Free Markets, Free People

irony

Tales from the Nanny State

The first comes from our “hoist on their own petard” department:

A study from three sociologists based out of North Carolina State University charges that First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign topromote healthy eating and decrease childhood obesity rates is classist and sexist in its implementation. This is because the model Obama advocates tends to put the onus of preparing healthy meals specifically on women, and also expects a level of disposable income, transportation options, and free time, which low-income families may lack.

The researchers interviewed 150 mothers and spent 250 hours observing 12 working-class and poor families as they shopped for food, cooked, and ate. They note:

In the fight to combat rising obesity rates, modern-day food gurus advocate a return to the kitchen. […] First lady Michelle Obama has also been influential in popularizing public health messages that emphasize the role that mothers play when it comes to helping children make healthy choices. The message that good parents — and in particular, good mothers — cook for their families dovetails with increasingly intensive and unrealistic standards of “good” mothering. [Sage Journals]

The study concludes that, “this emerging standard is a tasty illusion, one that is moralistic, and rather elitist, instead of a realistic vision of cooking today.”

Yes that’s right, the Interferer in Chief’s campaign has been declared classist and sexist.  Of course if this were a right winger we were talking about all the lefty blogs would be blaring this in the headlines with a healthy dose of “I told you so” and “they just can’t seem to help it, can they” thrown in.

Irony.  You have to love it.  Its things like this that make my day go somewhat easier.

The second comes to us from Seattle, WA and is an example of what happens when people lose control of their government and that government decides to micro-manage every aspect of their lives with the intent of making sure they live it the way their betters decide they should live it:

The City of Seattle just passed a new trash ordinance that would fine residents and businesses for throwing away too much food.

The new rules would allow garbage collectors to inspect trash cans and ticket offending parties if food and compostable material makes up 10 percent or more of the trash.

The fines will begin at $1 for residents and $50 for businesses and apartment buildings, according to the Seattle Times.

So who will be the biggest offenders?  Well, most likely schools which use the Michelle Obama program – okay, I had to tie them together somehow.  No word, however, on how restaurants will fare under the law.

But think of it in a larger sense.  You buy the food.  It’s yours, your property.  You can prepare it however you like (within reason) and eat it if you care too or  … not.  What you throw away or decide not to keep is entirely up to you  — it’s YOUR property. It is none of anyone’s business.

On the other hand, you pay a fee or taxes to have your trash hauled away.  That’s their job.  Nothing more.  Haul your trash away. In steps government and arbitrarily decides that you’re throwing too much food away (goodness knows where that perception comes from) and the “there ought to be a law” folks step up.  They give those who pick up your trash the power to ticket you if they find you’ve thrown away too much food. Yeah, that’s right – the garbage police!

Most of the time these yahoos can’t even pick up the trash on time, and, of course they’re all math majors, so figuring out what percentage of your weekly trash pick up is over 10% should be a snap.  They have plenty of time, right?  I mean, good lord.

And if, in fact, people take this seriously, what do you suppose might happen? They’ll dump elsewhere.  If they’re smart they’ll find dumpsters outside the Seattle city hall and dump their food excess there.  Then the city can fine itself.

But it is another example of an unworkable law which will be arbitrarily imposed (if at all) and will see people attempting to circumvent it by means that I would guess will be less than sanitary and good for the city’s overall health.

Nannys.

~McQ

Irony today usually has it’s root in government actions

Because government is so completely involved in our lives.  A good example is the UK.

First, here’s a bit of a stunning statistic:

Winter weather has killed a million Brits since the 1980s and will kill a million more by 2050, experts have warned. Age support groups and doctors blame poor housing, high energy bills and pensioner poverty. Many killed by the cold are elderly but the ill, vulnerable and very young also die. A total of 973,000 people died due to winter weather from 1982/83 to 2011/12, Office of National Statistics data for England and Wales shows. ONS data shows another million Brits will be killed by winters by 2050, based on the average of 27,400 cold weather deaths per winter in the last five years.

The government, of course, is responsible for more of the problems listed than high energy bills but I wanted to highlight that and then turn to the irony part of this:

Migrating birds have halted Britain’s embryonic shale gas expansion in its tracks. The company backed by Lord Browne, the former BP boss, admitted yesterday that it must delay resuming fracking near Blackpool until next year because of rules protecting thousands of birds wintering in the surrounding picturesque Fylde peninsula.

Nice to know who or what has the priority over freezing Brits, no?

~McQ

Did the Fed cause the recession to be bigger and deeper?

That’s what a former member of the Fed claims.  James Pethokoukis has the story:

But a book by Robert Hetzel, a senior economist at Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, says it wasn’t Bushonomics or greedy bankers or broken markets that caused the Great Recession. In The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure, Hetzel pins the blame squarely on the Federal Reserve and Team Bernanke.

Oh, the downturn first started with “correction of an excess in the housing stock and a sharp increase in energy prices” — the housing bust and the oil shock. Indeed, those two things were enough, in Hetzel’s view, to cause a “moderate recession” beginning in December 2007.

But only a moderate one. It was the Fed’s monetary policy miscues after the downturn began that turned a run-of-the-mill downturn into a once-in-a century disaster.

Said Hetzel:

A moderate recession became a major recession in summer 2008 when the [Federal Open Market Committee] ceased lowering the federal funds rate while the economy deteriorated. The central empirical fact of the 2008-2009 recession is that the severe declines in output that in appeared in the [second quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009] … had already been locked in by summer 2008.

Anyone.  What has been blamed for the “Great Depression”?

The irony here, of course, is that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is a much-noted student of the Great Depression and of the work of the late Milton Friedman whose landmark book, A Monetary History of the United States, pinned the blame for the Great Depression on a too tight Fed. As Bernanke told Friedman and his co-author, Anna Schwartz, on the economist’s 90th birthday a decade ago, ”You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

But if Hetzel is right, the Fed blew it again.

Irony?  Yeah, supreme irony.  Unfortunately, the irony impaired left won’t get it (or choose not to) because it isn’t at all as useful politically in “blame the GOP” statements like Obama is fond of:

But I just want to point out that we tried their theory for almost 10 years … and it culminated in a crisis because there weren’t enough regulations on Wall Street and they could make reckless bets with other people’s money that resulted in this financial crisis, and you had to foot the bill. So that’s where their theory turned out.

As an aside, speaking of reckless bets with other people’s money, see “Nevada’s epic “green energy” failure” below.  The bets this administration has made in those sorts of areas can be characterized as nothing less that “reckless”. 

However, more to the point, if this theory by Hetzel were to be more commonly known, it would destroy the meme that it was 10 years of Republican economic malfeasance, loose regulation and Wall Street greed which caused the downturn.  And of course anyone who has taken the time to actually look into the downturn already knows that’s not the case.  But putting the blame on the Fed, where it may indeed belong, would remove a key talking point for Obama.

So I look for this theory to be roundly ignored by the left.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

“Outsourcing” and “Offshoring” are not the same thing

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a point that I wish more people would make:

President Obama has decided to make the claim that Mitt Romney “outsourced” jobs as head of Bain Capital a major theme of his reelection campaign. Today in Waterloo, Iowa, Joe Biden repeated the “outsourcing” mantra.

I’m not sure that either Obama or Biden has any clear idea what outsourcing means, and their application of the charge to Romney’s business career is dubious at best.

I’m not sure they understand the term either.  It is entirely probable that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital did outsource jobs – but that’s not necessarily bad.

As I understand outsourcing, it can be as simple as a company deciding, for whatever reason (but usually because of cost and/or efficiency) to quit doing something internally and contract the work outside the company.  So instead of making widgets to go in their gadget, they contract with another company to make the widgets for their gadgets.  The savings in cost and efficiency go to the bottom line and make the company more profitable (and, obviously, helps the bottom line of the new widget maker as well).  Depending on the circumstances, such outsourcing could end up with a net job gain.

Offshoring, of course, is when the job is moved, well, offshore. To another country.  A net job loss.  Certainly an outsourced job can also be offshored.

This is offshoring:

The Obama campaign spent nearly $4,700 on telemarketing services from a Canadian telemarketing company called Pacific East between March and June, a Washington Free Beacon study of federal election filings shows.

Pacific East is not the only overseas telemarketing firm raking in cash from the president’s reelection campaign. Obama paid a call center in Manila, Philippines$78,314.10 for telemarketing services between the start of the campaign and March.

Pacific East is headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, though the campaign issued more than a dozen checks to a P.O. box located in Washington State—about 1,000 feet from the Canadian border and 9 miles from its headquarters in Canada.

Neither Obama for America nor Pacific East returned requests for comment.

I’m sure they didn’t.  Ironic, no?

Someone pass this along to Joe Biden, will you?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Photo ID required for Mass state Democratic convention

For the irony impaired left, a look at your own requirements:

In recent years, Democrats have argued that requiring voters to show photo IDs prior to voting is an egregious act of voter suppression. Ben Jealous, of the NAACP, has gone so far as to argue that such requirements are tantamount to modern-day Jim Crow laws. In the world they inhabit, lots of voters don’t have access to photo IDs, so requiring voters to provide this will "disenfranchise" them and leave them out of the democratic process. Funny they don’t feel that way for their own party conventions.

On Saturday, Massachusetts delegates will meet in their state’s Democrat party convention. The votes of these delegates will determine whether there are primary elections for their party nominations. With so much at state, Democrats have decided to implement Voter ID requirements:

A PHOTO ID WILL BE REQUIRED TO ENTER THE MASSMUTUAL CENTER

Yeah, they still won’t get it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

The unintentional irony of Obama’s new plan to address high gas prices

For 25 years Democrats have been telling us that drilling for more oil isn’t the answer to high gas prices because it would take “3 to 10 years” to see the beneficial effects of increased drilling.  And, consequently, they’ve done everything in their power to prevent more drilling for oil and gas.

Now, in an election year, with gas prices spiking, they’re getting a little panicky.  Unfortunately for them, they have no answer to the problem.  When President Obama continues to claim there’s no “silver bullet” for the problem, its because he and others have effectively stood in the way of increased drilling that would have indeed increased our domestic supply of oil for all these years.

As Kate B Hicks reports, the desperate President has a new plan.  But, irony of ironies, you’ll have to wait 13 years to reap the benefits:

In his weekly radio and online address Saturday, Obama said Detroit automakers are on track to build cars that average nearly 55 miles per gallon by 2025, doubling current mileage standards.

"That means folks will be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, saving the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time," he said. "That’s a big deal, especially as families are yet again feeling the pinch from rising gas prices."

Not only will you have to wait 13 years, but you’ll have to shell out thousands of dollars for a new car.  And oh by the way, that new car will cost thousands more than a new car now because of the added cost of complying with those new CAFE standards.

Seriously?  Is this the best you have, Mr. President?

You should have stuck with touting the benefits of pond scum.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Banks are bad … unless you need one

OWS continues to expand its litany of hypocrisy almost daily, but this one may take the cake.  A protest aimed at Wall Street and bankers, one would think that such a protest would eschew any connection with banks during its protest.  No?

No:

Last week, one or more Occupy Oakland protesters smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo branch.

This week, the group’s general assembly agreed — in a near-unanimous vote Monday — to temporarily place $20,000 of the group’s money in an account at the country’s fourth-largest bank holding company, Wells Fargo Bank.

Yes friends, the “general assembly” of a protest aimed at banks and bankers has used a bank to protect their donations.  In fact, the vote was 162-8.  Apparently only those voting “no” recognized the absurdity of the decision given their position on banks.

But obviously the majority feared the money wasn’t safe in and among the crowd of protesters.

Go figure.

As for the irony of the decision – missed it completely apparently.  Some of their supporters, sounding off on Twitter, didn’t:

“I am so disgusted right now. the hypocrisy of it all is just amazing,” wrote @GiveMeThatJuice.

“ARE YOU F—— SERIOUS?!,” wrote @graceface.

“I can see the ad now: ‘People’s money is so safe here at Wells Fargo, even our sworn enemies use us for their banking needs!’” wrote @davidcolburn.

You just can’t make this stuff up.  Well, you can, but with this bunch there’s no need.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

OWS in a nutshell

Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” (besides a quote from one of my posts – thank you) had this from blogger Brady Cremeens .  It sums up OWS, as I’ve watched it over the weeks, pretty well.  And, as usual the irony impaired left has missed it completely.

Cremeen’s discussion is spot on:

In a hilariously idiotic display of irony, Occupy Wall Street is experiencing firsthand the failure of the system they are clamoring for. They squabbled over how to properly distribute the over half a million dollars in donations they received.  Some people felt they deserved more because they were doing more activist work, versus those who spent their occupying days playing drum circles or doing, well, nothing. What’s incredible is that the same people arguing over how to redistribute the wealth given them are pushing for a complete American system of wealth redistribution. They see no correlation between their own inability to “fairly” distribute money and that government mandated wealth distribution would just assuredly fail as well, but on a massive, nation-shaking economic scale.

Similarly, the kitchen staff at Occupy Wall Street ran into problems when they felt they shouldn’t have to prepare food for the “homeless and free loaders”. In summary, the group fighting for a socialist nation where everyone is equal regardless of output refuses to serve those who aren’t doing their share. Apparently, hypocrisy and irony are foreign concepts to the Occupy crowd.

What is perhaps most disconcerting is not that a few college kids and hippies are upset about student loans and mortgages, but that this clearly sordid movement has the complete support of major players in the American political system and media. Elizabeth Warren claims to be the “brains behind Occupy Wall Street” (insert joke here), Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and the President himself have all spoken in support of the protests.

It’s the apparent discovery that their system doesn’t work right in the middle of demanding that system be imposed which has me laughing and shaking my head.

The metaphor he uses is perfect:

Asking “Where did the Occupy movement go wrong?” is akin to musing “Where did Michael Moore’s fitness regime fall apart?” The answer: early, often, all over the place.

Yet for some reason, the left, Democrats and the media are embracing it.

The big question is “why”?   Why do they consider this a valuable movement to which they want to attach their political credibility?  What happens when, and it will, it all goes sour.

Consider (from Ace of Spades):

Verum Serum has been on this doggedly. For reporting the truth, of course, Mother Jones and left-wing blogs like Alternet  implied he was part of a right-wing "smear campaign."

Girls are getting raped at these events. That is not particularly the Occupiers’ fault. In any group, there will be some criminals.

What is their fault is discouraging the girls from reporting the rapes, in the interest of PR for the movement. Apparently talking the position that girls should just close their eyes and think of England.

The ABC report John partially praises fails to mention that fact about Occupy.

In a video by Lee Stranahan and Brandon Darby, one disgruntled Occupier is leaving, because someone on the Sanitation Team (???) took a swing at him, and then the Public Relations Praetorian Guard immediately swept in and began telling him no one took a swing at him.

These droids? What droids? Oh these droids.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Again, if the charges weren’t so serious, the situation would be entirely laughable.  What’s also apparent is the movement is degenerating into what critics predicted it would even while the press continues to give it an overall shine.  One can’t help but think of a rotting fish on the beach with glittery scales.

They are creating a society within their encampment that they’re discovering doesn’t work even while demanding that society be imposed on the whole.  How the press manages to miss that is beyond me.  Well not really.   And it certainly isn’t at all surprising that the left misses it.

But my guess is, when this all degenerates to the state of chaos and violence that the Democrats will end up holding the proverbial political bag of dog poo and trying to explain their way out of supporting this mess.

Should be fun to watch.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Bill Clinton’s ironic Tea Party rant

Ironic in the sense that he ends up doing exactly what he condemns in the same speech.  Luckily I’m able to do what he claims doesn’t happen.  If you’re confused, read on.

First the condemnation:

You can stand up and say anything and nobody rings a bell if the facts are wrong. There’s no bell ringing. It’s crazy, we’re living in a time when it’s more important than ever to know things. And not just to know facts but to put them in a coherent. sensible pattern. And we live in a time, if you just want to talk about the economy, where the model that works for economic growth and prosperity is cooperation. But the model that works in politics is conflict.

Well actually, Bill, there’s a lot of bell ringing, you just have to get out of the cocoon, get on-line and find it.  For instance, I’m about to ring the bell on you.

You know, there’s not a single solitary example on the planet, not one, of a country that is successful because the economy has triumphed over the government and choked it off and driven the tax rates to zero, driven the regulations to nonexistent and abolished all government programs, except for defense, so people in my income group never have to pay a nickel to see a cow jump over the moon. There is no example of a successful country that looks like that.

Bell ring one:  There is indeed an example of what the Tea Party wants to be found embodied in a country – at least temporarily.  We live in it. Clinton and his ilk have done everything in their power to kill that model and finally those who happen to like it are fighting back.  His reaction?  To “stand up and say anything” even when “the facts are wrong”.  Well, he’s wrong (don’t you love it when the left tries to redefine something – now what our founders wanted is supposedly what we have now.  Really?).

Bell ring two:  The Tea Party doesn’t preach anarchy.  It talks about sanity in government – smaller government, less costly government, and less intrusive government.  It talks about government living within its means.  It talks about government on a budget.  But none of them talk about “tax rates to zero” or abolishing all regulations and government programs except defense.

That’s a typical leftist fact free smear that sets up a strawman they can attack.  And there Clinton is right in the middle of the political model he claims to dislike.  Conflict abetted by mischaracterization designed to demonize.  Fact free rants like this with the added bonus of condemnation of fact free rants.

Yes, Mr. Clinton, you haven’t changed a bit.   And there’s even a bit more irony according to Think Progress (although they don’t seem to recognize it – I’ve always contended the left is irony impaired):

While blasting the Tea Party’s economic policies, Clinton also acknowledged that the media plays an increasingly dangerous role in fanning the flames of partisan rancor.

That’s just funny.  Clinton fanned those flames with his mischaracterization of the US political model and the Tea Party knowing full well the smear would be reported by the media.  But it is the media’s fault even if Clinton planned that every partisan word of his speech would be quoted by them.

You have got to love the guy in one way.  He never lets his words get in the way of his actions, does he?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Irony, the left, the AUMF and bin Laden

I assume most of you political junkies remember the left and their reaction to the Authorization to use Military Force resolution that was passed by Congress not long after 9/11.

The left wasn’t at all happy with Congress authorizing the use of force and during the presidential debates you had various Democratic candidates called out on it by the Obama campaign and we went through a series of apologies for voting for that.  Obama was never clear as to whether or not he’d have voted for it had he been in the Senate at the time, but he certainly left the impression he probably wouldn’t have.

The irony comes in the form of the justification for the raid on and death of Osama bin Laden.  Apparently the AUMF is suddenly a pretty handy thing to have around:

To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.

The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.

One year ago, in the midst of a debate about the legality of targeted killing of foreign nationals, Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, said in a speech that the administration’s targeting practices complied "with all applicable law, including the laws of war."

"As recent events have shown," Koh said at the time, al Qaeda has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and so "the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks."

I find it both amusing and interesting (not to mention ironic) that those so heavily engaged in pumping up the Obama profile over the bin Laden killing are mostly unaware of the fact that the hated AUMF was the basis for the strike and, in effect, they’re now defending what they once roundly condemned.

As someone recently quipped, in the area of the war(s), this is like Bush’s third term.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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