Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pelosi's Energy News Conference Gets Overwhelmed by Pro-Drilling Americans, Then She Hops in an SUV

HT:Americans for Prosperity

Sarah Palin gives McCain camp $7 million Bump

As much as Democratic strategists and blind liberal followers have tried to portray McCain’s pick of Palin as a catastrophe, there is a sure sign that her choice for Veep has started to mobilize and energize the Republican base:

From the Washington Post: Sen. John McCain has taken in $7 million in contributions since announcing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a top campaign aide said today.

The money bounce may owe to Palin's appeal with conservative donors, many of whom said privately they had planned on sitting out the campaign this year. The money comes in just under the wire -- after McCain accepts the GOP nomination Thursday, he will accept public funds and no longer be permitted to raise private money for the campaign.

That will not, however, stop McCain and Palin from raising money for the Republican National Committee. In coming weeks, McCain will host four megafundraising events in major cities aimed at bolstering the accounts of the party. Palin, meanwhile, will be sent out to headline more than a dozen fundraising events for the RNC.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Best comment I've heard today....

at the supermarket regarding vice presidential candidates:

"Compare Biden and Palin's executive experience. Palin actually runs a government. Biden runs a tab in Georgetown bars."

And now for something completely different...

Friday, August 29, 2008

I love Sarah Palin!

McCain chooses Sarah Palin as Veep.

Becky over at Just a girl in shorts wrote about this potential pick many times.

While I don't agree with all of her views, I think she is a great pick; more on this later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

GDP grew 3.3% in the second quarter

I guess the country isn’t going into the toilet as some politicians want to make us believe. The stories of our demise are greatly exaggerated! I’m sure that some will not be convinced that while the economy is not humming along, it’s not as desperate as some keynote speakers at the DNC continuously harped.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Power of the Market—the Pencil

There is no pencil czar. No graphite czar. No rubber czar. No yellow paint czar. Yet, pencils are plentiful, cheap, and reliable. If there were these czar's, ministers, or government appointed bureaucrats, you can rest assured that such a small thing that we take for granted such as pencils, would be after a while in short supply or there would be known at all.

HT:Liberty Pen

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The tide of Liberalism and America

The Democratic Convention in Denver is underway and the Democrats seem to feel very confident about their chances in November, not just for the executive branch of government, but also the legislative branch. While I have often criticized Republican leadership and its turn away from conservative governance, the current crop of Liberal Democrats controlling congress are also to be looked upon with great suspicion: The federal government is poised to obtain more power and more control over our lives than ever before. It will be done very gradually and with seemingly the best of intentions. But before we know it, our choices will have been greatly diminished while our ability to manage our national finances may further become untenable.

So, as you watch the DNC party in Denver, pay close attention to what they say and how they seduce America when it comes to government having a greater role in our lives. You may remember those words many years from now and not in a good way.

Cartoon of the day

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gasoline dips below $4 in California


Will this drop stop the drive to drill for more domestic supplies? Will cheaper gas make the SUV popular again? Will “alternative” energy investment fall off?

Welcome to the Nanny State

From Reason TV.

HT: Liberty Pen

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Avi Lewis critique

Copious Dissent has a great critique of media Leftist Avi Lewis. Mr. Lewis is married to the Progressive darling Naomi Klein who is author of the “Shock Doctrine:” A book of extraordinary rhetoric and free-wheeling associations. See critique by Johan Norberg:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why the free-market works better than a command economy

I really can’t add much to what Thomas Sowell so elegantly states:

When amateurs outperform professionals, there is something wrong with that profession.

If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master's degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student-- which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

Nevertheless, we continue to take seriously the pretensions of educators who fail to educate, but who put on airs of having "professional" expertise beyond the understanding of mere parents.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alternative Energy Sham!

You hear it all the time from Democrats, Progressives, and environmentalists --They want more (government and corporate) investment in renewable and alternative energy. And they are always lambasting energy companies, oil companies, and Republicans for not facilitating enough research and development to move our country forward regarding energy. We’ve been hearing it for years now. In yesterday’s WSJ editorial section (subscription may be required), it turns out that what these groups say they want and how it is to be achieved are at odds:

In this year's great energy debate, Democrats describe a future when the U.S. finally embraces the anything-but-carbon avant-garde. It turns out, however, that when wind and solar power do start to come on line, they face a familiar obstacle: environmentalists and many Democrats.

To wit, the greens are blocking the very transmission network needed for renewable electricity to move throughout the economy. The best sites for wind and solar energy happen to be in the sticks -- in the desert Southwest where sunlight is most intense for longest, or the plains where the wind blows most often. To exploit this energy, utilities need to build transmission lines to connect their electricity to the places where consumers actually live. In addition to other technical problems, the transmission gap is a big reason wind only provides two-thirds of 1% of electricity generated in the U.S., and solar one-tenth of 1%.

Only last week, Duke Energy and American Electric Power announced a $1 billion joint venture to build a mere 240 miles of transmission line in Indiana necessary to accommodate new wind farms. Yet the utilities don't expect to be able to complete the lines for six long years -- until 2014, at the earliest, because of the time necessary to obtain regulatory approval and rights-of-way, plus the obligatory lawsuits.

In California, hundreds turned out at the end of July to protest a connection between the solar and geothermal fields of the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles and Orange County. The environmental class is likewise lobbying state commissioners to kill a 150-mile link between San Diego and solar panels because it would entail a 20-mile jaunt through Anza-Borrego state park. "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior," Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. "They say that we want renewable energy, but we don't want you to put it anywhere."

California has a law mandating that utilities generate 20% of their electricity from "clean-tech" by 2010. Some 24 states have adopted a "renewable portfolio standard," while Barack Obama wants to impose a national renewable mandate. But the states, with the exception of Texas, didn't make transmission lines easier to build, though it won't prevent them from penalizing the power companies that fail to meet an impossible goal.

Now, does this all sound reasonable to you? These are the same people that do not want any domestic off-shore drilling or nuclear power plants. We will severely hamstring our economy and our well-being if we continue to let radicals dictate our national energy policy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cash Cows

You’re going to hear more of the Government Accountability Office report stating that U.S. corporations have paid no income tax for a span of about seven years. The question that this report should have answered and that media outlets should have asked: Did these corporations make any profits? This would head off any unfair comments by those in the public and politicians that view corporations and companies as cash cows that never pay their share. Never let anyone tell you that the media is not biased or trying to stir up resentment to sell newspapers. In an answer to the GAO report, Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute does an excellent job of explaining corporate taxes in this PODCAST

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dollar continues to gain, crude oil falls

As the American dollar continues to climb, commodities (like crude oil) continue to slide. Here’s hoping the dollar rally continues for a while longer; It seems as the dollar may be ending it's seven year slide. On the downside, a strengthening dollar may slow U.S. exports. However, when a currency strengthens, it usually signals that the economy may also be improving.

Chart is from Carpe Diem

Friday, August 15, 2008

Speculators=Vampires II

Has anyone noticed that the price of gas has dropped for 24 consecutive days? I’m sure you have as there has been a drop of 15 cents over the last two weeks. Strange, Congress takes a vacation from doing squat all season and oil prices drop rather nicely. Hmm, maybe it’s just a coincidence.

But what of the conspiracy theories regarding speculators brought forth by progressives and liberal Democrats? Where are these capitalist vampires and why in the world would they let oil prices drop when there are riches to be had? Heck now is a good time to stick it to consumers since Congress is out of town. Why not ratchet the price up ever higher? Who is going to stop you, right? After all, the Enron Loophole is still in place and so are all the laws that sneaky Phil Gramm passed back in 2000 which, according to over active imaginations or political spinsters, are the mechanisms used by speculators to push crude oil prices higher and higher.

But, dear reader, as we have witnessed over the last couple of weeks, the laws of supply and demand, a strengthening dollar, and slowing economies in Europe and the U.S., have proved the conspiracy theorists wrong. What a surprise!

By the way, the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission released the results of its interim investigation into any fraud, wrongdoing, or market manipulation on 07/22/08. And the conclusions of the interim report, “found that fundamental supply and demand factors provide the best explanation for the recent crude oil price increases.” Imagine that.

However, we shouldn’t be surprised if oil prices spike up again due to an unexpected world event (or if the dollar starts to sink again) and that complaints from the Left begin again in earnest. Quite frankly, I would actually be OK if the Enron Loophole were closed. Then, when prices do go up again, we won’t have to hear all the ludicrous theories on how capitalism doesn’t work, more regulation is needed, and how speculators are all making a mint as they tool the market.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obstructionist by any other name

Pelosi and the Democrats are beholden to the radical environmentalists in their party. Hence, we get the obstruction and the usual straw man arguments regarding drilling for domestic oil supplies.

HT: Jimmy Cardoza at Liberty Pen

The danger of subsidizing renewable energy has a great video on the fiasco that Bio-fuels made from corn ethanol has brought on the world.

When government ends up subsidizing an industry or a program that ends up having poor unintended consequences, like we have experienced with corn ethanol, my trail test to those that favor deep government subsidies for projects that they deem essential to society is what happens if that program or policy turns out to not work as initially expected? Since Democrats, environmentalists, and even some Republicans continuously call for subsidizing “renewable” energy or “alternative” energy, what happens if government picks a loser and ends up wasting billions of taxpayer funds chasing a viable technology? I find it difficult to imagine that many of these groups would be comfortable with such a waste.

Now that many national and international organizations and government bodies have acknowledged the problems with corn ethanol, how long will it take our government to fix the problem? I bet that it will take at least a decade before subsidies for corn ethanol bio-fuels are reversed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"In The Name Of Fairness"

Here’s another wonderful hack job from the liberal blog Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.

The study by the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO's estimate.

"It's shameful that so many corporations make big profits and pay nothing to support our country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who asked for the GAO study with Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

An outside tax expert, Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, said increasing numbers of limited liability corporations and so-called "S" corporations pay taxes under individual tax codes.

At least they had the decency to quote Chris Edwards from the Cato Institute who nails the issue right on target. A good chunk of those “rich” people that Obama wants to raise taxes on are actually LLC or “S” corporations that create and maintain jobs. Maybe someone should tell Obama and Sen. Dorgan that thousands of professionals and business owners who used to report most of their income under the corporate tax responded to lower individual income-tax rates after 1986 and 2003 by reporting more income under the individual tax as partnerships, LLCs and Sub-S corporations. Moving business income from the corporate to the individual tax, not CEO pay for example, has raised the top 1%'s share on individual tax returns. But I digress. Here is the crux of Sen. Dorgan’s complaint:

Dorgan and Levin have complained about companies abusing transfer prices _ amounts charged on transactions between companies in a group, such as a parent and subsidiary. In some cases, multinational companies can manipulate transfer prices to shift income from higher to lower tax jurisdictions, cutting their tax liabilities. The GAO did not suggest which companies might be doing this.

"It's time for the big corporations to pay their fair share," Dorgan said.

So, Sen. Dorgan wants to create even more corporate tax bureaucracy in order to capture what parent and subsidiary companies transact. Perfect. And when has it been “unfair” for a company to try to save on their tax liabilities? That’s what I would call good corporate governance. Cutting tax liability is what tax credits, losses, and write-offs are for and provided by the tax code.

Oh, I can’t wait until liberal Democrats have full control of Congress and the White House, folks. We are going to see a lot more of these witch hunts against business. As Obama once said in a primary debate discussing an increase in capital gains taxes, it's all "in the name of fairness.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pelosi Book Flop

Arguably, one of the most powerful women in the world, Nancy Pelosi, has written a book: “Know Your Power.” It seems there aren’t too many readers, even feminist liberals, with enough interest in what Nancy has to say. The book has very weak sales. Total tally of books sold thus far according to Drudge—2,737.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Environmentalists want higher gas prices just like oil companies, speculators, Wall Street robber barons...

As gas prices have started to quietly descend over the last couple of weeks, I wondered what must be the chatter be going about in “Greenie” blogs and websites ? What are their assessments and their strategy regarding lowered gas prices? Environmentalists have always wanted higher gas prices--just like in Europe, they would say--usually through a higher gas tax. The theory being that higher gas prices would force the general public into mass transit or smaller fuel efficient cars. Thus, saving the environment from unwanted carbon dioxide and shepherding new investments in clean alternative energy. You must admit, there has been a lot of schadenfreude and hand wringing hoisted on those souls who drive around in those hated SUV’s. High gas prices must have really cockled the most inner environmentalist in every Liberal and Progressive. It must have felt so good to be morally vindicated.

But what happens when gas prices go up so fast that Americans struggle to make ends meet? And then the average American starts to figure out that they can not afford to have expensive energy for the sake of environmentalist goals. Leaving billions of gallons of crude oil sitting idle off our shores has all of a sudden started to seem unreasonable.

The Democrats’ reply to domestic drilling was the same as was heard many years before—“It will take decades to get oil from off shore drilling,” “It won’t matter much to current prices,” and there is the usual, “speculators are the cause of higher oil prices.” None of these straw man arguments have dissuaded the American public however.

This is a curious development. If the prices are low, we go back to consuming more gasoline. This means less incentive for clean alternatives and more pollution but perhaps less public outcry for more domestic drilling. Higher gas prices mean…well, you know.

It seems that environmentalists and their political enablers have positioned themselves into a nasty little corner. The illogical goals of obstructing the development of proven and reliable sources of energy--particularly when those energy prices are very high and may be high for some time now or in the future--just doesn't make sense to the average person. Environmentalists and Democrats seem to want Americans to live with higher prices because that moves them closer, in their estimation, to their stated goals of clean alternative energy. Even as those supposed alternatives are far, far from being a reality; probably farther than their claim that off shore drilling will take to make a difference. Their goal is going to be mighty expensive and Americans may not be interested in their utopia.

If gas prices continue to drop, look for a call to a higher gas tax in the name of developing alternative energy or to dissuade people from driving.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More on Hugo Chavez

Jeff Perren wrote a very prescient article on Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. The article details the description of a young Venezuelan blogger who has started to witness her country crumble around her. Check out the picture of Hollywood elite Danny Glover hanging out with Chavez.

Jeff's blog is Shaving Leviathan.

On economic and social justice

The Bobo Files has a very interesting post on the current mind-set of a very large group of people in our country that want to move towards a larger redistributive system because they feel it will lead to greater economic and social justice. The post also outlines thinkers like Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick, F.A. Hayek, and others who have influenced modern economics and social politics via free-market capitalism.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Environmental Hysteria Exemplified!

Penn and Teller show us exactly why the environmental movement is simply not based on rationality, reason, or logic. Most of the time it is an emotional knee-jerk reaction with little thought taken in what exactly is being banned and why.

Chavez announces decrees

In life, sometimes it’s satisfying to know that there is some predictability to rely upon. After all, if the bus that takes you to work in the morning doesn’t have a regular predictable schedule, you will end up late to work one time too many and may get canned. So, it comes as no surprise that the predictable nature of Hugo Chavez has once again affirmed that all is well with the universe. You see, Mr. Chavez has announced some new decrees that his poor and hapless countrymen will now have the headache of dealing with. As I predicted several months ago on this blog, I knew Mr. Chavez was not going to let a rebuff of his socialist agenda by voters in December crimp his master plans to turn Venezuela into a socialist basket case.

Curiously, many of Chavez’s best friends in Washington, and even Hollywood, have been oddly silent since that whole nasty episode with the FARC terrorists. Not a peep from Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, whose early support helped the strongman consolidate his power in Venezuela. Or even former President Jimmy Carter who had blessed Mr. Ch├ívez's August 2004 recall victory, despite evidence of fraud. But best of all, there are the House Democrats from Massachusetts--Joseph P. Kennedy II and Bill Delahunt, who in a lame attempt to snub the Bush administration, got cozy with Mr. Chavez as he used free heating oil as a propaganda tool. Swell. It really tells you a lot about Congress when you see them support a tin pot loon like Hugo Chavez.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

School Choice and the problem of bureaucracy

Here’s a great clip from a British T.V. show on how government bureaucracy has ingrained itself to the school system and how hard it is to dislodge it.

HT: Andrew Roth@ Club for Growth

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

American Energy Freedom Day

Will it come to pass?

HT: Andrew Roth

U.S. spending obligations surge

Don’t let anybody tell you that the 110th Congress hasn’t done anything lately. Oh, they have and big time. They have managed to create the sort of spending from the creation of Federal programs that would make a spendthrift blush. I hope Americans know what they are getting themselves into when they jaunt into those voting booths in November. Because if we get more massive spending programs from the next administration, there’s going to be a lot of financial pain to spread around and it won’t be just for the “rich.”

From CSM: The Democratic-controlled Congress and the Bush administration have presided over a surge in new federal spending obligations that may be the most enduring legacy of the 110th Congress.

From new entitlements such as a GI bill for military veterans to recent federal commitments to shore up a troubled housing market, Washington is taking on obligations with long-term consequences for taxpayers. At the same time, critics say, lawmakers aren't exercising the oversight needed to keep these commitments manageable.

"In the last three or four months, the momentum has really built up for more spending," says Michael Franc, vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. "Congress has moved a whole range of bills that take the problem up another notch."

Here are some of the items.

•A new housing law, signed last week, commits the government to backing some $300 billion in troubled mortgages.

•A higher education bill adds $169 billion over the next five years.

•The GI bill that extends education benefits to veterans or their family members will cost $62 billion over 10 years.

•Congress boosted the statutory debt ceiling by $800 billion to $10.6 trillion. That's $4.8 trillion more than it was at the end of 2001. (Read More Here)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hayek's warning...

This post by Peter Cresswell of Not PC sums up a slow yet prevailing national movement towards a more statist and big government political ideology. This move to the Left is by no means a recent phenomenon, as it does have some foundation in the current atmosphere in Washington, D.C.

F.A. Hayek warned in "The Road to Serfdom," that a slow and incremental movement towards a welfare state, and then even more collectivism, may jeopardize all citizens' freedoms.

HT: Jeff Perren @ Shaving Leviathan


David Mamet, famous playwright, writes in the Village Voice: "Why I Am No Longer a Brian Dead Liberal."

Posts of worth and note…

Alan Caruba writes about the possibility that the U.S. may lose out on the enormous amount of gas and oil reserves in our Artic territory due to an intra-national treaty with the U.N. or in any case the U.S. would have to pay taxes to the U.N. for extracting resources in our own territory.

HT: The Bobo Files

Jim Cardoza at Liberty Pen neatly summarizes the off-shore drilling debate.

Spirits of Freedom

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died at the age of 89. I remember reading, “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” in college many years ago for a Russian Literature course I took. Like Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn knew hard labor and imprisonment in a state system that attempted to knead away all that was human in people; in a grand scheme to create a perfected society modeled by socialism.

Happy belated birthday to Milton Friedman; His birthday was on Friday, July 31st. Friedman passed away in 2006. He would have been 96.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On No!! Exxon reports profits again!! Those evil bastards!

Exxon has reported its profits for the second quarter. I wait with baited breath (not) on how the neo-socialists howl to the heavens on the “unfairness” of it all and how Exxon and all oil companies need “investment on alternative energy.” Notwithstanding the open ended phrase that “investment on alternative energy” really is, check out how much in taxes Exxon paid along with those profits. Also, check out Carpe Diem’s post on how Exxon actually pays more taxes than the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers.

From CNN money: Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.

"The fundamentals of our business remain strong," Henry Hubble, Exxon's vice president of investor relations, said on a conference call. "We continue to capture the benefit of strong industry conditions."

Also, check out posts on blogs of note on Oil drilling and opposition to it.

Shaving Leviathan: Democrats oppose Oil Company Private Property Rights

The Bobo Files: Obama announces his Energy Plan

Carpe Diem: Exxon posts record $32.36 Tax payment

Al Gore places infant son in rocket to escape dying planet

EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

"I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen," said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. "They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn't they heed me before it was too late?" (read more from The Onion)

Zero emissions---the joke is on us.

After the California legislature managed to pass the strictest emissions standards--zero emissions--on automobiles in America, intrepid Californians have started to “Bike Pool” to work. “It’s a real challenge keeping your balance when the rest of traffic slows. I tend to fall over several times during a commute, breaking all my stuff or like losing my cell phone, but it’s worth it because we’re saving the environment and really sticking it to the Oil companies. Although, it does take me three hours to get to work now,” says newly minted bike commuter Mark Anderson. California highway patrol reports an increase in people pulled over due to exhaustion, flat tires, and heart attacks. But there is some good news according to California highway Patrolman Chris Meyer, “speeding is down, way down.”

(The preceding story was a joke, and is not meant to be taken literally. So please, don't go getting on the freeway with your old Schwinn.)