Archives for: February 2013

Notes On A Sequester

A few notes on the budget sequester that is schedule to happen tonight.

First, it’s going to happen. We may, eventually, get something else to replace it. But it has been obvious to me for two weeks now that the sequester is going to happen. The writing on the wall was when Congress went on vacation and the politicos spent time blaming each other rather than talking about solutions.

The reason it’s going to happen is not because it’s necessarily a good idea. It’s because replacing it entails a lot more work and political risk than our lazy cowardly leaders are willing to take on. They would much rather throw some blame on those idiots in the last Congress and the last Administration and hope that no one notices that the two groups of idiots are almost exactly the same. In fact, one of them still occupies the same big white house he did back in 2011.

The Woodward story Alex cites below (and the subsequent liberal freakout) comes from the allegation by Woodward that the sequester was Obama’s idea. Obama can tolerate a sequester; but he won’t tolerate being blamed for it. That, in a nutshell, is the sequester debate.

Second, the sequester is a very poor way of cutting spending. To give you just a few examples. Vaccination programs are going to be cut, perhaps resulting in tens or hundreds of thousands of missed shots. Vaccinations are a public interest. Unvaccinated kids don’t just put themselves at risk; they put everyone at risk because they compromise herd immunity. You’d have to dig pretty deep into Ayn Rand or Adam Smith to justify putting the public health at risk.

To give you another example, detained immigrants are being released because we won’t have the personnel to keep them in detention (although this raises a host of side issues, such as the atrocity of illegals being in detention for years awaiting hearing). On the other hand, it appears that supervised release is both perfectly doable and infinitely cheaper. In the end, this may be a win-win.

State governments are also up in arms including many died-in-the-wool conservatives like Jindal, Haley, McDonnell, Hubert and Walker. They are, inadvertently, revealing how often “responsible balanced state budgets” are balanced by the influx of federal dollars. But they are also very aware that a blind cut in education spending, for example, runs into a thorn maze of regulations, union rules and laws. The end result may be disastrous.

Supporters have pointed that $85 billion isn’t a lot in a $3.5 trillion budget. It is, a lot, however, when it is narrowed to a thin slice of spending with almost all entitlements exempted. For most programs, you’re looking at 10% cuts. And programs that need to be completely gutted — ethanol support for example — are hurt just as much as programs that are desperately needed like law enforcement.

However, …

Third, I don’t think this is going to be the economic disaster a lot are foretelling. I’ve seen estimates that this could destroy a couple of million jobs and plunge us back into recession. That seems absurd, given the scale of cut we’re talking about and Congress’s ability to reverse them. We’ve had cuts much larger than this in the past. Somehow, we’ve survived.

Fourth, I think this once again demonstrates how useless our leaders are. They came up with the sequester a year and a half ago as a way to force themselves to make smart cuts in the budget. This could be replaced, quite easily, with a package that reins in entitlements (e.g, chained CPI on Social Security) and kills some pointless government programs (e.g., ethanol subsidies, the second engine for the hyper-expensive F-35). They have had eighteen fucking months of holding that gun to their own heads. And now they are sitting on their hands waiting for the gun to go off so they can blame each other.

Why do we even have a Congress? Why do we even have a President? They aren’t doing their jobs. Maybe it’s time for the governors to say “that’s it” and pull the plug on this shit show.

In the end, this will be a relatively small cut in spending that could have very bad side effects and does nothing to address the tens of trillions in unfunded liability for entitlements (to which Obamacare is now estimated to add $6.2 trillion). That’s not exactly a solution.

(Disclosure: As a grant-funded scientist, I should note what the sequester will do to research funding (which has strangely been falling under the leadership of the “Party of Science”). You can see details here. No matter how you slice it, you’re looking at thousands of scientists out of work. And not scientists doing research on crab boners or something. This includes NIH-funded research on medicine, cancer treatment, public health and antibiotics. I suspect this will also mean a lot of people leaving for other countries to do research.

I won’t comment on the wisdom of this; my opinion is probably easy to discern. I mention it here so you can weigh it in considering my opinion of the sequester in general.)

Blue on blue fight coming after WH goes after Woodward?

Unless you have been living under a rock or get your news from the usual LSM outlets, you must have heard about the controversy caused when the WH threatened Woodward for pointing out how fucked up Team Obama is. The LSM is in a freaking tizzy, but I can go back to before the election where many people, like Barone, predicted the coming Obama thugocracy. These Team Obama people make Nixon look like a piker. First they denied then they threatened Woodward until there was no denying it, but the truth is coming out. Politico has the emails where a senior WH Exec threatened Woodward, so now they are just left with damage control. That means they will make Woodward pay for daring to point out how despicable and crazy they are. Mind you, Woodward is no right winger, he is as leftcore as they get, and he is not alone, as other stories like Ron Fournier getting the rubber glove treatment from the WH, or former Clinton staffer Lanny Davis being told his access would be revoked, are now surfacing.

What this story boils down to is that this WH has an enemies list, and they are neither afraid nor restrained in their response to said enemies. In fact, they are so brazen that they have no compunction threatening a member of the LSM that had already brought down another president, over much less, with serious payback, and felt they could get away with it. They figured the only people that would dare care, and then only if Woodward had the cajones to talk, would be the evil conservatives. The rest of the LSM? They will do what they are told, because they know where their bread is buttered.

I have never been a fan of Woodward, but I see kind of find this stuff he said tame compared to the truth I see going on. His crime I guess is to not bow down to the Emperor and his inner circle’s wishes to be portrayed as the exact opposite of what they really are. The collectivists have no clue what they are doing, and I hazard to point out that things have not completely fallen apart despite what they are doing. If the LSM actually reported how stupid the left really is, can you imagine Obama being reelected? The LSM reports how incredibly stupid the shit the left does like this, and those of us that want to find out what is really going on are left to find the WH lying yet again elsewhere.

No wonder that with the LSM behaving like it does,covering and shilling for them, the WH thought they could give Woodward the shakedown with impunity. I am going to enjoy watching this blue on blue massacre. PASS THE POPCORN!

Fifth column jokes somehow fall short after this..

No excuses for shit like this. You can’t make this stuff up. Orwellian is an understatement. My leftist friends have all been telling me this is all much ado about nothing, and that anyone that feels this sort of stuff is a sign of something real bad is just plain crazy. Let’s set the stage:

ABC is defending its decision to edit out an apparently erroneous claim by Michelle Obama in its broadcast of the first lady’s interview on Good Morning America today, saying it made the changes “solely” for the sake of time.

As The Washington Examiner reported this morning, the first lady claimed during an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts that 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed in Chicago shortly after performing during the President’s Inauguration, was shot because “some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.”

In fact, Chicago Police reported Pendleton was shot by a man who “opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car,” according to the Associated Press.

Get the frack out of here! First another nanny stater gun-grabber tells another huge lie to serve the disarmament of the people narrative, then the LSM compounds it by hiding the lie to protect the nanny stater and the narrative, but this is all much ado about nothing? We aren’t talking about government telling a lie in a campaign to take away 32 ounce big gulps or ban food cooked by vendors in trucks, and the media then helping hide that lie for them, here. These fuckers are lying for a cause that basically undermines the one right in our Constitution that enables “We the People” to defend the other ones from what this government clearly wants to be: tyrannical. And the media is willingly enabling their cause and lies.

And the insane shit keeps going on while the powers that be pretend nothing bad is happening. There is a reason that the last century of collectivist history is mired in deep blood, death, and misery on a scale not seen by mankind ever before. Over 100 million have been murdered by these people. Billions have been held prisoner and subjected to misery, in their own countries, for their master’s sake. And it was all done under the guise of some benevolent well-meaning leaders crusading to bring justice and equality to the downtrodden masses. Power to the people! Except the power only goes to some elite scumbag (s) that then use it to kill, torture, oppress, abuse, and exploit those that stand in their way as well as those that can’t line up fast enough to suck their cocks or kiss their asses in the hopes of getting some scraps thrown their way.

There is a reason we should all piss our pants with fear whenever we hear the words “We are from the government and we are here to help you”, and examples like this story, where our government lies to push an agenda that would leave the citizenry weakened and less able to protect itself from said government’s tyranny, only to then have the lie covered up and compounded by a complicit media, validate that fear we should all have. All you have to do is replace the liar with a conservative – take any Boosh if you really want to stress the point – and the lie doesn’t have to even be in a cause as vile as depriving the citizens of the right to defense, then have someone on fox News do a whitewash for the liar. How do you think the left would take that?

If it was not for a double standard…

Shut Up, Citizen

Radley Balko has been running a series of “Raid of the Day” articles over at HuffPo as preparation for the publication of his “Rise of the Warrior Cop” book (which I’ve pre-ordered). Today‘s should turn your stomach:

On Monday, the Miami Herald posted an article about rising support for legalized medical marijuana in the state of Florida. The article mentioned an pro-pot activist named Cathy Jordan, who uses the drug to mitigate the symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease. The article mentioned Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake worth), who is sponsoring a bill to legalize the drug. That bill is named after Jordan.

The Bradeton Herald now reports that just hours after that article ran, a team of ski-mask-clad deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department staged a guns-drawn raid on Robert and Cathy Jordan’s home. According to Robert Jordan, the cops seized 23 marijuana plants, including the two mature plants his wife uses to treat her illness. They made no arrests.

The raid is a stark example of the troubling trend of using paramilitary police tactics to send a political message. Set aside for a moment the sheer cruelty of sending government agents to separate a suffering, terminally ill woman from the medication that gives her some relief. (And yes, that’s a major thing to set aside.) Why ski masks? Why come in with guns drawn? Did the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department really think that wheelchair-bound Cathy Jordan and her 64-year-old husband were a threat?

No, of course they didn’t. This was about making an example of someone. Cathy Jordan’s name is on a bill to legalize medical pot in Florida. So it was up to Florida law enforcement to bring the boot down upon Cathy Jordan’s neck.

Medical marijuana is not legal in Florida and Jordan was breaking the law. I’m not going to disagree with that. But as Balko points out, you have to question the priorities here. Even if we say that busting a terminally ill senior citizen was a wise use of limited police resources, why in the blue fuck would you have a violent raid? These raids are usually justified — often flimsily — by the potential for violent resistance. Ignoring, for the moment, that the threat can be mitigated by grabbing people at work or at their cars during the day, were they expecting this sufferer of Lou Gehrig’s disease to whip out a bazooka?

The cops claim they were tipped off by a real estate agent who saw marijuana plants through the window. I would not be surprised at all if it turns out these plants could not be seen through a window (a common three of the “raids of the day” is bad and bogus tips). I find it difficult to believe that a raid was launched by pure coincidence on the person Florida’s medical marijuana proposal is named after. And given that the cops didn’t arrest anyone and it’s still not clear that they’ll bring charges, I have to think the point was to send a message.

We need to remember something in the debate over legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana. There are legions of people whose livelihoods and careers depend on the War on Drugs. Prosecutors who can get convictions; prison unions and private prisons who can jail the convicted; politicians who get to grandstand. And police and their unions, who see a reason for more hires and often directly benefit from asset forfeiture. Check out this article about the fierce police union opposition to even token reform of Georgia’s asset forfeiture laws.

But returning to the political point — Balko again:

Here is the point: If we’ve reached the point where we’re okay with — or at best complacent about — the government using violence to make an example of someone because of their political activism, then we’ve lost our grip on the principles that make free societies free. That these excessive, militarized raids on medical marijuana grows, clinics, and activists have been going on since the 1990s is a strong — and sad — indication that we let go of those values a long time ago.

Exactly. I keep thinking of Siobhan Reynolds, who advocated for people who need large opiate prescriptions to deal with chronic pain. She was relentlessly harassed and intimidated by federal agents and prosecutors. They even used grand jury privacy laws against her to keep their investigations secret (grand jury proceeding are supposed to be confidential to protect the accused. Using them to conceal government actions is an abuse of the process. And federal prosecutors have shown little interest in grand jury confidentiality in high-profile cases like Barry Bonds).

The Drug Warriors are losing. They are losing the War on Drugs and they are losing the political fight over it. The American people are slowly growing sick of this absurdity and slowly realizing that harm mitigation and treatment are a far better cure for our nation’s drug problem than guns and prisons. But they Drug Warriors will not go down without a fight. And, in this case, the fight is quite literal.

Blue State model failure double down!

If you wonder why the blue state model is so destructive economically, take a look at the insanity reported as intelligent proposals by greedy pols in this story. Particularly this:

Rep. Betsy Ritter, a Waterford Democrat, not only has sponsored a “combined reporting” bill, but she has also proposed a hoarder’s tax. This would place a levy on liquid assets — companies with a lot of money in the bank — and dedicate the proceeds to job creation programs.

Ritter, whose district includes the state’s two nuclear power plants at Millstone Point, is one of a dozen lawmakers who contend that Malloy’s plans to extend the electricity generation tax could cost southeastern Connecticut hundreds of jobs.

While Malloy has said repeatedly this is not the time to raise taxes, that line already has been crossed, Ritter said.

“It sounds to me like the legislature is respectfully saying (tax increases) are something we have to have on the table to have a balanced discussion about the budget,” she said.

Malloy stuck those of us paying taxes in the People’s Republic of Connecticut with an across the board massive tax hike last year already, an the sheeple of this state almost revolted. That is why he is so reluctant about any more increases. But the other idiot collectivists kike this Ritter idiot don’t care. To morons like Ritter it’s the government’s money and they decide how much they should let you keep.

Like all the blue states, Connecticut has much higher unemployment than the average, and the numbers are far worse when you consider underemployment. The state tries real hard to put lipstick on this pig to make it look less ugly, but the truth can not be hidden. And politicians like this Ritter are the reason why businesses are leaving or not growing. This politician is not driven by any desire to do good. It is plain and simple envy, greed, and megalomania that produces ideas as stupid as this one.

Unfortunately for the collectivist blue model nanny staters, the massive amount of failures of their previous socio-engineering policies is now leaving them with no option than to resort to outright coercion and extortion, albeit through the law, to force businesses to act like collectivist work mills, just like government does, even when doing so will be financially ruinous to said businesses. Shining turds is a job, but it produces no value for either the business or the customer. Of course idiots like Ritter will just pass a law to make people have to buy polished turds, and that solves the problem.

Fucking idiots.

If you want to be pissed at the big banks do it for this reason

Because having politicians making rules that pay off their favorite big banks in return for the big money and power they then help the politician get is the real reason to be pissed at these big banks that are in bed with the politicians.

So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?

Granted, it’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s also crucial to understanding why the big banks present such a threat to the global economy.

Let’s start with a bit of background. Banks have a powerful incentive to get big and unwieldy. The larger they are, the more disastrous their failure would be and the more certain they can be of a government bailout in an emergency. The result is an implicit subsidy: The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail.

Government likes them big and dependent, because that’s how you get your tit-for-tat going. I remember how we got told by the nanny staters back in the 80s that if they didn’t bail out the S&L banks that where going to go belly up we would get hammered and our economy would never recover. Reagan told them to go pound sand and let the banks that had done the stupid stuff which landed them in the trouble they were in go dead. A year later the economy was flying again, and the banks that had not engaged in the risky and stupid behavior took up the slack and earned the rewards for having done the right thing.

But not everyone took that lesson to heart. Less than a decade later we had government literally change the rules to make it a given that we would end up with these super banks that would then be too big to fail. Most of the impetus behind that was the whole home ownership lending industry, which necessitated an inordinate level of meddling by government in the whole market to force the economically disastrous socio-engineering steps government wanted all lenders to bow down to. Before you start arguing with me that the problem isn’t the incestuous relationship that allows politicians to reap huge benefits from tax payer subsidized big banks, check this section from this article out:

Neither bank executives nor shareholders have much incentive to change the situation. On the contrary, the financial industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle on campaign donations and lobbying, much of which is aimed at maintaining the subsidy. The result is a bloated financial sector and recurring credit gluts. Left unchecked, the superbanks could ultimately require bailouts that exceed the government’s resources. Picture a meltdown in which the Treasury is helpless to step in as it did in 2008 and 2009.

Note that the focus is on how the financial industry spends all that money lobbying for the tax payer subsidy, implying that the problem is the financial industry and lobbying. But the issue isn’t that they are doing this lobbying. It’s that our politicians have create a system that benefits them immensely because it all but necessitates these unviable entities buying favors from them.

I am now convinced TARP was a bad idea, even when it was half of what Pelosi and her clique eventually jacked it up to. We should have let these behemoths implode and the institutions that had not participated with government in the myriad of ludicrous socio-engineering schemes pick their carcasses clean. Of course, if the nanny state hyenas in government had allowed this to happen, they could kiss any and all attempts at coercing banks to go along with any existing and future socio-engineering schemes goodbye, and the socio-engineering politicians would rather throw away trillions of tax payer dollars and destroy the country than lose their power, influence, and money making schemes and scams.

Me, I say cut these big banks off. Let them die. And let the f-ing politicians that support them, in either party, die with them. No freebees from tax payers to line politician’s pockets.

He got the name form Borat, is my guess.

Well, as if we needed more proof that the left is full of idiots and if it was not for the LSM helping cover their gaffes while exaggerating, if not outright fabricating, stupid moments from the right, we get a new country from John F-ing Kerry – “Did I tell you I had 3 Purple Hearts?” – whom couldn’t beat that idiot cowboy the left so hated back when for trouncing another genius, ManBearPig. From the foreign press, which seems to be the only consistent way to find out how stupid the leftist politicians in the US really are, because as I pointed out, the LSM works to cover for these morons:

In an embarrassing slip of the tongue, Mr Kerry last week praised US diplomats working to secure “democratic institutions” in the Central Asian country, which does not exist.

The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan.

The State Department kindly omitted the error in the official transcript of Wednesday’s speech, which Mr Kerry delivered on the eve of his first foreign trip as secretary of state.

Yeah, they get away with shit like this because our press is bought & paid for by the DNC. But hey, those of us that feel this is a dangerous and sever problem are the ones that should just get over it and work harder at reaching for what passes for the usual uninformed voters that keeps voting for leftards.

At least Borat was cool and worthy of a high five. Man, are we in good hands. These geniuses sure know how to do foreign policy better than the cowboys that preceded them. Heh.

Clearly We Are Paranoid

The last few months, we’ve been told that the Democrats are only seeking sensible gun control. Mother Jones listed “they’re coming fer our guuuuns” as their #1 myth in their debunking. Clearly, only a paranoid Right wing loon would actually believe that … aw, crap.

Oregon has a new gun law proposal. Jazz Shaw runs down the basic:

Creates crime of unlawful possession or transfer of assault weapon or large capacity magazine.

Punishes by maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both.

Requires current owners to dispose of or register assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

Think about that. You could be put in prison for ten years for having a magazine larger than some legislators think you should or having a gun that looks kind of scary. Those are the same sentences you would get for having an illegal full-on machine gun. In addition to machine-gun like penalties, there are machine-gun like restrictions. Owners have to discard or destroy them. Some may be allowed to keep them but will be forced to register and cops will be authorized to check to make sure the weapons are stored safely.

The way machine guns are regulated is the way the gun grabbers want every weapon to be regulated. They have stated as much on numerous occasions, only backing off for the last few years because gun control isn’t popular. Oregon’s law makes it clear that the intention is to extend the law further this time; at least as far as they think they can get away with for now.

The election must be over…

Because as usual with the green communists in charge and their insane energy policies, gas prices are going up. I found some old receipts and was doing the math, and 37 days ago I filled up at $3.48 a gallon. Yesterday I paid $3.93 for each gallon. That’s a 45 cent jump in just 37 days, and there is no economic boon anywhere to justify increased demand for oil. So, WTF is going on? From the article:

The price spike is due largely to the rising cost of crude oil and the earlier-than-usual shutdown of many U.S. refineries. The refineries shut down to do maintenance and switch over to a summer blend of gas, but the closings create temporary shortages that drive up prices.

I bolded what is really the most important component responsible for both the lower production numbers and the real reason prices are going up. Crude prizes have gone up, but from here we see the following:

•EIA expects that the Brent crude oil spot price, which averaged $112 per barrel in 2012 and rose to $119 per barrel in early February 2013, will average $109 per barrel in 2013 and $101 per barrel in 2014. The projected discount of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to Brent, which averaged $18 per barrel in 2012, averages $9 per barrel in 2014 as planned new pipeline capacity lowers the cost of moving midcontinent crude oil to the Gulf Coast refining centers.

Prices went up $5 per barrel since last year in February. In fact, crude prices have not gone up considerably because the US is now pumping lots of oil, but one of the problems we still have is that moving that oil around to get it sold is still being hindered by the stupid greens. Get used to paying more for gas. A lot more. That’s their energy policy in a nut shell. And they don’t have to hide their plans anymore for at least another year or two, since they got the gullible to vote for them.