Archive for March, 2009

What is Truth?

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I understand that politicians weave and dodge and spin. That’s what they do. But, you know, there are degrees. George W. Bush may not have always made the correct decision, but he was, relatively speaking, a what you see is what you get kind of guy.

As an out Republican, I am of course axiomatically a racist, but it is not Obama’s race, or half-race, that bothers me. What bothers me is the President’s flexible relationship with the truth.

Following are some excerpts from Obama’s press conference that, in my opinion, are bald-faced lies. Well, not really bald-faced. They are actually very hirsute lies, but they are falsehoods that the press corps would never ever have allowed Bush to get away with.

…moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.

I’m as angry as anybody about those bonuses that went to some of the very same individuals who brought our financial system to its knees, partly because it’s yet another symptom of the culture that led us to this point. [His Treasury Secretary inserted approval of the AIG bonuses into the bill, via Chris Dodd, and Obama signed it.]

What we can’t do, though, is sacrifice long-term growth, investments that are critical to the future, and that’s why my budget focuses on health care, energy, education, the kinds of things that can build a foundation for long-term economic growth, as opposed to the fleeting prosperity that we’ve seen over the last several years. [Fleeting meaning almost constant growth and prosperity for the last 20 years.]

…What I’ve tried to do is to be out front as much as possible explaining in very clear terms exactly what we’re doing. [Really? Exactly how much are all of those toxic assets worth? It’s been several months now. Are they really that hard to figure out?]

When it comes to cap-and-trade, the broader principle is that we’ve got to move to a new energy era, and that means moving away from polluting energy sources towards cleaner energy sources. That is a potential engine for economic growth. I think cap-and-trade is the best way, from my perspective, to achieve some of those gains, because what it does is it starts pricing the pollution that’s being sent into the atmosphere. [by “pollution” he means carbon dioxide. You know, the gas that is exhaled by mammals, which is a miniscule fraction of the presence in the atmosphere of that other much more potent polluting greenhouse gas, water vapor.]

Both under our estimates and under the CBO estimates, both — the most conservative estimates out there, we drive down the deficit over the first five years of our budget. The deficit is cut in half. And folks aren’t disputing that. [The deficit is cut in half after it is first doubled, or, more realistically, tripled.]

Our assumptions are perfectly consistent with what Blue Chip forecasters out there are saying. [No credible economist expects the growth figures that Obama is projecting, including Paul Krugman.]

look, I’m not going to lie to you.

…we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.

…the best way for us to do that is to reduce health care costs. That’s not just my opinion. That’s the opinion of almost every single person who has looked at our long-term fiscal situation. [Hardly.]

It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak. [He knew about the bonuses weeks before it became public.]

Now, if it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that that shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you’re giving that $100 to the homeless shelter down the street. [Yeah, right.]

…if you look at the evidence, there’s very little evidence that this has a significant impact on charitable giving. [What evidence is that, Mr. President?]

QUESTION: In your remarks on stem cell research earlier this month, you talked about a majority consensus in determining whether or not this is the right thing to do, to federally fund embryonic stem cell research. I’m just wondering, though, how much you personally wrestled with the morality or ethics of federally funding this kind of research, especially given the fact that science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult stem cells, but not a lot with embryonic?

OBAMA: OK. No, I think it’s — I think it’s a legitimate question. I — I wrestle with these issues every day. [I thought it was all about science?]

…and I respect people who have different opinions on this issue. [yeah, right.]

When it comes to Iran, you know, we did a video, sending a message to the Iranian people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And some people said, “Well, they did not immediately say that we’re eliminating nuclear weapons and stop funding terrorism.” Well, we didn’t expect that. We expect that we’re going to make steady progress on this front. [Nobody ever said anything of the sort.]

A Modest Proposal

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Nancy and Harry and Barack aren’t as dumb as they look. The Democrats, and, to their credit, half of the Republicans, in Congress may have stumbled onto a way to pay off the deficit and provide free health care and college educations and energy for everyone. It’s so simple, so obvious once you see it.

Tax the unpopular!

In the upcoming census, which is to be contracted out to ACORN and overseen by Rahm Emanuel, get everybody’s opinions of their neighbors, collate the results and raise the taxes of the unpopular to 90%. That would not only solve the fiscal problem, but it would motivate the citizenry to be nice. It may not be possible to make us all love our neighbor, but you could sure make everybody pretend to love their neighbor.

And the tax wouldn’t be applied to current income. It would be applied retroactively to the previous 4 year’s income, since that’s when those rotten bastards were making themselves so unpopular. Why limit ourselves to employees of AIG? Let’s tax the crap out of everybody we don’t like! Watch out, Rush Limbaugh, you SOB! We’re comin’ for your money!

Bringing It All Back Home

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Hey, maybe we can all unite around Pat Buchanan. It is St. Paddy’s day after all, even if Pat is an Orangeman, as are my ancestors, Scottish owners of a pub in Dublin. Better for the Scots to be in charge.

If the global financial system is going down, and I’m tellin’ you it is, my friends, then Pat is right. Globalization, no matter what its theoretical virtues, has become a way in which the rest of the world will drag the U.S. down with it.

If we close off the borders to immigration and trade, we will suffer a decline in our average standard of living. Some goods will become more expensive. Some will decline in quality. We will have to drive American cars. But we will have full employment, a solid domestic currency, and a decent federal balance sheet. The decline in our standard of living will be far, far less than what it will be if we remain tied to the rest of the “global economy”.

The global economy is quickly approaching the mythological status of “global warming”, or, excuse me, “climate change”.

The real scandal of the latest AIG bail-out is not the $165 million bonuses to the executives, but rather the more than $50 billion (that’s a $thousand million each) that went from AIG to foreign banks.

Our children and grandchildren are now in hock because of banks in Germany.

Protect the depositers, let the banks go out of business, let China go hang. Come home.

Obama Lies About Earmarks

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Here is my definition of earmarks:

Earmarks are sometimes payoffs to campaign contributors, and sometimes possibly worthy projects for a Congressperson’s home district, that are inserted into appropriation legislation, without debate or oversight, the number and amounts of which are based on a Congressperson’s seniority and committee assignments.

Here is a definition of earmarks from the Office of Management and Budget:

  • Earmarks vs. Unrequested Funding. At the broadest level, unrequested funding is any additional funding provided by the Congress — in either bill or report language — for activities/projects/programs not requested by the Administration. Earmarks are a subset of unrequested funding. The distinction between earmarks and unrequested funding is programmatic control or lack thereof of in the allocation process.
  • Earmarks and Programmatic “Control.” If the congressional direction accompanying a project/program/funding in an appropriations bill or report or other communication purports to affect the ability of the Administration to control critical aspects of the awards process for the project/program/funding, this IS an earmark. Note: The definition of “control critical aspects” includes specification of the location or recipient or otherwise circumventing the merit-based or competitive allocation process and may be program specific. However, if the Congress adds funding and the Administration retains control over the awards process for the project/program/funding, it is NOT an earmark; it is unrequested funding.
  • Earmarks Include:
  • Add-ons. If the Administration asks for $100 million for formula grants, for example, and Congress provides $110 million and places restrictions (such as site-specific locations) on the additional $10 million, the additional $10 million is counted as an earmark.
  • Carve-outs. If the Administration asks for $100 million and Congress provides $100 million but places restrictions on some portion of the funding, the restricted portion is counted as an earmark.
  • Funding provisions that do not name grantee, but are so specific that only one grantee can qualify for funding.

OMB has used this definition to gather data on earmarks internally. This definition is similar to the definition that the Congress recently developed for disclosing earmarks in spending legislation (H. Res. 6 and the Senate-passed version of S. 1).

Here are some quotes from President Obama on the subject of earmarks, in chronological order:

Before becoming President of the United States:

“We need earmark reform, and when I’m President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

“The awarding of earmarks to private companies is the single most corrupting element of this practice, as witnessed by some of the indictments and convictions we have seen,”

“Private companies differ from the public entities that Americans rely on every day – schools, police stations, fire departments – and if they are seeking taxpayer dollars, then they should be evaluated with a higher level of scrutiny.”

After becoming President of the United States:

“I recognize that Congress has the power of the purse, and as a former Senator, I believe that individual members of Congress understand their districts best. They should have the ability to respond to the needs of their communities. But leadership requires setting an example, and the magnitude of the economic crisis we face requires responsibility on all our parts.”

“Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts. And that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination.”

And then he signed the budget bill for 2009 which contains between 8,000 and 9,000 earmarks, by anyone’s definition.

Here is my interpretation of President Obama’s recent pronouncements on earmarks:

Hey, bribery isn’t a big deal! It’s only 1 or 2% of the budget, fer Christ’s sake!

Besides, sometimes politicians are bribed to do good things!

The Unraveling of the Global Economy

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

This is what I’m talking about.

Many governments will be overthrown. Global debt default is coming.

I have no idea what the consequences of global debt default will be, but I believe we are headed there, like it or not.

The world is bankrupt. That’s what happens when you declare bankruptcy. You default on all your debts and start over. It has just never happened before that the entire world became insolvent all at once.

At some point, when everything else has been tried and has failed, we will all, public and private, declare bankruptcy, and the new order will be born. Nobody has any idea what it will look like.

Smoot Hawley? Maybe so.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

This is basically a free trade screed.

But I think it lays out the situation with quite a bit of clarity. I am an acolyte of the twice a day correctness of Pat Buchanan’s stopped clock. Close the borders, both economic and physical. As bad as it is here in the United States of America, it is much worse everywhere else. Free trade and open borders are in everyone’s interest but ours.

Of course, China will quit buying our debt, but that will happen soon in any case. We are going to have to default on our debt, as is everyone else, one way or another. Let’s just default on all debt owed to anyone outside the United States. One country, one currency, one Volk, one leader.

I am somewhat disengaged from the current debate about the Democrat’s economic fantasies. I don’t think that any of these current budgets or bail-outs or massive entitlements will have any substantial effect one way or another, except at the margins. There is nothing that Barack Obama or John McCain could have done to prevent the coming systemic financial collapse.

Time to hunker down and take care of our own. Thank God for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. You still have to have a navy to mess with the USA.