Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two Very Different Oct. 12 Anniversaries

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
. Verse 4, “Eternal Father” – The Navy Hymn

Today, Oct. 12, is the 520th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World. It is also the more somber anniversary of the U.S.S. Cole bombing by terrorists in the Port of Aden in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000.

Columbus Day has been turned into a “Monday Holiday.” One day, no one will remember the exact date Columbus landed in the Caribbean, which is the real object of Monday holidays. Originally, it was a holiday for Italians, as St. Patrick’s Day was a holiday for the Irish six months earlier. There were so many Italian immigrants that a day off to celebrate made sense.

Now, not so much, though the Media still makes note of it. Columbus has become a much-maligned hero, robber of gold, exploiter and enslaver of Indians, and so forth. In a time when American exceptionalism is being forced under the waves, it’s natural that the first European to set foot on the shores of the North American continent should go down with the ship.

Yet, the voyage of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria was an extraordinary act of courage. The tiny vessels bobbing on the turbulent Atlantic sailed at a speed of about 4 miles per hour. This son of a Genoan weaver embarked on the journey against all common sense and the scientific knowledge of the times, which held that the world was flat. He believed the world was round and set out to prove, searching for a new route to the riches of the East Indies.

He was later arrested for mismanagement of the colony and sent back to Spain in chains for the death of the ringleader of a revolt and assassination attempt. But it was his initial voyage that we best remember a commemorate; his confusion at what he thought was the shifting of the pole star, but was actually the compass needle shifting; the site of pelicans on board his ship, which he knew could not fly more than 200 miles from land, at best; his estimation that he was approaching Cipango (Japan) when he was actually in the vicinity of the Bahamas.

His men were losing patience; they wanted to return to Spain before their food and water ran out completely. As he was arguing, cajoling and remonstrating his crew, logs, stalks of rose berries, and most importantly, hand-carved wooden objects floated by. Even more amazingly, he and a crewman spotted a moving point of light in the distance.

They waited the night in suspense. At daybreak, they caught sight of the island the Indians called “Guanahani” what we know as San Salvador. Columbus took the royal standard (the Banner of Castile) ashore, and claiming the land for Spain, knelt down and said a prayer of thanks. The 43-day voyage had been successful.

Over 500 years later, a ship sailing in the opposite direction, bearing the American flag, the U.S. Navy destroyer U.S.S. Cole was harbored in the Yemen Port of Aden. As it sat at anchor refueling, under the command of Commander Kirk Lippold, a small craft approached the port side of the destroyer around 11:18 local time. An explosion occurred, creating a 40 by 40 foot gash in the ship’s port side. The blast appeared to be caused by explosives molded into a shaped charge against the hull of the boat. The blast hit the ship’s galley, where the crew was lining up for lunch. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 injured in the explosion.

The crew fought flooding in the engineering spaces for three days. Divers inspecting the hull determined that the keel (the spine of the ship) was not damaged. Intelligence determined that Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia was responsible for the suicide attack. Nine months earlier, they attempted a similar attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans, as a part of the 2000 millennium attack plots. Fortunately, the attacking vessel was so overloaded with explosives that it sank before the attack could be carried out.

A U.S. judge has held Sudan liable for the attack, while another has released over $13 million in Sudanese frozen assets to the relatives of those killed aboard the U.S.S. Cole.

Let us not forget that first sailor who set foot in the New World, opening the passage for freedom and prosperity on this date, nor those 17 who died, some 500 years later, protecting that same freedom.

Joe Biden: Official Mascot of the Democrat Party

 After watching last night’s vice presidential debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, all I can say of Joe Biden is this:  what a jackass.  No wonder the donkey is the mascot of the Democrat party.  What a jerk.

He was rude, smarmy, arrogant, condescending, snarky, mocking, disrespectful, and wrong about so much.  He was said to have interrupted Paul Ryan between 80 and 90 times during the 90 minute debate.  That would be just about every minute.

The funny thing is, Biden might have won the debate if he’d just followed the rules of courtesy, instead of hee-hawing like a provincial schoolboy.  Independents would have been in agreement with him about the cost of the wars in the Middle East, although he was wrong about the expense scale:  our highest budget item is social entitlements.

The Independents would probably agree with him that Afghanistan should fight its own wars.  Period.  (That was another problem with Biden; it wasn’t his place to decide when a debate was over).  If the reason for our being in Afghanistan was the ostensible, public argument:  to get Bin Laden (who was actually in Pakistan), his argument might have been valid.  But the real reason for our being in Afghanistan was to doing China’s dirty work in clearing out the Taliban, to make rare-mineral mining easier for the Chinese.  What he should have said was, “Let China fight her own wars.”

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan missed some opportunities, though in general his arguments were clear, concise, considered and well-delivered.  He must have been coached on Biden’s provocative attempts to draw him into an angry debate.  However, he could have easily answered Biden’s charge that he voted for Medicare D under the Bush Administration by pointing out that so did Biden.

Where Biden then charged Ryan with supporting the Medicare (and Social Security) programs the GOP opposed, Ryan could have even more easily pointed out that it was the Democrats who first got the American people addicted to these costly programs, leaving the Republicans with the task of finding a way to pay for it and phase it out without hurting the workers who had paid for these programs through their income taxes and were naturally expecting the pay-out they were promised.  Ryan needn’t have feared Biden’s wrath; he would have sounded compassionate and sensible.

Ryan is young and not as experienced at taking on snakes like Biden, although he was well aware of Biden’s reputation in the Senate for his nastiness.  Biden harped on Ryan in every statement, complaining that Ryan was taking more than his allotted time.  That was the one time Ryan did come back at him, reminding Biden the reason for the extra time was because he kept interrupting.  This one come-back resulted in the bickering exchange that Ryan’s coaches probably warned him about, and why he avoided making them.

When Biden wasn’t interrupting Ryan directly, he was talking to himself, cackling, shaking his head, gesturing, and performing every distraction in the book to interrupt Ryan’s train of thought and the audience’s attention on what Ryan was saying.  Ryan, to his credit, soldiered on.  Someone must have gestured to Biden to knock it off, because towards the end, he began to behave himself a little better.  He resorted to quietly sulking, instead.

Substantively, Biden had a rather ridiculous argument about Iran’s stockpiling of uranium.  They have the ore, but not the means to develop it.  Iran doesn’t but North Korea, China and Russia do have the guidance systems necessary to deliver the bombs.  We shouldn’t take Biden’s word for it that they don’t have it any more than his claim that the Administration didn’t know that the Libyan embassy needed more security.  Even Humphrey Bogart – with a little help from Katherine Hepburn – was able to fashion a torpedo out of some oxygen takes in The African Queen.  A nuclear guidance system is a bit more sophisticated, but Iran should be able to find one in a government garage sale in Russia.  An older version perhaps, but it’ll get the job done. 

We already know they’ve been testing weapons and submarines in the Mediterranean.  When the moderator, Martha Raddatz, questioned him on this claim, Biden backed off, saying, “Oh I didn’t say that.”  Yes, he did.  Then he had the nerve to say that the facts mattered and later, “Let’s keep our eye on the ball.”  Except, of course, when Ryan was trying to speak.

“Let’s all calm down here,” Biden magnanimously urged, even though he was the candidate doing all the shouting, pointing, gesticulating, and fist-pounding.  His hypocrisy was on plain display for all of America to witness.  He accused Ryan of supporting cuts to embassy “security” yet balked at not cutting defense spending. 

He went on to attack Ryan about cutting $300 million embassy security in his budget.  We would need proof of that before taking Biden’s word on it.  Was it $300 million in security or was it $300 million in other expenses, such as extravagant dinner parties and posh homes for the ambassadors?  Was it because Ryan suggested private contractors could do the job better?  Ryan should have been prepared for this allegation and answered it.

If we take the Shakespearean analysis of the debate and begin with the first and last words of each, we find Biden making promises he can’t keep.  “We will find and bring to justice the men who did this.”  And probably let them go if they’re found to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. 

"Whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.”

Four men were murdered due to our government’s negligence.  America should take those words as their own solemn oath and not make the mistake, again, of electing president a man who clearly does not have America’s best interests, to say nothing of her national security and certainly not that of her allies, at heart. 

Biden’s first words:

BIDEN:  What is was, it was a tragedy, Martha. It — Chris Stevens was one of our best. We lost three other brave Americans.  I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever — wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.
Biden accused Mitt Romney of being an irresponsible liar for talking about the video before anyone knew the facts.  But the facts proved Romney right.  Why did it take Obama two weeks to come to the conclusion that it was a terrorist attack?  Shouldn’t a President of the United States be just a little better informed?  Even the Libyan president asserted that the attack had nothing to do with that video.

In contrast, these were Ryan’s first words:

RYAN:  We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered.  When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack.  He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times — he talked about the YouTube video.  Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn’t we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an Al Qaida cell with arms?

These were Biden’s last words in the debate:

BIDEN:  All they’re [the American people] looking for, Martha, all they’re looking for is an even shot. Whenever you give them the shot, they’ve done it. They’ve done it. Whenever you’ve leveled the playing field, they’ve been able to move.   And they want a little bit of peace of mind.
And the president and I are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they, in fact, have a clear shot, and they have peace of mind, until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, “Honey, it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK.” That’s what this is all about.

If leveling the playing field is “what this is all about,” then America is in serious trouble.  It’s never been what America is all about – taking from the taxpayers and giving to the poor.  As Ryan correctly pointed out (as pundits have done before him), that taxing all the millionaires in the country at 100 percent still wouldn’t solve the plight of the poor.  Redistribution of wealth will never solve the plight of the poor.

Ryan’s last words, in contrast, were:

RYAN:  We face a very big choice. What kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. It’s not working. It’s failed to create the jobs we need.

Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty. This is not what a real recovery looks like. You deserve better. Mitt Romney and I want to earn your support. We’re offering real reforms for a real recovery for every American.

Mitt Romney — his experience, his ideas, his solutions — is uniquely qualified to get this job done. At a time when we have a jobs crisis in America, wouldn’t it be nice to have a job-creator in the White House?

The choice is clear: a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency or a dynamic, growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. Mitt Romney and I will not duck the tough issues, and we will not blame others for the next four years. We will take responsibility. And we will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.

Last night’s debate illustrates how absolutely vital it is to have a strong vice president standing ready to take the reins in the event of some unfortunate occurrence.  You have to be able to depend upon the man who takes that chair, that he has the best interests of the country.  You have to have as much confidence in him, and he has to be as fully vetted as the man elected president so you can rely on your next commander-in-chief.  You know who he is where he came from, who he is, and you know his heart.  Last night was an example of the poor vetting of the pair who occupy the highest offices in the land currently.

Libya proves that Obama was not running things.  He was in Las Vegas, campaigning.  So who was running the show?  We need a commander-in-chief, not a campaigner-in-chief.  Nor do we need a nasty joker standing in the wings in case something happens to him, making a jackass of himself and our country.





Thursday, October 11, 2012

Who's the Real Puppet?

“I’m sorry, Jim.  I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS.  I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too [to moderator Jim Lehrer],” he said to Mr. Lehrer. “But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it,” Mitt Romney, Oct. 4, 2012 Presidential Debate.

With less than a month to go until the presidential elections, with a scandal and a cover-up involving a dead U.S. ambassador and unheeded requests for increased security at the Libyan embassy, with the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt, with Syria’s dictator Assad murdering thousands of Syrians, with the whole Middle East about to go up in flames, with our economy still teetering on the brink despite an amazing unemployment report that, for the first time in history, shows a decrease in unemployment, a deficit of $1.1 trillion, why are we having this conversation about a big, yellow puppet?

Why aren’t we having a conversation about the Government Accountability Institute’s 109-page report on allegations of campaign donor fraud in the Obama campaign?  Maybe we aren’t having the conversation because Obama is the real puppet.  Perhaps that’s why he couldn’t deliver any good counter-arguments to Mitt Romney’s more credible assertions that he can turn our economy around.

Big Bird knows more about making money than Obama does.  Big Bird may have started out on the public dole, but according to Peter Grier, of, our feathered friend and his pals on Sesame Street now only receive about 8 percent of their total budget from the government.  Sesame Street’s total budget is $130 million.  That’s a lot of bird seed, only $10.4 million of which comes from the taxpayer.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which includes PBS (Public Broadcasting System) under its wing, receives $445 million in taxpayer support.  That money brings us a lot of great English programming like Downington Abbey (an update of the old Upstairs, Downstairs series) and Foyle’s War, about a British detective in World War II.  Some of PBS’ money comes from corporate grants as well.  Yes, those evil corporations who are playing us for suckers provide us with some of the best programming running through the cables, hardly any of which is produced in America.

Sesame Street, according to Grier, receives 35 percent of its funding from private, corporate, and public (government) grants.  The rest is station fees, and merchandising.   Another 33 percent comes from product licensing and 32 percent comes from distribution fees and royalties.  The government’s role actually is all that great.  In other words, Big Bird is more than capable of taking care of himself.1

The GAI report tells us how much money Obama has received from private donors.  Quite a bit, it seems.  In 2008, he raised over $335 million in donations.  Supposedly, he has outspent Romney in this campaign by $200 million.  The report tells us that credit card thieves steal your credit number – not the card itself, just the number – and use it to make donations to Obama’s campaign.  People may have charges on their card and thieves depend upon consumers to not do due diligence and check their credit card statements each month.

Yet, the president spent some of that money defending Big Bird in a recent campaign commercial, which was very funny, but a needless distraction.  Adults should be paying more attention to how Sesame Street was created and what the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds besides Sesame Street and Jim Lehrer’s program.

Obama is no one to talk about a feathered puppet who worked his way off of public welfare.  He has his own explaining to do and less than 30 days to do it.  It’s time to let poor Big Bird get back to his job of teaching kids their ABCs and time for Obama to explain how he’s feathered his own nest.





Jiggering the Jobs Numbers

Don't you just love October Surprises? They're as predictable as the falling leaves. Just like magic, and just in time for tonight’s vice presidential debate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report stated that the unemployment rate declined to 7.8 percent due to a surprise spurt of 873,000 jobs, as reported by the separate Household Survey of families across the nation.

According to Forbes magazine, the BLS “also reported on Friday that the number of full-time jobs declined by 216,000 last month, as Lott also noted. The unemployment rate declined to 7.8% only because of a reported surprise September spurt of 873,000 jobs in the separate Household Survey of families across the nation. That reported increase is anomalous for the reasons discussed below.”

There’s a big “but”with these numbers: the working age population.Last month, 206,000 new workers entered the work force. With two-thirds of those working as would be expected during a normal recovery, 138,000 new jobs would have been necessary in September just to keep pace with population growth.Move up tMove down

In fact, 8.4 million new workers have entered the work force since Obama entered office. With the same labor force participation as on Inauguration Day in January, 2009 (which would be closer to a real recovery), that, according to Forbes, would require 5.5 million new jobs just to keep up with the population growth.

“But a generous reading of the data is that during President Obama’s entire term in office, a grand total of only 787,000 jobs have been created overall on net. And all of that net growth came in the last month. As of August, 2012, the economy was still suffering a net loss of jobs during Obama’s entire Presidency up to that point.

“But even the actually story the BLS is telling is not good. In addition to all of the above, the supposed September increase in Household Survey jobs was mostly in what the BLS calls part-time work for economic reasons. The BLS explains, ‘These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.’ That applied to 582,000 of the supposed new jobs reported by the September Household Survey, and a total of 8.6 million Americans last month.”

Blogger Tyler Durden notes on

“After expectations of a rebound in initial claims from 367K last week (naturally revised higher
to 369K), to 370K (with the lowest of all sellside expectations at 355K), the past week
mysteriously, yet so very unsurprisingly in the aftermath of the fudged BLS unemployment
number, saw claims tumble to a number that is so ridiculous not even CNBC’s Steve Liesman
bothered defending it, or 339K. Ironically, not even the Labor Department is defending it: it
said that ‘one large state didn't report some quarterly figures.”Great, but what was reported
was a headline grabbing number that is just stunning for reelection purposes. This was the
lowest number since 2008. The only point to [publishing this misinformation]? For 2-3 bulletin
talking points at the Vice Presidential debate tonight. Everything else is now noise.

“It is also sad that the U.S.“economy” has devolved to such trivial data fudging on a week by
week basis, which makes even the Chinese Department of Truth appear amateurish by
comparison. Needless to say, Not Seasonally Adjusted initial claims jumped by 26K to 327K
in the past week, but who’s counting?

“Finally, what is the reason for ongoing QEternity if the employment situation is now back to
normal? Finally, in completely ignored news, because who needs global trade when you have
toner cartridge, and generally [red] ink, the U.S. trade deficit in August rose by 4.1 percent to
$44.2 billion, on expectations of a deterioration to $44.0 billion. Then again nobody talks about
the U.S. trade deficit during presidential debates so all good here.

“Jobless Claims beat by the most since May 2009 and is the lowest since January 2008 - the new

Finally, there’s this from Conn Carroll in an editorial in the Washington Examiner:

“Ever since the economy became the focus of the 2012 presidential election, interest in the Labor
Department’s monthly jobsreport has never been higher. This election season, on the first
Friday of every month, political observers across the country are frantically hitting the refresh
button on their browsers to get the latest jobs numbers. And the last report, released on October
the 5th, was a doozy.

“It reported that while U.S. employers said they created just 114,000 jobs in September,
873,000 Americans claimed to have gotten new jobs in that same month. Only three other jobs
reports in the history of the Labor Department had a larger gap between the employer and
household survey. Here are some other facts about last Friday’s historic jobs report.

1.The economy is not getting stronger

“’The right message is that on Friday, we saw great economic news,’ Brian Moran, the
chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, told The New York Times. ‘Things are moving in
the right direction.’

“Only if you think declining job growth is“the right direction” can you interpret the recent job
report as “great economic news.” The reality is that according to employer survey, the economy
has been creating just 106k jobs a month over the last six months. That’s compared to the 194k
job a month clip from the six months before and it is just barely above the 100k jobs a month
the Atlanta Federal Reserve says we need to keep up with population growth.

“But what about the 873,000 Americans who said they got new jobs last month? Doesn’t that
prove the economy is getting better? No. No, it doesn’t. That 873,000 number comes from the
Current Population Survey, which is conducted by the Census Bureau for the Labor
Department’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The CPS is famously volatile and far less reliable
an indicator of economic conditions than the employer survey (called the
Current Employment Statistics survey).

“But even considering the usually unstable nature of the CPS, this September’s CPS report is
particularly unreflective of reality. Wells Fargo called the September household survey ‘a black
swan outlier’ and noted that the 873,000 job gain ‘was more than four times the size of the
average change over the past 12 months.’ Gallup‘s Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe said the
CPS 873,000 job gain ‘seems to lack face-validity.’

2. There was no surge in part-time jobs
“Hours after the September jobs report was released, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein said
the household survey’s 873,000 job growth was backed up by the ‘internals’ since 582,000
Americans said they got part time jobs.

economic reasons’ (e.g., inability to find full time work) did grow by 582,000.

“But while ‘part time for non-economic reasons’ (e.g., illness, family obligations) did fall 260k,
Table A9 of the household survey showed that the total number of part time workers actually
fell 26k. But 582,000 – 260,000 does not equal -26,000. So what gives? Turns out
the household survey derives the two numbers from two entirely separate questions.

“When deriving the “part time for economic reasons” number, BLS asks respondents how many
hours they worked in a specific week. If they worked anywhere in between 1 and 35 hours in
that week, then they are deemed “part time.”This question produced the 582,000 spike in
September. In a separate question, BLS asks respondents if they usually work full or part time.
This is where the-26,000 total decline in part time work came from.

“So if a respondent normally works full time as a contractor, but for the specific week BLS is
studying, that person worked less than 35 hours because he couldn’t find enough work, that
person would be counted as both full time for one part of the survey and “part time for
economic reasons” for another part of the survey.

3. Government employment is growing

You won’t hear President Obama tout this fact on the campaign trail, but one of the strongest
sectors of job growth in the September household survey was from government jobs. Of the
838,000 full time jobs the household survey claims were added in September, almost
one-quarter, 187,000, came from the government. Even the employer survey showed some
government job growth, albeit a twentieth the size (just 10,000).”

If this is what the experts think, and if the likes of Steve Forbes and Jack Welch (former CEO of
General Electric) are telling us that the numbers are phony, we need to let our friends know before
tonight’s debate, for certainly these numbers were pumped up for the express purpose of Joe Biden using
them to sound victory for Obama’s economic policies. It’s the ammunition he needs.

During World War II, German bombs were often made by slave labor.The slaves were not above
sabotaging the bombs (so that they didn’t explode on impact) in order to thwart their evil masters. If
Paul Ryan can defuse this October Surprise bomb and expose the numbers contained within as a dud,
he’ll stand a better chance of winning the debate.

Undoubtedly, being the economics expert that he is, Ryan knows the truth about the numbers. The
Americans (who bother) watching tonight may not. Those who rely on news accounts of the debate the
next day certainly will not. Forbes Magazine, Jack Welch, Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Carroll, and young
Mr. Durden here and others have been indispensable in providing us the facts, which we might not
otherwise have. Our task is to further dispense that information to our family and friends for tonight’s vice
presidential debate.

Many pundits have declared that the numbers were too good to be true, historically unlikely, and their
publication just before a major vice presidential debate suspect. Now we have the facts and the
explanation behind them.

The math has been done and the real numbers don’t lie. Time for us to start spreading the truth,
Tea Partiers.