Saturday, January 31, 2009

Being Democrat Means Not Paying Taxes

Senators voice support for Daschle over tax records -

Could it really be any more clear? Democrats are ALL for a bunch of high taxes -- and over and over and over again, they don't pay them. Franken, Daschle and Geitner being the latest, but it is basically a constant. Since the IRS is a bunch of mostly Union Democrats, is it just sort of an "inside joke" that the stupid Republicans can complain all they want, but the way it works is that they pay and the Democrats just walk away? Unless of course they have to go through confirmation hearings, and THEN , they just do what Democrats always do "they gave it back" -- or in this case "they pay them".

No need to prosecute, the only thing that a Democrat can EVER do is "make an honest mistake". How could it be anythng but? They don't purport to have any moral standard, so doesn't that simply make "getting caught" an "honest mistake"?

Sides of a Coin

Bush Hatred and Obama Euphoria Are Two Sides of the Same Coin -

This is very well written, the whole thing should be read. The highlight is:

In fact, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria -- which tend to reveal more about those who feel them than the men at which they are directed -- are opposite sides of the same coin. Both represent the triumph of passion over reason. Both are intolerant of dissent. Those wallowing in Bush hatred and those reveling in Obama euphoria frequently regard those who do not share their passion as contemptible and beyond the reach of civilized discussion. Bush hatred and Obama euphoria typically coexist in the same soul. And it is disproportionately members of the intellectual and political class in whose souls they flourish.

He is a good writer and he brings in the fact that when our people aren't schooled in a perspective of "transcendence" (although he doesn't call it that), then we are in grave peril. What is beyond our petty passions and peccadilloes? The sweep of human development? God? Philosophy? Love?

or nothing? so often today it is nothing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Democrats Like High Taxes

Power Line - Corruption, Democrat Style

Because they don't pay them! My God, the guys WIFE lobbies and makes millions of dollars and the corrupt stooges avoid the taxes! The ones that THEY are so very much in favor of!!!

One just can't be a hypocrit and a Democrat -- when you have no values, you can't be expected to follow any!!

I love this line:

Still, there is always a silver lining. One good thing about
electing a Democrat as President is that, as he nominates fellow
Democrats to senior positions in the Executive Branch, millions of
dollars in unpaid tax liabilities come to light and are belatedly paid
to the IRS, with interest. It is, perhaps, the most tangible advantage
of electing Democrats to office.

NYT On The Coronation of BO

The Inauguration. At Last. - And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog -

This is almost a parody of itself. Jesus Christ deserves this level of adoration and even more -- BO is VERY human, and deserves exactly the same respect as George Bush almost never got. BO is a rookies rookie -- his accomplishments are few, the expectations on him are enormous -- Maria Kalman's expectations are beyond all reason!

It is funny -- in a strange, scary, embarrassed, pitiful, weak sort of way. How much of a slave can a human mind be to a projection of their own hopes and dreams onto just another dirty, limited, fallible, self-centered and mortal human?

Apparently, far beyond a level of the merely ridiculous.

BO Apologizes for America

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Obama's Unnecessary Apology

Charles points out the dual foolishness of the idea that America has "disrespected Muslims" in the past 30 years  -- Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq -- all to help Muslims. And the dual even more foolish idea that relations were somehow "good" 30 years agao -- when the Iranians took the US hostages in '79.

What Charles doesn't mention that is obvious to one that is 20% of the way through "Dreams from My Father", BO is one mixed up weird dude -- lots of use of the "N word", black rage, racism against whites, etc -- BO is very much a guy that lives in the world he imagines that he lives in, reality be damned.

So he probably DOES think that the late '70s were some sort of "golden age of US Moslem relations" -- and that we have been "Arab nasty" for the past 30 years -- or maybe he just said what was on his mind at that moment. The idea that he is some sort of an actual brilliant guy that thinks though everything he does in some sort of super way is really only a media fabrication anyway. This is the guy that had a guy that is now a convicted felon help him get a sweetheart deal on his $1.6 million home and didn't see any corruption that needed to be reported in IL politics.

I'm sorry America has BO.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome To Socialism Comrade

A 40-Year Wish List -

The nasty Republicans are "partisan" for voting against the greatest glob of pork fat in world history. How quickly the tables turn from the "principled and courageous opposition" the Democrats always provided against Republican measures. I can't wait for the first filibuster -- what was once a threatened "sacred measure of the founders" when weilded by Democrats to prevent Republican court nominees from passing the hallowed halls of the Senate is very soon to become "an obstructionist anachronism". I wonder what has changed?

The Democrats are out buying votes again by the TRILLION. Yes, yes, the Republicans gave into the allure of pork for a few measly 100 Billion, but now the old pros are back in town and tripe is being slathered out by the TRILLION, and where are the MSM complaints? Uh, it isn't big enough?

Rush to Bi-Partisanship

Rush Stimulus Plan Link

BO summarizing his arguments with "I won" when meeting with Republicans hasn't gotten near the press coverage of Rush saying "I hope he fails". I included the entire segment from Rush here -- as pretty much anyone could realize, the "I hope he fails" is taken out of context, and what Rush doesn't want to succeed is an agenda of government taking over private industry, rewarding failure, and taking the nation deeper into hock at the rate of trillions per year rather than 100's of billions (which were bad enough).

I'm not a huge Rush fan, and there is no doubt he is bombastic -- although a good deal less so than Al Franken, and it looks like he is a "MN Nice Senator".

Not All Change is Good

From $80,000 a year to eviction: Hard times in America -

In 2006, lots of folks voted for "change" and the Democrats took over Congress. In '08, they voted for the same message and we got a heavier tilt in Congress, and BO as president.

"It's hard not to be depressed during a time like this," she wrote.
"I never imagined in a million years that I would be in such a
situation at my age and at this point in my career. I am humiliated. I
am praying for everyone else out there is who are facing the same

I have no way of knowing if she is a big supporter of "Change", but she fits the demographic.

Do I think that "everything has happened is due to the Democrat takeover"? No, of course not. We as a nation have been saving little, spending LOTS at both the Government and personal levels and making up the difference with credit for a LONG time. I started work in '78 -- the watchword at that point was to buy as much home as you possibly could, it would go up in value, your salary would go up, and in 2 years you would be sitting pretty -- THEN, buy ANOTHER home and keep doing it. Many folks did, and many of them came out just fine (at least assuming that they quit the pyramid scheme sometime prior to '07). The EXPECTATION was that "everything will go up" -- especially homes, land and the stock market.

What has happened, is that as the economy rose, the expectations and the cry for "more, more, more" at every level have just continued to increase, but the ability of the economy to continue to rise kept reducing because of (among other things) "the law of diminishing returns" -- or put another way, if you make a buck, you can double your income by making two bucks, if you make a $100K, you have to make another $100K to double your income, and it is A LOT harder to make $100K than a buck! Worse, that 2nd $100K is going to get ripped with taxes and mean A LOT less to you than doubling the buck to two would have at that income level.

Even worse, a whole lot of business, financial and government models "required" the ever growing economy. Two main things finally prevented that; reality and expectations. The housing bubble and sub-prime loans provided the catalyst, but they did so on top of the combination of people talking about "how bad things where", and "how much things needed to change". Unfortunately, the fact that no matter how "bad" things are, it is ALWAYS a lot more likely and easy to make them WORSE was completely forgotten. In '06 and in '08 again, people thought that "a vote for non-specific change" was somehow prudent. The US simply rolled the dice and decided that "change was good".

Did we need change? Sure, but unfortunately we needed a change in something close to 180 degrees of the direction we chose. Growth through investment in capital/equipment, massive education improvements (including competition), huge personal and national savings rate increases, improved climate for entrepreneurship, reduction in old ideas like "retirement is better than work", and a host of other things to get our nation off the credit card and on to the earning our lifestyle. Had Bush managed to start investing some amount of money from FICA in stocks, that would have been a start, but that is now considered a "horrible idea".

I don't see any way out of the path we have chosen but a fall to the point where people FINALLY realize that "they have met the enemy, and the enemy is us!". We really CAN'T "have it all" and expect someone else to pay. That kind of logic has always led, and still does lead to most everyone having very very little.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Analog Government

Delay of analog TV's death hits House snag -

I got a chance to hear MN's brilliant Amy Klobuchar on MPR discussing how the "incompetent Bush administration screwed up everything and how it was not recoverable, and how foolish it was of them to set the date of the switch for February, when it is cold out in MN, etc, etc". One thing about those Democrats -- they are non-partisan, and when they get the reins of power, it is nothing but competence, taking responsibility, and working together!

Strangely, this article points out that the date has been set for a DECADE ... let's see, who was President in '99? My guess is that Al Gore was in charge of the date as such a brilliant digital guy, inventor of the internet and all, and as Global Warming expert, was certain that everything would be balmy in the middle of February by '09. Global Warming is a crisis; that is why this is the first January since '79 that it hasn't made it above freezing in MN for the whole month!

According to the government it was hot then, and it's hotter now! Learn to trust the MSM and the elites that tell you what to think rather than the weather outside Comrade! This is Amerika! Amy, BO, and Katie Couric will tell you what you think!

I'm mystified here -- BO was to fix all of mankinds problems, and he can't even get some TVs switched over on the date it was originally scheduled? What in the world is up with that? I would have thought he could solve minor issues like that in his first "100 hours" and then accomplish fixing the planet, world peace, the cure for the common cold, and long, meaningful, easy and wealthy lives for all in the first 100 days or so.

What is the use of electing a "Deity" if they aren't going to actually DO godlike things rather than just talk pretty?

Dead President Election

Op-Ed Columnist - The Same Old Song -

This article ends with the sentence:

"This is a party that, given a choice between Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, would choose Ronald Reagan in a heartbeat."

Now THERE is a "testable hypothesis", but potentially, it was the most cogent part of the article.

Democrats have been arguing for years that "tax cuts are spending" -- at least in their universe, where everything belongs to the government, and what you keep is really the government's too. It is a universe to the left of France, somewhere in the vicinity of the old USSR. So far, the Democrats have failed to notice, that when everything is the government's, there is inherently a whole lot less to tax, spend, or eventually, even borrow. Money may just be printable willy nilly, but value is not. It requires somebody to "create something of value", and the people that do create value expect to be paid more than those who do not -- if they are not so paid, they tend to produce less, or not at all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BO Goes to War on Babies

The Vatican Slams Obama Over Abortion - TIME

Most of the MSM has said as little as it can about BO fulfilling a campaign promise to the grim reapers of the unborn, but it appears that the Pope is still willing to stand up for those that can't defend themselves. This is an area that Democrats are pretty consistent on -- they may run away from most any enemy of America, but when it comes to killing babies, they are a brave lot.

It is MUCH easier to be seen as somehow "uniting" when decisions that you make that kill millions are unpopular with those "moral zealots" that care about such things, are soft pedaled to the extent that one has to be a news hound to figure out that they were done at all.

What is more, while a handful of folks protesting Bush or the war always got top billing, something like 20,000+ marchers descended on Washington last Thursday to protest the anniversary of Roe V Wade got a deafening lack of coverage.

Nope, no bias in our media!

Monday, January 26, 2009

.223 Customization

My Bushmaster and Kel Tec .223 guns are getting close to the level of customization that I had envisioned. Starting on the left, I've got the foregrip with picatinny rails on top and bottom on the PLR-16, the muzzle brake, and a red dot on it. I may want to add a laser/tactical light to that as well, but want to do some shooting with it before anything else.

The Bushmaster has an NcSTAR Mark III Tactical scope that is 1.25-4x32, has drop adjustments for 100-500 yards, and lighted reticule in either green or red. I also put a 4-rail compsite handgard on and added a cheap AIM laser/tactical light. Am thinking of adding rail mounted folding grip so I can mount the pressure switches for the laser and tac light there.

Both of them use standard .225 AR15 magazines. I have a couple 45 rounders, a number of 30s and a few 20's.

It will be interesting to see what BO and the Democrats do relative to a new "Assault Rifle Ban" -- last time around, the companies were able to sell out the inventory they had, but they weren't allowed to manufacture or import any new rifles or magazines over 10 rounds for the US. Naturally, prices rose because folks felt it was "now or never", and many folks went out and purchased higher capacity magazines than they ever had before and guns that were banned. This time around, supplies of the "black guns" are limited, and prices are rising rapidly already.

So why would I want such a weapon, when we all know that such "reasonable gun control" prevents crime? You remember that big burst in gun crime after the assault weapon ban expired in '04? Uh, well, neither do I, because there was a DROP in gun crime -- in fact, just the continuation of a drop in gun crime that most likely resulted from stiffer sentences on gun offenders. Here is a little article on that, in case you don't believe me -- from the LA Times, that bastion of conservative pro-gun thought!

Oh, I want such a weapon for two basic reasons:
1). They are really fun -- low recoil, accurate, fairly cheap ammo and magazines that let you shoot, not spend your time filling up another magazine.
2). They are EXACTLY the type of arms that our founders protected in the constitution. The idea of the "militia" was NOT some "government approved militia", it was the "final check" on government tyranny. They had just finished a revolution and they understood the temptations of power -- an armed populace is intended to be something to remind the government that "there are limits".

Do I think I will ever have to use them for anything other than punching holes in paper or plinking? I sure hope not -- just like I never want to use either my fire, health, or car collision insurance -- let alone rely on the air bags and seat belts working. I'm not about to cancel any insurance or pull any safety gear 0ut of the car though.

What about the risk? Certainly there is a risk in having guns -- or driving, or walking, or riding a bike. Our founders didn't think of putting a "right to drive" or "right to walk" in the constitution, because they didn't see those rights as having any prospects for protecting liberty, which they cherished. There is a risk in NOT having guns as well -- we are (still) a free people that can select which risks we consider worth taking.

Overturning Reagan

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Obama Aims to Overturn the Reagan Revolution, Quietly

So far, BO is pretty much a political reflective surface into which the politically narcissistic stare, see a reflection of their own ideas, and fall in love. Unsurprisingly, EJ Dionne sees BO as the the shining knight to turn back the political clock beyond the age of Reagan, as Dionne himself has thought is a grand idea since the day Reagan was elected.
President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. He wants America to lead the world, but as much by example as by force.

"Conservative values for progressive ends" is a nice statement. Certainly a good idea use conservative values, since liberal values are an oxymoron -- he is on solid pragmatic footing there. So what is a progressive end? Socialism and other collectivism of course. It is good that individual rights are "infantile", that is a very useful term. So would that be ALL individual rights? Speech, Religion, Property, Association -- or only Property?

He returns to the theme at the end and lets us know a bit more of his position:

For now, each side in the old debate can enlist aspects of Obama's rhetoric in their polemics against the other. But in associating our recent past with "childish things," in insisting that greatness is "never a given" and always "must be earned," Obama is challenging the very basis of their conflict.

It is a worthy fight. It will also be a hard fight to win because rights are so much easier to talk about than duties, and freedom's gifts are always more prized than its obligations.

He earlier claims that "the sides" are the "do your own thing personal morality of the 60's" and "the greed and irresponsibility of the '80s" ... BO will now eclipse with his new higher level of morality, a morality of "duty". So what would BO do to supplant "do your own thing"? Return abortion restrictions, so the wages of promiscuity would include the responsibility of parenthood rather than the killing of the unborn? Apparently not, he has already signed an executive order so that our tax dollars can be used to avoid that responsiblity globally.

Can you really imagine BO doing something that would suspend the moral abrogation of the '60s? Nope, neither can I. That whole side of the equation is exactly what liberals usually do -- present a false bargain where they will give up precisely nothing. Can you imagine him radically attacking property rights through standard income taxation, and possibly even more egregious "wealth taxes"? Not too hard is it?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

International Space Station

I haven't watched it all myself -- it isn't all that "fast moving", but it gives a good idea of how big a station we have up there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Screw the White Males and Middle Class

Has to be watched to be believed. A right wing radio show couldn't even make this up as a PARODY !!! They are discussing ON CAMERA how they are going to DISCRIMINATE against "white males", "people with skills" and the "middle class" on this stimulus. Don't let the State Legislatures have their say! Oh, by the way, the "middle class" is to busy to be concerned about this -- working to put food on their tables and to send their kids to school!!

The age of BO is upon us!

Maybe He Just Has No Idea?

RealClearPolitics - Articles - No Idea What He's Doing

The general view seems to be that BO is brilliant -- he may well be, we need to remember that the Unibomber is a genius as well. Being smart and having ideas hat can be applied successfully to reality isn't the same thing. One translation of BOs "abandonment of ideas" is tied up in the definition of "cipher" -- ZERO; One that has no weight. NONENTITY ....

The following quote sums it up pretty well. The price of being "everything to everyone" is at some point simple negation. You have no position, you don't exist. Is that where BO is headed when we finally see behind the curtain?

It is basic choices between opposing principles that Obama is
telling us are "stale" and "no longer apply." And if you think that
ideas and principles still matter, you're a cynic!

Thus, Obama begins his administration by declaring that he will run
the government while rejecting any overarching ideas and principles
regarding the proper role and scope of government action. He starts by
telling us, in effect, that he has no idea what he is doing.

This is why the rest of the speech sticks to conventional bromides
and tries to split the difference on every big issue. Big government
versus small government; free markets versus government controls;
personal responsibility versus the welfare state; vigorous national
defense versus diplomatic temporizing. Where does Obama stand on these
issues? Nowhere. This is what a cipher sounds like.

Gitmo Alumnis Makes "Good"

Power Line - Inconvenient Timing

Hey, a Gitmo Alumnis is already #2 position of Al Qaeda Yemen! How bad can all that horrible treatment and torture be if you can get out and still have success in your terror career!

BO has decided that "there are dangerous people in Gitmo" -- so he has a "task force" hard at work to figure out how to "close it" -- in a year, or maybe before the end of his first term.

NPR cheered loudly each time the "Bush Administration was repudiated" and some legal approach forced another release from Gitmo. Here here! Nothing better than releasing folks that want to kill us to make a lefty's day!

Opaque, Contradictory and Subtle

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Obama's Inaugural Surprise

Good column by Krauthammer, I think the following is the highlight. As I read the different innauguration retropsectives, I'm struck by how BO still managed to let everyone hear what they want to hear. He is more like a beer commercial than a leader. BO says "responsibility, work, sacrifice and service" and Charles hears "wow, those are conservative values". The BO supporters hear it and think, oh cool, he is going to make those nasty rich folks be "responsible, sacrifice, keep working hard and serve us!". Both sides applaud and BO smiles sweetly.

How long can BO keep 70% of the population from "looking behind the curtain" (as in Wizard of Oz)? Only the time is in question, because there is a LOT of stuff behind the curtain, and "over the rainbow" is just a dream.

Candidate Obama had promised the moon. In soaring cadences, he
described a world laid waste by Bush, a world that President Obama
would redeem -- bringing boundless hope and universal health, receding
oceans and a healing planet.

But now that Obama was president, the redeemer was withholding, the
tone newly sober, even dour. The world was still in Bushian ruin,
marked by "fear ... conflict ... discord ... petty grievances and false
promises ... recriminations and worn-out dogmas." But now no more the
prospect of magical restoration. In a stunning exercise in lowered
expectations, Obama offered not quite blood, sweat and tears, but
responsibility, work, sacrifice and service.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Morris is an Optimist!

I've covered almost all of this in one post or another, but a good summary. The only thing I REALLY disagree with him on is the idea that we will be through this all by 2012. My guess is that BO will be very successful with the realignment of the country into > 50% "tax takers" and < 50% tax payers along with adding a lot of illegal aliens to the voting roles, along with Acorn Style "here, let me vote for you" absentee voting to create a nearly impregnable Democrat majority for a good long while.

The big issue is that we will mostly likely face a rapid decline in quality of life on all fronts -- income, crime levels, medical, education, etc, but that will be solidly blamed on "the country having gone in the wrong direction for so long". My thinking is that it will be 8-12 years before some coalition of some set of folks can start to get the point across that we have to re-ignite the free market economy or the quality of life here will continue to drop.

So I guess that I think Morris is a optimist!

Booing Bush

Nice example of the respect provided by Democrats for Bush. From what I've seen so far, the Republican support for BO is pretty amazing. There is no doubt that Respect should be shown for the OFFICE in all cases, and at this point, BO deserves a "honeymoon", but some reasoned opposition is also just fine.

Even if we have a major depression and BO makes Bush seem like Lincoln, I hope that Republicans don't boo BO as he heads to swear in his replacement.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Patriotic Dissent?

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Is Dissent Still Patriotic?

This is very well written, just read it. The main crux is that for eight years we were to believe that dissent against the Bush administration was highly patriotic, brave and honorable. Now it is "unity" that is patriotic? Uh, what changed other than the party of the President? Nothing -- the MSM assumes that most are sheep, and they seem to be right.

Anybody find meaning in a power even higher than government? Let us hope that many do.

Opacity of Hope

The Opacity of Hope -

Nice title and well written. Unlike the left, that wanted Bush gone from day one and did everything they could to make that clear for the full eight years, no matter what the cost of that disunity to the nation, the general position of the right is "hopefully Obama will succeed" (somehow). Conservatives tend to have jobs, families and investments, which gives them a vested interest in the nation moving forward. More lefties are single, no kids or estranged kids, limited or no employment or tenured or union employment that they believe is just another part of "their rights". They believe that if things get really bad, "the fat cats" will be hurt worse then them, so "bring it on".

We know the least about what Obama intends to do than we have known about any President in my memory, but given the world that we live in, it seems a certain bet that there will be tough, lonely, and unpopular decisions to be made if he is to have a chance at success. I think the following paragraph captures that well -- the rest of the article is worth reading as well:

As a matter of political character, many of these questions hang on Mr. Obama's toughness. We know he is intelligent and clever. What we don't know is if he can make a difficult decision in the national interest that is unpopular, and then endure the consequences. Reagan showed his steel by staring down the Patco strike at home and Soviet scare-tactics against missile deployments abroad. Whatever his mistakes in Iraq, George W. Bush's "surge" was a lonely call that has proven to be right. As far as we know, Mr. Obama has had to make no such decision in his short public life.

Bush's Sin

William McGurn: Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq -

I believe this to be a pretty correct call. The highlight here:

"Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could
be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave," read the
editorial. "There could be reprisals against those who worked with
American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide." Even genocide. With no hint of irony, the Times nevertheless went on to conclude that it would be even worse if we stayed.

is Vietnam thinking. And the president never accepted it. That was why
his critics went ape when, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars,
he touched on the killing fields and exodus of boat people that
followed America's humiliating exit off an embassy rooftop. As the
Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti noted, Mr. Bush had appropriated
one of their most cherished analogies -- only he drew very different
lessons from it.

Mr. Bush's success in Iraq is equally infuriating, because it showed
he was right and they wrong. Many in Washington have not yet admitted
that, even to themselves. Mr. Obama has. We know he has because he has
elected to keep Mr. Bush's secretary of defense -- not something you do
with a failure.

I suspect that BO plans to throw Gates under the bus at the first sign of trouble, but if Iraq was where BO and the Democrats had predicted it would be, the Bush SecDef would be OUT, and there would be "immediate withdrawl". If BO, Reid, Hillary, Biden, etc were Republicans rather than Democrats, being as wrong as they were about the surge would have been the end of their electability to anything higher than their posititions at the time they took the "war is lost", "surge will fail" positions--if that. When you are a Republican and take solid positions that turn out that wrong -- or even less wrong than that, you are a pariah (witness Bush).

RATs Leave The Mall

The scene on the Mall of our Nations Capitol after those environmental saints, the BO "Renew America Together" (RAT) lefties leave. The "renewal" is under way, the RATs have to be feeling a sense of relief to see America looking as they would want it to be!

Now if they can just get the rest of the country to meet their "high standards"!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Markets, BO, and IBM Market Report - Jan. 20, 2009

While most of the nation waxed poetic with the heady scent of BO in the air, and seemed excited to become RATs (Renew America Together), the market seemed less than thrilled. -332 and the first close below $8,000 for 2009.

Meanwhile, IBM reported earnings of $4.4 billion for the 4th QTR of '08 vs $4 billion for '07, and broke $100 Billion in revenue for '08 at $103 billion vs $98.8 billion in '07. So, apparently the economy isn't broken EVERYWHERE (yet).

Why is IBM "optimistic" for '09? Because a company that pulled in over $100 billion in revenue for '08 figures that it will get at least it's share of the lard due from BO in '09. Now isn't that special? I guess it is better to give the money to a company that is MAKING money rather than to those that are LOSING it like Detroit, but it still gives one pause.

Listening to the media in '07 and '08 it seemed that the only real issue was "recession or depression", yet here we have a major US company doing well in the teeth of what at least we are being told is "the worst economy since the depression". The winds of negativity at least took the spark out of the stock (and most every other stock), but somebody kept spending $100 billion and made it another good year.

I'm SURE that BO and his minions will straighten this all out -- quickly. Will Sam Palmisano be right and IBM will get nice hefty slabs of pork? or will BO and crew find some other companies maybe doing less well that maybe contributed more to his coffers or those of his party, and smile on them with a bank roll of many billions? I guess the message of to day is "the nation trusts him to do whatever he wants to do, and the media especially trusts him". Most people feel that is "good" -- the market is somehow "crooked", BO is straight -- let him decide who gets the funds, that is a better way.

So the Obamanation begins!

Evidence of Moose Brain Damage

Why so many minds think alike -

I often find myself in the "opposition position" -- politically, in meetings, in discussions, etc.. In fact, I feel more uncomfortable in the majority. When 80% of the people were in favor of the Iraq war, I was reasonably certain that the vast majority of people didn't really know what they were "in favor of". The prior two "quick low casualty wars" ... Iraq in '90 and Afghanistan in '01 (although that wasn't REALLY over, most people thought of it as such) had led them to believe that "modern war was easy", which was of course a false belief that was never going to last.

BO at least lets me be comfortable again. It looks like 80% of the folks think "he is great" although it would be impossible to tell from what he has said / done so far to really have any clue of what kind of President he will be other than probably "smooth". I think that people especially like to be in in favor of something that is viewed as "positive but undefined"--it lets them feel good and think less. It is also really fun for 80% of people to be in agreement on being AGAINST something that is "negative but undefined" -- as in George Bush.  Many of them REALLY don't like it when one of them makes a statement that they are CERTAIN that "everyone will agree with", and some big bald guy is willing to stand up for of all people, BUSH! and they don't really have any answer to "why they hate him" -- they were just told to, and figure that everyone either does as well, or would shut up and follow the crowd like evolution demands.

So, maybe the areas of my brain that would make me want to turn with the herd are damaged.

One reason behind conformity is that, in terms of human evolution, going against the group is not beneficial to survival, Berns said. There is a tremendous survival advantage to being in a community, he said.

"Our brains are exquisitely tuned to what other people think about us, aligning our judgments to fit in with the group," Berns said.

It might also be possible that being rather large with a loud voice, some part of my brain has figured out that my ability to "blend in" with the herd is "less than optimal", so I had better be able to operate without or against the herd. It turns out that in "verbal combat" (or even physical), the herd has a hard time doing a "group attack" -- one of the many herd mentality weaknesses.

My guess though is that most of the people that know me would be on the "brain damaged" viewpoint, and there is no way for me to disprove that one.

Poor BO

Abraham Lincoln may well have had it easier --

Interesting that poor BO has it tougher than Lincoln isn't it? When did this all happen? Reagan was handed an economy worse than today's by any measure, a world with a rising and more aggressive USSR and open revolt from European allies. Did you read any articles of how he had a harder task than Lincoln?

Bush was handed a post internet bubble crashed stock market and economy in recession. The Stark had been attacked in Yemen during the fall, and of course we didn't know what would happen 8 months later. Was the country more divided then? The election was closer, and margins in the house and the senate were closer -- in fact in a couple months Jim Jeffords would tip the balance in the Senate to the Democrats. The MSM certainly was going to do everything they could do to make it as tough as they could -- Bush was "not elected", he was "appointed", he would be a one-term President, the slide of the Senate to the Democrats that spring was heralded as "things to come". I don't recall any comparisons to Lincoln level (or beyond) difficulty at that point.

It is easy to understand the emotion of a Cumo. He "believes". I had some of those same emotions in 1981, although I wasn't so concerned about how Reagan's task compared to Lincoln. I wanted to believe that the "malaise" was wrong, America was a great nation with a great future that having just got out of college in '78, there was a bright future for me and the rest of the people of this country. Reagan delivered, but not because of what **HE** said he would do -- but rather because of what he ENABLED me and millions better than me to accomplish  by letting the creative market that is the USA flourish.

Presidents are leaders, and leaders "enable" -- Lincoln didn't win the civil war; more than any single person, Grant did. Lincoln futzed around with George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joeseph Hooker, George Meade and finally Grant. It took Lincoln a long time to get to his "Surge strategist". The Democrats then had exactly the same patience and perspective that they have had with Bush--they wanted Lincoln out of office and wanted the war over, NOW -- damn the consequences! It is awfully funny to see Democrats idolize Lincoln actually. Being a Democrat is about complaining loudly, blaming others, and indicating that "someone else ought to fix the problems". Being a Republican is about "lead, follow, or get out of the way".

So will BO be a surprise and somehow figure out how to get out of the way and let America shine? I don't think that is what his supporters are looking for -- they expect a "saviour", and the Jews were even unhappy with the only real Saviour that the world has ever had. I have no idea of what BO will bring us -- I would LOVE it if he could bring us a continuation of the success that we have largely seen from Reagan on, but my faith is not great.

My guess is that what we are going to get is something akin to 1930-53, and 1965-1983 -- periods of loss, stagnation, discontent, violence, war (serious war, 10's or 100's of K dead, not a few thousand) and the sense that "America's time is over". The GOVENMENTS time is ALWAYS over -- but if we return to the ideals of the American founders and free the market, it can be "Morning in America" anytime we want it.

I certainly HOPE that I'm wrong, but if I'm wrong, it won't be because of BO, it will be because of "We The People" as it always is -- and BO learning to be an ENABLER rather than a supposed savior. He is an intelligent guy, I pray that is a lesson he can learn.

Monday, January 19, 2009

BO: "America will endure"

WOW, BO thinks that America will ENDURE?? ... or I guess he only HOPES it will endure! How the mighty have fallen. When Reagan was elected he was telling us that the PEOPLE could PROSPER, and we did! Things looked MUCH worse when Reagan took office than they do now -- unemployment, inflation, and "the malaise" that "our best years were behind us". I have the sad feeling that 4 or 8 years from now, we may have all those kinds of thoughts again, BUT, I think I have more confidence than BO that we will "endure" whatever we have to to get through in the coming 4-8 years.

Eventually, there will be "hope", but it won't come from the government -- it will come from where it ALWAYS comes from ... the God of the universe by way of THE PEOPLE!

Obama, at the Lincoln: "But despite all of this - despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead - I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure - that the dream of our founders will live on in our time."


Renew America Together

Am I against service to our fellow man? Nope, in fact, study after study shows that conservatives both do more and give more than their liberal counterparts. Like most activities, liberals expect "someone else to do it" -- so they complain a lot but do much less.

My point here is how much derision has every conservative program of this sort received over the past few decades? Nancy Reagan with "Just Say NO" (to drugs), Bush Sr with "Thousand Points of Light", W's "Compassionate Conservatism and Faith Based Initiatives". Every Republican program to be brought out is the subject of laughter, derision, and 100% negative press from the MSM.

Now BO has a program whose intials are "Rat" and THIS the MSM takes seriously? Please explain to me again how the MSM is unbiased!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

BO and Lincoln

Power Line - The pre-inaugural MSM -- more childish than partisan

Tom Brokow apparently has Alzheimers -- losing the New Hampshire primary and coming back is "similar" to what Lincoln dealt with in the civil war? This is insanity pure and simple, and especially insanity since both W and Slick Willie lost the New Hampshire primary and came back to win the Presidency -- and I don't recall anyone making the claim that was "Lincolnesque"!

Cuomo claims that the current problems are MORE profound than what Lincoln faced? More insanity. I think PL is giving the MSM a pass here -- childish, partisan, delusional, incompetent ... it seems to me that anyone that gives the MSM even a wisp of credibility after this debacle is utterly suspending any hints of connection to reality. Can they be trusted to know what day it is? I'm no longer certain.

Genuine BO Sunbeam

I think this is a little too "down to earth" for the great BO, shouldn't it be a Moonbeam? One has to be excited about this President. Two years ago, the Democrats took over congress promising "Change", and they have really delivered! Now we have BO yet again promising "Change", but this time with the important addition of "Hope" and "Yes we can".

With that kind of leadership, at least we don't have to worry about the campaign promises being fulfilled! It is REALLY good he didn't promise to balance the budget!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Krauthammer, Bush Exit

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Exit Bush, Shoes Flying

Good article by Charles -- he touches on how News Speak is already deciding that the existing Bush policies are just fine if BO wants to follow them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cheney Evil, Bush Stupid, Palin a Bimbo

When up is down, &c. by Jay Nordlinger on National Review Online

The MSM is powerful. If they say something often enough and only report stories that fit what people want to believe, then eventually, for the vast majority of the sheep, those stories become true.

If one reports record high temperatures, but hardly mentions the cold temps, pretty soon the sheep think it is getting warmer -- especially if you tell them to think that and also tell them that only a fool would deny that it was getting warmer. It is natural for people to want to think of themselves as "smart", and especially if one can be both smart and popular.

Torture OK For BO

Obama's Cheney Dilemma | Newsweek Politics: The Obama Presidency |

One has to love the "consistency of the left"--If a Republican does it, it is bad, the only question is if they can jail him for it. If a Democrat does it? Maybe a Nobel prize is in order!

So after thousands of articles 10s or hundreds of books, and all sorts of hand wringing about the HORROR of the Bush/Cheney "Dark Side" of "trampling on the Constitution", "Destroying the Image of America through torture", etc, etc. we have ... DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!! Well, "on further review", maybe it was really HOW they did it -- perhaps BO ought do the same thing, only this time the MSM promises to not make any noise about it. In fact, maybe they will even applaud it! Sweet!

Sorta reminds me of Campaign Finance, Tax Cuts, Gitmo and Deficit spending.

Republicans spending more on campaigns? Money is a BIG problem. BO completely goes around all the campaign finance laws and spends who has any ideas how much more than ever before? GREAT!!! WONDERFUL!!! He is especially great because he can raise a lot of money!

Bush cuts taxes? Horrible, irresponsible, only helps the wealthy, etc. BO maintains Bush tax cuts he promised to rescind on day 1, adds a whole bunch of his own? SUPER! BRILLIANT!!!

Gitmo--Horrible place where innocents are locked up. BO promises day 1 fix! Ooops ... not day 1. Maybe not first 100 days ... no date specified. Those folks are DANGEROUS now, what a surprise!!! Is this a problem? Nope, BO is a great man, we TRUST HIM!

Deficit spending? Gee, Bush and the Republican congress had 100s of Billions in Deficits each year ... broke 500 once. HORRIBLE, IRRESPONSIBLE, IMMORAL. Dems take over congress in 2006 -- BO shows up, Now we have projected deficits over a TRILLION as far as the eye can see? Problem? Nope -- DEFICITS DON'T MATTER, they ought to be BIGGER! They are INVESTMENTS!!!

The MSM IS consistent! They consistently oppose Republicans and support Democrats!

Rove On Transition

Karl Rove: Welcome to the White House, Barack Obama -

Karl does a good job of covering some of the issues to date in the "perfect BO transition". He mentions David Axlerod, the BO equivalent of Rove, and also an advisor to IL Governor Blagojevich. One might notice a SLIGHT difference in the way that the MSM treats Axlerod as compared to Rove -- guess we will just have to watch.

Anyway, BO gets to "make it happen" now. Ought to be really easy for such a great man.

Minnesotans For Global Warming

Since the high here today is due to be -7, all the schools are closed and the papers are talking about the coldest temps we have seen in 10 years, it seemed like a good day to say something about Global Warming. I think we can all agree that temperatures are either warming, cooling, or staying the same. It doesn't appear to be an ice age (although in MN today, we might not ALL agree with that), so other than Young Earth Creationists, that would mean that we are in an inter-glacial period -- they tend to run 10-20K years, and we have been in one for over 10K years, so at some point here, cooling is likely (like in the next few thousand years).

The last time we slipped into an ice age (20K+ years ago), the scientists were not gathering as much data, so we are a little imprecise on exactly how that happens. Does it warm first, then cool? Does it slowly cool? (like over a few thousand years), does it drop like a rock to the deep freeze? I'd say the scientific answer to that one is "we don't know". Now will humans cause the planet to warm "artificially" (interestingly, many scientists would consider us a product and PART of nature) ? If we do, we may head off 5K thick sheets of ice covering this part of the US, and I know Al Gore would find that to be a tragedy.

Might the planet be warming? Sure. Might it be caused by humans? Sure. How about caused by the Sun? I bet it could be that too. Some other sort of cycle that we don't understand (natural carbon release, water vapor ratios, methane, dust, etc) ? It seems impossible to believe that our scientists have ruled out "all other options" -- although it is never hard to believe that some group of politicians and the MSM may have done so.

I personally suspect that much like the stock market, there are lots of jumps and jags in larger scale trends that can really give folks a "head fake" if data from decades or even centuries is focused on rather than the longer term trends of millennea. Much as the market may go up for a few weeks, months, or even year in the midst of a decade long bear market, the temperatures can go up and down in shorter periods and the long term trend is hard to discern.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

World Not Loving BO?

Power Line - The Honeymoon: Still Over!

How surprising! It seems that many of our enemies have switched seamlessly from defacing pictures of Bush to defacing pictures of BO. I thought the media story was "people just hate Bush, not the US"? Guess they must have been mistaken -- how surprising!

Left Getting Worried About BO

Obama Should Act Like He Won -

The lefties expect BO to DELIVER -- not be trying to get along with anyone else. They knew BOs history, which the MSM tried to hide from everyone, and when he said things that sounded centrist like "I'm not in favor of gay marriage", or "I'm a strong supporter of the 2nd ammendment", etc, they (as did I) assumed that he was lying. Now they are starting to wonder.

I think a major part of the current uncertainly is just that. Who IS the real BO? We elected a buy with minimal history, but all of it that was avaialable would indicate that he would be the furthest left President ever -- anyone willing to listen assumed that the REAL BO, based on his books, positions held, former positions, etc really felt that red-staters were "bitterly clinging to guns and religion", and that he was going to "spread the wealth around" ... at least, and maybe then some.

It seems way too early to tell to me -- I still really suspect that HE wants to look "moderate", but he is willing to let Harry and Nancy drive the far left agenda so he can be re-elected by a wide margin no matter what happens. If some parts of the agenda are a disaster, he can smoothly blame congress, and all the parts that work will have been his all along.

It is interesting how Franks completely fails to realize that Bush was every bit as much a "tri-angulator" as Clinton -- Perscription Drug Benefit, Sarbannes Oxley, McCain-Finegold Campaing Finance (Republican unilateral disarmament) and attempted immigration reform -- all very centrist to left items, all of which he paid a huge political price with his base for.

As I've often argued, for someone of the LEFT, such triangulation is extremely workable -- other than a few really true loonies like Franks, most Democtrats won't even complain because they realize that POWER is what they really want, and if it has to cost them something in "purism", so be it. Republicans on the other hand are suspicious of government power in the first place, so they have a very hard time with any sort of triangulation -- they have generally been in the wilderness since the '30s, so when they get just a whiff of being "in charge" they expect there to be all sorts of movement to their side -- lower taxes, less programs, more freedom, etc right away -- and worse, since they tend to have a lot of principles, if they see any wavering they are immediately ready to "teach their own guys a lesson" as they did in '06.

Things Difficult for the Great BO?

Obama to order Guantanamo Bay prison closed -

What is up? Why would something like this be difficult for the great BO? We have been assured that the Bush Administration was the worst, most incompetent administration in history, and it is being followed by an administration that is at least as good as FDR or Lincoln, and likely better than both. But now we see:

"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication," Obama said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday when asked whether he would close the prison in his first 100 days.

I thought the Bush Administration had just put innocent decent folks in Gitmo and tortured them, and now we could turn them loose and have them maybe bunk in at the White House, or potentially with our new Secretary of State. Now we find that "many of them may be very dangerous"? Wow, what a concept! I wonder if that is why they are locked up?

The following sounds more than reasonable -- follow the rule of law but don't release the guilty. I'm hoping he does that as well as stimulates the economy without growing the deficit, increases all our government benefits without costing more money, and lets us all have chocolate cake every day without gaining any weight. He is clearly on that track:

Obama also said he was trying to develop a process that "adheres to rule of law" but "doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up."

What intellect! The idea of "not releasing people intent on blowing us up"is the kind of sophisticated insight that one would have never seen in the Bush administration. One might think that our insightful MSM in an article HEADLINED "Obama to order Guantanimo Bay Prison Closed" would ask a couple slightly direct questions like say:
  1. When?
  2. Where will the dangerous prisoners go?
Seems that nobody in the MSM has thought of those points yet even though BO had once said that he would close Gitmo via an executive order on day one. Now it sounds like he is going to give speeches and go to dances like all the Presidents before him. One has to love this comment as being "completely different" than "politics as usual":

I think it's going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak, to help design exactly what we need to do," Obama said. "But I don't want to be ambiguous about this. We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our Constitution," he said.
No follow up to that one! No ambiguity there! Gotta love that BO.

Obama also said he was trying to develop a process that "adheres to
rule of law" but "doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on
blowing us up."

Gee, there are "very dangerous" people in Gitmo? I'm shocked! I thought that was just a Bush/Cheney spot where they tortured a lot of poor innocent people! Great to see that he doesn't really want to release a bunch of people intent on "blowing us up" -- wonder if shooting, maiming, gassing, sickening or other objectives are equally "inappropriate"?

So even though the HEADLINE says "He is ordering it closed", the article says "not in the the first 100 days" -- and without reading very hard it sounds like he has no clue how they will get it closed and "not release folks that want to blow us up". So I wonder if any report

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hillbilly SoS

Official: Clinton to push U.S. leadership renewal -

I wonder if they will ask her about the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" (VRWC)? She talked about this horrible and powerful organization on the Today Show on National TV. I assume that she MUST have been correct rather than foolish, since Dan Quayle misspelling "potato" at a grade school spelling bee became national news that stuck with him forever and proved that he was a fool.

So since we KNOW that the "VRWC" must be an intelligent fact rather than some foolish paranoid fantasy, since a person prone to to foolish paranoid fantasies would be even less qualified for national office than a person who adds an 'e' to the end of "potato" -- and we know that we are a fair and rational nation.

So, was the conspiracy destroyed somehow? Maybe hunted down and killed or something since "the vote" doesn't usually affect a conspiracy very much. Maybe they are still in operation and pulling a bunch of strings? Maybe they defeated poor Hilly in the Democrat primaries "somehow" and have cleverly installed BO as their minion -- that would explain the horror of inviting Rick Warren to pray at the inauguration and potential tax cuts. BO is maybe a clever plant by the VRWC.

In any case, it seems like a good question to ask our shiny new SoS, and I'm certain our ever vigilant press and elected officials will be getting right on it!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

See, Democrat Scandals Don't Matter

Why the Democratic Scandals Don't Matter (Yet) - The Plank

See, the Democrats are WAY too under the radar to have their scandals mean anything! It really doesn't matter how many you stack up, these folks are Democrats and since they never promised to have any values in the first place, the fact that they have a lot of scandals should just not count at all!

Good thing the MSM is getting THAT all straightened out -- otherwise the sheep could get confused. As Billy C proved, you can do whatever you want as a Democrat and STILL be a good guy -- or even if you have to get thrown under the bus, at least none of your fellow Democrats will get anything nasty on them as long as the MSM is busy doing the firewalls!

BO Supporters Empty Lives

Hey, it is off limits to make fun of BO himself, but it looks like his supporters are fair game. I wonder if somebody will come along with a statement more vacuous than "Yes We Can" and give them something to live for?

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Macbook Wheel

I'll buy anything that is shiny and made by Apple ! ;-)

The intuitive type-ahead is pretty good ... "The Aaardvark admitted he was wrong ..." I know that is a sentence that I have typed a good many times in my life!

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Death and Sunrise

Parents share heartbreak over death of child -

Driving into work this AM I noticed that it was one of those days that the clouds were "just right" to reflect a beautiful golden-orange glow with the coming of the new day. As I did the daily news scan for the day, I noticed this article. My thought of the sunrise, along with the emotional response of "beauty" was: Why should we think it beautiful if we are randomly evolved creatures? What is "adaptive" about finding beauty in a sunrise? Now, I've read enough hard line evolution folks to know that there are ALWAYS "explanations". Maybe guys that found sunrises beautiful had more luck with the ladies (or vice versa). Maybe such artificial "feel good" made people that like sunrises more able to lead, gather food or just not get depressed so they slow down and get eaten by a saber-tooth. God is never going to make one admit that it seems a "gift from above" to be wired such that we can stand in awe of a "simple" sunrise. It is always possible (and even easy) to talk ones self out of faith, love, charity, hope and even beauty. To those so intent, maybe there is some solace in the fact that hate, anger, unbelief, hopelessness, despair and ugliness seem to be much easier states to maintain with little or no effort. In fact, life can make us think that those are the only emotions that are "reasonable".

How easy it is to understand the grief of losing a child from both the view of an ordered creation and a pure random genesis -- "right" and "adaptive" fit just perfectly. There is every reason for an extreme level of bonding with our kids, and every reason for the emotional part of that bond to be strongest and most urgent at the time when they are in the process of leaving the nest. Establishing a solid new identity separate from parents, figuring out how to relate to the opposite sex, figuring out what to do with your life and a host of other emotional, intellectual and physical changes make adolescents hard to get along with, but also very precious. They are no longer irresistibly cute like little kids, but the parental investment of a major portion of our lives and love in them make them dear enough to weather the difficulties of those tasks of separation. We are wired to want them to succeed on their own even while we also dread the day that they are no longer at home with us.

That day is supposed to come with us knowing where they are -- school, job, apartment, married, serving, living. The devastation of it coming with them gone to eternity and leaving us here is too great to really contemplate, and for those who have to bear it, a burden that doesn't leave. Much like the sunrise, the article ends with a hopeful thought of the grief maybe shifting to more a remembrance of the life lived rather than just the death and loss. The article is also completely secular, those with faith can still look forward and live for a better world in which they will be together with those they have lost. None of which is going to "solve" the loss of a child or many other less horrible pains.

Fortunately, that really isn't our task. Our task is to turn from the darkness to the light and meet each new day the best that we can given the lives that we have been dealt with faith that God has a purpose for our life.

Maybe that is why we find sunrise beautiful, it beckons us to look to the light.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good Summary of MN Election Theft

Funny Business in Minnesota -

The local media in MN seems pretty happy with the prospects of Senator Clown -- the WSJ is of course "biased" (unlike the other media) so their opinion ought be discounted. I thought they did a pretty good summary of how every decision went Al's way -- except they missed the BIG early slight of hand that brought Norm's lead down from 700+ votes to 215. That part was really the major coup!

I regularly listen to MPR, and up until today, one of the issues was the "improperly rejected absentee ballots". Today, the rhetoric had changed, and now Coleman wants to count "rejected absentee ballots". Interesting how much difference one word can make, especially if one hears it over and over. Prior to the votes going to Franken, we needed to be told that rejection was "improper" -- now they are just "rejected".

All hail Senator Clown!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

War and Decision, Doug Feith

This 528 page tome, chocked full of quotes, references and end notes is the book that the left and the MSM would prefer to ban. It ought not be hard to achieve that goal, it is a HARD read, it is detailed, dry, and generally devoid of passion. It is the kind of book that a lifetime bureaucrat would write, and indeed, that is what Feith is.

After 30 years in a major US corporation, my guess is that this book is far more "truth" than anything else written about the War On Terror (WOT) and especially the decision to go to war in Iraq. Why do I think that? Well other than the fact that this one includes copious references and quotes that can be verified, it sounds exactly like big organizations run. Personalities, egos, infighting, CYA (cover your ass), spin, avoidance of responsibility, taking credit where no credit is due, and assigning blame to others. It very much sounds like how a big honkin beauracracy operates.

The core messages are very clear:

  • There was an explicit decision made that the only way to avoid futher attacks on the US without turning the country into an armed camp was to go on offense and fight the terrorists around the world on foreign soil.
  • The downside risk of something coming out of Iraq and killing some number of US citizens was simply too high to ignore. EVERYONE -- for over a decade, Democrat or Republican had identified Saddam has a huge threat -- to oil, to Israel and to the US using WMD or passing it to terrorists. Allowing Saddam to stay in power post 9-11 was simply too big a risk. If that was done and something DID happen, nobody would ever forgive the Bush administration -- and they would be right. It was unconscionable that Saddam would be allowed to stay given the post-9-11 world.
  • CIA and State could never get on the same page with Defense and generally Bush, BUT, rather than either "win the position", or resign if it was decided that the position taken was something they could not support, both Powel and Tenent were classic "play it all ways" beauracrats and kept fighting -- in the press, by ignoring policy and other ways that caused huge problems in the Iraq effort.
  • Richard Armitage (who was the "leak" of Plames name) at state and Scooter Libby (who ended up charged for perjury because he got some dates wrong) were constantly at war about Iraq policy -- very interesting, considering that Armitage kicked off the whole affair, but was (and mostly still is) one of the darlings of the MSM because he was good for quotes from State on how bad the Bush admin was doing. Of course, he was PART of that administration. Bush absolutely needed to fire more people, he was WAY too "loyal" (or maybe just disliked conflict?)
  • The biggest actual issue of the war may have been the use of Iraqi exiles vs Iraqis that had stayed in country post '91. Defense wanted the exiles including Chalibi to be installed in an interim government IMMEDIATELY, and they wanted trained exile military folks on the ground immediately.

    State and CIA were way against Chalibi and the exiles -- which is the opposite of what we did in Afghanistan. A huge amount of the book is about making the case that State and the CIA were wrong and that was proven by the eventual government voted in, and the conflict over the exiles was what resulted in the disasterous long occupation. A good case is made, I'm not close enough to it and don't know enough of the other side view to make a final determination, but I find it to be a very interesting line of inquiry.
I could go on, but I think those are the big points -- oh, and he was pretty hard on Bremer relative to the long occupation, going too slow on giving control to Iraqis. This is the kind of thing from which historians need to sift rather than the "Bush lied, people died" sort of "deep analysis". Unfortunately, we will likely get to find out if "going on offense" is what has worked to keep us safe.

Senator Clown Slithers In

Power Line - Minnesota Senate Recount, Update XV

The Democrats have learned how to win the close ones, at least if they aren't Presidential. QUIETLY! Coleman started out 700 votes ahead, but the hand selected Democrat Secretary of state and Democrats in key districts slowly chipped away with all adjustments going in one direction, and none of them so gigantic that the bulk of the sheep would get suspicious, as long as the lefty press kept the story pretty quiet.

The initial loss of 500 votes of the Coleman lead was probably the most clear vote manipulation, but it happened so rapidly and with the constant assurance that "this was normal", coupled with the fact that Coleman was still ahead, that most people hardly took notice. It was anything BUT normal -- in an extremely close election, the ONLY totals that were significantly modified were Franken's, and they were modified in only one direction in numbers that were far higher than typical "adjustments".

During the rest of the recount, the biggest trick was to decide in Dinkytown, where the election judges were relatively certain that a set of ballots had been run through more than once, that the election night numbers were to be used rather than the recount numbers since there were "missing ballots" (or ballots run through twice, but that was quickly discounted when the direction of the problem was made clear). There isn't any use to have recounts if one isn't going to trust that number more, but almost all those votes were for Franken, so the BIG RULE that "things in Franken's favor get used" won out, and the count from election night was used.

Now we have the "invalidly rejected ballots" -- apparently it seems odd to nobody that a huge percentage of these votes are for Franken. Apparently they got voter lists and called up people and asked them who they voted for and then pushed for those that were for them to be added back in? We find out that is legal, but it seems sort of on the path away from the secret ballot to me. In any case, it seems that it is a fact that by far the majority of the "improperly rejected ballots" are for Franken.

Election theft by Democrats is of course not to be treated as election theft -- else Kennedy would have been an unelected President. It is wrong to say things like that, but of course it was right for all sorts of articles an folks to say that Bush was unelected in 2000, even though EVERY post election study, even by some very partisan left wing researchers showed that he did indeed win that election with no evidence of "shenanigans".

We are even deeper into the "era of change" now -- secret ballots, and even the concept of "fair elections" may well become distant past memories. The nice thing is that the majority of Americans won't even have any thought that anything is wrong, since the MSM will make it seem like things are just fine.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Warren Buffett, "The Snowball"

This rather massive book by Alice Schroeder covers the entire life of the current richest man in the world, the super businessman often called the "oracle of Omaha", Warren Buffett from birth to '08 with a huge amount of detail. I've historically not been that much of a biography reader, but maybe age is changing me, I enjoyed the book.

There are 838 pages of text and a bunch of endnotes, so I'm not going to do a lot of quoting and discussion. The biggest things that hit me:

  • Simplicity / Models. Relative to business and investing, while clearly a genious, Buffett used a huge focus and passion for business over a LONG time with relatively simply models of price/earnings, only buying businesses that he understood the business model of, and ALWAYS making sure that he had a "margin of safety" built in. Sticking with a few quite simple basic models with a whole lot of intelligence, patience and courgage to "ignore the herd". Allowed the "snowball" of his great wealth to slowly unfold over time.
  • While unquestionably having simple tastes in diet and lifestyle, Buffett is a complex man in his dealings with people. He is insecure, hates conflict, loves to push things that he doesn't like off on others (but is generally brilliant at selecting folks that can handle it well and motivating them well). In many ways, it is his "weaknesses" that make him a great business executive--he delegates what he isn't good at well, and focuses like an effective laser on what he is definitely the best in the world at -- selecting the best available businesses and weaving them together into a money making machine.
  • The "sweep of history" relative to business is discussed in a very "inside business" way that is enlightening. The constant of different sets of people "certain" of some trend or another -- expensive money, cheap money, stocks never going up, stocks always going up, fuel prices always going to be low -- or high, "new models" that would "never change" -- the "Nifty Fifty", Junk Bonds, Techs, Derivatives, etc. The ditches are littered with all sorts of "new paradigms" that fall on hard times wiping out billions and trillions of dollars in their wake. Meanwhile -- people still eat candy, buy furniture, jewelry, insurance, food, mobile homes, Dairy Queen, Coke, etc -- those are Warren's businesses, the ones that are "always going to be around", the ones that are "boring", unless you want to amass a fortune of billions of dollars from a start of a 100K over a period of 50 years.
Warren and his family seem to be 100% atheist or agnostic and in general quite liberal. He is pretty much 100% a supporter of Democrats, the farther left the better. He essentially ended up with "two wives" -- Susan, the mother of his children, took great care of him for 25 years or so, but he was pretty much the 100% traditional guy that spent 95% of his time on business and 5% on his family. When the kids left home, Susan wanted to travel, do artsy stuff and help others. She ended up traveling around with some of her old tennis teachers and moved to San Francisco and took care of a lot of gay guys. When she moved, she never really called it leaving, and left a friend of hers named Astrid Menks who ended up moving in and being Warren's female companionship for years. He essentially had "two wives", in public outside Omaha and legally, Susie stayed his wife. He saw her for a few weeks each year. Otherwise, Astrid was his usual companion.

Warren is a huge public propoenent of higher taxes for the wealthy -- but interestingly, he takes a lot of actions to avoid the paying of taxes himself. He has spoken out often and been quoted a lot of being strongly in favor of inheritance taxes, but again, he has transferred many millions to his children using foundations and other mechanisms already and plans to make it a "mere 10%" in the end, constituting a "mere 6 Billion". Apparently, consistency isn't an issue for a liberal no matter how rich you are. I found it especially interesting that he is transferring the remainder of his 60 Billion to the Gates foundation to be spent "as efficiently and well as possible". So why not the US Government? Warren has been outspoken on the need for higher taxes for "the wealthy" -- I assume he MUST believe that those taxes would be well and efficiently spent? Apparently when it comes to taxation the rhetoric and the actions just don't match up even for as succesful, intelligent, and generally admirable a liberal as Buffett. "Do as I say, not as I do".

Buffett is a great study in how captialism allows brilliant people to allocate resources in ways that government would NEVER think of that result in more jobs, stronger business, more money, and while those folks doing there jobs, better allocation of capital for ALL. While guys like Warren and Bill Gates are exceedingly wealthy it is extremely easy to see how they have created far more wealth than they have consumed, and as they allocate that wealth back into the good of all as they get to the end of their lives, they will do even more good. It is a shame that they can't understand that the same principles that have worked so well for them can and do work on a smaller scale for people of far lower wealth, so they continue to espouse political solutions that are likely to kill that golden genie of economic growth that allowed them to amass their great fortunes.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Let's Worry About the President Again!

The Associated Press: Blagojevich questioning takes up Obama's time

Hey, imagine this, the President's time is precious! What a concept! The last time I recall this it was when Slick Willie was defending the Presidential right to oral sex by the underling of his choice in the oval office! The press was mighty concerned then as well!! What a shame to be taking up the mans time when it might be better spent with an adoring big haired intern of his choice providing "personal office service".

Now we have the good Saint BO from the political fever swamp of IL, and horror of horrors, somebody thinks that just because your political career was spawned in a swamp, you may have gotten just a wee bit of muck on you. How could they think such a thing! The very concept--why has the MSM says here, BO has SAID that "he and his folks are clean"! Why, what more could one possibly want?

Now somehow I don't recall exactly the same sort of concern for Bush's time. Let's see -- Valerie Plame affair, which never even came close to the oval office? I don't recall much concern over that consuming Presidential time with meaningless questions? Why, I'm sure that Bush even said that he wasn't involved -- now the press was pretty quick to get worried about his time being taken up once he said that, right?

Nice to see the press all concerned that the poor President elect can "keep focus"--would be nicer if there was just a tiny bit of such concern for the POSITION rather than just for "the president of the MSM's choice".

The "Southern Strategy"

Here we have a standard little "assertion that requires no support" from the NYT recent Nobel Prize winning "economist".
The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves.Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.
Let's look at a little number relative to the Civil Rights act of 1964:

The original House version:
  • Democratic Party: 152-96   (61%-39%)
  • Republican Party: 138-34   (80%-20%)
The Senate version:
  • Democratic Party: 46-21   (69%-31%)
  • Republican Party: 27-6   (82%-18%)
Now I know that the MSM constantly harps about the "fact" of "Nixon's Southern Strategy", with the not very subtle message being claim that the "Republican party was nothing but a bunch of racists", but one would think that a short look at the numbers above might indicate that the idea that the Democrat party, the party that did all it could to allow slavery to live on in the 1800's and spent the 100 years from 1865-1965 as the party of Jim Crow wasn't exactly "individually responsible for the voting rights act".

Yes, the Democrats had huge majorities in both houses of congress, but it was really REPUBLICAN VOTES that allowed this to happen. The DEMOCRATS from the south were filibustering, and 46 votes isn't going to break a filibuster! 82% voting for the act is a lot better than 69%! One might have some idea that the party that fought the bill tooth and nail and had 30% of it's members in the Senate voting against it might be seen as less than "a champion of the black man in America"--but one would not have taken the media and general lack of public interest in critical thought into consideration. Something repeated enough times tends to become true to most people, so the idea that Republicans are some sort of racists has become "truth" to many Americans.

So Krugman feels that the worm has turned--ding dong, the evil Republicans are dead, long live king BO! Hopefully we have entered an era where facts are no longer a factor and we can all prosper by being bailed out!