Archive for the Congress Category

AZ shooting coverage accelerates state-run media death spiral

Posted in Congress, Culture, State-run media on January 12, 2011 by DaMook

It is clear now that the shooting rampage in Tucson, in which 6 people were killed and 12 wounded, was the act of a deranged individual. As yet no one knows exactly why he did this and we may never know. Unfortunately the equally deranged left (media, pundits, and members of congress) have seized on this tragedy to blame just about everyone on the right, including: the TEA Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, talk radio, FOX News, and George Bush. As more details emerge, the atrocious coverage by the state-run media will only serve to accelerate their death spiral (story here from AmSpec).

The attempt by many left-wing pundits and bloggers to try and blame conservatives for the Tucson murder spree is nothing short of obscene. But it’s also a mistake, I think, to try and divine “meaning” out of what is essentially a senseless and meaningless act of horrific violence.

The great Robert Stacy McCain has it exactly right: “The killer, Jared Loughner, is crazy.” Period. End of story. The notion that Loughner was motivated by conservative political thought or rhetoric is ludicrous and preposterous.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, ludicrous and preposterous notions often have a widespread following, especially in the Big Media.

The good news is that the old media empire is dying and a new media is rapidly emerging.

The old media is epitomized by the New York Times and its disgraceful editorial about Tucson. The new media is epitomized by a host of innovative startup publications and outlets, including: AmSpec, The Other McCain, Fox News, FrumForum, The Daily Caller, and Pajamas Media. May this new and more promising media live long and prosper.

In the face of declining numbers, the left wing state-run media have driven their customers away by cranking up the vitriol against main stream America. As a recent poll demonstrates, it’s not working (more here). This shameless attempt to politicize a tragic event perpetrated by an apolitical nutcase only demonstrates how out of touch these leftists really are. It severely damages what little remaining credibility they had and will likely drive even more clear thinking Americans to alternate media sources. The demise of the state-run media cannot come soon enough.

In related news:

Socialist senator Bernie Sanders (VT) exploits AZ shooting in fund raising letter (story here).

Senator Bernie Sanders – the socialist Senator from Vermont who we’re supposed to pretend isn’t a socialist because the Democrats get upset about us bringing up the entire ’socialism’ thing – has decided that the best way to handle last weekend’s attempted assassination of a Congresswoman (and the murder of six people, including a nine-year-old girl) is to send out a fundraising letter blaming the whole thing on the right wing.

Given the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as the start of the new Congress, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words with political friends in Vermont and throughout the country. I also want to thank the very many supporters who have begun contributing online to my 2012 reelection campaign at w ww.bernie.org…

[several paragraphs’ worth of Left-pornography]

…??In light of all of this violence – both actual and threatened – is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process? Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions?

Sales of Glock pistols skyrocket after AZ shooting (more here).

Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers after a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols — popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters — flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

“We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

A national debate over weaknesses in state and federal gun laws stirred by the shooting has stoked fears among gun buyers that stiffer restrictions may be coming from Congress, gun dealers say. The result is that a deadly demonstration of the weapon’s effectiveness has also fired up sales of handguns in Arizona and other states, according to federal law enforcement data.

“When something like this happens people get worried that the government is going to ban stuff,” Wolff said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families…

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US Debt hits $14T: regime economic advisor – We need MORE!

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, Economy, FAIL, Government Waste/Fraud/Abuse, The Regime on January 4, 2011 by DaMook

US Debt

The accumulated US National Debt officially reached $14 TRILLION at the end of 2010 (US Debt Clock). Since October 1, 2007 the government has added $5T in debt. Let me repeat that. In a little over 3 years our government has added FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS to the national debt (story here).

The latest posting today of the National Debt shows it has topped $14 trillion for the first time.

The U.S. Treasury website today reported that as of last Friday, the last day of 2010, the National Debt stood at $14,025,215,218,708.52.

It took just 7 months for the National Debt to increase from $13 trillion on June 1, 2010 to $14 trillion on Dec. 31. It also means the debt is fast approaching the statutory ceiling $14.294 trillion set by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last February.

The federal government would have to stop borrowing and might even default on its obligations if Congress fails to increase the Debt Ceiling before the limit is reached.

Some Republicans in the new Congress have said they’ll seek to block an increase in the Debt Ceiling unless a plan is in place to significantly reduce federal spending and unfunded government liabilities on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

So how do you think the regime wants to handle this? By increasing the debt ceiling of course.

White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee warned yesterday that it would be “catastrophic” if the U.S. Government were to default on its financial obligations.

“That would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity,” said Goolsbee of plans to block an increase in the Debt Ceiling.

Did it ever occur to these “geniuses” that maybe we should stop spending what we don’t have? That this whole thing is f**king insanity? Uh, no. Will the new republican majority finally put the brakes on runaway government spending? I guesss we’ll see but I’m certainly not hopeful. (more here)

During the midterm campaign, Republicans assured voters that they would put an end to the free-spending ways of Barack Obama and the Democratic majority. Now that they have taken control of the House, that fiscal discipline will be put to the test sooner rather than later. Republicans have to draft a budget for the remainder of FY2011 after Democrats failed to do so with large majorities, and that will also mean taking into account the rapidly-approaching debt ceiling. Will Republicans allow more borrowing or hold their ground on demanding deep cuts in government spending instead?

There are two problems here, one short-term and one long-term.  The national debt will rise above the limit increased last year by Democrats at the end of their spending spree in short order, and the question of defaulting on debt service becomes real and could create a lot of economic damage.  However, increasing the debt limit essentially puts off the inevitable, and it also allows Congress to procrastinate on the only long-term solution, which is to cut spending.  Refusing to raise the debt limit would force the federal government to stop spending or create a default, but much of that spending occurs through entitlements — which means that the only real way to meet the current debt limit in the short term would be to severely cut non-entitlement areas, which would probably require significant cuts at the Pentagon.

Look for congress to continue to kick the can down the road on this. They simply don’t have the guts to do what really needs to be done.

Corruptocrat Rangel creates legal defense fund – Wait, WHAT?

Posted in Congress, Huh? WTF?, UGH! on December 29, 2010 by DaMook

After getting his wrist slapped for years of corrupt behavior that would have sent the average person to prison, corruptocrat Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was given permission by the House Ethics Committee (oxymoron alert) to create a legal “defense” fund. Huh? WTF? Shouldn’t he have done this a couple of years ago when the investigations started? (story here)

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) has created a legal defense fund to help pay attorneys’ fees following a lengthy ethics investigation that ended with his censure on the House floor.

The 20-term lawmaker has been given permission by the House ethics committee to create the Charles B. Rangel Legal Defense Trust, which is soliciting donations of up to $5,000. Rangel press secretary Hannah Kim confirmed the creation of the fund, first reported by the website Politics Daily.

Not only does he still owe legal fees for his corruption defense, but it appears that there are new investigations into his nefarious behavior. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is now investigating new charges against the 20 term corruptocrat.

In a statement, Rangel said the fund will help him “retain counsel for on-going activities related to the recently-concluded ethics investigations and other on-going matters” and to combat new charges brought before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by a conservative nonprofit group.
The FEC earlier this month opened a probe into allegations by the National Legal and Policy Center that the former Ways and Means Committee chairman improperly used funds from his National Leadership PAC to pay for his legal counsel in his ethics case.

“The repeated filings of allegations, no matter how unsubstantiated, by the National Legal Policy Committee, a politically-motivated right wing group dedicated to eviscerating civil rights and labor union protections, have led me to this action,” Rangel said in the statement.

Hmmm – “…right wing group dedicated to eviscerating civil rights and labor union protections…” Labor union protections? What the hell does that have to do with this? Probably a shout out to his union buddies for some “cash for the cause” I guess.

The fund is permitted to accept corporate donations, but may not accept money from federally registered lobbyists, Politics Daily reported. Former New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall will serve as trustee of the fund.

“All contributions to the trust will be reported as required on a quarterly basis with the committee as well as the Legislative Resource Center for public disclosure,” Rangel said.

Yeah, probably like his public disclosures of 17 years of unpaid taxes and his use of 4 rent-controlled apartments.

“I am confident any continuing or subsequent investigations will find a similar lack of any intent to violate any rules or any actions designed in any way to personally benefit me or my family,” Rangel said.

Poor Charlie. He didn’t intend to violate any rules or enrich himself and his family. It just worked out that way.

Douchebag…

111th congress added more debt than first 100 congresses combined

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, FAIL, State-run media, Take back America on December 28, 2010 by DaMook

On January 3rd the 111th congress will officially become history. The Wicked Witch of the West will cede the Speaker’s gavel to John Boehner and a republican majority will take control of the House of Representatives. According to this article, the 111th congress wasn’t exactly frugal – it added more new debt than the first 100 congresses combined.

The federal government has accumulated more new debt–$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.

The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

In fact, the 111th Congress not only has set the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history, but also has out-stripped its nearest competitor, the 110th, by an astounding $1.262 trillion in new debt.

During the 110th Congress—which, according to the Clerk of the House, officially convened on Jan. 4, 2007 and adjourned on Jan. 4, 2009–the national debt increased $1.957 trillion. When that Congress adjourned less than two years ago, it claimed the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history. As it turned out, however, its record did not last long.

The $3.22 trillion in new federal debt run up during the 111th Congress exceeds by 64 percent the $1.957 trillion in new debt run up during the 110th.

Historically, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt did not reach $3.22 trillion until September 1990, during the 101st Congress. Between the first Congress, which adjourned in 1791 leaving behind approximately $75 million in debt, and the convening of the 101st Congress, which occurred on Jan. 3, 1989, the national debt grew to $2.684 trillion.

During the Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tenure as speaker, which commenced on Jan. 4, 2007, the federal government has run up $5.177 trillion in new debt. That is about equal to the total debt the federal government accumulated in the first 120 years of the nation’s existence, with the federal debt rising from $5.173 trillion on July 24, 1996 to $5.181 trillion on July 24, 1996.

In her inaugural address as speaker, Pelosi vowed that Congress would engage in no new deficit spending.

Not only did this hideous congress spend us deeper into the poorhouse, but they were responsible for some of the worst legislation ever foisted upon the beleaguered citizenry. Here are just some of the more devastating:

They also extended unemployment benefits at least 3 times (to 99 weeks) which has caused 41 states to borrow billions to cover their unemployment obligations. All this “work” and they couldn’t even pass a budget (more here).

And while the state-run media tries to spin this as a good thing (example here), public approval of this congress sunk to historically low levels (more here).

All I can say is good riddance…

Senator writes letter to Santa – about global warming (BLECH)

Posted in Congress, Culture, Government Folly, Humor, UGH! on December 24, 2010 by DaMook

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who survived a recall effort earlier this year, is a serial moron (previous posts here and here). He has also captured the special Christmas Moron of the Week with this letter to Santa (story here from HuffPo).

Dear Santa Claus,

I am writing out of concern, because you may have to move from the North Pole due to the dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice. The Navy’s chief oceanographer says that by the summer of 2020 the North Pole may not have summer ice and other scientists project that an ice-free Arctic is possible as soon as 2012!

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that polar ice is melting because of greenhouse gas pollution and I am working hard to reduce these emissions. But there is probably nothing we can do in time to save the North Pole. I am worried about your safety and your ability to deliver billions of Christmas gifts if the ice cap on the North Pole no longer stays frozen all year. What will happen to your house, your workshop, the elves’ houses and your reindeer barns?

I want you to know that if you want to relocate to the beautiful state of New Jersey, I would be proud to assist you. But given the climate you are accustomed to, I will understand if you would like to relocate to the South Pole. Just be sure not to move to the Antarctic Peninsula or West Antarctic ice sheet, areas that are also experiencing rapid ice melt.

Please know that I will work to mobilize the U.S. federal government to assist when you relocate. I am sure we can both agree that on a warming planet, we need to do all we can to save Christmas.

Sincerely,
Robert Menendez
U.S. Senator

I guess this dope didn’t get the most recent memo about the coming of a Mini Ice Age (more here). He also hasn’t been paying attention to recent news in Europe where they’re experiencing a second winter in a row of deadly cold and snow (more here). Since he’s a democrat, I’m thinking that his motivations for Santa moving to the US lie elsewhere. Like this:

  • Corporate taxes on Santa’s workshop
  • NJ state taxes on Santa’s workshop
  • Demands to unionize his elfin workforce
  • Regulation by the EPA for carbon emissions
  • Regulation by the FDA for making unsafe toys (with small toxic parts)
  • Regulation by the Labor Department for discriminatory hiring (elves only)
  • Regulation by the Labor Department for minimum wage violations
  • Regulation by the Labor Department for possible OSHA violations
  • Health insurance mandates for obamacare
  • Regulation by the Agriculture Department for maintaining a reindeer herd

I think Santa would be wise to stay right where he is. UGH…

Our temporary tax code

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, Economy, The Regime on December 16, 2010 by DaMook

If there is one thing that is killing the economic recovery, it is the uncertainty of what is going to come from government. Businesses are sitting on upwards of $2T that could be used to invest in jobs and expansion. They’re not investing because they don’t know what bullshit tax and regulatory policy is coming next that could have a negative impact on their bottom line. According to this article (from the WSJ), a huge part of that uncertainty is caused by our temporary tax code.

Welcome to the world of the temporary tax code.

In the late 1990s, there were typically fewer than a dozen tax provisions that had just a limited lease on life and needed to be renewed every year or so.

Today there are 141.

Now Congress, taking up a deal worked out between the Obama administration and Republican leaders, is poised to turn the whole personal income-tax system into something of a temporary structure. The plan embraces a broad range of provisions—an extension of Bush-era rates, a new estate-tax formula—but for only two years. A payroll-tax cut in the bill is for a single year.

This means that if the compromise passes largely intact, the U.S. will have no permanent regime governing levies on salaries, capital gains and dividends, the Social Security tax, as well as a slew of targeted breaks for families, students and other groups. This on top of dozens of corporate-tax provisions that already were subject to annual renewal.

The level of uncertainty, unusual for developed nations, complicates planning and discourages hiring and investment, many economists and corporate executives say.

This uncertainty hits hardest in the worst of all places – small businesses, which generate the bulk of employment.

Small business is often looked to as a source of job growth. But the latest monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business advocacy group, found that 75% of owners felt it wasn’t a good time to expand, and one in five said the main reason was doubt about policy environment, including taxes.

For smaller companies, tax uncertainty could be an incentive to expand overseas rather than in the U.S., according to Tom Duesterberg, president of the Manufacturers Alliance, a group representing medium-size firms. Companies “can’t wait until all these [tax] questions are resolved,” he says. “They are not going to wait until all that definitively happens. They have to deploy cash, please their shareholders and expand and grow.”

Probably the biggest impact has been with the Estate Tax (Death Tax). There was no Estate Tax in 2010 but that will very likely change as congress ponders several options.

Perhaps nowhere has tax uncertainty been felt more intensely this year than in the estate tax, always a controversial matter.

A 2001 law lowered its rate and increased the exemption in steps, with the tax lapsing in 2010 and then, unless Congress acts, returning in 2011 at a 55% top rate on estates of $1 million or more. The unusual hiatus coupled with a far more costly tax as soon as 2010 ended gave “just an unbelievable Alice-in-Wonderland aspect” to planning for certain well-to-do families, says Bruce Stone, a Miami-area estate lawyer.

Sales of a life-insurance policy commonly used for estate planning rose 22% in the first nine months from a year earlier, and their death-benefit coverage was up 30%. Though the policies can also be used for other purposes, part of the jump seemed clearly to be for hedging against the possible estate-tax jump in 2011.

In a few cases, the uncertainty drove people to ponder extreme measures to avoid a tax hit for heirs.

David Drouhard, a Washington-state farmer who is 56, received a diagnosis of advanced kidney cancer 14 months ago and faced a grim set of treatment choices. Most offered little chance of extending his life more than 18 months, although an immunity-boosting drug held out some hope. Mr. Drouhard says he worried that inaction on the estate tax would force his family to sell his wheat and alfalfa farm, now worth about $3 million, to pay taxes if he died in 2011.

After much deliberation, Mr. Drouhard decided to take the immunity-boosting drug, but with a caveat: “I said, ‘If we don’t see results from the first series [of treatments], I’m going to stop,”‘ he says. “I try to take care of my family, so why not go ahead and die instead of living another six months.” He has responded well to the treatment, but adds: “I think it’s wrong that you have to make that kind of decision.”

The compromise Congress is weighing this week would set a top estate-tax rate at 35% and the exemption at $5 million.

But this would be for just two years. Just as this year, a failure by Congress to act then would cause the tax to then revert to a top 55% rate and $1 million exemption, in this case in 2013.

Revamping the tax code should be job one for the coming congress and the regime. We’ll see if they’re really serious about economic recovery or just paying lip service to it. We should hold their feet to the fire.

Congress job approval rating in the toilet

Posted in Congress, FAIL, UGH! on December 16, 2010 by DaMook

A recent Gallup poll found that 13% of the public thinks that congress is doing a good job. I’m surprised that it’s that high – they must have oversampled inside the Beltway (story here).

Americans’ assessment of Congress has hit a new low, with 13% saying they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83% disapproval rating is also the worst Gallup has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.

The prior low approval rating for Congress was 14% in July 2008 when the United States was dealing with record-high gas prices and the economy was in recession.

The current results are based on a Dec. 10-12 Gallup poll, conducted as Congress is finishing work on an important lame-duck session. The session has been highlighted by the agreement on taxes forged last week by President Obama and Republicans in Congress. The tax deal preserves the 2001 and 2003 income tax rates for all Americans for two years, revises the estate tax, extends unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for a year, and reduces payroll taxes for American workers. It is expected to pass despite vocal opposition from some lawmakers.

Surprised?