If you are old enough you may remember a popular TV show starring Bob Newhart in the 1980s. Among the regulars were three brothers, backwoods hicks that wandered in and out of the show. Only one of the brothers spoke and he always began with “Hi, I’m Larry is this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl.”
I was reminded of the Darryls while reading an editorial by Daryl Lease who shares his namesake’s acumen and wit.
As gasoline prices rise past $4 to $5 (and above) the question arises what should be done. The rise in fuel prices was one of Barack Obama’s objectives; one that he mentioned prior to the election but which was conveniently overlooked by the media. But they can’t very well ignore an issue that is affecting every household. The easiest scapegoats are the oil companies who are delivering the product to the pump. So Darryl, Darryl and Daryl are determined direct the pain that the American people are feeling away from the political class and to the productive class.
It’s easy to do when you couple sophomore sarcasm with innumeracy.
“My eyes go misty on me every time I fill up my gas tank these days, but not for the reasons you might think.
Oh, sure, the price of gas has reached the point where I peer down the nozzle to make sure I get every last drop out of the hose.
But what makes me feel glum - so very, very glum - is how badly our oil companies are treated these days. I have a weak spot for underdogs, you see - even underdogs that periodically sink their teeth into my walleted behind.”
Daryl tells us how much profit the oil companies are making and singles out Exxon Mobil, the largest US oil company for reporting a profit of $10.6 billion dollars. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Why it’s enough to keep the government running for 1 whole day. So just how much of that $4-$5 gas does Exxon Mobil get in profit? The question is important because if it’s a lot, then the oil companies are taking us to the cleaners.
Now, for Barbie, Darryl, Darryl and Daryl “math is hard.” They are innumerate. You just don’t learn math at CCBSU (Close Cover Before Striking U.). But some of us did, so I went to the Exxon report and did some math. Here are a few facts:
• Exxon Mobil is a diversified energy company that produces oil and gas, processes it and sells it as fuel, chemicals and refined products.
• Exxon Mobil is a global company and derives most of its sales and profits overseas.
• Exxon Mobil sold about 39 billion gallons of petroleum products in the US last quarter.
• If you attribute all … 100% … every penny of Exxon Mobil’s worldwide profits to US petroleum sales last quarter, and assumed that they made zero, zilch, nada profit on every sale in every country worldwide, then you could claim that Exxon Mobil made $0.28 cents per gallon on every gallon of their gas you used.
• But that would be as stupid as Darryl, Darryl and Daryl (“math is hard”).
• So you take a look at some of the other numbers that Exxon Mobil provides and you come to the real profit that the evil oil company is making on you: $0.02. That’s right, TWO CENTS A GALLON IS THE OIL COMPANY’S PROFIT ON $4+ PER GALLON GAS.
• If Exxon Mobil were to break-even on its gasoline sales, considering that gas prices went from $1.60 when Obama took office to $4 - $5 today, you would not notice it.
Expensive gas is not a rip-off by Exxon Mobil, it’s government policy. How else are they going to make Government Motors’ electric cars sell? How else are they going to make you ride that high speed train they want to build or the urban transit they want you to take? What else gives them the opportunity to lavish your tax dollars on windmills and solar panels? They tell you that the answer to $5, $6, $7, $8 dollar gas are wind power and solar panels, but your car doesn’t run on wind or sun power. Meanwhile they’re shutting down oil exploration in the Gulf, off the East Coast and in Alaska … all for your own good. And Darryl, Darryl and Daryl tell you that the company that delivers fuel to your car for a 2 cent profit is the villain but the government who takes 18.4 cents in federal taxes and the state (Virginia) that takes 17.5 cents per gallon is looking out for you.
But don’t blame Daryl, he’s no different than any other member of the media. My problem with media is that they are willful and dangerous because they have a dramatic effect on public policy while bearing no responsibility for the outcome. They influence policy while being politically unaccountable. That’s why people like Daryl and the entire rotten system that they represent is in the process of dying since the advent of the internet. The ability of people who think, can add and subtract, and are not hired by monopoly interests can now speak to a regional and national audience and have as much – or more – influence than Darryl, Darryl and Daryl: a punch line from a comedy show in the 80’s.
You know you're in trouble when your syncopants in the media become instant objects of ridicule.
Via Belmont Club
It surely is essential That Barack be consequential And serene and up to date at every turn For the world to be his oyster He must leave his White House cloister And be seen to grow maturely and to learn Yes I know he reads the masters And has bigots for his pastors And his ancestry is redder than his schemes But it really doesn’t matter For there’s nothing that is sadder Than a man who can’t tell life from fevered dreams
Duke. In enterprise of martial kind, When there was any fighting, He led his regiment from behind — He found it less exciting. But when away his regiment ran, His place was at the fore, O — That celebrated, Cultivated, Underrated Nobleman, The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
All. In the first and foremost flight, ha, ha! You always found that knight, ha, ha! That celebrated, Cultivated, Underrated Nobleman, The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
Duke. When, to evade Destruction’s hand, To hide they all proceeded, No soldier in that gallant band Hid half as well as he did. He lay concealed throughout the war, And so preserved his gore, O! That unaffected, Undetected, Well-connected Warrior, The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
All. In every doughty deed, ha, ha! He always took the lead, ha, ha! That unaffected, Undetected, Well-connected Warrior, The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
Via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit we are treated to another attempt by an Obama voter to explain Obama’s failure. This time it’s Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest. He joins Dana Wilbank in explaining that he's is just too darn smart for the rough and tumble of American politics. According to Mead, the president who gratuitously insults members of the Supreme Court sitting in front of him and a member of congress who he invited to one of his speeches is too ready to compromise and his compromises have gotten him into trouble.
Here’s how he puts it:
“… the persisting weakness in the housing market, where millions of families have watched the value of their prime asset shrink or disappear, continuing weak growth in employment and stagnation in wages, and there is a pervasive national sense that life is not getting better on President Obama’s watch.” [Is that just a sense, Walt, or is that a fact?] … the President is no socialist or far-left crusader, but he is an urban liberal … President Obama is not a politician … This lack of instinctive appreciation for the crooked pathways of the political mindset … further undercuts the President’s ability to play the political system.”
So we know that Mead thinks of politicians, and he wants us to know that Obama, having successfully gained the highest office in the land without as shred of qualification in his resume is not, never has been, and will never be a politician.
I was intrigued by what appears to be an anachronism in his column relating to the price of gas, so I commented on his column:
Nice try at papering over failure Walt. At this point no one can call the Obama presidency a success and still be considered a serious analyst, so we have to re-define him and go in for pop psychology to explain why everything he touches turns to … failure. You’re joining Dana Wilbank in claiming that Obama’s just too smart for his own good. Really? We would really like to see proof.
I was intrigued by your reference to gas prices PUSHING TOWARD $4. Gas prices are now moving so fast that between the time this apology for failure was written and the time it appeared in print, the information is outdated. I’m reminded of the time between wars in Germany where people were paid twice a day and hurried out to spend their money during lunch hour because prices would be higher later in the afternoon. Thanks for the laugh. The next time you put in a contemporary reference like gas prices you may just want to use a European number like … $9, $10, or more. It will make your column appear less dated.
The reason people have been looking for the birth certificate isn’t because they mistrust official birth certificates in general. It is because they mistrust Obama.
He uses the analogy of the dollar bill. When we are handed a dollar, we don't hold it up to the light or examine it closely to see if it's fake. We trust the fact the it's a genuine bill unless we are given a reason to doubt its authenticity. That's been the problem with the Obama birth certificate. It's not that we doubt birth certificates in general, we doubt the honesty of Obama in particular. It's also why there will be questions about this college grades and the claims that have been made for his brilliance. There have been no obvious manifestations of brilliance during his performance in office which leads people to wonder what his sealed grades and other personal information from his past actually contains.
Calling Trump the "Forlorn Hope," a group of men who are willing to make a suicide attack against an entrenched enemy,
But the Forlorn Hope has done his job. Trump has astutely observed that he has nothing left to lose. Donald is therefore going to say: “Since you’ve released the birth certificate, why not the school records?” The Donald’s biggest advantage is that unlike most of us, he has no fear embarrassment. Like a freak, Trump makes money from exhibitionism. He doesn’t mind being laughed at. That just boosts the ratings.
The reason that Obama released his birth certificate was that Trump's suicide charge raised the issue to the point where, like people do when there's lots of counterfeit money in circulation, people start to examine the bills they're handed. And the image of Obama's long form birth certificate is not going to make the issue of trust in Obama go away. The perception is out there, despite the attempts of the media to make it look otherwise, that there is literally nothing about Obama that can be trusted. The demand for ever more of Obama's sealed history will reside in the minds of the electorate, and will show up in votes at the ballot box.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, this is the spring of our discontent. Gas prices head inexorably toward $5 per gallon. Grocery shopping induces sticker shock; cereal packages shrink and coffee prices double. Money buys less and less and the average worker is stuck between zero interest rate CDs and real inflation of around 10%. Crony capitalism is on display as the chairman of GE, a huge conglomerate that pays zero taxes while racking up billions in profits, is embraced by Obama to head the White House Council on Jobs. GE gets most of its profits overseas, simultaneously reduced it US workforce and increased it overseas.
So how does the MSM react to this malaise? It labels Americans are spoiled children. It points to the price of gas in Europe where taxes bring the price of gas to nearly $10 per gallon and tells us that we are wasteful and wanton. It tells us that the White House hasnothing! Nothing!! Nothing!!! to do with the price of fuel in the US and demands that all news stories covering the subject contain that information. This new bit of MSM insight was discovered once George Bush left office and will be promptly discarded should a Republican ever reclaim that office.
While Americans are paying through the nose for gas and food, the MSM will claim that inflation is pretty near zero and use the “official” government statistics to prove it; a statistic that conveniently omits the price of gas and food from its numbers, but does include the declining price of iPads. If only Americans could do without fuel or food but instead ate computer chips, the world would be just like the government describes it.
The election of 2012 is on and if you thought the MSM was in the tank for Obama last time, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Last time all they had to do was airbrush out inconvenient baggage like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. This time around they have to white out the entire US economy, 2 ½ wars and the ascendency of Islamofascism in the Middle East. It’s a much bigger task because Obama’s no longer a Rorschach blob, a blank screen on which people could project their hopes, but someone that the American people have begun to know and loathe. Its task is now much bigger and you can expect them to go nuclear. Some already have begun to prepare the battle space.
Easy Magna? Where I went to school, magna was reserved for the top 5%. When Obama was at Harvard, it was much, much easier to grab that accolade -- only after he graduated did they institute a policy limiting magna to 10% and cum laude to 30%, which means, of course, before he graduated the honors were given out much more freely.
How freely? This freely:
Under the old system, 76% of Harvard Law grads earned honors, the school said."
At least 35 terrorists incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay were sent to fight against the West after being indoctrinated by extremist preachers in Britain, secret files obtained by The Daily Telegraph disclose. Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, two preachers who lived off state benefits after claiming asylum, are identified by the American authorities as the key recruiters responsible for sending dozens of extremists from throughout the world to Pakistan and Afghanistan via London mosques.
England offer generous benefits to refugees, attracting many terrorist in the process. It appears that one way of getting a million British pounds is to be a terrorist, get sent back to Britain from Gitmo and claim compensatiion from the government. At least 16 terrorists succeeded at doing this.
Sixteen detainees sent back to Britain are regarded as “high risk” by the US authorities and are liable to plan attacks against the West. However, they have been paid a reported £1 million each in compensation by the Government. For the first time, details of their alleged extremist activities, including travelling to Afghanistan to fight against British troops, are disclosed
In Britain, the BBC is part of al-Qaeda's propaganda network,
...after details of a phone number at the broadcaster was found in the possession of several suspected terrorists. The number, which now appears to be disconnected, was thought to be for an employee of the BBC World Service, which was then funded by the Foreign Office
This role is filled by the New York Times and MSNBC in the US.
Aside from the First Couple being honored guests, Pastor Wallace Charles Smith also announces that his 4 week old grandson is attending church for the first time, and a pool reporter noted an interesting perspective on the infant:
"[Pastor Smith] talked about how his baby grandson's gurgling is actually "talking" because he is saying 'I am here ... they tried to write me off as 3/5 a person in the Constitution, but I am here right now ... and is saying I am not going to let anybody from stopping me from being what God wants me to be.'"
The pastor hears American institutional racism in a baby's gurgle? Do most people with infants hear Constitutional bigotry in their baby's gibberish? Did any mention of the 3/5 clause or racism in general make it into the Easter service you attended? Is this pastor's amazing leap from a baby bark to white oppression another coincidence to add to the list, or has he established a pattern of race baiting and white bashing in the past?
If one were really cynical, you would regard this EU ploy as a means to stick a German hand in the vise, knowing that when Khadaffy tightened the screw, neither Berlin nor Washington could stand idle.
This whole process is insane and dishonest, a way of achieving a goal while in denial. No we don’t want the Libyan oil. No we don’t want troops on the ground. No we haven’t been given authorization to stopple Khadaffy. No we don’t need American air power. No the Germans aren’t going into combat. The lips say ‘no’, ‘no’, ‘no’, but the eyes and body language say ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’!
In the end some EUniks will wind up conquering a whole African country, denying they meant to do it all the way, using the resources of the unwilling to achieve the unexplained for the benefit of the unidentified.
“This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
27 God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
29 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
... said net income fell 57.6 percent to $5.4 million, compared with $12.8 million in the quarter a year ago.
In other good news:
Revenue for the quarter dropped 3.6 percent to $566.5 million
At the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, advertising revenue fell 5.1 percent.
At the Regional Media Group, which includes local newspapers from Florida to California, the decline was 9.7 percent.
Rising newsprint costs continued to weigh on the company.
The NY Times was actually aided by the decline in circulation because that meant that they had to buy less newsprint. If this keeps up, the lower their circulation, the higher the profits. If they stop printing the paper altogether their profits could go through the roof. Another factor affecting their bottom line are the rats leaving the sinking SS Timeslies. Columnists Bob Herbert and Frank Rich have left; top editors are also off the island. The question remains, who are these people still reading the Times? I mean why pay for disinformation when you can get all the news that you need to know from Drudge and Instapundit?
Obama is uniquely ill-suited to defend the "Social Compact."
With Obama pretending to be the defender of the status quo when it comes to social programs like Medicare, let’s keep in mind that he promised to substantially transform America.
James Taranto in the WSJ:
"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." Sen. Obama [said that], in 2008. That makes us highly skeptical of his ability to present himself as a defender of the status quo or "the social compact." He and the Democrats who controlled Congress in 2009-10 egregiously violated that compact when they defied the voters to enact ObamaCare.
Now he's accusing the Republicans of ending Medicare as we know it. But Taranto notes that ObamaCare already does that:
ObamaCare not only will force people to buy insurance and to subsidize the insurance of others, it ends "Medicare as we know it." In his speech last week, Obama promised: "We will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need." He was referring to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the ObamaCare creation colloquially known as death panels.
The spending frenzy of Obama's first few months in office brought about a mass movement for smaller government, leading to last year's Republican victories. Now, his push for socialized medicine has made the desocialization of Medicare likelier, even if it is not yet likely. Obama may end up "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" in ways quite different from what he intended.
That panel of experts will decide that at some point you should be given a pain pill or a shot and left to die. We all die, and individuals or families face end-of-life decisions. But to have the plug pulled by a government panel who doesn’t know you or care about you but only about the cost of keeping you alive is repugnant. That’s why Sarah Palin was brilliant, and right, to call them “Death Panels.” That’s their job no matter how you try to disguise their function.
Previous Congresses (and Administrations) have relied on the assumption that we can grow our way out of this onerous debt burden. Perhaps we could, if it was only $9.1 trillion, as shown in Chart 2. That would be 65% of GDP and well within reasonable ranges for sovereign debt burdens. But that is not the reality. As others, such as Pete Peterson of the Blackstone Group and Mary Meeker, have shown much better and for far longer than I, the true but unrecorded debt of the U.S. Treasury is not $9.1 trillion or even $11-12 trillion when Agency and Student Loan liabilities are thrown in, but $65 trillion more! This country appears to have an off-balance-sheet, unrecorded debt burden of close to 500% of GDP! We are out-Greeking the Greeks, dear reader.
They drank the Kool-Aid and voted to make Obama the President. What did they get for their support? The bill for the government employee’s retirement. The bill for Medicare and Medicaid for the “Baby Boomers.” They are going to see their taxes rise about 80% to pay for my benefits. And as they graduate from college with staggering loans to pay, they face bleak prospects. One recent engineering graduate finally got a job, ten months after graduation ... as a waiter.
Thirty-three percent of Harvard’s graduating seniors had accepted a job as of commencement last year, down from 51 percent the year before. The survey results for this year’s class haven’t been released.
33% means that two-thirds of last year's Harvard's graduates don't have a job yet.
Many feel like there is no hope. Many feel like their countries have either betrayed them or simply become too old and infirm to care.
But Obama believes that he can still fool enough of the people enough of the time. To hear him talk, and lie, to his audiences, there is always some rich guy to pay for all this. And because youth are woefully financially ignorant, many of them believe it.
But Obama’s not really talking to young people, he’s talking to the national media. He’s giving them sound bites about not spending more than you take in. This is laughable coming from the most profligate spender in American history, but it will be part of the TV news shows tonight and will be part of the effort to convince people that Obama’s actually cares about the level of spending. It is chutzpah on the level of the guy who murders his parents claiming for clemency because he’s an orphan.
This is not a serious proposal from a serious president. This is a campaign speech whose words are totally divorced from reality.
Welcome Instapundit readers (thanks, Glenn). Read more HERE
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services Inc. cut its outlook on the U.S. to negative, increasing the likelihood of a potential downgrade from its triple-A rating, as the path from large budget deficits and rising government debt remains unclear.
The Dow drops over 200 points. S&P doubts if the US government will seriously address the financial crisis before 2014.
In explaining its decision to put the U.S. credit rating on negative watchm S&P said the U.S. deficit "ballooned" to more than 11% of GDP in 2009 from a range of 2% to 5% from 2003 to 2008. It noted the gap between both Republicans and Democrats about how to cut the deficit "remains wide." Even if an agreement is found between both sides, "there is a reasonable chance that it would still take a number of years before the government reaches a fiscal position that stabilizes its debt burden," S&P said.
after a half-century or so of attacking even the notion of general principles of decency and acceptable public behavior ... that doesn’t work.
Glenn Reynolds makes the point that the Libertarian approach to speech has become so absolute that what couldonce be handled informally must either be ignored or turned into a criminal case.
See, you used to be able to punish the sort of behavior complained of here [referring to male taunts of women] on the ground that it violated general principles of decency and acceptable public behavior. But after a half-century or so of attacking even the notion of general principles of decency and acceptable public behavior — especially where sex is concerned! — that doesn’t work.
Universities have long told the larger culture that it must simply put up with whatever is said, however offensive, in the interest of free expression. Now we see more evidence that that was always a lie, a self-serving cover story that was really meant simply to protect speech that the larger culture didn’t want to hear, with no intention to protect speech that people at universities don’t want to hear. Universities, meanwhile, have become some of the most hostile environments for free speech anywhere in America.
That's why I'm not a Libertarian, and I suspect in their heart of hearts most Libertarians are not either.
There are a number of things we have to believe to be respectable. One of them is that the “great moderate” class seeks moderation. That reasoning only seems to apply when it comes to Republicans, otherwise how do we explain Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi or any of the other Liberal bomb throwers and spear carriers who are the most visible face of the Democrat party. A few Republicans sneak by without being "quite the thing," which explains Rand Paul, one of the most refreshing new Senators we have.
But that is what the desperate people like Rick Moran and Peggy Noonan - who fervently want the Right to be “respectable” - want to believe. As the White Queen said: “sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” What they are seeking is approval; approval from the people who define respectability. The people with public megaphones: the Great Oz … uh media.
What does it take for an idea or a question to be unrespectable? How is a question deemed out of bounds?
It takes two sides: one side that rolls its eyes and sighs heavily when a question deemed unrespectable is raised, and another side that lacks the moral certainty that it has the right to ask the question.
Go back a year or two to the issue of “global warming.” Remember when Al Gore and the combined might of the MSM deemed that the scientific question was settled? That questioning anthropomorphic global warming was on par with being a holocaust denier? The ones seeking “respectability” told us to drop it and move on. Some didn’t. Some had the moral certainty to continue to raise questions. The high priests of the global warming church were exposed as hoaxers and liars. The rest is history.
It’s the same with the issue of Obama’s birth certificate. Where is it and what’s on it? Why doesn’t Obama produce it? Is it really a brilliant Ninja move on his part to expose the Right as a bunch of conspiracy kooks? Could be; but I don’t think Obama’s that smart.
He certainly has not shown the kind of brilliance he’s supposed to have in either his domestic or foreign policy initiatives. “Smart diplomacy” has gotten us involved in a war with Libya. This is a country that's mostly desert, with 6.5 million people, and the grand coalition of NATO states that's come in on the side of rebels is actually losing! On the domestic front we have spent trillions of dollars and unemployment is near historic highs. Remember the promise of “shovel ready” jobs by the Lightbearer? Where did those go?
But back to Rick Moran and his desperate search for respectability. Reading his essay I am struck by the fact that he fails to understand the issues because he frames them in the terms that the media uses. He fails to come to grips with the simple issue of why the original birth certificate is not produced. Most of his essay is simply a yell: “SHUT UP.” The only substantial comment that I read in this screed is
Trump, for all his bluster, can’t seriously believe that the certification of live birth issued by the Obama campaign in 2008 and confirmed as authentic by the state of Hawaii is a forgery, or was planted by Communists, or was altered in some way. There is not one scintilla of evidence for any of those possibilities — at least, evidence that would be accepted by someone with more than two brain cells working.
The issue as I understand it is that a Certification of Live birth does not contain some of the information which is found in the original birth certificate, known as a Certificate of Live Birth. I have very little doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii and is eligible – by the standards of the Constitution, if not by experience or temperament – to be president. But I am intrigued by the lengths to which Obama has gone to avoid producing the original certificate. No politician should be trusted to tell the truth when a lie will do. That goes double for Barack Obama who attended Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years, and who he describes as his spiritual mentor, and claims he failed to notice that Wright's a racist, anti-Semitic crackpot who hates America.
But back to the issue of respectability. I consider that to be a demand that Republicans nominate a candidate that’s acceptable to the MSM. That’s how we ended up with John McCain. The Republican media candidate this year is Mitt Romney, followed by a number of colorless governors. Mitt Romney is, I’m sure, a very nice man. But he’s the creator of RomneyCare in Massachusetts. And you can be absolutely sure that if you are a Republican and the governor of Massachusetts you are part of the liberal Republican establishment. You are a manager for the welfare state; the perfect exemplar of the kind of Republican who wants what the Democrats want, only less of it and cheaper. In fact, that’s Romney’s reply to the critics of his health care program that’s busting the fisc in the Bay State: “the Democrats wanted even more.”
Even Romney’s polished good looks are a turn-off. Like Obama, Romney should be a model for men’s clothing in glossy magazines like GQ, not the leader of a country that’s heading off the economic cliff. Obama will zoom us over that cliff by putting the pedal to the metal; Romney will drive us over at a sedate 50 mph proclaiming his prudence while doing so.
I reject the notion that “moderates” are attracted to moderation in candidates. A moderate – the true moderate who is not ideological and who doesn’t pay attention to campaigns – is driven by emotion.
The last election was a perfect illustration of that. Obama was the most Liberal member of congress when he ran for president. His platform was "HopeN'Change," and the fact that he was not George Bush during an election when George Bush was not running. People went to the polls knowing very little about the man who had only held national office for two years and whose promises were literally empty. I mean “hope and change” are empty cups into which you can pour literally anything you want.
There were emotional reasons for voting for Obama: electing the first black president to show how enlightened you are, good looking guy, not George Bush, rock star staging, glib talker, economic fears, black racial solidarity, didn’t like Sarah Palin are some of the reasons that come to mind. Meanwhile the MSM were airbrushing away any of Obama’s flaws. This caused the “moderate” vote to swing for Obama. A moderate could feel good about voting for Obama; being on the right side of history.
The emotion that moderates will feel most going into the 2012 election is fear. Fear of being in your 50s and never being able to get a good job again. Fear of graduating from college deep in debt without a job offer. Fear of an economic collapse that will wipe out your savings. Fear of a crushing government debt load that will rob your children of their future. Fear of the tax increases that Obama is promising. Fear that every time you go to the grocery store food prices will be higher. Fear that gas prices will go even higher because of government policy, taking an ever bigger bite of your family budget. Fear that the government will get between you and the medical treatment you need. Fear that all this is what Obama wants when all you want is to be left alone to live your life.
The “moderate” answer is the controlled crash … the muddle through approach. The real answer is that the structure that the 20th century state has created is fatally flawed. It is jury-rigged and ramshackle; a structure that is too heavy for its foundations to bear. It must be dismantled, it’s useful parts recycled and its rotten parts discarded. It must be built anew. This is the time, when fear of what is is greater than the fear of real change. People thought that they were voting for change they wanted last time. They did not realize what they were getting. They are ready for a U-turn, change they can really believe in. We know that the MSM will be back in Obama’s corner again, that the real change will lack “respectability” no matter who the leaders of that change is. So let’s get a leader who really means it, who wants to avoid that controlled crash that’s coming. Whoever that person is, you can be sure he or she’s not “respectable.”
Two events collided in April 2011. The first was a so-called “deficit reduction” compromise that demonstrated how incredibly difficult it is when the immovable rock of Liberalism meets a squishy Conservatism. The second was the Obama speech yesterday.
The budget that Congress passed is a weak attempt to change the trajectory of an out-of-control Federal spending spree speeding the country to bankruptcy. It demonstrated that there are bedrock beliefs held by the Left that are not subject to compromise. Among those are federally funded abortions and government solutions to … everything. When Team Obama met their Republican counterparts whose objectives were less ironbound, and whose memories of earlier government shutdowns made them shudder, the result was a skirmish whose results – in fiscal terms – was impossible to distinguish from no engagement at all.
On Wednesday, April 14th Obama gave his reply to Paul Ryan’s proposal to reform government spending and make the social safety net sustainable. It was a slap across Ryan’s face and a stirring re-statement of Obama’s desire to make the Federal government the arbiter of all things and the source of all things. It was a demand that people turn the fruits of their labors over to the government to be distributed at the pleasure of government officials.
The Obama speech set the theme of his re-election campaign. The Republicans have been less steadfast and much more divided in their aims. Most in congress still have re-election as their number one objective, and if the country collapses on their watch it will be less traumatic – to them - than leaving Washington. The only saving grace is that the Tea Party caucus in Congress and the Tea Parties throughout the country are keeping the Republicans from collapsing altogether.
What this means is that there will be no solution to the fiscal crisis coming down the road until the 2012 election removes Obama from office. I don’t even want to think of what will happen if he remains.
Syrian soldiers have been shot by security forces after refusing to fire on protesters, witnesses said, as a crackdown on anti-government demonstrations intensified.
Witnesses told al-Jazeera and the BBC that some soldiers had refused to shoot after the army moved into Banias in the wake of intense protests on Friday.
Human rights monitors named Mourad Hejjo, a conscript from Madaya village, as one of those shot by security snipers. "His family and town are saying he refused to shoot at his people," said Wassim Tarif, a local human rights monitor
It's a lesson for dictators everywhere. To make sure that the military stays loyal, you shoot the ones who are not. Dictators who get a conscience get overthrown and usually end up dead themselves.
In the Middle East we are now seeing the difference between rulers who are hard and those who have become soft. The softest of the lot, Egypt's Mubarak, is already gone. Hard men like K.Daffy (and Bashar al-Assad) can defeat the rag-tag, unarmed rebels who thought that they were facing another aging despot. Aging he may be, but he's realistic about what it takes for a despot to cling to power. Students of Machiavelli take note.
If you can't be both loved and feared, pick feared.
You have to be a clueless idiot who never had to earn a living to tell someone who can’t afford to fill his gas tank at $4 per gallon that he needs to buy a new car.
And now the price of food is rising sharply along with the price of gas. The two biggest items on the household budget of the poor other than the mortgage or rent payment is food and gas. And those are skyrocketing.
And here is Obama promising that utility bills would also skyrocket.
Does Obama really want to see riots in the streets?
The poor, the elderly, and minorities are being hurt, not just by energy prices, but across the board. There are concerns that inflation is back, despite very low Fed rates. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics says “inflation is flat” after declining markedly after the economic meltdown in late 2008, it may now be on the rise again. ...
Fuel and food prices have been defined out of the calculation of “core inflation” by the the Fed. Excluding food and fuel from the accounts means measuring demand in categories for which demand has shrunk because less disposable income is left over. By measuring only non-food and non-fuel prices, policymakers can make the argument that inflation is actually stable or going down.
That may convince the press, but it may not convince the public. Inflation is the one piece of news that the administration’s allies in the media cannot conceal. The daily news from the supermarket cash register speaks, and the gas station is more eloquent than anything that the New York Times can print....
Goods are the one thing that cannot be conjured into existence by the dream-merchants and the ideologues. Huge rent-seeking industries and bureaucracies may have come up against the one enemy they cannot defeat: the drying-up of their own means of sustenance. They are starving themselves from their depredations; they have eaten out the landscape. And now the small mammals, nearly forgotten and trodden underfoot, are pouring out of their burrows and may eventually end the reign of the dinosaurs.
If prices start rising across the board the winter of 2011 could very well be the equivalent of Napoleon’s terrible winter of 1812, when the Grand Armee froze on its overextended advance. In President Obama’s case — with his simultaneous attempts at socialized medicine, cap and trade, and Mideast foreign policy — we may have seen the high-water market of his left-wing ideology. That may still be popular among the intellectuals, but it has been in practice disastrous for the poor. It has been especially catastrophic for blacks and Hispanics.
Just as Napoleon found he could not feed the Grand Armee in burned-out, desolate Moscow, will Barack Obama discover that he can’t sustain Hope and Change on itself? “We are the people we’ve been waiting for!” Yes. But you need the people you haven’t been waiting for to pay the bill.
Read the whole thing.
It would be the apex of irony if the wealthy were the only ones benefiting from the Obama regime while the middle class and the poor are destroyed.
To hear people like Harry Reed say it there's no problem with social security, Medicare, Medicaid, the national debt, government spending. Everything must go on as it has in the past because there is no problem and anyone who tries to change these programs wants to kill the elderly and the poor.
Harry Reid has much in common with other Leftist like Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain who has decided not to run for re-election after a recent opinion poll showed that more than 80 percent of Spanish voters have lost their trust in Zapatero, making him Spain’s least popular prime minister since the end of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1975. You can almost hear Harry Reed talking ….
... Zapatero wasted valuable time and energy denying that there actually was a problem. Spanish Socialists, like many postmodern relativists, believe that all problems are by definition imaginary and can be wished away by avoiding negative thoughts. In an effort to downplay the scale of Spain’s economic troubles, the Socialist government has established a seven-year track record of using an arsenal of postmodern euphemisms to avoid unpleasantries and to create a virtual Spanish reality.
In an interview with the Socialist mouthpiece El País, for example, Zapatero famously asserted that the idea that Spain was actually in trouble was “opinionable” and said that “it all depends upon what we mean by crisis.” He said that those warning about an impending economic crisis were being “unpatriotic” and that such talk was a “fallacy, pure catastrophism.” Zapatero also warned: “Let’s not turn economic forecasting into a fetish.” Think positive, he said: “To be optimistic is something more than a rational act. It is a moral requirement, an act of decency and, if I may say so, elegance.”
Thanks to Socialism and Liberalism, Spain is one of Europe’s PIIGS, a state on the brink of economic failure. A textbook example of national leadership that lives, like Obama, in a fairyland of their own creation.
Ann Coulter illustrates why the corrupt relationship between government employees and elected Democrats needs to be ended.
[In Wisconsin] ...the union representing school crossing guards filed a formal complaint over a sweet old man volunteering to get the kids across the street in Wausau, Wis. Warren Eschenbach, an 86-year-old retiree, had been volunteering each morning as a crossing guard at a school near his home. But according to the union, only a highly paid government employee should be permitted to do that job.
Fifth-grader Megan Sichterman, told WAOW, an ABC affiliate, "I was really sad because all the kids really like him. He's really nice to everybody, and I was kind of scared at the same time that we wouldn't see him on the corner anymore."
Even in the middle of the battle over collective bargaining rights for government unions, just last month the snowplow operators' union filed a grievance against Racine, Wis., to demand paid days off for snowplow operators ... after a snowstorm.
After a massive storm shut down the city for two days, snowplow operators thought they deserved two paid days off on account of all the snow, like other government employees got.
The snowplowers' union also filed a grievance against the city for hiring private plowing services to help with the snow removal. Perhaps it was that troublemaker Warren Eschenbach showing up with a snow shovel and volunteering to help clear the streets.
Hope and Change has crashed upon the craggy shores of reality.
Gitmo is still open and open for trials - a perfect double backflip rare even by Washington standards.
And then there were Mr. Obama’s worldly-wise assurances that peace would reign and everybody would love us if only we had a sophisticated, multilingual president who had lived abroad, on other continents, with roots in the Muslim world.
Instead, he has shepherded us from feared and loathed to just loathed. And, of course, mocked.
He also notes the difference inthe press treatment of Abu Ghraib and our troops murdering Afghan citizens and posing for gruesome pictures with the corpses.
In the weeks after Abu Ghraib came to light, White House reporters took every opportunity to demand answers from the very top of command.
In the course of just two press briefings and one short “gaggle” on Air Force One with the White House press secretary, reporters asked 97 questions about Abu Ghraib. President George W. Bush was compelled to give two interviews exclusively about the photos, and he was pressed about it during an unrelated event in the Rose Garden. The scandal dominated news coverage for months.
For contrast ...
In the two weeks since the first photographs were revealed, just once has the White House been pressed publicly about the pictures. And that one time was just a “quick follow” to a question about another matter.
Has the press suddenly developed a belief that shining a spotlight on criminal behaviour by our troops would undermine the war effort?
Hahahahahah ... you had me going there .... you crack me up.
Most people associate “brilliant analysis” with thinking that mirrors our own. I admit to that in my own thinking. With that confession, I suggest you read Stanley Kurtz essay in National Review online Samantha Power’s Power. It explains Obama through the writing and opinions of Samantha Power who is Obama’s senior director of multilateral affairs for the National Security Council. He has done the scholarship to explain exactly why Barack Obama’s foreign policies are designed to transfer America’s military power and distribute it to multinational institutions like the United Nations, much as he wants to “redistribute the wealth” in the US.
I have written about this frequently, which is why I find Kurtz’s analysis so compelling. For previous essays and short comments see:
Power might best be characterized as a pragmatic radical. Her outlook is “post-American,” an excellent example of what John Fonte has called “transnational progressivism.” Power means to slowly dismantle American sovereignty in favor of a constraining and ultimately redistributive regime of international law. It’s an odd position for a member of the president’s National Security Council, but then Power is no ordinary NSC staffer.
Power as a Chomsky acolyte:
Power makes it clear that she largely shares Chomsky’s policy goals, above all the curbing of American power via the building up of international law and related doctrines of “human rights.” In other words, Power sees herself as the clever sort of radical who works from within established institutions, without ever really sacrificing her rebellious ideals.
The reasons behind the reasons:
The important thing about Power is not that she favors humanitarian intervention, but that she seeks to use such military actions to transform America by undoing its sovereignty and immobilizing it, Gulliver-style, in an unfriendly international system.
Samantha Power has a lot to teach us about Barack Obama. She herself draws analogies between the need to redistribute wealth via health-care coverage and the need to divide military and diplomatic power (and, implicitly, wealth) more evenly through the international system. Power regularly invokes arguments for international law derived from America’s Founders and the West’s great liberal thinkers, as if her goal were the founding of a government of the world. In truth, that is what Power is up to, even if she sees her project as a long-term collective effort necessarily extending beyond her own lifetime.
Power and Obama as masters of disguise:
On rare occasions, Power comes straight out and admits that the sorts of interventions she favors constitute an almost pure cost to American national interest, traditionally defined. More often, she retreats into the language of “pragmatism” and “self-interest” to justify what she knows Americans will not support on its own terms. That is Samantha Power’s way and, not coincidentally, Barack Obama’s way as well.
At some point, after we’ve all done our best to fit the president’s puzzling Libyan adventure into our accustomed conceptual frameworks, we just might wake up and discover what has been going on behind the curtain. When we do, the answer will be found in the writings of Samantha Power.
I have said many times that with many people, and especially with Barack Obama, that you learn much more about them by seeing who their friends are than by listening to them talk. They are practiced are using mirrors to hide their actual beliefs by reflecting your own beliefs back at you. To know and understand Obama you have to understand that he IS Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Samantha Power, Van Jones, and all the other Leftists and radicals that he grew up with and has brought into his administration. This is what he believes and this is how he thinks, no matter how it’s disguised to make you think that he agrees with your ideals. His aim is radical transformation via misdirection.
I am amazed that even after two years of the Obama Experience some people still don’t get it. John Hanna writing in National Review believes that Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East has been such a failure that Obama will change, and gives suggestions for what those changes should be. I believe Hanna is suffering from an illusion. The illusion is that Obama wishes a continuation of previous American foreign policy objectives.
Why is there this illusion? Most politicians make promises that exaggerate their ability or desire to make changes. The most we ask of our political class is that they stay reasonably honest, don't do anything to make our lives worse, and not to screw up. Yet Obama ran on "change." His wife promised us that "Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed." Most people thought that was campaign blather. It wasn't. But people did not believe it for one very good reason: Barack is particularly good at letting people think that he agrees with them. If people are going to change, it's the other guy who's going to do the changing; "Barack agrees with me" is the belief of the deluded "moderate."
People can disguise who they are, but they can be understood through their friends. Obama is particularly good at being a political chameleon; a blank screen on which people can project their personal desires. Richard Epstein, who has known Obama for years testifies to the fact that even in face to face encounters, Obama remains inscrutable. His technique is asking questions rather than answering them. "He's very, very dogmatic ... knows what he believes and he knows why he believes it and it's extremely difficult for people on the outside to change his mind." Epstein believes that Obama lives in a "fairyland" which causes him to create programs and policies that are destined to fail or make matters worse.
In speeches he is the master of the false choice. His false choices are designed to make his appear as the moderate middle between two extremes.
But it does not take a mind reader to understand Obama. Forget what he says. Check out his friends and mentors; Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright for starters. Observe what he does. He is a committed Leftist. To understand how he will act, all you need to know is what the Left in the US believes.
In the Middle East, you can expect Obama to side reactively with the regimes that have been hostile to the US and vice versa. Why? Because the Left believes that US foreign policy has not simply been mistaken but evil. Just as Obama campaigned and began his administration as the anti-Bush, his foreign policy is anti-former-US-policy. In Obama World the enemies of the US were victims of an evil policy of neocolonial expansion and exploitation. Conversely, the friends of the US are the running dogs of imperialism and deserve to be overthrown and replaced by an authentic indigenous regime. And if that regime is hostile to the US, that’s our fault for supporting the corrupt regime that was overthrown.
In view of Obama’s worldview it’s really interesting that he unleashed the military on Libya. K.Daffy is no friend of America. On the other hand, his oil is being extracted by European oil companies and is flowing to European countries. He revealed his nuclear ambitions, fearing to follow in the footsteps of Saddam Hussein. All in all, Libya was no Iran or Syria, regimes which have stood up to what Obama views as "American hegemony" and for which Obama has a warm spot. So when the political pressure got too much, Obama decide to throw K.Daffy under the bus, joining a sizable pile of bodies who have found themselves to be inconvenient to his ambitions.
So it intrigues me that John Hanna thinks that Obama should wish to change his policies in the Middle East. From the traditional view of American interest and foreign policy, Obama’s policy is a disaster. From Obama’s perspective, he has been hindered from carrying out his policy, not by the regimes in the Middle East, but by elements of the American government. Not everyone in the Federal government is a committed Leftist. That transformation takes time. This is why Obama is the first candidate to announce his campaign for 2012.
It appears that members of congress are re-thinking that "freedom of speech" thing.
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional lawmakers all are discussing taking some action in response to the Koran burnings of a Tennessee pastor that led to killings at the U.N. facility in Afghanistan and sparked protests across the Middle East, Politico reports. . . . Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech, in light of Tennessee pastor Terry Jones’ Quran burning, and how such actions result in enabling U.S. enemies.”
The last time we had this conversation we defined “freedom of speech” as the right to dance in the nude, burn the flag, submerge a crucifix in urine, cover the Virgin Mary in dung, post pornography on the internet an occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol with a mob. Now is may have encountered a unique exception: burning a Koran.
“If only Terry Jones had submerged a Koran in a jar of urine, the entire world (or at least the Left) would have proclaimed this a great work of art. As for those who protested: bigots all.”
Robinson: You are quoted in the Boston Globe, "I like Obama but I reject the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual." How good is Obama's mind?
Epstein: His positions are not close to the middle, and so he sees no reason to compromise with Republicans unless and until they can mount a veto threat in the Senate. He is very, very dogmatic about his substantive positions. He knows what he believes and he knows why he believes it, and it is extremely difficult for people on the outside to change his mind.
The fundamental mistake of his entire world view is that he treats contracts as devices for exploitation and not as devices for mutual gain, and he assumes that redistribution can take place without any negative impact upon production.
If you live in that kind of a fairy land, which I think he does, every one of his major social and economic initiatives are going to misfire. And, if they succeed, God forbid, in getting through, they are going to intensify the downturn that we have already experienced. He is the wrong guy for the job based on his intellectual format. The question is whether you can force him back.
Bob Murphy described the “recovery” like this: "Say you break a leg while running. Now you have to crawl, but you are able to get from here to there. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, you are
in recovery when you are crawling faster than when you first hit the ground in agony."
The job market has become somewhat adept at crawling through the mud, so today’s lackluster, but positive, jobs report has the usual sources declaring that the labor market is “making some serious progress.”
Part of the problem is that the American distrust of intellectualism is itself not the irrational thing that those sympathetic to intellectuals would like to think. Intellectuals killed by the millions in the 20th century, and it actually takes the sophisticated training of "education" to work yourself up into a state where you refuse to count that in the books.
Intellectuals routinely declared things that aren't true; catastrophically wrong predictions about the economy, catastrophically wrong pronouncements about foreign policy, and just generally numerous times where they've been wrong. Again, it takes a lot of training to ignore this fact. "Scientists" collectively were witnessed by the public flipflopping at a relatively high frequency on numerous topics; how many times did eggs go back and forth between being deadly and beneficial?
It takes an intellectual to screw things up so badly that entire nations collapse.
The solution to climate change lies not in the hands of politicians, but some seriously nutty scientists.
For the uninitiated, Geo-engineering is easiest explained as the plan B in the fight against climate change, in case our politicians and world leaders fail. And as the Kyoto agreement is due 2012, with both Bali and Copenhagen settled disappointments, it is perhaps time for drastic action.
Scientists all over the world are already on it.
10. Ocean Iron Fertilization “Give me half a tanker of iron, and I’ll give you an ice age” ~John Martin, discoverer of the Ocean Iron Fertilization Idea.
Want to read about a paper that’s cheering on the rise in gas prices? In the print copy of the Virginian Pilot the headline reads “Gasoline prices gaining ground.”
“Gasoline prices gaining ground.”“Gaining Ground?” Are the American people cheering on the rise of gas prices as if they were VCU in the Final Four? How about gas prices have doubled in the last two years? Headline in the Washington Times blog page: Gasoline up 100% under Obama.
How about gas pieces acting like a heavy tax on the American people? How about gas prices making everything we consume more expensive? How about the Greens, the Left, Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) taking every opportunity to stifle domestic gas, oil, nuclear and coal production? How committed to the Obama Administration and its Luddite energy policies do you have to be to write a headline about skyrocketing gas prices like “Gasoline prices gaining ground.”
The subhead in the print edition reads “Filling up at the pump isn’t fun for the purse, but it could be worse.”
“… it could be worse.” Why yes, gas prices could be $8 a gallon … $25 dollars a gallon … not available at any price. This is stupidity on stilts. No, check that. This is pure ObamaSpeak. It’s right up there with “jobs saved.” It’s right up there with multi-trillion dollar deficits which “could be worse, (what comes after a trillion)?” It’s similar to starting a third war with a country for no vital national interest without consulting with either Congress or the American people; it could be worse!
I don’t know who is responsible for the headlines, the “reporter,” Philip Walzer, or some editor, but the choice of viewpoint in this article is obvious. This is a Virginian Pilot editorial disguised as a news article taking the most positive spin on the fact that gasoline prices have doubled in the last two years under the Obama administration.
In news stories the theme is typically reinforced by the choice of people the reporter chooses to quote. In this case, we have the manager of a cab company telling us that "Until it goes over $4, I'm not going to raise my eyebrows about it." This, despite the fact that his drivers pay “…an extra $12 to $15 daily.” That’s about $5500 annually for you MBAs out there. But there’s a difference between cab drivers and everyone else. Cab drivers can raise their rates to cover their fuel costs. You can’t.
You may note that the on-line version of this story doesn’t have the propaganda headlines. Perhaps someone realized that this attempt to make light of the cost of gas was a little too much and decided to change it. But it shows you the way the MSM manipulates and uses propaganda to frame every situation in such a way that it helps their ideological cause. I have little problem with opinion writers who propagandize, that’s what they’re paid to do. But the news should not be political propaganda; and it’s a leading reason that print media is rapidly being phased out of people’s lives as a source of information. We can get all of our opinion and facts on-line from many different sources. Why pay to have it delivered to your doorstep in such crude form?