A Personal Memoir On Regulation

My experience owning and managing a highly regulated business for 35 years
A Personal Memoir On Regulation
By: George Noga – March 1, 2017
      After a decade in large corporations, I started a financial services business. Before conducting any business, I formed a broker-dealer firm to comply with regulations for sale of investments. Within weeks of registering, I was subjected to a surprise SEC examination and found in violation of a few paperwork regulations A full blown investigation ensued which took 3 years and $150,000 (today’s dollars) to settle. In the end, I was formally censured by the SEC, which became part of my permanent record. All this occurred before I had even one client or had sold even one product.
      Fast forward many years and my growing business now was regulated by the SEC, NASD, FINRA and 20 states. Agents from one of the states arrived for a surprise inspection; after poking around for several days, they discovered (horrors) that a newly hired broker had made a single $5,000 sale a few days before his registration in that state had become effective. This broker had been duly registered with the SEC and NASD and we had submitted his state registration over 3 weeks previous but it had not been timely processed. This became a cause celebre; my firm was reprimanded, fined and subjected to further examinations; another indelible violation was on my record.
      In my career these were the only two regulatory hiccups; yet I was tarred with the same broad brush as truly dishonest brokers who caused great harm. My cost and sanctions were more severe than if I never had registered in the first place. Regulations are so numerous, complex and arcane it is impossible to be in full compliance and I was perpetually at the mercy of any benighted regulator with a chip on his shoulder. My firm with 50 brokers was subject to the same regulations as industry behemoths, which could afford to hire a veritable legion of high-priced compliance professionals.
    Despite all the lunacy, I would not object to the onerous regulatory regimen if it actually protected investors. Instead, regulation confuses and harms investors. It gives them a false sense of security that the government is looking out for them; whereas, in reality, the rules are the same as always, i.e. investors must know what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Investors can’t distinguish good brokers from dangerous ones because everyone in the industry for awhile has a record of violations. And, of course, the not inconsequential cost of regulation is passed on to clients.
     Prospectuses were required to provide investors full informative disclosure but have been subverted to become nothing more than insurance policies for promoters. The list of risk factors is endless; yet most investments that go bad do so because of unknown and/or unknowable risks not among the factors listed. The prose has become turgid with horrors such as indecipherable 257 word sentences explaining tax consequences.
     Regulators behave in accordance with the tenets of public sector economics, i.e. they respond to personal incentives and not to the interests of investors. There has been a long train of frauds, abuses and Ponzi schemes such as Madoff that have gone on for decades despite ongoing SEC and FINRA examinations and even after regulators were tipped off about the wrongdoing and given a road map to uncover the fraud.
     The goal of regulators is not about promoting honest, ethical, moral, client-friendly or even lawful behavior. It is only about mindless compliance with ever-changing and expanding esoteric and complex rules promulgated by politicized, bureaucrats and requiring a phalanx of specialists to interpret and to enforce. Moreover, the regulations are only tangentially, if at all, related to serving the interests of the public.
     I close with one final outrage. I retired in 2009 and have not been licensed since then. Nevertheless, by virtue of continuing to receive compensation as a retired broker, I remain subject to regulation until the day I die and beyond. After I cross that final bar, my heirs remain subject to regulation. It never ends; even the grave is no respite.
   My lifetime of experience convinces me government regulation is a vast Kafkaesque wasteland that benefits no one except the regulators. And the band plays on!

The next post on March 5th  addresses Trump Derangement Syndrome

Excess Regulation Costs America $5 Trillion

This post quantifies the true cost of excess regulation and explains how it impedes growth.
Excess Regulation Costs America $5 Trillion
By: George Noga – February 26, 2017
     The USA has not achieved 3% economic growth since 2005, a stretch of 11 years and counting. Previously, the longest period without 3% growth was a mere four years from 1930 to 1933! Excessive government regulation is the primary cause, yet few Americans truly understand the grave harm this causes and how it wreaks its damage.
    If the regulatory burden had been held constant at 1980 levels, when regulation already was pervasive, the US economy would be 25% larger today. That translates to unrealized economic growth of $5 trillion, equal in 2017 to $15,000 for every man, woman and child in America, or $60,000 for a family of four, each and every year forever. The regulatory cost for the average business is 21% of payroll. The costs used herein are only incremental costs since 1980; the total costs are vastly higher.
     The cumulative effect of new regulations since 1980 costs us nearly 1% per year in GDP. If the US regulatory burden were its own country, it would be the world’s fourth largest economy, bigger than Germany, France, and the UK. Source Note: Most data cited herein are from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; some data have been extrapolated from 2012 (when their study concluded) to 2017 by MLLG.
    Now that we have quantified the horrific cost of excess regulation, let’s look at how it savages economic growth. The direct cost of compliance alone is $2 trillion per year. Regulation results in less investment, misallocation of resources and increased unemployment. Following are specific insights and examples of how the 1+ million regulations now in existence destroy economic growth and harm American families.
     The first insight is that regulation must be viewed from a cumulative perspective. The effect of adding one incremental regulation onto the mass of existing regulations creates an endogenous effect that is far greater than the impact of just the newly added regulation and is compounded by the uncertainty and likelihood of future regulations.
    Most industries succeed in regulatory capture, i.e. manipulating the regulators and using regulation as a weapon to prevent competition. Big companies use regulation to quash smaller firms. Researchers found that stocks of companies heavily committed to lobbying outperform the S&P 500 by 25%. The lesson is not lost on business: better to invest in gaming government rather than in creating new products and jobs.
      The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index lowered the US from third to eighth place during the past eight years. During the same period, getting a construction permit increased from 40 to 81 days. Enforcing a contract now takes 420 days compared to 300. Regulatory risk has jumped 80%; capital expenditures dropped $32 billion and jobs shrank by 1.1 million. Alarmingly, many more regulations now carry criminal penalties whereas in the past they were simply civil. Remember the collapse of  Arthur Anderson, the giant CPA firm, when it was slapped with ersatz criminal charges?
      Progressives believe society would be better if governing elites (i.e. progressives) used highly credentialed experts in every field to establish enlightened rules to govern behavior. This is a fundamentally flawed view of human nature and of how the world really works. As has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout human history, free people and free markets work best without the heavy hand of government.
     President Trump recently signed an executive order requiring that every dollar of cost imposed by new regulations be offset by eliminating two dollars of other regulatory costs. This is a good start not only for obvious economic reasons but because it can change the culture and incentives from rule making to deregulation.

Next from MLLG on March 1st – A Personal Perspective on Regulation

Americans Vote With Their Feet

People vote with their feet and 1,000 Americans each day are leaving blue state
progressive hellholes and moving to red states with greater economic freedom. 
Americans Vote With Their Feet
By: George Noga – February 19, 2017

     As far back as 260 years ago Americans voted with their feet; witness this excerpt from a 1775 letter in the Boston Gazette.

“Taxes continue very high. A great many of our industrious inhabitants are gone into the country; the burden now falls on a smaller number – and they less able to bear it.  Some have moved and others are about to move to country towns where their taxes are greatly eased. I love my native town but as my taxes are so large, I am resolved to move my family into the country.”
     Liberal politicians in California, New York, Illinois and other blue states have not learned the lesson from 1775. Nearly 1,000 people every day move from blue to red states. There are critical shortages of moving vans in California and New York and corresponding gluts in Texas and Florida. Illinois is hemorrhaging people. Folks fleeing blue states earn $20,000 more (per IRS) than those moving in and the gap is widening. The divide in education and social pathologies undoubtedly is just as great.
     Why is this so, given that blue states claim to be creating utopias for workers? The main reasons cited by those escaping are: (1) no right to work law; (2) high income tax rates; (3) high minimum wages; (4) pro-union work rules; (5) extravagant welfare benefits; (6) expansive regulations; and (7) green energy policies. Instead of workers’ paradises, progressive policies always result in impoverished snake pits.
     In a recent year, Florida gained nearly $10 billion in income from blue state defectors and Texas gained $6 billion. Five of the seven states with the biggest income gains have no income tax at all. New York was the biggest loser, shedding 115,000 people and $6 billion while Illinois lost over 110,000 people and $4 billion of income. In the past 10 years, a net of 1.5 million refugees abandoned California.
     Throughout human history, productive, hard-working people gravitate to where there is economic freedom. According to Gallup’s Index of Well Being, states with greater economic freedom also rank higher in happiness and well being. The five states ranking highest in economic freedom are SD, ND, TN, ID and OK (all red), while the five worst are NY, CA, NJ, HI and VT (all blue). The top 10 states in freedom enjoy median a household income $9,000 or 21% higher than the bottom 10. Moreover, all minority groups and immigrants in the freedom states also earn considerably more.
      States with more laissez-faire policies and greater economic freedom enjoy higher median incomes, more equitable income distribution, less poverty, greater success for immigrants and minorities and better overall well being. Despite hyperventilation by liberals, it is crystal clear in the real world which policies work and which fail. Smaller, less intrusive government always triumphs over big brother statism. America is voting with its feet resulting in a landslide for more liberty and less government!
      P.S. Will the last person leaving Illinois kindly turn off the lights?

Our next post February 26th takes on government regulation

The MLLG Collection – Short Takes

We accumulate numerous blog-worthy topics too short for an entire posting.
From time to time we present an eclectic collection of such pithy morsels. 
The MLLG Collection – Short Takes
By: George Noga – February 15, 2017
1. Veterans Administration: During the 2013 VA scandal, veterans died while waiting for appointments. In response, Congress voted an extra $15 billion to reduce wait times and to make it easier to fire bad employees. So, how is that working out? Wait times today are 50% longer. Private physicians see up to 8 times more patients than VA docs. In one VA office (Phoenix) 13 employees make over $300,000. The few employees fired for severe misconduct have been reinstated upon appeal. You shouldn’t be surprised; this is simply government as usual. Solution: abolish the VA; move veterans into Medicare and use VA facilities for long-term care and for treating PTSD.
2. Oil Prices: Prices plunged 70+% from recent highs and oil company profits dropped 50%. What happened to all the speculators and price gouging? If energy companies manipulate prices when they are high, why aren’t they doing it now? If they are villains when prices are high, aren’t they now beneficent angels? One thing is certain: when prices rise again, progressives will demonize speculators and oil companies.
3. Vaccinations: The nanny state intervenes in many aspects of family life when there is no public health or safety danger and even when risks are statistically nonexistent. They ban teeter-totters, jungle-gyms and require sawing off limbs under 8 feet high to prevent tree climbing. They ban many toys and outlaw blowing up balloons for kids under 14. They have infantilized America. Yet, in the one area (vaccinations) where government intervention truly is necessary, they are AWOL. Communicable diseases are spreading like wildfire but government panders to anti-science movie stars and progressives ensconced in liberal enclaves who are spreading disease. If the push back were coming from evangelicals in flyover America, the reaction would be different.
4. Source of World Peace: Peace among nations is not achieved by disarmament, weakness or even by treaties. The rare times when peace prevailed was when it was imposed by a powerful nation, e.g,, Pax Mongolica, Pax Romana, Pax Brittannia and, until recently, the Pax Americana. The clear lesson is that peace is not the absence of power but it is a condition imposed by power. War is a terrible thing, but not the worst thing. It is worse to believe that nothing, even loss of freedom, is worth fighting for.
5. Obamacare Not Insurance: One stupid-crazy part of Obamacare is not often discussed. The ACA covers 100% of many small, ordinary and predictable medical expenses such as flu shots, annual physicals, birth control and 15-20 other procedures. However, if you break a leg, the ACA subjects you to high deductibles and copays. This turns insurance on its head; routine expenses are fully covered but a serious injury, when you really need insurance, can cost over $20,000 in deductible and copays. This is akin to your homeowners insurance paying in full for broken windows but charging you $20,000 in deductible and copays if your house burns to the ground.
6. Chick-fil-A: Progressive mayors of many liberal enclaves (New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago) are trying to ban Chick-fil-A because its owner once opposed gay marriage – as did Barack Obama at that same time. Perhaps mayors of conservative cities should ban Ben & Jerry’s for its socialistic views. It would be interesting to see progressives’ reaction to such a move. Why stop there? Why not have only liberal companies permitted in California and only conservative companies in Texas?

Next on February 19th is our post: Americans voting with their feet. 

War on Black Americans Shifts Voting Patterns

Democrats pander to blacks before each election and then ignore them. Liberal policies are tantamount to a war on blacks, but a tectonic shift in black voting may be underway.
War on Black Americans Shifts Voting Patterns
By: George Noga – February 12, 2017
     MLLG is among the very first to detect a shift in black Americans’ voting patterns. A cardinal principle of American politics is that there are no permanent majorities; coalitions and interests continually change. Not long ago Texas was reliably Democrat and California reliably Republican. In 2016 Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania flipped. A seismic shift also may be underway for African-American voters!
      In 2016 black voting returned to the pre-Obama 90% Democrat level. The bigger story lay in the 2 million who voted in 2012 but not 2016. In 2020 if blacks vote 80% Democrat, that’s a shift of 6 million votes – 4 million less for Democrats (including the 2 million who don’t vote) and 2 million more for Republicans. Such a shift of only 10 percentage points would swing Colorado, Minnesota and Nevada from Democrat to Republican and would make Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin reliably Republican and crush Democrats’ electoral hopes.
     If I were a Democrat, those data would terrify me; if I were a Republican, I would sense the electoral opportunity of a generation. The only potential for Democrats is on the downside as they effectively will never get above 90% of the black vote. Such a shift is possible within four years due to two major forces – growing disillusionment among blacks with harmful Democrat policies and Trump economic policies buttressed by likely benefits from his appointees in education (DeVos) and HUD (Carson).
The War on Black America
     Democrats pander to blacks in election years but afterward blacks live in the same dysfunctional, crime-infested neighborhoods with the same failed schools and the same dim economic prospects. Liberal policies don’t alleviate their problems, they aggravate them. They know their votes are captured and they now realize they have nothing to lose by abandoning their unquestioned allegiance to failed progressive policies.
     There are countless Democrat policies – including those advanced by Obama – that harm blacks in particular; following are merely five of the worst such policies.
1. Opposition to school choice tops the list. Dems and the NAACP, in obeisance to teachers unions, oppose school choice and even charter schools although failed public schools are literally killing black kids. The NAACP has outlived its moral purpose.
2, Low economic growth harms blacks disproportionately. But Dems are committed to hyper-regulation, high taxes and uncertainty which strangles economic growth. This results in unemployment and underemployment with little or no wage growth.
3. The war on drugs is responsible for the arrest and incarceration of legions of blacks and creates a milieu of urban terrorism in poorer neighborhoods. Dems are anti-police and oppose broken window policing despite overwhelming support among blacks.
4. Obamacare has created an army of 49ers and 29ers along with sky-high premiums, deductibles and copays. It also raised taxes and restricted economic expansion.
5. Minimum wage hikes, overtime rules and banning payday loans all savage African-Americans much more so than others. These policies are toxic and bereft of benefit.
    Democrats, the NAACP and African-American leaders are viciously attacking Trump, DeVos and Carson – not out of concern for black Americans or because they worry that their policies will fail. They attack them because they are terrified to their marrow that Trump and his appointees and policies will succeed – and with it drop the black Democrat vote from 90% to 80% and that they will be sucked up in the vortex.


 Our next post “Voting with Their Feet” is about migration from blue to red states. 

Antidote for Fake News: Fair Witnesses and Mentats

Journalism is dead. Fake news proliferates. Fact checkers are corrupt. Most people
want the truth but don’t know where to find it. This post offers a possible solution
Antidote for Fake News: Fair Witnesses and Mentats
By: George Noga – February 5, 2017
    More Americans believe Elvis is alive (8%) than trust the media (6%). Their distrust is not misplaced. Journalism schools are hothouses of progressive argle-bargle; they draw their students, who cling to illusions of adequacy, from the bottom deciles. The media have abandoned even the veneer of objectivity; they are irredeemably corrupt.
    Most Americans want to know the plain truth even if it shatters long and deeply held shibboleths. I exclude from that group the 24% who self-identify as progressives because their beliefs are based on religion and are thus impervious to facts or logic. Fortunately, there are solutions for the remaining 76% of Americans who want truth.
     All the main fact checking sources including Facebook, PolitiFact, and Snopes are debauched and unprincipled. We need an unimpeachable, competent and nonpolitical source for checking facts and determining truth. We need Fair Witnesses and Mentats.
     The Fair Witness concept is a creation of science fiction author Robert Heinlein in his book, Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein’s book takes place in the milieu of an overbearing government (familiar?). One way citizens could counter the overweening power of government was to hire a Fair Witness, a specially trained and recognized person who was so truthful and objective as to be unimpeachable. Anything observed or reported by a Fair Witness was universally accepted by government and the courts.
    Heinlein’s Fair Witnesses are professionals with an eidetic memory trained to make no extrapolations or assumptions; they wear distinctive white robes and are accorded deferential treatment by society. When a Fair Witness is asked the color of a house, he/she replies, “It is white on this side.” Heinlein’s book was published 55 years ago and the Fair Witness concept was only a small, obscure part of the book. However, if you search the internet for Fair Witness, there are 80 million entries – more than for the Kardashians, Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin. Obviously, it resonated with readers.
     Mentats, created by sci-fi writer Frank Herbert (Dune series), were specially trained to develop their cognitive and analytic capacities to unimaginable heights. They were the embodiment of logic and reason and only a few could qualify. It is thus a recurring sci-fi theme that society needs accurate, impartial arbiters of ascertainable facts.
    Clearly, the public, or at least 76% of it, is hungry (make that desperate) for a reliable way to separate fact from fiction. The potential is unlimited and there is no reason the Fair Witness/Mentat  concept could not be modified to work today. In fact, I have a blueprint for such a program but it is too lengthy to include herein. If someone successfully introduced such a concept (website) today, he/she could be the next internet billionaire. I would be tempted to try it if I were fifteen years younger.
     Imagine the possibilities! Fair Witnesses would transform public debate about any matter that lends itself to proof. It would be the death knell of progressivism – which is based on lies. Being untruthful would become unproductive. The thought of a news story being promptly rendered untrue might even make the media more circumspect. There are obvious applications for business and advertising. Note: I  plan to write a future post about what a Fair Witness might have to say about climate change.
     We have much to learn from obscure sci-fi tracts published long ago. Like all great science fiction, Stranger in a Strange Land and Dune speak to us today. Fair Witnesses or Mentats would shatter the Elvis myth but they also would bring about a renaissance in the media – currently trusted by only 6% of the most gullible Americans.

Next up from MLLG on February 12th – The Democrats’ War on Blacks

Kitty Genovese and Congressional Democrats

Kitty Genovese was murdered while 38 witnesses looked on and did nothing. The US
Constitution was murdered while 225 Democrats in Congress looked on and did nothing.
Kitty Genovese and Congressional Democrats
By: George Noga – January 29, 2017
     On March 13, 1964 Catherine (Kitty) Genovese was murdered in New York City, raped and stabbed to death over a harrowing 30 minute period, while 38 indifferent neighbors observed from their apartment windows, heard her repeated screams and did nothing to help. This bystander indifference became known as “Genovese Syndrome“, led to the nationwide 911 emergency telephone number and spawned numerous books and movies. The recent 50th anniversary of Kitty’s murder was marked by a new play, “38 Witnesses”, new movies, “The Witness“, and “37” and a “Girls” HBO episode.
     Over a harrowing eight year period (2009 to 2016) the United States Constitution was savagely attacked in Washington, D.C. The Constitution (and the rule of law) was repeatedly abused and violated with multiple attacks to its beating heart. Just as Kitty Genovese’s neighbors stood idly by, over 200 congressional Democrats indifferently watched, refusing to lift a finger to defend the Constitution. Not only did they observe the vicious attacks, they actively abetted Obama, Reid and Pelosi in the carnage.
     Following are but a few of the mortal wounds to the Constitution and the rule of law. Altogether there are over 50 more such violations – too numerous to list herein.
1. Treaties were fraudulently termed executive agreements and not submitted to the senate as required by the Constitution because Obama knew they would not be ratified. Principal among them were the Iran deal and the Paris Treaty on Climate Change.
2. Obama made recess appointments when the senate was not in recess and, in fact, when it was following the exact same protocol Harry Reid instituted to forestall recess appointments while Bush was president. These were serious body blows to the Constitution. The illegal appointments have since been invalidated by the courts.
3. Many (about 45) unaccountable czars were appointed without senate confirmation, an action not permitted constitutionally. Obama’s creation of the CPSC circumvented congressional appointment, budgeting and oversight powers – another clear violation. Again, the courts have stepped in and invalidated such illegal appointments.
4. The EPA, NLRB, IRS, DOJ and various regulatory agencies issued unconstitutional regulations and the FCC violated the law with its net neutrality rules. Once again, many of these actions already have failed constitutional muster in the courts.
5. Obama unilaterally altered the ACA, delaying the employer mandate, extending subsidies to non-exchange plans, not enforcing transparency provisions, delaying out-of-pocket caps, delaying insurance requirements and exempting Congress. This would be de rigueur in Venezuela, Cuba or North Korea but is a serious crime in the USA.
6. Obama unilaterally refused to enforce immigration law and, in effect, conferred legal status on illegal aliens. He violated his oath to faithfully enforce the law.
7. Harry Reid changed filibuster rules for cabinet and judicial appointments, violating long established rules. Tim Kaine, expecting to be VP and to have a senate majority, stated Democrats would further change the filibuster rules for SCOTUS to assure their nominee of approval. Reconciliation (Obamacare) circumvented the rule of law.
   Many of the witnesses to Kitty Genovese’s murder later regretted not taking action. Now, some Democrat senators and representatives regret staying silent while Obama, Reid and Pelosi trampled the Constitution. However, their tears are crocodile tears because they know that what was sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander.
    The 38 witnesses to Kitty’s murder were ordinary people reluctant to get involved, perhaps at personal risk and Kitty was but one person. The Democrat Congressional witnesses to the evisceration of the Constitution were elected officials sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and were not at risk of personal harm. Yet approximately 225 of them stood idly by as wound upon wound was inflicted on the Constitution, on our beloved republic and on 323 million Americans.
   There is an appalling moral equivalence between the refusal to act by the 38 silent witnesses to Kitty Genovese’s murder and the 225 Democrat members of Congress passively witnessing the prolonged and vicious assault on our Constitution!

Our next post February 5th addresses the issue of fake news

Trump: The Great, Good, Bad and Ugly

The MLLG initial analysis of the Trump Presidency
Trump: The Great, Good, Bad and Ugly
By: George Noga – January 22, 2017
     We have received numerous requests from readers for the MLLG position on the Trump presidency; here it is.  Firstoff, Trump is more populist than conservative; many of his positions are eerily similar to Bernie Sanders’. Nonetheless, Trump clearly was preferable to Clinton by a country mile. Here is the great. good, bad and ugly.
The Ugly
  •   NAFTA and TPP are the ugliest of the uglies of Trump positions. However flawed these trade agreements, they are vastly superior to tariffs and to trade barriers. We adhere to Milton Friedman’s belief that America is better served even if we unilaterally abolished all tariffs and barriers – and even if no other nation reciprocated.
  •   Trump’s China policy is downright scary. Starting a trade war with China is a no-win situation. Even if, as Trump asserts, China uses low-cost labor, imposes import barriers, subsides exports and manipulates its currency, Americans benefit.
  •   The War on Drugs will be continued. This is a failed policy and no good (and considerable harm) will come from continuing, or even ramping up, the drug war.
The Bad
  •   Asset forfeiture and eminent domain abuse will continue; this is anti liberty.
  •   Intervention in private business such as with Carrier and Boeing is problematic.
  •   Support for police ignores the need for serious reforms required to end abuses.
  •   Bigger deficits and his tendency to shoot from the hip are troubling.
The Good
  •   Rebuilding the nuclear triad and the military are essential. This is one of the few areas where government truly is necessary – to protect against external threats. This includes the war on terror, veterans affairs, Israel and the incendiary Middle East.
  •   Repeal of Obamacare and Obama’s regulations is an unleavened blessing.
  •   Education, energy and environmental policies will be signal strengths of the Trump presidency. His position on climate change alone is a great step forward.
The Great
  •   His appointees to the cabinet and to the White House staff are the strongest group since perhaps Washington’s first cabinet containing Hamilton, Jefferson. and Franklin.
  •  Trump’s appointments to SCOTUS and the judiciary will honor the Constitution.
  •   Cutting taxes, abolishing regulations and exposing media bias qualify as great.
       As you can see, it is a mixed bag for those of us whose lodestar is more liberty and less government. The gestalt or oeuvre however, compared to the alternative, is vastly superior. With Hillary there was vast downside and little, if any, upside. With Trump there is at least some possibility that our best hopes for America may be realized.

Next up January 29th is our post: Kitty Genovese and Congressional Democrats

The Obama Presidency

MLLG Inauguration Day Special Posting: The Legacy of Barack Hussein Obama
Special Posting: The Obama Presidency
By: George Noga – January 20, 2017
   This retrospective covers the eight years of the Obama presidency and is based on the public record which loquitur pro se, speaks for itself, to wit:
1. “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” (Michelle Obama) Never has any leader or spouse uttered such a sentiment. Obama went on to disavow American exceptionalism and describe America (historically) as a force for evil. With Obama leaving, Michelle now avers America “is entering a time of hopelessness“.
2. Obama had an historic opportunity to unite the nation; instead, he became the great divider. Not only did he fail to soothe racial tensions, he exacerbated them and caused race relations in America to deteriorate to the worst point in living memory.
3. Obama’s global apology tour included Europe (arrogance), Muslims (imperfect), western hemisphere (dictate terms), G-20 (restore standing), War on Terror (off course), Guantanamo (sacrificing values), Turkey (dark periods of our history) and CIA (we make mistakes). Recent apologies include Hiroshima, Cuba and Argentina.
4. He appointed a special prosecutor for the CIA, a petty, vindictive action that set the tone for a hyper-partisan presidency. After a disruptive, divisive investigation, no CIA wrongdoing was found. Graciously, Trump will not do the same to Hillary Clinton.
5. Obama abused the rule of law with 45 czars, phony recess appointments, executive orders, executive memoranda, dear colleague letters, use of reconciliation to pass bills, changing long-established filibuster rules and regulatory overreach rejected by courts. He refused to submit treaties to the Senate, falsely calling them executive agreements.
6. He blamed Bush (and others) publicly over 20 times, continuing up to the present.
7. Obama’s signature domestic achievement (Obamacare) is an abject failure.
8. Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement (Iran) is an abject failure. The Iran deal was to prevent Iran from getting the bomb; Obama’s deal guarantees Iran the bomb. Meanwhile, the mullahs egregiously violate the agreement with impunity.
9. His economic policy failed. Economic growth after the recession was the worst in history. There was not one year with 3% growth; the $900 billion stimulus was totally wasted; national debt increased nearly $10 trillion – doubling under Obama’s watch.
10. His tax policy failed. Taxes skyrocketed; he refused to lower corporate tax rates forcing US jobs to flee abroad via tax inversions. He left trillions of dollars languishing abroad instead of repatriating them for new investments and job creation in America.
11. Obama’s policies were particularly noxious to blacks. He dismantled school choice, condemning poor kids to failed government schools. Black youth unemployment surged due to union-mandated minimum wage hikes. He restricted payday loans, imposed punitive overtime rules and presided over a surge in inner city violent crime.
12. The world is much more dangerous. Syria and Libya are humanitarian disasters and spawned the refugee crisis. The entire Middle East is unraveling. A revanchist Russia took Crimea and part of the Ukraine and threatens the Balkans. By ignoring red lines, he destroyed America’s credibility and permitted Assad to use chemical weapons. Leading from behind, Obama would rather be loved than feared; he is neither.
13. Obama treated friends as enemies and enemies as friends; he forced Netanyahu to enter The White House via the kitchen. He favored Iran over our Arab allies. He supported socialists in Venezuela, Cuba, Honduras and throughout Latin and South America. He sent delegates to Castro’s and Chavez’s funerals, but not to Thatcher’s.
14. Obama violated long standing rules and common sense against paying ransoms. The Bowe Bergdahl affair (rose garden ceremony) was particularly sordid. He paid a plane load of cash to Iran to return our sailors who had been publicly humiliated.
15. He neutered the military, debilitated our nuclear deterrent and released dangerous and recidivist terrorists from Guantanamo. He thrashed the police.
16. He has been a disaster for Democrats who have lost over 1,000 offices which include 69 house seats, 13 senate seats, 910 state legislative positions, 12 governors and 30 state legislative chambers. They are in the worst position in nearly 100 years.
17. Voters repudiated Obama’s policies and methods of governance. Amidst all the war and things unraveling around him, he found time to play golf well over 300 times.
18. His disastrous energy policy wasted billions on Solyndra and the green chimera.  His baseless rejection of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines was shameful.
19. He dwelled in a fantasy world of political correctness, refusing to utter “radical Islamic terrorism“. He mocked religion. He was incivil, rude and ill-mannered.
20. He politicized the DOJ, IRS, EPA, NLRB and indeed the entire government to unprecedented heights. His every action was hyper-partisan. He abused and trampled the Constitution on over 50 different occasions. He disrespected federalism.
21. Obama’s actions will be quickly undone because he did not pass laws, opting instead for easily reversible executive orders and memoranda, reconciliation, watered down filibuster rules, faulty regulations and executive agreements instead of treaties.
22. The very few successes during Obama’s reign (for which he shamelessly took full credit) were due to George W. Bush’s policies that he strongly opposed. The Bush surge in Iraq permitted troop withdrawals; Bush interrogation protocols were responsible for locating Osama bin Laden; Bush policies brought us low energy prices, energy independence, and reduced carbon emissions attributable to fracking.
23. He used the full force of his office for punitive and ideological crusades such as forcing young girls to share bathrooms with transgender men. He used the IRS to punish enemies. He attacked the Little Sisters of the Poor along with many others.
24. He also was the worst lame duck president. Between the election and inauguration, he forced billions of dollars of destructive regulations down the gullets of Americans who had just voted to repudiate such policies. He trashed our ally, Israel, in the United Nations in a hissy fit of vindictiveness toward Netanyahu. He strove to delegitimize his successor. He did not cooperate during the transition and actually worked to impede it. He continued this petty and hostile train of abuses up until his final day in office.
25. Obama also will to be the worst ex-president ever – beating out the hapless Jimmy Carter. He declared he would not honor the long established and respected American tradition of refusing to criticize his successor and, in fact, both he and Michelle already have. He will be a narcissistic, divisive, and graceless ex-president.
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    Based on the above record, Obama’s place in history is secure. He was the worst president of all time, the worst lame duck president and is on a path to be the worst ex-president. Moreover, it is an ignominy he will maintain even if our beloved republic lasts 1,000 years. In researching this post, I looked at the five worst US presidents and the five worst Roman emperors; Obama has them all beat hands down! If you believe I have been unduly harsh, go back and reread the 25 points listed supra.
  Obama is a solipsist and narcissist. Psychologists list ten traits that determine narcissist personality disorder; Obama clearly manifests nine and possibly all ten. Narcissist that he is, Obama will believe it was America that failed him. He is fond of comparing himself to Lincoln, who was humble. But comparison to Wilson is more apt. Wilson was cerebral and flaunted his intellect (smartest person in the room) and moral purity. Wilson’s reputation is in tatters and he was succeeded by Harding.
    Obama got elected and governed by personal charisma; crowds swooned deliriously, believing he would halt the rising of the oceans and heal the planet. He cast a powerful spell on all of liberaldom. Charisma is like that; people project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. Like all such messianic figures, once the spell has been broken, they stand alone, naked and exposed. Obama’s spell lasted longer than most.
   To close this tawdry and noisome chapter of our history, we recall President Ford’s words (about Nixon) at his inauguration: “Our long national nightmare is over!

Our next post in a few days (January 22) puts us back on our regular schedule.

Why the Left is Unhinged

This special MLLG posting explains why the left is so apoplectic after the election.
With a government so powerful it could incarcerate Mother Theresa, no one is safe.
Why the Left is Unhinged
By: George Noga – January 17, 2016
     Many of our fellow citizens on the left have become unhinged in the election’s aftermath. The main reason, thanks largely to Obama, is that presidents have become more like kings, wielding enormous power unthinkable to the founders. If presidents and all elected and appointed officials honored the Constitution, it would matter little who occupied the oval office, Congress or the judiciary. We are supposed to have a national government of few, limited and enumerated powers within a federalist system. Who is mayor or governor should be more important than who is president. However, kings affect our lives infinitely more than presidents acting within the Constitution.
     For those on the latte-left, government has supplanted religion. There was a time when we Americans saved most of our passion for religion. No more. The progressive herd not only has abandoned religion but now mocks and condemns it. They have transferred all their passion to politics, explaining much of their post-election angst.
     They not only lost an election but now see a veritable Lucifer wielding the same unchecked power Obama usurped. The progressive religion explains why libs have a messianic fervor about climate, guns, environment, identity, etc. They regard honest differences over policy as apostasy. If you have a different view about immigration, you are a racist, Islamaphobe and xenophobe – no discussion permitted. Moreover, they want to criminalize expressing your views as hate speech and to throw you in jail.
     Thirdly, everything is now political, including many things never before considered political such as science, religion, news, media and education. Science has been corrupted due to the vast quantities of federal money doled out in grants. The federal government spends $3,000 to every $1 spent by others for climate research. You get what you pay for. The media are now advocates; honest reporting has disappeared and fake news proliferates. Even fact checkers are corrupted. Facebook employs liberal censors and uses tainted, ideological fact checkers to control content.
    Finally, there is SCOTUS with one seat open and the federal judiciary with 100 open seats. There was a time when seasoned (older) largely apolitical judges were chosen on merit, served for a limited time (10-15 years), retired and soon moved on to the great court in the sky. Today, young judges are appointed because they don’t have a record that can be used against them and more importantly because, with today’s longer life expectancy, they can serve forever. As a result, the stakes for SCOTUS are sky high.
     I close with a favorite anecdote to illustrate the frightening power of the federal government. During the 1980s when Rudy Giuliani was US attorney for New York, he and his staff had a favorite game. They would select well known people from all walks of life and determine for how many federal crimes they could be indicted. Everyone, no matter how good his/her character, could be sent to prison. Included in this group was Mother Theresa. And that was 30 years ago; today it is worse – infinitely worse.

Next on January 20th is our special MLLG Inauguration Day posting.