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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Military endorsements, 0blahma versus Romney


(From a group I belong to on Yahoo, COGunIssues)

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No explanation needed:

Obama's Military Endorsements:

General Wesley Clark, USA, (Ret)
General Colin Powell, USA (Ret)
Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret)
Admiral Donald Gutter, USN, former JAG of the Navy, (Ret)
Admiral John Nathman, USN, (Ret)

Mitt Romney's Military Endorsements:

Admiral James B. Busey, USN, (Ret.)
General James T. Conway, USMC, (Ret.)
General Terrence R. Dake, USMC, (Ret)
Admiral James O. Ellis, USN, (Ret.)
Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, USM, (Ret.)
General Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF, (Ret)
General Tommy Franks, USA, (Ret)
General Alfred Hansen, USAF, (Ret)
Admiral Ronald Jackson Hays, USN, (Ret)
Admiral Thomas Bibb Hayward, USN, (Ret)
General Chuck Albert Horner, USAF, (Ret)
Admiral Jerome LaMarr Johnson, USN, (Ret)
Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN, (Ret)
General Paul X. Kelley, USMC, (Ret)
General William Kernan, USA, (Ret)
Admiral George E.R. Kinnear II, USN, (Ret)
General William L. Kirk, USAF, (Ret)
General James J. Lindsay, USA, (Ret)
General William R. Looney III, USAF, (Ret)
Admiral Hank Mauz, USN, (Ret)
General Robert Magnus, USMC, (Ret)
Admiral Paul David Miller, USN, (Ret)
General Henry Hugh Shelton, USA, (Ret)
General Lance Smith, USAF, (Ret)
Admiral Leighton Smith, Jr., USN, (Ret)
General Ronald W. Yates, USAF, (Ret)
Admiral Ronald J. Zlatoper, USN, (Ret)
Lieutenant General James Abrahamson, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Edgar Anderson, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Marcus A. Anderson, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Buck Bedard, USMC, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral A. Bruce Beran, USCG, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Lyle Bien, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Harold Blot, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum, USA, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Mike Bowman III, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Walter E. Buchanan III, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Richard A. Burpee, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General William Campbell, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General James E. Chambers, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Edward W. Clexton, Jr., USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General John B. Conaway, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Marvin Covault, USA, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Terry M. Cross, USCG, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral William Adam Dougherty, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Brett Dula, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Gordon E. Fornell, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral David Frost, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Henry C. Giffin III, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Peter M. Hekman, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Richard D. Herr, USCG, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Thomas J Hickey, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Walter S. Hogle, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Ronald W. Iverson, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Donald W. Jones, USA, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Douglas J. Katz, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Jay W. Kelley, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Tom Kilcline, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, M.D., USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Buford Derald Lary, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Frank Libutti, USMC, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Stephen Loftus, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Michael Malone, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Edward H. Martin, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral John J. Mazach, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Justin D. McCarthy, USN, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral William McCauley, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Fred McCorkle, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Joseph S. Mobley, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Dave R. Palmer, USA, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral John Theodore "Ted" Parker, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles Henry "Chuck" Pitman, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Steven R. Polk, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral William E. Ramsey, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Joseph J. Redden, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Clifford H. "Ted" Rees, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Edward Rowny, USA (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Dutch Schultz, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles J. Searock, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General E. G. "Buck" Shuler, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Alexander M. "Rusty" Sloan, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Edward M. Straw, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General David J. Teal, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Billy M. Thomas, USA, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Donald C. "Deese" Thompson, USCG, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Alan S. Thompson, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Herman O. "Tommy" Thomson, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Howard B. Thorsen, USCG, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General William Thurman, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Allen "R.A." Tiebout, USMC, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral John B. Totushek, USNR, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General George J. Trautman, USMC, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Garry R. Trexler, USAF, (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Jerry O. Tuttle, USN, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudius "Bud" Watts, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General William "Bill" Welser, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Thad A. Wolfe, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General C. Norman Wood, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Michael W. Wooley, USAF, (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Richard "Rick" Zilmer, USMC, (Ret.)
Major General Chris Adams, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Henry Amos, USN (Ret.)
Major General Nora Alice Astafan, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Almon Bowen Ballard, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General James F. Barnette, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Robert W. Barrow, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John R. Batlzer, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Jon W. Bayless, USN, (Ret.)
Major General John E. Bianchi, USA, (Ret.)
Major General David F. Bice, USMC, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Linda J. Bird, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James H. Black, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Peter A. Bondi, USN, (Ret.)
Major General John L. Borling, USMC, (Ret.)
Major General Tom Braaten, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Robert J. Brandt, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Jerry C. Breast, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Bruce B. Bremner, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown III, USN, (Ret.)
Major General David P. Burford, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John F. Calvert, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Jay A. Campbell, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Henry Canterbury, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James J. Carey, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Stephen K. Chadwick, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral W. Lewis Chatham, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Jeffrey G. Cliver, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Casey Coane, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Isaiah C. Cole, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Stephen Condon, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Richard C. Cosgrave, USANG, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert Cowley, USN, (Ret.)
Major General J.T. Coyne, USMC, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert C. Crates, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Tommy F. Crawford, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James P. Davidson, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Kevin F. Delaney, USN, (Ret.)
Major General James D. Delk, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Robert E. Dempsey, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Jay Ronald Denney, USNR, (Ret.)
Major General Robert S. Dickman, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James C. Doebler, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Douglas O. Dollar, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Hunt Downer, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Thomas A. Dyches, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Jay T. Edwards, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General John R. Farrington, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Francis L. Filipiak, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James H. Flatley III, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Charles Fletcher, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Bobby O. Floyd, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Veronica Froman, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Vance H. Fry, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral R. Byron Fuller, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral George M. Furlong, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Frank Gallo, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Ben F. Gaumer, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Harry E. Gerhard Jr., USN, (Ret.)
Major General Daniel J. Gibson, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Andrew A. Giordano, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Richard N. Goddard, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Fred Golove, USCGR, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Harold Eric Grant, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Jeff Grime, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Robert Kent Guest, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Tim Haake, USAR, (Ret.)
Major General Otto K. Habedank, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas F. Hall, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Donald P. Harvey, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Leonard W. Hegland, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John Hekman, USN, (Ret.)
Major General John A. Hemphill, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Larry Hereth, USCG, (Ret.)
Major General Wilfred Hessert, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Hickman, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Geoffrey Higginbotham, USMC, (Ret.)
Major General Jerry D. Holmes, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Weldon F. Honeycutt, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Steve Israel, USN, (Ret.)
Major General James T. Jackson, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John S. Jenkins, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Tim Jenkins, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Ron Jesberg, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Pierce J. Johnson, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Steven B. Kantrowitz, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John T. Kavanaugh, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Dennis M. Kenneally, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Michael Kerby, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral David Kunkel, USCG, (Ret.)
Major General Geoffrey C. Lambert, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Arthur Langston, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas G. Lilly, USN, (Ret.)
Major General James E. Livingston, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Al Logan, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General John D. Logeman Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Noah H. Long Jr, USNR, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Loren, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Andy Love, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Steven Wells Maas, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Robert M. Marquette, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Larry Marsh, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Clark W. Martin, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General William M. Matz, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Gerard Mauer, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral William J. McDaniel, MD, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral E.S. McGinley II, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Henry C. McKinney, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Robert Messerli, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Douglas S. Metcalf, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John W. Miller, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Patrick David Moneymaker, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Mario Montero, USA, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Douglas M. Moore, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Walter Bruce Moore, USA, (Ret.)
Major General William Moore, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Burton R. Moore, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James A. Morgart, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Stanton R. Musser, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John T. Natter, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Robert George Nester, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General George W. Norwood, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert C. Olsen, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Raymund E. O’Mara, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John F. Paddock, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Robert W. Paret, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert O. Passmore, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Earl G. Peck, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Richard E. Perraut Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Gerald F. Perryman, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John J. Prendergast, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Fenton F. Priest, USN, (Ret.)
Major General David C. Ralston, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Bentley B. Rayburn, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Harold Rich, USN , (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Roland Rieve, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Tommy F. Rinard, USN , (Ret.)
Major General Richard H. Roellig, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Michael S. Roesner, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral William J. Ryan, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Loran C. Schnaidt, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Carl Schneider, USAF , (Ret.)
Major General John P. Schoeppner, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Edison E. Scholes, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert H. Shumaker, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral William S. Schwob, USCG, (Ret.)
Major General David J. Scott, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Hugh P. Scott, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Richard Secord, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral William H. Shawcross, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Joseph K. Simeone, USAF and ANG , (Ret.)
Major General Darwin Simpson, ANG , (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic, USN , (Ret.)
Rear Admiral David Oliver "D.O." Smart, USNR, (Ret.)
Major General Richard D. Smith, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Donald Bruce Smith, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Paul O. Soderberg, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert H. "Bob" Spiro, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Henry B. Stelling, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Daniel H. Stone, USN, (Ret.)
Major General William A. Studer, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Hamlin Tallent, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Hugh Banks Tant III, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Larry S. Taylor, USMC, (Ret.)
Major General J.B. Taylor, USA, (Ret.)
Major General Thomas R. Tempel, USA , (Ret.)
Major General Richard L. Testa, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Jere Thompson, USN (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Byron E. Tobin, USN, (Ret.)
Major General Larry Twitchell, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Russell L. Violett, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General David E.B. "DEB" Ward, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Charles J. Wax, USAF, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Donald Weatherson, USN, (Ret.)
Major General John Welde, USAF, (Ret.)
Major General Gary Whipple, USA , (Ret.)
Rear Admiral James B. Whittaker, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Charles Williams, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral H. Denny Wisely, USN, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Theodore J. Wojnar, USCG, (Ret.)
Rear Admiral George R. Worthington, USN, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Arthur Abercrombie, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General John R. Allen, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Loring R. Astorino, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard Averitt, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Garry S. Bahling, USANG, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Donald E. Barnhart, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Charles L. Bishop, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Clayton Bridges, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Jeremiah J. Brophy, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General R. Thomas Browning, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General David A. Brubaker, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Chalmers R. Carr, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Fred F. Caste, USAFR, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Robert V. Clements, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Christopher T Cline, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General George Peyton Cole, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard A. Coleman, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Mike Cushman, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Peter Dawkins, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Sam. G. DeGeneres, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General George Demers, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Howard G. DeWolf, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Arthur F. Diehl, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General David Bob Edmonds, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Anthony Farrington, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Norm Gaddis, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Robert H. Harkins, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Thomas W. Honeywill, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Stanley V. Hood, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General James J. Hourin, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Jack C. Ihle, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Thomas G. Jeter, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General William Herbert Johnson, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth F. Keller, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Wayne W. Lambert, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Jerry L. Laws, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Thomas J. Lennon, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General John M. Lotz, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Robert S. Mangum, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Frank Martin, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Joe Mensching, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard L. Meyer, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Lawrence A. Mitchell, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Michael P. Mulqueen, USMC, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Ben Nelson, Jr., USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Jack W. Nicholson, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Maria C. Owens, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Dave Papak, USMC, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Gary A. Pappas, USANG, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Robert V. Paschon, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Allen K. Rachel, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Jon Reynolds, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Edward F. Rodriguez, Jr., USAFR, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Roger Scearce, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Dennis Schulstad, USAFR, (Ret.)
Brigadier General John Serur, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Joseph L. Shaefer, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Graham Shirley, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Raymond Shulstad, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Stan Smith, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Ralph S. Smith, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Donald Smith, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General David M. Snyder, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Michael Joseph Tashjian, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard Louis Ursone, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Earl Van Inwegen, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Terrence P. Woods, USAF, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Mitchell Zais, USA, (Ret.)
Brigadier General Allan Ralph Zenowitz, USA, (Ret.)


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I love this blog (Magickal Gardener) Klip Dagga Success!

Klip Dagga Success!: Well, as you can see from my latest pics, my Klip Dagga did manage to flower - and what ornate blooms they turned out to be as well :o)

Klip Dagga Petals Forming

More Klip Dagga Petals

Even More Klip Dagga Blooms





 
Klip Dagga in Full Flower
I am really pleased that these plants flowered, even if it did take them until the end of October lol. I am now chalking my Klip Dagga growing as a success :o)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stacy: 13 Year old Girl grades the President and Romney (ontheculture.com)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baseball Crank: POLITICS: Barack Obama: Corporatist Collectivist (Part III of IV)

POLITICS: Barack Obama: Corporatist Collectivist (Part III of IV):
III. The Stimulus, The Bailouts, and Obamacare
The Obama Administration's policies, in action, provide copious examples of both a broader inclination towards collectivism and a specific pattern of corporatism. Over and over, Obama has attempted to use federal spending, tax and regulatory powers to coopt institutions and mute competition in pursuit of greater government ability to redistribute wealth. Part III looks at the three main areas in which this has played out in the Administration's policies: the stimulus, the bailouts, and Obamacare.
A. The Stimulus
The 2009 stimulus bill was Obama's first major legislative initiative. An economic "stimulus" bill is a cat that can be skinned in a number of different ways, ranging from the free-market approach of permanent cuts in income tax rates to the old-time big-government solution of just laying out taxpayer money to hire a whole lot of people who are out of work (think of FDR's makework WPA projects).
Obama's stimulus incorporated some tax rebates, albeit mostly in the form of temporary credits, and a good deal of direct government spending (although Obama would later bemoan that there were fewer "shovel-ready" projects than he expected). But significant portions of the bill were corporatist endeavors: having the government invest in private ventures that cultivated government favor, and distributing funds designed to coopt potential political adversaries. Let's consider an example of each.
1. Green Jobs
Typically, in a corporatist system, the businesses that get capital, subsidies and contracts are those that have the favor of the government. Obama's wastes of taxpayer money on "green jobs" companies like Solyndra, Abound Solar, and A123 - many of them, not coincidentally, politically connected - are perfect examples of this. To see how the process works up close, consider, as a specific example, Al Gore:
Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama's historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money....
Before the election, Gore launched a public campaign known as "Repower America," aimed at encouraging the public and the next administration to support government investments in clean energy. His Alliance for Climate Protection was running numerous ads...
At the same time, Gore's venture partner, Doerr, had been raising money for Democrats to take back the White House, holding big-check receptions with Silicon Valley investors. He and fellow Kleiner partners and spouses donated more than $800,000 to Democrats, much of it for Obama and state efforts to get out the vote.
At GIM, five of Gore's principals, including co-founder David Blood, wrote $130,000 in checks to aid Obama's bid, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
As Obama was preparing to take office, it was clear his public agenda supporting clean energy aligned with Gore's personal agenda. Obama held a highly publicized meeting with Gore at transition headquarters in Chicago to talk about energy policy. Later, Obama closely echoed several of Gore's talking points and his plan for public investment in clean energy. Obama even adopted Gore's campaign catchphrase for the effort, "Repower America."...
Gore's orbit extended deeply into the administration, with several former aides winning senior clean-energy posts. Among them were Carol Browner, a former Gore political operative who became the president’s climate change czar, and Ron Klain, Gore's former chief of staff who went to work for Vice President Biden overseeing the stimulus.
Those connections were underscored in October 2009, when Jonathan Silver, under consideration to head the $38 billion ­clean-energy loan program, hosted a party to help Gore raise money for the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Silver invited the Department of Energy's chief financial officer, days before the official was scheduled to meet Silver to discuss the job.
How valuable was all this influence? Well, "[a]n administration official said more than 80 percent of applicants the first year were turned away," but "[o]f the 11 companies [Gore] mentioned in his 2008 slide show, nine received or directly benefited from stimulus or clean energy funding" - an 82% success rate.
On the whole, the green jobs agenda was (predictably) a fiasco as far as efficient use of public funds. The Energy Department estimated that, rather than the projected 5 million jobs, it ended up spending $21 billion on projects that employ 28,854 people - a cost of $728,000 per job. But the real point of the endeavor was a combination of Obama's belief that the government could pick winners in the energy sector of the economy, a misguided hope that investment could be profitably directed to serve a public purpose (environmentalism) and, of course, the familiar desire to reward political allies. A free market system of energy investment would be burdened by no such illusions or designs.
2. Strings Attached
As discussed above, part of the strategy of collectivists in America's federal system is not just to coopt private institutions, but also to place state and local governments under more nationally uniform management. Where Louis Brandeis once wrote that "[i]t is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country," today's liberals almost invariably see dissenting states as obstacles to nationally uniform plans, engaged in a "race to the bottom" to reduce taxes and regulation in order to steal business from other states. This leads to ridiculous endeavors like trying to set a national minimum wage.
Many of the provisions of the stimulus bill involved doling out money to states for unemployment benefits, Medicaid, transportation and education. But those funds came with major strings attached - strings that seemed directly designed not just to force a one-size-fits all solution from Washington on the states, but perhaps specifically to prevent any state governor from operating a competing model that could be presented to the voters later on as an example of how to do things better than Obama. The crop of potential presidential challengers among sitting governors at the time included Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Mark Sanford, Haley Barbour, Jon Hunstman and Bobby Jindal; it was clear from the outset that the Administration made it a goal to handcuff Obama's political rivals from campaigning against the strimulus if it failed. (The DNC ran ads against Sanford for turning down stimulus money, and Democrats in other states blasted the other GOP governors on a similar basis). And lest some governors reject those funds, the bill contained unprecedented provisions allowing state legislatures to override their governor and accept the funds.
Perry, for example, complained that the stimulus bill required Texas to change its rules for unemployment eligibility, in ways it wouldn't be able to change back when the temporary federal money ran out:
Provisions in the federal bill allow Texas to receive $556 million if it broadens its eligibility - for instance, lets part-time workers collect benefits even if they search for less than full-time work, and grants extended benefits to people in retraining programs.
The state also would have to consider recent wages in calculating a laid-off worker's income, not the current method that can go back nearly 18 months.
Palin similarly rejected funds containing "strings that will bind the state in the future." Jindal rejected new Medicaid funding on similar grounds, leading Obama to pivot into campaign mode even back in 2009.
In the end, the coercive power of the federal government was hard for even sovereign states to resist, as most of the Republican governors were compelled by state legislatures to scale back their opposition. In the short term, Obama got what he wanted: fewer states that could promote themselves as competing models. Perhaps not coincidentally, he ended up with a general election opponent who'd been out of government since before Obama's term started.
B. The Auto Bailout and TARP
Corporatism is not solely a Democratic phenomenon, although wherever it exists in our government, the Democrats will press for a wider scope for its activities. A perfect example is the TARP and auto bailouts. Both began under George W. Bush as short-term programs; both were supported at the time by Obama and other Democrats; and both were expanded and prolonged under Obama.
Treasury Secretary Paulson's initial meetings with the CEOs of the major banks actually provides a fairly perfect example of the corporatist-collectivist approach. Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich didn't want to accept TARP funds, believing that his bank didn't need them and didn't want the strings that would be attached, the scope of which were not entirely clear at the time. Here's what happened next:
"As my comments were heading in that direction in the meeting, Hank Paulson turned to Fed Chairman Ben Benanke sitting next to him and said, 'Your primary regulator is sitting right here. If you refuse to accept these funds, he will declare you 'capital deficient' Monday morning,'" Kovacevich recalled. "'Is this America?' I asked myself."
"This was truly a 'godfather moment.' They made us an offer we couldn't refuse," Kovacevich said, adding that he might have put up more of a fight if the San Francisco bank had not been trying to acquire troubled Wachovia at the time.
Paulson's logic was that if some banks made it known that they didn't need TARP money, their success would reflect badly on those who did - a dynamic that repeated itself with the auto bailout. Ford ran ads touting the fact that it hadn't needed a bailout - but pulled them swiftly after the White House complained that they reflected poorly on Ford's bailed-out competitors (Ford, needing to stay on the White House's good side, then denied that the ad had been pulled as a result of political pressure). In an industry that depends so heavily on government favor, none of the major players can speak their mind freely, even at the risk of kneecapping their own willingness to compete with what are supposed to be their competitors.
The auto bailout under Obama was headed by Steve Rattner, who - speaking of corporatism - was later sanctioned by the SEC for a pay-to-play scheme to steer New York state pension business his way. And it - like TARP - undeniably involved the government in picking winners and losers among the various players in the industry based upon whether they were politically favored:
In moving to get Chrysler through bankruptcy and into the hands of Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, the president's auto task force bullied Chrysler bondholders and managed successfully to place the unsecured claims of the UAW ahead of secured creditors.
In moving to get GM back to independence, the Treasury Department sold part of its equity stake in the automaker at an initial public offering. But the shares now trade consistently lower than their offer price, meaning taxpayers stand to lose as much as $15 billion on the government's remaining 26.5-percent stake in GM, according to Treasury estimates.
In moving to get GM through bankruptcy, the task force and its bosses at Treasury effectively shafted 22,000 salaried retirees of the former Delphi Corp., the long-time GM parts supplier the automaker spun off in 1999. Despite an 85 percent funding level in its pension fund, Treasury urged the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to seize the Delphi pension plan.
The net effect: Many retirees saw their annual payouts cut by as much as two thirds, even as union members were "topped up" with taxpayer dollars from the Troubled Asset Relief Program; their former colleagues at GM saw comparatively minor cuts to their pensions; and key members of the auto task force still won't tell congressional investigators who made the call to treat Delphi's salaried retirees differently than everyone else.
In moving to get both GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy, the task force essentially ordered the automakers to cut thousands of independent dealers from their distribution networks, irrespective of the dealers' profitability, customer service performance and even location.
The Delphi investigation is continuing, with emails showing political involvement in the relevant decisions. Meanwhile the Administration has been resisting GM's requests that the Treasury sell its multibillion-dollar stake in the company, out of concern for showing a loss on its investment. GM's fate remains at the mercy of politics.
A similar dynamic played out in the TARP program, with powerful House Committee chairs like Barney Frank and Maxine Waters intervening to steer TARP funds to favored banks, part of a broader pattern of influence:
U.S. banks that spent more on lobbying were more likely to get government bailout money according to Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Their study reveals a twisted correlation between a bank's bailout and its proximity to an elected politician.
Banks with an executive who sat on the board of a Federal Reserve Bank were 31 percent more likely to get bailouts through TARP, and those with ties to a finance committee member were 26 percent more likely to get capital purchase program funds.
Members of the House of Representatives were also a good way in -- the study showed that more funds went to banks with headquarters in the district of a member who served on a committee or subcommittee related to TARP.
Not content with playing favorites among large banks, Obama then tried to pivot to getting smaller banks on the take, pledging in his 2010 State of the Union to tax the big banks and "take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat." It requires little imagination to picture the precise same process of lobbying and favoritism playing itself out on the community-bank level.
Of course, these and other bailouts reduce the risk in investing in large corporations - and that's one of the reasons why we see soaring stock markets even as corporate earnings plunge. Financial instruments like stocks, after all, are all about taking risks to earn rewards - and the less the risk involved, the less rewards you require to make it worthwhile.
(For professional reasons, I can't get further into financial-industry issues, but suffice it to say that not only have there been many more specific complaints lodged against the corporatist tendencies of TARP in action, but of the labrynthian Dodd-Frank bill as well, see here and here).
C. Obamacare
Obamacare, of course, is the granddaddy of all collectivist, corporatist programs under Obama. Just a few examples will show how.
1. The Insurance Mandate
The core, controversial heart of Obamacare is the idea that - in order to give uninsured people health insurance coverage - all Americans would be mandated to buy coverage (the "individual mandate"), and all insurers would be required to take all comers regardless of their insurance risks ("guaranteed issue") and would be regulated in their ability to price for those risks ("community rating").
Obama could have chosen just to subsidize the uninsured to buy insurance. But instead, the entire pricing mechanism of the insurance market for everyone is altered by the requirements of guaranteed issue and community rating, the first of which massively increases insurers' costs, and the second of which prevents them from passing those costs on to high-risk insureds. This ensures that those insureds receive coverage that is worth more than they paid for it. Instead, those costs are imposed on everyone who has insurance, by means of the individual mandate. The Supreme Court explained how the mandate works as a subsidy:
By requiring that individuals purchase health insurance, the mandate prevents cost-shifting by those who would otherwise go without it. In addition, the mandate forces into the insurance risk pool more healthy individuals, whose premiums on average will be higher than their health care expenses. This allows insurers to subsidize the costs of covering the unhealthy individuals the reforms require them to accept.
Here we have the perfect match of collectivism (i.e, raising the cost of insurance across the board to subsidize high-risk insureds) and corporatism (rather than create a "public option" oby which government would service those high-risk insureds directly, it forces individuals to buy policies from private companies). Its defenders used explicitly collectivist arguments to justify its constitutionality. And lest the insurers misbehave, the public option or a straight-up single payer plan (which Obama has previously described as his ultimate goal, but for now uses as the bad-cop threat) looms as a threat down the road.
In the meantime, insurers and employers are under an ever-increasing web of regulatory control that will continue to sap their independence. The most controversial example is the HHS contraceptive mandate, which requires employer-provided coverage to include contraception, and fails to exempt many Catholic and other religious institutions that object to being compelled to provide something that violates their religious principles. The number of employees actually affected by the HHS contraceptive mandate, and the amount of money involved, is minuscule in comparison to the health care system as a whole; one would ordinarily think that the issue is far too small for a president facing re-election to justify an open breach with the Catholic Church over it. The heavy emphasis placed on the fight by the Obama campaign, all the way down to having Sandra Fluke speak at its convention, suggests that perhaps this was all just a deliberate campaign strategy, and that's one possible interpretation. But it also signals something more deeply troubling in this Administration: a determination to impose its will on the Church. The whole fight is nothing if not a test of who has power over one of the terms of employment at Catholic institutions. This effort to bring the Church to heel at the federal government's command is a textbook example of how corporatist systems inevitably demand that all the major free institutions be reminded that the government calls the tune. Obama's own defense of the mandate is, again, revealing of his tendency to draw everyone into the web of owing the government:
[W]e did say that big Catholic hospitals or universities who employ a lot of non-Catholics and who receive a lot of federal money, that for them to be in a position to say to a woman who works there you can't get that from your insurance company even though the institution isn't paying for it, that that crosses the line where that woman, she suddenly is gonna have to bear the burden and the cost of that. And that's not fair.
You took the money, whether you originally wanted it or not. And now Uncle Sam has the leverage to make you violate even your religion.
2. The Backroom Deals
Legislation, especially big, complicated legislation, invariably involves all sorts of backroom wheeling and dealing and favor-trading among legislators and industry and labor or other interest group lobbies (this is one good reason to avoid such legislation whenever possible). There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with lobbyists getting a hearing when their industry's ox is potentially about to be gored, but the more a bill hands out rewards and punishments among different economic interest groups, the uglier this process gets. Liberals complained - and not without reason - about the drug companies' involvement in the Medicare Part D bill in 2003, but Obamacare took that to the next level; not only was the bill written with the substantial involvement of lobbyists for the insurance and drug companies, but the negotiations included a quid pro quo connecting the legislation to the behavior of private businesses, while putting on the sham public appearance of Obama being tough with business:
[D]rug lobbyists, White House officials and aides to Sen. Max Baucus hammered out a deal that formed the backbone of Obamacare. The final bill would subsidize prescription drugs, force states to include drug coverage in Medicaid, and expand private insurance coverage of drugs. Also, the White House pledged to oppose policies that Obama had promised on the campaign trail: allowing reimportation of prescription drugs and empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower prices on the drugs Medicare is paying for. In return, drug companies would offer a discount to some senior citizens, and would spend millions of dollars on ads supporting the bill and the lawmakers who backed it.
Even The Nation was appalled by the way the process was handled. Given this modus operandi, it is not surprising that - as Tim Carney has noted - you can scarcely throw a rock around the Obama Administration without hitting a political appointee who has worked as a lobbyist.
3. Medicaid
Obamacare vastly expanded the Medicaid program, and in an echo of the stimulus program, ran so roughshod over independent state sovereignty that the Supreme Court, by a 7-2 margin - including Justice Breyer and Obama's own former Solicitor General, Justice Kagan - found it the unconstitutional equivalent of a "gun to the head" of the states.
Medicaid is jointly funded between the federal government and the states, and already consumes an ever-increasing share of state spending. It used to be a voluntary program, and in its early years, some states opted out of some or all of the program. By now, all 50 states are in the program, but at least in theory they are still free to take or leave additional federal expansions.
Obamacare required participating states to enormously increase their Medicaid spending by relaxing eligibility, in part to fund Medicaid recipients' ability to comply with the individual mandate. The federal government would cover these expenses in the short run, but as with the stimulus, with no promises to continue doing so once states were locked into the new system: "because the new Medicaid enrollees will now be dependent on the government, states won't be politically or legally able to roll back their programs, leaving state taxpayers with the bill. The Wall Street Journal aptly compares this to 'a subprime loan with a teaser rate and balloon payment.'"
Some states projected that under the new rules, Medicaid would consume around a quarter of their budgets (the average state's share is already 20 percent). Many governors, especially Republicans, balked at a huge expansion of their budgets by a program outside their control at a time when state budgets are already deeply stressed, but Congress threatened in the bill that any state refusing to agree to the new eligibility rules would lose every penny of their funding. They complained to the Court that this was a threat to independent state self-government, and the Court agreed. Obama had gone too far.
4. The Regulatory Forest
Even beyond the best-known mandates and the Medicaid expansion, the blizzard of new regulations under Obamacare provides plenty of corporatism's classic incentives towards bigness and a cozy relationship between government and large, captive private institutions. Ben Domenech explains:
The president's health care law contains rafts of new regulations, benchmarks, and taxes for providers to deal with. Since these limit profit margins and create new administrative costs, they make it very appealing for health care providers to merge into gigantic, sprawling systems of care...
...Obama's law ...giv[es] these large entities even more incentive to merge through the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs). These large health care entities will destroy any hope for competition in a marketplace, driving out or buying out independent doctors and extracting as much money as possible from taxpayer-funded entitlements and the privately insured.
We've already seen this happen under a system similar to Obama's, in Massachusetts, where the state’s largest insurer and hospital system collaborated in a secret handshake agreement: The insurer promised to pay the hospital system more money in exchange for an agreement that the hospital would stick all other insurers with the same rate increases. This is classic cartel behavior, and it will only increase under Obama's law. And thanks to government subsidies and our third-party payer system where patients and providers are insulated from price signals, costs will only continue to increase for the rest of us.
This is the corporatist model: reduce the number of players in the industry to a handful of powerful interest groups that could fit around a table, then have government treat them as its (decidedly junior) partners, leaving individuals and small businesses out in the cold.
See Part I and Part II. In Part IV, the same trends play out in other policy areas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A reminder about the last plant-infested, CNN-run town hall debate

A reminder about the last plant-infested, CNN-run town hall debate:
CNN’s Candy Crowley will be moderating tomorrow night’s second presidential debate. It will be a 90-minute town hall forum at Hofstra University on Long Island, east of New York City. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns signed a “memorandum of understanding” about how the debate will be run. But Crowley is already making noises that she plans to circumvent the agreed-upon rules and take control:
In a rare example of political unity, both the Romney and Obama campaigns have expressed concern to the Commission on Presidential Debates about how the moderator of this Tuesday’s town hall has publicly described her role, TIME has learned.
While an early-October memorandum of understanding between the Obama and Romney campaigns suggests that CNN’s Candy Crowley would play a limited role in the Tuesday-night session, Crowley, who is not a party to that agreement, has done a series of interviews on her network in which she has suggested that she will assume a broader set of responsibilities. As Crowley put it last week, “Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?’”
Do you remember what happened the last time CNN was in charge of a high-stakes “town hall” style campaign debate?
I do. Flashback: CNN/YouTube/plant debacle.
Refresher:
5plant.jpg
Concerned Young Undecided Person “Journey” = John Edwards supporter “Journey”
3cercone.jpg
Concerned Undecided Log Cabin Republican supporter David Cercone = Obama supporter David Cercone
4leeann.jpg
Concerned Undecided Mom LeeAnn Anderson = Activist for the John Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers union LeeAnn Anderson
3lgb.jpg
Concerned Undecided Gay Military Retiree Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr = Hillary/Kerry supporter and anti-”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” activist Keith H. Kerr
11/30/07
CNN’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
If any more political plants turn up at CNN’s presidential debates, the cable-news network will have to merge with the Home and Garden channel.
At CNN’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas two weeks back, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada and a far left anti-war activist who’d been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.
Yet CNN failed to disclose those affiliations and activism during the broadcast.
Behold – the phony political foliage bloomed again at Wednesday night’s much hyped CNN/YouTube GOP debate.
Oh, CNN did make careful note that Grover Norquist (who asked about his anti-tax pledge) is a Republican activist with Americans for Tax Reform. But somehow the network’s layers and layers of fact-checkers missed several easily identified Democratic activists posing as ordinary, undecided citizens.
The tallest plant was a retired gay vet, one “Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr,” who questioned – or rather, lectured – the candidates on video and in person about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bans open gays from the military.
Funny. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was exactly the policy CNN adopted in not telling viewers that Kerr is a member of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual- Transgender Americans for Hillary.
Sen. Clinton’s campaign Web site features a press release announcing Kerr and other members of the committee in June. And a basic Web search turns up Kerr’s past support as a member of a veterans’ steering committee for the John Kerry for President campaign – and his prior appearance on CNN in December ’03.
CNN’s moderator, Anderson Cooper, singled out Kerr (who’d been flown in for the event) in the vast audience, giving him a chance for his own filibustering moment. Marvel at it: Not one CNN journalist uncovered the connection or thought it pertinent to disclose that Kerr’s heart belonged to Hillary.
When righty commentator Bill Bennett pointed out the facts to Cooper after the debate, a red-faced Cooper feebly blubbered: “That was something certainly unknown to us, and had we known that, would have been disclosed by us. It turns out we have just looked at it.”
Cluelessness doesn’t absolve CNN of journalistic malpractice. Neither does editing out Kerr’s question (as the network did on rebroadcast, to camouflage the potted plant).
The story is far from over: Cooper and CNN still owe their audience – and the GOP candidates – a bouquet of mea culpas for due diligence and disclosure lapses. Beyond Kerr, Internet sleuths have uncovered several other Democratic activists lurking in the YouTube garden:
* A young woman named “Journey” questioned the candidates on abortion. On her blog (easily accessed from her YouTube channel), she declares herself a John Edwards supporter. Post debate, she immediately posted a video wearing . . . her John Edwards ’08 T-shirt.
* David Cercone of Florida asked a question seemingly on behalf of the Log Cabin Republicans. He had declared his support for Obama on an Obama ’08 campaign blog back in July.
* Concerned mother LeeAnn Anderson asked about lead in toys with her two children in her lap. She is actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers – which has endorsed Edwards.
On other questioners, elementary Google searches show that:
* Ted Faturos, who asked about ethanol subsidies, had served as an intern for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.).
* Adam Florzak, who asked about Social Security, quit his job as a welder and is working with Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) staff on the issue.
* Mark Strauss, who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, had publicly supported Gov. Bill Richardson in July.
Alternative media platforms – talk radio, the Internet and this op-ed page – have spread these facts like kudzu. But the persistent media double standard is obvious to everyone but the manure spreaders at CNN: Had GOP candidates somehow been able to insert their operatives and supporters into a Democratic debate, and had, say, Fox News failed to vet the questioners and presented them as average citizens, both Fox and the GOP would be treated as the century’s worst media sinners.
Whether through, as one blogger put, “constructive incompetence” or “convenient ineptitude,” CNN has committed journalistic malpractice under the guise of “citizen” participation.
In a now richly ironic interview with Wired.- com before the debate, David Bohrman, a CNN senior vice president, explained why videos were picked not by popular vote, but by supposedly seasoned CNN journalists: The Web is still too immature a medium to set an agenda for a national debate, he claimed. “It’s really easy for the campaigns to game the system.” “You’ve seen how effective the Ron Paul campaign [supporters] have been on the Web,” he noted. “You don’t know if there are 40 or 4 million of them. It would be easy for a really organized campaign to stack the deck.”
What does Bohrman have to say about his crack staff now?
***
Related background:
Liveblogging the CNN/YouTube debate: “Edginess,” “elbows, “eh.” Update: Romney’s the Energizer candidate; Update: PLANT ALERT; The biggest stumble of the night award goes to…CNN; Update: The plants keep sprouting like weeds
Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants: Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers
CNN apologists accuse critics of “stalking”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Addicted to Instagram

Addicted to Instagram:

Tillandsia funckiana
It’s official, I’m addicted to Instagram. I needed a new stationary hobby to do while feeding Zoe in addition to watching lots and lots of bad tv (she eats a lot). Yesterday we went to Olbrich Botanical Gardens to check out the Bolz Conservatory and get out of the house for a little bit. Tillandsia funckiana is one of our faves and just happened to be blooming like crazy. I linked this top pic to my Instagram pic if you want to find me (they’re also on flickr). I’d love to have more Instagrammers to follow, my user name is faroutmegan & Matti is fofmatti.

Bromeliad Party
Lots of bros were doing their flowery thing at the Conservatory. They have a great assortment of them.

Checking out the Chenille Tree (Acalypha hispida)

Happy Tropicals

What’s this?
Didn’t grab the name of this cool flowered plant. Anyone know what it is?

Autumn Arrangement
I love decorative cabbages and kales… so much so I planted ones you’re supposed to eat out back and only gaze at them with love.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Study the Mentality - Part XIII (#Obamaphone)

Study the Mentality - Part XIII: The leeches are at it again. Imagine the target rich environment that will result when the government has taken every last dime from the decent folks in this country and the teat runs dry.




"The Transporter" Rules

Rule #1: No new deals, when it's a deal, it's a deal.

Rule #2: No names.

Rule #3: Don't open the package.

Rule #4: Never make a promise you can't keep.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The post-constitutional president - Obama shows contempt for his oath of office

The post-constitutional president - Obama shows contempt for his oath of office:
(WT) Team Obama insists that next month’s presidential election is “a choice, not a referendum.” It sure seems to be the latter with respect to the two candidates’ very different views on the Constitution. Mitt Romney makes plain at every turn his commitment to that document, while Barack Obama’s conduct in office has marked him as the post-constitutional president.

Consider just a few examples of President Obama’s systematic disregard of, contempt for and deviation from a national charter he swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend:

Mr. Obama has simply refused to uphold federal laws with which he disagrees, including the Defense of Marriage Act and immigration statutes.

After confirming that in the absence of congressional authorization he lacked the authority to give what amounts to an amnesty to young illegal aliens, Mr. Obama went ahead and declared it by executive fiat.

Despite repeated congressional objections to federal purchase of a state prison in Thomson, Ill., to which the Obama administration has sought to relocate jihadists currently held as detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Obama last week authorized its acquisition for $165 million.

Ever since taking office, the Obama administration has sought to accommodate Islamist demands that freedom of expression be curbed lest it offend Muslims and stoke violence. For example, in 2009, the administration co-sponsored a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution along those lines. In 2011, it launched the so-called “Istanbul Process” to find common ground with proponents of Shariah blasphemy laws who seek to strip us of our First Amendment freedoms.

In September, Mr. Obama announced at the United Nations, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” — a stance indistinguishable from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban and al Qaeda.

A particularly ominous example of Mr. Obama’s post-constitutional presidency involves his abdication of his first duty as commander in chief: to secure the common defense. Having successfully engineered two rounds of deep defense budget reductions totaling some $800 billion over the next 10 years, the president is intent on inflicting a further, devastating half-trillion-dollar, across-the-board cut pursuant to a process known on Capitol Hill as sequestration.

There is no getting around it: Cuts of this magnitude are going to result in tremendous disruptions to defense programs and attendant job losses in the associated industries. A federal law known as the Warn Act requires companies with more than 100 employees to give them notice of potential layoffs 60 days in advance. With sequestration due to kick in Jan. 2, this means the mandatory warning of potential pink slips to come would arrive just before the Nov. 6 election.

To avoid such a particularly untimely reminder of the president’s dismal stewardship of his economic as well as national security portfolios, in July the Obama Labor Department issued guidance to defense contractors saying that the Warn Act’s requirements would not be enforced. The pretext given was that since sequestration’s potential effects on particular contracts had not been specified, there was insufficient basis to know the extent of the impact on employment and, therefore, the statute would not apply.

Of course, one reason the potential effects of sequestration are not known with precision less than three months before they are statutorily required to go into effect is that the Obama administration has ordered the Pentagon not to make any plans for implementing that next round of cuts. This directive was reaffirmed Sept. 27.

On Sept. 28, Team Obama advised contractors that, as the Hill newspaper reported: “They would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor [Department] guidance.” In other words, the administration now wants the taxpayer to pick up the tab for violations of the law by those it has induced to engage in them.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, all Republicans, have been among those tirelessly warning for months of the catastrophe sequestration will inflict on the U.S. military. They issued a joint statement in response to the president’s latest post-constitutional action which said, in part, “The Obama administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis. The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.

In an important essay published Sept. 24 in the Wall Street Journal, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey called on legislators to put Mr. Obama on notice: If, as widely expected, he proceeds after the election to yield to Islamist demands that he transfer or release the lead conspirator in the first World Trade Center attack, Omar Abdel-Rahman — presumably to Egypt — it “could be considered the kind of gross betrayal of public trust that would justify removal from high office.” The same should apply to Mr. Obama’s palpable contempt for the Constitution — something sure to be even more in evidence if he secures re-election and, as he says, “more flexibility” in a second term.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Organizing For America caught assisting double voting

Organizing For America caught assisting double voting:
The DNC operation which serves as a de facto arm of the Obama campaign.
From James O’Keefe at the Project Veritas website:
Project Veritas has released a new investigation that exposes Obama campaign workers, including a Regional Field Director at Organizing for America (OFA), engaged in election fraud.
According to James O’Keefe, “These individuals showed no concern whatsoever when our investigators declared their intention to vote multiple times for President Obama. In fact, they were happy to help, even going so far as to provide the forms necessary to commit the fraud and offering advice on how to avoid getting caught.”…
This latest footage was gathered over several weeks in Texas and New Jersey. It shows Obama campaign workers, including Organizing for America Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero, providing material assistance to individuals who state explicitly that they intend to commit election fraud.
There is no doubt that these workers know exactly what they are doing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

“Don’t Shoot!—I’m Che!” (A Glorious Anniversary) - Humberto Fontova - [page]

“Don’t Shoot!—I’m Che!” (A Glorious Anniversary) - Humberto Fontova - [page]

Rally Planned Tuesday Morning for Bullied Pro-Romney Teen

Rally Planned Tuesday Morning for Bullied Pro-Romney Teen:

Friends and supporters of Samantha Pawlucy are planning to rally outside her high school when she returns on Tuesday. Pawlucy says she was bullied and harassed by a teacher and students for wearing a pro-Romney shirt. The sixteen year old was threatened and taunted by a teacher and students at Charles Carroll High School in Philadelphia.
The harassment extended to her parents on Friday when they went to the school to file a formal complaint.  Friends of the Pawlucy’s told Breitbart.com that students shouted threats and obscenities at the couple as they left the school. One friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said one student shouted out to couple, ‘to tell the ‘bitch’ [their daughter Samantha] this school is for democrats.” The students even harassed a Marine Veteran who was standing outside the school with a sign supporting the Pawlucy’s. 
Friends tell Breitbart.com that neither Samantha nor her parents want her to return to the school.  However, the unions have made moving her to the location of her choice all but impossible.  The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (the parent union of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers which represents Pawlucy’s teacher Lynette Gaymon) successfully lobbied against and defeated any pro-vouch amendment to George W. Bush education plan and a pro-charter school bill currently before Congress.
Joe Eastman, one of the organizers of the rally on Tuesday says, “I plan to support that family.  This is just wrong. If that child had worn an Obama T-shirt and gotten harrassed, I’d raise hell about it too.  She goes into the one place you would think a child would be safe and not experience bullying, harrassment and churlish behavior on the part of teacher or adult.”  Eastman says organizers are hoping Mitt Romney himself will show up on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Christians are being ‘emptied from the Middle East’

Christians are being ‘emptied from the Middle East’:

The Australian has the story:

Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix
Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix
By Rowan Callick, October 6, 2012
The mother superior of a 1500-year-old monastery in Syria warned yesterday during a visit to Australia that the uprising against Bashar al-Assad has been hijacked by foreign Islamist mercenaries, with strong support from Western countries.
Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix was forced to flee to neighbouring Lebanon in June when she was warned of a plot to abduct her, after she revealed that about 80,000 Christians had been “cleared” by rebel forces from their homes in Homs province.
She described on the website of the Greek-Melkite Catholic monastery of St James, the church she rebuilt 18 years ago after discovering it in ruins, how Islamist rebels had gathered Christian and Alawi hostages in a building in Khalidiya in Homs. Then they blew it up with dynamite and attributed the act to the regular army.
Mother Agnes-Mariam plans to return to Syria soon, to support the Mussalaha (Reconciliation) community-based movement, which rejects sectarian violence and includes, she said, members of all ethnic and religious communities who are tired of war.
Rallies with the theme “Hands Off Syria” are scheduled for lunchtime tomorrow in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, and will involve a wide variety of groups from the country.
Mother Agnes-Mariam, 60, speaks five languages fluently and spent 22 years as a contemplative Carmelite nun in Lebanon, where she was born. Her late father was a Palestinian refugee who fled Nazareth in 1948 when the state of Israel was established.
She told The Weekend Australian, while visiting Melbourne yesterday – between meetings with Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart and state parliamentarians – that after the uprising began, she had noticed growing numbers of “aggressive, armed gangs which wished to paralyse community life, abducting people, beheading, bringing terror even to schools”.
Slowly these groups became identified: some are recruited by and affiliated with al-Qa’ida, some have a Muslim Brotherhood background, some are attached to other Islamist factions. Only about one in 20 of these fighters is Syrian, she said. The rest come from places ranging from Britain to Pakistan, from Chechnya to North Africa. “Many have fought in Iraq, some also in Afghanistan,” Mother Agnes-Mariam said. “Now their cause is being recycled to kill Syrians.”
The two million Christians in Syria – which contains the world’s first church – “are sharing Syria’s fate”, she said.
“But as a minority, they are more vulnerable. They have no army. They are caught, like the filling in a sandwich.”
Her own community of nuns at St James has been mostly trapped in the monastery for 18 months.
In the beginning, she said, the uprising embraced values including freedom and democracy. “But it steadily became a violent Islamist expression against a liberal secular society.”
She described “a hidden will to empty the Middle East of its Christian presence. We don’t know why. We have always been the peaceful catalyst bringing diverse communities together.”
[...]
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