But the article also has an excellent photo taken from the heights of the Freedom Tower and showing the closeness to the proposed mosque. The Tower is now going up on the ground of the former 7 World Trade Center site. It seems I need to repeat these days that the reason that there is construction in the heavily built up World Trade Center area: the previous building was knocked down by the attack on 9/11.
Building and renovating Mosques in 27 countries using US tax dollars
US State Department builds mosques in 27 countries
By Dr. Laurie Roth Thursday, August 26, 2010
I couldn’t believe my ears when a listener to my national radio show this week told me she was certain that our State Department was funding, building and renovating Mosques in 27 countries using US tax dollars. I thought, she must have partial, incorrect info, it seemed so absurd to me. I had heard nothing of this anywhere. Then just yesterday I confirmed that this was indeed true through a variety of sources and with Frank Salvato, editor of new media journal.
What I have uncovered is unacceptable, obscene and should be fought at all levels by the American people. Our State Dept. is using undisclosed amounts of US tax dollars to build and renovate Islamic Mosques in 27 different countries. They do this under an ‘outreach’ program with the purpose of fostering ‘good will’ in Muslim countries. The state department will not reveal just how much they spend on overseas, foreign programs but a very reliable source told me most likely it is in the hundreds of billions.
This is not new to the State Department
The problem of exploitation and priorities with our State Department isn’t just an Obama problem. This was going on under Bush as well. So far from my initial investigation on this, the State Department is considered ‘rogue’ and has a mind of its own with career lifers being their 20 years and manipulating funding, budgets and continuing to focus on their long term, money laden agendas, not what is fiscally sound, representative of our Judea, Christian values, or American priorities. Naturally, the progressive and liberal leadership of Hillary Clinton doesn’t help!
Back to the billions being spent on mosque building around the world
How is it with our country being in the worst recession, for some depression, since the 1930s that we have billions to spend on mosque building in 27 countries? Good will my foot! I don’t know of a Muslim ruled country that doesn’t have massive oil wealth and plenty of money already to build or renovate their mosques! This is nothing but stealing behind closed and manipulated ‘empathy/outreach’ doors money from the American people at a time when millions are losing their homes jobs and careers!
If we are obsessed about building good will in Muslim countries, why don’t we start by building Christian churches in Muslim countries since they have so many Mosques here already. How about we tell Muslim countries this. When we hear any Jihad, anti troop or Israeli talk in US mosques we will start shutting them down.
Not only is it stealing from the poor and suffering masses to fund these mosques but most of America has no interest whatsoever in being a part of funding mosques that in most cases teach and preach jihad against Israel, our troops in a time of war and the conquest of Sharia law worldwide.
It has to be the idiot move of the century to allow the rogue State Department to help build the very mosques where Imams teach from Sharia law special techniques on Islamic husbands beating their wives and where many types of Jihad are taught and encouraged. Finally, these mosques reflect the aggressive Muslim brotherhood and Wahhabi inspired Caliphate growing worldwide. Let’s make sure we fund the religion that calls Islamics in the Koran to forcibly convert us, enslave us or kill us.
Now folks, how do you feel again about putting up a 100 million dollar mosque at ground zero in New York, backed by radical, Imam Rauf and his foreign, compromised money that continues to evolve?
Cry out to your Representatives and Senators and flood the State Department with faxes, emails and phone calls to stop the absurd waste of billions of foreign ‘outreach’ money to build mosques in 27 countries!
From Canada Free Press.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 26, 2010 04:00 PM (0wEFZ)
Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at August 28, 2010 07:55 AM (e6n2C)
The Elites Have Lost The Right to Rule
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/27/2010 12:25 -0500
Ben Bernanke Corporate Finance Fail Federal Reserve Keynesian economics Larry Summers Main Street Monetary Policy New York City Precious Metals
From Michael Krieger of KAM LP
War is the growth hormone of the cancer that is big government.
- Alex Jones
A government always finds itself obliged to resort to inflationary measures when it cannot negotiate loans and dare not levy taxes, because it has reason to fear that it will forfeit approval of the policy it is following if it reveals too soon the financial and general economic consequences of that policy. Thus inflation becomes the most important psychological resource of any economic policy whose consequences have to be concealed; and so in this sense it can be called an instrument of unpopular, that is, of antidemocratic policy, since by misleading public opinion it makes possible the continued existence of a system of government that would have no hope of the consent of the people if the circumstances were clearly laid before them. That is the political function of inflation. When governments do not think it necessary to accommodate their expenditure and arrogate to themselves the right of making up the deficit by issuing notes, their ideology is merely a disguised absolutism.
- Ludwig von Mises
How Wall Street Died
Let me take you back to the fall of 1999. I was a senior in college without a clue what I wanted to do with my life. Wall Street was in a boom and seemed exciting. I had always loved the financial markets since I had first discovered them years earlier; however, I wasn’t convinced this was the profession I wanted. I had majored in Economics at school for practical purposes but I found almost all of the courses to be extraordinarily uninspiring with the exception of a few like Corporate Finance and the Economic History of China. It was the general micro and macro economics courses that I found the most painful to sit through. I wasn’t alone in this assessment. Many of my close friends were Economics majors as well and we all felt the same way (I later found out this was because we were being indoctrinated in voodoo Keynesian economics) . So even with the Economics degree I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue a career in finance given the fact that I found myself more interested in subjects such as English , History and Philosophy. Nevertheless, the firms were hiring, I had the degree and it would allow me to move back to New York City without living at home.
What I discovered as I interviewed for jobs disturbed me right away. Every single firm with the exception of one was completely obsessed with math. Entire interviews revolved around “how quantitative are you” and the like. Although I hadn’t had much experience with investing I had enough to know this line of thinking seemed preposterous. It seemed to me only basic math skills are necessary to be a successful equity investor. Besides that, it seemed that the key is understanding that the world is always changing rapidly under the surface and therefore what is a good business today might be bankrupt tomorrow and what is a start up today could be the next Microsoft. This seems obvious but the skill set to figuring all this out is more geared to an appreciation of human psychology, historical cycles and cultural shifts (both fads and structural changes) than math. What I realized later is the reason they were so focused on mathematicians and Phd’s is that Wall Street was moving away from what it was always meant to be - a conduit between the holders of capital and those that wish to deploy that capital in productive economic activity. Rather than trying to hire a well rounded workforce of intelligent college graduates the firms were hiring a cadre of quantitative robots that would play an instrumental roll in blowing up the world’s financial system.
When you get too many people of a particular mindset (in this case highly quantitative and academic) to aggregate in a field that is very much a people business and one where “street smart” common sense is of extreme importance you are asking for serious trouble. When you couple that with a Federal Reserve that keeps interest rates too low what you get is a bunch of quants inventing products that provide a yield sufficient for pensions and others struggling to earn a return. Products that are completely mispriced for the risk inherent in them. I am not placing all of the blame on the Wall Street firms (although they deserve a lot and the fact people haven’t been punished severely is a huge reason why there is no confidence on main street), rather I believe the Federal Reserve deserves 95% of it. If it wasn’t for them manipulating the price of money to absurdly low levels you wouldn’t have had the rush into toxic products in a search for yield. While the newly enthroned Wall Street quant army would surely have done their damage nonetheless it wouldn’t have resulted in the complete destruction of the financial and monetary system that we face today. In a nutshell, this is how I think Wall Street died and until it gets its act together will remain a corpse.
The Elites Have Lost Their Right to Rule
One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph Schumpeter who said “everyone has elites the important thing is to change them from time to time.” Of course, this is what happens in a well functioning democracy. The problem today and the reason why the United States is on the verge of some sort of revolution (I believe it will manifest as a revolution of ideas and not an armed one) is that the election of Obama has proven to everyone watching with an unbiased eye that no matter who the President is they continue to prop up an elite at the top that has been running things into the ground for years. The appointment of Larry Summers and Tiny Turbo-Tax Timmy Geithner provided the most obvious sign that something was seriously not kosher. Then there was the reappointment of Ben Bernanke. While the Republicans like to simplify him as merely a socialist he represents something far worse.
Of course it is not just Obama. He is at the end of a long line of Presidents that think they have some sort of divine right of kings to rule. Think about the Presidency of the United States since 1988. Bush, Clinton, Bush…If Obama had not won the Democratic primary we would have ended up with President Hilary Clinton. Catch my drift? Something is not right here. This is the United States not some sort of petty monarchy. There is no divine right of any family or group of families to rule. When this starts to happen you get the disaster we are now faced with. That said, the bigger point is this. What Obama has attempted to do is to wipe a complete economic collapse under the rug and maintain the status quo so that the current elite class in the United States remains in control. The “people” see this ploy and are furious. Those that screwed up the United States economy should never make another important decision about it yet they remain firmly in control of policy. The important thing in any functioning democracy is the turnover of the elite class every now and again. Yet, EVERY single government policy has been geared to keeping that class in power and to pass legislation that gives the Federal government more power to then buttresses this power structure down the road. This is why Obama is so unpopular. Everything else is just noise to keep people divided and distracted.
Getting Into the Mind of Ben Bernanke
I do not have a clear window into the highest levels of power in many areas such as the military or the intelligence community but I do have a very good understanding of it when it comes to the financial system and the economy. At the end of the day everyone knows that those who can create the money and credit have the ultimate power over any political system. Therefore, at the top of the economic power of the world is the Federal Reserve and at the top of that is Ben Bernanke. This is why I took a great deal of interest in reading the full text of his speech today. Much will be written about it but I want to tackle it from two points. First, who is Ben Bernanke?
You can really see into his head from reading this speech. He is an academic who thinks he is smarter than everyone else which is why he is in the position he is in. He thinks the key to monetary policy is to trick people into doing things that will hurt them in the end. He believes the mal-investments he intends to push people and institutions into equals economic growth. What surprises me so much about the investment community and the American public in general is that so many fail to understand that we live in a top down centralized economic system much more similar to China in more ways than people want to admit. We look at how the government steers the economy in China and sneer. How are we so different right now?
As far as the speech itself, it confirms something I mentioned several weeks ago. Banana Ben absolutely wants to do a massive QE2 program. The only thing holding him back is gold is near an all time high. What he wants is gold much lower and stocks much lower to give him cover. Gold has not cooperated so he is in a bind. He cannot print a massive amount of money with gold here and stocks at 1055 because what happens if gold soars and stocks sell-off in the days that follow such an announcement? What if the response in the treasury market is not as desired? He is scared to do it here and he is right to be scared because such a reaction would be the end of the Fed right then and there. The Fed will be gone anyway within a few years in my opinion but it’s going to fight hard to survive and if you want to make money in this market you need to understand that. The most powerful institution in the world is fighting for its survival. Never forget that.
So what is he going to do? I believe that the Fed and government are doing a lot more than people think to manipulate all markets behind the scenes. After all, they have publicly announced their manipulation in many other ways so does it make any sense whatsoever to assume they aren’t doing a plethora of other things behind the scenes? Of course not. I think that with the Fed in a bind they will accelerate and become ever more aggressive in behind the scenes games. This will make markets even more volatile and extraordinarily challenging. This is financial war make no mistake about it. The only way in my opinion to survive this is to buy all dips in precious metals, agriculture and oil. It is in these three areas that I expect to see the most price inflation as money eventually figures out the end game. The end game is more and more people will eventually wake up to the fact that the markets are a hologram put in front of you by the magicians at the Fed. That what constitutes real wealth in the years ahead will be owning food, energy and a means of exchange that will be accepted should a black market economy arise as it has in virtually all nations at one time or another throughout history.
In the end, the elites will be overthrown and a power vacuum will form. The transition period will be extremely difficult as the elites will fight their demise to the end. For you see, they care nothing for you they care about their power and control. Nevertheless, rulers have always only ruled by the will (or apathy) of the people and when the people become overly taxed and abused they always rebel. The main thing to think about is what kind of society do we want to rebuild from the ashes. I am of the view that it must be a return to the Constitution and an elimination of central banking power and secrecy. Let’s not fall for a demagogue or be pushed into a war when things are at their worst.
Have a great weekend,
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 08:07 AM (xDPY/)
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 08:08 AM (xDPY/)
Ground Zero Muslim center may get public financing
NEW YORK | Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:58pm EDT
(Reuters) - The Muslim center planned near the site of the World Trade Center attack could qualify for tax-free financing, a spokesman for City Comptroller John Liu said on Friday, and Liu is willing to consider approving the public subsidy.
The Democratic comptroller's spokesman, Scott Sieber, said Liu supported the project. The center has sparked an intense debate over U.S. religious freedoms and the sanctity of the Trade Center site, where nearly 3,000 perished in the September 11, 2001 attack.
"If it turns out to be financially feasible and if they can demonstrate an ability to pay off the bonds and comply with the laws concerning tax-exempt financing, we'd certainly consider it," Sieber told Reuters.
Spokesmen for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson and the Islamic center and were not immediately available.
The proposed center, two blocks from the Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, has caused a split between people who lost relatives and friends in the attack, as well as conservative politicians, and those who support the project. Among those who support it are the mayor, civic and religious groups, and some families of victims.
The mosque's backers hope to raise a total of $70 million in tax-exempt debt to build the center, according to the New York Times. Tax laws allow such funding for religiously affiliated non-profits if they can prove the facility will benefit the general public and their religious activities are funded separately.
The bonds could be issued through a local development corporation created for this purpose, experts said.
The Islamic center would have to repay the bonds, which likely would be less expensive than taxable debt.
New York City's Industrial Development Authority could not issue debt for the center because the state civic facilities law, which governed this type of financing for non-profits, was allowed to expire about two years ago.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Dan Grebler)
P.s this is a confirmation of the earlier article about the US building mosques abroad.
If someone is looking for a reason to withhold his tax payments, here it is.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 08:50 AM (xDPY/)
One Case for Localism
27 AUG 2010 02:21 PM
by Conor Friedersdorf
In California, local government is where our political failures begin.
Does anyone pay regular attention to their City Council or County Board of Supervisors? The people in Bell didn't, and were typical in that way. Those local bodies are used as stepping stones to the state legislature and beyond. But the folks who rise aren't doing so based on the considered judgment of citizens so much as their ability to curry favor with donors, spend on campaign advertising, and win elections via name recognition.
It's a contest that's grown too sophisticated for amateurs.
Several factors militate against civic engagement. Ours is a large state with huge counties that contain sprawling municipalities. Our population is famously transient. A series of progressive reforms and populist ballot measures (especially Proposition 13) tended to strip control from local authorities, so that Sacramento grew in political importance. When the County Board of Supervisors sets property taxes, residents damn well show up at the meetings, whereas scrutiny is orders of magnitude less when the most contested subjects are settled regionally.
Nowadays so many critical matters of public policy are being decided by anonymous, faraway state officials, or even worse, their federal equivalents. In a way, life is less burdensome for people when they can safely ignore local civics, but the price in dysfunction and ceded influence is high. The thing about national or even state elections is that voters can only get their information from the mass media or professionally run campaigns. Though these are the best methods we've got, they are pretty terrible. Have you watched cable news lately?
Those of us who advocate federalism, and want states to give as much control as possible to locals, aren't just cranks who worry that tyranny is going to sweep the land if a marginally looser construction of constitutional law prevails. Our insight is that self-government works best when important matters inspire civic participation at a level where it can actually matter.
On Wednesday nights, a ten minute car ride is sufficient to arrive at city hall in time for the weekly meeting, where you can stand up at a podium, speak your mind directly to actual decision-makers, and respond if you still don't get your way by talking with people afterward -- the ones who cheered when you spoke up, and might even be willing to back your own run at local elective office. These kinds of encounters inspire confidence that regular people can make a difference.
And we'd be far better off if our politicians started out as folks with particular passion for grassroots civic efforts, rather than coming from a power hungry class drawn by the prospect of a remunerative career in elective office.
Everything about national politics is awful. The candidates, the disingenuous talking heads, the artificially binary separation into Team Red and Team Blue, and especially the lack of weirdness, which is another way of saying that American communities and people are a quirky sort. Their diverse approaches to the pursuit of happiness are given short shrift if they're always forced to make consequential decisions in concurrence with everyone else.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 09:01 AM (xDPY/)
August 28, 2010
Maybe he'll grow a new leg
The one constant in all forms of government is the bureaucratic mentality. This is a truly bizarre example of bureaucracy run amok in Newark, Notinghamshire, The UK Daily Mail brings us the story of Lance Corporal Johno Lee an Army hero who lost his right leg in an explosion while serving the cause of freedom in Afghanistan in 2008.
After being severely wounded in an explosion in Helmand Province, Lance Corporal Lee suffered heart failure twice during his ordeal, once on the evacuation helicopter and the second time on the operating table at Camp Bastion. Lee's right leg was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. He was returned home to England where he was given rehabilitation and a prosthetic leg.
Most days Johno is able to get around fairly well despite his disability, but there are times when he experiences severe pain and swelling which makes is impossible for him to wear his prosthesis so must use a wheelchair. Even on those difficult days Johno carries on and is able to drive to work and live as normally as possible.
Lance Corporal Lee has applied for a disabled parking permit (blue badge) with the Notinghamshire County Council, but was informed that his application had been rejected. Lee was told that he was still young and "may get better." The disabled war veteran said "I replied that they possibly did not quite understand the situation and I thought it unlikely my leg would grow back."
Lance Corporal Lee's applications are being supported by the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association.
In a statement, the Council's Service Director Mr. Paul McKay said: ‘we are looking into the matter and have arranged for a member of the staff to meet Mr. Lee to review the situation. We will urgently assess whether he meets the criteria for a disabled parking badge as laid down by the Department of Transport.'
Mr. Lee, a charity worker for the Armed Forces, added ‘A lot of people are coming home from Afghanistan severely wounded and are deserving of recognition rather than to be disrespected by the bureaucrats.'
Isn't it amazing that after serving his country and fighting for his very survival that Johno Lee should have to weave through a minefield of bureaucratic indifference just to get a disabled parking permit? Even more amazing is that after being shamed into action by the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association and the Daily Mail, Service Director Paul McKay could only say that they would look into the situation and "assess whether he meets the criteria for a disabled parking badge." The bureaucratic mentality never ceases to amaze us.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 01:29 PM (955cR)
What About the Destructive Influence of U.S. Government Funding on Science?
MensNewsDaily.com ^ | August 28, 2010 | Roger F. Gay
Posted on August 28, 2010 2:38:09 PM GMT+02:00 by RogerFGay
Many people have come to understand that the climate scam involves collusion between corrupt politicians and dishonest scientists. The problem however, is much broader even than Al Gore. Science is critical to our modern existence. Large amounts of public money are spent on a wide range of scientific activities each year; a practice that has become the heart of the problem. Yet, precious little focus has been placed on developing reforms to undo the ongoing damage.
The climate change example has demonstrated that scientific integrity can be compromised with money. This doesn't mean that all scientists are dishonest. But experience shows that these kinds of problems, involving insufficiently safeguarded access to money, tend to grow. Indeed, as more money was offered to a broader group of scientists during Al Gore's political tenure, we discovered that many scientists are willing to compromise at least a little. When funding was offered to virtually any scientist who was willing to include an untested support phrase for man-made global warming in final reports and articles, propagandists got the result they wanted; a large number of published papers containing a gratuitous statement of support. (Publishing scientists cited reports that claimed that man-made global warming is really bad and destined to get worse without containing any research to test the claims.)
Those who compromised got funding and published papers, padding out their resumes and improving their chances of more funding and greater numbers of research students. Those who did not compromise would later be characterized as lesser scientists by those who did, based on having received less funding and having published fewer papers in “climate science,” an activity now nearly completely defined by paid support for a political agenda. The snowballing continues as increased taxation and spending related to global warming is one of the key goals in the Obama agenda; it's execution already involving impeachable abuses of power and open corruption in the EPA. The argument for their agenda is that they are supported by a “scientific consensus.”
The circle of corruption is almost complete. As children were indoctrinated with the fake science, they (and many others) were pushed to a level of ignorance previously thought impossible in the modern, civilized world. Millions accepted, in effect, the outlandish superstitious idea that insufficient sacrifice to and worship of the leftist Political Class would summon the wrath of nature. The social, emotional, and intellectual damage caused by such well-funded misinformation campaigns is immeasurable.
Corrupt use of experts is not confined to research. It is common practice for politicians and bureaucrats to construct commissions to investigate policy issues, padded with members who they can trust will recommend the policies that they desire. Policies are then constructed based on commission reports, allowing bureaucrats to sidestep lack of real justification and to ignore public criticism. (Related article on publicly funded EPA propaganda campaign.) Commission members can easily be found among academics who have built careers on public funding and have shown a willingness to compromise on other occasions. They can even be drawn from the population that owes their appointments to cronyism; providing them with pseudo-qualifications by job title and position history. (Even in Supreme Court appointments. This is how the Political Class operates.)
In reaching toward One World Government, US government funding has even been causing chaos in other countries. Using counter-terrorism related funding, the Department of Homeland Security has been able to fund technical research and development in all politically friendly nations. This gave an unprecedented level of control to a US bureaucracy in effecting strategic research throughout the Western World. Thinking it a good deal, and feeling some obligation to join a unified front against terrorism, politicians accepted the offer and reorganized their strategic research plans toward a “cooperative” plan. This sometimes involved dropping some of the most promising and critical research being done in their own countries.
What to do? Certainly, public funding for science and engineering has historically produced enormous benefits. It would be easy to respond to the misuse of the power of funding by politicians by simply arguing for greater scientific independence. But we know that scientists are people too, subject to temptation like everyone else. One should also consider that mission focused research and development in some areas, such as military technology, is critical. Advancements in energy production, storage, distribution, and use throughout our history (not all publicly funded) have dramatically improved our lives and will likely lead to economically sound alternative energy sources in the future. Someone has to decide how and how much public money should be spent. How do we allow continuous spraying of funds into the right areas while assuring that holes are not being poked in the hose? How do we sustain an effective public effort while checking the influence of our government representatives?
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 28, 2010 08:06 PM (4U9AX)
AT August 29, 2010
Destroying Jobs at 2.5 Gallons per Minute
By John F. Di Leo
The consequences of pernicious regulations
Growing up a century ago in sunny Calabria, on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, my grandfather would never have dreamed that the common shrimp and calamari he had to eat every day would ever be considered a luxury; but for his grandson, growing up in Chicagoland sixty years later, a thousand miles from any coast, they certainly were. A luxury, a rare treat.
These little extravagances -- not the major ones like Rolls-Royces and Ferraris -- are important to one's enjoyment of life, and they represent, as much as anything else, the great opportunities of America. For here, even the broke, even the unemployed can indulge in a little luxury now and then. It can help us get through the day, help us endure life's little problems.
For one, it's the appetizer of fried calamari before the meal; for another, it's the dessert afterward. For one, it's splurging on a collectible to display in an étagère; for another, it's the solid brass door handle to install on the front door. Some might call one a waste of money; others might ask why something they think a necessity is on this list at all.
No matter; in a free country, we each have the right to our little extravagances. Perhaps that's one aspect of what the Founders meant by "the pursuit of happiness": our government was to be one that would let its citizens enjoy their lives, in their own way, without standing athwart such little personal desires.
...Unless, that is, your personal little extravagance happens to be a soothing shower at the end of the day -- using a showerhead that consumes more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Then the modern American nanny state steps in and declares, "You're wasting water, you sinner! Cease and desist!"
In 1992, the Department of Energy managed to promulgate a regulation requiring that showerheads use no more than 2.5 gallons per minute as an effort to save...water. This is a substance that's in such short supply that 75% of the planet is covered with it.
Now there are certainly areas of the world, even of America, with chronic or frequent water shortages -- California and Arizona, the inland deserts, the areas where government-run or government-managed utilities have failed to provide their residents with access to one of the most plentiful substances on earth. These specific areas can easily deal with such issues by passing ordinances requiring usage meters or timers or perhaps even banning the use of high-flow showerheads, where and when appropriate to do so.
But a federal limit, equally applicable nationwide, even in areas where there has never been, and never will be, such a shortage? What on earth for?
For eighteen years, this regulation was interpreted one way -- the limitation was per nozzle, so people desiring a more vigorous shower could simply install a couple more showerheads, or a multi-nozzle shower system. A specialty arose in the marketplace: the creative design of elegant and invigorating shower systems.
These systems are for the rich who want to be self-indulgent, for the business traveler or vacationer seeking a more exhilarating shower at his hotel, sure, but they're also for the working man who comes home caked in factory grime; for the plumber, carpenter, or electrician who spent his day between hot walls or floors of buildings under construction; for the roofer or window installer whose day was spent on scaffolding, sweating under the hot sun.
Who are we to judge them if they want to spend another hundred bucks on a fancier showerhead than the standard nozzle, plus another buck or two a month on the water bill? If they deem it worthwhile for themselves, and are willing to pay for it, who are we to say no, in a land in which the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right?
In May 2010, the Department of Energy clarified their interpretation of the rule: it's 2.5 gallons, period. Not per nozzle, but per entire system. And they made it as clear as they could in the language of lawyers: by suing manufacturers who had dared defy the powers that be by obeying the interpretation that had held sway for eighteen years, instead of anticipating the interpretation that the Obama administration would suddenly decide upon.
In a heartbeat, every manufacturer, distributor, seller, and installer of high-flow showerheads across the country had to stop and check their product lines, shutting down assembly lines in factories, taking products off the shelves, putting a hold on construction and remodeling projects while plans were studied, while alternatives were sought, while substitutions were evaluated and selected.
As outrageous as this may be, at least it can serve for us as a microcosm of the dangers of the nanny state and of the utterly counterproductive nature of the Obama administration's idea of its role in the economy.
It's a new twist on the famed Broken Window Fallacy in economics. By banning one product -- essentially destroying the product's value in commerce at the stroke of a pen -- the government forces the manufacturing and installation communities to develop and manufacture a replacement that meets the new code. It would appear at first blush to create new jobs. Unfortunately, here in the real world, such a solution is infinitely worse than the alleged problem (wasting a little water) could ever have been. Consider:
In days of old, when a company decided to explore a redesign of their product, it would usually do so within its own country. Its own engineers on the third floor would study the blueprints, looking for opportunities for quality improvement, cost-savings, or style updates. Its purchasing department, on the second floor, would bid out raw materials, intermediate parts, and other components to other nearby vendors, again seeking cost savings without sacrificing the quality of the tried and true. Back by the shipping dock, the traffic department would negotiate a trucking rate so that the new vendor could ship the cargo for the same cost or less as the old vendor.
Saving money and improving the finished product this way, by finding a new supplier for this gasket or that valve, for this piping or that brass casting, is what keeps our productivity measurements ticking up every month. America is the king of such productivity improvements.
In any case, in the old days, they would still make the finished product in their own factory, albeit with a few different parts, with no other possibility crossing their minds. A Detroit automaker was and would remain a Detroit automaker; a Chicago television maker or Camden phonograph maker was just that and would never change.
No longer. Manufacturers and distributors engage in international trade without a second thought, so just as we have flung open the doors to exports, we have simultaneously flung open the doors to the possibility of importing as well. Such globalization is a wonderful process, without question. It has provided the world with greater access to the blessings of capitalism, freeing millions from their nations' formerly inescapable poverty, welcoming them into the unlimited potential of the free market.
But globalization can have its downside. Just as it broadens our sales possibilities, opening up new customers in new markets, it gives us new vendors to choose from, breaking down the walls of protection that once existed, so we are no longer shielded from the natural effects of our own destructive policies.
If the USA has a 38% effective business tax rate, when Ireland's is a mere 11%, might Ireland, enjoying such a lower tax burden, be able to offer just as good a gasket for a lower price?
If the USA has skyrocketing property taxes on factories, because politicians learned somewhere along the way that homeowners vote and businesses don't, might a country without the same burden of property taxes provide a temptingly competitive alternative vendor for that valve?
If the USA has such an infestation of plaintiffs' attorneys that our businesses have to employ an army of their own defense attorneys to fend them off, and fund costly liability insurance policies just in case, mightn't a country without such flaws be able to offer the same quality brass casting for a lower price?
Today, we outsource the materials, the intermediate components, the castings -- even the engineering, the R&D, the printing of brochures. As our government makes domestic functions and production ever more unnecessarily painful, our manufacturing community survives as it must: by outsourcing.
Worse still, once we outsource, we rarely go through the trouble of insourcing again. If at this moment in time it is cheaper to buy the casting from China, then even if that cost-benefit analysis should change in a year or two, it's rare that the buyer will switch back. Every vendor change has a cost; it's not done unless forced by the bottom line or by upper management. So at a time when outsourcing abroad is perhaps more tempting than usual -- more tempting than (hopefully) it will be a year or two hence -- this is no time to be pushing companies to open up more and more products to such potentially irrevocable sourcing reviews!
We are watching our industries exit our shores at a breakneck clip, as other countries welcome them in with taxation less burdensome, and an atmosphere less hostile, than our own. The United States, the engine of manufacturing innovation and capitalist growth for centuries, has ground to a halt.
Many businesses -- and their product lines -- can survive on reputation, quality, and sheer inertia for years, long enough perhaps to wait out the current crisis, ready to enjoy the boom that will surely result when current policies are reversed and America becomes business-friendly again. If only we don't make it worse unnecessarily; if only we don't kick them all while they're down.
But that's what this administration is doing, day after day, in industry after industry. Car salesmen and technicians had a slow year in 2009 until their own president ordered some three thousand dealers shut down completely. The roughnecks in the Gulf of Mexico were hard at work on oil rigs until their own president capriciously banned offshore drilling this summer. Those multi-nozzle showerhead makers were sputtering along through the recession until their own Department of Energy turned off the water completely.
In the quest for improved productivity, American manufacturers will always bid out their parts, their engineering, and their finished products. It's why they succeed in the first place. But this is no time to push them even harder, no time to keep reminding every purchasing agent, every engineer, every investor, of that thought lurking in the back of their minds: "You know, it really would be cheaper to just close up completely and move offshore."
It's not too late; we can fix this mess. A couple of years of responsible policies can undo most of the recent damage. But to grow a stronger manufacturing sector, we have to have something to work with. We'll be able to grow it only if it hasn't been killed outright before we get our chance.
John F. Di Leo is an international trade compliance trainer based in Chicago. His columns regularly appear in Illinois Review.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 29, 2010 07:20 AM (4U9AX)
United Nations, human rights violators
Obama’s August Surprise: Turning AZ and 22 other States over to the UN
By Sher Zieve Saturday, August 28, 2010
After turning NYC over to the Islamists and leftist sympathizers, via endorsing their 9/11 Victory Mosque (any Muslim project called “The Cordoba Initiative” has to be just that), Dictator-in-Chief Obama believes that he has found the way to both destroy opposition to his Orwellian plans for the former United States of America and introduce OUR country’s final demise.
For attempting to do that which the Obama refuses to do (his job under the US Constitution—not George Soros and friends), the tyrant has now turned Arizona and the twenty-two other US States trying to protect their citizens over the patently corrupt (Obama’s kind of organization) United Nations as “human rights violators.” Now disregarding the US Constitution and US law entirely—and getting away with it—The Obama and his worldwide anti-US Marxist minions have begun to divvy up the booty from that which was once America. Note: Despite our protests and marches, Obama believes he silenced We-the-People long ago. Didn’t Hugo Chavez affect something similar in Venezuela? But, let’s face the truth, folks. Even Chavez didn’t try to destroy his OWN country. But, considering his true birth place, neither did Obama.
In his boldest move yet to destroy OUR country, Dictator-in-Chief Obama has now decided to bring the full force of the world against those who oppose their own slavery at his and his masters’ hands. And the overseers at the United Nations are applauding The Obama’s move. As the people of the United States of America are—in greater and greater numbers each and every day—supporting Arizona and other states for working to protect US citizens from the now unstopped marching phalanges of illegal immigrants composed of drug cartel members, Central American gangs, Hezbollah, other middle eastern terrorists and millions of others who sap the resources of sovereign States (entering via our southern border), the tyrant believes he has found a way to stop the States and us.
Now “elevating” himself to the level of an Islamic Mufti, Obama has effectively issued a fatwa against Arizona and every other US State that opposes their own demise. Obama has issued an, heretofore, unprecedented report to the “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights” (a bad joke considering the organization itself) outlining his carefully crafted and manufactured ‘horrors’ the USA has committed against humans (I suspect that means freedom and liberty are two of them), he has given full sway to the UN to go after any US States that do not comply with the tyrant’s (and soon to be King of the World?) commandments. Suffice it to say, the UN is more than pleased to do so!
Replete with its proclamations for perversities of all kinds, in order to support any and all fully suppressive and exploitative totalitarian regimes (as long as it gets a substantial piece of the action), the UN is more than willing to go follow The Obama’s “requests.”
This latest perversion of law by The Obama is, yet, another patent treasonous action against the USA. Each and every day, he is racking up more and more of them. Then, without a care in the world save how to better give his union thugs and other countries funds stolen from the US taxpayer (where lots of our “stimulus” dollars ended up) and then frivolously wasting and spending what’s left, he and his family are now working to establish the record of “most vacations taken while occupying the US White House—and still being able to destroy the country.” I suspect that record will never be broken—but, if he isn’t removed, the country will.
In November 2010, if we do not take back at least the House of Representatives we will have no chance—whatsoever—of surviving the beast and its minions. But, even worse, if we don’t get rid of said beast our destruction is also assured. If we can rid ourselves of both—and restore our Republic—we must for all time say “Never Again” to tyranny and all would-be tyrants. We cannot and must not allow this to happen to our country, our loved ones and us even one more time…never. This time, we must remember.
Posted by: R. de Haan at August 29, 2010 11:43 AM (4U9AX)
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