Tuesday, January 27

CBO: Obamacare will cost taxpayers $50,000 for every person who signs up ??

The Congressional Budget Office is a supposedly non-partisan agency charged with "scoring" how much a propose government program will cost.  It just released a ten-year forecast of the economic outlook for the U.S.  Buried in that report is this nugget:





They estimate Obamacare will cost taxpayers $50,000 for every person who signs up.

They further estimate the total cost of Obamacare over the next decade at almost $2 Trillion.  A portion of this will be offset by $600 Billion in new taxes and fees imposed by the ghastly law.  And guess who pays those fees?  Us.

But wait...I have this vivid image of the emperor promising he wouldn't raise taxes on middle-class folks by even a dime.  And it was gonna "bend the cost curve" or some such bullshit.  Were those statements just lies?

BTW, the newspaper that bothered to do the hard work of actually reading the CBO's report was not a U.S. paper, but Britain's Daily Mail.  Glad to see overseas journalists still have a work ethic.

Sunday, January 25

New Leftist Greek government rejects austerity measures, demands lenders forgive loans

Three years ago I wrote several pieces on the Greek debt crisis (here and here, for example).  For those who don't remember it, the problem was that the government of that country had been spending a lot more money every year than its government took in in taxes--mainly due to huge welfare payments and ridiculously generous government pensions.

Back then Greece owed its lenders about $161 Billion, which it couldn't repay.  But because the government was addicted to deficits it needed to keep borrowing money to cover current expenditures.  (Sound familiar?)

Let's review:  Country has huge debt which it won't repay, but still looks to the nations it's already stiffed to loan it even more money to cover current expenses.  Hard to imagine any creditor agreeing to do that, right?  You can't repay what you owe now, but you want me to loan you even more cash.  Sorry.

But of course in the EU Leftist politicians force their countries to do all manner of bizarre things because hey, it's not their money.

So lender nations sat down for a month of negotiations with the Greek government, and as a condition of loaning it even more cash they got the government to agree to a number of "austerity measures" to cut expenditures a few million annually.  Thus reasured, lenders resumed lending.  Can you guess what happened?

Sure you can:  Greek politicians--all wanting to stay in office--agreed with Greek protesters that "austerity" was for dummies, and the government junked most of the austerity measures it agreed to make to bring spending more in line with revenue.

So three years ago I predicted what should have been obvious to anyone:  The long negotiations and resulting "austerity" charade had merely postponed the inevitable.  As long as the government insisted on spending more than it took in, a crash was inevitable.

Now, three years later, Greek government is now $270 Billion in debt--a cool $100 billion higher than it was when the crisis first hit.  (It's a modest amount by U.S. standards but Greece is a very small country.)  Nothing has changed except the amount owed, which is a lot more.  The Greeks could not--and didn't want to--repay then, and that hasn't changed either.

A Leftist party just won an election, on a promise to "renegotiate" the nation's debt to keep the welfare and pension base happy.

Back in 2012, nations like Germany that were the major lenders to Greece agreed to write off billions in loans because the Greek government in effect demanded that as a condition for agreeing to repay *anything.*  It'll be interesting to see how many more billions the Greeks can con out of gullible European governments after fooling them three years ago,

You'd wouldn't think leaders of Germany and other EU nations would let Greece con them a second time--especially so soon!  But astonishingly, I predict the Greeks will succeed in conning Europe yet again.  Because the Leftist governments of Europe, and the thoroughly socialist ministers of the EU, cannot bring themselves to bring the hammer down on fellow leftists--even those who have conned them for $270 Billion.

Saturday, January 24

How Pelosi and Dems rigged the report on the mortgage meltdown

Wanna know how government really works?

Actually most of you really don't, because it's sordid and depressing and corrupt, but a tiny few of you have a strong sense of honor and propriety and are probably curious, so here goes:

It's widely known that people who own their own homes take better care of both the homes and their neighborhoods than renters do.  Accordingly, Democrats and liberals came up with a "great" plan:  If more people owned their own homes, cities would be better places!  Great!

But what's stopping renters from buying homes *now*?  Oh yeah: Banks knew from lots of experience that if a potential borrower had a lousy credit record, or not enough income, the chances of them defaulting on the mortgage went way up.  If a business wanted to *stay* in business it didn't make sense to give mortgage loans to such borrowers.

Democrats--being Democrats--had a great solution for that one:  Just pass a law (or issue banking regulations, which is a lot easier) forcing banks to give mortgages to people with poor credit!  

Genius, eh?  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course banks and other lending entities weren't stupid:  They knew (from long experience) that such mortgages would have a high default rate, so as a condition of not opposing the law (or regs) they got a provision inserted into the bill allowing them to sell high-risk mortgages to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  (Some of you may not be aware that both those were "government-sponsored enterprises"--an orwellian term meaning that they could be bailed out with taxpayer bucks.  Oh, and they also paid huge salaries to see-no-problems Democrat "executives.")

The result was an explosion of what came to be called "ninja loans"--no income, no job, no assets.  The word came down to loan officers from banking execs to give mortgages to anyone who applied, because of the risk of a huge government penalty if anyone was declined.

So around January of 2008, after years of the gummint forcing banks to make mortgage loans to borrowers who normally wouldn't have qualified for a mortgage, and then the banks selling most of this "paper" to Fannie and Freddie, the absolutely inevitable and predictable happened:  Defaults on sub-prime mortgages started going exponential.  This triggered the "subprime mortgage crisis," in which a massive wave of mortgage defaults crashed both the banking system and the housing market in most major U.S. cities.  (Wiki has a decent summary if you're curious.)

The wave of defaults (foreclosures) threw tens of thousands of homes on the market.  This had the effect of driving home prices down--which then had a more pernicious effect:  People who *had* to move (as in job transfer) found they were "underwater"--they couldn't sell their home for enough to pay off the mortgage.  In that situation many borrowers with decent income and credit defaulted rather than having to pay tens of thousands of dollars at closing.

With homes now a glut on the market, new-home construction--a huge component of the economy-- cratered.

The immediate result of these three events was a huge wave of government spending (TARP) to bail out some government agencies that held the paper, and some of the too-big-to-fail banks.  A second result was new laws that greatly increased government control of parts of the mortgage industry.

All that is background to my topic today, which is how then-House-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who were mainly responsible for creating the conditions that led to this implosion conspired to rig the so-called "investigation" into what caused the meltdown.

After the implosion of the mortgage industry--an event which shook the U.S. economy to its roots--most Americans wanted to know how the hell it happened so we might avoid repeating it.  So in 2009 a congressional committee was formed, called the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

In 2009 Democrats had total control of both houses of congress, meaning they were able to appoint all the members of the commission and allocate funding, staff and other resources.  The appointment process was controlled by then-House speaker Pelosi, who appointed her California pal Phil Angelides, a long-time Democrat operative, to head the commission.

According to a just-released book by one of the ten members of that commission, here's what happened:

• Angelides provided no staff to help Republicans interview witnesses, conduct research or draft the report. But Angelides gave Democrats on the commission almost 80 staffers to help demonstrate the Dem narrative that bank risk-taking and greed unleashed by deregulation caused the crisis.

• Angelides never notified Republicans on the commission about the hundreds of witnesses he called to testify in closed-door interviews with his staff.  As a result, none of these witnesses was cross-examined--something that might have changed their testimony had it been done.

• Angelides staffers never put most of these closed-door witnesses under oath.

• Angelides buried evidence that by 2008, 75% of all high-risk mortgages had wound up on the books of HUD-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. Although a memo by Fannie Mae's former chief credit officer showed that government, not the private sector, drove risky lending, the memo was never formally made available to the Republican members of the FCIC.

• Angelides withheld the 900-page final draft of the report from the Republican commissioners until eight days before sending it to the printer.  Like the 1,300-page bill that became Obamacare, no one on the Republican side had time to find out what was in it.

• After a Republican member of the commision filed a 43,000-word dissent, Angelides removed all but 9,000 words of it from the report widely distributed in bookstores.

The effect of all these maneuvers was to hide evidence that the main cause of the implosion was the government's policy of forcing banks to make sub-prime loans.  The commission's report was designed to support Democrat demands for a "new New Deal" that would put even more of the banking industry under federal control.

Sure enough, in July of 2010 Democrats passed the Dodd-Frank Act--which shockingly left Fannie and Freddie untouched.

As a result, Fannie and Freddie, now under full federal control, are back to making low down payment loans to high-risk borrowers, and the Dodd-Frank-mandated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is forcing banks to ignore credit risks when evaluating potential borrowers.

The lesson here is that the party in power can pass a law that causes huge damage, but then totally escape all responsibility (yes, all), simply by rigging the subsequent "investigation."  There is no mechanism for punishing the corrupt riggers.  No scorn or loss of income or prestige will ever be attached to any of them.

And yes, that principle applies to both parties.  It's just that the Repubs can never get away with anything because the lying media will instantly jump on the slightest hint of Repub malfeasance.

And I'm okay with that.  Too bad they can't do that job for both parties.
==
A great article on how Barney Frank--who was a constant pusher for forcing banks to give mortgages to high-risk borrowers--lied and dodged to avoid any blame for the role he played in the crash is here.  As late a a month before the crash Frank assured an audience (captured on video) that Fannie and Freddie were completely financially sound and that any rumor to the contrary was simply Repubs trying to do damage to the innocent Democrats.  Yeah.

Monday, January 19

NASA press release claims 2014 hottest year, but they didn't tell you...

How many of you heard on the TV or radio "news" Friday that 2014 was the hottest year on record?

That made it onto lots of local weather segments, and lots of newspapers--because it would allegedly confirm the Great Global Warming Fear!  (WaPo: "It's official: 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.")

Let's take a closer look:  The claim was made in a press release from NASA's "Goddard Institute of Space Studies."  What the headline didn't say was that the alleged--that's a critical word--increase in global temperature was just 0.02 degrees.  But the data itself has a margin of error five times greater.

If a scientific paper alleged an effect or trend based on the two numbers above, no reputable journal would publish it.

Let me say that again:  If your alleged results show an effect only one-fifth of the margin of error of your data, no reputable scientist would claim that as "showing" anything.

Problem is, the director of Goddard is a powerwhore by the name of Gavin Schmidt.  He's a True Believer that the Earth is being fatally warmed by humans because we burn carbon fuels.

When questioned by a UK newspaper NASA admitted that the alleged warming of just one-fifth of the margin of error means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all. Yet the NASA press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged record was just two-hundredths of a degree.

Schmidt has now admitted that the probability that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by the UK newspaper whether he regretted that the press release failed mention this, Schmidt didn't respond.

That should tell you everything you need to know about Schmidt--and the scam known as "anthropogenic global warming."

And it also confirms a suspicion about the new definition of "journalism": "Reprinting government press releases."

Sunday, January 18

Sign held by Muslim

The sign below is *not* photoshopped.  Muslims actually believe it.


Do you honestly think the West can coexist with people who hold such utterly alien beliefs?

Saturday, January 17

Muzz protest against cartoons "in the name of freedom of speech" ??

After Muslim terrorists murdered 17 unarmed Parisians last week--murders ostensibly "triggered" by the publication of cartoons of Mohammed--a mob of 7th-century goat-humpers expressed their outrage--not about the murders, but about the publication of those cartoons satirizing their sacred religious figure.  Take a look:


The banners read "We condemn the blasphemy of Muhammad in the name of media liberalization and freedom of speech."

I suggest this phrase is either a lie of Orwellian proportions, or absolute proof that these people are utterly impervious to reason.  It's easy to see how followers of a bloodthirsty, rapacious, conquest-pushing religion would be offended by cartoons satirizing their key figure, but by what bizarre twist of logic can they claim their condemnation of said "blasphemy" (i.e. the publication of the cartoons) is "in the name of media liberalization and freedom of speech"?

The members of this mob--and apparently almost all Muslims--are totally opposed to freedom of speech, at least as any rational person understands the term.

Like leftists and dictators around the world, they demand that nothing be uttered or drawn or published that offends them.  Sorry, that's not freedom of speech.  It's the opposite.

So why the wording on the banners?  I suggest it's pure propaganda, designed to fool other morons into believing that the muzz mob is right--that free speech should NOT include the right to say or publish certain things.  And I suspect about half of Americans would agree with that.

The same half that voted for the emperor.  Twice.

Tuesday, January 13

The media's spin on why the emperor didn't attend the rally in Paris

A commenter at Ace's has identified the media spin on the emperor's decision *not* to attend the gathering of national leaders in Paris Sunday.  Three choices:

i) "It was a really gutsy call for obama not to go to Paris, since that would have taken so much of the world's attention away from the rally itself;" or
ii)  Obama actually was in Paris...in spirit; or
iii) Look, over there!  Republicans!  And they're trying to deport innocent undocumented immigrants!

Muslim cleric whines that new Charlie Hebdo issue is "racist," will upset Muslims

Tomorrow--a week after Muslim terrorists armed with machine-guns executed 17 unarmed civilians--the remaining staff of the satirical mag Charlie Hebdo plans to publish a defiant issue again featuring cartoons lampooning the violent killer-warlord Mohammed.  Except instead of the normal press run of 60,000 copies, other printing houses are cooperating to print a total of 3 million copies.

This prompted some muzzie "Grand Mufti" asshole to warn the French that the planned printing was a "racist act" that would "incite hatred and upset Muslims around the world."

Wait...did I get that right?  Armed muzzie terrorist scum assholes execute 17 unarmed civilians (way to go, you braaaave chickenshits; takes lots of courage to execute unarmed civilians) and this Mufti chickenshit is warning the country whose citizens were executed that the mere act of printing cartoons was "a racist act"?

I'm sorry, asshole, but your playing the bullshit race card doesn't count for shit against what your people did in Paris.  But worse yet is that you are so completely disconnected from reality that you THINK playing the race card will work to cow the countrymen of the people your chickenshit murderers just killed.  That's some serious insanity there.

Here's the quote from the office of Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, who is billed as one of Egypt's most influential Muslim clerics:
This edition will cause a new wave of hatred in French and Western society in general and what the magazine is doing does not serve coexistence or a dialog between civilizations.  This is an unwarranted provocation against the feelings of … Muslims around the world.
The statement called on the French government to reject what was termed the "racist act" by Charlie Hebdo, accusing the newspaper of seeking to provoke "religious strife... and deepen hatred."

Sorry, asshole:  The act that provoked religious strife was your unhinged chickenshit murderers executing 17 unarmed civilians.  If you're worried about "religious strife and hatred" I think it's beyond question that those murders--committed by your fellow muzz--utterly overwhelm the injury of any cartoon. 

Meanwhile the president of Muslim Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, accused the West of hypocrisy for its stance over the two attacks, while allegedly failing to condemn anti-Muslim acts in Europe. "The West's hypocrisy is obvious," said this lying sack of shit.  "As Muslims, we've never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these [??] lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia," he said.

Oh yes, always the alleged "Islamophobia."  And to say that Muslims have never taken part in terrorist massacres?  What a crock.  Obviously Erdogan has either forgotten 9/11 or believes the propaganda that the towers were not brought down by passenger jets hijacked by...Muslims.  Again, totally disconnected from reality.

I really don't see how we can coexist with people like this.

Venezuela's socialist regime: "Long lines just prove stores have food!"

When events in a nation start to turn to shit, politicians start making excuses.  Always.  Because they're determined to deflect any blame from themselves.

If a pol is part of the ruling party, and their governing philosophy or principles are utter crap--like socialism--the excuses always defy logic and common sense.  And the worse things are, the more unbelievable the excuses.

This is the situation in Venezuela now.  Plagued by shortages of most foods as well as things like detergent and toilet paper, Venezuelans have been waiting in huge lines outside every store in the capital.  These lines start forming before dawn and are still there when the stores close.

The constant sight of these lines has been an irritant to the socialist regime, which has blamed the shortages on American sabotage--it's "an economic war waged by opponents seeking to topple the socialist government," see?  Another boogeyman the regime blames is "greedy businessmen."  In short, the regime blames anything *except* the system of price controls which the regime itself imposed.  They either don't grasp--or probably simply ignore--that business aren't eager to sell at or below the cost of their goods.

Now a regime asshole bureaucrat with the grand title of "Food Security Regulator"--one Carlos Osorio by name--has stumbled on what he believes is a way to fool the people yet again.  He appeared on state TV to lay out one of the most brazen "explanations" for the huge line: 
“If there was no food in Venezuela, there would not be these lines we see here,” he said on state television. “We wouldn’t have so many people gathered at these installations. It’s the best demonstration we can have.” 
As this bureaucrat would have it, the huge lines outside the stores are simply proof! that those stores have food and/or other necessities.  It's just wonderful!

"Line?  What line?  Oh, this line just proves the stores have food!"

You have to admire the disconnect from reality that can turn long lines into some sort of positive indicator--no matter how absurd.  It's like Cuba or the old Soviet Union or the former East German regime claiming there were no shortages.  Amazing.

Meanwhile others in the socialist regime were attacking the problem of long lines from a different angle.  Not by lifting price controls or currency restrictions, of course.  Not by doing a single thing that would increase the supply of anything.  But by...wait for it...issuing a "directive" (the U.S. equivalent would be one of the emperor's executive orders) ordering that citizens can only shop at government-run food stores twice a week.

One imagines that if the new directive leaves the lines longer than the regime deems proper, they'll issue a new directive limiting citizens to shopping just once a week.

For socialist governments this is what passes for a brilliant solution.

The directive allows citizens to shop on certain days according to the last digit on their national food ID card.  Oh, did we not mention that earlier?  Yeah, the regime directed that all "ordinary" Venezuelans would have to have a food ID card.  Of course if you're a member of the regime--the ruling class--this isn't an issue.  Sort of like here in the U.S, where politicians in the ruling party can do whatever they like, without regard to silly "laws."

Oh, and did that regime "directive" solve the problem of long lines?  Well, not exactly:  The directive only applied to government-run stores.  Meaning that people who were out of something simply went across the street and lined up at the few remaining non-government stores.

But not to worry:  New directive in the works will cover them too.  After all, we have to be fair about these things, eh comrade?

Monday, January 12

After Israeli PM opts to attend Paris rally, Fwench prez invites Palestinian prez

You need to know what dangerous, traitorous, lying scum are running nominally civilized western nations now.

No, I'm not talking about the socialist muslim in the White Hut, but rather French socialist president Hollande.  Here's the story:  With Muslim terrorists having killed four Jews in the Paris attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to join the leaders of 40 other nations at Sunday’s massive rally in Paris.  But Hollande asked him not to come, claiming...now pay attention here...his presence would be "divisive."

Yep.  Muslim terrorists executing unarmed civilians is just random workplace violence, but the presence of the Israeli prime minister would be "divisive"--and Lord knows we can't risk hurting the precious feeeewings of Fwench Muslims.  Cuz they might, y'know, kill somebody.

Netanyahu initially agreed not to attend, but later changed his mind.  Shortly after his administration notified Hollande's office of the new decision, something curious happened:  Hollande's office notified the Israelis that in light of Netanyahu's decision to attend the rally, the French government was formally inviting Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to attend the rally.  Which he did.

Why did Hollande invite Abbas?  Is it because the "brave" Muslim killers who executed unarmed journalists accidentally shot a palestinian in the attack?

Of course not.  It's because Hollande--like all socialists/Leftists--hates Israel.  If Israel's PM was coming, Hollande wanted to offset this by inviting the terrorist protector Abbas.

France is in what's called an "existential crisis" right now--if they make the wrong decision the country will cease to exist in anything like its current form.  [Sorry, I do that because a lot of my readers are college students who don't always know what terms mean.]   Obviously Hollande believes it's crucial to appear scrupulously even-handed, inviting terrorist-protector Abbas to the rally even though he's historically been on the pro-Muslim-terror side.

If the French people want to be Muslim-ruled that's their choice.  I really don't care, any more than I care whether Pakistan or Afghanistan or Goatfuckistan is Muslim ruled.  Their choice, and enjoy the fruits thereof.  What's important is that everyone SEE how the track is being laid to bring about this outcome, so no one can wail "OMG, I had no idea this was happening!  If only I'd known!!"

I feel so sorry for people who are honest, hard-working, well intentioned and good, but are betrayed into slavery by their politicians, with the crucial help of the Lying Media.  It's sad, like sheep being led to the slaughter.  The don't have a chance.

That's why I write this stuff:  If I can educate just a few hundred good people, and show 'em the inevitable outcome of political betrayal, it will have been worthwhile.

Best of luck to the people of France--indeed, to all non-Muslims.  You're in an existential fight, even though most of you don't know it yet.

Sunday, January 11

Govt and media: "This has no connection whatsoever with Islam!"

In Paris two men armed with AK-47s burst into the office of a French magazine and methodically executed eleven people, including the editor and several cartoonists.  They separated the men and women, then called names from a list.  As each person called came out, he was executed with a shot to the head.  One woman was similarly killed.

On leaving, they killed an unarmed policeman outside.

The killers were caught on cell phone video yelling Allahu akhbar and "We have avenged the honor of the prophet."

A woman in the office who was spared said one of the killers told her to "read the Koran and convert to Islam."

The magazine that was attacked had published cartoons satirizing Mohammed.

Despite these key facts, barely an hour after the shootings the Lying Media and governments were laying down suppressive fire, claiming (you know what's coming, right?) "This had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam."

Apparently you people think all of us are stupid.

A short time later in another Paris suburb another...person...armed with two AK-47s entered a deli, shot and killed four young male customers and took a number of people hostage.  The killer later talked extensively with his captors, telling them he was "al-qaeda."  He was eventually killed by police.

And once again, the allies of Islamic conquest claimed "This had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam."

Curious, isn't it:  When someone claiming to be "avenging the honor of the prophet" and shouting Allahu akhbar, and admonishing captors to "study the Koran and convert" shoots, blows up or beheads innocents, the reaction of the U.S. government and media is always the same.

Every case is dismissed as an isolated event, perpetrated by "lone wolves."  Politicians and the mainstream media fall all over themselves in the rush to claim that the murders had nothing at all to do with Islam.  Public discourse about the murders--the stuff in print and over the air--is obsessed, not with the acts of the terrorists, but with warning American against "Islamophobia" (cute, huh) and a "right-wing reaction" to the murders.

This is beyond stupid.  It's a willful lie--suppressive fire designed to make ordinary citizens keep their mouths shut and not demand an end to Muslim immigration and generous welfare benefits for people who want to rule us and kill those who don't convert to Islam.

Now just so we're perfectly clear, no one believes all Muslims want to kill non-Muslims.  And it's almost certainly true that some of the terrorist murderers are literally crazy--and everyone knows that crazy isn't exclusively confined to Muslims.  But both of these facts are scant comfort to the families of the victims.

I'll have to admit I don't know the solution.  Attackers who don't wear uniforms will always have a huge tactical advantage over civilians--especially unarmed ones.  So as long as Muslims are allowed to live in non-Muslim nations, and refuse to help the native population root out terrorist murderers, the lethal risk will remain.

I predict both Europe and the U.S. will see a few Paris-style attacks per year for the next few decades.  Because the actual risk will be on the order of getting struck by lightning, people will come to regard such attacks as a normal part of life--much the way those of us in Tornado Alley regard tornadoes.

Christians will tolerate random murders indefinitely rather than deport Muslims.  No surprise, really.

European leaders walk in "unity rally" in Paris; Obama, Kerry, Holder no-shows

The leaders of most European nations attended a rally in Paris today to honor the victims of the latest Muslim atrocity.

Obama didn't attend.  Nor did his Secretary of State, Kerry.  Nor did his attorney general, the nominal head of the Department of Injustice, Eric Holder...even though Holder was in Paris.

The excuse was that Holder was at a meeting of ministers discussing security.  Many observers found this odd since all the heads of state of Europe, and their assistants, were marching in the streets with about a million Parisians.  So who could Holder have been meeting with--if indeed the story is true?

Here's how the French news agency AFP reported it:
US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris Sunday to attend a meeting of interior and justice ministers discussing measures to combat jihadist attacks, was meant to have participated in the rally according to the White House on Saturday, but did not do so, the US embassy in Paris confirmed.
The embassy did not say why Holder did not attend the march.
Wow, they didn't even have an excuse ready?  Talk about tone-deaf!  Talk about a thumb in the eye of a potentially valuable ally.  Way to go, Obama/Kerry/Holder and all you dumb sons-of-bitches.

Gotta say, after the endless string of years of lies, at this point I wouldn't believe anything Obama or Kerry or Holder or Psaki said.  Useless wastes of skin.

McDonalds in Venezuela can't get french fries?

Ah, socialism!  In socialist Venezuela, McDonalds has run out of french fries.

That should make you curious:  Was there a potato famine in Venezuela?  No.  McDonalds imports its fries from either the U.S or Argentina.  Apparently Venezuela doesn't grow enough potatoes to be a reliable source.

Okay, we know the rest of the world didn't run out of potatoes, so what's the explanation?  Turns out that Venezuelan companies wanting to import goods must get official permission from the government to exchange the local currency for dollars, at one of three official exchange rates set by the regime. 

Different commodities qualify for either more or less-favorable rates.  And if a government bureaucrat doesn't like you, you'll have a much harder time getting a favorable rate.  In which case your imported goods could cost two or three times what they did last time.

But wait:  Other fast-food chains in Vz are still selling fries.  How did they manage to keep getting imported fries at a good rate but McDonald's couldn't?

Gee, it's a mystery.  I suspect that if you contributed ten thousand dollars to Maduro's slush fund your request for dollars at your previous exchange rate would sail right through.

Meanwhile in Venezuela, McDonald's has adjusted by offering fried cassava.  Customers aren't impressed.

Cuban regime announces experimental "Wi-Fi" system at killer price

The regime ruling Cuba has announced that it will install an experimental Wi-Fi system in one city this month, at "killer prices." 

The price to use the system will be five dollars an hour.

Five dollars is an entire week's salary for Cubans.

But you have to understand that the regime is forced to charge this outrageously high hourly rate because the eeevil Bush government jams electronic transmissions in the poor island nation, which means the regime must use special, incredibly expensive jam-resistant wi-fi routers.

Yeah, that was sarcasm.  It costs a week's salary per hour because the regime controls everything.  Supply and demand, baby:  Keep supply low and prices will stay high.  And since wi-fi costs very little, where do you suppose all that profit will go?  Why, to the Castros and their lackeys, of course.

Socialism is bad enough.  Add totalitarianism and you get damn near the worst of all worlds. 

Oh, the link at the top is to a site called Havana Times, which gets stories from contributors in Cuba but has to be posted from off the island, since the operators would prefer not to spend life in prison.  Surprisingly the ops don't seem to be angry about the infinite shortages and scams and deprivations of life in Cuba but seem to have sort of a resigned good humor.  Worth reading.

Socialism, baby!  Your emperor is doing everything possible to bring you more of it, cuz it works SO fucking well.

Saturday, January 10

Most Western media refusing to show cartoons that prompted Paris attack

From The Federalist:
In reporting on the executions in Paris, Western news organizations are falling all over themselves to censor images that have angered Muslim terrorists.

This is the "murderers' veto":  Because Muslims kill people who offend their delicate feewings, western media self-censor to avoid risk.

Which brings us to CNN.  Following the Charlie Hebdo attack, CNN allegedly issued a memo to staff detailing what types of images and words would be allowed by the network and what would be banned:
Although we are not at this time showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet [sic] considered offensive by many Muslims, platforms are encouraged to verbally describe the cartoons in detail. This is key to understanding the nature of the attack on the magazine and the tension between free expression and respect for religion.

Video or stills of street protests showing Parisians holding up copies of the offensive cartoons, if shot wide, are also OK. Avoid close-ups of the cartoons that make them clearly legible.

It’s also OK to show most of the protest cartoons making the rounds online, though care should be taken to avoid examples that include within them detailed depictions of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Where to begin?  For starters, note that the network is apparently afraid of even using the word Muhammad. Instead CNN refers to him as “the Prophet.”  Not a prophet.  Not even the prophet.  But “The Prophet,” capital P.

CNN’s language implies that no other prophets existed before or after Muhammad.  As if he's the only one. 

Does CNN refer to Jesus Christ as “the Messiah”?  Does it spell God “G-d” out of respect for Jews who believe it is sinful to utter His name?  Of course not.  They defer only to Islam, because Muslims have repeatedly shown--literally thousands of times--that they will kill people who don't defer.

CNN--supposedly a television network--instructed its employees to avoid the use of pictures and instead use words to describe the cartoon images that presumably moved Muslims with machine-guns to execute ten unarmed civilians and two unarmed policemen.

It's a situation loaded with irony: CNN is a TV network, and the unique aspect of TV is the ability to show images.  Unless you’re CNN. And how did CNN justify its ban on pictures?  They said it was necessary because verbal descriptions were "key to understanding the nature of the attack on the magazine and the tension between free expression and respect for religion.”

CNN wants us to believe the key to understanding a murderous attack over cartoon images is to…only use spoken words to describe the images, rather than showing the actual images.
C.S. Lewis saw this nonsense coming--how the deliberate corruption of language leads inexorably to the degradation of society. We are seeing it now:  Maybe if we in the Mainstream Media call Mohammed “The Prophet” and sneer at non-Muslims under our breath, murderous Muslims will leave us alone and instead attack those less enlightened than we are. 
ABC/CNN's Christiane Amanpour called the killers "activists."  (Click on the link for the exact quotes below.)
AMANPOUR (on the day of the massacre): On this day, these activists found their targets, and their targets were journalists.

Editors worrying, not about terrorism but about right-wing reaction to terrorist attacks:

NICHOLAS KRISTOF (on MSNBC the day of the executions): I think [the magazine's staff] should have been more sensitive.  I don't believe in gratuitously offending people.  They practically forced those poor masked fellows to kill them.  [Last sentence may have been garbled in transmission.]

KRISTOF again (on MSNBC, same day): We have to be really, really careful not to respond to the extraordinary intolerance of these jihadis with our own intolerance.  And by "extraordinary intolerance" I mean those fellows with the scary guns were...um...never mind."

DAVID ROTHKOPF (again, MSNBC on the day of the executions): I think we have to be just as worried about the reaction to the attack from nationalists, from right-wingers, from people who have sought to drive this wedge, as it was described earlier, between the Islamic communities and the mainstream communities in Europe.  Because if not for the people who have sought to drive this wedge between the peaceful Muslim community and the rest of Europe, the savage, intolerant cartoonists would hardly be dead at all.

How stupid Republicans can smarten up and beat the emperor

There's a classic move in chess called a "fork," in which one player moves to a square that will let him take one of two pieces on the next move.  The opponent can move one piece out of danger, but will still lose one of the two pieces.

The emperor's new proposal to "give" two years of "free" community college to all is such a move.

Prudent politicians don't just ad-lib shit like this.  Rather, it was carefully crafted with his advisors.  The reason it's so canny is that even if congress doesn't pass a bill enacting it, the emperor wins the support of naive low-information voters.  And of course if the McCon and Orange-man-led congress does pass such a bill, Obama gets the credit. 

So, a win-win for the emperor and his Democrat advisors.

Of course if the Repubs were smart (I know, I know) they'd be playing the same game:  Deliberately sending not just one or two bills to the Kenyan bastard, but *dozens*--all of which contain a single provision that the Kenyan says he'll veto.  Let him.  When that happens enough times--and that's the key--then it'll slowly start penetrating some skulls that the Democrat/emperor claim that *congress* is shutting shit down is bullshit.

If I were strategizing for the Repubs I'd have three dozen such bills all drafted and ready to go, and I'd hit the Kenyan with one every week--enough to keep the issue at the front of the news cycle (I know, I know).  Well, at least the internet and bloggers.  We know the Lying Media won't say a word to embarrass their Precioussss.

Post the full text of the bill on the internet three days before the vote, to contrast real transparency with the lie Obama told that his administration would do just that, and then of course didn't.

Each time the bastard vetoed one, a dozen repubs should give speeches in the well of the senate or floor of the House, explaining what just happened. 
We passed this *short*, *simple* bill--with the help of [two or five or ten] Democrats--to [add jobs, help defense, reduce taxes on middle class, simplify/reduce regulations, make govt more transparent, improve care at the VA, reduce government waste...you get it].  Unlike the "Affordable Care Act" we didn't use 1,800 pages of fine print to hide provisions that not a single person in congress had time to read, let alone understand.  What we've done here is government doing what it should.  And your emperor vetoed it out of pique.

Go ahead and ask him why he vetoed such a simple, short, easy-to-understand bill.  He won't give you a straight answer, any more than he followed through on his *promise* to post all bills for public inspection three days before a vote.  You'll notice we did that.  But he's a liar.

You get the idea.

Fork him.

Two challenges facing us--and an emperor who rules by decree

As civilization struggled to come to terms with the dozen executions in the capital of one of the world's most civilized nations, the Nigerian Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram killed two-thousand (2,000) men, women and children in the town of Baga in northern Nigeria. 

Business Insider calls it “one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history.”  Probably true but western elites won’t notice because it happened in Africa.
According to a senior government official who spoke to the BBC, Baga, which once had a population of about 10,000 people, is now “virtually non-existent.”  The terrorist thugs razed an estimated 16 towns around Baga, according to the BBC.
“These towns are just gone, burned down,” Borno State Senator Ahmed Zanna told NBC News. “The whole area is covered in bodies.”
Meanwhile in Venezuela, the socialist government has dispatched the military to keep order in grocery stores.  The Guardian gives voice to the puzzlement of Venezuela’s central planners: ‘No one can explain why a rich country has no food.’

These two news items give a hint of the challenges facing us right now.  In response the emperor offers what he says is "free" community college to all.  And our "progressive" media laps it up. 

The last 30 years have lulled us into thinking there were no more storms, no more icebergs at sea. The long peace, prosperity, the dissolving of the Soviet Union, the fading of the threat of nuclear war convinced at least half of Americans that we no longer needed the sailors who originally operated our vessel.  Instead voters appointed the cruise director as captain.

No longer did we need to be concerned about navigation or seaworthiness--all we needed was lots of deck games, special events and other entertainments.

How else to explain the emperor's proposal for “free" community college for everyone?  Of course it wouldn't actually be "free"--someone would have to pay, just not the students.

At a time when Medicaid payments to doctors are being slashed to make budget deficits look better; when insurance premiums are being raised 30 percent to garner money for “subsidies” for others, when the defense budget is being cut to the bone and beyond, it is astonishing that people at the highest levels of government can propose yet another program to give prospective voters "something for nothing."
 
The shocking thing isn’t that Obama would propose a free lunch.  What's shocking is that he may actually believe it's "free."  It's how he's operated his whole life.

And if you think about it, that’s socialism in a nutshell:  In Venezuela nobody in the government seems to know where things once available in stores come from.  In Washington nobody in government knows how anything is paid for. 

Team Obama (and a lot of congress, for that matter) is filled with people who think they can make reality by decree.  They blithely ignore the laws of economics, supply and demand, human nature--and cling to the notion that reality will be whatever they personally order. 

None of them realizes they’re now passengers on a vast ship they’ve forgotten how to sail.

===
Hat tip to the very perceptive Richard Fernandez.

Venezuela's regime has imprisoned political opponent; can't happen here

Abuse of power really pisses me off.

I'm talking about any situation where one person or side has relatively unlimited power, and uses it unjustly (that is, not in accord with law or ethics) to punish a domestic opponent or threat.

In Venezuela the opposition to the socialist regime found a rising star--a former mayor named Leopoldo Lopez.  The guy has double the approval rating of the country's socialist president, which pretty much tells you the regime regarded him as a threat.

So last February the regime jailed Lopez on some crap charges, and has held him in near-total isolation since then.

I think the U.N. and Human Rights Watch, both of which usually support leftist governments--are pretty useless, but in this case the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, HRW and the European Parliament have ruled that Lopez "has been jailed arbitrarily" (i.e. not in accord with legal process) and should be freed immediately.

Given the consistent reluctance of all three of these organizations to oppose socialist governments, these opinions speak to the outrageousness of the guy's imprisonment.

Here in the U.S. it would be unthinkable for the government to imprison someone simply because they had information that would embarrass the administration.  Our emperor is MUCH craftier than that.

Thus we have Holder's Department of Injustice very publically announcing it is considering charging a former head of the CIA and former Army 4-star general Petraeus with a felony for leaking secrets to his mistress.

This probably doesn't seem odd to you.  After all, leaking national secrets to unauthorized persons is illegal.  Like when the NY Times printed details about a secret program that enabled the U.S. to follow funds raised in the U.S. and sent to terrorist groups overseas.  In that case the government immediately charged...wait, no one was charged.

No one on the Left is ever charged for leaking secrets.  And in Petraeus' case no one has alleged that any secrets actually leaked (as in, published or turned over to an enemy).  So why is he being threatened with a felony charge?

To use a naval term, it's a shot across the bow--a threat intended to keep the guy from telling the new Republican congress something that would make life more difficult for the emperor.

Understand that the government does NOT intend to actually try to convict the guy at a trial.  That would make his defense public record, which the emperor doesn't want.  Rather, it's the threat of loss of pension that will keep the secret long enough for the emperor to be untouchable. 

I doubt the DOI will actually file charges, but if it does, they'll be quietly dropped when we get closer to the end of the emperor's term.  Another likely outcome--with the same effect but quieter--is that the DOI will simply let the clock run without making any sort of declaration one way or the other, leaving the next president to dismiss 'em.

See?  Much better than those socialist thug bastards running Venezuela.

Venezuela: Food so scarce the socialists have troops guarding stores

Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as worsening shortages prompted Venezuela's socialist government to putVenezuela’s food distribution under military protection.

Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.

“Don’t fall into desperation," she said on state television.  "We have the capacity and products for everyone. The stores are full.” 

That statement was a stunning denial of reality:  As Venezuelan shoppers could see for themselves, yesterday in Caracas shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and at times fought for items. 

A security guard demanded that shoppers not take photos of empty shelves.



Photographer: Noris Soto/Bloomberg   Government said
"The stores are full."  A supermarket in east Caracas on Jan. 9, 2015.
President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system.  Predictably, he didn't provide any details.

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

Between price controls and fear of a currency devaluation, companies don't know how they'll be able to restock merchandise--a situation that would instantly worsen the already dire situation.

In the past month the price of oil, which accounts for nearly all the country’s export earnings, has plunged.  It's now selling for less than half of last year’s peak, cutting the amount of imported goods the government can buy.

“This is the worst it has ever been -- I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” said a shopper in east Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”

Here's how Reuters reported it:

(Reuters) - Lines are swelling at Venezuelan supermarkets, with some shoppers showing up before dawn in search of products, as a holiday slowdown in deliveries sharpened the nation's shortages.

Lines snaked around the block at grocery stores and pharmacies around the country, with consumers in some cases gathering before dawn under the gaze of National Guard troops posted to maintain order.

Business leaders have said the situation will improve soon as distributors return from the often extended Christmas holidays, though many consumers blamed the socialist economic policies of President Nicolas Maduro.

"I don't know what the government is doing. It gets worse every day," said Elizio Velez,  who arrived at 5 a.m. at a Caracas supermarket in search of chicken and toilet paper.

"This is insane, it's like the end of the world," he said, noting that troops had fired shots in the air as scuffles broke out in the line.

I've been writing about the situation in Venezuela for years now because the plight of Venezuelans so perfectly shows two crucial things you need to know:  First is that socialism so predictably leads to shortages of everything.  This happens in large part because to keep the support of their base, socialist leaders set price controls on virtually every necessity.  If the real-world price is higher than their arbitrary ceiling, the socialist government will often pay the difference ("subsidy") to keep from angering their base.

What few low-information people realize is that that subsidy money has to come from somewhere.  So some other sector of the economy must be looted to keep the game going.  But eventually all the cash cows are killed off.

Now what?

Well, says the socialist, if we can't afford to import some commodity, we'll just force domestic businesses to sell it below cost.  Yeah, dat's da ticket.

Let us know how well that works, would ya?  In Venezuela, fertile farmland seized from farm families by the government now sits idle.  Having taken the productive land from those who knew how to produce food, the government finds no one willing to step in.  And those that do lack the knowledge and skill.

Now, if a socialist nation has a foreign benefactor willing to pour in cash and goods--as the former Soviet Union did for Cuba for decades--an illusion of deliriously happy socialist success can be played out for many years.  Again, Cuba is a great example

Or for nations that had developed a strong private sector before going socialist, a new socialist gummint can survive for decades by looting the wealth of that sector.  Of course they don't call it "looting" but "paying one's fair share" of taxes.  Or "spreading the wealth"--a favorite of the emperor.  You've heard a dozen euphemisms for this.

When foreign benefactors tire, and after the socialists have killed all the cash cows, socialist governments know they can still con their people into docility for another year, and then another, by claiming shortages are not due to the moral and economic insanity of socialism but are being caused by a Sinister Foreign Conspiracy.  Both the current and previous presidents of Venezuela have repeatedly claimed shortages are due either to U.S. sabotage or eeeevil businessmen who are hiding goods somewhere.  Same deal for Cuba.

The second lesson Venezuela can teach those with an IQ above room temperature is how astonishingly fast the implosion can happen.  In Venezuela's case things went from prosperous to universal shortages in about 15 years, but other socialist thugs have done it much faster.

Why do I write about Venezuela for American readers?  Because you have a choice:  You can keep watching American Idol (or whatever the current popular TV fad is), keep voting for Dems and RINOs, and reap the faabulous socialist paradise now on display in Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and a dozen other countries; or you can get mad as hell and take this country back.

If you have kids--or if you're a college student and think one day you might--you might want to consider those options carefully.

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Friday, January 9

No comment needed, #2

















Yeah, that's a fucking *scream*.