Tag Archives: Car bailout

Things that make you go… Hmmmmmm……..

 

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” — Ronald Reagan

I have finally figured out the strategy being employed by the administration – if we do 50 insane things at once, they won’t be able to stop them all!

Here are a few examples of the strategy in action: 

Cash for Clunkers 

As if we haven’t done enough for the auto companies already there is a bill headed out of committee in the House to “jump start new car sales”.

This $4 billion program would provide federal vouchers of up to $4,500 for people to trade in their vehicles for new ones that get better mileage. 

How does the program work: The government would send up to $4,500 to the selling dealer on your behalf, if you: 

1. Trade in a car that — this is a key point — has been registered and in use for at least a year, and has a federal combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 18 or fewer miles per gallon.

2. Buy a new car, priced at $45,000 or less and rated at least 4 mpg better than the old one (gets a $3,500 voucher). If the new one gets at least 10 mpg better, you get the full $4,500. 

Example: Trade that well-worn 1985 Chevrolet Impala V-8 police special, rated 14 mpg, for a 2009 Impala V-8 rated 19 mpg and the government will kick in $3,500. Downsize to Chevy Cobalt (27 mpg) or even a larger Honda Accord (24 mpg) and get $4,500. (source: USA Today) 

The bill also requires destruction of the trade in vehicles to keep them off the road. The money would be pulled from funds allocated to the Dept of Energy in the stimulus bill. Mileage ratings back to 1985 are available @ : http://www.fueleconomy.gov

President Obama is urging Congress to create consumer incentives for new car purchases but critics say this is an artificial attempt to boost car sales. 

“It’s defying the laws of economics and saying we can manufacture enough of a demand to keep the auto industry afloat,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. 

Seriously, how many more “problems” can the government solve by stepping in and footing the bill. Oh, wait the taxpayers will foot the bill. In the long run, you can’t keep spending money you don’t have unless you raise taxes!  Good thing they didn’t think of this type of program sooner. If they had, instead of those crappy digital converter boxes, everyone without cable could have gotten $500 towards a new flat screen and a voucher for Direct TV. To read more go to: 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31183767/ 

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-05-11-chrysler-gm-cash-clunkers_N.htm 

Business cell phones and laptops are an “employee benefit” and therefore, that’s right TAXABLE! 

In the 80’s the IRS treated cell phones like company cars requiring users to separate their personal use from business use so they could tax it like income. This was to prevent expensive personal cell phones from being written off as business expenses. (Phones were about$2,000 and air time was $2/minute) 

“The rationale behind this policy perhaps made sense in the 1980s, but it doesn’t reflect how people live their lives and the ubiquitous nature of cell phones,” Sprint Nextel spokesman John Taylor told The Washington Post

Under the proposed rule the IRS is asking companies to charge 25% of cell phone use as personal and treat it as taxable income. They are also looking at extending these rules to texting, email, the internet and use of a company laptop. This makes the rope that ties you to your job 24/7 a benefit! 

The alternative to the flat 25% tax approach would be to pay only for actual usage by creating a log to create a record of actual use. 

“Do we really want employees to, instead of being productive, spend their day logging every e-mail they send, every Web site they browse and every time they use GPS?” asked Howard Woolley, senior vice president of Verizon Wireless. 

For hard working Americans everywhere, this is another slap in the face. For most employees that carry a company phone or laptop it is not a choice – it is a requirement. Where will this end? This is just another clever attempt to raise money through taxes to fund all the programs we can’t afford but are implementing anyway. To read more, go to:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061203897.html 

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/business/The-Tax-Man-Comes-Calling—-on-Your-Cell-Phone.html 

Soda you think we should tax pop? 

Speaking of things that we can’t afford to pay for what about healthcare reform – with an estimated price tag of $1.2 trillion, we will need to find some new sources of revenue. 

Fear not, the Senate has an idea. Presenting the “soda” tax. The plan is to place an excise tax on regular soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. Diet drinks would be exempt. The proposed tax at 3 cents per 12 oz. can would raise an estimated $6 billion annually. 

The logic is that these drinks are bad for you and therefore taxing you for their consumption is a good way to help fund healthcare. Supporters of the tax point to research indicating that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks can result in obesity and diabetes. The tax theoretically would save medical costs by lowering consumption which would reduce health problems. 

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is pushing the idea, said in his testimony. “Soft drinks are nutritionally worthless…[and] are directly related to weight gain, partly because beverages are more conducive to weight gain than solid foods.” (source: CBS News)

So what’s next?  Alcohol is already foregone conclusion. Butw atch out ice cream, cookies, cakes and pies could be next. This might not be as far fetched as it seems. In our new environment of “change” nothing has proven to be off limits. 

This just another example of the new “nanny state” approach to government, you know where the government decides what is best for us in every aspect of our lives. For more details, go to: 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124208505896608647.html 

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/05/12/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5009316.shtml 

President to propose new government power to seize key businesses 

The Obama administration this week will propose the most significant new regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression, including a new watchdog agency to look out for consumers’ interests.

Under the plan, expected to be released Wednesday, the government would have new powers to seize key companies — such as insurance giant American International Group Inc. — whose failure jeopardizes the financial system. Currently, the government’s authority to seize companies is mostly limited to banks. (source: L.A.Times) 

The Federal Reserve, already arguably the most powerful agency in the U.S. government, will get sweeping new authority to regulate any company whose failure could endanger the U.S. economy and markets under the Obama administration’s regulatory overhaul plan. (source: The Washington Post) 

Here we go again – sweeping change to SEIZE private businesses and more authority for the Federal Reserve the one “government agency” that can hide behind banker privileges and not be compelled to answer questions by Congress. More government power, more government oversight…. This looks less and less like America all the time! What is it going to take to scare people into fighting back? Read more at: 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/16/plan-gives-fed-sweeping-power-over-companies/?feat=home_headlines 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-financial-regs16-2009jun16,0,4262249.story 

Today’s Cool Quote: 

Liberals believe that men–left to their own devices–are not to be trusted. They also believe in the goodness of government; a government composed of men. This paradox may help explain why many liberals are angry much of the time.” –RE Bierce

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” 
James Madison 

Quick Hits…… Part 2, Theater of the Absurd

America is now a state run corporation 

Today on Fox Business News, former Time Warner AOL CEO Gerald Levin declared, “You know basically what we have now is a new CEO and it happens to be the president of the United States and new CFO that happens to be — Tim Geithner. And I think we’ll never see business as usual again”.  So there you have it – even powerful business leaders are acknowledging that the President has taken the government and is using it to nationalize private businesses. He went on to say, “You know who’s to say, who’s going to do a better job with General Motors or Citibank at this point. Because up until now things have not been going well at all. And it’s time I think not only to put some principals back in executive pay but also trying to get CEOs to be — a part of society. You know let’s shop at Costco and you know let’s fly Coach for awhile and let’s not have a class society where the disparity between what — the CEO makes and what people in the company — is so large. As to be almost unfair and unjust.”….. Seriously? – this guy made tens of millions per year at Time Warner, I’m sure this made him a regular Joe at the office. 

However, the message here is the nationalization of American businesses and banks is real and is happening. Capitalism is on the ropes and socialism is on the rise. The question is what are we going to do about it? To see this disturbing interview, go to: 

http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/22471622/former-aol-time-warner-head-on-exec-pay.htm#q=gerald+levin

 Tough New Obama Terror Policy ……..Enemy Combatants get Miranda Rights! 

Miranda rights are being read to suspected terrorists at military detention facilities in Afghanistan. This practice could result in a shift from a war against terrorists to legal battles against criminal defendants.

The Department of Justice acknowledges terrorist suspects have been read Miranda rights, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and other places but claim it is to “preserve the quality of evidence obtained.” 

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-MI of the House Intelligence Committee has visited bases in Afghanistan and Bagram. He said the practice is causing chaos, confusion and frustration in the field.  “We don’t want our soldiers thinking, is this a law enforcement event or is this, a combat event,” Rogers said, “It’s shocking to believe that we’re going to give non-United States citizens in combat zones who are training, equipping and planning to kill United States citizens and our military and treat them as if they’re U.S. citizens and afford them those rights.” Read more below:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/11/combatant-criminal-reading-miranda-rights-detainees-draws-criticism/

Today’s Crazy Quotes from the Left: On The Environment 

By David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!: “We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.” 

By Harry Reid, Democrat, U.S. Senate majority leader: “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It’s global warming. It’s ruining our country. It’s ruining our world.” 

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: “Large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.” 

By Ted Turner, billionaire, founder of CNN and major UN donor: ‘Global warming’ will kill most of us, and turn the rest of us into cannibals.” 

By Noel Brown, UN official: “Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco-refugees,” threatening political chaos.” (Yes, he meant the year 2000.) 

By Paul Ehrlich, professor, Stanford University: “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” 

By Ted Turner, billionaire, founder of CNN and major UN donor: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.” 

By Jeffery Sachs, Columbia University, Director of The Earth Institute: “Obama is already setting a new historic course by reorienting the economy from private consumption to public investments…free-market pundits bemoan the evident intention of Obama and team to ‘tell us what kind of car to drive’. Yet that is exactly what they intend to do…and rightly so. Free-market ideology is an anachronism in an era of climate change.” 

By Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth: “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.” 

These are examples of the agenda of left wing environmentalists. They are dangerous to all Americans. The Waxman Markey Climate Change Bill is one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever proposed. Please read my previous blogs on the bill and on cap & trade. This legislation will undermine our economy and by doing so our national sovereignty will be put at risk as well.  

There are many ways to improve our stewardship of the earth without destroying our country. I support cleaner cars, energy and general environmental stewardship but a balance must be established to protect both our country and our planet. Responsible citizens owe it to themselves and future generations to research the proposals being discussed and make their voices heard. We can not leave our future in the hands of politicians, lobbyists and zealot environmentalists. 

And now for a glimmer of hope………….. 

East Texas Congressman introduces bill in the House to sunset T.A.R.P. by year’s end 

(June 8, 2009)  Rep. Jeb Hensarling R-Texas, introduced a bill which sets a Dec. 31 deadline for the Treasury Department to loan remaining TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money to banks or forfeit it. Also this week an announcement that some banks will be allowed to repay their TARP loans is expected. These banks, including JPMorgan Chase, American Express Co., BB&T Corp., U.S. Bancorp, Capital One Financial Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., have passed their stress tests clearing the way for repayment. 

Congressional Republicans have been unhappy with the way the TARP money was being used citing that the money was allocated to purchase the “toxic assets” of troubled financial institutions. However, both the Bush and Obama administrations have abused this program loaning money to the automakers and insurance companies as well as banks fueling “taxpayer ownership” of private businesses. In light of this, Republican lawmakers would like to return the unused and repaid money back to the Treasury and terminate the program.

“It’s time to terminate the TARP program,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, told reporters. “TARP is increasingly not being a vehicle for economic stability and taxpayer protection but is evolving into 700 billion dollar revolving slush fund that the administration can use to advance economic, social and political agenda items far and apart from what Tarp was ever designed to do.”  He also said his legislation calls for reducing the amount of the TARP program by recalling all currently unspent funds and sets a Dec. 31, 2009 deadline for the allocation of TARP funds. It also kills a provision in last year’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that would enable Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to renew the TARP program for two more years.

“The economy is in serious condition but we have gone past the emergency point. I fear that TARP is no longer what Congress thought it was when it passed it and I certainly do not believe it’s what the American taxpayer thought it was,” said Hensarling, who sits on the House Financial Services committee.

It appears that at least one Congressman realizes that the Federal government is not supposed to be buying up private businesses. America needs more of this kind of leadership in Congress! 

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

Quick Hits……. The politics and other nonsense of a world gone mad!

Today’s blog is a series of quick stories. I usually like to more fully explore an issue but at the pace things are happening I can’t write fast enough to keep up. So today I am going clean up a list of accumulating stories into quick hits. You’ll get a short overview and links to the rest of the story. 

The Federal Reserve hires a lobbyist to improve image? 

The Obama administration wants to expand the authority of the Federal Reserve but recent events have cast doubt about the role of the Fed in helping manage the bail outs and the economy. Enter Linda Robertson, a former Enron lobbyist and Clinton administration Treasury Department aide. She is expected to start at the Fed in July. She will be in charge of congressional affairs. Previously, Robertson had been considered for a senior post at the Treasury Dept. but was removed from the running because of the Obama administration’s rules against hiring lobbyists. The recent problems on Wall Street and Treasury Secretary Geithner’s desire to use the Fed as a regulatory tool to manage large business failures has left Congress questioning how much authority should be given to this independent government agency. 

A couple of points to consider; why are lobbyists okay in some jobs and not others, also why does a government entity need a lobbyist to talk to Congress for them? Read more here……

 http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aZjQKyLci1AM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124424729195390639.html

Leading Democrats pushing back on the President over dealership closures!

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Daniel Maffei have asked other congressional lawmakers to join with them in pushing the administration to answer questions on the forced bankruptcy and reorganization of Chrysler and GM. The issue at the heart of the matter is the forced closure of so many healthy dealerships. Specifically, how will closing these dealers will make the companies more profitable. This is the second time in the last few weeks the democrat controlled congress has stood up to the President ( the first was Guantanamo) Read more here…… 

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0609/pushback_on_chrysler_4a29bba0-af21-4dd4-9d76-c59c5aaf8f5d.html

 http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/forum/topics/please-read-this-letter-to?page=1&commentId=1970539%3AComment%3A129956&x=1#1970539Comment129956

 Ginsberg halts Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a stay of the bankruptcy proceedings just a week before the  government-backed sale of Chrysler to Fiat. Three Indiana state pension and construction funds who have secured debt in Chrysler are petitioning the Supreme Court to intervene on their behalf. They are challenging the constitutionality of the Treasury Department’s use of money from T.A.R.P. to finance Chrysler’s bankruptcy protection. They also claim the administration put less qualified stakeholders ahead of their secured debts which goes against the grain of typical bankruptcy rulings. Could this be a win for the Constitution as well as the funds… Stayed tuned, for more of the story, go to: 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105130479&ft=1&f=1017

 Unfortunately, before I could finish and post this blog the Supreme Court decided they would not take this case. This is a huge defeat for capitalism. Basically this sets a bad precedent for future bankruptcy proceedings in that it minimizes the rights of secured debtors in the process. The court ruled the plaintiffs had not met their burden of proof which seems like a cop out since the process used broke almost every rule of standard bankruptcy procedure prior to this filing. For more on the courts decision, go to… 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8550281

 Another Czar…… of the Great Lakes, Seriously?

 President Barack Obama has tapped Cameron Davis, the leader of a Chicago-based environmentalist group, to head up his initiative to clean up the Great Lakes. He will be responsible for implementing a restoration program expected to cost more than $20 billion. What’s next a graffiti czar to clean up graffiti in major cities? Enough already! Aren’t there civil engineering companies who could run this program on a contract basis? Or how about the Army Corp. of Engineers – after all, they built every major lake in Texas except Lake Caddo which God took care of. Some how I am sure G.E. will get the contract to do the actual clean up. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/04/obama-taps-cameron-davis_n_211315.html

 Nuclear Proliferation can wait……The U.N. seeks to immediately reduce plastic bag proliferation

 Proving their priorities are in the right place, Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said today, single-use plastic bags should be banned because of their degrading effects on the planet. Claiming the bags choke marine life he stated, they “should be banned or phased out rapidly everywhere. There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere.”

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0609-hance_plasticban.html

It is amazing how swiftly and decisively the U.N. can move when it’s dealing with a “major” issue like the plastic bag. Yet when a rogue nation like North Korea or Iran gives the world “the finger” ignoring U.N. resolutions and making defiant statements they struggle to come up with an “appropriate” response.

For the last few weeks North Korea has performed several missile tests, and the UN Security Council is working toward a denunciation of North Korean defiance . In other words they are drafting another “strong letter of disapproval”.

U.S. participation in the U.N. needs to be reconsidered; the organization has become a joke and an embarrassment. 

The Cow Fart Tax……. The next battle in the fight to curb global warming….. Really!

 Farting cows and other livestock are a major source of methane emissions into the atmosphere. As a result the EPA is looking for ways to address this greenhouse gas problem. So you won’t be surprised to find out that one of the ways they are considering addressing the problem is through a tax. While I am not sure how this will reduce the gases legislation to impose the tax is working its’ way through a House committee. 

According to Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI., the ranking member of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, if this bill becomes law it could have a devastating impact on agribusiness. In the absence of a technology based solution for livestock methane emissions the congressman said, “I don’t know if we’re supposed to develop the technology to strap a catalytic converter on the back of a cow”, since a capture and convert strategy would be a more earth friendly solution than a tax, if global warming wasn’t a myth in the first place. (Please see my 4 part series on The Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill)

In case you are wondering about the cost of livestock farts, the EPA proposal breaks it down like this, $175 a year on every head of dairy cattle in the United States, $80 for beef cattle and $20 per head of hogs. In a recent blog I joked about a methane tax because it seemed so ridiculous, turns out we now live in theater of the absurd. If this bill passes hamburger will replace steak as a luxury item and the price of food will keep going up. Amazing how every “green” initiative has a negative effect on the price of something. President Obama may have promised income tax cuts for 95% of Americans but by the time he is done with his social reengineering, the economy will be in shambles and inflation will be through the roof. Then everyone will wish for the good old days of higher income tax. By the way vegans beware – beans are next! Read more at: 

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090602135111.aspx 

Two female American journalists sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor camp 

(AP) – The families of two American journalists sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor prison urged its hard-line government to grant them clemency, amid hopes the U.S. government would send an envoy to negotiate their release.

“We remain hopeful that the governments of the United States and North Korea can come to an agreement that will result in the release of the (women),” said a joint statement by their families received Tuesday.

Lee, 36, and Ling — who work for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV — were arrested March 17 near the China-North Korea border where they were reporting about the trafficking of women. It’s unclear whether they tried to sneak into the North or if aggressive border guards crossed into Chinese territory and grabbed them, as has happened before.

The North accused the reporters of unspecified “hostile acts” and illegally entering the country, but the formal charges against them were unclear. Their trial, which was closed to foreigners, began Thursday and they were sentenced Monday to 12 years of “reform through labor.”

So far the administration has been mostly quiet on the situation other than to say they will “pursue all possible means to gain their release”. Again, the president faces another test on the world stage and so far it is another show of weakness.

Newsweek promotes Barack Obama from President to…. God?

Newsweek editor Evan Thomas commenting on President Obama’s speech in Cairo declared on MSNBC: “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.”

Previously, Mr. Thomas had said that Ronald Reagan was all about “America”. He then went on to point out how President Obama was above that saying, “we are above that now. We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, and we’re not just provincial. We stand for something … He’s going to bring all different sides together.”

See the video here:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/2009/06/05/newsweek-s-evan-thomas-obama-sort-god

Okay, seriously is the media so infatuated with this President that they have lost all perspective of what journalism is about. How can Newsweek be considered a serious news magazine if their editor is running around making statements like this?

So far the President’s foreign policy has been both naïve and ineffective. He has yet to gain real cooperation from our European allies, Asia, Russia or anyone in the Middle East. When is this great coming together going to begin? My other concern is what will this great coming together cost America? Our national sovereignty is too high a price! Maybe he will prove me wrong … but for now the promotion seems premature. 

We seem to be spinning out of control on almost every front as P.J. O’Rourke once said, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

The Truth about Change…..there is plenty of change but is it really what you want……

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” -Mark Twain 

So in a 100+ days we have seen more sweeping changes in our government than we have in the last 25 years, but is it the change we want? We have witnessed a full scale assault on our system of government, our economy, our security, states’ rights and our national sovereignty. Government spending, intervention, regulation and oversight is at an all-time high. Our Constitution is being shredded by an arrogant approach to governing that starts with the premise that the government knows what is best for us. Ironically,  the Constitution was written and designed to protect our rights from just this type of governing. 

Here is a quick list of some of the adventures the new administration and the current Congress have taken us on so far, in no particular order: 

The Stimulus Bill – (N.Y. Times) Feb 14th “The president made clear when we started this process that this was about jobs,” Mr. Boehner (R) Ohio, said after the vote. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. And what it’s turned into is nothing more than spending, spending and more spending.” “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” – White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel This was undoubtedly part of the logic behind the $787 million stimulus bill that nobody in Congress read. The bill was a democrat’s wish list which contained such stimulating items as $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.  Plus  $252 billion is for income-transfer payments — that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There’s $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax. While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren’t job creators.*  source* -The Wall Street Journal  The only jobs we are creating are government jobs – 66,000 census workers and 800 IRS agents.  (Category – Excessive Spending) 

Closing Guantanamo Bay – On Jan. 22nd, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay.  On May 18th, the democrats denied President Obama’s request for $80 million to close Guantanamo Bay. “When they (the administration) have a plan, they’re welcome to come back and talk to us about it.” – House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI) Apparently, lawmakers are concerned about what would happen to the roughly 245 current Guantanamo inmates, many considered hardened terrorists particularly which congressional districts they would land in. Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) said the Justice Dept. was prepared earlier this month to release Guantanamo prisoners into his district — which the administration denied — and he called for a moratorium on such releases. “We need a plan. We need to know where these men will go,” Mr. Wolf said. (Category – National Security) 

Release of the “torture memos” – April16th,  (CBS News) -“Withholding these memos would only serve to deny facts that have been in the public domain for some time,” Mr. Obama said. “This could contribute to an inaccurate accounting of the past, and fuel erroneous and inflammatory assumptions about actions taken by the United States.”  (WSJ) – “The four memos from 2002 and 2005 revealed new details about the interrogations, including a detailed description of water boarding, or simulated drowning, and descriptions of lesser-known methods such as “walling” and using insects. Sections involving names of some detainees and the way techniques were applied to particular prisoners were blacked out.” This should really improve our national security and relations with Muslims everywhere. The administration’s arrogance was on full display as this was done over the objections of their own CIA Chief Leon Panetta and others in the U.S. intelligence community. (Category – National Security) 

Greenhouse gases are harmful – April 17th, The Obama Administration used its’ regulatory power to circumvent the need to try and force unpopular legislation. Instead, the EPA announced that greenhouse gas emissions were a threat to public health because they contribute to climate change. This sets the stage for the EPA to regulate emissions from a wide spectrum of sources including vehicles, power plants, manufacturing facilities, oil refineries and airplanes. The executive branch trumped the legislative process to further their agenda by cutting off a congressional debate that they couldn’t win. We still live in America – don’t we? (Category – Excessive Government Regulation) 

The apology tour – President Obama has made a habit of using his speeches abroad to apologize for American behavior in the past. Here are some highlights.

Ÿ         Jan. 26: “All too often the United States starts by dictating … and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved. So let’s listen. And I think if we do that, then there’s a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs. … My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.”
President Obama, in an interview with Al Arabiya

Ÿ         April 1: “If you look at the sources of this crisis, the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to a regulatory system that was inadequate.”
President Obama, at a press conference ahead of the G20 in London

Ÿ         April 2: “It is true, as my Italian friend has said, that the (economic) crisis began in the U.S. I take responsibility, even if I wasn’t even president at the time.”
President Obama, at the G20 in London, as reported by Germany’s Der Spiegel

Ÿ         April 6: “I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds us has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam.”
President Obama, in Ankara, Turkey

Ÿ         April 16: “Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My administration is committed to renewing and sustaining a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security.”
President Obama, in an op-ed that appeared in U.S. and Latin American newspapers prior to the Summit of the Americas

Ÿ         April 18: “We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations.”
President Obama, at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Ÿ         Is this a new form of “statesmanship”? Are these the positions that we want our leader expressing to the rest of the world. We are not a perfect nation but we are a good and generous one. We give the rest of the world billions of dollars a year in foreign aid and relief efforts trying to make it a better place. Let’s be honest – the hardworking people of our country are not the ones who are benefiting from the political hi-jinx that our politicians pull around the world – they and their cronies do! The only thing, “We, the people” need to apologize for is electing some of these idiots, in the first place. 

Remember the words of George Washington“’Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from Nation to Nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard. …….. ‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.” (Categories – National Security/Foreign Policy/National Sovereignty) 

The Chrysler Bailout/Bankruptcy – (N.Y.Times) WASHINGTON — President Obama forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection on Thursday so it could pursue a lifesaving alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat, in yet another extraordinary intervention into private industry by the federal government.  – This intervention resulted in the UAW getting a 55% ownership share in Chrysler for about $4.2 billion while the taxpayers got about 8% for our $12 billion. Really! This is the kind of good deals you get when the government gets involved with business. So far the buy out has only saved union and management jobs . On the other side of the equation, the 789 dealerships closing will result in the loss of another 30,000 jobs in communities of every size nationwide. Many of these are family run businesses left holding inventories of cars and parts. Watch out GM is next. (Categories – Excessive Spending/Government Intervention) 

The G20 Rollover –  (Telegraph.co.uk) A single clause in Point 19 of the communiqué issued by the G20 leaders amounts to revolution in the global financial order. “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,” it said. SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century. In effect, the G20 leaders have activated the IMF’s power to create money and begin global “quantitative easing”. With this agreement President Obama helped lay the groundwork for global financial regulation. The creation of a Financial Stability Board is the first step towards an international financial regulator. These moves are designed to strengthen the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and possibly create a new world currency. In the future, the FSB could/will technically be able to impose global financial regulations that the SEC would be obliged to follow. Welcome to the New World Order, goodbye sovereignty! (Categories – Economic Security/Foreign Policy/National Sovereignty) 

Executive Pay Limits – May 15th  , (N.Y. Times), Obama Administration officials are contemplating a major overhaul of the compensation practices in the financial services industry, moving beyond banks to include more loosely regulated hedge funds and private equity firms. Federal policymakers have been discussing ways to ensure that pay is more closely linked to performance. Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the Financial Services Committee, said he believed giving the government new authority to take over troubled companies could be adopted by the House. “This would give the government the same powers that you would get as if the company were in bankruptcy,” Mr. Frank said in an interview shortly after meeting with Mr. Geithner on the plan. But Mr. Frank and other lawmakers said other elements of the plan could take more time, like expanding the authority of the Federal Reserve to become a systemic regulator. Among the ideas under consideration are incorporating compensation as a “safety and soundness” concern on official bank examinations as well as expanding the existing regulatory powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve to obtain more information. This sounds an awful lot like socialism, today banks, financial services companies and hedge funds – tomorrow?  Is your job next?   And ….. Where in the constitution does the government get this authority? I guess if you control salaries the redistribution of wealth model is easier to manage.   (Categories – Government Intervention) 

The administration will tell you that all of this is being done to protect the country and for the general welfare of its’ citizens. To which our founding fathers would have responded as follows: 

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison 

This only a handful of the examples that illustrate that the federal government is out of control. There are many more spanning a broad spectrum of categories from nationalizing private businesses, retroactive taxes, state’s rights, financial regulation and continued bailouts to plans to “reform” health care , gun laws, cap & trade and card check. It is the time to this stop madness. 

We are careening down the road toward socialism at an incredible rate of speed. Politics long ago replaced leadership, statesmanship and governing. The elected officials and bureaucrats in Washington have thrown our constitution and all the values used to create it out the window. The federal government  has pushed citizens and the states aside, in an effort to take total control. We can not let this happen. You need to write or contact every elected official in your voting district. Tell them to cease and desist or they will lose their jobs. The time to act is now. Let’s take back America!

Cars, part 2 – Now open for business…………..Obama Motorworks!

(The New York Times) WASHINGTON — President Obama forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection on Thursday so it could pursue a lifesaving alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat, in yet another extraordinary intervention into private industry by the federal government.

Flanked by his automobile task force of cabinet secretaries and business advisers in the White House’s grand entrance way, Mr. Obama announced a plan that would allow the United Automobile Workers, through their retirement plan, to take control of Chrysler, with Fiat and the United States as junior partners. The government would lend about $8 billion more to the company, on top of the $4 billion it had already provided. 

The arrangement came after an intensive round of White House-sponsored negotiations among the Treasury Department, the union and Chrysler’s executives and creditors. After working through the night, a small group of debt holders balked at Mr. Obama’s final terms, leading the president to decide that bankruptcy could not be averted. 

It was a stark moment, and one unseen in modern times, as the fledgling president deepened his involvement in a struggling but iconic American company. Chrysler, which Mr. Obama called “a pillar” of the industrial economy, invented the minivan and owns the Jeep brand. 

Bringing to bear his White House megaphone on Thursday, Mr. Obama laid out the terms of a deal that he said would save well over 35,000 jobs. And with a hint of anger, he railed against the holdout lenders, now effectively a hostile group of business partners, whom he called “speculators.” 

“They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none,” Mr. Obama said of the creditors, among them several hedge funds and boutique investment funds. “I don’t stand with them.” 

Stop and think about what you have just read! Let me break this down for you: 

  1. In the words of The New York Times “President Obama forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection …… in yet another extraordinary intervention into private industry by the federal government.” The President is deciding that a private company must file for bankruptcy! This on the heels of firing the CEO of GM and retroactively taxing bonuses on Wall Street. What is wrong with this picture. This is NOT the role of the Federal government!
  2. Mr. Obama announced a plan that would allow the United Automobile Workers, through their retirement plan, to take control of Chrysler. The President and his advisors have allowed the union to use their retirement fund to purchase controlling interest in Chrysler after forcing it into bankruptcy. This will allegedly save their jobs but what happens if Chrysler continues to flounder and destroys the value of the pension fund? Who gets to pay for that, the taxpayers? If the union is willing to make this investment are they willing to live with the consequences of failure? If you or I lost our jobs and decided to empty our 401k to start a business, nobody would bail us out if it was a bust.
  3. After the Administration could not broker a deal with Chrysler’s creditors, the President lashed out at them for being “greedy”! Imagine the nerve of those guys expecting to get paid as much as possible for a bad debt. I mean they had the audacity to think that they actually deserved more than $0.30 or $0.40 on the dollar. 

This of course, is just the beginning. Now they are making plans for GM and the path seems to be the same – forced bankruptcy and protection for the union. The airline unions must be pissed off. After all to save their jobs they had to take cuts and make concessions. That was before our new age of socialism and nationalization of businesses. 

There are still more conditions of this bailout. And yes, it is still a bailout because the taxpayers are kicking in an additional $8 billion to make the “deal” work.  The government, as part of its’ “special bailout conditions”, will require Chrysler to make “cleaner and greener” cars. 

So where does this end? Or more appropriately, where will this go next?Later this week the government will release the results of their banking stress tests and tell us which banks will require “additional repairs”. Still looming on the horizon is the impending commercial real estate collapse and new legislation for regulating credit cards. 

What happened to good, old fashioned bankruptcy? You know where company officials, creditors and a judge go and work out a plan to either save or dissolve a failing business. It wasn’t perfect but at least the government wasn’t calling the shots and the taxpayers footing the bill.

For Americans who choose to pay attention there are red flags everywhere. We are allowing the government to take control of the economy, nationalize businesses and the banking system. If we don’t stand up and make our voices heard the result will ultimately be a shift from capitalism to socialism. Are you ready to trade the American Dream for Socialism? Think about it, time is running out. 

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”  — Patrick Henry