Posts Tagged ‘deceit and politics’

Fair Share

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about people paying their “fair share” of taxes.

The chart below shows two groups’ share of the nation’s income and share of the nation’s Federal income taxes for 2008. The original data source is the IRS.

Share of income and federal income taxes

Question 1: Which group in this chart pays more than their fair share and which pays less?

Now don’t change your answers. Group A is the bottom 50% of income earners in the country. They earn 13% of the country’s income but pay only 3% of the federal income taxes. Group B is the top 1% of income earners in the country (”the rich”). They alone foot nearly 40% of the total income tax bill for the country:

1% of Americans pay 40% of the income taxes.

And, viagra buy viagra they earn 20% of the income. Which group gets preferential tax treatment?

Labeled share of income and income taxes

Question 2: If Group B pays more than its fair share, pharmacy why is it that Obama claims that the top 1% is paying less than its fair share?

Presumably the American value is equal opportunity. That value is consistent with our idea of one person, sildenafil one vote, and the premise for the American Revolution – that all men (people) are created equal. It is in fact not only the basis of institutions and laws such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Equal Credit Opportunity Act, but also of course their namesakes.

That said, the goal of liberals in general and Obama’s tax policy specifically would appear to be equality of result. The basis for such a goal would seem to be lacking. There is not an Equal Income Commission nor an Equal Net Worth Act – and for good reason. By what legal authority can a person or a government commandeer the product of a free individual’s work and life or otherwise limit an individual’s productivity merely in order to deliver equality of result? It would seem categorically impossible to enact any such law without trampling basic individual rights. An individual subject to such a law would either be a victim of theft or some sort of government mandated slavery. Setting aside the ideas of individual freedom and what’s right and wrong, on a practical means-to-an-end level, it’s difficult to imagine how such policy would not relegate us to a world where the achievers choose not to achieve. Given the choice of working without remuneration or not working, clearly many would choose the latter. The consequence of that would seem to be fairly undesirable.

If it wasn’t already, it’s now abundantly clear that Obama and other liberals want to require Americans to live in a world where they alone have the power to dictate, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The problem is the world already had the opportunity to live that way. We chose not to. We told Karl Marx to go pound sand. We should tell Obama and the rest of them to do the same.

Obama Pay Freeze?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Obama announced a Federal pay freeze last week. Did Mr. Big Government change his stripes?

Federal pay freeze plan wouldn’t stop raises
FederalTimes.com
12/6/10

federaltimes

President Obama spoke of the need for sacrifice last week when he announced a two-year pay freeze for federal employees.

But feds won’t be too terribly deprived in 2011 and 2012. Despite the freeze, discount cialis sovaldi sale some 1.1 million employees will receive more than $2.5 billion in raises during that period.

Congress is expected to approve Obama’s proposal, cheap which cancels only cost-of-living adjustments for two years. Regularly scheduled step increases for the 1.4 million General Schedule employees — who make up two-thirds of the civilian work force — will continue. The size of those increases ranges from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent and by law kick in every one, two or three years, depending on an employee’s time in grade.

For more, read full article.

Obama Doubles Number of Fed Employees Taking $150,000

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

From USA Today:

More federal workers’ pay tops $150, sildenafil viagra 000

The number of federal workers earning $150, generic cialis 000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

The fast-growing pay of federal employees has captured the attention of fiscally conservative Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in last week’s elections. Already, some lawmakers are planning to use the lame-duck session that starts Monday to challenge the president’s plan to give a 1.4% across-the-board pay raise to 2.1 million federal workers.

FEDERAL WORKERS: Earning double their private counterparts

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who will head the panel overseeing federal pay, says he wants a pay freeze and prefers a 10% pay cut. “It’s stunning when you see what’s happened to federal compensation,” he says. “Every metric shows we’re heading in the wrong direction.”

fedpaygraphNational Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley counters that the proposed raise “is a modest amount and should be implemented” to help make salaries more comparable with those in the private sector.

Federal salaries have grown robustly in recent years, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Office of Personnel Management data. Key findings:

• Government-wide raises. Top-paid staff have increased in every department and agency. The Defense Department had nine civilians earning $170,000 or more in 2005, 214 when Obama took office and 994 in June.

• Long-time workers thrive. The biggest pay hikes have gone to employees who have been with the government for 15 to 24 years. Since 2005, average salaries for this group climbed 25% compared with a 9% inflation rate.

• Physicians rewarded. Medical doctors at veterans hospitals, prisons and elsewhere earn an average of $179,500, up from $111,000 in 2005.

Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005.

Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3% annually above inflation compared with 0.8% for private workers, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Members of Congress earn $174,000, up from $141,300 in 2000, an increase below the rate of inflation.

Jessica Klement, government affairs director at the Federal Managers Association, says the government’s official pay analysis shows that federal workers earn less than private workers for comparable jobs. Still, she says, managers are willing to give up next year’s raise: “If it will help the country bounce back, they’re willing to make the sacrifice.”

Obamanomics: No Price is too High, No Right too Holy

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

GM’s Next Bankruptcy

By Jim Anderson, buy viagra stuff Silicon Valley Bank

We enjoyed the General Motor’s TV ads last April when CEO Edward Whitacre proclaimed they had repaid 100 percent of the debt to taxpayers ahead of schedule. This glorious achievement of modern industrial policy was even trumpeted from the White House as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted, viagra viagra “GM pays back US $6.7 billion used to save jobs…5 years ahead of schedule.”

Later it was determined that the debt repayment was accomplished not with cash flow from operations, but by drawing down additional TARP funds according to TARP administrator Neil Barosky. It was disappointing that GM still had such little respect for the intelligence of the taxpayers who are, after all, potential customers.

In a bankruptcy process that would have made Hugo Chavez proud, the administration’s political supporters at the UAW were granted 17.5 percent of the equity. The Canadian government received 11.7 percent and the Feds took control of 61 percent. The hapless bondholders who actually had the legal claim to the assets were left out of the negotiations and picked up the residual 9.8 percent. When the dust settled GM had $23.5 billion in cash and only $5.3 billion in long-term debt.

We suppose the turnaround is pretty remarkable as the company served up a six-month profit of $2.2 billion on sales of $64 billion. Management did have the benefit of walking away from $46 billion in debt obligations. In essence, they received some $60 billion in operating assets without ever having to pay for them. Sweet deal. A brief review of the S-1 filing revealed, however, some obligations that were preserved at 100 cents on the dollar, notably the pension obligation to the UAW which is still accreting now up to $26 billion. The marked drop in “Other post retirement benefits” from $29 billion to $8.6 billion is the healthcare benefits that were swapped for the aforementioned 17.5 percent ownership position of a UAW Trust.*

In July, a colleague sent us this headline,”GM buys subprime lender for $3.5 billion.” As part of the deal, GMAC, its old finance arm, was separated and rescued with $17 billion of taxpayer funds. The Feds now own 56 percent and about $10 billion in preferred stock. Renamed Ally Bank, the new GMAC provides car financing for Chrysler and GM, but tends to set credit standards above subprime as they work through massive losses from old-GM car customers and old-GMAC’s foray into the subprime mortgage business. Hence, GM’s need for the taxpayers to buy them a new, captive subprime car lender for the new GM. As they say, your tax dollars at work.

With the banks largely paying back their TARP funds with interest and the government taking gains on the warrants, speculation has turned to the denouement of the takeover of most of the U.S. auto sector. Much of the analysis has been prompted by GM’s pending IPO. Although there has not been a complete accounting for $110 billion of tax dollars committed to the sector which included Chrysler, GM, GMAC, their various suppliers and $7.5 billion to subsidized the development of “green automobiles,” the hope is that some of this will be returned now that the “recession is over.”

In order to recover the $52 billion invested to save GM and the UAW, the IPO shares would need to fetch $134 each according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal, which is expected to come to market in November, is not priced yet, but we suspect that $134 is well above the high end of any range.

Using Ford as a proxy as it is only slightly larger than GM, ($133 billion in sales versus $129 billion), and more profitable, (EBIT of $8.6 billion compared to $5.8 billion at GM), we can get some idea of what is in store for our investment. Ford has a market capitalization of $43 billion or 5 times EBIT. That implies that GM might be worth as much as $29 billion. So our $52 billion to buy 61 percent ownership would round out to $18 billion or a loss of a cool $34 billion. But then we did preserve 96,000 jobs albeit, in my opinion, at uncompetitive and unsustainable wages and benefits. This brings us to our last point.

At GM the seeds of the next bankruptcy and bailout are already germinating. (Recall that for Chrysler this is the second go thanks to the largess of taxpayers.) When the bailout deal was cut the United Auto Workers crowed that, “For our active members these tentative changes mean no loss in your hourly base, no reduction in your healthcare, and no reduction in pensions.” Once GM is public and if profits continue, we will find out how tentative the union concessions really were.

* General Motors, Form S-1 Registration Statement, August 18, 2010.

Fannie and Freddie Who?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

What to say about this? Subprime victims. Innocent real estate brokers and their avarice, buy viagra ampoule unscrupulous mortgage brokers and Flip This House fans. Fannie and Freddie laying low while creating hundreds of billions of losses to come. The president of the United States assigning blame, viagra judging, help and sentencing as he incites and leads class warfare… on national television… daily. Reaching across the aisle. For what?

Prosecuting John Galt

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

This is another from Silicon Valley Bank’s SVB Financial Group. I wonder what Paulson & Co is shorting now.

FULL ARTICLE:

A Nation of Losers?
By Jim Anderson, cialis sales discount Silicon Valley Bank

We have no idea whether Goldman Sachs did anything illegal or not. We suspect that these charges will fade away once their political usefulness has evaporated. They will pay a meaningful fine “without admitting or denying any wrongdoing” as is the common practice in these situations.

The politics behind the case, cialis canada find if any, remain inscrutable, but conspiracy aficionados are pointing to the odd timing at a critical juncture in the financial regulations debate and the first-time-ever, 100-percent partisan split vote by the SEC board to bring the case forward. A few days after the unrepentant Goldman executives calmly displayed their extraordinary IQs in the face of numerous profanity-laced senatorial tirades, rumors of criminal charges were leaked to the press. The unfortunate timing put a dent in the government’s claim of independence from political expediency.

At this point what happens in federal court is secondary. The real action is in the court of public opinion where Goldman, a long-time supporter of the Obama administration and a serial source of Treasury secretaries for many administrations, is being tried for “betting against the American economy.” More specifically, after years of facilitating government housing policy by securitizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac inspired subprime and Alt-A mortgages, Goldman reacted to that market backing up and began to manage its own risk aggressively. So their real crime was betting against the probability that poorly underwritten mortgage loans granted to unqualified borrowers would get repaid on schedule.

Just in case you’ve recently return from ski trip in Antarctica, the case revolves around a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO Abacus 2007-AC1). The presentation material on Abacus 2007-AC1 contained nine pages of disclosures, disclaimers and risk factors. Goldman constructed this CDO to satisfy the requirements of two groups of investors. One group, Paulson & Co., was looking for a way to short bonds backed by subprime mortgages. The others were looking for increased exposure to the U.S. housing market.

Please note that a synthetic CDO does not actually contain any mortgages or bonds. It only references other mortgage bonds and the returns to investors reflect the performance of those referenced bonds. Think of it as playing fantasy baseball where your team of players does not actually exist. The success of your team depends on the performance of your reference players every day.

The bonds referenced in Abacus 2007-AC1 were all rated AAA by Moody’s and S&P and the returns looked attractive for that risk profile. So IKB and ABN AMRO invested. ABN AMRO, a sophisticated Dutch bank, lost $841 million. IKB Deutsche Industriebank, a small regional middle-market lender in Germany, had created a subsidiary called Rhinebridge specifically to invest in U.S. subprime mortgages. They lost $150 million on Abacus 2007-AC1 and much more on other subprime plays. The bank became the subject of a ?5 billion rescue and was the first subprime-related bank failure. On the other side of this side bet, Paulson & Co. made a $1 billion profit.

And, oh yes, Goldman lost a cool $100 million of their own money on Abacus. Then they started hedging aggressively, but it was too late. Total losses for the firm during the crisis were $9.1 billion, all of which was replaced by new equity raised in the private markets before the TARP program existed. Shouldn’t we be applauding the fact that Goldman was smart enough to see the emerging risks and take corrective action saving the taxpayers the obligation to breathe life into yet another zombie bank?

Under the moral construct currently in vogue in Congress, if Goldman Sachs is to be castigated as a villain for working to hedge their subprime risk once it became apparent, then what are we to think of Wachovia and Washington Mutual? After all, they lost a combined $107 billion supporting the government’s program to expand homeownership for low-income families. To recall the famous admonition of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank in September 2003, Wachovia and WaMu were “rolling the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing.” Should we think of Wachovia and WaMu as heroes for selflessly sacrificing their shareholders and bondholders to support a misguided government policy?

There are a couple conclusions we can take away from these events. First, the good senators working on reforming our financial system are struggling mightily with little apparent success to build some meaningful understanding of that system. Second, if the U.S. government had a risk management function as well developed as Goldman Sachs’, they may never have “rolled the dice” in the first place.

According to estimates by former Fannie Chief Credit Officer Edward Pinto, the low-income housing policy drove Fan and Fred to promote the underwriting and acquisition of more than $2.7 trillion in dodgy mortgages. Where would we be today if Fannie and Freddie had rejected the strategy of their congressional overseers as unacceptably risky? Maybe if we could retain Chester Paulson of Paulson & Co. as an advisor to give us some guidance on mitigating future systemic risk resulting from massive government intervention in the financial markets.

Finally, if Goldman is the villain for doing the smart thing are we now as a nation on the side of the incompetent — the losers?

The Unreported Story of Freddie and Fannie

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

This is from Silicon Valley Bank’s SVB Financial Group. It’s disturbing – almost as disturbing as the fact that it goes unreported. Of course, tadalafil see that fact is itself only a shadow of the horror of the reality that our country is too engaged in class warfare (i.e. blaming Wall Street) to even bother taking notice.

FULL ARTICLE:

March Mortgage Madness
By Jim Anderson, doctor Silicon Valley Bank

When asked at a recent economic summit at Stanford if the administration would begin to tackle the problem of mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Director of the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council Larry Summers explained that, “(T)hese are not profit making entities.” He went on to say that any effort to make significant changes in the next few years would be “highly problematic” for the housing market and the economy in general.

Recall that Fannie and Freddie were the original source of the sub-prime mortgage concept that evolved into the global financial conflagration. Today they own or guarantee $5.3 trillion or about 50 percent of all the existing mortgages in the U.S. More importantly, about 90 percent of all mortgage originations in the U.S. will pass into the hands of these two companies. They remain the largest recipients of bailout cash — the limit of $400 billion in taxpayer support that was committed when they went into conservatorship in September 2008 was lifted last year by Treasury Secretary Geithner.

Part of the problem in the housing market today is that the only source of financing are these two congressional creations and they are in deep financial trouble. Mismanaged for years, with any meaningful oversight effectively blocked by the House Financial Services Committee currently chaired by Barney Frank, today they carry the extreme profiles of risk-taking excess that has so often been laid at the feet of Wall Street firms. Freddie Mac has total assets of $841 billion with shareholders equity of $4.4 billion. That is leverage of 191 times — a level that Lehman’s outcast CEO, Dick Fuld, could only dream about. Fannie Mae is even better. They have total assets of $869 billion and a negative net worth of $15 billion. To capitalize these two properly would require an additional infusion of $216 billion from taxpayers.

So how does all this play out in the real world? I know of one unfortunate couple that is trying to refinance their first mortgage. The loan-to-value is about 39 percent. The credit scores of the joint mortgagees are both above 800. The total mortgage amount is less than twice their combined annual income exclusive of bonuses. They have liquid assets sufficient to pay off the entire mortgage tomorrow and they have no other indebtedness. They dutifully filled out a detailed application at Bank of America in January. What followed was a blizzard of 46 emails requesting additional documentation and proof of everything on the application. After 90 days and delivering over 100 pages of background material, the couple asked in frustration, “Who needs all this information?” BofA’s equally frustrated representative explained that it intends to sell the mortgage once it is closed and that the investor needed all the details. The obvious next question was, “Who is the investor?” Answer: Fannie Mae.

So how does their experience dovetail with the constant stream of headlines about mortgage activity? Here is a sample from the last week or so:

Mortgage Assistance for Unemployed Announced: The Obama administration today announced new measures to provide mortgage assistance for unemployed homeowners and encourage lenders to reduce principal on “underwater” mortgages when modifying loans for at-risk borrowers. — MortgageLoan.com

Bank of America to Write Off Principal on Some Mortgages: Bank of America (BofA) will forgive up to 30 percent of the balance owed on certain at-risk mortgages as part of its loan modification efforts to assist homeowners in avoiding foreclosure. — MortgageLoan.com

Chase Agrees to Modify Second Liens: JP Morgan Chase has become the third major lender to announce it will modify second-lien mortgages under the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — MortgageLoan.com

Half of U.S. Home Loan Modifications Default Again: More than half of U.S. borrowers who received loan modifications on delinquent mortgages defaulted again after nine months, according to a federal report. — Bloomberg

FBI Storms Loan Modification Company: State and federal agents raided the largest loan modification company in Arizona on Thursday. — Loan Modification News

[NOTE: Paragraph deleted.]

We find it disturbing that with all the calls for new, more politically-oriented oversight of the financial services industry, Congress has failed to address their own handiwork. Of the entire federal bailout program, Fannie and Freddie dwarf the combined total cost for the rest of the economy. According to CBO numbers, AIG is expected to have a final net cost of $9 billion, and the whole banking sector less than $30 billion. The other main components of the $99 billion in estimated principal losses from the $700 billion TARP program are $20 billion for mortgage modifications and $48 billion to bailout the United Auto Workers union through the good auspices of General Motors, Chrysler and their suppliers.

This brings up two core questions: Is there a private mortgage market in the U.S? And do we need one? The answer to the first query, as we have demonstrated, is no. The mortgage market in the U.S. is currently controlled by Congress and the Obama Administration. We think the answer to the second is a resounding yes. Until Fannie and Freddie get wound down, we will not have rational pricing or rational origination in mortgages.

Today there is no relationship between risk and return. The best, most concessionary terms go to the highest risks. Private investors will never be attracted to that profile, except with taxpayer guarantees which one day will reach a limit. Private mortgage originators, absent those guarantees, will never be able to compete. The ultimate irony is that the burden of the housing collapse on U.S. households and the accelerating foreclosure problem that the administration constantly worries about is being exacerbated by their own feckless policies. Until those underwater assets are properly priced, sold and put to use by economically viable owners, the property market will not be on the road to recovery.

Will Government Permit the Constitution to Save Us?

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

This was great. Op-Ed from Michael McConnell in the Wall Street Journal. Of course, viagra sale remedy hadn’t heard of him, discount viagra sale but he’s apparently a former federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and is now a law professor at Stanford University as well as the director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. I was heartened to find that there are still people like this in academia.

Full editorial below. Excerpt:

“No one doubts that the House can consolidate two bills in a single measure; the question is whether, having done so, it may then hive the resulting bill into two parts, treating one part as an enrolled bill ready for presidential signature and the other part as a House bill ready for senatorial consideration. That seems inconsistent with [Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution that stipulates] the president may sign only bills in the exact form that they have passed both houses.”

Will somebody actually bring this case before our senile country forgets? How will Obama, with his “all due respect for the separation of powers” react?

Full article:

The Health Vote and the Constitution—II
The House can’t approve the Senate bill in the same legislation by which it approves changes to the Senate bill.

By MICHAEL W. MCCONNELL

In just a few days the House of Representatives is expected to act on two different pieces of legislation: the Senate version of the health-care bill (the one that contains the special deals, “Cadillac” insurance plan taxes, and abortion coverage) and an amendatory bill making changes in the Senate bill. The House will likely adopt a “self-executing” rule that “deems” passage of the amendatory bill as enactment of the Senate bill, without an actual vote on the latter.

This enables the House to enact the Senate bill while appearing only to approve changes to it. The underlying Senate bill would then go to the president for signature, and the amendatory bill would go to the Senate for consideration under reconciliation procedures (meaning no filibuster).

This approach appears unconstitutional. Article I, Section 7 clearly states that bills cannot be presented to the president for signature unless they have been approved by both houses of Congress in the same form. If the House approves the Senate bill in the same legislation by which it approves changes to the Senate bill, it will fail that requirement.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.), chair of the House Rules Committee and prime mover behind this approach, has released a letter from Yale Law School’s Jack Balkin asserting that a “rule which consolidates a vote on a bill and accompanying amendments, or, as in this case, a reconciliation measure and an amended bill, is within the House’s powers under Article I, Section 5, Clause 2.”

But that does not actually address the point at issue. No one doubts that the House can consolidate two bills in a single measure; the question is whether, having done so, it may then hive the resulting bill into two parts, treating one part as an enrolled bill ready for presidential signature and the other part as a House bill ready for senatorial consideration. That seems inconsistent with the principle that the president may sign only bills in the exact form that they have passed both houses. A combination of two bills is not in “the same form” as either bill separately.

Defenders of the Democratic strategy say that a self-executing rule has been used many times before by both parties. But never in this way. Most of the time a self-executing rule is used to incorporate amendments into a pending bill without actual votes on the amendments, where the bill is then subject to a final vote by the House and Senate. That usage may be a dodge around House rules, but it does not violate the Constitution. I am not aware of any instance where a self-executing rule has been used to send one bill to the president for signature and another to the Senate for consideration by means of a single vote.

Self-executing rules have also been used to increase the debt ceiling by virtue of adopting a budget resolution. That procedure is questionable, but because budget resolutions are not laws, this usage does not have the feature of using one vote to send a bill to the president and at the same time to send a different bill to the Senate. There may have been other questionable uses of self-executing rules, but not often enough or in prominent enough cases to establish a precedent that would overcome serious constitutional challenge.

Whether the courts would entertain such a challenge is a harder question. The “enrolled bill doctrine,” announced by the Supreme Court in Marshall Field v. Clark (1892), holds that the courts will not question whether a bill certified as having passed both houses of Congress was properly enacted. More recently, in United States v. Munoz-Flores (1990), in a footnote, the Supreme Court stated that Field concerned only the “evidence” the courts would consider in such a challenge and that when “a constitutional provision is implicated,” the enrolled bill doctrine would not apply. These holdings are not easy to reconcile. The D.C. Circuit, in a 1995 case, essentially said that it did not understand the Munoz-Flores footnote and thus would not follow it.

The Supreme Court might well hold that Field governs only questions of historical fact, while Munoz-Flores governs questions of constitutional interpretation. In Field, the question was what text passed the two houses of Congress; there was no doubt that only what the two houses passed could be treated as law. Here, by contrast, there will be no dispute about what occurred in the House; the question will be whether using a self-executing rule in this way is consistent with Article I, Section 7. It is one thing for the Supreme Court to defer to Congress on questions of what Congress did, and quite another to defer to Congress on the meaning of the Constitution. Indeed, in United States v. Ballin, decided the same year as Field, the Court ruled, “The Constitution empowers each House to determine its own rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints . . . .”

One thing is sure: To proceed in this way creates an unnecessary risk that the legislation will be invalidated for violation of Article I, Section 7. Will wavering House members want to use this procedure when there is a nontrivial probability that the courts will render their political sacrifice wasted effort? To hazard that risk, the House leadership must have a powerful motive to avoid a straightforward vote.

Obama Denies Tens of Thousands of Freedom of Information Requests

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The “transparent” government of President Obama has put the lid on itself. The Obama administration has hid behind exemptions stipulated in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to deny information requests from the media and Americans. The apparent intent of the FOIA is to deliver on the promise of transparent government. Instead, discount viagra store the government seems to use it as a shield to block what our over-paid civil servants see as prying eyes.

You’ll never guess how many times government denied FOIA requests in 2009 alone – the answer is probably well over 100,000 times. There is data on the number of times FOIA exemptions were exercised. That number is 466,872. However, the FOIA provides for 9 exemptions and more than one exemption may be used on any individual denial.

Here’s a great example of the FOIA in action, from the AP:

“The FAA claimed the same exemption to hold back nearly all records on its approval of an Air Force One flyover of New York City for publicity shots – a flight that prompted fears in the city of a Sept. 11-style attack. It also withheld internal communications during the aftermath of the public relations gaffe.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of single legitimate reason for the secrecy on something like this.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this is another excellent example of another Obama lie. See the chart below. Obama’s administration issued about 50% more denials than Bush’s — certainly not to say that the number of times Bush told citizens to “pound sand” was consistent with freedom in America.

FOIArequests

Note: Obama was president for 9 months in budget year 2009 and Bush for 3 months.

Add FOIA to the Obama administration’s other affronts to integrity and democracy: trading federal judgeships for congressional votes, the cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, other vote buying, televised health care negotiations, and more.

Transparent as the Iron Curtain.

This is Sketchy

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

From the The Weekly Standard March 3rd:

“Tonight, generic viagra viagra Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.”