Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Lack of Sympathy for People Who Gave the Petty Tyrants Their Mandate

Check out this terrible story of government health bureaucrats run amok.

Know what? I have NO sympathy.

At the risk of judging a book by its cover, I bet these folks are hardly libertarian types or have minimal experience pulling the lever for conservative (as in freedom maximizing) politicians. Looks like a lefty bunch to me. And such they are getting exactly what they have voted for - a hyper-active, intrusive state, impervious to reason, sense, and compassion with no trust or faith in average citizens (quite the opposite - contempt for average citizens and their freedoms). You want government to do more? Great. This is what you get. You're a "progressive" voter? Great. Meet your friendly neighborhood self-righteous, dogmatic all-powerful bureaucrat!

UPDATE: Wow, the hits just keep on coming...Arlington, VA is famously liberal and yet we have business owners moaning about intrusive and overbearing local government! YOU VOTED FOR THIS YOU BOZO. WHEN YOU VOTE FOR "LIBERAL" GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL GET INTRUSIVE OVERBEARING GOVERNMENT!!! ARGH!!!!

Turbo Tax Tim Geithner Deserves Your Contempt

Sometimes I don't know whether to boil over with rage as a show to the world that they ought to consider the same reaction (Q: Where is the Outrage? A: Right here.) or to calmly lay out the case so that others can assess it rationally too.

In the case of Turbo Tax Timmy, Larry Lindsey does the latter. A taste:
"Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the "most fortunate Americans" should pay more in taxes for the "privilege of being an American." One can debate different ways of balancing the budget. But Mr. Geithner's argument highlights an unfortunate and very destructive instinct that seems to permeate the Obama administration about the respective roles of citizens and their government."

As for the outrage, I encourage all to read Lindsey's piece carefully and contemplate what a reprehensible schmuck TT Timmy is if this is indeed his view. I hope there is a special place sometime somewhere where the contemptible arrogance on display by TTT is held to account.

From Bev Perdue to this SOB...I wonder why Americans are "pre-revolutionary."

That'll Learn Ya'

I have warned the young grasshoppers of this nation what their reflexive, peer-pressure derived unthinking progressivism would lead to, but they didn't listen. They put the Pelosicrats in Congress and then put Obama in the Oval Office. However, it is not working out so well for them.

No sympathy. Reap. Sow. All. That.

May not work out so well for Barack Obama either. High youth enthusiasm is critical to his re-election chances.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CNBC's Wishful Thinking

Speaking of the MSM trying to rejuvenate Obama...check out this CNBC story, which I think gets it exactly backwards.

Markets Start to Anticipate Obama Victory in November

As I have laid out before, I think the market is anticipating one of two outcomes, both of which it sees as better than the prevailing situation: 1) Obama loses, or 2) Obama wins but Dems lose the Senate. I actually think the market is focusing in on the very real possibility of #1 and I have said so. The MSM, when it is not engaging in outright wishful thinking, is falling into an analytical trap that equates Romney's performance in a handful of states' primaries with his potential performance against Obama in the general election. I have said, when Romney gets the nomination, the money will flow in from the American business community and he will wage a devastating bombing campaign against Obama's economic ineptitude and foreign policy fecklessness. He will remind America that we gambled in 2008 and ask them if they feel they've won that gamble? And he will have a good shot at beating Obama.

To the extent that markets are factoring in US politics (and not European sovereign fears receding), that is what they are thinking. I don't know a soul in this business who thinks that the prospect of a another four years of Obama is driving markets higher. People may want Obama to be re-elected for personal reasons, but nobody makes the case that Obama, and Obama alone, is good for markets.

And why look solely to the stock market? The Treasury market is vastly larger and more significant. What is that market telling us? It's anticipating continued feeble growth. Why is CNBC not pinning that market judgement on Obama's odds? Huh? Thought so.

UPDATE: So the media has been lamely saying "Look at this bozo, Romney can't win his home state." Well, he won his home state. The MSM has been, "Well, conservatives are ambivalent." Sure, maybe, but Larry Kudlow says he gets it, the WSJ says he's hit upon something he can shine with...

Gosh, and it is early yet. Yeah, Mitt's not quite a Reaganite, Three-Legged Dreamboat for sure, but don't you think the MSM has got him a little misunderstood and/or underestimated in their desire to squash him??

Obamacrats Have Made Banking the Purview of the Rich

They told me (and Glenn Reynolds) that if I voted for John McCain, banks would cater exclusively to the rich and callously ignore the financial needs of the average consumer...and they were right!!

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the largest U.S. bank by assets, said about 70 percent of customers with less than $100,000 in deposits and investments will be unprofitable following regulations that cap lenders’ fees.

“I’m trying to give you a proxy for what the banking industry has to look forward to if you don’t take into account business bank clients and getting more of the affluent wealth wallet,” Todd Maclin, chief executive officer of consumer and business banking at the New York-based company, said today at an investor presentation.

More of that mean feat that only Democrats seem to be able to accomplish...

IPCC Scientist: Oil Sands Bad, But Not THAT Bad...?

The EU was all set to vote on a measure to burden Canadian oil sands crude with higher carbon offset requirements, but it appears voting members were swayed by a new study that claims the emissions of oil sands crude is not as bad as previously thought and not as bad as some alternatives. Must be some oil-industry paid shill doing the study, right? Nope.

The new study conducted by researchers Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart and published in Nature magazine, calculates the climate impact of producing the oil sands bitumen against other fuels. Dr. Weaver is the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modeling and Analysis at the University of Victoria and a recognized Canadian climate expert who was a lead author with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
RTWT. Not that anybody is under any illusions that Obama and the environmental left is driven by "the science", this nonetheless undermines the scientific rationale for inhibiting the development of the oils sands by, say...oh...prohibiting pipelines that bring the stuff to where it is needed.

Meta Trend in the Approval Ratings

John Hinderaker examines the Lightworker's approval ratings over time and concludes, almost exactly as I have done, that there is a larger theme here beyond the minor blips up or down - most American voters realize that in 2008 we gambled and lost. We gambled on an unvetted, untested neophyte candidate, we took a leap of faith, and it was a mistake.
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.
Today the MSM is desperately trying to conjure up another bump up in Obama's approval rating. They are touting the economy's measly upturn from its pitiful depths as some sort of miracle that could only come from the hands of the genius and beneficent Obama, when it is the result of the effective neutering of the full Obama legislative agenda combined with the US economy's natural resilience. This is a classic political tussle and the MSM will be quite good at advancing their pro-Obama take, but what is more problematic for them, as is always the case, is the reality. The economic recovery might not be so miracley - you'll have days like today where we learn that durable goods orders are way down and that housing prices continue to fall.

The media needs at least something plausible to spin, the thinner the gruel, the less its heart will be in it (yes, even the MSM at some point has an eye on its own credibility). Days like today can only temper the pro-Obama media spin, which will slow the momentum of any Lightworker rejuvenation project, which Dear Leader can ill-afford given the meta-trend of his approval ratings.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Housing Resurgence Predicted Here in 2007

In 2007, in the midst of the housing bust, I predicted housing would start to look like a good investment around 2012. And here comes Warren Buffett sounding a similar note...

I may have gotten the exact details wrong, but alot of what I said back then holds up pretty well.

Does Bob Kerrey Think Nebraskans Are Idiots?

I'm not up on Nebraska politics these days, but I'm guessing that for a Democrat to win there today, he/she needs to be a relatively moderate/centrist Democrat. Does Bob Kerrey know this? Is he self-aware? Does he not know that the New School for Social Research makes Harvard and Yale and all the other leftist outposts of higher education look like NRA chapters? If Obi Wan were looking down on The New School from the cliffs and judging based on left-wing, anti-American nuttiness, he would say that "you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Yet Bob Kerrey thinks that Nebraskans are too dumb to figure this out, or he simply has a quite high opinion of himself. Or Nebraskans constitute the most liberal electorate this side of Greece. Who knew?

Gas Prices DO Hurt

I think Mark Perry is great and I get his point here, macro-wise, but micro-wise, gas prices hurt.

An Instapundit reader notes this. Fine. I've been all over the data here at NBfPB and I do field research...I drove from Yonkers, NY to Snowshoe, WV and back this past week so I can tell you the prevailing gas prices in six states! $3.90 is pretty good, the best I found was $3.75 for 87 octane at a high volume rest stop in NJ. Plus, my little vacation reminded me that most people actually drive to work, and if you are living on the edge of economic stability and survival, which many of the people of, say, West Virginia where I was, are, the difference between $3 gas and $4+ gas is huge - you have to work meaningfully longer just to make driving to and from work a winning proposition! Horrible.

The Democrats generally, and the Obamacrats in particular, are the phoniest MFers in the world; they putatively stand for the little guy when their green energy religious faith-based policies are kicking the little guy in the teeth, while enriching their elitist, fat-cat-albeit-Democrat friends.

UPDATE: Ouch. Diesel went nearly 10 cents against us this past week and regular mogas went .13 cents the wrong way...did I say "Ouch"? And it was worse in the midwest. Good thing the midwest has no swing states or anything...

UPPDATE: Whoops.

Bishop Sisk and OWS Update

After heartily encouraging the OWS movement, Episcopal Bishop Mark Sisk is bummed that, given an inch, the OWSers have taken a yard.
December 16, 2011

As many of you know, Trinity Wall Street is being challenged to provide a small parcel of parish-owned land, Duarte Square, to the Occupy Wall Street movement for encampment or other undefined use.

Trinity has clearly shown its support for the wider goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and has aided protesters directly through pastoral care and extensive use of parish facilities. They have said "yes" to requests for meeting space, bathroom facilities, private conference rooms, housing referrals, and pastoral care, and continue to look for ways to provide direct support to those who identify with the movement in Lower Manhattan. Providing private land without facilities for indeterminate usage, however, poses significant health and safety concerns, and is beyond the scope of Trinity's mission. To this, the parish has reasonably said, "no."

In and of itself, a request for use of a parish space by an outside group would not necessitate a Bishop's involvement. But alarmingly, some clergy and protesters have attempted to "take" or "liberate" the space without Trinity's consent, and have clearly indicated their intent to engage in other attempts to do so in the coming days.

While many tactics of the Occupy movement have proven effective and creative, I feel it necessary now to reiterate our Church-wide commitment to non-violence. The movement should not be used to justify breaking the law, nor is it necessary to break into property for the movement to continue.

Together, let us pray for peaceful articulation, in word and deed, of the issues of justice and fairness that have brought the Occupy movement into the national conversation.


The Rt. Rev Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York
I just don't know how to be charitable to Bishop Sisk after his ill-conceived profession of love for this reprehensible social movement, so I won't go further than to say that he has committed the fundamental mistake of church stewards since the dawn of man - he has gone fad-chasing. By chasing the latest appealing social wave he has degraded the permanency of the moral standing
of the church. This drives people away. I am no Rick Santorum fan, but he is right, the Episcopal Church is in shambles. I know, because I've spent the last ten years attending one, and the pews are empty, the coffers are empty, and the ministries are shrinking.

It's sad. The Episcopal Church had alot to offer, there are many things I enjoyed about it. But the Christian faithful aren't fad-chasers...clearly they shop around for institutional stewardship and practice of the Christian message, but the moment an institutional manifestation of Christian belief goes flakey, the believers go elsewhere.

As I imagine Yoda might say..."Educated, Bishop Sisk, now is."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Maybe this is just my biases at work here, but you get the sense that they know they are interlopers - ridiculous party crashers that would have never been let in the door if the electorate were awake and serous-minded - and having the best time of it that they can while it lasts. And the country might let the party crashing go on for four more years! Suckers!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Turbo Tax Timmy: "Oh Yeah These Budgets Are Insane."

This is the stuff that ought to be front pages news in a better world, but we have to live with the media we have. Sad.

Now, getting to the nitty-gritty of the reality...this is pathetic. This is like an employee saying "I know it is idiocy, but the boss wants it, so we do it," a situation which we've all seen before in our lives. Usually though, the boss isn't going anywhere and we have to find a new job, but here, we can actually FIRE THE BOSS!

What say you America?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Corporate America Still Hiding Its Money

Massive buybacks of shares continue - this AM it is Comcast with the announcement. This is because companies DO NOT see opportunities, which I believe means that the business environment is too risky as I have outlined. Opportunities are there, it is just that over-regulation, uncertain/rising tax expectations, and anti-business rhetoric and policy is pushing the available opportunities beyond the risk threshold of companies. This is how Barack Obama makes capital hide away or flee.

Crazily, Brian Roberts, Chairman of Comcast, is an Obama supporter. His company is reacting to the business environment engendered by his preferred candidate by shrinking. Chalk up another business leader with bad political judgement.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Regulation: What Do Actual Business Owners Think?

Not too long ago, the MSM was responding to attacks on the Obama regulatory tidal wave with highly strained claims that regulation has no effect on the economy. Of course, anybody who's worked inside a business for more than ten minutes knows this to be laughable, but that didn't stop them - here is Bloomberg's go at it. Obviously, business owners have a different view. Clearly, it is time for the MSM to move on to phase 2 of their defense of Obama - business owners don't know what they're talking about!

Finally Heeding Uncle Milton

Looks like the Republicans are taking my advice and agreeing to pass the payroll tax holiday extension even though it is not "paid for". I said, such a policy is terrible but it passes the Uncle Milty test, so it ought to be embraced. Our government is insolvent, so why not keep as much money out of the hands of government as possible? It's just good money after bad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will the Military Stand for a Nuke Rollback?

OK, time to push the envelope a bit. The simply Twilight Zonish news is coming fast and furious in regards to our radical nut job, Manchurian President. He wants to cut our nukes pretty drastically. Now, don't get me wrong...I understand that this could be just a political sop to the left. I am politically savvy and don't occupy the fever swamps of the right (most of the time), so I don't take this as a given, but...we did bug the hell out of Iraq when we didn't need to because, hell, Obama wanted to. We are damning the torpedoes and telling the Catholic Church to go to hell and buy everybody birth control. We are looking into a fiscal abyss and saying "Ah, f**k it, another $1.3 trillion deficit sounds like just the ticket." See what I'm saying? This President is in major "F**k It" and "F**k You" mode. Big time. So let's grant that this may not be a sop. So that's our starting point.

Now let's go back and review a piece I did way back when here. There is some background to get acquainted with but what I posit, as a thought exercise, is the possibility that the military "overrules" Obama on some egregious decision that he makes. My hypothetical example is Obama choosing not to help Israel should it be attacked. Yes, it is outlandish but the seeds of believing this is possible are there. Since that time we've gotten the announcement of Obama's steep defense budget cuts, which the military is none too happy about because Obama is continuing to lavish profligate spending on domestic butter while cutting back on guns. So, now, what if Obama really were serious about defanging America's last ditch military capability, its doomsday deterrent? Would the military happily just scrap 80% of our nukes? Would they sheepishly say, "Well, Okaaay.." Or would they say, "This Motherf&&ker is going to leave us wide open..." Would a massive rollback of our nuke capability be a bridge too far for the leadership of our armed forces? I doubt it, but I doubt the answer is "No, not a chance, not even close" either, which means dangerous ground.

So what's the upshot? Danger on all fronts - financial, security, and liberty - and Obama is still leading in the polls. We are on the cusp of voting ourselves smack into old school tyranny.
This guy is going to bankrupt us, trample on our foundational religious freedoms by dictating to the Church, and hollow out our military capability and we're gonna beg for it because Mitt Romney isn't some Reaganite Wet Dream of a candidate? Are we fucking crazy?

Gotta Be Coming...Bloomberg News Is Easy Touch for Media Matters

The Daily Caller says they have alot more on Media Matters jamming propaganda into the MSM. Here is a pretty easy speculation - they will finger several names at the Obama Re-election Satellite Office otherwise known as Bloomberg News (the King Daddy of "Unexpectedly"!). After all, we know Ryan Donmoyer was a proud member of JournoList and, of course, propaganda guru in chief Ezra Klein is now at...wait for it...Bloomberg News. Wait for it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gas Price Update

Gas numbers just out. Another bad week in a succession of bad weeks, nationally gas prices went .04 in the wrong direction - some areas saw worse - and diesel went nearly .09 cents against us with a .10 hit in the Midwest. Ouch.

I filled up this weekend and couldn't help notice that regular gas was touching $4 and premium grades were as high as $4.25 in my neck of the woods. Looking at crude oil lately, it doesn't look as if we'll get a break soon. We're closing in on $120. Remember, $140 broke the back of the consumer in 2008 and was a much bigger part of the recession than people give credit for. We are flirting with danger here and this is a big vulnerability for the Lightworker.

Obama Budget a Middle Finger

I don't know what is more scary, a) that the Lightworker's latest budget is a bold and overt middle finger to any and all who feel that the federal government must consider some sort of modesty and budgetary sense of restraint, or b) that as bad as Obama's budget is in theory, spending on his watch has always blown projections out of the water. Check out the analysis here. He is truly frightening in theory and even more so in practice.

If we re-elect this man, the US of A will be bankrupt by 2015 (not "effectively bankrupt" which we are today, but actually, dead-flat/state of Illinois-type busted).

Are the Clintonites Purposefully Flubbing Year 4 of Hopenchange?

So, if a bunch of Obama advisors/cabinet members - all of whom are distinctly Clintonite loyalists - came out and said a bunch of things that might put Obama in a bad light with all but the most ardent progressive lefties, could that be considered a well-choreographed messaging machine to the base, or a deliberate mishandling of crucial swing voters??? Translation: if the Clintonites are saying crazy things - like this, or this, or this - what are we to make of it?

America's Biggest Threat

What is the biggest threat to our democracy, our freedoms, and ultimately our prosperity adn greatness as a nation? Poor quality decision-making by voters.

Breibert: ABBO, Baby!

Watch Andrew Breibart at CPAC, not for the "I have videos of Obama in college" stuff, but for his conclusion about the 2012 election - if you ain't ABBO, you are on the other side, meaning you are with the progressive left, the OWS people, the Bill Ayers/Bernandine Dohrn type folks.

Friday, February 10, 2012

California Shy $500 Million in January

California tax revenue short $500 million in January. And that's after raising taxes. Whoops.

How To Lose Freedom

You know what sounds AWESOME? Signing up for four more years where: 1) our fundamental freedoms are assaulted, 2) we have to get very angry, raise a ruckus, and gird ourselves to defend them, 3) we are offered some bullshit compromise, 4) the media tells us we're being too sensitive, 5) we still lose freedom, but less than Obama originally contemplated.

THAT sounds AWESOME (in you best Will Ferrell voice).

Woo-Hoo!! Sign me up for four more years of that because Mitt Romney isn't the Reaganite Tea Party Wet Dream we've all been hoping for.

Yes, It Sucks

You need to know what sucks. Bill Whittle will tell you.

Maybe this is why progressives keep telling us to shut up all the time...

Pain at the Pump


Confidence among U.S. consumers declined more than forecast in February from the highest level in almost a year as rising gasoline prices began to stress household budgets.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment dropped to 72.5 from 75 in January. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for 74.8. The gauge averaged 89 in the five years leading to the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.

Told ya'. Like I said, the economy might look like it is getting better, but it's not feeling like it is getting better. Big difference. But the MSM will tout a putative Obama bump due to the economy, but it's thin gruel. Plus the polls they cite don't factor in the latest Obamacare flap over mandated contraception. Petty, religion-hating tyrant who can't deliver better economic times...Yes! Four More Years!! Not likely.

Awesome News!!

Lucky us. Dear Leader is prepared to give us some sort of accommodation rather than erase one of our foundational, God-given rights! Truly a red letter day!

Any Moment Now...

The Anthropogenic Global Warming movement (or climate change or climate disruption movement, depending on how cagey you want to be) is breaking down, and rapidly too. Here is just one tidbit from the ongoing descent from legitimacy. What does this mean? Alot, but it also means that we should continue to hear nonsensical Pigovian cheerleading from the likes of Greg Mankiw. Because what would the world do without economists to solve non-problems that need not be addressed?

Wait for it...

The 10 Year Old In the White House

"Come on, guys."


That's what my 10-year old says.

UPDATE: Video.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Reap. Sow. All That.

Check this out. Companies are laying off workers and buying back shares - exactly what I predicted years ago (2009).

But this take is all wrong:
“Here we have all these companies obsessed, basically with keeping their stock prices up, and saying the best thing that they can do with their money is spend billions of dollars on stock. And my view of that is, any company that says that they have nothing to better do with their money, the CEO should be fired.”

A CEO's ultimate responsibility is delivering acceptable risk-weighted returns to shareholders by way of widget-making. If acceptable returns cannot be achieved through widget-making, a responsible CEO and BoD ought to return excess capital to shareholders for them to do with as they see fit. It is not the responsibility of CEOs to deploy capital at all times and in ever-increasing amounts, but to survey the opportunity set and deploy capital against reasonably attractive opportunities. Sometimes the opportunities aren't there at all, sometimes the opportunities are too risky for a company to undertake, like, for example, when a President sits in office that: is unrelentingly hostile to business; is prone to thuggish behavior towards business; is hyperactively expanding regulations on business; raises the cost of capital to business; makes unreasonable demands of business that he has no authority to make...

When faced with a too risky environment, the CORRECT thing to do is NOTHING and return capital that you don't need. These businesses are acting rationally and correctly. Let's not demonize them for responding correctly to the terrible environment that has been engineered by our policymakers and leaders. You want to crap all over risk-takers, then don't bitch when they choose to not take risks.


Wow. This was another of my 2012 predictions:

- 2012 Election is Close Until Sep-Oct When Obama Blows It ala McCain in 2008: Obama's political skills are awesome, but his political instincts are terrible. He will do quite egregious things to please his base (wow! as if on cue). He will run neck and neck with Romney/Ryan until he blows it with a policy gaffe that conspicuously reminds voters what an amateur and/or liberal fascist he is. The gaffe could even be a Clintonite engineered self-destruction conspiracy.
Forget about the details of timing and the Republican ticket in that statement and focus on the bolded words. Egregious things...reveal that he is a liberal fascist. Hmmm. Can we say "contraception mandate"? Could it be that I got it exactly macro right, if not exactly micro right?

Canada Moves On

Good for Canada. When America flakes out, we deserve to be left in the cold (literally, as energy prices set to skyrocket).

“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place.”

Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.

Flakes get left behind.

Economists Ain't Historians

Don Boudreaux points out today that economists are not good historians. Indeed. I hit that theme a while back.

State AGs Pull Thug Coup, Make Chumps of People Like Me

The thuggish shakedown is officially successful and I am officially a chump - I put 30% down when I bought my home and I pay my mortgage every month. What a sucker.

We're all suckers.

UPDATE: WSJ weighs in...we're stealing money from the institutions that lubricate the economy to reward deadbeats and buy votes. Disgraceful. Oddly, a headline on page one of the same paper suggests that this settlement creates hope for a housing market recovery. That's what the politicians would like you to believe, but it's a fantasy.

Contraception Mandate - Bad Economics, Bad Political Philosophy

John Cochrane points out the obvious to astute economic thinkers, which is probably not so obvious to most people - a contraception mandate is a tax on people who do not use contraception.

"Salting mandated health insurance with birth control is exactlythe same as a tax—on employers, on Catholics, on gay men and women, on couples trying to have children and on the elderly—to subsidize one form of birth control."
Unlike Cochrane, I do not think the economic debate is the heart of the matter. Liberty is the heart of the matter. Economics is just trade-offs here and there, but this mandate cuts to core of the central, defining, foundational principle of this nation - liberty and individual freedom. It guts our basic rights, the whole animating idea of this nation, from which everything we have enjoyed in 236 years has flowed. We are crossing a red line, and on the far side of that line is dictatorship. Henninger hints at where we are going today:

"The Catholic Church has stumbled into the central battle of the 2012 presidential campaign: What are the limits to Barack Obama's transformative presidency? The Catholic left has just learned one answer: When Mr. Obama says, "Everyone plays by the same set of rules," it means they conform to his rules. What else could it mean?

Anyone who signs up for more of this deal by assuming that it will never force them to fall into line is getting what they deserve."

Yes, we indeed get what we deserve. If we want to be slaves, we shall be slaves. In fact even if we don't want to be slaves, we may end up enslaved nonetheless - recall Edmund Burke's chilling words:
"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."
Pick your delusion - Hope and Change, Healthcare for All, Saving the Planet from Global Warming - any of these is more than sufficient subterfuge for you to hand away your freedoms. If we can't see it, shame on us, our children will have to learn of freedom on their own and fight to regain it - that is a burden far more onerous than any amount of debt, and a legacy of deep shame for us.

UPDATE: For those less inclined to contemplate Burkeian political philosophy, let me couch it in more modern terms. Burke's idea is wonderfully expressed in the parable told by one LA cop to another (twice) in the 1988 movie "Colors".

Greek Kabuki Dance

Greek leaders have done the precisely choreographed dance that knowledgeable observers have expected them to do - they feigned outrage to the point of making the deal look uncertain, and then, as if miraculously, forged a deal.

If one thing was not in doubt it was that Greece needed the money and needed it in the worst way. The second thing that was not in doubt is that the providers of that money were sick of Greek bullshit. So the Greeks weren't going to get that money unless they accepted the terms laid out by those providing the money, but they had to demonstrate sufficient outrage and angst for Greek public consumption prior to gladly taking the money, which they did.

UPDATE: And the Greeks are rioting over their right to be profligate, inefficient, and be paid more than they are worth. As I have said for over a year now, let Greece fail.

More On Gas Prices

I recently highlighted the wrong way direction of gas prices. USA Today picks up the theme and makes a pessimistic prediction.
Prices could spike another 60 cents or more by May. "I think it's going to be a chaotic spring, with huge price increases in some places," says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service. Kloza expects average prices to peak at $4.05, although he and other industry trackers say prices could be sharply higher in some markets.
I have long predicted that we'd see $4 gas in the 2012 election cycle.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Global Warming Is Dead, But We Still Need the Corpse

Readers please note that one of my predictions for 2012, made not a few weeks ago, was the official death of the global warming movement. The movement, I believe, is actually dead now, but when I said "official" I meant official. So, as in real life criminology, we need a corpse to declare a death. The most obvious corpse would be the UN's IPCC. Killing this fraudulent driving force behind the AGW movement will be tough, but we're not even into February and we've got a massive salvo right across the bow of the IPCC's credibility. We could have our body relatively soon.

UPDATE: Oh, by the way, I said this (in 2007 no less):
"The implications of this are that it is a near certainty that current consensus predictions of global warming and the damage it will cause will be proved wrong. The current forecasts of what temperatures and climate conditions will be 50 years hence may be too pessimistic or even too optimistic, but they are all but certain to be wrong."

Fair Warning to OWS

This is what OWS is saying:
“Speakers will be physically assaulted, not just verbally confronted,”

This is what CPAC should say:
"Great, we will be armed, make our day."

Let's hope CPAC is a conservative organization worth the name and its attendees are packing heat.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Austerity" Is Nothing of the Sort

The most enlightening essay you will ever read if you want to understand politics and become a more educated and sophisticated voter/citizen is George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." It remains the gold standard in demonstrating how words shape (read: distort) the substantive debate.

Today's sovereign debt crisis in Europe is a great case study. Europeans in general, and the idealogical allies of the social democratic welfare state in particular, complain about the "austerity" being either contemplated or imposed on certain European nations. Greece, of course, is the poster child here. Yet, no reasonable, economically literate person would characterize the move from how the Greeks have managed their economy to how they should manage their economy - expressed principally by the German government - as "austerity." Any reasonable analysis would call it moving from "profligacy" to "normalcy". Spending what you can afford is definitionally "normal." Spending more than you can reasonably afford is definitionally "profligate." Spending modestly, less than you can afford, is "austere." Germany may be advocating that Greece be "more austere" in relative terms, but it is by no means proposing "austerity." Greece has an enormously unproductive and inconsequential economy, and yet they have pretended for years to have the living standards of much more prosperous and productive neighbors. They did this by creating needless work for tens of thousands of people and paying them compensation well beyond their competitive worth, and borrowed ungodly sums to pay for it all. Greek civil servants earn 14 months of salary for 12 months work and there are about 30% more of them on the government payroll than needed. Ceasing this fantasy is not "austerity" as a true description of their state of affairs. What is being asked of Greece is a return to normalcy, and only austere relative to its former profligacy.

Yet the likes of the Greeks, the Portugese, the Italians, the Spanish, and all their idealogical allies are crying a river over what "austerity" will do to their economies when what they mean is what having to abandon profligacy will do to their economies. They may be right in terms of what the shift will do - I suspect they are wrong, see here - but they are being dishonest over the terms of the debate. Do you really think they'd win their terms by moaning over what "abandoning profligacy" will do to them? They have to shield the reality of the debate by manipulating language - the difference between "more austere" with no reference to starting point and "austerity" as an absolute state of being simply must get lost in the shuffle to serve their political goals.

The same is going on here in America. We hear the same arguments about budget cuts. Over-stretched government entities talk about cutting "necessary" services, when close to 50% of what government spends its money on is completely superfluous. This is what must happen to win in politics, the superfluous must become the necessary, normalcy must be austerity.

So they next time you hear that austerity is killing Europe, understand it for the socialist nonsense dressed up in Keynesian jargon that it is.

Poll Shows Catholics, Like Everybody, Like Free Shit

OMG. Shocking. Catholics, like most people, like free shit.

The subset of moochers among the Catholic population appears to be strikingly similar to the percentage of moochers in the population at large. Amazing.

Why Not Eli Manning, Too?

Gas Price Update

Gas prices have been going the wrong way recently, the last three weeks have been somewhat ugly. We are already back to $4 here in New York state for mid-grade gas. This is a big anti-stimulant to the economy. Watch this space, it will be very easy for some Republican Super PAC to say, 'while you're paying $4 for gas, Obama has been shoveling tens of billions to now-bankrupt green energy fantasies...that are run by his cronies. Have a nice day."

Public Sector Union Rapacity Has Peaked

When New Jersey Democrats are proposing bills to cap the rapacious public-sector union boondoggle of "accumulated sick leave payouts" then you know which way the wind is blowing in America today. Public sector pensions and benefits are bankrupting America, but up until just recently, nobody really knew it. Safe to say that now they know it.

The Dems thought they could limit the damage and negotiate with Gov. Christie, but he has not wavered on this one bit.
Fourteen months after Gov. Chris Christie nixed a Democratic proposal to cap public workers’ payouts for future unused sick time at $15,000 because he didn’t think it went far enough, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has proposed a bill to end payouts for future accumulated sick leave altogether .

The measure (S1564) is not perfectly in line with Christie’s December, 2010 conditional veto of the earlier Democratic measure, but it’s much closer.

Democrats had previously wanted to cap sick leave pay for future accumulated unused days at $15,000, then offered to lower the cap to $7,500. But Christie has been steadfast to his opposition to any compromise, lambasting the Democrats’ proposals telling town hall gatherings “zero means zero.”

Christie is spending his political capital wisely. Of course, when you have examples like this
Lt. Edward Wall will be paid $363,415 during the next two-and-one-half years for the sick, personal and vacation days he did not use in his 28-year career, said Jasmine Lim, business administrator for the township.
The payouts, Christie said, could be massive and are sometimes referred to by recipients as a “boat check,” meaning it is sometimes used to buy a boat upon retirement. In Parsippany, Christie said, four police officers retired and the township had to write them checks that collectively totaled over $900,000.
your negotiating position is on solid ground.

Reasons 3,472 and 3,473 Why I Don't Read the NYT

After years of ceaselessly denigrating the war effort, demonizing, slandering and falsely accusing soldiers of war crimes, and generally poisoning all discussion of the Iraq War, the New York Times now wonders why we don't give our vets a parade.


UPDATE: Let's go ahead and double up this post since the Crimes is providing so much typical fodder today. Apparently the US Constitution has seen better days because folks around the world aren't jazzed by it. Of course, this is all based on "a study" by some college professors. Yes I know, you're bowled over.

Where to begin? First, it is irrelevant, the US Constitution really only matters to Americans, so who cares what foreigners think (actually the NYT cares, because foreigners are awesome and Americans not so much in NYT's worldview). Yes, it is nice to be a beacon and an exemplar, but that's just gravy, the Constitution is actually an operational mechanism (at least let's give that the benefit of the doubt) for us. We need the thing and it's gotta work, and we're too busy using it and trying to keep it operational to give a hoot what others think.

Of course, this leads us to the next obvious point, the US Constitution hasn't been this popular here at home in a long time, it's undergoing a renaissance of not just popularity, but concern and, no other way to describe it, love. Again, this is the reality that the NYT doesn't care about, and thus ignores in its coverage. In NYTimesWorld who cares that the multitudes have been devouring books from David McCullough to Mark Levin in an attempt to reacquaint with the US Constitution and the modest form of government it was meant to give us? Nope, forget the damn thing because raping, burning, rioting Egyptians aren't keen to emulate it now that they are in need of whipping up some form of governing document...

Any wonder why the NYT is bleeding red ink and headed for a crash landing?

Monday, February 06, 2012

"One-Term Rally" Now the CW?

The folks at IBD want you to contemplate the idea that the stock market is rising on the very real prospect of a defeat of President Obama. Welcome to the party IBD, I've been inching out on that limb for some time now:
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."
As a matter of fact, I think I called a long-term, secular bull market a couple days into Obama's presidency on theory that it would be so bad that the market predicted an utter decimation of the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

Thank God Government Is Protecting Us from Greed, Unscrupulous Ice Cream Parlors

Big, nanny-state government's war on ice cream parlors continues apace. Maybe the San Fran entrepreneur should have talked to the Chicago gal before starting in on her idea. Government must have solved all the other problems since they have time to harass people who want to provide us with ever-growing quantities and varieties of delicious ice cream.

But don't listen to me...I'm an "extremist".

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Well, I feel a little ashamed of not blogging more about this Giants team...the G-men are after all a part of the title of this blog. One thing was our talisman going down in flames. The second was I was just damned busy. But I always love my beloved G-men and this season was completely reminiscent of 2007, not just from defeating the Tom Brady-led Pats, but from the contribution of nobodies on top of the stalwart performance of stars. It is, as I always maintain, a function of what the Giants organization is all about - the Mara philosophy.

There is so much to say - Victor Cruz, Chase Blackburn (check out where he was at the start of the season), Jaquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, JPP, and Eli shutting up all the Monday Morning Numbnuts (many of my friends will recall numerous late night drunken rants defending Eli to an almost embarrassing degree) - but it is late and I must suck up all the glory and watch Boomer and TJ recap the game.

All I will say, is it was fate...too reminiscent of the miracle team of 2007 and and and AND twenty-five years after this. And let's not forget that the season started off looking grim with the fans losing two emotional favorites in Kevin Boss and Steve Smith and Brandon Jacobs and a few others mouthing off and playing the malcontents. But Jerry Reese is looking like a genius right now.

PS, I counted two awesome 1980s post-punk tunes in commercials - She Sells Sanctuary and Killing Moon (can you name the bands)...dude, we're getting old.

I don't know what I love more, a great Boomer "GGGGGGGG-Meeeeeennnnnnnnn" or a "New York Football Giants"??? Shit, I love 'em both.

Finally, I never watch my beloved Big Blue without thinking about the greatest Giant fan of all time, the man who took me to every game for 15 years during the lean years - when they went 2-14, delivered such wonderful moments as the Herman Edwards thing, and when Joe Pisarcik was, well, Joe Pisarcik.

Congratulations to the Mara family, the Tisch family and the whole New York Giants organization. Congratulations indeed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Indiana Is a Right to Work State

Lost in all the hubbub over the Florida primary is the fact that Gov. Mitch Daniels signed Indiana's Right to Work bill into law today. This is the best news on the economic liberty front in awhile. Here's hoping Indiana scores a big business win soon as a direct result and the momentum builds.

Is Romney Electable? Dumb Question.

There is an interesting debunking and "rebunking" back and forth courtesy of James Taranto at the WSJ's Best of the Web over whether Mitt Romney is electable.

I find this all very funny. Putting aside Romney's idealogical view, his putative lack of or fealty to conservative principals of governance, is a simple matter of background - the resume, if you will. If you are a student of American history, you understand that there is a more-or-less "typical" person that gets elected President of these United States. The electorate occasionally veers away from this "typical" character, but usually returns to type. To generalize, the "typical" American President has one or more of the following attributes:
1) executive experience in government, more often than not as a governor of a state;
2) somewhat significant experience in the private sector economy;
3) some sort of "alternate patriotic service" outside of elected public office, i.e. military experience.

I have argued that Romney is the most typically presidential candidate to run for the Oval Office since George H. W. Bush, maybe Bill Clinton. In other words, we haven't seen a man this "typical" of our past Presidents come along in quite some time. Don't believe me? Let's go down the list. First off, Americans don't typically elect Senators, so you can wipe out John McCain, Barack Obama, Bob Dole, and even Al Gore on this score. Second, in terms of private sector experience you can wipe out John McCain, Barack Obama, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, and even George W. Bush as his private sector experience is considered to be limited or suspect. In the third dimension you can elevate Dole and McCain for their military service, maybe Al Gore for his VP service although that is an elected office, but you have to disqualify Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and again arguably George W. Bush for only limited military service. The only men since Reagan who qualify as somewhat typical are George H.W. Bush by virtue of his military, CIA and VP experience and maybe Bill Clinton, but only barely as the governor of a small state with no other positives along the other dimensions. Note Barack Obama meets none of the traditional criteria - his incumbency is the only dimension on which he has to his credit, and it is hardly an auspicious one.

In contrast Mitt Romney has extensive private sector experience, executive leadership experience within government, and an "alternative patriotic" experience as the rescuer of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. To the extent that Americans return to "typicity" in choosing a President, you could hardly find a better candidate than Mitt Romney. That may not be what they want, but that is not what I am arguing here. What I am saying is if, this time around, "typical" equals "electable" then electable Romney certainly is.

Marxists At Prayer? IHMO, Yes.

On the occasion of receiving an email from the Bishop of the New York Diocese of the Episcopal Church that discussed in glowing, laudatory terms the Occupy Wall Street movement, I undertook to fisk (cursorily, I might add, as I was too irked to take it further - and sorry about the color scheme!) the inanity of Rev. Mark Sisk's paean to the microwave-ready Marxists of OWS. Well, it seems that taking the Episcopal Church to task for its "mediocre political correctness" is catching.

At my (now former?) church we pray every week for "Barack, our President". We never once prayed for "George, our President" and I don't have any hopes that we'll pray for "Mitt, our President" should that be a possibility and should I even be there to see it.

Note: I was born and raised a Roman Catholic with ten years of Catholic schooling under my belt - I attend the Episcopal Church as a part of the compromises and accommodations that one makes in the course of having a successful marriage. My hero is this guy.