Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Politics

Supercommittee Stalls with the Clock Ticking

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With five weeks to go to create an agreement that will cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, there are few indications that the Supercommittee will propose anything substantial.

Despite demands from the co-chairs of the committee, Senators Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling, that members not speak publicly about their work, Robert Pear, writing for the New York Times, was able to glean some insight into any progress the committee is making. According to a person working for the committee, members are “still hovering at 30,000 feet,” with no landing field in sight. Members are still asking,

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The Republicans’ New Jobs Through Growth Act

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Following the Senate’s rejection of President Obama’s jobs bill on Tuesday, Senate Republicans have offered their own jobs bill, The Jobs Through Growth Actas an alternative. Presented by Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), the bill is designed to defuse the President’s charge that the Republicans had no plan of their own as well as offer different approaches to stimulating job growth. Said Paul, “We simply cannot look to the failed policies of the last two years for an example of how to grow our economy and create jobs. More government spending and excessive regulation are the problem, not the solution. We have spent too long increasing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators, instead of allowing them to operate more freely and create more jobs.”

McCain said “We just thought it was time to put this all into a package. I will freely admit to you that part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal,” while Portman called it “a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs…as opposed to the short-term sweetener approach of the Obama administration that simply hasn’t worked.” According to McCain, most Senate Republicans have

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Top Economists Tell How to Grow Jobs

GROWTH

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Now that the Senate has officially and resoundingly defeated President Obama’s jobs bill (The American Jobs Act), the question remains: just how do real jobs grow?

Matt Welch, writing in the November issue of Reason magazine, reminds his readers of what doesn’t work: government promotion of ideology. The Solyndra debacle is the most recent but not the only example. In May 2010 the President gushed over the positive impact Solyndra was having in growing jobs in the “green” sector:

We invested…in clean energy because not only would this spur hiring by businesses but it creates jobs in sectors with incredible potential to propel our economy for years, for decades to come. And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra…

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New Study: Economy Stuck in Neutral

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On Monday morning Sentier Research announced the results of its new study showing changes in household income since the year 2000 and how those incomes have fared both during the recent recession and since the recovery that began in June, 2009. Not only did household income (which counts all incomes of all members of the household, including wages, Social Security payments, interest, dividends, welfare checks, retirement income, unemployment benefits, and veterans’ benefits, all adjusted for inflation) decline during the recession by 3.2 percent, it fell another 6.7 percent during the recovery.

The household income index (HHI)—created by two former Census Bureau analysts, Gordon Green and John Coder—has declined by almost 10 percent since the start of the recession, marking “a significant reduction in the American standard of living.” And the decline has been steady, month after month since January 2000, with only nine months out of the 138 months since then showing any improvement.

As noted by Robert Pear in the New York Times, this explains

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Romney’s Advisors Are Leftist Elites

Mitt Romney

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Late last week GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney released the names of his foreign policy and national security advisors just in time for his Friday address on America’s foreign policy. He effused over his selection:

I am deeply honored to have the counsel of this extraordinary group of diplomats, experts and statesmen. Their remarkable experience, wisdom and depth of knowledge will be critical to ensuring that the 21st Century is another American Century.

His campaign continues to be plagued with an increasing chorus of doubters about his conservative posture. His claim to have balanced the budget of Massachusetts without raising taxes was

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The Internet: Gutenberg Press of the 21st Century

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Introduction

In a remarkable coalescence of time and circumstance, Michael Hart typed the Declaration of Independence into his computer on July 4th, 1971, Independence Day, and launched Project Gutenberg, the world’s largest non-profit digital library available on the Internet.

On his way home from a fireworks display, Hart stopped in at a grocery store and was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment. He typed the text into his computer, intending to send it as an email to his friends on Arpanet. A colleague persuaded him that his message would cause the system to crash and so Hart merely posted a note that the full text could be downloaded instead. And thus, according to the obituary noting his passing on September 6th, 2011 in the New York Times, “Project Gutenberg was born.”

Project Gutenberg now has more than 36,000 free eBooks in 60 languages available to download to a computer, Kindle, Android, iOS or other handheld devices in a number of text formats, and the number is growing daily. Hart’s goal, formulated on that day in 1971, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” Even in its early stages, Hart saw the power of the Internet that would allow for the infinite reproduction of information with the potential, according to the Times, of “overturning all established power structures.” (emphasis added) In 1995, Hart wrote:

For the first time in the entire history of the Earth, we have the ability for EVERYONE to get copies of EVERYTHING…to all the people on the Earth, via computers. Think about what you have just read for a moment, please: EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE…

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The US Post Office: Price it to Sell!

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Now that Congress has extended the due date for the Postal Service’s $5.5 billion pension plan payment to November 18th, various proposals to modernize and “rightsize” the service have appeared. The most comprehensive is the Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act, which endeavors to allow the service the freedom to do what needs to be done to keep it operating as a quasi-government agency.

If approved by Congress, the Act would:

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Kucinich Wants to Replace the Fed with a New Monetary Authority

Dennis Kucinich

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s recent offering of his “National Emergency Employment Defense Act” (NEED Act) is designed to remove all money creation powers from the Fed to a newly established congressional agency, the Monetary Authority. According to Kucinich, the bill “would reassert congressional sovereignty and regain control of monetary policy from private banks [the Federal Reserve]” by placing that control into the hands of “a separate Monetary Authority made up of experts…responsible for managing monetary policy.” That Monetary Authority would advise the…

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$5 Debit Card Fee: Blame Durbin, Dodd, Frank, the Fed—Not Banks

Sen. Durbin Answers Press

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On Thursday, Bank of America announced that, starting the first of the year, they would be charging debit card users $5 a month for the privilege as a way to recoup lost income under new rules from the Federal Reserve. The rules, which took effect on Saturday, October 1, limit the amount banks may charge merchants accepting debit cards to 21 cents per transaction, down from 44 cents previously. Under the Dodd-Frank bill passed in 2010—initially proposed by former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.)—banks processing the transactions will see their income from those fees drop by about $10 billion a year, all in the name of fairness and equity, according to the Federal Reserve, which determined that the new fees are “reasonable and proportional.” According to industry sources, the real cost of handling each debit card transaction amounts to “a penny or two,” and so politicians decided

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Legal Fallout From Housing Collapse Continues

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The announcement by the Federal Reserve of an “enforcement action” against Goldman Sachs for engaging in “a pattern of misconduct and negligence” in its handling of home mortgage loans was entirely predictable. Charges of such misconduct go back for months when it was first discovered that mortgages and other mortgage-related documents had been “robo-signed” and foreclosure documents hadn’t been properly reviewed and that Goldman’s Litton Loan Servicing unit took actions “without always confirming that documentation of ownership was in order.”

The ruling requires Goldman to

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Liberal House Member Investigated by Liberal Watchdog Group

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif., left) used her congressional office funds to pay for a fancy $20,000 luncheon for some of her constituents in May, calling it a “briefing” to get around House rules prohibiting such expenditures. Jay’s Catering handled the details of the party complete with singing, dancing, and “special consideration of [guests’] dietary and medical needs.” Chris Kuhles, catering manager, said “It was a Polynesian-themed event—Huli Huli Chicken, fried rice, green salad, Hawaiian sweet rolls [and} for dessert, truffle cake.”

It was all according to Hoyle, said Richardson’s spokesman Ray Zaccaro: “All expenses associated with the event were in keeping with the rules and standards of the House Members Representational Account (MRA).” However, a close look at those rules showed that

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Krueger is Obama’s Economic Council Chairman Pick

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 29:  U.S. President Ba...

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This week President Obama will roll out his strategic jobs growth plan in a major speech, and has announced that his new chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, is just the man to help him with it. Krueger comes from the same mold as the man he is replacing, Austan Goolsbee. Goolsbee graduated from Yale, Krueger from Cornell. Goolsbee got his PhD from MIT, Krueger got his from Harvard. Goolsbee worked for the National Bureau of Economic Research, and so did Krueger. Goolsbee is returning to the University of Chicago, while Krueger is leaving Princeton to join Obama.

But the president insists that Krueger will bring him “unvarnished economic guidance…[which is] more important than ever right now. We need folks in Washington to 

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The Postmaster General’s Challenges

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In his report to a Senate subcommittee Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe spelled out clearly why the U.S. Postal Service can’t make any money: too many cooks in the kitchen. Hamstrung and limited by rules and “stakeholders” with differing and often competing agendas, what’s remarkable is that the postal service isn’t deeper in the hole.

Heaven knows, he’s trying. Through agreements finally reached with the letter carrier unions, he has been able, over the past two years, to eliminate 12,000 carrier routes and to consolidate others, saving

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AFL-CIO Backs Off Support for Obama, Democrats; Forms New Super PAC

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Speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that his union is backing off from supporting President Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 elections and is instead going to funnel union funds into attempts to influence state outcomes.

He said,

We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure….

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White House to NY: Accept Bank Foreclosure Deal

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New York’s Eric Schneiderman (right) is the only Attorney General who doesn’t like the foreclosure settlement agreed to by the major banks behind the mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) and foreclosure (robo-signing and faked-documents) frauds that helped bring on the economic crisis in 2008. And he is feeling the heat. In exchange for a small fine, the settlement agreement would end the years-long investigations by New York and other states into the frauds, and would prevent them or any of the investors hurt by the frauds from ever bringing additional charges in the future.

But Schneiderman’s investigation into the shady practices behind the development and sale of MBSs isn’t complete, and signing off on such an agreement now would end his efforts and forever protect the banks from further public exposure to their back office practices.

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NY Times Targets Rep. Issa; Issa Fires Back

Darrell Issa

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The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself”—Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.

In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that

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SuperCommittee Member Rep. Fred Upton Is Flexible

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) made his position on cutting entitlement spending as part of the SuperCommittee’s attempt to reduce the deficit perfectly clear, sort of: “It’s awfully hard to tell someone…who might be 82, that they’ve gotta go back to work, because their benefits are gonna be chopped. That’s not going to happen. We’re not gonna allow that to happen.” Of course, no one is suggesting any such thing.

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Some Unintended Consequences of Raising CAFE Again

New fuel economy label in 2008 shows estimated...

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With the President’s announcement of higher mileage requirements—to 54.5 mpg on new cars and trucks sold in the United States by the year 2025—came the usual promises of less dependence upon foreign oil and reduced “greenhouse gas” emissions. Said the White House blog, “Taken together, the standards established under this Administration span Model Years 2011-2015. They will save consumers money, reduce our

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Private Contractors Feeding at the Public Trough

The latest ranking of contractors providing services to the federal government reveals that at least nine of the top 10 are tied to the Department of Defense and took in nearly $70 billion of the government’s money in 2010. Leading the pack as it has for the past 17 years is Lockheed Martin, with $17 billion, followed by Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.

The top 27 contractors each received at least $1 billion in contracts from the government last year, with Number 100 on the list, Teledyne, getting $170 million. This reflects the enormous growth of government spending in general, and on outside vendors in particular, growing from $207 billion in 2000 to

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Dems Receive 89% of Donations by Top Political Donors

The recently released study of “heavy hitters” by the Center for Responsible Politics showed the amount of money the top 140 political donors gave to Democrats and Republicans from 1989 through 2010. Four of the top six gave $170 million over that period, with $151 million going to Democrats, and less than $3 million going to Republicans (the difference going to unaffiliated or independent political groups). In simple math, Democrats received 89 percent while Republicans got less than two percent.

The top all-time political donor is

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.