Friday, August 26, 2011

Doug McKinnon Owes Us A Name

Check this out.

With exactly that mission in mind, an editor of a major newspaper told me: "We plan to declare war on Rick Perry and do all in our power to crush him."

There you have it. No pretense of integrity, professionalism or of unbiased news-gathering. This particular newspaper plans to use its very considerable resources to destroy the Perry campaign before it gains momentum. Period.

So an editor at a major newspaper has overtly vowed to thwart a political candidate for office? This is beyond media bias and unprofessionalism, this is fraud. If this paper makes even a slight pretense of objectivity as a foundational principle, this statement is evidence of it being a fraudulent operation. Doug McKinnon owes his readers, and the country the name of this paper, so its readership can know that what they are reading is political propaganda rather than fair journalism. Give us the name McKinnon.

US Government Harasses Iconic Business Over Foreign Law at Nobody's Request...

...and we wonder why the economy stinks???

This is precisely the type of dumb regulatory action that embodies the death-by-a-thousand-cuts economic policy of the Smartest President Ever and that is giving us this shitty economy (like this too). America is catching on to this, so you'd think that the someone somewhere in the government with a political stake - like say a President who is touting a drive to reduce stupid regulations - would put out a bulletin to avoid making this an issue by pursuing dumb regulatory enforcements. You would think, but you would be wrong. Furthermore, you would not only be wrong, but you would be wrong by a hundred country miles as this optically bad regulatory assault on an iconic American business wasn't even an enforcement of American law, but of another country's laws. OMFG!!!!! We are harassing and impeding American business based on foreign laws and not even at those country's behest. Head exploding!!!!

UPDATE: Frankly, I hope the feds expand enforcement raids on musical instruments. Musicians are enormous influences on the culture and they overwhelmingly spout collectivist, statist jibberish and puerile criticisms of right-leaning political ideology that abhors this petty tyranny. Let them reap what they sow. Let them tangibly feel the wrath of an empowered regulatory state reducing their liberty in the name of enforcing meaningless pet causes. Hand it over guitar hero!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fossil Fuel Magic: NYT Turns A Big Increase Into A Big Decrease

Recently the US Geological Survey vastly increased its estimate of technologically recoverable natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia. You may have read about it here or here. In an amazing feat of deception and biased journalism, the New York Times makes this massive increase look like a decrease and spins a pessimistic theme into the potential of this great energy resource. How did they do it? By comparing apples and oranges. The NYT buries the comparison of the USGS's new estimate with its old estimate deep in the article and draws no thematic conclusions from this development. Instead the NYT compares the new USGS estimate with the estimate of an entirely different governmental agency (EIA), assumes the other agency is the benchmark (even while stating that this agency does not have the expertise to make such an estimate), and concludes that the new USGS estimate constitutes a massive reduction.

The story here is twofold, 1) that on an apples to apples basis the Marcellus Shale's potential as a resource is more promising than previously thought, and 2) that there are overlapping government agencies looking at this energy resource and that at least one of them is ill-equipped to carry out its task. Yet, the New York Times goes to amazing lengths of deception and contortion to tell you neither of those stories in an effort to discredit the potential for Marcellus Shale gas as a major contributor to our future national energy supply.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is the Market In for a "One Term Rally"?

Savvy political observers in the blogospere like me (and even some actual paid journalists in the MSM) all knew that Obama's Bus Tour would flop and that it seemed decidedly ill-thought out given the recent downgrade of the US's sovereign debt rating. Likewise, the decision to cap it off with the simply disastrous Martha's Vineyard vacation which has the double distinction of showcasing an actual lack of leadership as well as having terrible optics - an example of Obama's tendency to find, in Walter Russell Mead's characterization, the "sour spot". Well, the effects of Obama's terrible August are starting to show up in the polling, and the results are unambiguous. Take a look at this RCP chart. Polls that include recent periods show massive declines in the Lightworker's approval rating. The less severe declines don't capture the entire month of August. I think the polling averages will continue to get bleaker for the Smartest President Ever as the averages reflect mid to late August polling.

Looking at the RCP data, I am struck by two things. First, except for two small periods, Obama's approval trajectory has been nothing but one way, down. It is almost as if this guy's incapacity to lead in a way that pleases voters had become obvious from day one. (Actually, it was to some of us, but you certainly didn't here or read about it.) The second thing that struck me was the two brief instances of inflection that Dear Leader experienced, one around the start of the year and the other after the bin Laden killing. The former was almost entirely a media conjuring. The MSM puffed up lame duck "victories" into some sort of unassailable comeback. I chronicled and debunked that mirage rather thoroughly here, here and here. I also came out fairly clearly on the "bin Laden bounce will fade" side.

So, what is my point? My basic conclusion is this - the mega-trend, or the "big idea", is that Americans have always known deep in their bones that Obama was a gamble and they are now 90% convinced that they have lost that gamble. There is almost nothing that can stop this trend from playing out. Look at the two things that had any effect in reversing the big trend, one was a media-created mirage and the other was a "Black Swan," neither of which stuck. The MSM is increasingly less inclined to devote the energy to conjuring up a pro-Obama illusion (note I said less inclined, as opposed to not inclined), so I wouldn't be counting on a game-changing performance out of the MSM. That leaves a Black Swan development that will have to outdo even the monumental significance of killing bin Laden. That is a long shot, a very long shot.

Finally, why should we all care? I don't know why you should care but I'll tell you why I care. First and foremost, I think this is good for my individual liberty and for the country broadly. Secondarily, I think this is good for the stock market. The economy will muddle through for the remainder of this year and into next, but the further Obama slides and the lower his chances at reelection get, I think we will see an inversely proportional growth in economic optimism. The more it looks like Obama is a goner, the more American business leaders will feel like a giant weight is being lifted, the more entrepreneurs will feel like the sky is clearing. I predict a rough inverse correlation from here on in between Obama's poll numbers and the stock market - call it the "one term rally."

Excellent Myth-Busting

This is a great three and a half minutes worth of myth-busting in regards to capitalism.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pataki? Where Have I Heard That Name Before?

As a New Yorker I can safely say, "WTF?" Rather than, if one is not a NYer, "Who?"


Felt it here in midtown Manhattan, 16 floors up. Zoinks.

Jobs Fled to Texas First, the People Followed

Ross Douthat points out the sheer silliness of the left's assault on Rick Perry's record in Texas, noting that people aren't coming to Texas for the weather, they're coming for the jobs.
Yes, Texas' growing population has contributed to the job boom, but the boom has driven population growth as well. The influx of people has been too extraordinary to just be chalked up to, say, snowbirds seeking 105-degree retirements. More likely, thousands of Americans have responded to hard times in their home states by moving to Texas in search of work.
People have been coming because businesses have been coming. Just a few examples, Comerica Bank relocated its corporate HQ to Dallas in 2007. Schlumberger relocated from New York to Houston in 2006. Hundreds, if not thousands of small companies moved in too. Just a small sample: American Locker Group moved from Jamestown, NY to the Dallas area. Collins Industries moved from Kansas to Dallas. HMS Holdings, Escalante Golf, Hanger Orthopedic, and LINN Energy are just some of the hundreds of small businesses that made their way to Texas.

The businesses have been coming and thus the people have been coming. Pretty simple, but this kinda stuff gets lost on the "reality-based" community.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Obama Cooked From the Inside, Update

Regular readers will know that I think Obama's exit - either via electoral failure or engineered exit - is underway. Yes, it is a tad conspiratorial but it is not without facts and logic. Here is my latest in advancing the case and here is a bit of electoral strategy that I talked about:
"First, if Obama wins another term it'll probably be accompanied by Republican gains in Congress and incumbency for many is a worse problem to have in the future than incumbency for one. Frankly, I think the Dems would rather run congressional candidates against a President Romney or President Perry rather than in tandem with an Obama second term..."
Today, Ed Morrissey puts a little meat on those bones:
Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose. In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg). Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs. Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow). Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well. If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.
This electoral analysis lines up almost perfectly with the overarching logic in my theory. My theory gets a little less conspiratorial every day.

Lemonade Freedom Day

Lemonade Freedom Day went swimmingly in the Baseball family's neck of the woods - not an overbearing bureaucrat or silly law enforcement official in sight and $80 was raised for a children's hospital and the SPCA.

These folks, however, were not so fortunate. As if Washington DC and law enforcement needed this type of publicity. Here's hoping this video goes viral and we get 10 lemonade stands next weekend and 50 the next and 100 the next...maybe the Lemonade Party could link up with the Tea Party and focus the nation on overbearing regulation...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bad Luck? The Dumbest, Most Cynical Excuse Ever

Obama is rightly getting taken to the woodshed over the risible claim that the economy is suffering due to bad luck. I have been predicting, tracking, and analyzing in exquisite detail our economic struggles from the day Obama won election to this very day. I predicted we would be exactly where we are today across many dimensions (jobs, gas prices, corporate investment) well in advance. It's not that I'm a genius (OK, maybe...) but that Obamanomics is so predictably destructive. I saw it all coming as clear as day and I laid it out for my readers chapter and verse in what has to be nearly 100 posts. Here is a good example of my chronicles of the woes of Obamanomics. Bad luck is the farthest thing from the cause of our current state of economic affairs.

Tappan Zee Was Born of Insanity and Lives On In Insanity

Today, one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Perry, highlights a tidbit from my very own neck of the woods, and educates me in the process. The Tappan Zee Bridge is a godawful, terrible piece of infrastructure not worthy of an advanced society, but it is crucial nonetheless. (Note: it is not even good for killing yourself, numerous people jump off it every year in an attempt to end their lives and yet fail to die.) The story, of which I was unaware, of why the bridge was built in precisely the wrong spot is illuminating although not surprising.

If the bridge had been built just a bit south of its current location — that is, if it had been built across a narrower stretch of the river — it would have been in the territory that belonged to the Port Authority.

As a result, the Port Authority — not the State of New York — would have gotten the revenue from tolls on the bridge. And Dewey needed that toll revenue to fund the rest of the Thruway.

So Dewey was stuck with a three-mile-long bridge.

I have blogged about the Tappan Zee before. What is interesting to me is that it is a perfect representation of the inefficiency, corruption and all-around disastrous management capacity of government in general and the State of New York in particular. The cost estimate for a new Tappan Zee Bridge is about 30 times (before virtually guaranteed overruns) the cost of a modern miracle of engineering that the French just put up - the (rather gorgeous, IMHO) Millau Viaduct.

Devastating, Terrible, Awful News

The Commonwealth of Virginia has just reported a surplus of $544.8 million dollars for the fiscal year just ended. Governor Bob McDonnell announced that his administration was able to save an additional $234 million from previous estimates.

Good God, the humanity!!!

We all know that budget cutting is immorally cruel - it takes food out of the mouths of babes, it rips the roof from over the heads of the elderly, it kicks single mothers into the street, and - worst of all - it mortgages our future by depriving our kids of a decent education.

I am shuddering, I can't bear the thought of all those kids going without schooling and food, and all those elderly roaming the streets begging for assistance. The starvation! The misery! The suffering! It must truly be awful. I can't bear the thought of dear ole' Virginia plagued with such heart-rending, soul-crushing ruination and collapse. I weep! I can turn only to a higher power, Good Lord please save Virginia.

P.S. Just one question before I fall to my knees to pray for the salvation of the Old Dominion...they didn't raise tax rates so how on Earth did tax revenues rise???

US "Imperialism" On the March

They told Glenn Reynolds that if he voted for McCain the U.S. would increasingly be seen as imperialist, and they were right!!

A U.S. law meant to snuff out billions of dollars in offshore tax evasion has drawn the criticism of the world's banks and business people, who dismiss it as imperialist and "the neutron bomb of the global financial system."
"FATCA is a blunt instrument for which foreign banks have no choice but to each spend tens of millions of dollars to help the U.S. enforce its own tax law," said Scott Michel, a tax lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C.

A senior American finance executive at the Hong Kong branch of a major investment house told Michel that FATCA was "America's most imperialist act since it invaded the Philippine Islands in 1899." The regulation, Michel said, was "engendering a profound and growing anti-American sentiment abroad."

Lovely. I guess that means we could ingratiate ourselves with the world by electing someone who vows to repeal this act...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Obamanomics Is Perfectly Designed...

...if you don't like the type of prosperity America has experienced it over its history.

Ed Morrissey has got a great post up over at Hot Air that summarizes what I have been saying on this blog for over two years now (just one of many examples here). If you aren't up for the whole post, just watch the quick 2 minute video with Mr. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants. Mr. Puzder explains it perfectly, you will not hear a more clear and concise explanation of why Obamanomics is killing the economy. If you had tasked me - in a vacuum with no context - to devise a plan to strangle economic growth and grind the enormous and powerful US economy to a halt, I would have designed something almost exactly like what Obama and the Pelosicrats have done.

When you watch it, you will realize what I have known for awhile - we're not getting out of this without big changes, giant big-ass changes. If we wait for better times under the current policy regime, we'll be waiting forever.

Perry's Fed Bashing Texas Jujitsu

Well, I was one of the first to say that Rick Perry was dead on right with his criticism of the Fed. Most seem to be agreeing with me, i.e the WSJ and Sir Lawrence and others. Others opted to criticized Perry's words and tone more than I did. First, I have a hard time with lectures on tone from the MSM and the left. Second, I think this is Perry's genuine tone, and I think that genuineness is OK, even preferable, and likely to be a campaign asset when juxtaposed against President Teleprompter. Third, I sensed that Perry was more calculating than off-the-cuff, and the Good Prof seems to agree with me - the MSM seems to have taken the bait, and Perry's savvy focus on monetary policy, a big issue, is now the backdrop to the media's Miss Manners squeamishness. Will America side with the media over small ball or Perry on the meat and potatoes? To ask it is to answer it.

Methinks Perry knows jujitsu.

UPDATE: Bryan Preston discourses comparably.

In The Spirit of Tom Lehrer...

Some numbers out this AM. Inflation up and jobless claims up (I'm not gonna link, go read the damn news yourself). In other words, stagflation.

Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying, so I thought I'd start a fun little project to re-write the Johnny Cash classic in line with a classic NBfPB blog post. I'll kick it off with the first verse.

Obama's economy has just turned three
And it doesn't yield much for ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
To Martha's Vineyard, he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and brought on "Stagflation"

Here are the lyrics. I encourage all to join in on the fun!

Only One Explanation for Martha's Vineyard

Victor Davis Hanson asks "Whose idea was Martha's Vineyard?"

Good question. I think I know the answer...Obama's himself. He knows he's done and he doesn't care. He's given the "progressive" movement three of their long-standing dreams, much else is probably not doable; and the Clintonites are easing him out to prevent further long term damage to the broader Democratic party. One-termism won't be a stain, at least for him. He'll dine out for the rest of his life on both the mythology of Obamaism and his place in history. He will hand Rick Perry or Mitt Romney the problems he's created and let the cards fall where they may. Eventually, he'll swagger around almost as if he's was above a second term and lob bombs in the manner that ex-Presidents are not supposed to do. And when a President Perry utters the word "God", he'll say 'I told you so' and relish it as his surrogate's print up a bevy of "Miss Me Yet" t-shirts with his likeness on them.

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan posits that he's giving up too, although she does not see the Clintonian/Machiavellian engineered ouster that I see, granted that would be a bit to conspiratorial for the pages of the WSJ.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

UK Riots, Greece, and the Tea Party

Much good analysis has been written about the riots in England, for example here. I would also say that much good relevant analysis has been written before those riots even occurred. Thus I reprise this post. Bonus, no clicky...

The Tea Party Versus The Rot

In his tiny, focused classic Communism Richard Pipes illuminates the moral rot that infected the Soviet Union after years of Communism: "Lying became a means of survival, and from lying to cheating was one small step. Social ethics, which make possible a civil society, were shattered. No moral onus was attached to stealing. This manner of thinking led to the corruption of the whole nation."

In his great article delving into the Greek sovereign debt crisis, Michael Lewis describes a similar rot that has infected quasi-socialist Greece: "The Greek state was not just corrupt but also corrupting. Once you saw how it worked you could understand a phenomenon which otherwise made no sense at all: the difficulty Greek people have saying a kind word about one another. Individual Greeks are delightful: funny, warm, smart, and good company. I left two dozen interviews saying to myself, “What great people!” They do not share the sentiment about one another: the hardest thing to do in Greece is to get one Greek to compliment another behind his back. No success of any kind is regarded without suspicion. Everyone is pretty sure everyone is cheating on his taxes, or bribing politicians, or taking bribes, or lying about the value of his real estate. And this total absence of faith in one another is self-reinforcing. The epidemic of lying and cheating and stealing makes any sort of civic life impossible; the collapse of civic life only encourages more lying, cheating, and stealing."

The Soviet Union and modern Greece do not share this degraded civic state by coincidence. Complete civic rot is a feature of socialism, an unavoidable result of that governing system's destructive force. Thus Ludwig Von Mises rightly notes that socialism is not an alternative to capitalism, it is an abyss: "A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings." (HT: Carpe Diem)

Don't think it can happen here? Just take a look at the size and broken state of our entitlements, our public pension crisis, the bitter struggle emerging between those who finance the system and those who feed off of it and how that struggle has polluted our politics. Politics in America today is not about solving our problems, it is solely about taking away and handing out money. It is simply about who finances what for whom and the rot is setting in; you can't have a civil discussion about fiscal priorities - i.e. Chris Christie has to wage all out war to keep from spending billions more than the state has, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino gets sued by the County Board to stop from cutting $160 million out of a $1.8 billion budget. You can't say "wait a second" regarding the gargantuan and growing expenditure of resources that we don't have without incurring the vicious ire of whole swaths of our society. Question teacher pensions in New York and you can be sure that transit cops in California and sanitation workers in Seattle will hate your guts. It's early but the rot is showing early signs of arriving on these shores. The Tea Partiers see it, that is why they are so passionate, that is why they emblazon themselves with Founding Era garb and slogans, and why they are so keen to find ways to succeed - they are out to cleanse the system before the rot gets worse. It is a restoration project and the stakes are so high. When people say we could "end up like Greece" they are talking about unsustainable debt levels but the real danger is not the debt but the civic rot that lies underneath that allows the debt to pile up so high that it buries the nation. Well before we get to Greek-like debt levels, the rot will be so bad that there will be no turning back. The Tea Party is going to ensure we don't get remotely close to that point.

We Bungled Egypt, But We Can Still Salvage a Good Outcome

Despite having made the greatest prediction ever, being on the cusp of making the second and third greatest predictions ever, having called the Obama unraveling down to the very details, and a host of other perspicacious prognostications where I am ahead of pretty much everybody, Roger Simon has seen fit to pass me over for Spengler. Well, you know what Simon, I crap bigger than Spengler!! The WSJ steals from me, Nobel economists crib my schtick!! Hell, I smelled the second coming of the Kosher Chicken !!

OK, I don't actually crap bigger than Spengler, just was as good an opportunity for a Jack Palantz reference as any. Actually, Spengler is closely watching something very important with MAJOR implications for the Middle East and the world, namely that if something doesn't change, Egyptians are gonna starve.

"...compared to Egypt, which imports half its caloric intake and is running out of foreign exchange."
You won't be seeing any "Miss Me Yet" t-shirts with Hosni Mubarak's mug on them for sale at the souvenir shops in Cairo, but what you could see is a yearning for leadership, any leadership, who can alleviate suffering by hook or by crook. History teaches that the likely results are not auspicious. Conversely this is an opening for the US. Call me Machiavellian, but much hunger could be alleviated with food-aid from the US if moderate, sensible, not radical Islamist governance carries the day, hint hint if you know what I mean.

"Let Obama Be Obama." Whose Strategy?

"Let Obama Be Obama."

Stop. Read it again. Soak it up. Think on it. Cogitate. More. More Still.

OK, now tell me was this written by a liberal/left or conservative/right pundit? Can't tell, can you? Me neither.

Truth is, it could have been written by either. The former would likely advance something akin to: 'Why are we seconding guessing the Lightworker just because he's run into some trouble spots? He remains the near god-like, practical, no drama, uniter, politics-as-usual hating genius that we always knew he was. Wanting him to adapt to a new political reality now based on temporary distress would risk ruining the precious gift that is Obama. Let Obama be Obama.' Here is a real example.

"His presidency hasn’t been perfect. But every day of it until now has been the fulfillment of the promise of the kind of president he always said he would be: a practical problem solver untethered to the legacy of petty fights and image-first tactics, which seemed to be hindering any resolution of our biggest challenges."
The latter kind of commentator might advance something like this: 'When you elect a man wholly unqualified - dangerously unqualified - to the highest office in the land, this is what you get. We should not be examining Obama for this state of affairs, he is an inexperienced mediocrity being mediocre and showing inexperience. For those of us wanting rid of him, the best chance we have is simply to let him continue to show the nation what a ridiculous character he is and how destructive his policies are and what a big mistake we all made. So, let Obama be Obama.' Again, here is a real example.

"That is why my own answer to the question, "What Happened to Obama?" is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president, and it is this rather than inexperience or incompetence or weakness or stupidity that accounts for the richly deserved failure both at home and abroad of the policies stemming from that reprehensible cast of mind."
So which do you think it is? Who advocates the "Let Obama be Obama" strategy, the writer of the first captioned quote or the writer of the second?

I know, it is a stumper but if you guessed lefty/liberal you are correct. The article is here and it is written by a Yale "teacher" serving in the Obama administration and the first captioned quote is taken from it. The other captioned quote is from Norman Podhoretz from this past weekend's WSJ. And there is some previous NBfPB material thrown in there too.

So what is the point? Could be any number of things really - people see what they want to see, maybe - but I'll go with 'there are least still some people seriously drinking the Kool-Aid, Sean Smith being one.'

Europe's "Financial Transactions Tax" In One Easy Lesson

So Angela Sarkozy and Nicholas Merkel pow-wowed today in order to save Europe. What they came up with was a plan to support the European banking system, which, as we all know faces a potential crisis due to lack of capital to absorb loses on sovereign debt holdings. So Sarkel and Merkozy have proposed a tax on financial transactions in order to fund ongoing support of the banking system. This proposal follows an economic logic that, while not pioneered here, was recently tried here in the United States. Here's how it goes, follow along: Banks need capital to survive. Banks conduct financial transactions. The government will tax financial transactions, taking money that would otherwise remain in the banking system as capital. When the banks need additional capital for survival, the government will return the money they took. Viola!

Actually here is how it really works: Banks need capital to survive. Banks conduct financial transactions. Some banks will act smart and some will not, the consequences of which are unknown, unpredictable and out of governments' control. The government will tax financial transactions, taking money that would otherwise remain in the banking system as capital. When the banks need additional capital for survival, the government will return the money they took in such a way that they can control so as to reward their friends and constituencies. Viola!

Dammit, the Lack of Love Is Starting to Grate

First it was Steve Green with "pig in a poke".

Now it's Rich Lowry. Check out Rich today...
"If it’s Perry instead, they will surely pursue a similar line against him as bizarrely retrograde and altogether too Texas — George W. Bush, only more so."
Um, er...this is me on July 6, 2011
"...the NYT wants you to know that Rick Perry is GWB only more so, even more BushHitlerian than the original article. They broke from each other, the NYT helpfully tells us, because Perry thinks Bush 2 is a squish, a loser, one of these unpure "compassionate conservatives". So if you thought George W. Bush was bad...wink wink."
I'm feelin' all Roberta Flack...

Obama Unravel Watch Update

Hey folks, just a reminder that I mapped out the process by which Obama would implode starting in February of 2009. The short version is here. Last I checked in on the DEFCON status, we were at #2. As of today, I think we are very clearly well into stage 3, and we might even be in stage 4. A little too early to call DEFCON 4, but not by much. If Rick Perry starts trouncing Obama in the "hypothetical matchup" polls by October or November, it's DEFCON 4 for sure.

Shocker: Look for Oil, Find Oil !

Norway, which has been at this oil business for a long time, just found a shitload more oil...right off of their coastline! Go figure, look for oil close by and find oil close by. Remarkable those crazy Norwegfolk.

Why Is Mankiw Still Pushing Pigovian Taxes?

Greg Mankiw is still pushing this "Pigou Club" stuff even as the always speculative theory of AGW has been cast much further into doubt and disrepute. Even before the East Anglia CRU scandal and the new NASA study and the whole non-warming in recent years, the prudent case was to "eschew the Pigou". Now it's all that much more important. Precisely because a Pigovian strategy is so effective, you don't resort to Pigovian tax policy until you are 1000% sure of a cause and effect relationship. That whole initial step - "are we sure?" - seems to be unexamined or glossed over in Mankiw's zeal for Pigovian taxes, understandable given the orthodoxies of the academy, but dangerous nonetheless.

NYT Weenie Hyperventilates...and Is Wrong To Boot

I told you that the MSM would do an emergency double round-about, banking turn and declare Rick Perry more horrifying than George W. Bush. There is alot of evidence of that going on already, but there is this little tidbit that needs addressing. First, I read everything I can get my hands on in re monetary policy and I've never heard of Binyamin Appelbaum, so there's that, which is not much but it's something, to me at least. Second, Perry is not only not horrifying, he's right and damned smart to lay down this marker. Everyone who works in the financial sector, in politics and a host of other fields knows it is an unwritten law of good governance that the Fed should not influence elections, that it should go out of it's way to have almost no impact and maintain the faith in its independence that is its key asset. Pointing that out is eminently conventional. Given the way that this administration politicizes nearly every decision at every government agency and that there will be enormous pressure on the Fed to maintain aggressive stimulus through the election cycle, Perry is smart to fire off a warning to the Fed that its behavior is being scrutinized and its credibility will be questioned if it crosses what is a widely accepted bright line.

People may not like the "string 'em up" tone of Perry's comment, but so what. Tone is a matter of taste - de gustibus - but on the substance Perry is entirely correct and justified.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Valliere: Brian Wesbury Is a Know-Nothing

I see Greg Valliere on CNBC often enough and he's always struck me as more sensible than not, more measured than not, if not anything special. He delivers no real insight, but he can convey the conventional wisdom clearly and effectively. Nothing I have observed of him would indicate that he would spout off a bunch of political bile and rail ignorantly, yet arrogantly, on matters economic. But in this column for CNBC he sounds like Krugman or some other such shrillmeister. "Where did they study economics?" he bellows in a lather. I don't know, ask Brian Wesbury where he studied his economics, probably just as good a place as you Greg. Tea Party types were encouraged by the sound economic reasoning and clear argumentation of guys like Brian. Or ask these 150 economists. Valliere now merits the mute button.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Palin Gets It

Sarah Palin is ABBO, she just dropped the extra "B" in order not to infringe on my copyright...

These are wise words from the former Alaskan Governor. We have a monumental task at hand that must be achieved, we cannot get bogged down in a search for purity. Obama has made us all beggars and we cannot be too choosy. ABBO.

Can You Smell That? Smells Faintly Like Kosher Chicken...

Cautious optimism is the correct posture in reaction to the appellate court verdict against ObamaCare's individual mandate. The entire law was not stuck down and, of course, we still have a trip to the Supreme-Court-Now-Featuring-Wise-Latinaism. But but but, there is a chance this could be our Kosher Chicken!! This could be the beginning of recovery, folks. We're not there by a mile and much more needs to be done, but the frisson of the coming rollback of liberty/prosperity-stomping government is faintly in the air.

Health-Obsessed, Depthless, and Moralistic Is No Way To Go Through Life

I enjoy Don Boudreaux's many clear, incisive, and biting letters-to-editors that routinely smack down economic illiteracy and/or latent authoritarian arrogance running wild on the pages of our media. The latest comes against food nanny Elizabeth Newton, who seems to think we do not get enough information about good nutrition, and that if we did we'd choose healthy food to the exclusion of unhealthy food. Don shoots this down but, frankly, he must've been pressed by other priorities as this rebuttal falls short of his normally devastating critiques.

Newton is wrong on both counts. First, our society receives inordinate information on nutrition. We receive nutrition information (indoctrination?) from a very young age via a barrage of posted guidelines and mandated lessons that pervade the school system. As we get older, we have no shortage of information available to us about nutrition as evidenced by a simple search for books on nutrition at Amazon yielding 55,222 results. (If anything, we have too much information because much of it is contradictory, indicating that there exists some level of scientific disagreement in the field, which indicates that Newton is even more arrogant than Don illuminates because she presumes to know which is the "correct" nutritional information that we should be internalizing.) Newton's second, and greater, error is to presume that we would all respond to "perfect education" in the same way. Just because Newton might respond by demanding healthier fare after absorbing nutritional truth, I might not respond that way after absorbing the same instruction. I might understand the lesson but I might not heed it. In economic jargon, my "utility function" might differ. I might not attach as many "utils" to healthy food relative to unhealthy food despite having perfect knowledge of nutrition. I might know that I ought to choose a salad with a small portion of grilled fish for lunch, but I choose a double cheeseburger anyway (and that surely unnecessary extra glass of wine after a nice meal that "perfect education" would compel me to forgo, well...). This could be for any number of reasons from a confidence in my own robust metabolism to a conscientiously sybaritic outlook on life. Who, as Don rightly points out, is Elizabeth Newton to second guess my response to the same nutritional information that she has? Nobody of true standing of course, but rather just an arrogant elitist who would dictate behavior to her fellow citizens. That she attempts to cloak her petty authoritarian impulses in economics - highly flawed and amateurish economics - does not obscure those impulses.

In reference to Ms. Newton I am reminded of Dean Wormer's admonition to John Blutarsky ("fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son") and am compelled to alter it: "health-obsessed, depthless, and moralistic is no way to go through life, lady."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is Obama Cooked...from the Inside?

Ya' know, people are starting to wonder what gives with all the Twilight Zonish behavior of our President, especially given that he is the smartest President ever and a Lightworker and all. Here is but one small example (OK here is another). As always, welcome to the party fellas and since you are beginning to wonder where all this crazy comes from, I'll tell you. Obama has been told it's over. He will not be given the keys to the Democratic Party's future and be allowed to own the vast apparatus of the party's traditional assets for decades to come as an all-conquering two term President. His presidency is in caretaker mode. No, not as Peter Beinart posits in his latest nitwittery, where Obama is the caretaker of a declining America, but rather where the Clintonites are the caretakers of a declining Obama. I've gone through all of this before, and recently too.

I know. You're asking, "Wait. DB, you can't be suggesting that the Clintonites will sacrifice another four years of Democratic control of the White House, just to phase Obama out, can you? Yes, that is precisely what I am suggesting. First, if Obama wins another term it'll probably be accompanied by Republican gains in Congress and incumbency for many is a worse problem to have in the future than incumbency for one. Frankly, I think the Dems would rather run congressional candidates against a President Romney or President Perry rather than in tandem with an Obama second term - the American people seem pretty clear that they want Dear Leader in check. Second, I think the Dems are hurting to get back in with the business community and get their donations flowing again. IMHO the cash is not likely flowing very strongly from business to the Dems and that is where the money is. Finally, I think that in foreign policy Obama is even too feckless for many establishment Dems. While Democrats certainly hate wars of our choosing, I think many establishment Dems fear wars not of our choosing just as much. It is likely that mainstream Democratic foreigin policy establishment types think that Obama's buffoonery could stumble the nation into a war not of our choosing. So yes, I do think that the Clintonites have hung Obama out to dry or at least are not giving his administration their level best. Doesn't it show?

No Love I Tell Ya', No Love

I'm totally cool with other bloggers and even real media outlets stealing my stuff (the WSJ does it all the time), it's how the blogosphere works. But if you're gonna crib the actual words, throw just a little love...

"pig in a poke"??

Stephen, really?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dr. Helen Smith: Does Meredith Whitney Read?

Meet "freaked out white male" Amy Kremer. Or Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann or Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin or the Tea Party Grannies.

The Question: How Much Pain

How much pain will Barack Obama force the Democratic Party to endure and how much will it take?

I pointed out long ago that Democratic Party poobahs were going to have to start asking hard questions and potentially make some hard decisions about Barack Obama. This is now becoming conventional wisdom. As usual, I was early on this. The problem is only going to get more acute. Democrats simply have to be hearing from their mainstream donors (people who aren't George Soros or Peter Lewis) and from the business community that BO has to go and that the party has to get back to pro-business pragmatism before they'll get the old level of financial support. I think the Democrats have totally lost the mainstream business community and won't get it back until they push the progressive wing back out to the margins. This is the problem underneath the surface where all appears calm, where it appears that Barack Obama is in control and at the center of the Democratic Party. He is not, he's renting it, and the issue is roiling underneath. It'll take a mighty smart and disciplined approach, and a little luck, to keep this tumult from coming to the surface and roiling the 2012 election.

N.B. that prediction I made in the Oct. 2010 post (which actually was made in Aug. 2010) about Obama's approval rating dipping into the 30s. I've actually claimed a +1 for myself on that prediction, but we are now on the cusp of the mainstream, left-leaning inclusive, polls showing a descent into the 30s.

Heed The Science

More cause to heed what I have always said: be skeptical of people who cite "the science" as absolute authority. The truth is we know very little and "the science" is often wrong and often dead wrong at that. And yet there are people that want to reorganize the entire global economy - and jail people who disagree with that - in the name of "the science" which is almost certain to be proven wrong in time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Smart As a Whip?

I've posited that, contrary to conventional wisdom which is constantly being jammed down our throats as if the jammers desperately need us to believe it, Barack Obama just isn't all that smart. Bret Stephens takes up the theme today too and makes a pretty convincing case, that at least judged by Forrest Gump's standards, Obama ain't.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Liberals Pining for Hillary

All the talk about primarying Obama has made my predictions for 2011 all the more prescient, as is all the new lefty pining away for Hillary, as evidenced by this. I predicted Hillary's resurgence too. Still, it is kind of bizarre, Hillary would have been no different in my opinion. The same people who would have run her presidency are basically now running Obama's (there's a conspiracy theory in there somewhere). Read Bryan Preston's commentary about the all the liberal teeth-gnashing. He's dead on, it is the ideas of liberalism or modern progressivism, or whatever the hell they call it these days, that are the problem. In fact, it is not just their ideas that are the problem, it is their approach to life. Obama represents style over substance, and to a lesser degree so does Hillary, and liberals elevated him to deity status. Liberals have shown us again and again that they actually believe in style over substance. They believe that nice sounding and nice looking should be decisive over actual depth and understanding. I do not believe that liberal disappointment in Obama is rooted in any true reflective understanding of his failures, it is more akin to them being stuck wearing yesterday's cool clothes while what is in fashion has moved on.

Ironically, Hugh Carey died this weekend, a Democrat who proclaimed that the "days of wine and roses" were over. The Hugh Carey of that age is politically closer to today's Tea Party than to your typical Democrat in 2011.

"Cruise Missile Aimed at the American Economy"

I don't have alot to say this morning. All of the confounding and maddening aspects of where we are as a country and the twilight-zonish reality of an inexperienced, economically illiterate, lefty twit occupying the oval office have taken their cumulative toll on my creative juices among other things.

The only thing that is sticking out in my head (even though I made the same prediction more or less) is that over three years ago Don Luskin, on Larry Kudlow's show on CNBC, said "Barack Obama is a cruise missile aimed directly at the American economy." Regrettably for us all, you have merited taking a bow, Mr. Luskin.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Was That Trade Out of GOOG to AAPL Fair?

Bryan Preston tips me off to a lovely video where inexplicable media wonderboy Ezra Klein puts his daft brand of liberalism on display and gets whacked by Rick Santelli.

There is much that can be said about this, but suffice it for me point out that Klein is a new marquee voice in Bloomberg's editorial feature - Bloomberg Views. Yes, Bloomberg - a major brand in the world of finance - has hired to much fanfare a puerile naif to the ways of money and capital. Head-scratcher, that one. OK, not really.

Peggy Joseph Meet James Crudup

The difference between fantasy and reality is vast, but unfortunately they both vote. Millions were awakened to the shockingly fantastical notions of many Obama supporters via that famous video of Peggy Joseph who was convinced that Obama would pay her mortgage and put gas in her tank. Fast forward almost three years and we have James Crudup jumping the White House fence in a cry for help because he can't find a job.

How did we get from Peggy Joseph to James Crudup? Quite easily in fact. The productive people of this country saw that the Peggy Josephs were a vast constituency of freeloaders chomping at the bit to elect the apotheosis of all welfare state leaders, the sine qua non of doling out Other People's Money. They saw that these were not the usual brand of down-trodden worthy of some some compassionate aid, but that these were raw, unabashed freeloaders. They saw this and they shut the system down. They hoarded cash, sent capital abroad, sheltered money from taxation, and retrenched. They went Galt. They also got angry, and threw a small spanner in the works of the emerging Great OPM Dispensary. An army of Peggy Josephs lined up in formation behind their new great General and they sparked a guerrilla resistance movement, at least until a proper opposing army could be mustered. The war has not quite raged, but it has certainly gotten warm, and already we have victims such as James Crudup. Peggy's fantasy is James's reality.

My advice to you Mr. Crudup is not to jump fences, but to talk to the Peggy Josephs in your community, get out there and educate these people. Talk them down from the fight for OPM, it's no way to live and it is damaging to themselves and us all. Tell them their fantasies turn into your reality.

BTW, why hasn't some enterprising journalist tracked Peggy Joseph down to see how she's doing, ask her about her mortgage and who buys her gas? Would be interesting, IMHO.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Ever-Ravishing Mrs. Baseball

I love you, my dear!

The "Mittness Protection Program" Critique Is Dumb

This modestly clever locution is meant to lambaste the Republican front-runner for remaining silent on the issues of the day. This critique doesn't really get it, does it? When your opposition is in the process of destroying itself, you don't get in the way, you let it happen. Obama and the forever-expanding-entitlement-state Democrats are in the process of destroying themselves in a maelstrom of economic haplessness (unfortunately we are along for the ride). Why on earth should Mitt Romney bum rush center stage when the climactic scene of the farcical economic policy of the Obama/Pelosicrats is playing out so distressingly there?

"But isn't he concerned for the country?" the critics ask. Yeah, but so what? I assume Gov. Romney has deep reservoirs of concern for the country, but until January 2013 potentially, it doesn't do us a damn bit of good - do you think Barack Obama or Harry Reid gives a rat's tookus what Mitt Romney (or anyone else for that matter) has to offer right now? The time to make the positive case for himself is not now, let the negative case against Obama mature and ripen, and while hope and change rots on the vine spend time doing the legwork (money, endorsements, ground game) now for a strong campaign later when Americans are truly ready for face time with the candidate.

Dems Want to Train People to Look for Jobs That Don't Exist

Democrats in the US are adopting the idiotic policy that I call the "Zapatero Plan" after Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of long-term unemployed workers - those out of a job for six months or more - remains at near-record levels, an ominous sign that could derail any economic recovery.

That's the conclusion of a report from congressional Democrats that recommends new job search and training programs to help the long-term unemployed get back to work.

There are no jobs so let's spend money training people how to find the jobs that don't exist! Brilliant.

Told Ya' So, Conventional Wisdom Was Wrong

The conventional wisdom has changed drastically...

The consensus has been that for all his problems, Obama is so skilled a politician — and the eventual GOP nominee so flawed or hapless — that he’d most likely be reelected.

Don’t buy into it.
You heard it here first folks, where we are always anywhere from 6 months to a year out ahead of the conventional wisdom...and I don't even get paid to do this!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Just A Reminder...

Bigger government:

1) Jails people for selling unpasteurized milk

2) Steals peoples' basketball hoops.

3) Fines you for growing a vegetable garden

4) Shuts down your kid's lemonade stand

small stuff, it's not like they Burn your house down and kill you or anything like that...

vote for more government, this is what you get, don't come crying to me.

Matt Damon: Idiot

Will "How 'Bout Them Apples" Hunting doesn't think anybody started a business with their "Bush tax cuts". Well, let me tell you Sparky, I know of hundreds of examples where people started or expanded their businesses with their "Bush tax cuts" and there are very likely tens of thousands of businesses that started or expanded with their Bush tax cuts.

Let's have a little economics lesson. Businesses need "capital" to get going and expand. Capital can be actual cash or it can be other assets that are sold or otherwise leveraged by the business to get going or expand. The most significant component of the Bush tax cuts were the reduction in capital gains taxes and dividends, both of which triggered a 95% increase the value of stocks. Stock portfolios are commonly sold or borrowed against to fund new businesses and a near doubling of such assets provided fledgling businesses that much more capital to start or expand. Furthermore, people who received dividends had more money in their pockets and thus more firepower to support business ventures. Finally, the reduction of marginal income tax rates that was the centerpiece of the Bush tax cuts provided a powerful incentive for people to start businesses. Any contemplated business plan became instantly more financially compelling when the Bush tax cuts passed and the opportunity calculus of risk and reward shifted for thousands of people mulling starting a business.

Clearly Jason Bourne views as ridiculous the notion of people sitting around doing nothing until a check shows up in the mail from George W. Bush to which they reply, "Great, I think I'll start a business." And it is ridiculous, but only people who have a facile understanding of economics and entrepreneurship start out there. That's not the way that the world works. Tens of thousands of people had vaster resources at their disposal and significantly altered incentives due to the Bush tax cuts. And we know it worked because LLC (limited liability company) formation skyrocketed during the years following the Bush tax cuts. LLCs are the preferred incorporation vehicle for small business.

On one final note, Tom Ripley also saw fit to pontificate on education, saying that teaches make a shitty salary. Well Tom, my kid's kindergarten teacher makes $125,000 for 190 days of work not including health benefits and a pension with a net present value over $1.4 million. Is that shitty?

Keep talking dumbass.