Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 23, 2011

Gingrich a bit delusional

Seriously -  and that’s one thing you can say about the Gingrich effort, you can’t take it seriously – what is it about the egos of some of these folks?

On conservative radio host Neil Boortz’ show this morning, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich concocted an almost endearingly farcical explanation for his campaign’s latest woes, saying the media targeted him because he was best-positioned to beat President Obama. The media desperately wants to reelect President Obama, Gingirich said, and thus he was their “worst nightmare.” “I didn’t think they would realize this early just how dangerous this campaign is and go after it so hard,” he said.

Here’s a guy who has more baggage than Delta Airlines, has now suffered the second staff walk out, consistently polls at the bottom of the field among his supposed base and he still has the temerity to claim that he’s in such sorry shape because the media is out to get him only because his candidacy would have Obama shaking in his boots?

Really?

On what freakin’ planet?

Gingrich’s campaign implosion has had absolutely nothing to do with the media.  It certainly has nothing to do with any effort by opponents.  It is all his.  He owns it … no one else. 

Perhaps it is comforting to him to look on the ruin of his effort and pretend that he’s Obama’s “worst nightmare”, but in fact, he’s his own “worst nightmare” and he’s proven it handily.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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The democratization of publishing

I love stories like this because the demonstrate the momentous changes that have been introduced by technology which has democratized publishing and not just opened the gates to everyone, but flat torn the gates down:

John Locke, 60, who publishes and promotes his own work, enjoys sales figures close to such literary luminaries as Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and Michael Connelly.

But unlike these heavyweights of the writing world, he has achieved it without the help of an agent or publicist – and with virtually no marketing budget.

Instead the DIY novelist has relied on word of mouth and a growing army of fans of his crime and western novellas that he has built up online thanks to a website and twitter account.

His remarkable achievement is being hailed as a milestone of the internet age and the beginning of a revolution in the way that books are sold.

His achievement is doubly impressive because of the way he accomplished this:

He saw that many successful authors were charging almost $10 (£6) for a book and decided that he would undercut them – selling his own efforts for 99 cents (60 pence).

"I’ve been in commission sales all my life, and when I learned Kindle and the other e-book platforms offered a royalty of 35 per cent on books priced at 99 cents, I couldn’t believe it," he said.

"To most people, 35 cents doesn’t sound like much. To me, it seemed like a license to print money.

"With the most famous authors in the world charging $9.95 for e-books, I saw an opportunity to compete, and so I put them in the position of having to prove their books were 10 times better than mine.

"Figuring that was a battle I could win, I decided right then and there to become the bestselling author in the world, a buck at a time."

Or, he figured that the opportunity of self-publishing allowed him the freedom to decide how much to charge and take advantage of the royalty being paid a lower price.  Obviously you have to have something worth selling, but he’s figured out that formula as well – what most of us would consider “pulp fiction” with mass appeal:

His books – which centre around characters such as Donovan Creed, a former CIA assassin "with a weakness for easy women" and Emmett Love, a former gunslinger – are unlikely to trouble the Booker Prize judges.

But nevertheless they are immensely popular among the new e-Book fraternity, selling a copy every seven seconds and making him only the eighth author in history to sell a million copies on Amazon’s Kindle – a milestone he passed this week.

Phenomenal.  Kudos to Locke … John Locke, that is.   Great name.

The gate no longer exists and that has to make publishers as nervous as the news media is anymore.  Anyone can publish just about anything and, unlike before, the market gets to decide what is or isn’t worth the money and reward – directly – those who manage to give it what it wants.

What’s not to like (our own Martin McPhillips may be able to give us a little insight into this phenomenon – and it will give him a chance to plug his book)?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Obama administration complicit in cutting non-union GM employee pensions

Despite denials, it appears the Obama administration had a hand in cutting the pensions of non-union GM workers.  Another “unexpected” event from the transparent administration:

New emails obtained by The Daily Caller contradict claims by the Obama administration that the Treasury Department would avoid “intervening in the day-to-day management” of General Motors post-auto bailout.

These messages reveal that Treasury officials were involved in decision-making that led to more than 20,000 non-union workers losing their pensions.

Remember, this is the same administration that perverted the bankruptcy system to favor unions and essentially screw investors.  This is more evidence of the administrations concerted effort to save their prime constituency by treating non-union workers differently and using their benefits as a means of cutting costs while mostly preserving union benefits.

This came to light in Congressional hearings yesterday:

At a Wednesday hearing, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending started pushing the Treasury Department for answers on the effects of the bailout and on how much of a role the department played in picking winners and losers.

The key point of the Wednesday hearing was to show that the Obama administration advised GM on how to eliminate the Delphi workers’ pensions. The evidence suggests Geithner’s team played a significant role in that process, despite claims to the contrary.

This despite administration testimony previously claimed no involvement:

In 2009 congressional testimony, senior Obama administration official Ron Bloom said the president told the Treasury Department to stay out of the management of these companies and downplayed any administration intervention.

“From the beginning of this process, the President gave the Auto Task Force two clear directions regarding its approach to the auto restructurings,” Bloom said then. “The first was to behave in a commercial manner by ensuring that all stakeholders were treated fairly and received neither more nor less than they would have simply because the government was involved. The second was to refrain from intervening in the day-to-day management of these companies.”

But the emails TheDC obtained show high-ranking Treasury Department officials, including Matthew Feldman of Treasury’s Auto Task Force, corresponding with senior GM officials on how to make certain decisions regarding who was going to win and who was going to lose.

You can’t put it any clearer than the Daily Caller does – this is government picking winners and losers.   Not only that, it is clear that the administration has favorites and no qualms whatsoever about throwing unfavored constituencies under the bus to ensure their constituency benefits.

Is that the purpose of government?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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