Saturday, March 07, 2009

Good News: He's Just In Over His Head

clipped from

After insulting Gordon Brown during the British prime minister’s visit this week by ignoring protocol and cheaping out on the traditional gift exchange, the UK media has erupted in outrage.  The Obama White House has now started to recognize the firestorm the new President created with our closest ally, and wants to assure the Brits that he meant no disrespect.  Instead, Obama apparently wants to assure them that he’s simply in over his head and floundering (via Radio Equalizer):

Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

I’m not sure which is worse.  At least if he meant to snub Brown, it would suggest a certain competence at this brand of diplomacy.  Instead, we’re told that the Obama White House and their staff are just a bunch of incompetents who got in over their heads.

Can we have W back now? He was just a moron as opposed to the new guy.

Americans Blew The Money (Part 2)

clipped from

Americans Blew The Money

clipped from

Innumeracy Update (Part 1,000,000,000,000)

clipped from

Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars...

$1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars)

(And notice those pallets are double stacked.)

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase "trillion dollars"... that's what they're talking about.

Capitalism Without Bankruptcy (Part 29,240)

clipped from
Watch the whole thing! Note how absolutely clueless the anchors are.

Capitalism Without Bankruptcy (Part 29,239)

From Stephen Moore in the Claremont Review of Books:

The[] bailouts did not create the financial meltdown, but it is a good bet that they have contributed to the depths of our current problems and the stock market sell-off. We have robbed healthy companies of funds to pour money down the rat hole of failing industries like General Motors. For the cost of all federal bailouts, we could have suspended the corporate income tax for a year, which would have been a powerful stimulant to growth.

The election of Barack Obama and the fear of his across-the-board tax rate hikes on capital gains, dividends, and small businesses have created the most bearish policy environment on Wall Street since the late 1970s. Investors are forward-looking and they are seeing a tsunami of anti-growth policies. The proper response is to sell while you still can -- and that is what investors have been doing en masse.

Within Range

Ayatolla the Hun

'Let us cut them off from being a nation'

Leading a concentrated outpouring of venomous hate, Iran's supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Wednesday, March 4, that President Barack Obama is pursuing the same "wrong path" as his predecessor George W. Bush in supporting Israel – "a cancerous tumor" - and he saw no change.
"Another big mistake is to say that the only way to save the Palestinian nation is by negotiations." Negotiations with whom?" he asked. "With an occupying and bullying regime...? or negotiations with America and Britain who committed the biggest sin in creating and support this cancerous tumor…?
"The story of the Holocaust, a nation without a homeland and a homeland without a nation... are the biggest lies of our era."

Alil Jafari, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards's contribution to the event attended by 80 delegations was this: "All Israel's nuclear installations are within range of Iranian missiles."

Frank To Jail. Now. Period.

Oversight: Congressman Barney Frank says he wants some of those responsible for our current financial meltdown to be prosecuted. And we couldn't agree more. First up in the court dock: Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Even by the extraordinarily loose standards of Congress, it takes some chutzpah for someone such as Frank to suggest that he'll seek prosecutions for those behind the housing and financial crunch and for what he called "a strongly empowered systemic risk regulator."

It's hard to say why Frank did all this. It could be his close ties to the Neighborhood Assistance Corp., a powerful housing activist group based in Boston, which controls billions in loans. Or that he received some $40,100 in campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie from 1989 to 2008. Or that he has been romantically linked to a one-time executive at Fannie during the 1990s.

If you're looking for a culprit in the meltdown to prosecute, no one fits the bill better than Frank.
I have a friend who argues that the only way to clean up Congress is to make it automatic that with election to a term, you are automatically signed up for an equal length prison term to be served immediately afterward. If you want another term you have to wait to get out of prison before you can run again.

Frank is the poster boy who will put a constitutional amendment to enforce this obviously needed rule over the top very soon now...

Kind Of The President

clipped from


Brown: Hurm. Yes. Well. Have a seat, should I? [INDICATES CHAIR BEHIND HIM, WAITS FOR SOME SORT OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT, FINALLY SITS DOWN ANYWAY] So. It's. Did you, did you get the gifts I brought? The pen set is composed of wood from the sister ship of the one that was used to make the very desk you're--


Brown: Oh! Very, uh, very nice. [PICKS IT UP, PULLS READING GLASSES FROM SHIRT POCKET] It's, let me... Yes We Can! The Barack Obama Story. Ah. That's. Uhm. Well, I certainly--

Obama: [SIGHING LOUDLY, STILL NOT LOOKING UP] Will there be anything else? I don't know if you noticed, but I'm kind of the President?

And A Comment And A Half (Including Today's Innumeracy Update)

clipped from

And please point out these imaginary Clinton budget surpluses
(hint learn what Intergovernmental Holdings are):

National debt:

1993 - $4.411T

1994 - $4.693T

1995 - $4.974T

1996 - $5.225T

1997 - $5.413T

1998 - $5.526T

1999 - $5.656T

2000 - $5.674T

2001 - $5.807T

Marc Jeric| 3.7.09 @ 12:53PM

I escaped from a communist country in 1957; after 5 years in
France as political refugee I finally came here in US. After a
few years of reading American press I started calling the NY
Times the New York Pravda, The Washington Post I called the
Washington Izvyestiya, etc. So nobody should be surprised with
that Time shody piece of communist propaganda.

Heh: Blah Blah Blah Ginger Blah Blah Ginger

clipped from

Stan Redmond| 3.6.09 @ 12:39PM

Facts Shmacts. Facts don't sway democrats' endless quest to pin
the blame on all the world's problems on George W. Bush and
insulate the disastrous policies of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. And
most democrat voters are just too ignorant of the facts and vote
based on emotions and feelings. It reminds me of a cartoon from
"the Far Side." A dog is being scolded by her owner and the
caption says "what they hear" and all the dog hears is "blah blah
blah Ginger. blah blah Ginger. blah blah..."

It's the same with many democrat voters. "blah blah Bush and Cox
blah blah Obama inherited recession blah blah Conservatives to
blame blah blah blah lack of regulation blah blah blah Obama to
save 6 billion jobs in all 57 states blah blah blah, Next on
American idol!"

A Couple Of Comments...

clipped from

Ed | 3.6.09 @ 12:01PM

Anon, sorry but Mary Shapiro is probably the SOURCE for the
"Time" fairy tale.
The notion that financial markets are "underregulated" is
laughable. The "all knowing" government regulators tried to get
Citi to buy Wachovia for $1/share until Wells Fargo offered
$7/share. Government rules caused this meltdown.
I could go on forever with examples of fools in government
screwing up the financial system but I will end with this, THE
MADOFF THEFT LOOK LIKE CHUMP CHANGE. Care to guess the name of
this program?

John| 3.6.09 @ 12:11PM

I think Time magazine probably bottomed out with its asinine
global warming cover piece back in April 2006. That's as good a
date as any to mark the complete collapse of integrity among the
mainstream newsmagazines. It seems that a degenerate education
system, including corrupt schools of journalism, is now taking
its ferocious toll on the larger culture.

Cox And The Oxymoron Of "Free Financial Markets"

clipped from

Now -- why is all this important?

Because only by such misdirection, by finding a convenient
conservative scapegoat to feed the narrative of conservative
neglect and/or ideologically based obstruction, can the
establishment media shift the blame for today's mess onto the
whole idea of free markets and onto its advocates. What's at
stake here isn't just Chris Cox's reputation, but the popular
history that could shape economic decision-making for decades to

Time's misuse of the Aguirre incident -- a gentle
zephyr, not a tempest nor a Teapot Dome -- was just one example
of how the magazine accomplished its smear. The whole Weisskopf
article was rife with similar flagrant dishonesties.

20 Million And The Chaos To Come

clipped from

Perhaps of even greater concern is the virtual grinding to a halt of economic growth in China. The IMF now expects that China's growth rate will approximately halve to 6% in 2009. Such a growth rate would fall far short of what is needed to absorb the 20 million Chinese workers who migrate each year from the countryside to the towns in search of a better life.

The Great Depression showed how social and global chaos followed hard on economic collapse. The mere fact that parliaments across the globe, from America to Japan, are unable to make responsible, economically sound recovery plans suggests that they do not know what to do and are simply hoping for the least disruption. Equally worrisome is the adoption of more statist economic programs around the globe, and the concurrent decline of trust in free-market systems.
China, until last year the world's fastest growing economy, just reported that 20 million migrant laborers lost their jobs.

Racist Scumbags Redux

clipped from
And it's not the Republicans in this video. They're the witless morons prone to occasional lucidity.

The Dukes Of Fascist Moral Hazard

clipped from

Nice odds if you can get them. But now you can. The Washington Post reports on a new, trillion dollar scheme to save the economy and boost demand.

The government is seeking to resuscitate the nation’s crippled financial system by forging an alliance with the very outfits that most benefited from the bonanza preceding the collapse of the credit markets: hedge funds and private-equity firms.

If the value fell below $9 million, the hedge fund would lose its down payment but nothing more. The Treasury, using bailout funds approved by Congress, would cover the next set of losses, with the Fed ultimately on the hook for anything more.

Megan McArdle, writing in the Atlantic, thinks we’ve seen enough. Geithner should go.

Bush. Fascist. Now. Relegated. To. Piker.

The Campaigner In Chief

clipped from

So if the report is accurate that others are crafting his political strategy (just like the Pelosi-Reid machine is drafting his legislation), it should should come as no surprise. George W. Bush was lambasted for poor management skills and excessive delegation. But that was nothing — Obama has delegated the entire task of governing. He will keep the campaigning for himself.

We’ll see how that works out, if so.

The Distraction This Time

clipped from

The Obama Administration this week released its predecessor's post-9/11 legal memoranda in the name of "transparency," producing another round of feel-good Bush criticism. Anyone interested in President Obama's actual executive-power policies, however, should look at his position on warrantless wiretapping. Dick Cheney must be smiling.

That's about as pure an assertion of Presidential power as they come, and we're beginning to wonder if the White House has put David Addington, Mr. Cheney's chief legal aide, on retainer.
the "Imperial Presidency" is only imperial when the President is a Republican. Democrats who spent years denouncing George Bush for "spying on Americans" and "illegal wiretaps" are now conspicuously silent. Yet these same liberals are going ballistic about the Bush-era legal memos released this week. Cognitive dissonance is the polite explanation, and we wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Holder released them precisely to distract liberal attention from the Al-Haramain case.

Laid Off

Flawed Spelling, Flawless Logic

Noone has ever sucessfully explained to me how people who are too stupid and helpless to take care of themselves are smart enough to elect individuals that will take care of them. Once you understand that contradiction, you understand how tyrannies come to past around the world.

Gramscian Damage (Part 825,386)

James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government."

This idea -- that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power -- is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

I know how I and many of my friends would answer that. But I'm not one-hundred percent confident I can answer that question for a growing portion of America today, including among some of our youngest voters. Do they still teach the American Revolution straight up in public schools today? I hope so, but, again, I'm just not sure.

I wish I was sure. And I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

On Impressing Greece Et Al

A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:

"I have never understood multiparty democracy.

"It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

The E.U. delegate from Athens must have been particularly impressed by the Secretary of State's command of history. Between this, the Fleet Street accolades over Obama's handling of U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown's recent visit, and the way the administration deftly brought Russia on board to help rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions — they're just running the foreign policy table. It feels so good to have the adults in charge once again.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Today's History Lesson: Rothbard On The Gold Standard Before The Civil War

clipped from

Mask Slippage

clipped from

Now, though, the mask is off and the disconnect between rhetoric and reality is emerging as the dominant driver of the Obama narrative. The contrast is no longer between the young, personable, historic candidate Obama and a creaky, cranky old Republican White Guy, it's between what America thought it was getting in a President Obama (cool, reasonable and beyond partisanship) and what it now sees as the reality of a President Obama (government spending out of control, an uncertain hand on foreign policy, broken promises, more bureaucrats, etc. etc.).

Put another way - what we see now is neither what we were promised, nor what we expected.

Forgive me, please for saying so, but, if you read my Valentine's Day column on why Obama seemed locked in on a strategy that was likely to make him a one-term occupant of the White House, none of the above would come as a surprise to you. My only surprise today is that the shift has begun so quickly.


Elaborating on the history of HMS Gannet, Ted Bromund explains:

The ironies here are wonderful, though Obama doesn't seem likely to appreciate them. Of course, the reference to the anti-slavery mission is a nod to Obama's fascination, fervent but not deep, with Abraham Lincoln.

But HMS Gannet was not, as a casual reader might guess, employed against the trade of slaves from Africa to the New World, and since it was built in 1878, it has nothing to do with Lincoln or slavery in the United States. It sailed the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, patrolling against Islamist slavers. In the Red Sea, the Africans it saved would have come, among other places, from Kenya. Obama has made mention of his grandfather's antipathy to Britain, stemming from his experiences in colonial Kenya. It is quite possible that grandfather's ancestors would, had it not been for the Royal Navy, have been carried away to slavery in Arabia.

Jules Crittenden asks whether Obama is "wicked, childish or dim.

Not A Thief After All, Just A Boob

Abe, perhaps we owe Tim Geithner an apology. We found it incompressible that a sophisticated man who received and signed multiple acknowledgments of his tax obligations could have “forgotten” to pay his taxes. And we doubted that he could have “forgotten” once he was audited to go back and pay the full tax liability beyond the statute of limitations. We assumed he was a petty thief.

But from everything we’ve seen in the last month Geithner appears to be an easily distracted under-achiever, unable to complete projects (i.e. a comprehensive bailout bill), and entirely incapable of locating good help. He is plainly and painfully overwhelmed — and the markets are entirely underwhelmed. So maybe he was telling the truth. He is not dishonest, he is simply unable to manage his responsibilities — both personal and professional.

I wonder how the senators who voted for the “indispensable man” feel now.


clipped from
Remember when the Obama administration and its allies in Congress urged the confirmation of Tim Geithner despite his tax problems?  They claimed that Geithner was “uniquely qualified” to lead the nation out of an economic collapse, and that no other candidate could possibly replace Geithner.  Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating must have thought the Democrats and American media had discovered a completely different Tim Geithner than the one he knew:

“Tim Geithner was the Treasury line officer who wrote the IMF [International Monetary Fund] program for Indonesia in 1997-98, which was to apply current account solutions to a capital account crisis.”

In other words, Geithner fundamentally misdiagnosed the problem. And his misdiagnosis led to a dreadfully wrong prescription.

In fact, Geithner bungled the job so badly that Asian nations still refuse to “stick their head in the IMF noose,” as Keating puts it.

The Best Of Hands

clipped from

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

The country’s in the very best of hands.

All Caught Up

It has been 513 calendar days since the stock market peaked on Oct. 9, 2007. Since then, the S.&P. 500 is down 56 percent and the Dow is off 53 percent.

On Jan. 29, 1931 — the identical number of days after the 1929 market peak — the S.&P. 500 was down 49 percent and the Dow was down 56 percent. The 1929 crash got off to a much faster start, but we have now more or less caught up.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wait For It...

clipped from

Heh … yes friends the latest obstacle the “wind power” advocates have to overcome are -wait for it- environmental activists.

Wind-energy programs in New York - including a developer’s plan to build the city’s first wind farm at Staten Island’s mothballed Fresh Kills landfill - are tied up in red tape because their projects will endanger bats, birds and other wildlife, The Post has learned.

The nocturnal flying mammals are getting slaughtered because they have a strange habit of flying into the blades of wind turbines during the warm spring and summer months, operators and wildlife advocates said.

“An energy source simply cannot be ‘green’ if it kills thousands upon thousands of bats,” said Bat Conservation International.

Moonbat Dream Killers

Moonbat Dream Killers

Uh, no, it can’t. So, if fish can hold up dams and marsh rats can hold up developments, certainly the lives of “thousands upon thousands” of bats are worthy of saving.  We have to stop this unmitigated slaughter by those brutish wind turbines.

Two Minutes Of Hate

clipped from

“The program of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor…All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies, perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters perhaps even — so it was occasionally rumoured in some hiding place in Oceania itself.” 

1984 by George Orwell

She then says:

In the passage above, and throughout 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell illustrates how regimes with tentative hold over beleaguered populations deflect anger away from their own corruptions and mistakes with the deployment of a greatly embellished, even invented, external enemy.

His references to his “inherited” problem, to bankers, greedy Wall Street and his “predecessor” are all too common, not to mention Limbaugh and Hannity.


clipped from

Well, check out this stunning admission by a member of Obama's inner circle. Buried -- buried -- at the very end of a Politico piece.

In the end, Obama believes, forward motion on his agenda matters more than any details.

“Even if we’re busting the budget, we’ve got to solve some of these problems,” said a member of his inner circle. “I’d rather live with a debt than have people go without health care.”

Well! That's a pretty major confession -- that despite his protestations, fixing the economy is not Obama's top priority. Advancing his ideological agenda is. And if that conflicts with the need to avert an economic catastrophe -- oh well, can't make an omelet, etc.

This isn't the first such admission the press has yawned at. Rahm Emmanuel announced his desire to use a legitimate crisis as pretext to advance an ideological agenda when he remarked one must " never let a crisis go to waste."

But the press yawns.

Either One Will Work

There's a school of thought that the Obama administration is deliberately damaging the economy and gutting the stock market, on the theory that doing so will make more people dependent on the government and pave the way for a far-left regime. Doug Ross makes the argument:


Consider that, in the teeth of a devastating recession, Obama has:

• Raised taxes on small businesses, the engines of entrepreneurship and job growth

• Raised the capital gains tax

• Lied about "tax cuts for 95% of Americans", offering instead $13 a week, achieved not through tax cuts, but by changing the federal withholding tables!

More likely the explanation is that Obama is an economic illiterate, and subscribes to the idea--which I think is rather common among Democrats--that what the government does has little impact on the economy.
So he enacts every left-wing measure that he wanted to do anyway
That's a cynical strategy, although not quite as cynical as destroying the economy on purpose

Hold On ...

... we might have a dark horse winner on post of the day here ...

O' Idiots, Aunties And Assholes

clipped from

The disappointment on Geithner starts with the fact that, since taking the job at Treasury, he's failed to articulate a way to bail out the imploding banking system - even though knowledge of the banking system's ills was supposed to be his strong suit. Worse, the word is that Geithner is still having trouble putting together a senior staff so he can come up with a bailout plan.

Thanks to all the class warfare produced by his boss, I'm told, Geithner can't find qualified people from Wall Street (the folks who know markets better than anyone else) to help solve the crisis. Instead, one saddened Obama supporter from Wall Street told me, "He's looking at a combination of bureaucrats and academics for these jobs."

Volcker, possibly the world's most experienced economist, is being treated like the crazy aunt in the attic. He's around, wandering the halls - but no one in the administration seems to care what he thinks.

RTWT. This is the post of the day folks. And that's saying something after the last one.

In Simple Words

clipped from

For those who argue that the rate of growth of economic activity is turning positive--that economies are contracting but at a slower rate than in the fourth quarter of 2008--the latest data don't confirm this relative optimism. In 2008's fourth quarter, gross domestic product fell by about 6% in the U.S., 6% in the euro zone, 8% in Germany, 12% in Japan, 16% in Singapore and 20% in South Korea. So things are even more awful in Europe and Asia than in the U.S.

There is, in fact, a rising risk of a global L-shaped depression that would be even worse than the current, painful U-shaped global recession.

And even with the $2 trillion of government support, most of these financial institutions are insolvent, as delinquency and charge-off rates are now rising at a rate--given the macro outlook--that means expected credit losses for U.S. financial firms will peak at $3.6 trillion. So, in simple words, the U.S. financial system is effectively insolvent.

Umm, How About Gurgling, Swirling Chaos?

Michael Goldfarb reported the latest — almost cringe-inducing – developments surrounding Chas Freeman. What is apparent is that Freeman has run out of supporters and defenders. And who would step forward at this point? He hasn’t disclosed the rudimentary financial data concerning his income. His intemperate email dissing Congressmen is likely just the beginning of the drip-drip-drip of unflattering information — the leakers are out in force. Will Freeman survive his meeting with Sen. Kit Bond? It would seem an exercise in futility to continue – and a needless embarrassment for the administration.

Oh, and the administration lost Sanjay Gupta . And two of Tim Geithner’s potential deputies have backed out.

Other than that, and a 280 point drop in the Dow, everything is going swimmingly.

Mayor Daley With Lipstick And A Che T-Shirt (Part 4,836,388)

clipped from

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White
House. One is from Chicago , another is from Tennessee , and the third is from Minnesota .

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. "Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The Chicago contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, "$2,700."

The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"

The Chicago contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence."

"Done!" replies the government official.

And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan will work.

Any questions?

The Fondue Pot

clipped from

The market will bottom at 3000 and 40 per cent of the banks operating now will cave altogether with no government bailout.

Perfect. Free market will work its magic as lilbHo goes belly up crowing his campaign speech and Afghanistan slaps his skull.

First 100 days: disaster. Money printing presses stop, foreign bond holders and t-bill afficianados flee to precious metals. I get richer and the Federal Government goes broke.

Brakes screech. Pelosi Galore doesnt get paid. Junkets stop. Air Force One has to park.

Fed gets audited as the government eats whomever and whatever it can so they can run for re-elections.

These dumb asses in DC are not smart enough to take a country down. Our enemies will hit us soon.

If this is an intelligent plan, my ass is a fondue pot.