Tuesday, February 17, 2009

“It’s Too Late America”

“It’s Too Late America”
By Kent Felder

Bonjour Américains, se réveiller! Oh merde, c'est trop tard. Dans ce cas bienvenue à l'Europe!
Hello and welcome voters! Welcome to the new world order in 21st century America, a Socialist Paradise looking very much like Europe. Except here we ingest lots of baloney while over there they at least enjoy lots of fairly good wine. With the U.S. economy in a downward spiral and adversely affecting the economies of most of the world’s nations, right now life here is not exactly a “paradis” of any sort. However, it is definitely moving toward more “socialisme”. In fact, if the voters last November didn't recognize the signs then, they surely will now. Even Newsweek magazine, usually an ally of the political left, admits it on their Feb.16, 2009 cover, declaring “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Seek your own definitions and understanding of socialism, but allow me to remind you of Karl Marx’s notion that socialism was the transitional stage between capitalism and communism. A famous American socialist and magna cum laude Princeton graduate, Norman Thomas, who ran 6 times for president, said: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform."

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not completely opposed to the Democrats’ economic stimulus plan. Everyone agrees that our nation’s economic situation is grim and that relief is needed. But I am opposed to doing it unwisely and I don’t believe all the best ideas have been considered. I also distrust President Obama’s repeated promises that his plan is devoid of “earmarks” and “pork”. If in fact they are there, it won’t matter what sort of semantics games Obama and the Democrats wish to play, it’ll be politics as usual. Changing the process by which pet projects are inserted into the bill can’t hide them. The bill American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be parsed, dissected and thoroughly analyzed in coming weeks, and no amount of rhetoric will fool the people or hide the truth.

I don’t think I’m alone with my concerns, unless this is the Twilight Zone, because I know I’m not the only one who has observed happenings since Obama’s inauguration. Regarding the economic “stimulus” bills, on January 22nd House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election.” She was saying to all the Republicans who opposed her version of the bill, “get out of our way.” On February 5th the Democrats held a conference “retreat” in Williamsburg, Virginia. There, surrounded by his party members, President Obama spoke about the stimulus bill, decrying his opponents’ “8 years of tired arguments and worn ideas,” mocking them and demanding immediate passage of his stimulus bill. So much for bi-partisanship. He said “That's what the American people called for in November and that's what we intend to deliver.” To a few Republican congressmen he’d earlier made a big show about being bi-partisan, but now, for all his empty rhetoric, he too was saying “get out of my way and do what I say, and be quick about it.”

Undeniable facts and unmistakable trends lead me to my concerns about socialism. Except for anyone in a drug-induced stupor or in a coma, in just the last few months everybody in America has witnessed our government buying insurance companies, major industries, banks, Wall Street financial institutions, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’ve heard our government’s stated goal to impose more “controls and accountability” over those all entities. We’ve been promised (or threatened with) universal, government-regulated healthcare. Education is being increasingly federally subsidized. Our military is being denigrated and marginalized, with unsettling implications. Recently, another ominous action occurred late on Friday afternoon of February 6 when our new President moved control of the 2010 census out of the Department of Commerce and into the White House under Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff. Ominous because things like that often happen late at night or late on Fridays. That way it’s expected that the news will be overlooked by most people, lost in the rush to the weekend. Over a few days the news will get buried among the back pages of the newspapers. No one notices or complains. People tend to quickly forget these things anyway.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States provides for a census every 10 years, by “actual enumeration”, and a statute passed by Congress specifically provides that the duties under that clause are to be performed by the Secretary of Commerce. Moving that responsibility to the White House politicizes it, empowers the chief executive even more, and gives control to the political party in charge. The census is used to allocate federal aid to states and to draw electoral districts. Census numbers are the basis for congressional redistricting, and they provide the data by which government spending is allocated for everything from soup to nuts. The census decision came last week after Democratic California Rep. Barbara Lee, chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, and some Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator picked for Secretary of Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete census. Sadly, Judd is reportedly an advocate for physical door-to-door canvassing to determine a more exact population count, as opposed to “sampling” which is favored by those making the case that minority populations have long been “undercounted.” In addition to who will be controlling the census, sampling provides a huge opportunity to manipulate the numbers, something that could favor those controlling the counting. Am I the only one seeing a pattern here? Is the Democrat Party not maneuvering for yet more control?

Other recent alarms went off when all the House Democrats, without any Republican participation, crafted and passed their version of an Economic Stimulus bill. On Februaty 13th the Senate Democrats followed suit and passed their “compromise” version of a stimulus bill with only 3 Republican supporters. Bi-partisan? Not so much. Many will say, “So what? I can’t wait until I get my check.” But perhaps they should ask, “What does all that mean?” Besides tremendously increasing the nation’s debt, devaluing the currency, causing inflation and burdening future generations, it also means that one political party controls our nation’s finances. It means one political party is quickly positioning itself to remain in power for a long time. By controlling the disbursement of current and future tax revenues, all borrowed, that one political party is solidifying itself as the government Godfather who all will depend upon. When people rely on the government to take care of all their needs, as people become more dependent, that government eventually becomes omnipotent. (Suddenly I can’t get out of my mind the picture of a rat in a cage, somewhere in a laboratory, drinking water from a little tube coming through the bars while waiting for a tiny prefrontal lobotomy.) Whenever a government determines and controls the flow of money, it isn’t a big leap to controlling ownership, the means of production and the distribution of goods. Does any of this sound somehow familiar? History shows us that when one political party or system controls a government, it hasn’t worked out so well. Those governments are usually administered by a small, elite group, or perhaps one person at the top, without input or consent from the rest. Even if it were not just one man at the top - such as the Pope of Hope as I like to call him - but maybe a small group, I really don’t want people like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Barney Frank, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, or Tim Geithner deciding what’s in my best interest. Frankly, I don’t believe they give a hoot about anyone but themselves.

Economically speaking, let’s examine how we got here from where we were. To be blunt, it was the government once again making bad policy decisions and dictating how money should be distributed, for the sake of social justice and equality, of course. Lending institutions, insurance companies, investment bankers, and home builders all cooperated. In fact, they reveled in an orgy of bad management because it financially benefited the few folks at the top of those companies, as well as a few who floated between the government and the businesses. Many became multi-millionaires, “for our benefit and for social justice”, of course. Jamie Gorelick and Tom Daschle are two examples that come to mind. But wait! After a while it was our government telling us that their own policies were causing problems and therefore needed more regulating. Simultaneously it was also our government who decided those policies were working just fine, thus no more regulations needed. Okay, which was it? I’m confused. Then our housing market, lending institutions, insurance companies, investment banks, and big auto manufacturers started hemorrhaging red ink. What did those smart industry experts do? They asked our government for money. And our government decided the best policy (déjà vu) would be financial bailouts, so those governing us, once again, gave all of the outstretched hands lots and lots of our tax monies. Hundreds of Billions of dollars.

Time out, time out! I recently calculated something to make a point and put perspective on the stimulus package. I looked up the latest Census Bureau study to see the overall U.S. median household income – it was $50,740. High-to-low median incomes range from $68,080 in Maryland to $36,338 in Mississippi. Using an example $50,000 annual salary, at that rate I calculated it would take 20,000 years for that man to earn $1 billion dollars. For a $100,000 annual salary it would take 10,000 years to earn $1 billion dollars. Assume you earn a $1 million dollar annual salary; it would take you 800,000 years to earn $800 billion dollars, and the latest “stimulus package” is about that size. Hmmm. I haven’t tried yet to extrapolate this into a political party’s term in office…

Back to bailouts: Unfortunately our government neglected to properly manage the last recent bailout monies given to the aforementioned institutions, so these geniuses are unable to tell us exactly where it went or how it was used. Or perhaps they’re unwilling. Even several Freedom of Information Act requests since last November and a news media lawsuit have not pried the proof from the Treasury Department as to where the money has gone. Yet every day lately we’ve been promised transparency and accountability, and no earmarks and no pork! Meanwhile, to me the only thing that is transparent, or apparent, is that our economy continues to disintegrate and our politicians continues to blow smoke and lie. So, what does our Democrat controlled government do? They unilaterally decided another best policy will be to hand out more money to those institutions, and even give some to state governments and to different departments of – guess what - our federal government. The House passed the bill just in time for Madame Speaker to leave for a week long government-paid junket to Europe. The Senate voted Friday night. Neither group will have been able to read the 1,100 pages of baloney they finally published around midnight – it would be impossible to read in that short period of time. “Our” representatives voted on something that they haven’t even completely read, obligating me to spend my 800,000 years of salary. Tell me, is my lobotomy over? I don’t feel anything. Oh, it was only a colonoscopy.

All these recent government moves have menacing overtones, but should not surprise anyone not suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Anyone that could read and had cared enough to do the research during the election will probably recall the things they read about our new President’s past. Plenty of information and data about Obama’s past, his education, his mentors, his associates, his memoirs, and his work record were available to anyone interested. There were plenty of indicators of his possible and probable future leanings. But the news media, being biased and politically correct, did not want to pursue anything controversial during The Chosen One’s campaign. They still avoid doing so today, and they sure as heck haven’t gone back to investigate or verify things they skipped over during the past two years.

I don’t know if you see or recognize the same pattern here that I do? Call me cynical or paranoiac, but to me it is apparent that our government doesn’t always make the right decisions for our mutual benefit or have my best interests in mind. Those “representatives” in Washington aren’t representing me. Therefore, having learned something from historical facts, I have large misgivings about the current direction of our government’s policies. The common factor among past and present failed policies governing our lives seems to be – guess what - the government. Hello, is it hot in here or is it just me? Is it just me that sees a pattern? I’m not talking about the Democrats’ mantra about “the failed policies of the past 8 years.” (Jeez, if I hear that phrase again I’m going to scream!) I’m talking about the failed policies of all our political parties for the past 80 years since the stock market crash of 1929! And I’m not debating whether Herbert Hoover’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s governments shortened the Great Depression or prolonged it. Research that yourself. But I am reminding you that numerous of their stimulus programs created government subsidies and a welfare-entitlement frame of mind that remain today. Look up their programs yourself. That dependency mentality hasn’t always been beneficial for America, and it is growing as we watch.

Here’s a definition I found in a dictionary: “Socialism is an economic system characterized by public ownership and centralized planning of all major industries (manufacturing, services, and energy), banks and insurance companies, agribusiness, transportation, the media, and medical facilities. It’s a set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration.”

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Change" by Kent Felder

This is the first contribution by one of my friends and readers.

"Change" by Kent Felder

“CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN” has to be the most disingenuous catch phrase of any presidential campaign.  The reality of the new Obama administration belies that promise.  Suspicions confirmed?  That slogan seems to be just another mindless platitude among the loads of empty rhetoric swallowed by the drooling multitudes with blind gusto.  What change?  The Chosen One has surrounded himself with supporters from the Clinton administration plus a few friends from Chicago.  Same old self-promoting professional politicians.  Same old snake-oil salesmen.  Same old knowing people in high places.  Thus far it appears to be the "same old, same old" bullcrap in Washington, and we’re stuck with it for a long time folks. 


Don’t get me wrong, I fervently want the new Administration to succeed!  You might ask, “If I’m not exactly an Obamaniac, why would I hope that the Pope of Hope is the most successful leader to date in American history?  Why?  Well, because I’m not crazy, that’s why.  We have problems – huge problems that must be solved if we are to continue living the types of lives we have always taken for granted.  There are thousands if not millions of nut cases out there who want to attack and kill as many of us as possible.  We have several hot wars going on.  We have several cold wars going on.  We have an economy in a downward spiral and those bills don’t stop coming in.  And we depend on China for everything except oil.  So, yeah, I hope he succeeds, but so far I don’t see much different in D.C.


The Christian bible tells us that Jesus fed the masses with a few fish.  Well, the biased Obamedia, left-wing bloggers, and Barack’s brain dead zombie followers are feeding the masses with baloney.  They are telling everyone that his appointment choices are “smart” since they represent experienced Washington insiders who know how to work in the system (read manipulate).  Obviously I misunderstood those campaign speeches about transcending red-and-blue politics, ending partisan ideological wars, and building a less polarized type of politics.  Certainly there is something to be said for experience.  You wouldn’t want an inexperienced surgeon doing your vasectory or your breast implants, for example.  But, it might be a good idea to have fresh faces and fresh attitudes in the Capitol, since business as usual hasn’t proven to be the most successful formula in the past.  So far I don’t see much different happening in Washington or Chicago.  Granted, Barack and Michelle seem to be very intelligent, but give me a break on Biden.  Joe is definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer. 


Shall we examine this Great Change a bit more?  Let’s see… first Bill Richardson was nominated to rejuvenate our crumbling economy as Barack’s new Secretary of Commerce.  After all, he had experience as Energy Secretary and ambassador to the U.N. under President Clinton.  Unfortunately his new gig didn’t happen because of the “alleged” and very inconvenient timing of a corruption scandal that cropped up in New Mexico.  So that ended that story. 


Next in this Era of Change came the unsettling realization that, in addition to all the crappy products that come from China, America has a plethora of incompetent tax accountants advising our politicians and Wall Street financial geniuses!  After chubby Bill Richardson slinked out of the limelight, along came slim Tim Geithner whom the Messiah nominated for Secretary of the Treasury.  Timothy, too, has experience under Clinton, and not in the sense that Monica had experience under Clinton.  More specifically, Tim worked in the Treasury Department under Lawrence Summers who was one of Clinton’s Treasury Secretaries and who was a mentor to Tim.  (It also didn’t hurt that Tim Geithner’s father once oversaw a Ford Foundation microfinance program in Indonesia, something being developed at that time by Ann Dunham-Soetoro, mother of President Barack Hussein Obama.)  Now once again, another inconvenient truth reared its ugly head in the Geithner nomination, tainting the moment.  It was Timmy’s silly and temporary lapse of memory regarding unpaid back income taxes.  Seems he forgot about some pesky documents he signed when working for the International Monetary Fund which reminded him he would be liable for paying taxes on salaries they paid him.  Additionally, it seems he also claimed a few child deductions that were not too proper, either, but all that has been straightened out now.  Thank God he ‘fessed up to the fact that his tax accountant had erred and his TurboTax program didn’t warn him about the oversights.  I guess that’s just the way it is for these genius, absent-minded professor types.  So old Timmy was allowed to pay those back taxes in the nick of time for his confirmation to the Chosen One’s Cabinet. 


During his recent two-year-long campaign Obama spoke of his beliefs about social and economic justice, especially from his days as a Community Organizer when he was dispensing Alinsky theories.  But what about legal justice?  That brings us to Barack’s nomination of Eric Holder as Attorney General to head the Department of Justice.  Eric is yet another ex-member of Clinton’s legal team.  Although Holder’s appointment is not yet approved, it is expected.  Holder will come to us as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, and as some like to remind us, the nation’s first black holder of that office.  I’d prefer to be told, instead, that he is the top candidate with the sharpest legal mind, capable of independent and objective administration of justice, and not someone’s political favor or favorite color.  Since black is one of my favorite colors, the only things I really find objectionable about Holder are his record on gun control and his role in recommending a pardon Marc Rich.  Just how fair and balanced and objective was the justice in Holder’s recommendation to Clinton to pardon Rich?  It allowed Bill to justify giving full a pardon to Rich on slick Willy’s last day in office.  Maybe you remember Marc Rich?  He was the billionaire who fled the United States in 1983 to live in Switzerland while being prosecuted on charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the embassy hostage crisis.  Marc Rich's wife and mother of his three children, socialite Denise Eisenberg Rich, had made large donations to the Democratic Party and the Clinton Library during Clinton's time in office.  Clinton critics have alleged that Rich's pardon had been bought.  Eric Holden was instrumental in the machinations to acquire the pardon.  Pardoned or not, Rich has never returned to the States, thus avoiding legal problems and civil suits.  Let’s Hope justice will prevail over political favors in a Holder system. 


And, weren’t there to be no lobbyists working for an Obama administration?  Well, maybe just a few, okay?  But The Messiah definitely puts his foot down when he says they won't be allowed to deal with government matters where their former lobby employer is involved.  Hey, that makes me feel relieved, especially since Tom Daschle is Obama’s Cabinet nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  The Chosen One expects Daschle to help overhaul our national healthcare system, knowing that since old Tom left the Senate he has become a multi-millionaire by giving “advice and counsel” to firms and special interests that will be lobbying that Department.  Last year alone the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird paid Daschle $2.1 million in wages and also provided him a 401k and profit sharing plan worth between $100,000 and $250,000.  That firm made more than $16 million lobbying before the HHS Department for powerful health industry clients during the three years since Daschle has been there.  Of course Daschle is not a lobbyist, just an advisor to several lobbying firms; therefore he didn’t have to register as a lobbyist.  Sound familiar?  Sound like the same old semantics game that politicians love?  Remember when Bill Clinton redefined the word "is" while lying under oath about the Monica Lewinsky scandal?  Daschle is not a lobbyist because he calls himself an advisor, only giving counsel to companies who lobby.  Oh, now I see the difference.  Tommy has advised many companies and been on their boards since being defeated for his Senate seat, and he has leveraged his political influence to earn himself many millions in just the past few years.  But no lobbyists will be working for the Chosen One!  Riiiiight....  Do as I say, not as I do. 


Although Tom Daschle hasn’t yet been confirmed for his Cabinet post, every Democrat that’s been asked says he will be.  Once again, though, there is an inconvenient thingy about some unpaid back income taxes.  With that same bad luck that plagued Tim Geithner, poor old Tom had another of those incompetent tax specialists, so he didn’t declare and pay income taxes on his full earnings for the several years since leaving the Senate.  To compound that bad situation, his incompetent accountant also declared some charitable deductions without documentation to prove them, so they were disallowed.  Fortunately for Tom, he was permitted to repay over $140,000 in back taxes.  So, that shows America he is obviously an upright and honest fellow after all, one who will work once again in the best interests of our nation.  Riiiight. 


Transparency?  Don’t forget about the campaign promises of transparency and doing all our governing in the antiseptic light of day.  The Chosen One and his fawning minions still have not chosen to release the data on all the sources of his campaign contributions, especially the illegal foreign ones.  That’s not so transparent and well lit.  Oh well.  But really, what's up with Geithner and Daschle, those highly touted geniuses picked by the Chosen One to help lead us out of the recession, and who conveniently are too dumb (or smart) to pay their own taxes, until they're caught?  Maybe that’s the transparency Barack was talking about?  Their actions are transparent to me.  Or are they apparent?  Honest mistakes?  It wasn’t their fault.  It was their tax accountant’s fault, or the computer’s fault.  Gimme a break.  If you and I did that, the IRS would own us, and we'd be in Guantanamo wearing orange suits, at least until the Chosen One closes it and releases all the bad guys back upon the world.  


No more "pork" or “earmarks” in legislative giveaways?  Gimme a huuuge break!  No pork?  In a pig's eye!  The Pope of Hope’s latest so-called stimulus package is nothing more than a hog-sized, waste-laden, gov't-dependence-building, socialism-strengthening, giveaway of our tax monies in order to cement support for Democrat, socialist, entitlement-mentality policies.  How can billions of dollars for keeping the California state government functioning help unemployed workers in the other 49 states?  How can billions for more food stamps help stimulate industry, or stimulate anything that will create jobs?  It will definitely provide more welfare to current handout recipients, but it doesn’t fix anything or employ anyone, especially not any taxpayers.  How can $4.19 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities" (read low-income advocacy groups, i.e. ACORN) stimulate manufacturing or stimulate anything except the pockets of ACORN leaders. Uh, yeah, ACORN associates are real titans of industry, magnates of manufacturing, tycoons of technology, guys who unquestionably spur economic growth and generate jobs…riiiiight.  I saw them on the streets registering voters during the campaign. Sharp dressers.  Hey, here’s an idea!  If those ACORN workers would make charitable donations of the gold in their mouths to help feed millions of low income unemployed citizens, we wouldn’t need so many more billions for additional food stamps!  You get the point, though, without the sarcasm.  There are way too many of the package’s plans that have more to do with paying off supporters and funding politicians’ pet projects than with putting money into the business areas of the economy which can actually strengthen our country’s economy, create jobs, and put people back to work.  Those billions of our tax dollars should be going into the areas of the economy which CAN be stimulated to expand and provide employment.  Helloooo!  And how might they help businesses expand?  Cut taxes so they have an incentive to grow.  The “stimulus package” is fraught with enormous dollar waste that has nothing to do with stimulating our economy, but has plenty to do with political payoff.  Change you can believe in?  Not so much.  I till see Pelosi, Reid, Biden, Daschle, and now Geithner, Barack, et al.  Same old, same old, just a different group in charge.  If there’s any consolation to be had, at least we know Blagojevich won’t be among them.   


I suggest we all start praying for real change.