to Barack Obama, to know that democrats and money do not mix without stringent oversight – and even then they often manage to corrupt the system.

Too little time …

According to the Washington Post …

Sources said Obama and Pelosi will discuss the scope and timing of the economic recovery package, which Obama has said will be his first priority upon being sworn into office. Pelosi has said her goal is to have the legislation on the new president's desk and ready to be signed on Jan. 20.

Assuming work starts on legislation when the Congress convenes on January 5th, there is not enough time to correctly draft, debate and codify such massive legislation. 

Too much money …

“But that schedule appears increasingly likely to slip, as Republicans and conservative Democrats are raising concerns about the impact on the federal deficit of spending hundreds of billions on an array of projects with little vetting by Congress. Lawmakers now expect a spending package of between $675 billion and $775 billion.”

One must ask, another number pulled out of thin air – with a tolerance of $100 BILLION dollars? These are the type guesstimates which produce very rich special interests and corrupt politicians. 

'The timeline is even worse than previously thought …

“And a top congressional aide said yesterday that Democratic leaders in the House are still waiting for a detailed proposal to be delivered by Obama's economic advisers before lawmakers can begin the process of turning it into legislation.”

“Even so, congressional Democrats are anxious to get the process started so that a vote can take place in the House as early as the week of Jan. 12. Pelosi announced yesterday that the first hearing on the plan will take place Wednesday.”

We feel the need for speed …

“In a letter to Democratic House members, she wrote that the hearing will focus on ‘the need to act with deliberate speed to safeguard as many as three million jobs by making needed investments in infrastructure, alternative energy, science and other emerging sectors and providing middle-class tax cuts to help make work pay.’"

It’s not what it seems …

“Among those scheduled to testify at a series of hearings involving several committees are Mark Zandi of Moodys.com, Harvard University professor and former labor secretary Robert Reich, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, MIT professor Maria T. Zuber and others.”

First, the people set to testify are all well-credentialed with a liberal leftist bent.

Let’s see what Martin Feldstein had to say in the Wall Street Journal on November 8, 2008 …

“More than 12 million homeowners now have mortgage debt that exceeds the value of their homes. These negative-equity homeowners have an incentive to default because mortgages are generally ‘no recourse’ loans. That means creditors can take the property if the individual defaults, but cannot take other assets or income to make up the difference between the unpaid loan balance and the lower value of the house. As a result, mortgage default rates are now rising rapidly and are expected to go much higher.”

“The no-recourse mortgage is virtually unique to the United States. That's why falling house prices in Europe do not trigger defaults. The creditors' ability to go beyond the house to other assets or even future salary is a deterrent.”

“In an earlier article on this page I proposed a plan to prevent declines of house prices back to the pre-bubble level from pushing current positive-equity homeowners into the negative-equity group. The essential feature of that plan is to replace 20% of the homeowner's existing mortgage with a separate, full-recourse loan from the government. That ‘mortgage replacement loan’ would have a very attractive, low interest rate. Because it would be separate from the mortgage and would have full recourse, it would establish an important firewall. Even if house prices fall another 20%, all mortgages would still have positive equity. The mortgage-replacement loan would involve no actual government spending and therefore no increase in the budget deficit.”

The key to preventing further defaults and foreclosures among current negative-equity homeowners is to shift those mortgages into loans with full recourse, allowing the creditor to take other property or a fraction of wages. But the offer of a low-interest-rate loan is not enough to induce a homeowner with substantial negative equity to forego the opportunity to default and escape the existing debt. Substituting a full-recourse loan requires the inducement of a substantial write-down in the outstanding loan balance. Creditors have an incentive to accept some write-down in exchange for the much greater security of a full-recourse loan. The government can bridge the gap between the maximum write-down that the creditor would accept and the minimum write-down that the homeowner requires to give up his current right to walk away from his debt.” <Source>

Danger, Danger

You do not need to be a genius to see that old Marty is doing a major favor for Wall Street. Precisely the same type of government favor which permits the credit card companies to change usurious rates far in excess of the cost of capital and which push consumers towards insolvency at a faster and faster rate.  The type of favor which caused the re-jiggering of the current bankruptcy law to make it harder to walk away from credit card debt. Ostensibly to prevent scofflaws from stealing from the banking system – although there is overwhelming proof that most people declaring bankruptcy were forced to do so by overwhelming medical bills, loss of employment, and let us not forget the crushing burden of usurious credit card rates.

Here Marty wants to insure that you give your current lender the right to seize your car and other assets in case of a default – even your future earnings. All for a government-sponsored loan modification program which will be designed to trap those who really do not understand the game being played.

As for Robert Reich …

Reich is an extremely bright, well-credentialed liberal leftist who never met a union he didn’t like. As Clinton’s labor secretary, he advocated and implemented  social programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, increasing the minimum wage (which mostly affects new entrants to the job market, the unskilled and illegal aliens), successfully lobbied to pass the Pension Protection Act and the School-to-Work Jobs Act, and launched a number of job training programs. At the same time, he lobbied Clinton to address bigger societal issues, and pushed for improvement of conditions for those in poverty. Reich is a Clintonista, even dating Hillary Clinton in College. <Source>

And the others …

Moody’s is one of the ratings agencies who allegedly got it all wrong and permitted securities which were based on subprime and fraudulent mortgages to be rated triple-A thus making them into “investment grade” securities that were gobbled up by pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds – to the detriment of the entire financial community and your savings and retirement funds.

Zuber is a well-credentialed scientist – likely to be one of the point people on global warming legislation which will produce the next set of Wall Street billionaires as they create and trade “climate-based” derivatives much as they did “mortgage-based” derivatives.

The first hearings that are likely to take place are more a media event than a substantive inquiry into legislative policies.

The first scheduled hearing on the new recovery plan is before the Steering & Policy Committee, a panel that lacks direct jurisdiction over the new spending bill. This is Nancy Pelosi’s stage – nothing less and nothing more.

Senate firewall?

Standing between the House of Representatives and President Obama is the United States Senate. As currently constituted, even with the possibility of Al Franken being the Senator from Minnesota, the democrats are 3 votes from obtaining a veto-proof majority – so that the Senate Republicans, provided they rediscover their conservative mandate and guts, can serve as a moderating force in preventing ill-crafted legislation. 

The media campaign will commence …

“Obama aides said the president-elect and his team will help make an all-out push to convince Americans that the government must spend almost $1 trillion to create jobs, provide cash for spending and shore up the finances of the state governments.”

Broad strokes for privileged folks …

“Obama aides and congressional sources have said the package under development is likely to contain three broad categories: infrastructure investment, tax breaks and direct aid to states.”

Again, we face the danger clearly demonstrated by Treasury Secretary Paulson …

Congressional aides said all the specifics of the infrastructure spending are unlikely to be spelled out in the legislation. Instead, the goal will be to provide formulas that allow states to choose projects that fit a series of broad principles laid out by the president-elect and Congress.”

A blind man can see what is about to happen at the state level. Perhaps I should remind you that many states and municipalities used voter-designated funds to purchase infrastructure items involving transportation assets – which they then sold off to investors and leased back the assets to provide service to the public. The money they received from the sale was no longer restricted and could be used for any purpose imagined by the corrupt politicians and their pointy-head advisors. We probably would have never known about this potentially illegal maneuver (although nobody will face punishment) had it not been that the revenue stream to lease the assets back was guaranteed by the insurance giant AIG – of which the United States owns 80% or more.

Tax cuts for some

The tax cuts being discussed are focused on reductions in payroll taxes, a top congressional aide said.”

Small businesses run by people using sole proprietorships are unlikely to see any tax reduction as they do not have payroll taxes – they pay self-employment taxes which may be unaffected. And one can hardly wait to see what earnings caps will be placed on these so-called benefits.

The proper perspective would have you remember that they are not giving the people anything – they are simply taking less of our money to spend.

“Once adopted, workers would see more money in their paychecks every week, leading -- officials hope -- to increased consumer spending.”

It is often cited that the problem with today’s consumer is that they are not saving enough – for a rainy day or retirement. But does anybody notice the irony of a government which wants to encourage spending instead of saving. When our nation turned from an industrial economy to a consumer economy, it became inevitable that we needed to spend more-and-more to keep the economy growing. Perhaps we should encourage re-industrialization and less outsourcing to grow the economy rather than simply allowing consumers to spend their government-inflated dollars to foster the illusion of economic growth. 

“The aid to states is likely to come in the form of payments that could help meet the growing costs of Medicaid spending.”

Perhaps if we reduced the medical burden imposed by illegal aliens, we would have much lower costs. Oh, what was I thinking: the democrats want benefits to non-citizens to prove how companionate and understanding they are; as they continue to foster waste, fraud and corruption in government-run programs. 

Bottom line: as with all government legislation the devil is in the details – of which we are privy to damn few.

What can YOU do?

Demand that you elected officials implement spending caps, frequent and transparent reporting and penalties for not achieving stated objectives.

Demand that your local and state governments spend the money for projects which produce results for the smallest amount possible. Probably unlikely with inflated union wages and benefits.

Watch how politicians handle the taxpayer’s money and be prepared to vote them out of office as soon as possible.

We need to take a stand somewhere – and this is as good a time as ever.

Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.”  -- George Bernard Shaw

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Obama, Pelosi to Discuss Scope of Economic Package - washingtonpost.com


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


They are lying about the financial crisis: it wasn't deregulation that was at fault, it was the politicians and their appointees ...

Nothing angers me more than hearing that George Bush and the Bush Administration was solely to blame for the current financial crisis because of his “laissez-faire” policy of minimal government intervention in the markets. Much of our current misery can be traced back to Jimmy Carter’s Administration, through the Clinton Administration – and even Bush 41 was complicit in setting the stage.

Other than actual criminals and those  motivated by greed, it was partly the failure of the regulators to enforce the laws currently on the books, partly the failure of Congress to write coherent and enforceable legislation, partly the regulatory agency’s failure to prosecute lesser criminal acts in their quest for high-profile cases to attract favorable media attention, partly the blindness of the media and partly the effects of interfering political lawyers and lobbyists that were behind much of our current problem.

If one need cast blame at the Administration, it certainly wasn’t so much Bush’s policies as his politics. So let’s take a fast look at who and what in our government was behind this economic catastrophe. And, unless you are blind, it isn’t limited to a single party or politician.

First, let us stipulate that there were crooks and evildoers, on Wall Street and Main Street,  who took advantage of the present situation to earn staggering amounts of money by being in the right place at the right time or simply going along with the current system.

Second, let us all agree that the stage for much of the government fraud, waste, corruption and inattention to the public welfare was based on the hyper-politicalization of the government and the necessity for 24/7 fundraising in what seems like a never-ending campaign cycle. It should be noted that the last presidential campaign was the longest political campaign in history and plunged the nation in to a frenzy of special interest fundraising and political events.

And third, let us also agree that we have just witnessed the failure of the media to uphold their tacit agreement with the American people to serve as the eyes and ears of the public and to be “truth tellers to power.” They were so lopsidedly in favor of the democrats, they overlooked almost everything on one side in order to play “gotcha” journalism. Where sex and scandal reigned supreme over malfeasance and corruption.

On to the charge that the Bush Administration was solely responsible for the debacle which now faces us …

Hyper-politicalization – You are either for us or against us applied, not only to al QAEDA, but to everyone that was in the government or doing business with the government. Many decisions were made solely on the basis of politics and their impact on the Administration. Favoritism and cronyism, while not a direct Bush mandate, were certainly the basis of many agency decisions. Had Bush selected stronger, more capable leadership, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Well-credentialed and well-meaning people were placed in positions of importance. Unfortunately, they never dealt with a counter-minded Congress, a well-entrenched bureaucracy and really lacked the leadership skills to maneuver the ship of state in choppy waters.

Yes, the hyper-politicalization of government agencies decimated some of the regulatory agency’s effectiveness as incompetent cronies were appointed to high public office and we so preoccupied with political matters that they failed to uphold their sworn duty to protect the public.

Off the top of my head, I can point to Alberto Gonzales at the Department of Justice and Alphonso Jackson at HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). Two critical agencies involved with housing issues. Add to that, Christopher Cox of the Securities and Exchange Commission and you have a trifecta of impotence. I would also like to single out James Lockhart who headed OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight) and who now heads its successor, the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Administration). He was the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac where open and blatant manipulation of the books resulted in multi-million dollar payouts to its politically connected leadership.

Secrecy – from the top down, people were cautioned to be closed mouthed about their agency’s activities. Secrecy was the watchword of the Bush Administration. Bush crony, Mel Martinez, while Secretary of HUD, racked up 40,000+ comment letters regarding a rewrite of predatory lending regulations because he refused to show his proposed rule to the financial industry; and even went so far as to withhold it from Congress. Needless to say, the bill met resistance as was sidetracked. Martinez failed upward and was given White House support to become the next Senator from Florida. Next up was Alphonso Jackson, who was more communicative with the industry and Congress, but resigned before the rule could be implemented. Jackson, it should be noted, was allegedly under investigation for cronyism and interference in the agency’s contracting practices – for political purposes. The President then placed Steve Preston from the Small Business Administration and the rule was issued – some provisions to take effect in 2010.  By comparison with this bunch, former President Nixon was a blabbermouth.

Media Manipulation – There is no doubt that the Administration tried hard to encourage favorable media attention in a time when much of the media was in the bag for the liberal democrats and, specifically, Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama. Along with the promotion of the Administration’s policies came the need for the regulators to showcase their agency’s effectiveness so they courted both Congress and the media. Looking to pursue high-profile cases and overlooking the smaller ones, the simply did not do their job. Unfortunately, both Congress and the media remained rather unreceptive to their efforts.

This led to a lack of transparency which failed to highlight not only bad administrative decisions, but outright malfeasance in pursuing the agency’s objectives.

A recalcitrant congress – Not only was the Congress unwilling to act with bi-partisan accord, but there was open hostility on both sides of the aisle. It is almost unbelievable to imagine the sheer stupidity of many members of both the House and the Senate who often acted like they were royalty in pursuing their own political and self-interest projects.

Many of these representatives of the people offered up legislation that they could neither understand nor even read as special interest lawyers and “staff” crafted the language of the laws they were inflicting on the public. Somehow, these manifest morons did not realize that legislation cannot cure every financial, military or social ill – but they were still offering bills as real solutions to real problems. Unfortunately, they did not understand the problems nor the proposed solutions.

In the housing arena, they created a patchwork of laws, rules, regulations, guidelines which often were conflicting, confusing, unenforceable and, above all, ill-understood by those who needed to develop systems and procedures designed to cope with these so-called legislative solutions.

The myth of “record fines …”

Corporations that blatantly disregarded the law and were subsequently caught, simply negotiated their way out of trouble. By discharging a member or members of top management, the corporation could say that they had cleaned house and were willing to settle the matter – paying a “record” fine without admitting any wrongdoing. In many cases the “record” fine was so small in comparison to the amount of money actually involved, that it became just another cost of doing business as the corporation went about its business. The executives who were accused of wrongdoing, either paid personal fines – sometimes from company funds and insurance policies – and walked away with their millions. In some cases tens and hundreds of millions.

One need look no farther than the people at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac who cooked their books, lied to Congress and received a slap on the wrist. Of course, these were mostly well-connected democrats who were allowed to escape being placed in jail like the thieves they appeared to be. 

Politically connected lobbyists, lawyers and venue shopping …

Lobbyists lobbied for special interest exemptions in the financial arena. Lawyers used the overlapping regulatory jurisdiction to skate under, over or between the edges of the law. In some cases choosing state bank charters, in others choosing national bank charters. Becoming a thrift or an industrial bank. Switching venues and organizational forms when necessary.  Lawyers explaining their interpretation of the law to agency lawyers who knew better but were not willing to spend the agency’s hard-won budget dollars on an “iffy” case that could turn on the interpretation of a clause or a phrase.

These were but a few of the failures and circumstances that led us to the current situation -- and it doesn’t appear to be getting better…

We have seen our emergency reserves, savings, and retirement funds decimated by those who publicly assured us of the safety and soundness of their organizations – while they took tens or hundreds of millions in unearned compensation. Yes, unearned,  as they lost billions of our dollars.

We have seen the amount $700 billion bandied about by the politicians. When, in fact, the bailout is now into multiple trillions. Even the democrats couldn’t resist adding pork to the bailout bill and watched the so-called fiscally conservative Republicans cave to their demands.

We have the Federal Reserve reducing the Federal Funds target rate to a amount between zero and one-quarter of one percent. Further cuts beyond zero are impossible and thus one of their most important primary tools has just been rendered useless.

We have Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson spending billions of the taxpayer’s money and not even asking how or when it is being spent. For all appearances, he does not know how to solve the current crisis and is flailing about. A Wall Street man to the end, he has made his and is isolated from the consequences of his actions. Openly flaunting the intent of Congress to bring transparency to the process.

We have Representative Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd trying to preserve the remaining federal funds so that the democrats can direct their usage.

We have corporations being allowed to change into bank holding companies to gain access to federal funds.

We have seen bailout funds extended to the people in the Madoff Ponzi scam when they were all sophisticated and should have known something was amiss. Some believe that the story remains untold and that tax avoidance and off-shore accounts may still surface. And yet the government appears to be willing to include these people in the bailout umbrella – when they should get nothing more than a tax deduction for their lost funds – if that.

We do not see anyone being prosecuted or asked to return their bloated bonuses based on losing their shareholders billions of dollars. Madoff remains under house arrest in his $7 million Park Avenue apartment when he should be held without bond at Riker’s Island or the Federal Detention center.

We have Barack Obama reportedly ready to spend another billion dollars on infrastructures – which seems like a gift to the unions and their workers. Along with eliminating the secrecy provision of employees voting to join a union.

We do not seem to be doing anything to bring the $55-TRILLION of outstanding credit default swaps under control.

We do not seem to be doing anything to de-leverage the loans that would cause major financial institutions to immediately fail – if the accounting was true, correct and honest.

We do not seem to be doing anything to regulate toxic derivatives – the root of all financial evil which has been done to the taxpayers and citizens of the world.

We are headed towards socialization and the demand to open all financial books to the government (For those of you who are skeptical, look up XBRL).

And we are heading for the largest scam of all, global warming, which will allow the government to cover-up postpone the responsibility for their corrupt actions until well after we are all dead.

But most damaging of all --

We have the accounting profession and the Securities and Exchange Commission about to plunge a dagger into the heart of American business … by discarding our accounting rules in favor of a European model that is already being politically manipulated to deny transparency and cover up crimes committed by well-connected financiers.

We are on a road that might lead to a revolution in this country. Possibly as soon as 2010 when we throw out those politicians who were complicit in this massive failure of government – and deny support to both parties which led us on this path to destruction.

One need only consider who both parties put forth as leaders to see the magnitude of the problem. And one need only to consider that a relatively few local yokels at the first primaries were allowed to pick the candidates that were to survive the political vetting process.

While I hope that Barack Obama will somehow rise above his party’s corrupt background and scant experience to perform a miracle of leadership, it would truly be a miracle given the people that he has already chosen for his Administration.

Tomorrow – more about this accounting scam that threatens to destroy accountability in finance.  -- steve


Quote of the day:
“There is no greater importance in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you.” -- Norman Mailer


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Schwarzenegger and the Legislature: Tiptoeing thru the tulips while California plunges into a deeper recession ...

What Governor?

First, where is the leadership that the Governor promised years ago in his first term: I am so rich, I can’t be bought. I will cut legislative spending. I will balance the budget. I will sign a budget on schedule. I am for the people of California.

Turns out that Arnold Schwarzenegger is more of a narcissistic movie star than an able administrator. A liberal democrat posing as a Republican. A man who is wealthy and intends to stay that way by creating special entitites to fund his jet-set lifestyle while acting out the part of “a man of the people.” Well it is crunch time and the Governor has run out of answers, out of cute little tricks to paper over the budget.

What Legislature …

When confronted with their profligate spending, these democrat liberals simply claimed that it wasn’t a spending problem, but a revenue problem and we all needed to pay more.

This group of liberal aging hippies who are more interested in demonstrating their humanitarianism by attracting more illegal aliens to a state whose crumbling healthcare, educational, judicial, retirement, social and cultural infrastructure is almost beyond repair. A group of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) activists who want to insert sexual politics in a state in sore need of leadership, prudence, discretion and budgetary. Leftists who want to cede a major portion of the state’s budget and rulemaking power to the unions who support them.

A corrupt group which continues to campaign 24/7 and more beholden to the special interests that funnel votes and campaign contributions to their special charities and various campaign funds than the people of the State of California.

And in some cases, a thoroughly rotten group who has the audacity to pontificate on social and economic issues while they are under current investigation for political corruption.

Did I miss something?

I was under the impression that our budgetary shortfall was somewhere in the range of 12 – 24 billion dollars depending on who was adding up the numbers.

Now I am being told that the budget deficit will balloon to $42 billion dollars in the next eighteen months.

Is someone lying? Or is this some form of “shock and awe” pronouncement to raise our already sky-high taxes while covering their tracks while they continue to spend-spend-spend?

More accounting games?

We are talking about a budget. Where one would think that a reduction in spending actually meant that you spend less money than you spent previously.

However, I am now learning that in California, a reduction in spending is often a reduction in the amount of money that you are proposing to spend in the upcoming fiscal period. That is: if you spent $1 billion actual dollars last year and budgeted the next year at $2 billion dollars; our woefully inept leaders slash 1/2 billion from the proposed two billion budget and call that a “spending cut.” When the truth is that they plan to spend $1-1/2 billion dollars – a spending increase of 50% over the actual dollars previously spent.

You can hardly trust anyone in California government to provide the real truth …

Only scant months ago, you could trust the non-partisan Legislative Analyst to provide some estimate of the real numbers. Unfortunately, our legislators have borrowed money from this fund and that fund and have replaced the actual money with the state version of a promissory note. A note which is totally worthless unless funded by additional money from the taxpayer.  In addition to this bait-and-switch scam, we also find that billions of dollars are squirreled away in special interest funds such as the $2 billion in a pre-school treasure chest funded by the tobacco industry. A fund that the teacher’s unions are desperately trying to tap to extend their influence and membership by operating pre-schools to serve as daycare centers for the children of illegal aliens who are accepted with open arms into union-controlled positions.

We have voted to provide a set portion of the state’s income for education – an ever growing sinkhole of leftist learning theories and mediocre performance. The only thing that seems to be rising is the ratio of administrators to teachers.

In a time when we are being told that teachers must pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, we see state supervised school systems like the Los Angeles Unified School System waste $100 million or more on a failed payroll system, $500,000 to buy out an ethnic school superintendent who was unable to perform his job in a manner suitable for the school board, a $1 billion dollar high school project – for a single high school. Or a $230 million dollar modern art high school to stroke the ego of a billionaire who seems to have a lock on the school board politics.

We see union employees lollygagging on the job, only to perform the real work after hours at double and triple time.

Nobody, including Governor Schwarzenegger is watching out for the average Californian – Californians who are migrating out of the state in increasing numbers. An action that is not lost on the socialists in Mexico who are steadily gaining influence in the state and want people to move out  of their “land.”

Taxation without representation …

We are heading for a recreation of the Boston Tea Party. A taxpayer revolt over the imperialistic actions of the petty dictators that we somehow were persuaded to elect. Whether by a complicit media, who has abandoned any semblance of journalistic ethics and has moved to crass commercialism, or the cult of celebrity – charlatans and incompetent people are now running our government.

And now we are being told that we are not being taxed – we are merely paying fees. Even when the dumbest among us knows that a tax is charged to the general public and a fee is something someone pays to defray the cost of a service which they receive.

From the Associated Press …

“California lawmakers have approved an $18 billion Democratic plan to address the state deficit.”

“They passed several pieces of legislation with a simple majority Thursday, avoiding the two-thirds requirement typically needed to approve tax increases.”

“Republicans voted for some of the bills that made sweeping cuts to California programs. In all, the legislation trims more than $7 billion from schools, health programs and prisons.”

But you need to ask yourself – are these sweeping cuts actual reductions in relationship to money that was previously spent or merely sham reductions of proposed budgetary spending. If our state government was serious, we could come up with a budget in less than 30 minutes. We simply say that the spending for the next fiscal period is the same as the actual dollars spent last year minus 20%. All of the public safety functions would be funded first – less a 10% reduction; education would be next with a full 20% reduction and all of the other services would have to fight it out to obtain the rest of the money – eliminating commissions, boards, bureaus which no longer serve a public purpose.

And, above all forcing the government employees to suffer in direct proportion as those suffering in private industry by reducing the number of part-time and full-time employees in government in the same proportion as the job loss in private industry. No more tenured teachers. No more lifetime jobs. No nepotism. And no more overtime when it appears that employees are drifting through their days pushing paper from one department to another.

“Democrats and Republicans have been at odds since the beginning of November over how to solve the state's ballooning deficit. It is expected to hit $42 billion in the next 18 months.”

I ask again, how the hell did a budget deficit balloon from $12-24 billion months ago to $42 billion when the legislature is telling us they are cutting spending? Someone is lying – perhaps they are all lying.

The liberal democrat answer …

“The Democratic proposal would address $18 billion of the state's shortfall over the next 18 months through a scheme that would cut some taxes, raise others, impose a new fee on gasoline and slash more than $7 billion in spending on health, education and prisons.”

If they say that the deficit will hit $42 billion dollars in the next 18 months and then say their democrat proposal will address $18 billion over the next 18 months – what is it that they are doing wrong. Ask me and I will tell you that they are planning to spend more than ever.

Is their proposal constitutional and legal?

“Taxpayer groups threatened to sue if taxes pass without a two-thirds majority, but Democrats claim their proposals are constructed in such a way that only a simple majority is required.”

“Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, said Democrats were disregarding the will of the people, noting that the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes is in the state Constitution.”

What the hell is this “constructed in such a way?” Financial legerdemain worthy of Penn and Teller? More hocus pocus based on legal interpretations? Or a criminal conspiracy of legislators who know that the legislation is legal and that the collected funds must be returned to the taxpayers sometime in the indeterminate future? It’s happened before – but the state got to use the funds for years before they grudgingly returned the money – not the real cash – but by using a reduction in certain taxes and fees.

Deepening the depression …

Out socialistic friends who are more interested in the extending citizenship to illegal aliens – in essence importing more poverty and illiteracy into California and those fretting over gay rights seem to be oblivious of the fact that raising taxes at this critical juncture in California’s history my deepen the recession into a long-lasting depression. At least they will have achieved one of their primary goals: wealth redistribution – everybody will be equally poor except for the ruling elites like Schwarzenegger and his legislative democrat friends.

"’Make no mistake, it is indeed an increase in taxes right at a time when people are trying to keep their jobs, hoping to be able to hang on to their mortgage and their homes, hoping and fighting to pay bills, to make ends meet,’ Hollingsworth said.”

Enter Schwarzenegger the RINO …

“’Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't taken a position on the Democrats' proposal. Much of his criticism of legislators' inability to approve a budget plan has been leveled at members of his own party.’”

Schwarzenegger was so out of touch with his own party, that as a joke they wore name tags to one of their negotiation sessions.

The most egregious example of a far-left liberal democrat …

"’Merry Christmas Californians, indeed, because we're going to save the economy of this state. We're going to jump-start the economy,’ said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.”

The deal they propose …

“The Democratic proposal would generate another $9.3 billion in general fund revenue by replacing gasoline taxes with a variety of fees.”

“The plan would raise the taxes Californians pay on gas by about 13 cents, replacing an 18-cent-a-gallon excise tax and a fluctuating sales tax with a 39-cent-per-gallon fee; raise the state sales tax by 3/4 of a cent; boost personal income taxes by 2.5 percent; tax oil produced in California; and collect taxes from independent contractors upfront.”

As for the gas tax, it is still a tax and not a fee. Perhaps if we label Mark Leno a heterosexual, he would no longer be gay. A cruel example, but one deserved by this asshat politician.

The 2.5% increase on state sales taxes is being billed as a surcharge. A tax on a tax? Or a fee for paying your taxes? Don’t ask, don’t tell seems to be the operative democrat legislative credo.

As for collecting taxes from independent contractors upfront, this is aimed squarely at the small businessman or entrepreneur who is being asked to bankroll big government. Since these taxes must be paid in the future (or the excess refunded), it amounts to a no-interest loan to the California legislature to continue their wayward ways.

“Republican lawmakers warned the plan would hit Californians hard during an already difficult recession. They have called for deeper cuts to education and social services instead of raising taxes.”

"’We're talking about substantially raising taxes on the people of this state,’ said Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto. "’This proposal before us today will raise the gas tax, it will raise the car tax, will raise the personal income tax, and it will raise the sales tax to the tune of about $1,000 a year for an average family making about $50,000.’"

What the hell are they telling us?

“The shortfall for the fiscal year that ends in June is nearly $14 billion, about 10 percent of the state's $144.5 billion budget. But that hole is expected to grow in the next fiscal year unless lawmakers cut spending, raise revenue or do a combination of the two.”

We are back to a deficit of $14 billion dollars – somewhat the same number floated months ago. You know, the number between $12-$24 billion. So how do they manage to project a budget deficit of $42 million without spending another $28 billion that they obviously do not have.

Someone is playing games. Someone is not telling the truth. And someone is planning to continue to rob the State of California taxpayer. And there appears to be nobody willing to stop them.

Scare tactics …

“In a sign that the impasse was taking a toll, a state panel on Wednesday voted to stop lending money for an estimated 2,000 infrastructure projects statewide through June, an unprecedented move that the board said was necessary because California can no longer afford the work.”

Once again, the legislators and public officials are threatening to let criminals out of jail to cut costs – never considering for a moment that their priority task is to protect the public safety and that everything else – including education – is secondary. If any official increases the risk to Californians, let them be tried for dereliction of duty and tossed out on the behinds – if not criminally prosecuted for aiding and abetting criminal activity.

Whoops, Wall Street has dried up …

“California has not been able to borrow money for months and faces a cash shortage in February.”

Imagine, the state can’t simply borrow money to paper over the deficit and continue to kick the can down the road. They need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the mess they and their predecessors have caused. And those asshat legislators who just named fellow politicians to $132,178 positions on the Integrated Waste Management Board, cut their salaries to $65,o00 and extend the same cuts to all of the other unimportant positions.

And, oh by the way, stuff the global warming initiative which promises to add billions in energy costs to California residents – all based on feel good dodgy science where results will not even be measurable in the next 200 years.

What can YOU do?

Call your elected officials and demand budgetary reform.

If the bums will not reduce the amount of actual dollars spent by 20-25%, do not re-elect them and where appropriate recall them or charge them with a crime.

Send Arnold Schwarzenegger back to Hollywood to star in The Terminator XIX: The Revolt of the Geriatric Legislators

Consider the formation of a citizens watchdog group: let’s call it Citizens Audit Program. Our motto: Put a CAP on spending in California.

Demand transparency in government operations. Perhaps putting the actual expenditures of each governmental entity – with full check detail – in a searchable database on the Internet. The Sacramento Bee built an interactive database of state worker’s salaries – now it is time for the state to do it with payments to individuals and corporations.

Be well. Be safe. And this too shall pass.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.” -- G. K. Chesterton

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

GCI.net - News


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


OBAMA: FIRST THINGS FIRST

The devil is in the details …

How many times have we witnessed lofty goals proposed by politicians only to see the end result fail in a morass of special interest contractors, mismanagement, cost overruns, corruption, malfeasance and outright stupidity?

So pardon me when I cast my skeptical, cynical eye at Obama’s pronouncement and wonder about the details.

Politico.com  is reporting … 

“Obama unveils 21st Century New Deal”

“On Saturday, Barack Obama pledged the largest new investment in roads and bridges since President Dwight D. Eisenhower built the Interstate system in the 1950's.”

“President-elect Barack Obama added sweep and meat to his economic agenda on Saturday, pledging the largest new investment in roads and bridges since President Dwight D. Eisenhower built the Interstate system in the late 1950s, and tying his key initiatives – education, energy, health care –back to jobs in a package that has the makings of a smaller and modern version of FDR's New Deal marriage of job creation with infrastructure upgrades.”

Modernizing schools …

“The president-elect also said for the first time that he will ‘launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen.’ ‘We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms,’ he said in the address.”

There is no doubt that the members of the activist left have sought to infiltrate the educational process and thus be able to expose youngsters to their radical philosophies at an early age. What would have been considered inappropriate subject matter in years gone by is now routinely taught as being normal and customary. Therefore, one must ask if this initiative will lead to the expansion of federal intervention into what has been local control over education.

Pandering to the unions …

It is no secret that two of the core constituencies courted by the liberal democrat leftists in this last election cycle were the unions. Specifically, the teachers unions and the trade unions. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the major beneficiaries of the construction and school upgrades will be the unions.

Perhaps if Obama was serious about his recently announced initiative, he would think through the process to demand further improvements which would benefit all Americans.

To curtail costs, for each government project, the union would suspend its onerous work rules and hefty contributions to its pension and benefit funds to match local labor rates. As well as to allow any American to work on the project without the necessity for joining a union or being forced to surrender a portion of his wage as a substitute for union dues.

To assist in immigration reform, to demand that only American citizens be allowed to work on these construction projects and that each worker be required to present a valid picture identification card and have their social security number verified.

In addition, to further educational goals, perhaps a requirement that all teachers be re-certified in their subject matter specialty as well as be certified in the basics of proven teaching methods. Also, this might be a good time to reduce the administrator-to-teacher ratio and to stop paying additional monies for teachers who are overqualified to teach certain grades. There should be no reward for a teacher with a master’s degree to teach a second-grade class unless it was a specialized education class requiring a higher level of education and training. Here, the list of improvements, long fought by the education unions, should be reconsidered. After all, it is public money that is being spent and for a public purpose.

Medical records …

Yes, we are all tired of filling out the same forms each time we enter a doctor’s office or having critical healthcare information locked away in a cabinet when it might be used to assist the attending physician in his diagnosis and choice of treatments.

Truth-be-told, this is a somewhat flawed goal when it comes to paper-pushing routine paper. Primary care doctors, and some specialists, are so overscheduled that they do not have time to read voluminous records, in paper or electronic form, and tend not to rely on past data. It is a standard operating practice to re-interview the patient for current complaints, order tests and then proceed from this point. It is also an open secret that certain exculpatory and exclusionary tests will be run simply to protect the doctor from future medical claims by patients with profit-minded trial lawyers. Another class of donors that seems to be beholden to the liberal democrat legislators.

Without getting into the arguments or infrastructure requirements of a government-controlled single-payor system, suffice it to say that electronic recordkeeping moves the process forward.  One should consider that allowing insurance companies to insert themselves into the delivery of medical care has resulted in skyrocketing costs and shoddy medical care in many cases. There is no difference, at least in my mind, between the greedy Wall Street Wizards who gamed the mortgage marketplace to reap multi-million dollar bonuses and those that reap multi-million dollar bonuses by manipulating the healthcare system.

It is a shame that even those caught defrauding the system are given relative slaps on the wrist and the recovery of funds is so low as to be considered a cost of doing business. Everyone knows how to manipulate the coding system to change an elective “nose job” into a “rhinoplasty to repair a deviated septum.”

But even more dangerous considerations loom …

What about the lack of strong legislation to protect the compromise of medical records for political and profit-making reasons.

Let us not forget that the personal medical records of Britney Spears and a number of other highly interesting celebrities were allegedly accessed and sold to the tabloids.

Let us not forget that the personal records of  “Joe the Plumber” were accessed and released to the media for political purposes.

And what did the democrat governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland,  do about this egregious and systematic misuse of government computers and the release of personal and confidential information? Or the attempted cover-up.

According to the Columbus Dispatch …

“Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, placed Jones-Kelley on a one-month unpaid suspension last month after Inspector General Thomas P. Charles found she authorized the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, for no legitimate government purpose.

“Thompson also was suspended for a month after Charles found that he participated in directing the check and instructed Niekamp to send a deceptive e-mail about it. Three others received lesser punishment.” <Source>

At the very minimum, these people should have all been terminated and faced fines and jail time for there clearly illegal actions. This wasn’t a case of ill-advised curiosity, this information was fed to the media in the attempt to embarrass the opposition political party.

The possibility that your medical records could be used for political or criminal purposes such as blackmail or extortion pale compared to their potential use as a determining factor in the denial of insurance coverage, rate setting or in the denial of employment opportunities.

And we have no legal defense against government or other workers who engage in this activity. Even if you could prove damages, the resulting efforts will never clear your name or remove you from the collective database known as the Internet.

Worthwhile initiatives that need careful scrutiny … 

We need to  consider much more than the broad strokes of Obamas “five key parts" of his economic plan:

—ENERGY: “[W]e will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.”

I do not know why we should trust the federal government to manage construction and renovation projects which end up creating additional naming opportunities as monuments to legislative egos.

One need only consider the recent visitor’s reception center – built in part because Harry Reid does apparently does not like to smell his fellow citizens on a hot day --- and whose construction schedule was delayed for three years while costs ballooned from an estimated $71 million dollars to a final cost of $621 million. 

—ROADS AND BRIDGES: “[W]e will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”
—SCHOOLS: “[M]y economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.”

This is an outright falsehood. It’s not the buildings that will increase our competitiveness, it is the quality of education. Here in Los Angeles we have a billion dollar educational complex and a $320 million dollar modern art high school. Will these improve the graduation ratio of LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) students. I think not. These are the people who couldn’t even manage a $100+ million payroll system or have the guts to simply fire a $300,000 ex-Vice Admiral who is more about motivational programs than education.

—BROADBAND: “As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m president – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.”
(Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had talked about expanding broadband access, but this is the first time the transition has formally proposed it.)

Again, we need to be extremely wary of the Administration’s handling of electronic privacy, Internet neutrality and other issues which may involve the curtailing of your First Amendment rights. We know that the common carriers, the telephone companies, cable companies and wireless operators all want to act as the gatekeepers to enable them to profit from the content being delivered over their infrastructure. It is not enough we pay for our own hardware, software, maintenance and connectivity – they now want to surcharge high-bandwidth items such as videos and other creative content belonging to others. Needless to say, they are also publishing reports that Google is using a disproportionate share of the nation’s bandwidth. We have all heard about the coming fight over the old “fairness doctrine” which has been re-labeled as a “locality access” issue, so we must be ever vigilant when our Constitutional rights may be at stake.

—ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS: “In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the Internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”

Again, we need clear and binding legislation covering the privacy of electronic communications and medical records before proceeding with this massive creation of the world’s largest interconnected and distributed database of medical records. We need to also remember that the government has empowered law enforcement agencies with the technology to tap these massive communications systems at will. Sometimes with warrants and sometimes with little more than a wink and a nod.

One need only consider that jailed private-eye Anthony Pelicano was alleged to use police officers and even a member of the FBI to obtain personal and private information for commercial use.

In the final analysis, I ask you a simple question: Can you think of a major project or system which has been on-time, on-budget and not obsolete before installation? Even excluding military systems?

One need look no further than the physical and electronic fencing which was supposed to protect America from an onslaught of  illegal aliens who were rapidly destroying our education, healthcare, judicial, retirement, social and cultural infrastructure to see what the confluence of money, political power and special interests means to construction projects.

What can YOU do?

Until I see successful pilot or demonstration projects that were managed by the government, I will consider Barack Obama’s announcement to be nothing more, nor less, than another government giveaway to special interests and a media campaign to make the American people feel good.

As Americans we need to scrutinize the actions of the government and hold our elected officials to account for the mismanagement of our economy.

We are rapidly approaching a critical mass, when the number of government employees and entitlement recipients can vote together to drain our national treasury at will. This must not be allowed to happen and power needs to be de-federalized and returned to the states where it can be more easily managed under the watchful eye of the citizenry.

We need to demand more transparency in governmental contracting down to the granularity level of putting payments to contractors and others on-line for analysis by citizens. It’s our money that is being spent and our government that is spending it our name.

Be well, take care and consider that these difficult economic times will pass – unfortunately for some, with the pain of a kidney stone. We will have another chance to re-adjust government in 2010 – provided that we are still functioning.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “The American people should be made aware of the trend toward monopolization of the great public information vehicles and the concentration of more and more power over public opinion in fewer and fewer hands." – Spiro Agnew

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Obama unveils 21st Century New Deal - Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin - Politico.com

DispatchPolitics : Worker says 'Joe the Plumber' cover-up was forced upon her Columbus Dispatch Politics


“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS