FOXNews.com – Justice Department Inspector General Stripped of Investigative Power
In response to a Republican lawmaker who requested a probe into dismissed complaints against the New Black Panther Party, the Justice Department’s Inspector General said he has been unable to investigate because he lacks the authority.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine wrote in a four-page letter to Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia that Congress stripped him of the power to investigate all alleged wrongdoings within his department.
So he has been kept in place so the Justice Department can say they have an Inspector General. But they have removed his investigative powers to keep him from actually doing anything?
Why would Congress do this? Who included this in a bill and at whose behest? And why have those who knew about this kept it so quiet?
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” indeed.
The essential problem was posed by Plato in The Republic, his work on government and morality. The perfect society as described by Socrates, the main character in this Socratic dialogue, relies on laborers, slaves and tradesmen. The guardian class is to protect the city. The question is put to Socrates, “Who will guard the guardians?” or, “Who will protect us against the protectors?” Plato’s answer to this is that they will guard themselves against themselves. We must tell the guardians a “noble lie”. The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.
But what if they just leave the watchmen in place, but remove their powers?
More Executive Pork – Jamie Dupree on wsbradio.com
There is always a lot of talk about the Congress approving those dreaded ‘pork barrel’ items, which send taxpayer dollars to sometimes questionable projects in a certain state or city. But there isn’t much of a focus on pork doled out by the Executive Branch.For example, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday a series of grants for a dozen fire departments around the country, all funded by the economic stimulus law of last year.
“Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced more than $23 million in Fire Station Construction Grants (SCG) funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)–designed to support the nation’s first responders while creating jobs and stimulating local economies,” read the DHS release.
Included are: Klamath County Fire District 1 (OR) – $4,997,804 and Gates Rural Fire Protection (OR) – $1,582,821
Those twelve projects total $24.47 million. There are thousands and thousands of more items like that which are funded by various federal agencies each year.
But compared to “Legislative Pork” – these projects get little attention in the news.
I would like to give more publicity to these kinds of decisions, but the various government agencies don’t make it easy. It’s something that probably needs a little more sunlight.
I wonder what kind of “jobs” are supposed to be created at a Volunteer Fire Department? Gates consists of a small store, a Mexican restaurant and a trailer park. The population is in the 2 digit range and the locally employed population is in the single digits.
next-in-line-for-a-bailout-social-security: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
Don’t look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.
Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout.
You know, with the problems we are having in the economy due to government meddling in the mortgage area, with the billions poured into a “stimulus” that used political rather than economic conditions to decide who got the loot’ and the continuing support for “Sub Prime” lending, does not lead me to having any confidence that they are going to be able to deal with the SS problem.
The attempt was made during the Bush Administration but not only was it blocked by the Democrats, but they have bragged about it ever since.
Here’s excerpts from testimony by my Representative Peter DeFazio, before the House Subcommittee on Social Security in Feb and Mar 2002.
I am in the middle of a series of 15 town hall meetings I’ve been holding throughout Southwest Oregon to discuss Social Security with my constituents.
If there’s one thing I want those who attend my town hall meetings to take away from those gatherings it’s that Social Security is NOT in crisis. It is a fundamentally sound program that can remain so for the next 75 years and beyond with only minor changes.
EPA to regulate pollutant without seeking congressional approval
The Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to regulate another pollutant without congressional approval last week.
The agency established new standards for nitrogen dioxide, a red gas identifiable by a strong odor. It’s an extremely common pollutant expelled by cars and burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Nitrogen dioxide is a weak greenhouse gas, but notable for its effect on the human respiratory system. Its emissions have been tied to breathing problems in children, especially those with asthma.
“Improving air quality is a top priority for this EPA,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “We’re moving into the clean, sustainable economy of the 21st century, defined by expanded innovation, stronger pollution standards and healthier communities.”
EPA spokesman Dave Ryan told The Daily Caller that the regulation was needed because scientific studies had shown that the previous nitrogen dioxide standard wasn’t enough, though he didn’t point to any specific studies. Long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide is widely believed to exacerbate respiratory problems.
By the EPA’s reading of the Clean Air Act they are allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whoever they want to do it to. The only thing they have to do is to claim they are fighting “pollution” and are removing a “health hazard”.
They do not even have to provide any proof that there is a hazard or to consider the costs of their regulation.
Say Hello to the Greenstapo.
White House considers pro-labor policy for government contractors
The Obama administration is considering a proposal that would heavily favor government contractors that implement policies designed by organized labor.The “High Road Contracting Policy” would give preference to companies that adopt practices above and beyond existing labor laws. Multiple sources have confirmed the discussions, which are part of the White House’s attempt to spur economic growth through procurement reform and are driven by the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union.
The proposal would advantage contractors that provide hourly workers with a “living wage”, health insurance, an employer-funded retirement plan and paid sick days. Contracting officers would weigh a company’s labor policies as a criteria for awarding the contract, along with the standard metrics: price, past performance and the ability to meet the contract’s requirements.
This is sure to spur economic growth for the Union bosses and those who are forced to kick back part of their wages to them.
But it’s a big “Screw You!” to the majority of the private sector employees who choose not to join unions.
Sounds like classic “Chicago Style” politics to me.
Why Chicago Loves Portland
For virtuous tax competition, we usually think of Hong Kong. But who would have thought of Chicago as a lower-tax refuge?
The bright idea comes from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who is looking to lure employers from Oregon after that state’s voters approved a huge tax increase last week. The tax hike in Oregon “will help our economic development immediately. You’d better believe it,” Hizzoner told the Chicago Sun Times late last week. “We’ll be out in Oregon enticing corporations to relocate to Chicago.”
Oregon raised its top income tax rate to 11% from 9% and its corporate rate to 7.9% from 6.6%, while doubling many small business tax charges and fees. “What happened in Oregon is not good news for Oregon,” explains Mr. Daley. “They believe that anybody who makes $125,000 or more [annually] or businesses or anyone who makes $250,000—they’re gonna start taxing them. They call them ‘rich people.'”
Mr. Daley isn’t buying that. “I’ve always thought America stands for [rewarding success]. You finish high school. You work hard, go to college and you hope to succeed in life. I never knew it’s a class war—that those who succeed in life are the ones that have to bear all the burden. I never realized that. It will be a whole change in America that those who succeed and work hard, we’re gonna tax ’em more than anyone else.”
It’s nice to think that SOMEONE knows there’s a link between higher taxes and higher job losses.
But Chicago has other taxes that are just as onerous. I think the States like Texas or Idaho will stand a better chance of scooping up those jobs.
Strategies – How Political Leanings Can Affect Investing – NYTimes.com
YOU’RE likely to feel more confident about the economy when your political party is in power. That’s no surprise. But a new study has found that your feelings probably affect the way you invest your stock portfolio.
The study, which has been circulating in academic circles since December, found that when an investor’s favored political party held power in Washington, he or she generally increased holdings of risky stocks, shifted from foreign to domestic companies and traded less often. The opposite occurred when the preferred party was out of office. And the patterns held whether an investor was a Republican or a Democrat.
I guess the Democrats are confident right now that they’re going to smash the Capitalist system and institution a fairer system where rewards are based on Party Membership.
The Republicans are withholding their investments because they’re afraid that the Democrats and liberals might succeed. The Democrats are withholding their investments because they don’t want to support private enterprise.
Bottom line…little or no investment and no recovery.
As long as the economy is bad the Democrats think they can win by making things “fairer”; which means taking from those who have and doling it out to Democrat voting groups; unions; ‘non-profits’; and the ‘poor’.
China’s strident tone raises concerns among Western governments, analysts – washingtonpost.com
China’s indignant reaction to the announcement of U.S. plans to sell weapons to Taiwan appears to be in keeping with a new triumphalist attitude from Beijing that is worrying governments and analysts across the globe.
China has found that there’s no down side to ignoring America.
Obama’s new, less bellicose foreign policy has let China and others know that the worst they can expect from the United States when they misbehave is a diplomatic protest backed up by…another diplomatic protest.
The world is like Kindergarten, without the teacher. The bigger kids grab what they want and if other big kids don’t stop them, they grab more.
The U.S. has announced that they will no longer try to be the biggest kid in the playpen. But there’s always got to be someone that is dominant, and the Chinese think that it should be them.
Who’s going to tell them different? Hillary?
“This Isn’t the Person I Campaigned With Back Then,” Kerry Says of Edwards, Per Source – Political Punch
In July 2004, Kerry announced that Edwards would be his vice presidential running mate, saying, “I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America…a man whose life has prepared him for leadership and whose character brings him to exercise it.”
Kerry said that Edwards, “like me, is blessed with a remarkable wife: a strong, brave woman, Elizabeth Edwards. And Teresa and I will be proud to stand with the Edwards family…Anyone who knows them — and America will get to know them — knows that this is a family that loves each other and loves America. He has honored the lessons of home and family that he learned in North Carolina. And he brings those values to shape a better America together with all of us.”
But he is a really good judge of women, or at least their financial reports.
He has achieved his status as the richest man in the Senate (All ready known as a ‘millionaires’ club) the old fashioned way, by marrying wealthy women. Twice.
His current wife’s fortune is what she inherited from her first husband, a Republican Senator and heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune. So he actually owes his fortune to a Republican.
Kind of makes you snicker when he lambastes “the rich”.