Monthly Archives: October 2008

Social Security: The Betrayal Between Generations

If you think the “bailout from hell” is going to be painful to taxpayers, wait until the bill comes due for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. According to Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, the unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare sits at an incredible $99.2 trillion. This figure does not account for the myriad of other existing so-called entitlement programs or even consider future wealth redistribution entitlement programs Barack Obama and the Democrats wish to burden the taxpayer with.

The looming Social Security crisis is one which angers me to no end. If you are under 40, you should be angry too. The payroll taxes which are forcibly taken out of your paycheck by the federal government are given to current retirees. There will be little or nothing left when you retire but you will still be paying the bill for those who have benefited from your labors.

Yet anyone who dares to suggest even putting aside a small percentage of FICA withholding into private accounts is accused by the Left of trying to undermine Social Security. AARP and other such organizations run attack ads aimed at the elderly to make them believe they will be kicked into the streets if any such reforms are suggested by anyone who recognizes a need to reform the system.

Reason.tv is currently running a very entertaining, humorous, and informative animated series which explains exactly how royally we are getting screwed by this Ponzi scheme we call Social Security. Here are the first four episodes:

Best Biden Interview Ever

Found via Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: The campaign retaliates by denying the TV station access for the rest of the campaign.

WFTV-Channel 9’s Barbara West conducted a satellite interview with Sen. Joe Biden on Thursday. A friend says it’s some of the best entertainment he’s seen recently. What do you think?

West wondered about Sen. Barack Obama’s comment, to Joe the Plumber, about spreading the wealth. She quoted Karl Marx and asked how Obama isn’t being a Marxist with the “spreading the wealth” comment.

“Are you joking?” said Biden, who is Obama’s running mate. “No,” West said.

West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early on as president. She wondered if the Delaware senator was saying America’s days as the world’s leading power were over.

“I don’t know who’s writing your questions,” Biden shot back.

Biden so disliked West’s line of questioning that the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate’s wife.

“This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election,” wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.

McGinnis said the Biden cancellation was “a result of her husband’s experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West.”

Here’s a link to the interview: http://www.wftv.com/video/17790025/index.html.

WFTV news director Bob Jordan said, “When you get a shot to ask these candidates, you want to make the most of it. They usually give you five minutes.”

Jordan said political campaigns in general pick and choose the stations they like. And stations often pose softball questions during the satellite interviews.

“Mr. Biden didn’t like the questions,” Jordan said. “We choose not to ask softball questions.”

Jordan added, “I’m crying foul on this one.”

What did you think of the interview?

I think the news directors response was perfect.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Federal Judge Tosses Obama Citizenship Lawsuit

A Federal Judge in Pennsylvania has, not surprisingly, dismissed a lawsuit attempting to remove Barack Obama from the ballot on the ground that he is not a natural born citizen:

A federal judge in Philadelphia last night threw out a complaint by a Montgomery County lawyer who claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was not qualified to be president and that his name should be removed from the Nov. 4 ballot.

Philip J. Berg alleged in a complaint filed in federal district court on Aug. 21 against Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission, that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya.

Berg claimed that the Democratic presidential standardbearer is not even an American citizen but a citizen of Indonesia and therefore ineligible to be president.

He alleged that if Obama was permitted to run for president and subsequently found to be ineligible, he and other voters would be disenfranchised.

(…)

In a 34-page memorandum and opinion, the judge said Berg’s allegations of harm were “too vague and too attenuated” to confer standing on him or any other voters.

Surrick ruled that Berg’s attempts to use certain laws to gain standing to pursue his claim that Obama was not a natural-born citizen were “frivolous and not worthy of discussion.”

The judge also said the harm Berg alleged did “not constitute an injury in fact” and Berg’s arguments to the contrary “ventured into the unreasonable.”

Again, this isn’t a surprise. Berg’s claims had no legal or factual merit.

Hopefully, there will be a Rule 11 motion coming in the mail to him soon.

A Tale Of Two Bubbles

Today’s Wall Street Journal notes that the world’s financial problems go well beyond a credit crisis:

The original bubble was in housing prices and mortgage-related assets, which the Federal Reserve helped to create with its negative real interest rates from 2002 into 2005. This was Alan Greenspan’s tragic mistake, not that the former Fed chief will acknowledge it. Testifying before Congress yesterday, Mr. Greenspan pinned the crisis on mortgage securitizers, risk modelers and lending institutions, thus contributing to the Washington narrative that government had little to do with it. The Fed’s monetary policy apparently gets a pass. The media and Members of Congress will use Mr. Greenspan’s testimony to impugn the very free market principles that the former Ayn Rand protégé has spent his life promoting. It was a painful spectacle to watch.

As for the second bubble, this one began in August 2007 with the onset of the credit panic. This is Ben Bernanke’s creation. The Fed chose to confront the credit crunch as if it were mainly a problem of too little liquidity, not fear of insolvency. To that end it flooded the economy with money, while taking short-term interest rates down to 2% from 5.25% in seven months. The panic only got worse, and this September’s stampede finally led the Treasury and Fed to address the solvency problem by supplying public capital and numerous guarantees to the financial system.

But, in the process, the Federal Reserve had created a monetary/commodity price bubble that is clearly reflected in these two charts:

OilDollar

As the Journal points out, the consequence of this monetary bubble is that it has left us, and the rest of the world in a much weaker position to respond to the credit crisis that, even today, continues to rampage it’s way through the financial system. And yet, both major political parties, and both major-party candidates, continue to ignore reality, as the Journal points out:

As Congress plumbs the causes of our current mess, the main one is hiding in plain sight: Reckless monetary policy that did so much to create the credit mania and then compounded the felony with a commodity bubble and run on the dollar whose damage is now becoming apparent. The American people intuitively understand what’s been done to them, which is why they are so angry. If the next President ignores the monetary roots of our troubles, he is courting the same fate as George W. Bush.

Monetary policy isn’t fun, it isn’t sexy, it doesn’t make for cute soundbites or 30 second television commercials, but it’s important and it’s been ignored for far too long. Unless we start paying attention to it soon, the Bush years may start looking like the good old days.

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

The following motion was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on October 22nd, and entered earlier today.

This is an amended filing from the earlier motions (as is clear from the text); based on the state of the case as of the 22nd.

Earlier, the Obama campaign filed a motion to dismiss, and a motion to prevent discovery. Neither of these motions have been granted.

The Obama campaign has not filed substantive responses to Bergs motions and assertions; and has missed several deadlines.

Theoretically, by the rules of civil procedure, the judge has to rule in favor of the plaintiff, unless he finds the plaintiffs motions have no merit (or that he cannot hear the case due to jurisdictional defect, or lack of standing on the part of the plaintiff); however the judge could decide to dismiss, or to hear the case instead.

Also, the plaintiff has requested a jury trial if summary judgement is not entered; and the Obama campaign failed to respond to this request; so if the judge decides not to enter summary judgement and instead hear the case, he is again required by civil procedure to order a hearing before a jury.

Judges have a lot of leeway within the rules, but if they decide to do something outside of normal practice that leaves a lot of room for appeal. I’ve looked at this judges rules for civil procedure (judges can set their own rules to a certain extent) and he is a hardcore stickler for the rules.

The Obama campaign clearly thought the judge wasn’t going to take this case seriously, and that they could either get it dismissed our of hand, or delayed until after the election.

It seems clear now this isn’t going to happen.

At this point, the Obama campaigns only response is to claim jurisdictional defect and lack of standing. They are saying that the court can’t hear the case, and that even if they could, Berg can’t bring the case. Their grounds for such assertions are weak at best.

Read the filings. If you don’t believe me, go log in to P.A.C.E.R. and look at the totality of the case. Berg has affadavits from Obamas grandmother, officials from the Kenyan ministry of state, officials from the hospital he is alleging Obama was born in…

This is going to be messy. Even if the case is dismissed by jurisdictional or standing defect, it will simply be refiled immediately by someone who has standing (that shouldn’t be hard to find) in the proper jurisdiction.

This isn’t going away.

Whether the allegations are true or not, by not taking this case seriously, Obama is in trouble.

UPDATE:

Understand, I am making no claims as to the validity of the case; only that it has not been dismissed, and the Obama campaign is treating it as if it already has been.

I’m inclined to think if the judge were going to summarily dismiss the case, he would have done so before Oct. 21st.

I have a feeling the judge will at least have a hearing on jurisdiction and standing.

If the Obama campaign address this only as a jurisdictional issue, or a standing issue, it’s going to come back.

Right now, the Obama campaign isn’t even arguing the merits of the case; and if they DON’T get it dismissed on the merits, the exact same allegations and information are going to be used to file cases from now, until he is out of office presuming he is elected.

I’ve spent the last three years arguing a federal case, responding to motions and appeals with no merit. Because our opponent had even the slightest validity in his cause of action, it was strongly advised BY THE JUDGE, that we respond to all motions in a timely manner; even though we had a motion to dismiss pending the entire time (it was eventually granted).

Until this case is heard on the merits, and dismissed on the merits, I think it’s going to be a MAJOR issue for Obama; even after the election, whether he is elected or not.

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I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

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