Saturday, March 13, 2010

Glenn Beck and Conspiracy Theories

Contrairimairi sent me this link on the Grand Delusion blog concerning Glenn Beck. The writer makes several good points. He should have stopped at his discussion of the Fed. Claiming that 9/11 was a US government conspiracy is a path which angels ought fear to tread. The freedom movement fails to serve itself by advocating conspiracy theories. The writer states that a few people resigned from the 9/11 commission but that is insufficient to claim a conspiracy.

There have been true conspiracies in American history, such as the one involving the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. There is still debate whether the Kennedy assassination involved a conspiracy. Such debates are fine but ought not be the basis of a political platform. Any movement or group that makes such a debate part of its fundamental belief system or platform consigns itself to the margin. So Beck is right.

Which does not change the Grand Delusion writer's key point. By making himself seem a "mainstream" leader of the freedom movement Beck can do considerable damage to it.

As I have previously blogged, I do not watch television or listen to radio news. The clips I have seen of Beck do not seem to indicate that he has taken a forthright stand on the Fed. I would also be interested in knowing his position on the United Nations. The video below opens questions, unlike any other media source, but Beck himself does not take a position. There is no one on any major media outlet who questions US involvement with the UN, so Beck's position is unbalanced. Balanced does not mean balancing 100% with 0%. Taking a 50-50 position where coverage is 100-0 means that you are advocating 99.5 To 0.5.

The importance of the Federal Reserve Bank issue cannot be overstated. It is the chief issue of interest to the "military industrial complex" and to anyone who favors socialism. Without the Fed and its wealth redistribution mechanism neither big government nor Wall Street's current form of organization would be possible. There is no need for a conspiracy theory. Bald economic interest and straightforward, mechanical economic relationships are all that are required to identify why George Soros favors the Fed and opposes the Second Amendment. Any advocate of the closed society and for a privileged elite would find considerable virtue in Soros's positions.

Acid Test for New York State Candidates

A friend will be interviewing Steve Levy, a prospective New York State candidate for governor, as part of a Republican group. Levy is a Democrat who is considering running as a Republican. Although I am skeptical of over-zealous emphasis on partisanship in part because there have been too few differences between the parties for too long, I am also somewhat skeptical of cross-party candidacies, basically for the same reason. If a Democrat is really for reducing government, why on earth is he or she in the party of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Barack H. Obama?

But I am not dogmatically opposed to Levy and may in fact support him if he can prove himself as a small government or at least a reduced government candidate (the GOP's other best bet, Rudy Giuliani, is hardly a small government man--although there were no large increases in New York City government during Giuliani's incumbency there were no large reductions either and it is hard to know because of accounting shenanigans).

At first I suggested that my friend ask a wide range of questions, but I realized that only one are two are necessary if there is too little time. One very good litmus test is Levy's position on the Wicks Law. Senator Arthur Wicks was a Republican from Kingston, the very city in which I am a member of the County Committee. This is what I wrote to my friend:

All you have to ask him is about whether and how he will repeal the Wicks Law. The Wicks Law has been on the books since 1912. The law is named for Senator Wicks who amended it. Wicks, I believe, was from my own Town of Olive in the Village of Olive Bridge which is a few miles from my home in West Shokan. Ultimately Wicks was forced to resign as Senate Majority Leader and acting Lieutenant Governor because "it became known that he had made frequent visits to convicted labor leader Joseph S. Fay while the latter was incarcerated at Sing-Sing prison."

The Wicks law says that the state or any other public entity (New York City, Town of Olive) may not hire a general contractor (GC). Four separate categories of contractors, (a) heating, ventilating and air conditioning (b) plumbing (c) electrical (d) all other, must be hired and supervised directly by the state or other public entity. The lack of a GC opens the door to abuse, crime, coordination problems and law suits. Government officials lack the knowledge and experience required to supervise mammoth construction projects. That is why private sector developers hire GCs. Studies find that the Wicks Law increases public construction costs in the state by 15-30%. No one except construction unions and public contractors supports the Wicks Law. Even the New York Times has editorialized against it. Mario Cuomo had appointed an anti-crime commission that found that the Wicks Law fosters organized crime. When I served on the State Assembly staff in 1991 I attended a meeting at Alan Greenberg's office in Bear Stearns. The meeting was meant to devise cost cutting strategies. Presidents of the leading construction firms in New York City were the majority of the participants. I asked one privately about this and he told me that public construction in New York is so corrupt that he never bids on any public contracts.

Compounding the Wicks Law, if you have time there is a second issue, the diffusion of responsibility for construction in four or five different state agencies. These include the Dormitory Authority (whose existence in itself is an outrage) and the Office of General Services. There are two or three others. What happens is that the actual costs of construction are back charged to the agencies on whose behalf the construction is done. So if the Dormitory Authority does work for SUNY it gets charged to SUNY. This buries the true construction costs around the state. Openly comparing the construction costs in one agency would prove embarrassing to the state because the costs are so high, much higher than other states. The state avoids this.


Friday, March 12, 2010

America in Economic Decline

Erich Deagostino has forwarded a link to a Yahoo! news report that suggests that America is heading down the same road as Greece, which is nearing bankruptcy. The report notes that:

"As with Greece, America's national debt has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past decade, to the point where it threatens to swamp overall economic output. And in the U.S., as in Greece, a large portion of that debt is owed to foreign investors."

The aggressive Democratic health care socialization push will cause us to stumble further down this road.

There is a long history of cries about excessive borrowing's leading to economic crisis that have turned out not to be true. The history goes back to the 18th century. But of course, it sometimes does turn out to be true. American has defaulted on its loans before. The nation issued a currency called the Continental to finance the Revolutionary War and after the War the Continental turned out to be worthless. People who held it were defrauded. America invented modern hyper-inflation along with democracy. In response, the 19th century saw the development of hard money attitudes, which were viewed as benevolent and pro-labor. In the twentieth century labor unions' leaders realized that they could advance themselves by advocating inflationary policies that benefit Wall Street and harm their membership. In no small part as a result, labor union membership has consistently fallen. Why should workers pay dues to support leaders who betray them?

The claim that America is too big to fail should seem absurd now that we have witnessed General Motors' failure. For much of my life, GM was the largest corporation in the world and few could have imagined its failure, at least until the mid 1970s. The claim that China and other countries "need us" may be true, but eventually some will wake up to the fact that the Emperor is a pauper and will pull out, leading to a dollar crisis.

Greek labor unions are striking. But one cannot derive water from a stone, and the irrational strikes will only make matters worse.

In response to mounting American and European instability, Marc Faber on Kitco radio recommends gold, US real estate, developing countries' stocks like India and Brazil and cash. Faber says that a crash in China cannot be ruled out so that there is no rush to go into developing countries' stocks. Also, US real estate may not have much further to fall in his opinion. He says up to twenty percent further. I'm not sure of that, but given Congress's commitment to prop up real estate and stock prices, he may be right. I doubt that real estate prices could be maintained were this a market economy. But that is true of all assets.

In the meantime I have begun to have thoughts of an exit strategy as I am concerned that the US will increasingly become totalitarian under Obama and the Democratic Party. Were I slightly wealthier I would buy land in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, on a professor's salary I have to be content with hard asset investments and my house. Without a stable monetary system and with a system of economic redistribution whereby the privileged benefit from Congress's and the states' theories of beneficence, which inevitably loot those who work hard and are criminal in substance, has the American dream died?

Star Tax Program Repealed

I just recieved this from Thomas and Judith Santopietro:

>This is an important matter that we were asked to forward.

Subject: STAR program
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 16:42:07 -0500

Pass this one on!!

In case you are not yet aware. Governor Paterson abolished the STAR tax rebate program.

Please take 30 seconds to sign the petition link (also below).

Pass this on to all your NYS friends!! We need to get our STAR program back!!

Star property rebate program

Hi Everyone: The New York State star rebate program was abolished in the last NY State budget. Below is a link to sign a petition to re-instate it. Please take a few minutes to sign this petition and forward this to all your friends in the state. thanks!

My response to Tom:

Tom--I'm not sure of the answer here but the above blog says that Star may actually increase waste in the public schools because the taxes reduced by Star are increasing the income taxes and Star reduces voter resistance to school waste. I'm not sure that's true but I'm not sure that it's not. The Manhattan Institute that the author quotes tends to be pro-corporation rather than purely tax reduction oriented. Of course, if school prices go up and school taxes go down then the difference has to be made up by someone. So Star can't be reducing taxes overall, just shifting them from homeowners to renters and corporate tax payers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steve Levy for Governor

Phil Orenstein of Democracy Project has blogged in support of Steve Levy's candidacy for governor. According to the video below, Mr. Levy has a strong record in Nassau County. He is a Democrat who aims to run as a "post partisan" candidate. Academics coined the term "post modern" a generation ago and "post partisan" is indubitably a corollary. Indubitably.

I am not yet convinced that Mr. Levy is the candidate of choice. We need to ask more questions.

Mr. Levy's candidacy is controversial. Mike Long, the head of the Conservative Party, suggested in the New York Post yesterday that given the massive failure of the Democratic Party to manage the state's economy competently, the Republicans ought not nominate a Democrat. This is the very sort of thing I had previously feared from Republicrat Edward F. Cox. Also, the article reports allegations that there is a corrupt deal involving Edward F. Cox's son, Chris Cox, who like his father desires a nepotism deal, and Suffolk Republican Chair John Lavalle:

"There has long been a rumor that Cox, Levy and Suffolk Republican chair John LaValle have a domino-style deal going, with the main goal being to get Chris Cox nominated in his own seven-way primary in Suffolk. Ed Cox has strenuously denied it."

If so, this is not the sort of candidacy the Tea Party ought to support. We need clarification of Mr. Levy's relationship to Ed Cox and John Lavalle.

Which is not to detract from Levy's record. Levy's website says that he has delivered "six consecutive operating budgets, each with a General Fund tax freeze or tax cut." He says in the video that he has cut spending for two consecutive years. His website adds that he "has delivered three operating budgets with spending lower than the previous year's adopted levels -- a record that is unprecedented in Suffolk County and extraordinarily rare in any level of government anywhere."

In his blog, Orenstein points out that in his Op Ed in the New York Post Levy said "no" to:

"the exorbitant pay and pensions of the County police officers, who are the highest paid police force in the world, (which) shows he is one of the rare politicians with backbone. We need a courageous figure to govern a state with the nation’s most dysfunctional legislature. Could Levy be a ray of light for our troubled state on the verge of fiscal disaster?"

We'll see. So far, the jury is out.

Despite the allegations of insider shenanigans, according to the Daily News Levy has already taken the initiative to develop a relationship with the Tea Party. The Daily News writes that Levy will hold an informational video conference with New York's Tea Parties.

According to his site, Levy has called for a state of emergency because of New York's incompetently managed budget. In a year when there was deflation, the state increased spending by nine percent, according to Levy. New York voters are undoubtedly to blame, electing the same tax-and-spend Democrats like Ulster County's Kevin Cahill year after year. New Yorkers never saw a wasteful or corrupt Democratic Party scheme that they could not support. Newspapers like the Kingston Freeman in my county are also to blame, refusing to take any initiative in demanding fiscal responsibility and providing ongoing propaganda for the massive waste in Albany. Millions have left this state, and the remaining population is mostly on the dole, but what do the editors of the Freeman care? When Wall Street crumbles, which it will, there is going to be a serious problem, with greedy unions and corrupt contractors clawing at each other for state handouts that are no longer available. New Yorkers will, undoubtedly, blame everyone but their greedy selves.

I am concerned that I did not see a prominent statement on Mr. Levy's site of the two chief fiscal issues facing the state: (a) the badly mismanaged Medicaid system, whose waste likely amounts to in excess of 15% of the entire state budget (yes, it is fair to say that 15% of the entire New York State budget is attributable to Medicaid waste) and (b) the egregious handling of the state's unions, specifically the Service Employees International Union and the New York State Union of Teachers in facilitating massive waste. I can blame Democrats like Ulster County's Kevin Cahill for the waste, but the fact is that during 12 years of the Pataki administration things only got worse. Governor Pataki failed to live up to his mandate, failed to curtail Medicaid waste, failed to rein in the bloat associated with the SEIU and failed to rein in administrative waste in the schools. What plan does Mr. Levy have to offer?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

McCain/Liberman Aim to Repeal Constitution

A friend with a Harvard law degree and a Columbia Ph.D. in the dismal science forwarded me this XPostFactoid link. With all of the horrific things going on with Democratic Party's destruction of health care and freedom, it is easy to overlook other issues. According to XPostFactoid McCain and Lieberman have put forward a bill called "The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010", which would effectively repeal a wide range of constitutional rights, to include habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence. Based on my brief review the bill does not exclude American citizens from its definition of "belligerent". Hence, any American citizen could be defined as a belligerent unless I am missing something. According to XPostFacto:

>The bill authorizes the President to establish an 'interagency team' to make a 'preliminary determination of the status' of an individual 'suspected of engaging in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism, or by other means in violation of the laws of war, or of purposely and materially supporting such hostilities.' That team will determine whether the suspect shall be accorded a preliminary designation as a 'high value detainee' (a.k.a. 'unprivileged enemy belligerent' -- the bill makes no coherent distinction between these terms). A final status determination is to be made by the Attorney General and Secretary of Defense; the President can only weigh in if these two disagree. Incredibly, the entire procedure from capture to final status determination is to be completed within 48 hours.

"The provision that removes all discretionary limits to this secret determination of status is in the Criteria for Designation of Individuals as High-Value Detainees. That section creates an initial impression that such "determinations" are subject to the rule of law by laying out specific criteria...But the final criterion (E) zooms to infinity: it is simply "Such other matters as the President considers appropriate...

"Thus any individual, whether a foreign national or a U.S. citizen, can be designated an 'unprivileged enemy belligerent,' forever denied access to civilian courts and subjected to indefinite detention 'without criminal charge and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners' -- that is, forever -- on the basis of such other matters as the President considers appropriate..."

The definition of "unprivileged enemy belligerent" in the bill is as follows:

The term ‘‘unprivileged enemy belligerent’’ means an individual (other than a privileged belligerent) who (A) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (B) has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or C) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of capture.

Although the bill appears to refer to legitimate terrorists, it could be applied, at the president's discretion, to any US citizen, for instance, anyone who opposes health reform. For example, President Obama could say that anyone opposing health reform is materially supporting hostilities against the United States.

To avoid such a problem, the bill must be limited to non-citizens and illegal resident combatants. Any citizen or legal resident must be given due process. This would limit the authority of the president to military issues, which is appropriate.

It irritates me that I have in the past contributed to both McCain and Lieberman and they now propose a bill that permits the president to rescind citizens' basic legal rights. That is the approach used in China and Cuba. The threat of terrorism, while an important security concern, does not justify repeal of citizens' constitutional rights. At the same time, the president must have the authority to combat foreign terrorists or invaders. This can be accomplished by limiting the president's authority to combat foreign terrorists or invaders to foreigners and illegal residents.

Otherwise, XPostFacto's concerns are legitimate. The bill would open Pandora's box that much wider.

Paterson Calls for Cuts (Yay!)

Cindy Johansen just forwarded this e-mail from Governor Paterson. Every New York City newspaper is calling for his resignation. But he is saying things that are almost reasonable. I very much doubt that either of the Republicrat candidates will call for cuts, even teensie weensie ones like Paterson is proposing. With Republicrats like Edward F. Cox and Andrew Cuomo we can count on an ever expanding Waste Mountain in Albany. My chief complaint about Paterson is that the cuts are way too small. There should be a 40% cut in Medicaid, 30% cut in education administration and a 15% across the board cut in state government operations. All "development" spending should be shut down because it does nothing. There should be a moratorium on state construction, repeal of the Wicks law, and review of salary structures of all construction work. Agencies doing construction should be consolidated. All health spending should be reviewed and programs adopted after 1990 terminated, especially those that have been created to institute make work for the Service Employees International Union.

>I have put forward a proposal that includes serious cuts across every area of State government. I am proposing $500 million in cuts to State Agencies, on top of the $1.5 billion in savings we have already achieved at State Agencies over the last two years. That is a total of $2 billion in savings from State Agencies. My proposal also includes a $1.1 billion year-to-year cut to school aid, and a nearly $1 billion cut to base health care spending – because these two areas of spending make up more than 50 percent of our State’s budget.

>Nobody wants to make the cuts that I have proposed – least of all me. I have already had to come up with spending reductions and new revenues to close $33 billion of deficits over the last two years. When we close the current-year deficit, I will have had to close more than $42 billion in total deficits, due to the weak economy.

>I know that many of my proposals are tough to swallow. They are tough, but they are necessary. Other states continue to struggle with the costs of delayed action – some have even had to cut their school week to four days. While I am always open to discussion and to compromise, I will not allow our State to go down that road. We must act responsibly to close our deficit. The fact is that any dollar that we do not cut from education or from health care must be matched by another dollar cut from somewhere else or raised by some other tax.

>We cannot spend what we do not have. Families across New York understand that. It is time that Albany gets with the program. State government needs to live within its means. The revenues that supported decades of overspending are gone. The mistakes of the past – squandering surpluses, papering over deficits, relying on irresponsible fiscal gimmicks to finance unsustainable spending increases – have led us to a financial breaking point.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scientific News: New Element Discovered

This was posted anonymously on the Republican Liberty Caucus Yahoo! group list:

>Oxford University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass. When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.

Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party Meeting a Triumph

Tom Santopietro and his board of directors are doing an excellent job on the Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party. The group met for its regular monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month. About 50 people attended. The group is planning several protests and bus trips to Washington, including an April 15 tax day protest.

Don Wise for State Assembly

The highlight of the evening was a talk by a conservative Republican State Assembly candidate, Don Wise. Mr. Wise owns a successful construction firm, Apex Building. He says that he has seen the Ulster-and-Dutchess County economy crumble under the Democratic Party policies of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. Mr. Cahill claims to have brought jobs to the county economy and someone shouted "Erie County!" I added "Broward County!"

According to a local Democratic Party newspaper, the Kingston Freeman, Wise ran for Town Supervisor in the Town of Ulster three years ago, for State Assembly in the 1980s, and for County legislature. Naturally, when the Democrats report on Republicans they look for ways to slander them, and the articles in the Freeman are no exception.

Mr. Wise is articulate, intelligent and thoughtful. He presents a positive image. Mr. Wise aims to freeze state spending and eliminate waste in fields like education. After the meeting I questioned him as to why he does not advocate cuts in state government. He says that he is still formulating his aims. Kevin Cahill, the incumbent, is in contrast a big government advocate.

A nurse at the meeting who works in a local hospital told me privately that about one half of Medicaid spending in New York is pure waste, and that the percentage of waste in New York's Medicaid system is greater than in other Democratic Party- dominated states. In 2006, according to this source, Medicaid amounted to 23% of spending in the average state budget. According to a 2005 New York Times article, Medicaid abuse in New York is in the billions. The Times does not discuss systemic waste such as the transfer of personal assets in order to obtain Medicaid funding for long term care. According to the Citizens' Budget Commission:

"New York has the highest Medicaid spending among the 50 states, accounting for 15 percent of the national total, although it covers only 8 percent of beneficiaries.

"By comparison, California accounts for 11 percent of national spending while covering 18 percent of the beneficiaries. New York’s cost per person enrolled in the program, program, $7,912 annually, is 75 percent higher than the national average of $4,484, and nearly three times the California average of $2,770."

That was written near the end of the Pataki (R-NY) administration in 2006. In other words, Pataki had held office for 12 years and those facts were true at the end of the 12 years. Has the two party system enabled the voters to choose?

In addition to Medicaid, there is massive waste in state operations. The Department of Social Services not only provides welfare, the Department is itself a welfare program for non-working state employees. All of the agencies massively overspend and over-employ.

We might rename New York "The Emperor Has No Clothes and It's All Waste" state. I wish Mr. Wise all success in his election bid, but with the Democratic Party's strong local propaganda-and-lying machine led by the Kingston Freeman, it will be an uphill battle.

Other Business

Tom Santopietro, the president of the Kingston/Rhinebeck Tea Party, defended Glenn Beck against unnamed attacks (I wonder who the attacker might be) but emphasized that the Tea Party is non-partisan. Tom mentioned that he objects to the GOP's use of the Tea Party name, which it has been doing unethically in some western states. Tom also mentioned that he was frustrated with Sarah Palin but still supports her to a degree.

I raised my hand at three different points and suggested that the Tea Party (a) focus exclusively on state and local candidates and issues (of course, as Chris Johansen mentioned in the car, big issues like Obamacare and cap and trade need to be included); (b) establish an ongoing state legislative bill monitoring process whereby Tea Party members might be alerted to bills about which to contact the state legislature; and (c) that I personally do not think that there is a single national politician, Republican or Democratic, who is fit to be president because they are all tainted by the same special interests that inspired the 2008 bailout. In other words, there is no small government candidate in either party.

Someone in the audience raised his hand and said angrily that he blogs for the American Thinker blog and that he does not trust any organization any more, including the Tea Party. He questioned Mr. Santopietro as to why there is no formal platform. I raised my hand and offered to help Mr. Santopietro put together a platform and offered to include the gentleman who raised the point on the platform committee. A similar proposal was discussed when I attended in January, I recall. No action has been taken.

Concluding Thoughts

The group is inexperienced but is making important progress. Tea Parties around the country need to support local candidates and avoid national ones. National politics is irrelevant at this point because the federal system is corrupt. It will need to be overturned as it has already failed. In place of the current system a more decentralized one with greater emphasis on states' rights (as in the Tenth Amendment) and reduced federal power would be better. Before the Constitution there were the Articles of Confederation. The nation needs to return to its roots. The fact is that about 30 states have a larger population than the entire nation did in 1783, approximately three million. The national population is too large to support a federal democracy. Powers currently granted the federal government, including constitutional interpretation, social security, medicare, labor law, most business regulation (except for unavoidable issues such as true interstate commerce) and monetary policy should be downloaded to regional or state governments. If New York favors massive inflation, for example, that should not force other states to subsist under inflation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Partisanship and the Politics of Failure

Partisanship has replaced patriotism. On the one hand, we have Democrats who are loyal to the collectivist dream, to the vision of Swedish and German national socialism. As well, the Democrats consider it necessary to put the economic needs of Paul Pelosi, George Soros and the Service Employees International Union before American freedom. On the other hand, the Republicans thought up the bailout and have been scrupulously loyal to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry.

Neither party has pursued policies that would maximize America's well being. These are cutting by two thirds the book of regulation, the tax burden and the size of government.

The media, which is on Wall Street's payroll, have painted American politics as a partisan contest instead of a partisan collaboration. On the one side, MSNBC claims that Obama is America's savior. On the other side, Rush Limbaugh claims that the GOP is. The Democrats advocate national socialism while the Republicans advocate national socialism without welfare programs. There is much overlap, especially because the GOP has never seen a Democratic welfare program that they wanted to repeal. That is, the difference in advocacy is not matched by different action. Both parties advocate big government.

The media's emphasis on partisanship is one more in a long line of distraction tactics, a three card Monty trick. It is one more way that Wall Street's lackeys help divert Americans from the current system's failure.

To the extent that Americans have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by the scam, they have suffered. The real hourly wage now is the same as it was in 1971. Forty years of stagnation thanks to the Socialists of Both Parties.

Somehow, neither Limbaugh nor MSNBC managed to "just say 'No!'" to Federal Reserve monetary policies that transfer large amounts of wealth to Wall Street and the recent trillion dollar bailout of the same Street. Put together, the monetary subsidies to the money center banking system serve no productive economic purpose unless you wish to claim that the money center financial institutions have been adept at choosing innovative investments to spur the American economy. But if you claim that you need to explain why they need multi-trillion dollar bailouts.

No industry has failed more dramatically, has demonstrated less competence, has proven itself less capable of serving any socially redeeming function than the money center banking institutions that have received trillions of dollars in subsidies. This is not an emotional assessment. No industry in history has ever depended on life support to that degree, has more egregiously sucked assets out of the productive sector of any economy than has the money center banking system.

Yet, Mr. Limbaugh, MSNBC, the New York Times, and Fox are all scrupulously loyal to it.

Americans need to reconsider their love affair with the mass media. On the one side, the Republicans love to hate it. On the other, the Democrats have replaced their natural thought processes with the parroting of entire sentences from the mass media's dim wits. Both sides have lost the habit of thinking for themselves.

As well, Americans need to consider whether the two party system continues to work in their interests. Jefferson said that there needs to be a revolution every twenty years. The current two party system has been in place for 150 years. Over time, corrupt relationships have developed. The solution proposed about a century ago was to expand federal power. But that solution has failed. Partisanship has become much of the problem, not the solution. Unless, that is, you believe in "Socialism in One Country."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ulster County Young Republican Club Percolates

The Ulster County Young Republican Club is moving forward. Andrew Winchell, Erich Deagostino, Zachary Nathan Keck and Rachel met with County Committee Executive Director Robin Yess, Joe Toscano, County Chair Mario Catalano and me this morning. The group was brimming with ideas and excitement. I expect that it will take off, especially given the group's great quality.

Sonoran News Raises Obama Selective Service Concerns

Contrairimairi just sent me Linda Bentley's Sonoran News article concerning possible doctoring of Obama's selective service history. Hmmm:

>On Oct. 13, 2008, J. Stephen Coffman, a retired federal agent, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the SS for a copy of Obama’s SS registration form.

>His FOIA request was processed on Oct. 29, 2008, two days after the SS claimed it was received.

>Coffman received a copy of Obama’s registration form along with a copy of the computer inquiry screen, which showed an access date of Sept. 9, 2008, several weeks prior to Coffman’s request.

>It was accompanied by a letter from Richard S. Flahavan, associate director for public affairs and intergovernmental affairs, who stated, 'Also, the enclosed computer inquiry screen indicates that his registration number is 61-1125539-1, as previously provided to you.'

>The computer printout shows a transaction date of Sept. 4, 1980 (the date Obama’s July 29, 1980 registration was entered into the system) with a last action date of Sept. 4, 1980, signifying nothing else had been received or entered since the original Sept. 4, 1980 registration form.

>Coffman found it peculiar his request, according to the computer printout date, was processed on Sept. 9, 2008, several weeks prior to submitting his request.

>On Feb. 9, 2009, Kenneth Allen submitted a FOIA request for the same records. He received a response, also from Flavahan, dated March 4, 2009.

>The 10-digit Document Locator Number (DLN) 0897080632 is printed or stamped across the top right hand corner of the registration form.

>The computer printout provided to Coffman displayed an 11-digit DLN of 8089 708 0632.

>The computer printouts provided to both Allen and Coffman are both dated Sept. 9, 2008.

>The copy of the registration form provided to Allen and Coffman are identical.

>However, Allen’s computer printout is titled “Registrant File Inquiry Report” while Coffman’s is titled “RIMS History Inquiry Screen.”

>And, the DLN on the computer printout received by Allen, also an 11-digit number, reads: 0897 080 6320.

>So, while Coffman’s printout had an eight added to the beginning, Allen’s had a zero added to the end.

>Once issued, DLNs do not change.

>Even though the inquiry screen indicates Allen’s request was processed on Sept. 9, 2008, just like Coffman’s, it reflects a last action date of June 25, 1991, showing a Form 50 change letter had been received and entered then. Records provided to Coffman reflected no such action.

>The post office round date stamp on Obama’s registration form also raised legitimacy concerns. The stamp displays “USPO Honolulu, HI Makiki Sta.” with “Jul 29 80” stamped in the center of the circle on three lines. However, the two-digit year is stamped off center as if it should have been a four-digit date.

Read the whole thing here.