Daily Archives: July 23, 2010

Tax Happy John Kerry Skips Out on $ Half Million Mass. Tax

From the Boston Herald:

“Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.”

—————

“Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.”

Kerry, listed as the Wealthiest Senator with a worth of some $167.55 million, Has of late been working towards passing the cap & tax bill, that would cost every single American a great deal more in taxes just to heat our homes, drive to work or cook our meals.

And yet, he avoids taxes he supports for you and I.

Oh, did I mention that Kerry, who failed in unseating President Bush in 2004, is a Democrat?

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Federal Red Ink Continues to Engulf Housing Finance with No Cap in Sight by Pete the Banker

by Pete the Banker
In a CBO report issued late last year estimated that the cost of the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would approach $390 Billion over the next decade.  Only a couple months ago we were told by industry analysts that the worst case basis for the GSE’s bailout might cost taxpayer’s $1 Trillion.
While the media has concentrated its attention on the GSE’s, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Neil Barofsky released his quarterly report on Wednesday indicating that total taxpayer support for the nation’s housing finance system including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration rose by $700 Billion in the past year alone to over $3.7 Trillion.  This estimate of Federal Government subsidy not only significantly dwarfs long term CBO estimates for taxpayer losses on the GSE’s, but also exceeds the $300B in funds returned by TARP over the past year.  This total includes a variety of Federal Reserve funding commitments, enhanced FDIC guarantees for a variety of bank assets and accounts, and over $500 Billion in increased mortgage loan guarantees issued by Fannie, Freddie and the FHA whose mortgage lending has accounted for over 80% of the overall residential mortgage loan production over the past two years. (here)
You will recall, Inspector General Barofsky made headlines last Fall when he was quite critical of the Treasury Department and Secretary Geithner in his report issued on the TARP bailout of AIG and payment of 100 cents on the dollar to AIG counterparties including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan for nearly worthless Credit Default Swaps (here). 
Yesterday, Barofsky again leveled criticism at the Treasury Department specifically citing its failure through the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) to put an “appreciable dent in foreclosure filings”. He criticized the Treasury’s laxity in providing transparency, accountability, and more significantly its ineffectiveness in pursing the housing rescue goals. To date the program has reached only 1.5 Million delinquent homeowners of the estimated 3 – 4 Million the Administration intended to help by 2012.  Of the 1.2 million homeowners that have become involved in the HAMP program, some 400,000 have advanced to the permanent loan modification, while some 520,000 have failed early in the modification process (here). Furthermore, even borrowers achieving permanent HAMP modifications have demonstrated re-default rates of between 41% and 54% within 9 months thereafter (here)! 
Despite the Administration’s recent focus on convincing the public that the TARP program is likely to cost the taxpayer little, the total cost of Federal Government intervention in the housing finance markets is growing astronomically and as yet its efforts have failed to stabilize the real estate capital markets.
As Darrell Issa Republican Congressman from California suggested, the Federal Government efforts in handling financial bail out is simply a case of “dumping good money after bad”.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about “global warming” to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps. 
Hence while it pleased the abolitionists to believe in freeing Negroes and improving them, it also pleased them to believe that Southerners had to be punished and reconstructed by force. As the 19th century ended, the educated class’s religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.
Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”
World War I and the chaos at home and abroad that followed it discredited the Progressives in the American people’s eyes. Their international schemes had brought blood and promised more. Their domestic management had not improved Americans’ lives, but given them a taste of arbitrary government, including Prohibition. The Progressives, for their part, found it fulfilling to attribute the failure of their schemes to the American people’s backwardness, to something deeply wrong with America. The American people had failed them because democracy in its American form perpetuated the worst in humanity. Thus Progressives began to look down on the masses, to look on themselves as the vanguard, and to look abroad for examples to emulate.
The cultural divide between the “educated class” and the rest of the country opened in the interwar years. Some Progressives joined the “vanguard of the proletariat,” the Communist Party. Many more were deeply sympathetic to Soviet Russia, as they were to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Not just the Nation, but also the New York Times and National Geographic found much to be imitated in these regimes because they promised energetically to transcend their peoples’ ways and to build “the new man.” Above all, our educated class was bitter about America. In 1925 the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a legal challenge to a Tennessee law that required teaching the biblical account of creation. The ensuing trial, radio broadcast nationally, as well as the subsequent hit movie Inherit the Wind, were the occasion for what one might have called the Chautauqua class to drive home the point that Americans who believed in the Bible were willful ignoramuses. As World War II approached, some American Progressives supported the Soviet Union (and its ally, Nazi Germany) and others Great Britain and France. But Progressives agreed on one thing: the approaching war should be blamed on the majority of Americans, because they had refused to lead the League of Nations. Darryl Zanuck produced the critically acclaimed movie [Woodrow] Wilson featuring Cedric Hardwicke as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who allegedly brought on the war by appealing to American narrow-mindedness against Wilson’s benevolent genius.
The point is this: though not one in a thousand of today’s bipartisan ruling class ever heard of Adorno or McCloskey, much less can explain the Feuerbachian-Marxist notion that human judgments are “epiphenomenal” products of spiritual or material alienation, the notion that the common people’s words are, like grunts, mere signs of pain, pleasure, and frustration, is now axiomatic among our ruling class. They absorbed it osmotically, second — or thirdhand, from their education and from companions. Truly, after Barack Obama described his opponents’ clinging to “God and guns” as a characteristic of inferior Americans, he justified himself by pointing out he had said “what everybody knows is true.” Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives into a class long before they took power.
By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu
Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, far from setting univocal rules for the entire financial industry in few words, spends some 3,000 pages (at this writing) tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others. Even more significantly, these and other products of Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses empower countless boards and commissions arbitrarily to protect some persons and companies, while ruining others. Thus in 2008 the Republican administration first bailed out Bear Stearns, then let Lehman Brothers sink in the ensuing panic, but then rescued Goldman Sachs by infusing cash into its principal debtor, AIG. Then, its Democratic successor used similarly naked discretionary power (and money appropriated for another purpose) to give major stakes in the auto industry to labor unions that support it. Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws. They don’t have to. Because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion, all anybody has to know about them is whom they empower.

Federal Red Ink Continues to Engulf Housing Finance with No Cap in Sight by Pete the Banker

by Pete the Banker
In a CBO report issued late last year estimated that the cost of the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would approach $390 Billion over the next decade.  Only a couple months ago we were told by industry analysts that the worst case basis for the GSE’s bailout might cost taxpayer’s $1 Trillion.
While the media has concentrated its attention on the GSE’s, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Neil Barofsky released his quarterly report on Wednesday indicating that total taxpayer support for the nation’s housing finance system including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration rose by $700 Billion in the past year alone to over $3.7 Trillion.  This estimate of Federal Government subsidy not only significantly dwarfs long term CBO estimates for taxpayer losses on the GSE’s, but also exceeds the $300B in funds returned by TARP over the past year.  This total includes a variety of Federal Reserve funding commitments, enhanced FDIC guarantees for a variety of bank assets and accounts, and over $500 Billion in increased mortgage loan guarantees issued by Fannie, Freddie and the FHA whose mortgage lending has accounted for over 80% of the overall residential mortgage loan production over the past two years. (here)
You will recall, Inspector General Barofsky made headlines last Fall when he was quite critical of the Treasury Department and Secretary Geithner in his report issued on the TARP bailout of AIG and payment of 100 cents on the dollar to AIG counterparties including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan for nearly worthless Credit Default Swaps (here). 
Yesterday, Barofsky again leveled criticism at the Treasury Department specifically citing its failure through the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) to put an “appreciable dent in foreclosure filings”. He criticized the Treasury’s laxity in providing transparency, accountability, and more significantly its ineffectiveness in pursing the housing rescue goals. To date the program has reached only 1.5 Million delinquent homeowners of the estimated 3 – 4 Million the Administration intended to help by 2012.  Of the 1.2 million homeowners that have become involved in the HAMP program, some 400,000 have advanced to the permanent loan modification, while some 520,000 have failed early in the modification process (here). Furthermore, even borrowers achieving permanent HAMP modifications have demonstrated re-default rates of between 41% and 54% within 9 months thereafter (here)! 
Despite the Administration’s recent focus on convincing the public that the TARP program is likely to cost the taxpayer little, the total cost of Federal Government intervention in the housing finance markets is growing astronomically and as yet its efforts have failed to stabilize the real estate capital markets.
As Darrell Issa Republican Congressman from California suggested, the Federal Government efforts in handling financial bail out is simply a case of “dumping good money after bad”.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about “global warming” to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps. 
Hence while it pleased the abolitionists to believe in freeing Negroes and improving them, it also pleased them to believe that Southerners had to be punished and reconstructed by force. As the 19th century ended, the educated class’s religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.
Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”
World War I and the chaos at home and abroad that followed it discredited the Progressives in the American people’s eyes. Their international schemes had brought blood and promised more. Their domestic management had not improved Americans’ lives, but given them a taste of arbitrary government, including Prohibition. The Progressives, for their part, found it fulfilling to attribute the failure of their schemes to the American people’s backwardness, to something deeply wrong with America. The American people had failed them because democracy in its American form perpetuated the worst in humanity. Thus Progressives began to look down on the masses, to look on themselves as the vanguard, and to look abroad for examples to emulate.
The cultural divide between the “educated class” and the rest of the country opened in the interwar years. Some Progressives joined the “vanguard of the proletariat,” the Communist Party. Many more were deeply sympathetic to Soviet Russia, as they were to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Not just the Nation, but also the New York Times and National Geographic found much to be imitated in these regimes because they promised energetically to transcend their peoples’ ways and to build “the new man.” Above all, our educated class was bitter about America. In 1925 the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a legal challenge to a Tennessee law that required teaching the biblical account of creation. The ensuing trial, radio broadcast nationally, as well as the subsequent hit movie Inherit the Wind, were the occasion for what one might have called the Chautauqua class to drive home the point that Americans who believed in the Bible were willful ignoramuses. As World War II approached, some American Progressives supported the Soviet Union (and its ally, Nazi Germany) and others Great Britain and France. But Progressives agreed on one thing: the approaching war should be blamed on the majority of Americans, because they had refused to lead the League of Nations. Darryl Zanuck produced the critically acclaimed movie [Woodrow] Wilson featuring Cedric Hardwicke as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who allegedly brought on the war by appealing to American narrow-mindedness against Wilson’s benevolent genius.
The point is this: though not one in a thousand of today’s bipartisan ruling class ever heard of Adorno or McCloskey, much less can explain the Feuerbachian-Marxist notion that human judgments are “epiphenomenal” products of spiritual or material alienation, the notion that the common people’s words are, like grunts, mere signs of pain, pleasure, and frustration, is now axiomatic among our ruling class. They absorbed it osmotically, second — or thirdhand, from their education and from companions. Truly, after Barack Obama described his opponents’ clinging to “God and guns” as a characteristic of inferior Americans, he justified himself by pointing out he had said “what everybody knows is true.” Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives into a class long before they took power.
By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu
Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, far from setting univocal rules for the entire financial industry in few words, spends some 3,000 pages (at this writing) tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others. Even more significantly, these and other products of Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses empower countless boards and commissions arbitrarily to protect some persons and companies, while ruining others. Thus in 2008 the Republican administration first bailed out Bear Stearns, then let Lehman Brothers sink in the ensuing panic, but then rescued Goldman Sachs by infusing cash into its principal debtor, AIG. Then, its Democratic successor used similarly naked discretionary power (and money appropriated for another purpose) to give major stakes in the auto industry to labor unions that support it. Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws. They don’t have to. Because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion, all anybody has to know about them is whom they empower.

Oregon’s AG Wants to Destroy More Oregon Business

Don’t act like I never told you.
The people don’t want it. Harry Reid kills cap and tax (for now) to give political cover to Barbara Boxer (who’s in the run of her life from Carly Fiorina) and what happens? The EPA takes over cap & tax (as expected) with the aid of the far left fundamentalist oppressive such as….John Kroger, Oregon AG.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July  22, 2010
Contact:
Tony Green
503- 569-1171
OREGON JOINS LEGAL FIGHT IN SUPPORT OF EPA’S PLAN TO REGULATE LARGE INDUSTRIAL SOURCES OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Oregon and 12 other states intervene in a lawsuit by oil, steel and chemical companies that challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions
            Attorney General John Kroger today announced that Oregon has joined a legal fight in support of federal regulation of large industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The science is clear. Global climate change harms public health, and the EPA is taking the right approach by focusing on the big sources of pollution,” said Attorney General Kroger.
Last year, EPA Director Lisa P. Jackson departed from the Bush Administration’s longstanding refusal to embrace widely accepted scientific findings that greenhouse gases harm the environment and public health. Since then, the EPA has taken steps to begin addressing the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country by requiring permits for the largest industrial sources.   
In response, a group backed by oil, steel and chemical industries filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions under the U.S. Clean Air Act.
Oregon and 12 other states today intervened on behalf of the EPA’s position.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com