Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Wreckovery Summer?

Q1 GDP revised downward to 1.9% « Hot Air

Seems like back in '04, the economic numbers would always come in "worse than expected" with a lot of heavy commentary, then quietly get "revised upward". Now the disappointing numbers slink in with little comment and the downward revisions are darned near state secrets.

http://money.cnn.com/2004/01/30/news/economy/gdp/index.htm there is a link to a decent example -- 4th qtr DOWN to 4.2% from 8.1% ...but just really not that good, with Democrats complaining about lack of jobs. Wow, they and the MSM seem A LOT more sanguine about some actually rotten economic numbers right now.

Back in the dim dark ages of '04, 250K+ jobs being added a month was a "jobless recovery" -- now there is a term one really doesn't hear much of in the MSM these days. Maybe that is because it is really tough to call it a "recovery" with a straight face even if you are staunchly in the tank for BO.

Oh, and GREAT NEWS!!! Before tax corporate profits are UP, but after tax they are DOWN!! Now there is something that the left really ought to be cheering about -- more money in the Feds coffers and less in the pockets of evil business and investors! That ought to teach them. Marvelous!

Our National Adolesence

Peter Pan vs. Wendy - HUMAN EVENTS

Very worth the read, good imagery.

One is reminded of "If you aren't a Democrat at 20, you don't have a heart. If you are not a Republican by 40, you don't have a brain".

 More to the point, you are still "wishing and hoping" if you are a Democrat ... or maybe "blaming and throwing a tantrum". Either way, there is "reality" -- we are born, we work hard, then we die, or there is "fantasy" -- life is one big joyful bowl of cherries completely taken care of by somebody else with nothing but never ending irresponsible "fun" for us.

Those that have moved to reality realize that actually we are created to find joy in reality, even (especially?) a reality that includes physical death and spiritual eternity. Fantasy? Well, it has the danger of going the way of Jim Morrison, John Belushi, etc ... "nothing really matters anymore". Rewards for actual success are really fun.  The fake world where "we are all special" turns out to be so fake that the prime objective of a lot of "fun" is merely escape.

Go Wendy!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A BO Defector Profile in Courage

One of Obama’s Earliest Supporters Defects | Power Line

I hope Artur Davis has a Kevlar character -- mostly the MSM will try to ignore him,  but if he sticks his head up too much, they are going to do their best to DESTROY him. Can't have a former Democrat rising start, black man leaving the Democrat Plantation on BO!!

This guy has COURAGE!!

Mittens is a Unicorn

Prove Mitt's not a unicorn, group says in satirizing 'birthers' - CNN.com

Ok, I think the unicorn theory is a bit less likely than the not born in Hawaii theory -- since even BO's official bio for his first book said he was  born in Kenya http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/05/18/Media-Refuses-Coverage-Obama-Kenya-Lit-Agency but at least both being a unicorn and not being a US citizen are dis-qualifiers for being president. Unlike the views of a commanding officer on your pilot skills 35 years earlier.

The MSM finds the idea that some group would keep pushing on a story about BO to be "completely ridiculous", however even when Dan Rather lost his job over forged documents relative to W's time as a pilot in the TX Air National Guard, the MSM took a decent shot at "fake but true". However, the constitution doesn't say that your commanding officer had to like your work in order to be president.

I realize that the MSM has the power to hammer on a story about W's guard service day in and day out and since it was almost certain to be a close election, they may well have been able to swing the tide had they found some true smoking gun of a story. It is certainly clear that they were trying hard.

Now in the case of BO, they could care less if he was born in Kenya, was a Muslim, dealt coke, pot or whatever, went to Columbia or not -- whatever. They LIKE BO ... so since he is their guy, they think anyone questioning him in any way is "silly".

This is easy to understand, I'm just surprised that more people don't.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Harvard Business vs Harvard Law

Niall Ferguson: Why Wall Street Should Win the Battle With Obama - The Daily Beast

Worth the read.

 If it wasn't for business, the Lawyers and Politicians starve just like the rest of it. FOOD is a profit!! Whining over how to divide it up at $1K an hour is law/politics.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Moon Landing Was a Hoax!

Barack Obama, Fiscal Conservative! | Power Line:

and BO is a fiscal conservative.

Sadly, this needs to be read and understood because there are people foolish enough to believe it or to just repeat it in an attempt to muddy the extremely clear.

At the core of this idiocy lies the misconception that the president sets the budget, which is of course completely untrue -- CONGRESS sets the budget, always has and always will at least until the left fully succeeds in destroying the Constitution.

Understand this fact, and both the "Reagan deficits" and the "Clinton Surpluses" become much more understandable.

The insanity of "BO as a fiscal conservative" is also fully exposed.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fauxahontis and Barry

Mark Steyn: Eternally shifting sands of Obama’s biography | obama, ever, white - Opinion - The Orange County Register
 As The Fordham Law Review reported, "Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995."
Why not? She DID submit a recipe to the "Pow Wow Chow" cookbook -- a crab dish, very authentic OK Cherokee fare!

This is a great column that covers the truly insane levels of Gatsbyesque self-creation that we have come to. BO was pretending he was from Kenya a lot longer than he was pretending he was from Hawaii!! As Fitzgerald pointed out, we are really all essentialists --  "it is the story that counts". I doubt if 1% of the people that voted for BO really care if he was born in Hawaii, Kenya or a test tube in Beijing. Something like half our population has crossed the Rubicon of post-modern social constructionist relativism where "truth" is precisely what you decide it is.

When everyone is entitled to their own truth, reality tends to be very mundane by comparison. Can we  be far from BidenWorld?

A delegation of college students visited the White House last week, and Vice President Biden told them: "You're an incredible generation. And that's not hyperbole, either. Your generation and the 9/11 generation before you are the most incredible group of Americans we have ever, ever, ever produced."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Flame for Current Plame

Remembering Valerie Plame | Power Line

The whole Plame affair was very lame ... Joe Wilson actually reported that Saddam DID try to get Yellowcake from Niger -- er, or maybe little souvenir trinkets, the OTHER export from Niger. Plame was not an undercover field agent, but rather commuted to Langley every work day.

But the MSM and the rest went all-in on the story.

As this column points out, BO outs a true double agent -- British no less, and the US MSM could care less, although the Brits and some other allies are a bit miffed. Oh, and we let Al Quaeda know a whole bunch of stuff there was no reason to spill.

It is still generally an MSM world -- if BO actually doing damaging leaks helps him get elected, SUPER. If it turns out that W didn't even have any leaks on a topic that wouldn't matter if he did in his SECOND TERM  -- well, no matter. From an MSM POV, a story taking down a Republican doesn't have to be real, timely, or true in any sense whatsoever -- "damaging" is good enough.

Politics Is a Lie, Buy Gold

RealClearPolitics - Big Lies in Politics

Excellent column.  I'm not sure how one would question the truth of this. No matter what FDR or LBJ or BO tells you, there is STILL no free lunch. The net result, inflation, so BUY GOLD ...  not a ton of gold, but some -- and some TIPs and some offshore stocks. Oh, and note to self -- get those seeds for the gun cabinet!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dimon’s Déjà Vu Debacle - NYTimes.com

Dimon’s Déjà Vu Debacle - NYTimes.com

First, speculation and hedging are part of life -- individual, corporate and government life,  like death, gravity and the passage of time, we can modulate them and work around them but we really can't regulate them.

A hedge is when you buy insurance ... or even a better analogy, when you rent rather than buy in hopes the price of houses goes down. Your profit would be the difference between the lower cost you can buy the home for and the cost of the rent, tax implications, etc. Of course if housing prices go up (what happened to Morgan), then your loss is the difference between what you could have bought the home for earlier and the eventual price you paid, PLUS the rental cost, tax implications, etc.

Speculation is what you do when you buy a home, a stock, land, or anything. It is why deflation is so scary -- for even consumables, people will wait to purchase during deflation in hopes that the priced will be lower, which can collectively lead to A LOT of waiting! Not good in a "consumer society".   If you buy something big like home/property on credit hoping it will rise in value, then you can end up being "underwater" on your loan if the price falls by more than your downpayment -- the condition home buyers found themselves in as home prices went down.

Right now we are in the biggest world wide government spending / borrowing bubble of all time, and guys like Krugman are screaming BUY!!!, while the Tea Party and to some degree Romney and Paul Ryan are saying SELL!! What is the "right answer"??

Well, historically, "what can't go on, doesn't". Wow, look, the market has blown through all projections, maybe it will just keep going up!! There is only so much land, it will ALWAYS go up in value! House prices can only rise! When things are at record highs, there is more "downside risk", at record lows, less downside risk, more upside opportunity.

Krugman will confidently tell you "Government is different, it doesn't need to obey any of the laws of supply / demand / finance / reality ... it can just "print money". That is why Confederate Currency, the Iraqi Dinar and the old Weimar Republic German Mark are in such "high value" today.  Ever hear "homes are different", "land is different", "this stock is different",  "this market is different" ??? If not, please just listen a bit harder

So, I may not have a Nobel Prize in Economics, but I'll bet that what goes up comes down -- and in cases other than buggy whips and horse shoes and of course bankrupt companies where they will never come back because of obsolescence / failure, what goes down comes back up (eventually). Energy, stocks, homes, gold, governments, labor -- will always be around, the values will just fluctuate.

"Too big to fail" ISN"T ... even in the case of government, and there is no such thing this side of heaven as "risk free". Trying to claim there is is just foolin mother nature ... and she doesn't stay fooled for long. Of course, we could go the way of Orwell's 1984, the USSR, North Korea, etc where we just define down to be up, peace to be war, love to be hate, marriage to be gay, and tell everyone that is the truth or shoot them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

NYT Explains Economic Fall and Gay Marriage in two Paragraphs

The Age of Innocence - NYTimes.com

This is one of the reasons why Europe and the United States are facing debt crises and political dysfunction at the same time. People used to believe that human depravity was self-evident and democratic self-government was fragile. Now they think depravity is nonexistent and they take self-government for granted. 
Neither the United States nor the European model will work again until we rediscover and acknowledge our own natural weaknesses and learn to police rather than lionize our impulses.
Pretty much covers it. Recognize our natures are flawed and learn to compensate -- with check/balances, religion, culture, etc. 
Unfortunately, I don't expect this enlightenment to be generally sinking in anytime soon. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Setting A New Standard for President

What was Mitt Romney like in high school (and should anyone care)? | Power Line

Or more honestly, for Republican Presidents. With W the issue of  "was he a good pilot when he was in the TX National Guard 30 years ago?" was of critical and obsessive importance to the MSM. Dan Rather lost his job working on that important issue.

For BO, the standard was "ANYTHING about his past -- college records, church he went to, his citizenship, radicals he may or may not have associated with, his drug and alcohol abuse, his statement that he had taken on the "dreams of his father" and was an anti-colonialist (and the US is now considered a "colonial power", etc were ALL "racist, off limits, and not legitimate issues". The "Dreams From My Father" book is a veritable treasure trove of oppo research, including BO reading it aloud, including passages using the "N word" and "Pussy" ...

Slick Willie established that there is no MORAL standard to occupy the presidency -- for a D. BO established that there is not standard of COMPETENCY, again, for a D. Will Americans sit and allow things that happened in HIGH SCHOOL to be a valid issue for an R? Is there NO limit to the double standard? What happens if the standards completely break down -- for BOTH parties?

Now, for Romney, his carrying of a family pet on the roof of his car, his church, and now his HS behavior ARE critical issues that are stated by the leading MSM "news" outlets as items having significant bearing on the suddenly important "character issue".

Couple things  come to mind on this front.

1). The current obsession with "bullying". When I was a kid, the mantra was "Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you". Today, it is the opposite -- children are basically raised to be thin skinned, and they are. It looks like this is a lefty fad on par with "Climate Change" at least in the short term. One can see how it fits with their mind set -- human nature is infinitely pliable, all it takes is a bit  more "re-education and state control" and we can have millions of automatons behaving exactly as we decree. Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, can wrong go ....

2). The MSM has now raised the ante on presidential character for Republicans to "stories from HS". Can junior high and grade school be far behind? Horror of horror, supposedly "Christian values family man" had a Playboy in Jr High, or looked at dirty pictures on the web. One asks if there is a limit -- no, there isn't, and it will get worse. They went out and got Clarence Thomas's video rental list, they WILL find some future Republican candidates internet surf list from Jr High.

3). I can only hope this is an "over reach". I'm starting to see the "Dreams" book material show up.The imaginary girl friend for example. Eating the dog. While the MSM will do all it can to keep a firm double standard, is that going to be possible with such a rich treasure trove of significantly unflattering anecdotes allegedly by BO's own hand just sitting there?

The Other Guys Have Issues

Lugar Defeat and End of Bipartisanship - NYTimes.com:

Human nature is so wonderfully and woefully predictable. If you write for the NYTs, you literally CAN'T SEE both sides of many issues at all. Do I really need to say anything beyond Joe Lieberman?? The Democrat party had to purge itself of a man that it ran for VP in '00. One could go on forever of the now extinct "Democrat Hawks", "Pro-Life Dems", and "Blue Dogs" that have been purged from the Democrat party as it has lurched to the left.

No, what folks at the Times pine away for are the kind of "compromises" where one side gets it's spending and the other gets it's tax cut and vice - versa ... oh, and let's put 85% of the ballooning budget on autopilot  as "entitlements" before we retire to the bar for a genial drink.

That kind of "compromise" is killing us --- it is the obese person cutting exercise AND eating more. The drunk drinking more on weekends AND during the week. This is a time for INTERVENTION, not compromise, but the left sincerely believes that spending, taxing and borrowing can A:L:L keep rolling and buying them votes forever.

So, we have a conflict -- and unlike what the NYTs thinks, BOTH SIDES have "girded their loins" in the words of Joe Biden. One side seeks to grow the US government forever, one seeks to have a nation of "limited government" as it says in the constitution. We can't have both, so there is conflict.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let Us NEVER Talk "Civility" Again!!

Carville: Wake up Democrats; you could lose - CNN.com

Why a man who knows he is running for president (who claims to know something about the American economy) would for any reason keep money in offshore accounts, I have no idea. And I know that we are going to take him out to the cornfield (like at the end of the movie "Casino") on the Ryan budget.


Ok, The "Cornfield Scene" is a merciless beating and burial in shallow grave that has been called "possibly the most difficult to watch" scene in a movie of all time". WOW, there have been A LOT of really bad beating scenes in movies ... I had to go find just that scene, and it is brutal. 


However, certainly ZERO PROBLEM with no less than Democrat Strategist James Carvelle talking about what they are going to do to Romney in the fall on the off shore accounts and the Ryan Budget. Nice imagery -- uh, saying someone is a "target" (for defeat) is supposed to not be "civil"?? Give me a BREAK!! we are all well aware that this is TOTALLY a one sided issue -- the left can do ANYTHING it wants, witness "The Assassination of George Bush". 


What Democrats seek is "unilateral rhetoric disarmament" -- when your objective is a one party Soviet style system, you have to get rid of the opposition somehow! 


The quote ought to have been: "Why would a REPUBLICAN who knows he is running for president ...:. " Kerry had houses galore, both domestic and international, and no end of "of shore" -- of course "that was owned by his wife". No story there, move along. He also kept his yacht in RI to avoid MA taxes -- no problem there, he is a Democrat, he wants OTHERS to pay high taxes!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Bubble Inevitability

The ‘folly’ of the U.S. housing bubble - The Washington Post

Good little article. Now that all the scapegoats have been herded up and duly flogged -- if not prosecuted, let's realize that we have met the enemy, and as the inimitable Pogo pointed out long ago, "he is us".
Foote, Gerardi and Willen admit that economists are no closer to explaining the U.S. house mania than they are to understanding the tulip mania in Holland almost four centuries ago. They think the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy or Fannie Mae’s interventions might have helped start the madness but can’t account for its timing or momentum. 
We can clean up the housing mess and learn from it. But even the most enlightened policy can’t guarantee it will never happen again. Folly is human nature, and you can’t regulate human nature.
As much as "progressives" believe you can regulate, educate, tax, fine, etc it away, the enemy is STILL us! ... worse, the "progressives" are at least as bad, and likely worse, since they STILL don't understand that "bubbles", "irrational exuberance", "x is ONLY going to go up in value", etc are endemic to the human creature.

Government spending / debt is just one more bubble -- the fine people of Europe decided to thumb their nose and say that "what has gone up is going to keep going up FOREVER" -- but it still won't. Reality bites -- and it cares not for the opinion of even the "wisest" man on the matter.

It Isn't the Cliff, We Gotta Hit Bottom

RealClearPolitics - Austerity as a Bridge to Nowhere

"Austerity" is here re-defined to mean "living within your means". I guess "normal living" must be defined to be continually running massive deficits and ignoring anyone who says it is "unsustainable".  ... oh, and while not covered in this particular column, it also tends to involve cutting energy production, massive taxes on the productive, huge government regulation, and bully pulpit abuse of anyone making a profit.

"Unsustainable" is used to point to anyone that thinks drilling, mining, making things at a profit, etc are good ideas. THOSE are "unsustainable" ... where massive government financial incontinence is not only "sustainable", it is good policy!!

The solution proffered? "growth". Since the election of a Socialist was cheered, I can only guess what "growth" means to this columnist.

I especially love this one:
In Britain, the economy was growing when Prime Minister David Cameron took office two years ago. Adhering to the platform of his Conservative Party, Cameron took the austerity route with a host of gloom-and-doom budget cuts. Now unemployment is rising and the economy appears to be slipping back into recession. Nice job, Tories.
I suppose 115K jobs and 2.2% positive in the US is "growth"? Oh, wait ... I'm sure any problem we have is due to the sad fact that Republicans have "held the lid" on spending to ONLY the tune of $1.5 T budget deficits -- as Krugman says, they ought to be MUCH higher! Oh, and anyone that still has a job or is making a profit ought to be taxed until after they learn to shut up after screaming loudly in pain. 


The elections in Europe show that just going over the cliff is not enough -- people need to hit the bottom with lots of blood and explosions before they wake up.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Death of a Salesman’s Dreams - NYTimes.com

Death of a Salesman’s Dreams - NYTimes.com

I don't have a lot of time to go dig into this, but this somewhat artsy column reduces "the purported death of the middle class" to basically this paragraph:
Then again, in 1949, the top marginal tax rate was 82 percent. The drop in that rate to 28 percent by 1988 helped create a stratum of people who could afford to pay high prices for everything from inflated theater tickets to health care and college tuition.
The assumptions in such a view are vast -- a few must be "income re-distribution is a PRIMARY function of Government, AND it works!".  Also,  "tax rates have little or no effect on people's motivation to make money". I especially like the last -- I'd be MUCH more inclined to look for a job to supplement my pension if it wasn't for the fact that 40-50% of money I made would go to taxes (fed, state, local, FICA, etc). Why oh why would one go to work for half of what you earn if you are already reasonably comfortable?

How about if you only got 18 cents on the dollar (the proud 82% tax rate)? Very short answer, they wouldn't. Very few people that have achieved reasonable food, shelter, clothing and very basic recreation are going to work for even 50 cents on the dollar, virtually none are going to work for 18 cents on the dollar.

In support of my way of thought, I found the following -- in a paper dedicated to pointing out the EVILS of "income inequality". Note that since 1922 the top 1% has bounced primarily between 30-40% of national wealth. The "best" for re-distribution was the wonderful '70's ... a period of economic disaster that we do seem rather intent on returning to.

Otherwise, it is what you expect -- the wealthy own the stocks, bonds and property where the rest of us work. When the economy is good, the value of American Industry (the stock market) goes up, so their percentage goes up. When the economy sucks, their valuation drops. When you wound the goose that lays the golden eggs, you get less eggs ... news at 11!

Our "elite" generally has such a lack of understanding of economics that they believe the "messages" they get from a Broadway play -- one could only hope they would direct us via Horoscopes, it would be a distinct improvement!

Table 3: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in theUnited States, 1922-2007.
 Bottom 99 percentTop 1 percent
192263.3%36.7%
192955.8%44.2%
193366.7%33.3%
193963.6%36.4%
194570.2%29.8%
194972.9%27.1%
195368.8%31.2%
196268.2%31.8%
196565.6%34.4%
196968.9%31.1%
197270.9%29.1%
197680.1%19.9%
197979.5%20.5%
198175.2%24.8%
198369.1%30.9%
198668.1%31.9%
198964.3%35.7%
199262.8%37.2%
199561.5%38.5%
199861.9%38.1%
200166.6%33.4%
200465.7%34.3%
200765.4%34.6%
Sources: 1922-1989 data from Wolff (1996). 1992-2007 data from Wolff (2010).


Note, by this chart, at least this measure of the dreaded "inequality" was WORSE during the reign of the glorious Slickster, he whom walked the halls of power with his pants around his ankles! Naturally, the media was MUCH less concerned about it in those days!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

If I Wanted America To Fail

RealClearMarkets - If I Wanted America to Fail: Free Market Agitprop With a Lesson:

The little video embedded below is worth the 5 min if you have not seen it. Note, it DOESN'T say that Progressives want America to fail -- just that many of their policies might be causing that result. "Surgery" is only surgery if it works a reasonable percentage of the time -- otherwise it is just mutilation or murder.

My view of the core problem of many liberal policies is that the ends are not only assumed to justify the means, once the means are in progress, the questioning of the means is taken as absolute disagreement on the ends. We are all in favor of clean water, but I'd hope that we all agree that extermination of mankind to achieve it would be a very bad "means".

I find the following paragraph to be right on. It seems clear, but the problem is that many liberals are purists while many conservatives are pragmatists. Liberals want "clean water" -- to the highest purity possible, and tend to not care about the cost. Conservatives are willing to make cost / benefit trade-offs, and even worse, both sides have the problem of ALWAYS using less than perfect policies -- so some of them fail. When failure happens, our very adversarial current political situation causes both sides to attempt to use the failure to snuff out the other for good.
"The questions are: Should government policies be judged by their intentions or their results? Should political leaders be judged by what they say they want to accomplish or by what actually happens after they gain the reins of power?"


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