Thomas Sowell: Random thoughts

From Freedom Politics - by Thomas Sowell - Random Thoughts - Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do-- and nothing is more unpredictable. An e-mail from a perceptive reader points out that, although Congressional "earmarks" represent a very small part of federal spending, they can be used as bribes to buy the votes of members of Congress on bills involving the spending of vastly larger sums of the taxpayers' money. When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food. The mainstream media never expressed half the outrage about Mao Zedong as they did about Ronald Reagan. Yet, when it came to killing millions of innocent civilians, even Hitler was an amateur compared to Mao. Safety advocates who say that we shouldn't take chances, but should ban things that might be unsafe, don't seem to understand that if we banned every food to which somebody had an allergy we could all starve to death. Read Sowell Column

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There Ain’t No Liberals in Feed Stores

From Whiskey and Gunpower: fostering economic and independent thought - By Linda Brady Traynham - I spend a lot of time (and money) in feed stores and I guarantee that those who feed America on anything other than corporate level do not and never have wanted any part of what Obama is selling. Yup, we’re a mean-spirited, selfish lot totally without a shred of social conscience. We know precisely how narrow our margin for safety is and how many threats assail it. Meat prices in grocery stores have no reality in a rancher’s life except when he is buying meat for his own table. Daddy always said, “You can’t afford to run cattle unless you have a private income.” It wasn’t a joke; it was a simple statement of the uncertainties of weather, the economy, actions of the government, disease, sun spots, and other forces of nature. In a really good year we might make a miniscule profit; grocery store chains think they’re doing well when they maintain the classical four per cent. That’s not a “small” profit. That’s a good profit in the business world, after operating expenses and taxes. Too bad it doesn’t cover inflation. You go into a feed store (wonderful smells, fascinating merchandise, nice folks, and sticker shock wherever you look. Are you up to $2500 saddles? An average price, nothing special… how about fencing at five thousand a mile? And up. Mostly up!), and you can have a good, rousing, patriotic conversation on every aisle if you want to make an opening remark…the price of antibiotics (animals’ make ours look cheap), or the astounding increase in wire and T-post prices (non-precious metals) during the last year…or the probable effect on future feed costs from a crashing economy. More of Traynham's column

Do We "Gotta Support the Team?"

When asked why he painted his face to look like a "devil" for a hockey game on a Seinfeld episode, character David Puddy replied, "You gotta support the team." In the end, whether the Packers or Steelers won this year’s Super Bowl the outcome did not change our lives in any meaningful way. Unfortunately, if you substitute the word “vote” for “root” you will find that quite often, U.S. voters treat the Democratic and Republican parties too much like their favorite sports teams. The problem is these two political parties are responsible for either retaining or changing policies that will literally define the forces controlling many generations of American lives. Clearly both parties command much more loyalty than they have earned. Just look at the list of some of the most popular justifications offered by citizens blindly loyal to the Democratic Party, when they explained why they could not stomach George W. Bush. His "reckless deficit spending and borrowing" topped most lists. Bush's federal budget deficits promptly soared to $400 billion dollars in the years following the 9-11 attacks. And according to those loyal to the Democratic Party, those borrowing levels were simply intolerable. Then of course there was the terrible Bush military incursion to remove an evil Middle Eastern dictator who had massacred his own people.
The Bush policy of affecting a regime change in Iraq was labeled “arrogant U.S. imperialism,” if not worse, by those loyal to the Democratic Party. And several years later when Bush realized he would have to implement the so-called troop “surge” in Iraq, again those loyal to the Democratic Party scoffed and accused him of being in reckless denial of reality. Of course those loyal the Republican Party disagreed with all of these arguments against all of these policies. After 8 years of Bush in the White House, America has now seen 26 months of policy making by President Barack Obama. Have the objections to Bush policies been met with new policies? Obama has presided over the largest two-year federal budget deficit and borrowing binge totals in the history of human civilization. And while those loyal to the Republican Party have suddenly found reason to scream fiscal bloody murder, those loyal to the Democratic Party have also done a 180 degree flip and are now mute on the skyrocketing borrowing insanity in Washington. As the "new" Commander in Chief, President Obama continued to wind down U.S. troop involvement in Iraq. Then he suddenly called for and executed a massive troop “surge” in Afghanistan. And just a couple of years after those loyal to the Democratic Party were blasting the Bush troop “surge” policies they turned mute on Obama’s troop surge. Ironically, Senator Obama was one of the harshest critics of all of Bush’s military policies. And those criticisms helped catapult him into the White House. Now we are discovering that Senator and President Obama are two different people.
Astonishingly, Senator Dove has become President Hawk. Obama has opened up a third U.S. military engagement front in the Middle East. In justifying an attack on Libya, Obama eerily finds himself citing strangely familiar and Bush-like reasons for his actions. And why doesn’t Obama close Guantanamo, as he promised to those loyal to the Democratic Party? Again his explanations are Bush-like. And Democratic Party loyalist's responses now that it is Obama’s Guantanamo instead of Bush’s? Like football fans that just saw their team give up three touchdowns to the opponents in five minutes, the Democratic loyalist response is deafening silence. One can only figure these political Puddies feel they "Gotta support the team."
After suggesting the Bush administration was in bed with special interests on the domestic policy front, the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration has been the so-called Obamacare legislation. Yet quietly, there have already been more than 1,040 waiver exemptions granted to various Obama friendly entities who say the law is fatally flawed.
The latest indication that Obamacare won’t work comes from Congressional Obamacare author Anthony Weiner, who says he may seek yet another waiver for New York City. This can only lend credence to the Orwell adage that most Marxists truly believe it is reasonable to say that “All pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others.” After eight years of intellectually duplicitous criticism from loyalists in both parties of the other “team” U.S. citizens now find American troops in harm’s way on three different fronts, a federal borrowing binge that is more than triple those of the Bush era, and unemployment rates that rival those of the darkest days of Jimmy Carter.
This independent thinks it is time for everyone to consider getting off of the habit of mindlessly supporting either the Democrat or Republican Party "teams." Americans must stop face painting like David Puddy. It’s time to support best practices and only leaders who are intellectually honest. Self-serving teams like the Democratic Party and the Republican Party don't have policies. They merely blow with the winds. If we oppose the idea that the U.S. should be acting as the global police, the biggest borrowers in history, and an entitlement nation that thinks government is the solution rather than the problem, continuing to be a Democratic or Republican Party loyalist is the last thing we should be doing.


The Weiner Wink

Politico - Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health law waiver might work for New York City. Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the city’s special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of the health care law’s biggest supporters; during the debate leading up to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public option. “The president said, ‘If you have better ideas that can accomplish the same thing, go for it,’” said Weiner. “I’m in the process now of trying to see if we can take [President Barack Obama] up on it in the city of New York, … and I’m taking a look at all of the money we spend in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a better plan.” New York is one of two states that pass on Medicaid expenses to cities and localities, so “the city winds up having an enormous Medicaid expense,” Weiner said. The congressman was trying to debunk Republican “myths” about the health care law during a speech at the Center for American Progress.
He used the waivers as way to describe how flexible the law actually is and how “this notion that the government is shoving the bill down people’s throats” is not true. “The administration needs to make this argument more forcefully,” he said. “A lot of people who got waivers were … people who are our friends.” The New York Democrat said that he does not have the power to get the city to apply for a waiver but that he is “personally looking at whether he can make the numbers work.”“We in New York already have hospitals, we already employ doctors and we employ nurses. We have a lot of uninsured people. … [Setting up] the exchanges is the one piece of the puzzle that would be difficult for us to do,” he said. “I’m just looking internally to whether the city can save money and have more control over its own destiny. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Brigette Russell: The simple reason Susana Martinez will veto the unemployment bill

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Commentary by Brigette Russell - The New Mexico media has been running a lot of stories lately about Gov. Martinez’s steadfast insistence that she will veto legislation to shore up the state’s unemployment fund by raising business taxes. On Friday, the Santa Fe New Mexican ran an AP story by Barry Massey, “Martinez won’t budge on business-tax veto”on the front page and “Martinez mum on veto reasoning” by Trip Jennings on page A-5. It was the Jennings story that caught my attention, this part in particular: The New Mexican sent Martinez’s office several questions Wednesday in an attempt to get specifics on the governor’s decision-making process. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Pearce Creates Veteran's Advisory Council

Steve Pearce
Las Cruces, NM (March 26, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce announced his newly assembled Veterans Advisory Council. The purpose of the council is to give veterans a voice on pressing issues. Through the council, Pearce will actively seek feedback and ideas on how to best serve local veterans. The Congressman’s formation of the council has received widespread and enthusiastic support from New Mexican veterans’ groups. “This is a tremendous plan to help New Mexico’s veterans” said Robert Cano, commander of a Las Cruces chapter of Disabled American Veterans. “In doing this, Congressman Pearce will get the general consensus from veterans across the state, from all different backgrounds. Our voices will be heard in Washington.” Local American Legion commander Clint Dozier called the council “a great idea.” Dozier explained that “people like the Congressman need to have a pulse on local veterans’ issues, and this is a great way to do that.” The announcement today was at Veterans’ Park in Las Cruces, as part of a weekend of ceremonies to honor New Mexico’s veterans, including a welcome-home ceremony for Vietnam veterans held at the park.
Pearce is cosponsoring a bill to designate March 30th as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” Pearce expressed eagerness to continue his work for veterans through this new program. “I am pleased to announce this Veterans Advisory Council,” said Pearce. “As a Vietnam veteran, I understand the complexity and importance of veterans’ issues. As a legislator, I understand the need to reach out to those who will be affected by legislation and those who know the issues at hand. This group brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to aid in the formulation of strong policy.” Kevin Dasing, who will serve as chair of the council, said, “I applaud the Congressman for his insight in putting this council together. This is the first council of its kind in New Mexico, and it will be a pleasure working with Mr. Pearce to address veterans’ issues.” Las Cruces Vietnam veteran Bruce Forrest said that “this will definitely help out” with the needs of veterans, “especially with all the vets out there who don’t know who to talk to or where to go to get the help they need.
With members of the council from across southern New Mexico, the Congressman will be able to help all these forgotten heroes.” “We must be heard as veterans,” said Cano, “and Mr. Pearce has always made sure that our voices are heard. The Congressman has always sat down to listen to us as veterans; he listens to us. And on top of that, his people are always easy to reach. I am very grateful for Mr. Pearce’s work for veterans.” The council will meet regularly by telephone to discuss issues and problems. On a quarterly basis, they will meet with Congressman Pearce, to present him with priorities to carry to Washington and facilitate change. Pearce, himself a decorated veteran, has made service to America’s veterans a priority throughout his over six years in Congress. Pearce logged over 518 hours of combat flight in Vietnam, and was awarded the distinguished flying cross. He separated honorably with the rank of Captain. The initial members of the board are as follows: See full list here: News New Mexico


"The Trouble With Socialism" - Protests Turning Thatcher's Words into Prophecy

 “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” ---Margaret Thatcher - NewsNM note (Spence) - Beyond this prophecy we also recall these words from Margaret Thatcher in a 1987 interview for Women's Own magazine: "I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations."

Margaret Thatcher
Bloomberg - Thousands of students, public- sector workers and tax activists will take to the streets of London tomorrow to protest Britain’s deepest public spending cuts since World War II. In Los Angeles, Boston and Buffalo, demonstrators will demand companies pay more tax. UK Uncut, a group that uses humor to demand companies pay more tax, said it seeks to shut shops and occupy branches of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Barclays Plc. It plans to turn an Alliance Boots Plc pharmacy into a hospital and a Barclays into a church “bail-in” service. US Uncut plans events in 40 cities, including Los Angeles and Boston, targeting Bank of America Corp. Read full story here: News New Mexico