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Feb 28

A Big Conflict of Interest by Our Government

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28

Congressional Democrats Over The Top Attacks On Toyota Are Politically Motivated And Serve As A Warning Against Too Strong A Central Government

The feeding frenzy by the Federal government and the news media regarding Toyota illustrates the dangers and threats to rights of “non-preferred” groups and companies that a too powerful, corrupt central government presents. It should serve as a warning for all of us including those who may still support Obamacare and government take-overs of other areas of our economy.

You can be sure if this were a problem with GM or Chrysler vehicles which the government presently owns, we would not be witnessing such a spectacle. In fact, these two companies have had decades of history of woefully inferior and flawed vehicles that have been subject to countless recalls yet Congress rarely besmirched them as they are doing with Toyota right now. During most of this period, Toyota has been the paragon of excellence and a great employer for hundreds of thousands of workers.

This is not to say that Toyota is innocent of charges. They are not. But, the Federal government, now with the Democrats in charge, clearly has a severe conflict of interest and is paying back and going to bat for one of its largest and most powerful constituencies, the labor unions. You see, Toyota has its plants in non-union right to work states, a situation that the labor unions and their leaders abhor.

Congress Puts Toyota On Show Trial
Investors Business Daily     02/23/2010

Commerce: Toyota's leaders are in for nasty star-chamber hearings in Congress, with politicians grandstanding and regulators pointing fingers. It's no way to treat a big employer that contributes so much to our economy.

When Toyota first came to the U.S. in the 1950s and took out TV ads in the 1960s, the Japan-based company was ridiculed. How could its dinky little cars compete with the mighty Big Three automakers for the American market?

But by the 1970s, word got out that Toyota was making a superior energy-efficient product and it won the public over.
That success seems to be why Toyota is being singled out for loud hearings by two congressional panels for its recent recall of nearly 650,000 cars. "While Honda recalled 636,000 models last month and Ford recalled more than 4 million vehicles last year, neither company was subjected to a Congressional Hearing," noted Americans for Tax Reform in a statement.

Small wonder then that a Toyota internal memo declared the current climate in Washington is "not industry friendly."
That's a fact.

The problem is that while beating up Toyota may serve the political aims of some, its real effect will be to kill jobs, corrupt any semblance of impartial regulatory action, discourage foreign investment, and defund cities and towns whose tax bases depend much on Toyota dealers. In short, the show trial will make us all poorer.

For starters, Toyota employs over 200,000 Americans across the spectrum of the auto industry. Parts plants, assembly plants, dealerships and repair shops all owe their existence to Toyota.

Already plants are shutting down and employees are being laid off, beyond all proportion to the recall problem, because of the congressional effort to drag Toyota through the mud.

City governments take in significant revenues from these operations. Don't think they won't feel the impact of these hearings.

Yet there's more than a whiff of Saul Alinsky's community organizing principles in this noisy government campaign against Toyota — "Pick a target, personalize it, freeze it, polarize it."

So now Congressional committees are hauling in Toyota's president Akio Toyoda all the way from Tokyo to testify. It's a sorry spectacle because Toyota has tried to be a good corporate citizen.

Recall that the first complaint against Toyota in the 1970s was that it imported cars to the U.S. instead of built them here.

So, Toyota built plants here, employing some 30,000 U.S. citizens directly. In the process, it also subcontracted to American companies — such as the one that makes the pedals in question now — all to make the "Buy American" crowd happy.
Toyota also bowed down to Jesse Jackson's race-baiting corporate shakedowns, giving him much of the $7.8 billion it set aside for "diversity" to hand out to his favored groups for his programs.

Now with the recent events — including Toyota's president making an unprecedented apology for the recall of 8.5 million vehicles with suspect accelerator pedals, a humiliating loss of face in Asian culture — Toyota officials must be wondering why they even tried.

The effort to take them down continues because of one thing the unions — and the union-friendly Obama administration — can't forgive: Toyota's choice of states for its plants, states with good investment climates and nonunion right-to-work laws.

As U.S. rivals like GM and Chrysler survive on government bailout money and continue to employ inefficient and expensive union labor, and their U.S. government owners try to regain market share for them, what better way than to discredit Toyota out of all proportion to its supposed sins by using Alinsky-style tactics?

Evidence is piling up that this is political.

First, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has a conflicting dual role as both regulator and owner of rival auto companies, advised Americans not to drive Toyotas.

Now Politico reports that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee is calling for an investigation of Transportation department officials' e-mails. These may show they improperly conferred with insurance agency officials about congressional testimony to cover up for Transportation Department neglect of its regulatory duties.

In an atmosphere like this, why would Toyota want to invest more, hire more or try to please political powers as a good corporate citizen? Or any other company?

As Congress tries to discredit Toyota and destroy its market share out of all proportion to its transgressions, the ultimate effect will be to hurt America's interests most.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=522007

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Feb 27

Cause and Cure?: Spending Beyond Ability To Pay

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27

How Much Personal Information Should We Provide The Census Bureau?

The U.S. Census Bureau has mandated that we complete the census forms that are replete with very personal, specific and comprehensive information. In a perfect world, if the information were to used in a benign, non-political way it may still be concerning to us. However, there are so many unanswered questions including issues related to privacy, security, usage of the information by other government agencies for reasons other than general data collection, etc. that are problematic.

The following video exposes some quite relevant and serious issues that should give us all pause before we provide the government with extremely valuable, unique and intimate information.

The Census Is Getting Personal

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Feb 26

MSNBC News Is, Well … Imbalanced

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26

Liberal Democrats and the News Media Are Viciously and Contemptuously Attacking Americans

The news media and “our” liberal politicians see themselves as so elitist and righteous that they are resorting to attacking the American people who disagree with their policies. They disparage us as ignorant or benighted simply because we are exercising our Constitutional (and inherent) rights to oppose their far-left positions. Democracy has suddenly become an inconvenience for them as it has made passage of their various bills which would further restrict and control our rights and freedoms and plunder more of our hard earned wealth, nearly impossible.

This is also exactly why they are viciously attacking and denigrating the Tea Party Movement, a grass roots movement that represents an angry middle America. We are sick and tired of politicians imperiously foisting expensive and irresponsibly solutions on us, ransacking ever increasing amounts of the fruits of our labor, and destroying our economy, jobs and freedoms yet they live by another set of rules (including their gold plated healthcare plan), corruptly aggrandize themselves with our tax dollars and evince a general antipathy toward the people who are suppose to be their bosses.

This must stop. These despicable, arrogant, corrupt politicians must be voted out of office ASAP!

As for much of the news media, a boycott of their products and programs can be quite effective. In the following article alone, several of these are quoted from that excoriate Americans that we can place on this list:

Times Magazine, Newsweek, New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker

To this we can add other far-left media like: MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS

Money, or the lack of it, talks. Let’s be quite loud on this issue!

Blame Americans First
Democrats lose patience with democracy.

By Matthew Continetti     March 1, 2010

What’s the clearest sign the Obama agenda is in trouble? That’s easy: the string of jeremiads in the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets of fashionable opinion. Unable to tout the administration’s successes, and worried about Republican ascendancy, liberals have assigned responsibility for the mess they’re in neither to their program nor to their methods but to larger, structural faults in American politics and society. Beginning with you.

You aren’t too bright, for one thing. After all, opines Jacob Weisberg in Newsweek, the “biggest culprit” behind “our political paralysis” is the “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.” You simply do not know what’s good for you. “On many issues these days,” writes the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein, “the American people are badly confused.” “The people may have spoken,” writes the New -Yorker’s James Surowiecki. “It’s just not clear that they’re making any sense.” In a blog post titled “Too Dumb to Thrive,” Time magazine’s Joe Klein cuts to the chase: “It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you’re a nation of dodos.”

The problem, as Weisberg sees it, is that America “simultaneously demands and rejects action on unemployment, deficits, health care, and other problems.” Note the myopia. For Weisberg, the only conceivable “action” on any issue is limited to the policy preferences of liberal Democrats. No other options spring to mind.

This is nonsense. Just because the public says the economy is important does not necessarily mean it has to support a stimulus measure that has added massively to the debt without much benefit. Just because the public is concerned with rising health care costs does not mean that it has to support a bill that could alter existing health care arrangements and increase costs in the long-term. Steven Pearlstein writes that Americans “want to do something about global warming.” No they don’t. Global warming came dead last in a recent Pew survey of public priorities.

The reason health care, cap and trade, and the other blocks of Obama’s New Foundation are unpopular isn’t public ignorance. It’s that the public sees them as counterproductive—and in many cases beside the point. The people’s representatives have responded to a variety of signals, from falling poll numbers, to town hall protests, to GOP victories in -Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Which is precisely how democracy is supposed to function.

And that’s the problem, says Kurt Andersen in New York magazine. “American democracy has gotten way too democratic.” The “thoughtful, educated, well-off, well-regarded gentlemen” who designed our Constitution “wanted a government run by an American elite like themselves.” But the “populist impulse” abroad in the land today has scared legislators into obeying the people’s demands.

It was not always thus. “In the old days,” Andersen laments, “the elite media really did control the national political discourse” and “presidents and congressional leaders could pretty well manage the policy conversations” without the public trying to butt in. But there’s no going back now; “maybe our republic’s constitutional operating system simply can’t scale up to deal satisfactorily with a heterogenous population of 310 million.”
This liberal uneasiness with democracy is not new. In 2003, in The Future of Freedom, Fareed Zakaria made the case against too much public involvement in government. In 2008, in Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Thomas Friedman dreamed of America becoming “China for a day” so that he could impose his environmental agenda on a truculent populace. In a 2009 New York Times column, Friedman wrote that a dictatorship, “when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today,” has “great advantages” over democratic systems. In the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows writes that “whatever is wrong with today’s Communist leadership [in Beijing], it is widely seen as pulling the country nearer to its full potential rather than pushing it away.” Nevertheless, the Democrats probably aren’t going to run on “Communist China Does It Better.”

What makes the liberal jeremiads confusing is that they work at cross purposes. On one hand, you’ve got the attacks on the people’s intelligence and representative government. On the other, you’ve got the attacks on American institutions for not being representative enough. Which is it? Are the people the problem, or is their government? According to Fallows, it’s the latter: “Our government is old and broken and dysfunctional, and may even be beyond repair.”

The culprit is the Senate, which gives equal say to states with small populations and requires 60 votes to pass legislation. Fallows says these minority rights have turned the Senate “into a deep freeze and a dead weight.” “America is not yet lost,” Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, “but the Senate is working on it.” In a Huffington Post blog, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, writes that special interests are “using the filibuster to stop legislation that would benefit the little guy,” whether the little guy likes it or not.

You can make a persuasive argument that the filibuster has been deployed too frequently in recent years, especially when it has prevented presidents, Republican and Democrat, from staffing their administrations. Nevertheless, the Senate and the filibuster are there for good reasons: to defuse momentary passions that could have unintended and harmful consequences for the country.

The system is designed to ensure broad consensus before Congress enacts major reforms. Such consensus existed during the New Deal and Great Society. And there was consensus behind certain elements of Reagan’s and Bush’s and Clinton’s programs, as well. That was not the case when George W. Bush attempted to overhaul Social Security, however. The public agreed with Bush that there was a problem, but it did not like his solution. It has had the same reaction to Obama’s proposals.

The liberal program is in disarray because liberals have failed to establish general agreement. They have found that simple majorities do not automatically translate into programmatic success. And when they are met with public opposition and institutional resistance, they do what comes naturally. They blame Americans first.

Matthew Continetti is associate editor of The Weekly Standard and the author, most recently, of The Persecution of Sarah Palin (Sentinel Books).

http://weeklystandard.com/articles/blame-americans-first

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Feb 25

Even Hell Is Freezing Over For The Global Warming Movement

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25

Intellectual Dishonesty and Immorality Permeates Even The Highest Levels Of Our Society

We have come to expect as routine, duplicitous politicians who want to “have it both ways” when dealing with different elements of their constituencies. It is a sad commentary but infinitely true. Unfortunately, like an aggressively metastasizing cancer, this wanton lack of integrity and sincerity has increasingly invaded other areas of our culture that had previously been somewhat respected.

Most recently, we have witnessed the global collusion of numerous scientists involved in the Climategate scandal, manufacturing or cherry picking data in order to fraudulently substantiate their flawed, perverted beliefs and ideologies. If their schemes hadn’t been uncovered, it could have cost this country tens of trillions of dollars and strangled our economy and standard of living.

In the past, you might have figured a Nobel Laureate should be worthy of respect, a person who has achieved so much in their field and who, by definition, has made supreme contributions to the world or society.
No more! It has largely become a sham with many of these individuals possessing the same ethics as your white collar criminal though on a more grandiose scale.

To wit: Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and Yassar Arafat all receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. And let’s not forget the epitome of corruption and a vacuum of morals, Al (Global Warming) Gore.

There is another member of this pantheon of corrupt and dishonest intellectuals: left wing economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

It is most evident that in the world we live today, we are forced by circumstances to teach our children to be infinitely cynical, trust no one, and that “facts” including “scientific discoveries” may just be fiction. We can’t believe our Government and have witnessed far too much egregious behavior, absence of integrity, and intellectual dishonesty to trust our teachers, scientists, clergy, etc.

Bush's Deficit Bad, Obama's Deficit Good: So Sayeth Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate
By Larry Elder                       02/11/2010

Left-wing economist, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman hates deficits in tough economic times — when the president of the United States is named George W. Bush.

In a November 2004 interview, Krugman criticized the "enormous" Bush deficit.

"We have a world-class budget deficit," he said, "not just as in absolute terms, of course — it's the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world — but it's a budget deficit that, as a share of GDP, is right up there."

The deficit in fiscal 2004 was $413 billion, or 3.5% of gross domestic product.

Back then, a disapproving Krugman called the deficit "comparable to the worst we've ever seen in this country. ... The only time postwar that the United States has had anything like these deficits is the middle Reagan years, and that was with unemployment close to 10%."

Take away the Social Security surplus spent by the government, he said, and "we're running at a deficit of more than 6% of GDP, and that is unprecedented."

He considered the Bush tax cuts irresponsible and a major contributor — along with two wars — to the deficit. But he also warned of the growing cost of autopilot entitlements:

"We have the huge bulge in the population that starts to collect benefits. ... If there isn't a clear path towards fiscal sanity well before (the next decade), then I think the financial markets are going to say, 'Well, gee, where is this going?'"

Three months earlier, Krugman had said, "Here we are more than 2 1/2 years after the official end of the recession, and we're still well below, of course, pre-Bush employment."

In October 2004, unemployment was 5.5% and continued to slowly decline. At the time, Krugman described the economy as "weak," with "job creation ... essentially nonexistent."

How bad would it get? If we don't get our "financial house in order," he said, "I think we're looking for a collapse of confidence some time in the not-too-distant future."

Fast-forward to 2010.

The projected deficit for fiscal year 2010 is over $1.5 trillion, or more than 10% of GDP. This sets a post-WWII record in both absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP. And if the Obama administration's optimistic projections of economic growth fall short, things will get much worse.

So what does Krugman say now? We must guard against "deficit hysteria." In "Fiscal Scare Tactics," his recent column, Krugman writes:

"These days it's hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on a news program without encountering stern warnings about the federal budget deficit. The deficit threatens economic recovery, we're told; it puts American economic stability at risk; it will undermine our influence in the world.

"These claims generally aren't stated as opinions, as views held by some analysts but disputed by others. Instead, they're reported as if they were facts, plain and simple."

He continues: "And fear-mongering on the deficit may end up doing as much harm as the fear-mongering on weapons of mass destruction."

Krugman believes Bush lied us into the Iraq War. Just as people unreasonably feared Saddam Hussein, they now have an unwarranted fear of today's deficit.

Questions:

• Didn't Krugman, less than six years ago, call the deficit "enormous"?
• Wouldn't he, therefore, consider a $1.5 trillion deficit at 10% of GDP mega-normous?
• Didn't he describe the economy with 5.5% unemployment as "weak"? Isn't the current economy, at 9.7% unemployment, even weaker?
• If the 2004 deficit was "comparable to the worst we've ever seen in this country," wouldn't today's much bigger deficit cause even more heartburn?

Nope. Now a huge deficit is actually a good thing: "The point is that running big deficits in the face of the worst economic slump since the 1930s is actually the right thing to do. If anything, deficits should be bigger than they are because the government should be doing more than it is to create jobs."

The deficit "should be bigger"?!

Long term, Krugman says, we've got concerns about revenue and spending. But as for now:

"There's no reason to panic about budget prospects for the next few years, or even for the next decade."
In 2004, Krugman warned that without a "clear path towards fiscal sanity" before "the next decade," we faced a "crunch."

Presumably, we now have this "clear path."

Let's review. In 2004, an unhappy Krugman criticized Bush's "weak" economy and "miserable" job creation. Running an "enormous" deficit was a bad thing. Times were awful — "by a large margin" the worst job crash and performance since Herbert Hoover.

Today the deficit is four times as large in an even weaker economy with much higher unemployment. Times are awful. Now, though, the deficit is a good thing and should be even bigger.

Krugman's flip-flop on the deficit demonstrates a modern economic equation. Hatred of Bush + love for Obama = intellectual dishonesty.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=520924&Ntt=

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Feb 24

Obama – You Talk Too Much!

You Talk Too Much, Obama

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24

Our Abdication of World Leadership May Lead To The Loss of Hundreds of Millions of Lives

The United States’ world leadership and defense of democracy, principles, and righteousness has plummeted faster than housing prices the last few years or Obama’s approval ratings the last 6 months. Unfortunately, our Government’s irrational and outrageous abdication of its responsibilities may place hundreds of millions of people worldwide at grave risk and eventuate in a nuclear Armageddon with Iran at the epicenter.

This is a formidable problem that should have been aggressively addressed by military force under the Bush Administration but wasn’t. Inexcusable negligence. The Obama Administration has only made matters worse… and essentially hopeless if Iran is to be stopped from developing and deploying nuclear weapons of which their intent is infinitely clear. Talking has been going on for at least 8 years without any iota of major progress. Even your average non-union member Village Idiot would confidently exclaim: Discussion time is over. BOMB IRAN!

Will Israel save the world? We better hope so and provide her our unwavering and total support, politically and economically.

Secretary Of Defenselessness
Investors Business Daily

Iran: Incredibly, the Bush national security team's sole holdover has announced Peace in Our Time as the only hope against a nuclear Tehran. There is no defense for Secretary Robert Gates.

Appearing in Paris with the French defense minister on Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made an announcement to the world that will astonish our friends and embolden our enemies.

"We must still try and find a peaceful way to resolve this issue," Gates said of the never-ending defiance of the free world by Iran's Islamofascist regime as it moves ever closer to becoming a nuclear weapons power.

"The only path that is left to us at this point, it seems to me, is that pressure track," Gates added. "But it will require all of the international community to work together."

Anyone care to hold your breath on that last hope?

After meeting for an hour with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday, Gates and he "agreed that the time has come for the adoption of strong sanctions, in the hope that dialogue will be resumed," a Sarkozy aide said.

The time has come? That must be what passes for black humor in Paris these days. The time for getting tough with the Iranians came years ago.

And anyway, what value does a joint statement from the U.S. and France against Iran have? U.S. diplomats on Monday were putting on a good face about France's decision to send 80 — count 'em — more personnel to help the U.S. with what President Obama has called the central front in the war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Add to that France's plans to send amphibious assault ships to Russia against our wishes, with the rationale that Russia, has "changed deeply" since losing the Cold War, and so it's time to nurture a new relationship.

They might ask the family of the murdered dissident Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned by a radioactive isotope in 2006, how nurturing Russian ruler Vladimir Putin is. Or ask the former Soviet bloc nations seeking missile defense from Russia.

At any rate, something seems to have happened that spoiled all the love and respect our cool, new commander in chief was supposed to be getting from the land of Robespierre, so unlike the treatment afforded that Europhobic Texan predecessor of his.

Think what Tehran thinks when it hears the defense secretary of this and the previous presidency say that the only path left to the world's lone superpower — and, by extension, to the community of civilized nations — is more sanctions.

"The key," Gates said in Paris, "is persuading the Iranian leaders that their long-term best interests are best served by not having nuclear weapons, as opposed to having them. And so I think that an approach along these lines, as long as the international community is seen pressing vigorously to resolve this problem, my hope is we will then be able to keep this in economic and diplomatic channels."

That is a fundamental misunderstanding of what motivates those who rule Iran. The mullahs, the ayatollahs and their henchman who returned to the Iranian presidency in a rigged election last summer see "their long-term best interests" in supernatural terms.

The return of the 12th Imam, the destruction of the Jewish state in an apocalyptic holy war, an eternity spent in that giant brothel in the sky — those things dominate their thoughts, not the effects of economic sanctions or isolation from the international community.

It must be with that reality in mind that we consider what the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think when the U.S. says, through Gates, that force is not an option.

We have a Western alliance, unallied even on fighting al-Qaida in Afghanistan, which spends years watching a jihadist regime work toward atomic weapons before it even seriously considers anything approaching real economic warfare against it, and which tells its enemies that force is out as a solution.

When a secretary of defense considers defense a nonoption, it's time to think about (as the president would say) pressing the reset button.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=520540

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