May 3, 2018

Walk Down Memory Lane

Jeh Johnson.
Arne Duncan.
Tim Geithner.
Loretta Lynch.
Regina McCarthy.
Samantha Power.
Susan Rice.
Eric Holder.

I really miss seeing all of these names in the news, and knowing that they make decisions every day that effect the lives of American citizens in one way or another.


I'm actually quite pleased to be rid of them, and that a quite charitable accounting of the legacy of President Barack Obama is not really that charitable at all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:11 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Fair. All of whom would have just beep promoted to a higher level of incompetence and mendacity in a Clinton Administration. I get it.

And, yet, the victories reinforce the party's move to populism (tribalism from enlightenment values after reading Jonah Goldberg's fantastic "Suicide of the West.")

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 1:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Tribalism is, in essence, socialism. Populism is something different, is it not? The idea that we can have individual rights and share certain values (c.f. individual rights, i.e. liberty) does not lead to de facto tribalism.

What specifically about a muscular resistance to and rollback of anti-American European style socialism (or worse) constitutes the literal "suicide" of the West?

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2018 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

The book's point is that the two are similar and similarly destructive to enlightenment values.

Socialism, nationalism, communism, fascism, and authoritarianisms of every stripe are forms of tribalism. The tribal mind despises division. It despises the division of labor and the inequality it inevitably fosters. It despises the division between the religious and the secular, between the individual and the group, between civil society and the state. Whether it takes the form of religious orthodoxy, communist dogma, the divine right of kings, or some variant of "social justice" theory, the same underlying impulse rules: We must all be in it together.

I don't think he's objecting to reducing regulation. (Heh, I have his podcast on as I type, and he just celebrated three administration achievements.) But the #MAGA, wall, protectionist rhetoric is as tribal as anything Marx said. The President actually used the phrase "America First" approvingly. VP Pence celebrated Joe Arpaio's commitment to "rule of law" the other day. There are not conducive to enlightenment values.
And while my use of the term "pluralism" includes all of this, it also includes something even larger. Modernity both requires and creates a plurality of meaning and identity, not simply among the population, but within each and every person. This is in stark contrast to primitive society, where identity and meaning were bound up and inseparable from the tribe.

Goldberg, Jonah. Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy (Kindle Locations 1149-1151). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2018 4:00 PM

March 22, 2018

Insider-Trading Ninjas

Readers may recall the for-profit college shakedown during the last years of the Obama Administration. Blog patriarch jk presented one view of the matter on the occassion of "the historical Inauguration and swearing in ceremony for the 45th President of the United States!"

The other scandal is that the Obama Administration used the inflated Scorecard repayment data as a pretext to single out for-profit colleges for punitive regulation. The punishment was tucked into a rule finalized in October allowing borrowers who claim their college defrauded them to discharge their debt. It requires for-profits in which 50% or fewer borrowers are paying down their principal to post the equivalent of a surgeon general's warning in all promotional materials

Several large for-profit institutions closed down. But, had they practiced honest accounting:

If the regulation were applied evenly, a large number of nonprofit and public institutions would fail to meet the standard. But then the justification for the department's selective regulation of for-profits would vanish.

The department finalized the regulation in October anyway, perhaps anticipating a Hillary Clinton victory that would allow the repayment inflation game to keep going. Yet now it's taking credit for discovering and fixing the Scorecard error that likely would have been uncovered by the new Trump Administration.

But this week we learned of another reason why Obama Administration officials discovered and fixed the error that lead to massive devaluations of for-profit colleges. As revealed in Peter Schweizer's new book "Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends" wealthy pals of President Barack Obama had bought up many of these institutions at fire-sale prices.

In the case of the University of Phoenix, its parent Apollo Education Group was suspended after a Federal Trade Commission investigation in 2015. The following year, three companies, including Vistria, swooped in to buy what remained of Apollo at a price 90% below its share price before the investigation.

As Vistria's education investment portfolio bulged, a number of Obama Education Department officials, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, ended up taking high-level jobs with Vistria.

That's just one example. There are others.

So when you hear media reports of this or that flavor of corruption or skulduggery in the Trump campaign or his administration, just remember that "all the news that's fit to print" apparently doesn't include banana republic tactics being employed with impunity in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2018


"The biggest political scandal of our lifetimes." - Rush Limbaugh

"I think this will not just end with firings, I believe there are people who will go to jail!" - Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

"Take it to the bank, the FBI/FISA docs are devastating for the Dems. The whole image of a benevolent Barack Obama they’ve disingenuously tried to portray is about to be destroyed. The real Obama, the vengeful narcissist, is going to be exposed for all to see." - Dan Bongino

"Obamagate" is Bongino's term, and it seems apt for the speculative contents of the memo: "...extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election."

Flashback to this May 19 post by nb:

A ranking Republican statesman this week told an off-the-record gathering that a ‘coup’ attempt was in progress against President Donald Trump, with collusion between the largely Democratic media and Trump’s numerous enemies in the Republican Party.

There is apparently a smoking gun, in the form of a four-page written memo, and it has now been witnessed by every member of Congress. It's only a matter of time now before it becomes public.

The origin of the memo is unclear, but I've not yet seen any attack on its credibility - only its probity to the American people. Yeah, that'll keep it secret.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:01 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Correction (according to the peanut gallery @ PowerLine): many Republicans have read it, Dems are apparently pretending it doesn't exist. Hugh Hewitt covered it yesterday: saying those who read it were aghast, nearly speechless. Trending strong now on Twitter (reportedly) is #ReleaseTheMemo. If I had twitter, I'd be trumpeting!

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 20, 2018 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Correction noted. I've since learned that one single Democrat was curious enough to see it.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2018 5:32 PM

December 13, 2017

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

As measured and objective a voice there is, Victor Davis Hanson has reached a conclusion on the Russiagate - Trump Dossier - Fusion GPS - FBI and DOJ political hatchet job situation that has come to light in dribs and drabs since about the time that Representative Devin Nunes made a hasty trip to the White House, his complexion as pale as his destination, to share information he had recently received as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

After a brief a summary as possible of the tangled web of events and apparent conspirators, VDH concludes:

Indeed, the only remaining trajectory by which Mueller and his investigators can escape with their reputations intact is to dismiss those staff attorneys who have exhibited clear anti-Trump political sympathies, reboot the investigation, and then focus on what now seems the most likely criminal conduct: Russian and Clinton-campaign collusion in the creation of the anti-Trump Fusion GPS dossier and later possible U.S. government participation in the dissemination of it. If such a fraudulent document was used to gain court approval to surveil Trump associates, and under such cover to unmask and leak names of private U.S. citizens -- at first to warp a U.S. election, and then later to thwart the work of an incoming elected administration -- then Mueller will be tasked with getting to the bottom of one of the greatest political scandals in recent U.S. history. Indeed, his legacy may not be that he welcomed in known pro-Clinton, anti-Trump attorneys to investigate the Trump 2016 campaign where there was little likelihood of criminality, but that he ignored the most egregious case of government wrongdoing in the last half-century.

Let us pray that "Heaven will direct it."

UPDATE [14DEC]: WSJ Ed Page piles on.

Evidence is building instead that some officials at the FBI -- who have worked for him -- may have interfered in an American presidential election.

So the man in charge of investigating interference in an American presidential election, did so using officials who may have interfered in that same presidential election.

Fair hearing: The NY Times says, however, that "None of these attacks or insinuations are grounded in good faith. The anti-Mueller brigade cares not a whit about possible bias in the Justice Department or the F.B.I. It simply wants the investigation shut down out of a fear of what it might reveal."

The primary purpose of Mr. Mueller's investigation is not to take down Mr. Trump. It's to protect America's national security and the integrity of its elections by determining whether a presidential campaign conspired with a foreign adversary to influence the 2016 election -- a proposition that grows more plausible every day.

Okay, so maybe taking down Trump is only a secondary purpose of Mr. Mueller. Fair enough. After replacing every compromised investigator with unbiased officials, carry on with the fishing expedition. Meanwhile, as WSJ concludes regarding evidence of FBI and DOJ's dangerously flawed integrity, "Congress needs to insist on its rights as a co-equal branch of government to discover the truth."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Superb post. Jim Geraghty hits very similar points to the WSJ.

I know there's a lot going on, with Senator Warren calling Sen Gillibrand a slut and all, but one wonders how long this story can be relegated to right-of-center media.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2017 4:21 PM

October 25, 2017

Dare they call this "fake news?"

Holman Jenkins writes in the WSJ: [No paywall. They must think everyone should read this.]

Mr. Mueller's tenure may not have bridged the two investigations, but James Comey's, Rod Rosenstein's , Andrew Weissmann's , and Andrew McCabe's did. Mr. Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller as special counsel. Mr. Weissmann now serves on Mr. Mueller's team. Mr. McCabe remains deputy FBI director. All were involved in the nuclear racketeering matter and the Russia meddling matter.

Let's stop here. All this needs to be sorted out, but not in a spirit of panic and hysteria. We are a prosperous, successful country, in pretty good shape right now by historical standards, even if our officials behave in the frequently dubious, self-interested way they always have.

But still: By any normal evidentiary, probative or journalistic measure, the big story here is the FBI - its politicized handling of Russian matters, and not competently so.

"... frequently dubious, self-interested ...?" Try completely illegal.

As for me, if our federal justice system can't successfully investigate and prosecute these crimes our nation is doomed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

the big story here is the FBI
Yes, and by extension: Obamanites. Tracking comments at PowerLine, I already see the left's distract-tack: "so the HRCampaign hired someone shady to do a shoddy OpFor report; nothing burger!"

PowerLine has been flogging this pretty hard (all 3 main authors) under titles like "Investigate This!" and "Fusion Contusion." A contributor with FBI background submits:

in the anti-Trump conspiracy that’s exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, “wiretaps.” There was no time to do the painstaking research on Trump and his associates–they needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They’d already been turned down at least once. The NSA info was essentially useless, because what they really wanted was to get conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US–all USPERs–not international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless). Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without a FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the “dossier.”

This is what it'll take for the media to drop the Russia-Collusion story; that it nets negative for Democrats. Face it, the media by and large has become the AV Club of the Democrat Party.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 28, 2017 12:31 PM

January 26, 2017

Making "Bully" Great Again

Not even a week into his Presidency, Donald Trump seems to rack up accomplishments by the day rather than by the month or even year, by his predecessor. But there's more to the comparison than mere ambition or scope of vision. There's a palpable difference of style, and it clearly favors the man portrayed as "vulgar" and "misogynist" over the one lauded as "clean and articulate."

As the meeting got started, the president, whom House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says wants to push "an ambitious agenda," employed chivalry and humor.

As his high-powered breakfast guests took their seats, Trump played the role of gentleman, holding General Motors CEO Mary Barra's chair.

"Let me help you with that," said the victorious presidential candidate, whose campaign trail comments and a leaked "Access Hollywood" video caused millions of women around the globe to protest last Saturday.

Then came more humor that got a big laugh from the car executives, when the president suggested they go around the table for introductions: "I'll start. I'm Donald Trump."

Imagine the 44th president, often (and aptly) referred to as the Narcissist in Chief, being so self-effacing. In contrast:

Over the last eight years, Obama and his aides hosted private-sector officials and stakeholders from the nonprofit world regularly. But the 44th president was often criticized for not socializing more with lawmakers, though his top aides near the end essentially argued a president should not have to - and expressed their belief that Republicans poisoned the relationship from the start.

Now who's guilty of excessive rationalizations? [Fourth comment] The most powerful man in the free world gives up because, dog gonnit, "they don't like me?" Almost in revenge, President Obama declared I will use my pen and phone to take on Congress. This is the tactic of a modern-day bully.

President Trump was thought to be exactly that during the presidential primary campaign, calling his opponents "low energy," "little," and "lyin'." But in his first days as President, Donald John Trump is reverting to an earlier meaning of the term. The meaning implied when President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. coined the term "bully pulpit" as a reference to the White House. In those days, "bully" was more apt to mean "superb" or "wonderful" and not the ruthless and insensitive lout it conjures today.

But the meetings with lawmakers and the titans of industry haven’t been merely social occasions. During the Monday evening session, the president "made it clear" to congressional leaders that "he expects no delays in getting his agenda through Congress and out of Washington," Spicer said Tuesday.

President Trump seems determined to make many things Great Again - the more, and the faster, the better.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2017

Dodo Bird; Baiji River Dolphin; Sanctuary Cities

The Dodo is well known as a long extinct specie of bird. The Baiji River Dolphin, far less famous, became extinct more recently. And astute readers have already detected the implied pattern in this post's headline.

While the fledgling administration of President Trump may have been the necessary catalyst, the real driving force behind the predicted demise of sanctuary cities in, first California, then the nation, is good ol' democracy:

"An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans."

Seventy-four percent! Hell, even same-sex marriage doesn't get that much popular support in the Golden State, with just 60 percent support. Or any state, for that matter (except Massachusetts, which boasts 76% support for same-sex marriage.) In fact, a greater majority of California Hispanics support ending sanctuary cities than the percentage of all Californians who approve of gay marriage.

Eventually, some enterprising politicians will take advantage of these facts and defeat the sanctuary city "bitter clingers" at the polls.

One last point: As a group, California Democrats are only 12 percent less "racist" than California Republicans.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2017

The Government Dime

Amanda Macias at Business Insider implies that eight-odd million dollars is too much to pay for two bomber sorties to North Africa to wipe out 80 ISIS murderers. She called the cost "colossal."

But it got me to thinking - what else can government get for eight to sixteen million dollars? Without much effort, I found something comparable. Obama vacation to Hawaii, Africa cost taxpayers nearly $16 million.

And besides, Ms. Macias, it is President Obama's last full day in office. Don't you think the media has beat him up enough over the past eight years? Can't you cut him a little slack? Or even give him credit for working hard the entire time he's on the clock? For shame.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

Look, I don't care if the Trump fan-bots rail against me, Trump is an unreliable chap, to put it mildly. He doesn't know what he doesn't know and he throws away his promises too easily and a lot of his instincts are leftist in the worst way. Everything he's done so far could be scuttled on the rock of his personality.

But that hasn't happened yet and every day is another day. And today, after eight years of a dishonest, undemocratic, anti-American scold in the White House, I am feeling gleeful. Almost pretty. Okay, gleeful.

Andrew Klavan - 'My Strange Trumpian Glee'

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2017

FLOTUS Farewell

The First Lady makes a great Rorschach test.

I know some people who become quite agitated -- well no, I'm not going to euphemize, I know people who hate her. Maybe not "hate" if you probed, but she really upsets them

It's a partisan thing, of course, but I know as many who adore her. The classiest, most beautiful, most intelligent, most poised, best Mom, and finest at picking up a 7-10 split spare that has even graced the Executive Mansion. Or so I am told on Facebook.

I'll try to play the moderate. She's attractive, obviously intelligent, pretty good at politics, and a good mother. But the mother part becomes a liability when she spreads her maternalism from Sasha and Maliah to jk and his buddies.

Julie Gunlock has the same problem in a post at NR: "Mrs. Obama, we are not your children."

Like many parents who are suddenly shocked at their child's teenage rebellion, Michelle Obama appears surprised to learn that her kids (the American public) have interests and ideas very different from her own. For instance, some of her "kids" genuinely disliked being told how to eat and live. Some bristled at having their choices limited and being forcefully nudged to eat this way or that. Many balked when government bureaucrats told them how to parent their own kids; they slammed the door on all the unsolicited advice about their personal choices. In fact, most Americans don't like the federal government treating them like children at all.

This is what I have felt for eight years. In fairness, I'd be fine with FLOTAE of both parties relegated toward silent supporters. Pick out the China, trim the tree if you want, but "causes" have to go in a Constitutional Republic.

I'll wish her a long happy life -- and many awesome vacations. But I'll go back to my cheeseburger now.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2016

One State, Two State, Jewish State, Democratic State

Please pardon the flippancy of the title. I'm just trying to make some sense of the lame duck leader of Foggy Bottom and his desperate abandonment of the proper statecraft which have led many decades of his predecessors round and round again, ending up where they began - With Israel trying to survive and her attackers claiming the moral high ground.

Kerry appears outwardly desperate when he pleads,

"[The United States] cannot be true to our own values, or the stated democratic values of Israel, and we cannot properly defend and protect Israel, if we allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our own eyes."

Rather selfish and desperate to insist that Israel accept "a viable two-state solution" simply because it is his two-state solution. Perhaps there are other viable two-state solutions that are better. Or, much more likely, perhaps any two-state solution is destined to fail on account of the fecklessness of the other party.

Perhaps instead, Israel should continue to govern the territory it captured during a war of aggression by said other party, and permit individuals of every race and religion to live there on the sole condition that they abide by Israeli law?

Besides, democracy is overrated. Peace and prosperity and liberty are far more important. I wouldn't trade any one of those for democracy, much less all three.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ah, it's that time of the decade again; UN rez's denouncing Israel... I suppose Nat'l Geo will have a "End of Cheap Oil" issue coming out soon?

Rather selfish and desperate
Shah, where you been? That and being in love with the sound of his own voice (and seeing himself on TV) are pretty much the only defining characteristics of modern liberals. Perhaps greed... did I miss anything? hmmm, regurgitating yesteryear's ideas for yesterday's problems perhaps?

The question I'd like to see analyzed is: what does a UN resolution mean these days, in terms of "on the ground"?

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 30, 2016 12:02 PM

December 26, 2016

Why Obama Failed

No doubt the headline, lifted verbatim from a Jeffrey Tucker post at FEE, will elicit a few titters among ThreeSourcers. James Taranto's quip "Longest Books Ever Written" comes to mind...

Enjoy -- it's Christmas! But the Tucker piece is well worth a read in full. It is unflinching but not mean. He concedes President Obama's intellect and charm, but faults the bulk of his failures on his lacking an economic vision beyond campaign speeches.

A laundry list of policies is pretty much the whole of Obama's economic thought. He never had a big idea, a mental framework for thinking about economic fundamentals. All the interviews in this period illustrate how brilliance does not come prepackaged with economic understanding. He simply had none.

Obama never figured out where wealth comes from, the contribution of freedom to its creation, the role of property rights in securing prosperity, much less how government controls and mandates hold back growth. Every time these ideas were brought up, he would dismiss them as Reagan-era fictions. Moreover, denouncing trickle-down economics always elicited cheers from all the fashionable people.

One suspects Tucker will not find much to miss about the President's leaving office. But the column has a wistful, more-in-sadness-than-anger quality about it hat lifts it up from polemic.
And so he leaves office, confused about what went wrong, worried about his legacy, alarmed at the destruction of his party, and fearful about the forces of reaction that his health care reform and persistent economic stagnation has unleashed. There is an element of tragedy here. It is the fate of a man who knew everything except the one thing he needed to know in order to generate genuine and lasting hope and change.

You can have all the highest hopes, best aspirations, vast public support, and all the prestige backing in the world. But if you can't get economics right, nothing else falls into place.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, President Barack Obama had a "big idea" alright, it just had nothing to do with economics. Instead, he believed that the country was ripe for "self-government" toward the ends of "social justice." Righting all, or at least some, of two centuries worth of social injustice, no matter the cost. There was some appetite for treating people fairly, no doubt. But wrecking the world's most powerful economic engine was a Nobel Prize winning overreach.

Posted by: johngalt at December 26, 2016 1:17 PM

December 23, 2016

Pouting POTUS

Imagine that a vandal breaks into your home while you're away. You are alerted to his presence by an intrusion alarm, and the intruder knows it, but it will take you more than two months to get back home. And again, the intruder knows it. Just think of the vindictive damage he could do - for whatever his reasons - before you arrive to secure the situation.

That is the scenario that comes to mind when I read Kim Strassel's expose on President Lame Duck Obama.

But perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him "enough."

The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.


Posted by JohnGalt at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2016

Your Social Media for Today

Imma just leave this here...

The simple truth: Obama is just too intelligent for Republicans to understand.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:54 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Apparently, judging from the election result, he's "just too intelligent" for unaffiliated voters to understand either.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 3:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Posted by: dagny at December 2, 2016 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." -- F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"When you die, you don't know. It's only hard for those who know you.

It's the same with stupid."

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2016 6:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.
- RWR Posted by: nanobrewer at December 6, 2016 11:34 PM

September 15, 2016

Guess what was named after Obama?

Under the title Feel Good Story of the Day byline, the indefatigable Dr. Hayward finds a true gem.
The story reads.

Other presidents have mountains named after them. They’re the namesakes for high schools, boulevards, space centers, libraries, airports, and elk. George Washington has the capital of our country named for him, for crying out loud.
Dr. Hayward says:
Seems fitting to me. After all, Obama’s economic policies have slowed the pace of the American economy to that of a turtle.

No, it's not a turtle; read it and see! He finishes off strong:

Question for further research: Which extinct lizard will be named for Hillary?

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:43 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And what trapdoor spider will be named for Trump!

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2016 6:15 PM

July 5, 2016

A Sad Day for the Rule of Law

Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2016

Most Transparent Administration in Bwahahahaha

Relentless criticism of our President from those right-wing wackos at . . . um, the Associated Press and PBS:

The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law--but only when it was challenged.

Hat-tip: James Taranto (all hail!) who adds:
In 2007, candidate Obama signed a Reason Foundation pledge "to conduct 'THE most transparent Administration in American history.' " In a 2009 national-security speech at the National Archives, the president promised: "I will never hide the truth because it's uncomfortable." And if you like your plan, you can keep it.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2016

Government denies existence of problems

First, allow me to quote American Thinker's Rick Moran:

"Oh. My. God."

Does Disneyland measure wait times? Does Disneyland measure wait times!! You clueless bureaucrat, Disneyland knows the wait time for every major attraction in every park to the minute - in real-time. And, much more importantly, Disneyland, like every private-sector business, does everything in their power to reduce their wait times. Even going so far as to accept appointments for the highest demand attractions, as is done with great efficiency in industries such as, for instance, with no specific reason for mentioning it, MEDICINE! Unless government is in charge. You clowns can screw up anything. Perhaps because, since your job doesn't depend on it, you really don't care about your "customers."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2016

This lawyer seems to lose in court a lot

When the Obama Administration actually goes to court, they seem to have a rough go:

Judge Collyer takes 38 pages to eviscerate the Administration's claim that it can infer an appropriation if Congress has merely authorized a program. Congress authorizes all sorts of programs without spending money on them in one year or another. Presidents before Mr. Obama have understood that no money can be spent without an express appropriation.

The ruling is a vindication of the separation of powers under the Constitution, which in Article I gives Congress sole power over spending. This is a crucial check on tyranny. If a President can combine the legislative power to spend with the power to execute the laws, he can ignore Congress and govern by whim.

This is what Mr. Obama has attempted to do in his second term, famously claiming "I've got a pen and I’ve got a phone." He taunted Congress by saying, "so sue me," and then he called the suit a "stunt."

And then lost.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:13 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

If I were to hazard a guess as to President Obama's greatest regret in office, it would be that he so timidly waited some six-odd years to start behaving imperiously.

Posted by: johngalt at May 13, 2016 12:14 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Seriously, if there was an opposition party and Obama got sued to block his illegal actions more frequently, by now he'd have lost more court cases than Hamilton Berger.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 13, 2016 12:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You mean, like this?

Posted by: johngalt at May 13, 2016 3:51 PM

April 7, 2016

Illegal immigrants Draining the Welfare System?

There may be doubt that large numbers of undocumented immigrants could draw upon America's generous social safety net of government programs before President Obama's executive action regarding parents of childhood illegal aliens, but there's no doubt about it afterward. Investors' Ed page:

The Senators' brief [to SCOTUS] as quoted by CNSNews blogger Terence P. Jeffrey, goes on: "With millions of illegal aliens not permitted to remain in this country, work in this country, or receive government benefits pursuant to federal law, the Executive decided to provide such privileges to them anyway through administrative fiat,"

They hit the bull's-eye.

Their brief was filed as Texas (along with a number of other states) challenges President Obama's executive order granting "lawful status" to the parents of illegal aliens, many of whom have been granted their own reprieves from deportation via the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals or who serve as "anchor babies" to discourage federal officials from deporting their parents. It wasn't enough to grant lawful status to illegals -- the president wanted to grant it to everyone.

What that wholesale reprieve amounts to is the president, not Congress, giving illegals "lawful presence," entitling them to welfare, food stamps, earned income tax credits, Social Security and housing. By coincidence, that's exactly the kind of dependency that stimulates Democrats and draws illegals into becoming faithful constituencies.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Two Cheers.

It's a clear-eyed view of the power grab the president has been engaging in. What's heartening here is that these Senators are no longer rolling over as the President runs roughshod over their legitimate powers. If the republic is to be served as the Founding Fathers intended, it's just this sort of defense that enables the entire edifice of American democracy to stand tall.

Yeah! Atta boy!

Sadly, the same crew let the President expand the executive on cronyist green power, EPA assaults on property rights, capriciously rewriting the ACA -- need I go on?

So it is good that they fight but I think the picked the wrong hill to defend. And more importantly picked it for the wrong reason: placating the Tancredoism that has overtaken the GOP is now way more important than property rights or prosperity.

Nah, on second thought -- make that 1.5 cheers.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2016 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What I find most admirable is that they are fighting the systemic effort to attract and support the wrong kind of illegal immigrant - the dependent class folks who enlarge the Democrat base.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2016 12:24 PM

March 23, 2016

...and the First Lady's Dress

The two floral dresses that first lady Michelle Obama sported in Cuba this week would not be affordable for the wide majority of individuals living in the repressive country.
Well, duh! In Capitalism, second class citizens who face discrimination their whole lives because of skin color can raise themselves up to wearing $4000 dresses. And in the developed world, free trade provides opportunities for artists and designers to command these prices.

Pacé The Devil Wears Prada, these beautiful looks will filter down to the American Hoi Polloi. If you people would discard your socialist overlords, you could play too.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2016

Harsanyi - Most Worthwhile Battle GOP has Faced

All hail.

Whatever precedent says, if Republicans truly believe Obama has displayed a contempt for the Constitution, they have a moral obligation to reject his choice -- whether it's someone who argues in favor of book banning or enables abusive power. Because we're not talking about good-faith disagreements over what the Constitution says anymore, we're talking about a party that believes enumerated powers stand in their way.

And while Senate Republicans have talked a decent game, during at least the second term of the Obama Administration, they don't have many courageous moments to celebrate. This could be the moment of moments.

They will have to argue that a lame duck president should not be empowered to change the composition of the Supreme Court. After all, Republicans won both Houses making an argument against Obama's overreach.

Voters seem less inclined to be moved by idealistic arguments these days, so Republicans may suffer the short-term consequences. But if conservatives truly believe their rhetoric on constitutional values -- all that stuff about the First and Second Amendments, about religious freedom and checks and balances -- this might be the most worthwhile battle they've faced.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sigh, another opportunity for salemanship missed:

no one is contending Obama can’t send a nomination
which is EXACTLY the way it's being portrayed.

However, a statement like: we require, as Sen. Schumer has in the past, that the nominee be suitably "mainstream" would have made it harder to paint the GOP as extreme, rigid, etc. while leaving them free to use any color litmus paper they chose.

Everything else is Harsayani's very erudite emission is way too high brow/inside baseball for this season of The Trump IMO.

A piece from NBC is already openly postulating a SCOTUS win for an outgoing BHO: "If Democrats win back the Senate and lose the White House in November, they would control both branches of government for about two weeks before Obama leaves office."

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 1:40 AM

January 15, 2016

And radios, and eating, and sightseeing, and ...

talking to your passenger?

"We have recommended prohibiting all cell phone use, including hands-free, because a driver's mind must be on the driving, just as their hands must be on the wheel," he said.

The agency called for a "cultural change" for its recommendation, since no states or the District of Columbia currently outlaw hands-free devices.

"Since people have limited attention, each auxiliary task impairs our processing of the primary task. For safety-critical operations, distraction must be managed, even engineered, to ensure safe operations," according to the agency's recommendations.

And don't even get me started on lowering the BAC limit.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:41 PM | Comments (3)
But AndyN thinks:

Years ago when cell phones were just becoming popular and started being blamed for distracted driving accidents, somebody did a study comparing the severity of different kinds of distractions. The one that caused the most problems was driving with children in the car. I'll believe the anti-cell crusaders are serious about cutting down on distracted driving when they start insisting that anyone transporting children have a limo screen installed between the front and back seats.

As for hands free devices, personally I find they make the distraction of talking on a phone worse. If I'm just talking on the phone, I have one hand one the wheel and my eyes on the road. If I'm using a hands free device I may or may not keep both hands on the wheel, but I frequently catch myself looking at the phone while I talk, as if I'm trying to make eye contact with the person on the other end of the line.

Posted by: AndyN at January 16, 2016 10:38 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I don't have the issue Andy speaks of, and I've still missed a turn (but never hit anything) or two while talking over a bluetooth. They are distracting indeed, but I think navi-devices are the worst.

I'll also share with TS'ers is how this excellent drive with no accidents, just one moving violation in over 35 years, quite comfortable on LA freeways and a few stints behind the wheel on the wrong side of road will NOT use bluetooth ever again on Houston freeways. I'd rather tackle roundabouts in Scotland or go crosstown in Boston...

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 18, 2016 12:39 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Navi-devices may be the worst but it's worth remembering that the alternative to navi-devices isn't simply no navigation aid at all, it's a paper map, frequently big and difficult to fold even if you're trying to do it when you're not driving.

Posted by: AndyN at January 18, 2016 12:33 PM

December 31, 2015

2015 - When Lying Jumped the Shark

2015 will soon be Auld Lang Syne and Thomas Sowell says, Good riddance.

Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as "no big deal" by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton's lies by admiring how well she handled herself.

Lies are a wall between us and reality -- and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don't see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.

But a wise man said, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." So raise your glass, friend:

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2015

American Autocracy

National Review's Kevin Williamson writes, in describing "the Democratic party's newfound commitment to totalitarianism" that is expressed through President Obama's lawless executive orders:

But, remember, Democrats: These are your rules.

If Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard can be deprived of his constitutional rights because his name appears on a secret presidential list, then so can Paul Krugman or Rachel Maddow. If the Second Amendment can be treated as optional at the president's discretion, then so can the First. If Pfizer can be sanctioned by the federal government for making entirely legal and ethical business decisions that the president doesn't like, so can Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. If President Obama can circumvent Congress in both domestic and international affairs simply because he's unhappy with the way the people's elected representatives are conducting their business, then so can President Cruz, President Rubio, President Fiorina . . .

Or, angels and ministers of grace defend us, President Trump.

Except that they can't. Were a Republican to do what Barack I has done, the fourth estate would plaintively wail. The political pressure on a Republican president who singled out political foes would, and should, be unbearable. (The problem being their utter disregard when a Democrat does so.) But the "news" media would be equally critical of executive orders to, for example, authorize a uniform national concealed carry license; or rescind all of the putative air "pollution" regulations on energy companies. And that's why we are not at liberty: Because hoi polloi only pays attention when their media master calls for it. Because those media masters want a totalitarian president - as long as he is their flavor of totalitarian.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2015

George Washington's Regret

"Our presidents are beginning to act like kings" because "there is always a crown beyond the horizon."

More from Charles C.W. Cooke was (re)printed today, and I find it has a familiar ring.

Once upon a time, Obama insisted that he was "not a king" or an "emperor" or a "dictator," and confirmed that his "job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law." Now he justifies his behavior with talk of necessity and vows that if "Congress won't act," he will.

John Adams characterized the office that Obama holds as enjoying "the whole executive power, after divesting it of those badges of domination called prerogatives." In this assessment he was reflecting what might be regarded as the Founders' central conceit: that when the laws that govern men's fortunes are subject to the whims of the powerful rather than to the consent of the governed, there can be no liberty. Are we at liberty?

No, we aren't. At least not as much as the founders hoped.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:21 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Agreed - we aren't at liberty, at least not in a way that the Founders would approve.

More to the point (or perhaps, in support of the point you're making): it would be interesting to compare the "long train of abuses and usurpations" that led the Founders to "throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security" to the long train of abuses and usurpations we are enduring now at the hands of our elected and appointed betters. Are we approaching the point at which Sam Adams and his fellows rebelled, or have we reached it and already passed it?

My sense is the latter. What does that portend?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 28, 2015 8:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, we're certainly cheesed off 'round these parts. I break with a lot of intellectual kin though by saying were anomalous.

I hope everyone had enjoyable holidays and family and friends. And if $15 is deposited in my secret Bitcoin account by Thursday, I will not post the video I saw of brother jg dancing with a friend's six-year-old.

But, was there revolution in the air where you were? Separation of powers is an abstract and little-understood concept in the groups I joined and the last thing on anybody's mind. If there was any political persiflage, it was "Isn't that Trump fellow a crazy man?"

You can decry it as bread and circuses or blame "American Idol" (as I do for most things). But I contend that the bread is fresh, the acrobatics are pretty good, and the clowns are just creepy enough to keep the bulk of Americans content if not satisfied. Usurpations will be borne. Perhaps most frightening is this President's showing just how far the polity can be stretched.

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2015 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And Germans were fat dumb and happy too, leading up to Kristallnacht.

We may be past the point of abuses and usurpations that inspired the revolution, but it is - to some extent, at least - by our own hand. So the threshold will be higher.

The interesting question is what nature of usurpations would capture the attention of "American Idolatrators?" To date it has been preventing certain marriages or well intentioned efforts to reduce prenatal murder. Outside of that, I wonder if the government can do whatever it wants with impunity?

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One must admit that even this president's Top Ten Constitutional Violations of 2015 can make all but the wonkiest eyes glaze over.

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 2:59 PM

December 3, 2015


Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.

Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.

Our worldview is all wrong. We look at the map and see separate countries. Islamic State militants look at the same map, and the only division they see is between believers and infidels. One group gets to live, the other must die.

Americans know the world is complicated. We don't expect our leaders to have all the answers. But we do want to know that they understand the threat, that they can destroy the enemy, and that they're up to the task of keeping us and our families safe.

But we have to do our part as well. And it starts with being serious about confronting this threat.

And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Short, bitter and powerful; who is this guy? I'd take his theory

Obama seems to be one of those peace-loving souls who are reluctant to give war a chance. I think he has never felt at ease with the United States using military power
to a wholly different level to say: Obama doesn't like America, full stop. He'd love to use the military, but only on the press and the GOP! Like too many faculty-lounge brats, he wouldn't know common sense if a 48-page booklet landed in his golf cart, nor a decent country if it elected him president.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 11:47 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

the comments section is running roughly 7:1 against BHO and his Prog's - if you've lost San Jose... it appears Navarette is a NPR/WaPo/CNN reliable liberal. This is a satisfying crunch!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure but I wondered if he is the same guy who blogs as "Sooper Mexican."

His point is not that our predicament is Obama's fault. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. But it's the electorate's fault, because that cohort collectively decided that he would be a good sort of fellow to be the leader of the free world.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 12:01 PM

December 2, 2015

We'll Always Have Paris!

President Obama, ignoring the chimes indicating that he is speaking over his time limit.

I feel like that when I hear him speaking.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Let's take it a step further: President Merde-For-Brains, speechifying and saying that mass shootings never happen outside of America. He said that yesterday.

In Paris.

Days after mass shootings there, while French citizens were still in shock and mourning their losses.

There are also bereaved parents in Norway who would politely disagree. And Australians. And Kenyans (other than himself). And Nigerians. And Egypt. And Honduras. I could go on...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 2, 2015 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

& if you went on, I would never sound the chime...

My other favorite media from the event is the photo of all the turds -- I mean world leaders -- seated around the table. If you suggested the table as a prop in a Marie Antoinette movie, the director would say it was over the top there is so much finery and equipage. All meeting to degrade our quality of life.

I could go on...

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2015 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, on both parts. Yet as acting blog ombudsman I must post a correction:

President Obama is not a Kenyan. President Obama is a Keynesian.

Although despite a clear consensus on this scientific fact, there are still deniers.

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2015 2:31 PM

December 1, 2015

Go along to be "credible"

Did anyone else see this? I heard him say it live, this morning. Or at least, his lips were moving and these were the sounds I heard.

It's not merely that "99.5% of scientists" say that global climate science is "real" and "serious" [up from a steady 97 percent for the last two decades or so] but more importantly, the President says, "also 99% of world leaders."

"It spans political parties," he continued. "You travel around Europe and you talk to leaders of governments and the opposition, and they are arguing about a whole bunch of things. One thing they're not arguing about is whether the science of climate change is real and whether or not we have to do something about it."


"I think the president of the United States is going to need to think this is really important," Obama said. "Your credibility and America's ability to influence events depends on taking seriously what other countries care about."

So in order to be "credible" and in order to influence events, one must accept a tenuous theory assembled upon a mountain of dubious or downright fraudulent data, and be willing to act against the interests of American citizens to prove that he "takes seriously what other countries care about?"

Is he as stupid as he thinks we are? He really does take this "lead from behind" a.k.a. "follow" strategy seriously. No credibility gap there.

As for that 99% consensus of world leaders, meet MP Tim Yeo.

In 2009 Yeo said: "The dying gasps of the deniers [sic] will be put to bed. In five years' 
time no-one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change." Now, four years later, he is saying: "Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are 
not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place." Within the Anthropogenic Global Warming hierarchy, that retraction is broadly akin to Richard Dawkins joining the Cistercian Order.

And MP David Davies:

“It was warmer during the Roman Period, a fact that is acknowledged by the IPCC…. It got cooler during the Dark Ages. It then got warmer during the Medieval Period. And then it became much colder until about 1800,” says Davies,

I could go on.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:34 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, of course he did. I have lost the ability to be shocked at POTUS: If you cross a red line, you won't loose your doctor to the most transparent, shovel-ready, non-surveilling administration EVAH!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 2, 2015 12:15 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Even uber-liberal columnist Richard Cohen has given up:

He is out of words because he is out of ideas. Consequently, he ought to listen to others. They’re not the ones who are popping off. He is.

It is said 'it took a Carter to get us a Reagan.' Let's hope that this example holds and the blessings God has laid at the USofA's feet keep coming. I'm reminded of something George Will (or Dr. K) said: oh, to be part a country who got J.Adams at our 1st constitutional crisis (France got Robespierre), and in our 2nd constitutional crisis were granted a Lincoln (whereas France got Napoleon III).

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 2, 2015 12:10 PM

November 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

Hat tip PowerLine, but it should be everywhere by now:

What I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France. I'm too busy for that.
They? Too busy???
Hugh Hewitt tried to cover this presser, and yet I heard this eloquent trial lawyer, steeped in the world of rhetoric and politics absolutely give up trying to parse the massive, arrogant incoherence of the unbelievably shrinking imPOTUS. 13 months to go!

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:03 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, but...

I think the President makes perfect sense when you consider him as a product of the faculty lounge. They do not believe in "winning" wars; they're above all that or whatever.

I am not saying that's correct or in any way a good way to choose a C-in-C. But I don't find him inscrutable. He's like every damn academic I've ever met, and many of their students. Everything he does makes perfect sense when you say "Oh yeah, faculty lounge."

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 10:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Pretty much 100% agreed, save that you're giving him a bit too much credit: he's a USELESS lounge lizard, and an irascible, arrogant one with middling intellect.

So, now that we've established what they're NOT into, what is he INTO?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 17, 2015 12:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Progressive politics. Centralizing control. Transformative stuff.

Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky he is historically incurious. He could pull a Wilson and wrap his policies in a bellicose war message.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2015 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent, excellent point, jk. That would be worse. MUCH worse.

There is, too, some benefit in the other western nations learning to stand on their own hind legs.

And this notion of Russia allied with France against totalitarian zealots in the Mideast desert is not displeasing. It's almost like that well known Sci-fi plot where Earth is attacked by aliens and all the warring nations of the planet join forces to fight for their right to exist.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2015 2:37 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
wrap his policies in a bellicose war message
You haven't been paying attention, and he's been somewhat sub rosa about how he couches these things. He has apparently out'n out threatened major business figures with phrases like "I'm the one standing between you and the pitchforks," and the actions of the DOJ and IRS are about as warlike as a do-nothing/know-nothing coward like him will ever get. Pugnacious more than bellicose, perhaps, with the true mobster's approach: never let them see the blackjack, nor a drop of blood....

Aulinsky - the original community organizer, IIRC - is alive and his war is on, my friends, it's on, and HRC is also a devotee. Well, was, before she became a corrupt, drunken and bitter cuckold.

I wonder that JG hasn't seen this yet peeping at his kids yet with various inculcations (1%, DAWG, white privilege) in the schools. I'm on the lookout, myself.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 18, 2015 10:53 AM

November 6, 2015

Climate Politics

Not to be confused with climate science.

On October 13, the Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.:

"It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades," Smith said in a statement. "The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration's extreme climate change agenda." [emphasis mine]

At issue are "documents stemming from deliberative scientific discussions that took place before the study's end product was final," that were deliberately withheld according to NOAA spokesman Ciaran Clayton.

"We have provided data (all of which is publicly available online), supporting scientific research, and multiple in person briefings. We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner. …We have provided all of the information the committee needs to understand this issue."

Do legal defendants get to decide when the prosecutor has enough information to "understand this issue?"

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil is under a broad subpoena of records over the past ten years by the New York Attorney General for investigation of lying to the public about the risks of climate change.

No, this is not a joke. I have not made any of this up for comedic effect.


Related - Hillary "Clinton said last week that the Department of Justice should investigate ExxonMobil for allegedly withholding data related to climate change, saying that there is "a lot of evidence they misled people."

Completely UN-related (OBviously) - "USA TODAY has confirmed that sponsors from 2014 that have backed out for this year include electronics company Samsung, oil giant ExxonMobil, ..."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I saw this on PowerLine, with the comment that really frosted me: where the NOAA director declined the subpoena citing: "integrity of the scientific process"

Since when does science hide data and processes? Because Barack Obama, that's when!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2015 4:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Nyuuupe; it was National Review with the excellent title: The Calcification of Climate Science.

The issue is the director of NOAA's NCEI center, Thomas R. Karl wrote a short paper to Science refuting "The Pause" in warming, apparently, once again, by adjusting past data in another effort to hide the pause.

The full quote is from an article in The Hill:

confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2015 5:53 PM

October 6, 2015

Barack Obama was right

Islamic State really IS "the JV!"

"Headquarters of terrorist group and an arms depot were destroyed in the region of Ildib, as well as a militant three-level fortified command point in the region of Hama," Moscow's ministry of defense said.

It also said Su-24Ms and Su-25s, aircraft first put in service by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, made eight sorties against the IS targets, and succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties.

Meantime, the U.S. in over a year and three months can't make meaningful gains against IS.

It looks like Vladimir Putin has finally found a use for Secretary of State Clinton's "reset" button. That was easy!

None of this was imaginable before Barack Obama came on the scene. Russia, while clearly ambitious for more global power under Putin, had apparently permanently lost its standing as a global superpower.

It took a U.S. president committed to revolutionary change in America's role in the world to reawaken the Russian bear and provide an opening for Putin's aggression.

When the U.S. fulfills its role as leader in the world, we are criticized, even ridiculed. But we are respected. Putin's Russia is not about to be loved, but it may begin to be greatly respected if it starts doing things that the U.S. is supposed to do but won't.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

My buddies at Reason and Cato are all onboard the Putin train: let them anger terrorists and disturb ISIS and it is unlikely that they will do a much worse job of picking winners and losers than will President Obama.

My conservative buddies are of course appalled at the lack of US leadership. To their point, I can certainly se this ending badly. But to the libertarians' point, things have occasionally not gone so well in the Middle East with US at the helm.

I'm willing to let them have the run of the place for 16 months. Once President Keith is inaugurated and throws 100% of US support to the Kurds, they'll have to move out or display good intentions.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2015 10:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with you. No matter how many of Putin's Risk(TM) pieces he moves to Syria, he is still hamstrung by his moribund economy. I'm not terribly concerned about Russian global domination.

My point was more about how easy it is to defeat ISIS. Russia claims to have destroyed a "fortified command point" after a grand total of 8 sorties. Meanwhile, our 7000 sorties (per the linked editorial) have produced what, exactly?

It's almost as if the commander in chief has never intended to ultimately defeat, or even degrade, the bright shiny part of the Shiite Islamist adventurism. Meanwhile, the real activity continues apace in Iran - where POTUS makes concessions and subsidizes the Iranian nuke program with $150bn US of our tax dollars.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2015 11:14 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, this is an awful muddle that Obama's 'not leading' created (aside: leading from behind is yet another bastardization of our language by the Progs that I refuse to even acknowledge), and now that it's so incredibly FUBAR'd I am _probably_ OK with Russia taking it's swing at things....

I am certainly willing and able to do the 'neener-neener' dance around BHO and hope that this new massively-amplified powerlessness continues to drag the Dem's down (and R's learn to avoid the "ahhh, if only Bush hadn't....").

The worry I have is that Putin succeeds, wildly boosting his sway in the gulf thereby boosting arms sales and gaining some control over oil prices, which would rescue Russian and Iranian economies, of which the immediate affect would be to further drive the Ukraine under his thumb.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 7, 2015 12:13 PM

September 23, 2015

Otequay of the Ayday

Vice President Joe Biden, who may hop into the race, is 72. Biden has a compelling personal story, but he also is gaffe-prone and must carry the baggage of an administration that has many voters clamoring for change.

--San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders' column yesterday

Gee, where have we heard that before?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2015

popus scrotus

*gasp* do we need a Category for Religion? Leaving that (and my blogging rights) aside, I wanted to point out again, what a pompous little boy who's unfit for the shoes handed to him by the electorate is.

I'm no fan of this Pope, but believe he deserves a modicum of respect, which, of course, is too much for the Crybaby in Chief. "invited guests for Pope Francis ... include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia" so much for her convent!

The Washington Post does a solid job of staying on the list of respectable publications with this:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise.

When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I don't know at which group to throw this accusation, but what becomes so tiresome for me is the lack of courage. Je suis Charlie! -- as long as nobody will get offended or write more than a stern letter to the editor. Dictators enjoy complete fealty by the left, along with every aggrieved group ever. Comfort the afflicted!

But when Mormons or Catholics or Evangelicals show up it's suddenly time to show how brave they are. Afflict the comfortable!

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 10:02 AM
But jk thinks:

By the way -- there is a "Theology" category under "Philosophy." No objection to adding Religion if it's wanted.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 10:16 AM
But AndyN thinks:

When I saw this story I was immediately reminded of the pictures of the Dalai Lama exiting the White House past piles of garbage bags after a visit which drew the ire of the Chinese dictatorship.

Posted by: AndyN at September 21, 2015 11:45 AM

September 11, 2015

Still missing the forest for the trees

On this 14th sad anniversary of 9/11, as the President of the United States prepares to deliver to the ideological creators of Islamism not bombs, but billions of American taxpayers' dollars, I was inspired by a Facebook meme to revisit Leonard Peikoff's 'End States Who Sponsor Terrorism' advertisement from October 2nd, 2001 edition of the New York Times.

I recalled we had discussed that essay on these pages, and that it was not well received. I see now that much if not all of the blame for that falls on my shoulders. I foolishly suggested that the war against Islamism could be won with superior firepower. It cannot, and Peikoff knows that. He said as much in his essay. It can only be won by the equivalent of the "de-Nazification" of Iran. To my credit, I did at least excerpt that portion of his essay in my 2005 post.

Eliminating Iran's terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended."

The whole piece is worth re-reading, as I did, with nine more years of experience under our belts. Please do so and see if perhaps your judgment of Peikoff's conclusions was as mistaken as was my proposed way forward.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:57 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I seem to recall commenting one time, if not two, that regime change was the only real solution. Sadly, the slow and rocky road to the Arab Spring sort of quashed any momentum we might have had (tho' it didn't stop Hillary from nudging Libya into anarchy).

As a point of order: were the Iranians positively tied to 9/11?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2015 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Iran was not linked to 9/11, legally or militarily. Peikoff's point, however, is that they are linked to it ideologically:

If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.
Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2015 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Two great things about having a blog of such longevity:

-- The fame, income, and influence it affords;
-- I do enjoy reprocessing an old discussion.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn on this one and postpone my rapprochement with Mr. Peikoff for another year. I first am going to push back on his selection of Iran as a singular locus of evil. Evil, yes, but we could hand out a lot of plaques in their neighborhood.

He dates the start of Islamic extremism to the '79 revolution and places Iran at the root node. I do not share that. I remain heavily influenced by Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower." Wright lays a historical, ideological foundation on Sayyid Qtub (a man about whom, Jonah Goldberg says "desperately needs to 'buy a vowel'"). Wright documents Salafist, Sunni origins leading directly to Osama bin Laden.

My second new datum is discussion with blog friend tgreer. We don't always agree but he is steeped in diplomatic/strategic thinking on foreign policy, and is exceptionally learned in that area. Throughout the contretemps over the Iran Deal, he has railed against conservatives, right wingers, republicans and nascar retards in general over Iran hate.

Our friend looks at ISIS, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and wonders why Iran has been singled out. I pushed back on this and won't rehash all the arguments here. But he did plant a seed. If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

Ten years ago, I thought I had the answers and I tread a bit more cautiously. But sand into glass does not seem the moral or efficacious way out.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

I'm trying see to which mind you're in; the sentence doesn't make sense to me....

"Iran Hate" is based on their ideological bent, and their $400B economy, with solid reserves of oil and NG and a sophisticated arms industry. Still, I'll wait to hear more from someone well versed in the highly-touted Looming Tower. Yes, the Saudis do fund Salafists, but they don't allow them to get ICBMs, nor to topple other governments.

Syria? You've got to be kidding (I think LT is now out of date on them...); even before their recent donnybrooks they had the economy of New Hampshire, no navy and the Turks leaning over their shoulder... all they can create is refugees. I'm not even that worried about the Norks (49th GDP-wise, were they to be a state); and they HAVE nuke-tipped, ICBMs.... wobblier than their mentally-IL leader.

Sand into glass? No, no, when I say regime change I mean an orange, pink or puce revolution...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 14, 2015 11:30 PM

August 25, 2015

He'll Always Have Cillizza

No doubt, like Chris Cillizza, your first concern over a worldwide capital meltdown was "gosh, I sure hope this does not reflect poorly on President Obama."

Twitchy collects the responses: "'Dear Leader will be OK': WaPo 'hackery' puts America's fears at ease during market plunge"

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I listened to his Hossness Art Laffer last night on Lou Dobbs. Lou asked why electing Republicans hasn't resulted in any improvements in economic policies. "Well, presumably they prevented even worse policies from being enacted. We have the House, and now we have the Senate, but we're still lacking on single little office. In 2016 we'll get that too and then hopefully we'll start seeing some free market reforms."

I found this logic compelling, but it stands in opposition to the notion that congress is responsible for anything bad that happens, and the president "really doesn't have that much influence over the economy."

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2015 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Dr. Laffer: peace be upon his holy name. I do miss Kudlow's TV show, I used to see Art almost every week.

On Congress and the Executive (and I will ponder the Judiciary), I always purport there is great potential for harm to the economy: Obamacare®, Cash for Clunkers, EPA regulation, Dodd-Frank, Steel Tariffs: pick your Article I or Article II poison.

I (and I'm guessing Laffer to a point) see an economy wishing to grow but the Administration's boot heel on its neck impedes it. This is not to say that government "owns" the economy or should direct it or should be ultimately responsible.

But Jeeburzz, if they'd only try half a hard to screw things up!

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2015 5:10 PM

August 12, 2015

World Socialism, thy name is "Sustainability"

To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which it is claimed curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This is from the executive summary [PDF] of a new report by the National Association of Scholars. Never heard of them? Me either. The report is titled: 'Sustainability - Higher Education's New Fundamentalism.'

They call it "fundamentalism" because examination, investigation, discussion and debate are forbidden. The "science is settled." The doctrine is final. The living must be harmed so that "the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is not compromised. [The sustainability movement makes no mention of how aborting them in the womb compromises the needs of the members of those future generations.]

The sustainability movement began in 1987 with a UN report - "Our Common Future" and has metastasized into 1438 degree programs at 475 colleges and universities worldwide. Interestingly, the majority of them - 1274 or some 95 percent - are in the United States; at least one such program in every one of our 50 united states. So the camp of this ideological enemy of freedom and liberty and, yes, science, is not across the Atlantic, but here on our own soil.

Thank you National Academy of Scholars for exposing the nature and scope of this movement and the professional organization "Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education" (AASHE) that promotes the fully immoral idea that "we" are not as important as some unknown and non-existent "future we."

And they have the nerve to criticize believers in "unknown and non-existent" deities.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2015

Not Burying the Lede

Nearly five years after passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, mounting evidence suggests that the law may not be achieving either end. -- July Kelly and Jeff Stier WSJ Ed Page
Shocked face!

UPDATE: No, I am not done. William Easterly, call your office!

Even though lunches are "free," they are so unappetizing thanks to new nutrition standards that much food is thrown away. "It is horrible," one inner-city principal, responsible for 1,200 students and 10,000 meals a week, told us. "It is just heartbreaking how much food is thrown away."

So the students go hungry most of the day, until after school when enterprising vendors sell items like pork rinds, hot chips, or fresh corn mixed with cheese and mayonnaise from food carts outside of the school. Students don't eat the free, healthy meals at school, remain hungry during the day, then flock to purchase the unhealthy foods the school lunches aim to replace.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Kids these days!

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2015 1:18 PM

May 22, 2015

Obama's Coast Guard Audience

When President Obama named human caused Climate Change as the cause of "an immediate risk to our national security" in his address to the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy this week, something tells me his intended audience was folks like CNN's Juliette Kayyem.

Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize -- with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities -- that climate change isn't something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.

Got that? The risk of climate change demands the same immediacy as a missile launch against our cities.

But the Arabic speaking world* has a much different perspective on the President's priorities.

*The owner of the video admits "Folks.......this a spoof. It was never intended to be taken as a legitimate news report. Obviously two things are at play here. One, I did the job too well. Two, we have come to the stage in the Obama presidency where quite literally..........anything is possible"

h/t: KHOW's Mandy Connell

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:48 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

My dad used to say that you had to be at least 6' tall to join the Coast Guard so you can wade ashore if your ship sinks. It seems the President chose his audience well. If he can't stop the rise of the oceans, the USCG will start having to recruit taller sailors.

Posted by: AndyN at May 24, 2015 3:54 PM
But Jk thinks:

Heh. Because #nationalsecurity

Posted by: Jk at May 24, 2015 10:18 PM

May 13, 2015

Sorry to see him lose one.

One of the great things about President Obama (a phrase I use so frequently, I have it stored as a macro) now where was I?

One of the great things about President Obama is his ineptness a legislator. I am reminded of Robert A Caro's "Passage of Power." (Have I mentioned those Caro books as being pretty good?) President Kennedy was twice the legislator President Obama is, but few of his initiatives made it through Congress. Sen. Richard Russell's (Rule 52 - GA) Senate successfully bottled everything. LBJ assumed the reins and thought it his duty to complete his slain boss's legislative agenda. The "Master of the Senate" twisted arms, cajoled, threatened, horse-traded, &c. Pretty soon the JFK package was completed by LBJ.

Our current president has zero faculty for this. He never passed anything the Senate. He is bright enough that I am certain he understands the basics of how it works. But he has not one whiff of LBJ's knowledge of how it really works. As one who opposes most of his agenda, we're generally fortunate in this lacuna.

But this week I wanted him to win on Asian trade. And he muffed it. The WSJ Ed Page blames its failure completely on his bad governing style; I find myself in no mood to rush to his defense.

The 52-45 liberal blockade doesn't mean trade-promotion authority is dead. But preventing a setback from becoming a rout will require a Republican salvage operation to rescue Mr. Obama from the consequences of his governing methods.

The politics of trade require Presidents to cultivate coalitions from the center out, building a majority between statist progressives and the protectionist right. But that is not Mr. Obama's thing. His instincts are to govern from the left, treat Members of Congress as peasants who must bow before his superior wisdom, and then assail the motives and character of his opponents.

Mr. Obama's attack-and-polarize approach worked while he had overwhelming liberal majorities, despite private unrest among Democrats about the White House's ex-cathedra habits. They didn't mind when he attacked Republicans as moral cretins and dissemblers. The difference is that on trade Mr. Obama has turned his contempt on Democrats.

At the Nike campus in Oregon over the weekend, Mr. Obama berated "my fellow-travellers on minimum wage and on job training and on clean energy. . . . And then on this one, they're like whooping on me." He added that these critics are "just wrong" and "they're making this stuff up."

Again, a bit of blue-on-blue usually calls for popcorn. And after watching President Reagan's Bergen-Belsen Speech on YouTube this weekend, hearing the world's greatest gorram orator saying "they're like whooping on me" is peculiar fun. But this is enabling the worst factions of both parties -- and damaging the economy.
Then again, maybe liberals got greedy as a result of Mr. Obama's own economics of resentment. He has spent six years demeaning the benefits of free markets--on taxes, entitlements, labor markets and much else--only to do a 180-reversal on trade. His liberal fellow-travellers have a point when they ask if this is the same Obama who denigrated free trade in 2008.

The problem now is that failing to pass trade-promotion authority would be far more than a defeat for Mr. Obama. It would do great harm to U.S. national interests and the world economy. The Pacific deal is the best opportunity in decades to liberalize trade. A country that cannot overcome narrow geographic or business or labor interests, and that shrinks from global competition, is choosing national decline.

Dude can't even make me happy when he loses. Guess I am a hater.

UPDATE: Somebody say "Internecine?"

The White House is pushing back at the suggestion that President Barack Obama‘s pointed disagreements with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on trade were related to her gender -- publicly telling another prominent Democrat that he should apologize for the suggestion.

Sen. Sherrod Brown on Tuesday told reporters that Mr. Obama's criticism of Ms. Warren was "disrespectful" and suggested that her gender may be driving some of the animosity in the increasingly heated dispute between Capitol Hill progressives and the White House.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | Comments (3)
But n thinks:

And, to continue the "once upon a time" theme, savvy Republicans would use this occasion to get something they wanted...

Anyone care to guess how McFumble and Baller will blow the opportunity?

Posted by: n at May 13, 2015 11:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps there's an opportunity to leverage the Executive Branch, it only got one D vote so I'm not sure about the Legislative.

So funny the disagreements over leadership. I am immensely pleased with "Leader" McFumble and "Speaker" Baller (let's be respectful and use their titles...) The Senate passes a budget for the first time in many years -- and the first balanced one since 2001! Leader McConnell has restored regular order and amendments. I'm rather proud.

I would have loved to have seen them not confirm Loretta Lynch as AG, but that is difficult politically.

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2015 9:52 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It's a bit of a trap the Democrats have set for Republicans. Ignore the rules and traditions of the Legislature to achieve the most blatantly partisan objectives possible and dare the Republicans to do the same thing if and when they ever regain the majority. Many of us in flyover country are ready for that bloodbath, or at least think we are. But what happens when the media which aided and abetted the Democrats creates brand new 24-hour programming to highlight the "madness" and "extremism" of the new Republican majority? Brand new Democrat majorities, that's what.

Returning the Leviathan government to something resembling "of the people and for the people" rather than "to each according to his need" will take more than two, four, or six years. It will not be accomplished in a single term of any elected office. Tact and skill and delicacy are required, along with a following of the rules, or at least most of them. (Republicans could probably get away with deflating the air pressure in the tax code, for example.)

Egalitarian statism had the bases loaded when Barack Obama took office and swung for the fences. When American voters made a leaping catch at the top of the wall in the 2010 and 2014 elections, Roosevelt, Johnson and Carter had already cleared the bases and touched home plate. Now they need to return to their original base, but not directly. They must touch every base again in reverse order. That's sort of how I see the way Republican and libertarian voters need to think for the next several decades. And if they manage to return safely to base it is up to the next Ronald Reagan (and all of his coaches and trainers in the TEA Party) to strike out Hillary. Or Warren. Or DiBlasio. Or whatever welfare statist redistributors the Dems send to the plate next.

Posted by: johngalt at May 14, 2015 2:48 PM

May 6, 2015


Interesting, ThreeSources-ish argument in today's Morning Jolt [subscribe]. Jim Geraghty asks "How Much Can a President Shape America's Culture?"

Stephen Miller contended that Barack Obama is indeed the most powerful figure in American culture right now, and that if you don't like where our culture is going, it is impossible to change direction without a dramatically different figure in the Oval Office.

I wouldn't dispute that presidencies influence culture . . . but are they decisive? In other words, is Obama the catalyst, or just a symptom?

I tipped my hat in the headline. As Dr. Ben Carson and ThreeSources-fave Gov. Mike Huckabee (Bass - AR) enter the 2016 GOP field, I think the party faces the George W Bush question: do we want government to butt out or to promote the things we like.

It's easy to give a reflexive libertarian answer -- especially after Gov. Huckabee's name is invoked -- but in the wake of the cultural devastation of two terms of President Obama, I can see the appeal.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Yeahbut - you are from the "other America" compared to Barack Obama.

Further, I expect the current POTUS to continue to influence American culture even after he is overthrown. Err, term limited out of office. You think President Carter was a meddling nincompoop? Just you wait.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2015 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Ah yes, the Obama post-presidency: Al Sharpton without the genial self-deprecation. One can hardly wait.

Where I was headed, though, is similar to the Senate filibuster argument: do you use Harry Reid's supra-constitutional tactics to undue what he did? I recall most of us agreeing "no;" we have a good crowd around here.

Here's one:

The 2014 results show that 27 percent of eighth-grade students performed at or above Proficient in geography, 23 percent scored at or above Proficient in civics and only 18 percent did so in U.S. history. Among those students, a small percentage -3 percent or less - scored at the Advanced level in any subject.

I wonder how you're going to keep Dr. Franklin's Republic if only 18% of the 2020 voters understand how the Constitution works. Do I want my next President to offer a big initiative?

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2015 1:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I honestly don't remember where I came down on the "nuclear option works for Republicans too" debate but lately I would say I'm in the "hell yeah" camp. Every available tool to keep the Republic.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2015 4:02 PM

April 30, 2015

Not Enough Global Warming to Support The President's Agenda

I saw a pair of juxtaposed tweets, but Taranto's presenting two stories seems more damning:

That crappy GDP growth? Too damn cold!

Growth in the first quarter of 2015 was restrained by a historically harsh winter. This quarter was only the fourth in 60 years on record with three or more snowstorms sufficiently severe to be rated by the National Climatic Data Center's Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS). In addition, as measured by heating degree days, this quarter was the third coldest in twenty years. Indeed, winter weather likely reduced both consumption and investment, contributing to this quarter's below-trend output growth. The historical relationship between weather and first-quarter growth suggests that weather may have reduced annualized growth by about a full percentage point this quarter (similar to estimates by Macroeconomic Advisers and Goldman Sachs). Also, first-quarter growth has been especially weak in recent years even after seasonal adjustment, averaging 0.3 percent per year over the past five years as compared with 2.9 percent for Q2 through Q4. This observation at least partially reflects generally worsening weather over the past decade, which may not yet be accounted for in seasonal-adjustment algorithms. While some output lost due to weather may not be regained, many forecasters expect that much of the lost demand from the first quarter will be diverted toward the second.

Fair enough. But Climate Change -- Too Damn Hot!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:11 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Dr. Hayward's Climate column at PowerLine cites the WSJ's recent Notable & Quotable column which harks back to Time magazine, 6/24/74:

Telltale signs are everywhere—from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data.

The hottest year claim comes from the NOAA dataset, which has been ... "adjusted" in a way that would make Al Gore blush. Neither RISS nor the UAH datasets show this warming...

Climate Depot Note

AP is finally conceding that the narrative of the 2014 being the 'hottest year' not only violated scientific methods, but also made a mockery of journalistic ethics. Climate Depot kept up the pressure on the media.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 30, 2015 11:12 PM
But jk thinks:

That's okay, once it's on the White House web site with FACT in all caps, its purpose has been achieved.

I engaged in an interesting FB fight last night but made my point poorly. Blog friend tg finds the conservative arguments that DAWG is overblown by leftist media wanting. Our internationalist buddy points out that the whole world believes in anthropogenic climate change and that the autocratic governments of China and Russia have nothing in common with lefties, ergo there is broad support.

High fast ball right over the plate, but I rushed my answer. China, Russia, and Progressive Westerners have much in common says I (correctly) but I focus on redistribution and aversion to wealth creation (poorly worded).

I follow up with central planning as being the commonality betwixt NGOs, UN, Hollywood, and the Editorial Board of Mother Jones but it is a comment too late.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2015 9:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And it's certainly even more "too late" to follow up with, "Whatever happened to 'never trust authority?'" Did you forget what "never" means, or do you simply fail to recognize government force as authority whenever it happens to agree with your own personal beliefs?

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2015 6:02 PM
But Jk thinks:

I think my interlocutor too young for "never trust authority." Perhaps we need to rejuvenate that one...

Posted by: Jk at May 2, 2015 3:02 PM

April 27, 2015

President Obama's Legacy

I now know what the eight years of the Barack Hussein Obama presidency will be remembered for, and our lefty friends aren't going to like it. Not because I'm about to bash Obama again - in fact, I will praise him (faintly.) Obama's legacy will not be national health care, wage equality, Mideast peace or even "stopping the rise of the oceans" although he will actually "do" this. (More later.) Instead, it will be the start of a new era of peace and prosperity across the globe.

The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the [sic] Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr. Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.

"We?" Yes, President Obama's energy secretary is attaching his boss to this effort. The faint praise I promised lies in the fact that he allowed the LNG export terminal permits to be issued. He is "responsible" for the coming 'copious carbon energy for a pittance' revolution to the extent that he didn't try to stand in its way. (Although it likely would have flattened him the way his EPA is attempting to flatten the coal industry.)

America's parallel drive for shale oil is equally breath-taking. Scott Sheffield, head of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company has discovered huge reserves in the vast Permian Basin of West Texas.

"We think the Permian could produce 5-6m barrels a day (b/d) in the long-term," he said. It is a staggering claim. This would be more than Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar field, the biggest in the world.

Ryan Lance, head of ConocoPhillips, said North American oil output could reach 15m b/d by 2020 and 25m b/d over the next quarter century, three times Saudi Arabia's current exports.

A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.

So this revival, this oil and gas "renaissance" started "seven years ago." Circa June 4, 2008, i.e. "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." And as soon as the Global Warming Policy Center's "Blue Ribbon Panel" determines that global warming is a mirage of misguided scientific error corrections, President Obama can take credit for that too. But the accomplishment that will be remembered - the real change that makes real changes in the lives of real people - is cheap and abundant energy worldwide. And like the birth of liberty and prosperity that came in the 20th century, this one will also be a uniquely American creation.

Fracking is still an almost exclusive preserve of North America, and is likely to remain so into the early 2020s. China has large ambitions but the volumes are still tiny, and there is a shortage of water in key areas. Fracking remains mere talk in most other regions of the world.

Lukoil analysts say Russian extraction costs for shale are four times higher that those of US wildcat drillers. Sanctions currently prevent the Russians importing the know-how and technology to tap its vast Bazhenov basin at a viable cost.

John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. "We haven't seen those stars align yet," he said.

Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.

Certainly not in Sussex, Burgundy, or Bavaria.

Or in Erie, Colorado.

This is as unlikely a legacy as anyone could have imagined for a president who, as candidate, bragged that electricity costs would "necessarily skyrocket" as a result of his policy goals designed to promote alternatives to oil and gas. But given the bareness of the cupboard in his presidential library storeroom, I suspect he will gladly take it - deserved or not.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Firstly, this constant malignment of my home town has got to stop. We may have elected a bad mayor, but our council held firm against the encroaching Boulder loonies and rejected a moratorium. There's frackin' in them thar' plains. Trust me.

It borders on the humorous how the fracking boom has rescued the Obama Presidency against his wishes and actions. The economic stagnation of other sectors would likely have been a full blown recession. Energy saved his economy and Gov. Hickenlooper (Bloombergian - CO). But Hick has the smarts (he is a Geologist by training) not to stand athwart progress.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 9:53 AM

April 20, 2015

The Real Problem in Iran.

I disappointed blog siblings last week.

Apologies all around, but I cannot see meaningful progress in foreign policy while President Obama is in office. It is not that he is some Kenyan, anti-Colonialist, Socialist plant. He is a bit of an Arabist in the mold of President Carter, a pacifist/appeaser in the mold of the Harvard Faculty Lounge, and he refuses to let foreign expenditures affect his domestic agenda: we'll have no less butter because of guns.

Blog patron-saint Natan Sharansky has a column in the WaPo today which cleaves to the real issue. "When did America forget that it's America?" Sharansky compares the moral certitude of our objection to Soviet totalitarianism to moral ambivalence against Iran:

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides' respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today's postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

You cannot fix this with Corker-Menendez, or a letter to the Ayatollah.

Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"When did America forget that it's America?"

I don't believe she did, per se. A majority of the minority of her voting-eligible citizens who actually went to the polls, chose younger/cooler... twice. [Was GWB younger OR cooler than Algore? Hmmm.] It wasn't a conscious decision to elect one of "the declining number of true believers still loyal to their [Soviet leaders] ideology." It just sorta happened. But now, after a hard and sustained tack to port, I am more confident than ever that America's keel is intact, and her moral certitude will return.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2015 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

On topic: I don't think Sharansky believes America has forgotten, the piece at directed at our leadership which has.

Side topic: Merciful Zeus, yes. Governor Bush was two years older than the Vice President, but still a young 54 in 2000. Yet the VP suffered from an inability to project a vibrant personal image. My two favorite recollections from the debates are:

1. His (VP Gore's) weird alpha male attempt to intimidate Bush by standing beside him (I recently saw an interview with a debate coach -- they were actually expecting that).

2. In the middle of an answer by the Governor, the VP interrupted by shouting out "WHAT ABOUT DINGELL-NORWOOD???" in a voice that would have sealed the audition for "Revenge of the Nerds."

The less defensible examples of my theory are probably 1988 (Though Gov. Dukakis had zero coolness in the tank helmet) and 1984 (Mondale was neither young nor cool, but he did give several years to President Reagan.)

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2015 5:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We probably agree that all of these examples require filament bifurcation, as they were a contrasts between two Caucasian dudes. Anyone of any age, who is not either white or male, is automatically more "cool" unless the pale guy is quite young. By the very definition of the word. (Even 'The Fonz' stopped being cool once he hit about 30 or so.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 2:19 PM

April 7, 2015

Harvard Prof: My Former Student, President Obama, is "Misguided" on Climate Regulation

Mr. Tribe dismissed the criticism and said that his brief and comments reflect his views as a constitutional scholar, not as a paid advocate for the coal company. "I'm not for sale," he said. "I'll say what I believe."

Nevertheless, the highly respected left-leaning Harvard Law Professor Lawrence H. Tribe, has made himself a pariah. Or, looking at it from a different perspective, he's decided to stop being a rube.

"I feel very comfortable with my relationship with Peabody," he added. "Somebody wanted my help and it happened to coincide with what I believe."

But a number of legal scholars and current and former members of the Obama administration say that Mr. Tribe has eroded his credibility by using his platform as a scholar to promote a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal.

So one must choose - he can be a scholar or he can defend commerce qua commerce - but not both.

Next week Mr. Tribe is to deliver oral arguments for Peabody in the first federal court case about Mr. Obama's climate change rules. Mr. Tribe argues in a brief for the case that in requiring states to cut carbon emissions, thus to change their energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the E.P.A. is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority under the Clean Air Act. At a House hearing last month, Mr. Tribe likened the climate change policies of Mr. Obama to "burning the Constitution."

Clearly this is stinging the Rube Movement, and more than just a little.

"Whether he intended it or not, Tribe has been weaponized by the Republican Party in an orchestrated takedown of the president's climate plan," said one former administration official.

Weaponized? If so, it is indisputably as a countermeasure to the president's climate plan for mass economic destruction.

It is widely expected that the fight over the E.P.A. regulations will eventually go before the Supreme Court. If it does, Mr. Tribe said that he expects he "may well" play a role in that case -- which would be argued before two other former students, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan.

Is it possible then that Tribe was retained by Peabody in a strategy to intimidate the high court in favor of "a corporate agenda -- specifically, the mining and burning of coal?" Sure, that's possible. And it's also possible that one branch of government strangling an entire economic sector against the will and without the complicity of other branches really is like "burning the Constitution."

UPDATE: Furthermore, strangling an entire economic sector, or a specific corporation, or even an individual, is the very thing that a "Republican form of government" guaranteed by the Constitution [Article IV, Section 4] was intended to prevent - by a single branch or even, indeed, by all three in concert! It was to be, a minimal state.

The minimal state treats us as inviolate individuals, who may not be used in certain ways by others as means or tools or instruments or resources; it treats us as persons having individual rights with the dignity this constitutes. Treating us with respect by respecting our rights, it allows us, individually or with whom we choose, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves, insofar as we can, aided by the voluntary cooperation of other individuals possessing the same dignity. How dare any state or group of individuals do more. Or less.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (7)
But AndyN thinks:

I guess by the same logic (and I'm using that word charitably) every climate scientist who takes government money to continue pushing the AGW lie is eroding his credibility by promoting the agenda of his paymasters?

Posted by: AndyN at April 7, 2015 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I can be a pretty calm, equanimous guy. But the double standard AndyN points out drives me insane.

With all due respect, petroleum engineers and scientists would find good paying work irrespective of the effect CO2 has on climate. They'll eat.

Climate researchers likely have other options, but their funding is 100% predicated on climate concern. Should accurate risk assessment spread, these folks would all be crafting new grant applications to observe snails or leeches. Yet, a guy who works for Shell or once got a free AFP T-shirt is tainted.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2015 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't be silly Andy. Everyone knows that nobody "profits" by the spending of tax money by government. It is strictly for the "public good."

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2015 2:59 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I don't believe that everyone knows that, JG. I doubt that you could find a better real world example of a disused hole filled to the top with rubbish than most departments at a modern university. There must be at least a few people who believe there's profit to be made by burying bank notes in those holes.

Posted by: AndyN at April 8, 2015 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. But even though corrupt individuals do personally gain through the misapplication of government revenue, it is called power not profit. They don't seek personal gain so much as the ability to harm others - a power they wield with glee against anyone who they perceive as more powerful or successful than themselves. The term "profit" is dirty to them. They call their gains something else - "Social Justice."

So-called Social Justice is the wage of the bureaucrat. He spends it paying off debts in the ledger of his own self-esteem.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I should add that I did sense your complementary sarcasm, AndyN.

I also want to call attention to a timely example of a bureaucrat seeking personal gain through the harming of others - doing so through the tactic of "social justice" - for the advancement of her own dilapidated self-esteem. Her name is Starlight Glimmer, a.k.a. Ivy Starnes.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2015 2:46 PM

March 26, 2015

Press Conferences We'd Like to See

Real question from Jonathan Karl, ABC News's White House correspondent :

Karl: Josh, just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you're asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

jk's imagined answer:
Earnest: Hell Jon, the White House continues to believe that ObamaCare® is a success!

James Taranto offers the real answer -- and it's worse.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

*Sigh* I miss Taranto... the guys at PowerLine are powerful writers, well informed and incisive, but I just felt better after chuckling so much over the news....

If I ever get settled job-wise, I'll have to pay the WSJ for access... have wanted to forever.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 26, 2015 11:20 PM

March 18, 2015

Who will be the first GOP presidential aspirant to follow suit?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:51 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Mondo Heh!

Posted by: jk at March 18, 2015 3:56 PM

March 4, 2015

Nobel Politics

The rise of partisanship is a hot topic these days and now we learn, even the Nobel Committee is not immune

Mr Jagland had attracted criticism after overseeing a number of controversial of awards, including ones made to Barack Obama in 2009 - less than a year after the U.S. president took office - to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and to the European Union in 2012.

No serving chair has ever been ousted since the awards were first made in 1901, even with shifting political majorities.

The committee is appointed in line with the strength of the parties in Norway's parliament.

Perhaps Norwegian voters felt the Nobel awards had become too partisan for their taste.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Not fair to the President. His job was to not be George W. Bush -- and he excels at it.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 3:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll grant you that, and I stand corrected. Nonetheless, taking a swing at Cordell Hull? Not an opportunity I get every day, and soooooo worth it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A new member of the FDR administration to dislike. Thanks, Keith, you provide a valuable public service.

I can recite the names of all Secretaries of State (big big fun at parties -- everyone laughs when you get to Philanderer C. Knox) and know him as the longest serving in that position. The distasteful items at your link were not known to me.

Serious question: as PM Netanyahu's speech hangs in the air, one is reminded of leadership and foreign policy. I tend to give FDR and by extension Sec. Hull a wide pass for foreign policy because they kicked ass and took names in WWII. Horrible, horrible crew in so many ways -- but they defeated Nazism and Japanese Imperialism.

Am I too kind? It's frequently said...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:20 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Cordell Hull bears the brunt of a special animus from me; his refusal to accept refugees from the St. Louis is half of a set of bookends of the FDR Administration's failure in handling WWII, the other half being Manzanar. Are you too kind to the FDR Administration? It depends on how you view prolonging the Great Depression, the government expansion of powers under the pretense of the New Deal, trying to pack the Supreme Court, and the very existence of the United Nations.

Ask a dozen friends of yours when World War Two started, and eleven of them will cite December, 1941. Only one will answer "September 1, 1939." Roosevelt may have kicked some Nazi ass, but don't forget that the war raged for 26 months before Japan bombed us. Hitler and the Germans managed to not provoke us enough for two years, and I picture the tension on the phone line the day after Pearl Harbor, with Hitler phoning Hirohito and Tojo and asking them what they had been thinking. Yes, we eventually got into the war and won it, though I give more credit to the military than to the Roosevelt Administration for that.

I did not know until recently that Cordell Hull can also be thanked for income tax and the inheritance tax. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 5:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I suggest I have the correct animus for domestic policies and the deep scars inflicted on American liberty.

But the will to mobilize a two-theatre war, maintain alliances, appoint and correctly trust Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and lead the public through very uncertain chances of success is difficult to dismiss.

It's as if Justin Bieber discovered the cure to cancer or something...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 6:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Manzanar should never be forgotten. In fact, it's one of those episodes that should be painfully recounted by Hollywood every 10 years or so, as is slavery, and the Holocaust.

I'd argue that war really started between 1937 (Marco Polo Bridge, Nanking....) and the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, but technically, 12/7/41 is most correct as prior to the Day of Infamy it was only a european war with a new naval skirmishes in the Indian Ocean, one battle near Nomonhan and ever growing "incidents" in China. My Dad who fought in WW2, always argued 1937, but wanting to be a Marine, he always looked east.

Currently reading Churchill's books on WW2 and have to support JK's assertion that FDR's support of Lend-Lease (and other quiet moves) is every bit as huge as Lincoln preserving the Union.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 6, 2015 1:45 PM

Deeds not words

No links to back up my assertions this time, although I looked. The video excerpt of National Security Advisor Susan Rice's speech to AIPAC most often posted is the one where she "proves" that her boss' bad deal with Iran is a good deal because she repeats the mantra "no deal is better than a bad deal."

In the same speech she said, and I have to paraphrase because I'm going from memory of seeing her say it on FNC yesterday morning - "We must judge Iran by its actions and not its words." By "words" we can consider those of Iran's president when he said, "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism." Setting aside for now the Islamic Republic of Iran's military exercise to sink a 1/100th scale model of a US aircraft carrier at the peak of "negotiations," this advice is quite sound. Many recent examples of deeds not matching words support Ms. Rice's statement. One such example is quite well known - "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Or, as Jim Geraghty said "Great News! Obama's Drawing a New 'Red Line' with Iran! We Can Relax Now!"

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 1:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Rice's speech to AIPAC
[learning to properly cite quotes...]

Has been widely reported as "openly derided." That woman has no shame; she's a natural for a Clinton appointee!

Following right after was the widely-applauded speech
by the NJ Senator with a distinctly non-jewish surname that directly contradicted Rice's most salient points.

It will never threaten Israel or its neighbors, and it will never be in a position to start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not on my watch.
Let us do all we can now to get an agreement that dismantles Iran’s illicit program and ensures that it will not have to be a military response

Bolded above was one of the more promiment snide tweets from Dems in response to Bibi's speech. If I tweeted, my reply to them would have been: "he has plans - it's NOBama!.

Nice to see that bi-partisanship is still alive, and sad w/o surprise to note how distant POTUS is from it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 3:35 PM

February 26, 2015

Will there be an Internet tomorrow?

Or will the 'net be neutered?

The American people deserve--and have requested--an open and transparent FCC process. Recent polls show that 73 percent of Americans want greater disclosure of the details of the FCC's proposal to regulate the Internet, and nearly eight in ten favor public disclosure of the exact wording and details of the proposal before the FCC votes on it. Indeed, Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly just today called for exactly this--the public release of the 332-page order and a temporary delay of the vote. Nonetheless, citing past Commission practice, you refused to publicly release the text of the 332-page draft order. In a past rulemaking of similar magnitude, however, the Chairman did publicly release the rule prior to a vote. This was done in response to congressional requests, including calls from then-Senator Barack Obama . -- House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (HOSS - UT)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"We have to enact the incomprehensible overbearing nanny state restriction on human freedom before we read what's in it."

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:


This is part of a long-term project by America's self-described "progressive" movement to erode the Constitution and give greater power to left-leaning government elites and bureaucrats.

Americans should be alarmed and angry at this assault on their basic rights. Only when they're gone will they be missed.

And read at the link how, not just the Obama administration, but the U.N., is getting in on the act of "government action to restrict."

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 4:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is not, and never was, net "neutrality." It's net egalitarianism, or the short form, Net Equality.

At least, that is my prediction. We'll see how close I am once the reviews of what it actually says start coming out. If they ever make it public. (My prior suggestion of a link to the content was oversold and underverified.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2015 6:41 PM

February 13, 2015

So What's the Deal with Obama's AUMF Anyway?

Well, you could read this article from The Hill, or you can just let me explain it to you:

President Obama, under intense public pressure to respond to Islamist State atrocities that have been splashed across American televisions off and on for many months, announced a campaign to "degrade and defeat ISIL" using air strikes and foreign troops trained by American soldiers. He claimed that a congressional resolution from 2001 (you know, after 9/11 when even Democrats were willing to deploy our military) gave him the legal authorization for this new campaign.

Since that half-hearted plan isn't succeeding, congressional Republicans have been critical of the President. To shut them up he has asked them to vote for a new authorization, that he's said he doesn't need, to keep doing the same thing he's already doing. If they approve it, they own his strategy. If they defeat it, they are to blame when the thing he's already doing doesn't work because, he will say, "I asked for authorization to confront ISIL directly and Republicans in congress said 'no.'"

So essentially, it's a complete waste of time for everyone except Obama, who needs a political cover strategy. And it scares the crap out of congressional Democrats who, like Nancy Pelosi, "would hope that we could find common ground to have bipartisan support for how we protect and defend the American people" while at the same time contending that "a provision to bar 'enduring offensive ground combat operations' is too vague and could allow for U.S. troops to be sent into the field." Sure wouldn't want to risk war in the service of "defend[ing] the American people" would we? Nosirree.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Even WaPo's Eugene Robinson, as big a fan of BHO as can be found that gets paid to write, in a large vote of confidence for Boehner, wrote:

[AUMF] explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn’t really tell us how.

Obama has asked to be liberated and constrained at the same time. He wants no geographical boundaries placed on his ability to go after the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces.” But he also asks that Congress rule out “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and wants the war authority to expire after three years.

I would summarize - without contradiction - even further than JG has: since Obama has no idea how to govern, fight wars, create jobs, etc... all he can do is campaign. So, he'll continue to propose incoherent ideas that allow for more speeches and let the MSM fly cover for the bad/unworkable ideas.

PowerLine's Paul Mirgenoff adds to JG's point that there's an intent to constrain his successor, so his incoherence can be hidden.

Robinson finishes off with uncharacteristic brevity: But how urgent is the threat? This is a question Obama seems to want to defer.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Shoot, I messed up, the paragraph following the italicized quote from Robinson is also his.

Can someone hint me the code to imbed URL's in a comment post?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

We live to serve: Comment HTML

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2015 3:30 PM

January 29, 2015

All Hail Taranto!


Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | Comments (0)

Holy War by Any Other Name Would Smell as Wretched

President Obama's official spokesman as much as said, "the Taliban are not a terrorist organization." His administration refuses to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism (or "extremism") is related in any way to the Islamic religion. But as Investors' Ed page reminds, the Muslim holy war goes way back, to at least 1991:

This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose strategic goal, according to a 1991 memorandum by one of its operatives, is "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

Some serious parsing of the words "eliminating, destroying and victorious" is required to evade the existential threat to human liberty which this portends. This, Muslim religious war with civilization.

Click through on the IBD link to read about how Muslim Brotherhood Egyptians hostile to the pro-western Egyptian army leadership were welcomed to the Obama State Department, while Bibi is shunned. Stunning.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Disturbing. As Hans (or is it Franz?) says "I'm not going to sugar-coat this." I remember sitting at the kitchen table of a friend of this blog in 2008 discussing the forthcoming loss of all the hard fought gains from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were both proven right -- and I've never been so disappointed.

But the people got what they voted for and that is a facet of democracy with which I must agree. The William Easterly problem with the Iraq War is perhaps that the US cannot count on a long-term commitment. The next bums get to overturn your best laid plans.

Ergo, while I deplore the President's Harvard-Faculty-Lounge foreign policy, he is within his right and I oppose him with little more than eye-rolling. You can't fix stupid and I cannot fix the Administration's worldview.

One can better influence domestic policy -- videlicet The Tea Party, flipping both houses of Congress, and asserting Constitutional limits through the Supreme Court.

What we will need when the bender of the Obama Years wears off is the strongest possible economy, both to project power as needed but more subtly to lead by example and retain confidence.

As bad as it gets, there's just nothing we can do until January 2017 in regards to foreign policy. Hard to fix bad domestic policy -- but not impossible.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 2:57 PM

January 28, 2015

He's a Uniter!

There are no Red States and Blue States -- The are only the United States! And they all hate President Obama's plan to tax 529 education accounts.

The decision came just hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio demanded the proposal be withdrawn from the president's budget, due out Monday, "for the sake of middle-class families." But the call for the White House to relent also came from top Democrats, including Representatives Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee.

Hat-tip Jim Geraghty [subscribe] who adds a link to the Speaker's Touchdown Dance.

UPDATE: Reason sees the death of the Welfare State:

The political optics of the plan were flat-out terrible for Obama, who put forth the proposal in the context of a State of the Union address built around the theme of Middle Class Economics. The gist was that Obama proposed taxing the wealthy in order to pay for new middle class benefits, like free community college tuition.

But, somewhat awkwardly, given the president's chosen theme, 529 plans are tax-advantaged savings vehicles that currently benefit an awful lot of middle class people. In particular, they benefit middle and upper-middle class families in high-tax blue states.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And not just for the bait and switch on taxing 529s, some Democrats are also critical of the Administration's refusal to acknowledge Islamism, i.e. "we claim a moral right to kill people who don't think like us about whatever we decide is important, and it's usually something about Islam." Check out this Greta van Sustern interview with the 2012-elected Democratic Rep from HI-2, the charming Tulsi Gabbard. Did I mention she is an Iraq War vet?

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2015 11:42 AM

January 21, 2015


Dan Savage doesn't get a lot of play on ThreeSources, but...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)


I caught most of the SOTU performance tonight, in a re-run after a late hockey game. (We won in a shootout after a 4-4 tie.) I'm now moved to comment on some of the most important aspects. ... Did Boehner really wear a PURPLE tie? Come on, man!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:49 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2015

All Hail Taranto's Fans!



Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2015

Hey Obama...

This is a red letter day. I don't remember the last time I linked to an old BerkeleySquareJazz blog post. And I didn't remember it being that long ago, but I did recall this post (and its awesome photo of a young woman holding the paramount sign from the collection) when our president refused to link arms with the rest of the political leaders of the free world last weekend.

What a difference a decade makes. Investors' Ed Page goes into more detail about the new normal in 'France, For Now at Least, Gets Realistic on War on Terror.'

Time will tell whether it is the France of Joan of Arc or of Petain of Vichy that becomes dominant in the global war on terror. But right now, the French get credit for clear thinking. Just as the Resistance made little distinction between Vichy and the Nazis, Le Drian correctly sees no difference between the gunmen killing editorial cartoonists in Paris, claiming affiliation with al-Qaida in Yemen, and the British Jihadi John beheading innocent captive journalists within IS territory.

They, and the Taliban and the Islamofascist regime in Iran, are all components of the same enemy of Western civilization.

At the White House, unfortunately, an attack on a magazine or a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi elicits withholding use of the "T word" for as long as possible.

Our objective in fighting IS isn't victory as soon as possible; it is to "degrade" it and only destroy it "ultimately" -- because the president, our commander in chief, is dead set in his refusal to "involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."

Our missions against terrorists can't be part of the "global war on terror"; they must be "overseas contingency operations," a defanged term the Obama administration began insisting on soon after coming to power.

It is all a devious attempt to disguise that Western civilization faces another world war.

The French, for now at least, have rekindled their recollections of the Nazi occupation: those who pretend it isn't really war are cursed to lose it.

So to France I say, "Thank you, for protecting civilization." At least, for now.

(And I can't resist reposting the pic. Imagine this saying "Hey Obama" and being carried by a Parisienne.)



UPDATE: Michael Ramirez' take

UPDATE II: [jk -- hate to bust in on a brother's post, but we should give equal time to the brave French of yore...]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not quite sure but it seems like you're harshing my pro-France mellow.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 7:07 PM
But Jk thinks:

Pardon moi. I just remembered this picture and thought it reflective of French valor.

Posted by: Jk at January 14, 2015 9:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It took me a while to remember - she was protesting the then French President for not joining the coalition, non? So yes, a like-minded contribution. Much thanks.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Errr, ummm... Merci!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew you'd see it my way.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2015 1:31 PM

January 12, 2015

The Second Half of the Second Term

I have seen the future!

The Administration's "Free Kummunity Kollege" stunt is a pretty good indication of what a President can do with a phone, a pen, an ideological bent, an opposition Congress and no negotiating or legislative skills. I joked on Facebook that I hope he soon offers "free ice cream" because I really like ice cream. I hope that that remains a joke until January 20, 2017.

I suspect we'll see a new proposal for "free stuff" every few months to force those mean old Republicans to say no.

The new entitlement is best understood as an extension of the Administration's ideological project to add higher education to the list of entitlements that keep the federal government in charge of American life from cradle to grave. First Mr. Obama nationalized the student-loan market, adding $1 trillion in taxpayer liabilities. Then he made forgiving those loans easier. This year he plans to propose a new rating system for colleges that the feds will eventually use to determine which schools receive federal aid.

Meantime, the Administration has spent years harassing for-profit colleges by trying to impose a "gainful employment" rule that ties federal aid to student debt and incomes. The rule could shut down nearly 1,400 for-profit programs educating 840,000 students if it survives another legal challenge, but the Administration won't apply the rule to community colleges or nonprofit schools.

The "Billion Dollar Congress" (and yes, that was an epithet in those days) sent more than a hundred bills to President Cleveland, typically to give some deserving Civil War widow $25. They, too, hoped to embarrass the opposition party by exposing stinginess.

Much has changed. It's the Democrats who are now prodigal. And the people who would directly benefit cheering on new entitlements. Will it work? Tune in tomorrow, I have no idea.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2014


Any financial professional who advised a young investor to avoid stocks and corporate bonds--and everything else except Treasury bonds--would be sued for malpractice. But asset allocation is merely one of the problems with the new "Myra" fund rolling out from the Treasury this month.
The POTUS with the phone and pen has limned out a new gub'mint offered investment vehicle -- and called Comerica and Fidelity to manage them. Congress? Do they get a call? Does he even send a card? The WSJ Ed Page says "no."
Congressional staff were as puzzled as anyone and wondered how the White House would justify the creation of this new savings vehicle. Or perhaps Team Obama would seek new authority from Congress? Well, Treasury is now offering these accounts and has hired Texas-based Comerica to manage them with a partner, Fidelity National Information Services . But the executive branch received no new authority from Congress this year to launch the program.
One doesn't know how much to complain about the non-Constitutionality and how much about the bad investment advice. "[T]he new myRA offers a single investment option. It's a private version of the G Fund that is available to federal workers and has lately been delivering annual returns of about 2% on its portfolio of Treasury securities."

The managers are precluded from paying fees or facing a minimum investment, so Uncle Sugar will have to buy off some campaign contributors fund the administrative costs out of general revenue.

The more I see of him working, the more I like paying for his extravagant vacations.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:06 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

At least nobody can call it a "Risky Scheme" (TM). There is absolutely NO RISK of anyone growing his wealth in this investment.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2014 6:15 PM

December 29, 2014


I'm gonna go ahead and put a dollar in the jar. If President Bush had done this...

For birdie or for worse.

President Obama's golf game Sunday forced Army Captains Natalie Heimel and her fiancé, Edward Mallue Jr. to relocate their wedding ceremony.

The lovebirds were set to wed Sunday at the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, located on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, until they learned Obama had his eye on the same course and they would need to find a new spot for their nuptials.

"In less than 24 hours they had to change everything they had planned," the groom's sister told Bloomberg News.

Instead, they held the ceremony on green lawn on the base that offered views of the Pacific coastline.

How sweet. Right on base.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Everyone involved ought to be grateful that the Boy King Narcissus I didn't insist on the privilege of prima noctis.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 29, 2014 5:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And today, news that the President apologized to the inconvenienced couple, and said he didn't know beforehand. I can accept that.

I can also accept more of this kind of questioning by lamestream interviewers, challenging more of the President's infamous strawmen:

Steve Inskeep-

I think that if a Republican lawmaker was sitting here, he might say, "Wait a minute. I'm not captive to nativist elements. I have actual concerns, and you're not addressing them."

Of course he responded with yet another strawman, but it's a start.

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2014 11:55 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll accept the apology as well. If anybody in his staff were half as bright as they picture themselves, they would have gone overboard. What a great PR move to have the Marine One helicopter pick up the newlyweds and fly them to dinner with the President and First Lady. Publicity gold.

No strawmen? With all respect to Albert King: "If it wasn't for strawmen, he wouldn't have no men at all."

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2014 2:41 PM

December 17, 2014

The Segue Master™

Kids, don't try this at home, this is a 12-year blogger.

Social media is rightly abuzz with the first lady's brave tale of pico-aggression. She was in Target (like Jane Goodall seeking understanding of lower primates) and was asked by another shopper to help get some detergent from a high shelf.

"The Humanity" was, of course, my comment but that works anywhere. Many thought it did not happen at all. Some pointed out that the same tale was shared on David Letterman as hilarious relief of non-recognition. Tom Maguire chimes in:

A different explanation is that somebody mistook Michelle for someone who was tall, athletic, and happy to help. And hey, two out of three ain't bad. I throw out that theory, bizarre as it may seem to some, because from time to time women ask me to help them get something down from a tall shelf in a store. Hmm, maybe I look Irish and they think there is a railroad track I ought to be putting down somewhere?

But I have come up with the worst thing about this and the one which puts FLOTUS in the worst possible light. The real comparison is with President George HW Bush (#41 for those playing the home version). He went to a grocery store -- likely on just as political a stunt mission -- and famously remarked in the late 20th Century how amazing the scanner technology was. This was translated by the leftist media as wonder. He's so out of touch -- he's never even seen a scanner! Patrician slob has never been in a store before.

Well, I am going to be so bold as to suggest that the first lady does not shop at Target a lot. If she had, the experience would be more familiar and less demeaning.

The same of course happens to me all the time. "Enschuldigung, mien Herr! Gross Weiss Mann!" Would you grab the detergent off that "hoch" shelf, Bitte?

But do I get upset?

Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2014

Quote of the Week

Perhaps Emperor Obama has an effective plan. It's not a Constitutional plan, and it's not really even an American plan -- but it could be a strong plan for tyranny, based on new imported demography.

As we have seen, the Founders worried greatly about Caesarism, and they did their best to safeguard against it. But back in the 18th century, they couldn't be expected to foresee every possible subversion of their new Republic. Today, in the 21st century, it's our job to assess the new threat to our Constitution, and to make a new strategy to preserve and defend it.

- Breitbart columnist "Virgil" in A Republic, If We Can Keep It: The Founders vs. 'Emperor Obama'

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

Capt. Quick was last seen leaving his mother's home on the way to his girlfriend and their newborn. He was not last seen assaulting a storeowner and taking products. Yet, we know nothing of 45-year-old Capt. Kevin Quick. Apparently, Quick's crime was being a white man in America and not considered a victim -- just someone who got what he deserved at the hands of society's victims, young black men, gang members who have been badly treated and denied social justice.

Allen West on black attackers charged in murder of white officer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2014

My Deepest Thoughts on the President

Is the President of the United States a secret Muslim? A Kenyan Anti-colonialist dedicated to destroying the US from the inside? I've heard these and worse from people I respect. But as an Occam's Razor guy, I usually respond "no, he's a product of the faculty lounge."

Ruth Wisse, retired professor at Haavaad, pens an endorsement for Tom Cotton to be the next US Senator from Arkansas

Which brings us to Tom Cotton, the sixth-generation Arkansan who forged a path of his own in getting to Harvard and has maintained his independence ever since. As an undergraduate he majored in government, wrote his senior thesis on the Federalist Papers and voiced his conservative opinions in a column in the Harvard Crimson. After graduating from law school he took up a legal career that might have seamlessly led to political office. Instead he joined the Army as an infantry officer. His almost five years of active duty included two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; he later returned to Afghanistan as operations officer for a reconstruction team. As against those who equate military service with bellicosity, a U.S. soldier who has been on daily combat patrols in dangerous places is likelier than others to craft foreign policy with intelligent discretion.

Wisse contrasts Cotton with more typical alumnae and current faculty. Including, um...
My experience at Harvard makes it hard for me to join in blaming Barack Obama personally for the country's woes. After all, he is only a dutiful product of Harvard Law School and of Columbia University before that. When President Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops here," he meant that persons who seek and attain highest office are responsible for whatever happens on their watch. But how can we in good conscience apply this standard to Mr. Obama, who was elected president as a junior senator with no experience in governing, who was handpicked and tailored by the academic and cultural elite?

No boots on the ground? No military strategy? Trust your enemies and diss your allies? Spokespersons for the president could have been lip-synced by denizens of his alma mater. That Mr. Obama has no use for the other side of the aisle is the logical extension of a university that has purged all but a handful of conservatives from its faculty--and has done so in the name of achieving greater diversity.

Feel better?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've liked everything that Professor Wisse has written, though I must admit it's only in the WSJ that I have found her. She once penned something about the "smallness of the hive mind" and implied less than brave behaviors in one terrific post.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 21, 2014 6:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And KOA's Mike Rosen read this on air today.

And if anyone needs a more pragmatic reason to refrain from attacking the President personally, consider this NYT piece: Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate

On the campaign trail, black leaders like Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, are offering a very different message.

They embrace the health care law -- "I will never run away from the Affordable Care Act," Mr. Cummings said -- and often invoke voting rights and the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black man shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., as a way to mobilize black voters. And they defend the president.

"People understand that you have to walk a thin line," Mr. Cummings said, describing Democratic candidates' dilemma. "But African-Americans do not want you denying any affiliation with the president, because they love this president. He is like a son to them."

My president, right or wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2014 3:07 AM

October 16, 2014

We're from the NIH and We're Here to Help

With billion-dollar budgets, why doesn't the NIH or CDC have an established program for dealing with national health emergencies? Umm, it does.

The Progressive belief that a powerful government can stop all calamity is misguided. In the last 10 years we passed multiple pieces of legislation to create funding streams, offices, and management authorities precisely for this moment. That we have nothing to show for it is not good reason to put even more faith in government without learning anything from our repeated mistakes. Responding to the missing Ebola Czar and her office’s corruption by throwing still more money, more management changes, and more bureaucratic complexity in her general direction is madness.

Betcha didn't know the US Government already has an Ebola Czar. Yessir, ol' what's her name.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2014

New WH Strategy - Active Chief Executive

The uncontained Ebola presence in the US mainland has done something that no other crisis in the past 6 years has accomplished - it has gotten the attention of the POTUS.

President Obama won't be traveling to New Jersey and Connecticut later today, as he had been planning to do. There he was going to raise money for Democrats up for reelection in November. Instead, Obama is going to be hosting Cabinet members for a meeting on Ebola.

Can you believe it? He actually cancelled a political fundraiser! Geez, this must be really, really important. No word yet whether his scheduled round of golf is also affected.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2014

Misusing the Inchoative

Obama is becoming Nixonian." says Peter Wehner. Becoming? Had they not different pigmentation, I don't know how I'd tell them apart.

The man who by a wide margin has received the most worshipful press coverage in at least the last half-century is complaining that the press is mistreating him. A president who routinely misleads the public on matters large and small, who first ran for president on the promise of unifying America but governs based on dividing it, and who allows the most important national-security matters to be decided by crass political considerations is blaming others for feeding cynicism.

Watching a narcissist struggle to deal with massive, multiplying failures can be a poignant thing, especially when everyone gets what's going on except the narcissist and his enablers. When this happens to a sitting president, however, what is poignant becomes alarming. Because it's always better that the president of the United States live in reality rather than creating his own.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

There is one huge difference between Obama and Nixon: Nixon had a sense of shame.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 9, 2014 5:03 PM
But AndyN thinks:

...I don't know how I'd tell them apart.

Off the top of my head, the one who was given a Nobel Peace Prize isn't the one who ended a war that he inherited.

Posted by: AndyN at October 9, 2014 5:11 PM

October 8, 2014

Obama Teleprompter Hacked

President Obama famously said that he believes "in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

So one may wonder why he didn't balk when Teleprompter instructed him to say this:

It's part of what attracts people from every corner of the globe to this country, understanding that for all our flaws there's something essential that we stand for that nobody else does, and we're willing to put our money and time and effort and resources and occasionally our lives on behalf of that.

Something essential... that we stand for... that nobody else does. This, friends, is the definition of an "exception" and makes "this country" exceptional.

And even more directly, when he said that "America continues to be the one indispensable nation..." one might be forgiven for thinking that, perhaps, President Obama is proud to be an American. He continued:

...and that what we stand for - liberty and democracy and conservation and fairness and justice - those are the things that people around the world aspire to and seek, and they expect the United States to be on their side.

I agree, Mr. President. Me too. Although I suspect we may differ on the meaning and intent of "democracy and conservation and fairness" and yes, probably even "justice." You did notice that only one of the values you expressed is a part of the name for "that lady with the torch in the middle of the water" didn't you?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 7, 2014

Organizing the Other Side

In the Washington Examiner, Byron York chronicles the desperate effort to "save Democrats from Barack Obama" this election cycle.

So now Bill Clinton is leading what is, in effect, an effort to rescue the Democratic Party from Barack Obama. In Conway, Clinton pronounced himself "sick and tired of people trying to stir people up, make them foam at the mouth and vote for what they're against instead of what they're for. How many times have we seen people do something they knew better than to do just because they were in a snit?"

But Mister President, isn't that just another example of "community organizing?"

This is necessary because "A president's job approval rating is a pretty reliable predictor of midterm voting, and Obama's ratings are down in several states in which Democrats are in danger of losing Senate seats. In addition to Obama's 31 percent approval in Arkansas, the president is at 39 percent in Louisiana, 40 percent in Iowa, and 42 percent in North Carolina, according to PPP."

And, on (RCP) average, 41 percent in Colorado. More devastating, perhaps, is the spread between approval and disapproval in these states. Arkansas, -27%; Louisiana, -20%, Iowa, -12%; North Carolina, -12%; and Colorado, -13%. These compare to -23% in red-meat Montana and -30% in "my favorite" coal-miner's daughter's state of Kentucky. Even in Oregon, where the president's popularity is among the highest at 46.5 percent, the spread is negative at -2.3 percent. (And -14 percent in one poll.)

No wonder Republicans are so gleeful, and Democrats "winced" when the president recently said, "Make no mistake," during an economic speech in Evanston, Illinois. "These policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The SCOAMF has an approval rating lower than the average of the last six Raiders head coaches (and almost as low as their previous owner), and he wonders why his party's candidates are trying with all their might to distance themselves from him.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 7, 2014 1:21 PM

September 30, 2014

All Hail Insty!


Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2014

All Hail Jonah!

Imagine, just for the sake of argument that, say, the State Department's Jen Psaki sat down to interview an Islamic State fighter over coffee.
Psaki: "Hi. What's your name?"
Mohammad: "Mohammed."
Psaki: "Were you named after your father?"
Mohammed: "No. I am named after the One True Prophet Mohammed."
Psaki: "Interesting. So what's the name of your organization?"
Mohammed: "The Islamic State."
Psaki: "Oh, that's exotic. What does that do?"
Mohammed: "We have sworn to Allah that we will bring about a global caliphate as he commands us through Mohammed and the Koran. Inshallah, we will kill the pagans, Jews, and infidels and convert the Christians to the one true faith.
Psaki: "Oh my, that sounds like quite a project. So, let me ask you, what religion should I put down here, Mohammed."
Mohammed: "I am Muslim. I will give my life for Islam. It's right there in the name: Islamic State."
Psaki: "Well, I can see that this will just remain one of those mysteries. I'll just put down agnostic."
-- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 4:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2014

All Hail Taranto!


Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | Comments (9)
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's so bad that I've heard his backswing is having hiccups!

Speech tonight? Yawn; I'm going to put on Facebook my new moniker for him - please help spread it. Ready?


Posted by: nanobrewer at September 10, 2014 8:37 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Here are your drinking rules, Brer Keith: do a shot every time imPOTUS (love it) says, "Let me be clear." The Refugee would not suggest doing a shot every time he stammers as we would all die of alcohol poisoning.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2014 10:34 AM
But dagny thinks:

every time he says, "unprecedented?"

Posted by: dagny at September 10, 2014 11:20 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Friends! What did my liver ever do to you?

imPOTUS is a winner. I'm still alternating between SCOAMF and Boy King Narcissus I, but imPOTUS has a nice zing to it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 10, 2014 12:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Facebook to the rescue!

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2014 6:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Now let's make two things clear. ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq, and it's taken advantage of sectarian strife and serious civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization."

Okay, terrorist organization, fine. But they have declared for themselves, in this territory, a new Islamic State. The people it subjugates recognize its authority, or flees, or have been murdered. And what other government recognized the newly declared independent nation of thirteen colonies in 1776?

But most egregious of all, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not Islamic? What color is the sky in your reality, Mr. President?

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2014 12:22 AM

August 29, 2014

Moral Ambiguity, Meet Moral Certainty

Despite numerous high-level voices in his administration giving clear signals that Islamic State is unambiguously evil and should be dealt with swiftly and forcefully, President Obama said yesterday that, "we don't have a strategy yet." And, really, who is surprised at this development, given that his response to the decapitation murder of James Foley was to say of ISIS: "People like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy."

Daily Beast contributor Stuart Stevens writes what essentially occurred to me the moment I heard that:

"But it seems incredibly naïve and American-centric not to grasp that the Islamic fanatics of ISIS are very much about building - building a new world in their vision."

Stevens explains:

As a post-Cold War figure who matured through "movements," Barack Obama is drawing from a distinct tradition. He is clearly more comfortable talking about "justice" than "evil." The "oppressed" to him are much more likely to be victims of society's prejudice than communism. Some on the right argue that Barack Obama rejects the concept of America as a force for good but I think that's a misjudgment. It's more that he defaults to a fundamentally different test than his predecessors.

More often than not, Barack Obama defines America's moral worth - our "goodness" - by comparing America's past to some future in which the values in which he believes will be the norm. In that matrix, it's not about us versus them - it's about what we are versus what we can be. It's us vs. us. America is "good" because we are getting "better." We are at our best not when we fight the evils of the world, but the "injustice" of our society, primarily prejudice, for which there is an evolving test.

This explains the Progressive apology for Islamism wherein their heinous acts are caused, not by an innately barbaric interpretation of a "pure" principle, but by the "injustices" visited upon them by prosperous westerners and their governments. They are supposedly "radicalized" in response to our prosperity. (And "inequality" perhaps?)

But moral ambiguity is not a condition which afflicts the Islamists. Right or wrong, they know what they want and they believe they are justified in doing anything to achieve it. That kind of moral certainty is a very powerful motivator. It can provoke millions of people to vote for you, if you articulate it in a political contest. It can also provoke a convicted mass murderer to seek to join your movement, as former Army Major Nidal Hassan reportedly attempted:

""It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don't compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers."

Would but the President of the United States be so certain as to say, "Anyone on this Earth may believe anything he wants, but there is no justification to initiate force against anyone else. You don't have to get along with us, but you most certainly may not kill or injure us, except in physical self-defense."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2014

That Constitution Thingy...

"Obama Unveils New Plan to Work with Foreign Governments to Ignore the Constitution" screams the headline. I do get a lot of wacko emails. But this is from the partisan-yet-measured Jim Geraghty and he notes the difference:

There are a lot of nonsensical or highly exaggerated chain e-mails accusing the president of working with foreigners to subvert the U.S. Constitution. But this time you've got the foreigners and administration officials themselves confirming it on the front page of the New York Times!
"There's a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse," said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. "There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate."
"The difficulties of the U.S. situation" is a reference the fact that we have a Senate that opposes the treaty.

And, if you're looking, it's Article II, Section 2:
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

Doesn't sound like a suggestion to me.

UPDATE: All Hail Taranto:

In order to "sidestep" the constitutional requirement that laws be made by lawmakers, the Times continues, "President Obama's climate negotiators are devising what they call a 'politically binding' deal that would 'name and shame' countries into cutting their emissions."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Watch for this simple solution to Obama Administration and foreign governments' problem - "Hello, this is Barack Obama calling, please take a pen and change the word 'treaty' to 'pact.' Thank you very much. Hey, I think I'm next off the tee."

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2014 11:30 AM

August 22, 2014

Quote of the postwar era

I do not feel that my choice of title is overwrought.

The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give - and the most to lose - if the Islamic State’s march continues.

From a must read article by General John R. Allen, USMC retired. He gives the President great credit for actions taken in the theater thus far, but makes a profound plea for his annihilation of Islamic State immediately.

For its part, the White House has finally unleashed the "t-word."

"When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters. "That represents a terrorist attack against our country, against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers."
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2014

Let's all pay off the national debt, together!

I'm from flyover country, and I'm here to help! Yesterday, President Obama explained to all Americans the basic balance sheet options for making ends meet in the national Leviathan that is the United States federal government.

"We're reviewing all of our options," Obama said. "The lost revenue to Treasury means it has got to be made up somewhere, and that typically is going to be a bunch of hard-working Americans who either pay through higher taxes themselves or through reduced services."

Many of us have selfishly urged, or demanded, that government balance its budget by spending less. Legislators and presidents have come and gone, election after election, never able - for some reason - to bring government spending under control or even, for that matter, reduce it by a single dime. Whatever the causes of this official recalcitrance, I now repent my prior demands and acknowledge the role President Obama reminds me that I play in balancing the federal government budget. I will do my fair share. Nay, I will do my full share. I do firmly pledge and promise, now and forever, to pay every possible penny into the Treasury "through reduced services" from this day forward.

Join me. It'll be easy if we can all stop being so selfish.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2014

All Hail Taranto!

A crumb over the paywall (Rupert said it was fine):


Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2014

Talkin' Obama Blues

That's the title of Dan Henninger's Wonder Land column this week. The whole piece is excellent, covering the Rorschach test that is our 44th President with a gift to make everyone think he is on their side. Henninger questions the "gift" as more world leaders discover -- at inappropriate times -- that President Obama is not actually in agreement.

But he hits on somethin' that has been drivin' me nutty, and that's how he's talkin'! We've seen g's dropped at NASCAR events or the Dallas Evangelical Prayer Breakfast. But our Haaavaaad educated Chief Executive has not voiced the seventh letter of the alphabet at the end of a word in some time.

It started with all those weird, dropped "g's." A cranial gong goes off when Barack Obama starts droppin' "g's." The American president who is seen discoursing eloquently at the African leaders summit hits the stump and suddenly he sounds like Gabby Hayes. "Folks like you are havin' a hard time makin' it when the wealthiest are grabbin' it all in for themselves."

What is worse, Mr. Obama has used his empathy gift only in one direction--to animate his base against opponents. It worked for him. He won re-election.

But the way Mr. Obama talks, and talks, has diminished his authority and credibility. The U.S. has a president who is capable of moving factions with words, but not a people. This is a president without a presidential vocabulary.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2014

2,000 Words

White House SPAM on Inversions:


CATO on Inversions:


Posted by John Kranz at 7:16 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Top-hatted, bearded gents with cigars -- ruining our great nation with their filthy greed!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh was brilliant on this today. "Did you hear Obama over the weekend say he is ready to get serious about enforcing border security? Yeah, he's ready to militarize it to keep US corporations from getting OUT."

Now it's my turn:

"Mister Obama, Tear. Down. This. Wall."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2014 1:50 AM

July 18, 2014

1:40 of awesome

This is Julie Borowski, one of tomorrow night's speakers at the inaugural Colorado Liberty Conference. It's not too late to get tickets!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2014

Snake Oil Wizardry, and the Unreliability of Curtains

If it's okay for President Obama to continue with his fundraising schedule in Delaware at the same time as the Malaysian Airlines 777 shoot down is playing out, [President GW Bush could not be reached for comment] it must be okay for me to also post this "racist, bigoted, homophobic right-wing shlockumentary" clip showing a disenchanted Obama supporter after learning what coffee smells like.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:16 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Okay, somebody's going to have to say it, I guess I'm handy... Why, why, why?

This includes some very interesting film. Ms. Joseph is unexpectedly charming and intelligent compared to expectations from the "gas and mortgage" clip that we've all seen. You can retroactively put that in context, that she thought her life would get easier, not that Daddy Sugar was going to pay her mortgage. Her turnaround is captivating.

Buuuuuuuuuuut nobody is going to see that, because any thinking person will be frightened away by the Wizard of Oz clips. I don't think I qualify as President of the Obama Fan Club of Weld County, Colorado, but I find the sickle/hammer and the Oz clips repulsively childish. I've seen the logo and thought I would never watch a minute.

Now -- lookit! -- I have watched two minutes, twice. But can you imagine sharing that with anybody who was not a rabid partisan?

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2014 7:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, it is a "racist, bigoted, homophobic right-wing shlockumentary." I did warn you. Just warn your thinking person non-rabid partisans as I did for loyal ThreeSourcers. Now, if you share it with a rabid partisan of the pro-redistribution pro-egalitarian pro-Obama pro-Wizard variety, you'll deserve whatever reaction you receive.

I was turned off a bit by the hammer and sickle too - clearly not as much as you - but I found the main content incredibly compelling. This despite obvious clues that the interview was not "cold" i.e. it had been agreed to and rehearsed a time or three. But she clearly believes what she says: "I started getting a little more educated about politics and reading more. What I learned is never trust the wizard. It's within ourselves to have the determination, the courage, and the brains, to bring us to our destiny." And it is a videographic production. Do they not require some symbology? What other image can be used to depict the qualities I listed above, besides the Soviet one? A dollar sign in a circle with a line through it? As for the wizard metaphor, I think it is perfectly apt. That's what I think.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2014 12:16 PM
But jk thinks:

We ThreeSourcers are a hardy breed.

I do thank you for sharing -- I would've never seen it otherwise and I did find it compelling. My grousing was that I probably will not share it because anybody rational and thoughtful enough to get something out of it would be more repelled by its failings. As hockey players are judged on their +/-, I have to call this one a -2.

Could it be fixed? Perhaps not. It is designed to be ad hominem and not a treatise on Lockean principles. It strikes me as the equivalent of the nonsense I encounter on Facebook from my lefty pals -- does some of that have embedded gems as well?

A little sermon for the choir, I suppose.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2014 2:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...anybody rational and thoughtful enough to get something out of it would be more repelled by its failings."

Words can be so hurtful.

At least I didn't post this. KOA Denver's normally straight-laced Mike Rosen did.

At some point we need to be willing to offend someone. Or must all lemmings be left to suffer the same fate?

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2014 4:57 PM

July 16, 2014

What the Hell is Administrative Law, and Where Did it Come From?

That is the question which is, by every account, answered brilliantly in a new book by Professor Philip Hamburger of the Columbia Law School: Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Amazon reviewer Ross Huebner wrote last month:

Professor Hamburger outlines the fact that administrative law (outside of very limited circumstances) is not only unconstitutional, but it is anti-constitutional as well. I recommend this book as a worthy legal history of administrative law and state simply that it should be in every serious scholar's library for both historical and legal purposes.

In a radio interview this morning the author explained that administrative law, essentially the rules and regulations of Administrative Branch agencies, crept into our government after its founding as a holdover from the pre-Constitutional era and do not have any justification under the Constitution. To the contrary, Article I Section 1 begins: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." therefore any legislative powers exercised outside of Congress are illegal.

And not just legislative, but judicial powers are wrongly exercised under color of "administrative law." Who may lay his finger on the Constitutional passage that enumerates that? Article III Section 1 begins: "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." No mention of EPA or FDA that I could find.

A timely tome it doth seem to be.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dothn't it.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2014 6:46 PM

July 14, 2014

If you've lost Chicago's south side...

This might be a problem for the President.

[Embedded video deleted due to autoplay. Click through to article for video.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2014

Somebody Mention Bad Poll Numbers?

All Hail Taranto!


Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

Obama doesn't want a real immigration deal. The Cynic-in-Chief wants a real fight over a false immigration deal.

With his poll numbers sinking, new foreign crises erupting almost daily, ongoing hearings on his scandals and his diplomatic ineptitude, an immigration fight is Obama's only wedge of hope to unite his party for Nov. 4.

Like the enthusiastic audiences at Obama's telepromptered rallies, these poor frightened Latino youngsters are just props. And an immigration fight, properly fueled (Obama will swear in new citizens for a July 4 photo op), will distract from his other countless screw-ups.

Andrew Malcolm on IBD Ed page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Oh, he's uniting people, all right...

“'Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term,' said Zogby in releasing his latest numbers."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 2, 2014 3:50 PM

June 29, 2014

Bill and Hillary Clinton - White, Southern, RACISTS!

Anyone who criticizes President Obama, we are told by those who refuse to criticize President Obama, does so because he is black. By disagreeing with "a smidgeon" of the first black president's agenda, performance or statements one exposes oneself, supposedly, as a "racist." Today I read that, according to the new Ed Klein book 'Blood Feud' that category of despicable human being, as early as last May, included the Clintons.

Clinton ranted, "The thing with Obama is that he can’t be bothered, and there is no hand on the tiller half the time. That's the story of the Obama presidency. No hand on the f–king tiller," according to the book, which was excerpted exclusively in Sunday's Post.

"Obama has turned into a joke," she went on, according to Klein.

"The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the Justice Department's seizure of AP phone records and [Fox reporter] James Rosen's e-mails -- all these scandals. Obama’s allowed his hatred for his enemies to screw him the way Nixon did," she raged, the book says, adding that she called the president "incompetent and feckless."

Bill was also quoted:

"I hate that man Obama more than any man I've ever met, more than any man who ever lived," Bill told pals, according to the book.

Whoa, not just a racist but a hater. But like, you know, it's not rally true, it's just like some stuff that some guy wrote to sell his stupid book.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2014

Dear Mister President

Forgot when I signed up for White House SPAM. It is sometimes interesting:

Hi, everyone --

Yesterday, I had lunch with a woman named Rebekah at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis.
Rebekah wrote me a letter earlier this spring telling me about the challenges facing her family. More and more, she told me, she and her husband are working harder and harder just to get by.

So I decided to reply to her letter in person.

Rebekah and I spent the day together -- we stopped for burgers before holding a town hall with other members of the community and small business owners, to hear directly from folks about what's on their mind.

I'll be doing more of these trips over the course of the summer, visiting people who have written me, to spend a day in their cities and towns. Because speaking directly with the folks I'm working for every day is the best way to help more Americans understand why growing opportunity in this country is so important.

So if you've got a story you want to share with me -- about how you're doing, what challenges you face, and what's working for you -- I want to hear from you.
When Rebekah wrote me, she said, "I'm pretty sure this is a silly thing to do, to write the President."

But it's not a silly thing at all. It means so much to me to read your letters. They remind me exactly who we're fighting for every single day.

Because, as a nation, we've made it through some tough times. Over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs. But we have more work to do to open the doors of opportunity for more Americans. That's part of what makes these visits so important -- I want you to know that I'm keeping up this fight until everyone who works hard has the chance to succeed.

If you're feeling inspired, drop me a line. Tell me about your family, your neighborhood -- or simply how you're doing.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

President Barack Obama
P.S. -- You can send it by mail, too. You might even know the address already: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

This email was sent to jk@<>
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Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW • Washington, D.C. 20500 • 202-456-1111

Posted by John Kranz at 5:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

" "

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2014 6:25 PM

June 24, 2014

Vindication of the day

Nixon said in a May 1974 interview with a supporter that if he had followed the liberal policies that he thought the media preferred, "Watergate would have been a blip."

The media noted that most of the reporting turned out to be accurate and the competitive nature of the media guaranteed massive coverage of the political scandal.

From the Watergate Scandal Wikipedia page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2014


Rather than grandstanding about terrorist atrocities in Iraq or even a flood of undocumented alien children across our southern border, every single Republican congressman or senator should be jointly focused like a period-full-stop laser beam on the most deadly serious threat to US civil society today: The likely use of federal government power to influence the outcome of an election, and the obvious cover up that attempts to obstruct investigation of the original crime. Harry Reid's hometown newspaper says it well:

This is not a partisan witchhunt. It is an inquiry to determine whether a federal agency conspired with elected members of a political party to influence the outcome of an election. And it already screams of a cover-up.

The full editorial is loaded with winks and eye rolling over the "accidents" which befell the evidence requested by congress. On any objective scale, Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to Obamagate. The only thing about the more recent of these two is the news media's curiosity.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:52 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The second article of impeachment was the misuse of the IRS to punish political enemies. And Rose Mary Woods only lost 18-1/2 minutes.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:07 PM

This time Obama is right

I've been in unfamiliar territory this week as I find myself approving of President Obama's decision to NOT start shooting and bombing "ISIS terrorists" in Iraq. The novelty here is the agreement with the president, and disagreement with most hosts and callers on talk radio. One notable exception is Jason Lewis, who says we have no business risking blood or treasure in the latest Iraq violence.

"Because Iran will if we don't" is no reason to insert ourselves in Iraq's civil war. Nor is "because Russia will if we don't" a reason to use force in Syria or Turkey. (We can have a conversation about Ukraine.)

Perhaps I'm following a recent trend of taking contrarian views without sufficient reflection and if so, I welcome those who may correct me. But first I want to warn you that my side includes Wednesday's "From the Right" editorialist on IBD's Ed page, Doug Bandow.

It is time for Washington to stop trying to micromanage other nations' affairs and to practice humility. This wouldn't be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. But our government's expectations should be realistic, its ambitions bounded. American officials should abandon their persistent fantasy of reordering the world.

Obama's foreign policy may be feckless. But that's not its principal failing. As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world, it will end up harming U.S. interests.

Yes, that was from the right, a place not occupied by Neocons like McCain, Graham and Cheney.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:23 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Tentative agreement, though I think we are coming from different perspectives.

A blog named after a Natan Sharansky quote must come to terms with some of the excesses of neo-conservatism. I have quietly revised some views since 2003, but I am not in the camp of Rand Paul's WSJ Editorial today. And I suspect, I am neither in the camp of brother jg.

An older, wiser, hindsight-enabled jk looks back and concludes:

1) The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was worthwhile. War opponents are correct to point out bad current conditions, but they never compare those exigencies to 11 more years of Saddam Hussein's rule. Some good things happened in Iraq -- and some good things happened in other mideastern nations; Sharansky was vindicated.

2) I don't agree with Ambassador John Bolton everyday, but he was on The Independents last week. Facing a triple barrel of hostile, Libertoid snark, he held firm that invasion, good, nation-building bad. We deposed Saddam in nine days. With all respect to Sec, Powell, it wasn't Pottery Barn. We could have left it broken and done it again if the new government was not more amenable. Folks came in and looted the museums? Sorry 'bout that.

3) I recall talking with ThreeSourcers in 2008. It was obvious that then Senator Obama was going to win and we knew he would squander the hard-fought gains. We knew he'd telegraph a retreat; hell, he campaigned on that. Thucydides warned about long engagements and Democracies.

4) A projection of strength would have gone a log way in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq. President Obama so obviously wants to focus on Domestic issues that the would world knows they may act with impunity. We were the house with the "proudly gun free!" sign out front and now we're surprised we were robbed.

5) At this point in time, I do not trust the President's commitment, discernment, or competence to intervene. The Electoral College chose him, he chose disengagement, we are where we are -- blustering our way in there now has little upside and tremendous downside.

BUT: I'll quibble with Bandow's "As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world" and Rand Paul's "We will do ourselves no favors if we simply recommit to the same mistakes and heed the advice of those who made them in the first place."

I sure wish the world did not require US influence and that Pax did not require Americana. But I do not believe it for a second. David Boaz and Rep. Ron Paul assert that they'll leave us alone if we leave them alone. People used to tell me that about wasps -- and they always stung me.

Bringing me to: 6) Elect a competent and tough C-in-C in 2016. Until then, world, you're on your own.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good reply. It seems I'm not too far in the weeds but brother BR hasn't chimed in yet.

I agreed with 1) and 2) at the time, and I agree with them still, albeit stronger on 2) than 1).

A big problem with a foreign policy of "projecting strength" is that someone might call your bluff. Islamists are generally inclined to do this in spite of self-interested reasons not to. They're kinda old fashioned playground toughs that way. But take Bandow's point about Iran and the Shah back in '53. What if we'd left them alone then? We'd still be a Satan for supporting Israel but there would be fewer grievances for sustaining anti-American fervor.

Here's the rub: I don't advocate isolationism, rather diplomacy with carrots instead of sticks. Just as I don't agree with government force as a tool for reducing drug use or abortions, I think we'll do better with the nations and peoples of the world when they try things on their own and find out we were right when we needled and cajoled and incentivized our way than if we bomb their asses for disobedience. Or even just install our own puppet regimes.

I'm really curious where you quibble with "Washington ... dominate and micromanage the world." Are you happy when Washington does that to Colorado? We are all TEA Partiers now!

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I should admit that 2) has been a point on which I've evolved ("Hey, jk, you misspelled 'cravenly inconsistent!'") I would not have argued against a quick withdrawal, but sticking around and teaching them the finer points of Democracy seemed plausible. I believed Sharanshy that all hearts yearn for liberty and I wept at purple fingers. All that seems rather naïve today.

We're both Occidentalists in different ways. I think their self-interest shines more brightly in preservation than incentive. So put me down for "sticks."

Don't like "dominate and micromanage" because it implies that all US influence is bad or wrong. I like when we meddle with Iran and generally torque off North Korea, neither are protected by the Tenth Amendment.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 7:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I may not be on record about it but I disapproved of the post war plan as "nation building." I might not have said it, but I believed it.

"Sticks" must be used only in defense, whether that be of the homeland, of our citizens, or even of minority populations in foreign lands on occasion. In Iraq, some are proposing that we use our force to protect the majority population from a minority. Sorry, that's their own job.

I don't read Bandow as saying that all US foreign policy seeks domination and micromanagement, but that when it does go that far it is contrary to our interests.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2014 10:44 AM

June 19, 2014

IRS Scandal: Now, officially, "Worse than Watergate"

We've seen lies. We've seen violations of the Constitution. We've seen every sort of despicable behavior on the part of government officials in President Obama's "most transparent administration in history" up to and including cover ups of despicable behavior. But now, in the IRS scandal, we have evidence of a cover up - in the form of "missing" evidence.

Paul Bedard summarizes, links to a Daniel Henninger WSJ editorial making the "official" judgment, and throws in this hilarious MSNBC segment where the morning hosts joke about the story that "I've never told a lie" Jay Carney parroted out to all of us.

MSNBC Morning Joe [may need to use fullscreen mode to see video.]

I'll excerpt: "I'm an idiot... Even I know that if you have a hard drive and you can't find an email you can get a little nerd to come in and they can find them for you." (...) "Instead of 'We trashed the evidence and tore it up and buried it... no, we were earth friendly." [On the claim that the hard drive was "recycled."]

Daniel Henninger opens his "worse than Watergate" editorial by saying, "With 2 and a half years left in the Obama presidency, it is at least an open question what will be left of it by December 2016. Or us." Indeed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2014


I think we're at an inflection point in our great republic.

Are we going to allow this?

The announcement came late Friday, a too-cute-by-half cliché of a PR strategy to mitigate backlash. "The IRS told Congress it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year."

I rushed to Facebook with a Rosemary Woods joke when it happened. I thought I'd show off my unique wit, but it seems I share my uniqueness with about a million of my closest friends on Facebook and Twitter.

But when Ms. Woods lost the infamous 18 minutes of White House recordings, the entire universe said "come on, really?" Nobody believed it and I recall some forensic study that showed it was not done in a contiguous streak matching Woods's accidental foot pedal explanation. It rather showed stops and starts which suggested "nope, I didn't get that bit, better try again."

I posit that the same minute percentage accept Lois Lerners's fanciful tale. The question Ron Fournier asks is whether we shall see the same scrutiny. Which brings me back to my inflection point: The DOJ will not act. As Insty says, "Eric Holder's job is scandal-goalie." Will the press accept this -- may I call it total bullshit? -- and carry on?

They have shown every willingness to cover up so far. I ask because the mood seems to be shifting as the prevarications pile up, and because this one is so simple and outlandish. The Benghazi video story struck me as beyond credulity but I am a partisan hack. There is some fog of war and you cannot ascertain others' rationality from afar.

But this. You don't really need to bring in "an IT expert" tough Powerline did. These are government servers in the branch most noted for document retention. A Rosemary Woods day or two would be extremely suspicious -- two years is laughable.

If. If they get away with this bald-face lie, than the Bananarepublicization of America is complete and self rule is truly over.

Strong words but not overwrought -- if we can be lied to this directly it is over. Three cheers to Fournier but I hope he is not alone.

UPDATE: Jeff Dobbs via Jim Geraghty:


UPDATE II (QOTD nominee):

After all, there isn't a "smidgen" of e-mail evidence to suggest otherwise. -- John Fund

UPDATE III: Hell, I'd settle for answers toSharyl Attkisson's Nine Questions

Posted by John Kranz at 9:32 AM | Comments (3)
But AndyN thinks:

I hate being cynical, I really do, it's painful and tiresome, but realism demands it.

What exactly do you think not getting away with this will look like? Is it even remotely possible that in the face of overwhelming public derision the IRS will admit that they lied and hand over the documents? Barring that, is it even remotely possible that the DoJ will do its job and conduct a real investigation? And when the DoJ refuses to act, will Holder be forced from office - either resigning under pressure or impeached?

Even if Holder joins the growing crowd under the bus, who will replace him? The President will appoint another Holder, and the pattern will repeat itself. There's very little chance that the IRS/DoJ are stonewalling of their own volition. They're protecting the White House, and the White House will just keep replacing its protectors with people of like mind.

So resolving the problem means either the President must resign or be impeached. Does Barack Obama strike you as the kind of man who will admit his wrongdoing and resign in shame? Does it seem at all likely, even if the GOP takes the Senate this fall, that there will be 67 Senators willing to remove the President from office? Which 16 Democrats do you see joining a united Republican caucus?

I'm afraid self rule is already over. I'm just not sure whether it's better or worse that the aristocracy is so confident in their power over their subjects that they now feel they can flaunt it openly.

Posted by: AndyN at June 16, 2014 10:34 AM
But jk thinks:

AndyN, your superbly crafted comment deserves to stand as the last word. But it did include a good question.

I am not looking for impeachment -- the "Biden Insurance Policy" protects him from all but the highest crimes and misdemeanors. I would like Ms. Lerner's scalp and I would love to see some tarnish spread to the administration.

What I really want to see is an adversarial press. The put-a-dollar-in-the-jar-every-time-you-say "if Bush woulda done this" exceeds the GDP of several African nations. My challenge was to our esteemed press corps not to accept this excuse.

The Administration will continue to lie -- can we dial it back from "lie with impunity?"

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2014 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If the press were ever to confront the president they would be guilty of racism, their highest "crime."

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2014 2:37 PM

June 9, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"Recoveries make a CHOICE...

...and our recovery was CHOOSING to stay away."

- From the newly released Graphic Edition of Amity Shlaes' 'The Forgotten Man.'

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:06 PM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2014

Whose side is he on anyway?

The inestimable Colonel Ralph Peters (US Army-Retired) describes how President Obama and the man-children in his administration could be so myopic as to believe the general public, not to mention active and retired military members, would greet their "prisoner swap" with glee.

This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans "so dumb" they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don't necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle -- the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain't a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say "outrageous insult to our vets" in Pashto?

UPDATE: Col. Peters refers to inevitable book and movie deals for Bergdahl, "quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military" but a movie that tells his story has already been made. His is the part of Ephialtes.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:24 PM | Comments (0)

Susan Rice Lied on a Sunday Show?

That would be news! But Matt Vierkant, a team leader of another squad in Bergdahl's platoon, is more charitable:

Asked about the statement Sunday by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction," he said: "That statement couldn't be further from the truth. I don't know if she was misinformed or doesn't know about the investigations and everything else, or what."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

I See What You Did There

Crazy Like a Fox?


We'll keep on releasing terrorists until you start telling pollsters you love me!!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

But... the President and his administration said they would be hailed as liberators.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 12:36 PM

June 2, 2014

All Hail Taranto!

"For a president who came to office hoping to restore public faith in government as a force for good in society, the mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs threatens to undercut his reputation for effectiveness," writes New York Times reporter Peter Baker in a "news analysis."

That's a little like describing the Monica Lewisnky scandal as a blemish on Bill Clinton's reputation for marital fidelity. -- BOTW Jun 2, 2014

UPDATE: The same column contains a link to an Onion piece I had never seen:
Bruce Springsteen Accidentally Plays 'Big Government's Stealin' Our Livelihood' At Obama Rally

PARMA, OH--While performing at a campaign rally for President Barack Obama on Thursday, rock icon Bruce Springsteen reportedly failed to fire up the largely working-class audience when he accidentally played an acoustic ballad titled "Big Government's Stealin' Our Livelihood." "Can't ever feed the appetite of Uncle Sam / Stealin' half my paycheck out of my hand," crooned Springsteen, unintentionally alienating the bemused crowd with brazenly pro-market and anti-union lyrics that detail the struggles of a small business owner named Mikey who is forced to declare bankruptcy due to a weak economy plagued by industry overregulation.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2014

None Dare Call it a Trend

If I lapse into all caps, I will post this under rant. But, for now, I think I can keep it together.

Megan McArdle provides a lengthy excerpt from Jordain Carney and Stacy Kaper's two-part series on the VA for National Journal. McArdle (and Carney and Kaper) accepts that the problems at the VA preceded President Obama's election and that a massive institutional bureaucracy is difficult-to-impossible for even the most skilled manager to repair. Fair cop, guv.

McArdle highlights the President's preternatural sense of self-worth: "Yet it also points to one of the cardinal weaknesses of Obama's presidency: his prolonged hubris about how much a really smart, caring president could change the way government operates."

I'm going to go one step meaner. It is not only that his general swellness could not make the problems go away. The real "cardinal weakness of Obama's presidency" is that he thought he could layer additional services onto the weak foundation: promise more and deliver . . . nothing.

He pledged to end the claims backlog while simultaneously making a string of moves that summoned a flood of new claims to the department.

The administration made it easier for veterans to get compensation for both post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to Agent Orange -- a Vietnam War-era defoliant now tied to a long list of neurological disorders. Those moves extended help to long-suffering veterans, but they weren't matched by the VA reforms needed to adequately address the new claims. Agent Orange alone took up 37 percent of the Veterans Benefits Administration's claims-processing resources nationally from October 2010 to March 2012, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

And as claims soared during Obama's first years in office, so did wait times. In 2009, there were about 423,000 claims at the VA, with 150,000 claims pending for more than four months (the official wait time it takes a claim to be considered "backlogged"). By 2012, claims had exploded to more than 883,000 -- and 586,540 of those sat on the VA's backlog list.

Okay, so that car you bought always burned a little oil and the brakes were bad. Ummm, should you have installed a trailer hitch and towed your new boat up to the lake?

This is the same guy who thought he could just hand out Medicare cards. Just as he never draws the line from "health insurance" to "health care," none of his promises have any backing.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is "unacceptable" or that a dictator "must go," that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the way—when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red lines—the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice. -Eliot A. Cohen 'A Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration' WSJ
Posted by JohnGalt at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2014

Headline of the Year

The Wall St. Journal reviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's new book. In the "Life & Culture" section, the headline is "Book Review: 'Stress Test' by Timothy F. Geithner;" but on the Editorial Page (and the review is written by James Freeman) it says: "Review: The Man Who Knew Too Little"

Professor Insty might point out "This country's in the best of hands:"

None of this is particularly surprising in a man who, at the time he became president of the New York Fed, had never worked in finance or in any type of business--unless one counts a short stint in Henry Kissinger's consulting shop. At Dartmouth, Mr. Geithner "took just one economics class and found it especially dreary." After three years at Kissinger Associates, he spent 13 years at the Treasury Department, becoming close to both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, and then worked at the government-supported International Monetary Fund. Messrs. Rubin and Summers recommended him to run the New York Fed. "I felt intimidated by how much I had to learn," he writes of taking up the job in 2003.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

Only weeks after leaving office, Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to come out and fix it. Joe drives to Obama's new house, which is located in a very exclusive gated community where all the residents make more than $250,000 per year. how much it will cost. Joe checks his rate chart and says, "$9,500." "What?! $9,500?" Obama asks, stunned,

Joe says, "Yes, but what I do is charge those who make $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free," explains Joe. "This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It's known as 'Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014.' I’m Surprised you haven't heard of it

A comment by "Ricky" to a Fiscal Times article, "Obamacare is a 'Haves and Have Nots' Health System"

HT: My darling dagny.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2014

Knuckle Draggers!

I'm as surprised and outraged as you are to be fighting an anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-marriage equality nominee put forward by Obama's White House to serve on the federal bench in my home state in Georgia...We can turn this train around, but the Senate needs to know that the American people aren't willing to put the future of our courts in the hands of someone whose values should have been left behind in the 1950s. -- Rep. David Scott, D-Ga
Hat-tip: Instapundit
Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 7, 2014

Glad that Stoopid Cowboy is Gone...


Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2014

Century-old Injustice Made Right

At least, that's how Van Jones and Ward Churchill would describe it.

In 1905, Congress acted to reduce the size of Wind River by opening it up to homesteading by non-Indians, a decision affirmed in subsequent court rulings. It was determined that towns settled by homesteaders such as Riverton were not part of the reservation. To the EPA, both history and law are irrelevant.

Wyoming isn't sitting still for this.

"My deep concern," [Wyoming Governor Matt] Mead wrote in a statement issued last month, "is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state's boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law.

"This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?"

We too are concerned that an administration that has repeatedly ignored the courts, the Congress and the Constitution when the rule of law becomes too inconvenient in its pursuit of its fundamental transformation of America has now decided state sovereignty is an inconvenient relic.

Churchill can almost be heard, "Take that, bitches."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If you asked me why I posted this I would say because of its utility as another example of this President "doing whatever I want." My sense is that "lame duck" doesn't mean the same thing to him as his predecessors. This sort of dictatorial action is apt to become more frequent. Sort of a "SCOTUS job security program" you might say.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2014 4:17 PM

February 14, 2014

And When They Came For the Journalists...

Those of you who think the press has a leftist bias will be as surprised as I was to read that, under the President Barack H. Obama Adminstration, the Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with plans to install a "wet nurse" in "radio, television, and even newspaper newsrooms" purportedly to find out if minority viewpoints are suppressed.

Pai warned that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses, would dispatch its "researchers" to newsrooms across America to seek their "voluntary" compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as "wade into office politics" looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views.

The surprising part of this story is not the government's, but the press industry's action. Or ... inaction.

It's an idea so fraught with potential for abuse it ought to have news agencies screaming bloody murder. The very idea of Obama hipsters showing up in newsrooms, asking questions and judging if newspapers (over which they have no jurisdiction), radio and TV are sufficiently diverse is nothing short of thought control.

But the reaction from the National Association of Broadcasters was mealy-mouthed. The FCC "should reconsider" "qualitative" sections of its study, it wrote.

The FCC now says it will be "closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited," as a result of Pai's warning. Adweek actually reported that as a "retreat."

Perhaps the powers that be in the news industry don't yet realize that by "minority views" the Administration intends to empower those who might defend personal liberty and voluntary trade in a free market?




UPDATE: Added the link to the wet nurse clip, as I had originally intended.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I'm picturing the guy who gets parked at the Rearden plant by the State Science Institute.

In tandem with the smidgeon of an IRS scandal, this kind of stuff scares me.

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2014 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Me too. All of that racous laughter was of the nervous variety. You know, like "Hey look, our ship is sinking. Isn't that hilarious!!"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2014 5:23 PM

February 10, 2014

Obama Makes Mid-Sized Company Employees "Job Slaves"

In an article about the adminstration unilaterally revising the PPACA - again - those right-wing hacks at CNN embed a video bashing the President's signature legislation.

"Joe Biden said this is a big fucking deal. This is a big fucking disaster."

Next thing you know they'll be reporting that an American diplomat was murdered by terrorists in the middle east on the anniversary of 9/11.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2014


Conventional Wisdom states that the Obama Administration has increased sales of firearms and that the rest of the economy suffers. I'm happy to share a story that contradicts that.

The good people at Gibson Guitars have created a special edition Les Paul with the woods returned from confiscation in the famous Fish & Game SWAT team raid. They did the same with wood damaged in the 2010 flood. One of those found its way into my closet.

I do not really need another Les Paul. But I had to have one of these.


Government Series II Les Paul

Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville--only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended--it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson's history.

I emailed my awesome local guitar shop of my interest at 11:00 last night when I saw this on Reason.

Sadly for me, but happily for the cause of liberty, I received this first thing this morning:


I hope you and your lovely bride are doing well; to both of you we send our love and best wishes.

The Government LPs, as they are called by Gibson, went totally viral. We sold every one of ours on our shopping cart in minutes. I could have sold hundreds more. I have requested 100-200 from Gibson but I know there is no chance. Should one appear you will be the first to know and have the opportunity.

Best regards,

Posted by John Kranz at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

In addition to gun nuts the Doomsday Preppers are also, it seems, geetar players.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 3:56 PM

February 5, 2014

Don't Blame Me if the NYT Didn't Tell Ya

In homage to this week's stories here and here...


"Aww, c'mon now, you can't say it's my fault all you brutha's thought I was gonna create jobs. You'da known all along if you'd been watching Fox News."
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2014

Quote of the Day

With the careers of two popular Republican governors--who might have been destined for national office--hanging in the balance, such suspicions of federal prosecutorial partisanship have become inevitable. But given that such federal prosecutions for state political activities abound, one must not be too quick to conclude that the department's motives are purely partisan. There may be some nonpartisan recklessness too. -- Harvey Silverglate.
Well, okay then. And don't miss his excellent "Three Felonies a Day" [Review Corner].
Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2014

Constitutional Law Professor




Which is good because Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States provides that: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

A bit apocalyptic but, if the whitewash of the IRS stands, Bryon Preston is right.

We had a good run as a republic, but if this stands and no one responsible is punished, then the Internal Revenue Service will be a tool of partisan politics for the foreseeable future. No one who criticizes a sitting president will be safe from harassment and abuse from a federal agency that can absolutely destroy lives.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2014

Guaranteed Basic Income 'Blows'

My flirtation with the idea of a "mincome" or "Uncle Sam's Allowance" is well chronicled here but, in that same post, fellow Objectivist Craig Biddle explains how, despite my unbeknownst Platonic impulse to smooth over social divisions, the path to respecting individual rights is not embarked upon merely by violating those rights with more efficiency, transparency and less waste.

JK pragmatically concluded, "If the mincome were popular, I'd enjoy its strengths and accept its weaknesses as the pragmatic price of reform." Unfortunately, in pursuing popularity of a mincome, Republicans and Democrats would most surely find a "balance" more in line with the conditions enumerated by one entitled little twerp called Jesse A. Myerson. I won't link to his Rolling Stone piece - Jonah Goldberg did it so that I wouldn't have to - but to Jonah's deconstruction of it, which commences thusly:

"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.

While I sought to establish a safe level of capitalist subsistence for every man such that he could pursue pleasurable and profitable pursuits, the young Myerson wants everyone to be paid for nothing because "jobs blow." Other things "blow" in Myerson's estimation, including "hoarding" or what my parents used to call "saving for a rainy day." Millenial Myerson's Rolling Stone Rant is essentially the Grasshopper's Manifesto Against the Ant. Tsk... winter is here, silly insect. To bad you failed to "hoard."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link to Jonah's column. My Twitter feed erupted on the Rolling Stone nonsense, the major thesis being that this says a whole lot more about Rolling Stone's faux hipster chic than anything else.

Fair to discard the mincome (which at least sounds smaller than BIG) on slippery slope grounds. Demands are pretty much insatiable as Yaron Brook said. Those demanding $15/hour for a kid filling burgers are probably not going to be happy with a five-figure mincome.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:09 PM
But dagny thinks:

In response to Mr. Myerson, Megan Kelly found this bright millennial advocating a moral defense of capitalism as antidote to today's problems.

He says, "This is how the Occupy Wall Street movement thinks. This is a group of people who graduated with degrees in lesbian dance theory and then were surprised when they didn’t get a six-figure paycheck out of college.”

and “You have to be productive in a capitalist society in order to earn anything.”

Guess he doesn't consider Lesbian Dance Theory productive. I recommend the whole interview.

Posted by: dagny at January 7, 2014 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Kelly reading from the RS Piece: "Imagine a world, where people could contribute the skills that inspire them, like painting murals, rather than whatever stupid tasks that bosses need done." (~2:05)

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:23 PM
But dagny thinks:

Not sure I have ever put 2 comments in a row before. So much for lunchtime. Also of interest (to local Objectivists at least) in Mr. Shapiro's comments are his use of the terms selfish and altruistic.

Posted by: dagny at January 7, 2014 4:27 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Rolling Stone basically advocated communism.

I don't know if that has enough support to say that it would be part of the 'balancing' equation.

The slippery slope point is well taken. I can understand it, though after thinking about it I think I still disagree. As long as we have democracy the slippery slope is there. The only difference is that by collapsing all of our federal programs into one payment movements along the slope are unmistakable, apparent and seen by all.

I think I would prefer that to the behind the scenes creep of our current government.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 9, 2014 3:33 AM
But jk thinks:

I think we all agree that it is an improvement in transparency and efficiency.

To enact it would be a huge hurdle and would engender the full panoply of "you hate the poor" and "throwing granny off the cliff" responses expected of any reform effort.

I won't presume to speak for brother jg (but yes, he will have another vanilla porter...) but who wants to start a difficult fight for something they really do not believe in? It is indeed better, but it is actually less worse.

The same effort toward privatizing social security or rescuing the bleeding nation from the ravages of the PPACAo2010 would be more fruitful.

Larry Kudlow points out that eliminating the Corporate Tax would do more for the poor than most social programs. That's a tougher sell. Yet I can make a principled case for it that is consistent with my beliefs and the general advancement of liberty.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2014 11:13 AM

January 6, 2014

Presidential Bait-and-Switch, the Sequel

Long-time blog readers will recall the historical corrections here and here explaining that FDR did not end the Great Depression, he extended it. But not previously told is the story about how he was elected, following a Republican incumbent with a spending problem. Here is the short version. Holler if any of this seems familiar.

It was socialist Norman Thomas, not Franklin Roosevelt, who proposed massive increases in federal spending and deficits and sweeping interventions into the private economy - and he barely mustered 2 percent of the vote. When the dust settled, Warburg shows, we got what Thomas promised, more of what Hoover had been lambasted for, and almost nothing that FDR himself had pledged. FDR employed more "master minds" [a term FDR had used derisively while campaigning] to plan the economy than perhaps all previous presidents combined.

After detailing the promises and the duplicity, Warburg offered this assessment of the man who betrayed him and the country:

Much as I dislike to say so, it is my honest conviction that Mr. Roosevelt has utterly lost his sense of proportion. He sees himself as the one man who can save the country, as the one man who can "save capitalism from itself," as the one man who knows what is good for us and what is not. He sees himself as indispensable. And when a man thinks of himself as being indispensable . . . that man is headed for trouble.

Was FDR an economic wizard? Warburg reveals nothing of the sort, observing that FDR was "undeniably and shockingly superficial about anything that relates to finance." He was driven not by logic, facts, or humility but by "his emotional desires, predilections, and prejudices."

"Mr. Roosevelt," wrote Warburg, "gives me the impression that he can really believe what he wants to believe, really think what he wants to think, and really remember what he wants to remember, to a greater extent than anyone I have ever known." Less charitable observers might diagnose the problem as "delusions of grandeur."

H/T: The blog page of KHOW's Mandy Connell

UPDATE: Speaking of White House accounts, here is one of the first - by SecDef Robert Gates. WaPo My summary: Gates loved the military and its troops, detested the "truly ugly" culture in Congress, and thorougly mistrusted and disliked the President and his staff.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:10 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Amity Shlaes relates this story in her book "The Forgotten Man:"

As Henry Morgenthau [Secretary of the Treasury under FDR] reports in his diaries, prices were set by the president personally. FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard in April 1933 and by summer he was setting the gold price every morning from his bed. Morgenthau reports that at one point the president ordered the gold price up 21 cents. Why 21, Morganthau asked. Roosevelt replied, because it's 3Ă—7 and three is a lucky number. "If anyone knew how we set the gold price," wrote Morganthau in his diary, "they would be frightened."

Wizard of a different sort...

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2014 6:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't say I'm looking forward to future accounts of "wizardry" in the BHO White House, but there is no doubt the same sort of genius at work.

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2014 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Kindle version on sale for $2.99 today!

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Bought and delivered to both kids' Kindles. Now mister and missuz johngalt can read it together. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2014 7:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow. Nobody's ever listened to me before. :)

I think you'll both dig it.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2014 10:13 AM

January 3, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

It should have been a banner year for the re-elected Barack Obama. In January he promised us the rollout of new health care and climate change legislation, immigration reform, more gun control and new federal spending initiatives. Instead, his approval ratings dived to the lowest level at this point in a president's second term since Richard Nixon's.

Why the sudden unpopularity of the mellifluous and charismatic Obama? He forgot the old rule that a president can mislead, misstate and misquote only so many times.

-- Victor Davis Hanson on Investors' editorial page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2013

Income Inequality Quote of the Day

Mr. Obama returned to his favorite theme of rising income inequality on Wednesday, which he called "the defining challenge of our time." He ought to know since few Presidents have done more to increase inequality than he has. Median household income has fallen since the economic recovery began, while the rich who own capital assets have done very well thanks to the Federal Reserve's focus on reflating stock and home prices. Mr. Obama is the Chief Economist of Nottingham posing as Robin Hood. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Fool millenials twice, shame on them. If they will believe that employers will hire just as many of them at a 50% higher cost, why not just promise them they can get paid for not showing up? A law mandating that might really "lift liberal voter turnout in 2014." Kinda like the law that mandated free insurance for the uninsured while not affecting the insurance anyone already had. "Hey, kid, I got a really sweet deal on a beach front condo for ya."

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2013 12:09 PM

December 3, 2013

All Hail Taranto!


Best of the Web

Posted by John Kranz at 5:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2013

Silver Linings Thursday

It seems to me that there is a silver lining to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (Fascist-NV) rule change to eliminate any semblance of a filibuster process and make the Senate's advise and consent function a purely democratic process, subject to the same transient passions as any other majority-rule institution. "Cooling saucer" be damned.

On the bright side, there may no longer be any practical use for the once powerful RINO politician. After all, not a single Republican vote will be required to impose the Democrats' will upon the once Constitutionally protected American citizen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

There will be many silver linings. But that is a bug not a feature. The American government lurched one giant step toward majoritarianism today and that is bad. The good guys and liberty derived benefits from the 17th Amendment as well; I'll not celebrate it.

It has driven me to agree with Senator McCain: (h/t @JoshMBlackman) "I wish Robert Byrd had been on the floor here today. To see the travesty seen on a party line vote."

Richard Russell, Byrd -- we needed an "old lion" today and there were none.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 5:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Gallows humor" to be sure.

Byrd? He was just another old white dude. It was "so, so very obvious" that the Senate was becoming "obsolete."

It will get worse before it gets better, liberty lovers. But when it gets better it will be much, much so.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 5:33 PM
But jk thinks:

I got yer drift. My twitter feed is full of folks anxiously awaiting majority GOP rule in a year or three. Like a whole Banana Cream Pie for dinner, it might be fun for a while . . .

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 5:57 PM

November 14, 2013

Brutal Partisan Hackery

But it is all true:

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Just because everything that was predicted then, has come true now, doesn't make saying it any less "racist."

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2013 2:43 PM

November 7, 2013

"Do you have that Obamacare?"

Though it might have been a big risk several months ago, with the growing dissatisfaction over Obamacare emerging just in time for the CMA Awards, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hit it out of the park with this year’s funny skit.

Back story here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But AndyN thinks:


Why, if Amarillo by Morning wasn't one of my favorite songs, I don't think I could have sat through that whole offensive display.

Posted by: AndyN at November 7, 2013 6:56 PM

November 4, 2013

ACA Overreach "is Freedom"

It's one thing when a dyed-in-the-wool pure capitalist like me says it, but now the respected centrist Lawrence Kudlow says the "Affordable Care Act" is anti-freedom, unfair, unaffordable, and "well on its way to collapsing of its own weight" before concluding:

But here's the bigger point: All this is the inevitable result of massive central-planning exercises to control the economy. That's not freedom.

No amount of rescue legislation is going to change this. It's the elections of 2014 and 2016 that will allow the American people to reject this Soviet-style planning.

But I'll reference Krauthammer once again:

ObamaCare represents the greatest-ever expansion of the liberal entitlement-state dream. And you know what? That dream is crumbling and dissolving before our very eyes.

And that is freedom.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2013

"M for Mankind"

Promoted to embed from a comment by brother Keith, offered in response to melancholy references to the archaic and the obsolete, that among these are the idea that every man is an end within himself. And yes, it is today's ACA Horror Story.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It has been said, and I would agree, that the best of science fiction grows out of social commentary - a projected future based on the present. Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress," Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles," Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" all being fine examples. Rand's "Anthem" could be included here as well. Serling's work in the Twilight Zone often stood in this stream as well.

Thank you for the kind mention, too -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 1, 2013 4:48 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I love the Twilight Zone. If only TV had something so thought provoking today....

Posted by: T. Greer at November 2, 2013 5:12 AM
But jk thinks:

The blog contrarian is warming up... I want to wait until I watch the clip. I don't remember this episode and it sounds superb.

But please good people, go easy on the TV nostalgia in my presence. I will comment on the Twilight Zone episode and try to find a link to Jonah Goldberg's making my point better that I can.

But the point is that, while Twilight Zone was swell, this has filtered to the top out of the tons of nonsense of the time.

What saddens some TheeeSourcers is the expectation of intellectual capacity that we see in Twilight Zone or the Johnny Carson interview of Ayn Rand. It is certainly pitched to a lower common denominator these days.

But take away Rod Serling and you're left with I Love Lucy, Dick van Dyke, Andy Griffith and Hogan's Heroes. All of whom have their charms (well, maybe not Hogan), but compare poorly to Buffy, Firefly, the Miami Vice episode with Willie Nelson playing the Texas Ranger, Castle, Eureka, Defiance, and my new show Sleepy Hollow.

That, and a three-network lock on information that we're just beginning to crack at the edges. I'm less than nostalgic.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2013 1:58 PM

October 30, 2013

Another Progressive Translation:

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Audacity of Mendacity

"You lie!"

So this isn't a new claim. It also is no longer a partisan one, with the NBC News expose in our rear-view.

So let's review a list of the Affordable Care Act claims that were made, by a dishonest president, who DID care whether or not he could be elected:

"If you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period"

No, If -I- like your health plan, you can keep it. Until I decide otherwise.

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. No matter what."

No, If -I- like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Unless he's a Republican.

"Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance costs will go down."

No, under the ACA, "rich white people" will pay more, "lower income families and individuals will get the most help" and everyone will get less medical care. Well, everyone except the political class and their friends.

And today,, from HHS Secretary Sebelius, this:

"The website has never crashed. It is functional, but at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function."

Yes, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is not really dead after all. He's merely breathing at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function.

UPDATE: Holman Jenkins expounds on Lie #1.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Other mendacitudes are coming to mind:

"Mine will be the most transparent Administration in history."

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Time for some idiot to boldly step in and defend the President! 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

"Most transparent..." fails my mendacity test. Serious observers must bifurcate between mendacity and "the soft probity of political bull***t." On some level, Senator Obama likely believed that his would be the most transparent. There was no real mens rea there. It was an over-promise of biblical proportion, mind you, but I am not certain it was a lie.

IYLYHCYCKI, by comparison, is a lie. It was repeated when the President knew for a fact that it was not true. It was a lie that was required both to pass the bill and to reelect the President. Mens-freaking-rea.

If I live long enough to see a candidate I support win an election (I'm eating well and I don't smoke), I have no doubt there will be a few "most xparent" utterances which will fail to materialize.

Not expecting to expunge foolish promises, I think it behooves to keep a hard line between them and lying.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 7:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I really do want to give the president credit where it is due. Really badly. He's not an execrable man. As megalomaniacal Marxist Progressive statists go he's a swell guy. But his administration is not transparent, never has been and, in my opinion, was never intended to be. So yes, calling it a lie IS a matter of opinion. But does a "transparent" organization do this?

Downie writes, "The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration."

Part of that war on leaks is the "Insider Threat" surveillance program intended to tighten internal surveillance and set government workers to observing each other for signs of...well...transparency with information, which is officially labeled "tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States."

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 9:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Our only real point of disagreement is "was never intended to be." More specifically, I'm ready to elevate megalomania over mendacity.

President Obama believes absolutely in his abilities and those of his high-powered intellectual advisors. I'm not certain that he didn't think his whiz kids would put the budget and his calendar and his legislative agenda on the website [please wait . . . ], or that he would not go line-by-line through federal spending and eliminate waste. When his smart guys got in there and kicked out all those stupid and evil Texans, everything was going to be great.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:30 AM
But jk thinks:

New game: connect President Obama's personality defects to his policy failures! Ages six to adult.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fun! At least Marxist Progressive statist went unchallenged. :)

I believe that megalomania best applies in its informal sense, manifested most recently in the mandate by his signature legislation that we all "little" people have the kind of health insurance he permits us to have.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2013 3:40 PM

October 29, 2013

Oh, So THAT'S What "Period" and "Under Any Circumstances" Means

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, quoted in NRO's Corner:

"It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

Many of us knew it had to be a lie at the time. We just didn't know that "No ifs, ands or buts" doesn't also mean "no assumings."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

From "what 'is' is" to "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

Bonus HS: Jay Carney Berates Insurance Companies For Complying With Obamacare

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2013 3:48 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States

Bret Stephens: "The president didn't know the NSA was spying on world leaders, but he's found time for at least 146 rounds of golf."


The WSJ Ed Page shares that dignified photo and Stephens enumerates several examples of the President's diffident, deracinated management style.

Mister Obama is truly going to keep historians busy for decades.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2013

Don't Take Away the Rope!

I really enjoyed reading this Investor's editorial and leaned toward posting. Then I saw who wrote it and couldn't get to the login page too quickly.

The mainstream media have in large part turned against ObamaCare, and all these factoids are going to be reported. So that raises the question regarding 2014: Do Republicans really want to bail out Obama by handing him a year's delay? If all the flaws in ObamaCare do pan out, they may well overshadow the shutdown negatives suffered by the GOP.

I think I am lining up on Chris Ruddy's side. There's an old political adage: If your opponent is determined to hang himself, for heaven's sake, don't take away the rope.

The "I" the author refers to is Lawrence Kudlow. And I agree.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:05 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dude should get his own tv show . . .

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2013 5:15 PM

October 24, 2013

Now it's our turn

I must admit, not every ACA horror story is all that horrible.

For some time now I've been trying to explain that democrats in general, and President Obama in particular, have become Health Insurance salesmen instead of politicians. Meaning, that their popularity now depends on voters being happy about the cost benefit ratio of their health insurance plans. For most of my lifetime Republicans have never had a better cudgel with which to bludgeon their opponent. But now my point is being made in the "On the left" column at IBD Ed page by Dana Milbank:

This is perhaps the biggest problem facing ObamaCare and probably will haunt it long after the technical problems at are fixed.

Because of all the noise and disinformation, President Obama and the Democrats don't just own ObamaCare as a political issue. They own health care. Anytime something bad happens -- premiums rise, or employers change plans or pare coverage -- ObamaCare will be blamed, even if the new law had nothing to do with the change.

"It's one of the most frustrating things," says Brad Woodhouse, the former Democratic National Committee official who runs Americans United for Change. "If anybody has a problem with health care, Republicans say it has to be a problem with ObamaCare."

Does Woodhouse believe Democrats now own health care? "In some ways we probably do, which is unfair," he said. "Nobody said ObamaCare was a panacea for everything."

Rilly? That's sure what it sounded like when he was campaigning for President. Other than that though, I agree! (Who says we can't compromise.) It's Obamacare's fault!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The needle to be threaded is dissatisfaction with the status quo ante which will be revised down. "Yeah, he broke it, but it was so terrible -- and those damnëd Republicans wouldn't let us have single payer!"

I am tempted to defend it -- there were enough free market parts that people came from all over the world to have what we had until last week. And, it saved my life and my wife's without financial ruin.

But the nonsense of employer tax breaks leaves many with a bad memories. And I think the left's current play is to foment and magnify those.

On whose side will the media cheerleaders be?

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2013 7:17 PM

October 23, 2013

Vote for Me, I canceled your health insurance!

I don't think there would be any debate that this constitutes an "Affordable Care Act" horror story - Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of Obamacare. Sixteen million, for starters.

Kaiser Health News called up a few insurers around the country and found that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received cancellation notices.

"[T]he cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them," according to Kaiser Health News reporters Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby.

And that doesn't include small groups or, after their 1 year delay, large group plans.

You'll love it! Trust us!

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:00 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Got to break some eggs to make an omelet!

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2013 5:48 PM
But AndyN thinks:

A lot of detractors have been focusing on the mandate and people getting fined, um, taxed come April if they don't have insurance, but I think this is the part that's really going to bite the Democrats in the butt. It's one thing to tell people that you'll probably have the web site glitches ironed out well before the end of the 6 month open enrollment, and if you don't you'll put off the mandate. It's another thing entirely to tell people who are insured right now that come January they'll either have to go without insurance or buy at increased rates without the potential government subsidies they were promised to ease the pain.

Posted by: AndyN at October 23, 2013 9:35 PM
But Jk thinks:

A Kudlow guest discusses a popular loophole where insurers offer to change the renewal date to December to avoid Obamacare mandates. Those offered are choosing this 15:1.

Like the President said: if you like your plan, you can keep it for another 11 months.

Posted by: Jk at October 23, 2013 10:29 PM

Obamacare Rollout Could Hurt Dems in 2014

Don't take my word for it. Here is the spin from NPR:

For the congressional Democrats whose votes made the Affordable Care Act a reality and who will have to defend their support for the law in the 2014 midterm elections, the problems with the federal website are a political nightmare.

Not only do the website's problems embolden the Republican opposition to the law; they place Democrats on the defensive at a time when the party appears to have the advantage coming out of the shutdown/debt default crises.

Several recent polls suggest that Republicans greatly damaged themselves by forcing the crisis, a self-inflicted wound Democrats are eager to exploit. Some of the more ebullient Democrats even claimed that their chances for retaking the House had improved significantly.

But now there's a chance 2014 could find Democrats conducting their own version of damage control, as a result of the disastrous digital rollout.

We may yet learn which profession is most reviled by the American public: politicians, or insurance salesmen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:35 PM | Comments (0)

"Nobody is more frustrated than me

The transcript of President Obama's Rose Garden speech on Obamacare glitches is available, curiously, in the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day Archives: "I order you to solve it!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:19 AM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at October 23, 2013 12:17 PM

October 16, 2013

Open for Redistribution!

After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.

I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:

1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.

2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.

3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.

Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."

One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.

Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!


"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?"

ht: Terri

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter version: "Let it burn."

The only downside to all this is that when Obamacare - and one fine day not long after that, Leviathan himself - crashes, there are going to be people on the other side saying that it was doomed because we didn't cede enough authority or enough resources to it. That we tried it only halfway, and didn't go big, and it was the fault of the conservatives. Some - true believers of the left and a large posse of voters with room-temperature IQs - will buy that.

All that being said, we are going to see in our lifetimes Carthage salt itself. That's going to be both historic and spectacular.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 16, 2013 6:38 PM

Give Thanks and Praise!



I'm sure you'll want to sign.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

What you can't see in the screen shot above, since the "Take Action" button has been shifted over the heading for some reason, is that the heading reads, "Wonderful to behold: Democrats are standing up to Republicans"

Yeah. Because the GOP has been running roughshod over the Obama Administration ever since it took office.

"Markos, your daily Kool-Aid delivery has arrived."

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2013 2:20 PM

October 14, 2013

Obnoxious Red Sox Fan: "You Didn't Earn That!"

My first thought when I saw the video of this classless Boston Red Sox fan manhandle a home run baseball away from the woman next to him so that he could throw it back onto the field in an infantile display of tribal disapproval was, "that's a direct consequence of teaching people that any act can be tolerated if it is committed in the name of "the public good." I could almost hear the cretin shout, "You didn't earn that" as he forcibly took property from a weaker person of the fairer sex who had the audacity to also yell, "That's my baseball!"

But the real story here, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, is that the guy is a racist who allegedly called another fan wearing a Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers jersey "Prince Fielder's crackhead brother" and "yelled at another African-American Tigers fan walking through the section, saying: "Go back to the ghetto." Of course the worst offense came as Mister Red Sox fan was being escorted from the area by stadium security and answered a "bye-bye" salutation from the Fielder jersey wearer with "Bye, Travon."

The closest Passan came to criticizing Mr. Red Sox fan was this paragraph about the act that got him ejected.

Video of the man taking the ball from a woman sitting next to him and chucking it onto the field quickly went viral as Boston faced a five-run deficit. The Red Sox came back for a dramatic 6-5 victory to even the ALCS at one game apiece.

Perhaps he would have cared more about the woman with the ball if she had been African-American.

I'll close with the cautionary advice of a commenter to the original linked story:

don't lump the entire Boston crowd in with this idiot... only about 90% of them behave like him.

Stay classy, Boston.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:21 PM | Comments (0)

When You've Lost Ezra Klein...

1. So far, the Affordable Care Act's launch has been a failure. Not "troubled." Not "glitchy." A failure. But "so far" only encompasses 14 days. The hard question is whether the launch will still be floundering on day 30, and on day 45. -- Juicebox Mafioso, Ezra Klein
Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2013


Posted by JohnGalt at 6:43 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

Wobbly Republicans should remember why they got into this fight in the first place: to stop ObamaCare. If they cave now, they'll have given up their best chance to spare the country this monumental disaster. -IBD Editorial: Is GOP Caving With Victory at Hand?
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 7, 2013

Steyn: That Which Shall Not Be Discussed

John Stossel took a peek into Nancy Pelosi's "bare" cupboard last night to see if she was correct in saying there is nothing left to cut. Brilliantly, he placed Social Security, Medicare and military spending on top of the cupboard since "those are so big they don't even fit in the cupboard." Mark Steyn takes on the same issue today saying, Too Much of the Federal Government Can't Be Shut Down.

"Mandatory spending" (Social Security, Medicare et al.) is authorized in perpetuity -- or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress' so-called federal budget process.

That's why you're reading government "shutdown" stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady's ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.

He segues from there to what passes for a spending prioritization process in the capitol of our national, nee federal, government.

Pace Sen. Reid, Republican proposals to allocate spending through targeted, mere multi-billion-dollar appropriations is not only not "irresponsible" but, in fact, a vast improvement over the "continuing resolution": To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, but continuing power corrupts continually.

America has no budget process. That's why it's the brokest nation in history. So a budgeting process that can't control the budget in a legislature that can't legislate leads to a government shutdown that shuts down open areas of grassland and the unmanned boat launch on the Bighorn River in Montana.

I've been Tweeting and Facebooking that we're witnessing day whatever-it-is of "Essential Government." In reality, what's still steaming ahead full is well beyond what is essential.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

How's about we put all the mandatory items in Al Gore's lockbox?

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2013 12:21 AM

October 6, 2013

Quote of the Day

Meanwhile, President Obama has become the Hamlet of the West Wing: One minute he's for bombing Syria, the next he's not; one minute Larry Summers will succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the next he won't; one minute the president is jetting off to Asia, the next he's not. To be in charge, or not to be in charge: that is indeed the question. -- Niall Ferguson

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Robert Tracinski's first item speaks well to this (both hope and caution).

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cindy Vinson is no TEA Partier and while she may initially say she's willing to hold out hope for "a correction over a handful of years" she may change her mind sooner rather than later as she sees health insurance costs go ever higher - not the sort of "correction" to which she undoubtedly refers.

Who suspects that less than 80 percent of those currently insured, whose rates will universally increase, will react with "great vengeance and furious anger" to their new, improved, "fair" insurance bill?

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeahr,but: that sounds like the Dan Henniger/Kim Strassel plan of let ObamaCare® sink itself with its general unwieldy craptasticness (they probably use different terms from the WSJ Style Book).

I don't see an end path to the shutdown. "Great vengeance and furious anger" will take longer than we can we can keep Commissaries closed.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

But it is a good time!

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2013 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It doesn't take as long as you think. Popular will is measured in opinion poll cycles, not election cycles.

My favorite part of the spectacle is how cock-sure the Democrats are. They are throwing the Republicans, at least the "terrorist" wing, into that there briar patch.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In a Washington Times Op-Ed, Dean Clancey tells us How the GOP Can Win the Shutdown Hint: By saying they'll block every Republican "mini-bill" no matter how popular, the Democrats have become the extreme obstructionists.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2013 5:23 PM

October 5, 2013

Same old insurance rules

So supposedly the new health care law eliminates pre-existing condition restrictions. And you can stay on your parents' plan until you are 26 or some such. But there's still an "open-enrollment" period, which of course means that there's a closed enrollment period.

March 31, 2014

Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage closes on March 31, 2014. Be sure to visit the Marketplace and enroll in a plan before this date.

After March 31, 2014, you can get new private health insurance for 2014 only through a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event like a job loss, birth, or divorce.

Government - Making life better since 1930.

UPDATE: Are we worried yet? What could possibly go wrong?

"You are allowing Connect for Health Colorado and the Department to use Social Security numbers and other information from your application to request and receive information or records to confirm the information in your application. You release Connect for Health Colorado and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing from all liability for sharing this information with other agencies for this purpose. For example, Connect for Health Colorado and the Department may get and share your information with any of the following agencies: Social Security Administration; Internal Revenue Service; United States Customs and Immigration Services; Department of Homeland Security; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Colorado Department of Labor and Employment; Financial institutions (banks, savings and loans, credit unions, insurance companies, etc.); child support enforcement agencies; employers; courts; and other federal or state agencies. We need this information to check your eligibility for health insurance or help paying for health insurance, if you choose to apply, and give you the best service possible."
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2013

Obummercare Quote of the Day

"Are you F'ing kidding me????" she wrote on the government's Obamacare Facebook page. "Where the HELL am I supposed to get $3,000 more a year to pay for this 'bronze' health insurance plan!?!??? And I DO NOT EVEN WANT INSURANCE to begin with!! This is frightening," -"Single mother of two" commenting on Facebook page

Ummm ... told ya.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:48 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Audit for her!

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2013 5:21 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Audits are much more cost-effective than re-education camps, since the prisoners wind up paying for their imprisonment.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 11, 2013 1:16 PM

October 3, 2013

Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip: Taranto

Posted by John Kranz at 5:22 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

It's a testment to his political skill that I can't picture the president saying the following but Reid? All day long-

"If you won't play by my rules then I'm taking my federally owned toys and going home."

Normandy? Really? You can't inconvenience enough people within our national boundaries that you have to go to the ends of the earth to show the Republicans just how much America needs its federal government services? African American gentleman, please.

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2013 11:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And boaters.

Posted by: johngalt at October 5, 2013 4:25 PM

October 2, 2013

"Fixing" Health Care

This chart from another article - 8 Charts That Explain the Explosive Growth of U.S. Health Care Costs, shows how government medical spending, originally promised to help Americans afford care, has had the opposite effect.


Gosh, maybe we really do need another huge new federal health care program like Obamacare to "fix things."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Obamacare fixes the American healthcare system in the same sense that my two dogs were "fixed." The veterinary sense.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 2, 2013 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Do you suppose that is how, somewhere within the 2000 plus pages of the ACA that we are still "finding out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy" costs will ultimately be contained? Not just "fixing" the American healthcare system, but "fixing" Americans?

Wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 5:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Gives a whole new meaning to "gird your loins," doesn't it - and in this case, with a cast-iron codpiece...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 2, 2013 6:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 9:19 PM

So that's how the Obama campaign raised so much cash "on the internet"

This could be an "Otequay of the Ayday" post:

“We’re all familiar with the J-curve in private equity,” said Joseph Dear chief investment officer at the California Public Employee Retirement System in March. “Well, for CalPERS, clean-tech investing has got an L-curve for ‘lose.’”

“Our experience is this has been a noble way to lose money,” Dear added.

From an article at -- The Venture Corporatists - "Saving the planet" has made lot of investors richer. Taxpayers? Not so much, which concludes:

As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected “social entrepreneurs” reap a windfall.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

Keep it Shut

A talk radio caller made a prescient comment this morning. We're not in the midst of a "government shutdown" or even a "partial government shutdown." Instead we're witnessing a "non-essential government shutdown." What a perfect opportunity for Americans to experience life without non-essential government! The longer it goes on, the less it will be missed as individuals take the initiative - much like several Republican congressmen who moved arbitrary barricades closing the WWII Memorial in D.C. yesterday - to solve problems and make things work. You know, that "land of the free" business.

Investors runs an editorial this morning that says not just that the "shutdown" was a good idea, but that Republicans should "own it" and keep it going as long as possible. Read the whole thing, but here is the lede, to whet your appetite:

The Republican Party didn't blink, and as a result non-essential aspects of the federal government are shutting down. Republican politicians and members should cheer, as the "Stupid Party" actually revealed a political and economic savvy that will serve it well in 2014 and beyond.

The Republican Party now has a brand that says it's willing to stand athwart the obnoxious growth of Leviathan. Its decision to allow a shutdown of the federal government, and ideally let it remain shut through the 2014 elections absent substantial concessions from the Democrats, is both good politics and economics.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | Comments (4)
But dagny thinks:

I was listening to the radio this morning and Congressman Perlmutter was on. He stated that the reason that the government shut down was a bad idea was because he had a single mother government employee in his office crying because she had been furloughed and didn't know how she was going to make ends meet. So my question is this: Why is her situation any worse than millions of others who have been laid off or furloughed as non-essential in private industry during the recession?

Posted by: dagny at October 2, 2013 1:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop it, dagny! I'm cryin' my eyes out...

Larry Kudlow asked the same thing last night. Cisco just laid off 1300. The fed workers will likely be back to work and will probably get back pay for stuff they did not do. Laid-off Cisco workers? A free pocket-protector with John Chambers's picture on it.

I should not have been flippant. A friend at work just had a baby and her husband is furloughed -- I am wrong to make light of it. But while individual worker's plights are tragic, fed workers qua fed workers have a lot of stability compared to the private sector (or as some call it real life). As a collective, they are pretty incapable of engendering sympathy.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 6:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A "recession" is when your neighbor loses his job.

A "depression" is when you lose your job.

The "apocalypse" is when government workers have to be fired. (Or when the Air Force-Navy game is canceled.)

There have been several depressions and many recessions in the history of the American economy, but I'm not aware of even a single apocalypse.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 6:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A caller this AM (same day as other post - lots of driving) when from KHOW to KNUS nearly as fast as I could change the channel encouraging Mandy and then Peter Boyles to start cheering the:

...wait for it.....


Obam-uh's worst nightmare. Someone please start tweeting the heck of out this: I love it!!!!!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:40 PM

Who Says There's No Good News?

It takes a great man to admit he was wrong. And, as Captain Mal would say, "I'm allright." On July 30, I wrote:

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Last evening I asked the President that my name be withdrawn from further consideration as his nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It appears that my nomination will not be reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I am withdrawing so that the President can move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners.

I cannot remember the last time it felt this good to be wrong! Hallelujah!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yesssss! #EnvironmentalismBacklash

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hugh Hewitt noticed today (or was it Rosen? I drove to H.Ranch today...) that M.Landreaux - from an oil state - and the senator from W.Wa (Shhh, coallll) were not swayed by his out'n out lies about his part in building up Ritter's renewable energy 'portfolio' but all-but demonizing coal & gas.

Yes, Colorado, there IS a Santa Claus !

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:34 PM

October 1, 2013

Bottom Story of the Day

Twitchy: "Surprise! Obamacare health insurance exchange websites don’t work; a total mess."

Of course, nobody is paying attention to the #epicobamafail -- we've a government shutdown! Republicans scaring old ladies and ruining your family vacation.

I will be a team player on Facebook and defend the valid reasons for getting where we has gotten to be. But I have to share my discontent with ThreeSourcers: we provided the Democrats with their escape pass.

An interesting nugget. We talked some of courage yesterday. The brave Republicans versus the Sir-Rodney-not-so-brave-as-Ted-Cruz Republicans. On Kudlow, it was mentioned that most GOP house members are in very safe seats thanks to gerrymandering. The real fear of most is a Tea-Party primary challenger. Ergo, supporting the shutdown was in many instances the craven and cowardly course. I don't like to guess what is in a representative's cold, cold heart. But I repeat this because the People's Front of Judea was pretty quick to call my side cowardly.

[Editor's note: two Monty Python references in one paragraph is prohibited by the ThreeSources Style Guide and should have been expunged. However, due to the government shutdown...]

Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, trying to keep up here... It is cowardly to not be cowardly?

I suggest we just circle the wagons as, regardless of how we got here, here we are.

I speculated to my dear dagny this morning that the Cruz strategy and the Boehner strategy were linked from the start, with the latter intended as the "moderate" and "reasonable" compromise in stark contrast to the "wacko bird" defund it effort. Cruz has endorsed the house effort, after all. Did the president and congressional democrats just get good cop, bad copped?

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

You credit Republicans with more "game" than I have seen before, but there is a first time for everything.

Yessir, I'm firmly entrenched in the wagon circle and will fight as long as ammunition holds out.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 9:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On second thought, in light of the editorial I just linked, perhaps the "circle the wagons" analogy only makes sense if those on the inside of the circle comprise "non-essential government." They are the ones who await a cavalry charge that, if house Republicans have the necessary spine, will never come.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:47 PM

No Other Way Out

Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

If a government shut down in Washington D.C., would it even make a noise?

It's Shutdown Eve and there's a fun meme trending on Twitter: #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

These are pretty awesome. I retain my sense of humor.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2013 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I, like, big, cuts and I cannot lie." LOL

Did you see my original one, Monty Python inspired? I was actually humming it on my way home, before I ever discovered #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

"I'm a Democrat and I'm Okay, I Sleep All Night and I Fib All Day."

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 6:39 PM

September 10, 2013

No, no, no... anything but that!

Hollywood Reporter (magazine): "Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist."

Last week I asked, "So, you're on board for going to war with no more justification than 'the black president decided we should?'" Days later Ed Asner answered, "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama." In other words, "yes."

It's not a partisan thing, according to Ed.

"Whether it's a Republican or Democrat president, or Republican or Democrat Congress -- and it doesn't make a God-damned difference -- it behooves us to get off our ass and ask these questions," Asner said.

Just don't ever disagree with a black president.

More good anti-war schadenfreude at the first link.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is friggin' hilarious: from "Americans for whatever Barack Obama wants"

P.S.: who's Jay-z?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2013 1:55 AM

September 5, 2013

I'll be Post-Feminist in the Post-Patriarchy!

The title of this post is my favorite bumper sticker ever from "the other side."

But the President was certainly right that there is "more work to do." There are still employers out there -- Prof. Mark J Perry has found -- that think they can get away with paying women less than 87 cents for every dollar they'd pay a man:


^&*@-*ing Troglodytes!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Deep in my mind, I'm hearing the President's voice saying "make me a sammich" - and then winding up on the business end of a bat'leth.

This is what "binders full of women" is all about, friends - blatant sexism. They told me that if I voted for Romney, we'd see a policy of sexism in the White House - AND THEY WERE RIGHT!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 5, 2013 2:45 PM

September 1, 2013

One Cheer for Sec. Kerry

I am turning into an Administration cheerleader, but Secretary of State John Kerry was pretty good on FOX News Sunday. He has been given a bad hand, yet was forceful and statesmanlike.

I have 100 points of disagreement, but if I may damn with faint praise: he is immeasurably better than Sec. Clinton. He is silver-tounged and diplomatic -- pretty good in his line of work.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:17 PM | Comments (4)
But Jk thinks:

OTOH, am I the only one hearing "We'll be greeted as liberators?"

Posted by: Jk at September 1, 2013 3:59 PM
But Jk thinks:

Ann Althouse is not impressed.

Posted by: Jk at September 1, 2013 10:53 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

He speaks well but manages poorly.

Raymond Pritchett said it well at the Naval affairs blog Information dissemination:

With that said, there is no question the reaction so far by the White House to the events in Syria have been mismanaged by national security leadership. It is impossible for me to imagine Tom Donilan, Hillary Clinton, and Leon Panetta allowing this situation to unfold like what we have seen this week with Susan Rice, John Kerry, and Chuck Hagel. It is also impossible for me to believe that Donilan would ever go along with a plan like this.

"But the military strategy that the Obama administration is considering is not linked to its larger diplomatic strategy of persuading President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to yield power and join in negotiations that would end the bloody civil war.'

Only someone as strategically inept as Susan Rice would think this is a good idea. Democrats have defended Susan Rice when the evidence has been overwhelming she really isn't qualified to be top National Security advisor, and her inexperience outside her foggy bubble is on parade right now. Partisans in the US keep making the same mistakes. They get caught up listening to what their political opponents say and don't pay enough attention to what the career oriented professionals say. The line of non-partisan career national security professionals who have deep respect for Susan Rice for her intellectual capacity of national security affairs is very short, and today may be invisible.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 3, 2013 7:29 PM
But jk thinks:

He's batting .667. I'll second the reasonably high esteem for Panetta and Donilan: I do not see eye-to-eye on partisan issues, but they are serious folks.

I'm astonished that Secretary Clinton is in anybody's Pantheon. I think she has been vastly overrated in every position she has held. Most notable is her term as SecState -- during which all of this misery happened.

My sympathy for Sec. Longface is that he inherited this mess and was brutally hung out to dry by the President. Yet he still does a pretty good job bluffing with a pair of threes. (And, no, don't count the metaphors in that last sentence and send it to Taranto.)

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2013 10:43 AM

August 31, 2013

Meta-Quote of the Day

And Lose the Name of Action
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
So speaks Hamlet, describing the curse of his own paralyzing indecisiveness, at the conclusion of Shakespeare's most famous soliloquy. These are the lines that have been going through my head over the past week as I have watched President Obama agonize over the big question about Syria: to bomb or not to bomb? -- Robert Tracinski
Nails it, I think.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2013

Restoring America's Standing in the World

We can thank President Obama for showing the peoples of other nations that Americans are "sophisticated" and not mere reckless "cowboys."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2013

A Cheer for USAG Eric Holder

Where credit is due. The Denver Post:

The federal government, at least initially, will not stand in the way of marijuana legalization in Colorado or Washington.

In a memo sent out Thursday to federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice said it will not make it a priority to block marijuana-legalization laws in Colorado or Washington or close down recreational marijuana stores, so long as the stores abide by state regulations.

It pains me to say nice things about the Attorney General. But compare this to AG John Ashcroft persecuting (sic) Angel Raich. Woohoo, Eric Holder!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe the TEA Party would be more popular if we renamed it WEED Party...

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2013 11:17 AM

August 20, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

Aside from these personal fixes, there is a solution to put the country (including any wayward stragglers or stunted post-adolescents) back on the path of prosperity. Americans could stop supporting anti-growth politicians pushing agendas that strangle the economy, weaken the dollar, and surreptitiously erode civil liberties, but let’s be serious. 60% of those ages 18-29 reelected President Obama. So, what’s left? Keep checking feeds, going on pointless dates, and buying more gadgets? Frankl would tell the lost ones to find a will to meaning in this world, but finding purpose can be put off, even if the abyss persists and they pester the rest of the world as impotently self-involved non-starters, for lack of ever finding a self or a start.

From an excellent awesome Forbes article Millions Of Millenials Live At Home And Support The Policies That Keep Them There by millenial Maura Pennington (BA Russian, Dartmouth, 2009.)

HT: Rush Limbaugh

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:02 PM | Comments (4)
But Terri thinks:

Oh brother.
They are certainly lost, those who have no will to be on their own.
Were they coddled too much? Are there so many rules that the paradigm becomes, "I can't"? I wanted to live on own so badly as an 18 year old I shared a studio with 4 other people in order to do so. It was well worth it, and I had a great child hood home.

Posted by: Terri at August 20, 2013 6:21 PM
But Terri thinks:

Of course I also walked 5 miles up hill both ways to get to school in the mornings. :-)

Posted by: Terri at August 20, 2013 6:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh riffed on this some more yesterday. He said millenials are taught they're "special" even without accomplishing anything, and that the pathway to happiness (or to be "free from want?") is to, simply, want less. Forget a car, use a bike and the bus. Forget an apartment, just hang in the 'rents basement. Wardrobe? How much do blue jeans and Che T-shirts cost, anyway?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2013 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Does that include Kim Kardashian in an Obama Shirt?

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2013 3:43 PM

Friends like U.S.

As the pro-western Egyptian military declares, through its actions, that it is with George W. Bush and not the terrorists, America's government treats them like pariahs. If I didn't know better I'd think our President was with the terrorists. But there is scant evidence to the contrary. IBD editorial:

In 2009, his grandiose speech in Cairo apologized for America's historical role in the Middle East and snubbed Mubarak, setting the stage for the Egyptian president's overthrow by the mob.

When the worst-case scenario happened and an operative for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president, Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, went to Cairo and personally coddled him.

President Obama's foreign policy is reminiscent of his domestic economic policy, where he uses the power of government to punish winners and reward losers. With friends like him, Egypt (and American business) don't need enemies.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I certainly agree it was bungled. And I'm not above blaming the President's ego. (Too bad Egypt had to try and get by for 5,000 years without his awesomeness).

But now that we're in the soup, I'm not sure fulsome support of the Military is a slam dunk. Bret Stephens presents it as the least-worst option, which I might buy. But al-Sisi as sort of a Dick Cheney with better aim . . . I'm not sure I'm buying that.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2013 5:25 PM
But jk thinks:

OTOH: Ambassador Marc Ginsberg was on Kudlow last night and made a solid case for this.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2013 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"McCain and Graham, the little Bobsey twins..." LOL! He walked it back, but still.

I'm not sure, but it sounded like Ambassador Ginsberg said the Egyptian army is racist. Isn't that what "displeasure with the Obama Administration" means?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2013 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Damned Egyptian Army Racist Teabaggers!!!

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2013 3:48 PM

July 31, 2013

Under President Obama, "Income Gap" gets ... Wider

Investors Editorial Page:

Research by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez shows that since the Obama recovery started in June 2009, the average income of the top 1% grew 11.2% in real terms through 2011.

The bottom 99%, in contrast, saw their incomes shrink by 0.4%.

As a result, 121% of the gains in real income during Obama's recovery have gone to the top 1%. By comparison, the top 1% captured 65% of income gains during the Bush expansion of 2002-07, and 45% of the gains under Clinton's expansion in the 1990s.

The Census Bureau's official measure of income inequality — called the Gini index — shows similar results. During the Bush years, the index was flat overall — finishing in 2008 exactly where it started in 2001.

It's gone up each year since Obama has been president and now stands at all-time highs.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily:
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

The editorial blames "Obama's historically weak economic recovery, which has left the rest of the country falling behind while the wealthy have managed to make gains." That is surely a factor, but the bigger reason is, I think, Stealthflation. Hear me out - I left the following comment on the IBD article:

The non-recovery recovery is one explanation for the growing gap between rich and poor under President "spread the wealth around." The other, perhaps more powerful effect, is the roughly 10 percent per year that working people's purchasing power declines each year as a result of monetary inflation - inflation that is carefully excluded from government CPI data but that exists nontheless as illustrated by the Chapwood Index (dot com) of real consumer commodity costs. Inflation hurts most those with less disposable income, but barely affects the so-called "one-percent" since so much of their income comes from stock market investments, which actually increase with higher inflation. I like to call this intentionally hidden yet fully real inflation "stealthflation." But I wasn't the first.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

It's not about choosing what's in the basket, it's about tracking the prices of the SAME ITEMS rather than changing the basket to keep the total cost as low as you can manage.

Just as gold is not a good monetary base, it is not a good inflation index. It reflects fear, uncertainty and doubt (thanks JC!) more than supply and demand, as our friendly wager demonstrated.

Your list of ways government screws people is precisely correct, but whatever made you think there's any limit to said screwing? Each of them represents a special interest profiting over the diffuse interest of the consumer. Inflation is the profit of the special interest called "central bankers" or FED.

I don't care what's in an indexing basket, as long as it includes two of the three top expenses for nearly every working family: food and energy, and just as important - does not get revised from year to year.

Every 'merican has a natural right to drive his own car to work five days a week, eat fast food half of the time and tv dinners the other half, and watch WWE or American Idol on an HD flat screen measured in feet rather than inches. The cost of doing all of this will ALWAYS increase (as long as there are central bankers pulling the strings) so it shouldn't be such a mystery to figure out how MUCH more it costs every year. Saying that "hamburger can replace steak, if needed, to stay on budget" doesn't account for the guy who could already afford only hamburger.

Let me propose a new diet I'll name "The M2 Diet." Eat only M2 and your budget and your waistline will both shrink precipitously.

Apologies for the thinly-veiled snark but I'm as frustrated by those who ignore price inflation as you are by my insistence it is real.

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2013 2:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"Every six months, we take the precise price for the same item quarter by quarter and calculate the increase or decrease, then developed a weighted index based on price. These items include basically everything that most Americans consumer during the course of their lives."

So yeah, go ahead and criticize the lonely financial planner who created this thing in his garage on weekends. It still gives a better indication of "the true cost of maintaining a constant standard of living."

"It is universally assumed that the government’s rate of inflation is accurate. It simply isn’t… This blind acceptance is one of the main reasons people are reliant on the government entitlement programs that are bankrupting our country."
Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2013 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I read all they had on the site the first time you mentioned it. I'll start with small quibbles: he wants a higher index so that inflation adjusted entitlements pay more. I think one of the greatest mistakes of Social Security has been to index to wage growth instead of inflation -- I want to grow them less.

He was looking for a model that reported higher increases because of Mom's alimony, and coincidentally it helps his primary business because he can tell a fixed income investor beating the PCE or CPI that they should not be content. Doesn't make him wrong, just convenient.

The larger quibble is that this is not an abstruse, understudied branch of economics: this is well studied academically, and hotly debated on CNBC on days that end with 'y.'

Any basket of goods measurement is at best a proxy for monetary inflation. I don't think anyone blindly accepts the CPI -- that is a strawman. It is written into contracts and legislation because a simple value is needed. Its biggest failing is that you change the basket and you change the results. Chapwood found a basket that helps Mom. And you found Chapwood.

It's a better bad estimation because he took a poll? I respect both crowdsourcing and Starbucks. But the recent increase in my grande breve cappuccino is not a monetary phenomenon -- it is a corporate pricing decision of a cartelized commodity based on market share and the perceived elasticity of my addiction.

You're by no means alone. Stand-Up Economist II Peter Schiff was arguing with Kudlow last week. Were I a nicer guy, I'd've found and posted a clip. But I'm in Michael Mann's shoes here: the great preponderance of mainstream credentialed economists reject out of hand a suggestion of 7-10% inflation. I'll need a Dr. William Gray or Richard Lindzen-class argument to change sides. not a guy who mistakes a proxy for the measure.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2013 5:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Great rebuttal brother, but let me give a slightly different explanation for your cappuccino price hike:

It is a corporate pricing decision in a highly competitive market based on maximizing profit on top of rising input costs - costs that rise because fuel cost has doubled since 2009, and taxes and fees have had upward pressure. These costs affect every business that sells to Starbucks, so their increases are passed along and added together. (Rising pension and health care costs fit in there too, somewhere, everywhere.)

You are right to bring up the technological advances that combine a phone, computer, calculator and metronome in a single device for a fraction of the cost, but when was the last time that happened in coffee? Or food? Or energy?

I'll answer the last one: A few years ago, in North Dakota and Colorado. Something called "fracking" that is opposed, at least publicly, by governments from sea to shining sea, constituting yet another unseen regulatory cost.

I won't die on the hill saying inflation is 7-10%, but if the official government measure of this monetary phenomenon is DOUBLED it is still below that range. Butowsky's greater point (and I'll thank you for not naming him in order to underscore your implication that he's a crank) is that "manipulation by the government on the CPI is the single greatest reason why people are becoming increasingly reliant on government entitlement programs." I don't read him as wanting the entitlements to rise more, he wants fewer people to have to resort to them.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2013 11:24 AM
But jk thinks:

I suggest a disconnect in the quote you pulled. Mom is less likely to request food stamps if the COLA on her alimony is applied at Chapwoodian levels (reader exercise: is the inflation adjustment on alimony "earned income?" Discuss...) Yet the real world effect would be buckets and buckets more gub'mint money out the door as the bulk of CPI-adjusted payments are likely public.

Your Starbucks counterexample isn't really what I'd call inflation. You can argue that the oil component of "energy" is denominated in dollars and subject to inflationary pressure, same with coffee beans maybe but I'd like to see more data; like oil it is cartelized. But rising taxes and fees and its suppliers' health care benefits are most definitely not monetary phenomena. As they say in Animal House: "I'm not going to sit still while you bash Milton Friedman!"

Coffee benefits from technological advances in shipping as well as better financial instruments to hedge risk. Agriculture? I read something somewhere.... Plenty of innovation to go around if the Luddites are held in check.

(The Everyday Economist used to criticize me for my suggestion that innovation was disinflationary for most of the same reasons I'm using on you...)

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2013 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If inflation is "always and everywere" a monetary phenomon, then disinflation surely must be as well. So how is innovation a monetary phenomon?

If the resulting rise in prices from government (mis)management, (over)regulation and (over)taxation may not be called inflation then what may I call it? I'm happy to use the right word for "everything costs more than it used to" if someone will just enlighten me.

[I'll give your disconnect citation more thought.]

Posted by: johngalt at August 5, 2013 2:20 PM

July 30, 2013

Today Colorado, Tomorrow the World!

Get ready for Ron Binz, America. His efficacy in raising our utility rates and regulating beyond the bounds of law has been recognized in high places and he is in line for a big promotion. The WSJ Ed Page does not seem to be a fan:

Yet that will seem minor if the next FERC chairman is Ron Binz--the most important and radical Obama nominee you've never heard of. An electric regulator in Colorado from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Binz is the latest Presidential nominee who doesn't understand the difference between making laws and enforcing them.

No, that's unfair. Mr. Binz doesn't care about the difference. In a recent interview with the Association for the Demand Response and Smart Grid trade group, reflecting on the lessons of his Colorado job, he nodded at the "judicial role" of regulators. But then he mused about their "legislative role" too: "I saw the commission not simply as an umpire calling balls and strikes, but also as a leader on policy implementation."

Oh boy. Binz will now be bringing those umpiring skills to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which used to be a quiet overseer of electric transmission and interstate pipelines
FERC was a sleepy regulator until the Obama Presidency, but it has statutory powers that could be turned into anticarbon weapons, such as the authority to impose fines of up $1 million per day for what it claims are violations. They also include the power to block energy mergers and the construction of terminals, pipelines and transmission.

You can bet that Mr. Binz will be creative and political, and don't be so sure his only target is coal. At an Edison Foundation panel this March, he called natural gas a "dead end" technology because "on the carbon basis, you hit the wall in 2035 or so." He added that "We have to do better on carbon than even natural gas will allow us to do." This is unusual in that the greens usually pretend to support gas to make outlawing coal seem more reasonable. Mr. Binz let the mask slip.

Mr. Binz is part of the White House's damn-the-voters strategy of imposing through regulation what Congress won't pass, and now he wants to glide into FERC without protest. But the Senate's advice-and-consent role is especially important because a FERC chairman has broad powers, much like a CEO's, even if other commissioners dissent--and the chairman is not supposed to carry Mr. Obama's banner. Mr. Binz's record and methods deserve far more scrutiny than they have received.

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The gas industry is enjoying a "first they came for the coal and I said nothing" moment at present.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2013 11:57 AM

July 24, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

Detroit's failings are many and its debts staggering. Obama did not cause them. But his economic remedies and intervention have achieved little. And his unhinged enthusiasm about what was happening in Detroit in 2011, and how it fit into the larger story of American economic life, provides an inconvenient backdrop for Obama's economic address Wednesday and those that follow. -Major Garrett in Remember When Obama Said Detroit Was Coming Back?
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2013

Her Second Term?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama is speaking out about the toll that gun violence is taking on young people, in a shift that shows the first lady's willingness to tackle new and polarizing issues as she shapes her second term.
FLOTUS's Second term agenda. Refresh my memory, which Article in the Constitution describes that?
Posted by John Kranz at 4:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2013

Taking guns away - from the Leftists

Responding to President Obama's attorney general using the legally just ruling in The Florida Case as another excuse to take guns from law abiding citizens, Jeffrey T. Brown tells us to 'Stand Your Ground' Against the Left.

To Holder and the president, the isolated events involving Trayvon Martin, which have not been publicly replicated anywhere else in America on any regular or reported basis, serve as yet another excuse to launch sweeping radical attacks on the rights of all Americans. They loathe the ability of citizens to protect themselves against the left's predators, whether social or political.

There's an angle I hadn't given enough thought. It's commonly understood that welfare statists deplore citizens who can protect themselves against government, but don't the same voices tell us that criminals are the "real victims" and deserve our "understanding?" The latest Rolling Stone cover fits in that niche. If so, the fight to protect individual gun rights is both political and social.

Segue to a post-Newtown story about mass murders, also from American Thinker, which claims Psychiatric Community Not Stepping Up. I touched on this aspect of the Newtown case when I cited widespead use of anti-depressants like Ritalin ("Ritalin is not just like methamphetamine, Ritalin is methamphetamine.") in the comments here. Author Bernie Reeves is more specific, laying blame at the feet of those social professionals whose reason for being is to detect and treat the mentally ill - psychiatrists.

It is now time to remove guns from the top position in media coverage and implore the psychiatric community to coalesce and present a formula to identify and deal with potentially psychotic patients. As it stands now, the only method to remove dangerous patients is to have them arrested, which requires a process often too difficult and wrenching to contemplate.

The Sandy Hook shootings have affected parents more deeply than any of the dozens of previous massacres since the 1980s. Discussing the event with young children is difficult, and creates anxiety that saying the wrong thing could be permanently damaging. It is indeed a national trauma that requires national therapy. There is a gnawing helplessness that 'there is nothing we can do'.

Yet there is, but the professionals who can construct a solution are the ones who abandoned their duty, leaving 20 little children and six adults dead. You would think they would step up.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2013

Quote of the Day

Virtually the only public defenders of the settlement were an intern at ThinkProgress, Kumar Ramanathan, and an attorney for SUNY general counsel's office, both of whom interpreted the blueprint in a highly peculiar fashion (they seemed to see it as merely a "reporting" tool) and then proceeded to celebrate the idea of a government mandate requiring universities to investigate publicly-protected speech. Posts by FIRE eviscerated both of these items. -- KC Johnson, Minding the Campus
Posted by John Kranz at 9:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2013

Quote of the Day

President Obama's decision last week to suspend the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act may be welcome relief to businesses affected by this provision, but it raises grave concerns about his understanding of the role of the executive in our system of government.

Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.

This matter--the limits of executive power--has deep historical roots. During the period of royal absolutism, English monarchs asserted a right to dispense with parliamentary statutes they disliked. King James II's use of the prerogative was a key grievance that lead to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The very first provision of the English Bill of Rights of 1689--the most important precursor to the U.S. Constitution--declared that "the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal." -- Michael McConnell

Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Rube! :)

"How" or "whether"... tomato, tomahto. Very well, I use my substantial discretion to proclaim that I shall enforce my law using the 5-second rule, except that 5-seconds shall, for the purposes of Obamacare, be 12-months... for now.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2013 2:31 PM

July 7, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

"It's a fascinating transformation for Obama," said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University who has become one of the administration's chief legal critics. "He rightfully criticized President Bush for violating the separation of powers and using signing statements to rewrite legislation, but Obama has been far more aggressive in circumventing Congress and far more successful in creating an imperial presidency," he said. --Obama Skips Past Congress Again With Health Mandate Delay
Posted by JohnGalt at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:


I mean, better late than never and all, but still (In retrospect, it seems possible that there may have been some wagering at Rick's Cafe...)

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2013 1:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Turley, and those of us who ever viewed the president charitably, may well be rubes but the way he has conducted his office may well also be the downfall of his precious "comprehensive immigration reform." John Fund sez:

The growing belief that the Obama administration can't be trusted to respect the rule of law may prove to be one of the biggest obstacles it faces in passing the immigration reform it so powerfully desires.
Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2013 2:58 PM

July 3, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

"Do as I say, not as I do" edition-

"MS. PSAKI: Well, he was reiterating what the President has said publicly and what was also in the readout, which is that this is -- democracy is about more than just elections. It's about ensuring that people can have their voices heard -- peacefully, of course, is always the goal. And he -- and you saw that the President urged President Morsy to take steps to show that he is responsive to their concerns, and the Secretary agrees that that is an important step for the government to take."

From the State Department Daily Press Briefing today.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2013

President Bush -- Miss Him Yet?

Our debonair, sharp-creased, citizen-of-the-world President is in Europe. So glad we won't be embarrassed by that arrogant Texan anymore, aren't you?


George or Jeffrey? Obama mixes up his Osbornes at G8 summit provides the helpful; caption: "UK chancellor George Osborne, left, US soul singer Jeffrey Osborne, right"

UPDATE: Heh, the Sun is a bit less formal than the Beeb: ChanSOULer

Posted by John Kranz at 9:41 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Did he remember to take a new iTunes card for the Queen?

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2013 2:35 PM

June 18, 2013

How Much was that Sequester Thingy Again? Part II

We are sometimes above such hackery around here -- but this Facebook Meme did tie into my post from the other day:


Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Credit where credit is due: At least they appear to be vacationing TOGETHER now, saving taxpayers $millions.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 10:58 AM

More Serious than the NSA

The title puts me in a mood to make a list: love, poetry, the Designated Hitter can all be called more important than the NSA scandal. More seriously, I worry that the IRS scandal, which I consider more serious, is losing media oxygen as we debate "Is Edward Snowden a Virgo or an Aquarius?"

But the title was supposed to introduce an excellent A. Barton Finkle post which ties the scandals together into a much larger question of asymmetrical government capacities and a free people's ceding their rights to an unelected "regulatory branch" of government.

The principle animating democratic and republican government is accountability to the governed. Yet more and more government action lies beyond the citizens' reach. As law professor Jonathan Turley explained in a Washington Post piece that appeared before the surveillance leaks, "our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch of government, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency." (Viz., the NSA.)

The "vast majority of laws," he continues, "are not passed by Congress but issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats." In 2007, he writes, "Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies" -- there are now 69 of them – "finalized 2,926 rules."

The administrative state is taking over not only the legislative function, but also the judicial: Turley reports that "a citizen is 10 times more likely to be tried by an agency than by an actual court." And such agency creep, as it might be called, does not stop at the federal-state boundary.

Last month the Minnesota Supreme Court deferred answering a basic question of constitutional rights: Can the government enter your home without probable cause? A city ordinance in Red Wing, Minn., allows building inspectors with administrative warrants to enter rental units even when both the landlord and the tenant object. And as the Arlington-based Institute for Justice points out, they "do not require the government to have any evidence that there is anything actually wrong with a residence."

The NSA, EPA, IRS, and the DH (see how I snuck that last one in there?) operate entirely outside of "the consent of the governed" or citizen oversight. Fans of John Stossel's TV show know he keeps a (rather ginormous) pile of just the Federal rules on set.

You're in tinfoil hat country when you opine about the tyranny of the Red Wing Minnesota Municipal Building Code Inspectors ("I've seen grown men tear their own 'eads off before facing the RWMMBCI...") but it is a piece of a larger bit of tyranny.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:44 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Miss Alabama, please call your agent's office.

Don't forget dear blog brother, wearers of tinfoil hats no longer need lurk [ninth comment] in the shadows. We're out, we're mainstream, and we're PROUD!

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 11:06 AM

June 13, 2013

How Much Was That Sequester Thingy Again?


President Obama will travel to sub-Saharan Africa and the price tag for the trip clocks in between $60 million to $100 million. The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig got access to classified documents outlining the trip.

Just askin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

Lois Lerner

The scowly surly face of government abuse has quite a past. George Will discusses the testimony of Al Salvi, should he be invited to speak to Congress. Will suggests that Salvi would not take the Fifth, but would tell the story of his run for the House in 1986 against now Senator Dick Durbin (Fiend - IL).

In the fall of 1996, at the campaign's climax, Democrats filed with the Federal Elections Commission charges alleging campaign finance violations by Salvi's campaign. These charges dominated the campaign's closing days. Salvi spoke by phone with the head of the FEC's Enforcement Division, who he remembers saying: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case." He was speaking to Lois Lerner.

After losing to Durbin, Salvi spent four years and $100,000 fighting the FEC, on whose behalf FBI agents visited his elderly mother demanding to know, concerning her $2,000 contribution to her son's campaign, where she got "that kind of money." When the second of two federal courts held that the charges against Salvi were spurious, the lawyer arguing for the FEC was Lois Lerner.

More recently, she has been head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, which has used its powers of delay, harassment and extortion to suppress political participation. For example, it has told an Iowa right-to-life group that it would get tax exempt status if it would promise not to picket Planned Parenthood clinics.

As government gets larger, we're asked to trust more and more power to Lois Lerners.
The case against the NSA is: Lois Lerner and others of her ilk.

Government requires trust. Government by progressives, however, demands such inordinate amounts of trust that the demand itself should provoke distrust. Progressivism can be distilled into two words: "Trust us." The antecedent of the pronoun is: The wise, disinterested experts through whom the vast powers of the regulatory state's executive branch will deliver progress for our own good, as the executive branch understands this, whether or not we understand it. Lois Lerner is the scowling face of this state, which has earned Americans' distrust.

Even though I have excerpted half, read the whole thing. (Hat-tip: Insty)

Posted by John Kranz at 9:46 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This is not our Fathers' NSA.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2013 11:34 AM

June 7, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now????

My friends are fighting. The WSJ, and the default Larry Kudlow position is to defend those that defend us from a mean world. I am sympathetic -- to a point -- to that view. Yes, there is a mean ol' world out there. (You may not be interested in War, but it is interested in You -- Trotsky?). And, I understand Big Data concepts: searching for patterns in metadata or Google-sized video samples does not compromise privacy. I get that.

Yet, I have been having more fun than a camel on hump day on Facebook over this. I likely would defend President Bush's committing the same infraction. Partly because I am a partisan hack, but mostly because that is what he stood for. He was going to push the line to keep all of y'alls safe. Privacy groups and an adversarial press would push back. Broncos vs. Raiders, everybody can tell who's playing for whom.

President Obama campaigned on "the fierce moral urgency" of dismantling things like this. Senator Obama introduced legislation to preclude it. Quis custodet? Privacy groups are muted and the press is quiescent.

And, whichever party has their collective ear to the other end of my call, it is time to wind down the extraordinary response to terror. Vigilance abroad, yes. Not naming complete incompetent liars to head the NSA, sure. But let us return domestically to an aggressive reading of the Fourth Amendment.

Jim Geraghty has an important philosophical point against it:

We in the general public have no idea if the algorithms work, if they're fair, if they're putting a lot of innocent Americans under suspicion or on watch lists, etc. This is simply not the way criminal investigation or even counterintelligence has ever worked in this country under our Constitution; it's working backwards. Those we have entrusted with the duty of our protection always previously started from the wrongdoing (or a tip of wrongdoing) and work their way out from there; it has never been "collect every bit of information they can on absolutely everyone, and then sift through it until they find what they're looking for."

That makes much sense to me. Sorry, WSJ, y'all lose this one.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (11)
But jk thinks:

Blog brother jg provides a superb example of the Prosperitarian position. The liberties surrendered are abstract while the threat to civilization and future earnings is corporeal.

And yet I find other arguments more compelling. It is well documented that war suborns liberty. As we look ahead to a still-lengthy conflict, we have to be able to execute effective offense and defense while retaining normalcy at home.

I enjoyed the Rand Paul piece and will also recommend Mark Steyn's No Cop / Bad Cop. President Bush, bless his pea picking little heart, at least provided a coherent, obvert and consistent full court press against terrorism. President Obama detaches abroad and steps up the effort at home. Are we fighting extremist Muslim terrorists or Tea Partiers?

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2013 9:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg is still deciding but he provides a data point for the "let's be scared" crowd:

In their book Nudge, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein claim to "show that by knowing how people think, we [a.k.a. the Good Guys] can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society." You know what? How creepy you find that sentence reveals an enormous amount about you. Whether the NSA stuff blows over or not, the simple fact is that the array of tools available to the Nudgers is growing exponentially. And the really creepy part is that the whole point of nudging is that you don't necessarily know you're being nudged.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2013 9:32 AM
But jk thinks:

Points of order: 1) I'm a tepid Jack Bauer fan. 2) Glad you're still here on your amazing Summer Vacation, Terri. 3) The probability is certainly less than 0.5%, tg, that strikes me as high. But considering the numerator, it could still be concerning. (CO2 is .04 of atmospheric molality in Hawaii and our panties are severely wadded.)

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2013 9:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I second all three of jk's points of order. It was easy to be a fan of Jack because we knew he could be trusted. Cass Sunstein, not so much.

Thanks for the Rand Paul editorial. I fulsomely agree with the Glenn Greenwald quote - Leviathan must be restrained.

And Terri highlights what I believe is currently the greatest accomplishment of the Obama Administration - thanks to them, a majority of Americans now overtly distrust their federal government. Perhaps more importantly, they may no longer be dismissed as "paranoid."

And, TG presciently asks, "How many other [programs] of this type are out there?" Even the craziest conspiracy theorist now has ground to stand upon.

But this gets to the base of my original point - The issue is not the surveillance, but the secrecy. Not the security, but the abuse of power. I submit that AndyN's not-so-hypothetical scenario illustrates the point. Is the correct answer to bureaucrats using state power for partisan purposes to eliminate all state power? Or convert the Freedom of Information Act from a "pull" to a "push" system?

In summary, whether the case of a successful WMD attack is 0.5% (1 in 200) or 0.04% (1 in 2500) the consequences are so vast as to justify government effort to detect and prevent it. Or does anyone here believe we should not have a "watch list" and that people on the list, like the Boston bombers, should actually be watched?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2013 11:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Now that the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has stepped forward I'm prepared to call him a national hero, on a par with Rosa Parks and Tank Man, for acting in accordance with his conscience. (Sadly, other names do not come to mind.) Whether or not I agree with him about the surveillance programs, which he knows far more about than I do, I do agree that said surveillance must not be conducted in secret. That we may now debate the policy is his great accomplishment.

I'm also reevaluating my opinion of Bradley Manning.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2013 2:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm reminded that Manning revealed the identity of covert international agents, risking harm to their lives. May he rot in prison.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2013 5:42 PM

June 5, 2013

What the IRS Scandal is About

Co-founder of the Watumpka, Alabama Tea Party -- and face of the IRS scandal, Becky Gerritson.

I had heard people talking about this and saw a clip. But if you have not watched it coast-to-coast yet, do yourself a favor and spend 7:53 with a great American. (Can't you just imagine a roomful of NYTimes writers hearing the phrase "Watumpka, Alabama Tea Party?" Makes one weep.)

Hat-tip: Robert Tracinski [Subscribe]

Posted by John Kranz at 2:18 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Land of the who, and home of the what? Maybe we should have a national song or something to remind us all, every time we see a sporting event, that we are citizens, not subjects.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2013 5:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Not as good a perfomance as last night's, but: Pia Toscano at the LA Kings game...


Posted by: jk at June 5, 2013 5:57 PM

June 3, 2013

Quote of the Day

Then, according to Daniel Klaidman of The Daily Beast, Holder read the details of this operation in The Washington Post over breakfast and the reality began to "fully sink in." "Holder knew that Justice would be besieged by the twin leak probes," says Klaidman, "but, according to aides, he was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse."

Some men find their moral bearings in the quiet of reflection; others in the crucible of suffering; still others on the front page of a newspaper -- Michael Gerson

Posted by John Kranz at 9:15 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2013

Viva la Gibson!

Rep Marsha Blackburn (R - TN) wants some answers

"The recent scandals surrounding this administration raise a number of questions about who they choose to target and why," Blackburn said. "The arrogance and lack of transparency displayed by this President and his cabinet officials in events such as the raids on Gibson Guitar and the IRS targeting of conservative groups show a complete disregard for the rule of law....

"President Obama owes the American people a full explanation as to why these decisions were made, and anyone responsible for plotting these politically motivated attacks should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," she added.

(Best read in Rep. Blackburn's adorable Tennessee drawl...) I hope she and the IBD Ed Page can rekindle the controversy around this. It was always a great example of overreach; a credible foundation of political retribution raises its seriousness.

Hat-tip Brother Keith on FB

Posted by John Kranz at 9:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2013

Not Feeling the Love

A. Barton Hinkle is not feeling the love for President Obama.

A physician’s expertise makes him capable of inflicting great harm, noted Plato a couple thousand years ago, and no one is better positioned to steal than a guard. So perhaps we should not be surprised that the most conspicuous foe of liberty and the Bill of Rights turns out to be a former professor of constitutional law.

As a general rule, politicians tend to whipsaw between two poles. Conservatives try to increase economic liberty but show less regard for civil liberties. Liberals care deeply about civil liberties while trying to restrict the economic kind.

But the Obama administration is remarkable for its degree of disdain for both.

II was going to do a quote of the day for the closing sentence, which David Boaz (inline, implicit hat-tip) pulled out in his Facebook link: "When he retires from public life, perhaps he will return to teaching the Constitution. That should be much easier work -- given how little of it there will be left."

But the whole thing is pretty good...

Posted by John Kranz at 9:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2013

jk Sticks it to The Man!

"The Man" being, curiously, a very nice guy named Rob Taylor. Mister Taylor started a guitar factory with a genius-level blend of ancient craftsmanship and modern design and production. If you find yourself in San Diego and are tired of Filipino food in National City, be sure to tour the factory in El Cajon.

I have bought me a bucketload of Taylors over the years, including another great innovation of theirs: nylon string guitars with regular, narrow, radiused necks instead of the flat, wide classical guitar necks. That got sold or traded or given away to some brother-in-law, and I found myself reconnecting with blog friend Sugarchuck's. Time to buy. Birthday's coming up! Johnny's been a very good boy this year...

BUT WAIT! Taylor Guitars not only failed to stand up for Gibson in their contretemps with the US Fish & Game SWAT Team -- they actually released a statement leaning heavily towards gub'mint. I'm not a boycottin' man, but Taylor Guitars are not cheap and it chaps me to send a lot of money to an opponent of liberty.

This little jewel from Cordoba Guitars (nah, I never heard of them either) showed up yesterday:

It's a fine piece: made of Indian Rosewood -- unusual for a top, a lighter wood would be louder, but it has a pickup and a mic built in. I got amps, she'll be plenty loud. It's less bright but very well defined. All in all, very pleasing for half of what I would have spent on the brand that shall not be named any more.

Feeling even better when sc sends this link: Ed Markey cheered gov’t witch hunt against Gibson Guitar. It includes a nice summary of the still unbelievable actions against Gibson, details of the final settlement, and some crowing by Rep (soon to be Senator, Oh boy!) Ed Markey.

Ed Markey was the leading politician pushing to punish Gibson Guitar for what at worst was a paperwork error. Markey didn’t appear to understand that this was about protecting jobs overseas, not at home. Markey was all on board with the demonization of a U.S. company for no good reason other than that the government could.

In this time of IRS overreach, there is a lesson here.

SC assures me that I have bought an "entrapment guitar:" Indian Rosewood and an Ebony fretboard. Heh – wait a minute, there’s somebody at the door…

Posted by John Kranz at 9:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2013


I open with a QOTD, from Ben Domenech (h/t Jim Geraghty):

When this period of scandal draws to a close, if the idea still survives that a more competent and ethical president would be able to effectively govern a $4 trillion bureaucracy, it will be a sign Republicans have failed. They can succeed by ignoring the tempting bait of making this about the president they despise, and focusing instead on the false philosophy of expansive government which represents the true danger to the American experiment. Doing so will require them to go against their own short-term viewpoint, so prevalent in recent years, and look instead to the long game.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Using these to bring down President Obama might be quite satisfying in a "vengeance is mine sayeth the RNC" kind of way. But it leaves us with: a) President Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton Pee-Ayy; and, b) a $4T bureaucracy full of tenured bureaucrats (it is a bureaucracy after all) who will seek to expand the size and scope of government whether Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton sits in the Oval Office.

It's Friday and I have not linked to Kim Strassel in what seems like weeks. Read her coast-to-coast today in spite of my lengthy excerpt:

In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."

This was the Obama version of the phone call--put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.

Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.

The last of these audits was only concluded in recent weeks. Not one resulted in a fine or penalty. But Mr. VanderSloot has been waiting more than 20 months for a sizable refund and estimates his legal bills are $80,000. That figure doesn't account for what the president's vilification has done to his business and reputation.

The Obama call for scrutiny wasn't a mistake; it was the president's strategy--one pursued throughout 2012. The way to limit Romney money was to intimidate donors from giving. Donate, and the president would at best tie you to Big Oil or Wall Street, at worst put your name in bold, and flag you as 'less than reputable' to everyone who worked for him: the IRS, the SEC, the Justice Department. The president didn't need a telephone; he had a megaphone.

Another light-haired woman who writes for the WSJ Ed Page on Friday has a good piece as well. But I liked Professor Reynolds's take on Ms. Noonan:
Peggy's right, but I was saying the same thing -- right there in the Wall Street Journal -- way back in 2009, when she was still going on about Obama’s transformational energy. So welcome to the party. Wish you’d gotten here before the re-election.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2013


Or: All Hail IBD! A good friend of this blog emails a link, with the suggestion "Nothing in here you haven't seen but it's nice to have it put so concisely."


Tyranny: Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the president's parade of scandals is that just days before they broke, he mocked as paranoid those concerned about government excesses.

On May 5, while giving the commencement address at Ohio State University, President Obama advised graduates to put all their trust in government and reject those shrill "voices" that say it's the source of our problems.

Ignore these limited-government types, he told the class of 2013, who warn "tyranny lurks just around the corner."

Only, Obama himself has proved our fears are well-founded. Government, particularly governance by this rogue regime, needs more checks, not fewer; more skepticism, not less. Tyranny isn't lurking around the corner. It's now upon us, manifest in the pattern of misuse and abuse of government power by this presidency[...]

Followed by a handy enumeration of abuses current as of this morning (it's early yet...)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

President strawman strikes again.

Tyranny correctly applies to the unrestrained, oppresive rule of a single ruler. President Obama's election caused the Progressivism accelerator to be floorboarded but he is certainly not the only person wielding unrestrained power in the federal government. But it benefits him to perpetuate the meme that he, personally, is a "tyrant" because the strength of his personality is so strong as to be an absolute rebuttal with so many people.

Yes, the TEA Party "voices" created the meme, and did so in analog to the nation's founding, where colonials told the central government, in that case a monarchy, "Don't Tread on Me." This sentiment lives on today but its cause is better served by precisely labeling the Obama government an ochlocracy, and President Obama himself and ochlocrat.

So, just what is ochlocracy? An ancient Greek term for a democracy spoiled by demagoguery, "tyranny of the majority" and the rule of passion over reason.

Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2013 2:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

(Yes, I did repost that comment on the IBD article page.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2013 2:42 PM

May 9, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

The common denominator of most of these examples is that they are failures of diplomacy, which is precisely what this administration had promised to be better at.

Barack Obama came into office partly on the basis of criticism of George W. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the claims he and his supporters made was that diplomacy and "smart power" would be more effective than military force. But having championed diplomacy over war, Obama doesn't really seem to be all that interested in diplomacy, either.

That is the big picture that the Benghazi scandal reveals. -- Robert Tracinski in The Daily Debate

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 8, 2013

President Obama's Commencement Speech

Roger Pilon is less than impressed. In a WSJ Editorial (here free on Cato), Pilon dissects the President's misreading of the Constitution

Civic education in America took a hit on Sunday when President Obama, giving the commencement address at The Ohio State University, chose citizenship as his theme. The country's Founders trusted citizens with "awesome authority," he told the assembled graduates. Really?

Actually, the Founders distrusted us, at least in our collective capacity. That's why they wrote a Constitution that set clear limits on what we, as citizens, could do through government.

Mr. Obama seems never to appreciate that essential point about the American political order. As with his countless speeches that lead ultimately to an expression of the president's belief in the unbounded power of government to do good, he began in Columbus[...]

ThreeSourcers -- you know who you are -- will dig the whole thing.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:30 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Colorado is the Centennial State; Florida, the Sunshine State; I propose history could benefit from one word descriptions of American presidents. President Obama - the Strawman President.

" Americans, we are blessed with God-given and inalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities - to ourselves, to one another, and to future generations."

No Barry, you are incorrect. Notwithstanding your attempt to "package deal" responsibilities with our rights, the only responsibilities we have vis-a-vis our individual rights is to not infringe on the rights of others.

Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2013 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Other than that I love the whole article. But as usual, the biggest error usually comes in the beginning, of a speech or book or theory. This is why Rand repeatedly admonished us to "check your premises."

Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2013 3:02 PM

May 7, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

"[United States Attorney General Eric] Holder's understanding of the United States Constitution is incorrect." -- Kansas Secretary of state Kris W. Kobach

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

If you don't mind it in an intemperate wrapper, has both letters in their post: Kansas To Eric Holder: "Jump Up And Bite Us, And Then Try Reading The Constitution, Whydontcha?"

Posted by: jk at May 7, 2013 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

....and, um, that would be the same link my blog brother provided... carry on, itchy typing fingers...

Posted by: jk at May 7, 2013 3:51 PM

May 6, 2013

Don't Worry -- they take care of YOUR money!

Financial Planning Magazine is agape at the First Family's Poor financial stewardship:

Digging deeper into their finances, the Obamas seem to have an immense amount of what advisors often call low-hanging fruit -- the ability to earn much more with less risk.

Take their mortgage: The Obamas paid $45,046 in mortgage interest in 2012, which appears from the disclosure statement to be at a 5.625% interest rate with Northern Trust. That suggests an outstanding principal balance of about $800,000.

On the other hand, the bulk of their investments are in Treasury notes. Based on the disclosures, I estimate they hold about $3 million in Treasury notes (also held by Northern Trust), yielding 0.71% if averaging a five-year maturity.

By selling some of those Treasuries and paying off the mortgage, they would effectively be getting five more percentage points on the amount; they would also be about $40,000 better off each year before taxes, not to mention being less exposed to notes that could take a hit from possible rising rates.

Whatever, they're swell people. Hat-tip: Prof. Mankiw.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Paying down or paying off the mortgage would make sense, if they had any intention to ever live there.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2013 11:39 AM

May 3, 2013

Campaigning for US Gun Control - Foreign Edition

Do guns in "the hands of criminals and dangerous people" in the United States lead to gun violence in Mexico? President Obama seems to think so:

"Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," President Obama said during a speech at Mexico's Anthropology Museum. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will."

"But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do," Obama added.

But the single greatest source of American guns in Mexico appears to be the U.S. Government. No, not via Fast and Furious, but via legal "direct commercial sales" authorized by the State Department.

Here's how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.

And it did approve 2,476 guns to be sold to Mexico in 2006. In 2009, that number was up nearly 10 times, to 18,709. The State Department has since stopped disclosing numbers of guns it approves, and wouldn't give CBS News figures for 2010 or 2011.

But the real outrage is Obama suggesting that the US Constitution has anything to do with Mexican gun "incompetence and corruption." The reason for this strawman is patently obvious.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2013

Why now?

News today that the FBI has placed Joanne Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorists list. The closest the FBI comes to an explanation why this fugitive, who was broken out of prison by armed confidantes 34 years ago and was put on the US government terrorism watch list in 2005, is now a "most wanted terrorist" is ... the 40th anniversary of her crime.

"Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style," said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of our Newark Division. "Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster's death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice."

Well, they've known she's been under sanctuary in Cuba for almost 30 years. Why not do this on a prior anniversary? Not knowing any better, I'll speculate it is related to her movement to the terrorism watch list 8 years ago. No other information is given by the FBI, except that Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur (Tupac's aunt) "is only the second domestic terrorist to be added to the list." The first appears to be Daniel Andreas San Diego, a vegan eco-terrorist accused of bombing a San Francisco biotech company in 2003, for whom the "information leading to arrest" reward is $250,000. Chesimard's reward - $2,000,000.

And why did I include this in the Obama Administration category? For this, from the ABC News story: The rapper Common told her story in "A Song for Assata," which caused a stir after Michelle Obama invited him to a White House poetry slam two years ago. Rashid "Lonnie" Lynn a.k.a. 'Common', who traveled to Cuba to meet with Shakur prior to recording the song, has been associated with Progressive Hip-Hop as early as 2000.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

In fact, CNN's Candy Crowley confronted LaHood two months ago on this very point. "Budgets go up and down," was LaHood's weak response, but he's only half right. In Washington, they only go up. -- Edward Morrissey LaHood and Obama to America: Go Fly A Kite
Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2013


In "The President's Latest Bad Idea," Professor Mankiw correctly understands and describes the retirement savings grab in the President's new budget. Between the sheer numbers of my heroes in the opposition phalanx, and N-Greg (that's his hip-hop name) N-Greg's wise words, I must change sides.

A sizable body of work in public finance suggests that consumption taxes are preferable to income taxes. Completely replacing our tax system with a better one is, however, hard. Retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401k plans, are one way our tax code has gradually evolved from an income tax toward a consumption tax. The use of these accounts should be encouraged, not discouraged.

As for my previous ambivalence: I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

In that case, we are Teaching our children well.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2013 7:25 PM

April 9, 2013

Obama IRA Proposal Redux

I am nothing if not fair. Were I to withhold this inculpatory evidence, I could no longer claim that mantle.

My hero, Larry Kudlow, and his entire brilliant panel -- save for a weasely Democrat apparatchik take Brother jg's side on the IRA contretemps. I have not seen Mister K this animated in some time:

I'll rethink things, but still think weasely apparatchik guy (just at the end) and I have a point.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It sounded like Kudlow rebutted weasely apparatchik guy (WAG) quite effectively by pointing out that there's nothing tax-free about an IRA. It is merely tax deferred.

It is more and more clear that the goal is to eliminate the inheritance of wealth from one's ancestors. It is the ultimate in class warfare - the nuclear class-bomb, as it were.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2013 4:29 PM

April 6, 2013

Obama Administration: 15 years of life after retirement "reasonable"

From Bernie Becker in "On the Money" THE HILL'S Finance and Economy Blog:

President Obama's budget, to be released next week, will limit how much wealthy individuals - like Mitt Romney - can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts.

[For those of us who don't know what a "wealthy individual" is, Becker gives us a helpful example.]

The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.

["Fairness" is the most offensive F-word I've ever heard.]

The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently "accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving."

Under the plan, a taxpayer's tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement - or right around $3 million this year.

There's the American dream, boys and girls: Work hard (or get a plum "Obamacare Navigator" position) and invest wisely (or get a public defined-benefit pension) so that you can have a "reasonable" retirement of NO MORE than $205,000 per year for "right around" 14.63 years. THIS year.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (5)
But Terri thinks:

And don't forget boys and girls that should you want better care than you might buy with your medicare checks, you will nicely be SOL after that 3 mil is spent.

Posted by: Terri at April 6, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

People are going to think I take contrary positions just because I love to argue (NO I DON'T!) but...

I think this is a good "loophole" to give away as part of a move to a fairer, flatter, more transparent tax system.

If I may correct the record, you can save as much as you want. You can plan a lengthy and extravagant retirement full of caviar, expensive wines and fast women. What you cannot do is use your 401K to defer income in amounts outside the range of a typical taxpayer.

Friends still?

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2013 10:02 AM
But Terri thinks:

Ok, by me. But I disagree with you on other things too. :-)

Posted by: Terri at April 7, 2013 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't object to the change in policy as much as the rhetoric that justifies it. A "reasonable" retirement is $200k per year, for 15 years. The unvarnished way to say it would be "the government will forego taxation on a modest retirement." Instead, they used "reasonable" to give the impression that anyone who keeps more of his earnings than this is UN-reasonable.

And before you accuse me of being pedantic, do you for one second believe that this administration has any intention of agreeing to a "fairer, flatter more transparent tax system?" Or even any ONE of those three? No, this is one more layer of unfair tax treatment of "Mitt Romney and his pals." You know, those bastards who Dr. Carson reminded us "don't need to be punished?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2013 11:28 AM
But jk thinks:

It happens I know the exact odds for a "fairer, flatter more transparent tax system" from this administration: six per cent.

That number is in my head because it is also the odds of surviving small cell lung cancer or getting a good job with a literature PhD. This is in that realm.

No, Pedant-O-man, I don't object to your objection of their rhetoric. You are dead-on. I am exploring relaxing the reflexive impulse you and I share to protect tax breaks. Yes, it lowers the net amount applied to Fed largesse -- and, no, it should not be discarded merely to grab revenue from those who produce.

But those intransigent 'baggers' needs would be well served to always offer loophole closure for reduced rates -- that is always a pro-liberty move. Retirement and home ownership may be "good" loopholes, but they are loopholes and should be on the table.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2013 12:52 PM

March 20, 2013

Why Did CO Governor About-Face on Guns?

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has artfully crafted an image as a reasonable, moderate, modern western politician - until now. Today he signed "landmark new gun laws" in the "traditionally firearm-friendly state" of Colorado. Why?

Colorado blogger Joshua Sharf explains that it is part of a national political strategy on the part of the Obama Administration:

It has been clear from the beginning that Obama plans to use gun control, not merely as a diversion from governing, but as a battering-ram issue to achieve his major 2nd-term objective: regaining the House of Representatives for the Democrats. To do that, he believes he must isolate the Republican House as being an obstruction to common-sense, practical gun control measures that most of the country agrees on. To do that, he must persuade enough Senate Democrats - especially Western Democrats - to back proposals that they really, really don't want to even vote on, much less support.

Colorado becomes the key to providing them cover. The proposals - poorly-written, full of absurd outcomes - will have to be portrayed as practical compromises. The debate on the national level will mirror the deceptive line taken here: confusing sales with temporary transfers, or even loans to friends; outlawing magazines of more than 15 rounds, but forgetting to mention that inheriting such a magazine from a deceased parent is a criminal act, a felony, even. Colorado's reputation as a western, freedom-loving state works in their favor.

So when Hickenlooper said, after the Aurora shooting, "Well, I mean I'm not sure there's any way in a free society, to be able to do that ..." it was a ploy to keep the gun debate out of the pending election.

This suited Hick just fine, since any suggestion that he was seriously looking at the sort of laws passed last week might have complicated the Dems' narrative about te Republican "War on Women" and civil unions.

But there is hope:

Ultimately, it makes the recalls of Sen. Hudak and Rep. McLachlan - along with whatever other vulnerable Dems can be included - even more important. Those recalls, like the recalls in Wisconsin, take on a national significance and urgency, not merely because of the issues involved, but because of the political implications at the national level. The promise of protection, of resources and money, to vulnerable Dems who backed him on this legislation, is the application of national resources to state races, just as the Blueprint was the application of state resources to local races. It is the Blueprint raised to a national scale. If Obama is able to implement that, then he will indeed have locked in substantial political changes that can change the society for the worse, for the long run.

On the other hand, if those promises can be shown to be empty - before the House of Representatives comes up for election, or has to vote on the national bills - then the entire narrative is turned on its head. Not only does Obama look like an unreliable friend, but the power of the issue dissipates. (That's one reason why an initiative is more useful in the event that we fail to take back both the legislature and the governor's mansion: only fiscal issues can be on the ballot in odd-numbered years.)

Hickenlooper, in 2012, specifically avoided charging voters up over this issue. Even in 2010, he didn't really mention it at all. Colorado has not had a vigorous debate on these bills or these issues. This was not something done by us. It was something done to us.

It's our move, Colorado.

UPDATE: This Denver Post story contemplates the Governor's political future:

Only a few months ago, Hickenlooper was mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. In poll after poll, his favorability ratings were higher than President Obama's and most governors.

But now Hickenlooper is attracting national attention as the Western governor backing gun control.

Asked whether the debate had hurt his image as a "quirky, lovable governor." Hickenlooper smiled.

"I'm still quirky," he said. "I'm not sure I was that lovable. And I am still relentlessly pro business."

Dear Governor - Magpul Industries, Alfred Manufacturing, other suppliers - they are BUSINESSES. With friends like you...

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's also going to be interesting in a state where many sheriffs and their deputies seem to be prepared to tell their governor, in no uncertain terms, to hike to hell on this issue.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 20, 2013 3:38 PM

March 11, 2013

Obama XIV

They can't find the money to let schoolchildren tour the White House, but Beyonce and Adele will perform at a "a huge celebrity-packed party for [Michelle Obama's] birthday at the White House next year." Via Jim Geraghty who hopes "they'll invite any of those furloughed federal workers"

Having picked up an Oscar, Adele might have thought her incredible US adventure couldn't get much better.

But now I can reveal the Skyfall singer has landed the biggest gig of next year -- singing for Michelle Obama during her 50th birthday party at the White House.

The 24-year-old star will join Beyonce at the bash on January 17 -- proof she has been given the ultimate seal of approval in the US.

"America's First Lady will be holding a huge celebrity-packed party for her birthday at the White House next year and, as she adores Adele and Beyonce, she has asked them both to sing," says a source.

Isn't that special.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2013

Sequester Update

Thanks to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:

Stephen Gutowski: "Just tried driving but since sequestration went into effect the roads have all crumbled into dust."


Jonah: "It wasn't until I ate my neighbor's pancreas that I realized president Obama was right about the sequester."

Iowahawk: "The corpses are piling up outside my window like cordwood, oh my God the humanity."

Sebastian: "Nothing to worry about! I grabbed my double barrel shotgun & blasted #sequester through the door, just like the VP said."

Ari Fleischer: "President Obama is right. Undo the sequester! I can't stand it already."

Becket Adams: "I don't think my neighbors are taking sequestration seriously. They're giving me weird looks and making fun of my war paint and loincloth."

Exurban Jon: "So this is what anarchy feels like . . . From now on, I shall be known as ;ExJon, Warlord of the Western Deserts.'"

Buck Sexton: "Did America lose 170,000,000 jobs in the last 10 minutes? Keep me informed, everyone."

Brandon Morse: "The #sequester may now join the Mayan Calendar and the Y2K bug in the "[Stuff] Everyone Survived" Hall of Fame."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I just found a leaky water pipe valve on the building where I work. #Sequester effects already happening!!

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 5:02 PM
But jk thinks:

You still have water?????

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2013 5:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm chalking that up to Boulder's political pull.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 5:52 PM

February 28, 2013

Sequestergeddon Quote of the Day

But if Obama can't even convince his cheerleaders in the press that modest spending restraint will doom the country, why should anyone believe he's having more success with the public at large?

Today's IBD Editorial: Is Obama Losing His Media Allies Over The Sequester?

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Let us hope. Trusting our Fourth Estate to choose the side of less government seems too much to ask. L'affaire Woodward is interesting -- might they discover some of the integrity that drove them into J-School? Loved this:

The AP, for example, found no evidence to back up administration claims about teacher layoffs. It also pointed out that the airline industry thinks the sequester will have "no major impact on air travel," and that various numbers bandied about by Obama were "thrown out into thin air with no anchor."

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2013 12:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have long believed that the shame threshold of most journalists is lower than that of the President. Jake Tapper is the first big name I remember having shown skepticism. Watergate Woodward is by far a more significant crack in the media's inverse-reality force field.

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2013 2:08 PM

February 27, 2013

Quote of the Day + a Rant

And when the Republicans opened the seventh seal of the sequester, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black and the stars fell unto the Earth; and our nation's ability to forecast severe weather, such as drought events, hurricanes and tornados, was seriously undermined. Lo, and the children were not vaccinated, and all the beasts starved in the zoos, and the planes were grounded. -- WSJ Ed Page
Sadly, the President is positioned to reify his dystopian dreams. When it passes -- and Larry Kudlow could not find a guest in a week to predict that it will not -- the President can make it painful and sit back and collect his "I told you so"s.

I enjoy ThreeSources, because the good folks 'round here discuss ideas. Facebook friends of all stripes always seem to be looking into hearts, motives and intentions. I really don't care if the President promotes bad policy because he harbors secret resentment of the West's Kenyan colonialism or --- as I suspect -- he's just a creature of the faculty lounge. As a great Stateswoman once said "What difference does it make?"

Well, now, it does. The President will soon have his hand on the knob that delivers the electric shock. He can crank it up, Simpsons style, for perceived political gain. Or, he could display statesmanship and compassion which would add to the economy and concomitantly enhance his legacy. I suspect he will split the difference -- maybe set it on four.

But we will learn something about the President's heart. Soon.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

The president promotes "bad policy" because he truly believes it is "good policy." Whether he resents colonialism in Kenya or is a creature of the faculty lounge (which means he resents colonialism everywhere) the worldview will be the same: The "well off and well connected" have some pennance to do, and he is the instrument of salvation for history's slighted classes.

Rand said that on every issue there are two sides. One is right and the other is wrong but the middle, i.e. compromising between them or avoiding taking sides, is evil. One thing that can be said about this president is that he isn't afraid to take sides. Consistently so. I expect he will do everything in his power to make the pain a 10. But since government does far less than it claims to do, most districts won't even notice.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2013 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

This is a group that successfully blames every storm on global warming. The pro-government media will join expansive government pols in trumpeting every government failure as "lack of funds: caused by GOP sequester."

cf, Education.

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2013 12:41 PM

February 26, 2013



WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama brushed off a Republican plan Tuesday to give him flexibility to allocate $85 billion in looming spending cuts, wanting no part of a deal that would force him to choose between the bad and the terrible.

Put me in mind of this Reason 'toon:


Posted by John Kranz at 6:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

But it ISN'T a diet. It's a reduction in the amount of EXTRA desert from what Wuggums had already been promised.

"These cuts are wrong. They're not smart, they're not fair. They're a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to happen," Obama said.

What could be more fair than equal cuts, across the board? The very inability of bureaucrats to make "smart" or specific cuts is what led to the sequester concept in the first place. My only beef is it's too small. No matter. Once it happens and "somehow, the earth keeps turnin'" voters will be less fearful of the next installment.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2013 7:11 PM


They're going to shut down all the control towers!!! It's either that, or ask the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more.

Bonus Jon Caldera interview!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

No worries. President Whittle will be happy to take over operations wherever President Obama decides he can't "afford" to run things.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2013 6:45 PM

February 16, 2013

Wait! I Know this one!

Professor Mankiw asks Why $9?

There is one question I would like to see some reporter ask Alan Krueger, the president's chief economist: How did they decide that $9 per hour is the right level? Why not $10 or $12 or $15 or $20? Presumably, the president's economic team must believe that the adverse employment effects become sufficiently large at some point that further increases are undesirable. But what calculations led them to decide that $9 strikes the right balance?

Wasn't nine dollars the cost for birth control? See, there's symmetry and reason behind the Administration's policies, you just have to look really hard.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2013

Brain Trust

Everybody talkin' 'bout Sen. Chuck Hagel's (Opportunist - NE) terrible confirmation hearing. Clearly it was a cleverly laid trap from Davids Plouffe and Axelrod to divert attention from Treasury nominee Jack Lew -- or, as the WSJ Ed Page calls him, "The Rookie:"

And when Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) ticked off the problems that afflicted the two Citi divisions that Mr. Lew oversaw as chief operating officer, the nominee seemed to know less about them than Mr. Hatch. "I don't recall specific conversations" about any of several Citi-run hedge funds that were imploding at the time, said Mr. Lew. "I was aware there were funds that were in trouble."

Citigroup funds with high leverage crashed and burned, requiring a taxpayer bailout while sparking fierce debates at Citi over whether customers had been adequately informed. But the COO who oversaw legal affairs for some of these units says he formed no opinion.
Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown tried to draw out Mr. Lew on one of the Senator's favorite subjects: The fact that too-big-to-fail banks can borrow at lower rates than small banks because of the implied government backing. Mr. Lew rambled before saying that he was "not familiar with the specific issue."

These next four years are just going to be swell, are they not?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Day

First President in US History to Have Voted to Filibuster a Supreme Court Nominee Now Hopes for Clean Process -- ABC News
Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2013


I'm busy. To enjoy full productivity gains from the Internet, I am going to crib my SOTU review.

Kirsten Powers -- I know she's a FOX News Democrat, but she's a Democrat all the same -- did not really enjoy the speech more than I did. I would not change a word of her USA Today column: Same Old Same Old from Obama.

Contrary to the claims of both sides, Obama is not a liberal visionary with deep desires to institute a progressive agenda. If he is, he's a miserable failure. You need look no further than his own record (starting with foreign policy) and then Tuesday night's speech for evidence. Banalities and tropes are not a governing philosophy or a plan. The immigration piece was good, but hardly a profile in courage. After all, even the GOP wants immigration reform now. There is also the small fact that Obama promised to deal with immigration in his first term.

Rub a little dirt in it, Mr. President. It doesn't get much kinder:
That this underwhelming State of the Union -- substantively and stylistically -- will be treated as a serious effort reveals the bad shape our country is really in.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Chuck Hagel mailed it in on his SecDef nomination, why shouldn't his boss mail it in for his official duties as well?

We get the kind of POTUS that The New York Times decides we deserve at any given point in history, at least whenever the sitting office holder is a Democrat.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2013 3:31 PM

January 31, 2013

The right stuff

During Senate confirmation hearings, Chuck Hagel demonstrated that he is both clueless and incompetent. Unfortunately, those are probably the two most important qualifications that President Obama seeks In someone to run the U.S. military.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:08 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Headline of the Year: Fluster Chuck

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2013 10:29 AM

January 28, 2013

That's "Secretary One Percenter" to you, boy!

We share a large percent of our genetic structure with dogs. Therefore, don't be surprised if you look at the monitor with your head cocked and a slightly puzzled look when reading this.

The greatest irony is that given Mr. Lew's crisis-era resumé, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the bankers who President Obama says created the financial crisis and deserve federal investigation. But apparently there's an exception as long as your liberal intentions are noble and you're a loyal Democrat. Then you can get rich at one of Wall Street's biggest failures and end up running the entire financial system.

That's the elite WSJ decorum at work. They manage to describe Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's brief and magnanimously unsuccessful Wall Street career without appending -ass to any of the words. I couldn't do it.

Lew's a gub'mint guy through and through, but he takes a brief tenure at Citi that best represents a Matt Damon caricature of a Wall Street guy in the panic: bad guy comes in, total devastation ensues, gets a Federal bailout, leaves with a seven figure bonus. I just don't think Damon's screenwriters have the balls (see, I did not say ass) to have the villain nominated to be SecTreas.

Maybe Joss Whedon could pull it off..

Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2013

Our 68th Secretary of State

Reporting for duty!


Photo credit: Reason

Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Hello, I am the international face of the greatest nation in the history of the world."

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2013 1:26 AM

January 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other -- through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. -- President Barack Obama
UPDATE: Thw WSJ Ed Page highlights this same line.
The "takers" line was a clear shot at Mitt Romney's most famous campaign gaffe. This should have been beneath a Presidential inaugural, but then again it fits Mr. Obama's post- re-election pattern of continuing to demean and stigmatize those who disagree with him as if the election campaign is still on.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:48 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Taking does not make us takers; weakness is strength; ignorance is knowledge; and we have always been at war with Eastasia.

MiniTrue thanks you for your attention to Mr. Obama's speech.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2013 8:13 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And just because I'm feeling particularly snarky today: the First Klingon's new hairstyle makes me expect to hear her shout "I'm Rick James, B***!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2013 8:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh, I kind of like the First Bangs Of The United States -- not that that precludes your Rick James reference.

Funny that this line was selected for AEI disapprobation but was also selected by the TeeVee news last night for a representative clip.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2013 10:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A prescient observation, JK, for there is still a campaign going on: The campaign to convince Americans that European style social safety net systems are desirable, are moral, are right. His goal is to split the GOP House members along the line between individualist versus collectivist. House Republicans who hold to altruism as part of their moral code are susceptible, and must be turned away from the bright light.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2013 2:44 PM

Happy Inauguration Day

Some serious words from Juan Williams, in a serious piece: The Clouds Over Obama's Second Term."

But when it comes to judging his place in American history, it is impossible not to address his minority status. The first blacks in any field, much like the first women, are always held to strict standards.

Major League Baseball could not allow just any Negro ballplayer to break the color line in 1947. It had to be Jackie Robinson, who was both an exceptionally dignified man and a great baseball player.

President Lyndon Johnson could not appoint just any great lawyer to be the first African-American on the Supreme Court. Before becoming a Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall held the record for winning cases before the high court, including Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which struck down segregation in public schools. He served with distinction as solicitor general and as a federal judge.

When President George H.W. Bush selected the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he selected Colin Powell: a four-star general and decorated American war hero whose qualifications were unquestionable.

As president, Mr. Obama is dealing with scrutiny of his performance on the level of Robinson, Marshall and Mr. Powell--a scrutiny that is magnified by political passion. One theme of GOP campaign ads in the recent election was to appeal to voters who supported Mr. Obama in 2008 by essentially telling them not to feel bad about firing the first black president--he was just in over his head.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:19 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"The first blacks in any field... are always held to strict standards..."

And precisely what standards does he believe the SCOAMF has met? Certainly not the "dignified" and "great" adjectives he used to describe Cooper, the "great lawyer" or the "served with distinction" he used for Marshall, or the "four-star general and decorated American war hero whose qualifications were unquestionable" he used to describe Powell.

We're talking about a man who excelled at voting present as a legislator, one who barely served one term in the Federal legislature, who was a failure as lawyer and turned in his bar card under questionable circumstances, who coasted through school, who failed to publish a single article as editor of his law review. What are the "strict standards" this assclown refers to?

"... scrutiny of his performance on the level of Robinson, Marshall and Mr. Powell..." With a mainstream media flacking for him at every turn and failing to rise to the level of yellow journalism in its obvious bias, I consider that the SCOAMF escapes scrutiny on a wholesale basis.

Juan Williams proves himself to be nothing more than a knobgobbling lapdog who ought to be receiving a paycheck for the transparent PR service he renders to King Putt.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2013 4:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I read it that he found the President's standards wanting and felt President Obama needs to accomplish more in a second term to keep up. Watching Williams punditize on the evil FOX, he never seems that tough.

If the knives are out, Marshall was indeed a distinguished attorney in front of the bench, but he is rarely considered a top jurist.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2013 4:29 PM

January 8, 2013

The Worst Senator Ever?

Not counting the president, that would be impolite.

Bret Stephens demolishes Senator Chuck Hagel (Jew-Hatin' Homophobe NE) on the WSJ Ed Page. You have to read every word (holler for an email version), but here is the summation:

In each case, Mr. Hagel was articulating a view that was exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom. In each case, he was subsequently disproved by events. In no case was Mr. Hagel ever held to any kind of account for being wrong. In no case did he hold himself to account for being wrong.

Oh, by the way, in 1995 Mr. Hagel told the Omaha World Herald that his opposition to abortion was total and made no exception for cases of rape or incest--a view that helped get him elected to the Senate the following year. He later voted repeatedly against allowing servicewomen to pay for abortions out of their own pocket, according to the left-wing magazine Mother Jones. Now that Congress has authorized the Defense Department to pay for abortions in cases of rape, it would be worth asking Mr. Hagel if he has evolved on this one, too.

The rest of the column chronicles decades of saying whatever is popular at the time and changing positions when they fall out of disfavor. It makes one appreciate a Rep. Xavier Becerra (D CA) or Senator Bernie Sanders (I VT). My respect for their consistency precludes my providing a silly party - state identifier.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2013

How Do You Deal With?

What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.'"
This is from a Stephen Moore interview with Speaker Boehner. Also well excerpted outside the paywall by Matt Welch. The President thinks we have a health care problem and that once that is fixed (by the addition of large quantities of government, natch) all of our other priorities will be seen to be very affordable.

I don't know where I got the job "President of the Speaker Boehner Fan Club" (my card just arrived in the mail). But how do you negotiate with a man who a) believes that; b) is not a compromise politician; c) has a Senate majority; and, d)can expect sympathetic press? "I need this job like a hole in my head" is the other takeaway quote.

One can find fault with the Speaker but I think it requires context. All in all, another grim reminder of IowaHawk's wisdom:


Posted by John Kranz at 2:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The attitude of President Obama is reminiscent of another dismissive attitude: Drinking problem? I do not have a drinking problem. I drink, I fall down, no problem.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2013 3:24 PM

December 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

The Financial Times reported Wednesday that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner knew about Libor manipulation in May 2008, even earlier than previously believed. (See our editorial, "Tim Geithner and Libor," July 21, 2012.) And yet he soft-pedaled his criticism of Libor while at the New York Federal Reserve. The New York Fed even used Libor as a benchmark throughout the worst of the crisis, in major contracts to which the U.S. government was party.

When regulators mess up, they don't get indicted. They get promoted. -- WSJ Ed Page

Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2012

JK Agrees with Kim Strassel!

I know, hold the presses!

But my favorite opinion writer nails it today. I have said it, she said it better: give the President his stupid tax increase, vote "Present" and let it be the Democrats' gift to a gleeful nation.

The president will also finally have to show his math. He has argued his entire presidency that America's debt hole could be filled by soaking the rich. He'll now get his way, in a bill that likely provides $800 billion in revenue over 10 years, or $80 billion a year. To repeat: $80 billion a year. That is 7% of the $1.1 trillion deficit Mr. Obama ran in fiscal year 2012 alone. His tax hikes in hand, he can now explain why the hole keeps getting bigger.

Especially as no further tax revenue will be forthcoming. The president's grand plan was to pocket the top tax rates and commit the GOP to later tax "reform" worth an additional $800 billion in closed tax deductions. His leverage has been holding hostage the middle-class rates. That hostage will now be dead. The GOP will have no reason to give him more.

Nor will Mr. Obama get any of the spending wish list he sent to House Speaker John Boehner last week, since a deal was his only real shot at slipping in some of that money. No $50 billion in stimulus. No extension of unemployment insurance or payroll tax holiday. No money for his mortgage program.

We're not going to win this one. Strassel suggests a managed retreat, and I think she is right.
No question, the Republicans would suffer a bitter defeat if top marginal income-tax rates rise. Then again, if those rates are going up anyway--either because we go off the cliff or because Mr. Obama maneuvers them into a panicked, last-minute deal--the rational GOP response is to instead choose a deliberate course that mitigates its own political damage, and lands some blows. This is the corner our intransigent president has backed Republicans into.

So, that Obama "victory": On Jan. 1, the president gets to give a news conference gloating over his tax win. He then faces four years and 20 days of a presidency marked by his ownership of a faltering economy, a spiraling debt problem, automatic sequester cuts, no prospect of further spending or tax revenue, and a debt-ceiling time bomb. If that's this president's idea of "victory," maybe it's what he deserves.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I think it was Kudlow last night showing a clip of Howard Dean admitting that we can't close the gap on the rich alone - taxes will have to go up for everyone. Don't expect such honesty to be widely covered.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2012 12:33 PM

November 30, 2012

Costco Dividend

I was very proud to not be a Costco member, when CEO Jim Sinegal took the stage at the Democratic Convention to do his part to elect the guy who was going to raise his taxes. It's a free country, and I certainly do not boycott Costco. It just doesn't appeal to the two of us in our humble condo. But I was glad to be off the list that night.

The WSJ Ed Page has a bit of sport as his expense today.

When President Obama needed a business executive to come to his campaign defense, Jim Sinegal was there. The Costco co-founder, director and former CEO even made a prime-time speech at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte. So what a surprise this week to see that Mr. Sinegal and the rest of the Costco board voted to give themselves a special dividend to avoid Mr. Obama's looming tax increase. Is this what the President means by "tax fairness"?

Costco is one of more than 130 companies who are -- smartly -- increasing dividends or rolling them into 2012 to avoid President Obama's new rates. But I don't recall many of the other 129 being on stage primetime at the DNC. And, something else makes this special dividend all the more special:
More striking is that Costco also announced that it will borrow $3.5 billion to finance the special payout. Dividends are typically paid out of earnings, either current or accumulated. But so eager are the Costco executives to get out ahead of the tax man that they're taking on debt to do so.

I guess they're Democrats after all!
We think companies can do what they want with their cash, but it's certainly rare to see a public corporation weaken its balance sheet not for investment in the future but to make a one-time equity payout. It's a good illustration of the way that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's near-zero interest rates are combining with federal tax policy to distort business decisions.

One of the biggest dividend winners will be none other than Mr. Sinegal, who owns about two million shares, while his wife owns another 84,669. At $7 a share, the former CEO will take home roughly $14 million. At a 15% tax rate he'll get to keep nearly $12 million of that windfall, while at next year's rate of 43.4% he'd take home only about $8 million. That's a lot of extra cannoli.

But, next year will be so much more fair!

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow updates my number to 170 -- and throws in Major League Baseball's, notorious for deferring revenue, finishing free agent contracts with front loaded 2012 bonuses.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yet still won't avert the painful cuts Romney was talking about. But what's national economic collapse in the face of "fairness?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2012 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Also notice what this does to the status notion that tax receipts versus tax rates can be statically calculated - blows it right off the page of the New York Times! (Well, an objective newspaper at any rate.) The idea that tax rate increases won't result in avoidance behavior, even by tax fairness "patriots" like Costco's CEO, must henceforth be null and void.

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2012 5:57 PM

November 29, 2012

Pop the Champagne corks! 2.7% GDP growth!

Or, as I suggested to a FB friend (our own LatteSipper) maybe the sound is 2Liter bottles of BigK® Store brand soda.

Tyler Durden has a dim assessment of the data. And James Pethokoukis suggests "Well, I think we have a final verdict on the Obama stimulus"

OK, I think we've seen enough here. It looks like 2012 will end on a weak note with most economists viewing 2013 as probably more of the same -- and that assumes we don't plunge over the fiscal cliff and suffer another recession. For comparison purposes, let's first review Obama White House economic forecasts since 2009:

1. In August of 2009, Team Obama predicted GDP would rise 4.3% in 2011, followed by 4.3% growth in 2012 (and 4.3% in 2013, too).

2. In its 2010 forecast, Team Obama predicted GDP would rise 3.5% in 2012, followed by 4.4% growth in 2013, 4.3% in 2014.

3. In its 2011 forecast, Team Obama predicted GDP would rise 3.1% in 2011, 4.0% in 2012, 4.5% in 2013, and 4.2% in 2014.

4. In its most recent forecast, Team Obama predicted GDP would rise 3.0% this year and next, and then 4.0% after that.

Instead, GDP grew 2.4% in 2010, and 1.8% last year. So far this year, quarterly growth has been 2.0%, 1.3%, and 2.7% -- with maybe 1.5% in the current quarter. Instead of quarter after quarter of 4% growth, we've had just two: The final quarters of 2009 and 2011. Other than those, we’ve haven't had a single quarter with growth higher than this quarter's 2.7%. It's why we still have massive employment and output gaps.

We lost to this guy...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

... because, like capitalism, Chicago politics works every time it's tried.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2012 3:17 PM

November 26, 2012

The Most Disingenuous Beghazi Story Yet

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House could finally have its chance to close the books on its Benghazi public relations disaster, as key Republicans signal they might not stand in the way of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to become the next secretary of state.
Public relations disaster? Yeah, that's the trouble with four murdered Americans in a terrorist attack on 9/11 and weeks of subsequent lying: bad PR.

And, is it "over" (was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?) if they can cobble 60 votes from pusillanimous Senate Republicans? The story goes away?

I'm game to join Bill Kristol that Ambassador Rice is no worse than anybody else he might nominate and likely better than some. But this story sadly shows that the mendacity of the press continues post-election.

UPDATE: Taranto Chimes in (scroll to "Hacks and Flacks.")

Posted by John Kranz at 9:22 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

One can be forgiven for thinking a mendacious press might also make the 22nd Amendment go away between now and 2016.

Posted by: johngalt at November 26, 2012 3:12 PM

November 21, 2012

Nixon to China, Obama to Moynihania

I don't know that President Obama reads Jonah Goldberg's column regularly, but we all know he loves ThreeSources, so I'll put this forward.

Goldberg thinks that the President might be in a unique position to address the racial imbalance in marriage and illegitimacy.

But there is one area where Obama could be transformative and bipartisan while helping both the middle class and the poor. He could show some leadership on the state of the black family, and the American family in general.

The thought came to me when a friend pointed me to a column by the Washington Post's Courtland Milloy about how blacks are fleeing baseball at an alarming rate. Today, only 8 percent of the baseball players are black. In 1959, black participation was more than twice as high at 17 percent. In 1975, the high-water mark, the rate was 27 percent.

The reasons for the decline are many and controversial, but one cited by Milloy is that baseball is a game taught by fathers, while basketball and football are more often taught by peers in pickup games.

Interesting article.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2012

For the record.

"[...] they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy," -- a dozen Democratic female House members.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is unqualified. Interior Secretary Ken Salazaar in not bright. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is not trustworthy.
Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Joe Biden gets a hat-trick.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 20, 2012 11:57 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Odd, I seem to recall any number of Republicans being called racist for labeling the President with various combinations of those traits.

Posted by: AndyN at November 20, 2012 12:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Andy: Obama, unqualified, unbright, untrustworthy? But we've been categorically told he's "... articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy..."

On the other hand, my moniker-of-choice for the current occupier of 1600 Pennsylvania, "SCOAMF," contains at least two of those three descriptors...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 20, 2012 1:16 PM
But AndyN thinks:

On second thought, maybe those dozen Democratic female House members just don't think of President Mom Jeans as male.

Posted by: AndyN at November 20, 2012 2:40 PM
But Jk thinks:

Thank you ThreeSourcers! A long day at the doc's for my drug trial was cheered up considerably by your bonhomie.

Posted by: Jk at November 20, 2012 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Always and often, best of wishes to you Subject No. 0073CO!

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2012 6:21 PM

November 5, 2012

Even the Children Learn

I respect the sobreity of brother Ellis' prior post but I do believe caution is in order. There's another equally possible outcome. After all, none of the republics which failed throughout history had the internet... or YouTube.

This episode has been on my mind since the summer of 2008. Now, on the eve of the referendum vote, it finally seems fully appropriate.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:56 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thanks for that. Amazing how a little Star Trek can brighten up our notions of the future!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 5, 2012 7:34 PM

October 31, 2012

Obama's Solar Panel Cronyism: Move On, Nothing to See Here

"You better let him know that the WH wants to move Abound forward."
- Executive Director DOE Loan Programs, June 25, 2010

Composite video below from RevealingPolitics. Story based on DOE emails obtained by CompleteColorado.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nice -- and further supported:

The new emails contradict claims by Obama and others in his administration that all decisions on the $20 billion DOE clean energy loans were made by career executives in the department.

Most recently, Obama told a Denver television news interviewer on Oct. 26, 2012, that the loan decisions are "decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2012 5:35 PM

October 30, 2012

The Wages of Libya

One more excellent article about the Benghazi 9/11 terrorist attack and the growing evidence of an administration cover-up. Victor Davis Hanson, in inimitable prose, lists those whose careers will be ended by the affair:

Secretary Clinton
Ambassador Rice
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey

And of course, without being mentioned, President Barack Obama.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (0)

Benghazigate Boiling Over

A Washington Times column by James S. Robbins, dated October 28 (Sunday) shortly after midnight EDT, describes the October 18 announcement by SECDEF Panetta: "Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command."

After remarking on the unusual timing of the leadership change, the column then reports an October 26 blog post by someone who cites an anonymous "inside the military [source] that I trust entirely."

The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham's place as the head of Africom.

Later the same day, October 28, a pentagon spokesman wrote Mr. Robbins and said, "The insinuations in your story are flat wrong."

Monday, October 29, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, released a statement:

"The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command (AFRICOM) due to events in Benghazi, Libya on 11 September 2012 is absolutely false. General Ham's departure is part of routine succession planning that has been on going since July. He continues to serve in AFRICOM with my complete confidence."

And yet, at 3:30 pm EDT that same day James Robbins reported General at center of Benghazi-gate controversy retiring

The questions concerning General Ham's role in the September 11 events continue to percolate. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said that General Ham told him during a visit to Libya that he had never been asked to provide military support for the Americans under attack in Benghazi. Former United States Ambassador to the U.N. John R, Bolton also mentioned Mr. Chaffetz's account, and contrasted it with Mr. Panetta's statement that General Ham had been part of the team that made the decision not to send in forces. "General Ham has now been characterized in two obviously conflicting ways," Mr. Bolton concluded. "Somebody ought to find out what he actually was saying on September the eleventh."

More here in a 5-hour old Hot-Air post:

A blistering critique of the administration by retired Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet that ends, "for our leadership to have deliberately ignored the pleas for assistance is not only incomprehensible, it is un-American."

And the following conclusion about General Carter Ham's "retirement."

James Robbins notes that the White House insisted that Ham took part in the decision not to supply assistance to the consulate, but Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz that no one had asked him about it. Ham’s retirement could mean that the Pentagon had some sort of disciplinary action pending against him over the incident (also the subject of much speculation, but little in the way of direct sourcing), or it could have a different meaning altogether. It would be inappropriate for Ham to criticize his Commander in Chief while still in uniform, although he could go to Congress to report any perceived malfeasance at any time.

Emphasis mine.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Your favorite blog optimist imagines a worst case scenario. That's what optimists do, right?

Benghazigate is boiling over on ThreeSources, Fox News, Instapundit, and probably Michelle Malkin. It got zero minutes on any non-Fox Sunday show. And any mentions in MSM (I hate to use that term but must here) refer to how the Romney camp is politicizing the deaths of four Americans.

In short, the media firewall will hold through the election. If President Obama wins, however, this will erupt, Watergate-like prosecuted in a GOP House.

But instead of Gerald Rudolph Ford, we get...

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2012 3:28 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Yeah, but before GRF we had Spiro Theodore Agnew.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 30, 2012 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair analysis. Let me offer a flicker of hope:

9News Questions President Obama on Libya Attack

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2012 3:42 PM

October 29, 2012

Benghazigate Update

The Washington DC CBS affiliate reported today this statement by Senator John McCain on Face the Nation yesterday:

"Nobody died in Watergate. But this [handling of Ambassador Stevens' murder by terrorists] is either a massive cover-up or incompetence that is not acceptable service to the American people," McCain told "Face the Nation." "The American people may take that into consideration a week from Tuesday."

In Why did Obama choose to “stand down” in Benghazi? a Powerline blogger expounds on the General Petraeus revelation that "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need" as was posted here in a comment on Friday.

Voters, then, must assess the administration’s handling of Benghazi with limited information. But we do know this: (1) the administration erred grievously by leaving open our mission in Benghazi while turning down requests for more security, (2) the administration made the wrong decision on the day of the attack by not bringing our military to bear, a decision consistent with Obama’s instincts, and (3) the administration has not been forthcoming or honest in its discussion of Benghazi after the fact.

These facts, without more, present a serious indictment of Obama.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2012

Hate to see the low ground

Jake Tapper -- likely the least "in the bag" journalist for the Obama Administration -- claims that the President will have the high ground when the subject of the Benghazi attacks comes up tonight (between Big Bird and Contraception).

"The Romney campaign had the high ground on this issue for weeks. They lost that high ground at the second debate by alleging, suggesting the Obama administration had misled the American public on Benghazi," says Josh Rogin, of Foreign Policy's The Cable.

"It took the president 14 days before he called the attack on the embassy an act of terror," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at that debate. Obama had in fact called it an act of terror the day after the attack, though the administration spent the next two weeks avoiding the term terror, blaming the attack on an anti-Muslim video and claiming some of it was spontaneous.

Still, "there's no real evidence that they misled, it's possible they were just wrong. And President Obama seized on that and called that offensive the president has regained the moral high authority on this issue."

We're not necessarily lying -- we could be simply stoopid!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

What was it supporters were saying about a potential Obama presidency? Worldly, intelligent and nuanced - things like that?

It is one thing for government officials to miss warnings that the consulate attack was imminent - like the reported explosion that blew a hole in the consulate wall in August - or for the Administration to misread and disregard those warnings. But why were security forces so few and so poorly armed? Why were repeated requests for help summarily dismissed? An internet rumor suggests it was part of a planned "October Surprise" and that Ambassador Stevens was to be kidnapped, not murdered.

The original report surmised that the coup de grace would be a daring rescue operation to free the American ambassador, but more recent speculation suggests a trade of Ambassador Stevens for the Blind Sheik.

At least as plausible as the "angry movie reviewers" meme. No evidence though.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2012 3:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The liberal press seems to have a story line today that Romney should lay off of Benghazi for his own good. That makes The Refugee think that the plea is for Obama's good.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 22, 2012 3:20 PM

October 10, 2012

Benghazi Bird III

All Hail Jake Tapper -- an actual non-stooge in the Washington Press Corps. "Security Officer on State Department Blocking Requests: 'For Me the Taliban Is Inside the Building'"

"I have been a career foreign service officer for 39 years," [Patrick] Kennedy said when asked if political considerations trumped protocol. "I have served every president since Richard Nixon, I have directly served six secretaries of State, Democratic and Republican. On my honor: no. None."

[Lt. Col Andrew] Wood said that when he heard of the attack on the Benghazi post on September 11, it was "instantly recognizable" that it had been a terrorist attack.


"Mainly because of my prior knowledge there," Wood said. "I almost expected the attack to come. We were the last flag flying. It was a matter of time."

Last flag flying...

Hat-tip: @verumserum

Posted by John Kranz at 5:53 PM | Comments (0)

Benghazi Bird II

As with most things in life, I certainly hope my blog brother jg is correct:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | Comments (0)

Benghazi Bird?

Never have a blogger stay at your house. They eat too much and hog your Wi-Fi. More importantly, they share private family details on the Internet.

But I stayed with some people last week who had an interesting procedure. There's a jar in the bedroom, and you have to put in a dollar when you say . . . wait for it . . . "If George W. Bush were President..." At le condo d'Amor, I'd have a 1958 Les Paul and a '59 Corvette to drive it around in.

But the world is not ThreeSources. And I am becoming convinced that the Obama Administration is not going to face any ramifications for the Libyan embassy Attacks. Yes, right wingers like Jennifer Rubin will whine:

Moreover, the State Department now confesses there was no protest at all outside the Libyan installation before the attack.

That's awfully problematic, given that Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on five talk shows suggesting in fact that the movie did provoke the attack. Mitt Romney's top foreign policy adviser, Richard Williamson, told Right Turn, "Last time I checked, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was part of the U.S. State Department."

But I think the President will be able to run out the clock talking about Big Bird. I wish I were wrong.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:06 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Naah, don't think so. You're too cynical, but rightfully so. A CBS correspondent has criticized the administration, with support of her superiors. Allegiances within the administration are crumbling. The next Presidential Debate is a Town Hall on foreign policy. Think this won't dominate? Then the next question is which is worse: an administration that can't prevent terrorists from murdering American diplomats on a 9/11 anniversary or one that will flat-out lie to prevent it from derailing re-election?

The buzzards are beginning at least to gather, if not circle. As we saw in Venezuela, Obama's lieutenants will stop campaigning for him and various supporters will (already are) begin to abandon him.

You may be right. I'll give you that. But if this isn't the beginning of the end, it's at least what it usually looks like.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2012 2:54 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is a scandal that would embarrass Richard Nixon and the press is playing the role of the Three Wise Monkeys.

The Refugee is willing to pay a dollar to say, "If George W. Bush was president..."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 10, 2012 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen, brother br. Wonder if they take PayPal®?

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2012 6:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, I watched the intro for ABC's 'Nightline' program last night. Old geezers will remember that show was born from the special late-night news updates on the Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter Administration. Ted Koppel made a respectable news show of it for decades. No longer. Last night's three stories:

"Michelle Obama on Role in Campaign"
"Female Fighter Pilot"
"Expensive Burger"

Hey Ms. McFadden, the State Department is under investigation for an election season cover-up that rivals Watergate. Anyone notice? I heard some people died or something.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2012 11:34 AM

October 5, 2012

Hope, Change, Character Assassination

First I should caution that this report comes from a person who claims to be a "veteran White House reporter." Aren't those guys all bought and paid for?

In a vicious and personal assault rarely conducted at the highest level of U.S. politics, White House senior adviser David Plouffe repeatedly told reporters aboard Air Force One that Romney was "dishonest." With the president of the United States in a cabin just a few steps away, his top adviser pushed out the new campaign theme that the man who had bested him in the debate Wednesday night is an untrustworthy scoundrel.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2012

America: Frack Yeah!

How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.

Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.


This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.


Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.

If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:

All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.

If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Yes, yes, YES. American inexpensive energy explosion coming even if Obama gets reelected...he'll try to stop it, of course, but I don't think he can. Private land still exists!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, the idealism of private property. Don't bet that he can't stop it. Private property owners don't own the air, don't own the underground water, don't own the snail darters and wooley amoebas.

Good NED man, have you not read the book? (He asks, knowingly.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I will revise and expand my remarks...I don't think Obama in his second term will have the political capital to kill the American energy revolution. Congress won't let him and a lot of union folks are counting on it. His theoretical Gaiaean Marxism will clash too much with reality. Objective reality!

Thankfully, I think we have a good chance of a different President who will be pushing the car DOWN the track instead of putting on the brakes as hard as possible. But as in "the book," there is the possibility that Wesley Mouch will be appointed "Czar" with the power to screw things up. I don't totally discount that.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:51 PM

September 27, 2012

What caused the end of Obamanomics?

My wise and dear father caught me at a loss this morning when he asked if I know what ended the Great Depression? "WWII production?" I knew it was wrong as soon as I said it, but I must confess his answer was more correct and succinct than any I've ever heard: "FDR died."

Investors: Weak Economy Dims Americans Hope In Obamanomics

Some may argue that Obama took office in the midst of an epochal financial crisis, with an economy hurtling downhill. Fair enough -- as far as it goes.

But after four years, that excuse rings hollow. Obama's record suggests he won't put into place policies that foster economic growth and job creation.

Even worse, Obama gives us scant hope for better times on his watch. He's the godfather of big government policies that burden the economy -- a new health care system that will add punishing costs to hiring and small business and financial regulations that will stifle lending.

Obama promised change. And indeed the economy has changed.

But President Obama is young and healthy, so America is fortunate that he is Constitutionally limited to two terms of office. Better yet, we can elect a businessman with a proven track record of rescuing failed enterprises to replace him.

UPDATE: Jay Leno agrees.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I like it! But FDR was replaced with Truman...

Here's a backup piece for your link. 55% of business owners would not start a business today.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if Obama died he'd be replaced with Biden. Again, we're more fortunate now. Keep Barack on Michele's diet for the next 40 days (or, worse case, 4 years, 40 days.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2012 5:12 PM

A Cell Phone is a Civil Right?

Get yours today. Supplies are not limited. "The Obama Phone" from the Free Government Cell Phone Program.

The free Obama phone is a program that is meant to help the financially unstable who cannot afford access to a cell phone. Communication should not be limited to people in relation to what they are able to afford.

And like everything else in the Obama presidency, this too is Bush's fault.

During the Bush administration, there was the introduction of a project that gave subsidies to those who could not afford a phone. The basic principle of the program is that everyone should have access to emergency services like 911.

But if the phone could only be used for 911 who would carry it? Who would charge it? How could it "help the financially unstable?" Fear not.

There are different plans to choose from. Some plans offer fewer minutes and more texting and some even include rollover minutes. Make sure you check out all the plans before choosing the one that is right for you.

If one were able to look up "moral hazard" in a videonet dictionary, this clip would be definition number 1 or 2.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Viva Democracy! Did you see the Howard Stern interviews? A "reporter" interviewed random Harlemites: Do you like Obama? Yeah. Do you like his VP Pick, Paul Ryan? Yeah. Do you like Paul Ryan because he is black? Oh no, that doesn't matter. Do You think they'll beat Sarah Palin this year? &c. &c.

Like this, it is extremely difficult to watch. And I feel compelled to add as Howard Stern did "You know there are a ton of white people who don't know what the hell is going on either!"

ThreeSources was poorly represented at the last Liberty on the Rocks. I'd like to discuss it but don't know that I can be David Mamet's Rabbi and provide a glowing and comprehensive version of the other side. But I will try.

The speaker wants a Constitutional Amendment, first in Colorado and some other states, then hopefully Federal, that would allow citizens to challenge laws and have a jury -- not the Supreme Court -- rule it unconstitutional. He sees this as a fix for Kelo and it might be.

I see my Facebook friends and this woman hearing a challenge that the Paul Ryan budget contravenes the General Welfare clause. I suggested that almost every loss of liberty from the founding to present occurred when we chose "more democracy."

This video and the South Carolina lady who was happy in 2008 because now that Obama was President she didn't have to worry about paying her mortgage or putting gas in the car -- AND a selection of very stupid white people should be kept on file for when people think our problems best fixed by We The People.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 4:59 PM

September 25, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip: Ed Morrissey (who does not quite agree with jk...)

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I've had enough of this replacement president! America needs to do whatever it takes to get a pro-caliber president back in office. This guy is completely destroying the integrity of the United States of America.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2012 10:30 PM

September 22, 2012


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday, "It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." The only literate response to this definitive Administration judgement is, "Duh."

Some other self-evident judgements come to mind:

It is self-evident that the national news media, once respected for at least trying to appear objective, is as fully invested in President Obama's reelection as a diverse group of human beings can ever be.

It is self-evident that a Republican president who governed in the way President Obama has done would be excoriated by journalists to a degree that would have made the late President Nixon feel like a media darling.

It is self-evident that the only way government can lower health care costs is to ration patient care.

It is self-evident that when medical providers and insurers are allowed to compete for business they will find ways to lower their costs, and therefore their prices.

It is self-evident that when President Obama says something, he really means the opposite.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2012

All Hail Harsanyi!

A short visual history of the creepy Obama cult

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag,
Of the Obama Administration,
And to the regime for which it stands,
One nation, under Obama, with tyranny and redistribution for all."

-FBN's Eric Bolling

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2012 3:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2012 11:38 AM

September 19, 2012

Barack Obama- American Exceptionalist

There are several points to be made about President Obama's appearance on David Letterman last night and most of them are being made elsewhere. The one I haven't heard anyone mention is the point where the president says that America is the "greatest country on earth."

"Right now interest rates are low because people still consider the United States the safest and greatest country on earth. Rightfully so."

It's at 7:10 in the following clip of his entire appearance:

This comes dangerously close to "elevating one nation or group of people over another," and it clearly proves that the president understands nations are not equal. What is the word which describes the popular, yet ineffective, strategy for making nations or groups of people equal? Redistribution.

"Stay the course America" is the president's re-election strategy. "Pay no attention to that iceberg approaching our bow. That's just a little bump we're gonna have to roll over before we can all have the same opportunities as everyone else."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (4)
But AndyN thinks:

Of all the examples he could pick to demonstrate that the US is the greatest country on earth, he picked interest rates? Seriously? And besides, I was under the impression that interest rates were low because treasury kept printing more money to buy bonds from the treasury, or something.

Posted by: AndyN at September 19, 2012 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt jg & dagny's kids will soon be bringing home coloring sheets of FOMC Chairman Ben Bernanke: "Defender of the Faith and Crown!"

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2012 7:35 PM
But dagny thinks:

Jk makes fun of the stuff brought home from school but I will be spending many hours I would rather spend blogging writing carefully crafted philosophical (not political) responses to mush-headed 20-somethings brainwashed by education degrees and associated administrators.

How's that for a run-on sentence?

My only hope is that we have chosen a small enough school that my eloquence regarding the Main Points of the Constitution and second grade socialism of crayons will not fall on deaf ears.

Posted by: dagny at September 20, 2012 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Know that I applaud you for it! Once a response has been carefully crafted -- I would point out -- it would not take much marginal effort to share it where it might be used on mushy headed educators outside your immediate sphere.

Brother jg would set up a new category for these, and could likely be talked into posting them.

Think about it...

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2012 2:00 PM

September 18, 2012

Two tickets to Normal World, Please

Very small Internet value in underscoring Professor Reynolds's links, but if you ever think you are not living in Bizzaro World, read Joel Engel's description of the artist President Obama hung with after putting that cheesy filmmaker behind bars.

If Barack Obama consciously intended to demonstrate his contempt for this constitutional republic and its citizens--and who knows, maybe he does--he couldn't do it any more dramatically than tomorrow night's event.

Think about it. Just a few days after trying to deprive a man no one had ever heard of from enjoying his free-speech rights because some foreigners claim they were offended, the President of the United States flies off to party with another man who’s earned a pasha's fortune exercising his own free-speech rights with language that offends many more Americans than not.

Click through for some language that even I will not excerpt.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well what do you know, I was thinking about posting this too, and wondering how much of the lyrics to include...which was none. Here's an old song from before the Era of (C)Rap that explains the situation quite well if you're Obama and will do anything for votes and money:

"Well now we're respected in society
We don't worry about the things that we used to be"

(You may remember the rest. Even mentions the President and White House, how fitting).

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 18, 2012 2:31 PM

September 17, 2012

Kudlow: QE3 - Evidence Obamanomics Dismal Failure

Or, "What if they threw a big economic recovery and nobody came?"

Lawrence Kudlow points out in an IBD editorial that Bernanke's "desperate money-pumping plan" is a complete reversal of the "supply side" policy that his predecessor Paul Volker used to great effect in the 80's, with an unsurprising result.

A falling dollar (1970s) generates higher inflation, a rising dollar (1980s and beyond) generates lower inflation.

This is the supply-side model as advanced by Nobelist Robert Mundell and his colleague Arthur Laffer. In summary, easier taxes and tighter money are the optimal growth solution. But what we have now are higher taxes and easier money. A bad combination.

The Fed has created all this money in the last couple of years. But it hasn't worked: $1.6 trillion of excess bank reserves are still sitting idle at the Fed. No use. No risk. Virtually no loans. And the Fed is enabling massive deficit spending by the White House and Treasury.

The obvious implication being that if it worked then and its opposite is failing now, let's try it again. *Homer Simpson voice*"Hey, why didn't I think of that?"*/Homer Simpson voice* Kudlow explains that when policies don't encourage higher after-tax income for producers or greater return on investment for lenders, well, we'll see less of both.

On page 2 Kudlow explains how QE3, like QE2 before it, is murder on the middle-class that the president loudly and repeatedly boasts he cares most about. As my three year-old likes to say these days, "Nonsense."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Larry's point is politically devastating: "if the Administration's policies are so swell, how come the Fed has to keep a liquidity fire hose on full in perpetuity?"

A wonkier look at QE3, suggesting Nominal Income Targeting (somewhere blog friend EE cheers!) is available on the Free Banking blog today.

Among the alternatives to NGDP one in particular, the Dept. of Commerce's measure of (nominal) "final sales to domestic consumers" deserves particular attention. It is the measure that was favored by the late Bill Niskanen--yet another largely unrecognized but long-standing proponent of nominal income targeting--who offered several good reasons for preferring it to NGDP targeting, the most fundamental of which was that "demand for money in the United States appears to be more closely related to final purchases by Americans than to the dollar level of total output by Americans."

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2012 4:09 PM

September 12, 2012

Islamists Wag the Dog?

The catalyst for riots and embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya yesterday, resulting in the deaths of four American diplomats, reportedly was a low-budget film that "appeared on the internet" and "insulted Islam." Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

But first there is the problem of determining who the makers of the film really are.

A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles on Wednesday said that after numerous inquiries, it appeared no one in the Hollywood film industry or in the local Israeli community knew of a Sam Bacile, the supposed director-writer of the incendiary film “Innocence of Muslims.”

The official expressed some doubt that a person by that name actually existed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

DOESN'T MATTER. The American government, like the government of any free nation, isn't in the business of allowing or disallowing the published free speech of any of its citizens. The savage goatherds of Egypt and Libya don't seem to understand how that works.

Several lefties I know responded to my statement "this is an act of war" with "the attack on our embassies wasn't done by their governments, but by individuals who are not part of government; you can't hold their whole countries and their governments responsible for the actions of a few."

Why not? The purported reason for the attacks and murders was a film produced not by the American government, but by a handful of individuals in America not affiliated with the US government. If the film justifies an attack on our sovereign soil, how does the attack not justify the reverse?

OBAMA OWNS THIS WHOLE SCREW-UP, PART AND PARCEL. He and his administration fostered and encouraged the whole "Arab Spring" mess, putting Islamists in charge. We supported the Brotherhood in Egypt; we sponsored the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and enabled the new regime ("We came, we saw, he's dead." Anyone remember that?). Syria is now in slow-motion freefall; Turkey has moved from moderation to the Islamists; Afghanistan is a fly's eyelash from becoming a proxy state of Iran, which has made it clear they intend war on Israel. This administration has turned the Middle East into a powderkeg, and the SCOAMF is sitting on it to light up a joint.

The SCOAMF no-showed the entire last week of his daily intelligence briefings. But that's okay, say his mouthpieces, because even if he doesn't attend in person, he reads the written reports daily. REALLY? Then how is it he and his administration got caught flat-footed? Why was the Benghazi compound unprotected, and the nearby safegouse compromised.

"Foreign Policy President," my muscular buttocks...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 12, 2012 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You make a rational point KA. However, American public opinion would never support military action against Libya in response to this act of war on the part of al Qaeda. Nor should it. We should, however, "hold their whole country and their government responsible" in every civil means possible. One of these is to not post an ambassador without a metric buttload of marines. Hell, we don't post an ambassador in Great Britain without a detachment of marines. THAT, among many many other failures, is on the president.

Yes, Obama "owns" this, as I wrote in the previous post. And not only because of his policy failures but also because he "spiked the football" at least 21 times at the Democrat convention last week alone, capped by his vice-president's suggestion that Obama's killing of their leader should be on a bumper sticker: "Osama's Dead. GM's Alive."

If al Qaeda sought revenge it was generally against the United States, but specifically against a president who told them one thing but did quite another.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 5:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If Obama has not attended a single briefing in the week leading up to 9/11 (especially following the killing of OBL), then THAT is a scandal!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2012 6:53 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

Wow, I wish all demands by foreign governments were that easy to resolve. All legal measures against an American accused of apostasy have already been taken.

Posted by: AndyN at September 12, 2012 7:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yup. So long as the Egyptian president didn't mean sharia-legal.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 7:31 PM

There's Still a War Going On

Mideast popular opinion, we were told by candidate Obama, is anti-American because they see us as meddlers in their local affairs. We based our troops in the land of Mecca, which was supposedly the final motivation for Osama bin Laden to found al Qaeda and target America, Americans and the World Trade Center on 9/11. President Obama promised to change all of this by bringing home the troops and extending an olive branch to Islamic states and shadow groups alike.

As long ago as 2010, when General Stanley McChrystal was recalled from the effort to "liberate" Afghanistan, the president sought to apply his strategy to the mideast conflict:

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies.


Some Afghan policy specialists are sceptical about whether negotiations would succeed. Peter Bergen, a specialist on Afghanistan and al-Qaida, told a US Institute of Peace seminar in Washington last week that there were a host of problems with such a strategy, not least why the Taliban should enter negotiations "when they think they are winning".

At the same time he offers to "talk to America's enemies" he has intensified efforts to eliminate terrorist leaders, including a top al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. Killed by a U.S. missile in June, Senator Ben Nelson today suggested that Ambassador Christopher Stevens' killing yesterday in Libya may have been meant as revenge.

Did the president really believe he could conduct covert operations throughout the middle east without incurring the same kind of backlash his mentor Jeremiah Wright claimed to be the cause of 9/11? Whether it is better to fight terrorists or talk to them is less at issue with this administration than the schizophrenia that leads them to attempt both at the same time.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2012

Obama Reelect Stragegy

All week at DNC2012 we heard "shared prosperity" from "shared responsibility" (since "shared sacrifice" doesn't poll as well.) Ayn Rand wrote about this when it used to be known as The Common Good.

And what is meant by "shared responsibility?" If you can bear the burden of your tax liability then your share of the burden isn't high enough.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:38 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

More bold stances from Ryan that will pique the interests of small-l libertarians, new Federalists, States-Rights and Tenth Amendment supporters:

That ought to engender some interesting talk here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 9, 2012 2:16 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, but.

Yeah, but it reminds me that Gov. Romney, on the head of the ticket, is dismissive. And that even Sen. Obama's promise to back the Feds off did not come to fruition.

I can't see this being productive politically or advancing the cause of liberty. Romney will be quizzed again now that professional unbiased journalists sense dissention in the GOP ranks. It makes me like Chairman Ryan a little more. Yeah, but. That really wasn't the problem.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2012 10:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I openly admit that my attitude is much more "Dagny Taggart" than "John Galt" but in 2012 I am a single-issue voter: National Debt.

That one issue also entails,
- Structural reform of government spending and budgeting.
- Tax rate reductions to move every individual and business to the left slope of the Laffer curve. Note that this implies different rate changes at different income categories.

My goal is to preserve the corrupt system of American governance and reform it to the open, transparent, pro-liberty nation it was originally intended.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2012 3:39 PM

September 6, 2012

George F. Will - TEA Party "Radical"

I think it's fair to say that respected political columnist George F. Will was not in the vanguard of Obama criticism that found its first popular voice with the TEA Parties of February 17, 2009. I could be off base but I remember him being critical and dismissive of our dire warnings about the ideas, goals and dangers of the newly elected president. Nonetheless, yesterday Mr. Will became one of us.

In 1912, Wilson said, “The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of governmental power.” But as Kesler notes, Wilson never said the future of liberty consisted of such limitation.

Instead, he said, “every means . . . by which society may be perfected through the instrumentality of government” should be used so that “individual rights can be fitly adjusted and harmonized with public duties.” Rights “adjusted and harmonized” by government necessarily are defined and apportioned by it. Wilson, the first transformative progressive, called this the “New Freedom.” The old kind was the Founders’ kind — government existing to “secure” natural rights (see the Declaration) that preexist government. Wilson thought this had become an impediment to progress. The pedigree of Obama’s thought runs straight to Wilson.

All we are say-ing, is hear what he says.*
* Yes, that is what he means, literally.

Welcome to the Party George. Have some BBQ and a Bud with us.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2012

Idiot Quote of the Day

"The reason the economics fail in the US is not a failure of Wind, its a failure of greedy corporations to allocate costs in a manner that is for the common good. Energy is like air - it comes from God and should not be for-profit. COOPs are the most cost efficient way to deliver electricity. Remove the corporate overhead with multi-million dollar salaries for CEO's and the economics of wind are obvious."

Posted 3 hours ago as a comment on a blog post at one of my engineering trade magazines. The post itself is noteworthy, for it represents the first I can remember where the realities of alternative energy sources are given as much weight as the pollyanna political correctness.

And then there is the cost of wind per MW hr with the subsidy included. Without the subsidy - fuggedaboutit. And it looks like the forgetting will be happening soon. The tax credits for "alternative" (read unreliable) energy have not been renewed. What was that again? Renewables have not been renewed? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? There is a simple explanation.

Wind power does not succeed by capturing wind. It succeeds by capturing government.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... the economics of wind are obvious..."

I've got your "obvious" right here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 4, 2012 3:43 PM

August 28, 2012

Jon Voight: "Obama Turns JFK Mantra Upside Down"

Washington Examiner - Jon Voight: Obama turns JFK 'ask not' theme 'upside down'

Worse, he suggested that JFK wouldn't recognize his party. Voight said that the Democrats have turned upside down Kennedy's famous line, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Obama, he charged, "is saying, 'Ask what your country can do for you. Your government will give you everything. We'll take care of you."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2012

2016 Movie - Food for Thought

I watched the Dinesh D'Souza film 2016-Obama's America yesterday with family and friends. My brother and father were the driving force and dad thought it so important we all see it that he paid for all of us. Having been cautioned by JK's distaste for D'Souza's conspiratism I was eager to see and hear for myself what evidence Dinesh presents, and what hypothesis he has formed.

As a starting point I read this critical review by Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan. His instinct is to dismiss it as a rehash of prior Obama hatred, but some of his dissmissals ring hollow.

As readers of the Forbes article know, the central thesis of "2016" is that Obama's worldview -- his "compass," as D'Souza calls it -- was largely shaped by the anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama's supposedly radical Kenyan father. Never mind that Obama, growing up, spent precious little time with the man, who for most of his son's early life was estranged from Obama's mother. D'Souza trots out a professional psychologist to speculate on how the senior Obama's absence reinforced his influence, rather than weakened it.

D'Souza makes it all sound almost plausible, but only if you're predisposed to believe that Obama hates America. It's bashing, all right, but with a velvet-gloved fist.

What is glossed over here is how he makes it sound plausible. That explanation is omitted and replaced with a cautionary "almost" to convince readers they need not bother to evaluate the plausability on their own. D'Souza explains that Obama's worldview was constructed not in the image of his absentee father, rather in the idealized image of him portrayed by his mother. Ann Dunham, an almost completely overlooked component of Barack's formative years, was as anti-American, or at least anti-capitalist and anti-"colonialist" as they come. So says D'Souza. He supports this claim with multiple facts. He concludes that diminishing America's influence in the world, in effect punishing America for its colonial heritage, is fully consistent with many of the previously inexplicable acts of President Obama: To repair America's "plunder" of foreign resources he gave billions of American taxpayer's dollars to Brazil and others to build up those nations' oil industries; to push back present-day colonialism he has sided with Argentina over Great Britain in the Falklands conflict; his mideast policy arguably reflects a prejudice against western influence in favor of native rule, whatever that may happen to become. Actions as seemingly unimportant as returning a bust of Winston Churchill and presenting gag gifts to the Queen of England also betray a lifelong hatred for that country, the once great colonial power which had colonized and "exploited" his father's native land - Kenya.

In the film D'Souza also shows how then candidate Obama diverted attention from these beliefs and tendencies by suggesting his goal was a racial reconciliation within America. When longtime mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-Americanism threatened to derail his campaign, Barack gave a nationally televised speech on race relations and distanced himself from the anti-colonialist values. And when other formative influences were called into question his campaign skillfully portrayed them as good-ol American leftists rather than the world socialists they would likely call themselves. When the President lectures America about the unfairness of the "one percenters" Americans think of wealthy corporate titans standing unapologetically on the shoulders of the working or "middle" class. But to a world socialist, EVERY American is a one-percenter, right down to the homeless shelter or overpass dweller who may freely beg for change and sleep opon the paved streets of American cities, free from scourges like disease, garbage dumps and open sewage running through the streets of a typical third-world village, always with ready access to medical treatment-on-demand in the shiny hospitals of the most prosperous nation on earth.

My opinion of the validity of D'Souza's original conclusions is buttressed by Elizabeth Reynolds' 'D'Souza's "Rage" a Middling Psychoanalysis' in The Dartmouth Review. After labeling Dinesh as an "ultra-conservative member of the Dartmouth Class of 1983" and praising Obama's book 'Dreams From My Father' she presents a fair, perhaps more fair than she intended, interpretation of the facts in D'Souza's book. Her conclusion:

Perhaps D'Souza's anti-colonial theory does help explain, as the Weekly Standard put it, Obama's omnipotence at home and impotence abroad. It is a matter of the reader's opinion. Regardless, D'Souza brings something new to the table with his latest book. It seems clear to me that D'Souza has done his research, with his extensive history of colonial Africa and insightful background information on Obama's early life. His concept of investigating the impact of Barack Obama's father had potential, but I'm afraid that D'Souza's conclusion, that Obama is trying to essentially destroy America, ultimately takes it too far.

Ironically, it is Reynolds who takes it too far for "essentially destroying America" is not D'Souza's claimed goal for Barack Obama. He merely wants to diminish our nation, not destroy it. The call to action at the end of the film? Every American must decide for himself if America should be diminished - and vote accordingly.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:43 PM | Comments (7)
But Jk thinks:

#3 box office?

Posted by: Jk at August 26, 2012 11:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On entertainment value - 2 stars.
The music was good and the cinematography of exotic locales almost made one feel he was there. But really, how long can one enjoy listening to strange people speaking with strange accents?

On "must-see-ness" - 5 stars.
(Out of 5.) If he is right, don't you want to know?

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In reply to "did not" I might ask an Obama supporter why he asked a non-partisan commission (Simpson-Bowles) to develop a workable debt reduction strategy and then completely ignored their advice. "Can you tell me one reason why you believe the president seriously wants to lower the national debt?"

Big enough? Non-partisan enough?

(He [Obama] wants to raise taxes on the rich. "Okay, that's eighty billion dollars of debt reduction per year, assuming the rich agree to keep doing what they're doing. How many eighty billions are there in sixteen trillion?")

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Do I want to know? I don't know. Whether he is wedded to failed policies because of his academic background and ignorance (likely) or willfully wants to damage America -- does it matter?

My Dad used to correct me "you can't look into a man's heart." I think that advice may be handy here.

Then he'd suggest I get a haircut...

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great review! The Refugee will likely save his money, as he does not need to be convinced of something he already believes. However, it does start a very worthwhile conversation in the broader electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 27, 2012 8:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Barack Obama's academic background, such as we know of it, started at home and was reinforced by every leftist who crossed his path, either academically or socially. Barack Obama may indeed be ignorant to the efficacy of Austrian economics but not because he is an ignorant man.

I never claimed to be looking into his heart. Supposedly he showed us that himself in 'Dreams.' But there exists a tidy triangle connecting the points of the "Global Fairness" Movement, young Barack's friends and family, and President Obama's actual policies and actions.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 11:59 AM

August 23, 2012

Telegenic President



Posted by JohnGalt at 4:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2012


Obama brought to the White House its first ever official videographer, Arun Chaudhary.

That should put those rumors of narcissism to rest.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

No, no, no, he didn't.

Please tell me White House spokesman Jay Carney didn't attack Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity budget today for not balancing the budget fast enough, as White House reporter for Roll Call Steven Dennis tweeted. -- James Pethokoukis
Posted by John Kranz at 3:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2012

Another Election-Year Movie Trailer

This one a documentary, not a fiction. Based on the book by Dinesh D'Souza.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I expect my friends on the other side to admit when one of theirs, say a Chris Matthews for example, goes off the rails. I'll reciprocate with D'Souza.

He is a smart guy and I have enjoyed two of his books and many of his columns over the years. But he has descended into a conspiratorial darkness that I don't appreciate and have no desire to defend.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get you."

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2012 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Frustrating because he is certainly right on many many things but I feel I have to discard all. Sad.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2012 6:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sometimes I can be pretty dense. This feels like one of those times.

D'Souza is a smart guy with a solid track record but this one movie, billed as a documentary that "shows how Obama's goal to downsize America is in plain sight but ignored by everyone" causes you to disavow him?

You have seen or read enough to classify this as "conspiratorial darkness?" The author was a fellow at AEI and Stanford's Hoover Institution. The book has five customer reviews, none negative. Hmmm.

It might be easier for me to understand your summary dismissal if I didn't know there is a prominent political movement that endorses global fairness.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2012 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

No. I have discarded D'Souza long ago, and as soon as I saw his name and heard the portentous music, I moved along.

You may try to rehabilitate him in my eye -- I cannot remember all of the missteps that distanced us. It's funny to have you step up because he is a very orthodox Christian, and famous Creationist. I'm glad to see your branching out.

I owe you a better enumeration of nuttiness. Looking at his Wikipedia I see:

With regard to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, D'Souza asserted that the abuse to the prisoners was due to the "sexual immodesty of liberal America" and that Abu Ghraib reflected "the values of a debauched liberalism run amok."

I liked his "What's So Great About America" and "Letters to a Young Conservative" even though the latter was a swipe at my man Christopher Hitchens.

I've just heard a few too many bombastic, outré statements from him over the years and have tuned him out.

A perfect parallel with Ann Coulter. I enjoyed a few of her books too but I don't enjoy what I see as rhetorical overreach.

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2012 3:51 PM

August 1, 2012

You can fix this Mr. President!

Unless of course he believes that American Olympic athletes are "those at the very top" and therefore deserve to have one-third of their Olympic honoraria confiscated by their government.

Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself. But the bronze comes with a modest prize--$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline. And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much.

Silver medalists will owe $5,385. You win a gold? Timothy Geithner will be standing there with his hand out for $8,986.

So as of this writing, swimmer Missy Franklin--who's a high school student--is already on the hook for almost $14,000. By the time she's done in the pool, her tab could be much higher. (That is, unless she has to decline the prize money to placate the NCAA--the only organization in America whose nuttiness rivals the IRS.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2012

Change that Works

I don't remember everything from 1985 - Ronald Reagan was president and I was graduating from college - but another vivid memory is the US Defense Department's decision to replace the venerable John Browning designed Colt 1911 pistol as the standard duty issue firearm for all armed forces. It was the height of a nascent competitive bid movement in government procurement and not enough attention was paid to quality or to a host of other issues. The Pentagon seemed to hope that making a change to a cheaper, foreign-made, smaller caliber pistol would deliver the same excellent service as its predecessor while also showing that they were a modern, non-discriminatory, progressive organization willing to take the "smarter" path. They selected the Beretta M9, a 9mm pistol made in Italy, to replace the seventy-four year old Colt. Now, some twenty seven years later, at least one branch of the U.S. armed forces is willing to admit a mistake. Fox News: Sticking to their guns: Marines place $22.5M order for the Colt .45 M1911

Some reports suggest Marines are not happy with their main Beretta M9s for their lack of accuracy and stopping power. With M1911's now supplying Special Ops, growing interest may lead to a better solution.

"To have the 1911 selected again for U. S. Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911," Dinkel said. "This is truly a gratifying contract award."

Now, more than any time I can remember, it is reassuring to know that some Americans are willing to admit when they make a mistake - and act quickly to fix the problem the best way they know how.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:51 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I am delighted to see the Marines returning to the venerable .45. My father, who was in the USMC for two and a half decades, once told me the reason that the 1911 was the sidearm of choice of the Corps was because even after you'd expended all your ammunition, you still had a weapon; you could beat the enemy to death with an empty .45.

Sort of just to make the point, and have fun while I'm at it:

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2012 12:35 AM

July 18, 2012

You Didn't Write That!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmmmm!

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ayn Rand just called. She said to tell Obama's TelePrompTer technician the same thing - and she's waiting for a royalty check for everything he plagiarized from her.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 18, 2012 7:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And YOU didn't write THAT!

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 3:57 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well played, JG. I think you just won the Internet Snappy Rejoinder of the Year Award for that. When I plariarized that comeback, trust me, you will get full credit.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 19, 2012 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And it only took me the better part of 21 hours to come up with it! In our family we call that "L'esprit de l'escalier."

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 6:00 PM

July 17, 2012

More Cowbell!

It's not that "more cowbell" is overused, it's that it's wrongly used. Gene Healy correctly ties it to the President:

There you have it. Contemplating the policy wreckage that surrounds him, the president has concluded that what this country needs is a fresh injection of presidential hope. Like "more cowbell" in the old "Saturday Night Live" skit, it's the magic ingredient that makes everything better.

Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy, so you wouldn't think his descent into self-parody would be quite so unsubtle.

Anyone else out there for the explanation that a lack of storytelling, explaining and inspirational speeches was the great sin of the Obama presidency? According to CBS's Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews. Anybody who talks that much runs the risk of saying too much. Case in point, this gem from the president's speech Friday in Roanoke: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Inspiring

Posted by John Kranz at 10:10 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Saw a bumper sticker today pushing some woman's car from Longmont to Boulder. It read: OBAMA CARES.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2012 10:24 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Prius, Volvo, or Volt?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 18, 2012 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. You obviously don't know Boulder since you didn't ask if it was a Subaru. Every morning I'm escorted by at least three of them on my drive in from Longmont. But no, it was a run-of-the-mill Chevy - white four-door something or other.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 12:44 PM

July 13, 2012

One for Brother HB...

All Instapundit, all the time today. But this book was a fave, and at $1.99 I am looking forward to recapturing my youth.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2012

Forest Fire Analysis Paralysis

Given the utter devastation that can result from forest fires near urban areas, and the near unanimity about why their frequency and magnitude is peaking, one may wonder why no efforts to reduce the threat seem to be under way. The good news is that 11 years ago, five federal government agencies joined efforts to create an integrated wildland fire managment system called Fire Program Analysis or FPA. A comprehensive computer modeling system, FPA would "help them weigh the benefits of fire suppression versus forest thinning, evaluate where to station people and equipment and decide how many planes to buy." The bad news is that the effort was undertaken by federal government agencies. Denver Post:

The idea was to figure out how much money to devote to fire suppression, and to reducing fuels to improve overall forest health, and where to do it.

But when the tool was used for a preliminary analysis in 2006, not everyone liked what it found, Botti said. The results showed which areas needed more resources and which needed less, throwing into uncertainty budgets used for staff programs and some administrative overhead, he said.

For instance, one recommendation was to move resources from coastal Alaska, where wildfires are relatively rare, to California, where they regularly wreak havoc in populated areas, Botti said.

"We're talking about a couple of billion dollars in federal wildland-fire funds here," he said. "Any time you tinker with that, it becomes political in a hurry. There was pushback from the bureaus that the answer was not acceptable.

Part of the problem turned out to be the presumption that a computer model could provide a sort of holy grail of fire management planning.

"Quite honestly, I don't think there was any plot" to scuttle the original system, he said.

But he agreed that people in Forest Service field offices feared -- and still fear -- a computer model that could deprive them of people and equipment.

Naaaah, nobody ever invests too much confidence in the pure and objective conclusions of comprehensive computer models!

But the failure of the computer modeling solution seems to me merely a scapegoat.

Asked how this year's fire outbreak might be different if the original FPA were in place as planned, Rideout said: "I think the responses to fire would be more cost-effective. I'm not sure whether we would have gotten to these fires any faster or later or better, or with less expense."

"More cost-effective" but not sure there would be "less expense?" How's that again?

Most officials seem to agree on the basic problem:

In 2008, the GAO reported to Congress that federal wildland-fire costs had tripled since the mid-1990s to more than $3 billion a year, citing three factors: "uncharacteristic accumulations of vegetation" from fire suppression; increasing human development in wildlands; and severe drought "in part due to climate change."

Setting aside the suggested causes for accumulations of vegetation and severe drought, both are clearly evident conditions. So why has the firefighting aircraft fleet been cut from 40 planes to 9? And why, during this period when the air fleet was dismantled, have federal wildland-fire costs tripled? Unfortunately, sometimes technology prevents the application of common sense: More potential for fire - expand fire mitigation and suppression resources. QED.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2012

Constitution 1 - Taxpayers 0

Fellow freedom advocates, do not panic. Step back from the ledge. By a single vote the Supreme Court has avoided a catastrophic expansion of the Commerce Clause. The rest, as they say, is politics. Including Chief Justice Roberts' ruling:

"If an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes," Roberts writes. He adds that this means "the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income."

Hmmm, that's pretty thin Jim. The minority counters:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, usually the court's swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe "the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." In a 65-page dissent, he and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dismissed Roberts' arguments, writing that there is a "mountain of evidence" that the mandate is not a tax. "To say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it," they write.

Very persuasive. So my conclusion is that Roberts just didn't want to be villified as an "unelected emperor" who "took away America's free [unearned] health care." I agree with Yahoo News' Oliver Knox who writes-

But while Obama initially kept quiet, the early response from the law's main supporters and detractors showed that the court's ruling had essentially offered the Affordable Care Act only a reprieve, and that the law's fate was entwined with the results of the presidential election.

Finally, does anyone suppose that news outlets are falling all over themselves to get the "Obamacare Constitutional" message out as quickly as possible?


No mention of the name of that tenth justice.

UPDATE: As of 11:57 am EDT that headline has been changed to: Individual mandate survives a 5-4 vote with Roberts voting to keep it

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | Comments (11)
But Robert thinks:

Even better! Salon dude suddenly realizes that the crafty Roberts has lost a battle to win the war: Link.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit the motive I attribute to Roberts is pure speculation but I stand by it. I think he did it not for vanity but for what he perceives to be best for the national polity. The matter can only be justly resolved, he may believe, through democratic election. This is a fair opinion to hold, for any individual NOT a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America as Constituted.

Further thought has me spoiling for a fight over the notion that Roberts' position is defensible under the law- Prior to the inequity of the Sixteenth Amendment the Constitution prohibited unequal taxation, and even after that amendment it allows inequity only in taxation on incomes. The Obamacare "tax" applies only to the class of persons who are uninsured and is therefore not a uniform tax, but punishment for a personal act contravening the wishes of the Legislature. It summarily declares such persons guilty of some crime and punishes them without benefit of a judicial trial. It is effectively a bill of attainder, expressly prohibited under Article I. Section 9.

I submit that this line of reasoning is, at the very least, as defensible as Chief Justice Roberts'.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@Robert: YES! I was just going to post that -- must read!

And most closely resembles my personal early opinion. Getting rid of Wickard would be even better for liberty than getting rid of the ACA.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@jg: Book me passage for two to your world, bro -- it would be a great place to live.

Seriously, while you are correct, 'round these parts, Congress's taxing authority is limitless. Much better examples of bills of attainder have passed with little scrutiny. Let me say "defensible" in the context of Solum's gestalt.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Slate guy: "Roberts' genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress' power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade."

i.e. To benefit the "national polity." I still think interpreting it as a tax was incorrect but can now forgive Roberts for the error. Especially given Sarah Palin's latest Tweet: "Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America's eyes are opened!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Solum piece is very instructive brother. Thank you. Mine was certainly "a pre-New-Deal vision of real and substantial limits on Congress's enumerated powers" along with Justice Thomas. But as an agreeable sort I can be persuaded to join forces with the "alternative gestalt." [Fourth from last paragraph.]

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:42 PM

June 26, 2012

All Hail Taranto!


Posted by John Kranz at 6:22 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2012

Obama cuts Fire Fighting Aircraft

According to blogger Sean Paige at the Monkey Wrenching America blog, a contract with Aero Union, a fire fighting company with seven 4-engine slurry bombers, was canceled during renewal negotiations in August, 2011. No reason was given, just "We don’t want the airplanes, have a nice life." This brought the US Forest Service air tanker fleet down to 11 heavy aircraft, and today it's only 9. The report cites Rep. Dan Lundgren(R-CA) saying the fleet was 40 planes a decade ago.

This reminds me of that old lefty bumper sticker, "Wouldn't it be great if the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber?" Apparently, now they do.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2012

Damned Lies!

I'd suggest pronouncing the title as three syllables, but it is of course up to the individual.

What is not up to the individual is accepting a falsehood just because it is repeated. Case in point is "the auto bailout was necessary and successful because there was no private capital available." Ergo, the government bailouts were a huge success. Administration flacks mean "there was no private capital stupid enough to overpay and preserve overpriced UAW labor rates and work rules." Now we get closer to the truth.

When people ask for a specific example of the President acting outside the Constitution, I go first to the auto bailout. The preferred debt holders were deprived of their Fifth Amendment right to property without due process as their value was transferred to a preferred political constituency that would not have enjoyed a preference in court.

James Sherk and Todd Zywicki have a superb guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today: Obama's United Auto Workers Bailout. It details many things that went wrong: unequal treatment for debt holders, preservation of unsustainable labor costs -- but also the cost to the treasury. The entire piece is awesome on stilts, but this comparison at the end really hit home:

Instead, President Obama gave over $26 billion to the UAW--more money than the U.S spent on foreign aid last year and 50% more than NASA's budget. None of that money kept factories running. Instead it sustained the above-average compensation of members of an influential union, sparing them from most of the sacrifices typically made in bankruptcy. Such spending does not serve the common good. President Obama did not bail out the auto industry. He bailed out the United Auto Workers.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2012

No Reasonable Democrats?

The problem is that many voters (myself included) don't think government jobs are just another sector. We want the number of housing and manufacturing jobs to keep growing--the more the merrier, all things being equal. We don't want the number government jobs to keep growing, in part because we pay for them without the assurances, offered in a competitive private economy, that we're getting our moneys worth or that the jobs are necessary at all. It's one thing to boost government jobs as a temporary stimulus measure. It's another thing to never let federal, state and local governments shrink to a more sustainable size. -- Mickey Kaus
Posted by John Kranz at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

This is all he does now. But hey, unlike those inbred monarchies with their dukes and marquesses and whatnot, at least he gets out among the masses. Why, in a typical week, you’ll find him at a fundraiser at George Clooney's home in Los Angeles with Barbra Streisand and Salma Hayek. These are people who are in touch with the needs of ordinary Americans because they have played ordinary Americans in several of their movies. And then only four days later the president was in New York for a fundraiser hosted by Ricky Martin, the only man on the planet whose evolution on gayness took longer than Obama's. It's true that moneyed celebrities in, say, Pocatello or Tuscaloosa have not been able to tempt the president to hold a lavish fundraiser in Idaho or Alabama, but he does fly over them once in a while. Why, only a week ago, he was on Air Force One accompanied by Jon Bon Jovi en route to a fundraiser called Barack on Broadway. -- Mark Steyn
The whole piece is hilarious. HT: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2012

Doing Fine!

I read 100 tweets on this and just assumed it was a gotcha moment. James Pethokoukis brings the embed and it is cut so abruptly I assumed some Koch-Brothers-funded hack had removed the entire context.

Indeed he or she did. The whole quote is 1000 times worse!

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Often times cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

That is not out of context -- the private sector is "fine" thanks to the Administration's bold and thoughtful policies! It's GOVERNMENT that is being starved!

The humanity!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

His rear end is not particularly large - so precisely where is he pulling these enormous numbers from?

4.3 million jobs? 800,000 just this year? So all these unemployed people are just a figment of our imagination?

I won't be the first to call BS on this, nor the last, but it's BS all the same. Or as someone else once said to him more eloquently: "YOU LIE!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 8, 2012 5:05 PM
But Robert thinks:

"We" created 4.3 million jobs? WE? Aside from the sheer political stupidity of the "private sector" remark, that really bugs me. "We" probably killed a million potential jobs through ObamaCare/Keystone/EPA etc. I second Keith: "YOU LIE!"

Posted by: Robert at June 8, 2012 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

@Robert: thanks for the comment. I know every ThreeSourcer will enjoy clicking through your url Robert A. Heinlein: Commentary on His Life and Work.

Fun to watch the Democratic surrogates on Kudlow & Company and the "walk back" yesterday. As I said, John Hinderaker at PowerLine said, and Stephen Moore said on Kudlow: he did not "misspeak." The entire sentence conveys a single idea that the real problem is a lock of growth of government.

Yes, he could have phrased the first part better, I'll let him walk back "doing fine." But he said -- explicitly -- that sub 2% GDP growth can be tolerated but that local government cuts are the problem.

I think we have a choice in November.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2012 10:01 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I often put things in perspective, and this is a good one to do it for.

Obama, as he's wont to do, is cherry-picking start and end dates. He's included the first couple of months of this year that historically see more jobs created. But the facts of the matter are that job growth is slowing down again, and even the "good" job growth is nothing like what we expected in a genuine recovery.

When taxes are going up in half a year, who the hell wants to risk hiring anybody?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 10, 2012 12:46 PM

June 4, 2012

President Obama's War on Heat and Light

Last week I wrote about the Denver Post's utter bewilderment that presidential candidate Mitt Romney would give a stump speech in rural Craig, Colorado (after all, there haven't been any layoffs there ... yet) and countered with the news coverage of the event by Routt County's Steamboat Today.

Today that much more objective publication runs an editorial by Rob Douglas that delves deeper into the contrast that Governor Romney is offering.

Agree or disagree with Obama’s goal, one fact is undeniable. When Obama’s intent became public, every man and woman working in coal-related jobs realized that Obama had placed a bulls-eye on their livelihood. Many of those men and women call the Yampa Valley home.

So when Romney sought the perfect venue to confront Obama’s claim of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, Northwest Colorado was a natural choice. Romney is calculating that he can increase his odds in November by siding with folks employed in fossil fuel industries in states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania — all battleground states this year.

After all, Romney has a point when he argues that Obama has continued his war against coal.

This spring, having watched his cap-and-trade legislation die in the U.S. Senate when Democrats abandoned the bill in 2010, Obama bypassed Congress and used the Environmental Protection Agency to start implementing mercury emission, cross-state pollution and greenhouse gas regulations that will kill the coal industry.

But Douglas articulates a much more important message - one I have recognized but as yet not really written about: Coal is not the target. Pragmatic politicians cannot merely "sacrifice" the coal industry conifident in the fact that lost jobs will be replaced by growth in the natural gas industry. If coal is ever defeated the next environmental villain will be natural gas.

Coincidentally, on the same day Romney was speaking to the crowd gathered at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to the International Energy Agency, “global exploitation of shale gas reserves could transform the world’s energy supply by lowering prices, improving security and curbing carbon dioxide emissions, but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesn’t work harder to resolve environmental concerns.”

Of course, everything after the “but” in that last sentence is where the battle lies. Because as can be witnessed even here in the Yampa Valley, there are some who will never accept fossil fuels as part of America’s energy policy. And just as coal is under attack, these individuals and organizations are mounting battles to prohibit the use of fracking to extract oil and gas — the same oil and gas that Americans have been led to believe could replace coal as an energy source.

And hydraulic fracturing is only the first battlefront in the coming War on Natural Gas. That little "feature" of natural gas called "curbing carbon dioxide emissions" will be its undoing for natural gas is not without CO2 emissions, and once its use has been predicated on reducing that "pollutant" it can hardly remain a viable energy source since it can also be shown to be a "dirty" fuel.

"First they came for the coal, and I said nothing."

Not me. I *heart* coal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2012

Our Tough-guy President

Blog friend Terri is reading the NYTimes so you don't have to.

I remember being concerned in 2008 that President-elect Obama would not be suitably tough with our nation's enemies. Like Terri, I don't now know what to make of our droneslayer emperor.

On the plus side, it does help to know that when a President becomes a president he/she will (usually) make the decisions that are needed to be made to keep us safe.

On the down side....what the hell? Do words exist only to twist in the wind while the President does whatever the hell he wants to do no matter what he said previously?

Was that one of them rhetorical questions?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2012

2012 Social Security Stimulus Package

From a good friend, via email:

WATCH YOUR MAILBOX!!!! Just wanted to let you know - today I received my 2012 Social Security Stimulus Package. It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my butt, 2 discount coupons to KFC, an "Obama Hope & Change" bumper sticker, and a "Blame it on Bush" poster for the front yard.

The directions were in Spanish.

Watch for yours soon!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2012

A new -ocracy

It must be a real word, I read it on the internet.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Think of it as "Kleptocracy for Dummies."

Posted by: johngalt at May 26, 2012 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Reality of the word notwithstanding, it sadly reeks of verisimilitude.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2012 3:58 PM
But Harold D. Thomas thinks:

Kleptocracy is a real word. According to Merriam-Webster ( it dates to 1819.

Their definition is "government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed; also : a particular government of this kind."

Posted by: Harold D. Thomas at July 24, 2012 9:27 AM

May 25, 2012

All Hail Strassel!

It seems a long time since I have linked to Kim Strassel. I will remedy that today.

Administration surrogates are actively touting the President's "job creation" in the auto bailouts, ramping up "investments in green energy" and questioning Governor Romney's claims from Bain. It seems that he is not responsible for jobs at Staples after he left, yet he is vilified for the steelworkers who got laid off after he left. Whatever.

Strassel steps back to compare the President as Venture-Capitalist-in-Chief:

So, take your pick. Mr. Obama's knock on free enterprise is that it is driven by "profit," and that this experience makes Mr. Romney too heartless to be president. The alternative is an Obama capitalism that is driven by political favoritism, government subsidies, mandates, and billions in taxpayer underwriting--and that really is a path to bankruptcies and layoffs. If the president wants to put all 3,545 green stimulus jobs he's created up against Bain's record, he should feel free.

Thing you'll read to want whole, certainly the.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2012

Cool Econ Graphs

Reagan famously asked, "Are you better off than you were four years ago" to defeat incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Mitt is using a similar strategy against today's incumbent president. This graph shows why it might be a winning play. Substantially more people are at a diminished income than there were at any time in the last 50 years, and there's a long way to go back to the baseline.

There are many more excellent graphs in the graph gallery of the Calculated Risk Blog.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2012

Why don't more people get it?

That's the question dagny asked me at the conclusion of last night's inaugural Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons Chapter meeting. I could do no better than my universal explanation for why so many people make so many bad choices, Ayn Rand's admonishment that, "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it."

Today I was given a much more precise answer to the same question by a guest of 850 KOA's Mike Rosen. Michael Prell is on a promo tour for his 2011 book, "Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power." Prell's premise is that our country's electoral preference for collectivist policies stems not from ignorance, but from a healthy American proclivity to root for the underdog. From the Amazon book review:

David versus Goliath, the American Revolutionaries, "The Little Engine That Could," Team USA’s "Miracle on Ice," the Star Wars Rebel Alliance, Rocky Balboa, the Jamaican bobsled team and the meek inheriting the Earth.

Everyone, it seems, loves an underdog. Why is that?

We begin life tiny and helpless, at the mercy of those who are bigger and more powerful than us: parents and guardians who tell us what to eat, what to wear, how to behave (even when to sleep and wake up). From childhood into adulthood, we’re told what to do by those who wield more power—our parents, teachers, bosses government. So naturally, we have a predisposition to resent the overdogs and root for the little guy.

But this tendency, which international political consultant and human rights activist Michael Prell calls “underdogma,” can be very dangerous – both to America and to the world at large.

In Underdogma, Prell, who has worked world leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Australian and Canadian prime ministers and the Dalai Lama, explores our love/hate relationship with power within our culture and our politics. Underdogma explains seeming mysteries such as why:

•Almost half of Americans blamed President Bush for the attacks of 9/11, even while the American media described the architect of these attacks as “thoughtful about his cause and craft” and “folksy.”
•Gays and lesbians protest those who protect gay rights (America, Israel), while championing those who outlaw and execute homosexuals (Palestine).
•Environmentalists focus their rage on America, even though China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
•The United Nations elevates countries such as Sudan to full membership on the UN’s Commission on Human Rights, even as the ethnic cleansing of Darfur proceeds.

Tracing the evolution of this belief system through human history—ancient Greece to Marxism to the dawn of political correctness—Prell shows what continuing with this collective mindset means for our future. While America and its president increasingly exalt the meek and apologize for their power, America’s competitors and enemies are moving in a different direction. China is projected to overtake the U.S. economically by 2027 and is ready to move into the position of hegemon, and radical Islamists are looking to extend their global territory, taking any sign of weakness as a chance to attack.

America must return to its founding spirit, and underdogma must stop now—our nation depends on it.

This is a fascinating explanation that I'm inclined to take at face value until proven otherwise. However, I don't think I'm on board with the conclusion that underdogma "must stop now." I called this tendency healthy and will stand on that position. What must stop is allowing the Progressive left to continue casting the collective as underdog to the individual - any individual. Underdogma is a force that can and should be used for good. The notion that a gang, or state or interest group is less powerful than individual citizens is so preposterous that all can see it, if only some light is given.

It looks like a great book and could be an excellent topic at a future Liberty on the Rocks.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I have a much more declassee way I phrase a similar thought: The left loves people who crap in the dirt.

It's the only way to explain their love of Palestinian Refugees who kill gays and are, can we say, less than 100% committed to women's equality -- compared with pluralist, übertolearnt Israel.

So while I am all for appreciating the underdog, I suggest that the impulse must be subordinated to reason.

Book sounds interesting -- I'll risk one more mention of "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt as the best answer I've encountered to dagny's question.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2012 4:10 PM

May 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

After all, if your first book is an exploration of racial identity and has the working title "Journeys In Black And White," being born in Hawaii doesn't really help. It's entirely irrelevant to the twin pillars of contemporary black grievance -- American slavery and European imperialism. To 99.99 percent of people, Hawaii is a luxury vacation destination and nothing else.

Whereas Kenya puts you at the heart of what, in an otherwise notably orderly decolonization process by the British, was a bitter and violent struggle against the white man's rule. Cool! The composite chicks dig it, and the literary agents. . . . In a post-modern America, the things that Gatsby attempted to fake -- an elite schooling -- Obama actually had; the things that Gatsby attempted to obscure -- the impoverished roots -- merely add to Obama's luster. Gatsby claimed to have gone to Oxford, but nobody knew him there because he never went; Obama had a million bucks' worth of elite education at Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law, and still nobody knew him ("Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him"). In that sense, Obama out-Gatsbys Gatsby. -- Mark Steyn
Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2012

Get You Inner Birther On

Promo material for Barack Obama's (later abandoned) book, circa 1991:

Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

Born where?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Keanae, brother. Keanae, HI. It's just a typo.

In 1991 they didn't have the internet to make sure they got all of these details right.

Kidding aside, here's the salient point of the Breitbart story:

The errant Obama biography in the Acton & Dystel booklet does not contradict the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate. Moreover, several contemporaneous accounts of Obama's background describe Obama as having been born in Hawaii.

The biography does, however, fit a pattern in which Obama--or the people representing and supporting him--manipulate his public persona.


Regardless of the reason for Obama's odd biography, the Acton & Dystel booklet raises new questions as part of ongoing efforts to understand Barack Obama--who, despite four years in office remains a mystery to many Americans, thanks to the mainstream media.
Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2012 3:03 PM

May 16, 2012


I just discovered Svetlana Kunin, a Russian emmigrant who has apparently been writing for Investor's Editorial Page for some time now. Playing off of President Obama's official re-election campaign slogan, Forward, today's offering is entitled, "Obama's Slogan 'Forward' Is Used By Socialists Too."


After introducing the motto "Forward!" -- identical to slogans of Socialists of the past and present-- Obama rolled out an imaginary vision of Julia, in which the government is involved in all aspects of a person's life.

No need for virtual reality. There is a real-life timeline for an average person in a society where the government plans, regulates and provides free services for its citizens in countries past and present — the USSR, Cuba, etc.


I personally lived that life in the former USSR until age 30. When my young family of three immigrated to the USA, my parents stayed behind. After botched medical procedures in a free hospital, my father screamed from pain for three days before he died at age 70.

Like President Obama, Russians also evolved on the gay rights issue. Homosexuality used to be outlawed in the Socialist Soviet Union. Today it is not a crime in Russia. Even so, facing an alarming decline in number of newborns and an eventual demographic disaster, they do not play with the redefinition of marriage.

Otherwise there's a lot in common among an Obama administration striving for total government involvement in people's lives, the communists of the former Soviet Union and modern Socialists in Russia.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

On hearing of the death of the great French diplomat Talleyrand, his Austrian rival Metternich is reputed to have said: "What did he mean by that?" Perhaps we can be too cynical in assessing politicians' motives. And so maybe we should just give President Obama credit for doing the right thing in endorsing marriage equality, and leave it at that. -- David Boaz
Nakedly political, but my Facebook friends are in rapture. What do I do -- pick a fight?
Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

In completely unrelated news, the President has a $15 Million (40K/plate) fundraiser planned tonight with George Clooney and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Like I said, completely off-topic. Don't know why I even brought it up at all...

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2012 12:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to temper that "net benefit for liberty" thought for a moment. That might have some validity if anyone believed him, but it's JK's words that frame this: "nakedly political."

In 2008, the SCOAMF campaigned saying he was against homosexual marriage; four years later, his stance has now "evolved." The truth of the matter is that, whatever he actually believes about the issue (if in fact he does actually have a belief about the issue), what he's done is given the most authoritative voices on both sides of the homosexual marriage debate the right to presume it's the pandering of political theater. Neither side believes that either of his pronouncements represent a closely-held belief; both sides recognize that he says what he says, when he says it, for political reasons.

In 2008, he stated he was against homosexual marriage to placate mainstream America's fears that he was too left, too radical, and he was casting himself as a moderate centrist; history is now the proof of theory, and all but the blindest among us now admit that was a sham. Now in 2012, he knows the evangelicals aren't going to vote for him, so that's a lost cause. Moderate America has abandoned him. It costs him nothing to offend those groups, because he's not getting them back no matter what he does. What he's facing is a very motivated right wanting him out, and a disillusioned left that he needs to get into a voting booth. There aren't enough dead voters in America to get him to 52% this year without the left, and the left is complaining that the SCOAMF isn't left enough.

In 2008, the McCain candidacy persuaded a lot of conservatives to stay home on election day; a pumped-up Obama voting bloc gave us the result we have now. This year, those roles are reversed; desperate to give the left a reason to pull the handle for him, we get stuff like this. "Romney won't back homosexual marriage! That's why you've got to vote for me!"

This might be the "net benefit for liberty" you're looking for if someone were saying this on the basis of principle. The SCOAMF is not that person. He's given everyone on both sides the right to read this as cynical pandering,

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 10, 2012 12:33 PM
But Terri thinks:

As Ed Morrissey says:

"And for all of those who cheered this flip-flop, here's a question: wouldn't it have been more effective in North Carolina had Obama made this announcement before Amendment One went to the polls? According to Obama himself, he'd already changed position on same-sex marriage. An announcement last week or the week before that, with a personal plea to African-American voters, might have made a difference. Instead, Obama hid, the White House fibbed, and Amendment One won easily in a state that Obama carried in 2008. Regardless of whatever else this might be called, leadership isn't among the terms that come to mind."

Posted by: Terri at May 10, 2012 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm really enjoying the discussion on these pages - and staying out of it.

As for your Facebook friends, they claim that gay marriage is a civil right because, among other things, gay individuals were born into their circumstance. Is this any different than wealthy individuals being born into a prosperous family? Don't they have a civil right to equal taxation? To equal earned income tax credits? To food stamps?

Sure, some wealthy people choose to be rich but the vast majority of them are just following their nature. Right?

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

And you were doing a superlative job of staying out of it, jg...

I'm clearly not too good at cheerleading for this Administration. I do find his Wednesday position more appealing than his Monday position. And I agree with Mister Morrissey that it's too bad he was a closed-minded, irrational homophobe for the election on Tuesday.

I suggested to one FB-friend that it is also too bad that he let that whole his-party-runs-Congress-and-has-a-Senatorial-supermajority thing go to waste when he was in his troglodyte, knuckle-dragging redneck phase.

So I'm not cheerleading, but as I once advised a blog brother: when you train a dog, and he finally does what you want is a bad time to get out the rolled up newspaper. "Good President!"

Posted by: jk at May 10, 2012 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes I was, and I maintain I am still staying out of it. I do not seek, as do social conservatives, to infringe on the individual's right to live and marry as he or she sees fit. And I do not seek, as do the so-called Progressives, to infringe on the individual's right to produce and trade as he or she sees fit.

Unlike both of the constituencies mentioned, I do not want to make anyone eat an excrement sandwich. Instead, I seek to eradicate everyone's ability to infringe anyone else's liberty. (And that is a fate worse than death for the second-handers who now control our two-party government.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 14, 2012 2:32 PM

May 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

Is this the administration line? Blame Bush for everything? Or is it Biden being Biden? (Come the zombie apocalypse, a zombie locked in with this man would starve.) -- Sarah Hoyt
Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2012

We're Laughing With You, Not At You

Two minutes from Jimmy Kimmel that made me laugh. I also liked this line that isn't in the vid: "There's a term for President Obama. Not two terms."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2012

A New Down

After promising not to "spike the football" by "trot[ting] out this stuff [bin Laden's killing] as trophies" President Obama's re-election campaign is now spiking the football. Fair enough, I say. But the "game" of leader-of-the-free-world isn't over. China's fear-society now offers "quarterback" Obama a chance to score another touchdown.

"You must see to the bottom of this," the activist said. "Even though I am free, my family ... are still in their grasp. While I was there, they were repeatedly harmed. Now that I'm gone, I can only imagine how it has blown up."

Chen's rescue appears to have been timed to coincide with U.S.-China discussions on human rights this week. His case has attracted global attention.

It was easy enough for the President to say "yes" when his defense secretary told him, "We have found Osama bin Laden and planned an operation to capture or kill him. May we proceed?" Let's see if he has the loins to tell China, "Protect your citizens from their government."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:18 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Big topic.

I am of course appalled at the human rights abuses of China. But I do not wish for the United States -- certainly under this Commander-in-Chief to play world police here.

Perhaps the President could welcome the Dalai Lama against China's objections or refuse to visit certain places there. I could appreciate a statement of sorts.

Yet, I believe ultimately in the liberating power of trade and economic freedom. We're not going to do regime change on our bankers and best customers. Let's let trade work its magic.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2012 12:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Regime change is not called for, just an "I disagree" from the President of the United States. A "Tear down this wall" sort of statement, in the spirit of the "power of the solidarity of the free world." Think we'll see it from President Obama? Me neither.

Thanks for weighing in. The topic is discussion worthy.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And it can't just be ignored - the dissident, Chen Guangcheng, is a refugee on U.S. soil ... our embassy in Beijing.

Assuming it has Chen, it is inconceivable that the United States would turn him over to the Chinese authorities against his wishes, said current and former U.S. officials.
Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 7:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And a dozen years ago, I had thought it inconceivable that the United States would turn Elian Gonzalez over to Cuba - much less take possession of him at gunpoint. If those "current and former U.S. officials" mentioned include either Janet Reno or the current Secretary of State (who, not to rub it in or anything, happens to be married to the former President who oversaw that fiasco), it's very conceivable, and not even Vizzini would call it otherwise.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 30, 2012 12:46 AM
But jk thinks:

Two things.

One: All hail Brother Keith, the undisputed King of the allusion! I am unfit to handle your backup tapes, my friend.

Two: jk will be travelling for fun this week and needs to rethink his position; I clearly underestimated where we are. I meant every word I typed but need to contextualize this is in the Walter Russel Mead view.

Last fall, the Obama administration pulled off a diplomatic revolution in maritime Asia -- the coastal and trading states on and around the Asian mainland that stretch in an arc from Korea and Japan, down to Australia and Indonesia, and sweep around through southeast Asia to India and Sri Lanka. Via Meadia has been following this story closely; it is the biggest geopolitical event since 9/11 and, while it builds on a set of US policies that go back at least as far as the Clinton administration and were further developed in the Bush years, the administration's mix of policies represent a decisive turning point in 21st century Asian history.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2012 10:01 AM

Following the Golden State down the rat hole

Joel Kotkin has some harsh words for the governance of California -- and a warning to the Obama Administration for attempting to apply the model nationally.

From his first days in office, the president has held up California as a model state. In 2009, he praised its green-tinged energy policies as a blueprint for the nation. He staffed his administration with Californians like Energy Secretary Steve Chu--an open advocate of high energy prices who’s lavished government funding on "green" dodos like solar-panel maker Solyndra, and luxury electric carmaker Fisker--and Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who thrived as CEO of a regulated utility which raised energy costs for millions of consumers, sometimes to finance "green" ideals.

Obama regularly asserts that green jobs will play a crucial role in the future of the American economy, but California, a trend-setter in the field, has yet to reap such benefits. Green jobs, broadly defined, make up only about 2 percent of jobs in the state--about the same proportion as in Texas. In Silicon Valley, the number of green jobs actually declined between 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, California's unemployment rate of 10.9 percent is the nation's third highest, behind only Nevada and Rhode Island.

Kotkin is a treasure for his keen observations on urban life and modern migration patterns. Am I wrong in thinking this column unusually harsh in its criticism of the President?

Of course, when you get out of Brother Keith's house, they love him out there.

The IPO-lottery, Hollywood, and inherited-wealth crowds can afford the state's sky-high costs, especially along the coast, but most California businesses can't. Under Brown and his even less well-informed predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the official mantra has been that the state’s "creative" entrepreneurs would trigger a state revival. This is very much the hope of the administration, which trots out companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google as exemplars of the American future. "No part of America better represents America than here," the president told a crowd at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View last fall.

Great article -- HT: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2012

Life Imitates ThreeSources

Quick follow-up on our great guest post on the 16th. A good friend of this blog, who works in the financial sector, disputed Secretary Geithner's claim of "profit" from TARP.

Now I see the claim has also been disputed by some right wing hack somewhere -- no, wait! It has been disputed by Christy Romero, the newly installed special inspector general for TARP.

Similar to her predecessor Neil Barofsky, Romero seems to be saying (indirectly, of course!) the Treasury Department -- and Geithner -- have been misleading the American public about the costs of TARP. While that's impossible to prove, there has been a concerted effort by Treasury to paint the program in the best possible light. ( has compiled a timeline of such statements, for those who want to check the record.)

My feeling all along is that Treasury has been cherry-picking the TARP data, focusing on the repayments vs. the loans still outstanding, much less the "soft" cost of the bailouts. It's like an investor who only talks about the stocks that have produced profits, ignoring the ones with losses.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Romero also touched on a big reason why JK once suspected that someone had stolen my password and posted this.

Concentration of bank assets is but one of the "profound long-term consequences" of TARP cited by Romero. Others include "the impact on consumers and homeowners from the large banks' failure to lend TARP funds," which in turn spurned a huge backlash against corporations generally and got millions of ordinary Americans riled up about the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington D.C. (There's also the cost of the Fed's zero interest rate policy and the government's unlimited pledge to support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other bailouts.)

Arguably, TARP helped animate both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements and generally reaffirmed Americans' loss of faith in our institutions and elected officials. These developments have long-term societal implications that go far beyond any quantitative analysis of the "cost" of the bailouts.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2012 6:45 PM
But The Invisible Handler thinks:

BTW, let me, the anonymous good friend of this blog, add that I don't work at SIGTARP and had no knowledge whatsoever of their report.

Note Treasury's rebuttal: "the government's emergency response was essential to preventing a meltdown of the entire global economy. And now we're winding down those programs faster and at a much lower cost than virtually anyone had anticipated during the dark days of the crisis."

Then why are they trying to talk up the program by talking about profits!

Posted by: The Invisible Handler at April 26, 2012 9:37 PM

April 25, 2012

The 110,000 Million-Dollar Plan

A favorite TV show growing up was Lee Majors starring as the "Six-Million Dollar Man." After crashing the test flight of an experimental aircraft, Steve Austin was fitted with "bionics" that made him "better, stronger, faster." President Obama has been trying the same thing in America's energy market, with less success. Investors Ed Page says Obama Fought Oil and Lost; Now it's Back to Reality.

In other words, even a fast-forward to 23 years from now doesn't reveal an energy economy substantially different from today's. Obama has run up quite a price tag trying to deny this reality.

By one recent estimate from analysts sympathetic to the green-economy agenda, the government spent $110.3 billion in tax credits, loans and grants to promote the green economy from 2009 to 2011.

The Obama administration also has leaned against oil and toward the environmental lobby whenever the two were in conflict -- most notably in his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline. What do we have as a result? High gasoline prices, a bigger federal deficit and not-ready-for-prime-time electric cars.

Energy is bound to be one of the key issues in this year's presidential election, and for once the question won't be about managing scarcity. It will be about how to take advantage of the abundant resources under our feet. Barack Obama fought oil and lost, and the next president can learn from his mistake.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"So I'm supposed to be more upset by what Romney does with his own money than with what Obama is doing with mine."

That comment was one of two shared with me this morning in the aftermath of the GOP primary results from last night. It's a comment that probably ought to resonate with all of us here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 25, 2012 5:03 PM

April 20, 2012

And Now, Some Nasty Words about the President

I think I have been pretty subdued for three years. President Obama's politics are orthogonal to mine and we have substantive philosophical differences. Yet, I worked especially hard to avoid "Obama Derangement Syndrome" that so consumed -- mutatis mutandis -- my lefty friends during the last administration.

I kept out of the birther pool and tried to extend the benefit of the doubt on all but his most egregious oversteps. But if he is going to be all-campaign, all the time, I will express my views forthrightly. All in?

First, I want to point out a major league "get" for PJ Media. David P. Goldman is a frequent Kudlow guest where he shares his views on business, broad economics and markets. I was unaware of his book How Civilizations Die (and Islam is dying too), columns, or really any of his other fields of expertise. He now has a regular PJ Media blog called Spengler to which I look forward.

Yesterday's post rekindled an unease I felt reading the President's first autobiography. (Jeeberz, I am over 50 and haven't even written one -- what the hell is the matter with me?) I put it down to partisan hackery on my part, but Goldman's column brings it back in the context of the hilarious dog-eating contretemps. Goldman points out that he identifies with the dog eaters. The Third World is his world and the nation he leads is the villain.

Obama is the son of a Kenyan Muslim father, the stepson of an Indonesian Muslim, and the child, most of all, of an American anthropologist who devoted her career to protecting Indonesian traditional life against the depredations of the global marketplace. Her doctoral dissertation, "Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: surviving against all odds," celebrated traditional cultures hanging on desperately in the face of the global economic marketplace.

Ms. Dunham was not only a Communist fellow-traveler, but the sort of 1960s woman who (as we used to say) "put her body on the line," first by marrying two Third World men, and then by spending her career in the Third World. It is no surprise that Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.

Strong stuff and he does not lighten up much after that. Had I not seen his sobriety many nights on Kudlow, I might dismiss him as some "talk show" host grabbing notice.

OR: had I not read "Dreams From my Father." I got a different vibe of Mom than Goldman, but was consumed with young Barry's constant rejection of people and institutions that were good to him, in favor of those that were not. I thought him actually manufacturing grievance for authenticity.

He makes fun of Romney now saying that, unlike the Governor, he did not grow up with a silver spoon. But the DFMF tale is not one of poverty and deprivation. He grows up in Hawaii, attending private schools. His mother, grandparents, and teachers are completely kind, He is in Indonesia, not as a penniless beggar, but as the stepson of a successful businessman who is affectionate and caring, and the child of a college professor. On to Harvard where every avenue is open to ensure his success. A plum Law Career assignment. Et freaking cetera. Yet, boo hoo, Barry has to find the disaffected black youth in Hawaii, run to Africa to chase a vacant and generally corrupt father, leave the corporate world to stir up trouble for the established order in Chicago.

We know how it all ends. But Goldman is dead right, if a bit impolitic:

It really isn't unfair at all to bring Obama's canine consumption to public attention. The president isn't really one of us. He's a dog-eater. He tells the story in his memoir to emphasize that viscerally, Obama identifies with the Third World of his upbringing more than with the America of his adulthood. It is our great misfortune to have a president who dislikes our country at this juncture in our history.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Thankfully Goldman did not say Obama "hates" our country for that would have disqualified every salient point he previously made - the politically-correct analogue to Godwin's Law.

Also, thank NED that dog-eating is not a tenet of Islam, else we'd all be forbidden from talking about it, much less laughing our arses off.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2012 3:42 PM

April 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

About the President's tax return:

When we donate money to a charity, church or some other worthy cause, we are allowed a tax deduction, which means the government gets less of our money. The president and many in his party keep telling us that the government needs more money, but if they believe this, why are they taking charitable deductions? I expect the reason is that most of us implicitly believe (for good empirical reasons) that private charities and other tax-exempt groups spend our money more wisely and carefully than the government. -- Richard Rahn

Posted by John Kranz at 7:36 PM | Comments (0)


It took me a second to catch on, but I saw this last night and laughed myself into physical pain. The good fans of Washington DC created this special welcome for Boston Goaltender Tim Thomas:


For those keeping score: I love Thomas as a goaltender, except that he might be better than my hero, Ken Dryden. I fulsomely respect his Tea Party views but think he was wrong to decline a White House invitation.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I respectfully disagree. If he doesn't have the right to decline, then it's not an invitation, it's a summons. Free men are not subject to commands in this instance. And I cannot believe that I'm having to defend a free man's individual right to freely associate or not associate here on these hallowed pages.

My recollection may be off on this point - and correct me if I'm wrong, please - but I seem to recollect that Mr. Thomas politely declined and made no public statement on it until he was put on the spot and an explanation demanded of him. He was more gentlemanly about it that I would have been; I would have been more along the lines of Tony Stark schooling Senator Stern on private property rights.

Of course, I will also admit that were I in his skates, twelve feet of glass would be taking an awful lot of accidental stray slap shots.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 17, 2012 4:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And since I am a NASCAR retard: I recollect Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch having schedule conflicts when they were summoned last September. Precedent.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 17, 2012 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

He certainly has the right to demur -- I was not suggesting he be thrown in the Tower or anything. And I agree was gentlemanly and bipartisan which softened my initial distaste.

I merely wanted to clarify that I was not posting this in support of his decision. When I win the Stanley Cup, I am going to the White House irrespective of the occupant.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2012 5:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Going to an extreme only to make a point: Would you go to the White House if Hitler Barry Manilow were the sitting President of the United States?

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

("Hitler" was supposed to be struck out in prior comment.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Too late! Godwin's Law has been violated. Hahahaha, no, the comment processor removes a lot of HTML, including <strike>

I'll have you know I have attended a Barry Manilow concert. So yeah, I am there. On the mustachioed gentleman from the Fatherland, my point is that President Obama is not in that camp. (A muslim-socialist-kenyan-anticolonialist-dog-eater maybe, but he's not a monster!)

I'd reserve refusal to leaders of that stature. But, yes, I respect his right.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 4:47 PM

A Rare Rhetorical Answer

I ask the eternal internal question: "What if President George W Bush had said that?"

Yesterday Barack Obama addressed the Summit of the Americas in Colombia and spoke about the conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands. Obama seemed to tilt toward Argentina by calling the islands the "Malvinas" rather than the Falklands, which Argentina insists is their proper name.

Only Obama didn't say Malvinas, he said Maldives--an entirely different group of islands located thousands of miles from the Falklands in the Indian Ocean:

I always ask, but I never got an answer -- until today. John Hinderaker finds a Telegraph article that uses the malapropism to take a whack at . . . President Bush:
Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives.

That stupid George Bush -- I can't believe he made President Obama say that!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2012

Headline of the Day

Despite Obama charm, Americas summit boosts U.S. isolation

S**t! That's all we had! There is no plan B! Stall 'em...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Day


UPDATE: Trading some fun emails with a friend of the blog who sends a link to Obama, like Buffett, pays lower tax rate than his secretary.

Obama himself would not qualify for the Buffett Rule, which would apply only to people who make more than $1 million in a particular year.

I suggested a new T-Shirt "Think of how rich Buffett would be if his secretary weren't so stupid!"

UPDATE II: Of course, Kennedy's friend makes a common error. That is the ten year projection; only 100,000,000 Cartagena Hookers per year could be procured by the Buffett Rule.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Borrowing" WSJ's Notable & Quotable today:

Roosevelt, after whom Obama fashions himself, read the Constitution as empowering government in ways that had been largely rejected for 150 years. That's why those on Obama's side invariably begin their arguments with "Since the New Deal," as if that were a source of legitimacy. It isn't. The Constitution was written in 1787, not 1937. As amended, it is the sole source of whatever legitimacy the government has, and it is the duty of the courts to determine what that law is, in the execution of which they must be actively engaged. -- Roger Pilon

Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

FDR threatened to "stack the court" to encourage rulings in his favor. That strategy worked for him, to a limited extent and for a limited time, and lost all effect upon his death. President Obama could renew the threat himself but thusfar has not. Whaddaya say, Barack? Bring it on!

Posted by: johngalt at April 12, 2012 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Too late, bro: The Packers Can't Beat the Lions.

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2012 3:28 PM

April 11, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

"So these investments -- in things like education and research and health care -- they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another," the president said today at Florida Atlantic University. "This is not some socialist dream," Obama added, as he called for tax increases on millionaires today to pay for those investments.

From the Washington Examiner - Obama: I'm not trying to 'redistribute wealth'

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2012

"The president is dangerously close to totalitarianism,"

So says libertarian ex-jurist Andrew Napolitano. And the IBD Editorial Page is inclined to agree.

The whole thrust has been the acquisition of power by the federal government centered on the White House. That is the theme of ObamaCare, which is not about health care but about making people as dependent on government benevolence, if we can use that word, as possible.

Those who stand in the way, whether it be the Supreme Court, Congress or institutions such as the Catholic Church, are to be either ignored when possible, or intimidated and bullied into silence and acquiescence in the proud tradition of President Obama's mentor, Saul Alinsky.

What is at stake here is freedom and whether we shall be governed by a document that begins with "we the people" or whether we shall be ruled, in totalitarian fashion, by a bill that says "the secretary shall determine" what our rights and freedoms are.

I recall my apolitical Texas cousin being bewildered by my warnings of Barack Obama's principles and ambitions prior to the 2008 election. "You're crazy" she said, when I told her he intended to become Robin Hood in the White House, and worse. Last month we had occasion to meet again. She now seems to have accepted that I wasn't just whistling Dixie. Neither is Judge Napolitano.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

There has been a lot of talk about women and women's issues lately -- President Obama
Yes, all of the talk has been orchestrated by . . . the White House. It's sort of like a mobster walking into a shop and deliberately knocking over all the glassware and crystal. "Say, there's been a lot of talk about crime in this neighborhood . . ." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2012

'Stealthflation' we barely knew ye

The I-word is about to come out of the shadows, and into the full light of day. Investors:

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting show the central bank has all but abandoned plans for another round of quantitative easing.

It's now clear the Fed is more worried about inflation than recession.

Other notable nuggets-

Net interest expense will triple to an all-time high of $554 billion from $185 billion, Treasury says, meaning we'll pay more to service our debt than to protect our nation. The defense budget stands at $525 billion.


The reversal in interest rates makes defusing the Obama debt bomb through real budget cuts even more urgent than it already is.


The federal debt so far has not been the political liability that it could be for Obama in his bid for re-election.

But if interest rates rise at an even faster clip as he heads into November, the issue could blow up in his face. As his South Side reverend once famously said, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

I've a huge deliverable next Monday and have shirked my blogging duties. Sorry if I miss somebody's point more than usual.

It seems we complain that they see no inflation and promise to expand the balance sheet with QEn or rearrange maturates through twist (and I join you).

Now, they are -- sensibly -- telegraphing some tightening or at least no further expansion. I think that was a good move. Equities never like the threat of less punch in the bowl, but the Dollar improved and Larry Kudlow's blood pressure dropped 25 basis points.

Don't know I got to be the blog fiat money guy, but again facing the exigencies of our system, the Bernanke Fed is actually doing okay. Not as good as free market competing currencies, not as good as I would do. But compared to fiscal policy (which gets 78.653% of the real estate in the linked IBD article), The Bernank is doing okay.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hate when earning a living interferes with blogging.

My point with Stealthflation has been that monetary policy was and is creating price inflation despite the denials and assurances we heard from professional economists. The Bernank was seemingly so fearless of inflation that he virtually guaranteed the present low interest rate into 2014. Now he reverses course, two years early. I read this as evidence that I was right all along and the Fed was either wrong or duplicitous.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2012 11:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A gross oversimplification, I know.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2012 1:56 AM
But jk thinks:

That is exactly what I inferred. I find/found the two-year zero interest rate guarantee irresponsible, no defense there. And I would have tightened a little, or at least jawboned the dollar up, a quarter or two ago.

My point was that you are training a dog. He has just asked to go outside and done just what you wanted. And you're whacking him with a newspaper yelling "Bad dog! You messed up the carpet last week!"

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2012 10:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was trying to whack him with that newspaper last week.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2012 1:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I have to add that FNC's Neil Cavuto backed me up this morning.

Contributor: "The only thing that I disagree with is that there's some sort of conspiracy here. I mean, the government doesn't want to deny that there's inflation. A lot of prices are cheaper. The overall numbers...[interrupted]"

Cavuto: "If you acknowledge inflation, the genie's out of the bottle. You have to start lifting interest rates, you have to start doing a lot of stuff you don't want to do. You most certainly want to hide it."

This was the meaning of my title - there was a stealth cloak, and it is dissipating.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2012 1:28 PM

Anti-Obama Union Boss!

It was only a matter of time...

While the United Mine Workers of America likely won’t actively oppose President Obama’s reelection bid, Roberts said the new EPA regulation could prevent the union from endorsing the president.

“That’s something that we have not done yet and may not do because of this very reason. Our people’s jobs are on the line,” Roberts said, adding that Obama has “done a lot of great things for the country.”

Roberts's [sic] comments underscore the vehement opposition to the new EPA regulations in coal states whose economies rely heavily on the fossil fuel.

I also really enjoyed this quote:

Roberts, in Tuesday’s interview with host Hoppy Kercheval, took aim at the Sierra Club, arguing the environmental group’s campaign to shut down coal plants is killing jobs.

“This is a broader problem for me than it is for the Sierra Club or the EPA,” Roberts said. “And I’m convinced, Hoppy, that if you give the Sierra Club enough money, they could shut your job down. I don’t know how they’d do it, but they’d figure out a way.”

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yet they will line up to reelect him. The rank and file might wander behind the closed curtain (Taranto Metaphor Alert!) but the leadership will do all they can to give him another term.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 4:38 PM

March 29, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

There are lies, damned lies, and then there are Obama's charts. -- Investors Business Daily editorial
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Like squared.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2012 3:04 PM

March 25, 2012

Isolation? I'd Hate to See That...

I'm ready to give the President something of a pass on this, as there is probably no great alternative. I don't think a fiery, Sharansky-esque, appeal to universal freedom is in his repertoire. And I'm jaded enough these days to wonder if that would do any good.

And yet: "Obama: N. Korean rocket test would isolate regime"

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Warning North Korea from its doorstep, President Barack Obama said Pyongyang risks deepening its isolation in the international community if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

Anyway, when Joe Biden says with all of that earnest, canned seriousness, that the bin Laden raid was the most audacious military operation in 500 years, he does himself and his cause enormous damage.
In other words Biden's claims so outstrip reality, we're lucky he doesn't tear a hole in the space-time continuum. If he was just a bit more humble, a bit more reasonable, a bit more sane, he could actually use the bin Laden success to his advantage. Instead, by making claims about it no sane or honest person can support he sounds desperate and fritters away the actual political value of the operation's success. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2012

I knew President Hayes, Rutherford B was a friend of mine...

And Obama is no Rutherford B. Hayes...

My Buffy Sire, Jonathan V. Last, wraps up Rutherford-gate and ties it with a pretty bow. Our 19th President deserved better.

Think about that for a moment: The most important speechwriters in the world are doing their research not by calling experts, but by picking off the first Google results page. Now think about what that says about the man for whom they write.

Second, there's Obama’s dismissal of Hayes' presidency because "he's not on Mount Rushmore." You know who else wasn't included on Mount Rushmore? John Adams. James Madison. James Monroe. Andrew Jackson. They were great men who nourished the tree of liberty with their lives. Perhaps Obama has heard of some of them.

UPDATE: 19th! Not 18th (since corrected). Damn, I pride myself on knowing those but I counted sloppily.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2012

Even the Cronies are Dismayed

Charlie Gasparino has had something of an epiphany himself. He used to appear on "Kudlow & Cramer" as a guest and WSJ writer. And I always felt he tilted distinctly left. Now he's got a gig at evil Rupert's NYPost and I see constant reminders that he is coming around to the forces of goodness and light.

He reports -- though GE spokespersons deny -- that soi disant Republican and current Obama advisor Jeffrey Immelt is a bit disenchanted,

Friends describe Immelt as privately dismayed that, even after three years on the job, President Obama hasn’t moved to the center, but instead further left. The GE CEO, I'm told, is appalled by everything from the president's class-warfare rhetoric to his continued belief that big government is the key to economic salvation.

Or, as one friend recently put it to me, "Jeff thought he could make a difference, and now realizes he couldn't."

Immelt's conversion from public Obama supporter to a private detractor is important: It shows how even businessmen who feast off his subsidies worry about his overall economic agenda and its long-term impact on the economy.

Dude. If you can't even keep the cronies happy...

UPDATE: Gasparino is at the NYPost, not the Washington Examiner (since corrected) ThreeSources apologizes for the error.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny Taggart, call your office.

UPDATE, via Tweet from James Taranto, Immelt to vote for Romney.

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2012 2:32 PM

March 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

But obviously Rutherford B. Hayes isn’t as "forward-looking" as a 21st-century president who believes in Jimmy Carter malaise, 1970s Eurostatist industrial policy, 1940s British health-care reforms, 1930s New Deal-sized entitlements premised on mid-20th-century birth rates and life expectancy, and all paid for by a budget with more zeroes than anybody's seen since the Weimar Republic. If that's not a shoo-in for Mount Rushmore, I don't know what is. -- Mark Steyn
Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

A more suitable mountain for this president's visage: Bandini Mountain, right here in blue-state California.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 19, 2012 12:01 PM

March 17, 2012


Discussions such as this make it clear that none of us are quick to use the word "accomplishment" in any retrospective of the Obama Administration. But there is another opinion, perhaps best represented by the Davis Guggenheim swoon-fest named 'The Road We've Traveled.' To wit:

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim told CNN last week his only regret was he had only 17 minutes to discuss Obama's accomplishments. He cited health care, the stimulus and other economic initiatives in the face of a tough "political climate" facing near-united Republican opposition.

"The challenge for me is I wanted to put more in there, I really did," Guggenheim said. "I'm really quite in awe of him as a leader."

Another example is currently on display in the halls of a Colorado charter school. I will take great pains here to preserve the anonymity of the 5th grade author but I am compelled to publicize the content, verbatim. [Original text was computer printer output, on three pages.] President Obama's "accomplishments" are enumerated on page 2. I will editorialize in advance: Are there no parents? Are there no teachers? Will this receive a grade or just a gold-star for "participation?" As I said, verbatim.

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. Obama went to many different schools but his first school was Francisus Asissi Primary

school. Barack Obama now is our president. He has been our president for four years. He became our president on August 5, 2008.

Obama loves playing basketball and he is very good at it. I really like him as a president and hope he comes back for four more years.

Obama has lots of family. Barack Obama's parents both died but his dad died in 1982 in a car accident. His mother died in 1995 by

breast cancer. Barack was raised by a non-African American mom and since his mom died he had to be raised by his non-African
American grandparents. Obama is now raising a wonderful family a wife Michelle,a 13 year old daughter named Malia,and a 10 year old

daughter named Natasha (Sasha).


While Obama was in his office he accomplished a lot of things. He had doubled the national debt. Barack joined the country of Mexico

and sued a state in the United States. Barack Obama gave the Queen of england an iPod and it had all of Obamas speechs on it.

Barack has bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. These are some of the things Barack Obama accomplished. Obama is a great president. I wish he could be president every single year.

Obama has done many good and important things to the United States. He is making our country safe from danger. Barck obama has

made the U.S. feel safe and happy. He changed our health care system so everyone will be happy. ["happy" crossed out by hand and replaced with "healthy."] Barack has been a very good

president. Obama has been a very good person to our country.


Barack Obama's nickname in basketball is "O-Bomber." His first name means "one who is blessed." Obama's favorite meal is his wife

Michelle's shrimp linguine. He has read every single word in the Harry Potter series. Barack owns a pair of red boxing gloves autographed

by Muhammad Ali.

Obama's favorite snack is chocolate, peanut protein bars. While he was living in Indonesia he ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted

grasshoppers. Although he has since quit, Obama used to smoke cigarettes. When he lived in Indonesia his pet was an ape named Tata.

As a teenager obama took drugs including marijuana and cocaine.

No, I am not making this up. Not a single word.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:30 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

A young Ezra Klein in the making...

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2012 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Was there a prior post on the Guggenheim film? I thought so but could not find it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2012 12:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't find this on Snopes; what's the verification? (I know.... always a skeptic)

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 17, 2012 5:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Skepticism is good. Do you question the movie & quotes? It was discussed on Kudlow Friday and it sounds on track. If you question, the fifth grader's expository skills, then -- Jeff Foxworthy's friends aside -- I have sadly encountered much like it.

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2012 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The verification for the fifth grader prose is the three pictures on my Windows phone which, while tempting material to post, I'll keep private for purposes of the author's anonymity. I hope you'll understand when I explain that it was at my child's school and I don't want to prompt any ill will on the part of the student, parents or school staff.

I'm still contemplating whether to discuss it with the principal or teacher involved. Advice is invited.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2012 6:32 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"A young Ezra Klein in the making..."

You misspelled "Riefenstahl".

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2012 10:38 PM

March 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

The quote cited by Obama does exist on the Internet, but we would expect the White House staff to do better research than that. -- WaPo Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, actually and oddly enough, checking a fact.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2012

JG agrees with Boulder DA

Like myself, Boulder's [Democrat] District Attorney Stan Garnett doesn't understand why the Obama Justice Department is so tough on the medical marijuana business. After all, aren't Democrats and weed activists fellow travelers? And, perhaps because I had dinner with the man 12 days ago (well, actually, different tables in the same Boulder burger joint) I agree verbatim with General Garnett on this sentence from his letter to United States Attorney John Walsh:

"The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating ..." WAIT! Stop right there.

But he continued, "how far dispensaries should be from schools or other fine points of local land use law," Garnett wrote.

I don't think Garnett helped his effort by suggesting what the US Attorney's priorities should be, but that probably won't be what makes or breaks the G-Men's "prosecutorial discretion."

In the "things that make you say, hmmm" department: The article also says that Boulder has an estimated 12 dispensaries within 1000 feet of a school.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think it is part of the First Lady's initiative to make schoolchildren walk more.

Flippancy aside, yaay DA Garnett for asserting our rights -- maybe he'll join The Filburn Society. (Do follow that link if you have not seen it!)

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2012 4:23 PM
But Bryan thinks:

It’s wonderful to see the Boulder DA standing up to the Feds on what really is a 10th Amendment issue.

It’s too bad that he and other Democrats (and some Republicans), don't apply this principal consistently on all of the issues that the Federal Government should not be meddling in.

Posted by: Bryan at March 15, 2012 12:52 PM

March 13, 2012

Where's President Clinton when you Need Him?

You'll be surprised to hear that I did not buy into "Hope & Change" in 2008. It was clear to me who Senator Obama was. The question was whether he would govern pragmatically to help his reelection and legacy prospects, or whether he would follow ideology.

The Keystone Pipeline demurral and green energy initiatives answer the question. Clinton's pragmatic compromises and cooption of GOP ideas cemented his popularity and legacy. I don't think he would have dropped the ball on domestic production as President Obama has.

Either could make a symbolic stand against offshore or ANWR to buy off the base, but allow production to ramp up everywhere else. Beyond gas prices, energy production would provide jobs, stimulate capital investment, pour cash into the Treasury, and help outside the sector with support services and cheaper energy. Is the President not "cutting off his nose to spite his face" as it were?

James Pethokoukis sums up: The entire Obama presidency, in one anecdote. He starts quoting Noam Scheiber:

Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. "I don’t get it," he'd say. "We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?" But the numbers rarely budged.

Click through for a lesson on the powerful economic gains our country could make with a pro-production strategy.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

It's the price of gas, stupid

Keep it up Mister President. IBD's Andrew Malcolm:

Showing his keen grasp of free market forces, Obama has ordered Justice officials to investigate oil speculation. Of course, there's oil speculation. It's called the futures market. And watching Obama's policies instead of his words, those experts see higher prices coming ahead, as do most Americans in the poll.

When taking office, Energy Secy. Stephen Chu expressed a desire to drive U.S. gas prices to the European levels of $8-$9 a gallon, much like taxation on cigarettes to discourage their use. This administration has achieved more than half that European goal already.

And voters are taking note:

A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week finds about two-out-of-three Americans now disapprove of the Chicago Democrat's job on gas prices, whatever that's been.

Maybe if he started reminding them he "killed bin Laden..."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The official Democratic talking point on this is "No Silver Bullet." The President said it in his speech and I heard two DNC representatives echo it.

Perhaps there's no single thing that would easily and immediately bring fuel prices down, but I can't help but feel if the administration stopped shooting them at every person or company that tries to produce energy, it would be a start.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:05 PM
But jk thinks:

And never underestimate the timeless electoral appeal of "The Republicans are coming for your ladyparts!"

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:25 PM

March 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

Even the liberal Washington Post writer Dana Milbank says White House hiring practices make "a joke of the spirit of reform he promised." -- Matthew Continetti
Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

And what, if someone doesn't agree with Obama's plan, they're not earning their place as an American? If someone doesn't agree to send more tax money to a free-spending, inefficient central government running record deficits as far as the eye can see, they're somehow leeching off Uncle Sam? Being Treasury secretary is a privilege, one earned by pushing policies that keep America prosperous and solvent--even in an election year. -- James Pethokoukis, The Economic illiteracy of Tim Geithner
(Jeopardy champion should know that "someone" is singular, but the rest of the post rocks.)
Posted by John Kranz at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

Sheer Partisan Hackery

Worthy of no place on a serious political website.

You're welcome.

Hat-tip: Autoblog via Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

In a new TV commercial GM says, "This isn't just the car we wanted to build, it's the car America had to build."

The remaining question is where GM has to go to make America have to buy it.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2012 2:16 PM

February 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

This does not mean, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said earlier this week, that Buffett "should just write a check and shut up." It's a free country, and Buffett's recommendations should ultimately be weighed on their own merits.

But on that score, it's worth noting that Buffett has profited one hell of a lot more than the country that was supposed to benefit from all these Buffett-approved bailouts and stimuli. He gets billions; we get a big coulda-been-worse! Meanwhile, even the sitting treasury secretary acknowledges that the country's fiscal trajectory is "unsustainable," with no solution in sight to the bailout-exacerbated problems of debt and entitlement-commitments. -- Matt Welch
Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Berkshire Hathaway is renowned for purchasing companies who will yield great returns, usually in the long-term. GM at its bottom market capitalization was a mere $2 billion, and was no problem for Buffett to have bought personally.

As I've said, if these bailed-out companies were such great deals, there would have been no need for taxpayers to rescue them. The private sector would have been fighting themselves for the opportunities.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 28, 2012 8:38 PM

February 14, 2012

A Flight Manual for PIGS

A companion post.


Investors' Ed Page today.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:43 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

All Hail Ramirez!

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2012 8:25 PM

Two Things to Like in the Obama 2013 Budget

One. He has one. <BenSteinVoice>Reid? Reid?</BenSteinVoice>

Two. Cheapening the currency. Not to be confused with monetizing the debt, he saves money by using cheaper materials to make nickles and pennies. I'd nuke them and round everything to a dime -- but it's a start.

Obama wants to change the composition of nickels and pennies to save money. The president's budget would give the Treasury Department the ability to "change the composition of coins to more cost-effective materials," pointing out the current cost of making the penny is 2.4 cents and the nickel is 11.2 cents. Of course, the value of the U.S. dollar isn't pegged to the materials that it's composed of, but it's still a compelling argument on its face. The composition of U.S. coins hasn't changed since 1981, the Wall Street Journal notes, while major components like zinc have become more expensive. Industry lobbyists stalled the proposal when Obama brought it up in 2010, but it may have new appeal to the frugally-minded.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

And if pennies were still made of copper, as they were prior to 1983, they'd cost even more than nickels to produce.

I s'pose nobody is now willing to accede to my notice of Stealthflation (TM)?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2012 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Not me, man, sorry. "Doctor" Copper is a proxy for world economic growth. I s'pect Zinc is similar.

I'm downright Bernankian on Core PCE, making me a wierdo among the wierdos who support Rep. Ron Paul. It's a wonder anybody will drink coffee with me anymore.

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2012 3:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop.

Ned, do I hope you are right.

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2012 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heard a news report this morning about gas prices going up already, and $4 regular/$5 premium by summertime. Also mentioned was "health care and food prices rising" with the word "inflation" bandied about in there somewhere.

But as I understand it, you're saying the price of everything can go up without being indicative of currency devaluation. Instead it represents only a higher demand for, everything. Right? We 'mericans just have to get used to greater competition for the trading of our dollars for goods from the dollars of other nations?

Please correct my oversimplification as required.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2012 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

True for certain values of "everything." If everything = food + fuel + health care, then everything can cost more without inflation. (Not coincidental that you picked three heavily regulated commodities. Toss in tuition "inflation" while you are at it.)

Food and fuel are excluded from core CPI and the core PCE deflator for their volatility and you are in great company calling "shenanigans" on that. I'd say all "price basket" measures of inflation are flawed, but valuable enough that you pick one with the least flaws and make use of it.

My many economic betters are going to wince at this, but I still hold that the inflation missed by core PCE is offset by hidden disinflationary effects of technology and trade. Like leap year, it is not perfect, accurate, or fair but it holds the system in balance.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2012 6:46 PM

February 13, 2012

The Immaculate Contraception

"Immaculate Contraception" is Dan Henninger's line at the WSJ. I give him the full ten points for that bon mot.

I assume we have not discussed this much because it is perhaps too stupid. I just can't get my head around "the compromise." Neither, it seems, can Prof Greg Mankiw:

A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.

B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance. The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.

I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B. But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Too stupid indeed, but I am going to throw in my 2 cents anyway. The word that gets me is, "access." Seems like everytime I hear a liberal defending the Obama policy on this, it is because women have a, "right," to, "access," contraceptive health care. I have not heard of anyone denying them access to birth control. Go to the Dr., pay your bill, get a prescription. Go to the pharmacy, pay your bill, receive your pills.

Women are not being denied access to health care. What they are being denied, "access," to is other people's money (aka FREE contraception). On this point I am 100% with the church. Whew, never thought I'd say that again, being a recovered Catholic myself.

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him."

Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)

Posted by: dagny at February 13, 2012 8:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yesterday I also thought it was "too stupid" to comment on. Today, I know better: "Republican war on women.

The DSCC said it was "hard to believe" that such a controversy could erupt, urging supporters to give money in support of the mandate.

"It's hard to believe that in the 21st century we have to fight for access to birth control, but that is the fact -- and there will be many more fights in the weeks ahead."

Does anyone remember the curious non-sequitur debate question from George Stephanopoulos "Do states have the right to ban the use of contraception?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2012 6:02 PM

February 7, 2012

Quote of the Day

Dirty Harry says if you didn't support the taxpayer bailout of General Motors and Chrysler back in 2008 and 2009, you quit on America ... punk! -- James Pethokoukis
Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I know what you're thinking. Did he spend six billion dollars, or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is America, the most powerful economy in the world, you've got to ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky?

Well, do you - punk?

(Yeah, I've already fired my answering shot to Clint in the Santorum Hate post. But I'm feeling lucky.)

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 7, 2012 1:47 PM
But jk thinks:

They're both good, man, both good.

I was despondent upon viewing the ad. I took "halftime" as halftime of the game (that they spent $14 million of my money buying) and not the interstice betwixt Obama terms. But the celebration of the bailout is unambiguous.

The boys at WSJ beat it up pretty well today.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2012 1:56 PM

February 4, 2012

Brother's Keeper, Huh!

Take it away, Mark Steyn:

"Oh give me a break," Steyn said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Thursday night. "For a start, when he says, 'I am my brother's keeper,' his brother is back in Kenya living on $12 a year. That's what he was living on at the time of the 2008 election. So all the president has to do in terms of shared responsibility is put a $10 bill in an envelope and mail it to Nairobi or Mombasa or wherever and he will double his brother's salary."

"This version of shared responsibility means the state should be your 'brother's keeper.' And this is the point for the Catholic Church. Separation of church and state is one thing, but big government means the state as church, the sole legitimate source of moral authority whether it's on contraception or gay marriage or abortion or any of the rest. And that's what you see in Europe. Big government drives out other sources of moral authority."

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

February 3, 2012

Headline of the Day

Picking up where Brother jg left off

Obama Insists His Tax Hikes Are Simply Divine! -- Jim Geraghty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2012

Internet Segue Alert!

President Obama's Devils, c/o Theodore Olsen (HOSS Alert!):

How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president's re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?

Me? Great, but I get your point, Ted.
What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president's surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president's party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly--and accurately--stated that you have no involvement?

Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president's re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the presidents or anyone else's office.

The President's Angel, c/o Charlie Gasparino (whom I always considered a lefty in his WSJ days)
Now, Buffett's hypocrisy on taxes is well known to readers of these pages: He decries the fact that rich investors like him get taxed mainly at the lower capital-gains rate of 15 percent. Yet he made his vast fortune enjoying that favorable treatment, and largely kept his mouth shut until now, as he nears the end of his long career. Plus, he plans to use a charitable trust to further shield much of his income from taxes.

Much less has been said about Buffett's unsaintly investment record. I won't bore you with every gory detail of his questionable associations, which include no-lose investments in Goldman Sachs and General Electric just before the companies received massive federal aid during the financial crisis.

But other items really take the shine off St. Warren's halo -- like his insistence that the ratings agencies didn't play a key role in setting up the 2008 financial meltdown.

I love how he advocates higher estate taxes and sells Insurance to avoid them. If they don't buy it, then Berkshire-Hathaway buys the family business from distraught heirs who can't afford the tax at fire sale prices.

Saint Warren, indeed.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

So glad to see "Change" come to Washington...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 2, 2012 12:09 AM

January 31, 2012

The gig is up

The historical accounts of the 2012 Presidential election are already being written. From Steve McCann's 'The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder' in the American Thinker:

The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.


All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.

Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.

The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I dunno. This really smacks of conspiracy theory. My assessment of conspiracies is that the theorists give way to much credit for intelligence to the conspirators.

It reminds me of when Gore and RFK Jr. blamed Bush for Katrina. Sure - a guy they claim to be to stupid to read a book somehow has God-like control over the weather.

Similarly here, the "GOP establishment" is too incompetant to organize a campaign, but somehow as the skills to do a Jedi mind-trick on the electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm confused. What's the "conspiracy theory?" That negative campaign ads work or that "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings" dominates national party politics?

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2012 2:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, you're a friend, so I'm happy to un-confuse you. :-)

First of all, the definition of "The Establishment": "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings." Who in the polical debate does that NOT describe?!? We at Three Sources would love to control the government purse strings, if for no other reason than to tie a knot in them. Indeed, it is the disagreement over government gathering and use of funds that animates most of us.

Second, the idea that dozens or hundreds of prominant politicians - who can rarely agree on lunch - got together and derived a consensus and a grand strategy for electing a particular candidate seems highly implausible. The fact that a number of prominant politicians support a particular candidate does not mean that they got together and decided to do so, though no doubt many of the talk regularly.

Finally, " appears that those who are nominally identified as the "Republican Establishment" are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party." Seriously?? The party appartchik is sitting around dreaming up ways to piss off the "vast majority" of its base? Again, implausible. Moreover, how can they alienate the "vast majority" of the base and simultaneous convince them to vote for their chosen candidate?

This a sour-grapes theory to explain why Newt is losing to Romney. The truth is that while Romney may be deeply flawed, Newt is deeply, deeply flawed. Finally, just because a bunch of party insiders don't believe that Newt is electable doesn't mean it's not true.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 4:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

What he said. BR, that is...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

"Republican Establishment trained its guns"
in non-partisan, unelectioneering, bomb-catching plainspeak, people established (aka, whose opinions are sometimes sought) within the republican party exercised their right to free speech and called a Newt... well, whatever they thought he was.

The idea of Ann Coulter colluding with anyone behind a closed door is silly... until ... it becomes oddly disturbing >:-0

I caught a bit of the ads and speech from the FL campaign. I didn't find the selected Romney ad objectionable (and you'd think they'd picked a nasty one). A bit harsh perhaps, but way less harsh than Newt calling anyone else a Washington insider: that takes gall and a forked tongue well-used to the taste of bile.

Gall don't necessarily impress independent voters. I already can't stand listening to His Whineyness anymore.

P.S.: the prohibition on posting comments still afflicts NB; but only with FireFox.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:56 PM

January 26, 2012


No, not the Governor of Utah. Jon Stewart, on the SOTU, in the funniest clip of him I have ever seen. I'm starting to understand the fascination:

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

Corporations are not people!

After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.

This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism from on Vimeo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:15 AM | Comments (12)
But jk thinks:

Made it through. Clearly I'm going to have to change brother jg's password. It's one thing to hack somebody's account for personal gain, but this character assassination borders on libel.

Okay, he doesn't like Jeff Immelt -- thus 50% as reliable as a broken clock.

What what what did you like? A constitutional amendment to keep corporate money out of politics -- a $100 limit on contributions? Government dictating the size, structure, and allowed transactions of banks (my largest disagreement with Gov Huntsman)? Or did you just dig the repudiation of Reagan's economic vision?

If I may quote In Living Color's "Men on Film" segement: "hated it!"

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2012 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If memory serves, I came in at about 21:30 when I switched on PBS last night. Anything before that I'll defer to a future debate.

I liked the expose of GE's bailout and how it should have been done through a dilution of shareholder value and not by a FED bailout.

I liked the assertion, "Free markets are not free. They've been bought and paid for by large financial institutions."

I liked the identification of the "entitled class" of "Wall Street financiers and corporate CEOs" who "believe the government is there to do whatever is necessary ... whatever it takes to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward."

And most of all, I appreciated Stockman's correction that "it is important to put the word crony capitalism on there, because free-market capitalism is a different thing. True free-market capitalists never go to Washington with their hand out. True free-market capitalists running a bank do not expect that whenever they make a mistake or whenever they get themselves too leveraged, or they end up with too many risky assets that don't work out, they don't expect to be able to go to the Federal Reserve and get some cheap or free money and go on as before. They expect consequences, maybe even failure of their firm. Certainly loss of their bonuses, maybe loss of their jobs. So we don't have free-market capitalism left in this country anymore, we have everyone believing that if they can hire the right lobbyists, raise enough political action committee money, spend enough time prowling the halls of the Senate and the House and the office buildings arguing for the benefit of their narrow parochial interests then that is the way things will work out. That's crony capitalism and it's very dangerous. It seems to be becoming more embedded in our system."

What's not to like with any of this? We can argue about causes and solutions, but can we agree on this particular problem?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2012 7:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee listened to all 34 scintillating minutes and can't quite see what sent JK 'round the bend. Yes, Moyers is an insufferable nincompoop, but we knew that going in. The irony, of course, is that the far left and the fiscal right have finally found common ground in deploring crony capitalism.

The most objectionable part of Stockman's comments was his assertion that we need to change the First Amendment to deny corporations the right to lobby and give political contributions. (Why corporations should be muzzled but not unions or enviros remains a mystery.) Nevertheless, his comments against crony capitalism and in support of pure capitalism seemed to make a lot of sense.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 26, 2012 9:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, at least our ratings are up. I got an email from a good friend of the blog who is enjoying this argument very much.

You know, brothers, Governor Howard Dean doesn't like bailouts and crony capitalism either. I'm sure I can find a clip of his discussing it with Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Rachel Maddow. I'll post it and we'll all agree how very swell it is.

I do not trust either of these men. Both have done extreme damage to this great nation and our concept of liberty and personal achievement. Just because we all agree Jeff Immelt is a dickhead, I am not going to embrace them.

When Stockman longs for the Republican Party of his youth, he is longing for Eisenhower and Ford. Moyers, of course, never came to grips with the idea of a Democrat Party without LBJ.

"Free markets aren't really free" does sound like ThreeSources and I'm sure he'd like to sell us each a copy of his book. But when it comes from a guy who wants to dictate banks' size and business practice, propose extreme campaign finance rules, and has an, ahem, history of government expansion -- I do not accept that he is now calling for lasseiz faire.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2012 10:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I must say my first reaction to this recording was one of excitement over the fact that it could lead to a bridge between left and right so wide and so strong as to absolutely overpower the entrenched crony establishment with a popular laissez-faire revolution. After a second viewing I remain hopeful, and as long as my password continues to function I will strive to advance the topic. (Yes, I know yer just joking about yanking it.)

Let me ask that we seek a point of agreement before we debate whether Stockman is the GOP antichrist or Phil Gramm precipitated TARP. I'm sure we're all on board with "crony capitalism is very dangerous" so how about, this:

When the net worth of a collection of six financial services conglomerations and their six boards of directors approaches the annual GDP of the entire United States private sector, and the members of those boards of directors have unprecedented influence throughout the depth and breadth of the federal government, our principled free-speech rules may no longer be sufficient for preventing this "entitled class" from manipulating the government for their own narrow interests to the detriment of individual liberty and property, particularly in a mixed economic system with fiat currency.

In my youth, "Ma Bell" was deemed "too big" and was broken up. Today, "Wall Street" is deemed "too big to fail" and is instead propped up - by devaluing the net worth of every dollar-denominated individual. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2012 12:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Bad Guys and Three Sourcers can agree that crony capitalism is bad, our reasons for believing so are very different. The Bad Guys view capitalism, in toto, as undesireable. Thus, anything that props it up in any form is a bad thing. Three Sourcers, on the other hand, view crony capitalism as a misuse of taxpayer funds, misallocation of resources and questionable ethics. Because The Bad Guys believe that all things good emanate from the government, when crony capitalism falls capitalism will fall with it. Three Sourcers believe the opposite, and that a lack of crony capitalism will lead to better allocation of resources and therefore economic expansion. Thus, we are willing to accept this deal with The Bad Guys (all other things being equal).

We don't have to embrace them, we just have to outmaneuver them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 27, 2012 12:46 PM

January 25, 2012

Jobs vs. Environment

Thousands of loggers lost their jobs in the American Northwest because of dubious claims about wiping out the last of the spotted owls. This is just one example of environmental extremists' non-linear cost benefit analysis doing irreparable harm to the livelihoods of American workers.

The latest glaring example of this is TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Pipeline project. Despite the safety record showing pipelines to be the "safest, most efficient and economical way" to move the natural resource called crude oil, environmental activists have chosen spill hazards as the primary reason to oppose private construction of the new pipeline. But America is already criss-crossed by 55,000 miles of oil pipelines, many of which are small, old and in disrepair. And the spill rate [pg. 9] for those lines is 0.00109 incidents (spill of 50 bbl or more) per mile per year. That calculates to 60 spills every year. The estimated spill rate for the modern new Keystone XL [pg. 10] is 0.186 spills per year, anywhere over its entire 1371 mile length. (.000136 incidents per mile per year)

So the question every American voter should ask himself is, would I quit my job and ask 19,999 of my neighbors to quit theirs in order to avoid increasing the pipeline spill incident rate by 0.3 percent? (And have you even noticed any of the sixty-odd spills that already happen each year?)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (1)
But J thinks:

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Three Sources should consider re-branding to "Three Sources of Cognitive Dissonance" ;-) Rationalize, ignore and deny anything that does not fit within your core beliefs. Spotted owls, fracking, deforestation, pollution, environmental degradation and job loss included. Cheers! ;-)

Posted by: J at August 8, 2012 5:22 PM

Doin' our job for us!

Keep at your work, ThreeSourcers, CATO has you covered:

Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2012


That's the working name for my new drinking game and boy, am I hammered.

Thanks to the boys at Real Clear Politics here are the transcripts:

Full Text of Obama's Speech

Daniels: State of Union Is Grave

No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.

As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender, or other category. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro- growth economic policy, there'll never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security, or whatever size government we decide to have.

As a loyal opposition, who put patriotism and national success ahead of party or ideology or any self-interest, we say that anyone who will join us in the cause of growth and solvency is our ally, and our friend. We will speak the language of unity. Let us rebuild our finances, and the safety net, and reopen the door to the stairway upward; any other disagreements we may have can wait.

The speech itself was excellent, and the delivery by Indiana's Governor Daniels had the added benefit of making Mitt Romney sound, by comparison, like a dynamo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

One word

The Refugee challenges all Three Sourcers to offer one word - you only get one - to describe the State of the Union speech. He will go first.


Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:18 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 11:38 PM
But Terri thinks:


Posted by: Terri at January 25, 2012 7:51 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at January 25, 2012 8:06 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 25, 2012 3:00 PM
But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at January 25, 2012 4:17 PM

But What About His Opponent?

The establishment GOP punditry has been dutifully besmirching Newt Gingrich as "radical" and "erratic." Too much so, they say, to be elected president much less hold the office. But what about the other guy? IBD's editorial page appreciates the way that Newt goes about reminding the media, and the voters, who that guy in the Oval Office really is.

Alinsky's radicalism despises capitalism, entrepreneurship, individualism and, most of all, American exceptionalism. It is the genesis of Obama's demonization of the successful and his passion for the redistribution but not the creation of wealth. It's at the heart of his ongoing apology tour where he tells the world we are sorry for acting like we are mankind's last best hope for mankind, a belief Newt Gingrich shares with President Ronald Reagan.

Obama's is the belief system that Newt Gingrich told NBC's David Gregory, "is fundamentally different from probably 80% of this country." That would be a comfortable electoral majority, would it not? Does Mitt Romney even know how to pronounce "Alinsky?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Exhibit 1: The latest Romney tweet-

Mitt Romney @MittRomney This President's agenda made these troubled times last longer. He made it harder for the economy to recover

Memorable, eh? I can smell the formaldehyde from here.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 4:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The former governor can certainly turn a phrase.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 24, 2012 10:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It reads like he took a normal sentence and ran it through a software algorithm designed to lower the grade level of the speech. Maybe he's trying to "connect with the folks."

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 11:40 PM

January 23, 2012

One Man Makes a Difference - Again

Heh. Makes me think of Tiananmen Square! The Boston Bruins were honored with a White House reception today marking the occasion of their Stanley Cup victory last season. The team's players were in attendance, except one.

Nearly every other member of the Bruins was at the ceremony, where President Obama congratulated the team on its victory. Thomas is a staunch conservative and is expected to explain his snub of the president on his Facebook page this evening.
Posted by JohnGalt at 6:47 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I'm a big Tim Thomas fan but cannot approve of this. It's an honor and was outside the political realm and I think the great netminder makes himself look small.

I go to my moonbat friends' houses and would be happy to accept an invitation to the White House.

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2012 7:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I dunno, it seems to be going around.

I would accept an invitation to your moonbat friends' houses, but I've already been to the White House.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 12:41 AM
But jk thinks:

I saw that too. Maybe I am very old fashioned, but this is not going to play well. Feeds right into the "Democrats are trying to fix things and Republicans are petulant babies who won't play nice" meme.

I am, however, softening on Thomas:

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

Yeah, that's pretty good stuff.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2012 10:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That was my sinister plan - Make sports star Thomas look better by spotlighting a man whose JOB is to listen to the other side's best arguments, and REFUTE them.

Operation Sport TEA, successful!

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 2:11 PM

January 21, 2012

Thosand Words

Hahahaha! Thanks Legal Insurrection!

Obama at Disney

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2012


I like to stay out of this game, but this is insane. Thou shalt not say anything bad about FLOTUS.

A baldly racist depiction of First Lady Michelle Obama that appeared Tuesday on a right-wing website is based on a 1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty (1740-1786). The full-length painting hangs outside Paris in the Palace of Versailles.

And who you calling baldy? Seriously, to suggest this parody is badly or baldy racist is off the deep end.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:03 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

As Mike Rosen is fond of saying: behind every double-standard there lies a single standard. Thou shan't bring up BHO's record.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 8, 2012 10:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another clue to the secret identity of nanobrewer - he's in Rosen country. Hmmmm. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2012 1:41 AM

Quote of the Day

Mr. Obama is claiming an open-ended authority to determine that the Senate is in recess, despite that body's own judgment and the factual realities. That is an astonishing and, so far as we can tell, unprecedented power grab. -- David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey
Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2012 1:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Investors Editorial: "Constitutional Crisis" "Impeachment"

"Now we have the makings of a banana republic, where the rule of clearly written constitutional law is compromised by a ruler's subjective whim."

I agree. Like a spoiled child trying to find out just how far his parents will allow his liberty, the President has crossed a bright red Constitutional line. Congress must, at minimum, put him in time-out.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2012 1:52 PM

December 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

[Instapundit] Reader Marian Booker writes: "A group of people organized by True The Vote in Houston went to Austin to shine light on the need for photo ID in voting, on the day of Eric Holder's speech. One speaker noted the irony of declaring photo ID to be too onerous a burden in the voting booth, but that photo ID was required to get into the building where Eric Holder was speaking against requiring photo ID. I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue!"
Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2011

Michelle Obama - Randian

Whoops, I hope moveon-dot-org doesn't find out about this.

Barbara Walters, ABC News: "Mrs. Obama, you've recently said something that I thought was very interesting for other women to hear. You said 'you put your own self highest on your priority list.' That sounds selfish?"

Michelle Obama: "No, no, it's practical. It's something that I found I needed to do for quite some time, even before the presidency. And I found it other women, in similar situated balancing career family, trying to do it all and a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we're so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others."

Yes, Michelle, it is selfish. What it is not is a shameful act. The next thing you know you'll be saying people should pay their own way. Baby steps.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:08 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Point of order, Mr. Chairman:

Mrs. Obama may in fact may in fact be - obliquely - getting in touch with her inner Randian, but only as regards herself. She puts herself first, which is one important aspect, and one for which none of us here would fault her, if that aspect were taken on its own. However:

(1) That philosophy also requires that she respect that same right of others to put themselves first and manage their own lives. Trying to dictate how we live, what we eat, and what we think violates that.

(2) Putting herself first in her own life is fine, but someone genuinely true to our philosophy would do so on the strength of their own resources and abilities. She should, as you write, "pay her own way." Her vacations are not being paid for by the family resources and the Obama paycheck; they are underwritten from the public coffers, funded by confiscatory taxation, and extravagantly so. The product of our labors is redistributed to her to finance her lifestyle. Ergo, there's a lot more looter and moocher than Randian in this recipe.

I realize that the post has the tongue firmly planted in the cheek, but if I can play Counterpoint to your Point, I'd brand her not so much a Randian as a self-involved, self-indulgent, extravagant, elitist beyotch. It seems to me that her Marie Antoinette street cred is secure.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 23, 2011 12:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes, yes and yes - minus the satisfying but counterproductive ad hominem. ;)

What I liked about this story is that even a doctrinaire statist like Mrs. Hussein Obama has to admit that she is the best person to decide what is good for her self. I don't really expect her to disavow her statist ways because of this contradiction but it is a good example to others that no amount of government will replace one's own self-interested effort. (Stop demanding, start producing.)

It's also another rare opportunity to explain that selfishness isn't immoral, it's survival.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2011 1:25 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Satisfying? Most assuredly. Counter-productive? Perhaps, perhaps not; definitely not as counter-productive as most of the economic policies of the current Administration (and I mean "productive" in the economic sense, I suppose). You have no idea how much restraint it took to spell "beyotch" with seven letters. Ad hominem? The truth is an absolute defense, though I will defer to my gracious hosts who allow me to participate here: your house, your rules, and if I have been too off-color, please accept my apologies.

Today, I choose to celebrate the high degree of agreement you and I share on all the points we do. And, it being December 23, Happy Festivus to one and all. Should I not have the opportunity to post again in the next couple of days, a joyous Christmas to everyone at ThreeSources, friends and family included.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 23, 2011 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are the picture of decorum brother. It's just that I make every effort to keep my posts as objective and defensible as possible in a probably misguided effort to be persuasive to Kool-Aid drinkers. It's a personal thing. (And if that's the only part I choose not to agree with you on it was a damned good comment!)

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2011 5:13 PM

December 17, 2011


Jim Treacher institutes a caption contest for the Obama's Christmas Photo. (And starts it off with the humorous "But I do think, at a certain point, you've got enough presents.")

But I think it is a charming picture and will set aside my fulsome disagreement with all of the President's economic policies to salute his darling children and revel that my life has seen the progress from segregated drinking fountains to an African American President. Yes, I wish it had been Secretary Rice, but Merry Christmas.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"A politics of class-warfare is so inhumane - the ultra-wealthy are human beings too, you know?"

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2011 7:48 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Happy Holidays from the White House. Well, actually, we'll be in Hawaii for Christmas this year, and probably in Spain or Greece next Christmas. But you know what we mean. And of course, the next Christmas after that, we'll be back in Chicago, permanently."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 17, 2011 8:25 PM

December 8, 2011

BATFE So Eager to Exploit Illegal Gun Sales, It Arranged Them

CBS News has some commendable investigative reporting that includes emails between gun dealers and ATF agents:

ATF's group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there's nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands...I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country."

"It's like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back," says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. "It's a circular way of thinking."

For his part, Attorney General Holder says, "We do not know who the particular person was" who decided that "this flawed operation should be conducted."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here in my office building in Glendale, CA, I have the opportunity on a regular basis to share an elevator ride with BATFE members whose office is several floors below mine. And yes, I plead guilty to regularly baiting them.

About two weeks ago, one decided to strike up a conversation with a smartmouthed comment. So I responded with "so, how's that whole Gunwalker thing working out for you people?" Mr. BATFE got visibly angry and came back with "you don't know what the f**k you're talking about."

Based on the last week's worth of unraveling stories and today's hearings, I'm pretty sure I won that exchange.

Good times...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 8, 2011 6:17 PM

At least we agree we are in a ditch

Well brothers and sisters, I have just read the president's Osawatomie speech, almost in its entireity. Those of us who wondered how he thought he could win re-election can see the answer in this speech. It is a brilliantly deceptive blueprint for a bait-and-switch shell game on the American people.

I actually agreed with most of what he said in the opening, right up until "I am here to say they are wrong" which I would replace with "I am here to say that I am wrong." This comes right after the following passage:

But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. [Agreed.]

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

Yes, Mister President, you are advocating a return to exactly the same practices that got us into this mess: Ever higher taxation, goverment spending more and more of our GDP, greater burdens on private businesses, further layers of coverage mandates for health insurers, interference with supply and demand in higher education which drives costs through the roof and causes shortages of trained blue-collar workers - in short, making life and business more expensive in America and driving jobs overseas. There really is a grave threat to the existence of the American middle class: You, and the repackaged, recycled, and retreaded egalitarian values you seek to "reclaim" demand.

An honest review of history shows us that such wealth-sharing demands - not, as you claim, free market capitalism - have failed to produce economic prosperity. Every, single, time. Free market capitalism has never been allowed more than enough rope with which to hang itself.

UPDATE: IBD Ed Page refutes the top five lies from Obama's Osawatomie speech.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:16 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

You are perhaps being kinder to the President than was the WaPo Fact Checker (three pinocchios). I blame this on rampant left-wing bias at ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

The folks at IBD are somewhat less than impressed...

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ha! If I were awarding "Pinocchios" I'd have given him four. The highest ranking, it means the statement consists of "whoppers."

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2011 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought "Pants on Fire" exceeded the dreaded four-Ps. So hard to keep up with politics -- I guess that's a different site.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 3:52 PM

December 7, 2011

Bull Moose Bull ****

Since hearing soundbites of President Obama's "I'm channeling Theodore Roosevelt" speech yesterday I've wanted to deconstruct one or more of his specious points in a blog post. Before I could do so, Wichita Wordsmith Bud Norman beat me to it. And unlike his evaluation of candidate Newt Gingrich, he has a definitive conclusion this time.

Obama’s favorite straw men were once again eviscerated with all the gusto of John Brown swinging a saber at some pro-slavers. He accused his Republican opposition of wanting to “return to the same practices that got us into this mess,” as if they were all clamoring for the government-enforced subprime lending and exorbitant deficit spending. He characterized the Republican philosophy as “We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” which strikes us as an unfairly simplified description, although we must admit it is still a more attractive option that relying on Obama to care for us and playing by his rules.

Just one of many delightful paragraphs, and I'll leave the ending for you as a surprise.

Is it too early to nominate Bud's Central Standard Times for promotion to the blogroll? I'm not sure I could have given the subject such sublime treatment. Indeed, I'd be tempted merely to stoop to a lowly video example of Obama's America.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2011

Word of the Day

IBD has a $10 world, trading at about 10.125 as I type...

To hear Barack Obama describe the latest fiscal impasse in Washington, the poor guy is totally helpless dealing with this congressional crowd of hebetudinous laggards.

He gave them his plan to cut the budget while spending more. He's rigidly sticking with it, which is principled. And both sides in Congress are rigidly sticking with their plans, which is stubborn. Except, come to think of it, there wasn't a real Democratic plan. All they did was not like the Republican ones.

For the hebetudinous who need a definition...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

Insufficient sleep for first graders results in a hebetudinous approach to homework.

Posted by: dagny at November 22, 2011 2:29 PM

November 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

Congratulations, Average American! says Jonah Goldberg:

Being the root cause of our dire national predicament puts you in some very august company indeed. You are joining the ranks of George W. Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the Arab Spring, Wall Street fat cats, and other luminaries, both living and merely anthropomorphized.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2011

In the Real World, this Would be a Big Deal

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show. -- WaPo
My friends assure me they are tired of hearing "If President Bush had done this..."

But too bad.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Lonely boy, commenting on his own posts, but it just hit me. "So that's why they did so well in the midterms!"

Posted by: jk at November 15, 2011 4:27 PM

October 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

Which brings us to this week's campaign appearances. The topic was infrastructure. In Las Vegas on Monday, Mr. Obama called for "funding to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our airports." At a Los Angeles fund-raiser on Tuesday, the president was more expansive, saying "Let's get construction workers . . . and let's put them back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our hospitals and our schools." By week's end, Mr. Obama could be promising to rebuild corner gas stations and ugly backyard storage sheds in swing states. -- Evil genius architect Karl Rove
Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

The President's Exciting New Program

As it was unleashed in my hometown, it would be churlish of me to not comment on President Obama's new program to help energize his moribund youth base students racked with crippling debt.

But I am a partisan hack and nobody would expect me to give the program an objective review. So, lets go to The Atlantic -- yeah, they'll be fair, they all voted for him. Well, maybe not Fat Cat Big City Banker David Indiviglio.

Of the many long-term problems the U.S. economy faces, student loans are a big one. Education costs are rising very quickly and incomes aren't. As a result, students will have to borrow more and more money to obtain university degrees and will have a tougher time paying their loans. President Obama seeks to respond to this question with an executive order in the next part of his "We Can't Wait" unilateral stimulus effort. While the president's heart may be in the right place, his effort isn't like to have much impact.

[Spoiler alert] Indiviglio says it will be $4 to $8 for most. Hey, I can have a McRib!

Now that I have been fair… The news showed many clips of the President's visit and speech, which I'd expect, and approbation from his supporters which also seems fair.

One student, in a clip that runs twice, said he's happy that the new program will help him "pay off his loans faster." Umm, by reducing your minimum payment. Let me guess, buddy, you did not major in Math or Finance. I hope.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (4)
But Terri thinks:

But he's done in 20 years instead of forever or 25 years, so yep.

Prices will go up.
Loans will go up.
Taxpayers will pay the remainers.

Posted by: Terri at October 27, 2011 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Mea Maxima Culpa. Young knowitallcollegehippieguy was right and I wrong. I did not see that part of the plan where we stick the taxpayers of 2031 with a liability that is politically popular today.

Would it be disrespectful of me to call the President a complete bastard for even thinking of this? Spending the money of those not yet born, by executive order, completely outside the Constitution -- this is about as bad as screwing the GM and Chrysler preferred debt holders.

Posted by: jk at October 27, 2011 12:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh no, it's not as bad as you're painting it for the president. CONGRESS made this change. President Gumdrop is only accelerating the implementation date by two years (so it'll be before the election.) I still don't know WHICH congress did it - I suspect the 110th.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2011 3:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I can be so unfair sometimes.

Posted by: jk at October 27, 2011 3:25 PM

October 24, 2011

Intransigent Congesspersons!

Mean old Republicans!

There has been a complete failure on the part of the Obama administration to address the catastrophic wave of home foreclosures across the country, leaving families in despair and wreaking havoc in countless communities...In order for our economy to expand, an effective policy must be put into place to turn this devastation of housing around. The administration's weak responses have barely touched "the tip of the iceberg". -- Rep. Anna Eshoo

With regards to the president's housing proposal, I'm very concerned that it's more of the same -- Rep.Dennis Cardoza

The lack of urgency being shown by various agencies and the White House is hurting our economic recovery and unnecessarily putting families at risk to lose their home. -- Rep. John Tierney

In my opinion, this is a national economic crisis that has been inadequately addressed for too long, and strong, bipartisan efforts are urgently needed. -- Rep. Elijah Cummings

You smart kids in the back are way ahead of me. Of course, these are all Democrats..

Posted by John Kranz at 7:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2011

Mondo Heh!

This makes up for Bad Lip Reading Video's being funnier with GOP targets:

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 3:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 7, 2011

Going to Great Lengths... avoid a vote on President Obama's jobs Son-Of-Stimulus bill.

Philip Klein in The Washington Examiner:

In a stunning turn of events this evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used an arcane legislative maneuver to effectively rewrite Senate rules to make it harder for the minority party to force uncomfortable votes on the majority.

The buildup to this point started on Tuesday, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tried to force a vote on President Obama's jobs bill as well as other Republican priorities by offering them as amendments to the China currency bill. Reid blocked the move.

Wait a minute. Hasn't the President been flying all over the country imploring Americans to call their Senators and tell them, "Pass this bill?" Other reports, notably Politico, downplayed this cause. Instead they pushed Reid's story-line that it was necessary to limit dilatory tactics.

Does anyone else get the sense that Senate Democrats are increasingly nervous about the looming election? The sweat on their collective brow is palpable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:34 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Oops. I was supposed to strike through Son-of-Stimulus, wasn't I? Not "jobs." Mea culpa.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2011 5:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I assumed this was in order to comply with some new Internet "Truth-In-Advertising" law or something.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 7, 2011 6:01 PM

October 6, 2011

Worth 1027 words

The president visits a Texas school and reads them a book

Hat-tip: @KatMcKinley

Posted by John Kranz at 1:33 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Given the job he's done on the economy, the justice system, and everything else that comes to mind, it's a wonder that the people at the kennel think he's responsible enough to be trusted with a puppy.

Do you suppose that Bill Ayers ghostwrote this book for him, too?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 6, 2011 4:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the way - whoever drew the picture of the SCOAMF-in-Chief standing at a podium left out the TelePrompTer - but sure remembered the shining, glowy aura.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 6, 2011 7:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I love that picture. Much as I love to engage on policy and reason, that picture sums up his presidency. Some seek the office to do something and some seek it to be something.

And I think this Pulitzer-worthy provides the answer.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2011 10:13 AM

October 4, 2011

Be Right Back after this Brief Message

Ford isn't running this anymore, but I'll happily give it some play:

Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2011

Stole My Idea

But Philip Levy probably does it better in Obama's Great Buffett Confusion

I really like bananas. Great way to start the day. Tasty and nutritious.

Wegman's sells them for 49˘ a pound, but I would pay more than that. At 99˘ a pound, I'd still get them. I'm happier paying less, but I could afford the higher price.

So why doesn't my grocery store take advantage of this? It could double the price of bananas and still keep my business

I was going to suggest that Starbucks® could add a quarter or half-dollar to every item on their menu and I would not go one fewer time or buy one fewer item. Egads! That would be billions of dollars in increased revenue -- every day! Why don't those fools on the board see it?

And Warren Buffett wouldn't mind paying higher taxes. Something about a contiguous supply-demand curve...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2011

In which jk Agrees with David Axelrod

A perfect metaphor for the 44th:

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- President Barack Obama's chief political adviser on Tuesday conceded that a dark cloud looms over the American economy and Obama's political future, describing the president's road to a second term in the White House as "a titanic struggle."

Dark clouds and sinking ships. Strike up the orchestra: "Nearer my God to Thee" in Bb.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:56 PM | Comments (0)

Might Become a Caps Fan...

I like the cut of owner Ted Leonsis's gib:

The real rift in philosophy though is do you want the Government to create jobs and stimulate the economy or do you want America’s small business to be the engine of growth?

Economic Success has somehow become the new boogie man; some in the Democratic party are now casting about for enemies and business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat. This is counter to the American Dream and is really turning off so many people that love American and basically carry our country on their back by paying taxes and by employing people and creating GDP.
I voted for our President. I have maxed out on personal donations to his re-election campaign. I forgot his campaign wants to raise $1 billion. THAT is a lot of money-money-money-money! Money still talks. It blows my mind when I am asked for money as a donation at the same time I am getting blasted as being a bad guy!


Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome link! Awesome debate in the public square!

A pretty remarkable collection of comments (35 as of my reading) follow the linked post. The pro-class warfare contingent has a recognizable theme: Income growth for the highest earners grows faster than "the middle class;" wealthy and corporations are "given" tax breaks "while the middle class pays income and payroll taxes at a higher rate than guys like you;" Republicans say "the middle class needs to pay" to fix America's indebtedness. All are evidence of a marginal way of thinking - every change viewed by who it benefits compared to someone else. This, boys and girls, is the very definition of class warfare.

But another commenter attempts an analogy: You [wealthy] happen to be "good at making money, but many of us aren't." If what really mattered in life was something else, say "the ability to fight hostile space monsters" wouldn't you want those who excel in that skill to "pitch in a little extra and help YOU out?"

Here's another idea: Suppose that those "not very good at making money" took steps to change that about themselves? Education, hard work, lifestyle choices all have predictable effects. But more importantly, "making money" is not a skill. Making desirable products is a skill. Delivering desirable services is a skill (like, for example, the ability to fight hostile space monsters.) Want to be happy? Want to be successful? Match your vocation to your ambition and your consumption to your income, and stop comparing your income to your neighbor's. Instead, compare it to what it was before you graduated college, or completed that last job training class, or earned your high school diploma. Climb the mountain at your own pace. "Stop complainin', stop grumblin', stop cryin'" and put on your climbing shoes. But climb the mountain under your own strength, don't climb on the back of the nearest guy who happens to be climbing faster than you (and then complain again when he decides to stop because you are too heavy.) We can all make it up the hill. Most of us are willing to help others along the way. Just don't ask us to do it with a gun to our head, "or else."

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2011 3:08 PM

September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama's stimulus was announced in 2009, "There's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can." -- Matt Welch (a Reason guy, writing for CNN, is the space-time continuum safe?)

The linked article is "Why the $16 muffin matters." I must disagree a bit with my big-L Libertarian friend. Every word he says is true, but it propagates the lie that we can have all the government we want if we just elect candidate x who will clean things up. No need to stop developing programs for the poor and new middle class entitlements, we'll take it all out of pastry savings.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2011

Right Wing Hate Site Attacks President's Plan

Yawn. Must be Thursday. Oh wait, it's the WaPo Business Section:

The latest Obama plan "doesn’t produce any more in realistic savings than the plan they offered in April," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "They’ve filled in details, repackaged it and replaced one gimmick with another. They don't even stabilize the debt. This is just not enough."

The most disheartening development, MacGuineas and others said, is Obama's decision to count $1.1 trillion in savings from the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan toward his debt-reduction total. Because Obama has no intention of continuing war spending at last year's elevated levels, that $1.1 trillion would never have been spent.

The President's plan, however, has been extremely well received by my moonbat Facebook friends.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And there we have the true audience for the latest Obama plan. Governing to the middle hasn't worked so well for him so he's returning to the moonbat briar patch.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2011 3:48 PM

September 19, 2011

Chavez-Obama and International Law

Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, having looted all the private wealth in his country, moves to protect his wealth.

ExxonMobil’s shareholders can join Chrysler’s bondholders on Obama’s enemies list. If that seems a tad harsh, consider this: When made to choose between millions of American shareholders and one South American dictator, the Obama Administration chose Chavez.

Why is the Obama Administration sitting in paralyzed silence while Chavez removes himself from international accountability? Is it perceived ideological comradeship, a loathing of investors, simple dereliction of duty or some other reason? Now that is a mystery.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2011

What Motivates President Obama?

Hint: World Socialism.

Much of what Dick Morris says is interesting. Some of it, like this, is also important.

Posted in June, but played live on Mike Rosen's radio show today.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:38 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the segue. Morris is a bright guy but he always goes one step too far up the black helicopter ladder. I think ascribing motives is dicey business. My father warned me that "you can't look into a man's heart." (Followed by "get a haircut" as I recall, but it's kinda fuzzy...)

I'm a strange choice for the President's defender but I am as good as he's going to get around here. I looked at this headline today from the superb demographer Joel Kotkin:

Declining Birthrates, Expanded Bureaucracy: Is U.S. Going European?

I think that a lot of my lefty and moderate friends see that as feature, and that we see it as a bug. David Mamet's Rabbi asks that we be able to articulate our opponent's argument. Here goes: "I was just in <insert European country here> and it's fine. Lovely scenery, happy folks, <insert one or two items in which they're superior>. What is so bad about being Europe?"

Now I have some answers, but the Disneyland vacation destination that Americans see does not frighten them about Socialism. As Democratic politicians improve, that is the argument we'll be having. Just another European nation is fine for the Obamas and a big step up for a Thomas Friedman or Paul Krugman. No hidden agenda, just a lack of American Exceptionalism.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2011 6:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To summarize: It's dicey to conclude (at present) that Obama wants America to join the One World Socialist Government, but when Democrat politicians improve their messaging that is precisely what they'll advocate.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2011 7:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Another "mixed" economy -- I think the suggestion that Ireland and Canada are in collusion for a world Marxist order is overwrought.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2011 9:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think Morris' point is that, like a lot of your lefty and moderate friends, President Obama sees Euro-socialism as something to aspire to as well. After all, "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." When the World Socialists saw capital flight from socialist France it's doubtful their conclusion was, "Gosh, if we could only establish a socialist system in Ireland and Canada the entire world would follow." Having a man like Barack Obama in the White House must have been beyond their wildest dreams thirty years ago.

But particularly in the wake of NY9 it appears that America is inherently different. The socialists may call it "selfish" or "greedy" when individuals protect their wealth from a socialist government, but those who dare make a claim on the productive gain of others are the truly selfish ones.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2011 11:26 AM



Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Don't leave hope without it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2011 5:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Like." Yesterday's comment-of-the-day.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2011 12:48 PM

September 14, 2011

Dear AttackWatch

TerriG has linked to a list of LIES in the Wall Street Journal about the Administration's JOBS ACT:

Mr. Obama said last week that he wants $240 billion in new tax incentives for workers and small business, but the catch is that all of these tax breaks would expire at the end of next year. To pay for all this, White House budget director Jack Lew also proposed $467 billion in new taxes that would begin a mere 16 months from now. The tax list includes limiting deductions for those earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples), limiting tax breaks for oil and gas companies, and a tax increase on carried interest earned by private equity firms. These tax increases would not be temporary.

What this means is that millions of small-business owners had better enjoy the next 16 months, because come January 2013 they are going to get hit with a giant tax bill. Let's call the expensive roll:

Followed by a lot of LIES about how taxes will go up.

A commenter even refers to the President as OhBummer (I guess that's supposed to be a clever play on the President's name or something) and makes light of Attack Watch as if it is some kind of joke. Shut down her bastion of hatefulness!

Just doing my patriotic duty...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Day

On a serious note, the attackwatch may be a laughingstock to conservatives but it is antithetical to a free society.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | Comments (0)

View from the White House

And every other 'rat in Washington D.C.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

Revenge of the Jews; Dem Seat Turns in NYC

AP: GOP wins in NY House race, seen as Obama rebuke

Retired media executive and political novice Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin in a special election Tuesday to succeed Rep. Anthony Weiner, a seven-term Democrat who resigned in June after a sexting scandal.

The heavily Democratic district, which spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn, had never sent a Republican to the House. But frustration with the continued weak national economy gave Republicans the edge.

Turner has vowed to bring business practicality to Washington and push back on spending and taxes.

The race was supposed to be an easy win for Democrats, who have a 3-1 ratio registration advantage in the district.


Turner, a 70-year-old Catholic, vowed to push back on Obama's policies if elected.

Hat Tip to Drudge for the title.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2011

You and Me, Greg!

Harvard Professor N. Gregory Mankiw and I have a few things in common.

Warren Buffett's Taxes, again

I was disappointed to hear the President tonight raise the canard about Warren Buffett's allegedly low tax rate. The story is, at the very least, deeply misleading. I addressed the issue several years ago in this column.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

No Doubt AG Holder will Get Right on it!

As Richard Trumke sat in the President's box at a joint session:

It turns out a union can go so far that even the current National Labor Relations Board can't turn a blind eye. A grain operator at the Port of Longview in Washington state was hit with a violent strike yesterday by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Longshoreman walked out at nearby ports in Tacoma and Seattle.

According to police reports, some 500 longshoreman broke in at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning and held six security guards hostage for two hours while the protesters rampaged through the facility. They cut brake lines on railroad cars and spilled grain from boxcars.

Take these SOBs out!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2011

Gibson CEO invited to joint session

Rep Marsha Blackburn, (HOSS - TN)! Mark Perry's Carpe Diem blog:

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn issued the following statement today announcing that Gibson Guitar CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, will be her special guest for President Barack Obama's address to the Joint Session of Congress on Thursday night:

"Gibson Guitar is at the heart of this jobs debate, and is an example of exactly why President Obama has it wrong when it comes to getting our economy back on track. Maybe if the President spent more time finding real solutions to empowering small business owners and less time hindering businesses like Gibson, we'd see more new jobs being created."

UPDATE: Maybe They'll All Break Out in Song during Obama's Speech on a Gibson Guitar!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:55 PM | Comments (3)
But mickeywhite thinks:

Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, FY2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Flood Insurance Reauthorization , Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Debt Limit Increase, Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extension., Supplemental Appropriations, Patriot Act Extension.
Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations, Withdrawing U.S. Soldiers from Afghanistan, Libya Troop Withdrawal.

Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at :

Posted by: mickeywhite at September 7, 2011 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Thank you very much for your comment and link.

I promise I will take the time to carefully review the comprehensive list you provided. I have always liked Rep. Blackburn but confess I have not followed her voting record closely.

Having said that, a cursory glance at your list shows support for free trade agreements which I support. I understand a principled Ron Paul-esque opposition to individual bilateral and small zone trade agreements, but I am from the more trade the merrier school. I am fine with the trade agreements and the WTO votes.

Many of the others are lopsided, party-line votes that do not appeal to me but are the currency of a Congressional career of her tenure.

My approbation is for inviting the Gibson CEO as a guest to the speech. If Rep. Barney Frank had done that, I would be applauding him.

But I will read your list and reconsider whether she of the winsome smile and soft Dixie voice is deserving of the HOSS label. I will give that serious thought.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2011 6:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Rep. Blackburn is guilty of being a Republican in the George W. Bush - Denny Hastert era. I don't get very excited reading about:

H.R. 1298 would authorize $15 billion ($3 billion annually) for fiscal years 2004 through 2008 to provide assistance to foreign countries for the stated purpose of combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Much of this funding will be funneled through the Global AIDS Fund and other UN agencies[...]

And yet, "The House passed H.R. 1298 on May 1, 2003 by a vote of 375 to 41." I worked pretty hard to elect some of those 375 and the President who signed it. I will roll my eyes today, but not pull the rug out from under them for not being Ron Paul.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2011 6:25 PM

September 2, 2011

That's a Number I Did Not Hear

Kudlow's guests last night were speculating that the jobs number might be as low as 50,000 or 30,000. Nobody mentioned "zero:"

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers stopped adding jobs in August, an alarming setback for an economy that has struggled to grow and might be at risk of another recession.

The government also reported that the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. It was the weakest jobs report since September 2010.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Speaking as a small business owner in California - - I would dearly love add four positions (two officers and two assistants), but in the current economic climate, I can't. I know a lot of people in the trade who are unemployed, and I'd be ready to put some of them to work, but for the actions of the Federal and State government. I guess King Putt and Moonbeam Jerry would rather these good people continue to draw unemployment and be dependent than to be productive and prosperous.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2011 11:41 AM
But jk thinks:

One of the guests was Jared Bernstein, VP Biden's Economic advisor (stop laughing in the back!) He's a bright and decent cat but he reflexively provides the leftist line. In the evidence of complete failure, he goes right into "the stimulus wasn't big enough" and "we have to provide demand."

All this against the ex-Verizon chief who is telling the same story you are.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2011 12:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hey, nb is bored in Bulgaria (more like avoiding work) and would like a TS summary on this position so's to better talk at large with my liberal Boulder friends.

Succinctly, KA, why do you avoid hiring? Are there concrete regs coming down the pike which you see as dangerous for an employer, or is it just the overall anti-business "climate" that exudes from the Obamanites & allies like Guv Moonbeam?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 3, 2011 4:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Prof VDH has some thoughts as well. He laments the death of a thousand cuts from the business hostile Administration:

Here is the lament I heard: the near $5 trillion in borrowing in just three years, the radical growth in the size of the federal government and its regulatory zeal, ObamaCare, the Boeing plant closure threat, the green jobs sweet-heart deals and Van Jones-like "Millions of Green Jobs" nonsense, the vast expansion in food stamps and unemployment pay-outs, the reversal of the Chrysler creditors, politically driven interference in the car industry, the failed efforts to get card check and cap and trade, the moratoria on new drilling in the Gulf, the general antipathy to new fossil fuel exploitation coupled with new finds of vast new reserves, the new financial regulations, an aggressive EPA oblivious to the effects of its advocacy on jobs, the threatened close-down of energy plants, the support for idling thousands of acres of irrigated farmland due to environmental regulations, the constant talk of higher taxes, the needlessly provocative rhetoric of "fat cat", "millionaires and billionaires," "corporate jet owners," etc. juxtaposed, in hypocritical fashion, to Martha's Vineyard, Costa del Sol, and Vail First Family getaways -- all of these isolated strains finally are becoming a harrowing opera to business people.

Well yes, Professor, but other than that...

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2011 10:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Silver Lining department: As the Obama Administration and its army of enviro-fascists gets to run wild with every regulatory wet-dream they've ever concocted, all at once and without adult supervision, the free-market economy renders its verdict on environmentalism writ large: GUILTY.

Guilty of driving away both producers and customers. In the Bill Gates interview I linked here he also said:

"Rich countries can afford to overpay for things. We can afford to overpay for medicine, we can overpay for energy, we can rig our food prices and overpay for cotton. But in the world where 80 percent of Earth's population lives, energy is going to be bought where it's economical."

What do you mean "we" Kemosabe?

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2011 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Brother jg is unsurprisingly right. It would have been damned unpatriotic to cheer for such misery in 2k8. But we might look at this millenarian moment as a sliver lining at the very least.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2011 11:39 AM

August 31, 2011

Headline of the Day

Donald Lambro in the Washington Times: Obama jobs plan: Plan on being unemployed

"Jobs creation remains weak, because temporary tax cuts, stimulus spending, large federal deficits, price-raising health-care mandates, and tighter but ineffective business regulations do not address, and indeed exacerbate, the permanent structural problems holding back dynamic growth and jobs creation," writes University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

"Until this policy direction is altered, the economy will continue to grow slowly or slip into recession, unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, and American standing in the global economy will decline," Mr. Morici says.

What we’re seeing, he adds, is "an American policy of decline by design."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Alternative headline: George Santayana, call your office!

It is bad enough when the historical errors of the 18th and 19th Century are dusted off to destroy a fresh generation, but the first two WSJ Editorials today show that the lessons of the last two decades are forgotten -- even as the ashes of their destruction still smolder (pretty lyrical, huh?)

Editorial #1 hints at a vague sense of deja vu when one discusses the new "Infrastructure Bank."

This is the Fannie Mae model applied to public works. The new bank would be a government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE, whether or not anyone admits it. The bank would have an implicit subsidy for its debt because it is backed by the government. And the debt it issued would be "off-budget," which means it wouldn't show up in annual outlays. When she first proposed the concept in 2008, Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro explicitly described the bank as a "public private partnership like Fannie Mae."

Heh. "Off Budget." Try that on your next IRS Audit. And if Fannie and Freddie are back, we're certainly going to need a new Community Reinvestment Act. Editorial #2 by Mary Kissel shows that the Holder DOJ is not just about giving weapons to drug lords and shutting down guitar manufacturers. There's racism to be fought!
The 1990s may have brought us supercharged politicized lending, but Eric Holder's Department of Justice is taking the game to an entirely new level, and then some. The weapon is a "fair lending" unit created in early 2010, led by special counsel Eric Halperin and overseen by Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez.

A sampling of Mr. Perez's thinking, from April 2010 congressional testimony: "The foreclosure crisis has touched virtually every community in this country, but it disproportionately touches communities of color, in particular African-Americans and Latinos." And: "[C]ross burnings are the most overt form of discrimination and bigotry. Lending discrimination is some of the most subtle. It's what I call discrimination with a smile."

But nobody is going to be smiling when Perez is finished, you can bet your Spin Doctors CDs on that!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

At least this time, we won't have zero interest rates...oh, wait...

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2011 12:24 PM

August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

So far, he has blamed the stagnant economy on ATMs, ditches, Slurpees, corporate-jet owners, the Tea Party, Republicans, Japan's earthquake, the Arab Spring, the Arab Summer, George Bush, and "fat-cat" Wall Street something-or-others. The kitchen sink may be next.-- Salena Zito
Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

Cheap Shot? Yeah, but I like it:

The president's retreat appeared doomed from the start as the stock market dove just before his arrival a week ago at the sprawling, $20 million Blue Heron Farm in the swish Chilmark section of the island paradise. The vacation only got worse as the Congressional Budget Office reported anemic economic growth, fighting erupted in Libya's capital and a rare earthquake centered just south of the White House rocked the East Coast and cracked the Washington Monument -- all while Obama hit the links, the beach and the bike paths. -- Dave Wedge & Chris Cassidy

Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

Via @JazzShaw:

Krauthammer: "Earthquake, hurricane, Obamacare. When does it stop? Seven more and I vote we let the Israelites go."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011

Hank Reardon, Call Your Office

Ken Salazar's Interior Department moves to prevent Exxon from developing a billion-barrel oil field it discovered in deep water Gulf of Mexico in 2007. Because of feared oil spills? No. Because it might impair the mating habits of the Gorite-dwelling shoestring eel? No.

Employing an extreme technicality, these regulators claimed that Exxon's request in 2008 for a short suspension of activity to upgrade and make safer its drilling operation amounted to an abandonment of three of its five permits, simply because Exxon hadn't signed a contract with another partner, Chevron, by the time the suspension was completed.

In the past, such glitches were no problem — after all, it's obvious Exxon, which spent $300 million on exploratory wells, hasn't abandoned the operation.

But in the Obama era, which demonizes oil production in American waters by American companies, the bureaucrats came up with this permit technicality to effectively expropriate the entire operation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

I would say "unbelievable!!" but sadly nothing is anymore when it comes to this bullpucky.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

This was a day in the WSJ Ed Page's Week in the life of the Obama Recovery

Consider the headlines only from last week, a slow week by Washington standards, with Congress out of session and President Obama campaigning for three days before going on vacation. Even in the dog days of August, your government was hard at work undermining economic confidence.

Holler if you would like it mailed over the pay wall, it is devastating.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2011 3:54 PM
But Terri thinks:

Nope, I got it, and had read it first thinking you missed a ht to the WSJ, but then compared the quotes. Same song. Same, sad, sad, song.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 7:21 PM

August 20, 2011

Otequay of the Ayday

A first draft of the history of the Obama Administration?

Many in America wanted to be proud when the first person of color was elected president, but instead, they have been witness to a congenital liar, a woman who has been ashamed of America her entire life, failed policies, intimidation and a commonality hitherto not witnessed in political leaders. He and his wife view their life at our expense as an entitlement – while America's people go homeless, hungry and unemployed.

From Nero in the White House by Mychal Massie. The remainder of the piece is far less delicate.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2011

Otequay of the Ayday

"We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again," President Obama fantasized on the campaign stump in Iowa. "But over the last six months, we've had a run of bad luck."

Bad luck?

No, not that... this. Robert A. Heinlein via Dr. Milton Wolf, cousin of President Obama:

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as 'bad luck.' "

It's short. Read it all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

With this President in the White House, the Heinlien quote is "Quote of the Quadrennial."

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2011 12:49 PM

August 16, 2011

The Obama Bus Tour in 24 Seconds

Stolen from an Instapundit reader. But this is too good:

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2011

Ayn Rand, Call Your Office

Not the Onion, the Wall Street Journal, brings news that Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi, who runs the Employee Benefits Security Administration is pushing a rule -- on zero evidence of malfeasance -- to restrict investment advice to investors.

The rule would have huge consequences for the retirement savings industry. Brokers would have to weigh the cost of higher regulatory compliance against staying in the business. Investors would pay more for trades and advice and have fewer investment choices. Investment educational seminars would likely halt in many cases, lest organizers think they'll be held liable as a fiduciary for giving general investment advice.

Many firms would raise minimum investment amounts to cover their higher costs, cutting off access to lower-income savers. Consultancy Oliver Wyman surveyed about 40% of the investment retirement account market and estimated the proposed rule could "eliminate access to meaningful investment services for over seven million IRAs." Investors could see "direct costs" rise between 75% and 195%.

Clearly, my Schwab guy might try to advise me to buy a Schwab ETF someday, so it is best that I have no access to advice ever.

We're from the Government and we're here to help!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2011

2000 Words

'Cause, it's really two pictures that grace Bill McGurn's editorial today.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2011

Quote of the Day II

(I get one for every 300 points the DJIA drops.)

The trouble is that because he is an ineffective leader--inexperienced, inflexible, committed to rotten ideas--his Good side does not inspire confidence and his Bad side does not inspire fear. (That's not to say Obama doesn't scare the hell out of people. But one fears him the way one would fear an 8-year-old behind the wheel of a large automobile.) -- James Taranto

Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

3. The left in America, as exemplified by Obama's vapid press statement, has no serious intention of addressing this problem. The President has failed to present any sort of plan. His budget early in the year was a business-as-usual document with no reforms and even the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected it 97-0. But while Senate Democrats joined Republicans in deep-sixing Obama's joke budget, they have failed to produce a budget of their own for more than two years. -- Dan Mitchell ay CATO
Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | Comments (0)

Thank You S&P

A not-entirely-different-for-ThreeSourcers look at the downgrade. Maybe I've been watching Kudlow too long, but I find some of the best commentary comes from the investment community. They have much to lose and none of the good reasons to suck up when compared to traditional media punditry. Let 'er rip, Gary Kaltbaum:

Thank you S&P. I gather that surprises many of you as I have railed against the rating's services for years. That hasn't changed. There should have been criminal indictments against these companies for what they did with mortgage securities, but right now, they did us a big favor. At least, S&P did.

So excuse me, Mr. Buffett, for disagreeing with you. I know that is not a smart play. But it is my contention that if the con game went on for too much longer, what you saw in the market last week would end up being a walk in the park. I could not be happier that the debt bomb is now front-and-center. I have been writing about this for quite a while. This will hopefully shut up the deficit spenders, but somehow I doubt it. I do want you to keep in mind, these ratings services are nothing more than publishers of opinions.

Tim Geithner doesn't matter. What's the deal with trying to get rid of him? He is nothing more than Charlie McCarthy to Edgar Bergen. In my world, he is not even to be paid attention to. I know -- sounds disrespectful. Sorry, just telling it like it is.

Amens all around. I have to agree with his colorful characterization of our SecTreas. Yes, he's a disappointing weasel of a political hack. Do you suspect for a moment that he'd be replaced by someone better were he to step down?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2011

Headline of the Day

Dow Jones plunges 512 points; but don't worry, President Obama's birthday parties unaffected -- Top of the Ticket, LA Times
Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2011


During the Ford-Carter-Reagan era, before I was of voting age, the economic situation gave rise to the term "stagflation" which referred to high inflation and low economic growth as a percentage of GDP. We might say that the same conditions exist now except that in the 70's and 80's inflation was measured by interest rates. Today interest rates are near record lows, with T-bills around 2.7 percent leading to 30 year mortgages on the order of 4 percent. Yet inflation fears are alive and well given QE1 and 2 and the record price of $1660 US for gold. In other words, we have real inflation, as the costs of energy, food, health care, and other durable goods go up, but it isn't reflected in Fed policy. It is a hidden or "stealth" inflation. But like Oz's wizard it can't go unnoticed forever.


Back to stagflation:

The concept is notable because, in Keynesian macroeconomic theory which was dominant between the end of WWII and the late-1970's, inflation and recession were regarded as mutually exclusive, the relationship between the two being described by the Phillips curve. In addition because stagflation has generally proven to be difficult and, in human terms as well as budget deficits, very costly to eradicate once it starts.

In the political arena one measure of stagflation termed the Misery Index (derived by the simple addition of the inflation rate to the unemployment rate) was used to swing presidential elections in the United States in 1976 and 1980.

So let's see, unemployment rate plus the price of gold...

Yikes! I'm goin' camping. Please save civilization while I'm gone.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:16 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Concerned but still not sold on inflation fears. I'm pretty happy using core CPI as a deflator and see Gold as global growth + "risk-on" trade + a wise inflation hedge with a loose Fed. As even the core pushes comfort levels, I hope Helicopter Ben will keep QE3 in his pants as it were.

But your Oz reference was well timed. I thought of you as I watched "Tin Man" again and remembered our agreeing on its virtues. It is available on the Netflix Instant Queue, and comes with substantive endorsements from jg and jk.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2011 1:13 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JK, you're very trusting on either version of the CPI. It's so massaged, with the government economists overweighting and underweighting whatever they can to meet the agenda. Check, which doesn't do any tricks. It merely uses the methodology in place in 1980, rather than the trickery employed today.

Bill Dudley can point to iPads. I point to commodity prices whose rise cannot be explained by supply and demand. I point to standard groceries, and container sizes continually shrinking so we can pay the same for less. Things are worse than we care to admit.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 3, 2011 11:48 PM
But gd thinks:

The government CPI is pretty close to worthless for Austrians (it is intentionally manipulated to favor Keynesianism). When it comes to real inflation risk, keep a close eye on gold, oil, and food prices.

Posted by: gd at August 4, 2011 11:23 AM
But jk thinks:

jg starts a monetary policy debate and then heads out camping -- gonna have to have a talk with that lad...

Guess I am a Chicagoan then, gd. Inflation as always a monetary phenomenon. Core CPI has its flaws (I think it underestimates inflation – burn the heretic!) but its flaws normalize over long-term historical comparisons. Gold is subject to speculation and varies with world risk appetite, oil is a cartelized and highly regulated commodity. Yes, it is denominated in dollars, but I wouldn't use it as an accurate measurement. Food is a global growth play and is manipulated by biofuel mandates.

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2011 11:47 AM
But gd thinks:

JK, I think you are correct about gold, oil, and food being subject to price manipulation and speculation, but I look at these price movements as more of a short term phenomenon. Over the long run more money in supply means higher prices unless there is a change in supply or demand for products/resources. That is why I do not put too much emphasis on short term calculations; I am more concerned with how the long term prices of gold, oil, and food are trending relative to wages, employment, and the overall supply of money.

Ludwig von Mises postulated that Keynesianism will always fail in the long run for one of two reasons: 1. The crack-up boom (the destruction of both monetary order and economic productivity in a wave of mass inflation) or 2. A deflationary contraction in which men, business, and banks go bankrupt when the expected increase of fiat money does not occur.

There is some divergence going on in the Austrian camp right now about whether hyperinflation or deflation will come first, but I think the stagflation risk is worthy of consideration.

Posted by: gd at August 4, 2011 12:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stealthflation, gd, Stealthflation. A proper noun, coined by this blog brother. Help me promote this trademarked economic malady and I'll cut you in on the rake!

I'm not backing down on the validity of commodity prices as inflation indices. Yes, food prices are manipulated by government regulation, as are oil and gold prices. But the prices are ontic. [A word I learned when double-checking the definition of 'noumenal.'] For each commodity the price Is what it Is. No matter the cause of inflation, higher prices equal monetary inflation.

(They're from the government, and they're here to "help.")

And if gold is "subject to speculation and varies with world risk appetite" is that not a crowd-sourced, market-driven "inflation future?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2011 7:06 PM

August 1, 2011

What NOT to Worry About in Debt-Limit Battle

Investors' Ed Page gives us Five Big Debt Debate Lies:

- Aug. 2 is the drop-dead deadline
- We risk defaulting on the debt
- Social Security payments are at risk
- A long-term debt ceiling hike is a must
- Obama wants a deal

Falsehoods all, say the editors at Investors. This last is the reason IBD urges the TEA Party Caucus to "declare an imperfect battlefield victory in 2011 and regroup for the more important struggle of defeating President Obama in 2012." But if the limit isn't raised there is no real danger for the government cutters, only a prospective demagogic one.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

What time is it kids? It's tortured ThreeSources Analogy Time!!! Woohooo!

The odds are pretty good in Russian Roulette as well. There is probably not a shell in the chamber. Eighty three percent chance you're gonna be fine. Pull the trigger, Republicans! C'mon!

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2011 3:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I dunno, this doesn't really seem like political suicide for debt hard-liners to me.

Obama: down
Boehner: down

Dems on Obama: down
Reps on Boehner: up

Beside the fact that Obama won't be running against Boehner or anyone else in congress. Where is the evidence that the electorate is or may have second thoughts about restraining government? If anything this shows that effort needs a boost.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2011 5:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee is not crazy about this deal. Both John McCain and John Kerry strongly support it - 'nuff said.

However, getting a $900 billion reduction while controlling just 1/2 of 1/3 of government is not bad (although we are still going further into debt). The future result will largely depend on the make-up of future Congresses and the White House. We have to win 2012 and taking this deal gets that process started.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 1, 2011 6:28 PM

On the Other Hand, "The Hobbits Won"

I commented earlier today that the Progressives in congress and the White House are lamenting the current debt-limit "compromise" bill as a ruse to make conservatives believe it is good for taxpayers (by cutting spending and not raising tax rates.) Then I read Marc Thiessen explain how "the 'hobbits' won."

The fight for a balanced budget amendment must go on. But Tea Partyers should recognize just how much Obama and the Democrats caved: $2 trillion in spending cuts. No tax increases. A new precedent that debt-limit hikes must be accompanied by equal or greater cuts in spending. And the potential for a balanced budget in 10 years. That the Tea Party accomplished all this in just six months — at a time when the GOP controls one-half of one-third of the federal government — is remarkable.

Now, this conclusion is rooted in the assumption that "the package sets an important new precedent that debt-limit increases must be “paid for” with commensurate cuts in spending." And that "according to Sen. Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, if we cut a dollar of spending for every dollar we raise the debt limit, we will balance the budget in 10 years — something that even the Paul Ryan budget would not achieve" is also correct.

Taking those on faith I too would back the compromise. (But y'all know my opinion of faith.) Being both an optimist and a cautious conservative I s'pose I'll have to put away my matches and focus on 2012.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)


By that Reagan standard, Mr. Obama has been a singular failure. The crippling truth of the Obama presidency is the pessimism of the man, the low expectations he has for this republic. He had not come forth to awaken this country to its stirring first principles, but to manage its decline at home and abroad. So odd an outcome, a man with an inspiring biography who provides no inspiration, a personal story of "The Audacity of Hope" yielding a leader who deep down believes that America's best days are behind it. -- Fouad Ajami
Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"The Audacity of Atrophy."

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2011 3:25 PM

July 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

4. When it was Chrysler secured bondholders objecting to getting defaulted on by the president's auto task force, Mr. Obama denounced them as "a small group of speculators" who were "hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices and they would have to make none." Where was Mr. Obama’s newfound respect for bondholders back during the Chrysler deal? Or, conversely, if Chrysler bondholders should have had to bear some sacrifice then, why shouldn’t Treasury bondholders now? -- Ira Stoll
Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

TEA Party Hobbits

While we're waiting for the House to pass the Boehner Bill this evening, thus forcing the Senate and White House to make good on their threats to risk "default" by killing the House compromise, let's have some more fun. Did anyone hear Sen. John McCain read this into the record yesterday?

The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.

I'm sure that Senator nicey nice was attracted to the passage by the shots it took at the TEA Party ladies but the Hobbit line is the one that, as dagny suggested, "might stick" to the TEA Partiers. And why not? The Hobbits were the good guys! And defeating Mordor is a life or death matter. We just need to remind ourselves that it took the Hobbits three books and at least as many movies to get the job done. It ain't gonna happen with one debt-limit vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It's been a while since I was so disappointed in the WSJ Ed Page. Having it read into the Congressional record by the Senior Senator from Arizona is, perhaps, punishment enough.

I didn't mind the Hobbit reference. It goes well with the whole paragraph, which criticizes plan opponents for having nothing else.

I was angry with the slap at O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. Do they really wish Mike Castle was in the Senate to smooth things over? I do not know the establishment candidate in Nevada, but I think some Tea Partiers can be proud of standing on principle.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 3:30 PM

Brer's JK, JG and Rep. Allen West

Boehner backers all.

"In seven months, I think the expectation for Allen West and the rest of us to correct something that has been a disease going on for 30 years Let's be realistic in our expectations. It takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. I can tell you this: We have started that motion," West said.

Those TEA Party Republicans are so extreme and unreasonable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:37 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

My eyes tear up just thinking about it...

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 10:09 AM
But jk thinks:

Terri suggests that if even the grouchy old guys at ThreeSources are in, it must be okay...

And she also found this gem from @McCormackJohn:

Underpants Gnome debt plan:
Phase 1: Defeat Boehner;
Phase 2: ???;
Phase 3: Cut, Cap, Balance!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 4:05 PM

July 27, 2011

Dear [Congressman] Cory [Gardner]

Dear Cory,

Yesterday I called your office in Fort Collins and asked them to register my support for a "no compromise, no surrender" position on the debt limit issue. Today I am urging you and the rest of the house freshmen to support the Boehner Bill.

Your principled stand over the past week has resulted in: Elimination of all tax hikes, substantive and actual cuts in government spending, and a limited debt cap increase. President Obama and the Democrats have lost on virtually all of their demands.

While I personally have little fear of government default I believe most Americans do, and would view inaction on the debt limit as irresponsible and a "failure to compromise" as unreasonable. Putting the Boehner bill on the president's desk will put him in a no-win position. Failure to do so will give him his only chance to score political points.

I believe the accomplishments of you and your peers are remarkable. You will have my support and that of those like me whether or not you back the Boehner bill. I think you'll earn the respect and support of less principled voters if you show the reasoned maturity to take what you can get and send it, with bipartisan support, to the president.

As my blog brother and I recently wrote, "It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government."

Respectfully yours.

I sent this despite being emailed by Grassfire Nation that "Rep. Gardner to vote on 'Debt Ceiling' bill TOMORROW"

According to Politico, this morning, Speaker Boehner bluntly told wavering GOP lawmakers this morning to "get your a-- in line" behind his debt ceiling bill as he scrambles for votes.

Your Congressman is being strong-armed and intimidated to accept and support a bill that doesn't do what was promised!

Now we are being told that Boehner will bring spending legislation to the House floor for a vote tomorrow (Thursday, July 28).

Thanks for the tip. I have my own message for my congressman, thank you.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Debt Ceiling Chicken

OK, now I'm ready to join my blog brother in saying, "It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government." Much has changed in the week since jk suggested grabbing the Gang-of-Six plan and counting ourselves fortunate. The payoff from the overdue standoff versus the White House and its media minions is the chance to deliver a debt increase bill with actual spending cuts and no tax hikes, either in rates or deduction phase-outs, that the President will have no choice but to sign. Mister "can they say yes to anything" wouldn't say yes to $800 billion in new taxes but insisted on $1.2 trillion. Instead he'll get zero.

But now, despite the success enjoyed through standing firm, it is time to compromise and let our other objectives wait for the next battle. Jennifer Rubin puts it bluntly:

There are very few times when Republicans have a vote that so clearly defines who is a constructive force for conservative governance and who is not. There could be no better device for separating the two than the Boehner vote. If you'd rather burn down the building, you are in one camp. If you want to pocket gains and keep advancing your principles (and setting the agenda for 2012), you are in the other.

Why is it destructive to keep holding out for more?

The Republican hard-liners insist there is still a cut, cap and balance option out there. No. That was some conservatives preference. An aspiration is not a guide to governance. It's not getting through now or until there are a dozen or so fewer Democrats in the Senate. Right now we are nowhere close to 60 votes for cloture or the two-thirds of the Senate needed to approve a constitutional amendment.

Yup. Can't argue.

UPDATE: The title for this post was borrowed from the excellent Thomas Sowell column by the same name (and was in no way meant to imply that jk and I are barnyard fowl.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:49 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Welcome aboard! You can sit in the back there, next to the creepy guy in the raincoat...

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't let the helmsman hear you call him "creepy looking."

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

You called me a debt ceiling chicken.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair 'nuff.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 5:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Ms. Rubin's Ten things that will happen is very good as well.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 6:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. I'm thinking of sending it to my congressman. That link (bill) was quite subtle. Thanks for highlighting.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 7:06 PM

July 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

Obama, meanwhile, seemed to be going out of his way to isolate Boehner from his more militant caucus members--praising Boehner's willingness to cut a deal, if only it weren't for the crazies on the far right. Perhaps this makes Obama look like a nice guy to people who don't understand the GOP intra-party dynamics, but of course, it poisons an already poisonous relationship between Boehner and the tea-partiers. If I were feeling uncharitable, I might argue that Obama seems to be willing to lower the chances of getting a deal, as long as he raises the chances that the other guys get the blame. And frankly, I'm not feeling very charitable right now. -- Megan McArdle, "We're All Doomed!"
Posted by John Kranz at 4:00 PM | Comments (0)

George Will Goes Off on Emperor Obama

For "imperiously" summoning congressional leaders to his presence last weekend.

Congress Stands its Ground

There are 87 reasons for Obama’s temporary conversion of convenience to the cause of spending restraint — the 87 House Republican freshmen. Their inflexibility astonishes and scandalizes Washington because it reflects the rarity of serene fidelity to campaign promises.

Obama — a demagogue for an age of smooth surfaces; Huey Long with a better tailor — pretended Friday to wonder whether Republicans “can say yes to anything.” Well.

Thank you TEA Party. One can be forgiven for wondering if this power struggle between Congress and the White House will be the point history records as Barack Obama's Waterloo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

Damn those Corporate Jets!

I yelled at the TV when the President dropped the Corporate Jet line into his speech.

But Rich Lowry at NRO finds YouTube gold. I never watched "The West Wing," but Lowry points out the jet line wasn't good enough for them.

And the rest of it is purdy good as well.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

Contact you Congressperson

I was going to tell Rep. Polis that I enjoyed his WSJ Editorial, but -- other than the revenues he advocated -- that a cuts only, unbalanced, evil Republican was fine with me. But:

Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Heh. I fear those on the receiving end of mine would not enjoy the humor.

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2011 12:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So much the better. They need to hear from all of Jared's constituents! The number for his Boulder office (4770 Baseline Road, #220) is 303.484.9596.

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2011 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll keep on it. Where did you get that ###? It answers as a carrier tone. Busy at the House line.

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2011 2:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Searched Bing for "Jared Polis Boulder Office"

In the second and sixth hits, in the summary text. A clickthrough only takes you to his DC page that is "Site Unavailable."

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2011 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Got through (at your number thanks) and spoke to a very nice young lady who took my message, read it back to make certain I was understood, and said she'd pass it along.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 12:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And you didn't detect any hint of a snicker? Man, she's a pro!

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2011 11:42 AM

July 25, 2011

What you need to know about the Reid Debt Ceiling Plan

This is the part that isn't included in today's news coverage of Majority Leader Reid's debt proposal that "gives Republicans what they demand."

Rubin: Reid's Debt-Limit Proposal is a Sham

A Capitol Hill source with knowledge of the plan tells me: "It includes $1.2 trillion in OCO [Overseas Contingency Operations] savings . . . which was assumed anyway, $1.2 trillion (over $1.1 trillion less than [Majority Leader Eric] Cantor identified in the Biden talks) and $300 billion in interest savings."

Predictably, Obama likes it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:02 PM | Comments (0)

Latest Strategy on the Debt Ceiling

Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reports:

Boehner: "The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces -- not without tax hikes -- and I don't think they ever will. The path forward, I believe, is that we pull together as a team behind a new measure that has a shot at getting to the president's desk. It's won't be Cut, Cap & Balance as we passed it, but it should be a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap & Balance. We're committed to working with you -- and with our Republican colleagues in the Senate -- to get it done. No one is willing to default on the full faith and credit of the United States."

Rubin: That suggests to me that the House Republicans will pass a bill, send it to the Senate and let the Democrats decide if they want to send the country into default.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

Lede of the Day

Politico: Congress is eating its peas without Barack Obama.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

He says this like it's a good thing

Video at link: Geithner: "We Write 80 Million Checks A Month"

That's nearly 1 billion checks per year!

"Void after 90 days, Check number: 2,400,000,001" (of the Obama Administration)

I was flabbergasted that in the same interview Geithner said, twice, that the debt limit must be raised enough to get the government beyond next year's elections. They no longer even try to pretend their priority is the good of the country, but rather their own political survival.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

You've got a bug in the Condo of Love!

I was screaming about this yesterday and used the "like it's a good thing" line on multiple occasions. Eighty million checks a month -- we can't possibly interfere with that! They's all real important!

And, I believe in the same interview, 40% of families get food stamps. Is that possibly correct?

To be fair, these stats did not happen under President Obama. These reflect the nation's long time embrace of collectivism.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think the food stamp gift card figure was 46 million not 40 percent.

And no, I have no surreptitious listening devices - I think that is just a universal reaction, at least among those who are net tax payers.

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2011 5:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup. 43.6 million, or 14%.

Whew! For a moment there, I thought we had a serious problem...

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 5:38 PM

July 22, 2011

Calling Bluff?

Late on a Friday it appears the Speaker of the House is ready to compare his poker hand to the President's. After being admonished by Obama to not "call my bluff" Speaker Boehner said today,

"In the end, we couldn't connect," Boehner wrote Republican rank-and-file lawmakers, accusing the president of wanting to raise taxes and being reluctant to cut benefit programs.

"Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House for a Saturday meeting on raising the nation's debt limit." That doesn't sound like a man who is ready to lay down his hand.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:05 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Sounds more like Phil Hellmuth on a short stack, to make the best use of your metaphor. And Mr. Obama doesn't sound like a man who's holding pocket aces.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 22, 2011 7:28 PM

IBD's Words for GOP to Live By

IBD Ed Page says in the debt ceiling debate, the numbers are not as important as the principles.

As the clock ticks down on their phony deadline for concluding deficit talks, the Democrats have lost all the public debates over more spending and higher taxes.

So their only hope is to manufacture a fake crisis, such as the supposed "default" date of Aug. 2, and with the media's help, force Republicans to agree to a bad deal.

It wouldn't be the first time.

In 1990, President Bush engaged in "crisis" talks over deficits. He broke his "no-new taxes" pledge, agreeing to a "deal" that included $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. Bush lost his job, and it took three years and a new Congress to undo the economic damage.

Today, in the meat grinder that is Washington politics, pressure will inevitably grow for a "fair and balanced" deal — that is, for the GOP to capitulate. Republicans should stay true to these conservative principles:

The three key principles are,

• No new taxes.
• Government must get smaller.
• The debt must shrink.

GOP negotiators should keep these basic budget principles in mind If not, they'll find, as Bush did, that American voters have long, unforgiving memories.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Great post JG. Let me add a sign of support from when I caught a bit of Rush (all I can usually stand) last week in fine form. (citing from memory and cropping out the megalomania) My friends were very alarmed, saying "The Republicans are about to cave, what shall we do?" My response was: I've been gone 3 whole days and republicans have not caved yet? That's way ahead of where we've been in the past!

So, whom to TS'ers think we can best reinforce with a Vox Populi chant to drown out that which is being bullhorned by the dinosaur media? Seriously: who do we call and/or post?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 24, 2011 10:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought the reminder that George HW Bush made a deal against his stated principle was very appropriate at this juncture.

The spine I see in this game of D.C. Chicken is owned by about 70 freshman congressmen. They don't seem to have forgotten the 2010 mandate and why they are there. If yours is one of this elite corps, call him. If not, call yours and tell him you want him to get on the same end of the rope as those guys.

As for vox populi, I think we're seeing the debate finally become focused on "yeah, but where does the government get all that money they keep spending more of. A majority still believes that theft is wrong, and is learning that taxation is theft. This happened not because of a small number of loud voices saying it, but a chorus of everyday folk from all walks of life. It is evolutionary, if not revolutionary.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2011 11:52 AM

Krauthammer - Kick the can, but only for 6 months

Investors- Best Debt Plan Would Shave a Half-Trillion

What to do now? The House should immediately pass the Half-Trillion plan, thereby putting something eminently reasonable on the table that the president will have to address with a serious counterproposal using actual numbers.

If the counterproposal is the G6, Republicans should accept Part One with its half-trillion dollars in cuts, CPI change and repeal of the CLASS Act, i.e., the part of the G6 that is enacted immediately and that is real.

Accompany this with a dollar-for-dollar hike in the debt ceiling, yielding almost exactly the time envisioned in the G6 to work out grander spending and revenue changes — and defer any action on Part Two until precisely that time.

The Half-Trillion with or without the G6 Part One: ceiling raised, crisis deferred, cuts enacted and time granted to work out any Grand Compromise. You can't get more reasonable than that.

Do it. And dare the president to veto it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2011

Chart of the Day


From the IBD Editorial: Gang of Six Plan: A $3.1 Tril Tax Hike linked below.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

Gangster Government

Shall we play, duelling pretty-smart folk? While the WSJ Ed page can find some nuggets to praise in the Gang-of-Six plan outline, the pretty-smart people at Investors Business Daily's Ed page see worse and worser.

And what details it does contain show that the gang has employed some of the most egregious budget tricks available to make the spending cuts look bigger and tax hikes smaller than they actually are.

The best example of this is the plan's tax proposal, which alternately boasts that it cuts taxes by $1.5 trillion and raises them by $1 trillion, but which more likely will result in taxes going up by more than $3 trillion.

And then there are the spending "cuts."

Plus, most plans take current spending levels as a given, and make "cuts" off this hugely inflated base, ignoring the fact that federal spending has rocketed upward by an astonishing 24% in just the past three years.

A credible plan would bring spending as a share of the economy back to prerecession levels. That would mean a spending cut in the neighborhood of $450 billion next year.

And the close:

The fact that more and more lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are willing to sign onto the phony Gang of Six plan, and that Obama would lend it his effusive praise, is a testament to why the country is in such deep fiscal trouble.

UPDATE: Washington Examiner Ed page - Gang of Six Plan is More Smoke and Mirrors

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Home Depot would never have succeeded if we'd tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It's become stifling. -- Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus
Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2011

Epic Anti-Obama Rant

...and it's not even the pea eaters at ThreeSources. It's Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, on his company's quarterly conference call. Business Insider quotes the Democratic Casino Chief:

And I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right. A President that seems, that keeps using that word redistribution. Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration. And it makes you slow down and not invest your money.

All that money on the sidelines? Wynn suggests some reasons that companies may be sitting on cash.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty's excellent (and free) Morning Jolt newsletter.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2011

The Negotiator

"If you have a problem, if nobody else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire... The Negotiator."

From The Daily Caller.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

But even if one still believes that the bailouts were necessary to save the American auto industry (or to promote the Italian auto industry, as the case may be) that still doesn't excuse the egregious lawlessness and corruption of the bankruptcy process that took place in these cases. Even if was necessary for the government to intervene to prop-up Chrysler, does that justify plundering Chrysler's secured bondholders (including, among others, the Indiana Firefighters and Teachers Retirement Plans) simply to line the pockets of the United Autoworkers? In fact, finance scholars Deniz Anginer and Joseph Warburton have found that the government's intervention in the GM and Chrysler cases destabilized bond markets as investors adjusted to the new reality of the potential for government bailouts of unionized and politically-connected firms. -- Todd Zwicki
The whole piece is awesome on stilts.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM | Comments (0)

Social Security's Magical Unicorn Guarantee

I must admit that my darling baby sister recognized this one before I did. Now I've found a nice writeup on it in IBD Editorials:

Wait! What happened to Social Security's "guarantee"? You know, the iron-clad assurance of Social Security benefits in exchange for paying into the program your whole working life? It's something Democrats constantly talk about, particularly when attacking Republicans who propose privatizing the program.

As Nancy Pelosi once put it: "Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits, and Democrats will fight to make sure that Republicans do not turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble."

The AFL-CIO warned in 2005 about "President Bush's plan to replace Social Security's guaranteed benefits with risky private accounts." The AARP describes Social Security as "the guaranteed part of your retirement plan." Etc., etc.

Turns out, this "guarantee" is a lie.

And the close...

Whatever happens, the fact remains that Obama has accidentally made a pretty good case for Social Security reform by revealing the program for what it really is.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Debt deal or not, they can always just pull some money out of the lockbox, right?

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Dang, beaten to the punch on my lock box joke: Insty

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 3:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Carnak says:

(1) Your check is in the mail.
(2) The cake.
(3) Social Security Trust Fund.

"Name three things that are a lie..."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 14, 2011 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

May a thousand unfunded liabilities infect your camel...

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 6:17 PM

July 12, 2011

President Obama as Sheriff of Nottingham

President Obama and the Democrats love to frame the debate over redistribution of wealth as "millionaires" versus "working folk." In their fantasy scenarios they are brave and virtuous Robin Hoods, "taking from the rich and giving to the poor."

Iain Murray's new book Stealing You Blind - How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You explains that a curious thing happens to much of that money on the way from one pocket to the other.

Remember when we used to call government employees “public servants”? They’re servants no more—now they’re bureaucratic masters of the universe, claiming inflated salaries (up to two times as much as private sector employees) and early retirement with unparalleled pensions and benefits. And how do they spend their time? When they’re actually working, they spin red tape and regulations that make your life harder (and their lives easier), your taxes higher, and your share of the nation’s debt unsustainable.

In Stealing You Blind, you’ll discover:

- Why the wealthiest congressional district in America is in a recession-proof suburb of Washington, D.C.

- How the Department of Transportation went from having one employee making $170,000 or more to having nearly 1,700 making that much—during the peak of the recession

- Why even FDR thought federal workers shouldn’t be allowed to unionize

- How state, local, and federal bankruptcy could be coming your way thanks to public employee union greed

- Why bureaucrats regard taxpayers as sheep to be shorn—and how they do it

Robin Hood did not "take from the rich and give to the poor" but rather stood up to the rulers of a tyrannical government bent on ever greater taxation, calling them out on it in the public square. "Brave, brave sir Robin!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

Now it's getting interesting

On the decorus floor of the United States Senate, the minority leader says the President of the United States wants Americans to have "smoke and mirrors, tax increases, or default."

Even more devastating was "I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office a real solution is probably unattainable."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

This "titanium spine" business seems to be contagious.

(Follow the link to a HuffPo piece wherein a South Carolina GOP official says, "I do think they think there's a winnability factor here, based on her dynamism and her passion, that they maybe don't see in Mitt Romney.")

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2011 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

She lit the world on fire in her appearance on Kudlow Monday night. Media figures always want to pull up some old social conservative quote, but left to her devices, she talks spending and taxes and liberty in a way none of the others does.

Your linked piece in the comment closes with "She's 50 times smarter than the people who think she's stupid" and I must say that she is easily shaping up to be the pride of the primaries. I find myself drifting into her camp.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2011 4:20 PM

The American Public are Stupid

Obama: 69% of Americans are against raising the debt ceiling because they haven't thought about it like and his fellow technocrats have:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Professional politicians know they must

Americans "have a lot on their plate" but an Althouse commenter "hopes they have room for peas!"

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2011 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As bad as the jaw-dropping answer was the leading question: "Isn't the problem that you and others have failed to convince the American people that we have a crisis here, and how are you going to change that?" Clearly Chip Reid is convinced "we have a crisis." Therefore, I guess it must be so.

How about this Chip: "In my version of reality the only crisis is that government's credit limit might get raised."

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2011 2:50 PM

July 11, 2011

Diet Coke.

Pity the Washington Post, they don't get the best part in a story about FLOTUS's 1700 calorie lunch:

A Washington Post journalist on the scene confirmed the first lady, who's made a cause out of child nutrition, ordered a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and a Diet Coke while the street and sidewalk in front of the usually-packed Shake Shack were closed by security during her visit.

According to nutritional information on Shake Shack's Web site, the meal amounted to 1,700 calories.

Obama, who launched the "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity last year, has previously admitted to having an "obsession with french fries," which she says are fine to indulge in occasionally. "It's all about moderation," Obama told reporters.

Diet Coke.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:51 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Whoa - ShackBurger: $4.75 for a single. Fries: $2.65. Shake: $5.00 (as long as I'm the literate one around here, there's a scene from Pulp Fiction revolving around the price of a shake...). Diet Coke, $1.90.

Fourteen dollars and thirty cents - assuming she bought just the single burger?

I'm all about comparison shopping. I'm going straight to the best burger in America, In-N-Out:

Double-double (two patties, two slices of cheese with all the trimmings, onions grilled or raw, free for the asking): $3.05. Fries, $1.35. Shake, $1.95. Diet Coke, EXTRA LARGE: $1.75. Grand total: $8.10.

I've just upgraded her burger to a double, and made her soda the jumbo - and saved America 43%. THAT'S why you put someone in the White House who at least passed Econ for Non-Majors.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 11, 2011 6:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Shake Shack should make a new Michelle Obama Special: a triple burger sauced heavily with hypocrisy. It would give you a heart attack except that you're so used to it by now.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 11, 2011 9:20 PM

July 7, 2011

What if We Used Honest Math?

Larry Kudlow did a commentary last night so close to Dan Mitchell's, I was waiting for him to credit CATO. I think either Mitchell or Kudlow would be happy to see the other's spreading their message, but it seemed funny to have them both voice this on the same day.

Dan Mitchell asks for "honest math:"

What I mean by this is that I don't want politicians to approve a budget that results in more spending, but then claim that they "cut spending" because the budget didn't grow even faster. I want a spending cut to mean less spending (gee, what a novel idea).

And when they talk about new revenue, I want to see how much revenue the IRS is collecting this year, and measure revenue increases against that number. After all, the crowd in Washington should be happy to get more money, even if it is the result of benign factors such as more jobs being created, companies earning higher profits, and people getting more pay.

Instead, as we all painfully know, all government numbers are rated against projections and baselines. Both Kudlow and Mitchell showed that our nation's insurmountable debt problem is trivial, if you apply GAAP accounting. Here's Mitchell's "Balanced approach:" cut spending 5% and grow revenue 5%:

Flat, or even a more realistic 2% growth in spending brings the budget into balance soon. More importantly, honesty, transparency, and clarity would allow the electorate to better understand decisions and would make it harder for statists to obfuscate.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You're correct, the 2% growth factor would be sufficient to eventually balance our budget. You know what else would help balance the budget? Taking a chainsaw to a lot of agencies that shouldn't even exist, doing some serious entitlement reform to the great redistributionary Ponzi schemes called Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and getting the federales' collective noses out of places they don't belong. Those are some of the additional benign consequences that would result for my plan.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 7, 2011 1:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I think we're on the same page, bra. As entitlement spending creeps up, keeping to a -5, 0, or 2% growth rate would require your chainsaw.

"Starving the beast" while allowing unlimited borrowing has been an epic GOP failure. Real numbers might work.

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2011 2:11 PM

July 6, 2011

Tweet of the Day

I'm stealing this one from Ben Smith:

Hat-tip: Insty, who points out a comment: "Even the Union Goons are unhappy."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 5, 2011


The Headline Editors at the WSJ Ed Page today name David Malpass And Stephen Moore's piece on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) "America's Troubling Investment Gap."

In June, President Obama celebrated a rare sliver of good economic news: Foreign investment was up 49% last year over 2009. The president says that this boost in capital shipped to the U.S. by international companies or foreign investors leads to more businesses and higher-paying jobs here at home. He's right.

But this isn't the economic success story that the White House is spinning. The real truth of the recession and limping recovery is that for the first time in decades America is, on net, losing, not attracting, growth capital. That may be the single most important explanation for persistently high unemployment and stagnant wages.

Put me down with the folks who find it "Troubling."

My Famous Facebook Friends love to point out the amount of cash on corporate balance sheets. Curiously, they are not celebrating multinationals' participation in global growth. Nor are they suggesting tax breaks for repatriation of foreign earnings. Actually, this is somehow proof of both corporate greed and dispositive proof of the need for tax reform.

One friend-of-a-friend put it in so many words. Corporations bla bla bla...record profits bla bla on the balance sheet... "So don't" this woman says "use the argument that businesses will not hire because of tax rates or tax unpredictability. I won't hear it. Any other thing you'd like to discuss [the infield fly rule perhaps?] go right ahead."

As there's no such Gag Rule at ThreeSources, I consider the cash in stasis AND the now negative FDI flow as proof that taxes are indeed the problem. Yes, they do have money. But to maximize growth of asset value, they must choose when and where that money can be best invested. A new plant in Illinois, perhaps? A joint venture in Singapore? Capital expenditures that delay hiring? Or sit on it, declare dividends, buy back equity and keep your powder dry while tax and health care policy clarifies?

Malpass and Moore document the troubling truth that the best choice is now to invest that money somewhere else but here.

But, other than that, there's really nothing to worry about. Maybe we could do something to encourage high speed rail or ethanol or something...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:34 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Posit a thought experiment to your friend's friend: Suppose she has $50,000 in the bank for a down payment on a house. The house is $250,000. Currently, she would get a full mortgage interest deduction on her taxes. However, she knows that Congress is considering elimination of the mortgage interest deduction. Would she a) buy the house now knowing it's her "civic duty" to help reverse the housing crisis, or b) hoard her money in the bank until Congress makes a decision so that she better understands the affordability of the house payment and it resulting value.

Yeah, yeah, I know - the real answer is c) stand up in a town hall meeting with the President and demand that the government buy her a new kitchen. But I'm speaking to rational people.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 5, 2011 11:18 PM
But jk thinks:

'Fraid she's opted for:

d) Shut up with that winning argument I cannot counter!

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2011 10:44 AM

June 30, 2011

Two Pinocchios for the President

I'm kept from a great joke with a Buffy twist for fear of its being racially misconstrued. But it is a good one, call me if you cannot guess.

The WaPo fact checker -- whose existence drives me crazy, because the column's "facts" reliably lean left -- awards two pinocchios for missing facts in the President's angry, vitriolic tirade press conference yesterday.

In a bit of class jujitsu, the president six times mentioned eliminating a tax loophole for corporate jets, frequently pitting it against student loans or food safety. It's a potent image, but in the context of a $4 trillion goal, it is essentially meaningless. The item is so small the White House could not even provide an estimate of the revenue that would be raised, but other estimates suggest it would amount to $3 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, student financial assistance, just for 2011, is about $42 billion. So the corporate jet loophole -- which involves the fact that such assets can be depreciated over five years, rather than the seven for commercial jets -- just is not going to raise a lot of money. It certainly wouldn't save many student loans.

Going after hedge fund managers might raise about $15 billion over 10 years, but in a different life The Fact Checker covered Wall Street and is pretty certain those financial wizards would figure out a way to avoid this tax shift.

A Facebook friend -- wait, I do not have to be anonymous, it's our very own LatteSipper -- posts this jewel about how our economy is "held hostage" for a loophole to protect 25 Hedge Fund Managers (boo, hiss, hedge fund managers...). I assume he refers to the differential in gains to income, but whatever. Closing this would produce <doctor_evil_voice>$44 Billion</doctor_evil_voice> over ten years. Wow. That's almost a half percent of the President's budget's new debt over the same time period. Throw in the quarter percent for those corporate jet guys and you have almost 3/4 of a percent! Problem solved!

When the loanshark comes to collect the 10 grand you owe him, smile and say you have $75.

Sins of magnitude. This is all we are going to hear until the election.

If you did not read it, JimiP destroys the corporate jet meme.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2011

A "balanced approach" to the deficit problem

Senator Jon Kyl went on Fox News Sunday yesterday to explain why he withdrew from deficit reduction negotiations over the President's conditional requirement that government revenues be raised as part of a "balanced" solution. "But isn't one dollar of new taxes for every three dollars of spending cuts a fair deal" asked Chris Wallace?

But you don't want to pile taxes on at a time when companies don't have the ability to invest and hire people. That's the primary reason we are opposed to raising taxes right now.

Treasury Secretary Geithner explains the real reason for insisting on tax hikes.

"If you don't touch revenues," Geithner said, "you have to shrink the overall size of government programs, things like education, to levels that we could not accept as a country."

What do you mean "we" Kemosabe? Investor's Business Daily opines:

Some factions just won't accept shrinking the size of government. Most in them run in the same tight circles as Geithner. Never hearing anything other than support for increasing the size of government, they assume that's what Americans want.

But quite a few Americans have been wanting to cut government for decades, and that number is growing as the almost intractable problems created by overspending have become more obvious.

From Social Security and Medicare to housing assistance and farm subsidies to, yes, even education, federal programs need to shrink or be eliminated. There's not a single item in the budget, including defense, that can't use some judicious trimming.

No Tim, America's economy has shrunk. Americans' net worth has shrunk. It's well past time for America's government to shrink.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

Face it, guys, Obama just wants your money, like the cute boy who sweet talks you at the bar while ordering a $20 cocktail, then reaches for his wallet, only to feign shock when he just can't find it. "Maybe you can help me look for it," he says as he puts his hand on your knee and looks into your eyes, but once he's taken a few sips from the pricey drink you've bought him, he manages to slip away. And you don't see him again, until having run up a $100-dollar bar bill (somehow he managed to slip another drink on your tab), you stumble out of the night spot and discover him talking with some hunky fitness model. He tries to avoid making eye contact, but when you do, he promises he'll get back to you just as soon as he catches up with his "old friend" whom he just "happened"to run into. -- Gay Patriot
And I thought being a Republican was hard sometimes...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2011

Economic Fallacy of the Century

President Obama explained to NBC News that the reason companies aren't hiring is not because of his policies, it's because the economy is so automated. ... "There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."

My employer will surely be shut down. Tape Freaking Libraries, nine-point-one percent unemployment. You catchin' my drift?

Lawn mowers, dish washers, clothes dryers...

Hat-tip: Taranto

UPDATE: ATM Industry pushback:

Aimee Leeper, a spokeswoman for ATM manufacturer Triton Systems, which makes its machines in America and employees 200 people here, told me over the phone, "We're not in the business of taking American jobs. What I wish President Obama had thought of is that people want convenient access to their money. How crazy is that?"

Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

*sarcasm* Nice try, Aimee. Your newfangled gadgets eliminate three employment shifts at every convenience store, amusement park, golf course, airport... the list is endless. And imagine if those real tellers were not shared by multiple banks in some sort of profits-over-people "network" arrangement. We could get this country back to work in record time! */sarcasm*

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2011 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

If I catch one of those guys that make automated tape libraries...

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2011 3:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You guys have already put the tape-mounters union out of business.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2011 4:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Thinking back on the days of carry a box of 10 2400 foot 6250 bpi reels... well, let's just say, that's when men were men! The Golden Age of tape. Then somebody came up with those prissy little cartridges (Juan Rodriguez please call your office).

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2011 4:23 PM

EPA: "Employee salary is our highest budget priority"

On his radio show today Mike Rosen read a copy [2:00 to 4:55] of an internal memo from EPA Regional Administrator James Martin to all Region 8 EPA employees. Subject: Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Decisions.

I want to update you on the status of Region eight's budget. The most important thing to tell you is that we continue to protect salary for our on-board EPA employees. It is our highest budget priority and that has not and will not change.

Our OCFO has been able to provide us with some relief for our payroll shortfall. This will allow us to maintain our support services at the current levels as we work to meet our agency's mission. We are continuing to work with headquarters for additional relief. In the meantime, to meet the remaining payroll needs we'll be reducing our programmatic funds by 30 percent, as well as some regional support funds.

A distinct difference, to be sure, from EPA's stated policy on private sector jobs.

EPA: Jobs Aren't a factor when making new regs

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (0)


This seemed so familiar that I wondered whether Tim [Carney] was guilty of plagiarism. But he's one of the best journalists in DC, so I knew that couldn't be the case.

Then I realized that there was plagiarism, but the politicians in Washington were the guilty parties. As can be seen in this passage from Atlas Shrugged, the Obama Administration is copying from what Ayn Rand wrote -- as dystopian parody -- in the 1950s -- Dan Mitchell.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2011 12:25 PM

June 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

We're not on the road to recovery. You can't get there from here, as they say. Obama was in Toledo to "celebrate" the sale of the government's remaining stake in Chrysler to Fiat. That's "Fiat" as in the Italian car manufacturer rather than "an authoritative or arbitrary decree (from the Latin 'let it be done')," which would be almost too perfect a name for an Obamafied automobile. -- Maven of the Bon Mot, Mark Steyn
Hat-tip: Instapundit, who features a longer excerpt than mine. Whazzupwitdat?
Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2011

From the Bridge - Report of the Watch

On this day after the S&P 500 and NASDAQ both took 2.3% hits let's review the "Latest News" story links on

10-Year Real Wage Gains Worse Than During Depression
For-Profit School Stocks Soar On Less-Harsh Rule
Hiring, Factory Growth Stalling -- Just Temporary?
White House Touts Auto Bailout Losses as Big Success
(Skip a couple, and then)
Editorial: U.S. Is Already In a Growth Recession

Ya think?

Recent data show a shocking turn south. While some worry we might soon experience a double-dip recession, we're already in a kind of recession — a growth recession. That's where the economy is barely eking out enough growth to create jobs. And the number of jobs being created isn't enough to sop up the unemployed and new entrants to the workforce.

Consider these data, all from one day:

You'll have to click through for the full, grisly accounting. Meanwhile, try to find a dry, secure place to hunker down on the U.S.S. Titanic.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

I Need that Book Back!

Dear Nanobrewer:

This is soooo embarrassing, but I need to ask that you return my copy of "Lochner Revisited" or forward it to the White House. There's a fellow there that really needs it:

One could cite Supreme Court opinions for this proposition, but I instead call as a witness a former Senator from Illinois and constitutional law professor, an obscure fellow named Barack Obama. Here's Obama in June 2005, opposing the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the D.C. Circuit. Dubious or inaccurate historical statements reflecting common misuses of Lochner as a historical symbol are highlighted in bold, and are annotated below:

[Two paragraph statement and nine corrections...]

When the President is finished, you may of course have it back...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I wouldn't know half as much without reading this blog. Thank you JK.

So, the Constitional Law Professor-in Chief rejected the prospect of the United States Supreme Court being "elevated to the point where they were in charge as opposed to democracy being in charge."

But I thought the ultimate controlling legal authority in the US of A was the Constitution. Didn't you, Mr. President?

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2011 2:40 PM

June 1, 2011

And Why Would Anybody Ever Need More Than 640K?

"There's absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an interview. "It's not necessary."

Mr. LaHood is pushing to open new fronts in his long-running campaign against the proliferation of technology-driven diversions. In conversations with industry chief executives, Mr. LaHood says he is making it plain he isn't pleased with the trend toward putting more media feeds and gadgetry into the cockpits of new vehicles.

Mr. LaHood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports to him, have the power to curb the info-tainment technology built into cars if they can demonstrate a threat to safety. He is also urging auto executives to free up advertising money to create public-service announcements that remind motorists to stay focused on the road, and not to text and drive.

Blog rules dictate that I have to say something. I can't just excerpt and link, that's really not adding any value at all. And yet, I am uncharacteristically speechless.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The obvious solution is to use social networking to the NHTSA's advantage. They can tweet safety messages to the cockpits of said vehicles.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 1, 2011 1:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Yeah, "Stop paying attention to this and other messages and keep your eyes on the road, dumbass!"

A correction: LaHood has the power to keep features he disapproves of out of cars even if he can't "demonstrate a threat to safety." So he doesn't like driver distractions. I wonder what Mr. LaHood's opinion is on drug legalization. Or on Rand Paul's favorite synonym for personal responsibility, reproductive choice.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:22 PM

May 26, 2011

Republicans Really ARE Mean

Putting up the President's budget for a vote. That's just mean.

They'll probably try to score political points off its 0 - 97 loss.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:53 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Not a single Democrat voted for the Democrat president's budget despite their ability to pass it on a party-line vote. Ouch!

The president need not feel singled out, however. It is only fair to point out that not a single Democrat voted for ANY of the four separate budget proposals brought to the Senate floor this week. So it isn't really the president that they don't like, it's budgets.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 2:02 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at May 27, 2011 10:29 AM

May 25, 2011

Keeping Score at the Animal Farm

IBD's editorial page has been hitting it out of the park this week, considering the prior Rick Perry piece and the not-newsworthy-enough-for-its-own-post Bibi Schools Obama on Mideast Reality. Then this from Big Surprise: AARP Joins Waiver-gate:

Although not specifically mentioned by name in the rate review rules finalized last Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the rule that exempts Medigap insurance providers is clearly designed to benefit the largest seller of such policies and the biggest lobbyist for ObamaCare -- the American Association of Retired Persons.

So you can add AARP to the list of favored unions, corporations, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's constituents and even entire states such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Nevada that have received exemptions or waivers from various requirements of ObamaCare.


The amount AARP will gain from ObamaCare, with cost-effectiveness mandates that will lead to rationed care, less medical innovation and health care decisions made by bureaucrats rather than doctors and patients, is staggering.

Equally staggering is the brazenness exhibited by the Obama administration and the beneficiaries of what can only be called crony health care.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Waiver-gate, that's awesome. I think this might be underappreciated as a good theme for GOP Candidates in 2012.

-- If it is so swell, why do we have to exempt thousands of organizations?
-- Why are all those organizations friends of the Administration?
-- Is it fair to the smaller and less connected organizations that they cannot compete for a waiver?

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2011 7:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Watch out for the converse: "Vote at one of our special "Democrat Ballot Only" polling places and get an automatic PPAA waiver!"

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2011 9:03 PM

May 22, 2011

Remember the Sudetenland

President Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference this morning, days after giving away Israel's most valuable bargaining chip in a negotiation that Israel's "peace partner" has no interest in negotiating over. As is usually the case, his error lies in his premise.

Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties. (Applause.) And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. (Applause.) No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. (Applause.) And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements. (Applause.)

I suppose this has never been tried before. Nobody ever thought to "demand" that Israel's enemies not attack her. It does seem so simple doesn't it? Perhaps a written agreement not to invade, signed by the recognized leader of the portending aggressor would be of more value if it included such a "demand." What a different world it might be if only Neville Chamberlain had thought of this.

Instead, Chamberlain presided over an agreement that handed over the The Sudetenland to the Germans. "The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans" and "was of immense strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defenses were situated there, and many of its banks were located there as well."

History repeats.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2011

He Said, He Said

Osama bin Laden:

But he urged Muslims to seize the moment. “A delay may cause the opportunity to be lost, and carrying it out before the right time will increase the number of casualties,” he said. “I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, with permission from Allah.”

President Barack Obama:

The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now. I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.
Posted by JohnGalt at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

Government by Whim

I wanted to write here today that "I hereby call out Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to apply for an Obamacare waiver for the entire state of Colorado." After all, another path to repeal, thought I, is for the entire country to be waived from the law's requirements. Needing a foundational article upon which to rest my "great idea" I found Mona Charen:

A few wags [ouch!] have suggested that the HHS grant the rest of the country a waiver and be done with it. But the implications of what Professor Richard Epstein has called "government by waiver" aren't funny. As Congress has ceded more and more power to regulatory agencies, the opportunities for abuse of power multiply. Writing in National Affairs, Epstein notes that among the companies and entities that successfully sought waivers from Obamacare's provisions were PepsiCo, Foot Locker, the Pew Charitable Trusts, many local chapters of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and numerous public-employee unions.

But, asks Epstein, "(W)hat about employers who do not have the resources to navigate the waiver process? What about those lacking the political connections to make their concerns heard in Washington? And what happens when the one-year waivers run out? Will they be renewed? Under what conditions? And what rights will insurers have to waive then in order to avoid going out of business?"

The world of Obamacare is no place for the little guy.

The danger of waiver power is that it will be used differentially, giving one private entity a competitive advantage over another. The company denied a waiver can bring suit -- but litigation is expensive and slow.

Additionally, companies may fear government retaliation: "It is no accident that it is often public-interest groups or patient groups that take on the FDA, for instance. It is simply too risky for a pharmaceutical company with multiple applications before the agency to challenge one action if it is vulnerable to a government-induced slowdown on another," writes Epstein.

So it isn't just the threat of tax hikes that makes the Obama Administration such a threat to American free-market liberty; or massive deficit spending, or hostility to energy production or the subjective law of appointed judges or the proliferation of unelected "Czars" or any of the other "gangster government" ploys the administration has so quickly and expertly embraced. It is the 2000-pages of statutory "we can do what we want" called the Patient Protection and Affordability Act that makes these government bureaucrats so dangerous.

Full and complete repeal is the only answer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM |