Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

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The Bible and Economics

April 13, 2010

New Every Morning – Daily Devotional – Dr. D. James Kennedy

The Bible And Economics – April 13

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this:
If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

Do you dread going to work or tending house, viewing labor as a curse on your life because of the Fall? Well, it isn’t. Before sin ever touched this earth, God commanded Adam to tend the garden. God created us to have meaningful employment and to earn our keep. And He created a context in which we could live and prosper.

God reveals that context in His Word. While the Bible isn’t an economics textbook, it does say a great deal about how we can thrive. The Bible says that if a person does not work, that person shall not eat. (Of course, this principle doesn’t refer to a person unable to work.) The Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” makes it clear that we can own property, ruling out certain economic systems such as communism. In fact, I believe free enterprise is a biblical principle. Most people didn’t understand this until 1776, when Adam Smith wrote his famous book on economics, The Wealth of Nations. This book sparked the worldwide spread of capitalism. Before that time, most people lived a hand-to-mouth existence, spending about ninety percent of their income on food. But between 1800 and 1850, wages quadrupled as people pursued scriptural economic principles, and from 1850 to 1900, wages quadrupled again. This was especially true in America, where free enterprise had its freest reign.

But in this century, we’ve turned from some of those biblical principles. A misapplication of the concepts of justice and charity have created in our nation “social justice” (in other words, welfare). Public welfare is neither just nor charitable, because it forcibly takes money from one person and gives it to another. Public welfare also tempts people to take advantage of public money and to fight for as much of it as they can get. It destroys private charity and creates vice and laziness.

I challenge you to apply biblical principles of economics in your life and to cultivate a responsible work ethic. Resolve today that whatever task comes your way, you’ll work for God’s honor and glory. As you do, He will bless you for your obedience.

America will last until the populace discovers it can vote for itself largess [gifts or handouts] out of the public treasury.
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE

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Cartoon: Obama’s Spending Plan

February 19, 2010

http://www.investors.com/image/ramirez021810_FULL.jpg.cms

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Cartoon: Mt. Spendmore….(Obama)

February 18, 2010

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Cartoon: Obama’s Spending Freeze

February 1, 2010

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Cartoon: You’re Gonna Have to Trust Us

January 25, 2010

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Cartoon: Uncle Sam Tied Down

January 15, 2010

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Cartoon: Obama’s Job Creation

December 15, 2009

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Welcome to Obamaville

December 14, 2009

Sign at homeless camp: ‘Welcome to Obamaville’


‘I’ve had 100 calls today and not a single 1 of them was negative’


WND 12 Dec. 09

By Drew Zahn


WorldNetDaily


Sign constructed in Colorado Springs homeless camp

Residents of Colorado Springs, Colo., have a mystery on their hands: Who came up with the idea to erect a sign reading “Welcome to Obamaville” on the site of a homeless tent camp in the city?

The sign, which was visible from the Cimarron Street ramp to Interstate 25, clearly conveyed a political jab at rising unemployment under President Barack Obama, for it read in full, “Welcome to Obamaville – Colorado’s fastest growing community.”

Tell lawmakers in Washington that if they insist on spending more, they’ll join the ranks of the unemployed, too. For just $29.95 you can send an individualized notice to every member of Congress in the form of a “pink slip.”

Colorado television station KRDO first reported on the sign earlier this week, but without any identifying logos or clues to the sign’s origin, the station launched a public appeal for information on the sign’s author.

KRDO got its first clue when Spencer Swann of Colorado Canyon Signs confessed to constructing the sign, though he denied it was his idea and still refuses to divulge for whom he built it. He did, however, explain that there was more to the sign’s intent than criticizing the sitting president:

“You mention his name, you get some attention – I think that was the whole idea behind it,” Swann told KRDO. “I didn’t dream it up, but I thought it was a good idea. I thought that it would help some of these guys down here.”

(Story continues below)

Public reaction on the KRDO website has been mixed over the sign’s message:

“Lay the blame where you will, I think it is a hoot and a great historical throwback to Hooverville,” wrote a reader named daman in an online comment. “These are the worst times I’ve seen in my 40-plus years, and I am glad my kids get to see it early. Maybe they’ll learn to grow and be compassionate, yet personally fiscal conservatives.”

A poster named Nick, however, was critical: “That is pretty low to use a right-wing political agenda and attack the homeless during the worst recession in a generation and especially during the holidays.”

Swann, however, says he’s received nothing but support:

“I’ve had 100 calls today,” Swann told the station, “and not a single one of them was negative.”

Nonetheless, Swann has since replaced the “Obamaville” sign with another, which reads, “Please help. We need firewood, propane and canned food.”

In response to some criticism that the money used to build the signs should have been used to help the homeless instead, Swann told KRDO that though the original “Obamaville” sign cost around $150, he didn’t charge the unknown creator for either sign. Furthermore, he said, the instigator of the “Obamaville” sign is already involved with helping the homeless:

“He gives them money, he gives them food, he gives them support,” said Swann.

As for his own motivations for building the sign, and doing so without charge, Swann told KRDO, “I thought it was just something to draw attention and help those folks.”

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The General Wellfare Clause

November 24, 2009

The General Wellfare Clause

The BIG Lie
Where is the constitutional authority for a federal mandate that individuals must buy health insurance?
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says that one’s easy: “The very first enumerated power gives the power to provide for the common defense and the general welfare. So it’s right on, right on the front end.”
For those who don’t follow Sen. Merkley’s brilliant explication, he refers to the Constitution’s Preamble, which, among several other things, says that the Constitution was written to “promote the general Welfare,” though the Preamble doesn’t list enumerated powers.
Furthermore, James Madison, primary author of the Constitution, vehemently disagreed, writing, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”
Thomas Jefferson likewise stated that if Congress could “do anything they please to provide for the general welfare … [i]t would reduce the whole instrument [the Constitution] to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”
For the simpletons in Congress, Jefferson concluded, “Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them.” Regardless of what Senator Jeff Merkley says.
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Labor Unions: Stealth Unionization

November 19, 2009

Stealth Unionization

IBD: 19 Nov. 2009

Labor: While the focus was on card-check legislation that would allow workers to be bullied into union membership, a federal board has quietly changed a rule to let unions organize without a majority of workers.

The National Mediation Board, an agency charged with resolving labor disputes in the rail and airline industries, has approved a rule shift that heavily favors unions.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Cartoon: Obama’s Job Creation

November 18, 2009

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Cartoon: Obama Tears Down Wall St.

November 10, 2009

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Regulation: Nightmare on Wall St.

November 9, 2009

Nightmare On Wall St.

IBD: 9 Nov. 09

Regulation: Washington is quietly preparing a hostile takeover of Wall Street with a new bill that would put regulators in control of managing asset prices.

While all eyes are fixed on the cobra poised to strike the health care industry, a python is wending its way through Hill banking panels that would squeeze the life from the whole economy.

By Christmas, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank hopes to pass legislation that would create an uber-regulatory body called the Financial Services Oversight Council.

It would give the Treasury secretary power to pick which large finance firms are “systemically critical,” or too big to fail. He’d have the final call when the government steps in to save or unwind a troubled firm.

The bill would “essentially turn over control of the financial system to the government and seriously impair competition in all areas of finance,” says former Treasury official Peter J. Wallison. It would put the government permanently in the business of picking winners and losers, he adds, creating a kind of permanent TARP.

The Kansas City Fed agrees. In a rare public rebuke, the branch issued a study concluding the bill “could lead to greater political interference.” Indeed, such heavy-handed regulation would breed corruption, loopholes, lobbying and the very kind of perverse incentives and distortions in the market that led to Fannie and Freddie securitizing $1 trillion in bad social loans. “It’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all over again,” said Wallison.

The new regulatory agency can regulate banks, bank holding companies, insurance companies, hedge funds, finance companies and any other kind of company that might be designated too big to fail.

“The existence of these designated companies will impair competition in every market they are allowed to enter,” says Wallison, “and will force the consolidation of competitors so that markets become dominated by government-backed giants like themselves.”

Under the new regime, designated companies will not be able to finance their affiliates’ sales, putting them at a severe disadvantage against foreign competitors. GE Capital, for example, would not be able to finance GE sales of aircraft engines.

In effect, designated companies will fall under the control of the feds, unable to start new activities or enter new markets or perhaps even open new offices without federal approval. “This is a degree of political control of business that has never been attempted before,” Wallison says.

And with politics comes favoritism. Bailouts and preferences will go to favored firms, and healthy companies will pay for the cost of propping up their sick competitors. Bad decisions will be rewarded, draining taxpayers. And once the market comes to expect that government takeovers and bailouts will occur, they will have to go forward, lest surprises trigger market crashes.

It will be a political free-for-all. R&D money devoted to new product lines and innovations will be shifted to lobbying. Before long, Wall Street will operate like K Street. Crony capitalism will be the name of the game.

“Washington and the political system — rather than competition and effective financial performance — will have become central to what happens in the financial industry,” Wallison says.

In short, the regulatory regime Democrats want would be disastrous for future economic growth and living standards.

“Governments that regulate away risks destroy the growth engine of their nation,” warns Swiss money manager Axel Merk. “The U.S. is the most prosperous nation because it has embraced risk taking. When we evaluate our love-hate relationship with investment banks, let’s not forget that as one of their key roles, they facilitate the aggregation and deployment of risk takers’ capital.”

Democrats call that “greed” and are hellbent on tinkering with the American growth engine. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd is close to releasing a companion bill to Frank’s.

The pair of New England liberals are the chief congressional architects of the regulations that created FrankenFreddie and FrankenFannie and the banking disaster that caused the Great Recession. Now they have license to create a new monster — with President Obama’s full blessing.

If we are seeing a far-left coup against capitalism in this country, this bill could deliver the death blow, marching Wall Street down a road to serfdom in the name of “social justice.”

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Cartoon: Obama – A Year Later

November 9, 2009

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Cartoon: Al Gore vs. Obama

November 2, 2009

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CBS: Doubting President Obama

October 30, 2009

CBS: Doubting President Obama: Are they finally getting it?

Transcript:

KATIE COURIC, HOST: Now let`s get back to that $787 billion stimulus Anthony mentioned. Earlier this year, the president claimed it would create or save three million jobs. There are some questions about how many it may have created so far. Chip Reid is at the White House tonight. And, Chip, I know the administration is putting out a jobs report card tomorrow. What can you can tell us about that?

CHIP REID, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Katie, that report is going to claim that the stimulus has already created or saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, but if the administration`s first effort at counting stimulus jobs is any guide, tomorrow`s numbers could be hard to believe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REID: At a small college in Georgia, $100,000 in stimulus funds paid for trucks for students to practice for commercial driver`s licenses. Another $100,000 went for a modular classroom. The school reported to the government that 280 jobs were created.

In reality, not even close. That`s the number of students who benefited. It has nothing to do with jobs.

In Cocoa, Florida, a childcare center reported 129 jobs created by a stimulus grant. In fact, no jobs were created. The money was really used to increase the compensation and benefits of 129 existing employees.

Overall, it turns out the administration`s initial stimulus jobs report contained hundreds of errors as first reported by the Associated Press. Critics say if the kinds of errors found in that earlier report are repeated in Friday`s much more extensive job creation survey, it won`t be worth the paper it`s printed on.

CRAIG JENNINGS: We have, I think, a rough estimate at best. And at worst, these numbers are next to useless.

REID: The White House says the errors have already been corrected, that tomorrow`s jobs report has been double- and triple-checked for weeks, and that it will give an accurate, detailed look at the early success of the stimulus.

Republicans in Congress, though, predict the report will be a world- class example of government obfuscation.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: There is no factual way of determining how many jobs were saved or created.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

REID: Those Republican critics also say they don`t understand how some stimulus projects will create any jobs. For example, half a million dollars to study social networks like FaceBook, and $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen. Katie.

COURIC: Chip Reid reporting from the White House tonight. Thanks, Chip.

Makes you wonder if White House communications director Anita Dunn is going to file a complaint with CBS.

After all, she didn’t think it was right for Fox News’s Chris Wallace to fact check the Adminstration.

Why should Katie and crew get to do it?

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Cartoon: Out of Control Spending

October 26, 2009

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The Real Fed News

October 19, 2009

The Real Fed News

IBD: 26 Aug. 2009

Monetary Policy: The renomination of Fed chief Ben Bernanke to a second term came as no big surprise. The same can’t be said for the naming of a union activist as head of the New York Federal Reserve.


Read More: Economy


UNION

Denis Hughes, president of the AFL-CIO in New York, has served as interim head of the New York Fed board since May. His ascent to one of the world’s most important financial posts is another troubling sign of this administration’s too-tight embrace of organized labor.

Understand, this is a time of great financial peril. That’s the main reason why Bernanke was renominated. The idea of changing Fed leaders in the middle of a financial crisis was too much.

Bernanke has printed close to $2 trillion in new money to help refloat the economy. President Obama is no doubt happy — if for no other reason than it will let the White House claim its $787 billion “stimulus” is the real reason the economy’s starting to grow again.

But the naming of Hughes as the top banker at the New York Fed is the real news. And it’s quite astounding.

He has no significant finance experience. Nor does his educational background — “Brother Hughes,” as the AFL-CIO’s Web site calls him, has a B.S. degree from the Harry Van Arsdale School of Labor Studies at Empire State College — reassure us.

Of greater concern is his career as a bought-and-paid-for union official and political operative. The New York Fed chairmanship is hardly a place for a person whose entire career has been spent fighting and strong-arming the very people he’ll now be regulating.

As American Thinker editor Ed Lasky put it, Hughes is someone “who may be more schooled in extracting concessions from corporate America than the intricacies of high finance.”

Exactly. More to the point, can those on Wall Street who come before him in routine regulatory matters expect fair treatment? Will union issues become part of the New York Fed’s agenda? Will banks find requests to expand or merge stymied because unions fear a loss of jobs somewhere?

These are more than just academic questions. The New York Fed is the primus inter pares, the first among equals, of all the Fed banks. It is the bank that executes the Fed board’s will in the marketplace. It is the on-site regulator of Wall Street, playing, as its Web site says, “a leadership role in monetary policy, financial supervision and the payments system.” Now it’s headed by a union shill.

Putting this key Fed bank in the hands of a person whose experience suggests a bred-in-the-bone hostility to capitalism strikes us as bizarre at best and dangerous at worst. And it bears the unmistakable imprint of the White House. Just last week we wrote about plans to elevate former United Steelworkers adviser Ron Bloom from head of the auto task force to “industrial policy czar.”

Putting so many union people in powerful positions of economic policymaking is a recipe for disaster. Since 1955, the share of the workers belonging to unions has plunged from 33% to about 11%. Still, though increasingly unpopular, unions have helped wreck two major industries: autos and steel. Not much of a track record.

But now, through politics, unions are getting rewarded with control of the economy — a very bad omen for American capitalism.

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EU Grabs Korea Trade Pact That Was Ours

October 19, 2009

EU Grabs Korea Trade Pact That Was Ours

IBD: 19 Oct. 2009

Free Trade: Europe just walked off with the second-biggest trade deal in history with South Korea, bringing a fresh $26 billion to both economies and extending their clout globally. It’s a prize that could have been ours.

Welcome to the new America, the land of the left behind. As the Obama administration dithers for the eighth straight month about three pending free-trade treaties, those dust clouds you see are Europe taking off and running with the big one — South Korea.

Late Thursday, Europe completed a free-trade pact with Korea in which 99% of all tariffs will be scrapped within five years. The two blocs already do business totaling $98 billion, and this deal is expected to tack on another $26 billion.

Products affected include machine tool parts, pharmaceuticals and agricultural produce. All are goods that American companies also make, but they still shell out 56% in tariffs.

For Europe, the deal with Korea was easy. The U.S. had already negotiated a trade pact of its own that was ready to go in 2006. Details of the EU-Korea treaty are nearly identical, so it’s obvious the Europeans just Xeroxed the U.S.-Korea pact and will now walk off with the spoils.

The EU-Korea treaty is the biggest since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. South Korea is the world’s 15th-largest economy, and the 27-nation European Union is the biggest bloc.

A U.S. in the throes of recession could use that kind of market opening. And with the dollar tumbling, it would be in the middle of an export boom if the treaty went through.

The EU-Korea pact is expected to take effect next June. Media reports say Congress won’t take up U.S. free-trade agreements with Korea (or Colombia and Panama, for that matter) until 2011 at the earliest. That’s time enough for Europe to snap up our market share. No wonder the Europeans are smiling.

This isn’t the only thing they’re cooking up. EU trade pacts are also in the works with India and the Asian Tiger states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And talks with Pakistan (with a GDP ranked 48th) start Oct. 19.

Other nations are doing the same. China, Japan and South Korea are creating their own economic zone, South Korea and Colombia have begun talks for a free-trade pact, Korea is holding talks with Peru, and Australia is pushing for free trade with India.

Elsewhere, Pakistan and Turkey are about to sign off on free trade, Armenia and Azerbaijan seek to join a Turkish free-trade zone, and Canada — which is working on deals with Asia and Europe and has a trade pact with Colombia ready for Parliament action — is also seeking to join New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore as a free- trade consortium.

And the U.S., well, it recently signed basic frameworks for trade with Afghanistan — No. 118 in GDP rankings — and Sri Lanka (No. 78). Every trade agreement helps, but something’s not right when a $14 trillion economy is working on trade pacts with tiny economies working their way out of war while Europe walks off with prizes like Korea.

It all highlights a bad disconnect in the Obama administration about what global engagement is. Based on what President Obama has said and done, global engagement is all about deferring to unelected United Nations bureaucrats and saying nice words that please the Nobel Committee.

In the real world, global presence is something different: the forging of trade ties that create alliances, jobs and new influence. As the White House sits on its hands, free-trade treaties are advancing worldwide, and the U.S. is becoming less powerful, not more.

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Michael Moore, Closet Supply-Sider

October 7, 2009

Michael Moore, Closet Supply-Sider

By PETER SCHWEIZER | IBD: 6 Oct. 2009

Michael Moore is at it again, attacking capitalism and corporate America, this time with the film “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Capitalism is “legalized greed,” and “anti-Jesus,” he says. And he is sick and tired of special tax breaks for corporations.

Or is he?

Moore has found a tax break for corporations he actually likes. And his arguments in favor of it sound more like they’re coming from a supply-sider than the populist he professes to be.

Michigan, where Moore lives, offers the most generous tax breaks and subsidies for film producers in the country. For every dollar you spend making a movie in Michigan, taxpayers will give you back 42 cents. Moore actually relocated his postproduction team from New York City to Michigan just to take advantage of these tax credits.

But Moore is not just a recipient of these tax credits. His hypocrisy goes deeper. As a member of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council he has been a cheerleader for them. Appointed to the post by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in September 2008, Moore sees himself as an ambassador who will help bring the film business into the state.

And how does he profess to bring the film business to Michigan? By offering it tax breaks.

In a revealing two-hour interview with the Michigan weekly Northern Express, Moore is candid about his support for tax credits (he calls them “incentives”) that he disdains for any other business. Listen to him recount a conversation with his agent and Hollywood uberliberal Ari Emanuel when the tax credits were first introduced in early 2008:

“When the new film incentives were established, some in Hollywood said that it was an Internet rumor,” he told the paper’s Rick Coates. “My agent Ari Emanuel called and asked if this was real. I told him, yes, it is real, and he responded, ‘I am getting this out to all of my clients because no state has anything close to this.'”

Apparently there is nothing like a generous tax credit to get Hollywood liberals motivated.

Moore then goes on to report on the success of the program. “Just after the incentives went into effect, about a dozen projects came into play,” he said. “Then two months ago we were at 20, and as of today I am aware of 32 projects being considered for Michigan.” Tax credits apparently spur growth.

But in this instance, Moore’s generous tax credits amount to the working class in Michigan paying taxes to subsidize high-paying Hollywood jobs. Moore admits this, explaining that people can make $52,000 in six months with these jobs.

“My staff usually takes off a year after working a year because they have made the equivalent of two or three years’ worth of wages in one year,” he brags. “So then you have free time to maybe write that book you wanted or open that business you dreamed of.”

This is no doubt cold comfort to a Michigan middle class just trying to make ends meet with double-digit unemployment. But never mind. Moore is proud of the fact that Michigan has “the best incentive program anywhere” for Hollywood studios.

Champion of the working man, always willing to stick it to corporate America, Moore then suddenly offers choice advice to his fellow citizens on how to deal with his Hollywood corporate friends. “When Hollywood comes calling, do not jack up your prices, or they will not be back,” he told the paper.

These generous tax credits mean that Michigan taxpayers are writing large checks to major Hollywood studios.

For example, taxpayers sent $5.7 million to California-based Parallel Media for shooting “High School,” a school stoner film, in the town of Howell. According to the Michigan Film Office 2008 annual report, taxpayers paid out close to $48 million to Hollywood studios to create 2,800 part-time jobs.

According to Moore, these tax incentives — imagine it! — “will mean jobs and money being pulled into Michigan.”

That’s a funny thing to say, given that Moore always professes to hate tax cuts and tax credits for corporations. But remember, Michael Moore hates capitalism and corporate welfare. He really does. He told us so on camera.

• Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of the just-released “Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy — And How They Will Do It Again If No One Stops Them” (Harper).

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Commerce chief to focus on local Arab business

October 6, 2009

Can anyone imagine Christians and Jews asking the U.S. Commerce Secretary, the CIA director, Dept. of Homeland Security and Agricultural Secretary to come and visit us?

What do we do if we are concerned about our civil rights, our security, our commercial interests?

D.

Commerce chief to focus on local Arab business

Commerce chief to visit Dearborn today

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER | Detroit Free Press 6 Oct. 2009

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke plans to meet with Arab Americans and Muslims in Dearborn today to discuss ways their communities can help improve the economy.

Reaching out to small business owners, Locke is to discuss with metro Detroit Arab Americans a range of issues that affect some metro Detroiters, including a lack of access to capital and the importance of the 2010 U.S. Census.

Arab Americans and Muslims said they hope to address their concerns about civil rights. Local leaders said they will bring up the issue of profiling at borders when they travel, the freezing of economic assets, and access to the Department of Commerce. They said they believe that unfair treatment by security agencies has hampered their ability to conduct business that can help the local economy.

“The Arab-American community can play a vital role in helping turn metro Detroit around,” said Abed Ayoub, a Dearborn native and legal adviser for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which organized the meeting in partnership with the department.

Locke’s by-invitation-only meeting at the Lebanese-American Heritage Club in Dearborn is to be the latest in recent months by an Obama administration department head. CIA Director Leon Panetta, Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack all have met this year with Arab Americans in Dearborn.

Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO: 313-223-4792 or warikoo@freepress.com

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Michael Moore is DEAD WRONG

October 2, 2009

Leftist Capitalism

IBD: 2 Oct. 2009

Hypocrisy: Apart from a healthy appetite, what do the 1.3-billion-strong Red Chinese have in common with filmmaker Michael Moore? Living a Marxist creed while practicing capitalism.

The paradox of New York City, home to Wall Street, arranging for the Empire State Building to shimmer in the red and yellow of the communist Chinese flag to celebrate 60 years of tyranny is bad enough.

What about a documentary filmmaker who has lined his pockets with millions by tearing down a corporate CEO, celebrating Fidel Castro’s Cuba and now directly savaging America’s free-market system in his latest flick, “Capitalism: A Love Story”?

Mainland China may have long since toned down its state-sanctioned cult of personality surrounding the greatest murderer in world history, Mao Zedong. But as far as political freedoms go, it remains very much a communist country.

Its adoption of capitalist economics, however, has turned it into an economic powerhouse, though you’ll never hear its safely entrenched dictators admit as much.

By the same token, you’ll never see Michael Moore doff his ever-present baseball cap to the economic freedom that brought him a fortune. “Capitalism did nothing for me,” he claimed as he entered the movie house in Washington, D.C., where his film premiered Tuesday night.

Moore was asked about amassing “a fortune of over $50 million,” thanks to filmgoers shelling out cash to capitalist theater chains and capitalist DVD stores in capitalist countries.

He complained of having to “pretty much beg, borrow and steal,” that “the system is not set up to help somebody from the working class make a movie like this and get the truth out there,” and that Disney “tried to kill” his highest-grossing movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” for which he reportedly got $21 million.

Moore’s health care documentary, “Sicko” — for which he took half the profit, according to Vanity Fair — ends with Americans arriving in communist Cuba, where they finally get the care they desperately need.

If you think that story rings true, just give it a try sometime.

Moore first came to notice in 1989 for “Roger and Me,” in which he lambasted General Motors CEO Roger Smith. Fortune magazine estimates his films have grossed more than $300 million.

A common thread runs through such self-serving hypocrisy. For Beijing to admit that freedom is the key to China’s success would threaten its rulers’ permanent power.

For Michael Moore to admit he’s the beneficiary of capitalism would expose his slickly produced propaganda as just hot air.

Why Michael Moore Is Dead Wrong

By WALTER E. WILLIAMS IBD: 29 Sept. 09

Michael Moore’s new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” was released this month. I’ve neither seen nor read reviews of the film, except for a short piece in the London Telegraph titled “Michael Moore film calls capitalism evil.”

Aware of Michael Moore’s previous films, I know that it will be at best a misleading story about capitalism. So let’s do some defensive mental preparation, not about the film but about what is and what is not capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private ownership and control over the means of production. The distribution of goods and services and their prices are mainly determined by competition in a free market. Under such a system the primary job of government is to protect private property, enforce contracts and ensure rule of law.

State Ownership

There has never been a pure free-market capitalistic system just as there has never been a pure communist or socialist system, where there is government ownership of the means of production and each individual has equal access to society’s resources.

However, we can rank economies as to whether they are closer to capitalism or closer to communism or socialism. If one ranked countries according to whether they were closer to the capitalistic end of the spectrum or the socialistic or communistic end, then ranked countries according to per capita GDP and finally rank countries according to Freedom House’s “Map of Freedom in the World,” he would find a pattern that is by no means a coincidence.

The people in those countries closer to the capitalist end of the economic spectrum have far greater income and enjoy greater human rights protections than those toward the socialist and communist end.

According to the London Telegraph article, Moore’s film features priests who say capitalism is anti-Christian by failing to protect the poor. This is pure nonsense and revealed as such by asking, “If you’re an unborn spirit, condemned by God to a life of poverty but allowed to choose the country in which to be poor, would you choose a country near the communist end of the economic spectrum or the capitalist end?”

If you chose the United States, you’d find that according to the government surveys, the typical “poor” American has cable or satellite TV, two color TVs, and a DVD player or VCR. He has air conditioning, a car, a microwave, a refrigerator, a stove, and a clothes washer and dryer, and whether he has health insurance or not, he is able to obtain medical care when needed.

Try to find that in Cuba, Russia, China or North Korea. If we buy into the nonsense of Moore’s priests, the world’s poor people are incredibly stupid. Whether fleeing legally or illegally, their destination country is likely to be closer to capitalism than their departure country.

Most of our country’s serious problems can be laid at the feet of Congress and the White House and not at capitalism.

Our Undoing

Take the financial crisis. One-third of the $15 trillion of mortgages in existence in 2008 are owned or securitized by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing and the Veterans Administration. Banks didn’t mind making risky loans and Wall Street buyers didn’t mind buying these repackaged loans because they assumed that they would be guaranteed by the federal government: read bailout by taxpayers.

Under a capitalist system, financial institutions would not have been intimidated or encouraged into making risky loans and neither would they have been bailed out if they did so.

Social Security, Medicare and its coverage of prescription drugs have an unfunded liability that exceeds $100 trillion. When those roosters come home to roost, they will make the financial meltdown we’ve been though look like child’s play.

Not withstanding all of the demagoguery, it is capitalism, not socialism, that made us a great country, and it’s socialism that will be our undoing.

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Ensuring The Permanence Of Poverty

September 21, 2009

Ensuring The Permanence Of Poverty

IBD: 18 Sept. 2009

View Enlarged Image

Spending: President Clinton said reform legislation would “end welfare as we know it.” That was in 1996. The current administration appears determined to take welfare to heights we’ve never known.

America’s tried. The country has spent $15.9 trillion of other people’s money on welfare since the mid-1960s. But it has failed. As noted in the Gospel of Matthew, we will always have the poor.

It would be vain to argue otherwise. The evidence is hard, the facts clear.

“Welfare spending was 13 times greater in fiscal 2008, after adjusting for inflation, than it was when the war on poverty started in 1964,” says a new study from the Heritage Foundation.

“Means-tested welfare spending was 1.2% of the gross domestic product when President Johnson began the war on poverty. In 2008, it reached 5% of GDP.”

Apparently, we just haven’t spent enough. At least that seems to be the position of the White House. It has opened the spigot of the fastest-growing government expenditure. Over the first two years of this administration, annual federal welfare spending will jump by a third, from $522 billion to $697 billion, says the Heritage study titled “Obama To Spend $10.3 Trillion On Welfare.”

The cost to the families funding the programs is enormous. Heritage says each household is paying $560 a month this year and will pay $638 a month in 2010.

But this administration is just getting started. Over the next decade (which includes the current fiscal year), welfare spending will hit that $10.3 trillion mark — $7.5 trillion in taxpayers’ money disbursed by Washington, $2.8 trillion in taxpayers’ money handed out by the states. None of this even includes what the federal government will spend if it successfully takes over health care.

The spending party began early with an assault on the Clinton-era welfare reform law. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act had ended the practice of Washington sending more welfare money to the states when the states increased their caseloads. But the policy was reversed through a provision in the February stimulus bill.

Self-identified neo-liberal Mickey Kaus, writing in Slate, called the “insufficiently publicized” and “deeply troubling” provision in the legislation a “liberal conspiracy to expand the welfare rolls.”

“If only for political purposes, I figured, Dems would have to wait a few months or years before sabotaging Bill Clinton’s major domestic achievement,” wrote Kaus. “It took them two weeks.”

In the 1950s, welfare spending was less than 1% of GDP and 4% of government expenditures at all levels. It is now the third largest federal expenditure, following only Social Security and Medicare entitlements and education. Fourth is national defense. For all the criticism leveled at the previous administration for the taxpayer dollars spent on the battlefield, Obama, says the Heritage study, “will spend more on welfare in a single year than President George W. Bush spent on the war in Iraq during his entire presidency.”

The gains from the Iraq War are evident. A brutal anti-American dictator was toppled, a terrorist-friendly regime was displaced and a representative government was installed in a region filled with oppressive states. So what of extravagant welfare spending? What have been its tangible benefits?

Government welfare programs have done nothing but institutionalize poverty. The country is spending more than it ever has on the poor, yet neither poverty nor want has been eradicated.

Accelerating welfare outlays will only make the problem worse.

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Lost: 600,000 Jobs

September 21, 2009

AMERICAN JOBS?? NO ONE CARES? EXCEPT THE MAJORITY OF US WHO WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH THE UNION THUGS. D.

Lost: 600,000 Jobs

IBD: 18 Sept. 09

Economy: As if Big Labor hasn’t been repaid enough for its help in electing Democrats, a new report shows that protectionism — the unions’ signature issue — costs 585,000 of the rest of us our jobs.

It’s not enough that unions got the cream of the $80 billion in auto industry bailouts or the center cut of the $787 billion stimulus package or a smorgasbord of regulations — from union transparency laws to court-ordered supervision — rescinded by grateful Democrats in Congress and the White House.

But the biggest payoff has been in the form of protectionist measures being applied across the U.S. economy. They include “Buy American” provisos, a Mexican truck shutout, tariffs on Chinese tires and, worst of all, the halting of free trade treaties with Colombia, Korea and Panama. Up next: tariffs on steel pipe.

The aim is to preserve a few thousand jobs at most, but it’s coming at a high price. On Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a comprehensive report called “Trade Action: The Cost for American Workers and Companies.” It describes how the Obama administration’s trade decisions, all of which were sought by Big Labor, have so far cost 585,000 American jobs.

It started in February 2008, with the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It required all iron, steel and manufactured goods purchased for public works projects to be American-made, and all textiles, clothing and equipment purchased by the Department of Homeland Security to be U.S.-made.

“We estimate that any net increase in U.S. employment resulting from the new ‘Buy American’ provisions will quickly evaporate as other countries implement ‘buy national’ policies of their own,” the Chamber said. Even a 1% loss of sales would create big job losses, the Chamber said, and that doesn’t include retaliation. Job toll: 176,800.

Then there was the Teamsters’ favorite — the abrogation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a provision of which requires the U.S. to permit Mexican trucks on U.S. roads as it always had until 1982.

In March, Congress passed the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act to end funding for a pilot program that would have fulfilled the treaty’s requirements. The Chamber says Mexico retaliated with $2.3 billion in penalty duties on 89 U.S. products, creating an immediate cost of $421 million.

Consumers also pay $739 million “drayage” costs of transferring Mexican truck goods to American trucks, plus additional shipping. Net cost: 25,600 jobs.

The big disaster, however, is Congress’ failure to pass already-negotiated free trade treaties with Korea and Colombia, which have been awaiting a vote since 2006 and 2007, respectively. Big Labor opposes all free trade, and on Colombia, the AFL-CIO calls its opposition “unalterable.” But that sop to them costs the rest of us jobs.

“While the United States stalls, other major exporters, (notably the EU and Canada) are moving ahead with (free trade agreements) of their own with these countries,” the Chamber points out.

“If the EU and Canada do implement their FTAs with Korea and Colombia and the United States does not, exporters will enjoy a competitive advantage over U.S. exporters” in those markets, the Chamber warns.

Add to that the China tire tariffs imposed last week, which Rutgers trade expert Thomas Prusa reckons would cost 15,000 jobs, and the grand total is 600,000 positions — a disaster for an economy in recession and a killer of consumer confidence and voter approval.

For Democrats, this ought to be a wake-up call. For every job they save to repay unions, many more are lost in other sectors of the economy. What’s more, jobs that would be created as a result of freer markets never materialize. Either way, the price is intolerably high.

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PHOTOS: 9/12 D.C. Protest Signs

September 17, 2009

READ MORE SIGNS POSTED @  https://bijenkorf.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/list-of-912-tea-party-protest-signs/

912racecardrace card 9/12 / conservcompend

912czars

czar critique targeting women & van jones 9/12 / flickr: KCIvey

policepoopsignunattributed

tpsandiego

San Diego Tea Party/ unattributed (not 912 photo)

Homophobic Posters/ t-shirts

912homophobe9/12 poster/ flickr: mar is sea

homophobiaaprilwsalterS. Walter (pre-9/12 April tea bag)

racisthomophobicweirdnesspre-912/unattributed (homophobic imagery, racist overlay)

tpbrokeback

Tea Party Protest Poster for download use on 9/12/ Full Monte Cristo

SDC10357t-shirt mention sexuality/flickr: meet the crazies (poster =threat rev)

Black Criminality

blackcriminal912photoflickr 912 photos

slittingsamthroatAprilefavaraApril protest Obama slits Uncle Sam’s throat/ e. favara (not 912 image)

Taxpayer RallyAP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

SDC10371Flickr Meet the Crazies

aprilteapartyTX: Tea Party (April)/ Michael (not 9/12 photo)

txtppervTX: Tea Party (April)/ Michael (not 9/12 photo)

SDC103399/12 rally dc/ flickr: meet the crazies

Death threats/ gun references

912lynchmobreference to burning out black ppl frm towns/?

tphangthemcriminal & threat posters from August Anti-HCR rally/ Washington Independent (not 9/12 photo)

912gunthreatNRA hat gun threat 9/12 /skellam

2009 Taxpayer March on Washington by Throwingbull.
flickr: throwingbull

Keep_My_Guns_Large

“Official Tea Party Supplies”/patriot depot (used @ multiple rallies)

deathrefmalletR. Mallet

gununattributed

gunmanAP/ Joel Page Williams (pre-9/12 protest; health care protest)

SDC10368unattributed

guns7Aprilericaguirre

Rick aguirre (pre-9/12 April tea bag Fl)

guns912photo

flickr 912 photos

guns2912photo

flickr 912 photos

guns3912photo

flickr 912 photos

threat912photo

flickr 912 photos

unarmed2unattributed

unarmedthistime

April Tea bag Protest/ unattributed (not 912 photo)

912gunflag“Come and Take it” / A. Aliferes

“Black Devil”

blackdevil912photo912 Photo (also Katrina denial)

blackdevil2912photoflickr 912 photos

blackdevil3912photo

flickr 912 photos (reference to avoiding kings who will lure you away)


Animal/Monkey/primitive References

zooobamaflickr 912 photos

teapartysign1smDenver Tea Party/ “Progressive” Now Colorado (not 9/12 photo)

090724 us hc racistanti-health care poster used in many rallies/ Free Republic (not 9/12 photo)


Confederate Flags/ Legitimacy Questions

IMG_0938flickr meet the crazies

confedflagsflickr 912 photos

txteapartyliersTX; Tea Party April/ Michael (not 9/12 photo)

slavery/servant messages

912slavprojection9/12 poster / ?

racistobamaimage9Ted Szukalski (image used during election & 912 protest)

9-12 Tea Party (10) by ryanreedphotography.
multiple categories 9/12/ r.read

slavery912photoflickr 912 photos

youworkforus912photoflickr 912 photos

whiteslaverysignapriljesserussellApril tea bag protest/ J. Russell (not 912 photo)

txtpprojTX: Tea Party (April)/ Michael (not 9/12 photo; also fits under projection since these maybe debtors prison ref)

Welfare Queens

welfarobamasign posted after April Tea Bag Protest/ Unattributed (not 912 photo also includes threat)

welfarequeen912photos

flickr 912 photos

912welfaresimplefree loaders 9/12 / M. Bryant

tplansingmichLansing Mich Tea Party/Melanie Ann (not 9/12 photo)

tptxTexas Tea Party/unattributed (not 9/12 photo)

tptx2Texas Tea Party/unattributed (not 9/12 photo)

tplouisSt. Louis Tea Party/ unattributed (not 9/12 photo)

tpentitlementSign Sold for Tea Parties by Free Sign Artwork.com (@ 9/12 and other rallies)

912welfareget a job 9/12 dc/ flickr: jen.booth

Projection: Hitler, Supremacy, Conspiracy

BS_TREAD_TEMP.1

“Official Tea Party Supplies”/patriot depot (used @ multiple rallies)

assimilation912photoflickr 912 photos

blackpower912photosflickr 912 photos

hitlerAP/Unattributed

nazi3unattributed

nazi5

AP/unattributed

nazi6tonyramaoAP/Tony Romao

Birthers/legitimacy

912impeach

Obama “not a democrat” / M. Bryant

americabkunattributed

Taxpayer RallyAP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

birther1unattributed

SDC10375flickr meet the crazies

IMG_0936flickr meet the crazies

birther912photoflickr 912 photos

IMG_0931

flickr meet the crazies

tplincolnLincoln Tea Party (April)/lincolnteaparty.wordpress.com (not 912 photo)

Anti-Immigration

UncleSam_Finger_English_200

“Protest Supplies” /”People’s Cube” (sold @ rallies; encouraged for 4th of July Tea Parties)

IMG_0934

9/12 protest/ flickr: meethtecrazies