Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Podcast for 07 Feb 09

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael  and Dale discuss the unemployment numbers and Sarah Palin.  The direct link to the podcast can be found here.


The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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BlogTalk Radio – 8pm (EST)

Call in number: (718) 664-9614

Yes, friends, it is a call-in show, so do call in.

The Super-Bowl Half-Time (or blowout) Podcast


Unemployment: What are the real numbers? Will it pick up or are we, as many fear, in a jobless recovery? Or are we in a recovery at all?

Tea Party Convention: Birthers and profit and Palin, oh my! Is the movement being co-opted? Is it a true populist movement?

China: Is the rhetoric heating up? Do they feel they have us over a barrel and now’s the time to assert themselves? Can they be counted on to support tougher sanctions on Iran?


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New Cold War? About Those Improving Relations With China …

I certainly wouldn’t put much confidence in the claim that relations have improved between the US and China.  In fact, despite Obama’s claims, it appears they’re much worse.  Recent actions by the US have riled the Chinese to the point that they’re being anything but subtle about their feelings and certainly not  keeping those feelings out of state sanctioned publications.  According to the UK’s Sunday Times, 55% of Chinese agree that “a cold war will break out between the US and China”.

What has spurred this turn of events?

The finding came after battles over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, climate change, internet freedom and human rights which have poisoned relations in the three months since President Barack Obama made a fruitless visit to Beijing.

You’ll most likely remember how the administration touted the visit as one which significantly improved out relations with China. Apparently the administration was the only one which saw it that way:

During Obama’s visit, the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, claimed relations were “really at an all-time high in terms of the bilateral atmosphere … a cruising altitude that is higher than any other time in recent memory”, according to an official transcript.

The ambassador must have been the only person at his embassy to think so, said a diplomat close to the talks.

“The truth was that the atmosphere was cold and intransigent when the president went to Beijing yet his China team went on pretending that everything was fine,” the diplomat said.

In reality, Chinese officials argued over every item of protocol, rigged a town hall meeting with a pre-selected audience, censored the only interview Obama gave to a Chinese newspaper and forbade the Americans to use their own helicopters to fly him to the Great Wall.

President Hu Jintao refused to give an inch on Obama’s plea to raise the value of the Chinese currency, while his vague promises of co-operation on climate change led the Americans to blunder into a fiasco at the Copenhagen summit three weeks later.

Diplomats say they have been told that there was “frigid” personal chemistry between Obama and the Chinese president, with none of the superficial friendship struck up by previous leaders of the two nations.

And, if you can believe it, it has gone downhill from there.

An independent survey of Chinese-language media for The Sunday Times has found army and navy officers predicting a military showdown and political leaders calling for China to sell more arms to America’s foes. The trigger for their fury was Obama’s decision to sell $6.4 billion (£4 billion) worth of weapons to Taiwan, the thriving democratic island that has ruled itself since 1949.

“We should retaliate with an eye for an eye and sell arms to Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela,” declared Liu Menxiong, a member of the Chinese people’s political consultative conference.

He added: “We have nothing to be afraid of. The North Koreans have stood up to America and has anything happened to them? No. Iran stands up to America and does disaster befall it? No.”

Apparently they’re on to the new but unspoken motto of the Obama administration “speak a lot, but do nothing”. What is being sensed by these military leaders in China is weakness. And such weakness is never left alone or ignored in international politics – it is always, in some way, shape or form exploited. While some may see this as nothing more than saber rattling, knowing the Chinese, it’s much more than that.  It signals a significant change in our relationship:

Chinese analysts think the leadership, riding a wave of patriotism as the year of the tiger dawns, may go further.

“This time China must punish the US,” said Major-General Yang Yi, a naval officer. “We must make them hurt.” A major-general in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Luo Yuan, told a television audience that more missiles would be deployed against Taiwan. And a PLA strategist, Colonel Meng Xianging, said China would “qualitatively upgrade” its military over the next 10 years to force a showdown “when we’re strong enough for a hand-to-hand fight with the US”.

Chinese indignation was compounded when the White House said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, in the next few weeks.

“When someone spits on you, you have to get back,” said Huang Xiangyang, a commentator in the China Daily newspaper, usually seen as a showcase for moderate opinion.

If that’s the moderate opinion, you can imagine what the more hawkish among China’s opinion makers are saying.

This is what happens when amateurs play at foreign policy and those they’re dealing with sniff out weak (or non-existent) leadership. As I mentioned quite some time ago, 2009 would be a year of relative calm as other nations took the measure of the new administration and what they could expect. Once that was done, 2010 would most likely be the year when they’d act – and frankly, given this from China, it’s most likely not going to be a pleasant year for US foreign policy.

Oh, and if you think China is willing to back the US on new sanctions against Iran – as the administration has been claiming – I’d be willing to take that bet and give odds that no such backing will ever be given by China.



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The Left’s Meltdown Continues (Update)

Jacob Weisberg of SLATE goes on a rant pretty typical of those on the left these days,  casting about for a reason why his chosen one is having such difficulty changing the world.  As I’ve pointed out before, one of the new favorite words the left has been slinging around is “ungovernable”.   Ungovernable, to mean those of us who resist the left’s attempt to pass legislation which has been their dream for decades.   Centuries even.

As most of us who read pundits on the left have come to realize over the years, they don’t have a very high opinion of the proletariat. In fact, truth be told, they’re pretty sure we should all just be glad they’re around to save us from ourselves and should shut up and let them do it. And when we’re not compliant in that regard, we get rants like this which Weisberg penned entitled, “Down With the People” and which he further subtitles, “Blame the childish, ignorant American public—not politicians—for our political and economic crisis.”

You really don’t need to read the article to understand the thesis involved here. But to give the devil his due, there’s a kernel of truth to it – certainly some of our problems stem from “the people.” The left for instance. Those who don’t pay anything into the system for another. Both of those groups have forever been fans of more government, more spending and more goodies. And those desires have been enabled by their politicians (with, admittedly, help from some politicians on the right).

Anyway, Weisberg tries to justify his thesis on the back of polls he finds contradictory at best. For instance:

Anybody who says you can’t have it both ways clearly hasn’t been spending much time reading opinion polls lately. One year ago, 59 percent of the American public liked the stimulus plan, according to Gallup. A few months later, with the economy still deeply mired in recession, a majority of the same size said Obama was spending too much money on it.

A couple of points here. One – Obviously 41% of the American public didn’t like it from the beginning. My bet is they didn’t represent the left or those who had no tax skin in the game. It’s easy to be for “stimulus spending” when paying for the resultant deficit created by that spending isn’t going to come out of your pay check. And that is a class of people the Democrats have judiciously created, nurtured and expanded over the years. So that is a political result, isn’t it Mr. Weisberg?

Secondly – it became obvious fairly quickly even to the “no tax skin” group that what was being called “stimulus spending” wasn’t stimulating anything. Consequently when they saw no direct benefit coming their way – like that of not having to pay taxes on their income they presently enjoy – they quickly abandoned their support.

Tim Cavanaugh, at Reason’s Hit and Run, has an even more pointed rebuttal:

If Weisberg is looking for consistency, he might look to an earlier debate over massive government intervention in the private sector: the $700 billion bailout plan that eventually became the Troubled Asset Relief Program. A large majority of Americans continue to oppose this bailout, just as they opposed it at its inception — a time when Weisberg, and a good two dozen guys exactly like him, were welcoming the TARP proposal as a respite from the ravages of capitalism.

And the auto bailout. And the Wall Street bailout. Etc. Weisberg, much like the East Anglia CRU, is engaged in a little cherry-picking of data to support his premise. Had it been the majority of the people and not the politicians who had their way, TARP and the “stimulus” would have never happened and GM, Chrysler, Wall Street and a good number of banks (plus Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) would be emerging from bankruptcy right about now – or not.

Much of the rest of the article is more poll quoting along the same vein and with similar rebuttals. Cavanaugh spends sufficient time properly ripping the arguments apart that I don’t have to waste mine.

All of that is only a prelude to the real reason for the Weisberg article:

The politicians thriving at the moment are the ones who embody this live-for-the-today mentality, those best able to call for the impossible with a straight face. Take Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts. Brown wants government to take in less revenue: He has signed a no-new-taxes pledge and called for an across-the-board tax cut on families and businesses. But Brown doesn’t want government to spend any less money: He opposes reductions in Medicare payments and all other spending cuts of any significance. He says we can lower deficits above 10 percent of GDP—the largest deficits since World War II, deficits so large that they threaten our future as the world’s leading military and economic power—simply by cutting government waste. No sensible person who has spent five minutes looking at the budget thinks that’s remotely possible. The charitable interpretation is that Brown embodies naive optimism, an approach to politics that Ronald Reagan left as one of his more dubious legacies to Republican Party. A better explanation is that Brown is consciously pandering to the public’s ignorance and illusions the same way the rest of his Republican colleagues are.

You have to love the “pivot” and the projection.  Classic.  Barack Obama and the Democrats have just introduced budgets and deficits which, in Weisberg’s own words “threaten our future as the world’s leading military and economic power” and it’s Scott Brown’s fault. And he has the further audacity to then claim Brown “is consciously pandering to the public’s ignorance and illusions the same way the rest of his Republican colleagues are.”

Really Mr. Weisberg? Are they the ones saying “deficit reduction is important, but not now” as President Obama said in the State of the Union address? Is it Scott Brown and the Republicans who are responsible for the planned deficits we see in the chart below? Is it really they who are “consciously pandering to the public’s ignorance and illusions” by claiming we can have these massive deficits now and our cake later?

The 40% of those who’ve consistently objected to the profligate spending, increased programs and expanding government are those who actually do have “tax skin” in the game. The problem for Democrats and the left is these polls now show that it is they who are gaining allies out here due to their opposition and not the left. That obviously has Weisberg and his cronies all but apoplectic and casting around everywhere for an acceptable scape-goat.

That scape-goat are the people, who don’t know what’s good for them, and the Republicans, who haven’t had the power to even stop the leftist juggernaut in Congress if they tried. Of course the latter is a simple fact of numbers and has been for a year – and we don’t need polls to tell us that.

Perhaps Atlas is finally shrugging. Those that pay the freight – and you see them represented in the tip of the iceberg known as the Tea Parties – are standing up and saying “no”.  No more. We’re done with this.

That means both Democrats and Republicans – even Scott Brown if he can’t figure it out – are starting to be held to account. And while it doesn’t appear that Weisberg understands that building dynamic, it is clear that a demoralized and scared Democratic party heading into midterm elections is beginning too.

I agree with Weisberg in one respect – politicians “who embody this live-for-the-today mentality” need to go. The difference is I see more in Mr. Weisberg’s chosen party than I see in the GOP. Those of both parties need a pink slip.

That said, blaming where we are on the people has some cache – after all, the politicians aren’t in a position to do what they do without the people’s support at the ballot box. And, even when they’re obviously corrupt like Jack Murtha, they’re left in office, year after year after year. That can indeed be laid at the feet of the people, at least in that district. But when he spouts off inclusively about “the American people”, Weisberg ignores a good 40% if not half of this nation which doesn’t, has never and will never support the tax and spend nonsense that has gotten us to this point. Pretending that’s not so doesn’t make it true.

Democratic politicians are now trying to pass legislation that a frustrated Weisberg and the left want but, per the polls he likes to quote, the people don’t. They’ve sent very clear messages to national politicians via votes in VA, NJ and MA to remind them for and at whose sufferance they work. Weisberg prefers to call that the actions of a fickle, ignorant and childish public. Instead, thankfully, it is a system actually working as it was intended to work – and just in the nick of time.

UPDATE: Kathy Kattenburg at The Occasionally Moderate Voice doesn’t appear to understand what’s been written here and thereby gets it wrong – as usual.



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Deficit Of Trust – AGW Edition

The population of Britain is apparently finally catching on to the scam that’s been perpetrated by the man-made global warming crowd, and skepticism is thankfully on the rise:

“It is very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” Populus managing director Michael Simmonds told BBC News.

“The British public are sceptical about man’s contribution to climate change – and becoming more so,” he added.

“More people are now doubters than firm believers.”

A definite “deficit of trust” developing about the “science” of global warming – particularly that trying to hang the blame on the activities of man.

And in more “deficit of trust” news, India has declared it will form it’s own scientific panel to study climate since it finds the IPCC unreliable:

The Indian government has established its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it “cannot rely” on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group headed by its own leading scientist Dr R.K Pachauri.


“There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism. I am for climate science. I think people misused [the] IPCC report, [the] IPCC doesn’t do the original research which is one of the weaknesses… they just take published literature and then they derive assessments, so we had goof-ups on Amazon forest, glaciers, snow peaks.

“I respect the IPCC but India is a very large country and cannot depend only on [the] IPCC and so we have launched the Indian Network on Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA),” he said.

I think India picks up the fatal problem with the current “science” – it’s more of a form of evangelism than it is real science, and “facts” are manipulated (or made up) to fit.

The Dutch government is also “not amused”. The Dutch environment minister, Jaqueline Cramer, has called for a complete investigation of the 2007 IPCC report. A Dutch magazine uncovered the fact that it incorrectly states 55 percent of the country lies below sea level:

When Cramer heard of that blunder she wrote a letter to the IPCC, saying she was “not amused” there were mistakes in the scientific report she bases the Dutch environmental policies on. Now she is confronted with errors in the data about her own country. “This can’t happen again,” the minister told reporters in The Hague on Wednesday. “The public trust in science and politics has been badly damaged.”

Ya think?

Cramer puts her finger on the problem governments are now confronting given the errors, some relatively trivial and some profound, in the IPCC’s report. When will that sort of concern surface here? As recently as the SOTU, President Obama still holds to the alarmist line that the “science is overwhelming” when, in fact, the “science” is being overwhelmed by revelations of data manipulation, fraud and made-up “facts”.



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Senate Diversity Police Need To Question Democrats

This is one of the more irrirtating manifestations of the faux drive for “diversity”.  See if you can pick up on it:

That historically all-white club known as the U.S. Senate is likely to lose what little diversity it has after November’s elections.

Two white men will be competing for President Barack Obama’s former seat in Illinois, now held by Roland Burris, the chamber’s lone African-American. Appointed by the scandal-tainted former governor, Burris won’t be seeking a full term.

In contests in Florida, Texas and North Carolina, black candidates face daunting challenges to joining the august body, from difficulty raising cash to lack of name recognition to formidable rivals.

Got it?  Yeah, no mention of other “minorities”.  Apparently “diversity” is now only measured by the inclusion of only one race.  In fact, despite the assertion in the article, the Senate is not – let me repeat that – not an “all-white club”.

While 94 members are white, 2 are Asian and 3 are Hispanic and 1 is black.  17 are women.

To make the point that it’s really not diversity that this is about, the article notes:

Blacks comprise 12.2 percent of the nation’s population, but you wouldn’t know it in the 100-member Senate. Come next year, the total number could add up to zero.

“It certainly is not a desirable state of affairs,” said David Bositis, a senior political analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Bositis noted that blacks don’t make up the majority population in any state and in states where there are large numbers of blacks, as in the South, there are racial divisions that make getting elected difficult.

Apparently democracy and the will of the people are wonderful things unless they don’t yield the results the diversity police think they should.  Then it is “not a desirable state of affairs”.

Let’s try this – how many black candidates are the Democrats, the party that positions itself as the party of African Americans, running for the Senate in predominantly blue states?  Why is it that the Democratic party has a white guy running for Barack Obama’s seat?  Whose fault is that?  Why don’t the Democrats have an African American available to contest that and other Senate seats in opposition to Republicans if this is such a undesirable state of affairs?

The implicit assumption made by Bostis is “racial divisons” in the South are the reason a fairly large black population can’t elect a black Senator.  It couldn’t at all be the fact that they’re all deep red states, could it?  And if we grant him his assumption that the problem in the South is racism, then one assumes that such a problem wouldn’t exist in the North in deep blue states, correct (otherwise why try to make such an implication)?  So where are the black Senators then – from Michigan, for instance?  Why don’t Washington or Oregon have black Senators?  New York?  Massachusetts? Afterall, what’s being implied is that race isn’t really an issue elsewhere for blacks – only in the South.  Never mind the fact that the deep red South would be unlikely to elect a Democrat to begin whether he or she be white or black. 

Anyway, this one just struck me wrong.  This is a nonsense story spun as something significant.  If the diversity police  want to point fingers, Mr. Bostis, et al should be asking the Democrats why members of a constituency they claim is theirs aren’t being put forward as candidates for the “historically all-white club”  in deeply blue states where, one assumes, they’d have a great chance as the party’s primary choice.



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Jobs, Unemployment And “A Deficit Of Trust”

Yesterday we were told the nation’s employers “unexpectedly” shed more jobs last month than forecast.  Today we’re told that despite that, the unemployment rate “surprisingly” decreased to 9.7%.

Unsurprisingly I don’t believe a word of it.  Call me a cynic, call me a skeptic, but I just don’t believe much of anything coming out of the government these days (I know, let’s call it a “deficit of trust”).  Don’t forget that 9.7% number comes on the heels of a report saying the government forgot to count over 800,000 lost jobs last year.

When the government releases Friday’s unemployment report, nearly a million jobs could be erased. The change won’t show up in the monthly report. Rather, the expected job will show up in the government’s revised job losses from April 2008 to March 2009, showing the labor market was in much worse shape than we knew at the time.

So here we are, rampant and exceedingly high unemployment, no relief in sight and the unicorns and rainbows crowd are spinning the numbers and telling us all is well and getting better.

Well, economic well-being, like is said of politics, is all local.  And for the most part, the locals aren’t buying the spin.  Here’s the brutal truth:

An unemployment rate that’s projected to average 10 percent this year will likely weigh on consumer spending, preventing the biggest part of the economy from accelerating. Without additional gains in sales, companies will be forced to keep cutting costs, limiting staff in order to boost profits.

“Businesses are simply postponing their hiring for as long as possible,” Richard DeKaser, chief economist at Woodley Park Research in Washington, said before the report. “The willingness to hire is not there.”

Fewer customers, less spending. Less spending, less of a need to make things.  Less demand for products means less demand for more employees.

Key line: “Without additional gains in sales, companies will be forced to keep cutting costs, limiting staff in order to boost profits.”

And that’s precisely what they’re doing.  The Labor Department reports:

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 6.2 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This gain in productivity reflects increases of 7.2 percent in output and 1.0 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) This was the first quarterly increase in hours worked since the second quarter of 2007 (0.9 percent). Productivity increased 5.1 percent over the last four quarters –more than during any similar period since output per hour rose 6.1 percent from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2002.

Even the Riddler could puzzle this one out.  Worker productivity has increased 5.1% over the last four quarters.  But unemployment has continued to grow.  What does that mean?  Well it means companies and businesses have found a way to increase production with fewer employees.  And that, as the key line above suggests, boosts profits.

Now that productivity increase can come in many ways.  Simply distributing the same (or even increased) work load to fewer employees.  That’s happening all over the place now.  Then, in certain industries,  automation replaces employees (it doesn’t require health insurance, vacation days, a 401k and isn’t represented by a union).  And in some places it’s a combination of both plus modified business models. 

The bottom line is there’s not likely to be that much hiring if and when the economy actually turns around unless a huge increase in demand is realized.   And even then, employers are likely to try to hold out as long as possible, given their productivity gains, until those productivity gains are neutralized.  I’m sure there’s a tremendous gap between now and that point.  Then add in the market instability brought on by pending legislation like health care reform and cap-and-trade, and you can see high unemployment in the future for quite some time.

But the unicorn and rainbow crowd are going to tell you everything, relatively speaking, is getting better.  The fact that your relatives are all unemployed and your job isn’t looking so hot at the moment either will cause you to doubt their assertions.  Do.  Doubt them I mean.  They’re as full of crap as a Christmas goose.  And that’s becoming more and more obvious each day as we watch this dance of the dodgers continue.  Because, you know, you can’t handle the truth.  No, that’s not true.  If they tell you the truth, they too will be unemployed.

“Deficit of trust?”

A true understatement.



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Race Baiters and Political Correctness

Two of the banes of our existence.  First the old “race baiter” story.  For some out there, symbolism is always more important than substance, or, for that matter, the truth.  Instead of focusing on what is important, they make their living in the trivial, the irrelevant and the unimportant.  The problem, of course, is they have a modicum of power and attempt to use it in the most absurd ways. 

Take Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.)(please!).  He’s upset and demanding a person who is doing critical aid work in Haiti and who had the courtesy to brief the Congressional Black Caucus about that relief effort be demoted.

Why?  Because he’s doing a bad job?  Of course not – because he didn’t have any black faces on his staff when they showed up for the briefing.

“I was alarmed and chagrined to learn that none of the approximately dozen staff he brought with him were African American,” Conyers wrote in the letter. “This is so serious an error in judgment that it warrants his immediate demotion to a subordinate position at AID.”

“Alarmed and chagrined”?  A “serious … error in judgment”? 

No word on how he felt the team was doing in providing aid to Haitians, of course.  This person’s “sin” was not having the proper diversity of staff.  And the punishment for that sin is demotion – Conyers being a compasionate bigot didn’t want to see this person lose their job.

Some day, one can hope, this sort of nonsense will all be a thing of the past.  But it again points out why attitudes such as this and demands for “numbers” over merit hurt African-Americans more than help them.

Then there’s the NBC Cafeteria Story :

So who at NBC thought it would be a good idea for the special today to be, among other things, fried chicken, “in honor of Black History Month”?

The accompanying picture shows the menu (fried chicken, collard greens, etc) topped by a title saying “NBC  – In Honor Of Black Historty Month”.

Apparently this just offended the hell out of some black musician who eats there. 

The irony?

Well, you can see it for yourself, below:

Yes friends, the insensitive lout who foisted this offensive menu on unassuming black folks was an African-American cook who had fought for the last two years to be able to present meals in honor of black history month. To quote her:

It’s not trying to offend anybody and it’s not trying to suggest that that’s all that African-Americans eat. It’s just a good meal.

All I have to say is thank goodness she didn’t put watermelon on the menu for desert – they’d have probably rioted in the street. Need more irony? If you were to go to any place that purported to serve “soul food” and fried chicken wasn’t on the menu, you could rightfully question their authenticity.

The whole point is it is time to move past quotas and taking offense at every preceived slight. Now there’s a controversy about saying “retard”. Certainly we should not purposely offend others. And yes certain words should not be used – the “n” word being primary among them.

But it seems like we spend an enormous amount of energy and time looking for reasons to be offended anymore. That speaks to the success of those who’ve made policial correctness such a pernicious force in our lives. Political correctness (and I extend that to the “diversity mix” Conyers is demanding) has literally destroyed tolerance, which is ironic, given it is the PC crowd that is normally demanding tolerance for other issues they favor.

The NBC story is a perfect example of what that intolerance it brings. The assumption is made that the reason fried chicken is on the menu is someone is totally (and purposely) insensitive and the reaction is to immediately choose to take offense. And that’s a key point.  It is a choice.  It couldn’t just be “a good meal” that the person thought others might enjoy. Nope – the fact that most eating there would enjoy it, and most likely do eat fried chicken by choice when elsewhere must be subordinated to the PC demand that they be intolerant of such a perceived slight and demand the insensitivity be addressed.

This sort of knee-jerk PC stupidity needs to stop. And yes, I’m intolerant of it. So sue me.



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Republicans Prefer Tax Cuts To Balanced Budget?

That’s the buzz going around some liberal blogs about a Rasmussen poll which claims that a plurality of Republicans polled would rather see tax cuts and a deficit than a balanced budget and tax increases (one supposes the increases would be used to balance it.  The history of our government says otherwise).

Of course I’m of the opinion there’s a third choice.  Cut spending commensurate with the tax cuts and reduce the size of government until you’re able to balance the budget.  Then start reducing the debt.  Apparently that wasn’t one of the choices however.

On to the poll.  Here are the results with which the left has decided it can use to deride the right as lying no-good deficit lovers:

Fifty percent (50%) of conservatives are comfortable with a budget deficit if taxes are cut versus 63% of liberals who favor a balanced budget with higher taxes. But then 50% of conservative voters also think the federal budget can be balanced without a tax increase. Sixty-one percent (61%) of liberals say that’s impossible.

Ah, ha! Apparently my choice is in the mix, albeit hidden – what do you supposed those 50% who think the federal budget can be balanced without a tax increase mean?

So let’s recast the findings – 50% of “conservatives” want tax cuts and can live with deficits, 50% of “conservatives” say a blanced budget can be done with spending cuts and 61% of “liberals” believe the only way to balance the budget is to increase taxes (apparently eschewing any spending cuts).

Fair recap?

Now here’s the shocker for you (ok, sarcasm again):

Sixty-two percent (62%) of the Political Class prefer a balanced budget with higher taxes, compared to just 26% of Mainstream voters. Forty-six percent (46%) of Mainstream voters would rather see a budget deficit with tax cuts.

Those in the Political Class are twice as likely as Mainstream voters – 70% to 35% – to believe it is not possible to balance the federal budget without raising taxes.

This is a clever way Rasmussen has of letting us know what our political betters think about those questions vs. what you the mainstream voters think (Proles! When will you wise up?).

So what this portion of the poll tells us is if the “Political Class” ever actually gets serious about debt and deficit reduction, you can throw the “cut spending” mantra right out the window (along with tax cuts) and bend over while grabbing your wallet.  At the rate they’re spending right now though, “serious about the deficit” is lightyears away from being considered.  Lip service, however, will be extravagent, since it’s politically cheap.

But it is, as usual, instructive to see how out of touch the “Political Class” is with it’s voters. 

And speaking of our policial masters and referencing the story about Joe Biden below, here’s the public’s answer to Bidenomics:

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters believe decreasing the level of government spending will help the U.S. economy. Sixty-one percent (61%) say cutting taxes will boost the economy, the highest level of support since May.

What are the administion’s plans?  Increased government spending and higher taxes, of course.  If you want to see the “deficit of trust” Obama spoke about in the SOTU, read through the entire poll results.  It tells the story of the rise of the Tea Parties with percentages.

And we’re suposed to be the ‘ungovernable’ ones?



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Government Is The Answer To Economic Prosperity?

E.J. Dionne has apparently mistaken Joe Biden’s passion for intelligent thought.  In an interview with Biden, Dionne quotes him as saying:

“We will continue to be the most significant and dominant influence in the world as long as our economy is strong, growing and responsive to 21st-century needs. And they relate to education, they relate to energy, and they relate to health care.”

On he went: “Give me a break. So many people have bet on our demise that it absolutely drives me crazy. . . . There’s sort of an attitude that is both politically directed by our Republican friends but also believed by a fair number of people that we just can’t make this transition in the 21st century.

“I want to tell you something, because if we cede the ground to those who suggest that — I don’t mean foreigners, I mean domestic critics — that somehow, we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy’s prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended, then we might as well throw it in now, for God’s sake. I mean it’s ridiculous.”

“We will continue to be the most significant and dominant influence in the world as long as our economy is strong, growing and responsive to 21st-century needs. And they relate to education, they relate to energy, and they relate to health care.”

Read the highlighted paragraph carefully. What is Joe Biden equating a strong economy with? “Education, energy and health care”.

What is he really saying?

That increasing government intervention is the answer to a strong economy.  That the answer lies in education (reform), energy (cap-and-trade) and health care (reform).  IOW, unlike in any previous era, Joe Biden is claiming government is the key to building wealth and economic prosperity.  Not one mention in his clueless tirade about markets, economic freedom, entrepreneurship or business.  None.  In Joe Biden’s world, economic strength seems to depend solely on government.  The fact that the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries of United States history show him up for the windbag he is, apparently doesn’t phase him.  Or Dionne either, for that matter.  It is pure liberal economic cluelessness crossed with Joe Biden’s usual verbal flatulence.  Dionne apparently buys into it.

In fact Dionne goes on to say:

Beneath the predictable back-and-forth between Obama and his Republican adversaries over government spending lies a substantively important difference over how the United States can maintain its global leadership.


For Republicans, American power is rooted largely in military might and showing a tough and resolute face to the world. They would rely on tax cuts as the one and only spur to economic growth.

Obama, Biden and the Democrats, on the other hand, believe that American power depends ultimately on the American economy, and that government has an essential role to play in fostering the next generation of growth.

Republicans believe that “American power is rooted largely in military might?”


So all those charges of “friends to big business” and “the party of business” were  just so much hot air – that it’s always been about “military power” and nothing else? How purposefully tendentious does one have to be to live in Washington, cover politics for a living and write something like that? 

And then to claim that the GOP’s “one and only spur to economic growth” is the tax cut is absolutely stunning.  You have to wonder if alcohol or weed (or both) were present and in use when this was being written (and I’d have to wonder about those 3 layers of editors as well).  If they can’t use that as an excuse I’m at a loss to explain the sheer cluelessness of such a statement.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary jumped on this as well:

Republicans don’t care about economic growth? Just military might? Hard to see where he gets that, considering that the post-Reagan conservative movement and the Republican party have been devoted to market capitalism. Indeed, the slur on Republicans has been that all they cared about was wealth creation. Oh, but they are just interested in “tax cuts.” Well, that and free trade, modest regulation, legal reform, and other conditions that spur economic growth, investment, and wealth creation.

If Dionne really believes what he wrote he has no business writing political opinion columns for anyone, much less the Washington Post.  That’s the most ill informed sentence I’ve seen in some time.  And his sentence touting Obama, Biden and the Democrat’s belief that the economy is what America’s power depends on is refuted by Biden’s own words.  Biden is saying the economy depends on government.  Therefore “America’s power” depends on government’s management of the economy – not the economy itself.  When he claims it all depends on “education, energy and health care”, he’s parroting the Democrats agenda for more government intervention, regulation and intrusion.  If you don’t believe that, Rubin provides the proof:

Dionne considers this all trivial or dim because he and liberals are convinced that government creates wealth, that public spending creates jobs, and that expansion of the public sector is the way to a brighter future. In fact, he congratulates the president for cheering on the competition in statism with other powers. In the State of the Union, Dionne recalls, the president vowed that no nation would get the jump on us when it comes to government programs. (”Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations aren’t standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They’re making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.”)

That’s right, in the SOTU, Obama stressed precisely what Biden is saying and Dionne is parroting.  China – of all places – was first on Obama’s list of nations to apparently emulate.  And not in the sense you’d like to believe.  He didn’t say China’s entrepreneurs are turning that economy around.  He’s talking about government.  The government of  China, the government of Germany, the government of India – they are the purported engines of economic recovery and wealth creation.

Is it any surprise then to find that he, Biden and liberals like Dionne are of the opinion that more government and more government spending is the path to economic success?  A former community organizer, a professional politician and professional pundit all claiming that the laws of economics are null and void and that the path to proseperity is through bigger and more expensive government?  All we need now is Hugo Chavez to add some real intellectual economic heft to that group [/sarcasm].

All the more reason to be thankful the supermajority in the Senate will be history at 5pm today.  The “party of no” has its work cut out for it.



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