Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

01 October 2011

EC President José Manuel Barroso: You Know What The EU Needs Now? More EuroBell.



The EU dream has turned into a nightmare

The euro project was always based on a colossal act of make-believe - and now it is unravelling. 


Seeing stars: EC President José Manuel Barroso’s proposal is ‘mad’ - The EU dream that has turned into a nightmare

Seeing stars: EC President José Manuel Barroso’s proposal is ‘mad’ Photo: REUTERS

It was hard to know – as the danse macabre of the euro spirals towards its devastating denouement – which of last week’s utterances and events was the maddest. First, there was the speech by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, in which, after admitting that this was the worst crisis the EU had ever faced, he renewed his wish for it to impose a tax on “financial transactions”, to provide Brussels with what has been estimated by Open Europe, the independent think tank, at up to £70 billion a year.

Since Britain’s share of the EU’s financial markets is 72 per cent, the cost to the UK would thus be up to £50 billion. But that wouldn’t last long because, as the Commission itself admits, such a tax would soon send the financial industry fleeing out of the EU, destroying the biggest single earner in the UK economy.

George Osborne may be right in saying that Britain would veto Mr Barroso’s proposal. But the very fact that the ex-Maoist in charge of the Commission should suggest anything so suicidal is a measure of just how surreal this crisis is becoming.

Equally bizarre was the spectacle of Germany’s MPs defying the wishes of most of the German people by supporting the EU’s £380 billion bail-out fund, to pour much of it into the bottomless pit of Greek debt, which has reduced the Greek people to a state of catatonic trauma. The peoples of the EU’s richest and poorest countries are thus equally powerless in the face of what amounts to a bureaucratic dictatorship of unelected apparatchiks – who, in a vain bid to save their pet project, are now talking about the need for a further bail-out fund of £1.7 trillion.

The truth about the euro project is that it was always based on a colossal act of make-believe, launched in defiance of all economic and political reality. And as history and storytelling have shown us again and again, when human beings, individually or collectively, attempt to act out a fantasy, there is a very clear and identifiable pattern to what follows.

The “fantasy cycle”, as I have called it elsewhere, unfolds through five stages. The tragedy begins with the Anticipation Stage, when nervous energy tempts the protagonist into some enticingly hubristic course of action. Now we enter a Dream Stage, when for a while, all seems to go well. But because the fantasy defies the reality of the world around it, things move into a Frustration Stage, where it all starts to go wrong. This prompts those in the obsessive grip of the make-believe to push their fantasy even further out of touch with reality, leading them to the Nightmare Stage, where, as reality crowds in on them, everything goes wrong. This leads to the fifth and final stage: Nemesis, or an “explosion into reality”, where the fantasy destroys itself.

The story of the euro, as the supreme symbol of the lunatic drive to weld Europe together into a wholly undemocratic political union, is now entering its Nightmare Stage. People like Barroso predictably claim that the only way forward is more of the same: “more Europe”. We are witnessing the unfolding of one of the great archetypal patterns that shape human affairs, one we can compare to the story of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The EU’s leaders frenziedly rush about trying to stop their magic broomstick running amok, as it fills their house with ever more buckets full of debt. The hapless victim of the old fable was eventually saved by the return of the sorcerer, who knew the magic spell that could avert final disaster. In the case of the EU, there is no sorcerer. There seems to be no means by which Europe’s leaders can halt the chaos that now threatens to bring down the euro, much of the world’s financial system – and, ultimately, even the EU itself.

Clueless Huhne turns his back on the only way we’ll keep our lights on

With immaculate timing, our Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, has again demonstrated why it is hard to think of any minister in history less fitted for his job. Last month, it was announced that 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas had been discovered, embedded in the shales under Lancashire, which could herald an energy resource even larger than North Sea oil and gas. Thanks to technical advances pioneered in the US, which already draws 20 per cent of its gas from shale, we might be looking at reserves big enough to power Britain’s economy for centuries to come.

Yet that same day, it was reported that Huhne had been telling an audience of Lib Dems that we must halt the “dash for gas”, because this would prevent us from meeting our commitment under the Climate Change Act to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years. He even cited approvingly an absurdly mendacious propaganda film produced by US global warming zealots vilifying shale gas.

So lost is Huhne in his green dreamworld that he somehow imagines that we can centre our future energy policy on building thousands of wind turbines. Faced with the discovery of vast reserves of cheap gas, any minister who knew his job would say: “Forget about those ludicrously expensive, inefficient and unreliable windmills, and go flat out for building enough gas-fired power stations to keep Britain’s lights on in the years ahead, when we will lose 14 coal-fired and nuclear power stations that currently supply 40 per cent of our average electricity needs.”

Of course, we are compelled to waste £140 billion on those wind turbines due to our commitment to the EU that by 2020 we will generate nearly a third of our electricity from “renewables”. But among the countless practical aspects of his job that Huhne clearly doesn’t begin to understand is that the more turbines we build, the more we will need new gas-fired power stations of the same capacity, just to provide instant back-up for all those times when there is insufficient wind to feed more than a derisory amount of power into the grid.

So we will have to build those gas-fired stations anyway – at vast expense, to be kept wastefully running all the time, emitting more CO2 than anything notionally saved by the wind farms – just to indulge the babyish dreams of Huhne and the EU. Crazier still, if Huhne manages to stop the exploitation of our new shale gas resources, he will be condemning us, as North Sea supplies run out, to importing ever more gas and oil from abroad, at a cost that a government report predicted in 2008 could soon be £40 billion a year. 

So obsessed is Mr Huhne with all the fluffy rubbish associated with the “climate change” part of his job description that he has never shown the faintest sign of grasping the practicalities of the “energy” bit. He has become very much a luxury we cannot afford. But so too, it must be said, is our commitment to the EU to build those useless windmills. 

Shouldn’t we now call it the BBCE?
IT IS SIX years since I noted here that Jeremy Paxman, on University Challenge, had joined the ranks of those seeking to avoid using the term “BC” by talking about “Before Common Era”. As everyone knows, except those working for what should now be called the “BBCE”, the trouble with this sad effort to avoid offending atheists such as Paxman by forcing them to use a dating system related to Jesus is that it immediately prompts the question: “So what is this ‘Common Era’ based on?”, which brings these poor sensitive souls right back to the point they wish to avoid. It reminds me of when my late colleague Paul Foot, a keen fan of the Bolshevik revolution, once claimed in print that 1917 was “the most important date in history”. I asked him: “1917 years after what?”

30 September 2011

Reductio Ad Absurdum

According to the Supreme Court, Lakhdar Boumediene, who has never set foot in the United States and was apprehended on the battlefield, is entitled to due process and habeas corpus rights.

According to President Barack Obama, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, which was the 47th state admitted to the United States of America even though many Federal employees believe it to be a foreign country, can be denied habeas corpus rights, assassinated without due process, and no one else can question his decision.

GWB: War criminal!

BHO: Awesome war leader!

Foreign national, KSM, who killed Americans and admitted it, waterboarded: End of the world

American, al-Awlaki, who never confessed to killing anyone, denied due process and executed: High fives all around.

Reductio ad absurdum...indeed.

29 September 2011

Fancy Nancy, Pants On Fire!

The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Promotes a chart saying that Barack Obama has "increased the debt" by 16 percent, compared to George W. Bush, who increased it by 115 percent.

Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 in a chart posted on her Flickr account

Nancy Pelosi posts questionable chart on debt accumulation by Barack Obama, predecessors

A reader recently pointed us to a post on the website of, a liberal group. The post features a bar graph titled, "Who Increased the Debt?" that offers figures for the past five presidents:

Ronald Reagan: Up 189 percent

George H.W. Bush: Up 55 percent

Bill Clinton: Up 37 percent

George W. Bush: Up 115 percent

Barack Obama: Up 16 percent

We can see why a liberal group would tout such numbers, since -- if accurate -- they offer powerful counterevidence to the claims by conservatives that President Barack Obama has been a spendthrift who’s set the nation on an unsustainable fiscal path.

But the reader who sent it to us was surprised to see the debt increase under Obama was so small. So we decided to check the numbers.

The chart actually comes from a Flickr page belonging to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who posted it on May 5, 2011. Specifically, the chart tracks "percent increase in public debt" for the five presidents during the following time periods -- January 1981 to January 1989 (Reagan), January 1989 to January 1993 (George H.W. Bush), January 1993 to January 2001 (Clinton), January 2001 to January 2009 (George W. Bush), and January 2009 to April 2011 (Obama).

We checked with Pelosi’s office to see what data they used to assemble the chart. They referred us to the U.S. Treasury’s "Debt to the Penny Calculator."

First, we should note that we interpreted the caption in Pelosi’s chart that reads "percent increase in public debt" to mean public debt, not gross federal debt. Public debt is debt held by the public, whereas gross federal debt includes both publicly held debt and debt held by the government, such as money in the Social Security trust fund.

Despite what the chart’s label suggested, the data we received from Pelosi’s office made clear that they had been using the gross federal debt number. So we’ll start with that figure.

We can quickly dispense with the figures for Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The "Debt to the Penny" calculator doesn’t go back further than 1993, but we were able to estimate the figures for debt under Reagan and the elder Bush by using data from the Office of Management and Budget. OMB’s numbers are calculated somewhat differently than Treasury’s, but the percentage increases were close enough to what the chart said that we’re not going to quibble over them. OMB has debt under Reagan increasing by 186 percent (the chart had said 189 percent) and by 54 percent under George H.W. Bush (compared to the 55 percent in the chart).

Instead, we’ll focus on the numbers for Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.

From the online calculator, we requested the daily debt totals since 1993 and picked out the ones closest to the inauguration dates of those three presidents, as well as the end of the month of April 2011. Here’s what we came with for gross federal debt:

January 20, 1993 (end of George H.W. Bush and beginning of Clinton): $4.188 trillion

January 19, 2001 (end of Clinton and beginning of George W. Bush): $5.728 trillion

January 20, 2009 (end of George W. Bush and beginning of Obama): $10.627 trillion

April 29, 2011 (closing date of the chart): $14.288 trillion

This allows us to determine how much the debt rose under each president:

Under Clinton: Increase of $1.54 trillion, or 37 percent

Under George W. Bush: Increase of $4.899 trillion, or 86 percent

Under Obama: Increase of $3.661 trillion, or 34 percent

So we can dispense with Clinton -- in the chart, his figure is correct. But the chart is significantly off for both Bush and Obama. We found Bush to have an 86 percent increase, not 115 percent as the chart said. And we found the debt under Obama to be up by 34 percent, more than double the 16 percent cited in the chart.

We quickly discovered the source of the discrepancy: Whoever put the chart together used the date for Jan. 20, 2010 -- which is exactly one year to the day after Obama was sworn in -- rather than his actual inauguration date. We know this because Treasury says the debt for Jan. 20, 2010, was $12.327 trillion, which is the exact number cited on the supporting document that Pelosi’s office gave us.

However this error happened, it effectively took one year of rapidly escalating debt out of Obama’s column and put it into Bush’s, significantly skewing the numbers.

Using the corrected figures does mean that, superficially at least, Democrats have a point. The debt did still increase more, on a percentage basis, under Bush than it did under Obama. But other problems with the chart and its methodology undercut even this conclusion.

Time ranges: Bush served a full eight-year term, while Obama had served just 27 months by the time the chart was compiled. If the Obama figure were to be scaled out to a full eight-year period, he’d have a debt increase of 121 percent rather than 34 percent, making his increase greater than Bush’s. To be fair, that would be a simplistic exercise -- but no less misleading than the chart.

Public debt vs. gross debt: Not only did the chart say it was using one statistic and then use another, it also cherry-picked the one that showed the comparison in a more favorable light. According to OMB statistics, public debt rose by 70 percent under Bush, 16 percentage points more slowly than gross federal debt did. And according to the Treasury, the public debt rose by 53 percent under Obama, compared with the 34 percent rise in gross federal debt.

Those numbers would have shown the two presidents much closer in their debt creation records -- and that’s without even adjusting for the vastly different lengths of time in office.

Debt vs. debt as a percentage of GDP: Some economists will tell you that it’s not the size of the debt per se, but rather the size of the debt relative to the nation’s gross domestic product. This helps minimize the complicating effect of economic cycles and inflation. So how do those numbers stack up? Using OMB statistics, here’s what we came up with, using public debt figures not adjusted for the president’s time in office:

Reagan: Up 14.9 percentage points

George H.W. Bush: Up 7.1 percentage points

Clinton: Down 13.4 percentage points

George W. Bush: Up 5.6 percentage points

Obama: Up 21.9 percentage points (through December 2010 only)

So by this measurement -- potentially a more important one -- Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi’s chart suggested. Of course, all this goes to show that statistics can be used -- and misused -- to bolster almost any argument.

After we presented our research to Pelosi's office, a spokesman acknowledged that the office had erred in assembling and posting the chart and that it was in the process of reposting it. The updated version – which corrects the mathematical error but not what we consider to be the three additional design flaws – can be found here.

That's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't change our rating since it only occurred as a result of our fact-checking. We find so much wrong with this chart that we don’t think it contains any significant approximation of the truth. It made a major calculation error that dramatically skewed the debt increase away from Obama and toward George W. Bush. It glossed over significant variations in time served in office. It cherry-picked the measurement that was favorable to its cause. And it is contradicted by statistics for GDP-adjusted debt, which show Obama to be the most, rather than the least, debt-creating president of the last five. None of this suggests that Obama can’t turn things around as the economy improves (and Democrats can also take some solace in the fact that Bill Clinton did remarkably well in all of our measurements). But in communicating which administrations contributed the most to growth of the debt, this chart is a failure. We rate it Pants on Fire.

Oreo/Coconut 2012!

I just read this on a thread about that twit, Janeane Garfalo, who is claiming that libertarians and conservatives are backing Herman Cain because they are racist.  Quite funny:

"See if I have this correct.

If you didn't vote for Obama,you're a racist, but if you vote for Cain, you're a racist.

You can't argue with a Dem's logic because they don't have any.  

Cain/Gingrich 2012. I mean: Uncle Tom/Cracker 2012"


Sophie:  Or it could be:

Cain/Rubio - 2012.  I mean:  Oreo/Coconut 2012!


I'm not endorsing anyone.  I'm making fun of the racist Progs.

Obama: A Disaster For Civil Liberties

He may prove the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties.

President Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay, continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals and asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. Photographed: The president speaks at the Libya Contact Group Meeting Sept. 20. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo)
President Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay, continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals and asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. Photographed: The president speaks at the Libya Contact Group Meeting Sept. 20. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo)

With the 2012 presidential election before us, the country is again caught up in debating national security issues, our ongoing wars and the threat of terrorism. There is one related subject, however, that is rarely mentioned: civil liberties.

Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

Civil libertarians have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama. After the George W. Bush years, they were ready to fight to regain ground lost after Sept. 11. Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.

However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly. Soon after his election, various military and political figures reported that Obama reportedly promised Bush officials in private that no one would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. In his first year, Obama made good on that promise, announcing that no CIA employee would be prosecuted for torture. Later, his administration refused to prosecute any of the Bush officials responsible for ordering or justifying the program and embraced the "just following orders" defense for other officials, the very defense rejected by the United States at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama's personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. Indeed, only a few days after he took office, the Nobel committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize without his having a single accomplishment to his credit beyond being elected. Many Democrats were, and remain, enraptured.

It's almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence. Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama's position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. Some insist that they are simply motivated by realism: A Republican would be worse. However, realism alone cannot explain the utter absence of a push for an alternative Democratic candidate or organized opposition to Obama's policies on civil liberties in Congress during his term. It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama's policies have become secondary to his persona.

Ironically, had Obama been defeated in 2008, it is likely that an alliance for civil liberties might have coalesced and effectively fought the government's burgeoning police powers. A Gallup poll released this week shows 49% of Americans, a record since the poll began asking this question in 2003, believe that "the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals' rights and freedoms." Yet the Obama administration long ago made a cynical calculation that it already had such voters in the bag and tacked to the right on this issue to show Obama was not "soft" on terror. He assumed that, yet again, civil libertarians might grumble and gripe but, come election day, they would not dare stay home.

This calculation may be wrong. Obama may have flown by the fail-safe line, especially when it comes to waterboarding. For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. As Obama and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. have admitted, waterboarding is clearly torture and has been long defined as such by both international and U.S. courts. It is not only a crime but a war crime. By blocking the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for torture, Obama violated international law and reinforced other countries in refusing investigation of their own alleged war crimes. The administration magnified the damage by blocking efforts of other countries like Spain from investigating our alleged war crimes. In this process, his administration shredded principles on the accountability of government officials and lawyers facilitating war crimes and further destroyed the credibility of the U.S. in objecting to civil liberties abuses abroad.

In time, the election of Barack Obama may stand as one of the single most devastating events in our history for civil liberties. Now the president has begun campaigning for a second term. He will again be selling himself more than his policies, but he is likely to find many civil libertarians who simply are not buying.

Jonathan Turley is a professor of law at George Washington University.

In the interest of full disclosure:

I know Jonathan.  He is a great guy and very a dry sort of way.  If you ever see a man walking around DC with life-size, inflatable dolls, stop and tell Turley, "Hello!"  He is an ardent, principled defender of civil liberties.  We have disagreed on various issues.  Certainly, I disagreed with his support of Obama, who I knew would be exactly the less-than-stellar champion of civil liberties that he is.  Progressive politicians usually are.  

While I am not ready...just award Barack Obama the un-honourific of being the President with the worst record on civil of now, that remains firmly on the mantle of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, I agree that he is a disaster.  I would also suggest that Jonathan expand his critique of Obama to cover his stances and positions on issues outside of those concerning the "war on terror."  That a "champion of civil liberties" would have had his administration file an amicus brief on the side of the government when the state supreme court had found for the defendant in Kentucky v. King is shocking.  

Of course, we can also add the Federal government's (under Obama) Hogwatch Programme, its tracking of automobiles without warrants, the move to remove many warrant requirements for "election communication transactional records" from third parties, including the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history, real-time credit card tracking without a warrant, etc., its argument that it doesn't need toshow probable cause and obtain a search warrant or subpoena to track cellphones, and FrankenDodd, which removed many of the protections that have protected citizens' financial information from being released by financial institutions to the government without subpoenas, among others, including the right to NOT be forced to enter into a third-party contract for the provision of a government-approved good or service.

Having said the above, he is on target with his criticism of Obama.

28 September 2011

Five Myths About Millionaires

In 2008, for example, Obama won the votes of 60 percent of those with a family income under $50,000 and 52 percent of those earning more than than $200,000. McCain carried the middle class.

This past week, President Obama tried to sell his new “millionaires’ tax” to the Rust Belt. “What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it,” he said in Cincinnati on Thursday, praising “the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea that could make us millionaires.” But who are the millionaires Obama is talking about? And will a tax on them help the economy? Let’s examine a few presumptions about the man with the monocle on the Monopoly board.

Five Myths:  A semi-weekly feature, hosted by The Post’s Outlook section, aiming to dismantle myths, clarify common misconceptions and make you think again about what you thought you already knew.

1. Millionaires are rich.
Being rich has gotten more expensive. A $1 million fortune was unusual in the early 19th century. The word “millionaire” wasn’t even coined until 1827 by novelist (and future British prime minister) Benjamin Disraeli. In 1845, Moses Y. Beach, editor of the New York Sun, published a small pamphlet called “Wealth and Biography of the Wealthy Citizens of New York City.” The price of admission to Beach’s list, which was wildly popular, was a mere $100,000.

By the time the first Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America was published in 1982, the smallest fortune featured was $75 million. There has been so much wealth creation in the past 30 years — much of it thanks to the microprocessor behind modern-day fortunes such as Dell, Microsoft and Bloomberg — that only billionaires are on the list. Today, $1 million in the bank generates only about $50,000 per year in interest. That isn’t chump change, but it’s roughly equal to the 2010 median household income.

2. Millionaires think they’re rich.
“Rich,” like “poor,” is a relative term. A family living on the American median income of $50,000 a year might think that one living on $500,000 is rich. But that second family, which probably knows families far better off than they are, thinks that you need $5 million a year to be truly rich, and so on.

On Thursday, 44 percent of people voting in an online survey as part of the GOP debate coverage said that a $1 million annual income made a person “rich.” In a 2008 survey of affluent Chicago households, only 22 percent thought a nest egg of $1 million was rich. In March, four out of 10 millionaires surveyed by Fidelity Investments said they do not feel rich. That same month, a majority of investment advisers surveyed in a Scottrade poll said that $1 million isn’t enough for retirement.

Though the average American family is rich beyond the wildest dreams of the average family in Bangladesh, where per capita income recently rose above $700, it’s not much compared with those who summer on beachfront properties in the Hamptons. When John D. Rockefeller learned in 1913 that the late J.P. Morgan had left an estate of $60 million, including a fabulous art collection, he reportedly said: “And to think — he wasn’t even rich.”
3. Millionaires pay proportionately less income tax than poorer people.
In a speech on Monday, Obama said raising taxes on millionaires isn’t class warfare, but “math.” His math may be off: According to the IRS, those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million paid an average of 23.3 percent in federal income taxes in 2008; those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 12.7 percent; and those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 8.9 percent. Nearly half of American families don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes at all.

Why do people think millionaires pay less? One cause of confusion is that stock dividends and capital gains are taxed at a maximum of 15 percent, while regular income in their bracket is taxed at a maximum of 35 percent. The rich often earn more dividend and capital gains income than regular income, so it’s tempting to wrongly conclude, as Warren Buffet has, that millionaires “wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes.” But dividends are paid out of corporate profits that have already been taxed. So Buffet’s equity earnings are doubly taxed: He pays 35 percent at the corporate level and 15 percent on his own return.

4. Millionaires share the same political beliefs.
That might have been true in pre-revolutionary France, where the nobility was exempt from most taxation (and why so many were subject to a brief meeting with Dr. Guillotin’s lethal invention). But it is certainly not true in 21st-century America, where political opinions among the rich are just as diverse as they are among the less well-off.

Just consider George Soros and the Koch brothers. They are listed high on the Forbes 400 list, but Soros funds Democratic campaigns, while the Koches helped foment the tea party revolution. Income can’t be used to predict political opinion. In 2008, for example, Obama won the votes of 60 percent of those with a family income under $50,000 and 52 percent of those earning more than than $200,000. McCain carried the middle class.

In America, millionaires have always had the freedom to disagree — even in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt, called one of the 10 richest presidents by Forbes in 2010, was denounced as a traitor to his class for instituting the New Deal. Also on Forbes’s list: famous trust-buster Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, who proposed a “War on Poverty” days before he was assassinated.
5. Obama’s “millionaires’ tax” won’t seriously limit investment.

That’s the line of reasoning that the administration is using. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters that the president’s plan wouldn’t hurt growth. “I am very confident that the modest changes we’re suggesting in terms of revenues . . . would make the economy stronger in the long term, not weaker in the long term,” he said.

Geithner’s confidence is somewhat misplaced. According to a 2001 congressional study that confirmed a basic tenet of macroeconomics, “each $1 of marginal tax rate cuts would save the private economy at least $1.25 as deadweight losses fall and economic efficiency increases.” Taxes distort investment decisions. Why throw money into productive assets — corporate securities, a rental property or new employees for a small business — if the income they generate will be taxed away?

Taxes on the rich are taxes on people who create jobs. And jobs are an unalloyed good thing for an economy.

Excessively taxing the capital that makes the economy go is poor public policy. And we have a recent example of how the opposite works well: Unemployment declined by a third in the four years after the Bush tax cuts were fully implemented in 2003, dropping to 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, federal revenue increased 44 percent in those years. If these tax cuts put people to work and generated money for the government, shouldn’t Obama consider the possibility that tax increases should be avoided?

Want to challenge everything you know? Read more from our Five myths archive.

And, People Wonder Why We Laugh At Gaian Cultists

M2RB:  Babes in Toyland (Explicit language warning)

You got this thing that really makes me hot
You got a lot and more when you get caught
You got this thing that follows me around
You (bloody) bitch well I hope your insides rot

Go All. The. Way. Down... For Gaia... Baby!!!

From page 16 of "Return to Almora" written by Dr Rajenda Pachauri, who was the head of the IPPC, whose disastrous 2007 report became a laughingstock:

“She then led him into the bedroom,” writes Dr Pachauri.

“She removed her gown, slipped off her nightie and slid under the quilt on his bed… Sanjay put his arms around her and kissed her, first with quick caresses and then the kisses becoming longer and more passionate.

“May slipped his clothes off one by one, removing her lips from his for no more than a second or two.

“Afterwards she held him close. ‘Sandy, I’ve learned something for the first time today. You are absolutely superb after meditation. Why don’t we make love every time immediately after you have meditated?’.”

More follows, including Sanjay and friends queuing to have sexual encounters with Sajni, an impoverished but willing local: "Sanjay saw a shapely dark-skinned girl lying on Vinay’s bed. He was overcome by a lust that he had never known before ... He removed his clothes and began to feel Sajni’s body, caressing her voluptuous breasts."

Sadly for Sanjay, writes Dr Pachauri, "the excitement got the better of him, before he could even get started".

While teaching meditation to women in the US, Sanjay can once more barely contain his ardour. Again, breasts – usually heaving or else voluptuous – are thrust to the fore. 

"He enjoyed the sensation of gently pushing Susan’s shoulders back a few inches, an action that served to lift her breasts even higher," writes Dr Pachauri. "He was excited by the sight of her heaving breasts, as she breathed in and out deeply."

A friend of Susan is taken to a motel by Sanjay but only after he has fondled her breasts – "which he just could not let go of" – inadvertently sounding the car horn at the same time.

Other passages in the novel involve group sex and more risqué sexual practices.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Yeah, I'm gonna take him seriously!   Not!
I wonder if Dr Pachauri could release Al Gore's second chakra?  Hmmmm......

Seriously, the problem that the Gaian Cultists have created for themselves is quite easy to explain from my position as a lawyer. Basically, they have tried their case with the equivalent of a poor man's Marcia Clark and Chris Darden (and if you think that's bad, consider that I think a rich man's Clark & Darden is a real put down). The opening statement was nothing short of "The sky is falling and, if we don't do XYZ and pay $100 trillion in taxes N-O-W, then an Armageddon is a'comin."

The burden of proof was on them. They made these outlandish predictions, which were NOT based upon legitimate science. Once they presented their case with a bunch of gypsies, liars, and thieves tossing around junk science, cataclysmic claims, statements from mountain climbing magasines, etc., they attempted to move for SJ. Well, the procedure doesn't work that way. They don't get to decide when the case is closed and they've won.

Since then, there have been myriad examples of outrageous errors, insanities, "peer-reviewed" statements of dwindling polar bear populations made by NON-SCIENTISTS accepted as fact and presented by the UN, the outright fraud of disappearing glaciers, shrinking Greenland, etc. They have yet to even attempt to rebut anything other than to say, "Well, it could happen. It might happen." Yeah, well Fat Al Gore might get hit by a bus this afternoon, too, Insha'allah...which would definitely release his second chakra.

Many like to talk about Eisenhower's farewell speech and his warning about the Military Industrial Complex and admonish all of us "liars, damn deniers, and statistics providers" to "follow the money." I agree.  Let's follow the money....and, also, let's not neglect what else Eisenhower warned about in the same speech...

"But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

So, yeah, Gaian Cultists, don't be surprised when we laugh at you.  If you want us to take you seriously, stopped lying and awarding Nobel Peace Prizes to D-science students, law school dropouts, and divinity school flunkies like Fat Al Bore and failed railroad engineers with shady financial, charitable, and organisational dealings, who not only claim to be "scientists," but also publish enviro-smutty-bodice-ripping-shag-fest-GaianPussyGalore books unworthy of even Harlequin Romances like former IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.  It's like so totally embarrassing already.  Ya'now?

Related Reading:

Global Warming is Dead! Long Live The Next Little Ice Age! God Save The Queen Gaia!

Children Just Aren't Going To Know What Sun Is

The Glorious Guru of Gloom, the Ghastly Goreacle of Gaia, the Glitterati Geo-Ecocrats and Their Gullible Gulpers of Gaiaraideoganda

And, People Wonder Why We Laugh At Gaian Cultists 

The Creator of Gaia:  The Science Is Not Settled

Study: Climate Change Skeptics Know More About Science Than Believers


Bruise Violet - Babes In Toyland

You got this thing that really makes me hot
You got alot and more when you get caught
You got this thing that follows me around
You f_cking b_tch well I hope your insides rot
You see the stars through eyes lit up with lies
You got your stories all twisted up in mine
You got this thing that follows me around
You were born with glue instead of spine
Of thee I sing
Tied to a string
You got this thing that follows me around
You got this thing that really makes me hot
You got alot and more when you get caught
Bruise violet
Bruise violet
Bruise violet

Chart of the Day: Illinois Democrats Were Soooo Certain They Were Right And Scott Walker Was Wrong


Do your demons do they ever let you go
When you've tried do they hide -deep inside
Is it someone that you know
You're a picture just an image caught in time
We're a lie you and I
We're words without a rhyme

There's no sign of the morning coming

You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark 

"We have an emergency, a fiscal emergency... Our state was careening toward bankruptcy, fiscal insolvency. Even in the last couple of months, the situation got seriously more dire. So the governor has to act at the moment. And that's what I did." 

- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, upon passage of a 67% tax increase at end of lame duck session, 12 January 2011

"Democrats argued the tax increase was needed to rehabilitate the state's deadbeat image, but Republicans predicted it would drive businesses out of state." 

- The Chicago Tribune, 12 January 2011 

Data released 08.19.11 by the bureau confirms this downward trajectory. When it comes to putting people back to work, Illinois is going backwards. Since January, Illinois has dropped 89,000 people from its employment rolls.

It’s too early to know conclusively the full impact of the tax hikes on the Illinois economy. Nevertheless, Illinois’s employment numbers serve as a good reminder that public policies have dramatic consequences for the daily lives of Illinoisans. A combination of high taxes, overspending and red tape do nothing but chase away job creators and leave too many citizens without jobs. Springfield needs to act now and reverse course.

Rainbow in the dark

When there's lightning it always bring me down
'Cause it's free and I see that it's me
Who's lost and never found
I cry for magic I feel it dancing in the light
But it was cold I lost my hold
To the shadows of the night

There's no sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark

Do your demons do they ever let you go
When you've tried do they hide -deep inside
Is it someone that you know
You're a picture just an image caught in time
We're a lie you and I
We're words without a rhyme

There's no sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark

When there's lightning it always brings me down
'Cause it's free and I see that it's me
Who's lost and never found
Feel the magic feel it dancing in the air
But it's fear and you'll hear
It calling you beware

There's no sign of the morning coming
There's no sight of the day
You've been left on your own
Like a rainbow in the dark