Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to the Future

Canada Free Press ^ | Feb 4, 2013 | Sarge

The day has dawned, the grass is ris’, I wonder where my money is.”

Obama got his taxes approved and marched us resolutely 180 degrees from the brink of disaster at the “Fiscal Cliff” to the verge of calamity as he wants more middle-class taxes while lying about taxing the rich some more. We’re no longer facing a precipice; we’re facing a firing squad of avarice and covetousness to supply those who won’t with the same benefits as those who do. (Work that is.)
Obama wants more taxes. Where the heck have we heard that before?
Instead of demanding and enacting a re-vamp of the Tax Code and straighten out the problems it presents all Americans (not just those alleged “fat cats” he always puts up as targets) while picking the middle class’ pockets for greater taxes.
The man’s a greater illusionist than David Copperfield. Invariably, he shows us what he thinks we want to hear; then he gets his social media network to start pumping up the rhetoric. As the groundswell grows and the fears of insolvency pile on top of each other, he switches gears, changes subject and adjusts his program while his fiscal assassins do their best to get their dirty work done behind the scenes in Congress.
It’s been shown and is now being understood the tax increase levied against the “top 1%” was spent before the ink was dry on the checks sent to pay the increase. This was understood before Obama started his latest effort to chisel more money from the middle class. This will continue until he’s driven from office. It’s unbelievable so many Americans could accept the fallacy of 1% of a population solving the Imbalance of Payments debacle for an entire nation. It smacks of outright stupidity.
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Dismal Sales for Chevy Volt in January

NLPC ^ | February 4, 2013 | Mark Modica

Chevy Volt Akerson photo
January's dismal numbers for Chevy Volt sales may give a clue as to how successful (or not) President Obama will be in reaching his goal of having a million electric vehicles (EVs) on American roads within the next few years, a goal that is increasingly becoming unlikely. It also gives us a glimpse into a bizarre strategy General Motors has had by focusing so strongly on plug-in cars while they lose market share elsewhere. The numbers are in, and GM can proudly say that they are the market leader in an insignificant field with a paltry 1,140 Volts sold in January. The best selling passenger car on the road, the Toyota Camry, sold 31,897 during the month, giving an indication of how illogical GM's misguided focus has been.
GM's lame reasoning for the post-election lows (actually, the lowest since February of 2012) for Volt sales is that consumers pulled sales from January by purchasing in December of 2012 when GM sold a whopping 2,633 Volts. In the scenario GM presents, this means that sales for Volts can be expected to average fewer than 2,000 a month in the absence of money-losing incentives to sell Volts. GM has previously admitted that there is no market for the Volt and that demand was manufactured by incentivizing short term leases that end up costing taxpayers about $10 for every gallon of gas saved by the Volt . These money-losing leases drove about two-thirds of the politically-charged Volt's "sales" leading up to the presidential election and were funded by government-owned Ally Financial.
A recent search for Volt inventory on reveals that there are over 4,300 new Chevy Volts available for sale nationwide. GM has had a history of blaming low supply for disappointing Volt sales, despite all evidence to the contrary. It is obvious that a lack of demand is the reason for the low sales, not a lack of supply. In fact, GM has repeatedly cut supply as sales of Volts consistently failed to live up to expectations, yet the Obama-appointed management at GM continues its focus on plug-in vehicles, even though the facts show that there is little demand.
GM's plug-in EV focus sees the company now planning for a plug-in version of the Chevy Cruze (the same platform as the Volt), a Cadillac version of the Volt, and the recently unveiled plug-in Chevy Spark. The insane money-losing strategy of building cars that consumers do not seem to want is costing both shareholders and the taxpayers who are funding the technology with billions of dollars. A recent Congressional Budget Office report revealed that the money is not well spent and that taxpayers will pay about $7.5 billion on EV subsidies over the next few years for little benefit.
Critics of the Volt would not really care about the dismal sales if taxpayers were not paying for the folly. If a private sector company foolishly follows a money-losing strategy for ideological reasons, that's their choice. But the Volt was and is funded with taxpayer money. Further, most financing comes from taxpayer-owned Ally Financial, which the Obama Administration has refused to exit while GM is reliant upon the funding. This refusal has been criticized by a government watchdog in a recent report.
There is also a major concern with the dishonesty that GM has exhibited over the potential for the Chevy Volt. The Volt was touted as a "game-changer" for GM as taxpayer money was lobbied for during the company's bailout process. The media pumped GM's hype and expectations were that the Volt would be selling about 20,000 a month by now, not 2,000! When expectations fell far short, GM lied about the reasons for the failure, first blaming low supply and, even more bizarrely, a right wing conspiracy to discredit the car . How unethical is it for a company supported by a Democratic President to make political statements against Republicans and help the benevolent sitting president to win reelection ?
If GM is dishonest about demand and potential for the Chevy Volt, how can they be trusted elsewhere? Why would consumers want to buy cars from a company that has displayed a tendency to allow political motivations to overrule ethics and honesty? Why would shareholders invest in such a company?
It is past time for GM to start being honest about the Chevy Volt. If the true sales potential for the car is a couple of thousand a month, just say so instead of wasting more money trying to manufacture demand and extending the hoax. Most importantly, it is time for the Obama-appointed management to move on and for the government to exit its stake in both GM and Ally Financial. Hopefully, the next generation of leadership at GM can focus on building cars that Americans want with a loyalty towards shareholders; not to politicians.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.


Goodbye, Prius? Japanese carmakers drop battery electric-car development

The Washington Times ^ | February 4, 2013 | Cheryl K. Chumley

Japan is backtracking on battery electric-car development, as even Nissan’s vice chairman, the so-called “father of the Prius,” announced plans to copy Toyota and pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity.

“Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars,” said Nissan’s vice chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada,..

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

NPR finally gets it – does this signal an end to the polar bear as poster bear for global warming?

Watts Up With That? ^ | February 4, 2013 | Anthony Watts

Image from - comedy added by WUWT
Image from – comedy added by WUWT

From NPR: The Inconvenient Truth About Polar Bears

In 2008, reports of polar bears’ inevitable march toward extinction gripped headlines. Stories of thinning Arctic ice and even polar bear cannibalism combined to make these predators into a powerful symbol in the debate about climate change.
The headlines caught Zac Unger’s attention, and he decided to write a book about the bears.
Unger made a plan to move to Churchill, Manitoba, a flat, gray place on the Hudson Bay in northern Canada accessible only by train or plane. For a few months out of the year, as the bay starts to freeze, tiny Churchill boasts as many polar bears as it does people.
Unger packed up his wife and three small kids, and set out with a big bold idea. He wanted to write the quintessential requiem of how human-caused climate change was killing off these magnificent beasts.
In the end, he came away with something totally different, Unger tells NPR’s Laura Sullivan.
Interview Highlights
On wanting to write the next great environmental tract
“My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement. I was going to go up to the Canadian Arctic, I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point I’d be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots …
“So when I got up there, I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe, which was actually very heartening, but didn’t fit well with the book I’d been planning to write.
“… There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago. … In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded. This is not to say that global warming is not real or is not a problem for the polar bears. But polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we can’t look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.”
On moving his family to “Polar Bear Capital of the World”
“We were in this town in northern Manitoba where polar bears literally will walk down Main Street. There are polar bears in this town. People will leave their cars and houses unlocked, and it’s perfectly good form just to duck into any open door you can find when there’s a polar bear chasing you.
“People use what they call Churchill welcome mats, which is a piece of plywood laid down in front of the door or leaned up against the door with hundreds of nails sticking out so that when the polar bear comes up to pad across your porch, he’s going to get a paw full of sharp nails.”
Zac Unger has worked as a firefighter and paramedic for the Oakland Fire Department. He is also the author of Working Fire: The Making of a Fireman.
Courtesy De Capo Press
On Churchill’s strategies for living among bears
“There are definitely polar bears that come into town; there are definitely polar bears that will eat people’s dogs. But Churchill has developed an innovative polar bear alert program. The way it works is you dial a phone number — 675-BEAR — if you see a bear, and a bunch of wildlife conservation officers will come by in a truck with a bunch of guns. And they try really hard not to harm the bears, and they kind of scare the bears out of town. They have a progression that they use: First, they will fire firecracker shells; then they move up to rubber bullets; and as a last resort, they’ll move up to real bullets.
“They don’t want to do that. These are conservation officers so their job is to keep bears safe. Churchill also has a polar bear jail. These are for bears who keep coming into town and can’t be hazed out of town. And what they’ll do is they will trap these bears and put them in the polar bear jail, which is just a great big decommissioned military building. And they will give them no food, and they’re given only snow to drink and then they wait until the bay freezes up. And when the bay freezes up, these bears can be released to go back out on the ice.
“[The bears] don’t want to be in town, they’re just waiting for the ice to freeze. But if they’re a hassle in town, put them in jail, give them a short sentence, and the problem is solved.”
On trick-or-treating when polar bears might be lurking around the corner
“Halloween is when you’re supposed to go up with lots of food and run around with your kids. So we were up there for Halloween … and so what they do is when you go out trick-or-treating you go out with somebody who has a gun — whether it’s a police officer, or a volunteer or someone from the military. They all come out and they help you go trick-or-treating. Now, they have one rule, which is that kids can’t dress in anything white — no princesses, no ghosts — because you don’t want to be dressed as something white in the darkness when there’s a bunch of guys with guns looking for polar bears.”
Maybe now we’ll see far less use of this photoshopped image, dubbed Ursus Bogus:
In related news: Is polar bear scientist Monnett still under investigation?
Polar bear scientist Charles Monnett’s long-running entanglement with bureaucratic investigations into the quality and ethics of his work may not be over, despite a finding by his government employer in September that he could return to work. At the time, Monnett was delivered the equivalent of a slap on the hand — a written reprimand for sharing work emails with environmentalists.
He was cleared of more damning allegations that his science was bad, his motives questionable. Yet according to attorney Jeff Ruch, who has represented Monnett throughout the investigation, the Office of the Inspector General has confirmed the case remains open. Agents with the Inspector General’s office conducted the inquiry into Monnett’s work and last fall returned their analysis to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), Monnett’s employer. The bureau determined there could be evidence of criminal wrongdoing and scientific misconduct, but left it to BOEM to decide how to interpret the Inspector General’s findings and what, if anything, to do about it.
Intense scrutiny of Monnett at the hands of government investigators quickly became an ongoing saga with political implications. When the investigation began, Monnett worked for the Minerals Management Service, an agency that not only conducted research into marine mammals, but which also permitted oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters. Tensions were growing among scientists who felt their observations were being swept under the rug to ease the permitting process.

Polar bears: powerful symbol

Meanwhile, the prospect of drowning polar bears became a powerful symbol. Monnett and a co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Gleason, made brief reference to drowned bears in a 2006 journal article. During a 2004 overflight to survey bowhead whales in Alaska’s arctic. Monnett and his colleagues witnessed what they believed were four dead bears floating in the Arctic Ocean. It was the first published documentation of dead bears at sea, and Monnett and Dr. Jeffrey Gleason surmised that the number of dead bears would increase as sea ice melted. At some point during the investigation, Monnett’s methods for documenting the deaths and putting them into context became a target of the inquiry. Investigators, who were vague during much of the process, would only say scientific misconduct, and perhaps miscalculations, were one aspect of concern regarding the scientist’s work.
And that is all it took for Al Jazeera Gore to run with it in An Inconvenient Truth:

Fourteen Thousand and What? The Unfathomable Wall Street Rally!

By John F. Di Leo - 

Getting our heads around apparent irrational exuberance on Wall Street

On Friday, February 1, the market rally continued as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,010. Many investors rejoiced, and conservatives wondered if they were living on the same planet as the investment community.

Unemployment is, after all, still at a publicly-declared 8%, a number that can only be reached if you stop counting a jobless person if his unemployment checks have run out, and if you consider an unemployed lawyer, accountant, salesman or buyer as “employed” if he bags groceries or delivers newspapers. The real number can be disputed, depending on how you count some of the grey areas, but proper analysis puts true unemployment at either 15% or 23% in the United States today.

Real economic growth in the USA has been almost nonexistent ever since the Pelosi House started doing damage in January 2007, as every step forward has been accompanied by several steps back in this ongoing contraction. Six years of anti-business policies (yes, six, because President G.W. Bush failed to veto the destructive products of Congress during his final two years) have left us with one to two percent growth in GDP at most, whenever we weren’t outright losing ground. The nation slipped back toward official recession in the fourth quarter of 2012 when it was finally admitted that we contracted by something less than a percent. One more quarter like this and they’ll have to admit it. Some cynics wonder if the Obama administration just forgot to cook the books this time, or if they’ve just decided to stop bothering, now that their lord and master never has to face the voters again.
So the question is – How? How on earth can there be a rally in the Dow when Washington, D.C. and several of our states are engaging in policies specifically designed to crush the economy? There are indeed many reasons, not all of them based on an IQ deficiency.
A “Brain Cloud?”
In 1990, Warner Brothers released a comedy called “Joe Versus the Volcano.” It starred Tom Hanks as a hypochondriac whose doctor, Robert Stack, tells him he has a terminal disease, a “brain cloud,” so he should make the most of his remaining time on this earth. Over the course of the film, he meets Lloyd Bridges, an eccentric billionaire, Dan Hedaya, the boss from Hell, Ossie Davis, the limo driver, Barry McGovern, the luggage salesman, Abe Vigoda, the island chief, and Meg Ryan, again and again, playing three very different roles. To say it’s an unusual movie with an unusual premise is putting it mildly.
Some people love it. I still watch it again and again; I find it an absolute delight.
Many people can’t stand it; they find it idiotic, a stupid premise with unbelievable characters in unbelievable circumstances. Here, the question is: How much are you willing to suspend disbelief?
It doesn’t mean that one group is right and the other is wrong. Different people have different tastes in film, especially in comedy. What makes one person laugh hard enough to fall out of his chair may just irritate another enough to head for the box office and demand his money back. Comedy is about taking risks, touching the right audience in the right way. Comedy is about entertaining those who want the kind of entertainment you’re capable of delivering.
How do you put a value on that? 23 years after release, you can still buy a copy of this movie on DVD, rent it on Netflix, or see it for free on cable. Is it worth a five dollar rental or a twenty dollar purchase? Is it even worth your time to watch for free? The fact that three different people will give you three different answers doesn’t mean that any of the three is wrong. They’re only answering the question of what the value of that film is to them. And that’s something that varies from person to person, sometimes, even for the same person, it can vary by the time of day.
Stock as a Medium of Exchange
To understand the stock market, we have to remember what it is, and how it is used.
A share of stock can be described straightforwardly enough: it’s a percentage of ownership in a company, and for many companies, a right to receive a dividend payment once in a while.
The holder of a stock certificate has a piece of that company’s present, and, as long as he holds it, a piece of that company’s future as well. Unlike currency - a piece of paper that’s only worth something as long as the government says so -a share of stock is a legitimate division of the value of a going concern, a real business.
The stock market, however, is something different. Fundamentally, the stock market is a flea market, a gun show, a swap meet, a plates-and-figurines show. It’s a place where the owners of collectibles, or their representatives, meet up every day to trade their holdings. Thousands of traders, many of whom represent millions of clients, are given instructions by their customers or management – buy some of this, unload some of that – watch the prices and buy or sell only if it goes above or below X, or Y, or maybe even Z.
Some of this is automated now. Say a pension fund declares that it wants to be 50% stock and 50% bonds. A certain bond matures today and has to be traded in, but the returns on available bonds today for that money may be undesirable, so they have to replace it with something else, American currency or foreign currency or precious metal holdings or stocks. So today they switch from some bonds to some stocks, not due to a conscious intent to move more into the stock market, but due to a forced choice from among the available options at the moment.
Many of the stock market’s choices work that way today. You have an investment fund to manage, and you must put the money SOMEWHERE. What’s the easiest solution, the one that’s most defensible if people complain about results? Leave it to the computer. Design a decent analysis program – studying size and sectors and price-earnings ratios and so forth –and let the system make the decision for you. “See? I’m not irrationally exuberant, it’s my computer here, making a scientific calculation!”
But much of it, too, is not automated. Much of it is intelligent investors deciding that this or that company is a good choice, for them, for this portion of their balanced portfolios, and so they buy it. This doesn’t mean they’re right or wrong; it just means that they believe this company or that one is a good risk, a good investment. Again, they have to put the money somewhere, as long as they have some to invest, so they make their choices. And often they are right.
These investors aren’t making a conscious judgment about the economy; they’re making a conscious judgment about a single company, studying its management, it’s proven recent results, its promises for the future. These investors are making a very narrowly focused choice from among the vast array of stocks available; they don’t mean to make an assessment of the whole economy as a whole, even though others may extrapolate one from their choices.
How can companies do well in this economy?
This is the key issue. Companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor’s, and the many other NYSE, CSE, and other stock market groups these days do not constitute “this economy.”
They are big public conglomerates – five billion dollar manufacturing families, ten billion dollar sureties, twenty billion dollar logistics providers. They include television and telephone networks, retail chains, all sorts of different businesses. And they are all big, or they wouldn’t appear on these famous listings.
Big companies are different from small ones, in almost every way. Big companies have lobbyists who might be able to protect them from bad legislation, at least at first, to either carve out exceptions or add in delays. Big companies can change their processes without self-destruction. If a company has manufacturing facilities in forty states, and five of those states turn hostile, it can close its operations in those states, moving those assembly lines to more welcoming states. Or if the whole country turns hostile, it can move assembly lines to other factories abroad, in Europe, Mexico, India, or China.
And that’s exactly what’s been happening for forty years, isn’t it? We’ve seen industry after industry leave these shores, as unions and property taxes and crime and federal taxes and regulations, ever more regulations, have driven them out. The more the red tape has strangled, the more they have been forced to move. They didn’t want to; no American executive WANTS to spend 16 hours one-way on a plane to meet with Chinese factory managers to discuss such a move. But America has been slowly driving business in that direction. Big companies can deal with it this way, and so they do.
For this reason, many of the high performing companies on that 14,000 point Dow Jones chart now do much of their manufacturing, and much of their designing, even much of their software and “back office” work, overseas, even while selling the stuff worldwide, including right here where they used to manufacture it. There’s nothing wrong with that, objectively speaking; if China or India or the Philippines are the right places to make a product, go ahead and make it there. The USA will still be the right place to make many others.
But it is wrong indeed if the reason that China is more competitive is that the laws and regulations of the USA have unnaturally driven up our costs, forcing our manufacturers to look abroad for manufacturing sites… and that, of course, has been the case for many years. Our American national and state policies have forced our large public corporations, for the most part, to be international. That’s a good thing in some ways, a bad thing in others.
So it’s not right to say that the Dow is “wrong” to be at 14,010, on that snapshot in time, the closing bell on Friday, February 1, 2013, A.D. But it would certainly be wrong to say that the Dow is in any way representative of our economy at large. Too many people look to the Dow every day to see if the nation is having a good day. That’s not what it’s for, and it’s sure not a useful way of getting a fair picture of the American business climate.
The Real American Economy
The United States economy is an amalgam of many things. Large publicly traded companies like those on the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s indices… other publicly traded companies that aren’t members of any big index so the news reporters don’t notice them… privately held firms that aren’t traded at all… small businesses and sole proprietorships that work out of a single office, a single plant, even a person’s home office.
These are businesses too, real contributing parts of the American economy. Hundreds of thousands of independent restaurants and bars and coffee shops… hundreds of thousands of law offices and accountancy firms… hundreds of thousands of interior decorators and plumbers and electricians and window installers and truckers… hundreds of thousands of tool and die shops, custom metal fabricators, cabinetmakers and grocery stores.
These are real businesses, too, and they tend to be 100% American, or very nearly so. This is not to say anything against the big Dow Jones types (I’ve happily worked for both kinds, myself!), but it’s worth noting that the Dow is actually a terrible indicator of the American economy, because each member tends to have a good deal of foreign activity as part of its total package. The momentary snapshot revealed by their stock price on any given day is a statement first about the company’s management, second about its market share for its own product lines, and only lastly a general statement about the amalgam of countries or regions in which it operates.
The far better indicator would be the small businesses, the ones in stand-alone buildings or in strip malls or office buildings or home offices. How are they all doing? They’re the real American economy; they’ll tell you how the nation is doing, today, after six years of Democrat party extremism under Pelosi, Reid, Obama, and their minions.
A path of destruction
There is no single guide, no corresponding “Dow Jones Industrial Average” of the small business world. We cannot share a single index of private businesses to show what America is really feeling right now.
But we can tell, can’t we? Twenty years ago, if there was a vacancy in a strip mall, it got filled as someone else moved in reasonably soon. If a person lost his job, he got a new one. If a company moved out of a town, some other company moved in.
Today, between a sixth and a quarter of Americans of working age are either unemployed or working at wages and roles far below their ability. Accountants deliver sandwiches, professionals man cash registers at the mall, foremen take odd jobs as handymen or helpers at hardware stores. Nothing against these jobs either, of course, but they should be the rungs going up a ladder, not going down it. Our economy has shrunken by a net of over eight million jobs in four years. There are always job losses and job creations, but in these four years, the net trend has been horrifying.
That companies are able to do more with less is a good thing… that companies have so boosted productivity that they can drop a department of ten down to eight, then down to six, then down to five, is impressive, and good for that company’s bottom line.
But it’s only good for the economy as a whole, and for those downsized employees in particular, if there are always other new companies springing up to employ them, to fight over these talented and experienced professionals, now suddenly back on the market. There should be tens of millions of new jobs being created, by expansions of existing companies or the entrepreneurship of new innovators. That’s what’s not happening, not in the numbers we need, not by a long shot.
Is the 14,000-level Dow right or wrong? It depends on what you mean. It may indeed be right, as a legitimate valuation of the finite number of companies include in it. But it is indeed wrong, if you try to use it as the monitor of the health of the American economy.
Better numbers to look at are the participation rate buried deep in the unemployment statistics… the number of new incorporations issued by the states… the growth of business tax revenues, after factoring out tax rate increases…
But these are hard to find, hard to process. Much easier is the anecdotal evidence. How many people do you know who retired earlier than they intended, rather than be laid off? How many do you know who were unemployed, not for weeks or months but a year or two? How many had to eventually step down to a lesser job, because with far fewer businesses, there are far fewer jobs for so many, many disciplines?
No, the economy is not good. It doesn’t look good at present, and it doesn’t look good for the future. But there are pockets of prosperity, economic islands that may indeed be the places to store your money for a while, in hope of riding out the storm.
Storm Clouds on the Horizon
The slings and arrows of outrageous agencies are beginning to fly fast and furious in 2013. Thousands of new regulations on businesses, dozens of new taxes, stiff impediments to hiring.
Obamacare’s cutoff point has made it disadvantageous for any company with less than fifty employees to add staff; it has even made it advantageous for a company of 55 or 60 to shed some now, to get below fifty when obamacare’s full drop-dead date arrives.
Many businesses saw tax increases in 2013 already, medical implement manufacturers in particular, plus all small businesses that operate like individuals. In fact, all working individuals, from small businessmen to employees of others, saw their Social Security withholding collection skyrocket by about 50%, as it went from over four percent up to over six percent off the top.
Our health insurance contributions – again because of the mandates and meddling in obamacare – are going up, for many of us, by fifty to a hundred dollars per pay period. The IRS has predicted that the worst obamacare family plan - the so-called "bronze level" - will cost $20,000 per year in 2016. So much for obamacare reducing healthcare costs...
All in all, this means that every American worker will have much less take-home pay this year, by many hundreds for the worst paid among us, by the thousands for most of the middle class. Barack Obama promised, so many times, that he would only raise taxes on the rich. How does it feel, to know that now, we’re all rich? The only way this administration has “only” raised taxes on the rich is if “the rich” is defined as “everyone with a job.”
When people have thousands less in their checking accounts, that will be reflected in reduced spending. It has to be. We’ll see everything discretionary – from restaurants to mall retail to theaters to charitable contributions – plummet this year. Businesses will go under, the contraction will continue. As far as the eye can see. Small businesses will be hardest hit, but the cancer will eventually spread to the big companies as well. When people must reduce their buying, everyone with something to sell – big or small – will find their sales dropping as well.
There are solutions – easy ones, too – and everyone in Washington knows what they are. Lowering and flattening the income tax. Revoking the crippling mandates of obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and the many environmental excesses that are driving manufacturing to foreign shores and driving the thought of entrepreneurship out of potential risk-takers’ hearts. Establishing a 21st Century Grace Commission to root out and eradicate unnecessary waste in government.
If we do these things, then our broad economy will indeed look as good as the investors of the rallying Dow think and hope it is. But if we do not – and all signs indicate that it’s another four years before any rational economic policy is promulgated from Washington – then we’re in for ever more contraction, another four painful years that will make America look more and more like a different economic contraction many many years ago.
Hey, Mr. President, the 1930s called. They want their recipe for “Great Depression”back.

Copyright 2013 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade lecturer. A former chairman of the Milwaukee County GOP, his columns appear weekly in Illinois Review.
Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included. Follow John F. Di Leo on Facebook or LinkedIn, or on Twitter at @johnfdileo. 

Shocker: The White House misses their budget deadline, again (The fourth time in five years)

Hotair ^ | 02/04/2013 | Erika Johnsen

The White House is legally required to submit a budget to Congress on the first Monday in February of every year — which evidently means little-to-nothing to the auspicious Obama administration. The White House already warned the House Budget Committee that, yeah, they probably weren’t going to be able to get that done on time… and, lo and behold, they are indeed going to fail to submit a budget by the prescribed deadline, for the fourth time in five years. Paul Ryan is not amused:
“I’m disappointed the President has missed his deadline. But I’m not surprised. In four of the last five years, he’s failed to submit his budget on time. We still don’t know when we’ll receive the president’s request. And for nearly four years, Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget at all. We deserve better,” Ryan’s statement reads.
“We spend $1 trillion more than we take in each year. In fact, we spend $3 for every $2 we take in. And we can’t keep that up. If we stay on this path, our finances will collapse. The economy will stall. And the most vulnerable will suffer. We need a budget that reflects our priorities—that expands opportunity. The fact is, we cannot achieve those goals unless we budget responsibly.
“Every time the President and Senate Democrats shirk their duty, they delay choices we need to make. We’ve still got time, but it’s dwindling. Every missed deadline is a missed opportunity. We need to get serious about spending now.
And, before you ask, why no — they apparently do not have any immediate plans to amend the situation. Via BuzzFeed:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that he had no updates on when President Barack Obama will release his budget for the next fiscal year.
“I don’t have an update on the President’s budget,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president travels to Minneapolis to discuss his gun control proposals when asked when Obama will submit his spending plan to Congress. The deadline for submitting his budget for fiscal year 2014 is Monday, February 4, 2013 under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. …
Carney encouraged reporters to “focus on substance over deadlines,” saying Obama has proposed detailed plans for bringing down the nation’s deficits, and that unlike Republicans, what he “hasn’t done is submit a highly partisan budget that has no support among the American public.”
Substance over deadlines? Substance, like watching President Obama campaignlecture “rally public opinion” on gun control in Minnesota this afternoon, or remind us all that he is by no means finished raising taxes and class-warmongering? …No, thanks.


Obama's Dukakis Moment

Housing Pickle: Food Stamp Growth Outstrips Employment Growth

Confounded Interest ^ | 02/04/2013 | Anthony B. Sanders

One of the most important measures for housing is employment. And while payrolls are SLOWLY improving,
but food stamps are growing at a much faster rate.
This is from Bloomberg Briefs:
“An ongoing concern is that growth in jobs continues to be dwarfed by the surge in food stamps. During the first 10 months of 2012 there were 1.01 million new additions to the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a 2.2 percent increase. During the same period, the number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 1.5 million, a 1.1 percent gain.
The results from the end of the recession in June 2009 are even more staggering. The number of food stamp recipients has rocketed 30 percent since mid-2009, yet the number of nonfarm payroll jobs has inched up a mere 2 percent over that same period. Considering the composition of those jobs – in low wage industries – the household sector is clearly suffering.”
The growth in food stamps correlates with the longer-term decline in wages and salaries (as a percentage of GDP).
It is hard to have a traditional owner-occupied housing recovery under these conditions.
Particularly with GDP growth at -0.5% in Q4 2012 and forecast to be +1.5% in Q1 2013.

Democrats Complain of Aloof, Disengaged Obama!

Newsmax ^ | 04 Feb 2013 | Lisa Barron

President Barack Obama may have to reach out more to Democrats on Capitol Hill if he expects to win their support for his aggressive second-term agenda, reports Politico.

In interviews with dozens of Democratic members of Congress and senior aides, Politico found many are frustrated and angered by what they perceive as the president’s disregard for cultivating relationships with his party colleagues.

This comes at a time when the president is preparing to take on everything from taxes and immigration reform to gun control and climate change, and needs Democratic backing to get legislation through Congress.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...


The Religion Of Conquest ^ | 02/04/13 | CAUGHTUPALIVEnetworks


OMERICA - "PRESIDENT EVIL: RE-ELECTION" This Satire Piece on Obama and Liberals IS ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS AND CUTE. I thought I would share and ask you to share it with your friends that are INFECTED WITH OBAMA-MANIA
SNIPPET FROM THE VIDEO DESCRIPTION: "This is the first in a hopefully long-running Series called 'OMERICA' (Obama's America), which is a political satire show which seeks to portray exactly what we have gotten ourselves into by electing Barack Obama for a second term..."
It's finally DONE!! Sorry this took so long for the series to get started, but it has been a busy couple of months. I promise the next episode will be shorter, but I had to start the series off with a BANG. This video took nearly 3 DAYS to make (literally), which makes me better appreciate the makers of all the cartoons I used to watch a a kid (wipes sweat from forehead)! If I get enough views and likes, I may do a sequel (after some time off from the computer)!
And now for the complaints! I realize due to the somewhat controversial content of this video, I probably will be trolled non-stop by the Obama Zombies. But for those who may have legitimate issues with some of the content of this video (my Conservative fan base), a few explanations are in order:
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

ObamaCare guarantees "personal information" will CEASE to be personal. Yep, gun ownership info too!

Coach is Right ^ | 2/4/13 | Doug Book

Being a good, Democrat-run state, Minnesota has decided to build an ObamaCare exchange, turning all healthcare rights and choices of its citizens over to the tender mercies of federal death panels and untrained, IT technicians in Washington, DC.

But if anything, that’s the GOOD news for unsuspecting Minnesotans! For all information currently considered “personal” will, at the stroke of a keyboard, become known to countless bureaucracies throughout the State and federal governments.

As the Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom explains it:

“Buried in the text of the Minnesota Obamacare Exchange bill (MNHIX) [is] a tiny but controversial section allowing free-flow sharing of all data the government has on you. It also grants them access to the data “other entities” have on you. There is no limit to...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...


Pat ^ | February 4, 2013 | H/T Sammy Madigan/Lt. Col. Jerry Boykin

Many speak; but not nearly enough listening. More must 'wake up' and damn the bonds of political correctness - restore 'critical mind' - so that America can recover it's original-intent purpose.

Lt.Gen. Jerry Boykin; 'Special Forces'; Green Beret. . .taught at Hampden-Sydney; now Exec.Vice President/Family Rersearch Council - 'owns' his credentials; and so, has both credibility and authority.
A video link to share.

Lt.Gen.Boykin: marxist insurgency link

Further hand/in/hand verification: 

Obama: 'No doubt' nation needs more tax revenue!

The Hill ^ | February 3, 2013 | Peter Schroeder

President Obama insisted Sunday that additional tax revenue will need to be part of future deficit deals, but said hikes in tax rates may not be necessary.

In a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS, the president outlined his vision for further deficit reduction, which he said was essential, but in a way that preserves the government's ability to continue spending on key programs.
He also emphasized that the seemingly continuous stream of Washington standoffs was wreaking havoc on confidence in the U.S. economy.
Republicans have insisted that the revenue side of the deficit equation was dealt with during "fiscal cliff" talks, which resulted in a compromise that saw rates climb on the nation's top earners. But Obama flatly rejected the notion that future talks would explicitly focus on spending.
"There is no doubt we need additional revenue, coupled with smart spending reductions, in order to bring down our deficit," he said.
Obama said that a serious deficit reduction plan would combine "smart spending cuts," reforms to healthcare programs, and tax reform that eliminates loopholes and specific deductions.
"If you combine those things together, then we can not only reduce our deficit, but we can continue to invest in things like education and research and development…without raising rates again," he said.
On entitlement programs tied to healthcare, Obama suggested there were significant savings to be found through reform.
"There's a lot of waste in the system, and there's things we can do to reduce healthcare costs," he said.
Obama's interview came just days after new data from the Commerce Department found that the economy actually shrank 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, driven primarily by significant drops in spending by the federal government and the defense industry. The latter category dropped 22 percent as defense contractors braced for possible sequestration spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year if the "fiscal cliff" had taken effect. The deal struck to avoid the cliff delayed those cuts for two months, setting another round of legislative battles before March 1.
Obama said those sharp drops weighed on "a lot of positive signs in the economy," and said continued standoffs between the two parties were taking their toll.
"Washington cannot continually operate under a cloud of crisis, that freezes up consumers," he said. "We can't afford these self-inflicted wounds."

Soros should have more influence over American Politics?

Frontpage ^ | 2/2/13 | greenfield

 Apparently controlling the White House and the Foreign Policy of the country via the Soros Money Machine isn’t enough. 

Not until the entire Senate and Congress bows to the new Emperor of America.
Billionaires influencing American politics is bad. Really bad. It’s a grave threat to Democracy. Unless they’re liberals.
During an appearance with CBS anchor and host Charlie Rose at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on January 29, former Vice President Al Gore said that progressivism cannot compete with “the money situation” that is funding right wing media outlets and messaging firms.
When Rose countered that well-heeled progressives fund liberal causes, Gore cut him off and said that he was making a “false equivalence.” The crowd burst into applause as Gore added that progressive millionaires like George Soros should have more influence in American politics than they presently enjoy.
Rose strikes a small note of honesty, quickly walks it back, while Gore proclaims to audience applause that liberal billionaires should have more influence over American politics.
This is the sad spectacle of the Orwellian left glorying in their own power while pretending that they’re really fighting to restore people power.
There’s nothing that quite says decadent liberalism like the combination of Charlie Rose, the 92nd Street Y and Al Gore. It’s like the elevator music of 90s liberalism. Put all of them together and you get the frank admission from a corrupt Clinton Era pol who almost became president, then invested in the EcoScam and handed over millions of American households to Al Jazeera, that the criminal Nazi collaborating billionaire who funded the left’s takeover of American politics needs to have even more influence.
For the people.

Obama Calls on Boy Scouts to Welcome Homosexuals (Obama wants to be in The Scouts)

fox news ^ | 2/3/2013 | Todd Starnes

President Obama called on the Boy Scouts to open their ranks to homosexuals.
His response came during an interview ahead of Super Bowl XLVII. CBS News’ Scott Pelley asked the president if scouting should be open to gays.
“Yes,” the president replied. “Gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everyone else does.”
BSA national leaders are meeting this week in Dallas to discuss lifting a ‘no-gay’ ban on both members and leaders.
On Monday a group of 42 religious groups will publish a half-page ad in USA Today calling on the Scouts to resist political and economic pressures to lift the ban.
The group is taking out a major advertising buy tomorrow denouncing the Scouts’ decision to consider changing their longstanding policy prohibiting openly gay Scout leaders or Scouts.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Good women are hard to find!

Author Suzanne Venker
Never mind looking for a good man, says the author of a hot, new book being released this week – good women are the ones who are hard to find.

Suzanne Venker, author of “The Flipside of Feminism,” is ready to release her new book, “How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace With Marriage,” and in a new column on WND, she explains why the proverbial battle of the sexes needs to be flipped on its head.
“What I hear from men is that they want to love women, but that women have changed,” Venker explains in her column. “Where, they wonder, are the soft, feminine creatures that used to care about men and treat them with respect?
“They’re gone,” she concludes. “Today’s women are the daughters of committed feminists. They’ve been raised to shut off their girly side in order to prove something to themselves and the world.”
If you want a good marriage, it doesn’t just happen. You have to be willing to create it! Find out how in Suzanne Venker’s “How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace With Marriage,” and get “The War on Men” too!
Venker asserts that the wave of the “sexual revolution” has washed away too much, that years of professors, journalists, writers and TV producers finding humor and barbed lessons in emasculating men to some how “empower” women has been a detriment to society and relationships, men and women.
“You can’t disempower one sex to empower the other,” she asserts. “It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter how empowered, liberated or successful women are, men and women need each other.”
Read Venker’s column now!
Venker, a former teacher-turned-social critic, says she learned her lessons the hard way. Divorced at age 27, a failed marriage forced her to re-examine her attitude and approach to relationships. She’s now happily living in the Midwest with her second husband of 15 years and two children.
Venker faults the sexual revolution and feminist movement of the last 40 years for creating women who believe they don’t need men and don’t need more from their relationships than, well … sex.
“Women lowered their standards,” she told WND. “They did this by changing the way they approach sex. That’s the No. 1 biggest issue. They’ve lost any sort of reasonable modesty or holding high standards and having a lot of self-respect in terms of the way they carry themselves and dress and how quickly they have sex.”
She added, “It’s funny, this whole ‘empowerment’ idea was supposed to make women better and give them greater self-esteem. ‘Empowered’ is a great word, but it’s totally misused by feminists. Sexual empowerment does not mean sleeping around. In fact, the message is quite the opposite. It shows that you don’t think very much of yourself, that you don’t think you’re worthy of waiting for or committing to. Honestly, I think a lot of women have no idea that that’s how it works between women and men and that their behavior and attitude has driven men into a different direction.”
But how can women find men who are good husbands, fathers and providers?
Don’t look to feminists for the answers, Venker warns, but rather to women who have learned they need their men just as much as their men need them.
“Men have been hearing for years that women don’t need their money. They don’t need anything from men,” Venker said. “[So] men have just sort of given up. They just stop trying because you don’t need their money, you don’t need them as husbands and you’re sexually ‘empowered.’ There’s just a whole different set of circumstances that women created, and that’s why men are the way they are.
The key to finding the right kind of guy, therefore, may be to become the right kind of gal.
Choosing the right husband is the single most important decision you’ll ever make in your lifetime. But it’s only Step 1! Suzanne Venker will show you “How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace With Marriage.”
Media who would like to interview “How to Choose a Husband” author Suzanne Venker, contact


Eat More Chicken and Your Skin Will Thicken ^ | 2-4-13 | Dr. Mike Adams

My friends at Campus Reform are on top of it, as usual. They always expose the thin-skinned idiocy of campus liberals and give me lots of column fodder in the process. Thanks guys. The next round of waffle fries is on me.
Campus Reform is reporting that Chick-fil-A, the popular fast food restaurant chain, has now been dubbed a "symbol of hate," by a professor at Eastern Illinois University (EIU). Lisa Moyer, who teaches in the Family Studies Department at EIU, apparently made the comment with a straight face, although some have suggested that the term "straight face" reinforces heterosexist oppression. Regardless, her comment reinforces my belief that it is always a mistake to choose a major ending in the word "studies."
Moyer made her strangely uninclusive remarks in response to questions about a faculty resolution at EIU. The resolution proposed expelling a Chick-fil-A restaurant from campus in order for the university to be more inclusive. Because of the franchise's alleged opposition to homosexuals, some faculty decided that getting rid of them would promote diversity by producing complete uniformity of thought on issues related to sexual orientation. Talk about queer reasoning!
Moyer, in typical liberal fashion, has projected her hatred of Chick-fil-A onto the restaurant itself and has characterized their company logo as a symbol of hate. I suppose it's now in the same category as a burning cross or a Nazi swastika. In her recent interview with Campus Reform, she elevated hypersensitivity to a Zen art by arguing that her efforts to censor this "symbol of hate" are justified because Chick-fil-A makes a lot of students, particularly in the LGBT community, "feel uncomfortable.” (See for additional details).
Although the Faculty Senate resolution to remove Chick-fil-A from campus was defeated 3-6, the LGBTXYZPDQ community won anyway. That is all because the discussion resulted in the school opening an office for LGBTQ outreach. When they win they win and when they lose they still win - so long as they keep reminding everyone they feel uncomfortable and need special protection.
So I've been thinking about it and I've decided that our LGBTQIA Office here on my campus makes me feel uncomfortable. In fact, the rainbow is a symbol of hate. So, next week, I plan to introduce a resolution to ban them from campus. I expect the resolution to be defeated because it is idiotic. I'm just hoping I get a special office as a consolation prize - simply for being a narrow minded bigot.
Make no mistake about it: the best way to get money in higher education is to be a thin skinned bigot. African American centers reward racial hypersensitivity, Women's Centers reward gender hypersensitivity, and ABC-LGBT-XYZ-PDQ Centers reward unmitigated religious intolerance.
So what exactly is the motivation for all of this thin-skinned hyper-ventilating? Just follow the money. At the end of every rainbow flag, there's a pot of gold - and usually a few burned out professors smoking pot as well.
It is true that Chick-fil-A initially came under fire last summer after CEO, Dan Cathy, indicated personal opposition to marriage. But that wasn't the real issue. The real outrage was over Cathy's personal donations to pro-family conservative groups such as the Family Research Council. The attempt to organize a boycott of the chain was simply an effort to cut off the flow of money to those organizations.
So those of us who support traditional marriage must borrow a page from the pink play book and do the same. If you are donating to a school that houses one of these LGBTQ outreach centers, then shame on you. Give your money to a pro-family "hate group" instead. They tend to be more inclusive anyway.
Oh, yes, and buy more chicken with the money you save from those withheld donations. It'll keep you from having a cow whenever you encounter a divergent viewpoint.

Why is government stockpiling guns, ammo?

Worldnet Daily ^ | 2-3-13 | Joseph Farah

Why does the civilian Department of Homeland Security need billions of rounds of ammunition?
This is the agency that is responsible for policing the border. But it doesn’t.
This is the agency that is responsible for catching terrorists. But it doesn’t.
So why does Homeland Security need so many weapons and enough hollow-point rounds to plug every American six times?
Maybe this is the “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the Defense Department.
These words – “civilian national security force” – have haunted me ever since I first read them.
Obama has never explained what he meant.
He’s never been called to account for that remark.
Doesn’t this sound like police-state talk to you?
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama "The Shooter Guy" (Don't Photoshop Me Bro')

Resistor in the Rockies ^

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."

(click on link for EXTENSIVE modification of this photo!)

Obama Skeet Shooting

How To Deprogram A Liberal: Ask Them About President Palin!

The Astute Bloggers ^ | January 22, 2013 | Reliapundit

When liberals tell you they support another expansion of federal power at the expense of personal liberty you should ask them how'd they feel if President Palin and Majority Leader Cruz and Speaker Ryan had that power.
Do they really want Palin and Cruz and Ryan to control their healthcare or pensions?
Then, while their stammering at the prospect of Palin signing 23 PRO-GUN executive orders or 23 PRO-LIFE executive orders, ask them why they think that giving career politicians and bureaucrats more money and more influence over the lives of ordinary people will improve things for the ordinary people.
Wouldn't it be better for ordinary people lives to simply get a pay increase of 10% rather than a tax increase of ... any percentage? And since it it would be, then doesn't it make more sense to cut taxes - since that amounts to an instant pay increase?
And ask them how disarming 150 million innocent law-abiding citizens who own guns can stop criminals from using their illegally gotten guns...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

New Policies

From each...

The last one!

Hillary explains...

The Hunter!

Try Again!

Your Guns!

I'm leaving!

Part of the problem

So it begins...

Red Skeets

The Path

The Difference

Obama Football

Believe Me!

Obama Enjoys...