Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Irresponsible and Unpatriotic"

Love this Obama campaign riff from 2008 - adding $4 Trillion in debt over eight years is "irresponsible and unpatriotic."  So adding $4 Trillion in two years is spot on?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catching Up

Been off taking Rumblebairn back to college in the job production factory of Texas, I've kept up with the Twitter thing, so feel free to sign aboard with @RSRumbler.  It's a little more convenient to post stuff from the road with the Tweets, though I am still learning my way around.  Herewith a little romp through recent correspondence and observations:

Let's whet your palate for some good conservothrills with a quickie video to get your blood pressure up to cruising altitude:

Fun language facts - you probably already know that a "murder of crows" is not a new punk-rock group nor a heinous crime - it is the English language showing off fun collective nouns.  Some others include a "sleuth of bears" and a "parliament of owls."  But, my favorite pointed out in a recent e-mail I received would be the collective noun for a group of guessed it: a "congress."

Also from the e-mail pile - there's this jewel:

Here is an enlightening analogy from the blog “Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm.”  Here’s the bit:

If the US government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year; they spend $75,000 a year and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt reduces to a level that we can understand.
Kind of puts the debt debate in a rather different perspective.

Hat tip RL.

My folks always taught me that a real measure of character was how a person treated other people, especially the "little people."  No, not folks that are vertically challenged, but those serve in roles whose shoulders we stand upon.  Folks like our military, the girl at the check out counter, the young man waiting your table...or the secret service - check this out:

Hat tip MGH.

While we're letting Wild Bill chat - here's his take on Muslims and dogs:

Tie this piece in with the first video above and you have a scary picture emerging:  "The End of the Growth Consensus."  The only way out of this morass is to get the economy growing - you don't grow an economy by taxing the productive and giving it to the non-productive.

OK, conference call coming in - got to run.

Rumble on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Feed Bag

Been a crazy week here in Rumblerville and blogging has not been at the front of the line.  It happens.  That doesn't mean that I haven't been paying attention.  Today's Feed Bag has a broad selection for your weekend reading on the key issues - I hope to hole up in the next few days to share some deeper thoughts on some of these, but until then, here's some good stuff:

SUBJECT: The shrinking presidency.  Some time ago I posted this picture - take a moment and let it sink in:

There's some little bitty guy behind the Resolute Desk...this is a theme that we've been on since the junior Senator from Illinois was running for the Democrat nomination in 2007...there's no "there there."  Several good pieces pick up on that theme:

"A President In Over His Head Should Resign."

"The Left's Summer of Discontent"

"It's Now Obama's Economy"

And it appears that the rest of the folks are catching on:

SUBJECT: London Riots.  This is what liberalism begets and I am not alone in the fear that it this type of behavior is coming across the pond to us.  It does us no good when we have "leadership" that constantly urges class divisions - excoriating the productive for not giving their "fair share."  We are seeing outbreaks in expected places like Philadelphia and unexpected places like the Wisconsin State Fair.  Who is doing this and why?

Two excellent pieces on the subject:

"British Degeneracy on Parade."

"Apres le Deluge, What Next?"

SUBJECT: Market Crash.  What do you get when you combine a hard left President with ideological rigor, several pieces of legislation that vastly expand government oversight intrusion into every aspect of your life, a Congress that refuses to accept that an agenda that favors growth and reduces dependence is the only way to save the economy?  Well, you get this:

Of course we got downgraded!  We deserved it!  Are we more credit worthy than France, which has a AAA rating?  Sure, but the numbers are so damned huge and scary, it would be irresponsible to not send a signal to the world that the US of frickin' A needs to get their house in order.  What does President Downgrade do?  Go out and make a speech about how "millionaires and billionaires" need to pay their fair share.  You know what else you inherited from Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama?? A AAA Credit Rating!

Some other thoughts on this vein:

"500 Billion New Reasons To Invalidate Obamacare"

"Obama and Bernanke: A Double-Whammy Disaster"

Just so I don't leave you suicidal, let's look at the upside.  I tend to be of good cheer in the belief that this is the high-watermark of liberalism.  I am not alone:

"Best Opportunity for America in 50 Years."

OK, I have to go mow the yard.  Have a great weekend!

Rumble on!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Al Sharpton Meet Mr. Peter Principle

Fame and notoriety rarely equal common sense or intelligence.  Al Sharpton is one of the more glaring examples.  When not yelling through his bullhorn inane accusations and dangerous race bating blasts, Al went and got himself a TV show!  That's right...Tawana Brawley and all that mess - who cares?  After all this is MSNBC - a network that had  has (what's that? He's gone?  Didn't notice.) Keith Olberman as their star of journalistic integrity now has Al Sharpton.  But, look at the fun you can have when you rely on a teleprompter:

It's doubly delicious now that we know the Republicans held on in Wisconsin, despite the $14 million that the unions spent in a recall election. The $14MM is what Heritage is reporting the Unions spent - but you know, actually, they are doing a service:  they hire union protesters for this type of work thereby reducing the unemployment rate.

Here in Twangtown, the going rate for a union protester is $10 an hour - well below what unions demand for similar work:  Music City Center Protesters.  It does beg the question - how much are protesters around the world being paid?  President Downgrade can insist that we maintain our lead in that one category at least!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Feed Bag (Video Edition)

Wanted to circulate a few great videos today - kick back and take a view:

Every day American wisdom - I'm sure Kerry and the Veep would want this man labelled a "terrorist:"

The always insightful Bill Whittle:

If you never saw the "Honey Badger" bit, this might not be as funny...all I can say is we'd better all be ready to become honey badgers...

A quickie lesson in economics:

Here's the chart he refers to:

It's about envy, not fairness.

Wait - is this real?  It's an excellent idea!

Have a great weekend...
Rumble on!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Feed (Feel Good Edition)

Take one and pass one along!
OK, so the Dow's sunk over 200 to start the day and it's hotter than the hinges of hell outside with humidity so thick you have to shovel a path through it for the dog to go to the potty, but hey, here in Rumbleville, we are going to have a happy day.  Today we are going to share upbeat, optimistic viewpoints that you really need to read to gird your loins for the scrap that lies ahead.

There is something to the old adage that the darkest hour is just before dawn.  Jeffrey Lord over at the American Spectator picks up on that theme with a splendid piece  titled "American Tipping Point." He picks up on the Guadalcanal theme I blogged about on Tuesday and carries it forward with a comprehensive history of the conservative movement.  He boldly asserts that:
An epidemic of conservatism is sweeping America. And thanks to the Tea Party, yesterday disgracefully accused of terrorism by Vice President Biden (he the vice president in an administration terrified of calling real terrorists terrorists -- seriously!), the country will never be the same again.
I think he's right, but I do think it is a race against time.  Symptomatic of our ascendency is the downright meanness of the left.  They can't win on ideas so they bludgeon with hatred - or they do, as a former FB "friend" of mine did when he got smoked in a kerfuffle with me in public over Obamacare, they de-friend you and block you from their wall.  It's the electronic version of covering over one's ears and yelling "I can't hear you" as loud as you can.  Childish.  But liberal to the core, reacting on feelings rather than intellect.

I was not happy with the Wall Street Journal last week - their childish swipes at the Tea Party "hobbits" and their almost panicky push for a deal to be made were unseemly for an otherwise noble and reliable newspaper.  But this morning's version brought an excellent piece from Dan Henninger in his Wonderland column: "Obama's Deal With The Debt Devil."  Henninger makes the point that it is Obama's ill fate that has him at the point in history when the money is running out:
Alas, cruel history. Three years into their presidency, they find themselves trapped in the twilight years of the welfare state. They enacted a fourth entitlement obligation and an upward spending path at precisely the moment history turned against their ideas.

Canada is dismantling its' welfare state and their economy is taking off...Europe is watching it crumble into ruins.  We are not too late...yet.  But the race really is on - as a commenter pointed out on here the other day "50% who pay taxes and 50% who don't...with 70% receiving some kind of Federal subsidy" - can we turn the ship of state away from entitlement addiction to the self-reliance that built this great nation?

How about this view: "The Real 'Uniters' Are The Tea Party Patriots."  That's Investors Business Daily's take and you have to agree that the debate has shifted away from "gimme" to "how can we afford it."

Just the facts ma'am.
There's a bit of the "this is the best we can do" argument in this next piece, but the author raises some very valid observations: "Boehner's Half a Loaf Deal Better Than Nothing." The column pulls out another piece of World War II history which is how Churchill helped the United States military ultimately prevail in the battle for Europe...worth the read!

Finally, even as Obama's EPA charges forward to regulate the air that we breath out, a consensus is emerging in the American public that the "scientists" behind Global Warming are perpetuating a hoax and lying to us.  In a Rasmussen Poll released last week, they found that "69% say it's likely that scientists have falsified global warming research."  We are winning the war with facts...we'll cede the feelings high ground to the loons, let us all be Sergeant Friday's:  "just the facts ma'am."

Finally, here's something we can all smile about - over the past couple of weeks the split hasn't moved below -15 and has been as high as -21:

Be of good cheer!

Rumble on!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good Feed

There is so much material right now on so many different fronts.  We've all been consumed with the debt debate debacle, that we have forgotten all those other areas of Obama success.  Here are a couple:

Egypt/Middle East: "The Muslim Brotherhood has never had it so good..."

Iran: "Iran's Dangerous Concoction of Nuclear Ambitions and Shiite Messianism"

Greece (Hey, this could be us soon!): "Political and Cultural Malaise at Heart of Greek Financial Crisis."

But why pick on Greece - after all, there's still Italy, Spain and Portugal: "Italy and Spain Add to Debt Woes." Who wouldn't want their sovereign bonds at 7%?

OK, we need a little humor here:  "Drunken Ben Bernanke Tells Bar Patrons We're Screwed."

Speaking of cultural problems...take a look at this:

In the words of Lilly Tomlin, "no matter how cynical I become, I can't keep up."

That's it for today,

Rumble on!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guadalcanal? More Like The Battle of the Bulge

Marines go over the wall at Tarawa
I have heard the usual rationalizations from the conservative bloggitry that the Tea Party and Conservatism won this round of the debt ceiling agreement.  About the best I can do is that we didn't get rolled as bad as Reagan did in 1982 or George H.W. Bush did in 1991.  A popular analogy I have heard from several folks is that we on the right should take a deep breath because this is going to be long fight and this was our "Guadalcanal" or "Tarawa."  The theory is that the debt/spending philosophical conflict is metaphorically demonstrated by the island hopping campaign of the United States against the Empire of Japan.  We clawed out every square inch of lava in the Pacific to bring our forces in range of the Japanese main islands for the final blow in 1945.  I would submit that this deal is more analogous to the opening round of the Battle of the Bulge.  We got rolled back, regrouped, and ultimately reclaimed the land the Germans had pushed us out of on our inevitable march to Berlin.

Now before you lefties go berserk saying I'm comparing you to Nazis, take a breather.  Our Vice President thinks that people of my ilk are "terrorists," so let's keep it civil.

The one thing this agreement may have achieved is that the dialogue has now changed..."changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born." (Yeats, Easter 1916)   We are told that the discussions in Washington will now have to center on cuts in the budget rather than new programs...sorry, but I'm not buying it.  One of the absolute easiest places to have cut into the globe-swallowing deficit would have been to have Obamacare on the table with it's projected $2 Trillion price tag and locked in 5% annual increases.  The fact that this monstrous new entitlement was never even whispered about by the Republican side is downright alarming to me.

The business with taxes and how Obama "caved" because he gave up and "compromised" on increasing revenue to the government is false on two fronts.  First, I suspect that the "I've got to have taxes" gambit was nothing more than a red old negotiating trick to distract the opponent while you zero in on what you really want.  Second, the fix is in on taxes anyway.  As we discussed yesterday, the Bush tax cuts will most likely expire in 2012 resulting in across the board tax increases.  And, as we also pointed out yesterday, the trigger mechanism sets up a Scylla and Charybdis for Republicans on the "super committee:"  "Tax hikes or we gut defense!"  Besides, even Obama can't be stupid enough to want to go into an election season bragging about tax hikes - that would only appeal to the 4% totally brain dead in this country who would vote for him anyway.

No, I suspect Obama's big prize was to not have to fight this fight again before next November.  He can now sit back in comfort over at 1600 PA Avenue and watch the Congress bicker and bash each other...then he can stride in at the next State of the Union address and with a little make-up and some resonant tele-prompting actually appear to be the adult in the room.

All of this does remind me of World War II nonetheless.  There is an inevitability about its outcome.  Just as everyone knew that Germany and Japan's fates were sealed once the "Arsenal of Democracy" entered the war,  there is little that can prevent us from an economic collapse.  Take entitlements alone - by 2052, they will swallow 100% of the budget.  Add in the projected interest on the debt (at current ridiculously low levels!)  and 100% of the budget goes to those categories by 2025...and that does not include the cost of Obamacare!

Sadly, we conservatives are doomed to walk the streets of Berlin circa 1933 at the collapse of the Weimar Republic before we walk into Berlin circa 1945.  And it is here that I draw this past weekend's kerfuffle WWII parallel: it was not the Battle of Guadalcanal, it was the Battle of the Bulge.  One of the opening moves of the Bulge was Operation Grief.  This was when German Waffen-SS commandos snuck behing Allied lines dressed in U.S. uniforms and driving stolen U.S. Army vehicles.  While their mission to seize the bridges over the Muese River failed, they wreaked havoc by disrupting our lines of communication and causing the overall tenor of reaction to was a psychological masterpiece.  In the end, the Germans ran out of gas - literally, and the American and British forces pushed them back into Germany and into history.
German POW column after the Bulge

I liken the efforts of the liberal punditry and blogosphere these past two days to Operation Greif.  They are busy screaming from the rooftops of how the Tea Party outmaneuvered the administration and "Obama Got Rolled," but methinks the lady doth protest too much.  All of this caterwauling serves as intellectual cover for a lot of Republicans to toss in the towel and vote for the agreement.

But let's be real, it is inevitable that the entitlement programs will collapse or be dramatically altered.  We can't print money fast enough.  The terms of the debate may have been altered, but the outcome is sure.  It will be a prolonged and ugly fight over the very concept of what we want the Federal Government to be.  Both sides do not appear to have the stomach for the fight right now, so the American people will have to fight it out at the ballot box.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Banker's Calling

I love that show "Deal or No Deal."  What's not to like - a game of chance, a bevy of attractive women holding briefcases, and of course, a malevolent financier hiding behind smoke glass up in the gallery who calls with his offers depending on how the contestant is doing on his/her selection of briefcases.  Watching the machinations of our Congress and our Dear Leader over this weekend really leaves me wondering what the offer from the banker will be when he calls in.  The banker in this case is going to be Wall Street and the bond market. 11:15AM CST, how is this deal being met?  Chart on the left says down about 130+.  Moody's is also saying that all the cuts that are being talked about are insufficient to stave off a downgrade of the credit rating of the United States.

Why?  My guess is two things: first, the numbers from the economy continue to float just below Moby Dick poo-poo.  Second, this "deal" really does NOTHING except extend the debt ceiling.  If you want to read the whole bill, you can click here.  James Pethokoukis has a very fine summary which I will borrow from directly:

Ø Debt Ceiling increase in three tranches for a $2.4T total:o Immediate $400B raiseo Second $500B raise, subject to congressional disapproval (the old McConnell-Reid Plan)
o Third and final $1.5T raise, subject to congressional disapproval
Ø $917B in cuts through the Boehner Plan’s spending capsØ Special Committee of 12 Members of Congress with mandate to recommend $1.5T in deficit reduction by November 23, 2011 and Congress is required to vote on recommendations by December 23, 2011o Simple majority to pass recommendations out of committee
o Fast Track process for votes on House and Senate Floors
o Trigger/Sequester modeled after Gramm-Rudman model
§ If Special Committee can’t agree to recommendations, triggers $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts, half would be Defense cuts and the other half would be non-Defense cuts. Non-defense cuts would exempt Social Security and Medicaid, and only impact providers in the Medicare cuts.
Ø Balanced Budget Amendment votes on House and Senate floors

What I can't figure out is why so many MSM sources are crowing that the Tea Party won....won big!  I tend to get suspicious when they start speaking in una voce.  What victory?  The Tea Party went to Washington to fundamentally change the way we do business.  The only "victory" I see in this deal for the Tea Party is that the discussion is actually focused on cutting spending.  But the overall trajectory is not good.  Take a look at the last section of the bill that slips in another $17 Billion for Pell Grants in "higher education:"

7 Section 401(b)(7)(A)(iv) of the Higher Education Act
8 of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a(b)(7)(A)(iv)) is amended—
9 (1) in subclause (II), by striking
10 ‘‘$3,183,000,000’’ and inserting ‘‘$13,183,000,000’’
11 and
12 (2) in subclause (III), by striking ‘‘$0’’ and in-
13 serting ‘‘$7,000,000,000’’

But I digress. let's start at the beginning: the baseline.  We already have the stimulus money counting toward the overall Federal Budget baseline - i.e. that's the new starting point...reduce any money spent and you have a "cut."  So that's the starting point...going forward, there are automatic increases in the budget already built in.  In Washingtonspeak, if you reduce the percentage of increase from 7% to say 5%, that's a "draconian cut in spending."  Guess where they are finding some of their savings??

This issue was a big Tea Party deal - the zero based budget approach - the same way any business or family operates.  Score?  Politics-As-Usual: 1, Tea Party: 0.

Say, when do the cuts begin?  2013.  When does the debt ceiling rise? Now.   P-A-U: 2, TP: 0.

How about that Balanced Budget Amendment?  It gets a vote on the House floor and the Senate floor...sometime after September 30, 2011.  We already know that Reid and the boys will kill this in the Senate and it's already passed in the House.  I put this in the Pyrrhic Victory category.  P-A-U: 2, TP: 1/2.

Taxes?  The media is yelling that there are no taxes - a massive victory for the Tea Party and a humiliating loss for Obama.  But, when you consider that the Bush Tax Cuts will be deemed a "cost" of $5 Trillion by the Congressional Budget Office.  The Bush Tax Cuts expire at the end of 2012...their chance of survival in the face of hate-the-rich demagoguery and a growing maw of Federal debt?  Not good.  So, therefore, I would submit that taxes are very much part of this deal.  Further, there is no assurance that this "super committee" wouldn't suddenly show up with a "revenue enhancement" scheme that is nothing more than a tax increase.  P-A-U: 3, TP: 1/2

The biggest loser in all of this is the military.  They are already shouldering the burden of the cuts to date...BUT if there is no agreement in the super committee, automatic cuts kick in, 50% of them from the Defense Budget.    As Heritage is reporting, this gives the Democrats on the super committee enormous leverage - "vote for our tax hikes or we gut the Military."  Strong defense is a core value of the conservative movement - did I mention we are in two and a half wars already? P-A-U: 4, TP: 1/2

Defense represents 5.2% of GDP today - an historic low.  Entitlements are now over 10% of GDP.  This deal does NOTHING to entitlements.  In short, your humble Rumbler scores this as a serious loss.

In any negotiation, there are "deal points" that can be horse-traded.  As I have written on these pages several times before, "compromise" when the fate of the nation hangs in the balance is unconscionable.  Here are the basic deal points that I saw were on the table on Friday:

1. Timing - Obama and the Dems were frenetic to not have this debate again anytime soon.  Their objective was to get this out past the 2012 election.   If their spending is so wonderful, why would you not want to have this debate?

2. Debt Ceiling - O and the boys were scaring the hell out of everyone that if we didn't get an increase in the debt ceiling, the world as we know it would end.  A nominal increase of the debt ceiling could have been engineered, although I was in favor of calling the bluff.  After all, the debt ceiling really expired last May - as we have written on these pages, and the Treasury has been raiding civil servant pension funds to pay the bills.

3. Cuts - how many and when?  We now know the architecture of this deal.  I was in favor of a big compromise that said for every $1 increase in the debt ceiling there would have to be $1.50 in real cuts.

4. The Baseline - we've talked about this up above, but I felt that was a key deal point that should have been negotiating.

5. Tax reform - fundamental tax reform.  This was a chance to raise this issue...butkus.

6. Balanced Budget Amendment - we got a won't pass.

By the Rumbler standard, this deal, as it currently stands, is very bad and we need to pray that the thin red line in the House of Representatives can hold.

Rumble on!