Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 09/16/2012 [Part 2]

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
House passes stopgap bill at Democrats’ spending level
by Stephen Dinan,
The 329-91 vote also saw the return of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin congressman has been on the campaign trail for the past month but returned to the House chamber to rousing applause from his Republican colleagues and even a few Democrats.
Mr. Ryan voted for the stopgap spending bill even though the measure breaks the budget he wrote [....]

Update: Major Trends in New Jobless Claims
by 'Ironman,'
September 14, 2012
    Today, we're updating our ongoing statistical analysis of the major trends in the weekly number of new jobless benefit claims in the U.S. since the end of 2005.
The big change is that since our last major update in April 2012, we've seen the end of one primary trend, gone through another, and have now started a third. Goodbye Trend I. Sayonara Trend J. Hello, Trend K!
Primary Trends in Seasonally-Adjusted Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims, 7 January 2006 - 8 September 2012
The table below summarizes each of the periods identified with letters of the alphabet in our updated chart showing each of the major trends over the period from January 2006 through the present: [....]

Surviving Pandemic Flu
by David Morris,
September 14, 2012
    Depending on where you’re at in the country, you’re right in the middle of elderberry season. If you’re not familiar with elderberries and why they’re so important to so many people, hang on a minute. To lay the foundation for elderberry, I want to tell you about one of the scenarios posed in the book, 7 Deadly Scenarios. It has to do with the big picture effects of a pandemic flu hitting North America.
    One of my best friends is a strategic planner/war-gamer at the Pentagon. I was talking with him awhile back and he suggested I get on Amazon and buy a book before we got off of the phone. What was the book, you might ask?  It’s called 7 Deadly Scenarios and it was written by a military futurist named Dr. Andrew Krepinevich in early 2009.  It’s a great book and you can get it on Amazon, but one of the scenarios he lays out is of particular interest and I’m going to talk about it today.  I’ve known about this scenario for some time, but wasn’t comfortable openly talking about it until seeing it in Krepinevich’s book. If you want to know why the US Government has been so freaked out by the flu, this is why.
    One thing I want to address is the theory [....]

They Jail Antique Dealers, So Why Not LBO Artists?
by Daniel Fisher,
September 13, 2012
    The New York Times had a big scoop recently on a lawsuit in Boston that accuses some of the biggest private-equity firms including Bain Capital, TPG and KKR of conspiring to keep takeover prices low during the leveraged-buyout boom from 2003 to 2007. The lawsuit dubs it the “conspiratorial era,” but given that the deals include wipeouts like TPG and KKR’s $45 billion purchase of Texas utility TXU, skeptics might think the only conspiracy was to squander their investors’ money. My first reaction to the lawsuit was it was utter nonsense: What duty does any buyer have to increase his offer or offer anything at all? Isn’t the duty on the seller to seek out the highest price?

10 stocks least addicted to the Fed’s QE3
by Wallace Witkowski,
September 14, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — U.S. markets are partying like it’s 2007 following the Federal Reserve’s announcement it will launch a new round of quantitative easing, better known as QE3 — but the stimulus might not keep the celebration going for long.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday said the U.S. central bank would start buying about $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month to tame high unemployment as well as keep the federal funds rate near zero until mid-2015.
Stock investors responded enthusiastically, pushing both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index  to highs not seen since late 2007. [....]

Now Do You Understand?
by William F. Buckley, Jr.
originally published on

August 22, 1980
New York, July 29 — Let’s see now. As these words are written, Carter has contradicted himself twice, Civiletti has contradicted himself once, Brzezinski and Rosalynn have done a pas de deux in the Rose Garden in the moonlight, Jody has denounced third-rate accusations, Jimmy has cabled the Shah’s widow offering condolences while carefully omitting any word of praise for the late Shah, whose departure was hailed by his benevolent successors in Iran as the end of the “bloodsucker,” in a statement that included the reiteration of Iranian resolve to keep the hostages, whose term of captivity we forgot because Walter Cronkite wasn’t on last night, and the Democrats, or most Democrats, are preparing to renominate for re-election the incumbent President about whom the most that can be said was said by Henry Kissinger keynoting the Republican convention in Hartford over the weekend, to wit that President Carter delivered his first foreign-policy address to the American people wearing a sweater, which at least proves that he pulled the wool over [....]

The Medicare Distortions
The president and his defenders know the truth won’t work, so dishonesty it is.
By James C. Capretta,
September 10, 2012
    In the last three weeks, President Obama and his apologists have been incredulous that the Romney-Ryan campaign would have the audacity to attack them over Medicare.
How dare they? That’s what we do, not them!
As my colleague Yuval Levin has already explained, these Democrats don’t seem to realize that Obamacare changed everything. The new health-care law cut Medicare by $716 billion over a decade to partially finance the cost of expanding entitlement benefits for other Americans. Put simply, Medicare was squeezed to grease the way for the president’s main first-term ambition — enactment of a government takeover of American health care. That’s a fact, and it’s one that doesn’t sit well with many voters, especially seniors. Romney and Ryan are helpfully reminding [....]

An Economic 'Plan?'
by Dr Thomas Sowell,
September 11, 2012
Former president Bill Clinton told the Democratic National Convention that Barack Obama has a plan to rescue the economy, and only the fact that the Republicans stood in his way has stopped him from getting the economy out of the doldrums.
From all this, and much else that is said in the media and on the campaign trail, you might think that the economy requires government intervention to revive and create jobs. It is Beltway dogma that the government has to "do something."
History tells a different story. For the first 150 years of this country's existence, the federal government felt no great need to "do something" when the economy turned down. Over that long span of time, the economic downturns were neither as deep nor as long lasting as they have been since the federal government decided that it had to "do something" in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, which set a new precedent.
One of the last of the "do nothing" presidents was Warren G. Harding. In 1921, under President Harding, unemployment hit 11.7 percent -- higher than it has been under President Obama. Harding did nothing to get the economy stimulated.
Far from spending more money to try to "jump start" the economy, President Harding actually reduced government spending, as the tax revenues declined during the economic downturn.
This was not a matter of absent-mindedly neglecting the economy. President Harding deliberately rejected the urging of his own Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, to intervene.
The 11.7 percent unemployment rate in 1921 fell to 6.7 percent in 1922, and then to 2.4 percent in 1923. It is hard to think of any government intervention in the economy that produced such a sharp and swift reduction in unemployment as was produced by just staying out of the way and letting the economy rebound on its own.
Bill Clinton loudly proclaimed to the delegates to the Democratic National Convention that no president could have gotten us out of the recession in just one term.
But history shows that the economy rebounded out of a worse unemployment situation in just two years under Harding, who simply let the market revive on its own, as it had done before, time and time again for more than a century.
Something similar happened under Ronald Reagan. Unemployment peaked at 9.7 percent early in the Reagan administration. Like Harding and earlier presidents, Reagan did nothing, despite outraged outcries in the media.
The economy once again revived on its own. Three years later, unemployment was down to [....]

The Chevy Volt: Another Obama Green Investment Loses a Billion
by John Ransom,
September 11, 2012
This is getting redundant.
If you want investment losses for tax purposes, Barack Obama is your guy.
Now, if the country could only figure out how to write off the five trillion dollars we’ve lost during his presidency. As the man said: A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon were talking about Barack Obama.
Readers of my column know that there are few things that I dislike more than the Chevy Volt. I don’t like the inflated claims that government-corporate elites make about it; I don’t like that it costs more than a normal car to keep it driving; I don’t like that European journalists gave it the automotive equivalent of the Nobel prize for engineering; I don’t like that it catches fire; or that the Volt’s voltage puts first responders at danger at accident scenes because engineers didn’t think about safety for first responders.
No, instead they only considered Obama’s desire to put one million electric vehicles on the road no matter what the cost.
Today, I’m very pleased to announce that I have a new reason to dislike the Volt.
And it’s probably [....]

Clinton Tax Hikes Slowed Growth
By Curtis Dubay,
September 5, 2012

    President Obama argues that President Clinton’s economic record is proof that the current economy would grow if Congress passed the tax hikes he has long proposed. The American public should not fall for this misleading argument.
The historical record is clear: The economy grew slower than it should have in the years after Clinton’s 1993 tax hike. The strong economic growth that is associated with his presidency occurred only after he agreed with Congress to cut taxes in his second term.
President Obama’s cursory and errant analysis of recent history has serious implications for policymaking today. If Congress raises taxes based on the faulty notion that tax hikes have no ill effects on economic growth, it will impede the still-struggling recovery and keep millions of Americans on the unemployment rolls far too long.
Unexceptional Growth
A favorite liberal argument is to attribute the U.S. economy’s strong performance during the 1990s to President Clinton’s economic policies, chief among which was a huge tax increase.
Clinton signed his tax hike into law in September 1993, the same year he took office. It included an increase of the top marginal tax rate from 31 percent to 39.6 percent; repeal of the cap on the 2.9 percent Medicare tax, applying it to every dollar of income instead of capping it to levels of income like the Social Security tax; a 4.3 cent increase in the gas tax; an increase in the taxable portion of Social Security benefits; and a hike of the corporate income tax rate from 34 percent to 35 percent, among other tax increases.
The economic defense of the Clinton tax hikes does not hold up against the historical facts. The economy [....]

Getting A Job
by John Myers,
Personal Liberty Digest
September 12, 2012
    The race for the Presidency is focusing on which candidate will best help people get a job. During the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama weighed in on the matter: “We (she and husband President Barack Obama) have to fix this. We have so much more to do.”
Whoever is elected in November, whether Obama or GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, it will be his priority to improve the economy. If the economy does improve, that will create jobs. Yet two things strike me:
  1. The individual, not the government, must assume responsibility for his career path.
  2. It always has been difficult to find the job you want.
I was reminded of this when the first man to give me a job as a writer died last week at age 83. His name was Harald Gunderson and, as a teenager, he was a working cowboy. Later, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy. After that, he worked as a brakeman with the railroad until he finally got an opportunity to be a reporter for a small-town newspaper. A few years later, he got his big break and became a reporter for a large daily. He went on to successfully [....]

When Things Go Bad
by Scott Stewart,
September 13, 2012
    Over the past several weeks, we have discussed a number of different situations that can present a common problem to people caught up in them. First, we discussed how domestic terrorism remains a persistent threat in the United States, and that despite improvements in security measures since 2001, soft targets still remain vulnerable to attack by terrorist actors driven by a variety of motivations. Due to the devolution of the jihadist threat toward the grassroots, there is also a growing trend of jihadist actors using armed assaults instead of bombing attacks. We also discussed the continuing problem of workplace violence, and finally, we discussed last week evacuation plans for expatriates due to natural disaster, civil unrest or war.
    People caught in any of these situations could find themselves either confronted by an armed assailant or actually coming under fire in an active shooter scenario. Of course, there are other situations where people can find themselves confronted by armed assailants, from street muggings and carjackings to bank robberies. Because of this, we thought it might be useful to our readers to discuss such situations and how to react when caught in one.
Perhaps the most important factor affecting a person's reaction to a life-threatening incident is their mindset going into the situation. As we have previously noted when discussing situational awareness, the way the brain is wired makes it very difficult for a person to go from a state of being "tuned out" and completely unaware of what is going on around them to a state of high alert. When confronted by such a jump, it is not uncommon for people to freeze, go into shock and become totally unable to respond to the situation [....]
Until Next Sunday....



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