Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from the Audacity of Logic

Friday, November 19, 2010

Biden Says Civilian Terror Trial Outcome Better than a Military One

Vice President Joe Biden is not only painting the single Ahmed Ghailani guilty verdict as a victory, but saying that the outcome of this first-of-its-kind trial is better than if Ghailani had been tried in a military tribunal.

"He's getting a longer sentence. He'll be in jail longer than if any other method were tried. Same thing George Bush did with the shoe bomber. Same thing he did with the 24th hijacker," Mr. Biden told Larry King Thursday night.

Ghailani was found guilty of conspiracy in connection to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; the only guilty verdict among more than 280 charges. He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison without parole.

Trying enemy combatants in a civil setting has long stuck in the craw of many lawmakers, who fear civil trials could provide a result that is too lenient. Ghailani's was the first such trial of a Guantanamo Bay detainee and a big test of the Obama administration's plans to bring many of those held in detention for years to civilian court.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the result revealed civil trials are a failure and that the outcome was "all the proof we need that the administration's approach to prosecuting terrorists has been deeply misguided and indeed potentially harmful as a matter of national security."

Republicans have instead urged President Obama to pursue military tribunals for enemy combatants and other terror suspects. The president has said some military trials are an option, but each case will be reviewed on its merits and some may warrant a civilian trial.

Complicating the process are claims by some detainees, including Ghailani himself, that they were tortured while in U.S. custody. As such, the judge deemed some evidence was not admissible in his case. But Biden says, "Had he been tried in a tribunal, which some of the critics say he should have been tried in a military tribunal...the same evidence would have been inadmissible."

As detainees' cases continue to be reviewed, there remains the looming promise President Obama made to close the main facility that houses those detainees. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama have said they want the Guantanamo Bay detention facility closed, but it was Mr. Obama who promised to close it within a year of taking office. The facility is still open.

Mr. Biden told King such an aspiration was perhaps premature, "I speak for myself. I spoke too soon because, quite frankly, we didn't have all the detailed data on every single prisoner, the status of that prisoner, what that prisoner's circumstance was, whether we could move them into an Article 3 court, whether they should be released, et cetera, or whether they should be tried in a military court."

Can you believe the unmitigated gall of this idiot? I wonder if he's willing to tell the families of the over 200 people this animal was responsible for killing, that they should be happy he was only convicted on one of 280 charges, and that charge WAS NOT MURDER. When you send clowns like Biden and Obama to Washington to govern, you shouldn’t be too surprised when things turn into a circus!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We Don't Need More Inflation, We Need to Put An End to Obama's Job Killing Policies

By John Lott

The current inflation rate of 2 percent is "too low." That is at least if you believe Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. With the economy growing "too slowly to bring down unemployment," Mr. Bernanke's solution is to increase inflation.

The Federal Reserve last week started printing up $600 billion to buy U.S. Treasury Bonds and another almost $300 billion to buy mortgages. The printing more dollars will reduce the value of the dollar just as doubling the number of apples will reduce the price of apples.

A falling value of the dollar is what is called “inflation.” The problem is that this "stimulus" will only temporarily reduce unemployment and get the economy growing by tricking people into making mistakes that they will later regret, mistakes that will cost the country much more in the long run than will be gained by these temporary improvements. With unemployment stuck at least at 9.5 percent for a record 15 months, the desire "to do something" is understandable, but the only people who this policy will help are the politicians currently in office.

You would think that all economists would have learned the lessons of the 1960s and 1970s: higher inflation rates only temporarily reduce unemployment. As the late Milton Friedman warned all the way back in his 1968 presidential address to the American Economic Association, the end result of those inflationary policies was just more inflation and unemployment. During the late 1970s, this phenomenon even had its own name: "stagflation." Mr. Bernanke seems to ignore the economic suffering that occurred when President Reagan had the courage to finally wring the inflation out of the economy in the early 1980s.

Unexpected increases in the inflation rate temporarily deceive workers into thinking that they are getting a better wage offer and lets companies hire workers at a lower real wage. Thus, unemployment is temporarily cut. Conversely, when the inflation is eventually wrung out of the economy, workers' wage increases in dollar terms will turn out to be less than anticipated with resulting increases in unemployment. Double digit inflation rates during the late 1970s were brought under control, but the cost was an unemployment rate that reached 10.8 percent.

Two percent inflation may seem "too low" to Mr. Bernanke (during the last three months inflation has actually averaged an annual rate of 2.8 percent), but inflation has real costs: it diverts businesses and people from making productive investments to making that protect them from inflation. Higher inflation rates are also much more difficult control.

With the next election no more than two years away, few politicians other than Reagan have been willing to bear the short-run electoral costs of reducing inflation. Let the next president face the higher unemployment rate from reducing inflation, they seem to say.

Besides only artificial short term gains on unemployment, the value of the dollar took a big hit on Mr. Bernanke's announcement. More inflation means that the value of dollar is lower, and foreigners immediately reduced how much they were willing to pay for them. Higher inflation also means that interest rates will rise, lowering bond and stock prices. One cost of higher inflation is the threat that it poses to Americans’ investments.

There might be another unstated explanation for increasing inflation -- more inflation will devalue the awful levels of our government debt, including the debt held by foreign countries such as China. If China bought Treasury bonds paying 3 percent interest and we can raise the inflation rate to 4 percent, the U.S. government will effectively make the Chinese pay us 1 percent per year for borrowing our money.

The economy is indeed growing "too slowly." But the problem is due to the chaos created by the stimulus as well as the disincentives created by higher taxes and increased regulations. The solution isn't more inflation. The solution is to end President Obama's job destroying economic policies.

John R. Lott, Jr. is an economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime."(University of Chicago Press, 2010), the third edition of which was published in May.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are We About to Become the New Europe?

By Mike Baker

I've just spent a few days in Europe on business. Business and eating. Possibly more eating of excellent foods than business, I can't be sure due to the quantities of tasty wine consumed. Regardless, as I sit here on the plane in my seat measuring approximately 14 inches wide, I can report the following with some certainty:Without honest governance, serious financial sacrifice and a willingness to focus on individual responsibility America will be Europe in another 15 or 20 years. It's really that simple.

Remember the recent strikes that threatened to shut down France because the government plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62?

Or the riots in the streets of Athens because the government is trying to rein in spending by restructuring pensions and trimming the size of the government workforce, which currently employs every Greek citizen except one guy named Costas in the town of Thessaloniki?

How about in the U.K. where firefighters almost went on strike this past week to protest possible changes to their benefits? Ooh, wait...my favorite, BBC journalists went on strike the other day because the BBC, an organization that hasn't made a profit since the days of Queen Victoria, needs to cut costs in order to reduce the size of their annual losses. -- This of course gives us hope that perhaps NPR journalists will follow suit and go on strike.

And let's not forget the kids... they should have the same right to strike as the grown ups.

In many parts of Europe striking and joining in street protests is considered a right of passage, much like getting a tattoo or body piercing in order to show how unique and nonconforming you are compared to all the other tatted up protesting kidlets with various metal bits stuck in their gob.

Why, even now there are thousands of British students (many of whom are paying nothing for their education) taking to the streets in London to protest the UK government's plan to raise tuition fees.

Much to the chagrin of the young and their parents, it could soon cost anywhere between 6,000 and 9,000 British pounds per year for higher education. Many in the U.K. support the protests, believing that education should fall under the category marked "Paid for by Government."

Anyway, the kids are out in force... throwing bricks through windows, chanting, smoking clove cigarettes and "flash mobbing"... a hip activity where at the spur of the moment lots of folks receive a text message instructing them to descend upon a particular location all at the same time. I know, I don't get it either, but I'm kind of old.

So what conclusion are we to draw from the current events in Europe?

How about this...in Europe folks got used to loads of free stuff over several decades. Hey, who doesn't like free stuff? Ladle on some free education with that excellent government job and maybe a heaping helping of no-cost health care and a splash of reduced work hours so you have more time to enjoy life with your free stuff. Huzzah!

Here's the bit that, as simple as it sounds and as common sensical as we all know it to be, seems to have been left off the equation. There's no such thing as free stuff. Okay...I know many of you right now are saying "well yeah, no s**t, Sherlock." Right... We all get it -- if you spend more than you make you're eventually going to be in a fiscal goat rope.

Europe is painfully dealing with this right now -- decades of free crap have created generations of folks who really, really like their free crap. When the various governments now try to steer their ships towards the magical land of fiscal responsibilty, the populations mutiny and someone has to walk the plank.

Here in America, where we often like to wittily scoff at the Europeans and their vast quantities of free stuff and socialist leanings, we are once again at the point where there is talk about sailing to fiscal responsibility land. This happens every now and then, usually right after a midterm election.

Why, just look at last week's elections...all the people crying for Democrats to walk the plank because of their reckless ways and efforts to turn us in to Europeans. "Cut spending" the people shouted... "Rein in the deficit" was the rallying call.

So now we have a Congress that has made a pinky swear to reduce spending. And a population that has demanded fiscal responsibility. We stand on the cusp of not continuing our march towards becoming Europeans.

But, uhh, we kind of like our entitlements. I mean, who wants to take on Social Security or Medicare? What's that? Raise the Social Security age to 70? Are you insane? Surely we can set those sacred cows aside and still get tough on spending. And then there's education. Cutting that can't be good. And defense...how we gonna do that when the world's a scary place?

Now, with those items off the table, how much savings do you think can be gleaned from the budget? The answer is $27 dollars and 14 cents. Currently that's the equivalent of one Euro.

No matter -- the people have spoken and the people demand deficit reduction and serious spending cuts. I'm sure all those newly elected Republicans and Democrats who profess to have heard the demands of the people can find some entitlements somewhere that the people won't mind losing. And just like all the other voters out there, I demand that they get busy.

Just don't be touching my free stuff.

And soon, maybe in a few years time, I won't have to wedge my bottom in a 14 inch wide seat to visit Europe. I can just walk out my door. Et voila.

Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe.


Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he cofounded in 2000, as president.


He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counterterrorism, intelligence and homeland security.


Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

California Borrowing $40 Million a Day To Pay For Unemployment Benefits

With one in every eight workers unemployed, and empty state coffers, California is borrowing billions of dollars from the federal government to pay unemployment insurance, money that comes from your taxpayer dollars.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the state owes $8.6 billion already, and will have to come up with a $362-million payment to Washington by the end of next September, which of course they won't be able to pay back.

The continued borrowing means federal unemployment insurance taxes are going to increase, upping the annual payroll costs $21 a year per worker.

California tops the list of 32 states that have borrowed a total of $41 billion to pay claims.

The state took out its first loan from the federal government early last year, to deal with rising payment of benefits and number of claims. The current level of unemployment in California is now at about 14%, well above the national average of just under 10%.

So, the entire country is now paying for the folly of California's failed policies, which have sent them down the road of ruin.

One of the main reasons California is in the mess it finds itself now is that they taxed companies, and jobs, out of existence, mainly to pay for all the entitlement programs the state offers. California amounts to about 12% of the population, but is responsible for well over a third of the welfare paid out in this country.

Who does a good chunk of the money paid to entitlement programs in California go to? Illegal aliens, of course. They don't call it Mexifornia without good reason.

The Fed is already in the process of monetizing the national debt with what is called 'quantitaive easing' (we're on the second round or what's being called QE2) which essentially means the Fed is printing money to pay down the national debt.

This practice has most economic experts starting to talk about doomsday scenarios, which have the U.S. and the dollar relegated to bankruptcy and third world status. If the federal government also starts monetizing the debt of each state that is in trouble, you can expect to see that doomsday scenario speed up exponentially.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MSNBC Reinstates Olberman After Only Two Days

Obviously, the word "indefinitely" only means two days at MSNBC, because that's how long it took to decide putting Keith Olberman back on the air. What is also obvious is that this smells of some kind of publicity stunt. One question I had was why Olberman would do something so overtly that he knew would cause a big stir. Could it be that he and MSNBC have colluded to boost their sagging ratings by concocting this whole scheme? I wouldn't put it past them. In any case, MSNBC - also obviously - doesn't care much about instilling journalistic ethics or credibility at their network, if all you get is a two day suspension when breaking the rules. What a huge sham this is. Anyone who can't see what is the obvious motive here is either demented or is simply a fool.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann Indefinitely for Contributing to Democratic Campaigns










Reuters

MSNBC announced Friday that it has suspended prime-time host Keith Olbermann indefinitely and without pay for making political contributions to the campaigns of three Democratic candidates.

The MSNBC host admitted to donating to three Democratic campaigns.

In a statement provided to FoxNews.com, Phil Griffin, president of the network, said he “became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

Olbermann acknowledged to NBC that he donated $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

NBC News prohibits its employees from working on, or donating to, political campaigns unless a special exception is granted by the news division president -- effectively a ban. Olbermann's bosses did not find out about the donations until after they were made.

The website Politico first reported the donations.

According to the Politico report, the contributions were made this fall, including one that came just hours after Grijalva appeared on Olbermann’s program.

Olbermann's "Countdown" show, which airs at 8 p.m. ET, is MSNBC's most popular program. He was a co-anchor of MSNBC's election coverage this week.

Chris Hayes will fill in for Olbermann on Friday's program, the network said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. The way I look at it, one down, three to go. Matthews, Maddow and that Ed guy, should be next.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Not Only Something In The State Of Denmark That Smells Rotten; Nevada Is A Close Second.

Harry Reid was consistently polling 5 - 6 points behind his opponent with about 43% of the vote.
He won with about 53% of the vote... A 10 point turn around.
Most other seats in Nevada went Republican.

From FOX News a few days ago:

A conservative watchdog group is calling on Nevada officials to intervene to ensure SEIU workers who operate one county's voting machines don't skew the results to boost their endorsed candidate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.



A contract between SEIU Local 1107 and Clark County -- where voting glitches were reported Tuesday -- makes the SEIU the sole union representative for, among other professions, voting machine technicians.


Nevada SEIU spokesman Nick Di Archangel called the suggestion that SEIU or its technicians would manipulate voting machines "absolutely false."


But Americans for Limited Government called the union agreement "positively outrageous" considering SEIU's political stake in the race. ALG has urged the U.S. Marshals, the state attorney general and the U.S. attorney's office to step in to uphold the integrity of the election.


"For all intents and purposes, the SEIU has control over those ballots boxes, because they're the people who work on them ... which puts us into a new realm of potential fraud," ALG spokesman Richard Manning told FoxNews.com.


Manning said it is "suspicious" that glitches were just reported in that county's machines, referring to complaints from voters in Boulder City that Reid's name was already checked when they went to cast their ballots for his opponent, Republican Sharron Angle. Fox5Vegas.com reported that several voters in the Clark County jurisdiction experienced the same problem.


Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax explained that highly sensitive touch-screens may be to blame and fraud is not the issue. He told Fox5Vegas.com that nobody reported the problem to his officials and that it would be impossible for the machines to pick a candidate without the voter's consent.


He also said in a statement that the supervisors are not part of the union, even if the technicians are, and that the technicians are not involved in programming. He said "extensive security measures are in place" to prevent tampering, adding that SEIU-eligible employees have worked in the Election Department for years without incident.


Di Archangel said Lomax "ensures both the security and reliability" of the machines. "The machines cannot be compromised," he said in an e-mail to FoxNews.com. He added that despite the county contract, all workers are free to stay out of the union if they wish.


"The agreement does not mandate in any way that only union members be assigned to specific jobs," he said.


Secretary of State Ross Miller's office said in a statement that despite wide-ranging "rumor and speculation" about suspicious voting activity, no formal complaints have been lodged with Nevada's Election Integrity Task Force.


"I will not tolerate any attempt by an individual, organization or campaign, to deny any Nevadan the right to freely cast their vote in a safe, secure and private manner. But neither will I stand by and allow the public's confidence in the electoral system (to) be undermined by unsubstantiated rumors and allegations," Miller said.


But Manning said SEIU's involvement in the process raises concern about the integrity of the election.


The union is putting big money into the Nevada Senate race to support Reid and recently went up with an ad that described Angle as "too dangerous" to have power in Congress.


Though the Clark County/SEIU contract is dated March 2007 to June 2010, it is still in effect.


The SEIU said that voters, to ensure the accuracy of their selections, should use the machines' "fail-safe system" to review their picks before leaving the polling station.



"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Josef Stalin

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

 



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