Thursday, April 29, 2010

Canary in the Mineshaft

Nouriel Roubini in an article over at Bloomberg is stating the obvious: Rising Sovereign Debt Leads to Default.  I greatly respect Roubini and agreed with him when he forecast the crash back in August of 2006, and he is right again here.  We can't keep spending and adding obligations to our balance sheet...period.  There are several exhibits of what happens when you do this:

1. Weimar Germany in the 1933.
2. Argentina in 1999.
3. Greece in 2010.
4. Spain in 2010.
5. Portugal in 2010.
6. Ireland in 2011.
7. Japan in 2012.
8. USA in ??

The Hearings That Didn't Happen

Great piece over at the Daily Caller : "Why Waxman Really Canceled His Health Care Show Trial." (Hat tip DB).  Turns out there was going to be one giant ugly revelation: companies are incented to dump their health insurance plans for their employees and send them to the exchanges.

Duuh!  We survivors of the TennCare debacle could have told you that, but far be it from Congress to look at any of the 50 state laboratories and see that ALL these plans have been a fiscal disaster.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oil from Overseas

This is an interesting chart:

(Hat tip Infectious Greed)

Each one of these Presidents promised us "energy independence" - each one has failed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newsflash: White House Says Debt is Big!

Whoa! Hold the presses, White House Budget Advisor, Peter Orszag says that huge deficits could cause the market to lose confidence in the creditworthiness of the Federal Government AND that we might "mortgage our future to foreign creditors."

In a move that some dubbed as "curious," Orszag repeated his warning in Greek (whose bonds got rated as "junk" today), Portuguese (whose bonds are slightly more valuable than bacalau a cozida [steamed codfish, the native dish]) and Spanish (whose bonds are now sold out of small tented stands in Morocco) .

Orszag acknowledged that it was "unusual" to be issuing such a warning FROM the White House and that it was analogous to "a cocaine addict snorting two more lines while telling everyone else that they really needed to quit."

Maybe Orszag sneaked a peak at this little pic:

America is Catching On, Mr. Obama

Good news out of the Investors Business Daily - a steadily increasing number of Americans believe we are evolving into a socialist country:

Still only 41%, but the trend line is telling.  Here's the good news from the article:
IBD/TIPP asked the question again this month, and those who agree the U.S. is evolving into a socialist state have again opened up a three-point lead (41% to 38%).
This is a statistic worth watching. Why? Because our poll also found that Americans oppose government control of key industries by a 59% to 20% margin and government redistribution of wealth and income by an even more overwhelming 61% to 19%.

We may believe we are "evolving" that way...but we sure as hell don't like it.  Time for more hopey change unicorn stuff, Mr. O, just keep the idiots guessing right?

Kickbacks for Cronies

A piece over at the New York Post this morning goes through the carve-outs that oops, just happened to make it into the financial regulatory bill now getting kicked around the Senate.  Short and worth the get you primed:

Attorneys, insurers and real-estate agents aren't the only ones exempted from the bill's consumer-protection provisions. The Farm Credit System, a government-sponsored lender that directly competes with banks, is excluded, too. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those crackerjack institutions at the heart of the mortgage meltdown, are also exempt. Worse yet is that Wall Street is exempted from the reach of the proposed consumer-protection agency -- its regulation will remain with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which proved itself asleep at the switch during this last period of financial shenanigans.

One point of comforting clarification - they were not "asleep at the switch," they were watching on-line pornography.  And yes, bureaucrats  just like that will soon be reviewing your medical records and auditing your insurance payments.  What a country!

Look, the heart of the problem - other than we have infantile quasi-communists in charge - is they are desperately trying to push legislation through before they lose control in November.  It really makes one feel like..well this:
Instead of the Senate being the body that carefully deliberates and balances the whims of the this case, the "we hate Wall Street" flames that are being purposefully fanned, they are acting like a bunch of sans-cullote from the French Revolution.  Meanwhile, the House, instead of being the "voice of the people" responding to majority positions, has become the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, muscling our boy King's whims through to passage.  Thus you end up with inanities like a Health Care "Reform" act that was supposed to control costs that has no control over costs.  This is a fine sop they have made, pray that we can end it in November.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The A Student Plague

One of my favorite satirists, P.J. O'Rourke has penned another searing masterpiece: "A Plague of A Students," that is well worth the full read.  To get you warmed up:

The secret to the Obama annoyance is snotty lecturing. His tone of voice sends us back to the worst place in college. We sit once more packed into the vast, dreary confines of a freshman survey course—“Rocks for Jocks,” “Nuts and Sluts,” “Darkness at Noon.” At the lectern is a twerp of a grad student—the prototypical A student—insecure, overbearing, full of himself and contempt for his students. All we want is an easy three credits to fulfill a curriculum requirement in science, social science, or fine arts. We’ve got a mimeographed copy of last year’s final with multiple choice answers already written on our wrists. The grad student could skip his classes, the way we intend to, but there the s.o.b. is, taking attendance. (How else to explain this year’s census?)

Grab a beer and read this one - we all need a good laugh right now!

Without Shame

The Portuguese have an expression, "sem-vergonha," which translates as "without shame," but with far more opprobrium. That was the term I found myself muttering when I watched this. If you can hold back the gag reflex long enough, this
video is quite instructive.

First, it illustrates the dream world that Obama inhabits: all bad things were "inherited," we have done nothing but bring sweetness and light to the world. It is a series of whoppers like "our standing in the world is much improved..." only if you
think being laughed at and kicked around is standing. Oh, and of course, there's that little bit about how great the free
healthcare is going to be.

About two minutes in he gets to the "we" he keeps referring to: "the young, the African-Americans, the Latinos and the
women." Apparently no one else counts for being an American. If Bush (either one), Reagan or even Carter or Clinton 
had made a video like this appealing to "the old, the Irish Catholics, the Poles, Germans and men" they would have been 
rightly excoriated for the bigotry that such talk expresses. This is racism pure and simple and it is done sem-vergonha.

If You Build It...

(Hat tip - Tax Guru)

I think this is pretty much the sentiment of all small businesses in the Age of Obama.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Depressing News Out of Afghanistan

There's been a bit of a row building between Michael Yon, whose blog is linked here, and some of the Army brass in Afghanistan.  Now another journalist has spoken out - here's the open letter from Ben Shaw (highlighting by me):

As a journalist (and combat veteran) currently embedded with US forces in Afghanistan, I have found that roughly 95% of the troops on the ground in no way believe in their mission, have no confidence that their efforts will bring about lasting change to Afghan security, stability, governance, or a decreased influence of radicalism. In truth, they fight simply to stay alive and want nothing more than to go home. A recent quote:
“I joined to defend and fight for the United States, but now I feel like I’ve been tasked out to fight for Afghanistan. Yet the people don’t even care, and make no effort whatsoever to help us help them. They don’t WANT help.”
The nature of freedom is that those who are unwilling to fight for it personally will never realize it. As it stands, nothing is more important to Afghans than survival, even at the expense of all self-dignity, nationalism, tribalism, and whatever ideals may at one time surpassed the will to simply “get by.”
I have also discovered that if I publicize these findings (that literally 95% of troops don’t believe in their own mission), the Soldiers who I cite will be charged, potentially relieved of command, and I will be asked to disembed from these units.
As a recent example, I filmed approximately 75 minutes of combat footage, knowingly exposed myself to concentrated enemy fire, and learned two days ago that if I post this footage, the Soldiers on film will be charged and/or relieved for uniform violations, improper wear of personal protective equipment (ballistic glasses, fire-retardant gloves, etc), and that low-level commanders have already begun this process. In an attempt to preserve the careers of the Soldiers I am trying to advocate, I am unable to tell (or show) the US public what they’re experiencing and what they think of it. The military only wants good news to flow from embedded journalists – not facts.
The reality is this: the current tactical directive leaves US troops on the ground increasingly vulnerable, often unsupported by air assets or indirect fire, and as a consequence their personal mission is to keep each other alive and come home. Under this current “soft war” policy, the war cannot be won. After all, Pashtun Islamic culture sees any sort of kindness and mercy as a weakness – and immediately exploit it. The Taliban, knowing the restrictive nature of the current ROE/Tactical directive, use it against US forces regularly.
US troops feel abandoned by their chains of command, bilked by military recruiters, and participants in a conflict that history will not treat kindly. They will return to the US and to civilian life full of disappointment, bitterness at their commanders, and unwilling to serve again. And military commanders here are doing their very best to ensure that this never reaches the public. In their pursuit of mission accomplishment, they have altogether neglected their second purpose: troop welfare. The former, however, will never be realized without an equally dedicated concentration on the latter.
When I served in Jimmy Carter's Navy, the same sentiment abounded: we felt abandoned by the chain of command, where the upper echelons were just trying to survive and the rest of us were on our own.  The military was so badly neglected that coffee became the currency of the pier and was used to trade parts among the ships in port.  

Over at our sister site, Red State Rumblings, I wrote about the Afghan strategy at length a couple of months ago - siting the profound differences between Iraq and Afghanistan, I called for a different strategy:

The strategy I would propose is to draw down the force structure now. Why wait eighteen months for failure? We've already told them we are going to leave. Let's cut our losses and our expenses now. The U.S. Military has never been good at "nation building," let's get back to doing what we are extremely good at, killing people and breaking things. I would leave sufficient forces in theater to train and work with the local militias to protect the major population centers in Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar e Sharif along with an extremely lethal special forces group that would go to trouble spots and kill bad guys. Leave a strike presence in the Arabian Sea and bolster the missions of drones. Let the word go out, like the famous kill cards in Vietnam, that if you mess with us, the consequences will be severe. Keep this level of forces around for several years until the Afghans get mad enough at the Taliban that they solve it on their own.
I know the war wizards in Obama's cabinet aren't going to listen to me...but they need to start listening to the boots on the ground.  Too many are going to come back empty if they don't.

Another Bad Bill

I have reflexively gotten to the point that if Obama is making a speech about it, it can't be good.  I have not been able to plow through the 1,400 pages of the so-called "Restoring American Financial Stability Act" yet, but the high-lights I am picking up from various sources are disturbing.

From the Heritage Foundation we learn:

Creates a protected class of too big to fail firms. Section 113 of the bill establishes a “Financial Stability Oversight Council,” charged with identifying firms that would “pose a threat to the financial security of the United States” if they encounter “material financial distress.” While these firms would be subject to enhanced regulation, such a designation would also signal to the marketplace that these firms are too important to be allowed to fail and, perversely, allow them to take on undue risk.
Liberals love "councils" - it's a great way to avoid taking real responsibility. Would someone explain to me what happens in a free market when the government suddenly paints a big bullseye on a company's chest? 
Creates permanent bailout authority. Section 204 of the bill authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to “make available … funds for the orderly liquidation of [a] covered financial institution.” Although no funds could be provided to compensate a firm’s shareholders, the firm’s other creditors would be eligible for a cash bailout. The situation is much like the bailout AIG in 2008, in which the largest beneficiaries were not stockholders but rather other creditors, such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
The original intent of the FDIC was to protect Ma and Pa's checking account.  The folks getting this protection now are the fun bunch at Goldman Sachs.  I have no quarrel with these guys - investment banking is a brutal business and if you want to be Gordon Gecko, that's your gig.  But just as they are allowed to make money, they should also be allowed to use it.  There's a term for that - "free market."
 Provides for seizure of private property without meaningful judicial review. The bill, in Section 203(b), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to order the seizure of any financial firm that he finds is “in danger of default” and whose failure would have “serious adverse effects on financial stability.” This determination would be virtually irreversible in court.
This one bothers me...a lot.  Explain to me how a guy who, oops, can't do his own taxes is going to decide what firms to seize.  Then explain to me how you are not going to avoid political corruption - regardless of the party! 
Establishes a $50 billion fund to pay for bailouts. Funding for bailouts is to come from a $50 billion “Orderly Resolution Fund” created within the U.S. Treasury in Section 210(n)(1), funded by taxes on financial firms. However, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the ultimate cost of bank taxes will fall on the customers, employees and investors of each firm.
You are kidding right?  This last round took $285 billion to prevent financial Armageddon.  So if you are going to do it, at least be realistic about what the real cost will be.  Looks to me like Joe Taxpayer gets hit coming and going with this scheme - higher fees at the bank so they can pay in to the Fund and higher taxes from the Feds so they can make up the difference.  We are institutionalizing bail outs.
 Opens a “line of credit” to the Treasury for additional government funding. Under Section 210(n)(9), the FDIC is effectively granted a line of credit to the Treasury Department that is secured by the value of failing firms in its control, providing another taxpayer financial support.
Why not - this is the "What the Hell It's Only Money" Club anyway.
 Authorizes regulators to guarantee the debt of solvent banks. Bailout authority is not limited to debt of failing institutions. Under Section 1155, the FDIC is authorized to guarantee the debt of “solvent depository institutions” if regulators declare that a liquidity crisis (“event”) exists.
Umm, why?  If they are solvent...i.e. not going to fail, why do they need a federal guaranty?  This strikes me as a license - nay an encouragement - for banks to behave badly, knowing that regardless of what they do, they are covered.
 Imposes one-size-fits-all reform in derivative markets. Derivatives are already increasingly being traded on clearinghouses thanks to private efforts coordinated by the New York Fed. But the Senate bill would require virtually all derivative contracts to be settled through a clearinghouse rather than directly between the parties. Applying such ill-designed blanket regulation would make financial derivatives more costly, more difficult to customize, and, consequently, less widely used—which would increase overall risk in the economy.

That's great - I know everyone hears the word "derivatives" and they get all jealous about those "greedy fat cats."  The reality is financial ingenuity has been the source of American economic power.  Sometimes, things like "junk bonds" go bad...sometimes things like "derivatives" do well.  There is (was) not guaranty.

Have things gone badly in the past couple of years in the financial services sector?  Absolutely...$245 billion in bank bailouts is baaaad.  Oh, $169 billion of that has already been paid back.  And let's not forget that a lot of institutions were forced into taking the TARP funds whether they needed them or not. To put it further in perspective, the Savings and Loan bailout of 1989 cost us $289 billion in 1989 dollars and we didn't get a dime of that back.  Where's the crisis?

It seems to me what this legislation achieves is three things:

1. It finishes New York as the financial capital of the world.  It snuffs out financial creativity, makes everyone up there beholding to the Rajahs in Washington and will essentially chase away talent.  Capital, as we all learn in Econ 100 is fungible.  This bill is great news for London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

2. It is the final act in a struggle that has been going on since the 1930's - the fight between a culture of independence and dependence.  One could argue that this struggle has actually been going on since 1865, as Herman Melville observed in "Conflict of Convictions:"

Power unanointed may come--
Dominion (unsought by the free)
And the Iron Dome,
Stronger for stress and strain,
Fling her huge shadow athwart the main;
But the Founders' dream shall flee.

 Independence has it's ugly sides - depressions, recessions, frauds and scandals.  But it has also raised more people out of poverty and mediocrity not only in this country, but around the world - independent financial markets have provided the capital for a world that our grandparents could not have imagined.  Dependence is steady - it's gruel and looks like East German housing.  Wall Street has represented the independence, the Iron Dome of Washington represents the opposite.

3. It is a progressive's dream: unchecked state control over the financial sector.

I pray it will be defeated, but fear we will have to wait for a brighter day.  Mencken was right: "the American people deserve what they get, and they are going to get it good and hard."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Health Care Bill Redistributes Income

Yup - nothing fair about it, The Tax Foundation's report shows it to be quite glaring:

Overall, the health care bill increases the amount of income redistribution from high-income families. That is largely due to the bill's targeted Medicare tax hike on those earning more than $200,000 (singles) and $250,000 (couples). The Medicare tax hike would for the first time incorporate filing status into each person's Medicare tax liability, and also for the first time, the Medicare tax will not apply just to wages but also to investment income such as income from capital gains, dividends, interest and rental property. In its first year of application, 2013, the new Medicare tax will hit approximately the top-earning two percent of families. That percentage will grow as the years go by because the income thresholds are not indexed for inflation. On the other hand, we may see a repeat of the annual patch ritual that prevailed for several years for the AMT.
We estimate that the health reform law will take an additional $52,000 on average from the families in the top one percent of the income distribution. That is on top of the redistribution in fiscal year 2016 that was already expected to accrue to that family, which amounts to about $484,000.
Though nominally part of the Medicare tax, extra tax payments will not entitle the payers to any additional Medicare benefit. In fact, Medicare benefits (on net) are being cut in the health care bill. Overall, we estimate that as a result of the health care reform, the top 1 percent would go from earning 14.7 percent of post-redistribution income to around 14.35 percent of post-redistribution income.
This income will be redistributed, not mostly to the lowest income group, but to the lower-middle income groups. The lowest income group gains little because most of the families already receive Medicaid and/or Medicare benefits. Families in those second and third deciles (10th percentile through 30th percentile) will see an average increase in their income redistribution of around $2,000.

Redistribute and make dependent...that's the ticket! Read the full report here.

Tide Turning on Union Thugs

Election results from New Jersey indicate the public has awakened.  Newly elected Republican governor Christie is trying to figure out how to plug all the holes in the state budget.  One area is the ridiculous amount of state support that goes to the local New Jersey school systems.  He urged voters on Tuesday to reject the budgets of their local school boards and 59% of them did just that.

This is good news.  The standard trope these Teacher's Unions and SEIU types throw out is that "it's about the children."  Hogwash!  It's about keeping them and their bloated, ridiculous pensions on the public teat and demanding more and more taxes to pay for their lack of productivity.  In Springfield, Illinois, the Unions bused in some 15,000 protesters with their newly printed signs demanding a tax increase!

According to the Tax Foundation, Illinois ranks 30th among the states for business climate.  They go on to note:

Though it isn't exactly breaking news to Illinoisans, their state government is in horrible fiscal shape. The recession left a budget shortfall of around $11 billion for the combined fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Their 2010 budget borrowed a few billion, shoved a few billion onto next year's docket, and still left the state with a shortfall of over $4 billion.
Illinois is on borrowed time. And although taxes alone should not be relied on to bring the state out of the red, a change in tax policy can help its economy. The state should expand tax bases to end government distortions in the economy and enable the enactment of lower statutory tax rates.
Tax hikes that risk making an already harsh tax climate for business more so should be avoided. Hiking personal income taxes especially, as proposed by Gov. Quinn, would mar one of the only good features of Illinois's tax system, making the state certainly less attractive to the businesses and individuals that Illinois ought to be courting.

What these placard carrying dolts don't understand is where the money they demand comes from.  It comes from the desiccated wallets of the taxpayers.  Lose jobs, lose's quite simple.  Their only hope is to expand the tax base, not kill what's left of it.  Try telling that to this bunch:

My sense is that regular folks have had enough...and they are getting mad too.  Check out this ad from California:

One of the great travesties was to allow the unionization of government employees...that and the healthcare workers unions have been the only source of union growth.  Now that they are embedded with their fists firmly around the purse strings, it will be difficult to get them out.  But then, we are Americans we've done much harder things than that!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Park Closure Chilling

This video is chilling.  Apparently some gay members of the military were trying to chain themselves to the fence of the White House.  Dear Leader doesn't want those images good Chavezista fashion - his people close the park across the street and force the media out. 

Now I am not a fan of gays in the military for a number of reasons, but I will defend their right to protest; it is central to the American experience.  I am also no fan of the mainstream media, but jeepers folks,  whatever happened to a free press?  This is very disturbing and should be to ALL Americans regardless of your political persuasion:

The Culture of Dependence

Michael Baronne has a good piece over at Investors Business Daily today about the battle over the "culture of dependence."  The column is focused on the Tea Partiers, but it really is central to how we define ourselves as a people and a nation.  When someone of a conservative bent says "we don't want to be like Europe,"  what she is really saying is "we don't want to be dependent on the government."

The whole progressive movement in this country is built around providing goodies to line of people queued up with their wallets open - one line queued up with their hands out, and the noble, good government at the head of the line pulling the money from one and handing it to the other (taking a little off  the top each time.)  The American experience is not one of dependence, it is one of fierce INdependence and our Founding Fathers warned us frequently of the moral hazards of relying on someone else: "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of government." (James Madison)

We are reaching the tipping point, the highway to Galt's Gulch, the razor's edge wherein the line of those that receive largesse from the government exceeds the line of those that give.  When that happens, a new founding father words will rule: "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs." When you hear a conservative say "we want our country back," this is what they are desperately trying to avoid.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guide to Surviving the Economy

The Australian comedy duo on how to survive the economic crisis - funny thing is, this sounds a lot like an interview with Gheitner:

We Choose Not To Go To The Moon...or anywhere else

Last week, on tax day, President Obama went to Cape Canaveral and issued some proclamations about America's leadership in space and how committed he was to NASA blah, blah, blah.  Don't listen to the teleprompter, listen to the advice of some men who know: Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and James Lovell.  These three heroes penned an open letter to Mr. Obama about his disastrous plan.  (Read the full text here.) Now the backdrop to all this is the fact that come September of this year, we will be retiring the space shuttle.  We will have no way to put Americans in space...period.  We will rely on the Russians to get personnel to the Space Station and back.  Ironic too that the nation that challenged us with Sputnik, will now provide our taxi service.  This is more than a tragedy, it is an embarrassment. 

Mind you, this is not Obama's fault.  This has been coming down the pike for a long time and both Bush and Clinton avoided dealing with the inevitable.  But the one program that was on track to at least put us back into space was the Constellation rocket system and now it has been defunded.  We have spent over $10 billion on the project and now we will have zip.  As the former Apollo astronauts put it:

For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature.  While the President's plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.
Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.  America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. 

This is not only a matter of national character, which Obama truly despises, it is also about future safety. Let's be real, future wars will be fought in space whether we like it or not.  Our current methodology of combat relies very heavily on space based surveillance, command and control.  With no capability to fly to immediate Earth orbit, what chance do we have that those sensors will be rendered useless with no ability to replace and replenish?  Do you think the Russians will be eager to allow us to borrow a Soyuz or two to fix our spy satellites?

Readers of these pages know how hawkish I am on Federal spending, but the space program is exactly the kind of thing the government should be involved in: it's too big for private enterprise, it's essential for safety and it defines a nation.  We will never be able to quantify the number of kids that were inspired to become engineers and scientists because of the Apollo missions, but it ain't small.  I was at a dinner with seven alumni from my undergraduate institution (we were plotting our 30th reunion).  Of the group, there was a lawyer, a doctor, two business types, and three engineers.  I posed the question to my gear head friends about inspirations in their lives to go through the nightmare of engineering school and all three said "Apollo" somewhere in their answer. (I might add, one is actually working for guessed it, a real rocket scientist!) 

There is also a two-pronged multiplier to space exploration: technologies and people.  Technological advances are pretty obvious - hell, the Apollo folks had a hydrogen powered vehicle forty years ago.  The people part might not be so obvious.  Projects of this nature increase the interest in technology, increase the education of technology and end up attracting the "best and brightest" from around the world who want to be part of the great adventure.  The terrifying reality is that without a vibrant space program, that talent will migrate to Moscow, Beijing or who knows...Pyongyang or Tehran?

But back to this issue of character and the loathing hatred Obama and his ilk have for the American spirit.  I remember watching the moon landing in my grandfather's office and the incredible sense of pride I had in being an American.  It seemed perfectly natural to me that we were the ones doing this - Americans do things with bold brush strokes.  We are not just another country, our national character calls us to lead the world, but folks in this administration are embarrassed by that and seem to want to end this.  Their perception is that our leadership is a force for bad - you know, the standard pablum about "oppression," "racism," "imperialism." They do not believe in American exceptionalism, nay, they loath it and seem hell bent on ensuring it's fading away.  They believe they are in power to manage America's decline and this move on our space dominance is just one more sad confirmation.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Future Marxist Leninist America" - It's Here!

These two videos are worth a listen.  The speaker is Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB agent who defected.  Listen to them carefully and reflect upon our current leadership class in Washington and in our universities:

So, which stage are we in?  Clearly demoralization has occurred.  It would appear to me that destabilization are well under way.  Now let's be clear - this interview was conducted by G. Edward Griffin, a John Birch Society member.  A lot of the external architecture has changed - thanks to Ronald Reagan, the Soviet Union has fallen; but it is scary to consider how much the rest of what Yuri talked about has come to pass.

To borrow Tolstoy's famous question: "What then must we do?"  I do think that the Tea Party activists are part of the solution - an aware and accurately educated population is key.  But we truly need a massive re-education effort.  Parents - teach your children the goodness of America.  Teach them our virtues, our values and of the reality that we truly are the last best hope on Earth for freedom.  It's long past time to get to work!

Milton Friedman at Stanford - 1978

Here Milton dissects a starry eyed liberal student - who would gladly give away your money to make himself feel better about the poor:

End Runs

This chart really spells out how a radical operates to get around the system of checks and balances.

Hat tip GS.

Flat Tax Now!

This one aught to make your blood boil:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who's Not At The Nuclear Summit?

Oh...our allies:  Israel, Great Britain, Australia...even erstwhile ally Saudi Arabia who is nervously watching Iran, is not there.  Read about it over at The Daily Caller.

Nuclear Naivete

Charles Krauthammer has an excellent column titled "Nuclear Posturing Obama Style," in which the naivete of this Administrations in matters marshal is illuminated with frightening clarity:

Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up-to-date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. (Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs and other conventional munitions.)
However, if the lawyers tell the president that the attacking state is NPT noncompliant, we are free to blow the bastards to nuclear kingdom come.
This is quite insane. It's like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.
Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?

Back in the early '80's, Paul Fussell wrote an enlightening essay titled "Thank God for the Atomic Bomb," in which he debunked many of the myths surrounding the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
The degree to which Americans register shock and extraordinary shame about the Hiroshima bomb correlates closely with lack of information about the war.
To the frequent charge that Hiroshima was wiped out without warning, the facts are otherwise:

But actually, two days before, 720,000 leaflets were dropped on the city urging everyone to get out and indicating that the place was going to be obliterated. Of course few left.
But then facts never seem to impede the march of the Progressives.  The reality is that for 50 years, two superpowers avoided a humanity ending conflagration because both sides were just uncertain enough about the other to keep from pulling the nuclear trigger.

As a proud graduate of the Navy's "Bugs, Drugs and Mushroom Clouds" School, I can tell you that death by biologics or chemicals is every bit as horrible as being nuked.  To take away that threat of retaliation shows an ignorance of warfare that is truly frightening.  

Negative Ratings

If you were a stock picker and saw this trend line, what would you do?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reinstating the Brezhnev Doctrine

On the night of August 20, 1968, 200,000 Soviet soldiers and some 2,000 tanks crossed the borders of Czechoslovakia.  The Czech forces were locked down in their barracks until it was clear they would offer no resistance.  It was the end-cap of the Prague Spring, a movement by Czech President, Dubcek to liberalize his country and align it closer with Western Europe.  Soviet Premier, Leonid Brezhnev, would have none of it and after talks broke down, he ordered the invasion.  The principle applied to justify the assault was the "Brezhnev Doctrine:" the USSR, it said, could invade any Eastern Bloc country that dared to experiment with democracy or capitalism.    The Soviets would remain in Czechoslovakia until 1990.  

Earlier this week, in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, one of the two successor countries to Czechoslovakia, our boy President reaffirmed the Brezhnev Doctrine in a dangerous capitulation to Soviet, err, Russian demands and signed a new strategic arms limitation treaty with a gleeful Russian president Medvedev. I guess it's appropriate to bow to this newly restored Russian hegemony in Prague - we already pulled the plug on a missile defense shield for them and Poland.  So, if the Iranians or anyone else wants to threaten the former "Eastern bloc," it's A-OK with us.

The treaty limits both sides to 700 ICBMs, sub-launched or bomber-launched missiles and a total of 1,550 warheads...BUT, Russia has the option to "opt out" of the treaty if the United States missile defense is showing an efficiency that would impact Russian offensive weapons.  Wait - come again?  So, if we get better at protecting ourselves, they get to build up their offensive capability?  Yup.  Oh, but Obama assures us that he believes this will be "peace in our time."

None of this matters under the current administration anyway.  He's already scrapped plans for forward missile defense in Eastern Europe - a program designed to thwart the Iranians from threatening Europe.  He has essentially gutted the budget for our stateside missile defense, killed the F-22 even as the Russians deploy their knock-off version, he has prohibited the development of any new nuclear weapons and ceased testing programs for our existing stockpile. I just learned that he is also eliminating one of my old favorites, the Tomahawk missile from further production - the ones we used to paint "when you care enough to send the very best" on the side of.  Garishly, before even going over to lick Medvedev's boots, he eliminated the unspoken threat that the United States posed to bad guys around the world by declaring that even if you use chemicals or bugs on us, we won't nuke you.  

I cannot understand the mindset of this man. Do the lessons of Munich and appeasement mean anything to him?  I am not especially worried about the Russians teeing it up with us, but the prospect of a nuclearized Middle East loom large.  He is breaking the very sword we might need to keep the peace.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Congressperson That Did Not Read The Bill

Get ready to (as S.E. Cupp would say) stick your fingers in your eyes and swirl them around...

So Wasserman Schultz and her ilk see this as the way around the imposition issue?  The law clearly states that the IRS will PENALIZE you if you don't have health insurance!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

oPad versus the iPad

Who needs an iPad - this baby will work in 2014 and it barely costs me anything!

Hat tip BlogProf

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Obama - The Real White Sox Fan

Uh oh - where's the prompter?  God bless, this answer is almost as embarrassing as the pitch.  My 7th grade daughter could throw the ball better than that.  At least he's not wearing the girl jeans this year.

Obama and the Matheson Scandal

A clear way of looking at the "votes for judgeships" issue...Jim Matheson should be ashamed and Scott Matheson should not accept the appointment.  Oh, but that was in another world where terms like "honor" and "public service" actually meant something.

Hat tip: 4-Block World

Michelle His Home Country is NOT Kenya

Apparently this was in 2008 at the LGBT Conference...some of the wingnuts are focused on the "...visited Kenya, his home country" line.  I am not going to go birther on you.  He may or may not be truly FROM there, I don't care - he's been elected President of the United States - our bad. Her remarks are  just clumsy and stupid - my relatives came from Ireland and Scotland, but neither is my "home country."  What folks are missing is the assault on traditional values that is masked behind the language of "diversity and equality." 

The other weird thing is why is this only coming out now?  Someone in the "Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender" group videotaped this and is now releasing it.  The good folks in the Tea Party movement need to stay away from this, because my guess is this is part of the continued effort orchestrated by the White House to make anyone who is for limiting the size of government some kind of knuckle-dragging kook.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Obama: The Magic Man!

More fun with facts over Obamacare!  Gimme some o' dat!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Am The Taxman

Brilliant mix:

Guam Tipping Over - No This is NOT April Fools

Some years ago I did some lobbying work on behalf of my industry.  I remember being awed by the Capitol, the pomp, the grandeur.  But after my first three meetings, I was struck by how ignorant most of the lawmakers and their staffs were.  I'm not being arrogant, they were nice folks and all, but they would fail miserably in the private sector.  Allow me to present Exhibit A:

You can't make this stuff up!  How does a full Admiral keep a straight face under this incisive questioning?    The sad fact is that it is people like this clown that are actually making  and passing the laws we have to live under.