11/10/11

Clash on Campus: Police Use Batons On Swarming Occupy Berkeley Students

Read more at The Blaze…

I suspect the police are being made the bad guy here and that they gave warning and were pushed into confrontation. Remember who the bad guys are here… Marxists and Anarchists want confrontation. If a cop steps out of line, they should be held accountable. But if they are doing their job and being ‘nudged’ into a conflict, what do you expect them to do?

11/10/11

The Other Rick Perry Gaffe

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

One of the best questions in the GOP debate was offered by Jim Cramer, the hyper CNBC host, near the end of the event. Interestingly, it came from a viewer. Unfortunately, the Republicans with a chance to answer it had no answer.

“I’m going to be quoting Joanne Kornbly (ph),” Cramer said. “She e-mails us. She says, ‘Our stock market has turned into a casino with high- frequency computerized trading comprising 70 percent of all transactions and hedge fund speculation resulting in market swings. Before privatizing Social Security, how would you make the stock market safer for individual investors?’”

This is a question that is on the minds of millions of Americans who want to see the American system of capitalism succeed and have investments in stocks. Last year, in the famous flash crash of May 6, the stock Accenture dropped from $44 dollars to one cent per share within 15 minutes, and recovered back to $41. Apple computer dropped 60 points in 15 minutes. It went from $258 down to $199 and then recovered to $248 within a 15-minute period.

Cramer introduced the question by saying that he was directing it to Herman Cain and that “This does not lend itself to 9-9-9 or any other number.” He asked the question and then said, “…how do we restore faith in the markets for the little guy?”

After Cain responded with another statement about improving the economy, Cramer followed up: “When the economy was going great, sir, there was no trust. When the economy was going great, people were getting ripped off and there was insider trading. When the economy was going great, people were getting hurt in the stock market. Forget the economy. Talk about the way the market is regulated.”

After Cain failed to respond, Maria Bartiromo followed up with Texas Governor Perry: “How do you restore faith in the public markets?” Perry replied, “Well, we have the regulations in place, and we had the regulations in place well before the meltdowns occurred.”

This may not be as funny as his gaffe in forgetting one of the federal departments he wants to abolish as president, but it is just as serious. Beginning under President George W. Bush, the Securities and Exchange Commission began dismantling the safeguard regulations, such as the uptick rule, circuit breakers and trading curbs, which prevent short selling and computerized high-speed trading.

Cramer, a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com, has been an advocate of reinstating the uptick rule, which would slow trading. He has also been extremely critical of Obama’s economic agenda, saying that he was “taking cues from Lenin.” Predictably, the Soros-funded Media Matters group has attacked him for these and other anti-Obama comments. It understands that its financial patron, who backs Obama, is the ultimate inside trader, having been convicted for that offense in France.

Cramer is not a liberal in the media and knows the money business. A former hedge fund manager and founder/owner and senior partner of Cramer Berkowitz, his bio notes that his compounded rate of return was 24% after all fees for 15 years at the firm.

“Not all regulation is bad,” he said, in reviewing the GOP debate performance. He makes the simple point that capitalism requires rules and regulations that protect invested capital. This was the point implied in the question he put to the Republicans.

In this debate, at least in the case of Jim Cramer, we saw a panelist and questioner who knew his business and tried to get real answers. Cramer did the Republicans a favor by feeding them a softball question from a viewer. Their failure to handle it effectively was a lot more significant and newsworthy than Rick Perry’s much-publicized gaffe.

The role of the hedge funds in market manipulation, which was alluded to in the question and was a subject of Cramer’s on his Tuesday show, one day before the debate, is something that won’t go away. Let’s hope that CNBC hosts another debate and Cramer is given another opportunity to grill the Republicans.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].

11/10/11

Habla English?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Last week at church was Stake Conference for our area; various Wards getting together to hear our local Priesthood leadership speak. There were translators on hand to accommodate Spanish speaking members in attendance which meant audio/visual requirements would have to accommodate the streaming of Spanish into television sets and head phones in rooms set up for them.

I was recently called as an assistant Stake Clerk/IT specialist; in other words, getting cables and audio/visual equipment set up for presentations; satellite transmission, internet or other similar events. The equipment room has all manner of fancy gizmos with cables running in and out, here and there and everywhere. How unfortunate, looks similar to the way my stereo, cable television and DVD are wired. If you listen closely you might hear an old Beatles’ tune, Helter-Skelter, playing amidst the chaos.

Several of us were hooking up cables, checking audio signals and making sure the camera transmission was working prior to the actual conference. I happen to mention how it was probably a good thing I wasn’t a member of the Stake Presidency as I would be putting pressure on the various Bishops to have Spanish speaking members learn English. My remark must have landed on a raw nerve; there was a cold silence where some kind of conversation normally would have happened.

During the week I was thinking about that conversation, the one which never came about. I challenged myself to figure out why my suggestion garnered such a negative reaction. The language in the United States is English and while we have immigrants from nearly every nation on the planet; English is the language used by the vast majority. English is also the “preferred language,” the language which enables folks to climb out of the depths of poverty and achieve substantial rewards in most areas of our society.

If I were planning to live in a foreign country it would be important for me to learn the language of that country; French if I were planning to move to France, German for Germany and so on. Those who wish to be assimilated into any society must first learn the language of that society; either that or accept the fact they will forever be relegated as second class members, being denied full status and privileges. The assumption on my part is these folks wish to eventually be assimilated, become equal partakers in all aspects of our society. If this is not the case, then why bother leaving their country of origin?

As a church it would seem a natural extension of leadership to point this aspect of assimilation to those attending meetings. How difficult would it be to have Bishops invite Spanish speaking members to attend on-going English as a second language classes? We certainly have talented people who could be called as instructors, folks who would jump at a chance to improve the lives of fellow church members. Individuals who learned to speak English would make themselves eligible for upward mobility within the natural framework of our society and could only benefit from having made such an effort.

There is no intent to ridicule individuals who speak only Spanish or the culture from which he/she came. The recommendation is to have these individuals adjust to the society which they now find themselves in rather than remain dependent as a result of their not understanding our language. Up until now I’ve directed my remarks mostly toward Spanish speaking individuals; but the same holds true regardless of one’s primary home language. Those who are easily offended will continue to be easily offended; not much I can do other than accept the laws which govern percentages.

Perhaps my communication and diplomacy skills could use improvement; being direct and to the point is not always the best course of action. In any event, it would be better for my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned, not by cell walls; but their inability to be completely assimilated into our predominantly English speaking society, the society of a nation blessed beyond measure by the Lord for any and all who wish to climb as far and as high as is individually possible. Learn to speak and understand English and watch as your efforts are rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

11/10/11

OWS is no Tea Party

By: Michael Johns

As the Occupy movement enters its second month, the inclination to compare and contrast it with the nation’s mammoth tea party movement is proving irresistible. The Occupy protests are “not that different from some of the protests we saw coming from the tea party,” President Barack Obama suggested to ABC News last month.

But aside from both movement’s populist foundations and a shared opposition to the 2008 TARP bank bailouts, few other specific common denominators are emerging. “No matter how similar the tea partiers and the Occupiers appear, they will never agree about most of the political questions that matter,” Huffington Post columnist and author Kent Greenfield wrote earlier this month in a column generally supportive of the Occupy movement.

From the tea party perspective, the comparisons are being similarly rejected with a growing sentiment that the differences between the two movements are striking not just from a policy standpoint; they go right to the heart of the ethos of each, perhaps best reflected in the tea party movement’s general civility compared to the theft, violence and property damage associated with many Occupy protests (arrests at Occupy protests nationwide now exceed 3,000 with countless incidents of property damage, violence, and even rape).

FreedomWorks president and tea party supporter Matt Kibbe, author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, wrote in a November 3 Wall Street Journal op-ed that “when tea partiers petition their government for a redress of such grievances, as more than one million did on Sept. 12, 2009, they don’t get into fights, they don’t get arrested, they say ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you,’ they wait in hopelessly long lines for porta-johns, they pick up their trash and leave public spaces and private property exactly as they found them.” “No one told myself or other tea partiers to do these things; we just believe that you shouldn’t hurt other people and you shouldn’t take their stuff,” he wrote.

A new public opinion poll released yesterday by The Daily Caller and conducted by The Resurgent Republic shows that both movements enjoy the support of slightly more than a third of the American electorate, with 37 percent viewing the tea party movement favorably compared to 34 percent for the Occupy movement. Among politically critical independent voters, however, the tea party enjoys substantially greater support than the Occupy movement, with 41 percent viewing it favorably versus only 32 percent for Occupy.

This article by Michael Johns was written originally for Tea Party Insider and is reposted with their permission.

11/10/11

A PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH FREEDOM

By: Chad Kent
Chad Kent Speaks

In a previous post, I argued that Obama’s proposed Millionaire’s Tax was a violation of the rights of millionaires and of course I was mocked by those who focus only on how government policies make them feel instead of the logic behind them.

So let’s look at this idea of taxing everyone’s property at different rates again because without a strong respect for property rights, freedom is impossible. This time we will look to John Adams for some help.

After supposing a hypothetical nation in which there were 10 million people but only 1 or 2 million people who held significant wealth, Adams posed the question, shouldn’t we expect that:

“if all were decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts of every society, before it can be made civilized or made free.

John Adams

Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States

Basically what he is getting at here is, when you allow different groups of people to be taxed at different rates, those with lower incomes will become bolder and bolder over time in how they use the government to take property away from the wealthy. First it starts simple, with demands that loans be forgiven (cough, Occupy Wall Street, cough) and heavy tax rates placed on the rich. But, inevitably it leads to calls for all property to be shared equally.

Obviously the last few decades – and the current Occupy Wall Street movement – have proven him to be prophetic on this point.

A lot of people today would dismiss Adams’s logic here and fall back on a cliche like, “The rich can afford to pay a little more” or “We just want the rich to pay their fair share.” But even though it might make some of us feel really good to do what we perceive is fair, there are reasons why a progressive income tax like we have in this country doesn’t work… and isn’t fair.

Let’s use Obama’s Millionaires Tax as an example. He is proposing to raise taxes only on millionaires who make up less than 1% of the population. If he makes that a major campaign issue in 2012, then you will have 99% of the people going to the polls to decide if the other 1% should have more of their property taken away in taxes.

For the moment, let’s even set aside the fact that allowing people to vote for taxes that don’t apply to themselves almost guarantees that government will become overgrown and wasteful. After all, when politicians can justify tax increases by only imposing them on a small minority of the population, people are going to be much more willing to allow the government to get bigger and bigger – because they don’t have to pay for it.

Far more importantly, under our current tax system any amount of your property can be taken from you any time that someone can form a large enough group of people who will vote for politicians who don’t think you deserve to keep it. Considering that, can it honestly be said that the government is protecting our property rights?

Of course not. You are not truly secure in the property you own. You have your property only at the mercy of your fellow citizens. As soon as enough of them decide that you have too much wealth – or that they don’t like the way you earned it – your wealth can be gone in one flash of populist rage.

You might be thinking, “OK Chad, that all might work out in a theoretical world… but it doesn’t apply to real life.” Really? What happened in 2009 when American opinion turned strongly against the bonuses that AIG paid to its executives? The House of Representatives almost immediately passed a bill that would tax those earnings at 90%. In that case, nobody was even arguing that the bonuses were illegal – just that they were in bad taste and probably a bad business decision.

Having your property confiscated by the government in that way is arguably a worse problem than the one our government was created to cure. The Declaration of Independence explains that our government was created to secure our rights. Basically, the purpose of our government is to protect our rights so that we can enjoy them to the fullest extent possible.

Look at it this way: if there were no government you would still have your God-given property rights. The problem is, you would be responsible for protecting them on your own. That makes it difficult for you to leave to go to work, go shopping, or do pretty much anything productive out of fear that someone will take all of your possessions while you’re gone. So if you really want to protect your property, you would basically have to spend most of your time sitting on your porch with a shotgun.

By contrast, when there is a government helping you protect your rights, you can leave your home knowing that – if someone does take your property – there is a police force to help you find the person who did it and a court system to help you hold that person accountable.

But under our current system of unequal taxation, your property can be taken from you at any time as long as enough of your fellow citizens are willing to support it politically. So not only are our fellow citizens allowed to take our property from us using the ballot box, the government will actually carry out the theft on their behalf.

At least when there’s no government, you have the option of hunting down the thief and retrieving your property. With theft by taxation, you are expected to smile and accept it.

As with so many of the problems we face, the solution here is simple: we have to tax all types of people and all types of property at the same percentage rate (for example through a flat tax or a consumption tax). This severely cripples the ability for one group of citizens to use the government to confiscate the wealth of others – if they want to vote for higher taxes they have to put their money where their vote is.

When we apply different tax rates to different types of people or property, that treats some people as if they have less of a right to their property than others – and as if they have less of a right to keep some types of property than others. Not only is that a violation of our rights, it simply doesn’t work. Again, let’s go back to that quote from John Adams:

“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

Sadly, the out-of-control protests at Occupy Wall Street and the attempts of our politicians to raise taxes only on the wealthy are now proving the truth of that statement. As a nation, we have to regain our respect for the simple fact that all human beings have a natural right to keep what we create. If we continue to allow our government to ignore our property rights, it’s only only a matter of time until we completely lose our freedom.