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

Obama Counting on Myths, Errors, and Ignorance for Reelection

Obama

Nate Silver’s article in the New York Times on President Obama’s reelection chances looked carefully at three major influences that could determine the outcome in November of 2012 and concluded that the President is a slight underdog: “It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for the Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.”

A skilled forecaster, Silver looked at three major factors that he thinks will influence the election: approval ratings, the economy, and the President’s opponent’s ideology. At the moment the President’s negative approval ratings across the spectrum of pollsters doesn’t concern him, and he thinks that even if the economy dips further as many are increasingly predicting, the electorate is suffering from bad news “fatigue,” and more bad news won’t really count for much. When it gets to ideology, however, it is clear that if

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Bernanke Defensive as the Fed Loses its Luster

Protest against the Federal Reserve during eve...

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference on November 2 included the admission that the Fed is depending on hope and patience to see if its continuing strategies of Operation Twist and zero interest rates will grow the economy out of recession. In his session with reporters, Bernanke defended Fed actions in the face of increasing criticism from both the left and the right.

Three years after the Federal Reserve’s massive and continuing interventions in the financial markets, Bernanke was forced to admit that “recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions and the unemployment rate remains elevated…and consequently [the Fed] anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually…. Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook.” He added that “we did underestimate the pace of recovery for some fundamental reasons,” including the continuing declines in the real estate markets and “a certain amount of bad luck.”

Bernanke was forced to reduce further his estimates about the rate of

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Four Ways to Reinvigorate Private Sector Job Growth

"Big Pete" Ramagos, rigger at work o...

There was precious little good news in the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for October. Employment rose by 80,000, less than economists expected, and much less than the 250,000 needed to begin to bring down the unemployment rate significantly.

But inside the numbers there was a little good news: The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.0 percent, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 365,000 and private-sector employment increased by 104,000. At the same time government payrolls have been decreasing, reducing slightly but inevitably the drag on the private sector that ultimately pays for that government overhead. In fact, according to the BLS,

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Jon Corzine Proves Regulation is Rigged

Our Governor

After spending the entire weekend trying to sell his company, MF Global, Chairman Jon Corzine finally capitulated, and his board declared bankruptcy on Monday morning, October 31. It was during negotiations with a potential suitor for the business, Interactive Brokers (IB), that word leaked out that customers’ monies were missing, and IB left Corzine to fend for himself. A board meeting was hastily called and ended Corzine’s dream of building another Goldman Sachs with other peoples’ money.

It isn’t as if the regulators were asleep. According to the New York Times, alarm bells went off last June when regulators from the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) first discovered that

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No Treats, Just Tricks: National Debt Surpasses GDP on Halloween

Trick or Treat 2008 - Halloween - Yongsan Garr...

A little-noticed event occurred at approximately midnight on Monday, October 31, 2011: The national debt of the United States exceeded, for the first time since World War II, the country’s gross domestic product. The website USDebtClock.org showed the gross domestic product crossing the $15 trillion mark for the first time on Monday, while earlier in the day the numbers from TreasuryDirect showed the total public debt outstanding at $14.993 trillion and growing by more than

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The Oil Map of the World Is Shifting to the West

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (which was adapted into a mini-series by PBS in 1992) explored the shift of oil’s epicenter from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere, expressing his surprise that “what appeared to be irreversible is being reversed.” He explains:

The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore deposits found off Brazil.

The transformation is happening not as part of some grand design or major policy effort, but almost accidentally. This shift was not planned—it is a product of

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Rick Perry’s “Cut, Balance, and Grow” Plan Doesn’t Cut Much

Rick Perry Speaks at the Values Voter Summit

Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry spelled out the details of his “Cut, Balance, and Grow” flat tax plan on October 25, saying that “the U.S. government spends too much. Taxes are too high, too complex, and too riddled with special-interest loopholes. And our expensive entitlement system is unsustainable in the long run.” Perry’s plan would offer taxpayers a choice between a new flat rate of 20 percent on incomes over $50,000, or their current income tax rate. The plan would allow them to file their taxes on a postcard, eliminating the enormous current compliance costs in filing their Form 1040s. Various deductions and exemptions would be eliminated, he says, thus improving incentives for entrepreneurs to invest, create, and hire.

In addition, Perry would cap government spending at 18 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and put a freeze on

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Supercommittee Stalls with the Clock Ticking

An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, marked AA-1, lan...

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

job - Me gustas tu

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

Image by SamuelBenoit (.wordpress.com) via Flickr

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

Stick

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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

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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

Gutenberg Press Replica

Image via Flickr

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!

Image taken by User:Minesweeper on December 14...

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image by Rusty Darbonne via Flickr

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

gavel

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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...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

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

USPS_

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