Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

ID This

Flying requires an ID and a State-sanctioned groping, so it's hard to figure why casting a vote should not require you to at least identify yourself. But in Attorney General Eric Holder's opinion showing an ID to vote is a "racial burden." Of course, he also thinks complaints regarding his own prevarications about supplying guns to Mexican drug gangs are racist. He wants to limit you to purchasing one handgun per month, but voting more than once is not to be hindered.

Requiring ID has a history of being used to keep blacks from owning firearms. Since voting and owning a gun are Constitutional rights, Eric Holder should advocate disbanding BATFE, a clearly racist organization by his own definition.

If it's OK to require ID and registration to buy a gun, a clearly Constitutional right, why should voters not have ID? Which is most dangerous to the Republic, flying without ID, unlicensed guns or voter fraud?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Gipper for Goldwater

Where have you gone AuH2O?
A nation yearns to see your like anew.

And we miss you too, Mr. President.

Transcript here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The AGW Grant Industry's inner workings

This has been percolating for a day, and it definitely appears as if the AGW grant industry is suffering another embarrassment at their own hands: Climategate 2.0 emails – They’re real and they’re spectacular!

If you'd like a nice cross section of the flummery and deceit, go here:

You don't even have to use the search feature, there are many examples already extracted for your reading disdain.

An don't miss this one: John L. Daly’s message to Mike Mann and The Team

Leading suppliers of guns to Mexican gangs? DoD DoS DoJ

Tom Stilson at suggests the U. S. Government May Be Primary Suppliers of Mexican Drug Cartel Guns:
Based upon the statistics I have compiled, our State and Defense Departments may be the premier suppliers of weaponry to Mexican drug cartels...

These statistics imply the State and Defense Departments may very well be the top suppliers of small arms to Mexico’s drug cartels and not civilians. Only the information obtained from ATF Firearms Traces will tell. However, those records are not public
Yes, indeed. I wondered about this very question in a letter to BATFE in April, 2009:
Have any of these weapons been traced to aid provided to Mexico by the United States through official channels? That is, which, if any, of these firearms were legally imported by Mexico from United States law enforcement or military sources, or any other government departments or programs?

I assume that transfers from any programs officially sanctioned by the United States will have been precisely documented.
I got stonewalled. So I asked again in June of 2009:
I am in receipt of your letter dated 22-June-2009, a response to my inquiry of 20-April-2009. The information was not helpful and I do need further assistance. [He asked me to let him know.]

In my April 20th letter, I asked for specific information about the sources of US firearms submitted to BATFE for tracing. You indicate that you have no information about "the total number of firearms seized by government authorities in Mexico." Thank you for letting me know that cannot answer that question, but I did not ask it.

What I did ask, and what has not been answered, regards information you certainly have.

What are the various sources in the United States of those firearms submitted by Mexican authorities to the BATFE for tracing? That is, of the submitted firearms you have, or have had, in your possession - where in the US did they come from?

I specifically inquired about the following: "Which of these weapons can be traced to official aid provided by the United States to Mexico? That is, which, if any, of these firearms were legally imported by Mexico from United States law enforcement or military sources, or other government departments or programs?

I assume that such transfers from law enforcement or military sources in the United States will have been precisely documented.

In addition, can you provide a breakdown by type of weapon? Handguns vs long guns and the number of semi-automatic, automatic and other types would be extremely helpful."

I think it is obvious to both of us that you have this information, since you have had the firearms in question in your possession for the purposes of tracing them.

Thank you in advance,
Haven't heard anything since.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

...[W]hat they imagine they can design.

Russell Roberts is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Distinguished Scholar at the Mercatus Center, and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.:

“The purpose of economics is to teach men how little they actually know about what they imagine they can design.”
-F. A. Hayek

This lesson is not merely lost on narcissists, it encourages them in their hubris to bring "order" to the market and to "better" all our lives.

Today's example is the plummeting price of solar panels, brought about by overproduction. Overproduction due specifically to government meddling. The solar panel industry has been economically damaged by subsidies, the reputation of "green jobs" has suffered significantly, thousands of workers are losing their jobs, the rule of law has been subverted by politicians covering their bets and taxpayers have been fleeced because they have to cover those bets. Perversely, all this is used as a critique of capitalism.

Those who should be most embarrassed and enraged by these failures, statist environmentalists, are the foremost apologists. It isn't about saving the planet, it's about enforcing their will.

HT Paladin

Friday, November 11, 2011

A moment of silence

A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eric Holder: "No, Bush didn't do it."

As if Bush committing an act of war against Mexico would justify Obama doing it. That is the argument you've been hearing from Democrats, though.

John Cornyn forces Eric Holder to admit Wide Receiver is not comparable to Fast and Furious. That won't stop the other apparatchiks from saying it, of course.

Happy 236th Marines!

Semper Fi!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Green Jobs?

The Obama Christmas Tree Tax. Really. This isn't The Onion. The Onion might have asked if you now have to go to a Federal Christmastreetion Camp to pay your mandatory tree ransom.

Crony Capitalism, Christmas Trees, and the Stupidest Tax of All Time

If you grow your own do you have to send Obama a check for $0.15?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Lessons from Obamaville

Obama: Occupy Wall Street 'Not That Different' From Tea Party Protests
In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party...
mr. president, weasel words though those may be, the differences are obvious to any thinking person of principle.

None of the following citations demonstrate that all supporters of the #Occupy movement - whatever that actually means - are anti-semites, favor arson, think rape is a private matter for one consenting individual or feel compelled to perform public genital manipulation. It does suggest the #Occupy movement attracts people who not only support those ideas, but live them.

That is; racists, felons, and violent perverts are comfortable hanging out in the socio-political environment #Occupy has created. That #Occupy can be perceived as anarchist might explain some of this. Living in their various #Obamavilles, they constitute a target rich environment for criminals of all sorts.

Yet they discourage reporting crimes - rape, for example - so that their "movement" may not be sullied. This, while they ask the government to take more power, to suspend the rule of law, to arbitrarily dissolve specific contracts in their favor.

I detect hypocrisy, naivete and quite a bit of Alinskyite manipulation. #Occupy, insofar as they have any clearly stated goals, may reasonably be called fascists or communists or, more generally - totalitarians or statists. They think that Wall Street is the problem, not the general government's considered and deliberate collusion with Fannie, Freddie, GM, Solyndra, General Electric, etc., etc. and etc..

Occupy's mainstream message is most definitely not anarchism. It is statism. They want government to be larger and more intrusive: As long as it does what they want it to do.

Philosophically speaking, this strange and chaotic bonding of the extreme right with the extreme left has nothing in common with the tea party. The fundamental difference is this: How much intervention from the general government is desirable? #Occupy says "None." and they say "All."

There are some moderates who stand between the extremes of the motley crew of anarchists and the rigid collective of statists who compose #Occupy. That would be the tea party movement. Here are the examples:

I recall no arson committed by tea partiers.
Occupy Protester Arrested In $10M Arson Fire

No embassies were occupied by tea partiers. In particular, none with connotations of religious or racial discrimination. Did any tea party ever occupy a mosque, chanting about Palestinian terrorists, for example?
Occupy Boston Occupies Israeli Consulate

I can't remember when tea partiers shut down a major port, nor then went on a smash and grab frenzy.
80 arrested at Occupy Oakland event Wednesday

No tea partier pushed a 78 year old women down some stairs. among other crimes:
Occupy protest turns violent outside Washington Convention Center

The tea party never had an incident reminiscent of Lara Logan's ordeal in Tahrir Square.
‘F– Michelle Fields!’ — Interview With Reporter Harassed at Occupy DC Protest

The tea partiers displayed normal impulse control and a clear grasp of what the word 'decency' means. The OWS folks are experiencing some difficulties with that. In their own words:
We need a JO Tent to protect the women - Occupy Wallstreet

It's not just the Wall Street occupiers who find public masturbation attractive.
Permit denied for Occupy Madison due to public masturbation

Women did not have to be segregated "for their own good" at tea party protests. For OWS, a private tent for masturbation may be necessary, but it is not sufficient. They also must have a tent where they can herd the women away from rapists.
Occupy Wall Street builds tent as 'safe house' to protect female protesters

I am waiting for NOW to comment on this.
#OccupyBaltimore Discourages Sexual Assault Victims From Contacting Police, Offers Counseling for Perpetrators

Someone of a cynical bent might point out that Joe Biden's prediction that rapes would increase if the president's "jobs" bill doesn't pass is coming true. Not precisely how he expected, of course. I'm sure he thought they'd be reported to the police.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

NY State Senators: We need Canada's speech laws

Only 10 times more restrictive.
Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom [speech] should be treated not as a right but as a privilege — a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.
Refined? That isn't "refined." It's what statist fools mean when they call the Constitution a living document: "It means what we say it means, whenever we say what it means." It's Orwell's Newspeak. It's Humpty Dumpty from Alice in Wonderland. It's Bill Clinton expounding on the meaning of the word "is."

If this...
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
...isn't clear on the subject of speech, then I suggest it is also not clear on freedom from religion, freedom of religion, freedom to publish, or the right to associate freely. All those things are subject to the whims of unelected and faceless bureaucrats.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sex and drugs

Let me see if I have this right: Sexual orientation is societally imposed by the Patriarchy, except when an 8-year old "decides" he is a girl. Then we give him hormone blocking drugs.
The little boy who started a sex change aged eight because he (and his lesbian parents) knew he always wanted to be a girl
We have a society that says 8-year olds can't consent to having sex, but they can decide to change sex?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Get a Clue

Canadian ice shelves halve in six years

No, what's shrinking is not the little ledge at the back of the penalty box where they keep the Molson Stock Ale, it's glaciers. There are some glaciers apparently melting in Canada.

Professor Steven Sherwood, Co-Director of Australia's University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre, thinks it proves the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory:
The real significance of this, in my view, is that this ice has reportedly been there for thousands of years. The same is true of glaciers that have recently disappeared in the Andes. These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural.
Really? Let's assume this study, unlike many other recent hysterical reports of glacial disappearance, is accurate. (Let's even pass over what a scientist might mean by the odd qualifier "reportedly," when giving such a definitive opinion.) Does Sherwood's contention this melting proves humans caused the melting make sense?

Let's stack the deck further in his favor before deciding. Let's assume that when Sherwood says "thousands of years," he is specifically aware of the state of those Canadian glaciers during the Medieval Warm Period, from about 950 to 1250 AD. And that the plural of "thousand" may have been boyish enthusiasm.

Bottom line? No matter how much latitude we grant, Sherwood's statement that AGW is proved by melting glaciers in Canada is nonsense. When they assert that if A=B and B=X, then A=C, credentialed Co-Directors of University Climate Change Research Centres deserve no less skepticism than that guy selling Government of Greece bonds. You expect scientists to be aware of such things. Anyway, you used to.

A long line of enviro-hysterics and hucksters - from Rachel Carson to Greenpeace using Bardot in the baby seal ploy - have poisoned the well. Since they abandoned Bardot to the seals and recanted their 1970's doomsday Global Cooling scenario, they've been working on predictive Global Warming models that don't predict - even when the models are cooked to favor an AGW conclusion. These flip-flops and errors and prevarications and religiosity from the AGW grant-application industry have many of those who believe in the scientific method a tad skeptical.

Co-Director Sherwood had to have been made co-director in order that he might speak PR for the Climate Change Research Centre. His position clearly didn't depend on his grasp of the scientific method, much less the ability to employ simple logic. He's the "securing funding" co-director. His PhD is probably in Marketing, if that's even possible. (After a search, I see that's wrong. His Ph.D. is Oceanography.)

Lest you think I protest the man's scientific acumen too much, let me paraphrase him once again:

1. Mrs. Peacock had been stable for decades.
2. Mrs. Peacock is now overly stable, room temperature-wise.
3. It is indisputable: Colonel Mustard, in the Library, with an SUV.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Competitors be warned

Government Motors has powerful allies: The White House, FBI, FCC, NLRB, EPA, IRS, etc., etc.

Ford pulls its ad on bailouts

This is what happens when government seizes corporations. If it will decide to give money to a corporation going bankrupt, to negate legal contracts... to suspend the rule of law, then government owns the result. In the case of GM, literally and morally.

Criticism of such a deal is automatically politicized, and while political speech may be protected under the First Amendment; what is that to the Corporatist Axis? The Axis will suppress free speech in order to protect its political agenda reciprocal "investment."

Ford should keep on, I'll even buy one I don't yet need just to get in Corporatism's face.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Fifth

I often assume "Most people already know this, it's been widely mentioned. Don't bother to repost it."

Often, I am wrong. In this case if only one more person learns about it, that will be important.

Therefore, I'm posting this for whatever wider distribution that may achieve:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thank you Mr. president

49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.
Without you, Friedrich Hayek may not have experienced such an upswell of interest.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Close the tax loopholes!

Those tall bars don't represent job destroying tax loopholes. In Ecotropia, they're your fair share of saving the planet: One political donor at a time.
Source: Committee on the Budget: U.S. House of Representatives
The Empty Promise of Green Jobs

Of course, the half-billion dollars Solyndra destroyed, or the money Jennifer Granholm, et. al. wasted on ethanol and batteries isn't even counted in this graph.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama does not have a tin ear

Depending on the day and the poll, some 70% of Americans oppose more stimulus and think the federal government spends too much. The president knows this; he is a well informed man. Yet in deed and word he not only supports more spending, he demands it.
"What do you think a stimulus is? It's spending - that's the whole point. Seriously".

It reminds me of Frederick the Great's famous pronouncement:

"The People are free to say whatever they want and I am free to do whatever I want."

That is not a tin ear; it is just plain old-fashioned arrogance. In both instances.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stephen Harper for President

TOC has skewered Canada from time to time (I lived there for over 20 years), but we've also run quite a few "What we can learn from Canada" posts. There are 79 posts (I didn't count for criticism vs. praise) "labeled" 'Canada' going back to 2006.

I greatly appreciate Stephen Hayward's point at Power Line:
How can it be that after all these years of making fun of Canada for all of the right reasons (its anti-Americanism, its social democratic welfare state, its ludicrous Steyn-hunting “human rights” commissions, its export of Michael J. Fox and William Shatner, etc.), it can now be held up as a superior model to Obama’s America?

What I cannot comprehend is how Hayward failed to mention Jennifer Granholm in his critique of Canadian expats. Then too, he had to be reminded of Celine Dion.

At least Celine Dion's recordings have the social utility to be used to torture those incarcerated at Gitmo. The real damage to this country was done by Jennifer Granholm. Forgiving Canada for that will take a long time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soft default

Paul Krugman offers further proof that winning a Nobel Prize damages your brain:
What would a real response to our [economic] problems involve?... it would involve an all-out effort by the Federal Reserve to get the economy moving, with the deliberate goal of generating higher inflation to help alleviate debt problems.
It seems to me that the Fed is already doing what Krugman asks inflation-wise, but, like Stimulus One, it's just not big enough.

One wonders what an all-out effort would look like? Weimar? Zimbabwe? THOSE were all out efforts to inflate debt away.

More than "appearance" of corruption

Much more.
The Solyndra Fraud

Appearance of corruption

Among other things, capitalism is about taking risk. When the government removes all risk from an "investment", the result cannot be called capitalism. It can be called corporatism, crony capitalism, mercantilism, fascism or socialism, but not capitalism. Such deals are the province of corporatist whores and their government enablers who suspend the rule of law in order to loot the public treasury.

Solyndra "investors" took out a 535 million dollar risk-free loan from you, and they are not going to pay it back.
The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors — including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama — moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show.

Administration officials defended the loan restructuring, saying that without an infusion of cash earlier this year, solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy, putting more than 1,000 people out of work.
"Without an infusion of cash... Solyndra Inc. would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy?" So, instead of 1,000 lost jobs we have 1,000 lost jobs at a cost of $535,000 per lost job, and those whose lost their jobs don't get the money, the venture huckster-bundlers do.

The "appearance of corruption" is a good enough reason for the Supreme Court of the United States to suspend our First Amendment rights. The appearance of corruption is apparently not a good enough reason to avoid giving free money to Solyndra connected bundlers.

Go figure.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 17, 1787

The Constitution of the United States was signed 224 years ago today.

Celebrate it. Defend it.

Arm yourself to do so here, courtesy of Hillsdale College.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Social Security is a compulsory Ponzi scheme

Apropos of his fear of calling a spade a spade (see also Obamneycare) Mitt Romney took Rick Perry to task last night because Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. James Taranto mounts a defense of sorts:
Perry was not claiming that Social Security is literally a criminal enterprise but asserting that there are similarities between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme.
It is probably true that Perry did not literally mean Social Security is a criminal enterprise. It should be noted, however, that Social Security is not a criminal enterprise only by definition. The people who define what constitutes a criminal enterprise say so.

Imagine Social Security as an investment fund offered by a private company. The Social Security "prospectus" makes guarantees it manifestly cannot fulfill, and the executives in charge largely continue to lie about that. Its accounting practices are much worse than those of Enron. Payments are funded in a way which put Bernie Madoff in jail. The major difference between Madoff and the United States government is that Madoff could not legally exact "investments" with the threat of violence.

If Madoff could legally have paid US dollar investments back in Zimbabwean dollars, he'd be a free man. In contrast, those ultimately in charge of Social Security deliberately and continuously debase SS payments to their own advantage. Unaccountably, they are free men.

Social Security would be a better system if it were a criminal enterprise.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Analysis of our president's address to a Joint Session of Congress

Anyone who opposes me... blah, blah... Democrat applause line... blah, blah... is a foolish, anti-American, baby eating Republican... blah, blah... applause line no one could disagree with if they believed he meant it... blah, blah... Democrat applause line... who deserves to be tarred and feathered because he hates teachers, old people and bridges... blah, blah... blah, blah... hundreds of billions... blah, blah... fiscally responsible, will be paid for... bleh, bleh... there's an election in 14 months... blah, blah.

He does seem to have got his 2008 teleprompters back in service. They did a fine job.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Turning America into Detroit

The congresscritters in Atlas Shrugged said things similar in meaning, but not one of them was so dumb as Maxine "Moral Hazard" Waters.
If they [banks] don’t come up with loan modifications and keep people in their homes that they’ve worked so hard for, we’re going to tax them out of business
The ways in which this is stupid are beyond counting, but one has to wonder what is Ms Waters plan if she destroys all the banks. Didn't we just get done bailing them out?* Are they suddenly too resistant to making more stupid loans not to be forced to fail?

Ms Waters, of course, is the congresscritter who threatened to nationalize the oil companies, "[T]his liberal will be all about socialize [sic], ah ... basically, ... about the government taking over and running your companies!" One can presume she means the same thing when threatening to tax banks into extinction. The "government taking over your banks and giving them to Fannie Mae." We know how that's worked so far.

Even aside from its lack of conciseness, "the government taking over and running your companies," is not a good euphemism for "socialize." It is far too straightforward. But Maxine Waters apparently didn't even get the memo that the proper description of her statist policies is "progressive," which at least has the virtue of moving the statists away from their appropriation of "liberal." A word that doesn't mean what they've turned it into.

*Including her husband's to the tune of $12 million.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Things you won't see in the Lansing State Journal

...nor elsewhere in the statist media.

Jimmy Hoffa warming up the crowd for our president yesterday:
We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war.

President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.
To be clear, the LSJ, et. al. did report on the Detroit rally, they simply fail to mention Hoffa's "incivlity."

No one in the MSM seems to recall our president's comments following the Tucson shootings:
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
Of course, we can't talk in a healing way to people whose motivation is asking the national government to live within its means. That's crazy talk. As the Vice President has indicated, such people are terrorists - unworthy of civil discourse

Monday, September 05, 2011

Your labor is your property, too

The euphemism "Public/Private Partnership" contains 3 lies in as many words. It isn't "public," it's government. It isn't "private," it's crony capitalists. It isn't "partnership," it's conspiracy. The inevitable result of "public/private partnership" is waste. The only variables are the extent to which liberty is diminished and the amount of public treasure wasted.

At the middle of that scale we have the abject failure of the City of New London/Pfizer Corporation gang-theft of Susette Kelo's home and those of her neighbors. It's not easy to fail so spectacularly, it took impressive incompetence and around $100 million to turn a neighborhood into a wasteland. In the end, imposing this urban blight hinged on the collusion of the Supreme Court of the United States. Federal institutions didn't start it though, the plan was the brain-child of regional government.

Here are some relevant facts about the government/corporatist looters in New London, Connecticut; the quintessential example of what politicians and rent-seeking businesses mean by public/private partnership:
New London had a population of 27,620 at the 2010 census. The Norwich-New London metropolitan area (NECTA[2]) includes twenty-one towns[3] and 274,055 people.[4]

...On February 22, 2005, the United States Supreme Court decided in Kelo v. City of New London, that the city may seize privately owned real property under eminent domain so that it could be used for private economic development, deciding the tax revenue from the private development satisfied the requirement for public interest for eminent domain.
This decision is of a piece with the use of the Commerce Clause to justify forcing Americans to purchase health insurance. If the only requirement for seizure of private property is a local official's estimate of future potential tax revenue, what constraint is there? How does your labor differ in principal? Answer: It doesn't. If you're nearing retiremment age, you've been looted in exchange for promises of Social Security and Medicare you won't see. If you're younger you will be looted for decades whether those promises are kept or not. You don't even have to be born yet.
In spite of the city's legal victory, the project never got off the ground. The city's chosen redeveloper was not able to get financing for the project. In spite of an expenditure over eighty million dollars by the city acquiring and demolishing the area where the taken homes once stood, is now a vacant. In November, 2009, Pfizer, which was to be the primary beneficiary of the redevelopment, announced that they instead are closing their facility adjacent to the site and moving those operations across the Thames River to their site in Groton.[7][8] The New London campus was sold to General Dynamics in 2010.
Where, one might ask, could a city of 27,000 find $80 million with which to persecute and defraud a handful of its citizens? From its regional government:
New London has a form of government centering on a professional city manager and elected city council. Distinct town and city government structures formerly existed, and technically continue. However, they now govern exactly the same territory, and have elections on the same ballot on Election Day in November, the first Tuesday after the first Monday, of odd-numbered years; the officials of town and city interact essentially as do the officials of a single town or city who have different but related responsibilities and powers.

As of 1960, counties in Connecticut do not have any associated county government structure. All municipal services are provided by the towns. In order to address regional issues concerning infrastructure, land use, and economic development, regional councils of governments throughout the state were established in 1989. Most of the towns of New London County are part of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, the exceptions being the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lebanon. Lyme and Old Lyme are part of the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency, while Lebanon is part of the Windham Regional Council of Governments.
Whenever you hear that we need regional government co-operation, think of Kelo, and if what you hear is coupled with the words "sustainable development," think twice about the outcomes and read up on Agenda 21. Think about half a billion dollars up in smoke at Solyndra.

So what does New London have to show for its arrogance? A 91 acre, weed-strewn dump occupied by feral cats; where there once was a vibrant community. And New London also has 1,400 fewer jobs. Pfizer pulled out of New London, taking those jobs with it.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Chris Whalen says "print money"

In a King World News broadcast, yesterday, the respected bank analyst openly and unequivocally calls for the Fed to "print money".

I defer to Whalen's judgment regarding bank securities (he thinks BAC should declare Chapter 11). But I often disagree with Whalen on policy issues, and this money printing nonsense is another example.

As I have previously opined, this guy is no Austrian.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Corporatists or Crony Capitalists?
You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

First, it was the banksters; then Fannie, Freddie and the Wall Street crony capitalists. Then it was suspending the rule of law for the Chrysler bondholders. Then it was GE's CEO Jeff Immelt being appointed Chief Apparatchik of Obama's Private Sector Jobs Pogrom. (Immelt's qualifications for this position were 1- spending millions lobbying for "green" regulations and subsidies specifically favoring GE, 2- exporting over 20,000 jobs from the United States and, 3- large contributions to the Democrats and Barack Obama.)

Following Mr. Immelt we get Judith Faulkner:
Democrat donor gets federal health policy slot despite conflicts of interest.

A federal committee that includes a major donor to President Obama and whose company stands to profit from the panel's recommendations holds in its hands the future of health information technology policy.

Judith Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems Corp., secured a seat on a panel charged with recommending how $19 billion in stimulus money dedicated to health IT be spent, despite opposing a key administration position on the issue.

Faulkner and her company oppose the president's vision for health IT, but Epic employees are massive Democratic donors. They've given nearly $300,000 to Democrats since 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That may help explain both Faulkner's appointment to the 13-member Health Information Technology Policy Committee as a representative for health IT vendors, and the accolades her company regularly enjoys from prominent Democrats...

Faulkner told Bloomberg News in 2009 that sharing medical records "doesn't work when you mix and match vendors. ... It has to be one system, or it can be dangerous for patients."
Apparently the terms "X12 EDI" and "W3C" would not signify anything to Ms Faulkner. These are reliable, long standing methods for efficient and accurate exchange of information between computer systems.

Standards controlled by a single technology vendor are "standards". Look at Microsoft, they earned a de facto status as "standard", used it to suppress competition, and got sued by federal anti-trust enforcers. Bill Gates' mistake was never being appointed to a government committee to decide what the mandated personal computer operating system, word processor and spreadsheet would be.

Call these latter day "captains of industry" Crony Capitalists, Corporatists or proto-Fascist* dupes. The part that is worrisome for the United States is that our State Crony Corp. no longer thinks they need hide this.

*Mussolini, after all, called his nation's system "the corporate state"; political and economic power were vested in a cross-industry cartel controlled by the state.

P.S. Isn't it amazing they are still deciding how to spend "stimulus" money while the statist economics gurus whine that the stimulus didn't work because it was too small?

Update Oct 5-2011, 5:41PM
A comment from Veronica Alverston:
I see here you're talking about how Judy Faulkner got a health policy slot in the Obama administration. This article explains how to contact a congressmen to urge an investigation of Faulkner - - I really think this goes hand in hand with your article.
Indeed it does.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bullying Pulpit

I'm sorry, but a group called the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) seems like just another group of professional victims organizing their pity party. Or, it did, until the weight of the First Nanny started to come down on them.

Truly, this should help people connect the dots between bullying and the Federal government. It helps explain how Dr. David Ludwig felt comfortable suggesting in public that fat kids be taken away from their parents.

If bullying is so terrible when practiced by children, why is it just peachy when the Feds do it?

Criticism on the basis of body shape is out of line. Just eat your peas, and never mention that though Obama's suit may be empty, the same could not be said of Michelle's shorts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"...labor cartels with no interest in their customers"

That's what I said Monday.

Today, Investors Business Daily asks, "Why Are Tuitions So High?"
An IBD analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 1989-2009 the number of administrative personnel at four- and two-year institutions grew 84%, from about 543,000 to over 1 million.

By contrast, the number of faculty increased 75%, from 824,000 to 1.4 million, while student enrollment grew 51%, from 13.5 million to 20.4 million.
RTWT You'll soon see that it is the confluence of Federal interference in K-12, Federal regulation of higher education, Federal student loans and Pell grants, and teacher's unions political clout which are responsible for the perfect storm of rising costs.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Higher Education Bubble Rent Seekers

It's not the students. It's the ADMINISTRATORS.
A Senate bill that would encourage the growth of alternative training programs for teachers and principals, some of which would not be based at colleges or universities but would have the authority to give certificates considered the equivalent of master’s degrees, has come under fire from higher education organizations that argue Congress should focus on higher education institutions in efforts to improve teacher quality...

“While our organizations support the reform of educator preparation programs, we have several concerns about this legislation, and we ask you not to support it,” they wrote in the letter, which was signed by the American Council on Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, among others.
"[H]igher education organizations" = arrogant closed shop public employee unions pretending to be professional associations. AKA labor cartels with no interest in their customers.

Of "higher education organizations that argue Congress should focus on higher education institutions" one can only ask, "Where have you been and what have you been doing to improve teacher quality while Congress was solely focused on your votes institutions, whose costs have risen vastly more (439% from '82 to '07) than any other segment of the economy? Why is the biggest category to increase in your bloated spending that of administration? Why are you still propagating useless 'diversity' and 'feminism' studies? What does the term "intellectual diversity" mean to you?"

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

Our Democrat leaders in Washington passed a bill last week that they didn't much like. The passage of this bill increased government tax receipts by about $30 million a day, and 'saved or created' 70,000 construction jobs along with 4,000 federal jobs. Since the Dems claim to be about 'revenue enhancement' and government 'job creation,' you might wonder why they weren't patting themselves on the back, rather than complaining that the GOP "put a gun to our heads."

The bill in question was a temporary extension (the 21st such since 2007) of the Federal Aviation Administration's operating authority. Since July 23 of this year the lack of this authority had caused the FAA to miss collecting taxes of $28.6 million a day. If the partial suspension of FAA operations continued until September, when all our Congresscritters will have completed reunions with their Pomegranate trees consultations with their constituents, that could have totaled a billion dollars. That's billion with a "B".

The partial shutdown was caused by the Democrat's insistence on preserving $17 million in pork and changing a unionization process rule that has been in place for 75 years. So, for Senate Democrats, pork preservation and enabling public service unions to more easily organize are higher priorities than jobs and tax receipts. These preferences come together under the general heading of 'bribing the base.'

The Democrats were getting a bit squirmy about it, though. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the president pleaded with Congress to solve the problem; As if the problem was the whole Congress and not just Democrats in the Senate insisting on pork and a mini-version of card-check:
The GOP-led House passed a long-term FAA funding bill last month that included a controversial labor provision that would overturn a decision by the National Mediation Board allowing airline and railroad employees to form a union by simple-majority vote. Republicans, who have long been concerned about union intimidation in these votes, want to keep the former rule treating a non-vote as a "no" vote.

But once that bill stalled over Democratic objections, lawmakers turned to a short-term extension that has passed 20 times before to keep the FAA operating since 2007.

But that effort stalled, too, when Republicans added a separate provision stripping $16.5 million in subsidies for rural airline services.
The rural airport subsidies come from the well-worn pork barrel Congressman John Murtha made infamous with the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

The labor provision may have been 'controversial,' but only because the Senate Democrats were insisting on letting a bunch of bureaucrats at the NMB change a rule that's been in place for over 75 years.

So what did the Senate Democrats do after passing a temporary extension they could have passed 2 weeks earlier? They called a press conference to tell us the delay was all the fault of the Republicans. This charade proved too much even for ABC:

What is scary is that Senior Democrats were not feigning outrage and shock when there wasn't universal acceptance of their ludicrous assertions - they truly believe what they said. When leaders' foundational beliefs and tried and true methods suddenly don't work - even are mocked - dangerous things can happen.

There is a final twist. The Transportation Secretary announced that he is not bound by the pork elimination provision, in any case. So, the Democrats cost the United States Treasury over $200 million in tax receipts, and then will go ahead and spend another $17 million on several examples of Murtha's folly in violation of the law they just passed.

Update 2:05PM: Debra J. Saunders reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that Senator Barbara Boxer, blocked a vote on the legislation.
Sen. Barbara Boxer chided Karl for showing "a certain naivete" in not understanding that "this is about government threats." She also challenged Karl by asking if he had reported on GOP opposition to a vote on a "clean" bill. "Clean" here means no pork cuts.

Boxer seemed to have forgotten that she blocked a vote on the House Bill.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Iceberg ahead, Sir!
Steady as she goes, Helmsman.

Nancy Pelosi is being coy about her support for the Government bailout of the Government. Congressional Liberals are whinging about 'Satan Sandwiches.' The statist street is suggesting Obama has betrayed them - again. The Vice President called the tea party "terrorists." "Hostage takers," is the Progressive phrase of the day. If the hard left doesn't like it, it must be good, right? After all, the Wall Street Journal is calling the debt deal a 'big win' for the tea party, though continuing to criticize those who were elected for keeping their campaign promises.

It's a set up. All this angst is to reinforce the idea that the tea party philosophy is rigid and unreasonable. It is not rigid, it is principled. It is not the least unreasonable. Still, in the next round we're going to hear, "You terrorist cretins refused to compromise last time, and THIS TIME you're not getting your way."

Here's the terrible thing those moronic Hobbits wrought:

  • $9 trillion Baseline increase over ten years
  • $0.917 trillion spending reduction...
  • For a $8.083 trillion Baseline increase over ten years
  • Add to that a $1.5 trillion Budget Act Super Committee tax increase, (my prediction) and you get... a $9.583 baseline spending increase over ten years.
And that's if future Congresses don't go back on the promises of the current pirates, and the largest tax increase in American history is enacted by letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

Oh, and we get to have a fantasy vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment in the Senate.

Status quo on the debt trajectory. Size and scope of government unchanged. Summary: We avoid a liquidity crisis by increasing the ongoing solvency crisis.

Here are two examples of what the debt ceiling deal means will continue.

Graphs courtesy Zero Hedge.

You decide if that represents an immediate, existential threat to the United States.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

If the tea party are Hobbits, John McCain is Boromir

Nominations for Grima Wormtongue are open.

John McCain quoted the Wall Street Journal the other day to the effect that tea party aspirations for an end to fiscal insanity resemble a J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy.
...[T]he tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.
Yesterday, the Journal found it expedient to explain the obvious:
These columns drew much notice after John McCain quoted our July 27 “tea party hobbits” line on the Senate floor. Senator (sic) Sharron Angle responded that “it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land.” Well, okay, but our point was that there’s no such thing as a hobbit.
Serious debt reduction achieved in a bi-partisan kumbaya outbreak is a fantasy. It's right up there with belief in the Tooth Fairy and the Social Security 'Trust' fund. And it will forever be a fantasy, absent some major shake-up. The Journal's core assumption is that not raising the debt limit is the worst thing that could happen. Perhaps not.

As to fantasy, the same could reasonably have been said, and was, of the Declaration of Independence. The difference between the Revolution and the debt ceiling question is the immediacy and level of perceived risk.

If you do not think resolution of the Federal spending question involves an imminent, existential threat to the Republic, why would you think Hobbits are imaginary?

If you assume we will return to fiscal sanity at some later date - savings and investments intact, 'social compact' reformed - because the GOP will fix it all when they take the Senate and Presidency in the next election: You may be indulging in a fantasy. As Senator McCain has demonstrated, we wouldn't even be having the debate if we hadn't elected the Hobbits.

If you assume the Democrats will seriously address spending, or even co-operate in so doing, you are beyond fantasy.

The WSJ's analogy could be extended. The Hobbits didn't want to take on Sauron, they were forced to. They got little aid and no little betrayal from a corrupt establishment. They won, despite terrific odds which would only have become worse had they decided the problem could wait for an election in Mordor.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Twenty Two and Sixty

Who voted for a "voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion:"

Justin Amash (Mich.)
Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
Chip Cravaack (Minn.)
Jason Chaffetz (Utah)
Scott Desjarlais (Tenn.)
Tom Graves (Ga.)
Tim Huelskamp (Kans.)
Steve King (Iowa)
Tim Johnson (Ill.)
Tom McClintock (Calif.)
Mick Mulvaney (S.C.)
Ron Paul (Texas)
Connie Mack (Fla.)
Jim Jordan (Ohio)
Tim Scott (S.C.)
Paul Broun (Ga.)
Tom Latham (Iowa)
Jeff Duncan (S.C.)
Trey Gowdy (S.C.)
Steve Southerland (Fla.)
Joe Walsh (Ill.)
Joe Wilson (S.C.)

Tim Walberg and Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) are notably absent.

Now Senator McConnell needs to stick to 60.

Brief note on Social Security checks

TOC noted that normal SS payments can continue to be made from general revenue without raising the debt ceiling, and, should the president decide not to continue normal payments, there is a 2.6 trillion dollar stash in the Social Security 'Trust' Fund.

Cashing in the bonds held by the 'Trust' Fund does not increase US indebtedness. Not to cash the bonds would be another political choice.

The United States has already defaulted

There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
– Ludwig von Mises
The tea party movement is aptly named, and those elected in its name should remember the will and motivation of the extremists who stormed British ships in 1773.

The "debt-ceiling" debate is such a revolutionary moment, and compromise with fools, charlatans and self-absorbed milquetoasts is out of order. Raising the debt ceiling while pretending we will voluntarily cut spending at some future date is insane. It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It guarantees catastrophe.

I, for one, would rather see the real deer-in-the-headlights expressions of John Boehner and Harry Reid than put up with one more shell game. Let August 2nd come and go with no more spending. On August 3rd we can all celebrate the president's 50th birthday and offer prayers that wisdom will come with it. On August 4th, after counting the proceeds of his birthday fundraisers, the president can tell us what he thinks we should do.

If nothing is done before August 2nd, the US need not, and will not, officially default. The debt interest will be paid. Social Security and Medicare can be paid. Our troops can be paid. Comments to the contrary are fear mongering. The rest of our obligations matter less than the principle of correcting our fiscal course. Trouble now, or catastrophe later?

I agree with Michele Bachmann and those tea party stalwarts who insist on doing something real. Theirs' is the compassionate position:
I refuse to be a party to deceiving the American people yet again.
- Michele Bachmann
A vote for "voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion" is a vote for the poor, the middle class and the rich. In that order.

Absent immediate cuts and a balanced budget Amendment, the one thing that should NOT be negotiable is the length of time any increase in the debt ceiling covers. We are told we can't interrupt Christmas. We are told this debate is divisive and should not play a part in the 2012 presidential election. Really? What do the politicians think we pay them for except to practice politics? The most important political question the United States faces is the long term viability of our financial system. The president talks about it now using class warfare rhetoric. He otherwise refuses to reveal any specific aspect of his plans. And he doesn't want to talk about it before he runs again for office? He is a charlatan who thinks you are a fool.

Update 6:23
Default Now, or Suffer a More Expensive Crisis Later: Ron Paul

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Demoralized and ready to quit

We need a term for the 'anti-Chicken Little'. 'Pollyanna' is an inexact antonym and probably insufficient to the task. The 'Boy who didn't cry Wolf'?

The sky is falling. The rose colored glasses are broken. The Wolf is feasting on our sheep. Somewhere, Cassandra is crying.

But Megan McCardle still thinks the US has a credit rating to save and that people will blame the GOP for damaging it (and, hilariously, that that matters), but this piece is interesting for the revealed psychology associated with those beliefs.

The 'deal of the day' (1 $trillion increase in the debt ceiling for 1.2 $trillion in reduced spending over the next decade - DO YOU THINK WE HAVEN'T ALREADY SEEN THIS MOVIE?!) just does not cut it. Megan gets it at the end, "[W]e're hosed." She is correct, but not for the reasons she thinks. We've been hosed since the hoser was elected. I don't know that 2012 is going to matter.

Speaking of shared sacrifice, when we have a President who believes 2 $billion in savings from closing the 'corporate jet loophole' is relevant to a 14 $trillion debt (actually at least 5 or 6 times that if the government had to follow GAAP rules) - and to which he has suggested we should add 1.5 $trillion annually - we are being forced to hose ourselves.

The president believes the Revolution of 1776 was conducted in favor of taxation with misrepresentation.

To very loosely paraphrase an apocryphal anecdote about Winston Churchill:
Would you sleep with me for a 2 trillion dollar increase in the debt ceiling?
Well......... I suppose I would have to consider it.

Would you sleep with me for a 2 billion dollar increase in the debt ceiling?
Of course, not. What kind of monetary system do you think I am?

Madam, we've already settled that question, now we are just haggling about the rate of inflation.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The child in the White House Press Room

As is his wont, Glenn Reynolds provides some links and a very short comment on each. There are several links in this and more than average length quotes. I found this one to be an excellent summary of our predicament.
Michael McFatter writes with a troubling thought:

I’m worried. See if you follow my concern. Thus far the Democrats have proved intractable on these negotiations. But more than that, they seem to be living in denial as regards the national debt and more importantly the deficits. Right now we’re projecting deficits of 1.5 trillion every year for the next ten years. But those projections are based on growth rates of something like 3 – 3.5% from 2013 onwards. Which is unrealistic when you consider the current debt load plus piling on 1.5T more every year. It’s obvious that these projections are pure fantasy. They’re in denial about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid sustainability and about Obamacare. They genuinely believed O-care was going to “bend the cost curve”! It’s ridiculous.

Now, we all know this. None of this is new information. What has me worried is the idea that the Democrats ACTUALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD. What if they actually aren’t capable of recognizing when they’ve lost? Or when we’ve run out of other people’s money? None of these people work for a living. Their concept of where money comes from and how wealth is created (and destroyed) is completely divorced from reality because they live in a government bubble. And the very small minority among them that do understand this from previous jobs and experience are okay with Progressive policies aimed at leveling/equalizing/delivering-economic-justice because they just assume that the economy can handle some siphoning. And usually it can. But not at this volume or for this time scale.

Here’s the position I think we may be in. We’ve been negotiating with the President and The Democrats in Congress on the assumption that they’re sane. It’s okay to play hardball with these guys because eventually, whether they like it or not, reality insists upon itself and they have to cave. It’s a painful process so you expect some tantrum throwing and caterwauling, but eventually they HAVE to accept reality. Except if they’re not sane. If they want five apples and there’s only two plus two but they CAN’T ACCEPT that two plus two equals four. Orwell wasn’t just writing a parable about the eventual end point of IngSoc. He was describing what human psychology can drive Ministers to inflict upon the populace for the sake of “justice”. I’m worried they’ll pull the trigger on default as just one more “political” step in the march towards freedom from want or whatever other principle they’re operating under. They’re playing this game as if they could win, as if taxes in a downturn are a good idea with benign consequences. As if debt equivalent to GDP is survivable for the world’s anchor economy/currency, let alone sustainable.

And so maybe, just maybe, Republican strategy (what little there is of it) has badly misread the opposition. Obama tried to add 400 billion in taxes to a deal he had already agreed with Boehner at the last minute. Boehner walks out cause Obama is negotiating in bad faith and has been all along, but what if Obama is actually incapable of good faith negotiation? I think right now that it’s actually possible we won’t see a deal at all. Because the Republicans are looking at the math and at reality and saying “Okay, Democrat demands can’t be serious because they can’t possibly work” and Democrats are looking at politics and how it works and saying “We don’t have to give in cause that’s not how you win these things. You pin it on the other guy politically and then reap the political dividends.” I wasn’t around for the start of WWI, but I get the feeling I understand Kennedy’s fascination with Tuchman’s Guns of August. I’m not talking about a shooting war, but about leaders overestimating and underestimating and just plain misjudging each other in a brinksmanship scenario. In short, it could be too late to do anything when people finally wake up. The crisis may have already arrived with an economic and fiscal momentum all it’s [sic] own that no amount of dealing or compromise or statesmanship can stop.
The Guns of August is a chilling reference for me. WWI didn't start because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, it started because the leaders who could have stopped it were on vacation.

Some further evidence that the Democrats are not sane in this matter:

1- Friday, the President decided to add the demand for a $400B tax increase to a deal (already viewed suspiciously by the many freshman House Republicans) that was nearly complete. Then he called a sanctimonious tantrum press conference - the prime intent of which seems to have been to panic the markets. We'll see Monday if he succeeded.

It would be to John Boehner's credit if he were to say at 4:31 PM on Monday, "The House has already passed 2 separate measures that would raise the debt ceiling. One of them is supported by two-thirds of the adults in the United States.

We have negotiated in good faith. The President has not. Americans can either 'eat their peas' slowly over the next several decades, or have them forced down our throats in one sitting and go hungry thereafter. It is up to the Democrats now. Let them offer something in lieu of the budget they have avoided proposing for over two years, the absence of which has brought us to the brink. Let them offer something other than the class warfare that they call a plan. Let them offer one single specific proposal.

Today we have stood at the brink, and glimpsed the precipice as a result of the President's ill-considered rhetoric and Democrats' pervasive bad-faith."

2-Even the AP acknowledges the President's fecklessness. They describe it as pragmatic shifts in a volatile situation, though it is nothing but a series of partisan flip-flops.

The Democrats are not negotiating about the debt ceiling, they are negotiating about re-election of a president and redistribution of wealth - as to the creation of which they have no clue. As Obama warned us, his plan is "Fundamentally Transforming the United States of America." It's not like he kept this a secret, it's just that voters have limited imaginations. Transforming America via his own anti-exceptionalist vision fully explains his every puzzling action.

Better immediate default than Obama's long-term vision. Default would cause less pain to fewer people in the long run and give more people better opportunity.

As I write, and in half an hour, gold and silver are up 1%, the US dollar is down more than that. Thank you, Mr. president. We'll see if the toxins you spewed Friday take hold.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reckless Endangerment

I've been meaning to get this book for several weeks. Rex Murphy persuaded me to download the Kindle version to my iPad this morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No dog food for you!

The United States spends 44% more each month than it receives in tax revenue. Failure to raise the debt limit therefore means an immediate 44% cut in expenditures. Then we must make choices about what spending has to be cut.

The Weekly Standard provides an example of the choices that could be made:
[It is projected that] there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there's enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).

That leaves you with about $39 billion to fund (or not fund) the following:

Defense vendors ($31.7 billion)

IRS refunds ($3.9 billion)

Food stamps and welfare ($9.3 billion)

Unemployment insurance benefits ($12.8 billion)

Department of Education ($20.2 billion)

Housing and Urban Development ($6.7 billion)

Other spending, such as Departments of Justice, Labor,
Commerce, EPA, HHS ($73.6 billion)
You can get all the cuts you need right there in the last 3 items. DoE, EPA, and HUD can simply be disbanded and their assets sold. HHS can be cut in half.

However, the President announced today he is unsure he wants to pay Social Security recipients if the Republicans don't tack a trillion dollar tax increase on top of Obamacare. He said he might choose to take away the dog food Republicans have been force feeding to Grandma:
I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.
Mr. President, be serious. At the end of 2010 the Social Security Trust Fund had a surplus of 2.6 trillion dollars. So, even if we decided not to pay Social Security out of the general fund, as was demonstrated above that we could, you could just cash in some government bonds. What?! Social Security payouts are just another form of interest on our debt?

Well, then, I guess you are right, we'd better pay the foreign creditors first.

PS, It's true we couldn't immediately defund DoE, EPA, HUD and HHS. in exchange for their demise we should raise the debt limit enough to give give all the employees a severance package and cover an orderly winding down of their operations before the 2012 elections. Disbanding BATFE will pay the interest on that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Parsing the President

President Obama today chastised Republicans for their willingness to follow the recommendations of the President's own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform refusal to accept as a compromise the President's own half formed and spendthrift "budget outline" which includes an additional (to Obamacare) trillion dollar tax increase.

The President even managed to get in a plug for the First Lady's nutritional initiatives:
This is the United States of America. And, you know, we don't manage our affairs in three-month increments...

We might as well do it now: Pull off the band-aid. Eat our peas...

I will not sign a 30 day, or 60 day, or 90 day extension.
Let us examine the President's meanings:

"[W]e don't manage our affairs in three-month increments."
Sir? It's the Democrats who haven’t produced a budget in 2 years. You call that management? ...Oh, right.

“We might as well do it now."
Translation: No one will have time to read the bill.
cf. Obamacare.

"Pull off the band-aid.”
Euphemism for: Making an $800 billion stimulus happen.
cf. “Pull off the heist.”

“Eat our peas.”
Translation: We’ve already eaten the seed corn.
cf. “Pull off the Band-Aid.”

In August 2009, President Obama was selling his $800 billion stimulus boondoggle in Elkhart, Indiana. (That's the stimulus without which unemployment would go over 8%.)
The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up – take more demand out of the economy and put business further in a hole.
By “the last thing” the President apparently did not mean “something you never want to do,” but rather “we want to do this, but at the very end.”

“I will not sign a 30 day, or 60 day, or 90 day extension.”
Yes, that's the last thing he wants to do.

Hold firm GOP, it's a requirement of your employment.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vast and Curious

On the heels of their claims that 90% of weapons supplied to Mexican drug gangs originate from the collusion of BATFE DoJ rogue US firearms dealers with HSA officials FBI informants purchasers who failed the National Instant Criminal Background Check, the Obama administration is preparing new anti-2nd Amendment proposals:
"As you know, the President directed the Attorney General to form working groups with key stakeholders to identify common-sense measures that would improve Americans' safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights."
-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, July 7.
Carney's right - if the stakeholders are straw purchasers abetted by BATFE, if working groups are Mexican drug cartels and if shipping weapons to Mexico is a common-sense measure that respects human life.

Otherwise, not so much.

Carney unaccountably failed to euphemize "public/private partnership" and "smart diplomacy." The former is BATFE using "stimulus" funds to mount an operation forcing firearms retailers to make sales they knew were bogus; the latter is DoJ failing to inform the Mexican authorities.

I wonder if the jobs "created or saved" by the Gunwalker stimulus expenditure is greater than the number of lives "negated or destroyed" as a result.

Update: 4:20PM
Mark Steyn: It's time to re-aim our pitchforks

Best sentence:
"Stimulus dollars went to fund one federal agency to buy guns for the paid informants of another federal agency to funnel to foreign criminals in order that the first federal agency might identify the paid informants of the second federal agency."
That's the most concise and lucid explanation of Gunwalker/"Fast and Furious" you're ever going to see.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Email Confirms ‘Gunwalker’ Known Throughout Justice Department
It strains credibility to claim that the assistant attorney general, the AGAC, the directors of the five major DOJ agencies in charge of law enforcement, and all the U.S. attorneys in the Southwest region were privy to Gunwalker, but that the attorney general himself was unaware of the operation. It suggests that either Holder is being untruthful about what he knew about the operation, and when he knew about it, or that he is so out of touch with a major operation conducted by his key law enforcement agencies that he is too incompetent to fulfill his official duties.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy semi-Independence Day

Emphasis mine.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such disolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.