Al Gore and the sale of indulgences 3

In the dark ages, when Papacy held control of men’s consciences and few dared to think, one method which she practiced to supply herself with money was the sale of indulgences. The indulgence was a permission to sin and yet be free from its consequences. … Succeeding Popes and councils … argued that if they had a right to remit sins for service to the church, they had also the right to remit them for money for the church … and concluded that if they had a right to remit past sins for money, they had the same right to remit, or excuse, or grant indulgence for sins of the future. … It was the sale of these future indulgences for money which … gave rise to the Reformation movement, called Protestant, because of their protests and objections to this and other evils recognized in Papacy.

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We do not believe that CO2 is a pollutant; that the earth is warming to any degree that should trouble us; that the planet is warmed by human activity; that a despotic world authority is needed to regulate human activity on the pretext of saving the planet from warming; that the wealth of the First World should be redistributed to the Third World; or that anybody’s wealth should be redistributed to Al Gore.

In the name of Climate Change, the new mysticism, Al Gore and his conspirators are selling indulgences. You pay them so you can carry on with living, manufacturing, traveling and so on, all the normal activities which they say is threatening Planet Earth. Ostensibly you are buying a certain amount of some Third Worlder’s CO2 ration, as determined by Al Gore and his conspirators, because you are exceeding your own ration, as determined by them. Some of what you pay will go to a Third Worlder, they say. Most of what you pay will go to Al Gore and his conspirators.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

While senators froth over Goldman Sachs and derivatives, a climate trading scheme being run out of the Chicago Climate Exchange would make Bernie Madoff blush. Its trail leads to the White House.

Lost in the recent headlines was Al Gore‘s appearance Monday in Denver at the annual meeting of the Council of Foundations, an association of the nation’s philanthropic leaders.

“Time’s running out (on climate change),” Gore told them. “We have to get our act together. You have a unique role in getting our act together.”

Gore was right that foundations will play a key role in keeping the climate scam alive as evidence of outright climate fraud grows, just as they were critical in the beginning when the Joyce Foundation in 2000 and 2001 provided the seed money to start the Chicago Climate Exchange. It started trading in 2003, and what it trades is, essentially, air. More specifically perhaps, hot air.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) advertises itself as “North America’s only cap-and-trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.” Barack Obama served on the board of the Joyce Foundation from 1994 to 2002 when the CCX startup grants were issued. As president, pushing cap-and-trade is one of his highest priorities. Now isn’t that special? …

The CCX provides the mechanism in trading the very pollution permits and carbon offsets the administration’s cap-and-trade proposals would impose by government mandate.

Thanks to Fox News’ Glenn Beck, we have learned a lot about CCX, not the least of which is that its founder, Richard Sandor, says he knew Obama well back in the day when the Joyce Foundation awarded money to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where Sandor was a research professor.

Sandor estimates that climate trading could be “a $10 trillion dollar market.” It could very well be, if cap-and-trade measures like Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer are signed into law, making energy prices skyrocket, and as companies buy and sell permits to emit those six “greenhouse” gases.

So lucrative does this market appear, it attracted the attention of London-based Generation Investment Management, which purchased a stake in CCX and is now the fifth-largest shareholder.

As we noted last year, Gore is co-founder of Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offsets of dubious value that let rich polluters continue to pollute with a clear conscience.

Other founders include former Goldman Sachs partner David Blood, as well as Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris, also of Goldman Sachs. In 2006, CCX received a big boost when another investor bought a 10% stake on the prospect of making a great deal of money for itself. That investor was Goldman Sachs, now under the gun for selling financial instruments it knew were doomed to fail.

The actual mechanism for trading on the exchange was purchased and patented by none other than Franklin Raines, who was CEO of Fannie Mae at the time.

Raines profited handsomely to the tune of some $90 million by buying and bundling bad mortgages that led to the collapse of the American economy. …

The climate trading scheme being stitched together here will do more damage than Goldman Sachs, AIG and Fannie Mae combined. But it will bring power and money to its architects.

Vindictive powers and the politics of envy 0

 Thomas Sowell writes in part (read it all here):

We are not yet a banana republic, though that is the direction in which some of our politicians are taking us– especially those politicians who make a lot of noise about "compassion" and "social justice."

What makes this all the more painfully ironic is that it is precisely those members of Congress who have had the most to do with creating the risks that led to the current economic crisis who are making the most noise against others, and summoning people before their committee to be browbeaten and humiliated on nationwide television.

No one pushed harder than Congressman Barney Frank to force banks and other financial institutions to reduce their mortgage lending standards, in order to meet government-set goals for more home ownership. Those lower mortgage lending standards are at the heart of the increased riskiness of the mortgage market and of the collapse of Wall Street securities based on those risky mortgages.

Senator Christopher Dodd has played the same role in the Senate as Barney Frank played in the House of Representatives. Now both are summoning government employees and the officials of financial institutions before their committees to be lambasted in front of the media.

Dodd and Frank know that the best defense is a good offense. Both know how hard it would be to defend their own roles in the housing debacle, so they go on the offensive against others who are in no position to reply in kind, given the vindictive powers of Congress.

This political theater is in one sense cheap beyond words. In another sense, it is costly beyond words.

It is cheap because the politicians who are creating this distraction from their own role also voted for the very legislation that enabled contracted bonuses to be paid by companies like AIG that received government bailout money. If members of Congress can’t be bothered to read the laws they pass, then they have no basis for whipping up lynch mob outrage against people who did read the law and acted within the law…

Whether the particular executives who received bonuses were the ones responsible for AIG’s problems, or were among those who warned against those problems, is something that those of us on the outside don’t know. That includes those in politics and the media who are making the loudest noise.

The politicians claim to be protecting the taxpayers’ money. But having politicians trying to micro-manage any business is far more likely to make those businesses lose more money, including the taxpayers’ money.

Securities based on risky mortgages are what toppled financial institutions but it was the government that made the mortgages risky in the first place, by making home-ownership statistics the holy grail, for which everything else was to be sacrificed, including commonsense standards for making home loans.

Politicians and bureaucrats micro-managing the mortgage sector of the economy is precisely how today’s economic disaster began. Why anyone would think that their micro-managing the automobile industry, or executive pay across a wide sweep of other industries, is likely to make things better in the economy is a mystery.

The real point is to pander to envy and resentment against people who make a lot of money. Envy is always referred to by its political alias, "social justice."…

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

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Fume, baby, fume 0

 Diana West also writes about what’s going on behind the smokescreen [see our post below]:

Sigh. Dear American Taxpayer: If only you knew how easily you have been gulled, played like a greenhorn, a rube, a Madoff mark. This $165 million scandal may have unleashed the first genuine feeding frenzy of the Obama administration, but it is a distraction, a sideshow, a smokescreen over what is really going on: namely, the Bush-initiated, Obama-Pelosi-Reid-led incursion into the private sector designed to nationalize the workings of the economy in order to take over, capture and enslave enough of the free market to transform the fundamental character of this nation. Remember what our 44th president said back in 1995: "In America," he told the Chicago Reader, "we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations."

That is exactly what’s going on behind the $165 million smokescreen – truly, a masterpiece of misdirection. I have no reason to believe it was planned, although I am open to suggestion. After all, it is notable that the nearly $4 billion in Merill Lynch bonuses, doled out just before the dying firm’s Jan. 1 takeover by Bank of America (which received bailout funds partly due to the takeover), failed to churn the same national waters.

But I digress. Up in arms about the AIG bonuses, the body politic remains calm, cool, practically collected about the trillions of taxpayer dollars Obama & Co. are drawing on to buy out the economy, expanding the population’s dependency on Biggest Government in the process. There are simply too few of us seeing red, for example, over the surprise Federal Reserve decision (announced this week at the height of Bonus Rage) to pump another $1 trillion into the economy, money the International Herald Tribune said the Fed "will create out of thin air."

Still, there is good in Bonus Rage. It’s a sign of life…

For several days this week, the influential Senate Banking chairman – he who never met a sweetheart deal he didn’t find irresistible – lied about his role in writing legislation that protects AIG’s bonuses. Repeatedly, Dodd insisted that he had had nothing to do with the bonus-protection language in the, ahem, Dodd Amendment until, mirabile dictu, he remembered that he had. As he finally told CNN on Wednesday evening, he actually wrote the provision himself with, he added, input from the administration. Did I mention President Obama was the No. 2 recipient of AIG largesse? Dodd received $103,100. Obama received $101,332. Now Dodd, after being scorched by these disclosures, says he’ll give his AIG money back. Will Obama? Does it matter? The proof is already in the pudding, even if the burnt offerings go back to the kitchen.

Fume, baby, fume. But there’s more. The nationalization of AIG is not just bankrupting the country by throwing billions of our dollars at AIG’s toxic assets. The nationalization of AIG is forcing the American taxpayer to support a very different kind of toxic asset. I refer to AIG’s promotion of Sharia (Islamic law) in its Takaful division, the Sharia-compliant insurance sector of AIG. Since we the people own 80 percent of AIG, we the people now promote Sharia, too.

Don’t believe me? Takaful insurance, our very own AIG Takaful Web site explains, "avoids prohibited elements in accordance with the Sharia law," adding: "We do not invest in anything that is haram (prohibited under Sharia). We do not borrow, lend or enter into any financial transaction that is unIslamic."

At the very least – aside from promoting from the law of the Koran, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, the mullahs of Iran, the clerics of Saudi Arabia (not to mention Afghanistan, whose Sharia-supreme "justice" system recently upheld a journalist’s 20-year prison sentence for "blasphemy") – taxpayer support for AIG is by definition sectarian and therefore in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

It is on these grounds – that the American taxpayer is now directly funding sectarian Islamic religious activities – that a lawsuit, conducted by the Thomas More Law Center, has been filed against the government. Recently, the Justice Department, another U.S. taxpayer-funded entity last time I checked, entered the case to defend the AIG bailout, filing a motion to dismiss, the Thomas More Law Center notes, based on this being a time of "crisis."

You better believe this is a time of crisis – but not the crisis envisioned by Justice officials charged with safeguarding gross government fecklessness. Only two of our elected officials – Reps. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., and bless them for it – have publicly decried the government’s AIG Sharia-bailout; that’s a crisis. Chump change bonuses arouse the wrath of the nation – not the nefarious movement to nationalize the marketplace; that’s a crisis, too. The American people are angry, good. But we need to understand there are far more important things to be angry about.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 20, 2009

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Behind the smokescreen 1

 … Obama and the Democrats are steadily pursuing their sinister agenda. 

Michelle Malkin writes (see the whole article here):

I ask you now to turn away from the bogus bonus smokescreen over $165 million in taxpayer-backed compensation packages for AIG employees. It is a pittance compared to the gargantuan spending spree happening right under our noses. The AIG bonus price tag amounts to one tenth of 1 percent of the total AIG giveaway ($85 billion in September, $37.8 billion in October; $40 billion in November; $30 billion in early March), which took place with the assent of a Republican administration, a Democratic administration and the congressional leadership of both parties.

Taxpayers might be less skeptical of the born-again guardians of fiscal responsibility if these evangelists were actually practicing what they preached. While the Obama administration now issues impassioned calls to stop rewarding failure, they moved Thursday to dump another $5 billion into the failing auto industry. That’s on top of Thursday’s announcement by the Federal Reserve to print $1 trillion to buy Treasury bonds and mortgage securities sold by the government – which no one else wants to buy.

Financial blogger Barry Ritholtz tallied up $8.5 trillion in bailout costs by December 2008 between Federal Reserve, FDIC, Treasury and Federal Housing Administration rescues (not including the $5.2 trillion in Fannie and Freddie portfolios that the U.S. taxpayer is now explicitly responsible for). Then there’s the (at least) $50 billion proposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in February to bail out home owners and lenders who made bad home loan decisions, which would be just a small sliver of the $2.5 trillion he wants to spend on the next big banking bailout, which would draw on the second $350 billion of the TARP package over which an increasing number of Chicken Little lawmakers are having buyer’s remorse.

Phew. We’re not done yet: As AIG-bashing lawmakers inveighed against wasted taxpayer funds and lamented the lack of accountability and rush to judgment that led to passage of the porkulus bill that mysteriously protected the bonuses, the Senate quietly passed a $10 billion lands bill stuffed with earmarks and immunized from amendments. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, fiscal conservative loner, pointed out that none of the provisions for special-interest pork projects – including $3.5 million in spending for a birthday bash celebrating the city of St. Augustine, Fla. – was subject to public hearings. That’s on top of the pork-stuffed $410 billion spending bill passed two weeks ago.

Oh, and did I mention that the House passed a $6 billion volunteerism bill (the "GIVE Act") on Wednesday to provide yet another pipeline to left-wing advocacy groups under the guise of encouraging national service?

Also coming down the pike: the Obama administration’s "cap-and-trade" global warming plan, which Hill staffers learned this week could cost close to $2 trillion (nearly three times the White House’s initial estimate) and the administration’s universal health care scheme, which health policy experts reported this week could cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington that he was "serious, absolutely serious" about policing wasteful spending in Washington, he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster: laughter.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 20, 2009

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The winsome Barney Frank 0

The guilty men accuse.

This is by Mona Charen in Townhall:

Rep. Barney Frank played Madame Defarge on Capitol Hill. AIG’s recently installed CEO, Edward Liddy, agreed to testify before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, which Frank chairs. Liddy was actually a poor choice for scapegoat as he has only been on the job since September. Additionally, he is serving as a dollar-a-year man hoping to rescue the company and our financial system from a downward spiral.

These facts slowed the momentum of some committee members. But most plowed ahead. Here’s Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York: "There’s a tidal wave of rage throughout America right now, and it’s building up and it’s expressing itself at this latest outrage, which is really just the tip of the iceberg. And that rage is because the taxpayer knows that they are the ultimate sucker on the list of who pays for all of the greed that has been going on in the marketplace for years and years."

There was a lot more along those lines, but the most sinister move came from Frank. He demanded that Liddy reveal the names of the 73 executives who had received retention bonuses. Liddy said he would do so if he could receive a promise of confidentiality. Frank refused and threatened to subpoena the names. Liddy said if subpoenaed he would obey the law, but he then read to the committee some of the death threats his company had been getting over the past few days. Some threats spoke of hanging the executives with piano wire, others of finding where their kids went to school.

That is the sort of ugliness and criminality that Frank is willing tacitly to encourage by demanding the names. And for what? The bonuses amounted to just one tenth of 1 percent of the AIG bailout (to say nothing of the stimulus bill and the gargantuan budget bill Congress and the president are hanging around our necks). If politicians want to metaphorically flay away at evil businessmen, well, that’s regrettable. But when they cross the line into encouraging the targeting of actual individuals, they are no longer "honorable gentlemen," but leaders of a mob.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 20, 2009

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9th grade economics? 3

 From Power Line

I don’t believe Barack Obama is an idiot. Truly, I don’t. And yet, whenever he talks without a teleprompter [which now has its own blog – JB], he makes you wonder. This verbal excursion is from today’s "townhall," conducted in California before a cheering throng of, no doubt, carefully selected fans:

The same is true with AIG. It was the right thing to do to step in. Here’s the problem. It’s almost like they’ve got – they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.

If you’re a Democrat, maybe that reassures you that our President knows more about the economy than the average 9th grader [or more about bombs that have triggers than anyone else on earth- JB]. On the bright side, though, at least Edward Liddy knows he won’t be waterboarded!

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 20, 2009

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AIG makes more ruinous decisions 2

 Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance – to save which from its own folly every tax-payer in America is suffering extortion by the government – is introducing Sharia-compliant products. 

The dangers of this are set out clearly here.

Thanks to our reader Pete Seeker.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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