The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No, You Can't Keep Your Current Health Coverage

From The American Spectator:

No, You Can't Keep Your Current Health Coverage

By Andrew Cline on 9.30.10 @ 6:09AM



There's a reason President Obama tries so hard to convince Americans not to watch Fox News. He keeps shamelessly lying about easily verifiable facts. Evidently he figures that left-leaning media outlets won't call him on it, so if he can only convince people not to watch FOX, he'll be OK. Unfortunately for the president, the American people simply have to look around them to see that he isn't being honest with them.



Campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa, yesterday, the President repeated his biggest health care reform whopper: You can keep your current health insurance. Here is what he said:



"There's nothing in the bill that says you have to change the health insurance you've got right now. If you were already getting health insurance on your job, then that doesn't change."



Yet hours before he uttered that line, the Boston Globe reported that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care was canceling its Medicare Advantage coverage specifically because of new regulations imposed by Obama's health care law.



The decision "was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim -- a Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan -- form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money. Under current rules, patients can seek care from any doctor," the Globe reported.



Note: even if Harvard Pilgrim had kept its Medicare Advantage plan, the law would have required it to offer the service through doctors who agree "to participate for a negotiated amount of money." That means that, contrary to Obama's claim that you can keep your current doctor as well as your current insurance, the law requires Medicare Advantage providers to create HMO-style physician networks, in which your doctor might or might not agree to participate.



For New Englanders, Harvard Pilgrim's decision is pretty big news. That company's Medicare Advantage plan covered 22,000 people. Every one of them will have to switch insurers, and possibly doctors, because of Obamacare. For everyone else, it is a warning of things to come.



Obama's claim began to unravel last year, and when reporters (including some in the mainstream media) began to expose it as untrue, he revised it. In a June 23, 2009 press conference, he offered this clarification in response to a question from Jake Tapper of ABC News:



"When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform."



That is deliberately misleading. As Politifact.com noted in an August, 2009 post that rated Obama's claim half-true, "It's not realistic for Obama to make blanket statements that 'you' will be able to 'keep your health care plan.' It seems like rhetoric intended to soothe people that health care reform will not be overly disruptive. But one of the points of reform is to change the way health care works right now."



Exactly. An honest claim would be that the changes imposed by this new law will result in many Americans losing either their coverage as it exists now or their doctor -- or both.



Politifact and others have rated as technically true Obama's claim that "the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform." But that is not true, either. The law mandates that health insurers change the coverage they offer. Insurers have to offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and to policyholders' children up to age 26. So technically, the law did change your health care plan.



As a direct result of those and other mandates, insurers will then implement further changes. For example, on Monday before last (more than a week before Obama again claimed that the law won't make you change your coverage), reports broke that several major insurers planned to stop offering new child-only coverage because of the health care law



"Some of the country's most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23," the Washington Post reported on September 20.



The law is only just beginning to take effect, and already insurers are dropping coverage for tens of thousands of Americans because of its burdensome mandates. There will be a lot more of this as additional Obamacare regulations become active. And yet the president still claims that the law won't make you change your coverage or your doctor. Is it any wonder he doesn't want Americans to get their information from news outlets that will check his claims?



Letter to the Editor

More On The Delaware Race

From The American Spectator:

The Current Crisis


More on the Delaware Race

By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. on 9.30.10 @ 6:08AM



WASHINGTON -- The race for the United States Senate in Delaware is a splendid example of what is called Kultursmog, and the smog spreads untreated. One candidate, the conservative, has been slandered repeatedly and no one objects, not even most conservatives. The Liberal opposing her has been given the proverbial free ride, even by most conservatives. Yet he is a fruitcake. She "dabbled" in witchcraft in high school she tells us. He may have studied it in grad school along with other pseudo studies. Yet he is stonewalling, while the press pillories her. No one objects save Talk Radio.



The Democrat is Chris Coons, the county executive of New Castle County, and his record gets more bizarre as the weeks pass. As a college student he converted from some kind of conservatism to some kind of far left enthusiasm. He described himself as a "Bearded Marxist" upon returning from Africa and reporting his enlightened transformation in the student newspaper. Now the mainstream Liberals are covering up for him. The Washington Post reports that he "spent time in South Africa and Kenya doing relief work," but is mum on his Marxism. Howard Kurtz on his CNN television show, in taking a swipe at Sean Hannity last weekend, called Coons' "Bearded Marxist" article a joke. One can understand why the agelastic Kurtz would find it a joke. Nothing in the piece was funny, except that Coons was becoming a Marxist about the time that Communism was evaporating across the world and leaving, according to The Black Book of Communism, 100 million graves.



But now, Jeffrey Lord who unearthed the aforementioned information about Coons' Marxism has filed a second installment in The American Spectator. He brings our story a bit more up to date. Lord tells us that this month Coons assured the Yale Divinity School's Notes from the Quad that serving in the Senate would be a "great way for me to apply the principles and values that were honed at YDS." Coons got a Master of Arts in Religion in 1994, specializing in ethics. He learned a lot.



Now everyone who has followed the Delaware race knows that the conservative, Christine O'Donnell, has been exposed by Bill Maher the comic genius for appearing on his show sometime in the 1990s and claiming to have "dabbled" in witchcraft. But do you know what was being taught at the Yale Divinity School when Coons was there as a graduate student? Witchcraft! Had Christine been a bit older and presumably sophisticated she could have attended classes with Chris and been taught witchcraft by scholars. Perhaps she could have earned a Ph.D. in the mysteries of reading chicken entrails.



Along with classes in witchcraft, there were classes in Queer Worship and Feminist/Womanist/Gendered Theologies, and, in the Introduction to Christian Ethics II, there was Black Liberation Theology, a study Coons first picked up in Africa. Were the "values" taught in these classes among those absorbed by Coons at the YDS? We do not know because Coons is not answering Lord's calls for him to release his transcripts. I have instructed Lord the next time he calls to adopt a deep baritone voice and announce that He is "the Lord," and He is becoming impatient. Test Coons' faith, I say.



Now while all this is being revealed, no one in the press seems the least curious. If O'Donnell has a bad hair day it is reported in the press. But Coons' Marxism is at best treated as a joke. His promise to apply the values he learned at YDS does not even call into question what those values might be. Queer Worship? Feminist/Womanist/Gendered Theology? Black Liberation Theology? Witchcraft? The press is too busy digging up dirt on O'Donnell.



Yet there is hope. Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh are on the case. Maybe even Fox News will take an interest. Yet do not expect the Liberal media to engage in fair and balanced coverage of the Senate race in Delaware. Fairness is utterly alien to them, which is another reason there is such a reaction building among the American electorate. Fairness is an American value, though it probably is not taught at the Yale Divinity School.



Letter to the Editor

The 2010 Election: Turning Point, Or Point Of No Return?

From Big Government:

The 2010 Election: Turning Point or Point of No Return?by Of Thee I Sing 1776






In mid August under the heading “The Perversion of American Democracy: Death by a Thousand Cuts” we opined that in a series of continual steps the current Administration was subverting the underpinnings of our form of government by usurping and exercising power proscribed by the Constitution. Over time, we said, this can amount to the death of federalism by a thousand cuts.







Sadly, we may have understated the speed with which our 234-year-old constitutional system with its built in allocation of power between the national government, the states and individuals and the checks and balances between the three branches of the federal government is eroding. What is now more visibly apparent is the biggest power grab by an imperial Executive Branch in the last 75 years and the Congressional elections of 2010 may be our only real chance to stop the bleeding before we wake up and find a fundamentally different America. Far fetched? Alarmist? We don’t think so.



In case after case, the public has shown its disapproval of the policies of the current Administration, both in its legislative agenda and the pompous pronouncements of the president and his appointees. There was no consensus to radically change our health care system so the Administration resorted to deceit, legislative bribes and procedural chicanery to get it done. The damage to health care delivery and affordability is only now beginning, but for Mr. Obama who promised fundamentally to change America, it is a cornerstone of the change (with more to come) he really had in mind. It signals that more and more Americans in the years ahead will be dependent on big government.





Although it has been pulled back from this year’s legislative agenda because of widespread opposition, the so-called cap and trade legislation is nothing more than a device for the government to control a vast swath of the economy, a coveted goal of the political left.



Then, perhaps the granddaddy of them all: the misdirection of a trillion dollars of “stimulus” money that added massive debt but produced few private sector jobs. Instead this money has been used to maintain or expand the number of people employed by state and local government. Instead of forcing states and cities to face the unsustainable burden of stubbornly maintaining and expanding bloated public payrolls and the unfunded, and often outrageous, benefit programs facing them, the Administration, under the guise of saving jobs, is bent on expanding public payrolls to the point where the private sector cannot produce sufficient economic expansion (and the additional tax dollars such expansion would yield) to cover the load. What is the alternative for state and local governments when stimulus dollars are no longer available to help balance their budgets? They can’t print money so they either must raise taxes or default on their debt as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania came close to doing two weeks ago.



And on top of that the Administration wants to raise taxes on the “wealthy” (defined as those individuals who make over $200,000 per year). Mr. Obama inveighs against the additional national debt that would be attributable to not raising taxes on this “wealthy” group by saying that he can’t justify not raising the taxes of millionaires and billionaires. Amazing isn’t it how everyone earning over $200,000 suddenly became millionaires, let alone billionaires? They must be investing more wisely than the rest of the populace and not be keeping their savings in bank deposits or CDs now generally paying one percent or less as a result of government policies.



There is a common thread here and it is all coming together at warp speed. The thread is redistribution of wealth and it is accomplished by programs that punish private productivity and reward those who depend on the government. “The wealthy must pay their fair share,” our president tells us. Apparently, the fact that the top five percent of earners pay sixty percent of federal income taxes, the bottom fifty percent pay only three percent of the collected taxes and more than forty percent now pay no tax at all is not fair share enough. By recent estimates, thirteen percent of Americans pay no income or payroll taxes. On the other hand, more than forty-four percent of Americans live in households that are receiving one form of government subsidy or another. To be sure these benefits cannot be summarily withdrawn but they must be controlled, reduced or capped. But the continued march toward more socialist type programs will irretrievably change our form of government and hobble our once successful capitalist engine. We are simply heading in the wrong direction. Alberto Alesino, a professor of political economy at Harvard pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that a review of over two hundred fiscal adjustments (economic expansion or retraction) in 21 countries over a 40-year period shows that spending discipline and tax cuts are the way to spur economic growth. To the contrary, past recessionary adjustments were attributable mostly to tax increases. This isn’t exactly rocket science. There is no faster way to reduce most any activity than to tax it.



In 2008 we elected a president we believed to be a political moderate and gave him an overwhelming Congressional majority with which to govern. However, once in office, he chose not to govern as a moderate, but from the far left, and the damage to our economy so far has been substantial. Unemployment went from just under eight percent to almost ten percent despite the so-called stimulus money and the president’s promise to create two million jobs. Mr. Obama has put in place policies and people who, at every chance they get, will further “transform America” (as Mr. Obama put it) toward his now obvious effort to have government take over increasing swaths of the economy and, in so doing, prevent entrepreneurs and the private sector from doing what they have always done: spur economic growth. Thus far his policies have put the nation in grave fiscal trouble and put our cities and states on the verge of insolvency. This profligate never ending spending of resources we no longer have, has created enormous angst throughout the country, if not a crisis atmosphere, which is why the 2010 elections have taken on such enormous importance, far more than mid-term elections typically do. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial eloquently stated the problem:



The moral claim of Obamanomics is that it ensures that everyone pays his “fair share,” but its early returns show this agenda is producing more poverty. In their obsession with income shares and how many people have how much wealth, the Obama Democrats are imposing policies that ensure only that there will be less wealth for everyone to spread around.



As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said about such policies, “sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” All of this is bad enough. But the abuse of power goes far beyond economic and redistributive policies. The president has governed as if constitutional separation of powers requirements don’t apply to him. Instead of subjecting his appointees to the necessity of Senate confirmation he has in over 20 cases simply appointed what should be nominees for cabinet and subsequent posts to become presidential advisors (so-called czars) with virtually unchecked authority. This past week he named the controversial Elizabeth Warren to “set up” the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which was created under the financial reform legislation. As a result of many of her business bashing remarks as an academic, there was extreme doubt as to whether she could muster the necessary confirmation vote in the Senate. No problem for Mr. Obama; she takes “office” anyway, as an advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury with the same portfolio she would have had if she were the confirmed head of the new agency. The Washington Post in its lead editorial on September 19 referred to this action as an “end run of the Senate confirmation process.” Together with complete and utter disregard for the rule of law in the government takeover of Chrysler, where his tactics amounted to the virtual confiscation of the rights of bondholders so as to favor his union friends his actions seem more like something we would have expected from a Latin American caudillo and not an American president.



All of this turns the election on November 2 into a referendum on whether the American people send a strong message to this Administration and the current Congressional leaders that these abuses of power must stop. The mantra of the voting public should be the slogan that, in 1775, adorned the flag of the Commandant of the United States Navy: “Don’t tread on me.”



By Hal Gershowitz and Stephen Porter

Cuba Will Drill Deeper Than BP In The Gulf Off The Coast Of Florida

From Gateway Pundit:






Cuba Will Drill Deeper Than BP Off Coast of Florida

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, September 30, 2010, 5:39 AM

For decades, democrats have blocked one effort after another to responsibly develop the energy resources our country possesses, transforming vast areas of opportunity into “The No Zone.”



Because of current U.S. policy, U.S. companies are prohibited from developing oil fields that lie in Cuban waters and come within 50 miles of Florida. However, Cuba is exploring and potentially developing these oil fields, estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to possess more oil than the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, and Cuba is partnering with China and other countries, such as Spain, France, and Canada.



The Castro Regime will begin drilling off the coast of Florida next year and will go deeper than the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

The Miami Herald reported:



Cuba is expected to begin drilling offshore for oil and gas as soon as next year with equipment that will go deeper than the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, industry experts say.



The Spanish energy company, Repsol, which drilled an exploratory well in 2004 off the coast near Havana, has contracted to drill the first of several exploratory wells with a semi-submersible rig that is expected to arrive in Cuba at the end of the year, said Jorge Piñon, an energy expert and visiting research fellow at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. He said the rig is expected to drill down 5,600 feet in an area about 22 miles north of Havana and 65 miles south of the Marquesas Keys.



The development comes as 20 Cuban scientists joined their American and Mexican counterparts at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota this week to finalize a long-term marine research and conservation plan for the three countries.



Luis Alberto Barreras Cañizo, who led the Cuban delegation as a representative of Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, confirmed the plans for exploration. “Cuba needs to find its oil, it’s a resource Cuba needs,” he told the Bradenton Herald in an interview.



Environmentalists suggested the prospect of rigs just 45 miles from Florida’s coastline could intensify pressure for the Obama administration to engage in talks with its Cold War antagonist to prevent ecological damage.



Hat Tip Ramus



Barack Obama knew that his deepwater drilling moratorium would cost at least 23,000 jobs but went ahead with it anyway.

President To Parents: Do As I Say...

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010


President to Parents: "Do As I Say..."

By Ken Blackwell

Parents of the 216 students in Washington, D.C. who have seen Mr. Obama's congressional cohorts gut the Opportunity Scholarship program must have found cold comfort from the president's soothing words on NBC. The Heritage Foundation's able education analyst Lindsey Burke tells us what Mr. Obama said to "The Today Show"'s Matt Lauer:





I'll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for Malia and Sasha to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. But the broader problem is: For a mom or a dad who are working hard but don't have a bunch of connections, don't have a choice in terms of where they live, they should be getting the same quality education as anybody else, and they don't have that yet.





Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter did find a good public school in Washington to send their daughter to. But now, the Obamas have rejected that option. While his administration shuts the door to excellence for thousands in the District -- and nationwide -- the president and Mrs. Obama conveniently skip out.





I don't criticize Barack and Michelle Obama for choosing a safe and effective school for their beloved daughters. The parental choice movement affirms the right of parents to make the best choice for their children.





What I criticize is the "do as I say, not as I do" hypocrisy that characterizes liberal approaches to education. President Obama and the liberal majorities in both houses of Congress are entirely beholden to the liberal leadership of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).





It was the late Al Shanker, president of the AFT, who famously said parents are not "qualified" to choose their children's schools. Shanker was a smart guy, but that was a dumb statement. First, if parents are not equipped to make the decision about where their kids go to school, how could you possibly trust parents to choose a president? After all, presidents have access to nuclear weapons. Second, if parents are not capable of choosing their children's schools, who is responsible for their lack of capability? Eighty-nine percent of Americans go through those same the public school systems dominated by the NEA and AFT. If millions endure twelve years of public schooling and are still not capable of making a decision about something as close to home as their children's school, it's a terrible indictment of public education.





Who'd have thought that Al Shanker, the man who opposed every voucher initiative, every tuition tax credit measure, every attempt to loosen restrictions on homeschooling, would deliver such a strong critique of his own "one size fits all" school monopoly?





President Obama is just the latest in a long line of limousine liberals who tax us more to spend more on government monopoly schools, then admit -- only when cornered -- that they would not put their own children in the schools they have created.





The president also presses for a longer school year and longer hours. Bill Bennett, the Reagan Secretary of Education, once compared public education to cooking a stew. If you have a big kettle of stew, and everyone agrees that the stew is not very tasty and not very nutritious, you don't improve the stew by making more of it.





Mr. Obama cites other "leading industrial democracies" as his models for demanding a longer school year. Once again, we see him pushing to remake America in the image of Western European socialist countries. If you go Greek, you'll wind up weak.





America's public school system was far more successful before the massive federal intrusion. The Supreme Court was right to demand an end to racial segregation in the schools, but most federal intrusions have only wasted money and achieved little for academic excellence.





It would be far better to return the money and the authority to state and local education authorities -- those closest to the people. Especially, we need to increase, not diminish, parental choice in education. President and Mrs. Obama have exercised parental choice.





No one should criticize them for that. But we can and should expose Mr. Obama's hypocrisy in denying that choice to millions of other parents.



Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union, and National Rifle Association and is co-author of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.

More Class Warfare Nonsense From Larry Summers' Possible Replacement

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010


More class warfare nonsense from Summers' possible replacement

Joshua Lipana



Class Warfare might be getting a more empowered champion in the White House. Laura Tyson, a possible replacement for Larry Summers as the director of the National Economic Council, has recently been praised in The Nation in an article entitled "Laura Tyson: Tax the Rich, Spend for Jobs." In it she is quoted as saying:





My ideal policy would be to allow the top-two brackets to expire at the end of this year-to move off of the Bush tax cuts for the top two to 3 percent of the American population; to take the resulting additional tax revenue, which is probably in the order of $35- to-40 billion next year, and to take that money and spend it on job-creating programs.





At the same day as The Nation's piece. Ms. Tyson had an op-ed published in The New York Times in which she calls for another stimulus. Spewing usual debunked Keynesian economics:





There is too much worry about the size of government, and too little appreciation for how stimulus spending has helped stabilize the economy and how more of the right kind of government spending could boost job creation and economic growth.





Ms. Tyson, though obviously a fit in the Obama administration, could not be more wrong for America. Let me counter all the things she said with one simple quote from quite possibly the greatest economists who ever lived, Ludwig Von Mises:





Government spending cannot create additional jobs. If the government provides the funds required by taxing the citizens or by borrowing from the public, it abolishes on the one hand as many jobs as it creates on the other.





Besides the fallacious economics, Ms. Tyson represents the overarching view that the Obama administration has on people's wealth. To them people's wealth may be used in any way the State wants it to be used.





Posted at 09:03 AM

The Sword Hanging Over Washington

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010


The sword hanging over Washington

Jack Curtis



Damocles, discovering too late the threatening sword hanging above his borrowed throne prefigures Obama, presiding under the suspended impact of unrelenting unemployment. He is worse off than was Damocles: His own policies must bring the sword down onto him.



The official unemployment rate is 9.6%, rising to 16.7% adding those no longer listed as actively job searching; it’s 22% using Shadowstats.com corrected data. The average worker is out for 8 months; many will never return to work as rising early Social Security applications indicate. Those facts are significant in the 14% of homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments. Beyond them, mortgage debts exceed the value of 70% of Nevada homes and 33% of California’s per MSNBC and that exists elsewhere too; 23% nationally per one estimate... This outlines the scope for the future tent cities, field soup kitchens and tenth floor window jumps classically attending depressions but currently suspended by the flood of various Federal benefits…which cannot be unending.



More than 9 million people are collecting direct unemployment benefits; more than 40 million are using food stamps, including one in every four children; Medicaid usage is spiking too. All these increases reflect unemployment. The states fund primary unemployment insurance and up to half of Medicaid; extended unemployment, the balance of Medicaid and food stamps are Federal money. But 47 of the states are squirming under budget crises and the Feds are broke, with seemingly unrepayable debt and trillion-dollar deficits.



Those and any future unemployed beneficiaries are the sword hanging over Obama (and Congress) by the thread of benefits keeping these people afloat. But states can’t run deficits; they are cutting benefits at an increasing pace. The Feds are borrowing hugely to continue the 97% of budgeted Federal spending that goes to pay the entitlements mentioned—and others—plus interest on the debt. That’s not sustainable; Obama’s sword is suspended by a fraying thread. When the benefits fail, the beneficiaries will be stranded and looking toward Washington, D. C. The Baby Boomers and their successors aren’t famed for patience or sweet reason; the resulting tantrum could make the current electorate’s displeasure resemble a tea party.



The unhappiness will be compounded by the President and his Democrats’ own policies; they are using energy, trade, monetary, tax and regulatory policy in ways that will restrain commerce and further reduce the standard of living; they are throwing a drowning man an anchor and justly deserve a falling sword.



But what of the Republicans? Come November, they may take charge in Congress, what then? They’ve provided a “Pledge to America” advertising their intentions; unfortunately, it’s silent on earmarks, the debt and any specific spending plans. It also promises some things that the Republican leadership has already said are unlikely. Modern Republican performances have mostly been “Democrat Lite” so that seems the way to bet. Would you prefer to be dinner for a pride of lions…or will you be happier if it’s just a pack of hyenas?



Remembering that the debt-enlarging deficits are almost entirely entitlement money, expecting any current politicians to cut that spending significantly seems a reach, especially with neither party even willing to talk about it. Congressional Democrats are spreading out, wishing a safe distance when Obama’s sword falls; Republicans say no and mouth platitudes; neither offers specific sanity for an electorate of grownups; both clearly see the electorate as spoiled children; neither party wishes to replace Herbert Hoover and with the right timing, either could.



Perhaps they are waiting for the sword to fall, which seems within reach; Business Insider recently noted the impressive numbers of directly funded “Stimulus” jobs about to end and the continued extensions of expired unemployment benefits after November elections is questionable. Unquestionable are the ongoing cutbacks in U.S. business as government-imposed costs continue rising. It all seems to be coming to a head. Every year, people bet the date ice will start leaving Alaska’s Tanana River; maybe it’s time now to start watching Obama’s sword. Though it will fall on Obama, it will be felt by many.











Posted at 09:25 AM

Conservative Leaders Speak Out Against Obama's Recess Appointments

From The American Spectator:

Conservative Leaders Speak Out Against Recess Appointments


9.30.10 @ 10:15AM



MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT



Obama Recess Appointees Even too Radical to be Confirmed by Democrat Controlled Senate



RE: The Recess Appointments by President Obama --without Senate confirmation -of three extremely liberal and controversial nominations:



Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board



Donald Berwick to Administrator of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services



Mari Del Carmen Aponte as United States Ambassador to El Salvador



ISSUE-IN-BRIEF: Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. permits a president to make "recess appointments" without Senate confirmation by filling an office when Congress is in recess.



Though originally intended to put necessary officials in place during the once long Congressional recesses, in recent times recess appointments have been used primarily to circumvent Senate approval -- usually because of ideological controversy surrounding the nominee. As outlined below these three Obama recess appointees represent some of the worst of this administration's nominees and were unlikely to ever receive Senate approval-even in an overwhelmingly controlled Democrat Senate.



BECKER-former Associate General Counsel to both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO!



Supports "Employee Free Choice Act," "Envisions" Legislation As A Way "To Increase Government Funding." "We can envision a meeting of employers and unions in the industry in which they agree that they should act cooperatively to increase government funding and to avoid the waste of scarce resources on bitter election campaigns by permitting employees to decide whether to be represented by a union through a card check, knowing exactly what it will mean if they do, and without employer opposition." (Jonathan Hiatt & Craig Becker, "At Age 70, Should The Wagner Act Be Retired? A Response To Professor Dannin," Berkley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, 2005).



Obama Used A Recess Appointment To Place Union Boss Lawyer Craig Becker On The National Labor Relations Board, Even Though He Was Rejected By The Senate. "Mr. Becker says he 'worked with and provided advice' to SEIU Local 880 in Chicago ... one of two SEIU locals currently in the national spotlight for its deep ties with ACORN ... ACORN co-founder Wade Rathke praised Mr. Becker by name ... 'For my money, Craig's signal contribution has been his work in crafting and executing the legal strategies and protections which have allowed the effective organization of informal workers ..." (Editorial, "Acorn's Ally At The NLRB," The Wall Street Journal, 10/15/09



BERWICK-"I am a romantic about the (British) National Health System. I Love it."-July 2008



Dr. Donald Berwick should be rejected by the Senate because he is a vocal supporter of single-payer health care system and its bureaucratic rationing of medical care, and because of conflicts of interest.



Berwick was initially nominated to the position in April, 2010, after Obama left the position unfilled for 455 days. Eighty days later, with no hearing, or debate in the Senate, Obama installed Berwick directly by means of recess appointment, circumventing the constitutional confirmation process, in order to avoid a political fight, and in order to conceal the true nature of Dr. Berwick's controversial background from the American people. An outcry arose because of the recess appointment, leading Obama to again change course and re-nominate Berwick. Dr. Berwick is the wrong person to be the Administrator of CMS for the following reasons:



1. Dr. Berwick believes in expanding government control over personal medical decisions, and has repeatedly stated that he believes in rationing health care. "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care; the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."



2. Dr. Berwick believes that the American healthcare system should not be part of the US market economy. He said "Please don't put your faith in market forces. It's a popular idea: that Adam Smith's invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can." Instead, he believes that healthcare should be used to redistribute wealth from rich to poor. He said "Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must redistribute wealth..." and further that "A progressive policy regime will control and rationalize financing-control supply."



3. Dr. Berwick comes to CMS laden with conflicts of interest. He previously served as CEO of the nonprofit Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where he was paid $2.36 million per year in salary. IHI received, during his tenure as CEO, about $40 million per year in grants, fees and contracts from major managed care companies over which he will have jurisdiction and which will receive large sums from CMS, and which will seek to influence boards and panels established by ObamaCare.



4. Dr. Berwick's term will expire at the end of 2011, and either he or somebody else will need to be re-nominated to run CMS. In the meantime, he will exercise immense power presiding over a budget of $800 billion per year - larger than the Pentagon and larger than the GDP of all but 15 countries - will have coverage responsibility for over 100 million people, and a primary role in implementing the president's vision of health care in America.



APONTE-she withdrew her name as a Clinton Nominee to Be Ambassador to the Dominican Republic in 1994 and Obama apparently did not want to allow full Senate to vote on her in 2010



On August 19, 2010, Barak Obama made a recess appointment of Maria Del Carmen Aponte to be the U.S. Ambassador to Salvador. This prevented opponents in the Senate, including Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), from blocking her nomination after an April 27, 2010, 10-8 party-line vote sent her nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the Senate floor.



Of course Senators DeMint and Risch might have delayed her nomination purely because she is known to hold leftist as opposed to merely liberal foreign policy views. If so, her recess appointment would simply be one of the pack. It is not. Sens. DeMint and Risch held up her nomination because the Obama Administration refused to provide frequently requested information such as the FBI reports on her long-term live-in relationship with Cuban-American Roberto Tamayo who had ongoing ties to the Cuban diplomatic mission to Washington - a mission managed by Cuban intelligence. Further questions surround her refusal to take an FBI lie detector test, a loan she apparently received from Tamayo but never repaid, the statements of a defector from Cuban intelligence that she was a target for recruitment by Cuban intelligence, and her reasons for withdrawing her name as President Clinton's nominee to be Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.



FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON THESE RECESS APPOINTEES CONTACT:



Don Todd, Americans for Limited Government: dtodd@getliberty.org



Herman Pirchner, American Foreign Policy Council: Pirchner@afpc.org



Conservative Action Project



James Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association



David N. Bossie, President, Citizens United



Gary Bauer, President, American Values



William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government



Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform



Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America



Craig Shirley, Chairman Citizens for the Republic



Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring



Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness



Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center



J. Kenneth Blackwell, former Treasurer, State of Ohio



Howard Phillips, Chairman, The Conservative Caucus



Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director, Traditional Values Coalition



Curt Levey, Executive Director, Committee for Justice



Herman Pirchner, President, American Foreign Policy Council



Karen Kerrigan, President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council



Dr. Herbert London, President, Hudson Institute



Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council



David McIntosh, former Member of Congress, Indiana



Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com



Mathew D. Staver, Founder & Chairman, Liberty Counsel



Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator



Herman Cain, President, The NEW Voice, Inc.



Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition



Tom Winter, Editor-in-Chief, Human Events



Marion Edwyn Harrison, Past President, Free Congress Foundation



Lewis K. Uhler, Chairman, National Tax Limitation Committee









FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THESE RECESS APPOINTMENTS PLEASE VISIT THESE WEBSITES:



http://ww2.cox.com/myconnection/greaterlouisiana/today/news/politics/article.cox?moduleType=apNews&articleId=D9E7A2V80



http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/03/29/nlrb-fight-begins-anew/



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124226652880418035.html



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-hill/obamas-pro-union-nominati_b_436148.html



http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/80209-more-snow-coming-but-senate-plans-to-go-ahead-with-tuesday-votes



http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/77869-labor-board-nominee-heats-up-card-check-fight



http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0410/042010rb1.htm



http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=10092066



http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/05/26/why_donald_berwick_is_dangerous_to_your_health_105730.html



http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/breaking/gingrich-talks-health-care-to-ga-business-leaders-98357669.html



http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/08/obama-performs-a-bypass



http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/107417-mcconnell-berwick-recess-appointment-is-truly-outrageous



http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38022

The Fifty Years War

From AEI:

The Fifty Years' War By Henry Olsen

National Review Online

Thursday, September 30, 2010













With primary season over, the stage is now set for an epic fall election. The massive electoral repudiation that increasingly looks likely for Democrats is not, however, why this vote will be historic. It will be historic because it is the most intense battle yet in the Fifty Years' War between conservatives and liberals for possession of America's political soul.



This war has been fought over what defines American freedom. Are Americans freer when they can pursue their dreams without government interference? Or are they freer when the government ensures that all their needs are provided for?



The American conservative movement was founded to oppose the latter definition. Bill Buckley's famous line from the initial issue of National Review said it all: Conservatives "stand[] athwart history, yelling Stop." The conservative movement has always been a fusion of different groups, often differing among themselves with respect to where they want the country to go. But it has always been united on one immutable principle: Liberalism must be stopped.



In the five-plus decades since Buckley's immortal words, conservatives have never failed to win a national election when liberalism was on full display. Liberals have held the presidency and Congress with large majorities four times--1964, 1976, 1992, and 2008. The first three times (and, it looks likely, the fourth time as well), conservatives soon thereafter won massive congressional victories. The first two times, conservatives also won the presidency. This evidence is clear--Americans do not endorse the rapid implementation of liberal ideals.



If Americans object to liberal policies, though, why have conservative landslides not created permanent conservative majorities? Why isn't the center-right party the natural governing class in a center-right nation?



The programs that embody the liberal welfare state threaten to ruin our nation's finances.The answer is that liberals' view of how government can help make people free by protecting them from hardship attracts tens of millions of Americans. Nowhere is this clearer than in the use and abuse of Social Security in political campaigns. Whenever a liberal faces a challenge from a vocal conservative--from Barry Goldwater to Paul Ryan--he or she charges that the conservative wants to abolish or "privatize" Social Security. Since Reagan showed the way, conservatives have learned to promise to uphold the "social safety net" if they want to win. But this has meant that two principles, liberty and security, have rested in an uneasy political balance, a balance reflected in the rough partisan balance we have seen for all of the post-Reagan era.



This balance must shift toward liberty while respecting Americans' appreciation for the safety net. The programs that embody the liberal welfare state threaten to ruin our nation's finances. The liberal base's dissatisfaction with Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation bill--because they didn't go far enough--shows that their appetite for government action knows no bounds. It demands more and more, asks more and more, takes more and more. It takes John F. Kennedy's immortal challenge, for Americans to "pay any price, bear any burden" to spread liberty abroad, and stands it on its head.



Many conservatives see this challenge as a rendezvous with destiny and are preparing to meet it. They know that a responsible conservatism recognizes the legitimate claims of the weak, the poor, and the helpless. Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" has been demonized by liberals as radical and beyond the pale. But it recognizes the role the welfare state plays in a modern society and strengthens and secures the essence of our social guarantees. It and other efforts advanced by conservative policy thinkers demonstrate an American vision far from the unregulated free-for-all of liberal caricature.



We Americans must, then, finally choose. Do we want a more egalitarian, stable, communal nation, one that knows fewer lows but experiences many fewer highs, and that faces the prospect of fiscal disaster? Or do we want to renew America's promise, reapplying the principles of liberty and responsible self-government to today's problems?



That's what the Fifty Years' War has been about. That's what this year's elections (and 2012's) will be about.



Henry Olsen is a vice president and the director of the National Research Initiative at AEI.

The Gulf...Between Obama And The American People

From The American Spectator:

AmSpecBlog


The Gulf...Between Obama and the American People

By Chris Horner on 9.30.10 @ 3:36PM



According to Greenwire:



The Obama administration today imposed new offshore drilling safety regulations, a move needed to end its moratorium on deepwater exploratory drilling, but it gave no indication of when that ban would be lifted.



Instead, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar promised the industry would face a "dynamic regulatory environment" in the weeks and months to come, as his department refines and further tightens its safety and environmental standards for offshore drilling.



In anticipation of this continuing assault, yesterday Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu was quoted saying the following about the Obama administration's War on the Gulf Region, accompanying its War on the West (at the joint hearing on which I was pleased to offer testimony), as quoted by Politico:



"[T]he administration has not acted to lift its ill-conceived moratoria on offshore drilling that are having such a devastating impact on working people and small businesses throughout the Gulf Coast...



What is clear is that the administration, for whatever reason, has stood in defiance of our federal courts and disregarded economists, experts and its own economic data in proceeding down a path that is putting thousands of people out of work and hurting the bottom line of hundreds of small businesses," Landrieu said. "The evidence is overwhelming that this moratorium is a poor economic policy and has achieved no safety improvements that could not have been achieved in its absence. Yet, the president and his key advisers have never acknowledged that fact."



Fox News reported Landrieu calling the moratorium "a terrible error" and saying "This Administration has the entire exploration of oil and gas shut down in the Gulf of Mexico."



Elsewhere she is quoted as saying:



"I find it stunning that the administration was aware that their actions might eliminate nearly 23,000 jobs in an already faltering economy, and proceeded anyway".



And, finally, Landrieu says:



"The president's policies right now are doing much more harm than the [BP] spill itself to the economy of the South coast. ... It's just gotten to a point where people in Louisiana ask, ‘Do they even understand what is going on down here?' They have the entire offshore industry virtually shut down."



Of course they understand what's going on.



As Charles Krauthammer noted on FNC last night, it's about the Obama White House's mantra of never letting a good crisis go unexploited. This is their agenda -- shut down domestic production of energy sources that work, force you onto those that do not work so well yet are spectacularly more expensive when they do -- and place energy production and therefore, ever more of the economy's fate in the state's hands. It's not complicated. All one need to do is listen to their admissions and vows.



Then the American people will with no doubt also understand what's going on. And that can't come too soon.



UPDATE: As posted this, the following came in in an email from Capitol Hill:



Senator Landrieu says: "We've got to get people back to work and it's thousands of people, thousands of people that have been put out of work more from the moratorium than from the oil spill itself.... Let my people go. Let them go. Let them get back to work...."



The White House is calling Landrieu's strong advocacy for Gulf Coast jobs and economy "sad and outrageous".

Another SEIU Lawyer Appointed By Obama, This Time For Federal Election Commission

From Big Government:

Yet Another SEIU Lawyer Is Appointed by Obama, Awaits Confirmationby Don Loos



SEIU We Make Politics Work




President Obama is looking to fill out the six-member Federal Election Commission (see recent pro-SEIU FEC decision) with someone he can count on to support his views on campaign law. It is not surprising he turned to his friend Andy Stern’s union Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Obama has appointed SEIU lawyer John Sullivan, who was intertwined in the Clinton/DNC/McAuliffe/Teamster scandal that resulted in Jimmy Hoffa’s ascension to the Teamster throne, but for over a year the nomination remains in political limbo.



Could it be that Obama appointees have finally reached such a level of ethical absurdity that even the Obama allies in the Senate are pulling back?



Sullivan was a lawyer for Teamster President Ron Carey when he was convicted of laundering Teamster forced-dues and fees through the Democratic [sic] National Committee. He also served as SEIU’s lawyer for its 527 Federal Election Campaign Committee, “America Coming Together (ACT),” that received the second largest fine in Federal Election Commission (FEC) history.



While these facts render this appointment truly absurd, it is also appears unlikely that ethical concerns are the underlying issue in the appointment delay.





Here’s an update provided by the Center for Public Integrity in May 2010:



One full year after being nominated to the Federal Election Commission, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lawyer John J. Sullivan is still waiting for Senate confirmation, caught in a dispute over other nominations for the agency. As a result of the standoff, the Obama administration has yet to put any stamp on the FEC.





In fact, this month when Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri unsuccessfully sought unanimous consent to confirm a long list of held-up nominees, she did not include Sullivan. When the Republican Minority Whip inquired as to why his name was skipped over, she blamed a fellow Democrat for the hold.



The Center contacted Sullivan, still working at SEIU, to ask him where the nomination stands. “I honestly don’t know,” he replied. He said McCain and Feingold have been clear that their concern is not with him, but with the lack of other nominations for the commission, and noted that he keeps in touch with the White House but “nothing’s really changed so there’s not a lot to talk about.”





Yet important questions remain. Why has the administration not nominated anyone to fill the other two seats? Why has Sen. Reid not attempted to force a vote on the Sullivan nomination? Why are Sens. Feingold and McCain continuing to hold up the nomination when doing so has not spurred the administration to action?



Calls to the White House press office and the offices of Senators Feingold, McCain, and Reid were not returned.



It would be interesting to know for certain why the nomination of SEIU’s Sullivan remains in limbo.

Obama Again Compares His Socialist Agenda To Freeing The Slaves

From Gateway Pundit:

Sick. Obama Again Compares His Socialist Agenda to Freeing the Slavesfrom Gateway Pundit by Jim HoftSick. Again tonight Barack Obama compared his failed socialist agenda to freeing the slaves in America.




Click on the Image for Video–





“People are frustrated, their anxious, they’re scared about the future. And they have a right to be impatient about the pace of change. I’m impatient,” President Obama said at an event for Gen44. “It took time to free the slaves,” he added.



Earlier this week Barack Obama compared his radical agenda to “slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs.”

songs.”Popout


Here’s the transcript:



In every instance, progress took time. In every instance, progress took sacrifice. Progress took faith. You know, the slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, they weren’t sure when slavery would end but they understood it was going to end. When women were out there marching for the right to vote, they weren’t sure when it was going to happen but they kept on going. (Applause.) When workers were organizing for the right to organize and were being intimidated, they weren’t sure when change was going to come but they knew it was going to come. And I am telling you, Wisconsin, we are bringing about change and progress is going to come — but you’ve got to stick with me. You can’t lose heart. (Applause.)



Change is going to come. (Applause.)



What this guy lacks in leadership and results he makes up for in arrogance.

Many Americans Fear U.S. Is No Longer World's Top Economy

From Rasmussen Reports and Alliance Defense Fund:

Many Americans Fear U.S. Is No Longer World's Top Economy


Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Email to a Friend ShareThis.Advertisement

Despite a recent report that the United States is no longer technically in a recession, a plurality of Americans still don’t feel good about the country’s economy.



A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 35% of Adults still believe the United States has the best economy in the world despite the country's current economic difficulties. (To see survey question wording, click here).



Forty-six percent (46%) disagree and feel the U.S. economy is not the best in the world. Still, that's a six-point improvement from July 2008 when 52% felt that way. Another 19% are not sure.



Investors are more bullish on America, however. Forty-three percent (43%) of investors believe the United States has the world's best economy, compared to 27% of non-investors.



Those who earn over $75,000 per year believe more strongly in the U.S. economy than those who earn less. African-Americans have more confidence in the economy than whites.



(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.





The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on September 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.



Although statistics show the United States is still on top, China has just surpassed Japan to grab the number two spot. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about the level of U.S. debt now owned by China, including 61% who are Very Concerned.



These findings come at a time when most Americans lack confidence in President Obama’s economic advisers, and half of U.S. voters think he is doing a poor job handling economic issues.



Not only do most adults lack confidence in the president’s economic team, they don’t see eye-to-eye with his policies. Voters continue to have decidedly mixed feelings about last year's $787-billion economic stimulus plan, and they certainly don’t favor a second stimulus plan.



Most voters continue to believe the new health care law will increase the federal deficit.



Nearly half of voters worry about the government reacting too much to the nation's economic problems.



Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.



See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs are available to Platinum Members only.



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Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information. We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site’s content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.



Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.



Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.



The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on September 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Democrats: The Constitution Is Weird

From National Review and The CATO Institute:

Democrats: The Constitution Is 'Weird'


by Michael D. Tanner





Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

Added to cato.org on September 29, 2010



his article appeared on National Review (Online) on September 29, 2010.



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ShareThisWhen Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell told Delaware voters that the Constitution, rather than her personal views, would guide her votes in the Senate, one might have expected a variety of responses from the Left — perhaps a huge sigh of relief that we've all been saved from a federal law banning masturbation.



But the response was actually far stranger, and tells us far more about the state of contemporary liberalism. Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick summed up the reaction, writing that she found it "weird" that O'Donnell would consider the constitutionality of legislation. If we have to consider constitutionality at all, Lithwick mused, that certainly isn't the job of Congress. They should just pass whatever they want and let the courts worry about it later.



A similar reaction greeted the promise in the GOP Pledge to America that all bills include a clause specifically pointing to how the proposed law is provided for in the Constitution. "Just plain wacky," wrote Susan Milligan for US News & World Report. The influential liberal blog ThinkProgress warns that the Pledge reflects "radical 'tenther'" thinking, using a dismissive term for those who cite the Tenth Amendment's limits on federal power.



Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.



More by Michael D. TannerThe Obama administration and congressional Democrats have adopted a view of virtually unlimited government power that is clearly contrary to the Founders' vision of a constitutionally limited government. In their vision, government roams the countryside fixing problems — any problems. Having trouble paying your mortgage? Don't worry, the federal government will help you. Your local school not doing a good job? The federal government will be there to help. Don't have health insurance? The federal government will make you buy it. As Rep. Pete Stark (D., Calif.) told constituents, "the federal government can do most anything."



The Constitution, with all its messy checks and balances and its attempt to limit government to only certain "enumerated powers," is little more than a nuisance. "I don't worry about the Constitution," if it gets in the way of passing legislation, Rep. Phil Hare (D., Ill.) told a town-hall meeting. And Rep. James Clyburn (D., S.C.), the third-highest-ranking Democrat in the House, proudly told Fox News, "There's nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do."



It makes one wonder why members of Congress take that silly oath to "support and defend the Constitution" when they are sworn into office.



"Are you serious?" responded a stunned and baffled Nancy Pelosi when asked about the constitutionality of the health-care bill. But, given the Left's view of permissible government power, Pelosi's surprise may have been forgivable. After all, during her confirmation hearings, our newest Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, famously said that she sees no constitutional impediment to Congress's passing a law that required every American to eat a minimum daily amount of fruits and vegetables.



This has been the Left's view of government power at least since the Roosevelt administration. It was Franklin Roosevelt, after all, who wrote to a congressional committee chair, "I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation."



But what has unrestrained federal power really done for us? How many of our problems has it fixed? The federal government has spent more than $13 trillion fighting poverty since Lyndon Johnson declared his "war on poverty" in 1965. Have we ended — or even significantly reduced — poverty? The federal government now pays for roughly half of all health care in this country. Is our health-care system better for it? Have the Department of Education, No Child Left Behind, and growing federal involvement in education improved our schools? About all we have to show for the growth in federal power is a $13.4 trillion national debt.



A truly constitutional view of federal power might discomfort conservatives as well. It is one thing for tea-partiers to carry around a copy of the Constitution or for candidates to call themselves "constitutional conservatives." The test will be when their idea of a good federal program conflicts with the Constitution.



For instance, it would be hard to find the constitutional provision allowing Congress to play sheriff by federalizing every crime that catches the headlines. A strict reading of the Constitution would make it much harder for presidents to intervene militarily around the world without a congressional declaration of war. Any number of conservative pet projects from faith-based initiatives to federal drug laws would fail the constitutional test. Conservatives might have to accept the idea that the Constitution does not empower the federal government to enforce the nation's morality.



As important as issues such as the economy and health care will be this November, the key question is the Constitution versus unchecked federal power. As Thomas Jefferson warned, "An elective despotism was not the government we fought for."



Perhaps the American public is waking up to the dangers of government power and the need for true constitutional restraint. That's an idea that's anything but "wacky."

Workers, Not Employers, Bear The Full Cost Of Health Care

From The Daily Caller and The CATO Institute:

Workers, Not Employers, Bear the (Full) Cost of Health Benefits


by Michael F. Cannon





Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What�s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

Added to cato.org on September 29, 2010



This article appeared on The Daily Caller on September 29, 2010.



PRINT PAGE CITE THIS Sans Serif Serif Share with your friends:



ShareThisThe Kaiser Family Foundation recently issued its annual survey of employer-sponsored health benefits, declaring: "Family Health Premiums Rise 3 Percent to $13,770 in 2010, But Workers' Share Jumps 14 Percent as Firms Shift Cost Burden." That's half-right — but the other half perpetuates a myth about employee health benefits that stands in the way of real health care reform.



Many workers believe they pay one part of their health insurance premium — say, $4,000 — and their employer pays the rest. But that's not how it works. When your employer "contributes" the other $9,770 toward your premium, the money doesn't come out of company profits. It comes out of your wages.



The Congressional Budget Office explains: "When an employer offers to pay for health insurance, it pays less in wages and other forms of compensation than it otherwise would, keeping total compensation about the same." MIT health economist and Obama advisor Jonathan Gruber writes in the Handbook of Health Economics that economic research yields "a fairly uniform result: the costs of health insurance are fully shifted to wages." In a recent survey, more health economists agreed on this issue — 91 percent — than on any other question posed.



Employers cannot shift to workers a cost that workers already bear.

In other words, you pay the full cost of your health benefits: partly through an explicit $4,000 premium and partly because your wages are $9,770 lower than they otherwise would be.



Kaiser therefore claims the impossible when it says that firms are shifting costs to workers. Employers cannot shift to workers a cost that workers already bear. Yet this year, as in past years, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNN, Kaiser Health News, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post uncritically repeated the cost-shifting myth.



Gary Claxton, the Kaiser vice president who directs the survey, defends their interpretation. Economists agree that workers bear these costs in the long run, he says, but not necessarily in the short run — and the "employee share" of premiums reached a new high in 2010, while the nominal "employer contribution" remained constant. "I think the way we talk about it is the way most people think about it and experience it," he says.



Short-run exceptions to the rule are possible under certain conditions. But Kaiser doesn't bother trying to establish whether capital and labor markets are correcting a combination of below-equilibrium profits and above-equilibrium labor costs. Year after year, Kaiser reports that employers bear the lion's share of the cost of health benefits, and any increase in the "employee share" is a cost-shift.



Kaiser even claims that employers shift "the costs of health insurance to workers through [higher] deductibles and other cost-sharing." But increasing deductibles and coinsurance does not shift health insurance costs; it reduces the amount of insurance. That shifts the cost of health care — from all members of the insurance pool to individual members, not from employers to workers.



Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What�s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.



More by Michael F. CannonKaiser's embrace of this myth clouds how it interprets changes in health benefits. Kaiser president Drew Altman warns that "shifting the costs to workers during a terrible economy is bad news for working people ... it means added economic insecurity."



If we begin with the understanding that workers bear the full cost of their health benefits, however, 2010 looks less dismal:



•Family premiums grew by 3 percent in 2010, the slowest rate in a more than a decade. That's good news.

•Part of the reason for slow premium growth is that employers increased deductibles and other cost-sharing. That's also good news. First, that's how rational people respond to rising prices. Second, the federal tax code's preference for job-based insurance encourages excessive coverage anyway (another area of agreement among economists). Third, greater cost-sharing pressures providers to reduce costs.

•The fact that the average "employer contribution" did not increase in 2010 merely means that workers paid the 3-percent markup entirely through higher explicit premiums, rather than lower wages.

That's not to say there's no bad news. The federal tax code has let employers control thousands of dollars of their workers' earnings (and made health insurance less secure) for yet another year. Workers still don't realize that $9,770 is their money. And President Obama's new health care law leaves them with even less control over it.



Economists and health care researchers need a new lexicon that clarifies who pays for employer-provided health insurance. The nation's leading survey of employee health benefits can lead the way.

Obama's Campaign Season Christianity

From The American Spectator:

Obama's Campaign-Season Christianity


By George Neumayr on 9.30.10 @ 6:10AM



Barack Obama threw his mom under the parish van on Tuesday, describing her as formlessly "spiritual" while casting himself as the self-made convert. "I am a Christian by choice," he said at a campaign event in New Mexico this week. In 2007, he said the opposite: that he became a Christian through his mother. "My mother was a Christian from Kansas…I was raised by my mother. So, I've always been a Christian," he told a voter who had inquired about his Islamic background.



The woman at the campaign stop in New Mexico on Tuesday asked him to explain why he is a Christian and coupled it with another one about his support for abortion rights. The sequence of questions proved awkward, with the answer to the latter question rendering his answer to the first one meaningless.



"[The] precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead—being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me," he said. He threw in a few more vague-sounding clichés and a paean to religious relativism for good measure, and reassured the lady that "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith."



But moments later, he said that abortion is none of his business. He is not NARAL's keeper. Bald violations of the Golden Rule are a purely private matter of no relevance to his public life, though he does personally think killing one's neighbor should be "safe, legal, and rare."



Obama, nevertheless, seemed to welcome the first part of the question. Like his recent Sunday stroll to church with photographers in tow, it gave him the chance to try and dispel the public's hunch that his Christian faith is phony. Perhaps Clinton will lend Obama his well-thumbed Bible, which was often seen peeking out of the pocket of Bill's winter coat after the Lewinsky scandal broke.



While one strains to find evidence that Christianity guides Obama's politics, it is true that politics guides his Christianity, particularly during campaign season. Obama still believes in the separation of Church and state, but he is not in favor of the separation of religious rhetoric from winning. The "Christian by choice" is more like a Christian by campaigning. The doctrines of Christianity are of no interest to him unless they happen to coincide with a political point he needs to make at a given moment, and even at those times his treatment of them is highly manipulative.



Obama always sounds more comfortable and enthusiastic when talking about other people's faiths than his own, which he frequently implies is an embarrassment in need of serious revision. He speaks of his great reverence for the Koran, for example, but thinks the Bible deserves an interpretational overhaul, to expunge all those silly parts that condemn feticide and sodomy. Islam is a "great religion," he says, but Christianity could use serious reform under the light of modern "progress."



In The Audacity of Hope, Obama presents the platform of the Democratic Party as far more inerrant than the Bible. His discussion of religion in the book is that of the cocky college sophomore, who holds without proof that religion is a private if endearing superstition while the secularist assumptions underlying "democratic pluralism" are infallible truths that should determine public life for all.



One would think a pol who stands at best idle and at worst supportive while abortionists hold scalpels over the heads of unborn children would refrain from using the story of Abraham and Isaac to marginalize the Bible. But Obama plowed ahead anyways in his second book, using the Old Testament story to argue that the Bible is subjectively meaningful but publicly dangerous.



"If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing," Obama writes. Abraham, he continues, had his subjective "experience" with God, which may have been "true" for him, but from the standpoint of democratic pluralism his behavior made him a very bad citizen indeed: "it is fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first-century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would call the police; we would wrestle him down; even if we saw him lower the knife at the last minute, we would expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away and charge Abraham with child abuse."



Obama sums up this ludicrous sermon on the "reason" of secularism and the scary caprice of religion by saying that the "best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know." Of what that lowest-common-denominator wisdom exactly consists, he leaves vague, but the grim consequences of this triumphant exercise of "reason" are all around us. One of its not-to-be-questioned truths is that plunging knives into the necks of unborn children is a "matter between a woman and her doctor."



In the end, Abraham didn't kill Isaac. The same can't be said for multitudes of unborn children under Obama, whose friends at Planned Parenthood lift the knife while he uses our tax dollars to pay for it. Abraham rejected infanticide; Obama's "reason" as a state senator in Illinois led him to waffle on banning it.



Finally, if Obama were truly a "Christian by choice," who believed that God the Father allowed God the Son to be crucified as a sacrifice for man's sins, he would never talk with such secularist crassness about Abraham's prefiguration of it.







Letter to the Editor

George Neumayr is editor of Catholic World Report and press critic for California Political Review.

Will Clean Energy Lead To Economic Recovery?

From Campaign For Liberty:

Will 'Clean Energy' Lead to Economic Recovery?


By William Anderson

View all 50 articles by William Anderson

Published 09/30/10



Printer-friendly version





Keynesians and semi-socialists claim that "clean energy" will create jobs and net economic growth. From Al Gore to the New York Times, "green energy" is almost religious in scope, as advocates claim that not only will it give us better air and weather, but it also will be a fundamental building block of economic recovery.



To speak out against this is tantamount to treason in some quarters, and people who dissent are vilified in the media; organizers wanting California's recent "clean energy" law repealed recently were attacked by the New York Times. Indeed, it almost seems to be self-evident that a "key" to economic recovery is government "investment" in "green technologies," so anyone who might look differently at this new government-led venture not only opposes progress but new jobs as well.



The technologies leading the way in this effort include biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol and biodiesel; wind power; and solar photovoltics. Not surprisingly, Gore partners with a venture capital fund that helps to finance many of these things.



Of course, these are ventures are not profitable on their own. In other undertakings, entrepreneurs find new ways to apply existing resources in hopes of making a profit. They rarely have the luxury of being targeted for success by governing bodies; rather, they have to deal with all the roadblocks and difficulties that any business venture might find in its way.



With green technologies we have a situation in which entrepreneurs purchase various factors of production, put together a product, sell it, and then chronically fall short of making a profit. Then they lobby for subsidies or mandates. This is not the same kind of situation that faced a capital-intensive operation like Federal Express, which went five years without making a profit. The goal was to be profitable in the future, knowing the company would not receive special government benefits.



As Robert Bryce notes in his eye-opening book, Gusher of Lies, much of what proponents claim about these "new technologies" not only is untrue but will remain untrue because of the first and second laws of thermodynamics: The laws of science stand in the way of these projects ever becoming profitable on their own, and Congress cannot repeal either economic or scientific laws.



Some green energy proponents understand this, but counter that if governments limit consumer choices, people will be forced to purchase these products at prices that will make them appear profitable. That means government coercion is enlisted to create the illusion that "green technologies" are viable when in reality people must use them under threat of state-sponsored violence. One cannot build a prosperous economy on that footing.



Why can't a good that must be subsidized be the basis of an economic recovery? The answer would seem obvious on its face, but people often don't see it. The answer is based on this fact: The very presence of subsidies and targeted favors for a particular good means that the real value of the resources being used to create that good is greater than the value of the good itself. No economy can grow under such circumstances. The reality is that "green energy" actually causes the economy to contract.



Part of the misunderstanding comes because people see only one side -- new jobs being created in the subsidized industry -- but fail to see the entire picture. This hardly is limited to alternative energy -- the "broken window fallacy" permeates our body politic and even more so when we suffer economic downturns, as governments seek "solutions" that only make things worse.



If there ever were an example of the "broken window fallacy" in energy, it is the notion that "green energy" in its present circumstances will help the economy grow. That is a logical impossibility, but governments (and, sadly, many economists) don't do economic logic.







Copyright © 2010 Foundation for Economic Education

Swiss Institutions Ask Where The U.S. Gold Is

From Liberty Defense League:

Swiss Institutions Ask: Where’s the Gold?


Thu, Sep 30, 2010

Ron Holland

by Ron Holland



He who owns the gold makes the rules.” ~ An old adage



Have you ever wondered what would happen if most of the claimed US gold reserves do not really exist? Can Washington continue to operate under its own questionable and often non-existent accounting rules if it doesn’t have the gold reserves as promised? Should we worry about the old idiom, “When the chickens come home to roost” when a person, entity or a government pays dearly for a mistake or something bad they have done in the distant past?



Well, the gold has to be somewhere but what if it is in France, Germany and Switzerland rather than in Fort Knox? The price of gold probably wouldn’t change much except in dollars which would likely dramatically fall in value as would US Treasury obligations. While the monetary elites and their central banks might prefer to keep the question under wraps, American citizens and foreign holders of dollars and US debt deserve the same full disclosure and transparency as required in the private sector.



Congressman Ron Paul Questions Whether There’s Gold at Fort Knox and the NY Fed.



Quoting from The Hill website, “Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said he plans to introduce legislation next year to force an audit of U.S. holdings of gold. Paul, a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy, said he believes it’s “a possibility” that there might not actually be any gold in the vaults of Fort Knox or the New York Federal Reserve bank.”



Is Washington Still # 1 In Gold Reserves?



Most of the 8,965 tons of gold is supposed to be at Fort Knox and valued at over $350 billion dollars but is this still true today? First the gold hasn’t really been audited since the Eisenhower Administration. Although a spokesman for the US Treasury recently stated US gold holdings are audited every year by the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, I fear this is more like the internal audits of Fannie Mae or the supposed audits of Madoff, AIG and Enron.







The Swiss well remember the calls for an audit of Fort Knox made after the 1974 Nixon impeachment following the 1971 Nixon Shock. This action unilaterally closed the gold window and ripped off the nation of Switzerland but the “fake audit” was little more than a photo opportunity designed for home consumption in the United States.



Will the Nixon Shock of August 15, 1971 Be Followed By An Obama Event?



Why should Switzerland and other nations or investors trust the US Treasury? There are ominous parallels between 1971 and today and this is why I support Ron Paul’s call to audit the gold at Fort Knox in 2011. In 1971 the costs, deficits and debts of the Vietnam War were worrying foreign nations just like the deficits and overhanging national debt today threaten the dollar and Treasury obligations. Therefore many nations including Switzerland and France began demanding that Washington redeem their dollars for gold as required by the Bretton Woods agreement. Switzerland had redeemed $50 million in paper dollars for gold in July but was stuck with the rest when Nixon arbitrarily and without warning “closed the gold window,” ending convertibility between US dollars and gold on August 15, 1971.



I fear that much of Washington’s gold reserves were lost back in 1971 prior to the Nixon emergency closure of the gold window and was the reason for the sudden, secret announcement sprung on investors and nations without even consulting other members of the international monetary system. In addition, the world’s central banks have kept very quiet when questions arise about whether the Federal Reserve has used the remnants of the US gold reserves through international swap agreements to keep gold prices artificially low and to hold up the dollar earlier in this decade.



Why Trust Washington?



The US Treasury claims to have the gold bullion reserves but why should we believe them? Since the government stretches the truth about almost everything else today, I seriously wonder if they are giving us the true condition about Washington’s gold ownership.







A recent poll has shown that 80% of the American people don’t trust their government and when you add the 22 million government employees and their families, one could say zero percent of productive Americans in the private sector trust the government. So why should global investors have any more confidence or faith in Washington than the American people?



Just think back over the last few years. From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the real estate bubble and collapse, the Wall Street meltdown, the Gulf oil spill, the recession that wasn’t expected, the recovery that never happened, promised change with Obama, the bailouts from both political parties etc. Can you think of one political promise kept or one true statement out of Washington, the Federal Reserve or Treasury? Therefore why should American citizens, foreign nations or international investors believe for a moment the US has the gold reserves claimed?



Here in Switzerland at Appenzeller Business Press AG publisher of “The Daily Bell” and “Freedom Matters” we believe American citizens certainly deserve a full and complete outside audit of “claimed” United States gold reserves during these trying economic times.



The same can be said in even stronger terms for international investors, central bankers and sovereign funds that have purchased trillions in US treasury obligations. Those who still use the dollar as their currency of choice in business transactions and as a safe haven in times of crisis on the world financial stage need to do their due diligence concerning the US gold holdings out of responsibility to their investors and citizens.



Foreign investors are rightly concerned about accountability and openness about supposed assets when there has been no real audit for decades. Certainly, an audit is required following the regulatory breakdown and oversight of the American financial system and the misplaced trust in institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Fed which led the world to the brink of another 1930’s style collapse. A gold audit is only prudent due diligence and this should be welcomed in order to help restore confidence in the US. It is time to bring down the wall of secrecy and restore confidence and accountability to the US balance sheet. Therefore I endorse Congressman Ron Paul’s initiative to audit the American gold reserves.



Do You Know Where Your Gold Is?



Of course, if you have some emergency gold stored in your local safe deposit box or hidden around the house or yard, your gold is somewhat secure but we are talking about large private gold holdings. Maybe the United States should protect and guarantee the existence of much of the American gold reserves formerly held by private American citizens but stolen in Roosevelt’s 1933 gold confiscation by looking at the private sector.







How Gold Is Privately Stored in Switzerland



Gold bullion can be stored in secure, non-bank vaults (we don’t trust bank holidays even in Switzerland). They can be insured for full value and stored in a tax-free zone to avoid VAT costs used by large financial institutions and Swiss banks.



Your gold should be fully and safely allocated and stored in-kind in high security vaults and never leased, pledged or used for international swap agreements.



The vaults and gold inventories should be regularly audited by independent third parties including Swiss Customs inspectors as well as audited by one of the private Big Four accounting firms.



Your gold should be a specific amount or number of coins or bars not fractions or digital units promised in some prospectus but not tangibly existent. For example, your holdings should be described as 100 Canadian Maple Leafs or bars of a specific weight. All of this with reasonable and transparent pricing, commissions and storage fees



Liquidity is king with gold ownership and you should be able to take physical delivery or sell promptly and conveniently. You should not be required to show up to take delivery or initiate your transactions. You can effectuate all matters by fax, e-mail, letter, or phone. You are not dependent on the internet as all of this is particularly critical in a severe crisis situation.



Gold delivery should be universal in Switzerland or internationally on a cost basis utilizing respected international high-security logistics firms. You might not be able to travel when banks and stocks markets are closed, or crisis exchange controls and travel restrictions are in place.



Finally concerned gold investors should never trust their wealth to bankrupt governments, corrupt politicians or questionable legal systems and this is why large gold investments above emergency gold holdings should be stored in Switzerland or other secure jurisdictions. Knowledgeable investors should remember Roosevelt’s gold confiscation and Nixon’s gold shock and defend their wealth accordingly.



More on Swiss gold storage can be found here.



What Does the Future Hold For Gold In the United States?



I certainly don’t have a crystal ball but if the gold reserves aren’t there or in the amounts promised, there is a real risk during a future crisis of another Washington gold confiscation event. Second, rather than trusting vague statements out of Washington, I would give real credibility to how the private sector views Washington gold reserves.



Watch the dollar, watch the price of gold and soon you just may be able check the gambling odds on whether the government will allow a real audit of Fort Knox and also if the amount of gold claimed is really there. Christopher Costigan, publisher of Gambling911 the leading gambling website in the United States indicates that “soon odds and betting may be possible on the questions above thanks to the coming Ron Paul Fort Knox Audit Legislation.”







A Call To Washington: Restore Confidence in US Gold Reserves



First a full private audit would do much to assure the world that American gold reserves were not lost during the Nixon Administration and that the gold holdings haven’t been accounted away like the Social Security Trust Fund or become little more than a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme of vague paper promises and unaudited assets that do not exist.



We urge Congress to follow the leadership of Ron Paul and to take the initial step to begin the restoration of world confidence in the integrity and openness of the Treasury gold reserves. It is time to put the sorry record of American accountability with non-existent or over-valued assets in Madoff, AIG, Enron and Fannie Mae–style scandals behind us and we can start in 2011 with a full audit of the US gold reserves.



The United States constantly preaches and demands full disclosure, accountability and open transparency to governments, investment industries and financial systems in the rest of the world while failing to keep its own house in order back home. I grew up on a chicken farm in North Carolina and trust me, if and when the chickens come home to roost on the gold reserves, the situation can quickly get very messy. It is time for Washington, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to come clean and open the US gold reserves to a full and complete private audit.



Otherwise, I don’t want to be around when the chickens come home to roost and the sh*t starts flying. Until then, I’m betting against the gold being at Fort Knox and looking forward to the day when I can really bet on this question and put my money on the line but for now just storing gold outside the United States is an easy step to take in the right direction.



An audit will answer the gold reserve questions, secure the US economy and end the worry of American citizens and foreign investors about US gold reserves. It is past time to answer the question, “Where’s the gold” and move forward.



Only an audit will tell if the Treasury is holding a Full House or busted and bluffing but I choose not to play a game with my wealth when the stakes are this high. I’m walking away and urge you to do the same.



“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, / Know when to walk away and know when to run.” ~ Kenny Rogers, The Gambler



He who owns the gold makes the rules.” ~ An old adage



Have you ever wondered what would happen if most of the claimed US gold reserves do not really exist? Can Washington continue to operate under its own questionable and often non-existent accounting rules if it doesn’t have the gold reserves as promised? Should we worry about the old idiom, “When the chickens come home to roost” when a person, entity or a government pays dearly for a mistake or something bad they have done in the distant past?



Well, the gold has to be somewhere but what if it is in France, Germany and Switzerland rather than in Fort Knox? The price of gold probably wouldn’t change much except in dollars which would likely dramatically fall in value as would US Treasury obligations. While the monetary elites and their central banks might prefer to keep the question under wraps, American citizens and foreign holders of dollars and US debt deserve the same full disclosure and transparency as required in the private sector.



Congressman Ron Paul Questions Whether There’s Gold at Fort Knox and the NY Fed.



Quoting from The Hill website, “Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said he plans to introduce legislation next year to force an audit of U.S. holdings of gold. Paul, a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy, said he believes it’s “a possibility” that there might not actually be any gold in the vaults of Fort Knox or the New York Federal Reserve bank.”



Is Washington Still # 1 In Gold Reserves?



Most of the 8,965 tons of gold is supposed to be at Fort Knox and valued at over $350 billion dollars but is this still true today? First the gold hasn’t really been audited since the Eisenhower Administration. Although a spokesman for the US Treasury recently stated US gold holdings are audited every year by the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, I fear this is more like the internal audits of Fannie Mae or the supposed audits of Madoff, AIG and Enron.







The Swiss well remember the calls for an audit of Fort Knox made after the 1974 Nixon impeachment following the 1971 Nixon Shock. This action unilaterally closed the gold window and ripped off the nation of Switzerland but the “fake audit” was little more than a photo opportunity designed for home consumption in the United States.



Will the Nixon Shock of August 15, 1971 Be Followed By An Obama Event?



Why should Switzerland and other nations or investors trust the US Treasury? There are ominous parallels between 1971 and today and this is why I support Ron Paul’s call to audit the gold at Fort Knox in 2011. In 1971 the costs, deficits and debts of the Vietnam War were worrying foreign nations just like the deficits and overhanging national debt today threaten the dollar and Treasury obligations. Therefore many nations including Switzerland and France began demanding that Washington redeem their dollars for gold as required by the Bretton Woods agreement. Switzerland had redeemed $50 million in paper dollars for gold in July but was stuck with the rest when Nixon arbitrarily and without warning “closed the gold window,” ending convertibility between US dollars and gold on August 15, 1971.



I fear that much of Washington’s gold reserves were lost back in 1971 prior to the Nixon emergency closure of the gold window and was the reason for the sudden, secret announcement sprung on investors and nations without even consulting other members of the international monetary system. In addition, the world’s central banks have kept very quiet when questions arise about whether the Federal Reserve has used the remnants of the US gold reserves through international swap agreements to keep gold prices artificially low and to hold up the dollar earlier in this decade.



Why Trust Washington?



The US Treasury claims to have the gold bullion reserves but why should we believe them? Since the government stretches the truth about almost everything else today, I seriously wonder if they are giving us the true condition about Washington’s gold ownership.







A recent poll has shown that 80% of the American people don’t trust their government and when you add the 22 million government employees and their families, one could say zero percent of productive Americans in the private sector trust the government. So why should global investors have any more confidence or faith in Washington than the American people?



Just think back over the last few years. From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the real estate bubble and collapse, the Wall Street meltdown, the Gulf oil spill, the recession that wasn’t expected, the recovery that never happened, promised change with Obama, the bailouts from both political parties etc. Can you think of one political promise kept or one true statement out of Washington, the Federal Reserve or Treasury? Therefore why should American citizens, foreign nations or international investors believe for a moment the US has the gold reserves claimed?



Here in Switzerland at Appenzeller Business Press AG publisher of “The Daily Bell” and “Freedom Matters” we believe American citizens certainly deserve a full and complete outside audit of “claimed” United States gold reserves during these trying economic times.



The same can be said in even stronger terms for international investors, central bankers and sovereign funds that have purchased trillions in US treasury obligations. Those who still use the dollar as their currency of choice in business transactions and as a safe haven in times of crisis on the world financial stage need to do their due diligence concerning the US gold holdings out of responsibility to their investors and citizens.



Foreign investors are rightly concerned about accountability and openness about supposed assets when there has been no real audit for decades. Certainly, an audit is required following the regulatory breakdown and oversight of the American financial system and the misplaced trust in institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Fed which led the world to the brink of another 1930’s style collapse. A gold audit is only prudent due diligence and this should be welcomed in order to help restore confidence in the US. It is time to bring down the wall of secrecy and restore confidence and accountability to the US balance sheet. Therefore I endorse Congressman Ron Paul’s initiative to audit the American gold reserves.



Do You Know Where Your Gold Is?



Of course, if you have some emergency gold stored in your local safe deposit box or hidden around the house or yard, your gold is somewhat secure but we are talking about large private gold holdings. Maybe the United States should protect and guarantee the existence of much of the American gold reserves formerly held by private American citizens but stolen in Roosevelt’s 1933 gold confiscation by looking at the private sector.







How Gold Is Privately Stored in Switzerland



Gold bullion can be stored in secure, non-bank vaults (we don’t trust bank holidays even in Switzerland). They can be insured for full value and stored in a tax-free zone to avoid VAT costs used by large financial institutions and Swiss banks.



Your gold should be fully and safely allocated and stored in-kind in high security vaults and never leased, pledged or used for international swap agreements.



The vaults and gold inventories should be regularly audited by independent third parties including Swiss Customs inspectors as well as audited by one of the private Big Four accounting firms.



Your gold should be a specific amount or number of coins or bars not fractions or digital units promised in some prospectus but not tangibly existent. For example, your holdings should be described as 100 Canadian Maple Leafs or bars of a specific weight. All of this with reasonable and transparent pricing, commissions and storage fees



Liquidity is king with gold ownership and you should be able to take physical delivery or sell promptly and conveniently. You should not be required to show up to take delivery or initiate your transactions. You can effectuate all matters by fax, e-mail, letter, or phone. You are not dependent on the internet as all of this is particularly critical in a severe crisis situation.



Gold delivery should be universal in Switzerland or internationally on a cost basis utilizing respected international high-security logistics firms. You might not be able to travel when banks and stocks markets are closed, or crisis exchange controls and travel restrictions are in place.



Finally concerned gold investors should never trust their wealth to bankrupt governments, corrupt politicians or questionable legal systems and this is why large gold investments above emergency gold holdings should be stored in Switzerland or other secure jurisdictions. Knowledgeable investors should remember Roosevelt’s gold confiscation and Nixon’s gold shock and defend their wealth accordingly.



More on Swiss gold storage can be found here.



What Does the Future Hold For Gold In the United States?



I certainly don’t have a crystal ball but if the gold reserves aren’t there or in the amounts promised, there is a real risk during a future crisis of another Washington gold confiscation event. Second, rather than trusting vague statements out of Washington, I would give real credibility to how the private sector views Washington gold reserves.



Watch the dollar, watch the price of gold and soon you just may be able check the gambling odds on whether the government will allow a real audit of Fort Knox and also if the amount of gold claimed is really there. Christopher Costigan, publisher of Gambling911 the leading gambling website in the United States indicates that “soon odds and betting may be possible on the questions above thanks to the coming Ron Paul Fort Knox Audit Legislation.”







A Call To Washington: Restore Confidence in US Gold Reserves



First a full private audit would do much to assure the world that American gold reserves were not lost during the Nixon Administration and that the gold holdings haven’t been accounted away like the Social Security Trust Fund or become little more than a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme of vague paper promises and unaudited assets that do not exist.



We urge Congress to follow the leadership of Ron Paul and to take the initial step to begin the restoration of world confidence in the integrity and openness of the Treasury gold reserves. It is time to put the sorry record of American accountability with non-existent or over-valued assets in Madoff, AIG, Enron and Fannie Mae–style scandals behind us and we can start in 2011 with a full audit of the US gold reserves.



The United States constantly preaches and demands full disclosure, accountability and open transparency to governments, investment industries and financial systems in the rest of the world while failing to keep its own house in order back home. I grew up on a chicken farm in North Carolina and trust me, if and when the chickens come home to roost on the gold reserves, the situation can quickly get very messy. It is time for Washington, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to come clean and open the US gold reserves to a full and complete private audit.



Otherwise, I don’t want to be around when the chickens come home to roost and the sh*t starts flying. Until then, I’m betting against the gold being at Fort Knox and looking forward to the day when I can really bet on this question and put my money on the line but for now just storing gold outside the United States is an easy step to take in the right direction.



An audit will answer the gold reserve questions, secure the US economy and end the worry of American citizens and foreign investors about US gold reserves. It is past time to answer the question, “Where’s the gold” and move forward.



Only an audit will tell if the Treasury is holding a Full House or busted and bluffing but I choose not to play a game with my wealth when the stakes are this high. I’m walking away and urge you to do the same.



“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, / Know when to walk away and know when to run.” ~ Kenny Rogers, The Gambler