The Bain of Our Existence

By: The Common Constitutionalist

So I guess “Venture Capitalist” or “Private Equity” are dirty words (unless it’s prefaced with Blackstone).

Years ago, Mitt Romney was a venture capitalist. If you listen to the mainstream media, you would get the impression that these companies, like private equity firm, Bain Capital, scour the countryside looking for struggling businesses. Without doing any research on the

Count Romula

companies viability, they swoop in, take over, fire everyone and sell off the carcass. That’s seems to be the way it is portrayed.

But that’s the private sector for ya. Those in private industry are looking to do one thing; make money. They don’t seem to understand that the sole purpose of the private sector is not to make a profit, but to create jobs (preferably union). Private industry is to create jobs, provide a living wage, pensions and benefits for their unionized workers and since profit is evil, all will be paid for by that large pot of gold hidden under every CEOs desk.

As an aside, I love the term “workers”. It’s such a wonderfully socialist/communist term. Like the worker bees in Woodrow Wilson’s grand “beehive” vision.

The public sector, or government, surely knows better how to invest in struggling companies.

Just imagine what would’ve become of General Motors if the government hadn’t stepped in and bailed it out with our money. GM would have been forced into bankruptcy reorganization. Union contracts would’ve become null and void and would’ve had to been renegotiated. Tragic! Many workers would’ve lost their jobs. In the private sector we would call these people dead wood, or non-essential personnel. This, of course, would have been completely heartless.

Lucky for us, our benevolent government stepped in and saved the day. They rescued the struggling healthcare auto company thus saving the jobs of many thousands of workers. Those who are students of history understand that every company that is forced to file for bankruptcy reorganization must fire every employee and shut its doors.

Thankfully that didn’t happen. Our government, with great foresight and great courage gave billions and billions of our dollars to save those union jobs. (Notice I said gave and not lent billions of dollars. We have not been paid back in full and likely never will. Bless them for that.)

In doing so, it was mandated that only about 800 Chrysler and almost 1100 GM, nonunion dealerships close. I’m sure those dealerships and all their employees were more than happy to sacrifice themselves in order to save the UAW.

It was all for the greater good. Workers of the world unite! Unless you worked for a dealership.

You see, private industry is like a casino and the private equity firms are like the high rolling gamblers that destroy everyone that stand in the way of their prize; big profits. Just ask those poor saps who work at Sealy Corp. or Staples or Sports Authority, Domino’s Pizza, Toys R Us or Dunkin Donuts, just a few of Romney’s more famous victims. Oh wait; they added thousands of jobs. Forget I said that.

Government investment in companies is where it’s at. Success stories abound.

Just look at the laundry list of prosperity from government largess.

Let’s see; give me second. I’ll think of some. Got it! How about Solyndra, Solar Trust of America, Energy Conversion Devices. Then there’s Evergreen Solar, Solar Power Industries and Spectrawatt. They took our money and parlayed that investment into viable growth companies employing many workers.

What? They all went belly up? No workers, no nothing? How could that be? I’m sure the experts in the government did countless hours of research and viability studies before handing out billions of dollars. That doesn’t sound all like our government. It sounds more like those wicked private equity firms.

In closing if I may be serious; people start and invest in business to make money. Sure, that’s not the only reason, but it’s the main reason. Someone has an idea for a better mouse trap so they start company to build the mousetraps. If they didn’t think they could make money, they wouldn’t start. They don’t set out to start a business with the aim of hiring people. That is the result of hard work and growing the business so one has to hire people.

The same goes for venture capitalists or private equity firms. They spend countless hours researching before they invest in an already struggling industry. It is of course a risk, but it is an educated risk. They don’t just throw money at something and hope for the best like the government does. They can’t afford to. Unlike the government, they don’t have unlimited funds to waste.

No matter how much research these private equity firms do, not every investment will yield success and some of the companies won’t make it. That’s called life.

It is however, almost a sure bet, that if the venture capitalist or private equity firm didn’t invest in the company, said company wouldn’t survive. With the infusion of new capital, they at least have a chance and worst-case, they may get a few more years of life that they wouldn’t otherwise have had, like GST Steel.

Go for a Quick Dip

A quick dip in this pool could well turn into a marathon. It’s the Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile.

Swimming a length in this, the world’s largest outdoor pool, would mean stroke after stroke for more than three fifths of a mile – that’s 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The enormous man-made lagoon is set halfway up the country’s Pacific coast, in the city of Algarrobo, and is filled with 66 million gallons of crystal clear seawater.

It also hold the Guinness record for the world’s deepest – so if you don’t feel like diving 115ft to the bottom, it might be best to bring some spare goggles.

The pool opened in December 2006 after nearly five years of construction work and is said to have set developers back as much as $1.5 billion.

And on top of that eye-watering initial cost, it takes over $3 million a year to keep it in working order.

It uses a computer-controlled suction and filtration system to suck water in from the ocean at one end and pump it out at the other, while the sun warms it to 26C (79F) – nine degrees higher than the sea.

The pool’s incredible dimensions leave the next biggest floundering in its wake, with the Orthlieb in Morocco measuring a mere 1,575ft long.

Attribution: India Times, Mail Online

Joke of the Day

Dear Internal Revenue Service:

Enclosed you will find my 2006 tax return showing that I owe $3,407.00 in taxes.

Please note the attached article from the USA Today newspaper dated 12 November, wherein you will see the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is paying $171.50 per hammer and NASA has paid $600.00 per toilet seat.

I am enclosing for (4) toilet seats (valued @ $2,400.) and six (6) hammers (valued @ $1,029.) which I secured at Home Depot, bringing my total remittance to $3,429.00. Please apply the overpayment of $22.00 to the Presidential Election Fund, as noted on my return. You can do this inexpensively by sending them one (1) 1.5 Phillips Head screwdriver, (see aforementioned article from USA Today newspaper detailing how H.U.D. pays $22.00 each for 1.5 Phillips Head screwdrivers). One screw is enclosed for your convenience.

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.

Sincerely,

A Satisfied Taxpayer

Attribution: Karen

Puppy Love

For more than 32,000 years, dogs have been our faithful companions, living, eating and breathing with us as we moved from cave-dwellers to city-builders.

Around this time, we lost our closest cousins – and, many argue, our competitors: Neanderthal man, who had previously occupied present-day Europe for a staggering

Glad we didn’t become this guy!

250,000 years.

Now, an anthropologist is suggesting these two facts may be related – and it was our close friendship with our canine associates that tipped the balance in favor of modern man.

Pat Shipman said that the advantages that domesticating a dog brought for us were so fundamental to our own evolution, that it made us ‘top dog’ out of the competing primate species.

Shipman analyzed the results of excavations of fossilized canine bones from Europe, during the time when humans and Neanderthals overlapped.

The research first established a framework to our early ‘best friend’ relationships, with early humans adding dog teeth to jewelry, showing how they were worshipped, and rarely adorning cave art with images of dogs – implying dogs were treated with a reverence not shown to the animals they hunted.

The advantages dogs gave early man were huge – the animals themselves were likely to be larger than our modern day pooches, at least the size of German Shepherds.

Because of this, they could be used as ‘beasts of burden’, carrying animal carcasses and supplies from place to place, leaving humans to reserve their energies for the hunt.

In return, the animals gained warmth, food and companionship, or, as Shipman puts it, ‘a virtuous circle of cooperation’.

They may also have influenced how we communicate. Humans and dogs are the only animals which have large ‘whites of the eyes’, and will follow the gaze of another person. This has not been found in other species, and it is argued that, as our man-dog relationship evolved, we learned to use these non-verbal cues more often.

As such, dogs became one of the first tools, or technologies, that humanity began to use, and as the relationship developed both ways, it became a lot more deeply ingrained into our psyche.

And, in those early days where every advantage was needed to survive, Neanderthal man might simply have been unable to cope with the new species which rapidly moved across Europe.

In short, Shipman said: ‘Animals were not incidental to our evolution into Homo sapiens – They were essential to it. They are what made us human.’

Attribution: Eddie Wrenn

Joke du Jour

A wife woke in the middle of the night to find her husband missing from bed. She got out of bed and checked around the house.

She heard sobbing from the basement. After turning on the light and descending the stairs, she found he husband curled up in the corner, of the basement,… crying like a baby.

 “Honey, what’s wrong?”, she asked, worried about what could hurt him so much.

 “Remember, 20 years ago, I got you pregnant and your father threatened me to either marry you or to go to jail?”

“Yes, of course,” she replied.

“Well, I would have been released from jail this afternoon!”

Wanted – An Honest Politician

Big Lies in Politics

By Thomas Sowell

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.

Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.

There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.

After the Constitution of the United States was amended to permit a federal income tax, in 1916, the number of people reporting taxable incomes of $300,000 a year or more fell from well over a thousand to fewer than three hundred by 1921.

Were the rich all getting poorer? Not at all. They were investing huge sums of money in tax-exempt securities. The amount of money invested in tax-exempt securities was larger than the federal budget, and nearly half as large as the national debt.

This was not unique to the United States or to that era. After the British government raised their income tax on the top income earners in 2010, they discovered that they collected less tax revenue than before. Other countries have had similar experiences. Apparently the rich are not all fools, after all.

In today’s globalized world economy, the rich can simply invest their money in countries where tax rates are lower.

So, if you cannot rely on “the rich” to pick up the slack, what can you rely on? Lies.

Nothing is easier for a politician than promising government benefits that cannot be delivered. Pensions such as Social Security are perfect for this role. The promises that are made are for money to be paid many years from now — and somebody else will be in power then, left with the job of figuring out what to say and do when the money runs out and the riots start.

There are all sorts of ways of postponing the day of reckoning. The government can refuse to pay what it costs to get things done. Cutting what doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients is one obvious example.

That of course leads some doctors to refuse to take on new Medicare patients. But this process takes time to really make its full impact felt — and elections are held in the short run. This is another growing problem that can be left for someone else to try to cope with in future years.

Increasing amounts of paperwork for doctors in welfare states with government-run medical care, and reduced payments to those doctors, in order to stave off the day of bankruptcy, mean that the medical profession is likely to attract fewer of the brightest young people who have other occupations available to them — paying more money and having fewer hassles. But this too is a long-run problem — and elections are still held in the short run.

Eventually, all these long-run problems can catch up with the wonderful-sounding lies that are the lifeblood of welfare state politics. But there can be a lot of elections between now and eventually — and those who are good at political lies can win a lot of those elections.

As the day of reckoning approaches, there are a number of ways of seeming to overcome the crisis. If the government is running out of money, it can print more money. That does not make the country any richer, but it quietly transfers part of the value of existing money from people’s savings and income to the government, whose newly printed money is worth just as much as the money that people worked for and saved.

Printing more money means inflation — and inflation is a quiet lie, by which a government can keep its promises on paper, but with money worth much less than when the promises were made.

Is it so surprising voters with unrealistic hopes elect politicians who lie about being able to fulfill those hopes?

That’s a Turtle

Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a children’s pool.

Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen – the fossilized remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia.

The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means ‘coal turtle’, and it is part of a group of turtles known as pelomedusoides.

The specimen’s skull measures 24 centimeters (9-1/2 inches), and the shell, which was recovered nearby and is believed to belong to the same animal, measures 172 centimeters, or about 5 feet 7 inches, long.

Ironically, that’s the same height as Edwin Cadena, the NC State doctoral student who discovered the fossil.

The fossil was named Carbonemys because it was discovered in 2005 in a coal mine that was part of northern Colombia’s Cerrejon formation.

Dr. Dan Ksepka, NC State paleontologist and research associate at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, believes that this is because a turtle of this size would need a large territory in order to obtain enough food to survive. Ksepka said: “It’s like having one big snapping turtle living in the middle of a lake.”

“That turtle survives because it has eaten all of the major competitors for resources. We found many bite-marked shells at this site that show crocodilians preyed on side-necked turtles.”

“None would have bothered an adult Carbonemys. In fact smaller crocs would have been easy prey for this behemoth.”

Cadena said: “We had recovered smaller turtle specimens from the site. But after spending about four days working on uncovering the shell, I realized that this particular turtle was the biggest anyone had found in this area for this time period and it gave us the first evidence of giantism in freshwater turtles.”

Smaller relatives of Carbonemys existed alongside dinosaurs, but the giant version appeared five million years after the dinosaurs vanished, during a period when giant varieties of many different reptiles, including Titanoboa cerrejonensis (about 43 ft), the largest snake ever discovered – lived in this part of South America.

Researchers believe that a combination of changes in the ecosystem, including fewer predators, a larger habitat area, plentiful food supply and climate changes, worked together to allow these giant species to survive. Carbonemys’ habitat would have resembled a much warmer modern-day Orinoco or Amazon River delta.

In addition to the turtle’s huge size, the fossil also shows that this particular turtle had massive, powerful jaws that would have enabled the omnivore to eat anything nearby – from molluscs to smaller turtles or even crocodiles.

Thus far, only one specimen of this size has been recovered.

The paleontologists’ findings appear in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Dr. Carlos Jaramillo from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Dr. Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History contributed to the work.

Attribution: Science Tech, Mail Online

To Protect & Defend…The United Nations

In the 1990s, conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly wrote a moving description of the plight of U.S. Army Specialist E-4 Michael G. New, a medic in the Third Infantry Division who was drummed out of the military because he refused to wear the uniform of the United Nations.

“When American soldiers were killed over Iraq,” she wrote, “Vice President Al Gore told the widows and orphans of those men that ‘they died in the service of the United Nations.’ That wasn’t a slip of the tongue; his words reveal the Clinton administration’s plan to use our armed forces as U.N. mercenaries all over the world at the whim of U.N. bureaucrats.

Schlafly said New had “raised the flag of patriotism against the Clinton-Gore goal.”

“Michael New’s trial is our battle, if we care about America,” she wrote.

What if New was right all along, and the order to don the U.N. emblems was unlawful, as he argued throughout his dispute with his commanding officers at his court-martial and throughout the appeals process?

It would mean that prosecutors in the Clinton administration withheld exculpatory evidence, deceived a judge in the case and misled defense counsel to stamp out what could have been a rebellion against illegal orders to serve under the banner of the international political group.

That’s the very assertion in a new and unprecedented appeal to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in a “Petition for Extraordinary Relief in the Nature of a Writ of Error.”

It is being filed by Herbert W. Titus, of counsel with the law firm of William J. Olson, P.C.

This is the scenario that had been released to the public to this point. New was a soldier who objected to changing his allegiance from the U.S. Constitution, which he promised in an oath to defend, to the United Nations. Clinton was ramping up his involvement in various ethic conflicts around the globe. New was to be dispatched, under the command of the U.N., to Macedonia.

It was through Presidential Decision Directive 25 that Clinton ordered American troops to submit to the command of multilateral “peace” operations around the world.

But New refused to wear the arm patch and hat designating him a soldier of the United Nations. He eventually was charged and given a Bad Conduct Discharge, a slam on his personal integrity that has followed him since.

In one of the stops in his battle, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia warned that it would not overturn his conviction, which he argued was reached incorrectly because the deployment to which he was assigned violated the UNPA (United Nations Participation Act).

He has argued that the UNPA requires that specific congressional approval be given for certain deployments under the United Nations and that permission had not been obtained by the military.

That law, dating from the 1940s, does require such approval. It also forbids the placement of more than 1,000 soldiers under such command at any one time.

But under Clinton’s orders, such deployments were to be made by him “on a case-by-case basis.” He said he would allow U.S. forces to be placed under a “competent U.N. commander” based on factors such as U.S. interests, the size of the proposed force and the risk. 

“Such action wil be undertaken consistent with the U.S. Constitution, U.S. federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” he wrote.

But what fell out of the process was the effort to obtain permission from Congress.

Instead, Clinton said, “The United States will take a leadership role in obtaining international agreement to enhance the headquarters capabilities of the U.N. to conduct peace operations effectively, to achieve economies of scale and reap the benefits of past experience. The United States will contribute personnel, technical assistance, equipment, facilities and funding for that enhancement.”

Defense attorneys had asked the government about such documentation during New’s court martial and were refused access, Titus explained. In fact, the prosecutors represented an abbreviated set of some 8-10 pages as the full order, and did not let the judge and defense counsel know the full extent of the order.

“When Mr. New’s attorneys requested that the classified document, which would have revealed that Clinton’s operational policy was not in compliance with the law, [the prosecutor] represented to the court and to New’s lawyers that the document he had in his hand, of 8-10 pages, was the document,” according to the appeal.

Actually, it contained closer to 30 pages.

Titus told WND that an appropriate resolution to the apparent misbehavior by prosecutors probably would include vacating the conviction and removing it from New’s record.

His pleading explains further: “Mr. New’s civilian defense counsel [in 1995] requested that pre-trial motions be deferred until defense counsel gained access to certain ‘classified’ documents in the custody of the government.”

Primary among those was the Presidential Decision Directive 25.

“We would like to see that document that forms the basis of what the government has asserted in that briefing is the legality of the order pertaining to Specialist New,” counsel argued.

Government officials refused, announcing “PDD 25 to be irrelevant to this trial” even though commanding officers specifically cited “PDD 25″ as a basis for the Macedonia deployment.

It was not until 2009, after the document was declassified, that New became aware of Clinton’s statements. And, according to the brief, it was at that time New also obtained access to Presidential Review Directive 13, which coordinated with PDD 25.

“As a direct result from having been denied access to material and exculpatory information in the classified versions of PDD 25 and PDD/PRD13, demonstrating noncompliance with UNPA, the military judge ruled that Mr. New failed to carry his ‘heavy burden of demonstrating [the order’s] unlawfulness,’” the filing states.

In the case, the military “denied petitioner his liberty and property without due process of law by unlawfully suppressing material and exculpatory information respecting the illegality of the order of which petitioner was charged to have disobeyed.”

“Both classified document PDD 25 and PRD 13 contained information that would have provided ample support for Mr. New’s claim that the order to wear the U.N. uniform violated the UNPA,” the pleading explains.

“Specifically, the classified version of PDD 25 adopted a policy of American armed force participation, both combatant and noncombatant, in disregard of whether the deployment of those armed forces complied either with Section 6 or Section 7 of the UNPA,” the case alleges.

How was Clinton ultimately going to get around such violations?

“The classified version of PDD 25 revealed the existence of a classified plan by the Clinton Administration to seek legislative change at an appropriate future time to remove the limitations placed by the UNPA on presidential discretion to commit American armed forces to multilateral U.N. peace operations.”

Both documents support “the validity of Mr. New’s contention that the Macedonian deployment violated the UNPA.”

Without relief, New will continue to suffer unjustly from the “ineradicable stigma” of a punitive discharge from the military, the argument contends.

Further, it would allow to remain unchallenged and unrecognized the usurpation of federal law by Clinton, the brief explains.

“We now know that PDD [25] sanctioned American armed force participation in U.N. multilateral peacekeeping operations without any regard to whether the Clinton administration’s new policy complied with UNPA requirements limiting U.S. participation in either U.N. peace enforcement or peace keeping operations,” a support brief said.

“Indeed, there is strong evidence in the classified versions of PDD 25 and PRD 13 to support a claim that the Clinton administration viewed UNPA as an obstacle to be avoided, rather than a law to be obeyed.”

The brief continued, “Now that PDD 25 has been declassified, obtained, and reviewed, the executive order can be seen as little more than camouflage for a presidential administration to do what it wanted to do, irrespective of the law.”

Schlafly’s article quoted New himself to get the message across: “I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. My Army enlistment oath is to the Constitution. I cannot find any reference to the United Nations in that oath.”

 
 Attribution: WND