Meet Frank VanderSloot. Here’s What The President Did to Him:
I have mentioned Idaho Conservative Frank VanderSloot several times, but he is undoubtedly neither a familiar name or a familiar face. He had the misfortune to be the very first entrant on President Obama’s reelection campaign’s “enemies list.” His sin? He donated to the Romney Campaign. He was called “disreputable” by the president, and it was suggested that he had a bad reputation. How absolutely outrageous.
In the United States of America you have a Constitutional right to dislike the President of the United States and say so. Mr. VanderSloot was investigated and audited by the IRS, his business was audited and investigated, his cattle ranch was investigated by the Labor Department in a classic example of using the power of the government to intimidate a citizen. This isn’t yet the Soviet Union, and here you have to lawyer up. Cost Mr. VanderSloot a reported $80,000 to escape the clutches of a government on attack.
Published on May 30, 2012 by the Heritage Foundation:
Frank VanderSloot grew up a poor kid in rural Idaho. His father made $300 a month. His clothes came from the Salvation Army. Yet through determination and hard work—and with the help of America’s free-enterprise system—today he’s the successful CEO of a global supplier of wellness products.
VanderSloot said his life changed forever on April 20. That’s when President Obama’s campaign created the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.
Competence, Responsiblity, Intelligence and Ethics
May 21, 2013, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption
, Domestic Policy
, The Constitution
| Tags: Accepting responsibility
, Incompetence and Malfeasance
, Standing Up To Be Counted
People in responsible positions have behaved very badly. Lies and excuses are flowing. I didn’t know. Nobody told me. I’m not responsible. It wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t aware. It’s irrelevant. I didn’t understand what was happening. Don’t blame me. How do you begin to get your mind around what it going on?
Cascading scandals. Today’s scandals are piling on top of earlier scandals that we don’t yet understand. Who is responsible? Who knew? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Who are the whistleblowers? Who is being sent out to take the fall to protect someone more important?
One begins to long for the days of historic Japan when the person in charge took responsibility, pronounced his shame and committed seppuku. It may seem barbaric now, but it brought a quick finality to the problem, tied it in a neat package so the remaining people could put their lives back together and get on.
Young graduates are entering society with big hopes and enormous debts. In Oklahoma a 1½-mile wide tornado has destroyed an entire town, flattened homes, and a death toll of twenty-five people almost sounds like a good thing, for it could have been so much worse. Cascading grief.
Senator Carl Levin is engaged in calling the Apple computer corporation to task before the Finance Committee for not paying more taxes even though they have carefully followed the laws made by the U.S. Congress. One reason that those new graduates are not finding employment to pay back their student loans is because the law of unintended consequences is making a burgeoning scandal out of ObamaCare, a law passed by a Democrat Congress without a single Republican vote.
The people holding committee meetings designed to get to the bottom of the scandal are also the people who have passed the laws, or passed the buck to some agency, to make the rules that are currently fouling everything up. We’re all human and fallible and make mistakes. But you don’t get off the proverbial hook by appearing before a committee and offering the passive “mistakes were made.”
Yes. A lot of mistakes have been made. People have been killed, unnecessarily. One quite innocent businessman has had to pay $80,000 worth of legal bills because someone in the IRS or in the Treasury Department or in the White House thought it was acceptable to go after someone’s entire financial dealings because they dared to donate to the president’s political rival before an upcoming election.
Those illegal and unethical attacks have had the desired effect. Big donors are afraid of the IRS. The head of Health and Human Services, left by a massive bill that nobody had read in charge of rolling it out, is finding out that the law of unintended consequences means that everyone is trying to avoid participating in a system that they believe to be unworkable and unaffordable. So she is out trying to bully those very entities which she will regulate into financing a program to make people like the unlikable. ObamaCare itself is a scandal that is ruining the economy.
With all those scandals, it’s no wonder that people do not yet understand the depth or the meaning of all these failures. Large numbers of the population have never heard of Benghazi, nor Kermit Gosnell, Steve Miller, nor Frank VanderSloot. Well, it’s no wonder. This may be the information age, but the information flow is not pared down and carefully formed so we get only that which is important, and if it were so, it would be someone else’s judgment as to what is important.
Twitter, designed by its limits to be confined to 140 characters (including spaces), would seem designed to be short, direct and immediate. Yet it is not turning out to be a conveyance of the most important information, but mostly an all-American repository of smart remarks.
You have to dig out the important information for yourselves. Reject the news about Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, and take notice of what is going on. Because what your Congress is doing will change your life. Take away your freedom. Even though they work for you, you can’t trust them. We have to remind them constantly of their responsibilities. There is a there there. It does matter.
A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take
the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day.
A Sweet Story About Nice People in Iowa
Twenty-five year-old Sergeant Ross Gundlach served over 150 missions with his bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan. He told Casey that he’d look her up when he returned home. Now enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Gundlach learned that Casey had been mustered out and assigned to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office. Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, sending pictures and stories about Casey, seeking to adopt her.
Reynolds sought help from the Iowa Elks who agreed to donate $8,500 to buy Iowa another dog., and arranged for Gundlach to come to Iowa to plead his case officially.
Gundlach said “I promised her if we made it out alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her. On Friday he made good on that vow with some surprise help from sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise. …
When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried. She licked his face, wagging her tail furiously.
“It was a total surprise” he said.”I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.”
A mode of transportation thousands of years old, a pack of dogs and a dogsled. Notice the way the dogs are harnessed. Quite different from what I’ve seen on the Iditarod.
The Elephants’ Rules for Reforming Immigration
May 9, 2013, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Capitalism
, Health Care
| Tags: 12 Million Unemployed
, 867 Pages too Long
, A Surprisingly Bad Bill
The Senate “Gang of Eight’s” Immigration bill is one of those massive conglomerates of a bill that attempts to do everything all at once and get the issue over and done with. The title of the bill alone is enough to sink the law of its own weight. It is the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization act of 2013,” and it clocks in at 867 pages. This is not the way to make law.
Immigration is complicated. The present immigration rules are not only ignored by a goodly portion of the immigrants, but the president has ordered the Border Patrol to release any illegal immigrant under the age of 31, even if they are guilty of a crime. Executive order. Congress refused to pass the “Dream Act” which gives the children of illegals the opportunity to live here and become citizens and vote for Obama, but Obama wanted the Dream Act anyway, so he issued an Executive Order. He doesn’t like that separation of powers stuff.
So how many immigrants do you let in and from where? What about their wives, husbands, parents, aunts and uncles,and grandparents? This is called chain migration and it can be unending. About half of the illegal immigrants here came over the border, and about half have come here legally, but have overstayed the time they were allowed.
What do you do about the resorts in Tucson, for example, who welcome wealthy pregnant Latino women to come to their resort and have their baby in a Tucson hospital and give the baby American citizenship as a birth gift? Do we want to limit immigration to “your tired and poor, huddled masses yearning to be free,” or do we want highly educated people who are bringing special skills and the desire to build a great company? Or the wealthy person who already has a great company that he wants to bring to America? Democrats want reliable Democrat voters.
Congress voted in 2006 to build 370 miles of triple-layered fence and 500 miles of automobile barriers. It is now 2013, and we have 36.3 miles of border fence. As I said in an earlier piece, we keep doing the same thing over and over.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) persuaded Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to be the public face of the immigration bill because he is the son of immigrants, close to the immigrant community, a Republican, and very popular. He has been everywhere, selling hard.
Politicians and the media are obsessed with two issues: gun control and illegal immigration. Guess what? According to a new Gallup Poll these two issues are at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address.
Illegal border crossings peaked in 2000 and are down my more than 70% since then, net migration from Mexico is currently zero. Anecdotal evidence suggests that illegals are streaming over the border because of so much talk of “amnesty” in the news, and they want some of Obama’s amnesty. The people, and you won’t be surprised, want lawmakers to focus on job creation (86%), economic growth (86%) and making government work more efficiently (81%).
Lawmakers may face some real objections when the people discover that in spite of 12 million Americans who want a job, and countless employed people who have just been dropped to part-time because of ObamaCare — our lawmakers want to invite all sorts of new immigrants. The technology companies want a lot more H-1B immigrants with technology skills. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) points out that we have way more trained STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates than there are jobs. We are scheduled for a massive shortage of physicians when ObamaCare takes full effect next year.
Heritage warns that the new benefits that go to new immigrants, made legal, are hugely expensive. Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workmen’s compensation. Means-tested welfare benefits add up to $900 billion a year. Public education at a cost of $12,300 per student, and additional civic services like police, fire and so on. The Hoover Institution says additional H-1B workers would add billions to GDP and Federal Tax Revenue, but they’re in Silicon Valley.
So far, 300 amendments have been offered for the Senate immigration bill, but none of the amendments removes the $3,000 incentive it gives to some employers to hire a legalized immigrant over a U.S. Citizen.
Senator Rubio has a spot on his website where he asks citizens to read the bill and suggest things that are wrong and ways to fix them. Just go to Senate.gov, and scroll down to Senator Rubio’s page.
I would like to see the bill broken up into parts to be passed separately. Part One is securing the border. If we cannot secure the border, all the rest of the rules are useless. Part One should be passed, and the border secured, fenced, controlled, and border patrol agents and ICE agents allowed to do the work that they took an oath to do. At present ICE agents are suing Homeland Security because they are not allowed to do the job they swore to do.
Part Two is reforming out assimilation process. It is broken. New immigrants are not learning what it means to be an American. The melting-pot is broken. Fix it.
When those two things are fixed, finished, complete — and if there is the will to do so, it need not take years — then we can decide who gets to come and what the rules are. I welcome immigrants. They bring new skills, new ideas and even new food to our country. I just don’t want to keep doing this over and over and failing to complete the project because of partisan politics.
Simple. It might even pass.
First You Need A Few Balloons…
May 7, 2013, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Architecture
| Tags: Acrocanthosaurus
, Don't Try This At Home
, Twenty-Foot Dinosaur
Here’s a time-lapse video of how a 20-foot acrocanthosaurus is made. The Airigami team assembled the dinosaur and its ecosystem, including plants and some crawly insects at the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ancient Life. It took them four days, but it looks like they didn’t have to blow up the balloons, at least not there.
That is without question the best balloon accomplishment I’ve ever seen.
“Reach” — Problems and Solutions
Reach from Luke Randall on Vimeo.
Always just out of reach, but keep on trying. I liked this little video.
The April Jobs Report Was Threatening.
Over the past five years we have been engaged in a test of progressive economic policies. The media happily tell us that we are recovering and offer up the 165,000 payroll jobs that were created in April. This is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Establishment Survey, or the U-3 unemployment report which showed the rate declining by 0.1 percent to 7.5 percent. So that sounds good.
The Household Survey numbers looks a little deeper into the economy, and that’s where it gets a little more uncomfortable. Also known as the U-6 rate the unemployment figures increased by 0.1 percent. While total employment rose by 293,000 during April, part-time jobs increased by 441,000, meaning that full-time jobs actually declined by 148,000. The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time workers, and a drop in the length of the average workweek. Which means that the BLS report was bad news, not the happy day portrayed by the media. And the results of the roll out of ObamaCare are as expected, as more full-time employees are reduced to part-time hours.
But wait, it gets even worse. During April, the Full Time Equivalent jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, and to statistics-watchers this hints of a new recession.
Progressive economic policies involve Keynesian fiscal stimulus (intentionally increasing government spending to boost domestic “demand”), monetary stimulus (deliberate action to weaken the dollar in order to increase demand for our exports), higher marginal tax rates on “the rich” (they can afford it), and increased regulation to control more of just about everything. They have also expanded alternatives to actually working, including Social Security Disability, Food Stamps, and extended unemployment benefits.
What you get with progressive economic policies is pessimism. America is just in decline, not going to get better, everything is changed, we need to be more like every other country and stop thinking we’re something special. No exceptionalism here.
Supply-side economics has specific steps as well. Tight monetary policy, a strong dollar, incentive cuts in marginal tax rates, and a reassertion of American optimism and creativity with confidence in what government policies will be.
Jared Bernstein, who was Vice President Joe Biden’s economic adviser, wrote in the New York Times about the slowly improving job market (?) that persists in spite of ‘an economic expansion continuing since mid-2009.’
For decades in postwar America, the maintenance of full employment, defined as an unemployment rate below 5 percent, was enshrined in law, beginning with the Employment Act of 1946 and revisited in 1978 in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. It was a central goal of the Democratic Party, labor unions and advocates of social and racial justice.
And it usually worked. While conservatives and businesses pushed back — tight labor markets meant more worker bargaining power, higher wages and less profitability — between 1949 and 1979 the market was at full employment over two-thirds of the time.
I’m not an economist, but Mr. Bernstein’s nostrums don’t pass my common sense smell test. The problem is those darn ATMs that are replacing bank clerks (?), our large trade deficits have exported too much demand (I thought trade was by definition always in balance. If we sell them too many apples, we get the money), the sequester, which he calls “austerity”and the “economic version of medieval leeching.” (can’t cut back on the increase in the budget from last year?), and the Federal Reserve continues to apply high doses of monetary stimulus (which is why the stock market is doing well). We need more investment in “the areas where clean energy intersects with production.”And we need a new subsidized jobs program. (The WPA returns). The Great Recession continues to imitate the Great Depression.
I have no confidence in progressive economic policies. They didn’t work for FDR, and they have not worked for Obama, nor are they going to. It’s scary to start a new business, and you need, at the most basic, confidence in what the government will do next, and the belief that government is on your side — encouraging start-ups . A country that celebrates achievement and risk-taking is likely to see more economic success than one that does not.
History shows that the money that individuals and businesses invest and spend, if left alone to do so generates far more wealth and new jobs than any government-directed spending. The most successful cities and states dedicate their resources to creating the kind of conditions that attract private investment, rather than pouring public money into centrally planned visions of economic development.
………………………………….Brian C. Anderson: City Journal
More Than You Wanted to Know About May Day:
It came to my attention that President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation today, to proclaim that this is Loyalty Day, 2013. Huh? I had never heard of Loyalty Day, but it appears that it began in the Eisenhower administration. How could I have missed it? Presidents issue a proclamation every year. It’s a presidential thing. But let’s go back a little:
May Day in many cultures has marked the beginning of spring, a half-year from All Hallows, celebrating the bringing back of the light, moving the cattle out to the fields, having a big bonfire and parading the cattle around the bonfire decorated with bright yellow may flowers. The Celtic countries called it Beltane, in Germany it was pretty much the same thing except called Walpurgisnacht after an English missionary named Walpurgis, also bonfires and celebration.
Just where and when it became a May Day celebration with maypoles and baskets of flowers, I’m not sure. (I checked with Wikipedia, but didn’t pay too close attention).
In small towns, young people made little may baskets filled with flowers and hung them from a friend’s front door, then rang the bell and ran away, leaving the basket a mystery. That’s all pretty tame, and when the Soviet Union began to take over May Day to show off their military might and their solidarity, maypoles began to seem a little wimpy. Besides those Soviet parades were annoying.
Uncertainty, Uncertainty and More Uncertainty.
April 29, 2013, 6:24 am
Filed under: Capitalism
, Democrat Corruption
| Tags: Economic Policy Uncertainty Index
, Killing Growth With Interference
, Regulation and Uncertainty
“Unexpectedly” U.S. economic growth expanded in the first quarter at the sluggish annual rate of 2.5 percent, the Commerce Department said on Friday, missing economists’ forecast of a 3.2 percent growth rate. The fourth quarter nearly stalled at 0.4 percent. This is all before the sequester went into effect.
The recession (“the worst recession since the Great Depression”) officially ended in June, 2009. The stock market is soaring, hitting record levels, the rich are getting richer — and the poor are getting poorer. What’s happening? Why is there no recovery? Economies, the results of millions of transactions in a free market, like to recover. When an economy is thrown off track by some major error — in this case the housing debacle — once the downturn stops going down it usually recovers fairly swiftly. So what’s going wrong?
Many small businesses and companies are in good shape and have money to spend, but they are not pumping capital back into the economy. In today’s Wall Street Journal Bill McNabb, chairman and CEO of the Vanguard Group says:
Quite simply, if firms can’t see a clear road to economic recovery ahead, they’re not going to hire and they’re not going to spend. It’s what economists call a “deadweight loss”—loss caused by inefficiency.
Today, there is uncertainty about regulatory policy, uncertainty about monetary policy, uncertainty about foreign policy and, most significantly, uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy and the national debt. Until a sensible plan is created to address the debt, America will not fulfill its economic potential.
I’m certainly not an economist, but I’ve noticed that every time there is a positive move by the administration or Congress that should encourage growth, the administration is either issuing major new regulations, attacking an industry, raising some tax, raising the cost of energy. To be at lest partly fair, I don’t think the administration understands the consequences of many of their actions.
When the administration forces coal-fired power plants out of business, it raises the cost of electricity. Low cost electricity powers our economy. Increased prices affect everything. Approve the Keystone pipeline. Don’t raise taxes until the economy recovers, not even little taxes. Stop playing sequester games. Back off. You’re taking in more revenue than ever before.
Concern about the national debt, and about excessive spending, are heightened by the president’s refusal to consider any reduction in spending and his demand for more taxes. The President is creating the uncertainty himself, that is holding the economy back.
The economists who measure uncertainty point out that both parties blame each other, and each sees the other position as false.
- Republicans are blaming the President and Congressional Democrats for creating regulatory uncertainty and introducing harmful regulations.
- They further accuse the Democrats of failing to face up to the main long-term drivers of rising debt and press for the reform of social security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social insurance programs.
- Democrats, in turn, accuse Republicans of obstructionism, political brinksmanship and an obsessive focus on tax and spending cuts.
- They fault Republicans for a lack of meaningful detail on their healthcare reform proposals, and for failing to embrace a mix of both spending cuts and tax hikes in order to respond to US fiscal imbalances. ( click to enlarge)
It doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t some mysterious economic trick. Knock off the regulation. You have enough regulation to govern every action for the next century. It’s just a compulsion to tell other people what to do, and you don’t know enough about running a business to tell anyone what to do. Just leave them alone. They do know how to run their businesses, and how to grow.
Here’s Who We Were in 1790, According to the Census.
In the census of 1790, only 60 percent of the white population of over three million remained English in ancestry. (1,800,000)
700 thousand were of African descent.
Tens of thousands were native Indians;
All the peoples of Europe were present in the country.
- 9 percent German,
- 8 percent were Scots
- 6 percent were Scots-Irish
- 4 percent were Irish
- Over 3 percent Dutch
- the remainder: French, Swedes, Spanish, and people of unknown ethnicity
From Gordon S. Wood: Empire of Liberty