Friday, November 30, 2012

Reminder: All Talk of Austerity Is Pure, Unadulterated Poppycock

The Zero Hedge people are saying what I have been saying for awhile - there is absolutely no such thing as "austerity" going on in Europe or anywhere else for that matter.  If words have any meaning, "austerity" is nowhere close to what is going on or even what is contemplated to go on in Europe.  What is going on in Europe is "ever so slightly less profligacy."  What is contemplated for Europe is "a return to only moderately profligate" or "as much profligacy as we can get away with, but less than the maximum our lenders will tolerate."

Behind the NBA's Mask

David Stern to Popovich:  'Dude, this is not about winning, it's about entertaining?'

Temp America

Mark Perry notes the steady increase in temporary worker employment and posits that it bodes well for broader employment gains.
MP: Both the ASA Staffing Index and the BLS measure of temporary workers have been trending upward for the last three years and are now close to their pre-recession levels. As leading indicators of overall U.S. labor market demand, these ongoing positive trends in temporary hiring are signs that the labor market is gradually improving and may translate into an increased pace of broader-based hiring for workers going forward into 2013.
I think, however, that mainstream economists (although it would be a bit unfair to call Perry a "mainstream" economist, as that to me is a pejorative term and Perry deserves better) are perhaps missing a structural shift in the labor market towards more temporary employment away from full time employment.  I have labelled this the Robert Half Economy.
Well, we are two years out and we've made, well, er, um, progress if you can call it that. We're not going Galt anymore, we are going Robert Half. Robert Half is, of course, a company that will hook your business up with temporary workers. Judging by this (see #2) it seems that they are busy these days. With Nancy Pelosi defanged, Barack Obama sporting pedestrian approval ratings, and a global economy that decided it couldn't afford to indulge in the progessive rubbish that we Americans foisted on ourselves (here, here, and here), the business climate is looking less awful, so going the full Galt may not be justified. But going the full Milton ain't justified either, after all we are still living with the spectre of the regulatory blobs of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, Obama's EPA is in overdrive trying to raise our energy costs, and the rule of law is still being flouted from on high. So how does one make a halting, tentative commitment to the prospect of better times? Hire temps. If Obamacare survives judicial muster (or if Kath Sebelius is ordered to just implement it anyway) or if the economy shows signs of weakness or if another regulatory push seems like it's making traction, as a business operator you'll want to have the flexibility to ratchet back your commitment in a hurry. With temp workers, you just say "bye-bye", no difficult firing procedures, no wrongful termination lawsuits, no pension obligations, no union goons protesting layoffs. Easy peasy Japanesey. Thus, we are now Going Robert Half.

Geithner Deserves to be Laughed At

Just a reminder, this is not the first time that Turbo Tax Timmy has provoked gales of laughter...

China is the biggest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds. U.S. data shows that it held $768 billion in Treasuries as of March, but some analysts believe China's total U.S. dollar-denominated investments could be twice as high.

"Chinese assets are very safe," Geithner said in response to a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied Chinese as a student in the 1980s.

His answer drew loud laughter from his student audience, reflecting scepticism in China about the wisdom of a developing country accumulating a vast stockpile of foreign reserves instead of spending the money to raise living standards at home.
Geithner, let me reiterate, is worthy of your contempt. He is both irresponsibly batty and tyrannically arrogant having the proper relationship between citizens and the government completely backward in his mind.  He thinks you work for the government, not the other way around.  Do we have to get Clint Eastwood to explain it to him?

Nationalization Is NOT "Modern"

The news here is not that Obama and French Socialists are indistinguishable, it's that French Socialists are historically illiterate.  Nationalization of industry is not a modern technique, it's an age-old technique.  A technique that has been proven time and again to destroy companies, industries and economies.  General Motors may be alive, ala Joe Biden, but it's a farce, a zombie of a company.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


But calling these people savage or uncivilized is "hate speech"...

So, there is no right and wrong, just the way the lefties want it...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tax Avoidance-a-palooza

...or, if you will, Laffer-mania!

Did I say that companies would be paying out big, special dividends before the end of the year to allow shareholders to benefit from the expiring low tax rate on dividends?  Yes, I did.  And as far back as 2009.

Well, now it's becoming something of a major trend as numerous companies and some very high-profile companies are scrambling to avoid the fiscal cliff.  Costco is paying out an extra $3 billion.  Dillard's is paying out 25 times their annual regular dividend (that's the next 25 year's worth of divviess now!).  This is the cash that Obama caused to be hoarded and that he and other Democrats lamented wasn't being put to work to create jobs. It's now going out into the world via shareholders' accounts.  What gets done with that money - spent or reinvested - remains to be seen.

Shall we listen intently for the cries of rich, hypocritical, Obama-loving trust fund babies lamenting the avoidance of taxation that they all so self-righteously proclaim that we need?

Oh, did I mention that it seems all the millionaires in the UK up and disappeared when tax rates went to 50%??  Yup.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Morale Boost? Buffett's TRULY Voodoo Economics

There is something deeply disconcerting about Warren Buffett's inane theory that tax hikes on the rich will boost "the morale of the middle class."   This statement is completely devoid of any economic or financial logic, it has no basis in anything but pure emotion and populist sentiment.  It's sad to see such a reputable figure - reputable by virtue of his espousal over decades of deeply rational economic and financial wisdom - put forth such nonsense; and, it is frightening to see Buffett draw upon his well of credibility to advance a notion without an ounce of merit.  Notice what Buffett didn't say.  He didn't say it would be good for the economy, he didn't say it would be a fiscally productive policy.  He said it will make people feel good, and feel good because others' expense.  Truly dreadful.  Old age has done a number on Warren's faculties.  Such a shame.

My taxes are going up, that is for sure.  But do you think I am going to smile through it all and enjoy parting with dollars that were wasted long ago? Higher taxes tomorrow given the last several years explosion of government is like having to pay your child's drug dealer long after the fatal overdose.  I'm going to make sure the shit rolls downhill.  I've already told some of my key merchants and suppliers that I'm ratcheting back, so don't expect much business from me.  But according to Warren Buffett, when I send an extra $20,000 to Washington DC - money that was going to be revenue for my landscaper or my stone mason or my wine merchant - these middle class guys are going to feel better?

Malaysia Announces Hydrocarbon Bonanza

Yesterday it was Mexico, today it is Malaysia announcing a ginormous hydrocarbon find.
Malaysia is one step closer to strengthening its position as an Asia's liquefied natural gas powerhouse with the discovery of two major gas reserves offshore Sarawak.
State-backed Petronas said in a statement emailed to Rigzone Monday that it has made two major gas discoveries, which combined could contain over 4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas reserves, at the Kuang North and Tukau Timar fields.
Now might be a good time to remind people that I predicted the end of Global Warming Climate Change as a policy movement.  There have always been two paths under which the crusade was always destined to die: 1) the science behind the crusade would be revealed as fraudulent, and/or 2) the policy prescriptions offered up by the crusaders would be so destructive and distasteful to most nation-states that the entire agenda would be rejected out of hand.  I have always thought that number two would be the actual downfall of the movement (although as John Hinderaker points out today, the scientific crash might not be far behind).  Climate change policy is nearly diametrically opposed to most nations' core interests (outside of those nations whose sole interest is extracting payments from richer nations). Malaysia's announcement today (and Mexico's) adds to the ever-mounting evidence that this is so.

Latest and Greatest in Orwellian Bullshit

For the cutting edge in Orwellian bullshit we turn to Europe and the recently negotiated revision to Greece's rescue plan.  How does one say "we haven't achieved squat" or "we are totally trying to fool people" without really saying it, or better yet convincing people of the complete opposite?  How does "constructive ambiguity" sound? 
In addition, the ministers vowed “further measures and assistance” -- such as another cut in bailout rates and an increase in European infrastructure subsidies -- once Greece posts an operating budget surplus. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the possible future concessions were couched in “constructive ambiguity,” a hint that the debt- relief debate may flare back up. 
 "Constructive ambiguity."  You have to admire the sheer audacity and smoothness of this reformulation of an utter steaming pile.  Figures that it came from a Frenchman.

Reminder: We're Still Broke, People Still Try to Avoid Taxes

A couple things in the WSJ today talking about things I have discussed here.  Notably the rush to get money out of companies before the tax consequences of any new sausage-making (or non-sausage-making) comes into play.  I talked about this the last time we faced a similar situation not too long ago.

The second story is an op-ed that clarifies, so that everyone can go on ignoring the facts again, just how bloody broke-ass broke we are.  The massive $16 trillion debt that gets thrown around doesn't even begin to get our liabilities right.  Try $85 trillion give or take.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mexico Finds Lots of Oil

Mexico thinks it's found roughly 1 billion barrels of oil.  Gee, look for oil, find oil.  Shocker, I know.

More of the Creepy, Dangerous Obama Cultism

Did I say, "I don't view Barack Obama as the President.  Of course, technically he is, but I view him as more of a leader of a very strange and very dangerous cult."  Yes, I did.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aristotle Trumps Plutarch

So Cory Booker is tweeting Plutarch quotes in defense of the Democrats' Leviathan entitlement state.
"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailments of all republics"
Fine.  That has sometimes been true.  There was another famous Greek philosopher who's wisdom on political economy might be more relevant.

"If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city." 
Booker's defense, while appearing soundly grounded, is overwrought.  A poor American in the year 2012 is richer than 80% of the world's inhabitants and, on average, richer than nearly all people who have ever walked the Earth.  Yes, poor Americans seem relatively poor compared to the vast and pervasive wealth of America in general, but calibrated on a global scale to global standards, there simply isn't poverty in America.  There is only relative poverty.  Where we are on the scale is just as important as the gap between two points.  We are not in danger of a convulsive rising up of long oppressed indigents, but we are in danger of destroying a quite remarkable economic engine on which we've all relied and traveled quite far.  In 21st century America, Aristotle trumps Plutarch.
“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics’ Plutarch ancient Greek historian (c. 46 – 120 CE)”

Read more:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Diplomacy Is Smart Diplomacy!

If various news reports are correct, Hillary Clinton will arrive in Jerusalem (at Barack Obama's request) sometime after the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is inked.  Smart Diplomacy!  Or no diplomacy, more like it.  After four years of Obama's silly mismanagement, the United States of America is off the chessboard as it relates to the subset of Middle East issues directly relating to Israel's security.  Quite an achievement.

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Dangerous Accountability Dodging

More of this despicable and destructive nonsense.  I already said that women and minorities that can't handle the standard mechanisms of accountability in a free society need to get out of responsible and powerful roles.  When you ask for, and are bestowed, power and privilege to wield on our behalf, you have to be up to the task and honest with us.  If you are not, you are not worthy and a potential danger to our society, so leave.  And if you are not prepared to do so going in, then don't ask us for power and privilege.

Ann Althouse, as well, sees the danger here, sufficient enough to cease to mince words:
If we were required to moderate our criticism of women in power, we would need to oppose having women in power in order to preserve our freedom as American citizens...
The suggestion — even implicit — that there is a requirement like this is offensive and retrograde.
That's deadly serious.  If we can't hold people accountable, we can't let them serve.  If they won't be held accountable on some illegitimate pretext - because they're girls, which we've been told for decades is illegitimate - they are a danger and must be actively kept from serving the public.

DWS Is Repulsive

Can I rant a little?  Can I tell you how much I hate this.

SO FUCKING WHAT?  Let's dismiss the naked racism and sexism here and determine what she's getting at - is it the fundamentals of being white and male or is it our actual track record of governing?  If the former, then you must indeed lament us as fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, co-workers and neighbors.  Is that it? 

Or is it how we've governed?  Have the last 100 years been retrograde devolution? Think so?  Screw you.  You show me a place in America where practically not a single white male has any role in anything and I'll show you Detroit, or Newark, NJ, or East St. Louis.  You show me a place in America where white males are increasingly marginalized and I'll show you hopelessly indebted and economically moribund California or hollowed out New York.

When you're ready to be inclusive and measure character and not melanin or testosterone, call me.  Scratch that, don't ever f**king call me. Don't ever ask me to be "economically patriotic" or ask me chip in "because we're all in this together".  You've made it plain we're not all in this together.  So pound sand for the next several decades Democrats.

What Is Worse Than a Lie? The Expectation That It Be Swallowed

I fully admit to and make no apology for my frequent and often severe criticism of Obama.  However I understand that most of my criticisms and positions in that vein are open to honest debate by people of good will.  Except every now and then an issue or an action by this White House will come along that so infuriates me because of its rank dishonesty that I feel is beyond dispute and the expectation that the citizenry is simply supposed to swallow it.  Furthermore, the MSM's outrageous complicity in protecting the administration in these episodes compounds the rage.  So, when Krugman says that a 90% tax rate on the rich is economically hunky-dorey, I disagree but the blood does not boil.  But when the Obama administration says that no one at the White House edited out the CIA talking points about the terror-links to the Benghazi consulate attack, the lie is so outrageous, it simply can't be swept into the fuzzy area of 'things open to legitimate debate'.  David Petraeus has testified under oath to the United States' Senate that the CIA linked terrorists to the Benghazi attack immediately. Does the White House really expect us to believe that there are alternate routes of information flow or intermediate steps in the chain of command between the top leadership of the CIA and the White House?  Of course there aren't.  So there are only two possibilities.  Petraeus lied to Congress or the White House is lying.  If they think Petraeus lied, the WH needs to say so.  But this playing dumb, dog-ate-my-homework, beats me bullshit is highly dishonest and destructive.  And the fact that they expect us to swallow it and the media to soft-pedal it, is even worse.

Consumers and Companies Pulling Back? Not to Worry. Unicorns and Fairies to Spur Economy.

Scanning the news via the WSJ's "What's News" section we get a good sense of where Obama 2.0 is heading:
  • U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.
  • As retailers approach the holiday shopping season, some are seeing worrisome signs that Americans are tightening their purse strings.
Numerous causes of this, and unending debate of course.  But let's not get bogged down in political debate, Obama won, let's let the world turn and let Obama own it.  As this post highlights, when Democrats get everything they want, we know where it leads.  Let them own their victory.  It won't be pretty and it may be painful, but, as any parent knows, sometimes the best way to teach a child not to do something dangerous is not to prohibit or warn/scold, but to let the child take a fall, lump or mild scorching.  Sometimes voters children need to get the horns to learn not to mess with the bull.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Francis Wilkinson (Me Neither) Is "Loopy"

Ugh.  More gibberish from the loons that Al Hunt has cobbled together into an editorial team over at Bloomberg News.  This time from a Francis Wilkinson (?) saying that we're going over the fiscal cliff, essentially because Michelle Bachmann is still in Congress.  Furthermore, he mocks economic growth as "magic" (in the bad sense, as in hocus-pocus).  Does this guy not realize that it is near universally accepted in the field of economics that growth, and usually growth alone, solves fiscal imbalances?  Doofus.  No more need be said.

Except this.  This is how this story's headline would appear on your Bloomberg terminal for those privileged enough to pay $2000 a month for one, "Loopy Republicans Will Send Us Over the Fiscal Cliff."  How's that for incisiveness?  Anyway, since we're operating on that plane, here's my retort:

"Loopy Democrats Will Bankrupt the Nation, Turn Us Into Greece."

UPDATE:  Last I checked Turbo Tax Timmy was a Democrat and courtesy of Wilkinson's boss, Al Hunt, we get word that Triple T advocates absolutely zero strictures, no limits whatsoever, on the amount of indebtedness that our government can rack up on our behalf.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think these characters have no intention to pay the debt back or are unaware that debts do indeed have to be paid back.  Both notions are downright "loopy".

Stop the Victimology. Failures of Any Color, Gender Must Go.

As a society we have to denounce and shut this kind of garbage down.
A dozen female members of the House staunchly defended U.N. ambassador Susan Rice against Republican criticism over her remarks on the deadly Sept. 11 Libya attack, suggesting the GOP lawmakers' comments were racist and sexist.
It is a great social good and true progress that we have more women and minorities in powerful and responsible roles in society, but we can't let powerful people dodge accountability due to their race or gender.  This is the big leagues and if you can't handle it and need coddling, then get out.  We all have a stake in your performance, sometimes a frighteningly large stake, so we can't let you hide behind your gender of the hue of your skin.  You wanted a chance to do important things, if you're not up to the task, you must go.

Stealth Inflation

I was on this ages ago.  Welcome to the party Ms. McArdle.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Gonna Be a Long Four Years

What did I tell you way back in the early days of Obama 1.0?  Companies will shrink.  Here is just the latest.

Anti-Fracker Takes the Money, Agrees to Drilling on Farm

Former anti-fracking activist leases her farm for drilling.
Two years ago, Denise Dennis delivered a dramatic denunciation of Marcellus Shale natural gas development at a Philadelphia City Council hearing. She equated drilling to the tobacco industry, and said that "Pennsylvanians are the lab rats" for a massive shale gas experiment.
The Philadelphia resident had a powerful story: Her family owned a historic 153-acre farm in Susquehanna County, where her ancestors were among the first freed African Americans to settle in Pennsylvania just after the Revolutionary War. She became a potent symbol in the shale gas wars.
"The process for extracting natural gas from shale is as dirty as coal mining," she testified to thunderous applause at the 2010 council meeting.
"Wow," said Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., who sponsored the hearing.
But Dennis' fervor has subsided in the last two years, undone by the financial need of preserving her family's deteriorating historic farm, and by the salesmanship of the Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
Last week Dennis signed a lease allowing the Houston company to extract the shale gas beneath her family's farm, which the National Trust for Historic Preservation has called a "rare and highly significant African American cultural landscape."
"I decided to stop demonizing the industry and to start negotiating with individuals," said Dennis. "I had to be realistic."
The reality was that most of the surrounding landowners had leased their mineral rights, and gas drilling was going to proceed with or without the Dennis farm.  "We were an island in a sea of leased land," she said. "As I saw it, the drilling companies were now my neighbors, and it was better to get along with them than to be antagonistic."
Hard to say whether she capitulated and just took the money or has had a change of heart about the risks of fracking the social cost/benefits.  Either way, there's one less anti-fracking voice out there - just in time for Matt Damon's anti-fracking agitprop movie to hit the screens.

Corporate America Fighting Back

I am glad to see businesses taking my advice. The only way to counter destructive policy is to make its consequences tangible to reduce demand for them.
President Obama's election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power - but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.
Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny's and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers' bills and will reduce his employees' hours.
Here was my advice way back.
The remedy is to link bad policy with its consequences immediately so that cause and effect are undeniably associated, and the ultimate damage to the franchise is avoided. With several bad policies on the wishlist of our left-wing controlled government, here are a few strategic moves that managements should consider if these policies become the law of the land.
Universal Healthcare - Take the increased costs out of cash wages and show the numbers to all of your employees. Stuff a leaflet in every paycheck that says, "Universal healthcare mandates costs us $X per employee over our previous healthcare arrangements, thus your cash wages have been reduced or your potential raise been scaled back by an equivalent amount. Please note you are earning the same but your compensation comes more in the form of healthcare than cash remuneration."

Friday, November 09, 2012

Obama: Suck It Blue States, Got Yer Vote in My Pocket!

Obama shuts down oil drilling in western US as gas lines hit NY and NJ. 

Irony.  Taste the sweet blue irony...


Not edifying but, at least, fairly refreshing in the handling.  To paraphrase: "I did it.  It was wrong, I know it.  Gonna accept the consequences like a man.  Can't serve in an important capacity given it. Full stop."

In contrast to this.

Obama Is Not Empowered, He Is Out On a Limb

“If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes,” Obama said.

This man is NOT serious.  And he now owns the whole Shebang. Call his bluff.  

Layoffs are raging.  Let him choke on the crappy economy he's created.

Reply to Budowsky I'd Like To See

Reply from Drudge ought to be:

Dear Brent,
Pound sand.  If it's newsworthy, I'm running it.  Screw your namby-pamby racial sensitivity.

Post-mortem Lesson #1: The Media

Never forgive.  Never forget.

Hate the MSM for their despicable performance during the election (and the last 40 years for that matter)?  Economic destruction is the order of the day.  Starve them.  Cancel subscriptions.  Hurt them in the pocket whenever and wherever you can.

I haven't read the new York Times is 10 years.  I never watch NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN.  I never read my ridiculous local paper.  And yet somehow I stay well informed enough to run a successful small business, be capably active in my community and lead a fulfilling life.  You can too.  Give it a try.

A Simple Pitch

Here is a modest proposal for how Republicans can reach out to black voters:

"Hey, let's talk real.  You've been lock-step voting for Democrats for 40 years.  With a few exceptions, your schools stink, your neighborhoods are wracked by crime, your communities lack infrastructure and jobs, and your cities are going bankrupt.  This is what Democrats, your supposed friends, have given you.  Wouldn't it make sense to try something different?  We don't have to be best friends, but we can cooperate. 

We stand for improving schools through school choice and breaking teacher union monopolies.  We stand for creating jobs by lowering taxes and regulations on businesses.  We stand for safer communities through tough law enforcement and allowing citizens to protect themselves by exercising their 2nd amendment rights.  We stand for municipal solvency by eliminating public sector union collective bargaining.

We think we can improve your lives through better policy.  Your "friends" will give more of the same and you'll get more of the same.  If you're satisfied with that, fine.  If not, would you consider giving us a shot?  As I said, we can cooperate.  Isn't it worth a shot?

Thank you for listening."

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Shocker. History Professor Is Terrible Economist

A Stanford professor named David Kennedy pens an editorial today in Bloomberg, showing why he is a good history professor but a terrible economist.  And also that he's never actually been to a Tea Party.

Kennedy gives us a nice brief tour back through the Founding complete with Jefferson quotes and excerpts from Federalist No.10.  All to the good but nothing remarkable there.  Then he turns to what Barack Obama faces, negotiating the fiscal cliff with John Boehner's House caucus although he doesn't actually say it.  As if to settle things, he references Mann and Ornstein's ridiculous caricature and scurrilous attack on the Tea Party as definitive - they're a bunch of nuts and Obama is cursed to have to deal with them, end of story because Mann and Ornstein say so. Can these nuts "get in touch with their inner Jefferson?" Kennedy closes.

The answer is, of course they can.  I've actually been to a Tea Party and these people are thousands of times more reasonable and rational than the yard sign stealers, the Black Panthers "protecting" polling places in the City of Brothery Love, and the multiplicity of leftist thugs and half-wits that have paraded themselves around during the campaign.  You see, the Tea Party wants essentially two things - a smaller, more Constitutionally faithful government, and the lower tax bill that comes with it.  So, Prof. Kennedy, I ask?  What is particularly nutty about that?  If the Constitution is not relevant to today's society, stand up and just say it, rather than call people names.

Second, why is compromise necessary?  If I want to drink milk and you want me to drink a cyanide solution, should we compromise and have me drink half milk/half cyanide?  On that score, I'm going to stay pretty locked into my position.  That is the economics behind Boehner's "Tea Party" Caucus versus President Obama.  President Obama presides over a Leviathan government that is cracking at the seems, living on oceans of artificially cheap debt, and facing additional burdens in the near future that it can't handle.  You could confiscate all the wealth of the 1% and you would sustain the current version of Leviathan for a handful of days, while ruining the economy in the bargain.  To pay for tomorrow's version of Leviathan, you'd have to take 30% of the income of every family deemed middle class.  Eighty percent of America goes broke in that scenario.  There is no amount of money anywhere to pay for the heretofore accumulated  Leviathan + Barack Obama's Dreams and yet still be America.  There is if we want to be Spain, France or Greece.  That's the cyanide.  Insisting that America not go there, that's not courting failure, that's keeping it at bay.

I suggest Prof. Kennedy walk down the hall or across campus, whichever the case, and have a chit-chat with Michael Boskin or John Taylor to get up to speed on our fiscal imbalances and the macro-economic issues at play here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Road Back Starts Local

Here lies the road back.
MEANWHILE, IN TENNESSEE: “Republicans gained six seats each in the state House and Senate Tuesday, giving the party more than the “super majority” they sought in both chambers, according to complete but unofficial election returns. By controlling two-thirds of the seats in both chambers for the first time since the Reconstruction era, Republicans will have a quorum and could continue in session even if all Democrats walk out. The two-thirds ‘super majority’ also allows united Republicans to suspend normal rules and instantly pass legislation.” Nothing like this has happened since Reconstruction ended.
These Republicans have to be smart and bold and quickly enact reforms and policies that work and that represent the essence of good government (no repaying cronies and seeking graft), so that a full-blown success story can emerge there in Tennessee for all the nation to see.  Enough of these success stories (along with say, Texas) accompanied by the bankruptcy and hollowing out of places like California and Illinois, and Americans just might give Republicans a chance nationally again.

Flashback Three Months: The Stock Market LOVES Barack Obama!

Remember all this bullshit we heard pre-election on how the stock market just loves Barack Obama?

Um, yeah...

Reach Out?

Reconcile these two statements:

They are unreconcilable.  At least without abandoning principles.  If you believe in personal liberty, individual responsibility, and limited government, then "reaching out to people of color" means either abandoning those principles or convincing them that they are wrong.  So, which will it be?

What cuts this Gordian Knot?  Look what is happening in Greece...politics can't solve this, bankruptcy will.  This has to play out like any garden variety addiction - rock bottom has to be reached before a change in direction.

The Nature of the Beast

That is the thing about affirmative action hires...they're hard to get rid of...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wow. It's Coming Good and Hard.

I'm shocked.  My worst feeling comes not from what Obama is going to do to this country over the next four, unrestrained years, but what it means for this country now that its citizens have lost all sense of judgement, discernment and wisdom.  It is one thing to be seduced by a charlatan once, it is entirely another to double down on a charlatan's spell.  I am deeply, deeply pessimistic about the future of a country that can elect an unqualified, inexperienced, and subversive fool to the highest office in the land...twice; and reject the decency and accomplishment of of a man like Mitt Romney.  We deserve everything we get - depression, chaos, war, inflation, loss of liberty, social strife.  It's coming and we deserve every last ounce.  We have voted and we will get what we deserve...good and hard, I might add.

As for my part, the fight never stops.  Obama 2.0 requires Galtism 4.0.  Withdrawal is the order of the day.  Time to simply bunker down and hide under our desks for another four years.  Eight years is a long time, but so be it.  As 5%er (not quite a 1%er, sorry), I'm hunkering down, reigning in, living to fight another day.

Here's the tentative investment call:

- Treasuries: near term neutral, long term bearish - Treasury yields can't get much lower, Obama will tack on $5 trillion more debt in O2.0 and Bernanke will inflate, inflate, inflate.  You will lose your shirt loaning money to Obama 2.0's US of A.

- Equities: near term bearish, long term bullish - businesses will hunker down, hoard cash, avoid growth initiatives, but the prospect of losing your shirt in Treasuries will keep some demand under equities.  You will need a multi-year time horizon for returns in equities though.

- Commodities:  bullish - inflation is coming, good and hard.

- Real Estate:  bearish - property taxes are going up massively for everybody, the local fiscal imbalances will get pushed off and get worse, and the bill is going to be sent to people who can't react quickly.

As a sage has said/is saying, I'll be as gracious as the other side was in 2000 and 2004.

UPDATE:  Be deeply careful about hogwash analysis like this.  This is sheer poppycock.  Equities are not in love with Barack Obama.  Companies have gone on defense due to Obama, and the stark contrast of their renewed financial health, having gone on defense, relative to where they were in 2008 is what has driven stock prices.  Multiples still suck.  It is the multiple which is the report card of policymakers.  Investors today will pay no more for a dollar of corporate earnings than they would have four years ago.  Equities are doing well only because most professional investors see a bloodbath in Treasuries on the horizon.

UPDATE:  Treasuries are up and stocks are down the morning after, exactly as expected - economic prospects are poor, run from risk.

Beautiful Secret Service Diss

I'm thinking someone read my post from a few weeks back and had cue ball-sized testicles (we don't know if they were born with them though Uncle Joe) to act on it.

No Words Needed

Prof. Glenn has this picture up, not once but twice this morning. Why?

Really look at this picture.  That adorable little girl's eyes are deeply penetrating.  What are those eyes telling you?

I think they're telling us, "Dude, you know what you have to do."


Libertarians First Priority Must Be An Obama Defeat

Randy Barnett has a day late (but not dollar short) entreaty for Libertarians to grow up and get with the program in the WSJ today.  I've been saying this for awhile, I guess, excoriating this "Liberaltarian" nonsense and telling fellow libertarians that their MASSIVE BRAIN FART in 2008 helped elect the most anti-liberty President in the history of the republic.  Rand Paul is the model, folks.  Pull the Republican party in a more libertarian direction from the inside rather than undermine it from the outside.  Now, get out out there play a little defense in defense of Liberty (i.e. vote Romney/Ryan).  When we get the ball, we can play a little offense.

UPDATE:  And likewise says a former LP presidential contender.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Is This the Sign?

The Lightworker can't draw a crowd in Madison, WI and Romney packs 'em in in Bucks Co., PA.

This and that whole yoga vote thing...

Anyway, as of 8 pm tonight I am turning to the all-important issue of what to drink Election Day evening because copious adult beverages will be in order for either outcome.  The cellar is currently relatively bare but there is a smattering of '07 Cali Cabs, some varied Baroli, and maybe an Aussie red or two.  Of course, there is champagne in the fridge that will come out if Lightworker, Inc. looks set to go out of business (not that I am acquiring the cockiness).  If things stretch out into the evening as is expected, my palette might be a bit bombed out for champagne after all that heavy red, but I'll just have to miss out on the finer notes of nut and flower petals and just have to enjoy it for the fizzy intoxicant that it is.  Hell, I might just shake the bottle, douse Mrs. Baseball and pour it over my head as if the Yanks had won the World Series.  Should the Lightworking look set to continue for four more years, it'll likely be two stiff cognacs and bed...

In Non-Election News

"Recreational Cocaine Users at Higher Risk for Heart Issues"

So says a new study.  Who knew? 

Given this new information I will have to reevaluate my recreational cocaine usage...

Feminist Bigotry Is OK

I don't know the quote or the author but it was something to the effect that feminism has turned a generation of daughters into the type of shitheads that their moms divorced.  Q.E.D ??

Deep Blue Has the Blues

This anecdotage post over at Instapundit is both hilarious and encouraging. 

Was away from Colorado for three weeks. Yesterday while wearing my Romney cap, I had these experiences.
1) One of my yoga instructors told me she loved my cap.
2)Went to Floyds for a haircut…home of the multiple tramp stamp barbers…young girl cutting my hair said she loved my hat. Said most the employees were voting for Romney and that they are mostly young mothers.
3) Went to the yoga clothing store. TWO employees, both blond, young, beautiful, fit, said they loved my hat and couldn’t wait to vote for Romney. That they would say that at this store was a revelation.
If Obama has lost the yoga vote, it is over.
I had been thinking of doing some anecdotage posting from my neck of the woods.  Of course, I did post this, but I also hobnob with a few creative types here in Bloomberg's Big Nanny State Former Known As the City That Never Sleeps.  So what am I seeing.  Very few garish pro-Obama displays, almost no Obama stickers or buttons.  That would be no big deal in Texas but this is New York baby.  Lack of Dear Leader's visage speaks volumes.  And the few conversations I have about politics with '08 Obama voters confirms this.  NYers are generally pessimistic about the election.  First, they think Romney will win. Second, they think less of Obama and even if he does win, they aren't all that excited about what a second term will bring.  As mindlessly progressive a town as New York is, it is still a business town, and most people realize that Obama is seriously bad for business, not in a cyclical, we-gotta-get-through-it kinda way, but in a will-it-ever-get-better-under-Obama kinda way?

Great Minds Think Alike: Paul Rahe Part Two

Paul Rahe and I have put forth remarkably similar analyses of the election and Barack Obama's effect on the polity.  Here is the nub of what I said  regarding what Obama has done to the Democrats:
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 will be gut-wrenching for Dems, they are likely facing an intra-party debate on the fundamental question of whether to go all in for Obama and resurrect his presidency or pull the plug entirely on Hopeandchange and, as they so famously put it, "move on."
Rahe gets it too:
Let me add that I believe something else as well – that, when it is all over, the adult wing of the Democratic Party (what is left of it) will breathe an audible sigh of relief. Barack Obama has done his party more harm than any President in the last hundred years (Jimmy Carter included); and, loyal partisans though these Democrats may be, they know it
It is this analysis that was the starting point for my theory that the Clintons were undermining the Lightworker and I think the evidence is overwhelming that they have been doing so.  Nearly every Clinton surrogate has been overtly or covertly undermining Obama's message and despite Bubba's nominal stumping he doesn't say a single thing that doesn't damn Obama with faint praise.  Smart Democrats realize that they will have more success running congressional candidates against a President Romney than on Obama 2.0's non-existent to negative coattails.
"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"
Seeing as Rahe's analytical mindset is so close to my own, I find it hard to disagree in any great way with other elements of it, although I am less concerned about his prognosis for positive legislative wins in a Romney presidency.
To do what Romney needs to do, he has to have a cooperative Senate, and there is no way that Harry Reid, who despises Romney, will play ball. Nor is it likely that the Democrats in the Senate will buck their leadership. As the last few years have made clear, those up for re-election will be afraid of primary opposition from the left, and those with longer horizons will figure that, when they come up for re-election, Romney’s leverage will be minimal.
It is common for politicians in general and for Republican Presidential nominees in particular to operate on the basis of short-term calculations. This is nearly always a mistake, and I suspect that next year Mitt Romney will very much regret not having run a more partisan campaign.
I think Romney is a smart incrementalist.   He'll move forward in small, productive steps and when he starts getting results, he'll be able to peel away votes from Harry Reid.  I am more optimistic here than Rahe.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

New York Times Is Alone in Endorsing Obama

I said that it could well happen that New York City's two news tabloids endorse Romney.  And I was right.  This is part of the Clintonite offensive against the Lightworker.  As I said, this won't change the outcome of New York state's electoral votes, but it takes alot of the wind out of Obama's sails.  Naturally, NYC's other local news rag didn't follow suit.

The Election and Guns

John Hinderaker over at Powerline has a worthwhile post up on the influence of the NRA in this election.  It is interesting at the top level because it is something you'd never read in the MSM.  Oddly, while the MSM seems to think that the NRA is the all-powerful puppetmaster of US politics when they cover mass-shootings, most of the time the MSM does know, care, or think about the NRA.

But there is something about Hinderaker's post that is not quite right.  The NRA didn't join the election fight recently after the Lightworker made his comments about a new Assault Weapons Ban in the debates.  The NRA has been engaged all along.  They launched the "All In" and "Trigger the Vote" campaigns months and months ago.  Every issue of American Rifleman for the last year and a half has been a full-throated anti-Obama editorial screed.  But you know what?  Most gun owners yawned.  Big numbers of gun folks chalked it up as typically cynical NRA fundraising - the NRA was not going to let a perfect bogeyman like Obama go to waste without larding its coffers.  I kid you not, read the forums.

But then something strange happened.  Late in the game, Barack Obama validated what at first seemed like so much NRA scare-mongering.  In that debate with Mitt Romney (who any gun nut will tell you enacted gun restrictions in Massachusetts as Governor) Obama hinted at reviving the AWB and going after handguns as well.  He couldn't have fulfilled the NRA's dreams more completely if he tried.  In one instant he wiped away the charges of cynicism and scare-mongering.  And the NRA's already operational anti-Obama efforts received a jolt of energy that cannot be understated.  If these efforts are even half as impressive as the NRA is making them out to be they'll be decisive.  There are alot of gun owners in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa.

Of course, to observers like me, this is yet another area where we have to scratch our heads, wonder, and ask again, as in so many other areas of the Obama phenomenon, is he incompetent or just that arrogant?  Could the Obama campaign have really not understand just how poised and aggressive the NRA was prepared to be in this election and blundered into this situation?  Or did they know full well what the NRA's stance was and thumb their noses and pick the fight anyway?

Whichever, this is a remarkable element of the election which no one is covering or understands well.

Dante Never Accounted for Bill Maher

I never thought that Bill Maher could have surpassed his previous record-setting standards in dickheadedness, son-of-a-bitchery and overall shitbagitude, but alas...

"If you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are and they will come after you" (video follows with commentary):
Where to start?  This is loathsome on so many levels.  First, I thought Shitbag Bill was supposed to be funny.  This isn't funny.  Violent home invasion does not elicit the yuk-yuks.  Second, how racist is infantilizing blacks?  Blacks are so out of control emotionally, intellectually, and civically that they will seek to do violence when their preferred politician fails to win high office?  Really?  Is that Shitbag Bill's view of these people?  Third, threats of illegal physical violence based on voting outcomes, sounds alot like voter intimidation which is illegal.  Wait, physical violence period sounds pretty darned illegal.  

Of course, this is all very rational, which may not be the best way to deal with the Shitbag Bills of the world.  Another response to Shitbag Bill, might be "Fine, bring it on Bill.  You and all your civically degenerate friends.  This vote and this house protected by Smith & Wesson or some such.  Come feel the bitterness of my clinging."

There is a special place in hell that Dante didn't even contemplate for people like Shitbag Bill. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Conservatives: We Can Only Retake the Hill Under the Romney Banner

Strong and convincing stuff from Bill Whittle to all the protest voters...

Post-Not-Quite-Apocalyptic Political Analysis

Well, readers, it's been a Sandy Dandy few days!  The Baseball clan did OK with merely the loss of power to contend with.  We are not defecating in the hallways nor dumpster diving in post-apocalyptic Staten Island.

So there's been alot to absorb and mull over i.e. Michael Bloomberg's staggering, rage-inducing climate change driven endorsements against the backdrop of the largest, pension-besotted municipal workforce in the known universe displaying little to no effectiveness at anything.  W.R. Mead nailed it in pondering the end-of-days arrogance of a massive government apparatus that fusses and frets - and moves to coerce - over the size of sugary beverage portions rather than tend to the long-range thinking, planning and executing of infrastructure hardening.

Here in New York we have a very busy government. It’s worried about the kinds of fats we eat and the size of the soft drinks we buy, and there is no shortage of regulations affecting businesses, street vendors, and individuals. But in all this exciting fine tuning, nobody seems to have bothered to think about the much greater task of keeping floodwaters out of the subway system. Admittedly, getting public support and finding the money for flood protection would be hard, but it is exactly that kind of hard job that governments are supposed to do. Leadership is getting the important things done, not looking busy on secondary tasks while the real needs of the city go quietly unmet.
The problem with nanny state governance isn’t just that it’s intrusive. It isn’t just that it stifles business with over-regulation, and it isn’t just that it empowers busybodies and costs money. It’s that it distracts government from the really big jobs that it ought to be doing.
But of course, there is something else of great import percolating - an election - and while I've been analyzing it intently along the way, I've taken a few days hiatus in the aftermath of Sandy to focus on other things, so I'm at a loss of having something scintillating to say.  However I will lay down some thoughts.

First, I don't think my "Obama Implosion" prediction is scorable pre-election.  It'll only be after the fact, that we'll know if I was right.  Second, I am fairly confident that there are only three potential outcomes: 1) Obama wins in a squeaker, 2) Romney wins in a squeaker, and 3) Romney wins in a blowout.  This should not be a great insight.  So, two out of three outcomes are good, and that's good, but the probabilities aren't even.  I'd say it's 40/40/20 respectively.

But frankly, this election is such a weird election because I don't see it as the President running against a political challenger, because I don't view Barack Obama as the President.  Of course, technically he is, but I view him as more of a leader of a very strange and very dangerous cult.  Mitt Romney, I see as an avatar of normalcy.  Do we return to normalcy and sanity or do we deepen our immersion into the cult and turn over more control of ourselves to the cult's leader?  In that framework it is very hard to apply traditional political analysis.  It's hackneyed but this is a major battle in what is narrowly dubbed the "culture war" (it's much more than that).  Bottom line, I just don't see how Americans can long for four more years of Obama, how they can still be swayed by the starry eyed, naive dreaming of 2008.  I've said it before, the "mega-theme" beyond all the policy and partisan sniping is this: the nation realizes it gambled and lost with Obama. Time to revert back to prudent decision-making.  That's the zeitgeist of 2012.  Ergo, Romney wins, somewhere between a squeaker and a blowout.

UPDATE:  Did I say "very strange" cult?