Another Bad Week For King Barack I

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus, one o...

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus, one of the species covered under the treaty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Well, last week was pretty interesting, wasn’t it? What with Benghazi, the IRS and DOJ v AP, it was not a stellar week for the administration, when the MSM starts talking about Watergate, a Democratic president might want to think rather carefully about the road forward.

Or maybe it’s too late for that, already. Now that the big three are out there, people are starting to talk about other problems, and we all know that “Bad Good things come in threes” or is it “The third time’s the charm”.

Here’s the next three scandals coming up via Marita Noon

[…]

EPA Favors Friendlies

We see favoritism in the EPAs treatment of friendly groups vs. a “concerted campaign to make life more difficult for those deemed unfriendly.” A few days ago, the Washington Examiner reported on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) review of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy. The results are shocking.

Chris Horner, Senior Fellow at CEI, told me: “The IRS and EPA revelations are near-identical uses of the state to enable allies and disadvantage opponents. Granting or denying tax-exempt status can make or break a group. The same is true with FOIA fee waivers being tossed like Mardi Gras beads at greens, and denied to opponents of a bigger regulatory state. Fees for FOIA document productions can run into the six-figures.” […]

Wind farms get a pass

We see the same “startling disparity in treatment” in the way the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act is applied. Under both acts, the death of a single bird—without a permit—is illegal. On May 14, the AP reported on an investigation that showed that nearly 600,000 birds are killed each year by wind farms, including an average of about one golden eagle a month in Converse County, WY—which the AP calls: “one of the deadliest places in the country of its kind.” California’s Altamont Pass wind farms “kill more than 60 per year”—making it the “industry’s deadliest location.”

Yet, “so far, the companies operating industrial-sized turbines here and elsewhere that are killing eagles and other protected birds have yet to be fined or prosecuted—even though every death is a criminal violation. The Obama administration has charged oil companies for drowning birds in their waste pits, and power companies for electrocuting birds on power lines. But the administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind-energy company, even those that flout the law repeatedly.” […]

Propping up green energy

We see similar favoritism across the bigger energy spectrum. Despite President Obama’s frequent touting of increased domestic oil and gas production, “federal government policies are suppressing development,” says Kathleen Sgamma, Vice-President of Government and Public Affairs for the Western Energy Alliance (WEA). “Unfortunately, the federal government is standing in the way of increasing production of valuable energy resources that could spur further job creation, economic growth, and energy security.” To support her comments, the WEA press release offers the following numbers: “From FY2008 to FY2011 the Bureau of Land Management offered 81% less acreage, which has resulted in a 44% drop in leasing revenue, down from $356 million to $201 million. Nationwide, royalty and leasing revenue have declined 12% from $4.2 billion to $3.7 billion.” Meanwhile production and revenue on private lands increased.

Additionally, despite numerous reports regarding the positive economic impacts and environmental safety of the Keystone pipeline it has been continuously delayed—now for more than 1700 days. On Thursday, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed a bill that, according to theWSJ, “effectively pushes through approval of the 875-mile pipeline by eliminating the need for Mr. Obama to issue a special permit for it.” Transportation committee chair Rep. Bill Shuster said: “After more than four years of bureaucratic delays, this bill will finally allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project has been studied more than any other project of its kind.”

While federal policies are suppressing traditional energy that is effective, efficient and economical, they are propping up projects that have been repeatedly found to be failures—but that benefit Democratic donors.

Read more on each of these at No Better for Obama Next Week, Either – Marita Noon – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary.

As you can imagine, these scandals are not the big headline makers like messing with the AP. I would argue though, in a country that has the worst employment situation in the last 40+ years, they are at least as important.

The skewing of information publicly has obvious impact on the decision-making process, especially for the public-there’s no reason we should have to commission our own research when it’s already be done. But getting it out of the government costing more in fees than the research is worth is just stupid, especially when the cronies can get it for free.

It’s always amazing how the environmental lobby shuts up when one of its pet projects impacts another, isn’t it? Either the eagles are endangered or they’re not. If the are, the windmills owners and operators need to be prosecuted, like anybody else would be. Or they’re not, in which case they need to be removed from the endangered species act. When these stories come up, it always amazes me how twisted these laws have become since they were proposed by hunters (yes, they were) to make sure there would always be game. And further the energy generated by windmills is of very marginal utility anyway, it can’t be used (almost ever) for base power because the wind is just too undependable.

I don’t have much to add to this, “Unfortunately, the federal government is standing in the way of increasing production of valuable energy resources that could spur further job creation, economic growth, and energy security.” except that the last time I gassed up, I paid $4.09 a gallon, and America only works well with cheap energy.

Still another bad week coming for Obama’s anti-American agenda

 

 

Political Legitimacy and the Special Interest State

You all know the things we are talking about in this election year, we’re talking so loud that the whole world is listening. That’s fine. What we’re talking about is freedom v slavery, and that’s the battle all over the world too. As Americans we have the advantage of having written the book. We know how a free country is supposed to work. That’s the real power of America, it’s not our military, great as they are, it’s certainly not our films and TV, entertaining as they may be.

It’s none of the things you see and hear about us, it’s what a free people can accomplish. If you’d like to know the answer to that, look around you, the world around you was built by American ideas. They appeal to the common people everywhere just as they did to us 250 years ago and still do. They do not appeal to those who wish to rule others, where you are, or here. Those people have many titles but, the most accurate is slavemaster. We believe (most of us, anyway) in pursuing our own dreams.

Anyway we have many of the same problems as everybody else in the world, one of them is that special interests have taken over our government. President Lincoln spoke of “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” at the battleground of Gettysburg during our Civil War. However, in many ways, it is no longer true here, and I doubt we are alone.

The following article is by James V. DeLong writing in American Thinker. I think it is very accurate.

Political Legitimacy and the Special Interest State

The current state of American politics is even worse than most people want to admit.

Commentary from both ends of the political spectrum assumes that we are in a debate over the scope and function of government. Should we have a welfare state in which the vicissitudes of life are smoothed out in favor of more egalitarian ethic?  Does an economy which rewards the most creative and energetic 20% actually result in a bigger pie for all?  Who is right about economic policy, Keynes or Hayek?

These questions are important.  But they have little to do with the real crisis, which concerns the fundamental legitimacy of the political system.

Over the past 80 years, we have created not a welfare state, but a Special Interest State.  In this model, various interests are allowed to capture pieces of the government — executive departments, congressional committees or appropriators, chunks of the tax code, regulatory agencies — and then wield their power for the advantage of the particular interest.

Thus, the radical environmentalists have seized the EPA and related agencies, where they get to block economic activity and energy extraction for the greater glory of Gaia.  The unions have taken over labor and the NLRB. The tax code is so riddled with special favors that fully half of the tax that would be collected under neutral principles is forgiven.  The Treasury and the Fed are the pillars of the financial establishment.

Real estate and financial interests have determined housing policy since the 1930s, and when they were joined by the racial spoils and anti-poverty interests, their rapacity turned into utter disaster.  The elderly have established the principle that being old, no matter how rich you are, entitles you to use Medicare to obtain subsidies from the young, no matter how poor.  An academic establishment fattens on federal loans and regulatory requirements.

Crony capitalists get billions for green energy, or high-speed rail, or from regulations governing light bulbs.  Public employees perform vital functions, but they also receive above-market pay, benefits, and job security.  Beneficiaries of government support of all kinds, ranging from farm subsidies to welfare recipients, have become self-aware interests, teamed up with the bureaucracies that supply them.

The total of interest-driven government actions is boggling.  The federal government allocates about 25% of the GDP, state/local governments account for another 16%, and the regulatory and legal systems commandeer at least 15-20% of supposedly “private” expenditure.  And still the demands escalate, as ever more interests elbow their way to the budget or regulatory troughs.

There is no resemblance between this current government and any coherent idea of a welfare state.  The only “welfare” involved is that of the myriad groups, not of the collective public.

This Special Interest State is not the polity envisioned by the Founders, who emphasized that government actions should advance public and not private benefits.  They abhorred “class legislation,” and right up until the New Deal, this abhorrence was enforced by the courts as well as by the overall political ethic of the nation.  If one reads the Federalist papers, one understands that the Founders feared capture by self-interested “faction” above all else, and most fearful of all was capture by a faction that made up a majority.

James V.  DeLong is the author of Ending ‘Big SIS’ (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic and an adjunct scholar of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  He can be reached at SpecialInterestState@gmail.com.

Continue reading Political Legitimacy and the Special Interest State – John Malcolm.

I also note as another corroboration that this week we found out that in the bailout of General Motors in the spring of 2009, that while the union employees were protected, the secretaries, lower and middle management, indeed about 20,000 employees in all, working people like you and me, lost their health care, and a large share of their pensions in Delphi, which had been spun out of General Motors a few years before. Still another instance of special interests getting special considerations before average citizens.

A government that rules without the consent of the governed is, by definition, illegitimate. The federal government is nearly there, if they have not already passed the mark

Dodd Frank and the End of Free Checking

Representative Barney Frank, co-architect of t...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m mostly passing this one along, David Hogberg explains it perfectly well.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

On Sat., Oct. 1, new regulations from the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul go into effect on debit cards. Specifically, they impose price controls on “interchange fees,” the fees that banks and credit unions charge to retailers on debit card transactions.

The average interchange fee is about 44 cents. The new rules limit the fees to 21 to 24 cents.

“The costs of processing debit card transactions doesn’t go away because you limit the price,” said John Berlau, director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. “That shifts the costs to consumers.”

Read the whole article.

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