Monday, February 29, 2016

This Is How Bad It's Got In Latin America's Socialist Utopia

Socialism works so well that this Venezuelan man was caught smuggling... not drugs, not guns...
But food - powdered milk!!!
Source: @Jenn_Abrams
Coming to a Sanders-sponsored America near you soon.


The winner of every debate and primary

As we slog through increasingly vitriolic and repetitive debates, there is the ever present follow-up question: who won?  Of course, for more definitive answers on winners and losers, there are primary results.  But the real winner these days has no podium on the debate stage and no name on the ballot.  Nor is the winner the topic of a single polling query.
The winner is stealth jihad in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Every arm of government (as well as other major institutions) has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood – a terror organization we’ve yet to identify as such and one that operates through countless front groups.  Discover the Networksreports that “the Muslim Brotherhood was emulating the Communist Party tactic of creating interlocking front groups during the Cold War in order to confuse its enemies and make it more difficult to combat.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to destroy us from within, and its operatives have set about doing that very thing.  But few talk about it.  And heaven forbid that it be a debate question.  Apparently it’s taboo to acknowledge that a stealth war is being waged against us.
As long as the enemy lives within, unchecked (no less legitimized), barely spoken of, with no action to destroy it, we haven’t got a prayer.
So as we are inundated with chatter about polls, debates, and primaries, the Muslim Brotherhood works around the clock, destroying this nation as it goes. They are the winners this election season.  And as far as I can tell, there is no reason to believe they won’t continue to “win” (as has now become a mantra).
For those who want to learn more about the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for our demise, the Center for Security Policy has published a small paperback translation that’s available online.  Here is the overview at Amazon on The Explanatory Memorandum: From the Archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in America:
In August of 2004, an alert Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer observed a woman wearing traditional Islamic garb videotaping the support structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and conducted a traffic stop. The driver was Ismail Elbarasse and detained on an outstanding material witness warrant issued in Chicago in connection with fundraising for Hamas. The FBI’s Washington Field Office subsequently executed a search warrant on Elbarasse’s residence in Annandale, Virginia. In the basement of his home, a hidden sub-basement was found; it revealed over 80 banker boxes of the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. One of the most important of these documents made public to date was entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It amounted to the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan for the United States and was entitled, “An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” The Explanatory Memorandum was written in 1991 by a member of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and senior Hamas leader named Mohammed Akram. It had been approved by the Brotherhood’s Shura Council and Organizational Conference and was meant for internal review by the Brothers’ leadership in Egypt. It was certainly not intended for public consumption, particularly in the targeted society: the United States. For these reasons, the memo constitutes a Rosetta stone for the Muslim Brotherhood, its goals, modus operandi and infrastructure in America. It is arguably the single most important vehicle for understanding a secretive organization and should, therefore, be considered required reading for policy-makers and the public, alike.
The document can also be downloaded as a PDF file here.
Something to read during the next debate.


Hillary Emails: State Discussed ‘Cooperating,’ ‘Increased Investment’ With Terrorist Group

                  Huma Abedin, left, aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, waits as she poses for a photo with an employee at Market Basket Supermarket, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Huma Abedin, left, aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, waits as she poses for a photo with an employee at Market Basket Supermarket, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Will the country correct its monumental mistake in the election of Barack Obama and continue its self-destructive spiral by electing this criminal America-hater and her longtime lover, Muslim Brotherhood progeny, Huma Abedin?

“Hillary Emails: State Discussed ‘Cooperating,’ ‘Increased Investment’ With Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Government,” By Breitbart, February 27, 2016:

TEL AVIV – 1,500 pages of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails provide insight into the level of support the U.S. was considering in 2012 for Egypt’s newly elected Muslim Brotherhood government.
On August 30, 2012, Robert D. Hormats, the under-secretary of state for economic affairs, wrote to Clinton’s then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan to update him on a meeting he held with Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Adviser Khairat al-Shater.
Shater was later sentenced to life imprisonment and then to death for multiple alleged crimes, including inciting violence and financial improprieties.
The email reveals Hormats and other U.S. diplomats discussed  methods of cooperation with Shater, including an increase in American direct foreign investment.
Hormats wrote:
Anne Patterson, Bill Taylor, and I met with Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater. He discussed broad principles of economic development based on 100 large infrastructure projects (over a billion dollars each) as part of Morsi’s Nadah (Renaissance Plan) Plan; ways of cooperating with the US to obtain support for these projects and for SMEs; and his hope for an IMF agreement and increased foreign direct investment from the US, the West, and the Arab world. He also noted that it was a priority for the GOE to build a true democratic system based on human rights and the rule of law.
Patterson, the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time, was known for her repeated engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood. Taylor was the U.S. Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions; that is, the U.S. envoy to the new leadership that emerged in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring.
Hormats’ meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood were not secret. But the emails reveal the scope of his discussions with the group about possible future investment.
In September 2012, the New York Times reported that Hormats had led a delegation of businesses to Egypt to discuss possible private investment.
That same month, the State Department published a document that received little news media attention. It revealed that in August and September 2012, “Hormats visited Egypt to negotiate possible bilateral debt relief,” but the document did not provide further details.
After the toppling of Egypt’s longtime president Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi served as president from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013, when he was removed from office amidst widespread protests and a military coup. After Mubarak was removed from office, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in assistance to bolster Egypt’s transition to democracy.
Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta each visited Cairo and met with Morsi during his tenure as president.
The meeting that Hormats describes in the email took place while the U.S. was negotiating an aid package to help relieve Egypt’s debt crisis amid concerns from U.S. lawmakers about funding the Muslim Brotherhood.
The email was sent a week and a half before protesters besieged the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012, the same day the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi came under attack.
Following the attacks, Obama stated of Morsi’s government, “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.
Courtesy of Pamela Geller.

Trumps son Eric said everything he touches turns to gold.....

Trump is running ahead because most Republicans don’t really know his shocking positions and statements he has made on a variety of issues. The video below “tells it like it is” and shows Trump’s true character from his own words:

Trump’s devastating comments in this video:
  1. “David Duke just joined: a bigot, a racist, a problem” … “I don’t know anything about David Duke.”
  2. “Women like being treated badly … it’s sick isn’t it?”
  3. “I want to get rid of that house.  Who cares?”
  4. “I hired [polish illegals] 35 years ago!”
  5. “[Americans] don’t want those [Florida jobs]”
  6. “I love the mandate.”  … “The government’s gonna pay for it.”
  7. “It’s ok to know it’s Mussolini. Mussolini is Mussolini.”


Sunday, February 28, 2016

How Did We Get Obama and Trump?

Many Americans shook their heads in 2008 wondering how in the world President Obama was elected when he had told us plainly that he wanted to “fundamentally transform” our country. Then, the perplexity increased when he was reelected in 2012 long after his radical policies and disdain for the Constitution were abundantly evident. Unbelievably, after suffering through the effrontery of the Obama Administration’s arrogance and his flaunting of executive actions instead of bipartisanship, the nation is now enthralled with Donald Trump’s bombastic, flamboyant, but empty promises – based solely on his ability to capitalize on the public’s anger and to manipulate people’s fears, rather than specific policy proposals or potential for effective constitutional governance -- to come in and liberate us from the overweening government bureaucrats with their endless thirst for control and restore America’s greatness. The Washington Post summarized the situation by claiming that Donald Trump is giving the establishment (on both Capitol Hill and K Street) the “middle finger” and “his supporters love it.” One analyst likened Trump to a parasite eating up the host; another called him America’s “Fatal Attraction.”
Clearly, Donald Trump is a brash, arrogant bully with a “yuuge” ego who sees things in black and white, winners and losers. Trump offends sensibilities with unpresidential behavior, crudities and bad manners, along with insults and accusations of lying against other candidates. Still, the more obnoxious he has become, the better his ratings. He has tapped into middle-America’s need for a “straight-up guy” who’ll “tell things like they are” without any consideration for how he offends the PC crowd. The public has had enough of politicians who talk out of “both sides of their mouths” to say one thing to the voters during election campaigns while planning to do another. At this point, the public doesn’t believe any politician; they want an outsider. They’ll take the crudity because it least it’s an authentic expression of their frustration and anger.
So how did we get to the point that it was possible for Obama to be elected and for Trump to be a serious contender for the presidency?
Obviously, things are complicated, but generally root causes are fairly simple and foundational. I can think of three things that are fundamental problems that are endemic in our society.
Nebulous Faith: Despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It was founded to allow freedom of religion (as the saying goes, it was not founded to be free from religion). A significant majority of Americans identify as Christian; at the same time, church attendance is not keeping up with population increases. Established churches where orthodox beliefs are captured in doctrinal statements and taught in classes are being replaced by non-denominational churches that focus more on “worship” than on “doctrine.” The late author Henri Nouwen, who wrote Show Me the Way, noted that the church is increasingly seen as an “obstacle” rather than the “way” to Jesus. The movie “Unbroken” chronicled an inspiring example of a shattered life that was restored by turning to faith in God; at the societal level, however, faith has shed the necessity for doctrinal fidelity as well as the necessity for repentance for sin to transform lives.
In this postmodern age of moral relativism, faith, along with truth, has come to be defined however anyone wants to define it, rather than determined by a life that responds to God’s grace through devoted consistency in living out the moral principles in scripture. Sadly, today’s candidates can throw in a few Christian buzz words and be acceptable to faithful believers without being bound by character and integrity to live out their faith and morality in action.
Polling data indicates that almost 70 percent of voters, and almost 90 percent of Evangelicals, expect a presidential candidate to be “strongly religious.” Yet, in 2012, 42 percent of the Protestant Christian vote went for Obama as did 21% of the self-identified, white, born-again, evangelical Christian voters. Now, Evangelicals figure prominently among Trump supporters and high profile Evangelical leaders have endorsed Trump in spite of the lack of consistency between his actions and their Christian principles and moral values.
PC Education: It is commonly recognized that there are major problems with public education in America and consequently the numbers of homeschooled students is up by nearly 62 percent in the last ten years. More and more people are questioning the value of a college education when students spend more time in drunken stupors, participating in demonstrations, and partying than in studying. Moreover, parents are alarmed that colleges and universities are being converted into centers of growing intolerance for differing points of view -- especially for conservative ideas. Ironically, civility and respectful debate are rare while diversity and inclusion are emphasized. Emotions and feelings are important and hard thinking is rarely taught or experienced. Politically Correct language is the norm; nothing can be allowed that offends the proliferating collection of victims on the Left.
No wonder the electorate responds emotionally and doesn’t bother to ask hard questions or probe into the ramifications of policy positions. No wonder voters choose which candidate to support based on likeability or personality regardless of whether they agree with the person’s positions on the issues.
Cultural Disintegration: There is no way to overstate the influence of the media and entertainment industries in shaping attitudes and values. In many respects both Obama and Trump are products of the media. President and Mrs. Obama have been media darlings since their earliest days on the national scene. With his ability to play to the crowd, Trump is always good for headlines. Neither man sees a distinction between politics and entertainment. Trump, in particular, knows how to “read” a situation and play it for maximum personal benefit. He accurately assessed the public anger and desire to shove the establishment aside; he is cold and calculating enough to push that all the way to the White House. The public wants something to talk about and they totally reject anything dull, boring, or routine. Their attitude is: Don’t bother me with facts; my mind is already made up.
Cynics tell us that we get the leader we deserve. The phrase has become a cliché because so much experience seems to confirm it. I cannot watch today’s political theatre without being reminded of the modern version of the cliché: Frank Underwood, the president in the television hit, “House of Cards”, sitting at his Oval Office desk in Season 4 with his words being accompanied by an expose of the ruthless exploitation that led to him becoming the chosen one. 

British Columbia's carbon tax is not ‘working incredibly well’

In a recent interview with host Paul Kennedy on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio show Ideas, Professor Tim Flannery from the University of Melbourne was discussing some examples of carbon taxation, leading to the following claim (starting at 08:52):
In BC [British Columbia, Canada], you have a carbon tax now that is working incredibly well.
The view that BC's carbon tax is “working incredibly well” is erroneous, but widely disseminated and allowed to stand unchallenged by interviewers failing to discharge basic standards of critical journalism.
The provincial government in BC releases its greenhouse gas emissions [GHG] inventory on an annual basis, with the latest available year being 2013.
Since 2010, BC's total GHG emissions have increased 3.2%, its energy-related emissions have risen 5.5%, and transportation-related emissions have increased 3.4%. Per capita GHG emissions have actually risen from 13.9 to 14.0 tons CO2e [carbon dioxide equivalents] per person over this time frame.
The problems with BC's carbon tax were even noted by the federal conservative government in early 2015, leading to the following media reports:
British Columbia is on track to increase greenhouse gas emissions -- not reduce them -- according to a letter from Canada's environment minister [Leona Aglukkaq] ... Instead of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, the 2014 Emissions Trend Report says B.C. is actually on pace to increase emissions 11 per cent by 2020 (from 2005 levels) ...
"If Stephen Harper's [conservative] government is scolding you on not doing enough on climate change, you've got a problem," said NDP [New Democratic Party] environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.
If the purpose of BC's carbon tax was to substantially reduce GHG emissions, how are these facts evidence that the policy is “working incredibly well”?


8 Of 11 Surviving Obamacare Co-Ops Facing Failure

Eight of the 11 remaining Obamacare health insurance co-ops are in serious financial trouble and could collapse by the end of the year, Mandy Cohen, a top federal health official told Congress Thursday in testimony before a House oversight panel.
Cohen, the chief operating officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, generally stonewalled the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules during a hearing focused on the status of the surviving Obamacare health insurance co-ops and the additional costs taxpayers could face in the event of more failures.
Twenty three of the non-profit co-ops were established under Obamacare in 2012 to compete with commercial for-profit insurance companies. But so far half — or 12 — have closed their doors after only two years of operation. A thirteenth co-op in Vermont was never licensed to operate.
Cohen stubbornly refused to disclose which of the remaining 11 are struggling, but conceded that eight now face either federal “enhanced oversight” or are operating under a federal “corrective action plan.”
Cohen refused to guarantee any of the three co-ops not presently operating under a corrective plan would survive the year. “Too early to tell in the year,” Cohen said. “As new information comes up, if we need to, we will put more folks up on corrective action plans.”
The CMS corrective plans identify operational problems, management deficiencies, poor vendor oversight, pricing problems, an inadequate medical network or a deficient business strategy, according to Cohen.
The co-ops face “challenges,” Cohen told the panel, but refused to predict which are likely to fail, saying “they don’t fix overnight.” She also declined to estimate how much more taxpayers will lose on the co-op program or how much, if any, will be recovered.
“We are just learning how much we will lose,” she said.
About $1.4 billion of the $2.5 billion in Obamacare loan funding was lost when the 12 failed co-ops went under.
Cohen ominously hinted that many local hospitals, medical clinics and doctors may not be paid for services they delivered to co-op patients, because federal law requires that the government be first in line among creditors.
“For federal loans, there is an order of repayment,” she said. “I believe we are at the very top of all of the creditors,” but who gets paid “is on a case-by-case basis” determined by the Justice Department.

Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, wanted more public information for consumers about the performance of the surviving co-ops, but Cohen stoutly resisted the suggestion.
“So your position is that certain information can’t get out because it would somehow jeopardize the ability of co-ops to survive,” he said. “I fail to see that. Somehow if we get information about enrollment projections and profitability, that’s going to ruin their reputation? Really?”
Cohen said she was “happy” to share that information in private.
“If consumers get that information that’s somehow it’s going to hurt them,” Jordan asked. “That’s the kind of information they need to know so they can say, ‘look, this thing is going down.'”
Cohen still refused to disclose the troubled co-ops, saying that was up to the state insurance commissioners. “That’s really the job of the state department of insurance.”
Cohen also declined to discuss how many of the surviving co-ops were failing to meet enrollment projections. “I can’t speak to the specifics of any one of the co-ops, but that’s definitely a factor we look at,” she said. “We’re first getting in the data.”

Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican, told Cohen the federal government ought to pull the plug on all of the remaining co-ops. “One of the things they told us is when you’re in a hole, stop digging,” he said. “We’re in a hole here. Why are we still digging?”
Cohen responded that “we share your concern here. This program certainly have challenges,” and she promised “extensive and aggressive oversight” by her agency.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/25/breaking-eight-of-11-surviving-obamacare-co-ops-facing-failure/#ixzz41W5rz8lk


These Three Words Ted Cruz Said To Hannity Caused The Crowd To Explode [VIDEO]

Perhaps the greatest frustration among Republican voters is that most Republican candidates, once they get to Washington, D.C., become part of the establishment and lose their spines, caving into the elite political ruling class.
FOX News‘ Sean Hannity held a one-hour town hall with constitutional conservative Ted Cruz   
 on Friday evening.    
One short segment that was particularly powerful and received boisterous applause was a hypothetical Hannity laid out — not at all necessarily unrealistic — where a President Ted Cruz would find himself in a situation where Congress was unwilling to compromise with him on stopping the growth of government spending and getting rid of Obamacare.
“Let’s imagine you win the presidency and you’re going to hold the line on spending and Congress will not support you on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Hannity hypothesized.
“Where does the standoff go? Because we found ourselves at these moments and Republicans ended up caving,” Hannity continued.
“You’re the president, what would you do?” he asked Ted Cruz.Very straightforwardly, Cruz looked at Hannity and said without hesitation, giving a very concise, in essence, a three-word answer. “Well, Sean, I don’t cave.”
And the crowd went wild in approval.
One thing you don’t have to worry about is Ted Cruz cutting deals with or caving into what he appropriately refers to as the Washington Cartel, the big government progressive politicians in D.C. in both parties who all benefit from government growth.




Justin Trudeau-another traitorous, Sharia compliant, corrupted dhimmi making deals with the devils.

Philadelphia - Heads The Union Wins, Tails The Taxpayers Lose

This is not just Philadelphia. Its a lot of Democrat fun cities. I seen a bunch of mindless numbnuts holding signs today at a Hillary South Carolina win saying She is "Fighting for us" Any idiot believes that after looking at the declining numbers under the "Obama Regime" has their head way up their Ass! She will carry on Obama's legacy as she says, in her bragging on how good he has been. So look at the quality of life in these Cities and ask "has the democrats been fighting for me?

More Than 30 Blocks Of Fiscal Irresponsibility
“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” – H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
I’ve written dozens of articles about the 30 Blocks of Squalor over the years. The 30 blocks are essentially from 69th Street to 39th Street encompassing the wretched potholed route from unsafe Upper Darby through the killing fields of West Philly. The fine union government workers in the Streets Department have consistently maintained Chestnut Street in a constant state of disrepair. Not that drivers notice.
When there is an accident on the Schuylkill Expressway in the morning I’m forced to run the 30 Blocks gauntlet down Chestnut Street. I’ve had to do it a few times in recent days. The expletives flowed in waves as I hit four unmarked craters in the center lane. These were not the common everyday West Philly potholes that pock the landscape like it’s the moon. At least if you see a local resident fishing in the pothole, you can avoid it.
These four separate craters were man made, or to be honest, created by a bunch of government union drones, not refilled with blacktop or marked with an orange cone. The question is whether this is utter incompetence, blatant indifference, spite or a business transaction between government drones and local tire dealers. Luckily, government traffic engineers have been too swamped to properly time the lights on Chestnut Street for the last 20 years, so no one can travel faster than 15 mph anyway. Government lessens the pain of their ineptitude through their ineptitude in another area. They call that a win win in Philly. As the light at 57th and Chestnut remains on blinking yellow for a week, it makes you wonder what pressing issues are occupying the fine highly compensated union Streets employees.
I’ve now been navigating the crumbling ghetto of West Philly for the last ten years. I can without equivocation state I have not seen one new private business open its doors on Chestnut Street, in Mantua, or any other area I travel in West Philly during the entirety of those ten years. The existing businesses – nail and hair salons, fast food joints, bars, liquor stores, porn video outlets, smoke shops, car washes, more bars, and hysterically tax return offices (earned income tax credits) – haven’t invested a dime in keeping up their appearances. Maybe they used all their spare cash to sure up the bars on their windows and the roll down steel gates necessary to keep the upstanding neighborhood honor student juveniles from having a little fun.
It appears there is an existential shortage of paint, hammers, garbage bags, wedding rings, and employed upstanding men taking responsibility for the children they father in West Philly. There is plenty of yellow crime scene tape, as West Philly accounts for a significant portion of Philadelphia’s 280 annual murders (up 13% in 2015). Houses originally well built in the 1950s and with some upkeep would still be fine homes, are in disrepair, with collapsing porches, dilapidated gutters and roofs, crumbling sidewalks, boarded up windows, and satellite dishes on every one.
The lucky end units usually have a mural of black people doing great things, with trash, garbage and overgrown weeds underneath and black people not doing great things shuffling along the streets.
As you witness the crumbling infrastructure of West Philly, with water mains bursting on a regular basis, streets sinking, houses falling down during heavy rainstorms, boarded up rat infested hovels housing drug addicts, and schools resembling prisons, it leaves you pondering how it came to this and why the fifty year War on Poverty left the people in these neighborhoods mover impoverished. I don’t blame the people stuck living in West Philly. I blame the corrupt politicians who have run the city for the last sixty years.
Liberal solutions based upon welfare handouts, union government workers, idiotic solutions sold by slimy politicians and high taxes have combined to create a morass of uneducated, unmotivated, unmarried people who live in squalor created by the very politicians they have been voting for over the last six decades. The city has been under the complete control of the Democratic Party the entire time.
The only things built in West Philly in the last ten years are government boondoggle projects using taxpayer money. There is a new Social Security Administration building so it’s easy to apply for SSDI because you’re overweight and depressed. There are other government social services buildings to dole out various forms of welfare to the plantation recipients. The welfare slaves don’t even notice their chains.
The government slave owners provide the bare minimum of sustenance to their ghetto slaves in return for their unquestioned voting support in elections. Obama received 98% of  West Philly votes in the last election. There is no need for private businesses, new jobs, marriage (less benefits), personal responsibility, sense of community, education, or self respect. Government knows best and has all the solutions, until they run out of producers to tax into oblivion.
I’ve previously written about the $24 million 683 parking spot garage built on top of a perfectly fine ground level parking lot at the Philadelphia zoo, totally paid for by taxpayer funds and government debt. At least it was built at a 30% union construction premium. I drive by this testament to government pork every work day. It is closed in the morning. It is closed at night. It is empty the entire winter. It is unoccupied at least 75% of the time during a given year. It will never be paid off by the minimal parking fees collected.
The privately owned parking garages in Center City are gold mines. Central Parking is highly profitable. This government created white elephant was unnecessary. The zoo gets busy on a few nice weather weekends all year. They had sufficient parking and overflow parking. It was built because the broke Federal government and the even more broke PA government forked over $16 million of taxpayer funds to create some temporary union construction jobs. It’s a complete waste of taxpayer money.
And then there is the ongoing saga of the Section 8 gated estate called Mantua Square, a $28 million, 101 townhouse, 8 store front testimonial to Keynesian idiocy that sits in the middle of an Obama Keystone Zone. As you cross the bridge on 34th Street to enter the Mantua section of West Philly, there are beautiful murals on the bridge.
There are murals of colorful flowers along the entire bridge.
I guarantee you they are the only flowers you’ll ever see in Mantua. Weeds, diseased barren trees, garbage and crumbling sidewalks is what you get in West Philly, along with an occasional dead body. Mantua Square was one of Obama’s shovel ready projects funded by his $800 billion porkulus package in 2009. Every dime came from taxpayers. It was touted as a game changer for Mantua. We were told businesses would open in the 8 pre-built retail spaces and other businesses would follow. A glorious revitalization would materialize due to brilliant government apparatchiks spending your money.
It is now 5 years later and not one storefront is occupied by a single business. Not one black entrepreneur has used their Philadelphia public school education to create a viable business and the jobs that would follow. Of course, no one living at Mantua Square would apply for a job anyway. They would lose their welfare benefits and free housing. Plus it’s only a short walk to the local church handing out free food every Thursday morning. The best part is that union construction workers spent the last six months replacing the facing of all 101 townhouse units due to shoddy union construction in the first place. No biggie. Just another couple million for the taxpayers to fund. The motto of government selected union construction firms in Philly is: “We’re slow, we’re incompetent, but at least we’re the most expensive”.
Did I mention this is gated Section 8 housing, with each unit costing over $250,000, when the median value of the hovels surrounding it is $36,000? The cars parked around this government white elephant include BMWs, Cadillacs, Lexus, and Ford F150s. I also see garbage strewn on the sidewalks, but as I pass by at 7:30 am on the way to my job I don’t see anyone rushing out of their luxury townhouses because they are late for work.
The neighborhood is still a dangerous, drug infested, decaying shithole because one off government created projects do not change the culture or the people. More welfare promotes more dependency. Young black men get murdered in that neighborhood. A young child was raped on the way to school in that neighborhood. The school across from Mantua Square has been muraled, but the kids inside are unruly and uneducated.
Every public school in the city has metal detectors to cut down on the in school murders. They can do that out on the streets, where it belongs. And despite six decades of failed policies, the politicians, teacher’s union, and liberals who run the city insist more taxpayer money will fix everything. One problem. They’ve run out of other people’s money. Maybe the money spent on useless parking garages and Section 8 estates should have been spent replacing water pipes, streets, and encouraging businesses to open in the city through lower taxes and regulations.
I stumbled across an article in the Financial Times the other day revealing whyPhiladelphia’s infrastructure is crumbling, with absolutely zero possibility of reversing the downward spiral. I find it fascinating a foreign publication had to uncover the ugly truth, while the liberal rag Phila. Inquirer is completely silent on the issue. They just spout the mantra of how the Feds and PA need to give Philadelphia more money. It’s always for the children. The hundreds of billions poured into the public education system in this country over the last decade has been a complete waste of time, mainly because a huge portion of the money doesn’t go towards education, but bloated pensions and administration costs.
More mediocre teachers, more government control, more social engineering, more free breakfasts and lunches, more catchy slogans and more promises have achieved steady declines in SAT scores across the board. The next solution is to phase out SAT scores. Measuring failure isn’t allowed in our politically correct, trophy generation, safe spaces world. Reporting declines in scores on a test that has been an accurate predictor of college success for generations is a micro aggression against the intellectually stunted morons being matriculated through the government run public education system. The $14,000 to $20,000 per student per year spent by the taxpayers across this country just isn’t enough according to those of a liberal ilk. The children would be smart if we just upped the ante by another $2,000 per kid. They’d hire more below average education majors into the teacher’s union. That’s a can’t miss solution.
If you think the national scores are atrocious, and they are, wait until you see the scores from the Philadelphia School District. The students who took the SAT from Philadelphia public schools “achieved” these averages:
Reading – 398 (PA average was 480)
Math – 405 (PA average was 483)
It gets even better. Only the cream of the crop even took the exam. There were 25,768 students in the Phila. public school 11th and 12th grades. Only 5,172 students even took the exam, or 20%. Based on their scores, they probably wouldn’t know how I arrived at 20%. To paraphrase George Carlin, when you see how stupid the 20% SAT takers are, just imagine how stupid the 80% who didn’t take the exam must be. The SAT score predicts your possibility of achieving a passing grade in college.
Based on the scores of the Phila. students, less than 10% of high school seniors are capable of succeeding in college. To prove how warped our higher educational system has become, there were 8,439 graduates and 54% of them enrolled in college. If you were wondering where the hundreds of billions in taxpayer funded student loans are going – here’s your answer. It’s getting doled out to functional illiterates with zero chance of succeeding in college. There’s a 100% chance you will end up paying for the billions in student loan defaults.
Despite a $2.8 billion annual budget, with over $1 billion coming from the State and Feds, the Phila. public school system is a complete and utter disaster. It is so bad the State had to seize control a few years ago by forming a commission to manage it. The buildings are dilapidated, rat infested, filled with mold, and need to be patrolled by police. Teachers are assaulted, principles fake test scores, students brawl, the learning materials are pitiful and little or no learning occurs. It begs to question, where did all the money go? Considering there are only 8,400 teachers and 300 principals, one wonders what the other 9,000 district employees actually do.
There are 199,000 public school students, but only 134,000 are in the Phila. district schools. The other 65,000 are in charter schools. The 16 to 1 student to teacher ratio equals the national average. There were 212,000 students in 2003 with less teachers. More government employees were hired even though student enrollment declined 6%. The teacher’s union doesn’t care about the children. They care about getting their teachers as much as possible, and they’ve done a phenomenal job getting below average teachers gold plated benefits and pensions. The government unions use their voting power over the Democrat politicians to shakedown the taxpayers.
It’s a perfect storm of governmental incompetence, union greed, political corruption, parental disinterest, societal disintegration, and poor life choices, creating the downfall of Philadelphia and other urban enclaves around the country. The Phila. public school system consists of 80% minorities (60% black, 20% hispanic). Over 75% of the population in West Philly is black.
Over 71% of the black kids in West Philly are born out of wedlock. Only 17% of all households are occupied by married couples, while 40% are single mother households. The black men of West Philly are the primary culprits for this ongoing cesspool of ignorance, dependence, crime, and hopelessness. The disregard and scorn for the institution of marriage is a major reason for the median household income wallowing at $26,000, over 50% below the national average.
You get more of what you incentivize and the warped welfare policies in this country incentivize the people of West Philly to not get married and not work. So they don’t. The best method to succeed in life is through higher education. It leads to higher lifetime income. Children from married households do better in school. Married couples also have a much better chance of producing higher household income. Marriage increases the odds of success tremendously for the married couple and their children. The residents of West Philly are caught in an inescapable cycle of poverty, exacerbated by the government welfare policies supposed to help them.
The Financial Times article details why spending on essential infrastructure needs has been ignored and why the future is even bleaker. Government worker pension funds across the nation are in deep trouble, with no chance of honoring their promises. Public pension plans have promised to pay out $4.7 trillion more than they have on hand. Every U.S. citizen would have to pitch in $15,000 to pay every government worker’s promised pension. It’s not gonna happen.
BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, expects 85% of U.S. public pensions to fail over the next three decades. Certain state pensions are ridiculously underfunded, with Illinois only able to cover 22% of its promised payments, Connecticut only 23%, and Kentucky only 24%. The Central States Pension Fund, which manages almost $18 billion for 400,000 workers in 37 states recently was forced to cut benefit payments by as much as 61%. Retirees currently getting monthly checks for $3,000 will only get $1,180 now.
This will happen to every government pension fund in the country because math is hard.Politicians promised government union workers more than they could ever deliver in order to secure their votes. Any government worker counting on these promises from corrupt politicians should acquire a taste for cat food and get used to setting their heat at 55 degrees in the winter. The City of Philadelphia has one of the worst pension schemes in the country. It is mathematically unsustainable, but no politician or union boss would ever utter those words to the citizens of their city. They’ll just lie until its too late.
And it’s even worse than the published numbers. According to its actuaries, the City pension owes government workers $10.5 billion, with only $4.8 billion of assets. The annual return assumption of 7.5% is ridiculously overstated. With bonds and stocks priced to deliver 0% returns over the next ten years, the pension is really underfunded by at least $8 billion and not the reported $5.7 billion. The retirement payouts to the 64,000 current and former government employees will eventually be slashed dramatically. It’s just a matter of time.
According to FT:
The fund lost almost 20% in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis. Overall, however, it has performed well, returning 7.4% a year on average since 1995, making its huge deficit all the more surprising. The pension contributions are eating up more and more of the city’s budget, leaving less money to spend on services such as the fire brigade, police and recycling. The cost of pension contributions has increased from 6% of the city’s budget to 15% over the past decade.
The contractually required pension contributions are on automatic pilot to consume 20% of the city budget over the next five years, and the plan will still be underfunded by 60% to 70%. The average pension plan in the U.S. is “only” underfunded by 25%. Rather than deal with reality, city politicians have funded the pension deficits with higher sales taxes and cigarette taxes, further punishing their poorest citizens. As pensions account for an ever larger share of the city budget, the infrastructure of the city and schools will continue to crumble. Businesses and the producer class will continue to flee the city as taxes are relentlessly raised to honor union worker contracts. The downward spiral will accelerate.
FT was flabbergasted by the ridiculous nature of a plan created by corrupt politicians and greedy unions:
Despite the strain the pension fund puts on the city’s services, the scheme paid out a bonus to its members last year. Under the city’s rules, when the fund performs better than its target, some retirees get a bonus. In 2014, the scheme returned 15.7%, double its target. The bonus payout is one of the few topics Mr Dubow seems reluctant to discuss — notably whether it is controversial to pay bonuses to retired members when the scheme has less than half the money it needs for those actively paying into it. He cautiously responds that this is a requirement of the fund and will not discuss the matter further.
Heads the union workers win, tails the taxpayer loses. When the market does well select high level retirees get bonus payments, but when the market performs below expectations there is no penalty for those same retirees. The fiscal debacle destroying Philadelphia was willfully constructed over decades by corrupt politicians, incompetent bureaucrats, greedy government unions, and a foolish citizenry who believed the lies and were too ignorant to do the math. A city run by welfare redistributionists eventually runs out of other people’s money. The wisest citizen in Philadelphia history understood the danger of creating a welfare culture 250 years ago. He was a big supporter of education (founded the University of Pennsylvania) and lifting yourself up by your bootstraps to succeed in life. Too bad his wisdom was not heeded.
“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
Benjamin Franklin