The Democratic School of Theft and Ethics: Perspective via history and numbers


Ever wonder what ONE TRILLION dollars looks like?  Well it looks like this:

$1,000,000,000,000

As our friend at Suitably Flip has done, however, a picture is worth a trillion words:

stimulus-trillion-in-picture-suitably-flip

Comparing the proposed liberal-program boondoggle spending to historical spending ventures, and even the Wall Street CEO bonuses that Obama whined about, you get the picture of the enormity and ridiculousness of this proposed bill!  Again from Suitably Flip:

So how big is the resulting $1.2 trillion spending package?  Big enough to dwarf any government program in history, even after adjusting for inflation.  It’s bigger than the New Deal and the Iraq War combined.  The interest alone will be costlier than the Louisiana Purchase or going to the moon.  The $18 billion in bonuses paid legally by private Wall Street firms in 2008 – decried by the President as “shameful” – is vanishingly small in comparison (smaller even than the bill’s incremental food stamps expenditures).

The only relatively modest component of the spending bonanza is the money tagged for infrastructure and energy efficiency (the ostensibly stimulative part), which accounts for less than 14% of the total.

As if the over one trillion reasons why Obama and the Dems are unfit to lead is not enough….another friendly and intelligent blogger, Doug Ross, has outlined in ascending fashion the proof of rampant corruption and stupidity that exists in the Democrat “ruling” party:

$34,000: the amount of federal taxes that Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner (D) failed to pay during his employment at the International Monetary Fund despite receiving extra compensation and explanatory brochures that described his tax liabilities.

The Faces of Corruption and Stupidity
Your Democrat Party: The Faces of Corruption and Stupidity

$75,000: the amount of money that the head of the powerful tax-writing committee, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), was forced to report on his taxes after the discovery that he had not reported income from a Costa Rican rental property. His excuses for the failure started with blaming his wife, then his accountant and finally the fact that he didn’t speak Spanish.

$93,000: the amount of petty cash each Congressional representative voted to give themselves in January 2009 during the height of an economic meltdown.

$133,900: the amount Fannie Mae “invested” in Chris Dodd(D-CT), head of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, presumably to repel oversight of the GSE prior to its meltdown. Said meltdown helped touch off the current economic crisis. In only a few years time, Fannie also “invested” over $105,000 in then-Senator Barack Obama.

$140,000: the amount of back taxes and interest that Cabinet nominee Tom Daschle (D) was forced to cough up after the vetting process revealed significant, unexplained tax liabilities.

$356,000: the approximate amount of income and deductions that Daschle (D) was forced to report on his amended 2005 and 2007 tax returns after being caught cheating on his taxes. This includes $255,256 for the use of a car service, $83,333 in unreported income, and $14,963 in charitable contributions.

$800,000: the amount of “sweetheart” mortgages Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) received from Countrywide Financial, the details for which he has refused to release details despite months of promises to do so. Countrywide was once the nation’s largest mortgage lender and linked to Government-Sponsored Entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their meltdown precipitated the current financial crisis. Just days ago in Pennsylvania, Countrywide was forced to pay $150,000,000 in mortgage assistance following “a state investigation that concluded that Countrywide relaxed its underwriting standards to sell risky loans to consumers who did not understand them and could not afford them.”

$1,000,000: the estimated amount of donations by Denise Rich, wife of fugitive Marc Rich, to Democrat interests and the William J. Clinton Foundation in an apparent quid pro quodeal that resulted in a pardon for Mr. Rich. The pardon was reviewed and blessed by Obama Attorney General and then Deputy AG Eric Holder, despite numerous requests by government officials to turn it down.

$12,000,000: the amount of TARP money provided to community bank OneUnited despite the fact that it did not qualify for funds, and was “under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses.” It turns out that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), a key contributor to the Fannie Mae meltdown, just happens to be married to one of the bank’s ex-directors.

$23,500,000: The upper range of net worth Rep. Allan Mollohan (D-WV) accumulated in four years time according to The Washington Post through earmarks of “tens of millions of dollars to groups associated with his own business partners.”

$2,000,000,000: ($2 billion) the approximate amount of money that House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI) is earmarking related to his son’s lobbying efforts. Craig Obey is “a top lobbyist for the nonprofit group” that would receive a roughly $2 billion component of the “Stimulus” package.

$3,700,000,000: ($3.7 billion) not to be outdone, this is the estimated value of various defense contracts awarded to a company controlled by the husband of Rep. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Despite an obvious conflict-of-interest as “a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband’s firms .”

$4,190,000,000: ($4.19 billion) the amount of money in the so-called “Stimulus” package devoted to fraudulent voter registration ACORN group under the auspices of “Community Stabilization Activities”. ACORN is currently the subject of a RICO suit in Ohio.

$1,646,000,000,000 ($1.646 trillion): the approximate amount of United States exports endangered by the “Stimulus” package, which provides a “Buy American” stricture. According to international trade experts, a “US-EU trade war looms“, which could result in a worldwide economic depression reminiscent of that touched off by the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Act.

As Ross says:

It’s not just a culture of corruption. It’s a culture of corruption and stupidity. And, unlike Republicans, Democrats appear to be above the law. All of the aforementioned clowns are still in office, ruling like the royalty they’ve become.  

REMINDER: Let’s not forget that amidst the “urgency” of this spending spree that Obama HAS decided to cut some spending….DEFENSE SPENDING! Funny that the one thing Obama took the oath to do is the very thing he finds as expendable in his first two weeks in office. The oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

(H/T: Jim Treacher)

Under the consumer radar: Knee Jerk anti-small business law creating havoc


woody-buzz-lightyear-toy-story-473549_445_266Here’s a Toy Story for you…..

Aside from blogging, which is entirely a non-revenue hobby for me, I do have a small business that I run from home….it involves children’s products.

Last year, a bill passed Congress that requires CPSA regulations for makers of children’s products….but what is not clear is all of its requirements and for whom. 

The bill is targeted at regulating the testing for lead and other chemicals in children’s products.  Deadline to adhere to law is February 10, 2009 (Update on this at bottom of post).

This law was passed as a knee jerk reaction to China toy recalls last year.  The law is referred to as Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act  (CPSIA).  In the words of Walter Olson at Forbes.com and editor at Overlawyered:

Congress passed CPSIA in a frenzy of self-congratulation following last year’s overblown panic over Chinese toys with lead paint.

Long story short….this bill is affecting many small home businesses and small creators/manufacturers of children’s toys and clothing.  Essentially if the companies making the products don’t do THIRD party testing and then provide certificates of testing, they will be outside of the law.

What is interesting that there has been little to no mainstream media coverage on this issue….and it is NO SMALL PROBLEM.   The list is long on who this affects and how it affects the economy and businesses, in general.

The first thing to note is that we’re not just talking about toys here. With few exceptions, the law covers all products intended primarily for children under 12. That includes clothing, fabric and textile goods of all kinds: hats, shoes, diapers, hair bands, sports pennants, Scouting patches, local school-logo gear and so on.

And paper goods: books, flash cards, board games, baseball cards, kits for home schoolers, party supplies and the like. And sporting equipment, outdoor gear, bikes, backpacks and telescopes. And furnishings for kids’ rooms.

And videogame cartridges and audio books. And specialized assistive and therapeutic gear used by disabled and autistic kids.

Again with relatively few exceptions, makers of these goods can’t rely only on materials known to be unproblematic (natural dyed yarn, local wood) or that come from reputable local suppliers, or even ones that are certified organic.

Instead they must put a sample item from each lot of goods through testing after complete assembly, and the testing must be applied to each component. For a given hand-knitted sweater, for example, one might have to pay not just, say, $150 for the first test, but added-on charges for each component beyond the first: a button or snap, yarn of a second color, a care label, maybe a ribbon or stitching–with each color of stitching thread having to be tested separately.

Suddenly the bill is more like $1,000–and that’s just to test the one style and size. The same sweater in a larger size, or with a different button or clasp, would need a new round of tests–not just on the button or clasp, but on the whole garment. The maker of a kids’ telescope (with no suspected problems) was quoted a $24,000 testing estimate, on a product with only $32,000 in annual sales.

Clearly, the Congress did not think through the unnecessary burden this places on smaller businesses…seemingly much less burden for large companies (like Mattel who actually lobbied for the bill?!?)   As written, and as of Feb 10 these products must be tested and certified….

Also from Olson:

Yes, something’s being exposed as systematically defective here. But it’s not the contents of our kids’ toy chests. It’s the way we make public policy.

What an example of the effect of this bill?  From Forbes.com:

Hailed almost universally on its passage last year–it passed the Senate 89 to three and the House by 424 to one, with Ron Paul the lone dissenter–CPSIA is now shaping up as a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation, threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children’s items from coast to coast, and taking a particular toll on the handcrafted and creative, the small-production-run and sideline at-home business, not to mention struggling retailers. How could this have happened?

Many retailers and manufacturers unwilling to take the risk of fines/prison time are clearing their shelves of EXISTING inventory and some even contemplating closing their doors.  Picture the woman who makes kids clothes from her home and sells them….she, under this ramshackle law, is required to spend THOUSANDS in testing each piece of clothing AGAIN! (even if the materials used to produce the product have already been tested).

In addition, those who retail these very same products have no idea if they are required to RETEST if they have no certification from the manufacturer nor if they are held to the same standard since they didn’t produce the product.  All signs say they ARE responsible, which then leads to further shelf clearing and business doors closing.

Bottom line….this is a personal issue for me for sure….but this is a great example of lawmakers listening to lobbyists, not reading the bills they support, and never understanding what they are doing to the business process and its fallout….really frustrating! 

In addition, there has been no effort (until today by REPUBLICAN Jim DeMint – 10 days before law takes effect) to redefine and clarify this lobbyist-induced law from turning the knife in the back of an already flailing economy.

I said “lobbyist-induced”…and you can probably guess which side of the spectrum most, if not all, of these supporting groups fall under….yep…the LEFT hand column. 

As stated at Forbes:

“Washington’s consumer and environmentalist lobbies used the occasion to tack on some other long-sought legislative goals, including a ban on phthalates used to soften plastic.”  

Sound familiar?  Kind of the like the Theft Act of 2009 that is supposed to be “Stimulus” but instead includes all of kind of pork payments back to Democrat-supporting groups.   (I might add that, yes, Bush signed the bill.  However, apparently he did try to fight the bill but, under the crescendo of elation at “passing a bill” to counter China’s lead toys, he would have been overridden on a veto!)

Examples below indicate a plethora of environmental and family planning groups….find them all here:

AAIDD (American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities).

Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.

AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses).

Center for Environmental Health.

Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

Citizens for a Healthy Bay

Clean New York.

Clean Water Action Alliance of Massachusetts.

Coalition for Clean Air.

Consumer Federation of America.

Consumers Union.

CREHM (Chicago Consortium for Reproductive Environmental Health in Minority Communities).

EarthJustice.

Endometriosis Association.

Environment California.

Environmental Health Fund.

Environmental Working Group.

Greenpeace.

Healthy Children Organizing Project.

Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition.

Institute for Children’s Environmental Health.

Kids in Danger.

Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Olympic Environmental Council.

Oregon Center for Environmental Health.

Oregon Environmental Council.

Physicians for Social Responsibility- San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth & her Resources).

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective.

Sources for Sustainable Communities.

Washington Toxics Coalition.

WHEN (Women’s Health & Environmental Network).

In fact, late last night (Friday night 1/30), the CPSC did delay the certification rule for one year.  Problems with that?  You betcha…1) The action may be vulnerable to legal challenge as violating the CPSC’s legal obligations to regulate, and in particular to enforce CPSIA’s terms faithfully and 2) the CPSC is not the law’s only enforcer and State’s Attorneys General may also enforce what they deem necessary to enforce–meaning there may be no reprieve at all depending on where you live and how aggressive your AG may be!)

As you might expect, the libs are fighting the “stay” already from The Common Room:

Keep in mind, US PIRG already has a lawsuit pending requiring the CPSC to enforce the law as written- and Feinstein and Boxer are involved, too.

It figures.

We haven’t heard the end of this debacle. 

More info here:

Text of CPSC stay on 1/30/09

On the CPSIA stay

Obama’s first spending cut….Demands 11% Cut in Defense Spending


p1010035

USS Nimitz (Sharp Right Turn photo)

Obama, the Thug hugger, is now demanding that the Pentagon cut its 2010 budget by 11%.

If true, in dollar figures, that is $55 Billion.  

Isn’t this Obama’s first cut in any spending?  Well he did say he would cut UNNECESSARY spending….Obama said recently:

Obama promised to scour the federal budget to eliminate what doesn’t work and improve what does to “put government on the side of taxpayers.” He said: “We can no longer afford to sustain the old ways when we know there are new and more efficient ways to getting the job done.”

Didn’t we all know that Obama doesn’t think military and defense spending “is working” or is even worth it?

Obama is cutting our defense budget while we are in the midst of two wars, Iran is close to nukes, Israel and Hamas in constant conflict, Russia is acting like the USSR of old, and nutjob Kim Jong Il still sits at the throne in North Korea….not to mention the full war on terror and constant threat of attack by barbaric Islamic terrorists here and abroad.

But, hey, those ships, tanks, and missile shields just aren’t working anymore.

The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is we still have all of those “wonderful”things that Obama and the Democrats are working on to “put government on the side of taxpayers” and its going to stimulate the economy, too! 

Don’t forget these important jewels all of us taxpayers are just dying to be a part of.  From WSJ and other sources:

  • There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years;
  • $2 billion for child-care subsidies;
  • $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts;
  • $400 million for global-warming research
  •  and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.
  • even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons
  • Congress wants to spend $600 million more for the federal government to buy new cars.
  • spend $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities.
  • The Smithsonian is targeted to receive $150 million;
  • $81 billion for Medicaid
  • $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
  • $20 billion for food stamps
  • $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax
  • $66 billion on education (SRT: cuz its working so much better than our military)*
  • $6 billion to weatherize “modest income homes.
    -$6 billion to provide internet in “underserved” areas
    -$6 billion for “higher education modernization.”
    -$20 billion in health information technology to “prevent medial mistakes.”
  • -$400 million “to put more scientists to work doing climate change research”
    -$600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.
    -$250 million “to address long-term economic distress in urban industrial cores and rural areas distributed based on need and ability to create jobs and attract private investment.”
    $300 million for the National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries
    -$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (SRT: Blaspheming images of Jesus Christ be expensive)*
    -$400 million for “ready-to-go habitat restoration projects”
    -$2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work. (SRT:  It takes a village, you know)*
    -$120 million to provide subsidized community service jobs to an additional 24,000 low-income older Americans (SRT: Welfare)
    -$1.5 billion to help local communities build and rehabilitate low-income housing using green technologies. (SRT: Welfare)
    -$500 million to rehabilitate and improve energy efficiency at some of the over 42,000 housing units maintained by Native American housing programs
    -$10 million for “rural, high-need areas to undertake projects using sustainable and energy-efficient building and rehabilitation practices”

* – My sarcasm in italics

Talking to our enemies and loosening the fingers of their clenched fists with the words of a Messiah are all we need….who needs a stinkin’ defense budget?

“As I said in my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”

“It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran,” Obama said.

I guess military power is off the table!…Diplomacy costs less.

Obama also said in his first interview with Al-Arabiya:

My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy — we sometimes make mistakes — we have not been perfect.

We used to believe in “peace through strength”….Now it’s “peace through faulting America”.

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