(+45): The guy in the room next to...
37 minutes ago
"The White House sent new signals Sunday that President Barack Obama may be forced to kill TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oilsands pipeline if his administration is forced to make a decision on the project within 60 days. Gene Sperling, a senior economic adviser to Obama, told CNN that legislation requiring a final ruling on Keystone XL within two months could doom the pipeline because there's not enough time to complete a new environmental review."
Hat Tip: Small Dead Animals The frantic refusal to even consider the pipeline which could help businesses from all industries and create many jobs is puzzling. One assumes it is because pipelines are so unusual and need special environmental studies since they are so rare. ... Oh Really?
Create wealth, not jobs. Keystone XL pipeline would boost prosperity, not government -
TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is a massive job- and wealth-creation project. The pipeline will snake its way 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Gulf coast with stops in Oklahoma and Illinois. Keystone will create $7 billion in investment without any additional congressional spending. It is exactly the sort of massive construction project Mr. Obama demanded from Republicans in September, with one important exception: It’s private.Read the whole article, it's very good in my completely biased opinion. The long and short of it is, the Keystone Pipeline would be a huge help to the American economy and her people. That Obama wishes to stop it from helping us is unforgivable and hopefully makes him unelectable next year.
The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children. He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter. "She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears." At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents. Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register. "She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.Simply wonderful but what got me crying was this.
In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store's inventory because of late payments. Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children's Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness. "She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'" store manager Josine Murrin said.Read the whole article, it is filled with Christmas goodness.
Murray's book focuses largely on the bureaucracy and why they have become an increasing threat to our freedom and our pocketbooks. Bureaucrats have a huge incentive to increase costs. In government, a bureaucrat's success -- his pay raises and promotions -- is determined not by solving problems but by finding more problems to justify ever larger budgets and staff. Murray, a Brit by birth, saw this first hand when he went to work for the Department of Transport. "In government, performance is judged by increases in funding. The cost-cutting boss is viewed with suspicion, even outright hostility, by his peers, as letting his side down," Murray, who works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writes. The success that the political class has had is evidenced by the fact that the wealthiest Congressional District in America is not in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but in Northern Virginia. It is Virginia's 11th District, a suburb of Washington, D.C. that is home to many top-level federal workers. The district has a median household income of $80,397, nearly double the national average of almost $42,000. Bureaucrats are now paid, on average, more than the private sector, have top-notch health and retirement benefits, and virtually iron-clad job security. The justification for this is that such people are in "public service" and good wages and benefits are needed to attract good people. But it is a myth that so-called public servants are any less self-interested than anyone else. Indeed, they often serve themselves at the expense of the public. Murray provides numerous examples, from the federal down to the local level. One agency that looks like a disaster waiting to happen is the Transportation Safety Administration. "TSA is a reactive security operation, always fighting the last battle. Yet it doesn't even fight those battles particularly well," Murray writes. Post 9/11, TSA failed to detect Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Umar Farouk, the underwear bomber, both of whom were fortunately subdued by passengers on their planes. But TSA's failure means more inconvenience for passengers, as we now have to take off our shoes and go through either body-scan machines or pat downs on our private areas. Despite this, testing has found that TSA screeners may miss up to 60%-75% of simulated explosives. Testing at airports that employ private security companies perform much better, with a failure rate of 20 percent. The reason is that screeners from private companies "know they will be picked on with constant covert tests and are therefore 'more suspicious.'" TSA has grown into a 67,000-employee bureaucracy, and in February of this year the Obama administration gave TSA the right to unionize. A unionized TSA could mean even more headaches for travelers as unionized government employees are nearly impossible to fire and union contracts tend to favor pay scales based on seniority rather than performance. Some members of Congress have urged airports to take their "opt-out" option and hire private security firms. But that requires TSA approval, and like any bureaucracy protecting its turf, the agency has declared that "unless a clear and substantial advantage to do so emerges in the future, the requests will be denied." TSA Administrator John Pistole has said that he doesn't think there's any advantage to private security firms. On the local level, there is no better example in Murray's book of the lengths to which a union will go to get its way than the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association in New York City. A major blizzard hit New York in December 2010. Wanting to send a message to the mayor about staff cutbacks and reduction in the ranks of supervisors, union heads told snow crews go slow in snow cleanup. Several neighborhoods such as Borough Park and Middle Village were targeted for poor snow removal since the residents there are wealthier and have more influence with their politicians. This may have led to the death of one three-year-old boy as the ambulance could not get to him in time. However, priority cleanup was given to the neighborhoods of agency heads and other city bigwigs.Full Disclosure - This is actually another shameless attempt on my part to promote my husband's book (which makes an EXCELLENT Christmas present by the way) in order to boost sales so I can finally replace my 25-year-old stove and carpeting.
Corey Feldman [made] eye-opening remarks in August to ABC’s “Primetime Nightline” that “the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry … It’s the big secret.” Alison Arngrim, the veteran Hollywood actress best known for her role decades ago as Nellie on “Little House on the Prairie,” has said, “This (the abuse of children) has been going on for a very long time. “If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let’s press charges’? No, because it’s going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks,” says Arngrim. “So, the pressure is there not to say anything.”Read the whole thing but make sure it is on an empty stomach. I guess Hollywood's love of pedophilia explains that bastard Polanski: Nobody is applauding as Hollywood premieres Polanski defense
Finally: What does Dick Durbin have to do with the death of the USCRIF? Perhaps there are simpler reasons involved in the death of USCRIF. The bill to continue funding it was held up by just one man, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill). Durbin may not necessarily oppose aiding religious minorities as much as he is in favor of delivering pork barrel to his constituents. Thus, unbelievably, only until or unless the Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois is funded and/or funded for the purpose of holding Guantanamo Bay detainees, there can be no funding for religious freedom anywhere else on earth. Politics is a decidedly unfunny business. I usually tell people that a politician is, by definition, a thief and a liar, but that he or she is also a balancer, a compromiser, someone who is always in a position to sell one cause for the sake of another, to help one person and not another, to borrow from Peter in order to pay Paul. This is both how democracy works and how things get done in non-democratic countries as well. Cronyism, greed, arrogance, intolerance, injustice, occasional mercy, occasional do-goodism characterize how humanity in the aggregate behaves. We know that most Muslims are not friendly toward any infidel religion, including Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, etc. Christians have been — and still are — savagely persecuted in Muslim lands. I and many others have often written about this. Author and apostate Nonie Darwish and ex-Muslim secularist Ibn Warraq have both spoken out about this burning issue. Christians are being savagely persecuted in Egypt and all across the Middle East and Islamic world. In Pakistan, Christians have literally been crucified, teenaged Christian girls have been kidnapped, raped, and then forced to marry their rapists and convert to Islam. In 2010, a Muslim mob attacked a Christian man and slaughtered him with pick-axes for refusing to convert to Islam. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan do not allow Christians, Jews, or other “infidels” to pray openly or to build any new houses of worship. The Arab Muslim Middle East is almost completely “Judenrein” (free of Jews) since more than 800,000 Arab Jews were exiled or forced to flee their countries between 1948-1968. Mina Nevisa is an Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity who wrote a book about her experiences. Both she and her female cousin were attending an underground Christian church in Teheran which put them in danger. Nevis fled Iran together with her husband. Her cousin was not so lucky:She was arrested on charges of apostasy and taken to Evin prison, where she was raped, tortured, and then killed by a firing squad. Their pastor was also killed.Muslim apostates in Europe also face perilous challenges. Egyptian-Italian Magdi Cristiano Allam, who was converted to Catholicism by the pope, lives with six round-the-clock bodyguards. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch-American apostate-secularist, also requires a full-time security detail. People who do not have public profiles, who are not academics, intellectuals, politicians, or public speakers, also face similar danger. Tomorrow, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hosts a hearing on the “Worsening Plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts.” Nina Shea, the head commissioner of USCRIF, is a keynote speaker. Clearly, USCIRF provides invaluable information concerning the injustices levied against religious minorities in the Middle East and in the Islamic world. Congress must reinstate the US Commission for International Religious Freedom — to do otherwise would be immoral, dangerous, un-American, and unacceptable.
The campaign also features a website that gives foreign travellers some useful tips about American life and culture. For instance, it warns: "Health care is superior in the US but it can be very expensive because there is no universal health care." The site also cautions that "some banking networks charge fees of $1-2 per transaction," for ATM withdrawals. (In fact, some charge $3.) And: "Be aware that Americans are fanatics about showering and hygiene."The whole ghastly idea came from
"The campaign, set to launch next year, is the brainchild of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), a private-public partnership formed to encourage tourism, with a marketing budget of $200 million. The corporation calls the push "the first-ever coordinated global marketing effort dedicated to welcoming international travelers to the United States."I think the key phrase is "private-public partnership" which to me translates into government-run advertising pretending to be a private company sort of the same good tax dollar investment as Fannie Mae. If this suckfest of a logo is any indication of the craptacularness of the ad campaign then we will not have to worry about being overrun by smelly international tourists.
We sent a new class of leaders to D.C., but immediately the permanent political class tried to co-opt them – because the reality is we are governed by a permanent political class, until we change that. They talk endlessly about cutting government spending, and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt, and yet they keep incurring more. They spend, they print, they borrow, they spend more, and then they stick us with the bill. Then they pat their own backs, and they claim that they faced and “solved” the debt crisis that they got us in, but when we were humiliated in front of the world with our country’s first credit downgrade, they promptly went on vacation. No, they don’t feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them business is good; business is very good. Seven of the ten wealthiest counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Polls there actually – and usually I say polls, eh, they’re for strippers and cross country skiers – but polls in those parts show that some people there believe that the economy has actually improved. See, there may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America. Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars. They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power. So, do you want to know why the permanent political class doesn’t really want to cut any spending? Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done? It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed – a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.Follow the link Psst! Just Asking! to see who said what. (Hat tip: Instapundit)
President Obama stepped up to a podium in the East Room of the White House that night to announce bin Laden’s death. That rapid announcement, explained Pfarrer, posed a major threat to U.S. national security. “There was a choice that night,” Pfarrer told TheDC. “There was a choice to keep the mission secret.” America, Pfarrer explained, could have left things alone for “weeks or months … even though there was evidence left on the ground there … and use the intelligence and finish off al-Qaida.” But Obama’s announcement, he said, “rendered moot all of the intelligence that was gathered from the nexus of al-Qaida. The computer drives, the hard drives, the videocasettes, the CDs, the thumb drives, everything. Before that could even be looked through, the political decision was made to take credit for the operation.”
A rediscovered video from Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate race shows him road-testing his current rhetorical techniques, pitching far-left policies, and depicting business and the marketplace as negative forces. ...... [snip].....The 2004 video also showcases several recurring features of Obama’s speeches — his use of the passive tense to glide past controversial issues, his passive-aggressive portrayal of himself as the reasonable moderate among extremists, and his promises of benefits without costs. The video features several segments of Obama pitching himself in an African-American church, complete with a minister’s Sunday cadence. “I believe we can provide homes to the homeless, food to hungry, clothes to the naked,” he preaches while an organist backs him up. He cites his work as a “political organizer” working with several churches to ameliorate the impact of steel-industry shutdowns. But doesn’t offer any examples where his work, or entrepreneurs’ work, helped attract or create new jobs. However, he does say that his organizing work registered more people to vote for the Democratic Party.
But it turns out that the rich actually got poorer under President Bush, and the income gap has been climbing under Obama. What's more, the biggest increase in income inequality over the past three decades took place when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House. The wealthiest 5% of U.S. households saw incomes fall 7% after inflation in Bush's eight years in office, according to an IBD analysis of Census Bureau data. A widely used household income inequality measure, the Gini index, was essentially flat over that span. Another inequality gauge, the Theil index, showed a decline. In contrast, the Gini index rose — slightly — in Obama's first two years. Another Census measure of inequality shows it's climbed 5.7% since he took office. Meanwhile, during Clinton's eight years, the wealthiest 5% of American households saw their incomes jump 45% vs. 26% under Reagan. The Gini index shot up 6.7% under Clinton, more than any other president since 1980.
The fair-lending task force's original policy paper undercuts the notion the financial crisis was all about banker "greed," though it certainly played a role after the fact. Rather, it offers compelling evidence that the crisis evolved chiefly from government mandates and threats to increase lending to applicants who could not afford them.Strangely enough, I remember reading about the study mentioned above way back when. It's nice to have someone other than President Bush to blame. Now, how do we dismantle this group?
I wrote yesterday that the occupiers aren’t a political movement, they are a crime wave. Until now, however, it has been hard to keep up with all of the occupiers’ misdeeds, most of which are reported, if at all, in local press outlets. Now there is a single web site, OWS Exposed, devoted exclusively to revealing the truth about the disreputable, crime-ridden, far left Occupy Wall Street movement. Check it out, for the news reporting that our major news outlets generally prefer not to do. Also, you can go here to sign a petition asking President Obama to stop fomenting class warfare. OWS Exposed is a brand new site, but it looks like the Occupy movement will be around for a while longer, so watch for content to be added daily. UPDATE: As always, the Left doesn’t like to be exposed. The people who run OWS Exposed spent much of the day yesterday dealing with denial of service attacks by enraged liberals. The site is working again today. FURTHER UPDATE: OWSExposed.com is down again this morning, due to more denial of service attacks by liberals. I find it somewhat ironic that the occupiers, who purport to be defending rights of free speech, try to shut down the web sites of those who comment on their activities.Support the good guys and visit Occupy Wall Street Exposed Today! Oh, and Powerline!
UNEXPECTEDLY! Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong.“If you had to readjust the constant in Newton’s law of gravity every time you got out of bed in the morning in order for it to agree with your scale, it wouldn’t be much of a law. But in finance they just keep on recalibrating and pretending that the models work.” Of course, if the models are always wrong, that’s a good argument for leaving things to markets, instead of having regulators — whose models are always wrong, remember — trying to run things.
SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them.”
There is a difference to being entitled and wanting people to pay their fair share. Why should people who earn more money pay less of a percentage of tax on that money? If they are "job creators" where are the jobs? They haven't been taxed yet, they have been living under this Bush tax cut for years, so again- where are the jobs???My Answer:
Think of it this way, if you owned a flower shop and suddenly you had to spend hours filling out EPA forms and business registration forms and at the same time, your customer base was halved, would you hire an additional florist? If the government has created through burdensome over-regulation a business climate of uncertainty and expense, then businesses do not hire. If demand for goods and services is down, then businesses do not hire. If the tax rates could change at any moment, businesses do not hire. It started with the housing collapse but has continued with bad government policies frightening the horses. Finally, you are right. There is a difference between demanding an entitlement and contributing your fair share. In the 1980s only 19% of Americans did NOT pay taxes, today it is 47% of Americans who do NOT pay taxes. The top 1% of tax-payers pay 40% of taxes, the top 5% pay 60%, the remaining 40% is paid by the remaining 48% of taxpayers. So who exactly isn't paying their fair share?
The protest has led sympathetic groups in other cities to stage their own local rallies and demonstrations: Occupy Boston, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Houston, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Providence, Occupy Salt Lake and Occupy Seattle, among them.
Special Nazi war-crimes investigators reopened the files after the conviction of former U.S. autoworker John Demjanjuk, whose case set a new legal precedent in Germany. It was the first time prosecutors had been able to convict someone in a Nazi-era case without direct evidence that the suspect participated in a specific killing. Now authorities are weighing whether the same approach could be used to pursue others, said Kurt Schrimm, the prosecutor who heads the investigation unit.And yes, Soros is an admitted Nazi collaborator.
Soros was thirteen years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. Soros took a job with the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary to carry out Nazi and Hungarian government anti-Jewish measures. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:Source: Soros, Early Life, Wikipedia, referencing Soros biography.The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper...It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 am...And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, "You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported."Later that year, at age 14, Soros lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. On one occasion, the official was ordered to inventory the remaining contents of the estate of a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the country. Rather than leave the young Soros alone in the city, the official brought him along.
Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared.Read the whole article and when your done reading and weeping, call your Congressional representatives! Also, these guys the Sipsey Street Irregulars are doing hero's work covering the Fast & Furious scandal as well as the many others of the Obama administration!
The Justice Department is forbidden by federal law from hiring employees based on political affiliation. Yet the resumes revealed the following ideological breakdown among the new hires: Leftist lawyers: 113 Moderate, non-ideological, or conservative lawyers: 0. That represents the basest headline for the series, the matter-of-fact evidence that should lead any reasonable observer to believe the DOJ has employed an illegal political litmus test during the interview process. But the “Every Single One” series has provided additional benefits: the results present the inherent flaw in leftism’s perversion of the term “civil rights,” while providing a real world example of the flawed belief actualized. Additionally, the “Every Single One” series presents ramifications that reach far beyond the individuals most directly affected by DOJ activity. We hope not to understate it: this perversion of “civil rights“ is the beating heart of leftism itself. Only one definition of “civil rights” could ever logically exist: that of equal protection under the law, the law defined as the codified protection of an individual’s life, liberty, and property. Yet Eric Holder, Loretta King, Thomas Perez, the 113 hires — they claim that civil rights, and the Division established to enforce them, reside in racial, gender, disability, and even sexuality preferences presiding above the law, in the hands of an elite few trusted by an elite public class to establish some breed of “fair lawlessness.” The flaw is obvious: when the law is not equally applied, a citizen’s actions are no longer their own. Their fates are no longer tied to their personal adherence to life, liberty, and property, but to an unelected bureaucrat’s whim, an individual who believes both that he is qualified to make such judgments of other men and that our country’s laws allow him to do so. They claim that civil rights are not the individual’s, but somehow theirs, a definition incompatible with itself! This is, as we know, the post-Marxist brand of tyranny — a “well-meaning” lawlessness. But prior to this series, we did not know that since 2008 the Civil Rights Division has been populated entirely according to this ideology, behavior which represents the perfect antithesis of civil rights.
“A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge! It’s yet another humorous gaffe by the Harvard graduate, overlooked by most media for whatever reason. Like Obama saying Abraham-Come-Lately Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party. Or Navy corpseman. Or the Austrian language. Fifty-seven states. The president of Canada. Etc.”Mr. Reynolds (aka Instapundit (hat-tip)) - "WHOEVER’S PROGRAMMING HIS TELEPROMPTER MUST BE A GOP MOLE" I think Glenn Reynolds' caption of this headline pretty much sums up the proper reaction to this latest gaffe. That is if you are willing to put aside the complete MSM ignoring of this and all his other gaffes - which is insulting, alarming, and irresponsible on the MSM's part. And speaking of the MSM (because I love beating dead horses), this little tidbit has come out of Gallup. Majority in U.S. Continues to Distrust the Media, Perceive Bias. More perceive liberal bias than conservative bias
Managers whose budgets do not depend on customer satisfaction and who do not face competitive pressure in the marketplace, will not, on balance, spend their money wisely. Vendors selling to those managers know that price matters much less than it does to, say, Wal-Mart. And anywhere there is political urgency and official involvement high up the command chain, conditions will begin resembling a gold rush.The article is worth a full reading. And the hits keep coming. This nugget is from the big book of Duh - Americans Say Federal Gov't Wastes Over Half of Every Dollar. I'd say it wastes 75% of every dollar.
As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama's stimulus was announced in 2009, "There's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can."
There is no such thing as war without the brutal, violent death of innocents, including children. Similarly, there is no such thing as government spending without gobs of disgusting waste, graft and corruption. It's all cooked right into the system.
Friedman asks if we should "pay a little more per gallon of gas and make the country stronger, safer and healthier." To put this call for human sacrifice in context, allow me to pose a multiple choice question.
Roughly what percentage of the earth's atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide?
If you answered D, 9%, you're…wrong. In fact if you answered any of the above, you're not just wrong, but wrong by two or three orders of magnitude. The answer is that the earth's atmosphere is less than 390 parts per million, or less than 0.04%, CO2. Yes, this is up from about 320 parts per million, or .032% CO2 fifty years ago, but it is an astonishingly low number to most whose only contact with "climate science" is through what they read in the papers.
Have you ever heard that fact discussed in the "mainstream" media, or even on the nominally conservative Fox News? You hear that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased, but you never hear that it's gone from a minuscule number to a very slightly larger minuscule number.
In fact, our atmosphere is approximately 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 99% of the atmosphere. Of the 1% that remains, more than 90% is Argon. Less than 4% of that 1% is carbon dioxide. (Those measures are of the "dry atmosphere," excluding water vapor, because the water vapor percentage is highly variable. At the surface, water vapor is usually somewhere between 1% and 4% of the atmosphere, reducing the other numbers proportionately.)
If this doesn't already have you asking, "What's all the carbon dioxide fuss about?" here's a little more:
• The "greenhouse effect" of increasing carbon dioxide is logarithmic, meaning that each additional increase has less impact on temperatures than the prior (same sized) increase.
• It is estimated (such as here and here) that 96%-97% of carbon dioxide comes from natural sources, such as animals, plant decay, and volcanoes. Climate alarmists claim that the single-digit percentage human contribution to atmospheric CO2, a small percentage of a tiny percentage, is nevertheless destroying the world.
• Although estimates vary widely, water vapor, which is essentially 100% naturally occurring, is responsible for the majority, somewhere between 50% and 90%, of the "greenhouse effect." So, man-made carbon dioxide is responsible for a small percentage of a tiny percentage of less than half of the greenhouse effect… but is destroying the world.
The point of this is not to offer you a science lesson, but to put in context the fear mongering as anti-capitalists posing as environmentalists become ever more desperate. As Solyndra pounds one of the last nails into the "green jobs" and solar-as-savior coffin, alarmists are making one last stand urging you to reduce your standard of living on the altar of the cult of man-made global warming. It is an altar bloodied with human sacrifice, made to a false god.
Greece is in economic meltdown. Its economy has become so biased towards the public sector that it is now literally unsustainable. It cannot afford to pay its bills and will surely default soon, unless Germany can be persuaded to bail it out. Unfortunately for America, the principles that got Greece into this mess are the same ones that President Obama wants to use to supposedly get America back to work. If he has his way, we'll head down the Greek road, with the added problem that there is no Germany waiting to bail us out.
Let's see where Greece is today. It has a GDP of $310 billion, enough to place among the world's top 25 economies. That's where the good news ends. Greece has public debt of $470 billion, and spends about 50 percent of GDP on government, while raising only 39 percent in revenues. Over the past year, it lost 7 percent of GDP as a result.
The International Monetary Fund has told Greece it needs to significantly reduce its bloated public spending, but that it should not try to make up the gap with new taxes. Yet that's exactly what the Greek government is trying to do. Rather than close or privatize loss-making public enterprises like the nationalized railroads, it has attempted to raise money by selling gaming licenses and increasing property taxes -- measures the newspaper Ekathimerini described as "appalling."
As the government attempts to shore up its collapsing public sector, the private sector has been paying the price. Every day in August, 1,000 Greeks lost private sector jobs. Meanwhile, the government has hired between 15,000 and 20,000 new public employees since 2010. Attempts to raise income taxes resulted in massive tax evasion, so the government has decided to levy a property tax paid via electricity bills. The electricity employees union has already said it won't help collect this.
This is a Greek tragedy, but in a comic move worthy of Aristophanes, President Obama is following this particular Greek play. His American Jobs Act aims to shore up the public sector, paying for it by tax rises.
The President wants to keep public employees in jobs, particularly teachers, whose generous pay and benefits are causing problems for states and localities across the nation. He also wants to expand the number of public works projects via a national infrastructure bank, bringing the failed financial principles behind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to spending on high speed rail and green energy investments. Solyndra is just the beginning.
Obama says he wants to increase taxes on unpopular targets, like "millionaires and billionaires" and oil companies. If you don't believe these people won't employ enough accountants to find new loopholes, I'd like to sell you the Corinth Canal. As for electricity bills, the President has already said that he wants electricity bills to skyrocket, in order to close down coal-fired power plants.
None of this worked in Greece, and it won't work here.
The right solution for America is the same as for Greece -- end public sector obesity by putting the state on a revenue-controlled diet. In addition, reduce the burden of bureaucracy, ending uncertainty, and empowering the private sector to make the investment it needs to get the economy working again.
Greece's prime asset is its history, which could be the basis of a thriving tourism industry. Instead, Greece invested in an unsustainable public sector and became famously rude to visitors. There's a lesson for America in that.
Our prime asset is our innovative genius. Yet we have also invested in an unsustainable public sector and made the country less nurturing to innovative industry. We need to turn back before we go as far down as Greece already has.
As Virgil put it, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. He might have added, especially when the gift is an economic plan.