Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Having Fun with Political Prognosticators and More

Yesterday, a certain Boy had a lot of commenting fun over at Ace's place, stay tuned for the details.

The Great Gibson Guitar Grab gets curiouser and curiouser. It seems that somebody named Michelle Obama gave somebody else named Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a gift: a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar. And you'll never guess what the fretboard is made from. Go on, guess. OK, it's made from rosewood, the same wood that the Gibson company thinks is responsible for the armed raid by federal agents last week. They think that's why the company was raided, but they really don't know since all the feds' paperwork has been sealed and details are not forthcoming from the administration.

And another thing, the Lacey Act is a violation of something called the Constitution. It stipulates that you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence. Read the whole thing.

It seems that there's a new, warm and fuzzy name for the federales in Washington, the "Federal Family." Doubtless it includes Big Brother. Someone should tell Obama that Orwell's book 1984 wasn't  supposed to be a documentary or an instruction manual.

Now, this is the type of mash-up I like, Hayek and Julianne Hough. Pulchritude and economics, together at last.

And now for the main event. Ace posted this yesterday in which a dude outlines 13 keys to a presidential victory and then claims that Obama will win because he has 9 of them.

Here's the list of the alleged winning keys...

1. No contested primary

2. Incumbency

3. No third-party candidate

4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term

5. No social unrest

6. No major scandals

7. No major foreign-policy failures

8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)

9. Little charisma by his likely opponent
We Morons couldn't help but notice that the author left out a few key decisors that the present president has such as,
10. Mastery of helicopter doors.
11. Proven expertise in the operation of umbrellas.
12. Mad baseball pitching skillz.

13. Astronomically high bowling average.

14. A superior command of English.

There are more, many more, but don't click the link if you're easily offended by language that would make a sailor blush. Also, make sure that you don't have any liquids of any kind in your mouth, as they will follow the path of least resistance when expelled, which is out through your nose.
You've been warned.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Green News and a Couple of Observations

Here's one jobs plan that definitely hasn't worked: "green jobs."

Here's why. They'll make you crazy.

Plus, it's old, too. They were discussing this back in Jefferson's day.

There might be something affecting our climate besides man. Imagine, if you will, a giant star in close proximity to Earth, that could generate a great amount of heat, and the amount of heat it generated varied...

All seriousness aside, here's something I've been wondering about for quite some time. As I understand it, man-made climate change theory depends upon a layer of gas called the Ozone Layer. When I remember back to physics class, I vaguely remember being told that the only way gasses could stratify was if they were completely still.

Since the atmosphere is in constant motion, I can't see how they could separate into layers. Since the atmosphere is constantly being disturbed by meteorites before they can burn up, that equates to a continuous stirring of the atmosphere, something that, to me at least, that prevents gasses from settling into a layer.

I could be wrong, but if anyone else knows more, I'd appreciate a link to in the comments.

The bottom line is that the actions of man only contribute to change in a small way, locally and only temporarily. There's still a lot left to learn about the planet and we haven't even gotten close to exploring the entire thing, nor documenting all of the critters here.

We would do well to heed some sage advice, "Don't panic."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Obama Raids Gibson Guitars

There’s a word for this, if I can just think of it…

On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.

The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.
Sooooo, let me see if I have this straight: Eric Holder’s Justice Department is upholding Indian law here in America while refusing to enforce America’s own immigration law at the Mexican border?

And this makes sense on which planet, again?

And it gets worse: this isn’t the first time Gibson Guitars has been the subject of a federal raid. It also happened way back in 2009. As the above quote states, this isn’t about the illegal use of an exotic, protected wood -
The wood the Government seized on August 24 is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and is FSC Controlled, meaning that the wood complies with the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an industry-recognized and independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC Controlled Wood standards require, among other things, that the wood not be illegally harvested and not be harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights. See for more information. Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.
OK, no issue there. It’s readily apparent that Gibson is an environmentally responsible company, so why the raid?

Well, when you look at some other American guitar companies, the answer becomes a bit more clear…

Putting aside the presumably misguided motivation to enforce another sovereign nation’s laws, why would a homegrown American company be the target of the Department of Justice in the first place?

It’s worth pointing out that Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s Chief Executive Officer, is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 each to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.)

Hmm, this sounds rather Nixonian in tone and appears to be politically motivated, but that's perfectly fine as long as a Democrat is President. As usual, there’s more to this story.

One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars.

The Gibson facility wasn’t raided over allegations of tax evasion, charges of embezzlement, or even something as drab as child labor. Not even close. It was raided over what the DOJ deems an inability to follow a vague domestic trade law in India (one that apparently the Indian government didn’t seem too concerned about enforcing) regarding a specific type of wood. Not illegal wood, just wood with obscenely specific procedural guidelines.

Stand with Gibson: They have the Law on their side, just not the government.
Here’s one last thing you should know. If you have an antique guitar and are thinking of traveling abroad or even to Canada with it, you could be a criminal if you can’t verify, in writing, where every piece of it came from.

Why would the government use armed agents to attack one of the few major manufacturers of anything remaining in the United States? The political motivations for such an action are outside the scope of this article, but the justification for the action is the Lacey Act, which regulates the importation of plants, animals, and products thereof into the United States. The Lacey Act effectively permits wooden musical instruments to be seized indefinitely, without compensation, and places the burden of proof on the owner, not the government. Do you own an $11,000 2011 Gibson Eric Clapton Edition Les Paul? Want to take it to Canada and back? You’d better be prepared to document the source of all materials to the government’s satisfaction upon your return, or you could lose it indefinitely. If you thinking documenting that is tough, what if you’re ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons returning from an overseas tour with your real 1959 sunburst Les Paul, for which you’ve already turned down at least one $5,000,000 offer? Good luck documenting the wood from a fifty-two-year-old guitar.

…Simply possessing the timber product can make you a felon, regardless of whether or not you were involved in the harvesting, were the original importer, or had received any information regarding the source of the timber product. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are driving a Bentley Flying Spur with a rosewood interior. Importation of Brazilian rosewood is a felony under the Lacey Act. Do you know where the rosewood in your Spur came from? Can you prove it? In Gibson’s case, it was Indian rosewood that supposedly caused the bust; although the importation of Indian rosewood is legal, it has to be finished and prepared to certain standards in India. If raw Indian rosewood is sent to Bentley for finishing into dashboards — and make no mistake, that is how it is done — it may not break any British laws, but it breaks an American one, and you are now a convicted felon for visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and coming back.

Again, on which planet does any of this make any sense?

Not one American law was broken. And that word I’m searching for? Well, you can listen to this in the meantime…

*sigh* I miss freedom.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Reply from Steven Denning

I almost forgot to tell you guys, but the author of the Forbes article I posted last Tuesday for your reading assignment, Steven Denning, graciously responded to my email. I had asked him if he knew whether or not foreign governments were actively subsidising industries in order to give an unfair advantage to our competitors.

The short answer is, while not ruling out the possibility, he couldn't be sure whether that had happened or not. Perfectly understandable, since many of those countries are pretty hush-hush about their policies and practices anyway. I had hoped that as a writer for Forbes, he would have access to a larger database of information than I do here.

Anyway, I wanted to thank Steve for his reply and also his great series about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, the manufacturing sector of our economy, the resurgence of which I firmly and passionately believe is in our best interest to nurture and promote.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Whiskey Rebellion Edition

Mornin', y'all.

How about a shot for breakfast? This shot has something to do with the Whiskey Rebellion.

On this day in 1794, President George Washington writes to Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, Virginia's governor and a former general, regarding the Whiskey Rebellion, an insurrection that was the first great test of Washington's authority as president of the United States. In the letter, Washington declared that he had no choice but to act to subdue the "insurgents," fearing they would otherwise "shake the government to its foundation."
Astute readers have noticed that I haven't had any pulchritudinous posts in a while.

And, yeah, that's a firesuit she has on. She's a budding NASCAR driver who competed in the Canadian Nationwide series race a couple of weeks ago, Maryeve Dufault. Baby, you can drive my car.

In flight movie explains mystery of female pleasure. Hmm, it's about a dump-truck full of chocolate covered money?

This is how we'll win the war in Afghanistan: we just won't fart. I know we're trying to win hearts and minds in these days of politically correct warfare, but it appears the effort doesn't stop there.

Oh, and to every body in the way of Hurricane Irene this weekend, y'all be careful up there. This might be a big, bad storm.

From the Ace of Spades HQ Department of Snark: It's Totally Not Symbolic And Totally Not God Trying To Tell Us Something: Washington Monument Cracks

And finally, this.

Have a good 'un, y'all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"It's unpatriotic!"

A few quick things, I'm running late as usual this morning. Is there a way I can hook up a coffee IV and have it start about a half-hour before I get up? Submit your design in the comments.

Taking the President's Advice

Remember President Obama's Magical Misery Tour last week? He was asked by a farmer about the new avalanche of regulations about to come from on high. In a moment of high snark, the President advised the farmer to call the Agriculture Department about his concerns.

Well, somebody did, the results are here. Hilarity ensued.

Green Jobs? Shirley, you jest.

So, how's that "Green Economy" thingy working out for us? Not very well. But we knew that already. Why do otherwise intelligent lawmakers tend to believe what they're told by special interest groups instead of their own experience? We truly have the government we deserve.

Why we can't deal with criminals the good, old-fashioned way.

I always wondered when conventional wisdom concerning criminal activity changed from it being their fault to the fault of society. Now I know, and after you read it, you will too. How does such blatant bullshit become policy?

Robert A. Heinlein, man of vision.

Professor Glenn Reynolds runs this link all the time at Instapundit. I had never clicked on it until a few days ago. I highly recommend it.

And finally, intellectual and moral consistency are not President Obama's strong suits.

Presented without comment, but with a great deal of snark.

Enjoy this day, and be glad.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake in DC, and Deficit News.

So, did anybody feel the earthquake yesterday in DC? Actually, it was centered in Virginia, but that's close enough for government work. Here's a photo of just some of the devastation.

The horror.

Here's a surprise: our current budget deficit isn't the result of large numbers of baby boomers hitting retirement age and drawing Social Security all at once. You knew that already. Not that that's not a problem, but it's not the main driver of the debt.

Spending is, as Byron York reminds us. And it's all Obama's. Here's a tidbit...

There's no doubt federal spending has exploded in recent years. In fiscal 2007, the last year before things went haywire, the government took in $2.568 trillion in revenues and spent $2.728 trillion, for a deficit of $160 billion. In 2011, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the government will take in $2.230 trillion and spend $3.629 trillion, for a deficit of $1.399 trillion.

That's an increase of $901 billion in spending and a decrease of $338 billion in revenue in a very short time. Put them together, and that's how you go from a $160 billion deficit to a $1.399 trillion deficit.

This isn't hard for anybody to understand, if you can balance your own checkbook, that is. And that's not hard, either. Ace has more here.

Want some more good news?

Swallow all liquids in your mouth before reading any further.

Updated numbers for the national debt are just out: It's now $14,639,000,000,000.

When Barack Obama took the oath of office twice on Jan. 20, 2009, CBS' amazing number cruncher Mark Knoller reports, the national debt was $10,626,000,000,000.

That means the debt that our federal government owes a whole lot of somebodies including China has increased $4,247,000,000,000 in just 945 days. That's the fastest increase under any president ever.
You're welcome.

So, let me see if I have this right: Democrats (Progressives, actually, which are just the American version of Communists) take power, go on a wild spending spree under the illusion that massive government spending will pull the economy out of the doldrums, and discover that they did more harm than good. The populace begins to insist that Washington tighten its belt like everyone else and start to reduce spending in a modest way. A movement rises from the heartland called the Tea Party, which stands for Taxed Enough Already, makes huge gains in a short length of time, elects its own politicians who proceed to actually do the will of the people (what a concept!) and said Progressives call it the enemy, and tell it to "go straight to hell" ?

Alllll righty, then.

Maybe someone should say this out loud, but it's clear to a large and growing number of Americans who the real enemy is, and it ain't the Tea Party. It's the Progressives who have spent an awful lot of money that doesn't belong to them to fix a problem that they themselves created through an ever-larger and more intrusive government. As the Blogfather is fond of saying, if it can't last, it won't.

Well, that's your daily dose of good cheer. As of this writing, I still haven't heard back from the author of that Forbes link from yesterday about my question of foreign governments subsidising their takeovers of American manufacturing. Confidence remains high, however.

Y'all have a good day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Reading Assignment

Um, no post today. I was too busy reading this piece from, Why Amazon Can't Make a Kindle in the USA.

I strongly suggest this as your reading assignment today. Click every link in every part and read those too.

I sent a question to the author, Steve Denning, it went like this: How many of those companies were subsidized by their respective government? That seems to be an issue I remember hearing when this whole outsourcing mess began. That might be a rather unfair advantage, but then again, they're not strict capitalists.

Come to think of it, since the Federal Government has its greasy little fingers in nearly every market here, neither are we.

I'm very interested in hearing what he has to say. I'll let you know what he says.

Get cracking, y'all. There will be a test later

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Monday Reminder of What We Could Be Doing

Here are a few musings left over from the weekend.

Remember this statement from candidate Obama?

It appears Obama is making this happen. Texas is looking at rolling blackouts. All of it due to a government directive based on an unproven theory that mankind is responsible for the planet’s climate. How better to apply a boot to the neck of a nation than to reduce its energy supply.

I like to think about what we could be doing for ourselves, if we had the type of government we actually want instead of the government we deserve.

We could be bringing new power plants on line in an environmentally responsible way. We could be drilling for our own oil and natural gas. We could be building new nuclear plants. We could be constructing new oil refineries.

We could have a balanced budget. It would probably take a Constitutional Amendment, but then again, wouldn’t it be nice if we had politicians who wouldn’t spend other peoples’ money like it was other peoples’ money?

We could be making products for Americans right here in America.

We could have a secure border with Mexico, thereby stopping the flow of illegals into the country. We could stop all public benefits to illegals (I can’t understand how they are able to qualify for them in the first place). We could be prosecuting the mayors of “sanctuary cities” for violating the law.

We could have politicians who actually thought of themselves as fellow citizens, and would act accordingly. They would carefully deliberate the merits of a proposal or an idea (like man-made climate change) and be able to determine for themselves whether an idea was valid in the real world.

These mythical creatures would make sure that we had a robust economy, low taxes, and a small, weak central government that was dedicated to protecting our country from enemies instead of cutting off the power for no good reason.

They would also be loath to enact any new laws unless there was a damned good reason to do so, understanding that every new law reduces the freedom of the citizenry, something they swore to uphold.

This could begin in 2012 with the installation of a fiscally conservative White House and Congress.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Bits of Tid - Birth of Brickyard Edition

The planet has ceased to warm, the seas have receded and balance has been restored to the universe. In other words, Friday Bits of Tid is back! I just hope I can remember how to do this...

On this day in 1909, automotive engineer Louis Schwitzer won the two-lap, five-mile inaugural race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The rest, as they say, is history, a long and prestigious one.

As you may recall, I have cited one piece of awful legislation as the root cause of the housing market meltdown. I'm not the only one who noticed, Ed Driscoll of PJ Media has too.

Since it worked so well the last time, President Obama blames ATM's for the economic downturn again.

Remember when you took that European vacation a few years ago? When you got to rub elbows with some of the world's richest people and dated that supermodel during the best two months of your life? Um, that was a commercial: Ads implant fake memories in your head.

Dogs of Math.

German boy complains to police about doing housework. Methinks the police would have been justified if they had spanked him.

Motorized beer cooler lands driver in court for, well, you'll never guess in a million, zillion years.

Digital nipples.

Man steals, then returns children. I see one of two possible scenarios: either the kids were such a pain that he wanted to return them, or they just kept asking, "Are we there yet?" incessantly until the thief finally gave up.

What happens to butter before it gets fried at a state fair.

I've long suspected that progressives were bred in a secure facility in order to protect the general population from infestation. Now I have proof: Doctors grow replacement sphincters.

Here's a screamer from just a few months ago, How can we not love Obama? Let me count the ways...

And finally, Ace contributed this video, he just doesn't know it...


Have a good weekend, y'all.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inflation Rears Its Ugly Head and Other Stuff

Obamanomics is a wonderful thing. It is all and nothing at the same time. It is sometimes downgrading, frequently unexpected and always someone else's fault in the eyes of this administration.

For the rest of us out here in the real world, it just plain sucks.

It should be clear by now that Obama is flailing in his attempts to get the economy going. His Sidam Touch (and yeah, that's Midas backwards, how did you guess?) is working its magic in every metric known to modern man. There are certain inviolable laws of economics, and Obama knows none of them.

Take this example, please: core wholesale inflation is up, way up. This number includes groceries and gasoline, as opposed to the statistic that we normally hear which doesn't include it, naturally to make the number appear far less than it really is. If you've been to the grocery store recently, you've no doubt noticed. The core figure is up .4%, the most since last January according to the government. Food prices are leading the way.

What this administration has yet to discover is the principle of cause and effect. Let's look at another seemingly unrelated (to this administration) factoid: for the first time in history, more corn is being made into fuel than it is for food. From the link:

For forever,” Plain said, “ feed was the largest single use of corn.”

The news comes as criticism that pro-ethanol subsidies and policies are raising food prices globally seems to be reaching a crescendo. Critics didn’t seem to latch onto the USDA’s market prediction, however.

A spokesman for Iowa’s ethanol industry termed the USDA’s market prediction “a footnote.”

“Every credible study has clearly found the effects of ethanol policies is negligible on the price of corn,” remarked Monte Shaw, president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Um, that's bullshit, y'all, plain and simple. Who are you going to believe, someone who is paid to make fuel out of food, or your lying eyes? If only we had something else to make fuel from, something that wasn't edible and could be made into other things, too. Something that was a more like a raw, natural resource that could be found nearly everywhere. Something that had more potential energy in it and seemed perfectly suited for use as a fuel. Something that didn't get worse mileage than before. Something that wasn't edible.

Wait! I've got it! I heard of something just like that! Oil, I think it's called. Oh, that's right, we can't use that because we have a President who wants us to move to something called a "green economy" that ignores the laws of physics, economics, and common sense all at the same time!

We're saved!

But wait! There's more!

The recent placing of three Colorado wildflowers on the federal endangered and threatened species lists will make it harder to exploit untapped fuel resources in the Rocky Mountain State, a group representing the energy industry tells Fox News, an assertion the government denies.

“By 2020 we could produce as much oil and natural gas in the West as we currently import from Russia, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Algeria and Nigeria combined,” she said, but “we’re adding more regulation and slowing the development of American energy, preventing us from reaching our full potential and creating jobs and economic development across the West.”
Wildflowers, huh? Two words: Hot House.

I think the nation has had about enough of this and is ready for some real change, this time the good kind. Obama's poll numbers on his handling of the economy is at a new low of 26%.

Then there's this...

During a town hall meeting at Wyffels Hybrids in Atkinson, Illinois, a farmer expressed concern to President Obama about forthcoming regulations. The man stated that people would rather be farming than "filling out forms and permits to do what we like to do." President Obama told the farmer "don't always believe what you hear" and blamed Washington for ginning up speculation. Obama added that, "Nobody is more interested in seeing our agricultural sector successful than I am, partly because I come from a farm state."
Strangely, I'm not comforted. I've already taken the President's advice, especially when he speaks.

Now, if this isn't what we need right about now, I don't know what we do need. Rick Perry responds to Obama's remark that he "watch what he says" with this: "You're killing jobs." Heh.

Perry is a breath of fresh air. Bold, accurate and unafraid of the current administration. How bold? you ask. He said in his speech last weekend he wanted to make Washington as inconsequential to the lives of Americans as possible. I think this is what he means. Well, to be fair, we've tried it the other way for two and a half years. How's that working out?

And finally, somebody named Gene Simmons knows how to pick 'em. He has a good track record, having picked the last three presidents, and he predicts Perry will be the next one.

My fingers are crossed.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Perry Smears Begin plus Tids

Well, we knew this was coming. No sooner did Texas governor Rick Perry announce his candidacy for president and his detractors (which would be everyone in the Make Believe Media) started coming out of the woodwork.

Here's Bloombergs hit piece.

Here's President Obama telling Perry to watch what he says. And what high ground does he have from which to criticize, especially after he called patriotic Americans "bitter clingers?"

But this one takes the cake. Special Ed Shultz gets caught red-handed editing Perry's words. At the very least, he should be fired for his blatant attempt at the sleaziest type of yellow journalism, then tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

You need to bookmark this link so you can have some ammunition when the lefties start in on their inane babbling talking points about Perry: Seventeen (17) things that critics are saying about Rick Perry. If you like Perry, as I do, you owe it to him, you, and whichever fool you're talking to defend his record. Heaven knows the MBM won't be doing it.

Did I mention that I like Rick Perry? So do a lot of other people, according to this poll.

In other news and stuff, Obama's Magical Misery Tour continues.

“Don’t buy into this whole notion that somehow government doesn’t do us any good,” Obama said. “Government protects us. Government is what built the interstate highway system. Government is what put a man on the moon.”
No, Mr. President, that's not what anyone on the right is saying. What we are saying is that your brand of government doesn't do us any good. Notice that every example he gives of government is from the past, when we had at least a semblance of control over Washington. Contrast that to today, where government regulations are strangling our markets, government tells us which light bulbs we can buy, we'll be jailed if we don't purchase ObamaCare, and large parts of formerly lush farmland lies fallow because of some insignificant little fish. That was then, Mr. President, this is now.
It wasn't that long ago that politicians viewed dependency on the government as a failure, unlike our current Agriculture Secretary. I miss the good old days...
I found this over at Ace's place. It's a hilarious time sink, as Monty puts it. Click at your peril...
Lastly, life explained by scientific graphs.
Oh, and send out some good vibrations for my computer, which mysteriously died yesterday morning. It's running OK now. The ways of Bill Gates are wondrous indeed.
Have a good day, y'all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surprise! Obama's Popularity Dips Below 40%

It's 0:6.30. What does the 0 stand for? Oh, my goodness, it's early (with apologies to Good Morning Viet Nam).

Instead of bringing the DOOM! on the economy on this Monday morning, I thought I'd let you guys know something that's becoming glaringly obvious to the nation: President Obama's popularity has officially sunk below 40%.

And while America's economy burns, he fiddles. Actually, Obama is trying to devise a strategy for him to pin the blame on Republicans in general and the Tea Party in specific. And he has help from Time magazine (h/t Ace). Recall, a certain Boy predicted this earlier, although it wasn't that hard to do. Scapegoating, it's not just for breakfast anymore.

The Blogfather, Glenn Reynolds, brings up another point I made recently about psychological inconsistency. I'll let him 'splain it to you, Lucy:

SO THE OTHER DAY I HAD A STORY ABOUT THE FBI TREATING “PREPPERS” AS POTENTIAL TERRORISTS, and then when I was in the car yesterday I heard a PSA from the Department of Homeland Security pitching . . . disaster preparedness via its site. So if you do what Homeland Security recommends, the FBI will wonder if you’re a terrorist. Sweet.

This isn’t really that surprising — one part of the government telling you to do things that another part of the government regards with suspicion. Each department has its own agenda, and its connection to any sort of overall strategy is largely coincidental. Treat them with the deference that this fact deserves . . . .
It's bad enough when individuals can't cope, but it's a bit more when that malady becomes typical of an entire government. You're damned if you do, well, pretty much either one.

OK, Backwardians, enjoy your day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Bits of Tid

Howay’all? I hope everybody’s doing well. I’m still getting settled in my new job. As you may have noticed, posting has slowed to a crawl here in Backwards Land. My schedule hasn’t allowed as much time as I’d like, but I’m still here.

Also, I noticed I picked up two more followers once I started slowing down on the posting. How that happened, I may never know. But anyway, welcome, you guys and/or gals, as the case may be. I’m gonna guess you’ve been poking around in the archives, a pastime I always recommend when I’m not here.

Today’s post will be a sort of review of the Republican presidential race that I’ve noticed from the corner of my eye.

The Iowa Straw Poll results from yesterday are in: Michelle Bachmann won, with Ron Paul coming in a strong second. Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third, which naturally raises more than a few questions about the future of his campaign. Not that Iowa is any kind of bellwether for the campaign, at least in recent years. If I remember correctly, Mike Huckabee won the last one in ’07 and went exactly nowhere after that. It’s still early.

But Bachmann’s strong showing is somewhat encouraging. How long she’ll remain the front-runner is open to speculation, which I'll explain in a minute. The reason I find her encouraging is more about her message of conservatism and fiscal restraint. Despite what we’re hearing from the White House, most Americans are weary of the spending going on in Washington these days. If you’ll recall, our credit rating was downgraded not because of political gridlock, but because of the unusually high amount of peacetime debt this administration has caused.

But the big news from yesterday was Rick Perry’s announcement to run for president. Personally, I’m pretty excited. The last time I surveyed the field, I had the feeling that there was no one who could generate any kind of energy for a strong Republican run. That changed yesterday with Perry’s speech.

He has the message along with a strong record of success in Texas. During this Obama Depression, Texas has added a lot of jobs. He’s passed something I’d like to see enacted nationwide, a “loser pays” bill that has stopped many frivolous lawsuits. His campaign ad touts the fact that doctors are coming to Texas as a result. Here's the link to his site.

Overall, I believe he’s now the front-runner. Avoiding Iowa was a shrewd move that sucked all the oxygen from the other Republican candidates.

On a side note, I was over at the Fox News site shortly after his speech and boy, were the Axel-trolls out in force in the comment section. There were some real doozies in there, accusing him of being everything he’s not and trying to dredge up anything that might be considered a smear against him. It was like throwing something up against a wall, hoping it would stick.

I have no doubt that we’re going to see and hear the Chicago Corrupt-o-crat Election Machine cranked up to the redline in the ugliest and nastiest presidential race we’ve seen. Ever since I was a kid, Chicago politics has been a well-known joke, like “I see dead voters.” Nepotism and favoritism is the norm there, along with the liberal Democrat mindset that has reduced that once-great city to a modern ghost town. Those who can leave are doing so rapidly. Corruption is rampant. If something can’t last, it won’t.

Here’s what you, gentle reader, can expect from the race between Obama and Perry: the MBM will be out to destroy Perry with vim and vigor. Everything Obama has done will be wonderful and good. The seas will have receded, the world will love us and there are two unicorns in every driveway.

Perry, by contrast, will be a kitten-killer dressed in a skin-suit made from dead children. And that will just be tomorrow. It’ll get nastier with each progressing day.

And. It. Will. Not. Work. Perry will be compared to GW Bush in as negative a way as possible. It won’t work because things have gotten much worse under this president than they ever were under Bush. Right about now, everyone would love to have full employment, cheaper food prices and $1.75/gal gasoline.

Anyone with two functioning neurons to rub together can see what a disaster this administration is for the country. Everything that should be going up is going down and everything that should be going down is going up. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

I’ll carbon-date myself and say I’ve seen this before. If you’re of a certain age, you remember it too. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s a whole new generation of Americans who haven’t. Progressivism (the American version of communism) grows in power and influence, cutting a swath of economic destruction until the nation comes to its senses and stops it. That’s what happened in the late ‘70’s with Jimmy Carter. Thankfully, the country had Ronaldus Magnus ride in on his white horse to save us.

It’s being repeated today.

I think the country will repudiate Obama and Progressivism in general in a way we haven’t seen since 1980. I look for Perry to take the presidency in a landslide that will make Reagan’s look tame by comparison. And thanks to the influence of the Tea Party, Republicans will take Congress.

That’s what it’s going to take to get us back on track. The sudden and well-planned expansion of Washington’s negative influence on the economy has to be stopped and reversed. The only way to do that is to dismantle everything that has been done by the Pelosi- and Reid-led 111th Congress. And I do mean everything: ObamaCare has to be repealed, along with the Frank-Dodd Wall Street takeover, the student loan takeover, and any other bill that got passed by that wretched hive of scum and villainy.

As I’ve noted before, every law that’s passed reduces our freedom, because that’s the way our form of government operates. And each new law generates scores of regulation for the various agencies in charge of enforcing the law, thus acting as a multiplier. One new law leads to many new regulations, a larger bureaucracy, more taxes, and a greater restriction on the economy and freedom, rinse and repeat.

But this is a good thing to Progressives. They call it “being productive,” but the effects wind up being anything but. It’s like they went to all the best schools, but somehow missed one teeny, tiny detail about our system of government.

And that’s why I’m here, to remind them.

OK, I vaguely remember saying something about some tids. Let’s…

Dogs of War.

Toys of War.

Assault with a Deadly Bratwurst.

A Kraut, a Brazilian guitar player and a guy from Jersey walk into a recording studio

15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist.

And finally, I’d like to introduce the official theme song of this here blog. You might remember a band from the ‘70’s called Klaatu. When they first came on the musical scene, it was suggested that they were the Beatles in disguise, a great compliment that came back to haunt them when they refused to identify themselves until their third album. This Toronto band considered the recording studio to be another member of the group, which is why they didn’t tour until the very end of their run, around 1981.

I’ve rediscovered this outstanding band and want you guys to hear one of their songs, Silly Boys. And yes, some of the lyrics are backwards…

There are lots more of their tunes on YouTube. This song, Sub Rosa Subway, is about a fellow named Alfred Beach and his surreptitious effort to build a subway under New York City. He was the founder of Scientific American Magazine and his grandson was a big Klaatu fan until his death in 1997.

Karen and Richard Carpenter covered their first release, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.

I’m going to try to post more often, so be sure to check back in.

Y’all have a good’un.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tea Party Vindication from Across the Pond

Well, what a weekend on the economic front. S&P downgraded our credit rating, as I post this, the DJIA is down over 200 points, and the uber-lefties in Washington are in high dudgeon, feebly trying to blame the Tea Party members in Congress for the downgrade.

It won’t work.

Watch and listen for the next few days, as a Dem talking point is mindlessly repeated by the usual cast of characters. I fully expect Rush Limbaugh to have a montage of it by tomorrow. If you’re unfamiliar with how he does those, he takes sound bites of liberals saying the exact same phrase and compiles them into a handy reference.

You’ll hear this phrase repeated: “Tea Party Downgrade,”

Senator John F. Kerry and David Axelrod began the meme on yesterday’s political talk shows. It’s a shameless and false attack on the only group of people in Washington who truly recognize the trouble we’re in as a result of the wild Obama, Reid and Pelosi spending spree of the past two years.

And word travels quickly. Just prior to writing this piece, one of my best friends called me and started to rant about throwing all the bums out in Washington and starting over. When I suggested that we keep the Tea Partiers, he became particularly animated, and repeated the false talking point that TP’ers were the cause of all this economic chaos. I reminded him who controlled Congress for the last four years.

He finally gave up and said not to get him started.

My friend, you should be riled up, but you need to direct your anger towards the ones who are directly responsible for this mess, and it ain’t the Tea Party.

I’ll wade into the shallows of psychology for a moment to explain why this is so.

There are people in Washington who have egos so large that the Grand Canyon couldn’t begin to hold them. For years, they’ve bamboozled the public into keeping them in office through various types of deceit. These people love power and will do anything to keep it.

Which reminds me of a saying I heard: “Those who love power do not crave freedom. Those who love freedom do not crave power.” After some exhaustive Internet research, consisting of thirty seconds on Bing, I can’t find the proper attribution for that quote, else I’d credit the proper person for that little bit of wisdom. It’s very true.

The aforementioned “people” have also succumbed to the corrupting power of power. They have a fatal flaw in that they want to tell other people what to do, how to live and what to think. Instead of treating everyone the same way, they play favorites with their contributors and grant them special favors in return for their support. This is how our tax system grew into the monster it is today. And that’s not the only manifestation of corruption and favoritism to be found in Washington.

The Tea Party members of Congress threaten to take away the power of the People of Large Egos by removing them from office. Much like a mama bear seeking to protect her cub, these PoLE’s will attack anything or anyone that threatens their power baby.

It is a pitiful thing to watch, really. Our government was never designed to be inhabited by career politicians. Our Founders envisioned citizen legislators who served a term or two and then returned to their home to live under the laws they created.

This is what the Tea Party represents, a return to our political roots. And those in power will do everything they can to squash anyone who keeps them from their “right to rule.”

OK, digression over. There’s a title up there somewhere that I should talk about.

I found this little tidbit over at Ace’s place this weekend. It’s a good read and a welcome breath of fresh air from one Janet Daley entitled, “If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth.” It’s a wonderful article that says virtually everything that the PoLE’s in Washington won’t.

I’ll give you a few morsels until you can read the whole thing.

Which of these is the most important question to ask in the present economic crisis: how can we promote growth? Should we pay off government debt more or less quickly? Is the US in worse trouble than Europe? Answer: none of the above.

The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are racing is being debated only in America: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society? On this side of the Atlantic, the model of a national welfare system with comprehensive entitlements, which is paid for by the wealth created through capitalist endeavour, has been accepted (even by parties of the centre-Right) as the essence of post-war political enlightenment.

That right there is some good stuff, but wait, there’s more…

This is a political as much as an economic crisis, but not for the reasons that Mr Obama believes. The ruckus that nearly paralysed the US economy last week, and led to the loss of its AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, arose from a confrontation over the most basic principles of American life.

Contrary to what the Obama Democrats claimed, the face-off in Congress did not mean that the nation’s politics were “dysfunctional”. The politics of the US were functioning precisely as the Founding Fathers intended: the legislature was acting as a check on the power of the executive.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for pointing that out, Ms. Daley.

The Tea Party faction within the Republican party was demanding that, before any further steps were taken, there must be a debate about where all this was going. They had seen the future toward which they were being pushed, and it didn’t work. They were convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programmes which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle.

And, again contrary to prevailing wisdom, their view is not naive and parochial: it is corroborated by the European experience.

In other words, we have reached the tipping point where our federal government is about to tip our economy over into a full-blown depression thanks to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama. And this is being done on purpose, ironically by folks who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend the country from enemies both foreign and domestic.

We have met the enemy, and it is Progressivism.

These next few months up until 2012 will decide which path our nation is to tread for the foreseeable future and what we will embrace as national policy. We have only two choices before us, one that served us well until around fifty years ago, where Americans were upwardly mobile, creative and free. The alternative, which has proven itself to be a failure of Biblical proportions in only two years, is one of redistribution, control, poverty, and a massive and unnecessary waste of human capital and potential.

You are the government. Your votes determine this.

How will you choose?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Funny, I Don’t Feel Like a Terrorist.

Well, the Great Debt Deal is over. As usual, the Dems are claiming victory, as are Republicans. And the Dems are also screaming that they got screwed and so are the Republicans. In other words, we’re back to traditional Washington politics: Situation Normal, All Fouled Up. (Insert your own favorite word where appropriate)

In breaking news (courtesy of Drudge this morning), there’s this report that the Obama administration’s spending spree has now exceeded 100% of GDP. Obama borrowed $239B on Tuesday, the largest one-day total in our history, and will borrow another $72B next week. And still, the economy is struggling to gain a toehold on any kind of improvement.


But I’m digressing. I’m doing it now so I can get it out of the way early.

The big story for me is the all-out attack coming from the lefty news outlets against those who would dare to suggest that Washington live within its means like a normal American household. These people have been referred to as “terrorists” by no less than the Vice President, Joe Biden. They’ve “held a gun” to the nations’ head and “strapped on their suicide belts” in an attempt to keep this administration from bankrupting the country in what appears to be Obama’s own Cloward-Piven Strategy: spend, spend and then spend some more. Overload the System, drain and destroy the private sector, spread the wealth around until no one's wealthy any more, all in the spirit of "fairness."

It’s the “Tea Partiers as Terrorists” Campaign.

It’s the best example of Backwardsness that I’ve ever seen, in addition to being the most pathetic. Advocate something as innocuous and common-sensical as balancing the nation’s books, and all of a sudden, you’re smeared and derided as a lunatic.

Is this a great country or what?

I’m going to carbon-date myself and say that I can remember when this kind of rhetoric was off limits in American media. I also remember when a certain large Communist country employed this same tactic against its dissidents. They were characterized as somehow lacking a certain psychological quality that others (who just happened to be in the ruling party) possessed. There must be something wrong with the way they think, perhaps they were the victim of some sort of, well, a disease, for thinking that the all-powerful State could somehow not be acting in their best interests at all times and in everything they did.

How dare they?

Oh, did you feel that cold chill run up your spine? I certainly hope so. And, you’re welcome.

Now, you could be seeing this and wondering just what the hell is going on. I sure am. It was subtle towards the beginning of the Tea Party movement, but after a few rallies around the country, it wasn’t long before the Make Believe Media started to cherry-pick isolated incidents and selectively edit photos and quips to paint a very false picture of the entire movement.

Then the image concocted by the left-wing media began to form: we were racists for opposing our historic first black President, then we were all homophobic, and now we’ve graduated all the way up to terrorists.

All this has happened while at the same time, traditional lefty news outlets were shedding their audience in record numbers. Newspapers were losing readers and the once-vaunted CNN became an afterthought for most new-seekers. Now, they’re just after the decidedly niche market of extreme lefty fanatics. All you need to is compare the viewership ratings of Fox News Network to see how far they’ve fallen from favor.

And yet they persist. Their screeching grows ever louder and more incoherent with each passing day.

Looking at it from a psychological perspective, what we have here is a classic case of projection. If you’re unfamiliar with the term and what it means, its rather simple: someone who is in denial of their own faults will find someone else to blame for their troubles (and make no mistake, they’ll have lots of troubles). Once this psychological boogie-person is found, the denier will then project their own faults upon them, and assign to them the problems that they themselves have in processing the real world.

For a more complete overview of various defense mechanism that people regularly use to cope when they can’t really, click here for Dr. Sanity’s excellent post on the subject.

Now, if you’re grounded in reality, understand that there are a lot of very powerful people who aren’t. Challenge their followers and their mistaken political beliefs and you’ll find out pretty quick. It only takes a few minutes of debate with a lefty to discover more than you ever wanted to know about the myriad methods some folk use to sidestep reality. Rage, projection, denial, it’s all there for you to pick apart, should you care to do so.

You might wake them up, or you might drive them deeper into their fantasy world. I’m going to repeat this saying, because it bears repeating: You can deny reality, but you can’t deny the consequences of denying reality.

And those in the left-wing media are doing a hell of a lot of denying these days. They’re seeing their vision of a Marxist Utopia crumble before their very eyes and, to put it bluntly, they can’t handle the truth. So they lash out at the nearest convenient person in order to affix the blame for the problems that arise from the crumbling, like a horrible economy, rising inflation and rampant joblessness. Notice that all that is being blamed on the Tea Party in Congress for their refusal to increase the nations’ debt limit, even when a certain freshman Senator from Illinois opposed it in 2006. That’s one little factoid that you won’t hear from them.

As a side note, one of the first things to look for in someone who can’t cope is inconsistency. A normal human will have the same beliefs, grounded in reality, at all times. This translates to a consistent stance on the issues.

If you’re someone who understands the clear language of the Constitution and the intent of the Founders to limit the power of government and maximize the freedom of the individual, that’s a pretty consistent position. But, curiously, you’ll be criticized roundly for it. It’s like standing on shore while someone is rowing a boat away from you. The American Left is doing the rowing, putting more and more distance between themselves and you (politically speaking), so who’s doing the moving? Take a simple, common sense, principled stand and you suddenly become the enemy.

Do you feel like a terrorist yet?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Did the Tea Party Score a Victory in the Budget Battle?

It appears as though there’s finally a debt deal in Washington, although I can’t say for sure at this point. There’s only one way to tell, given the sclerotic nature of rhetoric that spills forth from career politicians: if both sides are grumbling, that means we have a deal.

Yay! I think.

What is clear is that the issue of an ever-growing federal government is finally being brought to the nations’ attention. Maybe some of our friends who don’t normally pay attention to these things will start to notice that Washington long ago outgrew its britches and now plays a much larger part in our economy than it was ever intended to by the Founders. And for those that don’t, when they suddenly discover they can’t buy such innocuous items as 100-watt light bulbs in the stores starting next year, that might help them understand this whole government-has-become-way-too-big thingy.

Or so I hope.

Anyway, it appears as though the Tea Party made its presence felt on Capitol Hill and embarked on its quest to reduce the size and intrusion of the federal government. And no one felt it more than Speaker of the House, John Boehner. He submitted plan after plan and members of the Tea Party refused to back his capitulation to the big spenders up there.

Understand what the word “compromise” means in today’s political environment: radical, far-left Progressives (but I repeat myself) propose ever-increasing ways for the government to control our lives through legislation, and Republicans just try to slow it down with counter-proposals that still increase the size, scope and intrusion of Washington. That’s some compromise, huh?

For a quick review on how the right and the left view this deal, here are a couple of links. First, there’s this from Mark Thiessen at the Washington Post, “How the Tea Party “hobbits” won the debt fight.” And here’s the leftist view from Yahoo News, "How the Tea Party won the Deal.” Note that you will be dumber for having read that one, filled as it is with such stupidity as this,

Given how much the Bush tax cuts have contributed to the deficit (and how little they’ve spurred economic growth), it’s mind-boggling that they’ve apparently escaped this deficit-reduction deal unscathed.

And this nonsense,

Obama, like FDR, had a reasonably successful first two years: a stimulus package that while too small for the circumstances was still large by historical standards and a health care bill that while subpar in myriad ways still far exceeded the efforts of other recent Democratic presidents.

If by successful, you mean strangling the economy by growing government by over 30% and passing laws at a pace not seen since the Great Society days of the Johnson administration, then by all means Obama has been a success for big government advocates. For the rest of us, not so much.

I’m proud of the Tea Partiers for standing on principle. The midterms elections last November were just the start of what I hope will be a conservative revolution in Washington. I’d like to see such careerists as Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and others of their ilk removed from office. Along with them, I’d also like to see Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain primaried and replaced with true fiscal conservatives who will actually think about the effects of their actions upon their fellow citizens.

That’s a lot, I know, but I think it can be done. After all, who had even heard of Marco Rubio and Col. Alan West two years ago? I keep up with these things and I had never heard of them.

Hope springs eternal. And this budget battle only serves to make it bubble even more.

And while I’m on the subject, I’d like to put to rest those of us on the right who think that we need a third party in the 2012 Presidential election. This is a supremely bad idea, one that saddled us with somebody named Bill Clinton thanks to Ross Perot’s third party candidacy. Although he didn’t wreak havoc on our economy, he would have had he been elected at any point in time other than right after the Great Ronaldus Magnus. There’s no doubt that he benefitted more from the policies and subsequent economic boom of the Reagan years more than any other leftist president.

And make sure, Bill Clinton was, and is, a radical leftist. Remember the photo of him signing a bill while both Cloward and Piven looked on? If that doesn’t give you pause, knowing today their strategy for collapsing our government and economy through wildly irresponsible spending is in full, I don’t know what would.

This fight over the budget is a small victory to be sure, but it has established a precedent in Washington. We’re no longer talking about how much government will grow, we’re not talking about cuts in the rate of increase of government (which is how those on the left define the word). We’re talking about real live cuts, cuts that you and I have made in our family’s budget, where there is a real reduction in spending.

Naturally we want more. I look forward to the day when we hear politicians start speaking of something called “baseline budgeting.” This radical concept (or radical in Washington, at least) starts the budget from zero, not last year’s budget. This small change is grand in scope. What it means is that each department is examined for what it really needs, not what is has received in the past.

We’ll know we’ve made the kind of true progress towards sanity in government when that day arrives. It’s coming, and it’s coming because no one is able to escape the results of not doing it.

It’s like that old saying, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the results of ignoring reality.” And career politicians have been ignoring reality for way too long.