Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Free Prize System


march music

The story you are about to see is true. Or, at least, could be true. At this very moment dangerous subversive extremist elements are infiltrating our communities and schools, bent on destroying our American Way of Life. These are the shadowy forces of International Constitutionalism. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security are on the trail of these nefarious Red State saboteurs, but it will take a vigilant public - including ordinary high school students like you - to help bring them to justice before it's too late. Only with your help can we preserve the American Way!

-- Janet A. Napolitano

That's the beauty of our American Free Prize System - regular folks bundling our money together for our leaders, who return it a thousandfold in free prizes for all. How does it work? All we really need to know is that it's the best system in the world. A lot of us take it for granted - but there are some who want to take it away.
I love Iowahawk. Stop the "Consties"! LOL

The Jump Put In Context

In fact, when the USS Bainbridge dispatched a rigid-hull inflatable boat to bring supplies to the Maersk Alabama, it came under fire that could not be returned even though the SEAL team had the pirates in their sights.

Many hours before the fatal shots were fired, taking out the three young pirates, Phillips jumped into the Indian Ocean with the idea of giving the snipers a clear target. However, the SEAL team was still under orders not to shoot.

Hours later, frustrated by the missed opportunities to resolve the standoff, the commander of the Bainbridge and the captain of the Navy SEAL team determined they had operational authority to evaluate the risk to the hostage, and took out the pirates at the first opportunity – finally freeing Phillips.

And I don't know how much clarification people need that we have elected an idiot President. At least the previous idiot President wouldn't have actively guided this one toward disaster. Follow the career of the ship's captain who pulled this off ... and watch it be subverted by Ogabe's minions.

Tweety Hell(o)

clipped from
What am I doing right now? If you must know, I'm staring at the computer screen, toggling between this column and my e-mail program, my online bank balance and photos of my dog. Oh wait, that was a few seconds ago. Now I'm hungry. Now I'm realizing I have no bread for toast. Now an hour has passed since I started this paragraph.

Do you find this interesting? Me neither.
But at the risk of unilaterally offending 14 million people, I need to say this: If Twitter were a person, it would be an emotionally unstable person.
Are we tweeting because we truly want to communicate with a select group of true friends, or because typing has replaced talking and indiscretion has been stripped of all negative connotations? Are most Twitter posts merely inane, or do they carry the faint whiff of the insane?

The jury's still out. But, along with "what am I doing right now?" maybe it's time to ask "what the hell are we doing"?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Finally

We must (as my Pope also mentions from time to time) categorically respect every sincere and peaceable manifestation of religious belief, no matter how seriously we may believe it is in error. As he said at the University of Regensburg in 2006, in a lecture that was maliciously misconstrued, we must further insist that our differences be discussed without violence and intimidation, and by the light of a reason that should be accepted as the common property of all mankind. In the conditions of the modern world, there is no alternative that does not lead to cataclysm.

Reason, and John Locke, have taught that we can afford to tolerate only the tolerable. We can accept no religious excuse from those who in fact counsel violence and intimidation. There can be no freedom that extends to murder. But it is for an impartial State to enforce reasonable laws, on the admirable principle enunciated in the Koran: "There shall be no compulsion in matters of faith." (Surah 2:256.)

But Don't Worry, Ogabe's Clean ...

clipped from

ALBANY -- President Obama's point man in the auto-industry rescue was linked by the feds yesterday to New York state's massive pay-to-play pension scandal.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said an executive, identified by sources as Steven Rattner, used a politically connected middleman to steer a $150 million pension investment to the private equity firm he headed, Quadrangle Group LLC.

The investment deal was wrapped up after Quadrangle put big bucks into a dud movie produced by a brother of the pension-fund manager, according to the complaint.

... because he drives the bus.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

COTD: The "Liberal" (Warning: Bad Language)

clipped from
They are hard luck stories but no worse than any other. My point in bringing them up to people is that we now have the most liberal President and Congress in history. They are spending trillions of dollars and running deficits at un precidented levels.

Given that, do you think they took any of that money and helped people who are sick or handicapped and out of work? Fuck no. They took all of it and gave it to pork projects to help their buddies and to bail out billionaire bnakers on wall street. What exactly does it mean to be a liberal now? At one time it meant you looked out for the little guy and stood for big social welfare programs for those who need it. It may have naive. It certainly didn't work that well.
How can anyone in good conscience take money from working people in this country and saddle our children and grand children with unimaginable debt just to give it to chronies and failed wall streeet billionaires and still call themselves a liberal?

So Do We All

clipped from

NICK GILLESPIE UNLOADS: Ever Feel Like You’ve Been Cheated?

Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice? That for all his high-flying and studiously empty rhetoric he’s got the biggest presidential vision deficit since George H.W. Bush puked on a Japanese prime minister (finally, revenge for that long run of Little League World Series losses in the ’70s!). If you’re the president of the United States and you’re talking about goddamn traffic jams and you’re proposing high-speed rail as anything other than an unapologetic boondoggle that will a) never get built and b) never get built to the gee-whiz specs it’s supposed and c) be ridden by fewer people than commuted by zeppelin last year, you’ve got real problems, bub. And by extension, so do we all.

Reprise: How Obama Got Elected

clipped from

Pravda West

clipped from

From the Someone Left the Irony On Department, John Ziegler gets arrested by security guards outside USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism for committing … er … journalism. He wanted to ask people attending their ceremony honoring Katie Couric with their Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism about the award, and the Annenberg School of Journalism apparently objected to … er … journalism. Watch the whole video, as John provides a good running commentary:

Elected Moron

clipped from

PATHETIC: “Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted ‘tea party’ protests yesterday, labeling the activities ‘despicable’ and ’shameful.’”

Ironic: “The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee. Robert Creamer, a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21.”

Tax hypocrisy abounds in Washington, but they’re angry that people are protesting. . . .


Hard to believe, but an NBC outlet is actually worried someone might be mean to the Dear Leader.

When you think about it, the endless slobbering over Obama at MSNBC should more than make up for it, no?
THE top suits and some of the on-air talent at CNBC were recently ordered to a top-secret meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to discuss whether they've turned into the President Obama-bashing network, Page Six has learned.

"It was an intensive, three-hour dinner at 30 Rock which Zucker himself was behind," a source familiar with the powwow told us. "There was a long discussion about whether CNBC has become too conservative and is beating up on Obama too much. There's great concern that CNBC is now the anti-Obama network. The whole meeting was really kind of creepy."
Huh? The tea parties infuriated the White House? Why, just yesterday, Obama's stooge pretended they had no idea there were tea parties.

The Most Transparent Ever

clipped from

THE EXAMINER: Stop Stalling and Show Us The Bailout Books. “Unwarranted secrecy regarding the largest disbursement of public funds in U.S. history continues in the executive branch. So Congress should finally exercise its oversight authority and find out where every last bailout dollar has been spent. Three major news organizations – Bloomberg News, Fox Business News, and The New York Times - had to file lawsuits against the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board after they were refused bailout documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). All three were stiffed by an administration that failed to deliver on a promise of more government transparency and accountability.”

Ogabe Is One Of Those Politicians

clipped from

* System had political architects, bankers believe

* Politicians "encouraged" people to borrow

* Public anger brewing for some time

By Laurence Fletcher

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Bankers may rank below
journalists among the professions least trusted by Britons, but
they refuse to accept all the blame for the worst financial
crisis in 70 years.

Conceding they have done their fair share in creating the
crisis, many of those whose colleagues have been the target of
recriminations argue that the system had political architects.

"It's not fair to blame bankers for all the ills, when
clearly government policies have encouraged home ownership,
encouraged people to take out loans to buy things maybe they
can't afford," Cass's Moeller said.

Brown has a finer line to tread than President Barack Obama,
who took office after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and is
seeking to repair damage caused before he entered White House.

He's Mr. ACORN.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Answer Was Four

China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. government bonds. But, instead of buying more of those bonds as our skyrocketing national debt leads to more bonds being issued, China has been selling some of its U.S. government bonds this year.

The Chinese are no fools. They know that all this unbridled spending-- even when it is called "investment"-- means that inflation is coming. That in turn means that the dollars with which U.S. government bonds will be paid off will be worth a lot less than the dollars with which the bonds were bought.

Governments around the world have played this game for centuries, robbing those who trusted them enough to buy their bonds. Like Bernard Madoff, they call it "investment."

Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered "five," Lincoln told them that the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg.

Gravy Train

Monday afternoon, Goldman Sachs (GS) reported much larger than expected first-quarter profits on the heels of the strong earnings Wells Fargo (WFC) reported last week.

No one should be surprised.

The Federal Reserve has provided the banks with lots of cheap funds through various emergency lending facilities and quantitative easing.

The Fed has permitted the banks and financial houses to park vast sums of unmarketable paper on its books—securities made nearly worthless by the misjudgment and avarice of bankers. In return, the Fed has provided these paragons of finance with fresh, cheap funds to lend at healthy rates on credit cards, auto loans, and even mortgages.

It takes good banking skills to borrow at 3%, lend at 5%, and make a profit.

It takes much less business acumen to borrow at 2%, lend at 5%, and make a profit—which is exactly what has happened. The extra fees are just gravy.

This all comes at a cost to someone—America's elderly.

Not So Cut And Dried

clipped from

WASHINGTON—More than a week after President Barack Obama's cold-blooded killing of a local couple, members of the American news media admitted Tuesday that they were still trying to find the best angle for covering the gruesome crime.

"I know there's a story in there somewhere," said Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, referring to Obama's home invasion and execution-style slaying of Jeff and Sue Finowicz on Apr. 8. "Right now though, it's probably best to just sit back and wait for more information to come in. After all, the only thing we know for sure is that our president senselessly murdered two unsuspecting Americans without emotion or hesitation."

Added Meacham, "It's not so cut and dried."

So far, the president's double-homicide has not been covered by any major news outlets. The only two mentions of the heinous tragedy have been a 100-word blurb on the Associated Press wire and an obituary on page E7 of this week's edition of the Lake County Examiner.

Chart Of The Year

Here are the daily changes of the S&P Banking Index:


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seven Little Problems

clipped from

Haters Update

Can you imagine the howls of outrage from all of the nation’s editorial pages, and the heads exploding on MSNBC, if the Bush administration DHS had put out a document that said things like this?

(U) Leftwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular economic classes, and religious groups, particularly Christianity), and those that are mainly pro-government, preferring federal authority and particularly federal judicial rulings over state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to restrictions on abortion, immigration, or gay marriage.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Age Of Golden Transparency

clipped from

The Ducking Pantywaist

President Barack Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

Barack is not the first New World ingenue to discover that European leaders will load him with praise, struggle sycophantically to be photographed with him and outdo him in Utopian rhetoric. But when it comes to the critical moment of opening their wallets - suddenly it is flag-day in Aberdeen. Okay, put the G20 down to inexperience, beginner's nerves, what you will.

So The One retired triumphant, having secured a massive contribution of 5,000 extra troops - all of them non-combatant, of course

President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America's missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.

Our Nazi Overlords, Monday Edition

clipped from

Yesterday, Roger Hedgecock and the Liberty Papers posted an unclassified DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis report titled:

Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.

The “report” was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real.

I spent the day chasing down DHS spokespeople, who have been tied up preparing for a very important homeland security event later today: The First Lady is coming to visit their Washington office. Priorities, you know.

Well, the press office got back to me and verified that the document is indeed for real.

Dodd Economy Suffocating

clipped from

JONATHAN MACEY: “To socialize the American economy, it is not necessary to nationalize every business in the United States. All it requires is to put the corporations that control the finances of all of the companies in the economy under government control. And that is what is happening now. . . . Apparently, members of Congress liked the special treatment that Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd received in getting his mortgage through Countrywide. We’re going to see even more of that kind of thing — and outright corruption on a much bigger scale — when the government is in direct control of the financial institutions and making the credit decisions that businesses large and small depend on to survive.”


What Obama proposes is a "post-material economy." He would de-emphasize the production of ever-more private goods and services, harnessing the economy to achieve broad social goals. In the process, he sets aside the standard logic of economic progress.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, this has been simple: produce more with less. ("Productivity," in economic jargon.) Mass markets developed for clothes, cars, computers and much more because declining costs expanded production. Living standards rose. By contrast, the logic of the "post-material economy" is just the opposite: spend more and get less.

Some may accept higher taxes if they think they're improving the health or education of the poor. Unfortunately, these psychic benefits may be based on fantasies. What if U.S. cuts in greenhouse gases are offset by Chinese increases? What if more health insurance produces only modest gains in people's health?

Obama and his allies have glossed over these questions.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bubble Economics

clipped from

The Pretense Of Knowledge And The Recipe For The Next Great Depression

clipped from


WASHINGTON -- Rampant redistribution of wealth by government is now the norm. So is this: It inflames government's natural rapaciousness and subverts the rule of law. This degeneration of governance is illustrated by the Illinois Legislature's transfer of income from some disfavored riverboat casinos to racetracks.

Illinois has nine licensed riverboat casinos and five horse-racing tracks. In 2006, supposedly to "address the negative impact that riverboat gaming has had" on Illinois horse racing, the Legislature -- racing interests made huge contributions to Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- mandated a transfer of 3 percent of the gross receipts of the four most profitable casinos, those in the Chicago area, to the state's horse-racing tracks.

What is to prevent legislators from taking revenues from Wal-Mart and giving them to local retailers? Or from chain drugstores to local pharmacies? Not the tattered remnant of the Constitution's takings clause.


clipped from

As someone who left a major Wall Street IB (First Boston) to start a private boutique, I believe you will see a larger exodus towards that model rather than for other large investment banks. Small, privately-owned advisory firms that can earn large fees with little capital and far less oversight. We became a major force in M&A and public equity underwritings in our sector with only $8 MM in capital (we sold out to Merrill Lynch in 2006).

We’re going back to the 1920s and the era of partnerships and private capital. Pubic capital markets are over-regulated now and it will get worse. Restricting access to capital is bad for growth, but good for those who are already wealthy because they will get their pick of the best opportunities and earn higher returns.

A lot of “reform” seems to be mostly good for those who are already wealthy.


Now comes "The Detainee Episode." No, not Brooks again. He learned his lesson. Liberal bloggers and columnists who are wringing their hands dry over Obama's continuation of George Bush's policies with regard to enemy combatants (now "detainee who lent substantial support to al-Qaeda") and other aspects of the war on terror (now "overseas contingency operation") such as electronic eavesdropping.
The Rhetorican: "[T]o put it in terms a Kos Kid can understand: it sure is creepy how it seems that the much-feared Dick Cheney/Karl Rove shadow government remains in power with Obama as their new puppet, doesn’t it?"

So Barack Obama is just another politician who said one thing to get elected, then preserved his power once in office. When it comes to detaining bad guys without access to court, he said he would close Gitmo, he didn't say he would close Baghram. His words were just words, and you weren't listening carefully enough.

You've been punked again.

The Second Time As A Farce

This is like watching Bill Clinton all over again.
It looks like we will have to lose another 3,000 or more Americans in a single day before the Team Obama will act.
If they ever do act.

Senior Obama administration officials are debating how to address a potential terrorist threat to U.S. interests from a Somali extremist group, with some in the military advocating strikes against its training camps. But many officials maintain that uncertainty about the intentions of the al-Shabab organization dictates a more patient, nonmilitary approach.
Damning CIA drone video footage from 1998 of Osama bin Laden aired on NBC News in March, 2004.
In the video Osama is surrounded by his men at a terrorist compound in Afghanistan.
The Clinton Administration took no action at the time despite the numerous attacks by Osama bin Laden on the United States prior to this video.

Including The Tail

clipped from

Robert Kaplan describes the logic for negotiating with the Taliban in order to “make progress and find an exit strategy” in Afghanistan. But halfway through the article the reader will come to the realization that Kaplan isn’t talking about the War in Afghanistan at all, but about something much larger: Pakistan, India, Pashtunistan, the Great Game. The discussion is about the Taliban only in the sense that when you talk about a dog, it necessarily includes the tail. Kaplan places the origins of the Taliban in Islamabad — and the region.

The Laboratory

clipped from

There was once such a thing as the human sciences of which economics was part. The goal was to discover and elucidate the exact laws that govern the interaction of people with the material world. It had its own methods and own recommendations.

Then something changed. Science became entirely positivistic in its orientation. Economics was changed from a human science into a poor cousin of the natural sciences that applied positivist methods, and to no great end, for human beings do not move about like molecules but rather engage in choices and unpredictable actions.

What Hayek does in this treatise is link the change in methodology to a change in politics. The economy and people began to be regarded as a collective entity to be examined as if whole societies should be studied as we study planets or other non-volitional beings. It then began to make mistakes, treating facts as theories and theories as contingent. And thus is the state invited in to treat society as a laboratory.

Why You've Never Heard Of The Great Depression Of 1920

clipped from
This is a must see.