Friday, July 27, 2012

Obama Is "Running On His Record"! (say WHAT?)

RCP Video ^ | 7-27-2012

Reporter: My question is, is [President Obama] running on the Clinton economy or the Obama economy?

Jay Carney: He is running on his record. He is running on a vision for the future and an economic plan that has as one component a fundamental principle that everyone ought to play by the same set of rules and everybody ought to get a fair shot and everyone ought to pay their fair share. .....

Reporter: With unemployment over 8%, GDP slowing down now, the worst in a year, you'd rather talk about those years than...

Carney: We're not talking... We're talking about an economic policy. His plan, which we talk about all the time, which involves a balanced approach, including the expiration of the high-end Bush tax cuts.

And as a rebuttal to the assertions from Republicans that this is terrible economic policy, he points to the facts, which are that, are that under President Clinton, marginal rates at that level were in place when we saw this substantial economic growth and job creation. .....

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TARP Was Even Worse Than You Think: “An Abysmal Failure,”

The Daily Ticker-Yahoo Finance ^ | 7/27/12 | Aaron Task

Much has been made about Barofsky's criticism of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who told CBS News he is "deeply offended" by how he's portrayed in Barofsky's book Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

Barofsky pulled no punches in our earlier segment about the ongoing rate-rigging scandal. (See: "I Hope We See People In Handcuffs": Neil Barofsky Weighs in on LIBOR Scandal)

In the accompanying video, we focused more on TARP's failings to live up to its promise to help individual Americans, not just the big banks.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

17 Reasons Why Those Hoping For A Recession In 2012 Just Got Their Wish

The Economic Collapse Blog ^ | 07/27/2012 | Michael Snyder

If you were hoping for a recession in 2012, then you are going to be very happy with the numbers you are about to see. The U.S. economy is heading downhill just in time for the 2012 election. Retail sales have fallen for three months in a row for the first time since 2008, manufacturing activity is dropping like a rock, sales of new homes are declining again, consumer confidence has moved significantly lower and a depressingly small percentage of businesses anticipate hiring more workers in the coming months. Even though the Federal Reserve has been wildly pumping money into the financial system and even though the federal government has been injecting gigantic piles of borrowed cash into the economy, we still haven't seen an economic recovery. In fact, we appear to be on the verge of yet another major downturn. In California the other night, Barack Obama told supporters that "we tried our plan — and it worked", but only those that are still drinking the Obama kool-aid would believe something so preposterous. The truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years and now we have reached another very painful recession.
And don't let the second quarter GDP number on Friday fool you. Analysts are expecting to see GDP growth of about 1.4 percent for the second quarter, but the only reason for our very small amount of "economic growth" is because the economy has been flooded with new dollars.
Let me give you an example. If I could go out overnight and magically double the bank accounts of every single American, would we all be twice as wealthy?
No, because there would be twice as many dollars now chasing the same amount of goods and services. The price of those goods and services would soon rise dramatically to reflect this new reality.
With all of those new dollars spinning around in the economy it would look like "economic growth" was going through the roof, but in reality the amount of real economic activity would be about the same.
So whenever we talk about GDP, we need to adjust it for inflation.
And as I noted the other day, after adjusting for inflation the U.S. economy has been continually experiencing negative economic growth since about 2005.
So let's not deceive ourselves. The U.S. economy has been declining for a long time.
But soon even non-inflation adjusted GDP will turn negative. We will probably see a slightly positive number for the second quarter, and the number will likely go negative either in the third quarter or the fourth quarter.
Economists will debate when this new recession officially "began" just like they do with every recession, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what is happening to our economy right now.
The following are 17 reasons why those hoping for a recession in 2012 just got their wish....
1. U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row. This is the first time this has happened since 2008. Every other time this has happened in U.S. history (except for once) this has signaled that the U.S. economy was either already in a recession or was about to enter one.
2. The Philadelphia Fed index of manufacturing activity contracted for the third month in a row during July. According to the Financial Post, this is a very bad sign....
Seven out of eight times when the average reading has been that low (-11.8) for that long the U.S. economy has tipped into recession.
3. Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has also declined for three months in a row. In fact, the only time in the past decade when manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic has fallen more dramatically was during the last recession.
4. A factory index calculated by the Institute for Supply Management has fallen to its lowest level since June 2009.
5. The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators has fallen for two of the past three months.
6. According to a recent survey conducted by the Conference Board, only 17 percent of CEOs had a positive view of the economy during the second quarter of 2012. During the first quarter of 2012, 67 percent did.
7. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.
8. Optimism among small business owners has declined in three of the last four months and is now at its lowest level since last October.
9. Believe it or not, the amount of waste being carted around on trains in the United States has an 82 percent correlation with U.S. economic growth. Unfortunately, right now the number of garbage carloads on trains is falling dramatically.
10. Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.
11. Sales of new homes declined by 8.4 percent during June. At this point new home sales are less than a third of what they were during the boom years.
12. An increasing number of Americans are relying on high interest "payday loans" to pay the rent and put food on the table.
13. Far more companies are defaulting on their debts this year than last year.
14. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. last month, but it rose in 27 states.
15. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent. That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.
16. The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.
17. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months. When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.
All of those are very powerful pieces of evidence that a new recession has started.
But do you want to know one of my favorite indicators that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession?
In a previous article, I noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress recently: "At this point we don't see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth."
As I mentioned the other day, Bernanke has a track record of failure that is absolutely embarrassing. Back on January 10, 2008 Bernanke made the following statement....
"The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession."
That turned out to be a great call, didn't it?
On June 10, 2008 he doubled down on his call that the U.S. economy was going to avoid a recession....
"The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."
Just before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed Bernanke made this statement....
"The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing."
And there are dozens of other examples just like these.
This is the guy running our economic system.
I am very critical of the Federal Reserve, but there are very good reasons for this.
The Federal Reserve is running our economy into the ground, and we need to pound this into the heads of the American people so that they will wake up and demand change.
Perhaps this next recession will be painful enough to wake people up.
The Wall Street Journal is already even using the "D word" to describe what we are experiencing. Just today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that asked this question: "Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?"
Sadly, this is just the leading edge of what is coming. By the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we are going to look back and long for the "good old days" of 2011 and 2012.
Over the next few years, the unemployment rate is going to skyrocket and poverty in the United States is going to get a whole lot worse.
Now is not the time to goof off. Now is the time to work really hard to get yourself and your family into the best position that you can for the storm that is coming.
Nothing is going to stop the terrible economic crisis that is coming, but at least we can get prepared for it.
There is hope in being prepared.
Sadly, most people will never even see the next crisis coming until they get blindsided by it.

Roberts Clarifies: Mandate is a Tax...Not a Penalty [For Campaign Purposes]

ATR ^ | 2012-07-26 | Justin Sykes

In the weeks following the Supreme Court's ruling on the healthcare mandate, President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have repeatedly stated to the public that the individual mandate contained in Obamacare is not a tax. The Democrats' hard line stance that the mandate is not a tax is illogical, as evidenced by Chief Justice Robert's constitutional analysis of the individual mandate.
Contrary to President Obama and the Democrat's interpretation of the mandate, Justice Roberts made ten key points in his analysis on why the mandate is a tax, and not a penalty:
  1. The Government asks us to read the mandate not as ordering individuals to buy insurance, but rather as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product.
  2. According to the Government...the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition - not owning health insurance - that triggers a tax - the required payment to the IRS.
  3. [The mandate] makes going without insurance just another thing that the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.
  4. The Government asks us to interpret the mandate as imposing a tax, if it would otherwise violate the Constitution.
  5. The exaction the Affordable Care Act imposes on those without health insurance looks like a tax in many respects.
  6. The process yields the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government.
  7. The same analysis here suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax, not a penalty.
  8. The reasons the Court in Drexel Furniture held that what was called a "tax" there was a penalty support the conclusion that what is called a "penalty" here may be viewed as a tax.
  9. The shared responsibility payment merely imposes a tax citizens may lawfully choose to pay in lieu of buying health insurance.
  10. We have already explained that the shared responsibility payment's practical characteristics pass muster as a tax under our narrowest interpretations of the taxing power.
Justice Robert's concluded his analysis by stating that Obamacare's "requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance characterized as a tax."
Read more:

Will U.S. Dip American Flag at Olympic Ceremony?

FOX News Radio ^ | July 27, 2012 | Todd Starnes

A controversy is brewing over whether the United States might break tradition and dip the American flag at the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. However, the American Legion said to do so would not only violate the U.S. Flag Code, but would also be un-American.

Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, told Reuters they were discussing the matter internally.

“We’ve talked about that a little bit and you never know what is going to happen,” Blackmun told the news agency.

But later a spokesman for the USOC sent Fox News a statement Blackmun’s comments and calling the Reuter’s report “not accurate.”

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Could Cause Ultraviolet Damage to Skin

By Colin Lecher

CFL Bulb
Wikimedia Commons

We know CFL bulbs are world-changingly efficient, producing the same level of light as their incandescent parents while using a quarter of the energy. But they're still a relatively new device, and few long-term studies have been carried out on them. One of the most recent, a new report from a team at Stony Brook, suggests CFLs might cause damage to skin by releasing UV rays.

Researchers rounded up CFL bulbs from two counties in New York, then measured their UV emissions and the strength of their phosphor coatings. They found cracks significant enough to release UV rays in every bulb. In a lab, they exposed healthy, in-vitro skin tissue to the rays and recorded it as "consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” Miriam Rafailovich, the lead researcher, said in a statement.

That doesn't mean we need to have a mass burning of all our energy-saving lightbulbs, but the researchers suggest not using them at close distances and putting an extra glass cover around them.

Romney’s Best Convention Strategy – Let Sarah Palin Speak

Examiner ^ | July 27, 2012 | Kevin Fobbs

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt thundered out those captivating words at his first inaugural speech in 1933. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney must seriously confront the political ghosts haunting his decision to let Sarah Palin speak at the GOP National Convention in August in Tampa, FL. Allow Palin to speak so that a Romney administration can turn economic retreat by Obama into economic advance.

This is the time when Romney has the opportunity to not fall into the carefully laid traps of liberal commentators like MSNBC Chris Matthews with his over the top hyperbole or his fellow liberal combatant-in-arms Lawrence O'Donnell. Each has never seemed to miss an opportunity to cast verbal grenades at Sarah Palin, since 2008. Their goal is quite simple, demonize Palin, the Tea Party and plant the seeds of distrust in the American consciousness that Palin and the Tea Party is kryptonite to Romney and in their crude way, also to America.
This liberal convention strategy is quite clear. They want fear of Sarah Palin to be the ongoing sound bite that reverberates in Romney’s mind. They want the truth about the horrendous economic affects that millions of Americans are feeling every single moment of every single day in their homes to be blurred out. They want Americans who are hurting in Ohio, Tennessee, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan and all over the nation to be hidden behind campaign advertising lies blasting daily in their homes. If Sarah Palin is added to this liberal narrative, then her ability to connect and motivate conservatives and millions of independents is neutralized by their calculated deceit. But you see, the “nameless, ...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama vs. Congress—and the Law

The Wall Street Journal ^ | July 27, 2012 | David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

On July 12, President Obama unilaterally gutted the Clinton administration’s signature achievement—welfare reform. The 1996 welfare-reform law, while passed with strong bipartisan support, has been the bane of progressives, who have never accepted its fundamental principle that those who can work must work. Over the last year, the Obama administration also took the hatchet to the immigration laws and to the Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” statute.

These actions have two things in common. First, they were announced with much fanfare and designed to appeal to the president’s liberal base. Second, and much worse, they were implemented by suspending enforcement or waiving applications of laws Mr. Obama does not like.
The president cannot write—or rewrite—the laws. The Constitution makes Congress the legislature, and the president cannot simply ignore its decisions.
The entire system of separation of powers—which is the heart of the Constitution’s “checks and balances” designed to limit governmental power and thereby protect individual liberty—depends upon each branch of the federal government fulfilling its assigned role and respecting that of the others. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has now made clear that he won’t respect these basic constitutional limits on his power.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Meet Your New M.D. (What good is health insurance if you cannot get the health care you need?)

American Thinker ^ | 07/27/2012 | Deane Waldman

Forget the devious gamesmanship used to ram ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010) down our throats.

Wipe its unpopularity from your mind.

Pay no attention to the egregious Supreme Court decision on ACA and its political ramifications.
Temporarily ignore the unconscionable spending, and especially who gets the money and who does not. Focus all your attention on two questions. (1) What health care will I get? (2) Who will give it? In response to a 2008 article titled "WHO is practicing medicine," "John" posted the following. His remarks demand a public response.
My father practiced medicine for 50 years. After he passed away I was going through his papers and found a copy of a letter he sent to Blue Cross. It stated he was going to do what was best for the patient and Blue Cross could send him what they thought it was worth. He was not going to compromise the patients' care.
The questions today are:
1) Is there case law allowing insurance companies to make these decisions without actually seeing the patient?
2) Why haven't state licensing boards taken this on (in Oregon a physician was issuing medical marijuana cards without an office visit, the board found out and he had to produce the nearly 800 records for the visits and diagnosis).
3) Where is the smart attorney or politician with big enough balls (either male or female) to take this on? 4) Why am I the only person to comment on this in four years?!
WHO isn't my care provider?
The shortage of doctors and nurses in the U.S. is reaching a critical level. Applications to U.S. medical schools fell almost 20% between 1995 and 2010. There are over 500,000 unfilled nursing positions in the U.S.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

46.5 Million Americans, Record 22.3 Million US Households, On Foodstamps; 8,753,935 On Disability

Zero Hedge ^ | July 27, 2012

America's transition into a welfare state continues, as May saw a new all time high number of American households, 22.3 million to be exact, enter technical poverty and collect foodstamps. At the individual level, 46.5 million Americans lived off foodstamps, a 222,157 increase in the month, or nearly three times the number of people who found jobs in June according to the BLS. Next month this too will be a record, as it is currently just 17,367 before the previous all time high set in December of 2011. The good news, and we use the term loosely, is that the average benefit per household rose from all time lows of $275.82 to $276.76. Surely, the bottom is in and just like housing, there is on blue skies ahead.

And before we go, here is the total number of Americans on disbility: 8,753,935.

Combined foodstamp and disability recipients: 55,250,723

Why Batman's "The Dark Knight Rises" Is An Instant Conservative Classic

Townhall ^ | 07/27/2012 | Jerry Boyer

The third film in the Batman series is a direct polemical assault on the French Revolution and its political heirs, which includes Occupy Wall Street and perhaps Barack Obama. I would say that it is the exact opposite of so many revolutionary-wannabe films from Fight Club to V for Vendetta (which has provided the tell-tale Guy Fawkes masks to the Occupy movement), except that in order to be opposite, they must in some sense be comparable and DKR is far superior to the others artistically, commercially and philosophically. The crazed theater shooter, if he turns out to be as much of an attempted revolutionary hero of the poor, the depressed, and the downtrodden as his predecessor at Virginia Tech, will prove to be a better match for the villain in the third film than for the one in the second film.

While superficial analysis has tried to make hay out of the name of the villain, Bane, which is a homonym for Bain, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, the truth is that Bane the villain is philosophically much closer to Bam the President than to Bain the firm. Spoilers from here on…Bane is a man who speaks for the ‘oppressed’ (his word) masses against the upper classes. He is Gotham’s revolutionary ‘reckoning’ who urges the people to ‘storm’ (again his words) Blackgate prison and release the prisoners within. That’s the moment in the film at which I became sure that the French Revolution theme was intentional. Bane, like Robespierre, the real life villain of the French Revolution, uses the freed prisoners as the vanguard of the revolution and as citizen brigades to roust the affluent from their homes and expropriate their property, dragging them before citizen tribunals before which their guilt is already determined based on their class. They are then executed, judged by the lawless element of the city which had until the revolution been festering on the edge of society.
This film shows no ideological sympathy for the Occupy Movement. Bane, the terrible villain of the film, literally occupies Wall Street, taking control of the trading floor of the stock exchange. Police are hesitant to deal with the problem partly based on class warfare complaints that it’s not their money at risk, but the money of the wealthy Wall Street guys. But a trader explains that it is indeed the cops’ money too: that it’s everybody’s money that is part of the financial system, including cops’ pensions.
Bane was created by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nowlan, two “life long conservatives”, which is pretty unusual in the world of comic book creatives. He is, as his name implies, a curse, in this case the curse of class warfare. Interestingly, Dixon complained aboutRush Limbaugh’s misfire in trying to link the villain with Bain capital as part of some liberal media conspiracy.
How did things get so bad for Gotham? Partly it was a lack of profit. Bruce Wayne had become a recluse in his mansion, shrugging off the responsibility of running his company, and as his inner circle points out, where there are no profits there is no philanthropy. The Wayne Foundation ceased supporting the private religious program for at-risk motherless and fatherless youth who had aged out of the traditional government foster care system. The at-risk children became risky adults and became a feeder system for the army which Bane was gathering in the sewers beneath the city, literally chipping away at the foundations of the old order.
But it was not just a shortage of financial capital that ruined Gotham: moral capital was deficient too. Gotham’s social order was based on a lie: that Batman was evil and that the crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent died as a righteous martyr. As I pointed out in my review of the other two films in the series, the Platonic (and Machiavellian) useful lie is a major theme of the trilogy, and as I expected the lie would be found to be an inadequate foundation for long-term civil order. Alfred Pennyweather, the moral voice of the story, argues that it’s time to stop suppressing the truth, that truth must in the end have its day and be allowed to speak, whatever the consequences. Commissioner Gordon, the promulgator of the lie, is wracked with guilt and indecision about the lie and longs to correct it. Eventually, Bane uses the lie against the city, depriving it of legitimacy.
The film is not without some emotional, if not moral, sympathy for the foolish young idealists of OWS. Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, is a morally confused young woman who wages class warfare through jewel thievery. She takes from those who, in her estimation, have too much. She delights in the fact that “There’s a storm coming,” and that Gotham’s rich are living too well, and on borrowed time. But when the storm comes, she sees the evil of it. A young protégé reminds Selina that this is exactly what she has been calling for, but now that it’s here, Selina sees that it is far worse than what it replaced. This is Nolan’s way of saying “Hey, idiot in the Che t-shirt, smarten up. If deep down you are the decent person you claim to be, you’ll hate the revolution you’ve been wishing for.”
About halfway through the film, I turned to my wife and said “It’s Dickens.” By which I meant the movie is a modern retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, albeit much lousier with hovercrafts and nuclear bombs. Bane is Robespierre, Miranda (played by French actress Marion Cotillard) is Madame Defarge. Batman is Sydney Carton. Now every time I write something like this, some joker (pun not intended) writes to me and says that I’m reading too much into it, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and it’s just a movie. I think I dislike those comments even more than the purely oppositional ones because they wallow in their own laziness and ignorance.
Toward the end of the film, Gordon offers a eulogy in the form of a long quote which begins “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” That’s the speech which Sydney Carton, the former ne’er do well playboy-turned-sacrificial-hero, gives before offering his life in exchange to save another. I told this to my son, Christopher, and he pointed out that the co-writer of the screenplay, Jonathan Nolan, told his brother (and the film’s director) Christopher to read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens before making the film.
The debate between left and right in the modern world has largely been a debate for and against the French revolution. Russell Kirk, the intellectual father of American conservatism, attributes the intellectual founding of the philosophy to the British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, author of the Reflections on the Revolution in France, the most important anti-revolutionary book ever written. The right argues for tradition; the left for revolution. In fact, the idea of ‘left’ and ‘right’ come from revolutionary era France. Those who sided with the old order sat on the right side of the French general assembly. Those who wished to overthrow it sat on the left side. In the Gospels, those who are destined for Hell are told to go to Christ’s left, while those destined for Heaven are set at his right. Let us be rid, then, of any delusions about a synthesis of leftist politics with orthodox Christianity.
In some ways the film is a throw-back to the original Batman, not the comic book one, but the one on whom the whole masked hero genre was based, the Scarlett Pimpernel, the nobleman cum masked counter-revolutionary hero who went about saving victims of ‘the people’s justice’ from the guillotine. Now conservatives have a new hero, and this time he has a much cooler name than “Pimpernel.”
Mr. Bowyer is the author of "The Free Market Capitalists Survival Guide," published by HarperCollins, and a columnist for

The Chicken Inquisition

The National Review ^ | July 26, 2012 | The Editors

Rahm Emanuel has been many things in life — ballet dancer, investment banker, congressman, White House chief of staff, now mayor of Chicago — and he apparently wishes to add another title to his curriculum vitae: Grand Inquisitor. He has denounced the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A and endorsed a Chicago alderman’s plan to block construction of a new outlet because the company’s executives do not share his politics. This is a gross abuse of power: Imagine if the mayor of Provo, Utah, had tried to punish a business for supporting same-sex marriage — the Left would demand his resignation, etc. The powers of government are not to be used for parochial political ends. Even in Chicago.

It is worth taking a look at precisely what has given the mayor of the nation’s most corrupt city such cause for concern. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” said Chick-fil-A chief executive officer Dan Cathy in an interview that launched a million angry tweets. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” Mr. Cathy, a purveyor of sweet tea and chicken sandwiches, has a better understanding of the American constitutional order than do the city fathers in Chicago and Boston, among other places, who also have threatened to use their municipal powers to punish Mr. Cathy and his company for this alleged anti-gay bigotry.
Bigotry should be made of sterner stuff. Mr. Cathy did not even target homosexuals, and his reference to being married to “our first wives” indicates that his criticism of the recent decay of marriage is by no means limited to the question of same-sex marriage. But even if it were, it would be worth noting that opposition to gay marriage was until the day before yesterday the official position of President Barack Obama and his administration. It was certainly the position of the administration while Mr. Emanuel served in it — not to mention the position of the Clinton administration when Mr. Emanuel served in it, too. If a Chick-fil-A franchisee is a detestable bigot because his boss — a private-sector CEO — opposes gay marriage, what does that make Mr. Emanuel, whose boss opposed gay marriage as president of these United States?
Chick-fil-A’s senior executives say that they are guided by Christian principle in both their personal and their professional lives, and the chain’s franchises famously remain closed on Sundays, but the company also pronounces itself committed to treating people with “honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” Mr. Cathy’s own views are considerably more complex than his critics would have us believe: “We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” he said in the same interview. “Christ never died for a corporation.”
It is one thing for private citizens to stage a boycott of a company with associations that annoy them, though the gay lobby’s hysterical demands for absolute conformity to its agenda in all aspects of public life is both unseemly and childish. (The gay lobby is also wrong about the issue of marriage and should be opposed.) As bad as organized homosexuality’s bullying tactics can be, it is a far more serious thing when elected officials appropriate the instruments of government to punish those with whom they disagree. The analogue to the civil-rights movement is a defective one: Whatever indignities homosexuals have suffered in our history, they were not held as chattel slaves or systematically excluded from political and economic life in the way black Americans were, nor is homosexuality categorically comparable to race. Boston mayor Thomas Menino threatened to withhold a business license from Chick-fil-A until somebody reminded him that doing so would constitute an illegal abuse of official power, at which point he withdrew the threat but confirmed his simmering hostility.
Mayors Menino and Emanuel are not striking a blow for civil rights; they are exploring new ground in the abuse of political power. Their threats and posturing have been far more shameful than anything Chick-fil-A has undertaken, and their motives considerably less lofty.

The Attack On Chick-Fil-A Is An Attack On The Freedom Of Speech Of Every American!

The American Dream ^ | 7-26-2012 | Robert Wenzel

If you are an American, your freedom of speech is under attack. Over the past week, remarks made by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy defending traditional marriage have sparked controversy all over the nation. Many Americans have expressed support for his remarks and many have expressed disdain for his remarks. And all of that is fine, because in the United States people are supposed to be able to express their opinions. But in Chicago, Boston and other U.S. cities, politicians are actually promising to keep any more Chick-fil-A stores from opening because their CEO does not support gay marriage, and that crosses the line. When politicians threaten to ban a business from their cities just because the CEO does not hold the "politically correct" position on a social issue that is an attack on the freedom of speech of every American.
You see, the truth is that the enforcers of political correctness in America are very "tolerant" except when somebody disagrees with them. The politically correct control freaks that are trying to ban Chick-fil-A from their cities would try to ban Chick-fil-A from opening any more restaurants in the entire country if they had the power to do so. The goal of these politically correct control freaks is to intimidate. They want to end debate on these social issues by shutting down the free speech of the opposition. In the end, if America continues to go down this path it will end up looking just like many of the other totalitarian regimes throughout history where free speech has been banned.
Once again, in America everyone has the right to say whatever they want to about Chick-fil-A.
However, when politicians try to ban a company from doing business in their areas because one of the company executives does not hold the "correct" political view about an issue that is a major problem.
This week, Chicago alderman Joe Moreno wrote a piece for the Chicago Tribune in which he explained why he is going to refuse to allow Chick-fil-A to open a new restaurant in his ward....
There are consequences for one's actions, statements and beliefs. Because of this man's ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward. Apparently he has the power to single-handedly block the new restaurant that Chick-fil-A was hoping to open up....
Home Depot in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue wants to sell a piece of its land so that a Chick-fil-A restaurant can open in the 1st Ward, where I am alderman. It would be the fast-food chain's first "stand-alone" Chicago restaurant. But to subdivide the land, the companies need my approval. Because the CEO of Chick-fil-A will not conform to Joe Moreno's social values, Chick-fil-A is now essentially banned from that entire section of Chicago.
Not that Chick-fil-A will be able to open up new stores in other areas of Chicago either.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising to do what he can to keep Chick-fil-A from expanding any further in Chicago....
"Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values" Apparently anyone that does not believe in gay marriage does not "reflect Chicago values".
But this is just the beginning. One group is trying to have Chick-fil-A kicked off of college campuses all over America. The following is from a recent CBS News article....
The gay rights group Equality Illinois is launching a campaign against Chick-Fil-A – petitioning universities and lawmakers to evict the fast food restaurant from their campuses and planning a “kiss-in” campaign by gay and lesbian couples outside Chick-Fil-A restaurants. The message is clearly one of intimidation.
Either conform or suffer the consequences.
Sadly, politicians all over America are reacting just like politicians in Chicago have done.
The Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has pledged to do all that he can to keep Chick-Fil-A out of the entire city of Boston. The following is what he told the Boston Herald on Thursday....
"Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion" But Chick-fil-A does not discriminate.
They serve anyone that wants a chicken burger and they are open to hiring anyone.
It is just that the CEO of the company does not think gay marriage is a good idea (along with half of the rest of America) and this absolutely infuriates the politically correct crowd.
On Thursday Mayor Menino also added the following....
"That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." In addition, he penned a furious letter to Chick-fil-A headquarters that you can read right here.
The town of Mountain View, California has also blocked a new Chick-fil-A restaurant from opening up.
In the months to come we will probably see much more of this.
And Chick-fil-A is probably going to get booted off of a whole bunch of college campuses.
In February, Northeastern University refused to allow a Chick-fil-A store to open on their campus, and student groups around the country are already mobilizing to oppose Chick-fil-A on more campuses.
This is the kind of religious fervor the politically correct crowd has. You are either with them or you are dog manure.
For example, Roseanne Barr wished cancer on those that eat at Chick-Fil-A on Twitter the other day.
So what were these supposedly "bigoted" comments that started this uproar in the first place?
The following is what Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy recent said during an interview with the Baptist Press....
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that" Wow, that is some pretty controversial stuff, eh?
Certainly this could not be enough to spark a nationwide protest.
Perhaps it is what he said recently on "The Ken Coleman Show"....
"I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about." Is that statement really worth going crazy over?
To the politically correct crowd it is.
They simply cannot tolerate a major public figure such as the CEO of Chick-fil-A saying that gay marriage is wrong. Plus they are always looking for more ways to chill the free speech of others that would speak out against gay marriage. The following is what John Hayward of Human Events said about all of this recently....
"The name of the game being played against Chick-fil-A involved ending the discussion, by ruling one side of this important social debate completely out of order, and dismissing their beliefs as unworthy of respect. All resistance to gay marriage is instantly transmuted into personal hatred of gay people. On the other hand, criticism of traditional marriage proponents cannot be viewed as hateful, no matter how angrily it might be expressed. It’s a rigged heads-we-win, tails-you-lose game." The politically correct crowd does not want a debate about gay marriage.
What they want to do is to completely intimidate the other side and shut down the debate completely so that they can win by default.
Wednesday, August 1st, has been designated as "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day". I encourage all of you to go out and buy a chicken burger that day to show your support of free speech.
If we don't stand up for free speech now, soon it will be totally gone.
Already, the name of Jesus is becoming a forbidden word all over America. Just consider the following examples....
-All over the United States chaplains are being banned from praying in the name of Jesus.
-You can say just about anything you want in U.S. public schools these days except for anything having to do with Jesus. In fact, if you are a public school student and you try to talk about Jesus with your fellow classmates there is a good chance that you will be suspended from school.
-In many areas of America today, if you want to go out on a public sidewalk and discuss your faith with others there is a good chance that you will be arrested.
-If you are anti-abortion, if you have "radical theology" or if you are against "the New World Order", there is a chance that you will be labeled as a "potential terrorist" by the Department of Homeland Security.
In the end, we will end up just like North Korea if we are not very careful.
In North Korea, if you say something that is not "politically correct" you and your entire extended family could literally be on the next train to a concentration camp.
Today it is estimated that 70,000 Christians are being held captive in concentration camps in North Korea. Many of those believers are likely to spend the rest of their lives toiling in conditions that are absolutely nightmarish simply because they believe the "wrong thing".
If you don't think that such a thing could ever happen in America, you are dead wrong.
We are moving a little bit more in that direction every single day, and this latest attack on Chick-fil-A is another example of this trend.
When you attack the freedom of speech of one group of Americans, you attack the freedom of speech of every American.
Once our freedom of speech is gone, it will be incredibly difficult to ever get back.
Stand up for freedom of speech while you still can.

Apparently Obama Has Nothing To Do With the Current Economic Situation! ^ | July 26, 2012 | Tom Blumer

Poor guy. This darned economy has a mind of its own and isn't cooperating.
That's pretty much what you're forced to think in the following cop-out sentence from the Hill in anticipation of tomorrow's report on second-quarter gross domestic product (along with revisions to prior years):

The summer, so far, hasn't been kind to President Obama's reelection campaign, which is fending off a big drop in job growth and persistently high unemployment.
Well, I suppose you can distinguish between the Obama campaign and the Obama presidency (though he certainly doesn't, constantly claiming that campaign stops really represent presidential business).
But really, guys, if the campaign has a problem with how the economy is treating it, it's because the Obama administration's policies have made the summer so tough.
The HIll notes that tomorrow's GDP report is projected to come in well below 2 percent:
Growth estimates scattered around the Internet are running about 1.5 percent, though Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, told The Hill on Thursday that he's expecting around 1.3 percent.
"It was a weak quarter, but this wouldn’t be a surprise," Zandi said.
"Anything much less than 1 percent would be disappointing, and anything closer to 2 percent would be a plus," he said.
That won't be particularly kind, either.

French Admit They Are 'Rude, Stroppy, and Slothful' ^

The French have admitted they are "rude, stroppy, and slothful" in a new survey about what they think of their own behaviour.
The poll revealed 97 per cent of Paris public transport users believed fellow travellers were "ill-mannered" and lacked civility.
The biggest gripe was people forcing their way onto trains before other passengers had got off.
Other irritations were passengers talking too loudly on mobile phones, and people sprawling over two seats in packed carriages.
Also included in the list of annoyances were queue-jumping at ticket counters, leaping over barriers without paying, putting feet up on seats, eating in public with one's mouth open and leaving litter behind.
The finding of the study by Paris transport company RATP has prompted travel bosses to launch a campaign urging their customers to be more polite.
Posters displayed on buses and the Paris metro and rail network show a hen squarking into a mobile phone, a buffalo fighting its way onto a busy train and a sloth lounging over two train seats.
Sociologist Julien Damon, who helped carry out the RATP survey, said: "These types of bad behaviour have always existed, but what has changed is that we are less prepared to tolerate them.
"Our behaviour is more and more geared towards cleanliness and hygiene, like spitting on the ground or smoking in a restaurant now both very frowned upon, and less about common courtesies like simply being polite and nice to each other."
A follow-up survey found 63 per cent of people said the poster campaign had made them stop and think about their own behaviour, and that they would try and be better-mannered in future.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Supporter Interviews Her 2008 Self

Obama Supporter Interviews Her 2008 Self

Liberal Democrats be forewarned - Elizabeth Warren is a Fraud!

A Whig Manifesto ^ | July 30, 2012 | Chuck Morse

The professor and bankruptcy lawyer is not who she claims to be. Even die-hard liberals are beginning to question the cult of Elizabeth Warren. Mounting evidence suggests that the Harvard professor and Democratic senatorial challenger of Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is nothing more than a first-rate phony and a political hack. Her candidacy might even prove to be too much for the stomachs of liberal Massachusetts voters.

While boring us with insufferable and empty critiques of the mortgage banking industry, Warren made a fortune flipping twelve mortgages in her home town of Oklahoma City. Between 1993 and 1997 the crusader against ‘a deregulated credit industry (that) squeezed families harder, hawking dangerous mortgages’ was buying and selling foreclosed properties at a substantial markup. The Boston Herald reported that Warren bought one property for $30,000 and flipped it five months later for $145,000, a 383 per cent markup. According to the Herald, Warren typically gained between 10 and 73 per cent on her sales, netting hefty profits.
The champion of Obamacare and the scourge of private sector health insurance was paid $212,000 by Travelers Insurance, a health insurance corporation, to screw the little guy, the employees of manufacturing giant Johns-Manville, employees who thought that they were insured for asbestos poisoning. Warren immunized the bankrupt Travelers, facing thousands of claims, by crafting an agreement allowing the company to set up a separate fund which would pay the sick employees with paltry sums. Travelers never even made good on the fund. While fixing a deal for Travelers Warren was picking up a tidy $3,500 per week in taxpayers money to create the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” for the Obama Administration. President Obama wisely passed over the controversial Warren for a recess appointment as head of the agency.
The biggest controversy swirling around Warren, however, and the starkest example of her fundamental dishonesty was her claim to being a minority in various professional situations where such a claim would stand to benefit her career. The speciousness of her well documented claims to having Native American ancestry was amplified by the fact that in selected professional situations she also claimed to be white. The mediocre professor denied having claimed to be Native American to Harvard when seeking tenure. She later had to admit that she had lied when confronted by her friends at the Boston Globe and Harvard. It apparently had never occurred to the shameless Warren that she might have to answer to this. Perhaps she assumed that her liberal advocacy would protect her. Meanwhile, from an affirmative action standpoint, she stole opportunities from genuine minority applicants.
Finally, the New York Times has reported that Elizabeth Warren stands to become one of the top Congressional fund-raisers of all time as fat cat liberal one percenters and corporate CEO’s pony up large sums of cash for her candidacy. FEC filings reflect large corporate support for Warren who has taken credit for starting the Occupy Wall Street movement. When asked by the Boston Herald how she squared her incessant criticism of corporations with her acceptance of substantial corporate support for her candidacy, she responded by noting that “corporations want to be regulated too.”
Meanwhile, apparently the Democratic National Convention has floated Warren as a potential speaker to deliver the keynote address. Warren is still generating swoons in some quarters when she rails against the mortgage industry and the big corporations and when she claims to champion regular people who want to get ahead through honest effort. Perhaps Warrens appeal is based on a desire for revenge against Scott Brown for winning Ted Kennedy’s seat. Revenge, it should be recalled, can backfire. Remember Scott Walker and the Wisconsin recall.


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If Obama wins, look for expansion of federal dole

Washington Examiner ^ | July 26, 2012 | Byron York

Three examples. First, on July 12, the Obama administration issued a directive that could result in the removal of the work requirement from the landmark 1996 welfare reform law. The work requirement was the heart of that reform, and removing it would mean, in the words of conservative welfare expert Robert Rector, “the end of welfare reform as we know it.” It will likely also mean more people on welfare, should Barack Obama — who has opposed welfare reform from the very beginning — win a second term.
Second, the Obama administration has made a far-reaching effort to increase the number of Americans on food stamps. As National Review’s Rich Lowry reported recently, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 17 million in 2000 to 30 million in 2008 to 46 million today. That increase is far more than is warranted by the economic downturn.
The Obama administration wants that number to go even higher. To cite one example, the Agriculture Department — which now spends two-thirds of its budget on food stamps and other welfare programs — created an aggres- sive Spanish-language outreach program to encourage immigrants, whether legal or not, to enroll for food stamps. (Lest anyone put all the blame on Obama, it should be said that former President George W. Bush also increased the number of Americans on food stamps, one of a number of Bush initiatives that made him unpopular with conservatives.)
Finally, a key purpose of Obamacare is to increase the number of Americans covered by Medicaid, the federal health system for the poor. Obamacare expands Medicaid coverage to those with up to 133 percent of poverty-level income; for the first few years at least, all the extra cost will be paid by the federal government.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Hollywood's War on Chicken ^ | July 27, 2012 | Brent Bozell

The latest solid proof that Hollywood really can't stand traditional Christianity has arrived in an unfolding boycott of Chick-fil-A, a Georgia-based fast-food chain that's rapidly spreading franchises across America.

Chick-fil-A demonstrates a public faith by closing all its stores on Sundays and on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's something the left ridicules but something anyone of any faith respects.

It's the company's donations through its WinShape Foundation that have launched the intolerant gay left into action. Chick-fil-A has dared to donate their profits to groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Horrors!) and the Marriage and Family Foundation (No!).

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that." This man just has to cut it out. Who does he think he is?

But what really infuriated the left was Cathy's comments on a radio show that "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
One of Hollywood's first moves came from The Jim Henson Co., the iconic family entertainment group that invented the Muppets. They issued a statement on Facebook proclaiming they were withdrawing any association through kid's-meal toys with the chain. "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," they declared. "Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD."
In other words, they're suggesting that they'll be better corporate citizens by giving their Chick-fil-A kiddie-meal money to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a group that fervently seeks to censor all traditional Christians from being allowed to say anything "anti-gay" on television news or entertainment programs. Even the Muppet people are in thrall to speech-squashing political correctness.
Other critics emerged on Twitter. "Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame," actor Ed Helms (of "The Hangover" movies) tweeted. "Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan." Several other bold-type Hollywood moralists -- Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian -- also backed a Chick-fil-A boycott.
But few can compare with the undiluted spite of Roseanne Barr, who grabbed all the attention with her death wishes on Twitter: "anyone who eats S--t Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ."
This came after she had called them "chick filet- nazi chicken f---ing pricks." She also cracked she was "off to grab a s--it fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting Aipac and war in Iran." When people attacked her for saying people "deserved" cancer, she lectured, "Giving (your kids) Cancer from processed fast food is child abuse." To think that this genius just tried to run for president of the United States on the Green Party ticket is mind-boggling.
Chick-fil-A put out a corporate response making the obvious point (at least to their customers) that you will find no disrespect at their restaurants. "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
The statement added, "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." That's exactly what Hollywood wants to hear. On the Internet, they photograph themselves with taped mouths and paint "No H8" on their cheeks, but they display more hate and more desire to shut people up than the wackiest of right-wing yahoos.
The left will always go further. Steven Kurlander, a blogger on the Huffington Post "Gay Voices" site, is mastering Orwellian speech: "Chick-fil-A's continued support of anti-gay groups and Cathy's discriminatory comments cross the line of decency." In the 21st century, we're told it's indecent to be a Bible-believing Christian. He added that Chick-fil-A should be banned from taxpayer-supported facilities and should not be allowed to "work with public school children."
Dan Cathy is right. We really are shaking our fist at God. Giving him the finger, too. Do we deserve forgiveness?

And the Survey Says: Obama’s a Loser! ^ | July 27, 2012 | John Ransom

A whole raft of economic survey information released recently shows a leaky economy is threatening to help sink Obama’s reelection chances this fall.

On Thursday, pollster Rasmussen published results of their daily consumer confidence numbers showing the index at its lowest point at any time since the start of 2012.

“The Rasmussen Consumer Index,” writes Rasmussen, “which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, fell another point on Thursday to the lowest level of 2012. At 78.5, confidence is down three points from a week ago, down three points from a month ago and down 11 points from three months ago. Confidence is down 19 points from the highest levels of 2012.”
Meanwhile, a survey of manufacturers released by Commerce Department shows that outside of some strength in aircraft orders, businesses have been ordering fewer durable goods.
From the Dow Jones NewsWire via
“June's increase was led by stronger demand for civilian and defense aircraft, up 14.3% and 23.9%, respectively. Outside those typically volatile categories, new orders were much weaker. Excluding transportation, new orders fell 1.1% in June. Outside the surge in aircraft orders, the demand for big-ticket items faltered, indicating continued caution on the part of businesses," said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.
Manufacturing has played a key role in the recovery, though there are signs the sector is slowing as U.S. consumers remain cautious and demand from overseas fades.
In June, the Conference Board, the most-widely watched indicator of consumer confidence fell 2.4 points. “The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in May,” reported the business association, “fell further in June. The Index now stands at 62.0 (1985=100), down from 64.4 in May. The Expectations Index declined to 72.3 from 77.3. The Present Situation Index, however, increased to 46.6 from 44.9 last month.”
In July, the Board revised downward its GDP growth forecast for the year, from an annual rate of 2.2 percent in May to 1.9 percent annually in July.
Last month CNN said that computer models created by associate professor John Sides of George Washington University that “analyze the impact of the economy on the presidential campaign,” show that incumbent Obama only retains a slight edge based on a mix of historical economic data from previous presidential cycles, despite the incumbent advantage.
“What his models show him is that the president is facing similar conditions to what former President Jimmy Carter faced when he lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980,” writes CNN, “with one exception: Carter was less popular than Obama among his own party.”
However, GDP growth rates during Carter’s term were much better than they have been under Obama, although both the Carter and the Obama economies showed the same dead cat bounce in the later half of the terms.
Obama may have more loyalty from Democrats than Carter did, but isn’t that so much the worse for Obama?
Long ago the Howard Dean wing of the Howard Dean party separated themselves from reality. In fact, the faction ran out of room in the Left wing Democrat party and had to crawl out the window ideologically.
Today they wander- er, occupy would be better word - space that would be unrecognizable to liberals as diverse as Harry Truman and Martin Luther King.
Obama-Dean has trotted out Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a war on women, banks, energy, jobs, family, flag, country and freedom in a pathetic attempt to change the subject from anything other than the failed economic policies- policies of academicians who successfully posed for about 18 months as politicians and policy makers.
What a disastrous 45 months those 18 have cost us.
"This is worst economic recovery America has ever had,” said CBSNews. “We've been looking for hopeful signs, but today the chairman of the Federal Reserve threw a cold splash of reality on those hopes. Ben Bernanke said any improvement in unemployment will 'likely be frustratingly slow.' Well, yes, to say the least."
And the very least is the new normal that we’ve come to expect from this country under the greatest president in the history of mankind.
"The American economy is stuck in a new kind of normal,” writes the New York Times, “somewhere between crisis and prosperity, and economic policy makers are struggling to define their role."
Yes, it sounds a lot like Jimmy Carter.
And while the Dems may have Obama’s back, don’t expect the rest of us to be so forgiving. Because the surveys say Obama’s a loser in November.

The Ethanol Chickens Come Home to Roost

Red State | 7/26/2012 | Daniel Horowitz

After a year full of victories for big government legislation in Congress, the forces of statism seemed to have met their Waterloo with the farm/food stamp bill. The more people learned of the profligate food stamp spending and the market distorting, risk-inducing agriculture programs contained in the bill, the more they spoke out against this monstrosity. Speaker Boehner has refused to bring the bill to the floor so far.

Seeing their political stock rapidly diminish, the bipartisan coalition of government-run agriculture took a page out of Rahm Emanuel’s playbook and decided not to let the crisis of the summer drought go to waste. They are using evocative imagery of dead crops and the fear of higher food prices to shove this $957 billion behemoth through Congress. Amazingly enough, the Washington Post of all news outlets has injected some much-needed clarity into this narrative:

But keep the potential hardship to producers and consumers in perspective. “U.S. farmers face this drought in their strongest financial position in history, buoyed by less debt, record-high grain and land prices, plus greater production and exports,” reported Christine Stebbins of Reuters, after a thorough canvassing of industry and government experts. Farm losses should be far smaller than those suffered in the last big drought 24 years ago.
In fact, the Agriculture Department estimates that government-subsidized crop insurance covers more than 80 percent of farmland planted with major field crops — at least two of which, wheat and cotton, appear pretty much unaffected by the dry weather anyway. Dairy farms are the least likely to be in drought-ravaged areas, the USDA reports. And many of them enjoy federally subsidized insurance against rising feed costs. […]
And before Congress rushes through the farm bill, it’s worth reflecting on all the ways existing policies worsen the drought’s impact. More corn would be available for animals if not for federal ethanol mandates. One reason for drought- and flood-related crop losses is that federally subsidized crop insurance encourages farmers to cultivate marginal land and engage in other risky practices, knowing that taxpayers will, in effect, bail them out. Both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill would increase subsidized crop insurance, thus accentuating this moral hazard.
I’m not sure whether the Washington Post is only supportive of urban welfare or whether they stumbled upon a random appreciation for market forces. Either way, they are 100% correct.
Undoubtedly, a severe drought is going to bring some pain to both farmers and consumers. There’s no way around that. However, commodity prices are higher than ever, farmers are richer than ever, and most of their losses will be covered by existing crop insurance. If government would stop subsidizing overly risky behavior, that insurance could be administered by the private sector. But the single most damaging factor in distorting the crop market, particularly the corn crop, is the government’s ethanol policy. Over the past decade, ethanol has been the poster child for the worst aspects of big-government crony capitalism. The ethanol industry has used the fist of government to mandate that fuel blenders use their product, to subsidize their production with refundable tax credits, and to impose tariffs on more efficient sugar-based ethanol from Brazil. These policies have distorted the market for corn to such a degree that 44% of all corn grown in the country is diverted towards motor fuel blends. If we would literally flush half the corn harvest down the toilet, we would be better off than using it to make our motor fuel less efficient.
Thankfully, we have rid ourselves of the 45-cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54-cent-per-gallon import tariff. Although the farm bill grants more subsidies through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program – a program in which the taxpayer provides up to 50% of a farmer’s expenses used to plant biomass crops. But the most egregious part of the three-legged ethanol beast –the mandate – is still intact. There is no worse form of tyranny than using the boot of government to force consumers to purchase a particular product. It is especially egregious to make our corn crop so scarce during a time of drought. We should have an abundance of corn from US Reserves, but the ethanol boondoggle has drained out our bountiful harvests.
If supporters of centrally-planned agriculture want to use the crisis to push through a massive farm bill, most of which goes towards the food stamp program, we should use it to eliminate the ethanol mandate.

Despite Press Corps Guffaws, Yahoo News Claims 'No Political Motive' In Carney's Olympics Comments

NewsBusters ^ | Mark Finkelstein

Next time Jay Carney goes on vacation, maybe Olivier Knox could fill in for him. After all, the Yahoo News reporter is willing to defend the Obama spokesman against charges of making politically-inspired comments about the Olympics, even while others in the press corps were literally laughing at Carney's denial. H/t Mike Allen's Politico Playbook.

After Mitt Romney had caused a minor kerfuffle with this comments about the Olympics, Carney began his press briefing by highlighting Obama admin efforts to assist the UK with security planning for the Games. Asked whether his remarks were tied to Romney's trip, Carney countered: "The answer is no. I'm just trying to fill you in on the president's day." That was too much for even the Obama-friendly press corps, which laughed in response. But here comes Knox to the rescue in his report, assuring us that "there's no evidence of any political motive."

Read more below.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...