Government Meddling or Necessary Regulation?

News came down last week that the President, in his haste to shift the focus away from a quickly diminishing chance at health care reform, will now re-focus on regulating the big banks in an effort to prevent them from becoming “too big to fail” again. I have already written on the fact that, despite the fact that the banks were too big to fail before TARP, they have comntinued to get even bigger. You can read about that HERE . I also shared a banker’s perspective on what regulations need to happen that I had found on the Huffington Post. You can read that HERE . So this isn’t a new subject. But the President was pretty strident in stating that he was going after these regulations, even going so far as to say if they (the big banks) are looking for a fight, he is ready and willing to give them one. Now, I know that you are all aware of where I stand on the idea of government regulation of private businesses. But I am willing to report what I am reading and keep an open mind to the fact that I could be wrong in some way.

The President made his initial volley on January 17, unveiling a plan that would give more power to the Federal Reserve to oversee and regulate big banks. He also outlined a plan that would create a consumer protection agency. In his own words, the President said that this would be a “a sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression.” Given what we now know of the things the progressive movement did in terms of using the Great Depression to expand government and increase the control government could exert on its citizens, this statement alone should make everyone sit up and take notice. A ton of the problems we have now began with those sweeping reforms enacted after the Great Depression.

So let’s take a quick look at what the President is proposing. I was immediately skeptical simply because of the group of folks that were there for the announcement. Paul Volcker, Bill Donaldson, Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd. A dubious group to say the least. They all joined him on stage for the announcement. Volcker, a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a group that has led the way for our sinking economy. Donaldson, a former Chairman of the SEC, who’s job it was to regulate these companies in the past, and who absolutely failed to effectively oversee regulation and fraud for the last 20 years. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, members of Congress who have had a horse leading the pack of the very things that led us to where we are. Both crooked as hell, by anyone’s account. With folks like these four backing the plan, I was already feeling like it wasn’t a good plan.

The Wall Street Journal offered a quick summary of Obama’s plan:

“While the financial system is far stronger today than it was a year one year ago, it is still operating under the exact same rules that led to its near collapse,” said President Barack Obama. “My resolve to reform the system is only strengthened when I see a return to old practices at some of the very firms fighting reform; and when I see record profits at some of the very firms claiming that they cannot lend more to small business, cannot keep credit card rates low, and cannot refund taxpayers for the bailout. It is exactly this kind of irresponsibility that makes clear reform is necessary.”

The proposal would:

1. Limit the Scope-The President and his economic team will work with Congress to ensure that no bank or financial institution that contains a bank will own, invest in or sponsor a hedge fund or a private equity fund, or proprietary trading operations unrelated to serving customers for its own profit. .

Interesting Huh?

2. Limit the Size- The President also announced a new proposal to limit the consolidation of our financial sector. The President’s proposal will place broader limits on the excessive growth of the market share of liabilities at the largest financial firms, to supplement existing caps on the market share of deposits.

In the coming weeks, the President will continue to work closely with Chairman Dodd and others to craft a strong, comprehensive financial reform bill that puts in place common sense rules of the road and robust safeguards for the benefit of consumers, closes loopholes, and ends the mentality of “Too Big to Fail.” Chairman Barney Frank’s financial reform legislation, which passed the House in December, laid the groundwork for this policy by authorizing regulators to restrict or prohibit large firms from engaging in excessively risky activities.

Now, let me say up front that I am attempting to look at this with an open mind and set aside my personal distaste for the idea of government regulating private industry. We all know that in the end, I don’t want government involved in anything of this sort. But that is in the world as we would like it to be. But we need to look at this in the world as it really exists right now.

So what do I see here with my limited economics background? I see the government attempting to step in and say that if you take consumer deposits, you will no longer be allowed to trade or do any of the risky things that the hedge funds or equity funds represent. From what I understand, this action, while championed as necessary in order to keep the past from repeating itself, has nothing to do with the failings that we saw in this “economic meltdown”. AIG failed despite the fact that it was not a bank and did not take consumer deposits. Washington Mutual and Wachovia got into trouble by following Barney Frank’s push and do high risk lending that was not wise.I see that nothing is being done to actually stop banks from becoming “too big to fail”. Of course you know that I completely disagree with that misnomer, as we should have allowed any banks that needed to fail to fail. As a matter of fact, as I discussed in one of the other articles I referenced above, the big banks have done nothing but get bigger in the time since TARP.

I see that some of the big boys with friends in high places will once again have a way to skirt whatever the administration wants to do, because they “cheated” in order to take advantage of the taxpayer in the first place. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs do not take consumer deposits. But in order to qualify for government loot, you had to be a “bank” that did so. So they both changed their status on paper to qualify, and then took the government money. Now they can switch back on paper and continue on their merry way. They never changed their actual business model, just their legal status. They took advantage of the taxpayers, and will now switch back and be able to keep on doing the risky things they have always been doing. Interestingly, while the Market plummeted as a result of Obama’s announcement, these two companies both went UP! Isn’t that odd?

In addition to the new announced plan, the President is also apparently planning to impose a tax on any bank who took federal bailout money, again riding the populist wave of something that the people don’t have the slightest understanding of. He gave a speech in Ohio on Friday that included the “reasoning” for the tax with populist rhetoric: “to repay taxpayers in full for saving their skins in a time of need,” and , “We want our money back. We want our money back! And we’re going to get your money back—every dime, each and every dime.” Let’s not forget that many of the biggest banks, those that will be taxed the hardest, didn’t want the bailout money in the first place. Nine of the largest banks were pulled into a meeting with Timothy Geithner and told that they will take the bailout.

The big concern for me at this point is that I see the detrimental effect that seems to come with all of this intervention by government. Let’s be honest with one another here. Despite tomes and tomes of government regulations and controls, our economy has faltered in a big way. So why should I believe that this time regulation is going to work? Is it regulation that is needed, or is it high time that we admit that Keynes was wrong and the government has zero ability to effectively control the economy? Because the reality is that for America to get back to some form of financial stability, we need the banks to be lending money to small businesses in America. It seems counter-intuitive to me to go on the warpath against the very institutions that are the only chance at recovery we have.

It seems to me that the President is doing nothing more than using populist rhetoric in order to centralize control over the financial industry. The plans he talks about include little in the way of specifics. They simply paint a tone of “the financial folks are bad. This is all their fault. I will protect you from them.” Forgive me for being skeptical. Because it seems to me that all of the problems that we have had with the economy have less to do with the big financial firms and more to do with the government’s actions over the last couple of decades. Bad loans made because government forced them to make bad loans. Risky trading because government created the model for them to engage in that behavior. The federal government, both Democrats and Republicans, are every bit as liable for the economic troubles in America as any financial companies. In fact, I would say they are far more liable.

So the real question to be discussed here is whether the proposed regulations that are being placed on the financial industry are the right move to make. Or to put the question more in the way that I would like it to be answered: Should the government regulate the financial industry? If so, how far should they be allowed to go? I have no doubt that even if the answer is in some way yes, they have already gone way too far. But more importantly, is there a way for this to get “better” that DOES NOT require government to take the lead. We discuss allowing the market to work unimpeded by the federal government’s monopoly on violence. But is that even a possibility? Was it EVER a possibility? And think about that answer carefully…. Could a really free market have prevented the large companies from doing all the crooked things that they do? I don’t know that it could have, but I am willing to discuss it.

I know that we are a long way down the path of government intervention. I am unsure that there is a way back to what we really believe is the right way for things to be at this point. I demand liberty and freedom, for myself and others, including those that run a giant bank. I want things to get better. It petrifies me to hear the populist rhetoric coming from Obama on this subject. I know he claims he is here to save America. He will protect us from all those evil capitalists, Wall Street barons, religious nuts, homophobes, racists, and terrorists. That all sounds great in a speech mister President, but I have to ask…..

Who will protect us from you?

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.

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Obama Reveals Bank Regulation Plan – CBS News

Obama hits Wall Street, pushes for bank limits – Yahoo! News

Executives Frets Over Bank Regulation – WSJ.com

White House Statement on Obama Bank Regulation Plan – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Obama hits Wall Street, pushes for bank limits – Yahoo! News

Obama Sharpens His Populist Tone – WSJ.com

AP source: Obama considers levy for rescued firms – Yahoo! News

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Comments

  1. A Puritan Descendant says:

    The article is waay over my head but I did spot this. >

    “He gave a speech in Ohio on Friday that included the “reasoning” for the tax with populist rhetoric: “to repay taxpayers in full for saving their skins in a time of need,” and , “We want our money back. We want our money back! And we’re going to get your money back—every dime, each and every dime.””

    I watched The President earlier this year make an announcement stating he had found money to be cut from the budget. Rather than say it would be used to pay down debt or to repay taxpayers, he stated he would find sonething new to spend it on. He did not lie to us in this instance, it was flat out in your face truth!

    So what will he really do with the money he claims he is going to repay taxpayers with?

    • Puritan,

      When a government tool says “we are going to tax ‘them’ to get taxpayer’s money back” — it is way over your head.

      It’s way over my head too.

      Let’s rephrase to exact definitions:

      “We are going to tax taxpayers to repay the taxes taxpayers gave other taxpayers”

      Make sense now? No?

      Welcome to contradictions of politics – it makes no sense whatsoever, but the emotional rhetoric is very effective in creating a ‘me vs. them’ attitude between the ‘little guy’ and the ‘big guy’ – emotionally cracking the reality that they are all the ‘same guys’ called taxpayers.

    • Posting for comments.

  2. All this big bank stuff is over my head, I have a simple philosophy when it comes to finances. Determine the difference between needs and wants and pay for all wants at the time of purchase. If it is a true need finance it for the shortest time possible and pay it off early. I own outright my house, ten acres, and 2 vehicles with no debt and it feels great. Now back to the topic at hand, anytime I hear big government say they are going to do something to protect the little guy, I know the little guy is about to get screwed. The federal government is so large, bloated, inefficient and corrupt it can’t help the little guy, it runs on big money and special interest. Frank and Dodd are poster children for what is wrong with government today and they are going to be the one’s looking out for me and you. Please…………

    Oh and one more thing government facilitates mega business abuse.

    • Bama Dad,

      Economics is actually quite easy to understand – it is purposeful that the elite make it sound complex so that the common folk naturally avoid it.

      One point to understand: no different from you – if you had a money tree growing outside your house where you can pull dollars off like leaves – be honest now – how hard would you work at your job? Would you have a job? How hard would you resist spending?

      See, its easy to understand economics and governments!

      As long as they or an agency they control can print money out of thin air, you can expect their instinct to act like, well, human.

  3. Ellen Spalding says:

    Most of this bank stuff is more than I understand I feel. But here is my emotions and thoughts on it. The idea that we are going to let people who had no issue with riding this wave to were we are now, set the new regualtions on the banks. Is not like letting the bank robbers back in through the back door? I think that that whole concept of “to big to fail” is a joke on the taxpayers on a epic levels. What a better way to allow bankers and politicans to do what they want with our money.

  4. I thouhgt the TARP money was loaned to the banks. Some of the banks have paid it back. This money was to be used to pay down the loans that Uncle Sam took out to lend the money. O wants to divert that money elsewhere.
    Some of the loans were converted to stock which if those companies grow, the government can sell at a profit. If, however, we tax those companies, the growth rate will decline and we will not be able to recoop the investment.
    I have no problem with the government recalling any outstanding loans. But once again, taxing those companies will make that more difficult.
    If he is mad about executive compensation, the people responsible for that are the board of directors and the stock holders. They need to step up and accept their responsibility for bonuses being paid for failure.

    The big banks are making their money now by borrowing at 0% from the Fed and buying US bonds at 3%. That is why they are not lending to small business. Stop that practice and lending to business will begin again.

    • T-Ray,

      The big banks are making their money now by borrowing at 0% from the Fed and buying US bonds at 3%. That is why they are not lending to small business. Stop that practice and lending to business will begin again.

      Ok – but what is the implication of your demand?

      How are you going to ‘stop’ the practice?

      Government does not control the banks lending practice. Are you suggesting that government regulate all banks lending practices and investments?

      The FED could stop the banks from buying T-bills by charging a fee on excess reserves. You want to do that instead? Ok.

      $1.2 trillion in excess reserves – in a fractional reserve system the banks can do one of two things –

      (1) withdraw funds from the reserve and lend; this is a 1 to 1 lending scheme – unprofitable.

      or

      (2) leave the money in the reserve and lend on fraction; this is -currently- a 9 to 1 lending scheme; that is every dollar in reserve can be lent 9x.

      I won’t go into the whole scheme but a 9/1 lending scheme actually creates $99 more money per $1 when it is fully realized. (due to redeposits of newly created lent money)

      $1.2 trillion times nearly 100, is about $120 trillion into the monetary base.

      It currently sits at $7 trillion.

      127/7 ~ 1,820% inflation rate.

      For reference, anything over about 30% inflation is approaching hyperinflation.

      1,500% inflation is Zimbabwean inflation (which rose so fast that by the time a person went into a store to buy and get to pay for something, the money degraded by 10%. It rose so fast that when the government dropped 6 zeros from the currency – by the time the new bills went into circulation, 6 zeros had been added…)

      So, are you sure you want the banks to lend?

      So, here are your only choices:
      (1) full government control of all lending practice – full-on fascism.

      (2) FED to manipulate banks to lend out of reserves – full-on high inflation, risk hyperinflation.

      (3) FED do nothing, and suffer a very long, multi-generation depression.

      There is another solution: end the FED and free the money, but that will happen way way up in the sky, over the rainbow, right near that pot of gold….

      So out of the top three, let me know which one you like the best!

      Cheers!

      • My son comes to me and says, “Dad I’m a little short of cash, can you lend me some money?”

        “Sure Son, here’s $100 at no interest. Pay me back when you can.”

        A week latter the dry craps out. I’m short since pay day is 3 weeks away. So my son says, “Dad, I will loan you $100 to fix the dryer but it will cost you 3% interest.”

        “Thank you son, I appreciate the help and I am glad you are learning economics.”

        A month later he asks for more money. Again I loan it at 0% with an open ended pay back.

        This time the car breaks a connecting rod. He offers to help. Do I take the loan or do I demand repayment of his loan?

        Who is the fool?

    • the people responsible for that are the board of directors and the stock holders.

      I’ve made that statement a few times over the years, which results in a blank stare or no response.

      The dichotomy is in ‘olden days’ there would be an 80 YO woman with 10 shares of AT&T at the annual meeting demanding that the board live up to their fiduciary duty. But today we have a majority of americans invested in companies via 401k’s. IRA etc – so that the mass is just that, a mass to be ignored and / or controlled.

  5. HI USW,

    I’m with you. I don’t trust these people. Like you, I want to know who’s going to protect us from Dear Reader?

    I wonder how many Americans will be sucked in by this latest con job? I’m guessing plenty, though I hope I’m wrong. A good measure of whether or not people are really wising up to how we’re being screwed, is how many are willing to go along with this.

  6. This whole banking issue is beyond me and probably most Americans and that’s why BO uses the rhetoric he did in Ohio. Will wait for our “local” economist expert to give us our lesson…

  7. Good morning all.
    Little over my head for anything more than my gut feeling on this one. It simply amazes me how the “fear” card is played over and over again. Previously it was fear of foreign forces. Now it’s fear of domestic forces. People die in the streets every day because we don’t have a universal health care. The world will end if we don’t drive a Prius. The tax payers will never get their money back and the country will got to pot because of the financial industry. I agree with APD, that the government is in no rush to pay anything back that it had borrowed against itself to lower our debt. Instead just keep on spending it or reallocating it for something other than it’s intended use. When the banks, the ones who loan us money, do this it is evil and must be stopped. When the Gov’t, who takes our money, does this it’s for our own good. Drives me nuts.

    • Kristian Stout says:

      I’d bet that the reason they keep using the fear card is simple, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It obviously works on the majority of the sheeple, why wouldn’t they continue to use it.

    • “When the banks, the ones who loan us money, do this it is evil and must be stopped. When the Gov’t, who takes our money, does this it’s for our own good.”

      Good point Jackson. It seems so simple to see the hypocrisy, yet people buy this all the time.

  8. Check this out.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20100125/cm_huffpost/433688

    According to the Huffpost middle class is gone, spend more government money screw the deficits and regulate the hell out of the banks. That will cure all our recession woes. Not.

    • Hi Bama,

      I think the middle class is sucking wind right now but is still alive and kicking. I get the impression from the article that the writer still believes in O’s ability to ‘save’ America.

      • I know my family’s middle class status sucks big time. We have 2 adult children with spouses and 2 grandchildren living with us right now. It is great that we all get along but the wife and I were really getting used to being by ourselves after raising 6 children. Although a little cramped life is good.

        • Wow. Sounds like ya’ll are like the Waltons! All kidding aside, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of that. When I was stationed in Germany back in the 80’s, I remember that it was very common to see three, sometimes four, generations under one roof. It seemed to work, at least from where I was. Of course, there’s no way on God’s green earth I could live with my parents. I left home as soon as I could, and got as far away as the Army would send me. You and your wife must have a lot of patience and a really big house. I’m glad you’re enjoying your family.

          🙂

    • Bama Dad
      That will cure all our recession woes. Not>

      Actually, they are exactly right – it would cure the recession.

      We’d get high/hyper inflation instead.

      So, I’d offer a small correction on your opinion.

      That will cure our economic woes. Not.

  9. Kristian Stout says:

    I’m no economist, nor do I wish to be, but I liken this to trying to save someone that you think is drowning. We aren’t drowning, we’ve got a little bit of water in our lungs and we’ll cough it up. The CPR is what’s going to kill us! That is what all of these regulations come across to me as, life saving measures that are causing more harm than good because they aren’t needed.

  10. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    One thing that is easy to forget, in fact, one thing that many people do not even realize…

    The Federal Reserve is technically NOT part of the government. The Federal Reserve was created by the government (sort of), but this was done TOTALLY AT THE DIRECTION OF THE BIG BANKS. The big banks set up the deal, set up the rules, and set up all of the regulations.

    Giving the Federal Reserve MORE power to “regulate” banks is basically giving the fox more power to regulate the henhouse. Look at who heads the Federal Reserve, and look at who are the members of the Federal Reserve, and look at where the came from, and where they go when they are done “serving” the Fed. Once you know this, you know as much as you need to.

    Doing what Obama is advocating has no chance of success. It seems that right now the Federal Reserve is controlling the government, rather than the other way around.

    The entire “monitary” system is broken. Applying a band-aid is not going to fix the problem. Unfortunately, except for possibly Ron Paul, no one has any interest in ACTUALLY fixing the system.

    I saw a VERY interesting layout of inflation which basically showed that in 1912, $1.75 would buy you what $1.00 would in 1793, but in 2010, it takes about $70 to buy what $1.00 would buy you in 1912. What changed? The Federal Reserve was created to “manage” the economy! So, how’s that REALLY been working out?

    • Peter,

      Giving the Federal Reserve MORE power to “regulate” banks is basically giving the fox more power to regulate the henhouse.

      I was about to make this exact point as well – you’re getting faster with that saber nowadays 😉

      I think USWep’s cartoon was prophetic – ‘new ways for us to work around the new rules’

      Who are going to write the new law? Do you really think Nobel prize winning economists sit in government – like Barney Frank? Nope. They sit inside the FED.

      The FED will write the law – and the FED is owned by the largest banks.

      Good luck!

  11. From another pundit:

    In a GATA dispatch in October 2009 the market analyst Paul Mylchreest estimated that the gross volume of gold traded on the LBMA each day was about 2,100 metric tonnes:

    http://www.gata.org/files/ThunderRoadReport-10-15-2009.pdf

    That equates to $77 billion each day at 1,150 per ounce. The NYMEX WTI crude oil contract trades 400,000 contracts each day, which is 400 million barrels. At $77 per barrel, the gross value traded is $30.8 billion, which is only 40 percent of the value of the gross trade in gold.

    There is a myth among even knowledgeable gold investors and analysts that the gold market is tiny, but in reality it is the biggest physically traded commodity market in the world.

    And you know the irony? Almost no American has ever held a gold coin.

    The perception of gold being a tiny market comes from the tiny annual production of gold.

    Global gold production is only 2,200 metric tonnes per year, which is equivalent to the gross trade in gold on the LBMA in just one day.

    The LBMA market numbers deduce that it was impossible for the LBMA to have enough gold in its vaults to trade such large daily volumes.

    The inescapable inference is that the LBMA is operating a fractional reserve system and has sold much more gold than it has or could ever have.

    The amount of gold that has been sold is estimated to be around 65,000 metric tonnes, while the maximum amount of London Good Delivery bars that exist in the world is around 15,000 metric tonnes.

    So even if the LBMA possesses the world’s entire stock of LGD bars there are 50,000 metric tonnes of obligations that cannot be met if the owners ask for delivery.

    To put that quantity of gold into perspective, it is equal to all the gold reserves that remain to be mined in the earth.

    If even a small fraction of gold longs took delivery, the system would blow up. Gold’s price would soar. Yet this never happens.

    The central banks are willing to aid and abet the crime because the selling of “paper gold” has the same suppressive effect on the gold price as selling real gold.

    Suppressing the gold price accommodates the central banks in masking their promiscuous fiat currency creation. In this way the traditional inflation “canary in the coal mine” is muted.

    Where is the gold? In private hands. GATA says 50% of the central banks’ gold has been leased to the bullion banks.

    It is not coming back.

    —–

    That is why the FED frantically refuses an audit.

    There is no USA government gold in Fort Knox or in New York. It’s gone.

    In its place are pieces of paper saying they lent the gold @ $42/oz (the official rate) to a bullion bank.

    That bullion bank cannot repay with gold @ $1200. The gold is gone.

    Such confirmation would tank the dollar and gold would explode into the $10,000 range or higher.

    But we’d know the truth.

    Audit the FED!

    • But who has the authority to request/require/demand this audit?

      • We all do.

        • Mathius:

          Reality Check: You have NO authority, none, nada, zilch.

          All Authority lies with Congress.

          Do you CONTROL Congress??

          Didn’t think so.

          Hope your weekend was good. Did you crash lessons in football payoff?
          JAC

          • Au contraire, mon ami, I do in fact control congress. We* all do.

            And nope, I didn’t even get to watch the game so it didn’t matter anyway. But I’ll hold on to the quarter joke for the super bowl. I assume I’ll watch that.

            *By ‘we’, I mean my secret cabal and I. You have no say, but we at WALNUT and the Young Elders of Zion call all the shots. We can order an audit any time we like. Hell, I could personally pass or kill the health care bill depending on my mood. A couple of buddies and I got drunk one night and wrote McCain-Feingold as a bet.

      • Kathy

        CONGRESS!

        Happy thoughts my dear, happy thoughts
        JAC

      • Good question!

        Since they are privately held company, only the shareholders can ask for one.

        They won’t.

        However, they have been allowed to exist as they can by an act of congress.

        Therefore, congress can make another law – specifically for them on the basis of the original act – for an audit.

        This is what Ron Paul has presented. It passed the Senate. Barney Frank has it locked up in committee – but he can’t do that for much longer – and it will go to vote in the Congress.

        I do not believe it will pass – and if it does, Obama will most likely veto it.

        But the nut is, the FED is in the spot light like it never has been before – my goodness, people in the streets actually know who is the Chairman!

        They do not like to be in the spot light. People might actually learn about it and the grand theft these guys have pulled off.

        It may not pass this time, but it might next time.

        Audit the FED!

        • KILL THE FED

          Sorry, just had to disagree!!!!

        • I might be confused, but this is what I’ve found.

          HR1207 is Ron Paul’s amendment and that has come out of committee but the entire bill, of which this is a part, HR3996 is being held up by Frank.

          The Senate version, S604, has not even made it out of committee.

          I was hoping we were closer than this.

  12. Could it be? A Republican I can get behind..

    http://www.thestate.com/local/story/1123844.html

    Too bad he’s in SC.. we could use him up here.

    *Disclosure, I haven’t done any research beyond this article because I can’t vote on him. So I reserve to the right to retract that statement if he turns out to be a tool.

    • Mathius,

      I’ll help you.

      He’s a tool.

      The answer to the problems of government, from his own words is,…. more government. More laws, more red tape, more “involvement”.

      The only difference between others and him is the ‘others’ would make different laws, with more government and more red tape, and ask for more “involvement” too.

      Gosh, no statement about saying “Government screwed up, and let’s step back and let the community figure themselves out”

      • Wow, Flag..

        I never knew you felt that way. I am so shocked.

        Allow me to rephrase. Given the realities of the world, and given the fact that we do have a large government, and insofar as I do not support the abandonment of government and its associated services, this individual seems to support a world-view in which accountability is injected into the welfare system in a way which, at a glace and with little supporting evidence, jives with my views. That is, he appears to be in favor of fixing what is wrong with the system (if one were to accept that such a system is both good and necessary) without getting rid of it, which is what I generally, and without specificity, support.

        Does that work for you?

        • Government “accountability” is an oxymoron.

          By adding more layers, he only masks the problem – it does not fix it.

        • Alright, I’ll give this one more shot because I don’t have time.. never enough time for you, alas…

          Imagine you were to VOLUNTARILY finance welfare on the grounds that it is a moral action, and you chose to do so through donations to a private charity which distributes the funds, and they were doing so in the same manner as the government currently does in that capacity. If this man were to, saying what is is saying, attempt to gain control of the company in order to make the changes as he suggests, would you support his candidacy given what is said in the article and all else being equal?

          • And no blustering.. I don’t have the time to back you into a corner to force you to answer my question directly. Just indulge the meat of the question.

          • But that’s a point, Mathius.

            How I spend MY money should not at all depend on how you spend YOUR money.

            If I disagree with him, it doesn’t matter.

            If I agree with him, it doesn’t matter.

            He is making decisions about something I disagree with in a manner I do not agree.

            With a company, if I do not like the management, I can leave.

            If I do not like a charity, I can withdraw.

            Government provides neither option.

            Thus, his choice of using MORE force upon people – already burden by MORE force is rank stupid.

            • ndfnaskbfdfbsdbh234sfad (the sound of me smashing myself in the face with mykeyboard)

              And once again, from the top…

              as3893ncfui23u324#$dra3

              Oh no! The world has just realize the worthlessness of the dollar and the illegitimacy of government. China calls in its debt and the US collapses overnight. With the US goes every other government. In the span of 24 hours, the world is reduced to total anarchy!

              234njk90kl;sdmafoasl;

              After the mass die-offs, we are left with nothing but free societies exactly as you view them.

              2q23rnjfmklfn32iovn

              But there’s a problem. Some people, for whatever reason, can’t seem to cut it. They are broke and homeless and have no means of either creating jobs for themselves or finding jobs within the society. You feel inclined to help them out. This is due to your own good nature and nothing else – you don’t like to see suffering when you can do something about it.

              sdafankln3lnn324n!! (ouch)

              There is one charity operating within your town. You do not have the time or money to found a new competing charity, nor do you have the excess capacity to work for the charity directly. This charity currently just gives money (small denomination gold coinage) out to help these people not starve. No strings attached.

              324nhf0jweiofasdafijio$#*

              Along comes this guy. He says what he said in the article and is attempting to gain control of the organization to make the above changes.

              23n4nnsf890sjiofn$#Nion

              Again, you willing give money because you want to help alleviate the situation. You are free to give nothing, but there is no alternative way to help the poor in any substantive way in this scenario. Do you feel that his changes, in general, would be a step in the right direction.

              NFNN3!N@*(UIONASDF

              • Meanwhile….D13….quietly sits in the corner….rounding up Raptors and Cats….moving them to a secure place in the wilderness…..watching…..waiting…..

              • And just what do you plan to do with them?

                Don’t say crossbreeding.. don’t say crossbreeding.. don’t say crossbreeding… ::shudder::

              • What? A Siamese with a Raptor?

                A Rapsamese?

                Wow….thanks for the idea.

                NOW>>>>>>be afraid.

              • Have at thee! I have my trusty katana and I fear no Rapanese, nor a Traptor (tabby-raptor), nor even the dreaded Raptah (rapto + cheetah)!

                Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
                Or close the wall up with our ninj dead!

              • Matt:

                Let me help you. KDHRYD7W*N@M. That’s my keyboard hitting your head.

                You complicate things, microanalyze thing to the nth degree.In the end you’re the captain going down with his ship that he made sink.

                Assuming your scenario: the economy colapses and half are dead. As everyone has been saying here for months,if you don’t contribute…it sucks to be you. Does your poor guy not have a fishing pole or some seeds to plant? Or can he not go find the farmer to help with the harvest? You have to EARN your way. Your approach involves too many layers and too much of my money and you still end up going down with the ship.

              • I would appreciate it if you would refrain from beating me with your keyboard in the future. It is immoral to inflict violence upon others.

                That said, full employment is simply not feasible – even in Flag’s society, there will always be some who are unable to find work.

                Perhaps they are uneducated. Perhaps they are physically disabled. Perhaps they are mentally handicapped. Perhaps some combination of the above. Perhaps they have job skills which did not translate well to Flag’s society (politician, for example).

                Housing should be no trouble now that I think of it, because after the die-off, there should be plenty of vacant homes. But food will be hard to come by, at least for a while, as will arable land. Fish stocks, too, will be in short supply.

                You can say let him die, but that’s not very nice of you. And Flag is, despite everything, actually very generous and wants to help. So he donates to his charity – the only one operating in his town.

                Perhaps he realizes that, without help, they will simply rob his house while he is out at work and thinks it best to avoid having to track them down and kill them to get his stuff back.

                In any event, the question stands and no amount of keyboard violence will change that.

              • Sorry about your head. Let me take a closer look…POW 🙂

                I’ll let you help the handicapped but if you give one cent to my homies in the streets of Detroit I’ll keyboard you again.

    • v. Holland says:

      “It amazes me how some Republican politicians claim a monopoly on Christianity and then go out and say and do some of the most un-Christian things imaginable,” said Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod, who participated in a candidates forum in Columbia along with Bauer Saturday. “… Bauer’s comments are despicable and the total opposite of the Christian values Bauer espouses.”

      You may like his ideas but the dems-well it’s all about his fake christian values-which he obviously shouldn’t espouse.

      • v. Holland says:

        Sorry, here’s the link to the rest of the article

        http://www.thestate.com/154/story/1125111.html?storylink=omni_popular

      • I don’t care about his “Christian values.” I like what I read about his approach to welfare. We’ll help you out, but only if they’re willing to help themselves. And don’t just perpetuate the cycle, set policies to try to address the underlying issue.

        Screw people who attack any politician for irrelevancies. Issues, ma’am, talk to me about the issues.

        • v. Holland says:

          just making a point, good sir , just making a point.

          • And a perfectly good point. I hope that you appreciate that I am defending a Republican and attacking Democrats for using cheap tactics.

            And a good morning to you..

            • Where is Matt and what have you done with him.

            • v. Holland says:

              Good morning to you 🙂

              I did take note of that fact and I applaud you for it, I also realize that republicans use cheap tactics too. I do hope that you realized that this is an example of the Christian religion being under attack for political purposes, not just an attack on the man or the party.

              • It seems to me – and again, I haven’t done any research, so I’m just going off the cuff – that he is being attached for espousing “Christian ideals”* and then acting in a way which is not in accordance with them. In short, it seems they’re not attacking him for Christianity, but rather for perceived hypocrisy. Either way, I’d like to smack them in the face with a very large, freshly caught trout.

                *whatever that means..

              • An absolute waste of good trout.

                Try old dead Carp..much more, shall we say, eye opening.

              • v. Holland says:

                No they are attacking him for having the nerve to espouse that one should have ideas of right and wrong if they are based on religion-that if one stands on any absolutes of right and wrong that are against the secular political agenda than he and his religion must be destroyed. Hypocrisy is simply the word they use to defend the attack. Look at it this way -I may say that one should watch their diet and exercise-if I am personally unable to make myself follow this advise to the letter-does that mean that I am a hyprocrit for telling people that we as people should follow this idea. You should take note that anytime republicans do anything that the dems can attack it almost always comes back to what hypocrits they are because they are not following their religion. Look deeper, the point is to destroy religion because they believe that religion is the biggest danger to their plans-the man involved he’s just a tool to achieve this purpose.

              • Left..

              • Wait…with or without the trout?

              • I decided to go with a week old halibut.

                Does that work for you?

              • v. Holland says:

                ??

              • v. Holland says:

                Should have scrolled down a little further 🙂

      • I just read the article in its entirety. Only one paragraph references Christianity at all. And that paragraph attacks Christianity itself in no way.

        Let’s look at it:

        “It amazes me how some Republican politicians claim a monopoly on Christianity […] This is absolutely true. The Republican party frequently acts as though they had Jesus’ personal endorsement. But this is a critique of the Republican party, not of Christianity. It would be the same if a Republican said that Democrats claim a monopoly on the values of minorities. The objection is to the Democrats acting as if they have a corner on the issues, but not to the issues themselves.

        […] and then go out and say and do some of the most un-Christian things imaginable,” […] He is saying that it is un-Christian to address the problems in the way Bauer wants. So, again, he is not objecting to Christianity, but rather to acting in a way that he views as non-Christian. He sees the attitude and desired program changes as at odds with his understanding of Christianity. So by easy inference, we can see that he holds Christianity up as a high ideal, but one which Bauer falls short of.*

        “… Bauer’s comments are despicable and the total opposite of the Christian values Bauer espouses.” So now it’s even clearer. The speaker sees Christianity as good and has claimed the mantle of defining what it means for himself. He then takes that mantle and beats Bauer over the head with it for falling short. This is no different than when Republicans treat Democrats like amoral heathens for supporting abortion etc. They are saying the following:
        1. Christianity is the arbiter of what is good.
        2. I, alone, shall decide what is in line with Christianity.
        3. Your failure to agree with me means that you are un-Christian.
        4. This means that you are a bad person.
        5. Further, since you “claim” to be Christian, and you are clearly not (according to #3), you are also a hypocrite.

        This logic, of course, deserves a week old carp and/or a freshly caught tuna across the face. But it is in no way an attack on Christianity itself. Rather, it is the use of Christianity as the weapon to do the attacking.

        *Yes, I ended that sentence in a preposition. Deal with it.

        • v. Holland says:

          Why did the man bring up Christianity at all? If he wanted to attack Bauer’s remarks why is his criticism based on Bauer’s religious views?

          • A great question. I have no answer. But I stand by my view that he is accusing Bauer of not being Christian enough – not for being Christian. It’s just another way of attacking an opponent, maybe it resonates better with certain demographics? Maybe he has a limited imagination? Maybe it’s just what he believes?

            Either way, it deserves the aforementioned fish across the face. But I can’t see how this is an attack on Christianity.. can you explain it to me, or show me where my above logic is flawed? (again, seriously, no humor/sarcasm, I just don’t see it).

            • v. Holland says:

              I’m not sure I can explain it but I will try-There seems to be an attempt to make the word Christian leave a bad taste in peoples mouths. I do not believe that these people are dumb and they will be subtle in their attacks-You may be able to take many individual attacks and find reasons where it is not an attack on religion but if you look at the whole picture and see the constant use of the word Christian used in every negative situation involving a republican-you will start to see a pattern-an attempt to make the word Christian = bad.

              • OK.. I guess I’ll just have to keep an eye out for the pattern..

                But, again, it appears here that Christian = good, and Bauer is accused of not being Christian, ergo bad.

                But maybe, just maybe, we’re both seeing what we want to see and nothing else..

              • v. Holland says:

                OK-but the same question remains-why did the man bring his religion into the discussion when it really has no barring on Bauer’s statement. Why is religion always brought up whenever a republican does anything that the other side does not like when the issue has nothing to do with religion?

              • Same reason Republicans keep bringing up ACORN? Red meat.

                Or maybe it was stupidity.

                Or maybe, just maybe, it was dog whistle politics.

                It’s true religion had no place in this conversation.

                But I don’t think Religion was treated as a negative in any way.

              • v. Holland says:

                There doesn’t have to be a direct straight forward attack to leave a negative connotation- just repetition. But you make some valid points-but your points don’t negate the fact that there is an attack on the Christian religion, which creates and promotes hate for political purposes. The question is what is the underlying purpose for the attacks. I simply don’t believe it is as simple as dog whistle politics, if I understand what that means. 🙂 Now I figure you will have a response but I must stop for awhile and actually do some work-so my response may take awhile but I will check back later.

              • Mathius,

                Just a thought here as this is something that I have watched for quite a while.

                Often it is not an attack on christianity that is evident. In this case (and I have not read the article yet), it appears that the case is made that christianity is good and he is bad for not living up to it.

                One of the key strategies that have been used for quite a while now is to attack christianity by supporting it. Bear with me here. By consistently writing that this or that person is an espoused christian, and then pointing out all the ways that this person does not measure up. It is a round about way of marginalizing christianity. You get enough examples of this and you have propogated the underlying myth that all those who claim to be christian are really sleeping with little boys behind closed doors.

                Does this make sense. You don’t attack the religion. You simply attack the values of those who practice it until it becomes accepted that christians are hypocrites and don’t actually follow the high values they talk about in the political world.

                Just a thought.

                USW

              • Hmm.. well said. I can definitely see where you’re coming from. When I see someone running a strongly “Christian” platform, I do occasionally wonder if they’re overcompensating for something (think Foley et al).

                I think where we’re going to have to differ is that I can’t see this as part of an organized attack on Christianity, but rather the inevitable result of so many (and there are a lot) of politicians proclaiming their attachment to the religion so strongly while ‘hiking in the Adirondack,’ exercising a ‘wide stance,’ texting congressional pages inappropriately, etc.

                Where V. sees conspiracy, I see the inevitable result of imposing a Christian litmus test on our leaders. And then when some of them act in opposition, it makes headlines due to the glaring juxtaposition. (“I think homosexuality is an abomination” + “I hired a male prostitute” = headlines) Of course it stands out in our minds.

                If all Democrats claimed to keep the Sabbath holy, but then several failed to do so in ways that catch our attention, aren’t we going to associate “people who claim to keep the sabbath” with “people who are full of it”? It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not an attack – it’s just our brains forming associations.

              • By consistently writing that this or that person is an espoused christian, and then pointing out all the ways that this person does not measure up. It is a round about way of marginalizing christianity. Disagree. Being Christian is a big plus when you’re running for office. Being strongly Christian is a bigger plus. By pointing out the ways in which the person does not measure up, they (A)neutralize this effect and (B)call him a hypocrite.

                It makes good sense.

                If the person said, “I’m a genius” (presumably a plus in a candidate), you might attack them with “his SAT scores were very low.” This (A)neutralizes his claim of being a genius and (B)calls him a liar.

              • But in your other comment you noted that people form associations, and you are correct in that. Do not underestimate the intelligence of those that work very heard to ensure that those associations are built. By consistently doing what we are talking about here, an association is being built that says all those who espouse devout christianity are hypocrites. It is an intentional move, and a dirty trick. It allows them to marginalize the religion without ever attacking it outright. I know you are smart enough and aware enough to see this in action consistently. It happens with many things. Christianity is just one example, but a poignant one in today’s political arena.

                USW

              • Moving left..

        • I don’t know.. I have a perfectly logical framework to explain why this happens.. I don’t see where these hidden forces are to influence and encourage these ‘attacks’.

          I can’t prove a negative, but it sure feels like you’re adding a narrative to an organic phenomenon.

          Lot’s of people run for office. Lots of them loudly proclaim Christianity. A small subset act in spectacularly un-Christian fashion. These people have enemies (as all powerful people do). When they mess up, these enemies hit them with the kitchen sink. This includes (A)failure to live up to their stated ideals and (B) hypocrisy. Seems logical.

          Where is the evidence to the contrary? I don’t rule it out, but support would be helpful. If it’s a concerted effort, who is behind it? Where is the evidence? What is their ultimate goal? How are they pulling so many strings?

          And lastly, what would you expect to happen when a senator says “homosexuality is a choice and it is a sin” and then is caught for having hired a gay prostitute? How could this story not include references to religion?

  13. A Puritan Descendant says:

    BF says >

    “And you know the irony? Almost no American has ever held a gold coin.”

    I say >

    I held gold coins. I sold them for cash to buy land. My return is heat, lumber, food, and cider, and all the leaves, bugs, and dirt a man could ever want.

    The down side? My land is always calling me to work.

    Now back to the subject of conspiracy, for a moment.
    Is there a conspiracy to put generations of Americans into debt? Not just with the debt we choose when we borrow from the banks, but what about the debt we and our children and chidren’s children are now locked into repaying maybe forever, to pay for all the programs that the government claims we needed and wanted? If so who are the evil doers who profit from us all?

    This is a conspiracy I might believe.

    • Puritan,

      The FED is a conspiracy – I think I posted on how it was secretly created.

      (1)Did they plan to impoverish the nation? Absolutely not.

      (2)Did they plan to enrich themselves? Absolutely.

      They didn’t figure into their plans at all that #2 would cause #1 – they didn’t have Mises or Keynes yet.

      They followed the example of the Bank of England – and from their point of view, created the Empire and the richest nation on earth.

      They didn’t understand the cost of mercantilism or the costs of empire – which destroyed the British empire. They were blind to that.

      So the muddled along – fulfilling Hayek’s warning – that in attempting to control an infinitely complex system created not by any one brain but the actions of millions self-desired human beings would risk destroying civilization itself.

    • Or, another way to look at it Puritan,

      If George W. Bush had done nothing major* in office, the US National Debt would have been paid off in 2006…
      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jan/15/david-axelrod/axelrod-claims-bush-saddled-obama-big-deficit/

      For deficit or debt, just do a search on “us deficit chart” or “us debt chart” – or something similar – and look at the links.

      Here’s one example – National Debt by President (I have no idea of the political leanings of this site):

      http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

      The current deficit spending trend started under Reagan, continued under Bush I, went down and actually had a surplus under Clinton, which was reversed back to deficit spending by Bush II and continued by Obama.

      * wars, tax cuts, unfunded programs, etc

      • Clinton’ surplus is a figment of accounting imagination.

        He simply took money out of Social Security, replaced it with non-marketable debt instruments, and claimed! Wow! Surplus cash!

        It’s like you writing an IOU you to your own piggy bank, taking money out of your piggy bank, replaced with an IOU – and saying “Wow, I have MORE money than when I started the game!”

        • Creative accounting…….that is exactly what Clinton did to have a cash surplus…..on the books….but not in the bank. Looks great on graphs and charts.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        The way I remember Reagan, he cut taxes which I thought was a good thing and still do. BUT he was never able or willing to cut spending.

        Bush Junior seemed to have no restraint at all.

        Obama, I need not mention.

        As for Clinton, my jury is still out on, as BF states someone may have been fudging the numbers.

      • Todd:

        “If George W. Bush had done nothing major* in office, the US National Debt would have been paid off in 2006”

        Absolute Bull Shit Todd, nothing more and nothing less.

        The surplus was gone by half way through 2001 and Bush hadn’t done a damn thing.

        The “surplus” was mostly created by unexpected revenues in Capital Gains Tax from the dot.com boom. Bubble bursted and govt made money on the way down. Once done, so were the surpluses.

        Per Alan Greenspan by the way.

        You can argue about the size of the deficits with and without Bush policies but you can not argue balance vs deficit.

      • http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=ms_mil_xpnd_gd_zs&idim=country:USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=military+spending+gdp

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

        Link 1 is military spend as a % of GDP. Link 2 gives military spending per capita in 2009 $.

        We spend less on defense per capita than in 1962 and substantially less than 1988 as a % of GDP. Note the significant decline in military spending through the ’90s. This was the peace dividend of which Clinton got the benefit. The DOT.com bubble also inflated government incomes as noted above as did SS borrowing. Hell the state of CA got drunk on DOT.com and still has the habits learned from then. Clinton had a Repub House that slowed down much of his spending and reformed welfare. G. W. Bush had to deal with the DOT.com bust, 9/11, and subsequent airline and other business losses, and the accounting fiascos (Enron, etc.) in his first 2 years. Unfortunately his colleagues in the Congress had gotten drunk on their own power. Even with that his tenure produced high employment and modest growth until near the end. Had Congress acted on his warning Re FMae & GMae, the housing bubble would have been muted. Bush did many things wrong, first of which was not vetoing any spending bills early in his first year.

        The blame belongs on Congress as much if not more than on the President.

      • BF & JAC,
        Just because you don’t like the facts does not make them untrue:

        2002 report from the Congressional Budget Office:

        2000 federal budget ended with a $236 billion surplus

        “The outlook for the federal budget over the next decade continues to be bright,” the report said. “Assuming that current tax and spending policies are maintained, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that mounting federal revenues will continue to outstrip spending and produce growing budget surpluses for the next 10 years.”

        “Under current policies, total surpluses would accumulate to an estimated $2 trillion over the next five years and $5.6 trillion over the coming decade, and would be sufficient by 2006 to pay off all publicly held debt that is available for redemption.”

        The future didn’t turn out like that, of course.

        On Jan. 7, 2009, two weeks before Obama took office, the CBO reported the deficit was projected to be $1.2 trillion. The 10-year projection was estimated to be about $3.1 trillion.

        • Todd,
          Read’m and weep.

          US Debt

          9/30/1987 Reagan/Democrat Congress

          $2,350,276,890,953.00

          9/30/1988 Reagan/Democrat Congress

          $2,602,337,712,041.16 +$252,060,821,088.16

          9/30/1989 Bush/Democrat Congress

          $2,857,430,960,187.32 +$255,093,248146.16

          9/30/1990 Bush/Democrat Congress

          $3,233,313,451,777.25 +$375,882,491,589.93

          9/30/1991 Bush/Democrat Congress

          $3,665,303,351,697.03 +$431,989,899,919.78

          9/30/1992 Bush/Democrat Congress

          $4,064,620,655,521.66 +$399,317,303,824.63

          9/30/1993 Clinton/Democrat Congress

          $4,411,488,883,139.38 +$346,868,227,617.72

          9/30/1994 Clinton/Democrat Congress

          $4,692,749,910,013.32 +$281,261,026,873.94

          9/30/1995 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $4,973,982,900,709.39 +$281,232,990,696.07

          9/30/1996 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $5,224,810,939,135.73 +$250,828,038,426.34

          9/30/1997 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $5,413,146,011,397.34 +$188,335,072,261.61

          9/30/1998 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $5,526,193,008,897.62 +$113,046,997,500.28

          9/30/1999 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $5,656,270,901,615.43 +$130,077,892,717.81

          9/30/2000 Clinton/Republican Congress

          $5,674,178,209,886.86 +$17,907,308,271.43

          9/30/2001 Bush/Republican Congress

          $5,807,463,412,200.06 +$133,285,202,313.20

          9/30/2002 Bush/Republican Congress

          $6,228,235,965,597.16 +$420,772,553,397.10

          9/30/2003 Bush/Republican Congress

          $6,783,231,062,743.62 +$554,995,097,146.46

          9/30/2004 Bush/Republican Congress

          $7,379,052,696,330.32 +$595,821,633,586.70

          3/08/2005 Bush/Republican Congress

          $7,746,290,500,431.39 +$367,237,804,101.07

          At no time did the debt go down.

          Every year the debt went up.

          I am unclear by what you may think
          ‘surplus’ means.

          • The government can have a surplus even if it has trillions in debt, but it cannot have a surplus if that debt increased every year.

          • Black Flag,
            The CBO has been the standard used on the budget impact of legislation. Many people here referenced it during the health care debates. I realize you make not like it – evil government and all – but I’ll stick with the standard that has been used here.

            I don’t know where you got your numbers, but I’m sure I could find some websites that trump up Clinton’s surplus and Bush’s deficits if you’d just like to trade more numbers.

            • Todd,

              I couldn’t care what the CBO says.

              The fact is

              you cannot claim a “surplus” if you have to borrow money.

              Since Reagen, every administration has borrowed money.

              In one year, Clinton needed to borrow less than he did last year.

              In your math, you call that a surplus??

        • Todd….one thing about the CBO….it only reports what Congress tells them to****. All this nonsense about how neutral they are, is, well, nonsense.

          The CBO can ONLY report and surmise off the facts and figures supplied by Congress. Like the revenue neutral health care program….Congress decided to drop some expenditures and reclassify them so it would not show in the CBO stats. (cooked the books) Figures don’t lie….but liars can figure.

          **** This is from what I read the CBO is all about.

          • D13,
            That’s not quite right. The CBO does standard budget estimates for each annual budget and all legislation that has budget implications. You are correct that only members of congress (or committee’s) can request a CBO report, but the members of congress do not supply the facts and figures that the CBO uses to create it’s estimate.

            See the difference?

            Health care example – a House or Senate Committee submits it’s bill to the CBO. The CBO says the bill will increase the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years. The committee adds a special tax on retired Colonels living in Texas and resubmits the bill to the CBO. The CBO determines that the special tax will raise $1 trillion in revenue over 10 years, so now the bill is budget neutral – and everyone is happy!! 😉

            • Ok…the committees add the extra…..My point is exactly as you state….the CBO can only use accounting tactics. However, the bills and the revenue requests, add ons, taxes, etc are determined by the house and the committees. All numbers submitted for the CBO to provide their proformas come directly from the members of the house or house committees. The CBO is not authorized to add or subtract from the bills or the numbers provided by the house. The CBO cannot state to get this you must do that. It can ONLY provide commentary on the numbers submitted. Will it or will it not do what we ask.

  14. cheers

  15. A Puritan Descendant says:

    I guess moveon will have some competition. I checked out the blog and other than some spam it looks like it is serious need of a ‘Black Flag’ 🙂

    http://www.freedomworks.org/

  16. Ok, looks like we need a lift today. Relax,go back forty years & check this out. Similar to improv everywhere. Cheers! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k

    • v. Holland says:

      Very Nice! I’m not down today just busy-Year End-but enjoyed very much. 🙂

    • Anita,

      Thanks for posting this. I have seen it before but I never grow tired of it. No matter how many times I see it I always end up clapping along and singing the song. And I am a bit jealous that I was not a part of it! I absolutely love people having fun with their lives.

      If you can’t enjoy it and laugh every day, there is really no point in living it.

      USW

      • US Weapon,

        You’re the last guy I was expecting to respond to this one. Gives me a softer take on you :).
        Sound of Music: first movie I ever saw and still my favorite.
        I’m going to try to pull this off at our annual street festival at night with glow sticks!

        • Anita, my love….We* do like these things….no, we love these things….even though we may be warriors….the soft side is ALWAYS there and maybe more so than those who have not seen the tough side….for it reminds us of life.

          Great post and I was smiling the whole way…marveling at the wisdom and the logistics it tool to make people smile and take 4 minutes of their day.

          * warriors are not evil, we love life, children, and music.

  17. TexasChem says:

    So…anyone else catch V.P. Biden and P. Obamas’ speech today about how they are going to take a stand for the middleclass? Unbelievable.The democrats lose the senate seat in Massachusetts and freak out…call in David Plouffe to advise for a rescue mission.All of a sudden we have this Populist movement when before all we had were moonbat leftist views being forced down our throats.Don’t know about you guys but it’s very difficult for me to believe this elitist viewing administration could suddenly be so compassionate and caring for us middleclass peons.We were lied to during his campaign in regards to his transparency beliefs and I can’t help but think he is blowing hot air for damage control looking towards the 2010 congressional elections.

  18. Having computer problems today. Cannot get my e-mail working in Outlook. Missed all the discussion today.

    • That is OK Birdman. There is no article posted on Monday night so this topic will continue throughout the day on Tuesday, unless someone else brings a different topic to the forefront. Missed your input today.

      USW

  19. A new word is being added to the dictionary.
    New word in the dictionary:

    Favred (FAHrv’d), v. To bring one’s team to the brink of victory through brilliant maneuver, but to lose by committing a colossal unforced blunder. Example: The Democrats favred their chances for health care reform when they lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.

    • Good one!

      • A lot of WI people were temporary Saint fans last night. Will welcome Favre back to retire his jersey someday but got pretty sick of his Diva-like ways and certainly not going to cheer for the Vikes.

    • Not completely fair…. he did win two Super Bowls. Hard to classify the guy a loser when he has been to the top twice.

      • Yessir…he did. But, (hard feelings here)…with the game against the Cowboys well in hand and no way of a comeback, to throw and run up a score…just for the record books made even Vince Lombardi roll over. So, that, and the “pants on the ground” diatribe made me root for N.O. to put his pants on the ground (and they did several times)is why I have the hard feelings.

        Now, setting emotion aside….gotta give the man credit. At age 40, being hit by line men and line backers moving at the speed of sound, and standing his ground….that is worthy of positive comment. A 320 pound, hard as a rock, defensive lineman hits me at mach 4 at any age….will make me a greasy spot on the turf. So, to that, I bow my head and say….better thee than me.

      • Oh don’t get me wrong; enjoyed many, many seasons of good football with Favre here. But even “heroes” can start thinking they are “gods”. Wasn’t happy with coaching decisions, player decisions, wanted trades made, and then the ongoing, emotional, “I’m staying, I’m retiring”. Believe me, most here stuck by him through a lot of his immature behavior. Finally, enough was enough and he was gone. I don’t think anyone cared when he played for the Jets – certainly his choice to once again un-retire. But football is a business and the Packer management made the right decision to prevent him from being picked up by anyone in our division. Well, of course, Favre was PO’d again at this so (I feel), revenge (and ego) became his motivation.

        Packer fans don’t cheer for the Vikings. Again, I’m glad the guy is still able to stand, although I’m guessing he is pretty sore right now, and will welcome him back to retire his jersey at Lambeau some day.

        And, for the record, he appeared in two Super Bowls, but only won one (beat the Pats in ’97; lost to the Broncos in ’98).

        • Kristian Stout says:

          In my opinion the only reason to watch the Vikings these days is rookie Percy Harvin. I follwed him from UF and if he leaves Minnesota I’ll follow him then too. He’s a great player!

  20. All,

    A little disappointing so far. I know that a lot of folks feel like economics is simply too complex for the average person to understand. But it is not. As BF noted to someone earlier, it is much easier than you think, the government makes it seem really complex so that you will never feel you have the right to an opinion! Well you do have a right to an opinion. So voice it.

    I am interested in any ideas on how we might regulate the banks without having the government involved. That was the point of this exercise. We all know what the realities are in terms of the size and scope of government right now. But looking at this from a solution based perspective, is there a solution that doesn’t involve government force, government red tape, and government favors for everyone but the average taxpayer?

    USW

    • Ok, getting the ball rolling

      If Ron Paul understands it, so can you

      Bringing Transparency to the Federal Reserve

      http://fora.tv/2009/06/24/Ron_Paul_Bringing_Transparency_to_the_Federal_Reserve

      It’s an hour long but very interesting.

      • Watching.

      • This is really good and explains a lot. Gil Schwartz, middle speaker and former FED employee, is part of the problem. Thinking like his is why we are in this shape.

        Very telling that the FED has hired a lobbyist to try to prevent this audit bill from passing. One of my senators is on the Senate Banking Committee and I’ve emailed him for an update.

        Interesting that one of the questioners asked Ron Paul about his personal safety because he’s pushing for this. Wow! Conspiracy theory at its finest.

    • Before the US House of Representatives, December 9, 2009

      Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2009.

      Currency, or money, is what allows civilization to flourish.

      In the absence of money, barter is the name of the game; if the farmer needs shoes, he must trade his eggs and milk to the cobbler and hope that the cobbler needs eggs and milk. Money makes the transaction process far easier.

      Rather than having to search for someone with reciprocal wants, the farmer can exchange his milk and eggs for an agreed-upon medium of exchange with which he can then purchase shoes.

      This medium of exchange should satisfy certain properties: it should be durable, that is to say, it does not wear out easily; it should be portable, that is, easily carried; it should be divisible into units usable for every-day transactions; it should be recognizable and uniform, so that one unit of money has the same properties as every other unit; it should be scarce, in the economic sense, so that the extant supply does not satisfy the wants of everyone demanding it; it should be stable, so that the value of its purchasing power does not fluctuate wildly; and it should be reproducible, so that enough units of money can be created to satisfy the needs of exchange.

      Over millennia of human history, gold and silver have been the two metals that have most often satisfied these conditions, survived the market process, and gained the trust of billions of people. Gold and silver are difficult to counterfeit, a property which ensures they will always be accepted in commerce.

      It is precisely for this reason that gold and silver are anathema to governments. A supply of gold and silver that is limited in supply by nature cannot be inflated, and thus serves as a check on the growth of government. Without the ability to inflate the currency, governments find themselves constrained in their actions, unable to carry on wars of aggression or to appease their overtaxed citizens with bread and circuses.

      At this country’s founding, there was no government-controlled national currency. While the Constitution established the Congressional power of minting coins, it was not until 1792 that the US Mint was formally established. In the meantime, Americans made do with foreign silver and gold coins.

      Even after the Mint’s operations got underway, foreign coins continued to circulate within the United States, and did so for several decades.

      On the desk in my office I have a sign that says: “Don’t steal – the government hates competition.”

      Indeed, any power a government arrogates to itself, it is loathe to give back to the people. Just as we have gone from a constitutionally-instituted national defense consisting of a limited army and navy bolstered by militias and letters of marque and reprisal, we have moved from a system of competing currencies to a government-instituted banking cartel that monopolizes the issuance of currency.

      In order to reintroduce a system of competing currencies, there are three steps that must be taken to produce a legal climate favorable to competition.

      The first step consists of eliminating legal tender laws. Article I Section 10 of the Constitution forbids the States from making anything but gold and silver a legal tender in payment of debts. States are not required to enact legal tender laws, but should they choose to, the only acceptable legal tender is gold and silver, the two precious metals that individuals throughout history and across cultures have used as currency.

      However, there is nothing in the Constitution that grants the Congress the power to enact legal tender laws. We, the Congress, have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, but not to declare a legal tender. Yet, there is a section of US Code, 31 USC 5103, that purports to establish US coins and currency, including Federal Reserve notes, as legal tender.

      Historically, legal tender laws have been used by governments to force their citizens to accept debased and devalued currency.

      Gresham’s Law describes this phenomenon, which can be summed up in one phrase: bad money drives out good money. An emperor, a king, or a dictator might mint coins with half an ounce of gold and force merchants, under pain of death, to accept them as though they contained one ounce of gold.

      Each ounce of the king’s gold could now be minted into two coins instead of one, so the king now had twice as much “money” to spend on building castles and raising armies. As these legally overvalued coins circulated, the coins containing the full ounce of gold would be pulled out of circulation and hoarded. We saw this same phenomenon happen in the mid-1960s when the US government began to mint subsidiary coinage out of copper and nickel rather than silver. The copper and nickel coins were legally overvalued, the silver coins undervalued in relation, and silver coins vanished from circulation.

      These actions also give rise to the most pernicious effects of inflation. Most of the merchants and peasants who received this devalued currency felt the full effects of inflation, the rise in prices and the lowered standard of living, before they received any of the new currency. By the time they received the new currency, prices had long since doubled, and the new currency they received would give them no benefit.

      In the absence of legal tender laws, Gresham’s Law no longer holds. If people are free to reject debased currency, and instead demand sound money, sound money will gradually return to use in society. Merchants would have been free to reject the king’s coin and accept only coins containing full metal weight.

      The second step to reestablishing competing currencies is to eliminate laws that prohibit the operation of private mints. One private enterprise which attempted to popularize the use of precious metal coins was Liberty Services, the creators of the Liberty Dollar. Evidently the government felt threatened, as Liberty Dollars had all their precious metal coins seized by the FBI and Secret Service in November of 2007. Of course, not all of these coins were owned by Liberty Services, as many were held in trust as backing for silver and gold certificates which Liberty Services issued. None of this matters, of course, to the government, which hates competition. The responsibility to protect contracts is of no interest to the government.

      The sections of US Code which Liberty Services is accused of violating are erroneously considered to be anti-counterfeiting statutes, when in fact their purpose was to shut down private mints that had been operating in California. California was awash in gold in the aftermath of the 1849 gold rush, yet had no US Mint to mint coinage. There was not enough foreign coinage circulating in California either, so private mints stepped into the breech to provide their own coins. As was to become the case in other industries during the Progressive era, the private mints were eventually accused of circulating debased (substandard) coinage, and with the supposed aim of providing government-sanctioned regulation and a government guarantee of purity, the 1864 Coinage Act was passed, which banned private mints from producing their own coins for circulation as currency.

      The final step to ensuring competing currencies is to eliminate capital gains and sales taxes on gold and silver coins. Under current federal law, coins are considered collectibles, and are liable for capital gains taxes. Short-term capital gains rates are at income tax levels, up to 35 percent, while long-term capital gains taxes are assessed at the collectibles rate of 28 percent. Furthermore, these taxes actually tax monetary debasement. As the dollar weakens, the nominal dollar value of gold increases. The purchasing power of gold may remain relatively constant, but as the nominal dollar value increases, the federal government considers this an increase in wealth, and taxes accordingly. Thus, the more the dollar is debased, the more capital gains taxes must be paid on holdings of gold and other precious metals.

      Just as pernicious are the sales and use taxes which are assessed on gold and silver at the state level in many states. Imagine having to pay sales tax at the bank every time you change a $10 bill for a roll of quarters to do laundry. Inflation is a pernicious tax on the value of money, but even the official numbers, which are massaged downwards, are only on the order of 4% per year. Sales taxes in many states can take away 8% or more on every single transaction in which consumers wish to convert their Federal Reserve Notes into gold or silver.

      In conclusion, Madame Speaker, allowing for competing currencies will allow market participants to choose a currency that suits their needs, rather than the needs of the government. The prospect of American citizens turning away from the dollar towards alternate currencies will provide the necessary impetus to the US government to regain control of the dollar and halt its downward spiral. Restoring soundness to the dollar will remove the government’s ability and incentive to inflate the currency, and keep us from launching unconstitutional wars that burden our economy to excess. With a sound currency, everyone is better off, not just those who control the monetary system. I urge my colleagues to consider the redevelopment of a system of competing currencies and cosponsor the Free Competition in Currency Act.

      • 111TH CONGRESS
        1ST SESSION

        H.R. 4248

        IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

        December 9, 2009

        Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 12/9/2009

        A BILL

        To repeal the legal tender laws, to prohibit taxation on certain coins and bullion, and to repeal superfluous sections related to coinage.

        Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

        This Act may be cited as the “Free Competition in Currency Act of 2009″.

        SEC. 2. REPEAL OF LEGAL TENDER LAWS.

        (a) IN GENERAL. — Section 5103 of title 31, United States Code, (relating to legal tender) is hereby repealed.

        (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT. — The table of sections for subchapter I of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 5103 and inserting the following new item: “5103. [Repealed]“.

        SEC. 3. NO TAX ON CERTAIN COINS AND BULLION.

        (a) IN GENERAL. — Notwithstanding any other provision of law —

        (1) no tax may be imposed on (or with respect to the sale, exchange, or other disposition of) any coin, medal, token, or gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or rhodium bullion, whether issued by a State, the United States, a foreign government, or any other person; and

        (2) no State may assess any tax or fee on any currency, or any other monetary instrument, which is used in the transaction of interstate commerce or commerce with a foreign country, and which is subject to the enjoyment of legal tender status under article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution.

        (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This section shall take effect on December 31, 2009, but shall not apply to taxes or fees imposed before such date.

        SEC. 4. REPEAL OF SUPERFLUOUS SECTIONS.

        (a) IN GENERAL. — Title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking sections 486 (relating to uttering coins of gold, silver, or other metal) and 489 (making or possessing likeness of coins).

        (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT TO TABLE OF SECTIONS. — The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 25 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the items relating to the sections stricken by subsection (a).

        (c) SPECIAL RULE CONCERNING RETROACTIVE EFFECT. — Any prosecution under the sections stricken by subsection (a) shall abate upon the taking effect of this section. Any previous conviction under those sections shall be null and void.

        • hmmmm: let’s see…I need milk, eggs, couple two litres of Dew, and………..

          No disrespect to Mr. Paul.

      • Do you really think Madame Speaker understood a single word of that?

      • Black Flag:

        Paul’s idea sounds really good. Does he have any backing for this? My guess is that he does not.

        I hope that Ron Paul considers running for President again. If the Tea Party movement backs him, that would mean alot.

  21. Come On!

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201001250009

    Is this the best they can do? When they go after Obama with stuff like this, it’s hard not to see the flagrant bias of Fox.

    Bah Humbug.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Yeah,

      To me, disrespecting the office is having an intern under the desk while you are without pants and smoking a cigar (and then doing other things with the cigar).

      Anything less than that is really no big deal 🙂

      • My only objection to Monica is that the President has an obligation to be a role model to the American people. By his actions, he is saying “I am married to a pant-suit wearing shrew and haven’t been laid in a decade, so I am going to grab the nearest intern and get it on.” This, of course is not acceptable.

        What he should have done is found the nearest super-model and got it on. Think Kennedy and Marilyn – now that’s leadership I can look up to.

    • Mathius:

      Come on my man, don’t fall in the trap. Who cares what the media thinks of itself? Little strange don’t you think that this outfit is so fixated on one network?

      I am more interested in your take on USW’s question regarding bank regulations.

      I see absolutely no reason or need for regulations, in the long term. That is after VDLG is implemented.

      But how do we get there? Right now today, what is the real issue and how do YOU think it should be addressed?

      Time to put on your thinkin cap.

      Best to you this morning
      JAC

      • JAC…..I have been ponderin’ on this. A little while ago, I posted to USW about my kids not knowing certain things about our government. I wonder if I am on the right set of tracks.

        Short of aligning the cross hairs between the eyes, education seems to me, to be the starting place. I just don’t see 2016 or 2020 being a big bust. This world is just to damned resilient.Unlike my philosophy on there is nothing too big to fail, I feel the US is positioned in exactly that place….globally..we are too big to fail. I feel that I am pretty saavy on economics. I understand the theories and I understand the global impact…. I cannot, not can anyone else, predict tomorrow. They can guess and sometimes guess right but economic theory is just that…theory. There is plenty of economic history to fall back on but not enough history that projects the technological age. Hell, when hard times hit the East or Europe, no one knew it for weeks. Now, you know in nano seconds. In the stock/bond markets…there was no predetermined sell rule set by computers. Everything relied on human factors. Now, computers and cell phones are tied to everything programmed to read age old signs and respond in like. Nothing new.

        So, how to get the US, much less, the world to change? Education…and not by liberal professors or conservative icons. Reasonable (cough cough) looks at history and economic boons and busts during that those times. Getting the public in the know starts with us…I think.

        I do not believe that letting the system implode and anarchy to take over is the way….besides, I do not think the system will implode…not to zero. So, where does the education start and with whom and it will take generations.

        • D13:

          Good morning Colonel. To the point(s).

          History shows us that the USA is NOT to big to fail. Big is relative to the time in history.

          As BF has said before here, the elite will try to prevent total collapse as it would be devastating. But, they may not be able to prevent it. They can not predict the results of all there actions nor account for the unknown, as you said. It is precarious enough that one event could tip it all over.

          Economics is not really all theory. The Austrians among others have shown us a better path which looks at economics as simply the result of action. Theories only come into play for those who think they can direct the outcomes by interferring in the descision making process of the individuals who make up society.

          If we don’t take action soon regarding the budget deficits I think 2015 to 2020 will be the Bust. That is when the SS and Medicaid/medicare starts really piling up and the money isn’t there to pay for the obligations. It will be a SHOCK heard round the world when the Amercican public finally gets a grip on REALITY.

          Education does start with us and it started big time 12 months ago. It is growing but I would say right now it is in the searching mode. This site is a microcosim of what is going on all around the country. First denial, then anger and frustration, then learning. And of course then comes more denial and anger and frustration as we find we have been lied to our entire lives.

          Biggest challenge I see TODAY is that many folks are angry and frustrated and thus far to open to “simple” explanations and “solutions” being posited by many who have their own views of history and reality. I am working with a “conservative” group here that is primarily trying to educate its members as to what is going on.

          Many are still in the “Obama is the problem” mode. Others get that it has been both sides but are struggling. But as each speaker comes and presents their case for what ever conspiracy, idea, goal, etc I see many wanting to accept that as fact. The challenge is to get them to continuously challenge. We always finish each meeting with “don’t take anyone’s word on this stuff. Do you own homework”.

          Now for the good. There seems to be many technological advances on the near horizon that could completely change the world we are dealing with. What if energy suddenly became inexpensive? But, none of those changes will impact the ECONOMIC problems we have or are going to have. That is a purely POLITICAL problem.

          Your thoughts? You thinking of a VDLG University or something?

          JAC

          • Sorry to butt in but that’s what is needed. JAC- you be the professor not on the board please. Flag, Peter, and SK,SR. also come too mind.

          • JAC says: As BF has said before here, the elite will try to prevent total collapse as it would be devastating. But, they may not be able to prevent it.

            D13 responds: I can see the rationale in that statement but I do not think that it will be allowed to collapse….Globally allowed. I still think that the US us the mainstay of the world…even over China and our debt. My opinion, of course.

            JAC notes: Economics is not really all theory. The Austrians among others have shown us a better path which looks at economics as simply the result of action.

            D13 responds: I understand this as well. But, in studying the Austrian approach more fully, I do not see where this works in total but I am still reading and studying it. Never paid much attention to it before as I discounted my economics courses as being biased and very anti freedom and anti US and only did what I needed to do to pass because discourse was not allowed unless we agreed with the prof…and they were all socialists in belief.

            JAC correctly states: Many are still in the “Obama is the problem” mode. Others get that it has been both sides but are struggling. But as each speaker comes and presents their case for what ever conspiracy, idea, goal, etc I see many wanting to accept that as fact. The challenge is to get them to continuously challenge. We always finish each meeting with “don’t take anyone’s word on this stuff. Do you own homework”.

            D13 surmises: I think this is a huge problem. Most people want a leader and anyone who espouses close to their beliefs is going to be a Messiah. I can see it in my own leadership. I can be very persuasive and people will follow blindly. I do not understand this. I have always told everyone….do your own research and learn. Ask questions. But economics is something that most will say..”it is over my head, I must rely on someone else”. This is ok to a point but one must always question and hold accountable those put into the trust of reason.

            A VDLG University…..hmmmmmmmmmmmm

            • D13:

              You and I apparantly share a trait called “command presence”.

              Even us Mavericks can have it.

              Because of that I try not to talk to much at meetings with large groups unless it is to ask questions or correct absolute errors.

              Other wise I try to meet with the leaders/organizers to explain where their efforts could lead them down the wrong path.

              Best to you and yours
              JAC

              • Ahhhh…JAC..it is lonely at the top…..and hard to keep one’s mouth shut at meetings and town halls until the nuts finally shut up and the real people who understand step forward…..sigh.

    • Matt…question for you….

      First a disclaimer….I do watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc. I do listen to three radio broadcasts as I drive….it was four but Air America is now gone. Two broadcasts are on conservative talk shows and only one left on a moderate to liberal talk show. It seems that there are no more liberal shows left.

      Having said such, if Fox is so wrong, why is it so popular? I do not always agree with it and respond in kind but I have found them to be more truthful than CNN and MSNBC. I will grant you that the bias of each come out…but the factual side of things tend to support Fox more than the others….same with the radio shows….

      And before you ask…when Rush comes on, the station changes. I do not listen to him. So, I am not a “ditto head”.

      But why do you think? (And, this is a serious question…no raptors lurking.)

      • Having said such, if Fox is so wrong, why is it so popular? Well it’s popular to do a lot of things that aren’t good. Everyone likes to see opposing viewpoints get trashed and have their pre-conceived notions affirmed. Fox is just feeding into it. Where I have a hard time is their ardent claim of neutrality which is blatantly false. Perhaps all three are guilty but it seems (to me at least) that they are not so in equal measure.

        But my real objection is this: it’s simply a blatantly partisan attack and it is easily fact checked. Everyone knew that Bush put his feet up and didn’t always wear a jacket (and even if it weren’t common knowledge, that’s why they employ fact checkers, no?). Everyone knew this and they chose to attack Obama for disrespecting the office when he did the same thing. It would have been another thing if the headline read “President continues previous President’s precedent of disrespecting the Office of the President” – catchy, no? It is simply dishonest – not even biased – but downright and fundamentally dishonest.

        Can you show me (I’d be very interested, this is no sarcasm) just a blatant example of CNN or MSN doing something comparable? I’m sure they’re out there, but none come to mind.

        • During Tuesday night’s coverage of the Massachusetts special election, CNN and MSNBC aired only a fraction of the Republican candidate’s speech. Fox News Channel aired both candidates’ speeches in their entirety.

          …. CNN only ran 26% of Brown’s speech, 80% ofCoakley
          while MSNBC aired 37%, 100% of Coakley.

          Fox News Channel carried 100% of both speeches:

          Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2010/01/25/blatant-vs-balanced-cnn-msnbc-played-faves-mass-election-night-speeches-#ixzz0djb3MJJw

          • Bias, stipulated.

            Where’s the dishonesty?

            • Matt,

              You work in finance? If you were required to report to a customer the numbers on two possible investments, and were to present 100% on one company (that you like for personal reasons)and 37% about the other, you could be called biased. Someone from the slighted company might use other words to describe your behavior. “it’s simply a blatantly attack and it is easily fact checked”.

              Of course, a reputable company would fire you for such un-professional behavior.

              • I don’t know.. I see your point.. but I just don’t think they’re equivalent.

                If I report Company A is great, and say everything there is. Then say Company B is great, but only talk about it a little. I have still said both are great. Yes, it may incline people to Company A, but it doesn’t mislead you about B.

                For counter example, imagine that I am talking about two competing cereal companies. If I say, “Cereal A be is good. It has 100% of vitamins A, B, and C.”, and “Cereal B is good. It has 100% of vitamins A, B, and C. But it has no vitamin Q.” What are you going to think? You’ll assume Cereal A does have vitamin Q, no? Ah, but I didn’t say that.

                This is a better comparison. Fox is reporting on both Presidents in large part. But they’re also pointing out a negative for one that they didn’t for the other. They’re implying that Bush did respect the office and that Obama didn’t. By deliberately omitting the detail, they are deliberately misleading you.

                Just ask yourself: If I knew nothing other than was I read/saw in this article, what would I assume about Obama’s behavior versus Bush’s in the Oval Office?

                Does that clarify what I’m trying to say, or just muddy the waters?

              • Matt,

                That “article” comes from
                FOX Nation, their opinion
                board. This is not “reporting”, and there are no claims from them it is such. For Media Matters to label editorials as news is dis-honest, and in my opinion, deliberate.

              • An interesting and perfectly legitimate point. I would only say that Fox should do a better job of distinguishing between their news programming and their opinion programming. When they name them similarly and run them on the same channel – Fox NEWS Channel – and they both appear to be news, it is deceptive.

                If it is their opinion arm, however, they were still in the media, and they were still dishonest. Yes, I agree, MM should have said something about Fox declaring Fox Nation to be opinion only, but that is not the point really.

                The point is that, for a lot of people, officially opinion or otherwise, Fox Nation is the news. And they’re being fundamentally dishonest. And MM was calling them out on it.

                If the Daily Show (clearly opinion) was run in a serious manner on CNN, and reported in a way that appeared to be legitimate news, but was in fact biased or misleading, I would expect MM to call them out as well. Regardless of how the station has internally classified the show.

        • When it comes to something as asinine as to putting feet up on a desk or wearing a coat? Similar things but not those things…does not matter.

          The inference of the double standard by whomever, is not acceptable. My question was primarily just wondering why….even when there is a double standard introduced….is Fox popular when the others are not? Makes one ponder. And the ratings even come from the competitors. They do not understand it either and they are losing sponsors…just wondering why.

          Just interesting, is all. I listen and watch all of them.

          • I think the answer is staring you in the face.

            People like to hear their own views echoed back to them. They like to see their side supported and the other side trashed. Fox does this more/better than anyone else, so they draw the biggest crowd.

            On the left, we have two options, so we split the ratings. And neither of which is as biased (biased, yes, as biased, no).

            So all the conservatives go to Fox. Most of the liberals split MSN/CNN. And poof, there’s your rating explanation.

            In ye olden times, around the Revolution, all news papers were blatantly biased. You knew, upon picking up a paper, where the editor stood, and who the target demographic was. And much, much more so than Fox has ever dreamed of being. There was no illusion of ‘fair and balanced’ reporting. If you wanted both sides, you had to read two papers (probably more). But the niche papers were wildly popular. Same sort of phenomenon at work here.

            • How do you explain that Fox alone leaves all the others combined in the dust?

              • Like this:

                Assume (just go with it), that the country is 50-50 conservative/liberal.

                Now, all conservatives go to Fox because fox is better at providing the above services (reinforcing beliefs, trashing opponents, and providing news).

                Most liberals go to CNN/MSN but not all because the are not as good at drawing in the crowds (they don’t provide sufficient red-meat).

                So, 100% of 50% go to fox. And, let’s say, 75% of 50% go to CNN/MSN. So Fox gets 50% and CNN/MSN combined get 37.5%.

                Now just plug in real numbers and see how it works out.

              • Real numbers say you’re in the dust. SEE? You complicate everything-even numbers.

              • I’m just explaining the numbers.

                If, as people here have claimed, conservatives outnumber liberals 60-40, and more conservatives watch fox than liberals watch CNN/MSN, then .60*.80 = 48% for Fox, versus .40*.70= 28% for CNN/MSN. Viola!

              • Displaced Okie says:

                kinda related: anecdote of why Displaced Okie quit watching CNN for a time.

                A few years ago I was watching a car chase. I was flipping between CNN and Fox News(they had different choppers up, thus different views). Anyway, as the chase wound down the PD’s Tac-Team moved in to remove the guy(caj jacker, I think) from the vehicle The CNN anchor’s version (paraphrasing): The black clad jack-booted thugs are removing the man from the vehicle.
                The Fox guy (again, paraphrasing): The brave police officers are taking this idiot off the street.

                Today, I see three “wrongs” that occurred that day
                1. CNN put a spin on the coverage.
                2. Foxnews put a spin on the story- Even though I agreed with their take, it was still spin)
                3. I quit watching CNN because of this incident.

                That said, I can see where the network that embraces the cops, is going to get better ratings than the one that embraces the carjacker.

                oh, and for the record, Mathius. I was in Southwest Tarrant County(D13’s territory)
                and I saw a stock trailer loaded with what I believe to be Raptors with cat-sized saddles on them. Now, I don’t like to speculate, but I think the Colonel does indeed have a plan.

                Stay safe and live Free,

                Displaced Okie

              • I have a katana and a wakizashi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakizashi). I’ll use the katana on the raptor and the wakizashi on the cats.

                Bring it.

                Unless they’re big cats.. did you notice any Cheetah or lion sized saddles? That could be a problem..

            • I know this had to hurt the HuffPost to write this article but true is true.

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/29/fox-news-2009-ratings-rec_n_406325.html

    • The article is talking about Fox Nation not Fox News. Is not Fox Nation a place where bloggers go to rant?

      • That’s how fox gets away with it. They say “our news is balanced, but our commentary may not be.” But then they don’t clearly distinguishing between the two. So it’s news when it’s balanced, but commentary when it’s biased/deceptive. But watching it, you’d have no idea which is which without outside sources.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          To add to that point, even the actual news broadcasts on Fox News are laden with misleading headlines on the bottom of the screen.

          Not saying this is not true of CNN and MSNBC, but agree with Mathius that it is to a much greater extent on Fox.

        • To be fair, Mathius, I regularly watch Fox News. I never see anything from Fox Nation. It is a different website that I simply don’t visit. I am not interested in the opinions there because it seems to be a lot like the Fox Forums, a lot of partisan bickering.

        • I did a search, and found this only at FOX and political blogs, etc. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and so on, no story. Is it possible FOX just has better reporters?

          here is an excerpt from a lengthy piece of investigative journalism from Fox News’s James Rosen (HT to an e-mailer):

          Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor

          Despite President Obama’s long history of criticizing the Bush administration for “sweetheart deals” with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
          Story Continues Below Ad ↓

          The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan.

          …. The legality of the arrangement as a “sole source,” or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver signed by the USAID administrator. “They cancelled the open bid on this when they came to power earlier this year,” a source familiar with the federal contracting process told Fox News.

          “That’s kind of weird,” said another source, who has worked on “rule of law” issues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about the no-bid contract to Checchi & Company. “There’s lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work.”

          …. Asked if he or his firm had been aware that the contract was awarded without competitive bids, Checchi replied: “After it was awarded to us, sure. Before, we had no idea.”

          …. Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too “busy” to comment on it. “I’ll tell it to the people in Haiti,” Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.

          …. As a candidate for president in 2008, then-Sen. Obama frequently derided the Bush administration for the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding.

          “I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” the senator told a Grand Rapids audience on Oct. 2. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.”

          …. The records show Checchi has given at least $4,400 to Obama dating back to March 2007, close to the maximum amount allowed. The contractor has also made donations to various arms of the Democratic National Committee, to liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org and ActBlue, and to other party politicians like Sen. John F. Kerry, former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont.

          I seem to recall that the “sweetheart deals” for Halliburton were often sole-sourced because Halliburton was the only company that could credibly claim to have the capabilities required. Rosen’s report indicates that this clearly isn’t the case with the work awarded to Checchi

          So …. will the rest of the establishment press risk the tattered remnants of its credibility, follow the White House’s suggestion, and ignore the story because it’s coming from Fox?

          Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2010/01/25/fox-reporting-25-mil-no-bid-contract-went-dem-donor#ixzz0dknIeuHQ

  22. It is not so much that the topic is daunting, it is, like USW said, how can it be reformed?

    The government shows no inclination that they wish to step back from imposing controls on almost anything. Many, many moons ago there was a move afoot which got a great deal of press at the time, it was called “Sunset laws”. The theory was that any legislation or regulation should be sunsetted after a certain amount of time. If the law/regulation proved successful, it could be renewed. If it did not or if it outlived its usefulness it could just fade away.

    Like term limits, a natural partner if there ever was one, there was a lot of talk but not a lot of support. It would offend, equally, the left and the right. Think, on the left, equal opportunity laws. They die because they are no longer needed. On the right, think marajuana and other drug laws, they die because they are no longer effective or relevant. See, everybody is offended.

    Regarding economics, why exactly is government involved in mortgage financing? What is one of the biggest moneymakers and reasons to exist for banks? Why, mortgage lending of course. Everyone acknowledges that the economy tanked, this time, and for that matter in the late 80’s and early 90’s because of the real estate market. Yes, there were other factors but the proximate cause was the mortgage market collapse. And for all but the brain dead zombies, the finger points directly to government involvement. We know it was Frank and Dodd and their cohorts. We point it out. A few more or less conservative commentators keep pointing it out. The mass media however is caught up, for their own reasons in redirecting the blame, they can’t allow that to happen. So, despite the smoking guns, and there are smoking guns, their line is, ” Ignore that man behind the curtain”. I guess, from a purely moral position, banking directors bear some responsibility for failure to disclose both loudly and repeatedly but their guilt pales in comparison to the failures of the “public watchdog” the press.

    So, how do you stop the government from stepping too far into the economy? The answer is to elect people who don’t believe in it. Do I think that that is possible? Despite the recent awakening in the country to both the power of the electorate and their realization that the “government” does not have all the answers, it will be an uphill fight. It is only through our uniting in blogs like this and non-standard media that change will occur. The change must start from the bottom up. Only when local legislators point out successfully that the “gifts” received from the state and feds are nothing but a partial return of what was stolen from you to begin with and then point out that it is better to live without than be sucked into the cycle of dependency will things change. What is the liklihood of that?

    This fall, there may be a sea change again in government. Do the people have the power to insist from those running to reform the current mess that they commit themselves to real change? I offer, for example, a demand that anyone running for federal office sign on to restoring the welfare reforms of the 1990’s. Most people still do not even realize that they were done away with almost immediately with the advent of this administration. In addition, when you find yourself talking about term limits do not hesitate to add “and sunset laws”.

    Over time I would suggest that the government get out of the student loan subsidy business which will not in the long run hurt students but will force higher education to go cold turkey. They should get completely out of the home ownership business with a similar effect on both the cost of a home as well as the costs associated with closing on a home. .

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      It looks like they knew what a “Sunset Law” was when they set Bush Jr’s Tax Cuts to expire in 2010.

  23. USW….one thing that I am seeing in the real world is something BF mentioned. For the first time, I have had people ask me…Just who the hell is Bernake? Who is Geitner? What do they do? Just exactly what is the function of the Fed?

    Man on the street interview last week. Hannity asks a New Yorker….who is the Vice President of the United States? Answer….”ummm…I really don’t know…Bernake, I think.”

    I am like BF on this in that the Fed is suddenly becoming news. They are getting nervous.

    My son is 38 y.o.a. My daughter is 34 y.o.a. None of them know what the Fed is, who runs it, who sets policy…..shame on me for not training them earlier..but when one is coaching basketball, football, volleyball, softball, cub scouts, Indian Princess, and managing to fight wars all at the same time….who the FED is..is not on the radar screen.

    That said…they are now interested and trying to understand the economy and what drives it. So, perhaps the more younger gens are getting interested quicker. All I have to do is tell them not to rely on the internet as gospel…. research, research, research.

  24. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    One reason why it is literally impossible to fix or solve this problem at this time is the ridiculous amount of debt which we have allowed ourselves to build up, and the fact that much of that debt is owned by other countries.

    The US has effectively ensured that we CANNOT go back to a dollar that is fully backed by gold and silver. If we did that, and left the dollar at it’s current value, China and Japan would simply demand immediate repayment of their debts in silver and gold, and we simply do not have the silver and gold to do that. So, the only way we could go back to a dollar backed by silver and gold would be to state that a dollar would buy (perhaps) 1 millionth of an ounce of gold (thus making the price of an ounce of gold 1 million dollars), and even then our gold supply would be thinly stretched in the repayment of our debt. This would also be akin to adding an extra 3 zeroes to all of our currency (that is, a $20 bill would have to become a $20,000 bill to keep up with the devaluation of the dollar).

    The federal reserve is never going to allow any of that to happen if they can at all help it, and even if we could force them back onto a gold standard, do we really want to face the consequences of that?

    We are going to have to figure our way out of the mess, but the only way out is to get ourselves OUT OF DEBT and then return to a sound currency. It seems to me that if we attempt to return to a sound currency prior to eliminating or greatly reducing the debt, the consequences could be catastrophic.

    Of course, our other option is to simply default on all current debt, declare the dollar currency non-grata, and adopt a sound currency after summarily cancelling all of our debts. I suspect if the Fed were ever audited, most of the “big bankers” and all of their associates/cronies would be hanged for treason, we would unilaterally cancel all of our debts, and we would adopt gold and silver as real money.

    If we ever did so, other countries would either attempt to attack us (which is luckily difficult) or attempt to completely isolate us (but the US has tremendous natural resources), so I suspect that although the consequences would be highly unpleasant we would find our way through.

  25. Come on, people, you can no longer blame Obama for being a “socialist”. What this clown has given away to Wall Street Banks makes the mob look generous. First he gives them OUR money, then he lets them off the hook for $38 BILLION in taxes (he let you off the hook for the same?) and now he wants to tax them again.

    He’s starting to make Dubbya look liberal.

    Regulate them? I would’ve ran an American flag up their flagpoles and nationalized them for the crap they pulled. Too big to fail? Baloney. We could’ve divied up all the loot President Fredo gave to Wall Street and given it to us. I still have friends who would’ve gladly put it back out on the streets as loans (and they would’ve been able to earn off it).

    This guy is the biggest empty suit I can remember. Proof positive that if you want someone to lead, get him (or her) from the streets (yes, including private industry) … leave the professors in the classroom. They’ve proven more enough they can’t function outside of a book.

    But please stop the whining … this guy is taylor made for you right wing whackos (I say that will total affection 🙂 …

    Clinton chased me to Bush and Bush made me want to shoot myself. This guy is managing to make Bush look like he knew what he was doing (and he was an idiot).

    I don’t know, brothers and sisters … I just don’t know anymore. Libertarians are starting to make sense to me. Seriously. If this is the best we can do (Republicans and Democrats), maybe we are better off on our own.

    • You can join me in my corner of the world……corralling Raptors and Cats….waiting….watching….and WE have a plan.

      How are you Charlie? Missed talking to you. Hope things are well in your parts o’ th’ woods.

      • Hanging in there D … i gave our entire house a virus Friday and we’re just recovering … messy weekend.

        Jets came down to earth Sunday. Colts were/are the better team. Don’t know about the saints though … look iffy.

        I’ll root for the AFC again.

        I miss you guys but have been busy with the new book. It launches in April so that’s been keeping me busy.

        Speaking of which, half of my third novel, Charlie Opera, is now available on Ebooks/kindle, etc. free. If readers want to keep going, it’s a $2.00 charge.

        Need to get some fresh air today. Watched Band of Brothers again this weekend and was very emotional. My father’s brother was killed in the Ardennes forest. Never met him but his picture is a mirror image of my youngest kid. I wish I couldn’t known him.

    • Charlie

      You still don’t get it. Which tells me you are unwilling to actually THINK about anything. Have you cut your ears off yet?

      Obama is a lefty. All the Bushies are lefties. Clinton was a lefty. Reagan talked like a righty and governed as a lefty.

      None of this “gentlemen”, and I use that word in the most shallow sense, are acceptable to those of us on the right.

      Statist = Left

      Freedom = Right

      And for the record. Obama IS NOT a socialist. He is a FASCIOLIST. That modern breed of pragmatic progressive who flops from fascism to socialism and back again depending on the situation. But never moving towards true liberty or freedom.

      Don’t worry though. Your favorite lefty is about to go underground for a face lift. By 2012 everyone will have forgotten all this and will believe him a “moderate”.. the game plan was created by Clinton and will be implemented again with Obama. They are starting early this time in hopes of fending off a Republican landslide in the midterms. That is all.

      JAC

      • JAC … I might even agree (to keep you from bursting an artery), but I don’t have problems with socialists and/or communists. I just want something legitimate; something I don’t feel is making a damn fool of me. I can live with higher taxes if they are actually for the greater good. I can’t live with what we have now because it is all a bad joke (which is the only reason I’m starting to feel the way to go may well be to go it alone and screw these clowns “representing” us).

        I still don’t believe in capitalism but if we have to leave it up to a bunch of empty suits in Washington, we might as well leave it up to ourselves.

        Anybody know if Pete has recovered from those first half heart spasms Sunday (at least until there was 2:00 minutes left in the half)?

        • Hi Charlie,

          I’m glad to see you’ve rejoined the land of the living and are feeling better. I’ve been down with the Crud this last week, myself. Welcome back!

          I have a question for you. Why do you believe that Socialists and Communists would be honest? I agree that the current crop of assclowns now inhabiting DC are a joke. HOwever, I don’t see why one bunch powerful people would be any better than another. As a fomrerly abused child and then wife, THE one lesson I’ve learned is to NEVER, EVER, SURRENDER YOUR POWER TO ANYONE! I don’t see how surrendering our power to communists or socialists will yield better results than surrendering our powert to assclowns.

          • Cyndi, you make a great point. It’s the flip side of my belief that man left alone would do the wrong thing, i guess. I “want” to believe that we’d all work together for our total benefit but that just may not be true.

            You are right about giving up power. Inevitably power corrupts and sooner or later, even if we found a group of people with best intentions in power, things could go sour.

            I just don’t know anymore. It is very upsetting watching this sideshow in DC. I want to believe those who say they are for the greater good really are, but that sure isn’t the case in DC these days. This is one humongous fiasco.

            That said, I’m not a believer in greed is good. I don’t believe that for a second. The one thing I do know is niether major party can come close to getting my support. I’d vote extreme one way or the other before I’ll ever go with Dems or Reps again.

            • I’m not being a smartass when I ask this. What is your definition of greed?

              • assclowns? the words we come up with! LMAO

              • Glad to make you laugh!

                You’re in fine form today, BTW. Your exchange with Matt ahd me laughing.

                🙂

              • 🙂

              • Banks sticking it to consumers with 19% charges on credit cards, handing out loans willy-nilly without concern about whether they can be paid back or not, then defaulting and getting bailed out (and then rewarding themselves with record bonuses and salaries off our tax dollars); essentially what just happened. My son works at Goldman Sachs (for an outsourcer they use) and the avg. Goldman Sachs employee salary was close to $600K … for what? Going broke the year before. Hell, I’ll do that for $300K … it’ll be a bargain!

                Also the kind of greed by business that required unions to form; look at sports today. It is pathetic but is no doubt the result of greedy ownership.

                Greed in the sense of profit at the expense of basic human dignity, I guess.

              • I think we can all agree with that definition.

                How does socialism or communism prevent that? How do those systems prevent greed? Isn’t greed part of human nature? Are socialist and communist systems free of greedy individuals and/or corruption? To me, it looks like each system has its own set of problems. We may trade what we have now for socialism, but we’ll be trading one set of problems for a new set of problems. I don’t see where ‘greed’ is eliminated, or even reduced by doing so. Greed is part of human nature.

              • You are right … which is why I’m thinking this over more and more. I still don’t believe we can deregulate everything but maybe we are better off on our own.

              • I feel pretty much the same way. No one looks out for me as well as I look out for myself.

                🙂

            • Charlie there is no greater good watchman in DC. That is a word created by the greedy politicians to justify theft from you and I to line their pockets.

              • No, that is a Democratic line of shit, I’ll give you that. The Republicans generally make no bones about being for big business.

                Either way, they aren’t doing squat for me or the middle class.

              • Charlie

                So what is it you think the Govt should “give” the middle class?

                More Cookies or just a thriving economy?

                You CAN’T have both.

    • Charlie! I used to be afraid of you. Welcome aboard 🙂

      • Nothing to be afraid of. I want to start my own party, the Curmudgeons. I think we all pretty much want the same thing (to not feel like fools) but what we have now is such a sham it’s become beyond depressing. I get angry now when I hear about this sudden concern for the middle class. He wants to “fight” for me? Really? Where the hell was he when he was giving my money to corporations, one of which outsourced my weekend job. Now I can only work 5 days a week (I never minded working 7).

        Besides, I’m a big teddy bear …

  26. This was sent to me. never have seen it before but worth mentioning.

    An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,
    but had recently failed an entire class.

    That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

    The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.
    All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

    After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
    The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
    As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
    The second test average was a D!
    No one was happy.

    When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
    The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

    All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

    You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

    D13

    • D13

      I might add “You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”, or subtracting from it.

    • Excellant D13

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Socialism versus Capitalism, for Dummies

      Three brothers are on food aid. They each get a free bag of baking beans per day.

      The first brother always eats his beans right down.

      The second brother saves a few beans until he has enough to trade for a six-pack of beer. He has a great time! He repeats the process over and over.

      The third brother saves a few beans every meal. He does not exchange them for beer or any other desires. He plants the beans in the spring. His harvest is small. He saves the beans until next year and plants all his beans. Now he has enough to eat for himself and more than enough to plant the next year. He plants his beans again and begins selling his surplus but always keeping enough beans to increase his output of beans. Now he is the Bean King of his County. At this point he eats, drinks, parties all he wants without fear of ever being in need again. He hires his two brothers and puts them to work. They now can take care of themselves.

      Moral of the story? Make sure you are born along with a smart brother…. or Capitalism can work…. or my favorite “Create Real Wealth” 🙂

  27. Something Cindi shared with me,

    Joel Bowman, a long, long way from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial,
    reports…

    “Freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” –
    Eric Arthur Blair (a.k.a. George Orwell)

    That the United States of America was this week demoted from its
    formerly “Free” categorization by The Heritage Foundation to that of
    “Mostly Free” should come as no surprise to any semiliterate,
    moderately contemplative individual. Americans living under the tyranny
    of a Big Brother-style government hardly needed a Washington-based
    think tank and a Wall Street Journal to tell them what they don’t want
    to hear. They can flick through a thousand channels of cable television
    and find plenty of that. Still, the report does raise some points worth
    discussing.

    “The US government’s interventionist responses to the financial and
    economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined
    economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth,” the
    foundation wrote. “Economic freedom has declined in seven of the 10
    categories measured in the Index.”

    According to their website, the foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom
    “measures 183 countries across ten specific freedoms such as trade
    freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights.”
    This year’s publication was the first time in the index’s, albeit
    somewhat brief, 16-year history that the Land of the Free dropped out
    of the “Free” category. The US now ranks a still respectable 8th on the
    list, one spot behind Canada and at the head of a group that includes
    Bahrain, Georgia and Botswana. Perhaps more alarmingly, the nation
    experienced the steepest decline in score (since last year’s index) out
    of any of the world’s largest 20 economies. Poland, Mexico and Turkey
    enjoyed the biggest advances.

    Perhaps the report means nothing…perhaps not. We have no doubt that
    many people will take issue with some of the findings therein, and
    probably justly so. All the same, few would insist that, as the world’s
    largest debtor and with one in ten workers “officially” out of a job,
    the state of the union has never been better. So how did the 20th
    century’s leading economy – one declared and established, in part, to
    emancipate itself from the burdensome oppression of British taxation –
    arrive at this juncture?

    Under the leadership teams of Bush-Paulson and Obama-Geithner, the
    United States government has embarked on an unprecedented, bipartisan
    effort to destroy economic freedom in what was once considered the land
    of opportunity.

    The US now taxes at an increasingly uncompetitive rate globally and
    state intervention into private enterprise has proved a disastrously
    ineffective substitute for the corrective forces of the free market.
    Where elected officials ought to concern themselves with protecting
    individuals’ property rights, they tread on them at every available
    opportunity. Where they ought to spend minimal funds defending their
    own borders, they spend too much attacking others’. And where they
    ought to show fiscal and monetary restraint, they debase the nation’s
    currency, pile up domestic obligations they can never hope to honor and
    incur deficits abroad that threaten to drag the entire economy asunder.

    Add to this meddling the government’s conservatorship of Freddie and
    Fannie, bailouts to reckless banks and pinhead insurers, the de facto
    nationalization of the auto industry and a litany of other public make-
    work scams, all determined to borrow demand from the future to bolster
    opinion polls today. Trillion dollar deficits now hang like a noose
    around the neck of every United States citizen, rich and poor, old and
    young. Children not yet even born are already in hock to foreign
    nations and still their own government inflates away their future
    earnings at monthly Treasury auctions. Future generations are chained
    to debt before they have ever made or spent a dime.

    Furthermore, through invasive wage manipulation at both ends of the pay
    scale – namely minimum wages and executive compensation caps –
    Washington has effectively waged war on the free market’s ability to
    determine its own prices for labor.

    If a greedy CEO ruins his company with risky bets and/or enrages the
    public by dolling out lavish bonuses to foolhardy managers, the
    government must resist the temptation for a populist intervention and
    instead allow the free market to “clean house.” Sponsoring the
    shysters’ ineptitude with taxpayer dollars and then expecting them not
    to funnel the money into their own pockets is the epitome of poor
    fiscal stewardship. The government ought not to concern itself with
    private corporations, instead allowing them the freedom both to succeed
    and, just as importantly, to fail.

    It will come as no surprise to free market enthusiasts that the
    foundation’s report also discovered/confirmed that higher levels of
    economic freedom are also positively correlated to an increase in per
    capita GDP and in “overall wellbeing,” resulting in “greater access to
    education, reduced illiteracy, increased access to higher-quality
    health care and food supplies, and longer life expectancy.”

    Should this sound like we’re simply stating the obvious, ask yourself
    why, at every possible juncture, your elected officials are doing the
    exact opposite of freeing up the economy? If throwing big government to
    the wind and entrusting it all to the free market still inspires a
    little fear and trepidation, one might be interested in a quick look at
    the performance of the foundation’s “freest” economy…for the last 16
    years running.

    Bill Bonner and co-author, Lila Rajiva, described Hong Kong’s economic
    ascent in their book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets: Surviving the Public
    Spectacle in Finance and Politics.

    http://clicks.dailyreckoning.com//t/AQ/6QY/7xo/AAE7Kw/Ag/AuaCkw/vx6o

    • Hi Jackson,

      Looks like another baby step toward One World Government. Control the money and you control the world……

  28. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Testing. I am having problems posting. 4th attempt.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Figures it would work now after I lost the book I just wrote. LOL Time fer a nap.

      • APD,

        Your comments went into moderation for some reason. I saw three versions of the same comment. I approved the first one and deleted the other two.

        USW

  29. Truth Seeker says:

    I haven’t posted in a long time, but I do keep reading. A couple of points that I see:

    I love it when I see people say that we could of had a “Surplus”. If the government has a “Surplus”, that means they are taking to much money away from YOU. The government should get just enought money to pay the bills and pay down debt.

    I keep seeing people and the media demand the banks and other corporations pay more taxes, or even pay taxes on the TARP. People fail to realize that banks and corporations do not pay ANY TAXES at all. We do. If you want to tax a company more, you will pay more for their service. All you ended up doing is giving the government proxy money. It would be fascinating to see how much tax the American people truly pay when you consider that fact that companies of any type do not actualy pay it. Could you imagine how much cheaper things would be if companies didn’t have to charge you more for “tax”? And you would have a better grasp on how much the American people truly pay.

    The same philosophy applies to minimum wage. The more you raise it, the more you fund the government and you pay more for the same products…The only way to penalize a company is to make it fail.

    Please ponder that.

  30. This is an interesting tidbit. I wonder why he’d want to kill himself….if he DID kill himself.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a0BjhQEWsLDU

    WEF Security Officer Dies in Probable Suicide, District Says Share Business
    By John Fraher

    Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) — The World Economic Forum’s chief security officer was found dead in his hotel room this morning after a probable suicide, the Grison local authorities said in an e-mailed statement.

  31. I found it; here is how the US Securities and Exchange Commission explains our government monetary system. It’s really quite simple to understand. The last paragraph is the most important one.

    http://www.sec.gov/answers/ponzi.htm

  32. Mathius,

    ndfnaskbfdfbsdbh234sfad (the sound of me smashing myself in the face with mykeyboard)

    And once again, from the top…

    as3893ncfui23u324#$dra3

    Oh no! The world has just realize the worthlessness of the dollar and the illegitimacy of government. China calls in its debt and the US collapses overnight. With the US goes every other government. In the span of 24 hours, the world is reduced to total anarchy!

    234njk90kl;sdmafoasl;

    After the mass die-offs, we are left with nothing but free societies exactly as you view them.

    2q23rnjfmklfn32iovn

    But there’s a problem. Some people, for whatever reason, can’t seem to cut it. They are broke and homeless and have no means of either creating jobs for themselves or finding jobs within the society. You feel inclined to help them out. This is due to your own good nature and nothing else – you don’t like to see suffering when you can do something about it.

    sdafankln3lnn324n!! (ouch)

    There is one charity operating within your town. You do not have the time or money to found a new competing charity, nor do you have the excess capacity to work for the charity directly. This charity currently just gives money (small denomination gold coinage) out to help these people not starve. No strings attached.

    324nhf0jweiofasdafijio$#*

    Along comes this guy. He says what he said in the article and is attempting to gain control of the organization to make the above changes.

    23n4nnsf890sjiofn$#Nion

    Again, you willing give money because you want to help alleviate the situation. You are free to give nothing, but there is no alternative way to help the poor in any substantive way in this scenario. Do you feel that his changes, in general, would be a step in the right direction.

    NFNN3!N@*(UIONASDF

    My ol’friend and foe, Mathius.

    Why do you go through such great lengths of hypothetical fantasies to try to achieve a principle you can trust?

    I do not need to satisfy neither flying breathing dragons nor Santa Claus whilst determining what right/wrong is.

    First, there never exists “only one charity” – pure myth. There might be only one ORGANIZED charity, though unlikely, but I am, like you are, just as capable of individually giving.

    If I do not like how a charity works, I do not give.

    Further, I do not give on a promise of future action. I can do future action by myself. If I do chose a charity is it based on historical operation – I want to see what they do.

    Further, I rarely give to larger organizations of charity – they are emotional-mills. I work and find a charity aligned with me (I don’t try to align them to me) that provides a long return on my money. I’m more ‘buy a cow and a plow’ then ‘give food and water’ type of a guy. I know those that only give for tax reasons fund the larger guys who do the food and water.

    So, no. Sing all the songs you what, I’m a let’s see how you dance type of a guy before pennies fall out of my pocket.

    • Blast you, Pirate, but you’re a wiley one…

      You are capable of giving privately. Conceded. You are equally capable of giving nothing. Conceded. This is all completely becide the point you’re so ably dodging.

      You wish to pool your resources. In your post-apocalyptic town, only one organized charity has come into existence at this time. There are a number of individuals in dire need of help. You wish to help them by whatever means you can provided, of course, it doesn’t impose on others or exact too high a price on you.

      It’s track record stands as I stated, they give gold out with no strings. This has not been particularly effective and has created a version of welfare dependency. But this guy is trying to change things as he described. If we accept as a given* that he is sincere, do you support his candidacy based on his stated approach?

      *he is personally vouched for by someone you trust as honest in his intentions.

      • Mathius,

        Since I would not participate without first seeing results – I would neither support or disclaim him.

        Since I have no stake in the outcome – it matters not one wit to me, better or worse.

        Mathius – old friend. I know you are still a young man.

        It is dangerous to involve yourself in situations where the outcome does not matter to you.

        You become what is known as a “busy body” – butting one’s nose into other people’s business where it does not belong.

        I am often asked for advice or opinion – and where appropriate I offer it. But that is all.

        I refuse to DECIDE for someone else where I am not also a stakeholder.

        I cannot afford someone, later on, suffering from my decision coming back at me. I either face it with them as a stakeholder, or I mind my own business and decline deciding for them.

    • Let’s actually try a slightly different approach.

      It’s 2010. The US is still around. The government is still taxing you. There is currently a welfare state.

      There is a major charity operating in your area. This charity has, historically, just given out money to the poor. This man, Bauer, is trying to change their modus operandi. He explains his approach as in the article.

      You are eligible to vote for or against this man in his attempt to take over the board.

      Nobody is forced to take money from this charity, so any strings which the charity attaches are strings to which to person willingly commits themself to. Nobody is forced to donate to this company. All people are free to contribute as they see fit.

      The ballot arrives at your door:

      Do you vote in favor of the candidacy of Bauer for Chairman of the Board of Charity X?
      -Aye
      -Nay

      It comes with pre-paid return postage included.

      And remember, it’s not really about him – it’s about the methods he brings to improving the nature of the welfare state.

      • Mathius –

        I would not vote.

        I think you have heard that from me before.

        You wish to tie a VOLUNTARY organization to be equal to some political action that is rooted in INVOLUNTARY contribution.

        It simply can’t be done.

        You cannot justify a political force based on the decisions other men make or not make voluntarily.

        There are core principled reasons why certain actions are refused voluntarily ( or done voluntarily) that cannot be reasoned where there is the use of violence to obtain funds.

        (1) It is not his money. He is spending someone elses – if he ‘blows it’ – he suffers no loss except face.

        Thus his decision matrix is wholly different.

        It’s like in Poker – a guy thinks and bets and plays a whole lot different when there is $10,000 of his money at risk vs. match sticks.

        So you cannot reason the decisions he makes playing with match sticks based on how I may play with $10,000!

        In your voluntary charity question – directly – as I said, I would not vote.

        I would not vote because I have stake in the outcome. It therefore would be wholly inappropriate to involve myself in a decision process where I have no stake in the outcome. Why I am involved then?

        I would mind my own business and leave them be to their own decision and self-caused consequences.

        • Opps, miss a negation and the whole sentence goes backwards…

          Replace “I would not vote because I have stake in the outcome.”

          With

          I would not vote because I have NO stake in the outcome”

          • Stick to him BF. Don’t let him rattle ya.

          • Oh, did I forget to mention that you have personally contributed to this charity before, and that is why you are eligible to vote? Also, you care deeply about the plight of these people and hope to do what is best for them – though it is not evil (inaction cannot be evil, right?) to refrain from voting, choosing to exercise your (generally superior) judgment in support of a good cause is probably a good thing.

            However, if you still opt not to vote then I’d like to ask, just as a friend, I am curious, how might you have voted, had you been so inclined?

  33. Mathius,

    would appreciate it if you would refrain from beating me with your keyboard in the future. It is immoral to inflict violence upon others.

    That said, full employment is simply not feasible – even in Flag’s society, there will always be some who are unable to find work.

    Perhaps they are uneducated. Perhaps they are physically disabled. Perhaps they are mentally handicapped. Perhaps some combination of the above. Perhaps they have job skills which did not translate well to Flag’s society (politician, for example).

    Housing should be no trouble now that I think of it, because after the die-off, there should be plenty of vacant homes. But food will be hard to come by, at least for a while, as will arable land. Fish stocks, too, will be in short supply.

    You can say let him die, but that’s not very nice of you. And Flag is, despite everything, actually very generous and wants to help. So he donates to his charity – the only one operating in his town.

    Perhaps he realizes that, without help, they will simply rob his house while he is out at work and thinks it best to avoid having to track them down and kill them to get his stuff back.

    In any event, the question stands and no amount of keyboard violence will change that.

    So again, you plea to ‘terrible suffering’ to justify your action – even if it causes suffering.

    You trip over two fallacies of logic, sir.

    fallacy of necessity – unwarranted necessity is placed in the conclusion.

    “If we don’t feed them, they will burn down civilization, or die in the streets” (paraphrased)

    fallacy of appeal – because the conclusion is undesirable, it must wrong.

    “If people suffer, BF’s society failed”

    First and foremost
    No matter what you do, Mathius, you can not solve all human suffering.

    The Universe is built that way. Sorry, you can try to change the laws of nature, but I’d suggest that action would be futile.

    Thus, it is futile to attempt to build a principled society based on elimination of suffering. The best we can do is mitigate some of it.

    Thus, society cannot be based upon involuntary transferring of suffering from those that carry the suffering to those that do not deserve it.

    Therefore, any strategy that at its root is an involuntary transfer of suffering will eventually destroy society

    Further, no human society in history, including the most violent and brutal, has ever allowed its members to suffer without some attempt of relief. It is human nature, as herd animals, to empathize with other humans, and many times, other living things.

    We can easily trust the nature of man’s own instincts about empathy and its consequence – charity. Then each person can measure – for themselves – the level, and the purpose of that charity.

    Anything that tries to force that will significantly damage the fabric of society – perhaps to a degree to destruction.

    • Ah, sir, that’s not at all the question here though.

      No one is asking about involuntary monetary transfers. This is about willful donations to a charity operating in your town.

      And I never said eliminate suffer, but rather to help to alleviate it.

      We are accepting here that you cannot cure all ills, that you are in no way obligated, and that you, being a good and kind-hearted person, wish to do what you can to help the less fortunate.

      So you have three options:
      A. Do nothing and see what happens.
      B. Continue to donate to the charity which just gives handouts of small denomination gold* coinage.
      C. Support this guy’s attempt to modify the operation of the charity in the ways he specified.

      *Perhaps they use tin coins which are stamped with a seal recognized by local stores which voluntarily accept these in exchange for food. We shall call these “food stamps.”

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        Eventually you will realize that BF simply uses nature to prove his point, whereas you are required to build these fantastic constructs in order to ATTEMPT to prove your point…

        Which is easier, my friend?

        🙂

        • It’s like arguing with quicksand. I am trying to ask a question about efficacy, but he rejects the premise. So I have to take the scenic route to get him to answer the underlying question.

          The real question is: Which is better welfare as is, or welfare as this guy envisions it?

          But Flag rejects welfare, taxes, voting, the government, fiat currency, and virtually everything else. So I need to strip all of these out before we can find his answer. We are left with bizarre scenarios, but ones where I can hold ceteris paribus.

          He’ll give you his answer eventually.. but he’ll make you earn it.

          • Mathius,

            I reject your false dichotomy.

            It isn’t
            “is his form of welfare (with taxes) better than someone else’s welfare (by taxes”

            The answer is plainly neither: they are both insane, evil and destructive to social order.

            There is ‘no lesser evil’

            They guy believes in exactly the same thing as they guy he replaced….”Government solves problems..”

            His tactic is merely different.

            So he uses an Uzi to wipe us out vs instead of the other guys MAC-10…

            …Big Darn Deal!…

            He is slaughtering the economy.

            Now if he came back and said – “We’re going to cut 25% of the welfare payments every year – ie: quarter-life of welfare is a year – then I’d be more prone to suggest he is ‘doing something positive’.

            But that’s not what he is doing at all – his budget will increase – not decrease – for welfare.

            He simply wants to pile a larger amount on people he SUBJECTIVELY believes is more morally “right” according to him, then someone else.

            He is merely using welfare to forward his own subjective moral principles – and that is pure evil.

            • There is ‘no lesser evil’ It is evil for me to punch you. It is MORE evil for me to kill you.

              Now, to the question.. again, if this were not funded with your tax dollars, would you suggest that his method is an improvement in efficacy over the existing method. Because it’s not funded with tax and nobody is forced to take the money with strings attached, there is nothing evil about it, correct? So the question stands: Which is more effective? Handing out money in the method of our current system (regardless of the source), or handing out money with strings as he lays out?

              In a vacuum, if you please.

              Adding, I would like to amend my earlier analogy. Arguing with you is more like fighting a tar pit than quicksand. This allows you to to stay with the black theme you have going.

              • See post regarding stakeholder.

              • Uh oh Matt…I was with you until this…

                Matt says: It is evil for me to punch you. It is MORE evil for me to kill you.

                D13 says: Noooope!!!..It is the same amount of evil…only the outcome changes. It matters not that you beat me with a baseball bat until unconscious or that you kill me with your knife. You assaulted…period. Only the outcome changed. I live or I die…the evil is the same.

                I release a Rapsamese in your direction and I have confiscated your Katana….due to weapons control laws. Evil. If the Rapsamese eats you and your young…still evil. Not a worse one….unless you dwell in the land of….ready for it….SEMANTICS. In this land, you kind find the town of evil and all its hamlets.

              • And I said all that WITHOUT a Dr Pepper. Whoa.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “The amount of pain and joy in the universe is constant; however, one can be converted into the other.” (Spider Robinson)

      In my view, freedom has a high tendency to convert suffering into joy, tyrrany has a high tendency to convert joy into suffering.

  34. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey all

    I thought this might fit in with what you’re talking about, but I’m not sure.

    Hope all is doing well today.

    “To reconstitute political life in a state presupposes a good man, whereas to have recourse to violence in order to make oneself prince in a republic supposes a bad man. Hence very rarely will there be found a good man ready to use bad methods in order to make himself prince, though with a good end in view. Nor will any reasonable man blame him for taking any action, however extraordinary, which may be in service in the organizing of a kingdom or the constituting of a republic. It is a sound maxim that reprehensible actions may be justified by their effects, and that when the effect is good, it always justifies the action. For it is the man that uses violence to spoil things, not the man who uses it to mend them, that is blameworthy. A prince should therefore disregard the reproach of being thought cruel where it enables him to keep his subjects united and loyal. For he who quells disorder by a very few signal examples will in the end be more merciful than he who from too great leniency permits things to take their course and so result in chaos and bloodshed; for these hurt the whole state, whereas the severities of the prince injure individuals only. It is essential therefore, for a prince who desires to maintain his position, to have learned how to be other than good, and to use or not use his goodness as necessity requires. Everyone sees what you seem to be, but few know who you are.”

    – Niccolò Machiavelli

  35. Hi Ya’ll! 🙂

    Finally had some time to catch up alittle. Didn’t read all the posts about USW’s article, but can pretty much guess what most said, 😆

    My first impression when reading USW’s words was the term that is often mistakenly used, that is BANKS, as in plural. My impression of the industry is that despit the different names of Banks, it’s really just one big bank with different names. They all play by the same rules, to get rich with our money. Credit cards, from any bank, basically has the same rules as any other bank.

    I did catch some of Flags posts, and he, in all his economic wisdom, as well as a few others, reminded me that by taxing the banks, it will just cost their customers more. Banks don’t pay taxes, that pass that cost onto their customers, just like everyother business.

    Can’t wait till spring! 🙂

    Peace and Live Free!

    G!

  36. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    This is in response to a few of the things which Charley asked about earlier:

    Yes, heart palpitations were a problem at 17-6; however, as soon as the Colts finished off the half with a touchdown and made it 17-13, I knew the Jets were toast.

    Why do banks charge $34 overdraft fees and 19% (or more) on credit cards? BECAUSE THE ARE ALLOWED TO BY REGULATION!!! If banks were really independent competitive businesses (which they are not), they would have to do things to COMPETE for your business.

    If they were allowed to charge whatever they wanted for overdraft fees, they could collude, and all charge $100 per overdraft, but then people would simply stop using banks, so this would not be in their best interest. So, in a free market, some banks might charge $100 per overdraft, and some might charge $1.25 per overdraft, and most would be in the middle. The ones that were over-charging would not get much business, and the ones that were under-charging would get too much business from irresponsible people who over-drafted constantly due to the low penalty. These banks would start to lose money and would raise their fees.

    The banks which had a reasonable fee which people could tolerate but which was also high enough to ensure that people were not encouraged to recklessly overdraft would end up being the most successful. They may not have the most CUSTOMERS, but they would make the most profit, which is the definition (in business) of success.

    With “regulation” you simply ensure that every bank is going to act in lock-step with whatever the Fed allows the banks to do. The Fed is essentially an absolute banking monopoly.

  37. Judy Sabatini says:
  38. Mathius,

    There is ‘no lesser evil’ It is evil for me to punch you. It is MORE evil for me to kill you.

    The evil is the violence – both are violent, both are evil.

    The consequences are different; though I would say the latter is a worse consequence – they are both acts of evil.

    For example, many punches have killed a person. Though in your understanding, the punch is less evil – suddenly becomes more evil due to death. You have a contradiction where you measure initiation value by the consequence.

    But it is the initiation that always creates the evil – no matter the consequence.

    Do not punch me, or initiate violence on me, and I guarantee I will not die by your ‘evil’ hand – no matter the consequence for the remainder of my life.

    Now, to the question.. again, if this were not funded with your tax dollars, would you suggest that his method is an improvement in efficacy over the existing method.

    No.

    Because he is using a tax-driven, government-violence funded scheme to forward his own moral position – he hates druggies.

    But aren’t they human too? Do they not suffer too? Isn’t just as fair to steal and loot for them as anyone else??

    Answer: No. It is not fair to steal and loot for anyone.

    But claiming he is a ‘better man’ because he using his power of violence to punish those he who do to themselves what he thinks is immoral is a moral confusion.

    I try not to give money to people who are confused.

  39. Judy Sabatini says:

    Ten Tweets to Obama

    By Jon Kraushar

    – FOXNews.com

    Are you listening, Mr. President?

    1. Massachusetts = Community Reorganization.
    2. Yours is also “the people’s seat.”
    3. “This is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past.”
    4. We the People invite you to drink tea.
    5. Please listen, don’t dictate
    6. Call C-Span!
    7. Switch from a limo to a truck.
    8. Heckuva job, Brownie.
    9. “Yes, We Can” works two ways.
    10. We’re taking back our country: one politician at a time.

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