Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: February 2013


Benghazi: McCain essentially says “what does it matter now?”

If it weren’t for the old ladies of the GOP, you might get some answers to some very compelling and yet unanswered questions as well as force this administration to be transparant.

But then there’s McCain and the continued capitulation of the GOP:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Thursday that the White House’s response to his and other Republican senators’ questions on the September attack in Benghazi, Libya was satisfactory. The senior Arizona senator said he is now ready to find a way to end the filibuster that is holding up the confirmation vote for defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, CNN reported.

“I think it was an adequate response, yes,” McCain said. “We are working on and having negotiations now trying to smooth this thing out and get it done.”

Yes, that’s right, nothing to see here, move along now, move along.

The Great and Powerful John McCain (I will celebrate when this yahoo shuffles off to retirement) has decided that Beghazi is over and we must, must have an incompetent buffoon for Sec. of Defense.

Must!

Parodies that write themselves come in the guise of our politicians.

~McQ


Economic Statistics for 14 Feb 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Initial jobless claims fell 27,000 to 341,00, and the 4-week average stands at 352,500, down 10,000 from last month. Continuing claims fell 130,000 to 3.187 million. The unemployment rate among insured works has dropped to a recovery low of 2.4%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped slightly to -35.9, staying inside the 3.1 point band it’s occupied since the start of the year.

~
Dale Franks
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Dorner and the Wallets (plural)

Deranged serial killer, Christopher Dorner, may be blossoming into a cause celebre of the moronic and ill-informed, but the official manhunt leading up to his alleged death is spawning plenty of conspiracy. There’s plenty of overlap to be sure. However, one aspect of this case that spurs skepticism is that Dorner’s wallet was found in three different places: San Diego’s Lindbergh Field; the San Ysidro Point of Entry near the US-Mexico border; and in the rubble of the cabin he apparently burned to death in.

So how could this be? Cord Jefferson at the Gawker hazards a guess:

Though he botched a number of things in the course of his warpath—a bungled boat robbery, wrecking his truck and smashing its axle, etc.—Dorner seemed better prepared than most spree killers, which might explain why he had multiple wallets and multiple IDs (perhaps he was trying to throw authorities off his track). Another possibility is that press outlets made mistakes during their reporting, thus leading the public to wrongly believe that Dorner’s wallet was in three places at once.

That sort of seems plausible, except if you’re going to go through the trouble of manufacturing several ID’s and carrying several wallets, why would you have all of them bear the same name, much less your own name? Carrying an ID for “Christopher Dorner” during this manhunt would not be much of an advantage, would it?

No, the more simple explanation (also suggested by Jefferson) is that the media screwed up.

First of all, the only official mention of Dorner’s ID and wallet being found is in the criminal complaint and affidavit filed by the US Marshal Service (see paragraph 7(b)):

“Detective Anschick later found DORNER’s personal belongings, including his wallet and identification cards, near the U.S./Mexico border at the San Ysidro Point of Entry.”

Yet, according to the most recent reports from the scene of the final conflagration, after being cornered in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, California:

He never emerged from the ruins and hours later a charred body was found in the basement of the burned cabin along with a wallet and personal items, including a California driver’s license with the name Christopher Dorner, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Did you notice that this info was from an anonymous source? Again, the only official report about a wallet and/or ID being found is the one cited in the federal complaint.

How about the claim that his wallet was found at Lindbergh Field? Well, that seems to come from this NBC San Diego report:

An LAPD badge and a wallet with the suspect’s personal identification were discovered Thursday by an airport shuttle driver near San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.

This particular nugget of info is unsourced, and doesn’t really make much sense. Would a cop who was fired in 2008 still have a badge in 2013?

Even if he did, there is still only one official report of Dorner’s ID/wallet being found, and that’s contained in the federal complaint filed on February 7th.

Ergo, the flowering conspiracy theories are almost entirely fed with media fertilizer. Once again, our intrepid press, with its professional journalists and layers upon layers of fact checkers, have proven themselves the modern equivalent of a sewing circle.


Benghazi – the most “transparent” administration ever

No attempt to actually be transparent and, apparently, feeling no need to pretend otherwise:

Sen. Richard Burr, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that the CIA has “flatly refused” to give some Benghazi-related documents to the committee, which is conducting an investigation of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the State Department and CIA personnel and facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Sen. Burr made the assertion last week at the confirmation hearing for John Brennan, whom President Barack Obama has nominated to be director of the CIA. Brennan currently serves as the president’s counterterrorism adviser.

“Mr. Brennan, as you know, the committee’s conducting a thorough inquiry into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” Sen. Burr said. “In the course of this investigation, the CIA has repeatedly delayed and in some cases flatly refused to provide documents to this committee.”

None of the other members of the committee contradicted Burr’s assertion.

Of course not.  That’s because it is a fact.

Not that the administration much cares.  It has found that “flatly refusing” works.  “What does it matter now?” is the new attitude.

And that’s despite the usual promises:

At the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks, Gen. David Petraeus was director of the CIA. When Petraeus appeared at his confirmation hearing in the Senate intelligence committee on June 23, 2011, Chairman Dianne Feinstein asked him a set of questions that the committee routinely asks those nominated to run the CIA. At John Brennan’s confirmation hearing on Feb. 7, Feinstein asked Brennan exactly the same questions.

Feinstein asked Petreaus, “Do you agree to provide documents or any other materials requested by the committee in order for it to carry out its oversight and legislative responsibilities?”

“Yes, I do,” said Petreaus.

“Will you ensure that the CIA and its officials provide such materials to the committee when requested?” asked Feinstein.

“I will,” said Petreaus.

“Do you agree to inform and fully brief to the fullest extent possible all members of this committee of intelligence activities and covert actions rather than only the chairman and vice chairman?” asked Feinstein.

“Yes, I do,” said Petraeus.

And later:

Last week, John Brennan was equally direct in answering these questions.

Feinstein asked Brennan, “Do you agree to provide documents or any other materials requested by the committee in order for it to carry out its oversight and legislative responsibilities?”

“Yes, all documents that come under my authority as director of CIA, I absolutely will,” said Brennan.

“Will you ensure that the CIA and its officials provide such materials to the committee when requested?” asked Feinstein.

“Yes,” said Brennan.

“Do you agree to inform and fully brief to the fullest extent possible all members of this committee of intelligence activities and covert actions rather than only the chairman and vice chairman?” asked Feinstein.

“Yes, I will endeavor to do that,” said Brennan.

Later in the same hearing, however, when Burr asked Brennan about the documents Burr said the CIA was refusing to give to the committee, Brennan qualified his answer—leaving open the possibility that as CIA director there may be occasions when he would decline to provide documents to the committee.

And the circus continues.  Love the line, he ‘qualified his answer’.  He shored up his lie is more like it.

Given the last election, though, we’ve got the very government we deserve.  Inept, unqualified, mordant, bickering party members whose first allegiance isn’t to their country, but instead to their party.  Why anyone would trust them with running a dog kennel much less a national government is beyond me.  But we have.

Behold the result.

~McQ


Economic Statistics for 13 Feb 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

January retail sales rose only 0.1%. Sales ex-autos rose 0.2%, as did sales ex-autos and ex-gas.

Business inventories rose 0.1% in December, but a slightly higher rate of business sales brings the stock-to-sales ratio down a tick to 1.278.

Import prices jumped 0.6% in January on higher energy prices, but were down -1.3% from last year. Export prices rose 0.3% in January, up 1.1% from last year.

The MBA reports mortgage applications fell -6.4% in the latest week, with purchases down -10.0%, and re-fis down -6.0%.

~
Dale Franks
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Joe Biden is counting on the “legitimate media” in the gun control effort

Obviously, even Joe Biden is not dumb enough to call it the official propaganda arm, but apparently you “social media” types are, well, illegitimate:

Biden said that it was important for the media to dissuade the American public from the idea that the Obama administration was prepared to do something unconstitutional on guns.

“To be very blunt with you, we’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed,” Biden added, warning that people would continue to “misrepresent” the White House’s plans for gun control.

“The social media that exists out there, the tragedies that have occurred, the Supreme Court decision affirming that its an individual right to bear arms – all give a lie to the argument that what we’re trying to do is somehow unconstitutional, or somehow goes after the legitimate right to own and bear arms and to hunt and protect yourselves,” Biden added.

Of course, Joe Biden has never been known to tell a whopper, has he?

And yes, he thinks we’re all idiots out here in flyover land.

~McQ


2013 SOTU Liveblog

Well, I was gonna try and liveblog this via a service like CoverItLive, but that’s no longer free, and the free ones only allow a very small number of monthly views. So, I guess I have to step back into the past and liveblog it Old Skool. You’ll need to refresh the page regularly, if you’re following along.

I hope CoverItLive fails spectacularly.

So, this is the night when the president turns his full focus on jobs. Again. For the 5th time.

18:10 OK, the King is entering the House of Commons.

18:13 One of the best improvements to politics I can think of would be for the president to transmit a written SOTU to Congress. If nothing else, it would deprive Sheila Jackson-Lee of her photo op.

18:16 If I was Obama, I wouldn’t start off by talking about the Constitution.

18:18 We have cleared away the rubble of crisis. Not true. You’re still president.

18:19 Obama talks about revitalizing the economy, as if his policies weren’t an obstacle to that.

18:22 I guess Obama was for the sequester before he was against it.

18:23 I think it’s precious that Obama talks as if Social Security was remotely sustainable in its current form.

18:24 "Everyone must pay their fair share," especially the rich, those greedy, bloated, plutocratic bastards.

18:24 Obama wants "bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform" that leaves the system of income taxation essentially unchanged. Like Social Security. Our entire political class lives in the past, and they don’t even seem to know it.

18:30 Obama is pushing 3D printing. That’s a really good idea. In a couple of years, home 3D printers will make great guns.

18:31 "Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime." And yet, somehow, they will.

18:34 I can not believe this guy is implicitly taking credit for energy production increases done in SPITE of, bet because of, his policies.

18:36 We can choose to believe humans cause climate change. Or we can believe that it has something to do with the thermonuclear furnace in the sky. As a great number of scientists believe, since he’s all giddy about science.

18:37 Man, this guy loves executive orders.

18:39 "I’m proposing a partnership with the private sector," because there just isn’t enough crony capitalism yet.

18:41 Let’s help people buy more homes. Like we did, you know, before 2008, with the Community Reinvestment Act.

18:42 Preschool for every child in America. Why not puppies, too? Better yet, why not let the states take care of this?

18:44 German kids are ready for a job when they graduate high school. Because Germany doesn’t have the NEA, resisting every possible education reform. I’d be satisfied if high schools graduated students who were literate.

18:46 Every kid shouldn’t go to college. Not all the baby turtles make it to the ocean.

18:46 "Putting more boots on the southern border." Right. Just let Canadians come in willy-nilly. Maple lover.

18:49 The Violence Against Women Act is an anathema. The Federal Government has no general police power.

18:51 "No one who works should live in poverty!" Raise the minimum wage and fewer poor people will work. Hey, why stop at $9 an hour? Make it $100, and we’ll all be farting through silk.

18:54 We will have stronger families, stronger communities, and a stronger America, by ensuring the government takes and spends more of their money.

18:54 "By the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over." And by the end of the next year, the Taliban will be back in charge.

18:56 Al-Qaeda is dead! Yay!

18:58 "The leaders of Iran should know that now is the time for a diplomatic solution." That’ll have ‘em quaking in their boots.

19:00 "We should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities." Not just pain, but joy. Also, blinding glimpses of the obvious.

19:03 So, far this administration’s batting average on change in the Mideast isn’t very good.

19:04 "We will maintain the best military in the world!" But a smaller, less capable one than we used to have.

19:06 Wait, long lines at polling places are a violation of fundamental rights? Umm, the right not to be inconvenienced by queues?

19:08 "What I’ve said tonight matters little." That would’ve been the perfect place to stop.

19:09 So. Gun control. roll out the dead kids. Never mind that murders have declined by half since 1991. Guns are bad.

19:11 "The victims deserve a vote" on gun control! No. They don’t. NO ONE DESERVES A VOTE ON MY RIGHTS.

19:14 So, why hasn’t this little black lady voted since 1964? Am I missing something?

19:15 "The word ‘citizens’ describes what we believe." Really? ‘Cause clearly you believe in a lot of things I don’t.

Well, basically it was the same tired crap he’s pushed for the last 4 years. Government is the market. Rich people owe us stuff. Blah, blah, blah. Thank God it was shorter than I feared.

I can’t believe this dolt is president. But, I guess the libs thought that about Bush, so we’re even.

~
Dale Franks
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Politicians: Let’s hold someone accountable

Here’s where I get to laugh at the usual circus.  Politicians deciding they need to hold some other industry “accountable”:

U.S. and state officials are intensifying efforts to hold colleges accountable for what happens after graduation, a sign of frustration with sky-high tuition costs and student-loan debt.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Marco Rubio> (R., Fla.) are expected to reintroduce this week legislation that would require states to make more accessible the average salaries of colleges’ graduates. The figures could help prospective students compare salaries by college and major to assess the best return on their investment.

While I agree that colleges do not offer a good return on investment at the moment, since when is it up to politicians to hold them “accountable”.

And how would the politicians fare if the same standards were applied to them?

~McQ


Why we’re in the mess we’re in: Because we have idiots in leadership postions and we leave them there

We’re governed by half-wits who’ll say anything to shift the blame or misdirect the public if they think it helps their party and fool us:

Pelosi rebuffed GOP calls for the sequester replacement to focus exclusively on targeting more spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address,” she told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday.

How in the world does this jaybird think we got into the “budget deficit problem?”
Magic?

Back in 1984, a columnist named Charlie Reese wrote a piece which pretty much cuts away the artifice that those we allow to “govern” us have woven:

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

Whatever the problem (and despite Pelosi, it is a spending problem) they are the cause.  “They” being Congress.  It is “they” who have gotten us into this mess, so when one of them say things like this, just consider the source:

Pelosi added that the deficit and debt are at “immoral levels” and “must be reduced.”

Reese gets to the nut of it all (btw, this is an updated version where someone has put events happening now vs. those in 1984 – the irony is, nothing has changed):

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)

[...]

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

We should. But we won’t. And … well, we’ll continue to get what we richly deserve for not doing our job.

~McQ

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