Friday, February 26, 2010

Free Bela!!!

Bela Karolyi WAS RIGHT!!!

Bob Costas, Communist apologist, shoulda' let Bela be Bela!!!

"Crippling" Sanctions Too Harsh, How About "Irritating"?

In the administration's ongoing effort to raise America's standing in the world and send edifying messages to the Muslim world, the US will abandon seeking crippling sanctions on Iran for developing nuclear weapons outside of United Nations prohibitions. Henceforth all sanctions aimed at Iran will be designed to be merely "irritating."

I Called It: Productivity Over People

Back in May, I said this:

"The economy can be doing fairly well, as can the stock market, while employment can be in relatively bad shape. The Democrats drove home this point a few years back with their incessant lamentations of "jobless recovery." We can certainly have one. Looking at the landscape holisitically, the incentives for companies to invest in hiring US workers over the next couple of years are underwhelming. ... The upshot of all this is that US corporations will be struggling to maintain their level of profitability, and when they do contemplate growth the incentives are for them to invest in productivity tools rather than people or to invest in workers abroad rather than domestically.

Ford Motor today: "Ford Plans $155 Million Plant Upgrade, No New Hiring"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Obama Needs Finance 101

President Obama doesn't understand what insurance is (maybe he learned about it from Anthony Weiner). POTUS thinks that catatrophic insurance isn't really insurance but that comprehensive insurance is. He's 180 degrees wrong. Comprehensive insurance is actually 'pre-paid healthcare consumption', where you send your money to an insurance company and they hold on to it until you get medical services and then they pay for it. (Note, this is imbedded in liberal thinking, their tax rebate logic worked like this - you work, we tax you, we give you some money back and that creates jobs, but if we never take the money in the first place, well, that doesn't create jobs.) But I digress...catastrophic insurance is real insurance, just like life insurance (term life), auto insurance, fire insurance, etc.

So here again I am faced with the choice of how to interpret this - either Obama is dumb or lying. Clearly he is not dumb, so I have to recast my choices he's lying or he's "an intelligent liberal" meaning, "it's not that he doesn't know anything, he knows alot in fact, but that what he knows is wrong." Hard to say, it's a toss up.

UPDATE: But he is the President, got that, he's the President.

UPPDATE: Wow, if Wolf Blitzer and David "Kennedy Seat" Gergen are saying the Republicans brought their A-game, you can bet it is a rout and Pelosi & Reid and Obama are going to be steamed...

UPPPDATE: Apparently The One didn't like getting schooled by Paul Ryan, so he treated us the now infamous Lightworker Middle Finger!

Hey Ally, Screw You

Our biggest, longest standing ally, who takes the issue seriously enough to have fought a war once...and we put a stick in their eye. Not the first time. Obama is deepening his claim to be running a subversive administration.

UPDATE: Reader DW Drang may be on to something...

UPPDATE: And the Brits are rightly and predictably steamed. They don't deserve this and it sucks, but but but...

Our "Great Depression II" Scorecard


Brief: Another U.S.-China Trade Spat
Stratfor Today »-->February 25, 2010
Applying STRATFOR analysis to breaking news
China’s Ministry of Commerce accused the United States of “abusing its own trade relief measures” on Feb. 25, in response to a U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision on Feb. 24 to impose preliminary countervailing duties ranging from 11-13 percent on carbon and alloy pipes. The U.S. Commerce Department claims the duties will counteract the low prices of the pipes due to government subsidies that the Chinese producers receive. It is also considering adding stiffer anti-dumping duties. China and the United States have seen a rise in trade disputes since spring 2009 in the rocky global economic environment, many of which have been referred to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Among numerous complaints, China has launched investigations into imports of U.S. car parts, has made a preliminary ruling against U.S. chemical fibers and has imposed anti-dumping duties of 43 to 105 percent on U.S. chicken products; while the United States has imposed tariffs of 35 percent on Chinese-made tires, duties of 10-16 percent on Chinese steel piping, tariffs and additional duties on Chinese wire-decking, and anti-dumping duties on Chinese ribbons. These conditions will persist, as China continues to use artificially low credit, subsidies and rebates to help its exporters, and the United States strives to protect its ailing manufacturing sector from Chinese competition. But both sides have so far given warning shots and sought to avoid escalation into a full trade war.

Remember, by wide consensus among economists and historians, the Great Depression was deepened and prolonged by four principal policy mistakes:
  • Contraction of the money supply
  • Protectionism
  • Massive Regulation
  • Higher Taxes

We are currently going 1 for 4 on not repeating these mistakes...actually, I'm going to be generous and call it 1.5 for 4 because cap-and-trade and healthcare look mighty wounded, if not dead, maybe 1.25 as Dodd's financial regualtion reform looks to be moving again. Let's hope that is enough, but I'd sleep better if we were solidly batting above .500 on this.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taste the Gloaty Goodness

Not only am I not above gloating, I actually LOVE ME a good gloat. And today WSJ Op-Ed piece by John Yoo was especially gloatalicious.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

51 Votes? Make Our Day.

Super(Short)Capitalist Robert Reich says do it with 51 votes. Yes, I agree. Ram it through. Democrats will get slaughtered in November and almost no Americans will be subject to the actually legislation as 1) states enact federalist inspired challenges and the solution gets gummed up in the courts for years, and 2) individual citizens launch constitutional challenges to the insurance mandate, 3) Republicans eventually repeal or gut the legislation. So Democrats get sent to oblivion and we don't have to actually live with the bill. Pretty good trade. Although, the constitutional crisis that we will see by virtue of #1 won't be milk and cookies.

Just How F**ked Up Are the Greeks?

This f**ked up..."The EU in these talks has also asked Athens to cut one of two extra months of pay that public-sector workers now get over and above their normal 12-month salary—a move the government is resisting, according to the people." (See here.)

Man is that nuts. Those Greeks. Only they would think of refusing to stop paying people for not working while bankruptcy looms. I mean, really, who would engage in such stupidity. Um, oh wait...

Bond Market Vigilantes to Supplement Job Market Compatriots

Bill Clinton's legislative agenda famously ran up against the forces dubbed the "bond market vigilantes." I posited that Barack Obama's agenda would run up against another potent force - a force that politicians consistently, and erroneously, think they can influence - that I dubbed the "job market vigilantes" (Here is the latest on the theme). Heretofore the job market vigilantes have done yeoman's work in building up a wall against the socialist regulatory assault coming from Washington DC and have kept Obama's agenda at bay. But it is not enough. With an administration, abetted by a hard left Congress, hell-bent on using an economic panic to reorder the US economy drastically and irreparably in favor of the state over private firms and individuals, we need more than the job market vigilantes. We need them and we need the return of the bond market vigilantes. Fortunately it looks like they are stirring, as witnessed by a few not so stellar treasury auctions of late. While this administration is showing no signs of retreating from its agenda in the face of overwhelming disapproval, disapprobation even, a strong showing by the bond market vigilantes ought to substantially drive up the cost of continuing our profligate fiscal policy. A 200 basis point whacking will drastically change the CBO scoring of spending proposals coming out of the Great Sausage Factory and highlight to the American public the direct effects of runaway spending. Frankly, if the global economy weren't in such tenuous shape, I believe the vigilantes would already be here in full force, but the fagility and fear that currently persist keeps them relatively muted. In time though, they will arrive...and loudly. It can't come soon enough.

Friday, February 12, 2010

If You're Going to the Olympics

If any of my readers are going to be in Vancouver or environs for the Olympics, make sure to relax and enjoy a (or several) fine malt beverage(s) from Big Rock Brewery. While there are many fine craft brews in Canada, only Big Rock has publicly traded shares held in the Baseball tykes' college fund. So do it for the kids!!

Tea Party: Wider and Deeper Than You Know

This is a post that deserves alot more space and time than I have available to give it, but I want to addess the notion that the Tea Party movement represents an impetuous, childlike political tantrum, as the MSM tends to depict it. While there are a few attempts in the MSM to understand this movement in a serious way, most of the MSM is condescendingly dismissive. Here is a thought though. The Tea Party is simply a logical development given firmly in-place trends and was actually predictable with a little creativity. If you were adept at reading trends and extrapolating from events, the emergence of the Tea Party movement is not exactly far-fetched. Combine the thoroughly observable resurgence of interest in the Founding Era with the increasingly out-of-touch fiscal and social policy depredations of the political elite, and you have a recipe for exactly what we are seeing now across our politcal landscape. This City Journal article is from 1999 and it illuminates a rebirth of interest in the Founding Era. Furthermore, you can rattle off a list of bestselling books of the last few years that center on the founding era and its main actors (this, this, this, this, and this for example). It seems that for over a decade Americans have been getting back in touch with the ideas that animated the American Revolution and the people that drove it forward. Was it any wonder that the more people began to refocus and relearn the history of our founding that they would tend to see tyranny in large government more acutely, feel a desire to return to basic principles of limited government, and begin to demand more accountability from their political representatives? Hardly. If you accept this analysis it would seem that the intensity of the feeling behind the movement has some length behind it rather than being fleeting, and intellectual ground underneath the Tea Party movement is firm and coherent rather than muddled and haphazard. The conclusion then is that if you are on the wrong side of this movement, you should be very very concerned, afraid, whatever...but you should not be dismissive.

Changes Coming to CEA?

Greg Mankiw notes that the Council of Economic Advisors, in the absence of good results, is ballyhooing what great people work there. This seems like a) typical government/academic focus on process over result, b) self-congratulatory rubbish, or c) the bittersweet onset of preemptive nostalgia of a team that is about to be broken up. I'm guessing it's c (although this is not exactly like breaking up the Yankees after 2001). Romer can't hang on much longer. She has to be bitter that her integrity was forced through the meatgrinder of DC politics, but much of that is her own fault.

UPDATE: I failed to take a peek at the report that Mankiw cites, but via the guys at Say Anything, who never let anything slip by, I checked out the WaPo's coverage. You will rarely see a more stark admission of failure and defeatism than the notion that high unemployment is going to be a "fact of life" for the remainder of Obama's term. This is an admission the the now $860 billion stimulus was a failure, but also, more disturbingly, that Obama's team are flummoxed as to what to do now. Obama has three more years but they are resigned to high unemployment. They admit to no ability to improve the employment outlook. Stunning really. Frankly, I could give them just three or four policies that would unleash employment like a rocketship, but they are throwing in the towel. Why? (Australia is adding lots of jobs, Canada is creating jobs, what is wrong with us?) Are they wearing idealogical blinders and couldn't possibly fathom the role that tax cuts and deregulation might play or do they consider these not feasible politically? Now the most important question, if Obama's economic team doesn't think they can improve the employment picture, why don't they all resign so a new team can try...or why doesn't the Obama administration stand down and let someone else take over economic policy-making?

UPDATE: Wow, do I feel bad for Romer, she looks awful. Hey out of work Americans - you can now pay rent and put food on the table with something called "trajectory." Look at all that trajectory!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chris Christie and Angie Merkel: Fiscal Heroes?

Politics is mostly posturing, so it is never good to count your chickens before they hatch, but I'm going out on a limb to make an early call declaring the emergence of two fiscal heroes, two leaders who are answering the need for true leadership in taking us towards fiscal sanity. Our emerging heroes? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He is saying, the way out of NJ's mess is to slash spending and to resist raising taxes. She is saying that Greece ought to get its act together and not look to the German tax payer to subsidize its sclerotic corrupt socialist nonsense. It's early days, but these are the right stances. Let's hope these two can hold to it and be an example to current leaders as well as a whole new generation of leaders.

Time to Play "What If Bush Did It"

What has fast become the most boring game ever in conservative/libertarian circles? The "If Bush Did It" Game. That's the game where you point out all the stuff that Obama is doing that if Bush had done would have sent lefties into fits of apoplexy over de facto Gestapo tactics tampling our cherished constitutional rights. It's a boring game now, but let's play away...hey, what if Bush did this and said "No reasonable expectation of privacy."

Whew that was fun. Tomorrow we'll play "Remember when Nancy Pelosi Said...?"

Hmm Hmm Hmm, Donny Baseball

The New Messiah, the Lightworker (yeah, remember that), the "some sort of a God", the "greatest President we've ever had" after only a year, the healer of the Planet, the Man the Children Sing Songs About is even in the polls in a head to head matchup in 2012 with,

If I win in 2012, I want a "Hmm Hmm" song about me...

Hmm, hmm, hmm
Donny Donny Baseball
He said we must all get back to basics
To make this Country strong again
Hmm, hmm, hmm
Donny Donny Baseball

He said we must work hard today
Not buy things for which we cannot pay
Hmm, hmm, hmm...

Brazil Trips Falls, Finds Oil

Brazil has just found more oil. Not alot, 25 million barrels. But what makes this story interesting is that this 25 million barrels was easy. In layman's terms they found this oil with one hand tied behind their back, "like it was nuthin' ". Usually where there is some easy oil, there is also alot of hard oil, and thanks to technology hard oil ain't so hard anymore.

Constitutional Crisis Here We Come

There's one prediction (ObamaCare) of mine that I don't want to get right, but it is not looking good. (Good for my prediction, but bad for Americans)

Put this together with this, and I've nailed it. Constitutional crisis here we come.

Cafe Hayek Anticipates Rampant Fallacy Commission

Russ Roberts sends out a call to be on the lookout for instances of the "broken window fallacy" in the media. For the Baseball household the broken window fallacy is really the "fallen tree fallacy". The dense snow-pack weighing down the branches was too much for a 30-foot tall Cypress, and now $200 of Baseball family resources will go to a tree removal enterprise that might have gone to a local wine merchant, toy store, or ladies apparel concern.

Teabagger Slur is...Ageist

This is very interesting. This is something I had observed, but didn't ponder. I actually get all my email blast Tea Party updates and rallying cries from two guys I know, both are over 60.

So if "Professor" can be racist, I think "Teabagger" can surely be ageist.

UPDATE: Check out the picture. I don't see anybody under 35. This is "Rock the Vote" without the adolescence.

Today We Cross Over into Farce

One of candidate Obama's most visible (oft-repeated because the nation felt it in its bones that he would be a tax-hiker) campaign promises was that he would not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 per annum. Of course this was a lie, but the lie needs a bit of transformation for it not to be seen as such a nakedly transparent lie. He laid the groundwork here. Now he's "agnostic" about those tax hikes. A promise central to his he's agnostic. Lovely. This is the oldest trick in the book - how to renege on a no tax hike pledge - talk deficit. 'I didn't renege on my pledge, I was forced to deal with the deficit.' And what a deficit it is given the brazenly irresponsible budget Obama has just proposed. Of course there is a huge deficit, because he'll spend money like this nation has never seen, and now he can plausibly raise those taxes. However, in today's age where any person can read the federal budget online and the MSM can't control the message, nobody is fooled. If Obama was interested in keeping that pledge, his budget would have been vastly different, so his chin-stroking deficit concern is laughable.

Oh, and here is another corker...he's a "fierce advocate" of business. All but possibly twelve businessmen in the country are howling right now. The overwhelming opinion in the business community about the President ranges from disappointment to fear, from frustration to loathing. Maybe that is why businesses are hoarding cash. Businesses have been driven into the bunkers, and I've even had some businesspeople tell me they won't hire until after the Democrats (more accurately, these Democrats) take electoral losses.

...and then there is this.

On today's evidence, Obama seems to have gone from tragedy to farce.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Audi's Message: Teabaggers Suck...????

I'll have to go back and freshen up on my geography. Apparently there is a place called Teabagger America. Didn't know that. It must be somewhere off to the side of Elitist Jerkoff America, dispatches from which can be found here, where people a) take a car commercial too seriously and b) strain and contort to misread the message. Apparently, the message of Audi's commercial is that "living more sustainably is in fact the moral thing to do" and Audi can, blessedly, help you do it. Interesting. Why show a draconian green police state then as the foil? Why not show lush scenery of clean, unspoiled nature with cleaner air and shiny happy everything? After all, don't you get people to embrace a higher good by appealing to their better angels rather than threatening them with harsh enforcement mechanisms? Remember, it takes a constant struggle to see what is right in front of our noses, and the denizens of Elitist Jerkoff America are well-known to avoid that struggle. The message of that Audi commercial was clear as day: buy an Audi and you get to cut the line (literally in the commercial), you get a pass, you get absolved from environmental original sin while all the other peons have their freedoms restricted and lives disrupted because they haven't chosen as righteously as you. This is exactly how liberals think and this is exactly what Audi was targeting - rich liberals who spend their money in such a way as to feel righteous and absolved and who, frankly, don't give a rat's tookus about the freedoms of the broader populace. Audi offerred an invitation to feel special and have special privileges if only the proper stance is taken, which is the essence of modern liberal progressivism. This ad was not intended to get some plumber in Paducah to trade in his pickup truck for an Audi, it was to get some middle/upper class liberals to buy an Audi over, say, a BWM or a Lexus. They apparently don't know much about Marketing in Elitist Jerkoff America either.

Oh, and what does all this have to do with the Tea Party movement? Who knows. It appears, however, to be a requirement of citizenship in Elitist Jerkoff America to take incongruant jabs at people who endeavor to protect their liberties.

One Day More

Tomorrow is February 11th, the anniversary of the Khomeinist seizure of power in Iran. It seems the world is set to witness a spectacle of historical import there. The Green movement hasn't erupted in a few weeks, since the the funeral of Montazeri, and its leaders are encouraging nationwide protests tomorrow. Likewise the regime is "thugging up" for a massive confrontation. It's a real world example of that tense, pre-revolutionary moment, in which both sides and the world wait and anticipate, perfectfully captured in the brilliant score to Les Miserables. In "One Day More" the revolutionaries ponder the great future of a world remade:

"One day to a new beginning,
Raise the flag of freedom high!
Every man will be a king.
Every man will be a king.
There's a new world for the winning.
There's a new world to be won."

While the arm of the state, Javert, bolsters his confidence:

"One day more till revolution,
We will nip it in the bud!
We'll be ready for these schoolboys,
They will wet themselves with blood!"

This article by Amir Taheri sums up nicely the current state of affairs as we await tomorrow's events. One can only admire the brave, freedom-seeking Iranian people and pray for their eventual triumph over tyranny, and likewise loathe Khamenei & Ahmadinejad and hope they are relegated to history's dustbin. There is no ambiguity as to the moral calculus here.

As for our own selfish purposes, the geopolitical question, this could be our last chance to have the world's most pressing geopolitical threat neutralized with a silver bullet, which points up what a monumental blunder President Obama's past fumbling and current silence represents. Prior to June of last year, Iran had been a long-standing intractable situation hurtling toward a resolution via one of two terrible options - a fanatical, acopalyptic regime armed with nuclear weapons or a military strike of uncertain effectiveness and unpredictable consequences. To the extent that this global problem had a silver bullet, it arrived in June with the fraudulent presidential election that ignited popular resentment and unleashed months of steady, widespread protest. A regime change from within that moved Iran from a fanatical, West-loathing regime to a liberated, democratic society desirous of engagement with the modern world would have been a rare miracle, a moral and geopolitical win-win for the ages. And President Obama did nothing and said nothing. To make it that much more inexcusable, he failed not because he just missed something or misread the situation, he did nothing and said nothing because his approach rested on the arrogance that he was unique in this world, that he alone possessed the ability to resolve the situation where decades of efforts have previously failed. Hence the power, prestige and moral exmaple of the United States of America is out of the game. The Iranians have only themselves and we can only wish them the best and pray for them. And so, one last line from Les Miserables:

"Tomorrow will discover what our God in Heaven has in store.
One more dawn. One more day. One day more!"

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Let Greece Fail

Yes. Fail. Default. Whatever.

The subject is a tad complex and I'm not going to rehash the intricacies here, but if you are reading this, you probably already know a thing or two about global finance and/or central banking. The key point is this: Greece is the tip of the iceberg. The debt crisis will balloon out of control if monetary authorities don't hold fiscal actors to account. The bond market too. The bond market must make it so that these political chumps don't take perpetual debt rolling as a given. If allowed to stand there at the edge of abyss by the EU central banking authorities and the bond market, the politicians will have to wake up. Greece is the perfect test case to send this message too. It's puny. It'll be a mere bump in the road. Italy and Spain will be much bigger trouble if we travel down this road with them. California too. If Greece and Portugal can cause this kind of a headache, what is gonna happen when California hits the wall? Better to send the signal that sovereign borrowers are on their own and have to figure their own problems out with Greece now than with somebody bigger later. Greece is the perfect sacrificial lamb. This is very akin to Bear Stearns and Lehman. If we had just let Bear fail, perhaps Dick Fuld & Co. would have got the message and had time to get financial religion.

Closer to home, I think this gets it right. Personally I welcome our new double AA future.

UPDATE: Dan Mitchell agrees.

Socialism Rocks On!

Chalk up another achievement for Socialism! Electrical emergency in oil-rich Venezuela!

Venezuela: Chavez Declares Electrical Emergency
Stratfor Today »-->February 9, 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared a countrywide electricity emergency on Feb. 8, Globovision reported. The decree announced the creation of a state commission for the electrical sector comprising the ministers for Energy and Petroleum, Electrical Energy, Finance and Planning, and Mining and Basic Industries. Vice President Elias Jaua will coordinate the commission.

C'mon Hugo, you're still just a piker. A real socialist could bring about FAMINE!!

Very Best of Hands

Hey guess what? Corrupt minor NJ machine politician who was appointed to the US Senate does not elevate his behavior when attaining the upper chamber. Who'da thunk it!
Lament: The country is in the very best of hands.

One point I've wondered. What were Dems thinking appointing Menendez to the leadership of DSCC? This guy had a fairly typically corrupt run as a Congressman from a gerrymandered district, only won his Senate seat by virtue of incumbent advantage and a tidal wave of Democratic momentum in 2006, and has had ethics violations hanging over him. Who was the genius who said, "Yeah, I want that guy recruiting Senate candidates!" when the nation is clearly sick of the political class and on the verge of a small scale revolt. Did he recruit Marcia Coakley?
Consolation: The Democrats are in the very best of hands.


OK, fine. But then who were Bush's critics helping?

Monday, February 08, 2010

When He Hears 38%, He Doesn't Think 62%, He Thinks, Well, 38%

The well-regarded former CEO of my former employer once said in a speech to us peons, "We have 72% market share. That's nice, but when I hear 72%, I immediately think 28%." Seems Obama got this one reversed. When presented with his numbers, he didn't reflexively focus on the opportunity set, he seems to have tried to alienate what numbers he did have in his corner.

The President's published poll numbers on "handling the deficit" were 38% back in September and yet he still put out this budget?!?! It's official, the guy doesn't care; which is to say that he doesn't care about you if you don't agree with him. It's full speed ahead to a transformed America as per his unabashedly lefty vision or die tryin'.

In a way it's kinda refreshing to see such indifference to the polls. With Bush, it was win the Iraq War come hell or high water, with Big O, it's create a cradle to grave entitlement state come hell or high water. Problem is I don't want to live in a cradle to grave entitlement state, so that "refreshing" bit wears off in about a nano-second.

Business View of Political Landscape

As per usual, the NY Times is slow on the uptake (or slow to buck the idealogical narrative) and is just now getting around to mentioning big business's severe case of "buyer's remorse" over its 2008 support of candidate Obama. I first gave my readers the official diagnosis of BR back in April '09 and have chronicled it steadily since then. The NY Times focuses in on Wall Street, but I can assure you that the remorse is much more intense in other industries. Wall Street is a fickle crowd, they place bets on politicians the way they place bets on investments, so the Dems can certainly win the industry back, but it'll be hard and this spells a big problem. Other business sectors are likely lost for good, they see a failed bet as a failed bet - you suck up losses and move on. No campaign cash is a problem, but no business support takes a big chunk of the coalition that put Obama over the top in 2008 out of the picture. In fact, business is likely to gravitate aggressively to a 2012 candidate who understands the importance of the business environment to national well-being. On a side note, a guy who could very well play the leading role, if not just a leading role, on the Romney economic team takes to the pages of WSJ today to talk deficit reduction, probably the winningest theme for the Republicans going into 2010 and beyond.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Unsustainable, That's What You Are

We know that Mark Steyn reads Donny Baseball. Turns out I am his secret straight man. I go off on unsustainable and he puts it to Natalie Cole...

I'm waiting for Mark to invite me to take this on the road with him like O'Reilly and Beck.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Forward to the Past!!

The academy has done its job well. A majority of Democrats and an overwhelming majority of liberals view Socialism positively. In an ironic note to this data release, Russian and Polish officials are getting together just now to memorialize and apologize (the Russians are apologizing) for one of Socialism's relatively minor atrocities, which is a fitting example of how Socialism always ends, in death. Yet I would wager that a similar numerical majority of professors working in the modern American university probably think that Stalin was a swell guy. My neighbor's kid came back from college and recounted a course and a professor that attempted to leave just that impression. The kid of course had never heard of the Katyn Forest, a piker of an atrocity among Stalin's total handiwork. In a further irony, what these progressive liberals don't know is that in Socialist/Communist systems, guess who gets marched off to the gas chamber or the killing fields first? Yeah, that's right...intellectuals. Sure the leaders of socialist movements are "educated" too (in a sense) but are usually sociopathic on top of it, so unless you are part of the power-mad, sociopathic, educated vanguard willing to murder en masse to further the revolution, well, you're toast. Pol Pot slaughtered folks that wore eye-glasses, as it was a rough proxy for membership in an educated class that just may cry foul over the depradations of "the revolution." If we ever had a Stalinesque political leader here in the US, you can be pretty sure that the busiest killing fields would be located on the outskirts of places like Cambridge, Madison, Berkeley, New Haven, and Chapel Hill. These glaring blindnesses or misunderstandings of history is why history gets repeated and why the same tragedies befall the human race over and over. Further evidence that "educated" doesn't mean "smart" and "intellectual" doesn't mean "intelligent".

If disdain for socialism is far right, welcome the label and relish in it. History is on your side. Morality is on your side.

Recommended reading for this depressingly large number of Democrats and liberals.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Has An Athlete Ever Acted So Badly?

Athletes can do alot of things without much social approbation...commit adultery with a small army of women, gamble away millions, frequent strip clubs, pull guns on each other in practice, take illegal drugs, beat their wives, even have dogs fight to the death. But man alive, if you really want to get people worked up into a serious lather, broadcast a commercial on TV that argues your mother was perhaps, just perhaps, courageous and noble to take you to term and give birth to you in the face of adversity (and against the advice of the world renown, crackerjack Filipino healthcare industry in the golden age of medicine that was the 1970s no less). Yeah, that is some seriously sinister and evil stuff. Who the fuck does this Tebow guy think he is? What message is he sending to our youth?

OK, lest you think I am brilliant and a leading light of social commentary in America today, I have to admit that the above is not at all my analysis. I ripped it off. From here. Click and watch it all.

Note to readers: Ignore everything I say here, because I am a PRO-LIFE ZEALOT! (If Glenn Reynolds can be a "conservative blogger", then, heck, I guess I can be a pro-life zealot. This is kinda my version of "happily married gay couples with a house full of semi-automatic weapons". Does. Not. Compute. To. Liberal/progressive. Cranium. Head about to explode...3...2...1...splat!

Then & Now

Then: In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

Now: In the future, everyone will make a Hitler YouTube clip.

It Is a Cruel Cruel World

So you're a good-hearted, environmentally-conscious, lefty kinda want to help save the world by doing your part. So you pay an extra $4000 for a car to get a Prius because you want to stop global warming. It'll take nine years for that investment to pay off, but who cares, there is more to good global citizenship than dollars and cents. Secretly though you actually like having more money than less money (sshhh! don't tell the gang at the coffee house!), and relish the prospect of a quick payback because Barack Obama is in the White House and he's going to ban drilling for oil in US waters and gas is going to skyrocket. You are on the road to not just environmental righteousness but savvy financial geniusdom as well. You are awesome and everyone is gonna have to admit and bow to your awesomeness! Awesome!

That was one year ago. Since then it turns out that the global warming scientists were cheating and lying. There may not even be global warming. There certainly isn't going to be any global policy achievements to reduce it, so your Prius is a worthless bust when it comes to doing something for the environment. Well, at least the impending scarcity of oil is going to make that $4000 payback come sooner, right? Maybe not since President Obama, in his first SOTU address called for more oil and gas drilling offshore. Who knows, but maybe that nine years is going to really be like, twelve. Oh, and you may have faulty brakes...

Chavez Invents New Basis for Legitimacy

Is increasingly stupid and desperate-sounding rhetoric a sign that Hugo Chavez is getting scared? Latest wisdom from El Commandante: The Russians want me to rule Venezuela.

Venezuela: Chavez Says Other Nations Want Him In Power
Stratfor Today »-->February 4, 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Feb. 4 that Russia and other nations with major investments in Venezuela want him to continue in power, Globovision reported. Chavez said that if the opposition returned to power, oil in the Orinoco Belt would belong to the United States.

That's rich. The Russians! Um, er, what about the people of, say, Venezuela? Do they factor in?

Orwellian Reality: Unsustainable = Will Clearly Be Sustained

We need a new word to replace "unsustainable" in speaking of our government's fiscal policy. Our current fiscal path is unsustainable to be sure, but, aside from stating to grate, the word "unsustainable" is perversely providing cover for the type of behavior that it is supposed to check. Whereas ordinarily the goal of pointing out the unsustainability of something is to get the object of your concerns to cease to sustain the dangerous behavior in question, the word has come to be a feeble bona fides for a basic level of connectedness to reality. One can, as most all politicians seem to be doing, agree to the assessment of "unsustainable" to establish membership in the world of the sane and then go back to sustaining the status quo. In the modern political lexicon "unsustainable" now means, "we have more time until the implosion." This is how you can speak of a drug addiction as unsustainable if it is somebody else's drug addiction, but if it is your teenage child's drug addiction then unsustainable takes on its normal meaning, aka "this must stop and I will make it stop, now." The critical difference in the two meanings is whether one cares about the implosion or not. A loving parent cannot countenance the disastrous, rock bottom situation that a child will eventually arrive at if a drug addiction is allowed to persist, so unsustainable means, "shall not be sustained." A left-wing government's concern over the eventual bankruptcy of a free-market, capitalist nation is slight, perhaps even desired. But there are elections, so a nod is made to "unsustainable" so voters can be lulled into thinking "he gets it," but the behavior somehow persists. When enough people view our government's spending habits as that loving parent, things will stop, otherwise things will hurtle along unsustainably until we hit the wall and we'll look back and say "I guess we were right, this all was unsustainable, why didn't we do anything about it?" Let me clue you in folks, there is no joy in being correct and yet bankrupt.

We need a new Congress to be sure, but first we need a new word. Personally, I prefer two words - "f**king insane." Until we ditch "unsustainable" and start talking about government spending in new terms - like "f**cking insane" - we won't get any traction.

Academic Pursuits

In a very strange post indeed, Greg Mankiw highlights ongoing lamentations among academic economists over cap-and-trade legislation. Who says modern intellectuals have evolved from the bad old days of arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? Haven't these guys heard the news - there is no more underlying fundamental need for cap and trade legislation, so why waste time debating its finer points? It seems cap-and-trade mechanisms have a rare quality of arcane interest to academics, and I guess it may even be pretty interesting if I thought about it enough, but I don't because cap-and-trade is a policy solution to a non-problem (that is getting more non-problemy as we speak).

Not Even the Smallest Violin...No Damn Violin

I've said it before (twice) but it bears repeating: "Hey Europe, tough titties."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

File Under: Be Careful What You Wish For

You wanted smaller Wall St. bonuses...well, you got 'em! So tack on another $750 million to the black hole that is New York State's budget deficit.

Also, another I told ya' so...

Global Finance Heh

You've heard of the BRICs. Now meet the PIIGS...

"The Portuguese government failed to find sufficient investor interest in its bonds on Feb. 3, with only 300 million euros ($417 million) of its 12-month bonds sold out of an expected 500 million euro bond offering. The interest that Portugal will have to pay on the bonds was 1.38 percent, compared to 0.93 percent at a Jan. 20 auction. The increase in the cost of financing debt indicates investor skepticism toward Portuguese debt. This follows Portugal’s Jan. 25 budget announcement in which Lisbon failed to convince credit rating agencies — specifically Fitch and Moody’s — that its austerity measures were sufficient to cut its budget deficit. Furthermore, Portugal’s 2009 budget deficit was 9.3 percent of gross domestic product — higher than the forecast 8.5 percent — and Lisbon will only be able to reduce the deficit by 1 percent in 2010. The news of a poor bond sale from Portugal follow some positive news from Greece, where a semblance of investor confidence returned on Feb. 3 — interest on government bonds fell to 6.73, after hitting a high of 7.16 on Jan. 28 — due to positive comments from the EU Commission regarding the Greek budget austerity plan. The dire news from Portugal, however, indicates that investors still lack confidence in the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) as a group. A sufficiently negative perception of PIIGS economies could force financing costs to skyrocket, making it difficult for Eurozone’s peripheral states to finance their ballooning budget deficits. This could force the EU to step in; rumors have swirled recently around European capitals that eurozone members are discussing the possibility of floating a eurozone-wide bonds which would then provide funding for countries in trouble. It is unclear at the moment, however, how willing Berlin is to offer such a lifeline to the PIIGS when it wants to put the onus on budgetary austerity measures instead."

Somewhere in a Boardroom in Tokyo...

"Shit, it's hard enough doing business in America wot with Jesse Jackson shaking you down, now we have to deal with this doofus LaHood!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Um, sorry about that 12 year running lie that the MMR vaccination causes autism. If you were a parent addled with fear and angst, or made a bad decision, or your life was ruined becasuse of us, we can only say, "Dude, sorry."

A lesson in not believing the "science is settled" until it is well and truly settled about ten times over. Beware the scientific absolutists.

Monday, February 01, 2010

WR Mead: Yes, Global Warming Is Dead

Wow, Walter Russell Mead agrees with me. I beat another big name pundit to the punch!

Obama Thrusts, You Parry

Well, I knew it was coming, but today we get the news. If you didn't read my handy-dandy tax guide to Obama's America, take a refresher course.

Hopefully, An Offer They Can't Refuse

Despite my education (David Brooks's sloppy analysis notwithstanding), I am a close follower of the Tea Party movement, and yet I had not heard of this. Sounds like a great idea. Let's draw up the contract and make the politicians an offer they can't refuse.

The Why of Obama?

One of my few heroes, Karol Wojtyla, was a pretty important philosopher and theologian of the late 20th century. One of his goals as a teacher and philosopher, and the goal he encouraged his students and followers to achieve, was to arrive confidently and contentedly at a state of mind best described as that "simplicity on the far side of complexity." He meant that the journey to faith, belief, piety and peace ought to be an intense searching, a rigorous philosophical navigation of the deepest questions of faith, religion and humanity, but that the end result of all this mental exertion need not be a complicated thing, some elaborate, intricate worldview. The answer could be, and usually is, quite basic. A deep searching journey is critical, but its size and scope is not to be assumed as a requirement for the result.

I believe that historians will struggle mightily for years to come to explain Obama, or more specifically why Americans elected Obama when he stands so opposed to what most Americans believe in, not just policy wise but worldview-wise. From day one it seems that Obama has been seeking to be the enemy of average Americans by stamping down economic activity with frighteningly damaging policy and rampant rhetoric of such policy in every aspect of economic life. From day one he seems to have approached Americans' security somewhere between obliviously and cavalierly. Now, after suffering a severe run of political damage because the direction that he taking this country, Obama is unbowed, steaming ahead with more of the same policy drives and rhetoric. This is a man not listening and not caring what we think. How did it come to pass that we put such a man in the White House? Shelby Steele has taken a crack. Now, via the Powerline guys, here is another interesting searching journey into this perplexing question. Yours truly has even ventured into the genesis of this twilight zonish political reality. These are important qestions to consider and ponder, important journeys to take, but afterwards I think we will arrive at that simplicity that lies at the far end of complexity - too many of our fellow citizens simultaneously suffered a debilitating brain fart.