Our # 1 story tells of how Obama is trying to raise money, increase the number of “contributors” by selling everything from coasters to chopping boards (never used—at least not to cut spending). #2 looks at the psychological reasons for Obama’s behavior. #3 relates how some parts of the country have a boom which is giving rise to man camps for needed employees. #4 talks about Politico. It seems that this is an online “news” organization that is giving private bloggers a bad name. #5 shows us that Ron Paul may actually be right. #6 explores whether the Democrats have a chance to take back the House (see the parallel of the Indianapolis Colts winning the Super Bowl). #7 relates how the HIRE portion of a Democratic bill appears to have all the makings of actually being a FIRE bill. #8 looks to see if liberal actually think it is Unconstitutional to amend the Constitution. #9 looks at the Education Bubble.
1. For Sale: If you can’t buy the candidate you can buy a bumper sticker
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CAMPAIGN TEAM HAS PUT TOGETHER A WEBSITE TO REMIND US WHAT THE YULETIDE SEASON IS TRULY ALL ABOUT — GETTING HIM RE-ELECTED. So they’ve decided to offer Americans a collection of special decorations for the “holiday” season...
...And don’t worry about messing up your furniture with water stains because the Commander-in-Chief also has a line of glass coasters.
But if you’re sipping a Martini, why not just throw a backyard barbecue?
And President Obama has just what you need — a “Fired Up and Ready to Grill” apron, a six-pack presidential cooler, and a nifty Commander-in-Chief cutting board to chop up your White House veggies.
But wait — there’s more….
The sales of this merchandise counts as a contribution to the campaign which boost the numbers of contributors and decreases the size of the contribution giving the appearance of more populous and widespread support.
2. The Psychological Foundation of Obama’s Political Problems
In June 1985, Flora Lewis wrote in the New York Times that then-President Ronald Reagan said he had pounded the walls in frustration over the hostage crisis in Beirut. Given what we know about Reagan, it's not hard to believe that he would resort to such measures to express his rage.
Now try to imagine Barack Obama similarly venting his frustration at the Republicans taking his agenda hostage for political gain. Hard to visualize, isn't it?
That's no accident. SINCE BEING ELECTED PRESIDENT, OBAMA HAS CONSISTENTLY DISPLAYED A COOL DEMEANOR, ONE THAT HAS CONFOUNDED MANY OF HIS FORMER SUPPORTERS. His detachment has led many to think that he is oblivious, disinterested, even frightened of direct confrontation. The latest instance has been his passive observation of the failure of the Super Committee, which has spurred pundits and politicians from both sides of the aisle to accuse him of lacking the fire to be president. MSNBC news host Chris Matthews, once one of the president's biggest fans, recently placed direct blame for the country's malaise on the President's lack of emotional leadership. “There's nothing to root for,” he complained.
The fact that the President has failed to address, hands-on, such a critical problem should make us realize that HIS RELUCTANCE TO TAKE CHARGE IS NOT A COGNITIVE ISSUE, BUT A PSYCHOLOGICAL ONE. It's not that Obama doesn't understand what he ought to be doing—it’s that THE STRUCTURE OF HIS PERSONALITY WON'T ALLOW HIM TO CONSTRUCTIVELY ADDRESS THE PROBLEM….
An interesting article, but the equivalent of the articles you see advertised on the cover of women’s magazines. Fluff, but interesting fluff.
3. Man Camps
As much as the drilling rigs that tower over this once placid corner of the prairie, the two communities springing up just outside of town testify to the galloping pace of growth here in oil country.
THEY ARE CALLED MAN CAMPS — TEMPORARY HOUSING COMPOUNDS SUPPORTING THE OVERWHELMINGLY MALE WORK FORCE FLOODING THE REGION IN SEARCH OF REFUGE FROM A STORMY ECONOMY….
…Confronted with the unusual problem of too many unfilled jobs and not enough empty beds to accommodate the new arrivals, North Dakota embraced the camps — typically made of low-slung, modular dormitory-style buildings — as the imperfect solution to keeping workers rested and oil flowing.
But now, even as the housing shortage worsens, towns like this one are denying new applications for the camps. IN MANY PLACES THEY HAVE COME TO EMBODY THE DANGER OF GROWING TOO BIG TOO FAST, CLUTTERING FORMERLY IDYLLIC VISTAS, STRAINING UTILITIES, OVERBURDENING EMERGENCY SERVICES and aggravating relatively novel problems like traffic jams, long lines and higher crime….
Ah, leave it to the NY Times to point out every silver lining has a cloud.
4. Politico and the Facts
On Sunday evening, October 30, Politico broke the story that two women had complained about Herman Cain while at the National Restaurant Association. IN THAT FIRST WEEK, POLITICO RAN SEVERAL DOZEN STORIES ABOUT THE ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT TELLING US WHAT THE ACCUSATIONS WERE, while characterizing the accusations as sexual harassment.
During the subsequent three weeks, the name of one of the accusers in the Politico story, Karen Krauhaar, was released, but she has refused to release details of the accusations she made, despite initially indicating she would do so, and it turns out this was not her only mployment complaint. Another accuser with a dubious background, Sharon Bialek came forward, but she was not part of the original Politico story and her supposed corroboration also was suspect. While the media regularly referred to 4 or 5 accusers, we only knew the names of two of them and only knew the accusations of one of them.
But back to Politico.
AFTER HUNDREDS OF ARTICLES AT POLITICO, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SPECIFIC ACCUSATIONS AGAINST HERMAN CAIN WHICH GAVE RISE TO POLITICO’S ORIGINAL REPORTING: NOTHING.
AFTER HUNDREDS OF ARTICLES AT POLITICO, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SPECIFIC EVIDENCE AGAINST HERMAN CAIN WHICH GAVE RISE TO POLITICO’S ORIGINAL REPORTING: NOTHING.
Politico seems to be saying, “Trust us, it was truly bad.” Politico is giving the internet bloggers a bad name with charges like this.
5. Maybe Ron Paul is Right
Many people have expressed dismay and disgust over the Federal Reserve.
Beyond Ron and Rand Paul, Rick Perry, a growing number of other conservative public figures and commentators are beginning to not only raise question about the practices of the Federal Reserve, but also its very legitimacy.
THE RECENT FOIA REQUESTS BY BLOOMBERG FINALLY UNCOVERED THE STAGGERING AMOUNT OF AMERICAN TAXPAYER MONEY THAT WAS SPENT BY THE FEDERAL RESERVE- IN SECRET MIND YOU- DURING 2008-2009. In fact, the Federal Reserve blatantly lied to the American public, saying initially the amount was approximately $500 billion, when in fact THE GROSS AMOUNT OF MONEY TOTALED OVER ONE TRILLION DOLLARS.
That's right folks. 1.2 trillion taxpayer dollars spent in secret and with no accountability or oversight by elected representatives. That alone is an outrage and should put people in jail.
Moreover, to make matters even worse, we now know THAT MUCH OF THIS TAXPAYER MONEY WENT OVERSEAS. WHILE AMERICAN CITIZENS WERE GETTING HIT WITH FORECLOSURES, HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WERE SENT TO BAIL OUT FOREIGN BANKS, INCLUDING MANY IN EUROPE THAT ARE CURRENTLY FOUNDERING. If and when those banks fail, that will impact our nation as well. As Bloomberg journalists Keon and Kuntz note in the August 21st 2011 expose:
It wasn't just American finance. ALMOST HALF OF THE FED'S TOP 30 BORROWERS, MEASURED BY PEAK BALANCES, WERE EUROPEAN FIRMS. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based USB AG, which got $77.2 billion. Germany's Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.
We’ve been the sugar daddy to Europe since World War II. Isn’t it time they stood on their own two feet?
6. Can the Democrats take back the House?
… Let’s start with the basics. One pretty much has to assume Barack Obama wins re-election before we can speculate about Democrats making big gains in the House. This looks to be somewhat shy of a 50-50 proposition right now. EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT DOES WIN, HOWEVER, HISTORY SUGGESTS THAT HE WON’T BRING ALONG MANY NEW DEMOCRATS WITH HIM. SINCE THE HOUSE GREW TO 435 SEATS IN 1912, THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN TWO OCCASIONS WHERE THE PARTY OF A PRESIDENT ENGAGED IN A RE-ELECTION EFFORT HAS PICKED UP 25 OR MORE SEATS: 1948 AND 1964.
Moreover, Democrats enter the election season at a real disadvantage, vis-à-vis Republicans at a similar point in 2010. That year, there were almost 70 Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts (those with a Republican Cook Partisan Voting Index, or PVI); it was from the ranks of these Democrats that most of the Republican pickups occurred. This time, however, THERE ARE ONLY 19 REPUBLICANS IN DEMOCRATIC-LEANING DISTRICTS TO BEGIN WITH. This also doesn’t account for redistricting, which has tended to make Democratic seats bluer and Republican seats redder so far this cycle.
TO ACTUALLY PUT 100 REPUBLICAN SEATS INTO PLAY, DEMOCRATS WOULD HAVE TO PUT EVERY R+7 (that is, a district that has, on average, voted seven points or more Republican than the country as a whole over the last two presidential elections) or less DISTRICT INTO PLAY. Even in a year like 2010, Republicans didn’t come close to putting all of the D+7 or less seats into play.
That’s really the Democrats’ problem. THE SEATS ARE NOW PRETTY WELL SORTED BETWEEN THE PARTIES: Republicans occupy the Republican-leaning seats, while Democrats occupy the Democratic seats. The playing field has just shrunk. When you consider the natural Republican advantage in the House -- the median seat is presently an R+2 -- you understand the enormity of the Democrats’ task, absent yet another tsunami.
Finally, remember that the generic ballot is the best indicator we have of the mood of the country today, but that doesn’t mean it is a great indicator. After all, you don’t vote for “generic Republican,” you vote for a particular representative. Because the parties don’t field competitive candidates in all -- or even most -- districts, a lot of people who might wish to vote for a Republican or Democratic challenger won’t end up doing so. In other words, it is one thing for an independent in Northern Ohio to decide that he or she would like a Republican in Congress. It’s quite another to go to the polls and pull the lever for an obscure candidate, about whom the voter had heard little except that he had re-enacted World War II battles on the Nazi side, instead of 14-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur. This is probably why THE GENERIC BALLOT HAS TENDED TO OVERSTATE PARTISAN GAINS OVER THE PAST FEW CYCLES (INCIDENTALLY, THE GENERIC BALLOT IS ABOUT A POINT BETTER FOR DEMOCRATS RIGHT NOW THAN IT WAS AT THIS POINT IN THE 2009-10 CYCLE)….
There are some in the Democratic camp that seem to be smoking something. Taking back the House isn’t going to happen and Obama will not win reelection.
7. From HIRE to FIRE
Buried in an ostensible jobs bill signed by President Obama last year is A LITTLE-NOTICED JOB-DESTROYING GOVERNMENT REGULATION THAT THREATENS TO TRIGGER A MASSIVE OUTFLOW OF CAPITAL FROM THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.
The U.S. economy is in bad shape. Many want the federal government to fix it -- to end the deficits, create jobs, and get America back onto the track of growth and stability. President Obama came to Washington with great promises: to restore international respect for the United States and to bring back the jobs. When signing the HIRE Act of 2010 on March 18, 2010, President Obama said:
A consensus is forming that, partly because of the necessary -- and often unpopular -- measures we took over the past year, our economy is now growing again and we may soon be adding jobs instead of losing them. The jobs bill I'm signing today is intended to help accelerate that process.
NOW THE HIRE ACT OF 2010 CONTAINS A TIME BOMB CALLED FATCA (FOREIGN ACCOUNT TAX COMPLIANCE ACT), WHICH HAS INDEED ACCELERATED A PROCESS. Unfortunately that process is not job-generation, but job-destruction caused by an exodus of capital from the United States. Investment means jobs; a departure of investment capital means job losses. THUS, THE HIRE ACT IS REALLY THE "FIRE ACT."
FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) is the brood of FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report). FBAR requires that U.S. persons divulge foreign accounts to the Treasury Department, but few knew about or ever complied with it. To stanch the bleeding of U.S. capital into secret bank jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, Congress introduced FATCA into law as part of the HIRE Act. FATCA requires that foreign financial institutions (FFIs) reveal the accounts of U.S. persons to the IRS. THE FFIS WILL THEN HAVE TO COLLECT TAX WITHHOLDINGS FOR THE IRS FROM THESE CLIENTS. If by January 1, 2014 the FFI is unwilling to reveal its U.S. clients' accounts, the IRS will impose a punitive 30% withholding on all payments to the FFIs, on dividends, interest, and gross sales of stocks, bonds, and financial derivatives.
Let's suppose that a foreign investor trades stocks on a U.S. exchange, but his broker is FATCA non-compliant. ONE DAY HE BUYS 10,000 SHARES OF XYZ AT $25 PER SHARE, AND THE NEXT DAY, HE TAKES ADVANTAGE OF A NICE UPTICK OF $1.00 IN XYZ AND SELLS AT $26 PER SHARE. He makes a tidy profit of $10,000. But because his broker is non-compliant, the IRS now withholds 30% -- not of the profit, but of the gross proceeds of the sale! SO THE CLIENT NOW RECEIVES THE SUM OF $260,000 MINUS 30%. THE FOREIGN INVESTOR IS UNHAPPY BECAUSE HIS $250,000 INVESTMENT HAS BECOME $182,000. If he wants his money back, he must file a U.S. tax return.
No investor would accept such conditions. Hence, an FFI must either comply with the invasive regulations of FATCA or simply abandon the U.S. markets….
The left have all these wonderful ideas. The problem is they never work as intended. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.
8. Newsflash for Liberals: It is not Unconstitutional to Amend the Constitution
SOMEONE RUSH A COPY OF THE CONSTITUTION OVER TO POLITICO'S NEWSROOM, AND MAKE SURE REPORTER REID EPSTEIN READS ARTICLE V, WHICH SPECIFIES HOW TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION.
Pitched with a snarky tweet, "The GOP presidential candidates all love the Constitution, except the parts they want to change," this Politico article tries to make Republican presidential candidates look hypocritical for simultaneously (1) calling on Congress and the President to operate within the confines of the Constitution, and (2) invoke Article V of the Constitution to propose amendments.
Here's the heart of Epstein's case:
THE SAME CANDIDATES PROMISING TO APPOINT STRICT CONSTRUCTIONIST JUDGES CLEARLY THINK THE FRAMERS, FOR ALL THEIR WISDOM AND FORESIGHT, FORGOT A FEW THINGS, WHICH THEY NOW WANT TO TACK ON WITH AN ARRAY OF PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD BULK UP THE DOCUMENT.
This article embodies two maladies of the mainstream media that Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out on another occasion also afflicts the Left: (1) they don't really understand conservative arguments; and (2) they don't really understand the Constitution.
The article's premise is not only false, it's so laughably a caricature of GOP candidates you would be forgiven if you thought it was coming from the mouth of Paul Begala or Jay Carney:
To hear the Republican presidential candidates tell it, the U.S. Constitution is the guiding light of democracy, a bedrock document so perfect and precise that it shouldn’t be challenged, interpreted or besmirched by modern-day judges.
YOU KNOW WHAT POLITICO REPORTER EPSTEIN FAILED TO INCLUDE IN HIS 1,200-WORD OPUS? A SINGLE QUOTE FROM A SINGLE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE CONSTITUTION IS "PERFECT" OR THAT IT SHOULDN'T BE "INTERPRETED." I'm not saying no conservatives believe in a divinely ordained and perfect Constitution. I'm saying Epstein never actually establishes these candidates do…
The left loves straw man arguments. It allows them to write 1200 words that make other liberals feel good and superior, while not really addressing what the right is saying.
9. From Instapundit November 28, 2011—Education Bubble
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Root Cause of Market Failure in Higher Education (see link at the bottom). “In a world turned upside down, CHINA’S RULERS WANT TO MAKE SURE THE YOUNG CADRES THEY EDUCATE AT THE PEOPLE’S EXPENSE ACTUALLY FIND JOBS IN THE PRIVATE ECONOMY. Here in the U.S., where outstanding government guaranteed student loans have recently passed the $1 trillion mark, education policy is geared not toward maximizing the employability of graduates, but toward garnering votes for politicians. . . . ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF CAREER TRAINING, LIKE APPRENTICESHIP IN TRADES THAT REMAIN IN DEMAND – because, after all, you can’t fly in Chinese plumbers – get no social respect. This despite the fact that skilled plumbers, with a little hustle, can out-earn most liberal arts majors. . . . Too many aspiring young museum curators can’t find jobs? THE PRAGMATIC CHINESE SOLUTION IS TO CUT PUBLIC SUBSIDIES USED TO TRAIN MUSEUM CURATORS. The free market solution is that only the rich would be indulgent enough to buy their kids an education that left them economically dependent on mommy and daddy after graduation. THE PROGRESSIVE AMERICAN SOLUTION IS TO SEEK INCREASED PUBLIC FUNDING TO BUILD MORE MUSEUMS.”
I found the Progressive solution to be sadly true. Price is a signal and right now there are too many museum curators and not enough plumbers. I recently posted an article about over 600,000 manufacturing jobs that are going begging because we don’t have the workers with skills to fill them.