Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thuggishness from the White House? Nah, Can't Be...

I am having trouble believing that Mr.  Punch Back Twice As Hard, President Punish Your Enemies and Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight is playing so rough.

Apotheosis of Corporate Hip Says "Get the F**k to Work!"

I love the fact that the hip, new, young, FEMALE CEO of a California tech trail-blazer is now saying, "Get to work, you lazy fucks!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For Donna Brazile...

Note to Donna Brazile:  my health insurance provider said something that sounded like Peapack or Alpaca or something...

On the Brink?

I have talked about how, by virtue of re-electing the narcissistic radical known as the Lightworker, we have ensured another four years of $1 trillion plus deficits, or $4-5 trillion easily in additional debt.  If this comes to pass, and there is no reason to believe it won't, Obama will have added $12 trillion to the national debt of $10 trillion that he inherited.  Racking up 120% of all the debt that the country has accumulated in its history in just eight years is nothing but willful destruction of the country.  It's treason via economics. 

This is my view.  Turns out there is a brand new book out now that seemingly says the same thing.  I'll have to check it out.

New York Continues to Miss the Fracking Boat

Mark Perry brings you up to date on economic development related to shale gas exploration in Pennsylvania.  Lots of good news there.  Of course, New York state is missing out on economic gains, and, frankly, they may have already missed the boat. 

While wells may still be drilled in New York someday, the economics of energy development retains a 'land rush' quality in that the ancillary services and indirect jobs that the industry supports get established early in the locales that encourage drilling first.  I've talked about it before.  The field offices, storage depots, processing facilities, disposal sites, equipment repair sites, and all the other things that go into supporting an actual drilled well are pretty much established now in western and northern Pennsylvania.  Should wells get drilled in New York, people and equipment will likely drive across the border from Pennsylvania, perform their work, and drive back across the border to Pennsylvania.  So, land money, royalties and some taxes will  flow to New Yorkers in the eventuality, but most of the ancillary development benefits have likely already been captured by Pennsylvania.

Dems Dusting Off Last, Un-Dusted Off Bad Idea from FDR's Great Depression Playbook?

I have chronicled how the Obamacrats have been dusting off every bad economic idea from the days of FDR in their ridiculous and misguided attempts to manage the economy.  I have also noted that the one truly bad idea of the Great Depression that they haven't aggressively tried to resurrect is the "undistributed profits" tax.

Of course, you knew it was only a matter of time...

Plethora at WSJ Today

Lots of juicy stuff on the WSJ's Op-Ed page today.  First, Rich Kaalgaard pens a great piece about Wal-Mart's problems, and America's.  Wal-Mart is suffering because low-income America is suffering, after four years of Obama.  Funny that.  Incidentally Kaalgaard references gas prices as an anti-stimulant to the economy.  I covered gas prices as a stimulant way back in 2008 .  The process works in reverse too, as it is doing now.

Next up is the WSJ is an Op-Ed from the best/most important economist you've never heard of, Hernando de Soto.  I've referenced him here on this blog a couple of times.

Finally we get a boring subject made interesting by the offbeat perspective and brilliant word-smithing of Holman Jenkins.  Check out this sentence.
Though racing has grown in popularity around the world and sponsor dollars seem to be available in profusion, nobody anywhere has yet revealed an urge to replicate Nascar's serendipitous, crowd-pleasing and Faustian invention of aerodynamic pack racing.
Who today in a large circulation paper is treating their readers to writing like that?  Nobody I can think of.

As a bonus, in the news pages we are treated to the revelation that California is bracing for an energy crisis because...wait for it...they've come to rely too much on wind and solar for their electricity supply.  Delicious stuff.
However, the surplus generating capacity doesn't guarantee steady power flow. Even though California has a lot of plants, it doesn't have the right mix: Many of the solar and wind sources added in recent years have actually made the system more fragile, because they provide power intermittently.
Laugh or cry, your choice.

Fear for the Republic

This video is depressing.  The republic cannot survive if this represents the type of people we send to Washington to do the people's work.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DHS: We Need to Practice Blowing Away White People Who Don't Commit Crime


Well, because the Ft. Hood shooting was "workplace violence" and terrorism is "man made disasters" which require "overseas contingency operations".  Islamists are freedom fighters and the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and Bashar Assad is a reformer.  And people who favor tax cuts and small government are extremists.  In that kind of world, police need to learn how to shoot people that, relatively speaking statistically, don't commit crimes.

Orwell was a genius.

Indeed. In Fact, It's Precisely Why He Is Sec. of State

Another Business Chooses to Massively Shrink Rather Than Invest In Obama's Economy

Home Depot will buy back $17 billion worth of its own stock.  $17 billion. 
The home improvement giant also announced it would buy back as much as $17 billion of its own shares, and raise its dividend 35 percent to 39 cents from 29 cents a share.
I have talked about and predicted massive buybacks for some time now.  I have told you that we'd see a ton of them and what they mean
 American Business is hiding under their desks.  They could be hiring and growing but we elected fools who want to beat them into submission - it is as simple as that.  Enjoy your economy America.
Such is the depressingly limited opportunity set that we have in Obama's economy that industry leading companies choose to shrink by a figure like $17 billion rather than reinvest.

Sequestration Is Mr. Creosote's After-Dinner Mint

I'm beginning to think Larry Summers is a fool.  (Yes, you can have his pedigree and stature and still be a fool.  In fact, it is some ways more likely to have that pedigree and be a fool.)

The sequestration is like Mr. Creosote in the famous Monty Python sketch actually forgoing the "waafer thin" after dinner mint.

More Bank Job Losses

Crap all over the banks and this is what you get.  This is not a judgement call, just a admission of reality.  Crapping all over the banks may be well-justified, but let's just be honest about what it means.  Let's not just do it because it feels good.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bomb. Democrats. Same Thing.

One great insight that I failed to highlight when discussing VDH's piece on a declining America here is the comparison he makes between Detroit and Hiroshima.  Hiroshima now looks like Detroit closer to its heyday.  Detroit looks like Hiroshima did after we bombed it.  Truly you could have achieved the same result in Detroit much quicker by simply dropping a big bomb on it.

Drop a bomb or put Democrats in charge.  Same result.

OMG. Now We've Got John Kerry Moving Oil Markets

West Texas Intermediate oil fluctuated as Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that a diplomatic solution to a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program is possible and as the euro pared gains against the dollar.
Futures erased an increase of as much as 1.4 percent after Kerry’s comments. Iran, which is under a Western embargo on its oil exports, will hold talks with the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. tomorrow in Kazakhstan, following an eight-month lapse in negotiations. Oil advanced earlier as the euro strengthened against the dollar, raising oil’s appeal as an investment alternative.

God. Help. Us.

Kerry, Hagel, and Lew: Trifecta of Fools

I have always said that the Obama administration was - mercifully for us - fundamentally flawed because it was staffed with B and C team talent.  It was always thus.  Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Tim Geithner, Sebelius, Napolitano, Salazar.  All mediocrities at best.  But Obama's second term has put the issue of cabinet appointments into high relief.  The trifecta of Kerry, Hagel and Lew establishes the inescapable dichotomy that Obama is either sinister or stupid.  These men are disastrous, godawful nincompoops.  Utter incompetents and/or Trojan Horses of Dysfunction of the highest order.  So either Obama doesn't see it, which is conceivable given his lack of managerial experience coming into office.  Bad managers choose bad subordinates.  So that is one possibility.  The other is that Obama sees it and doesn't care, in which case he has larded the three most important cabinet posts with fools in order to see those functions fail or to have a shadow power behind their functions, in which case he has raised his middle finger to the citizenry of the nation.

Friday, February 15, 2013

VDH: Yes, America Looks Alot Like Ancient Rome

Victor Davis Hanson puts contemporary America in context to past great civilizations that self-destructed.  I don't think this is a prediction so much as a reflection.  A sad reflection by someone who knows history and is unsentimental about America's ability to avoid the fate that have befell all great powers.  It is definitely worth RTWT, but there are, of course, two salient features that resonated with me and that I have talked about before.

First, throughout time immemorial and across the globe, the dominant health problem for most of humanity has been malnutrition.  Of course, the dominant health problem of 21st century America is obesity.  Second, the workplace in 21st America has never been safer and medical care has never been better, but we have record numbers on disability.  We are both two fat and/or too corrupt to work.  If that isn't a sign of irretrievable decadence, the ilk that destines rich societies to decline, I don't know what is.

Again, not a prediction, but a reflection.

Economic Logic in the NYT?

Mark Perry notes a shocking, truly shocking, editorial in the New York Times on a topical issue of the day.
There’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. Most important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired.
If a higher minimum means fewer jobs, why does it remain on the agenda of some liberals? A higher minimum would undoubtedly raise the living standard of the majority of low-wage workers who could keep their jobs. That gain, it is argued, would justify the sacrifice of the minority who became unemployable. The argument isn’t convincing. Those at greatest risk from a higher minimum would be young, poor workers, who already face formidable barriers to getting and keeping jobs.
The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed. It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.
Hit the link to Perry's blog for the punch line.

Reading this I couldn't help put recall the character of Danny Vermin in the classic movie, Johnny Dangerously.  "The New York Times was logical once.  Once!"


Industrial Production Unexpectedly Slips 0.1%; Consensus Called for 0.2% Gain in January

Just like that negative GDP print from a few weeks ago...

Just remember, with Obama in the Oval Office anything not unicorns drinking milk and shitting honey is UNEXPECTED !!!

I'm Crushed

Unbelievable.  Xena, the Warrior Princess is a green twit.
Actress Lucy Lawless has been fined in New Zealand for boarding a drillship in an environmental protest.
Lucy Lawless: lawless
The former Xena: Warrior Princess star will have to pay a mere NZD 650 ($545) after the incident on the 13,500–gt Noble Discoverer (built 1966) last year in Taranaki.
Lesson:  It pays not to have heroes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life In the Age of Obama: Fewer Homes With Plumbing

Reversing a five decade trend...
Amid the worst recession since the Great Depression, pilfering cut the number of U.S. homes with complete plumbing by about 10.4 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to U.S. Census data compiled by Bloomberg. That reversed a five-decade trend. The decay of housing adds another obstacle to recovery in Rust Belt cities already beset by crime and poverty.
As is usual these days, Detroit seems to be the leader in this retrogression of life in America.  Article here.

Train Wreck, That Everyone Except Venezuelans Saw Coming, Is Here

Well, it only took 13 years, but Hugo Chavez and Chavismo has thoroughly destroyed the Venezuean currency, the bolivar.  Since 1999, the bolivar has lost 91% of its value and yet still remains 42% overvalued based on The Economist's Big Mac Index.  This despite some of the largest reserves of petroleum in the world.  IBD has a rundown of the destruction.
Venezuela's monster 47% devaluation from 4.3 to 6.3 bolivars to the dollar, reportedly ordered by President Hugo Chavez from his hospital bed in Cuba, marks the reckoning for his regime's big-spending ways in Venezuela's low-growth economy.
It was about as predictable as a crash from a runaway train, given his mad-lunatic war on economics — his lethal combination of welfare spending, destruction of the private sector and capital controls to cover up the disaster. And as in any train wreck, it wasn't something he could control.
Venezuelan banker Miguel Octavio noted on his blog "The Devil's Excrement," that "in the end devaluation is not a policy, it is the result of bad policy."
This devaluation is characteristic of all tyrannies, which benefit by effectively expropriating the savings of the private sector through monetary means rather than the more common thuggery.
Yes, as predictable as the sun rising.  But the age old question is why do people choose this type of destruction again and again.  Chavismo is likely to survive the death of Chavez himself and Argentinians consistently choose this form of destruction for themselves, this time in the person of Christina Kirchner.  People allow their meager savings to be plunder again and again.  Why?

Monday, February 11, 2013

But There Is No Inflation...

Remember when I described and announced the arrival of "stealth inflation" via the "crapify" maneuver on the part of goods manufacturers?  This one hits home especially hard. 
Distillers of a world famous bourbon has cut its alcohol content so it can meet increasing demand for the drink.

The owners of Maker’s Mark, which is distilled Loretto, Kentucky, said they are unable to produce the bourbon fast enough.

It announced that the bourbon – which used the slogan ‘It tastes expensive… and is’ – will drop its alcohol content by three per cent.

It will now be reduced to 42 per cent ABV from 45 per cent.
And the government insists inflation is nowhere in sight...

2.3 Bullets Being All That Is Necessary to Defend Oneself, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Will Totally be Infringed

So three masked, armed bad guys break into a house in Newburgh, NY
NEWBURGH Police say three masked men with handguns entered a home on South Plank Road in the Town of Newburgh Sunday evening, threatened the residents and demanded money, but were ultimately driven away by a shotgun-wielding resident of the home.
With Andrew Cuomo's notions of how and with what NYers may defend themselves against criminals, the resident in question here is legally maxed out at 2.33 bullets per bad guy.  Better not miss.  Aim small, miss small.

Chris Dorner, Classic of the Type

We know that true lefties are murderous, hate-filled whackos, and Chris Dorner is a classic of the type.  His manifesto is straight out of the hardcore lefty canon, although perhaps not as highfalutin and learned as some would have preferred in order to add some psuedo-intellectual gloss to leftist murderous rage.  But still, there is nothing but love for this guy on the left.  Ends justify the means...just makin' omelets, baby.

American Weakness Means War Is More Likely

Michael Barone says that Obama's weak policies increase the risk of war.  As great as Barone is, this was not a hard call to make.  In fact, I made it, quite a while ago too.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Harvard Economist Is Socialists' New Wet Dream?

I have argued that supply-side economic thinking has had a banner few years, because of it's positive performance in the markets, but more so because its main intellectual competitor, Keynesian economic thought, is taking a drubbing at the hands of the real world.  Contrary to Keynesian logic we are experiencing anemic economic growth despite massive and unprecedented fiscal stimulus.  Similarly contrary to the Keynesian worldview, we are experiencing, albeit the mere beginnings of, inflation despite massive economic "slack" in the system.

Scott Grannis brings us up to date in how this intellectual rivalry is playing out in real time in the real economy.
To sum up, the message of TIPS and Treasuries is that the market expects very weak growth in the next few years, along with rising inflation. This is significant, because it runs directly counter to the traditional Keynesian/Phillips Curve way of thinking, which holds that very weak growth—especially when growth is substantially below potential growth as it is today—should produce a decline in inflation. The bond market has cast aside its Keynesian predilections. And everyone by now should have lost faith in the Keynesian theory that holds that big increases in government spending, financed with deficit spending, are stimulative, and in the Keynesian theory that holds that the Fed has the ability to stimulate growth by keeping real interest rates low. The past four years have been a valuable lesson in why this is all nonsense. Government bureaucrats who think they can pull levers and micro-manage growth and inflation are fooling themselves and doing us all a disservice.
 Will this experience kill off Keynesian economic thought?  I hope so, but I don't see it.  The stagflation of the Carter years didn't kill it off, so the stagflation of the Obama years won't kill it off either.  Keynesianism is merely a gloss that big government statists use to lend their desires a sheen of intellectual/scientific credibility.  If it weren't Keynesianism, it'd be something else.  Should Keynesianism be discredited as an economic school of thought, they'll find new economic cover to lend their statist dreams legitimacy. 

In fact, maybe they've already found it
Gopinath, 41, a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has pushed for tax intervention as a way forward for euro-area countries that cannot devalue their exchange rates. “Fiscal devaluation” is helping France turn the corner during a period of extreme budget constraints, former Airbus SAS chief Louis Gallois said in a business- competitiveness report Hollande commissioned...
The paper examines a “remarkably simple alternative” that doesn’t require countries to abandon the euro and devalue their currencies, Gopinath said. By increasing value-added taxes while cutting payroll taxes, a government can create very similar effects on gross domestic product, consumption, employment and inflation.
The higher VAT raises the price of imported goods as foreign companies pay the levy.
Got that?  European statists get to keep their flawed currency as part of their grand project in subverting national sovereignty, end run around the central flaw of said currency AND they get another excuse to raise taxes on consumers and subsidize local industry (that's all the payroll tax break is).  Fiscal devaluation is not innovative at all, it's pure mercantilism combined with the long-standing high tax, statist European model and it does away with the constraining mechanism of currency stability.  So, 1) higher taxes on consumers, 2) deeper ties between government and industry, 3) Euro project, thus bureaucracy, stays in place, and 4) beggar thy neighbor mercantilism.  What's a European socialist not to love?  Maybe statists the world over have found their new Keynes.  What's more, it's a woman.  An Asian woman, no less.  Can this be any more of a leftist wet dream?

Delusional Smart Power, Part XXXIV

More of that smart power we keep hearing about.
Iran's supreme leader today rejected the possibility of direct talks with the United States, nixing a proposal by Washington to ease the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program.
Awesome stuff...not just no, but hell no.  From a country a fraction of our size and a relative economic pipsqueak.  To the Lightworker. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Bloomberg's Carlson: Forget Morality, Bishops Need to Foucs on Economy, Climate Change...

I have chronicled the godawful stuff that masquerades as opinion journalism that emanates from the keyboard of Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News.  In my view, she doesn't even manage to achieve broken clock status by being right once in a while by default.  Today she's out with another howler of a column, but times are busy here at the real job, so I'll leave it to Ed at Hot Air to point out the obvious.
This probably deserves a full-scale fisking, but I’m pressed for time today.  Margaret Carlson seems very annoyed at the priorities set by Catholic bishops in opposing a law that forces Catholics and other people of faith to violate their religious doctrine.  But, er, whose priorities exactly are out of whack here?
U.S. Catholic bishops have a lot to worry about: the gunning down of children; 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of them Catholic; a warming planet; a chilly economy. Instead they’ve spent the last year obsessed with contraception.
Shouldn’t the phrase “US Catholic bishops” be replaced by “Washington DC”?  After all, the Catholic Church doesn’t have the temporal power to solve the problems of immigration policy or “a chilly economy.”  Those issues are the purview of the state — on which the bishops can and actually do comment and propose solutions, regardless of Carlson’s ignorance of the rather easily-accesible USCCB website.
On the other hand, we have a President who spent all of last year insisting that women couldn’t access birth control without the government forcing employers to provide it for free, despite solid evidence from a 20-year study by the CDC that the issue of access was practically non-existent.  The same President won’t even acknowledge that the economy is “chilly” after four years of Obamanomics.  And it’s the bishops whose priorities are not in line?
Carlson goes on at length to argue that Obama fixed all of their concerns with the HHS mandate, which simply isn’t true, and in fact may have made things a little worse. Maybe Carlson should tell Obama to butt out of the free expression of religious faith, and spend more time on Carlson’s priorities instead.

Historian: There Used to Be Rampant Voter Fraud, But Not Anymore

After describing in detail some of the favorite tactics of political corruption, voter fraud and intimidation that was a pox on American democracy in the 1930s and 1940s, historian Thomas Fleming says this:
The president's party—which is still my party—has inspired countless Americans by looking out for the less fortunate. No doubt that instinct motivated Mr. Obama in his years as a community organizer in Chicago. Such caring can still be a force, but that force, and the Democratic Party, will be constantly soiled and corrupted if the right and the privilege to vote becomes an easily manipulated joke.
Becomes?  So, somewhere between the '40s and today our souls were purified and voter fraud ceased to soil our politics?  So the Daley machine in Chicago never happened?  Black Panthers don't patrol polling places?  ACORN hasn't been proven to have submitted tens of thousands of fraudulent voter registrations?  Good to know.  This would seem to be news.  How did we fix the system?  How did we take a vile and corrupt practice and banish it from our system?  This would seem to be news, no?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

California's Only Way Out...Fracking

I have said that California would have to resort to the unthinkable - drilling for oil - to get them out of their fiscal mess.  Absolutely everything the lefties have built in California is destined for collapse unless they find a shitload of money between the seat cushions.  They need about 10 more Facebooks and a few more Apples.  Short of that, they're gonna have to drill for oil.  But it won't be an easy fight...

My vote, the greens will get rolled.  Who do you think the politicians side with, a few rich greens or hundreds of thousands of union workers whose pensions are drying up?

Friday, February 01, 2013

Truly Demoralizing

Sad but true.  But if you watched or read any of the confirmation hearings yesterday, you will understand that Chuck Hagel is a complete moron.  Thus, what logically follows is this:

- President Obama is OK with a complete moron in charge of America's military assets and personnel;
- The world, in its often violent and tumultuous vicissitudes, will carry on knowing that a complete moron is in charge of America's military capabilities;
- Those in leadership and on down to the lowest in uniform will know the above.

And this was Obama's first choice, among hundreds of possible choices.  Truly demoralizing. I pray America's military capabilities survive these next four years.

This post title from Hot Air captures it perfectly.  PERFECTLY.

"Hapless, unqualified candidate likely to receive unanimous Democratic support for key cabinet post"
Captures America perfectly, actually.  We've descended so far down into the pit of partisan tribalism, disengaged from rationality, prudence, wisdom, and duty.  I've read about the fall of great civilizations. Now I feel I'm living it.

In my weaker moments I'd shrug it off, almost happy that Obama has chosen catastrophic members to be on his team, because catastrophic people mean catastrophic results and I want Obama to go down in history as the catastrophic disaster that he is, so that his is a cautionary tale for future generations.  But I can't countenance those feelings.  This is my country after all and the last time we defanged our military capabilities to this extent in a decadent festival of butter over guns - as will surely come - lives were eventually lost by the millions, and we lost a chunk of an entire generation just to get back to even.

Is It Any Surprise?

Is it worth reminding you, dear readers, on the occasion of the dreary jobs report hot on the heels of the shocker of a bad Q4 GDP print - that President Obama's chief economist does not subscribe to the most basic law of economics?  Would that be a fitting reminder of why we are here?