Thursday, September 27, 2012

Intrade Implies At Least 65% Odds Of Major Fiscal Contraction Post-Election

While certainly not always correct; the InTrade markets trading on the various outcomes of the Presidential have become increasingly liquid and active in recent weeks. As Morgan Stanley's Vince Reinhart cleverly notes, by analyzing the odds for control of the Senate, the House, and the Presidential winner, one can arrive at some rather useful insights into the conditional probabilities of various tax-and-spending-related outcomes.

Critically, he notes that while Obama is a 75%-25% favorite to win the vote, control of the House and Senate appears most likely to remain split.
There is a joint 50% probability of an Obama victory and split government - which inevitably means more gridlock and a likely charge over the fiscal cliff.
On the other hand, conditioned on a Romney win, there is a 15% probability that the Republicans end up with control of the House and the Senate - which almost inevitably means the 'new' government will enact the front-laoded spending cuts they have been putting forward.
This leaves us with at least the combined 65% probability of drastic cuts to spending or rises in taxes which will weigh heavily on the aggregate economy early in 2013.

Intrade Implies At Least 65% Odds Of Major Fiscal Contraction Post-Election | ZeroHedge

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Don't Mind If You Keep Voting, But Do You Mind If I Keep Laughing While You Do?
"It is the continuing decline in faith in the politicization of society that has, for well over a year, made the 2008 presidential race the preoccupation of the mainstream media. The media must continue to advertise the products and services of the establishment owners, just as it does for the sellers of prescription drugs and other nostrums. Still, the outcome of the 2008 election will confirm the truth of the proposition that it really doesn't matter for whom you vote. Regardless of whether Obama or McCain prevails, the government will be re-elected, and will continue to increase its powers over you. Should you remain dissatisfied with the behavior of the system, the media will be right back to begin its campaign on behalf of 'Election 2010,' urging you, once again, to continue supporting the process that continues to frustrate your expectations. In the words of Emma Goldman, 'if voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.'''
~ Butler Shaffer from the Blog
There are some questions that tend to recur whenever one talks to almost anyone outside the realm of radical libertarianism. Actually, these questions seem to recur not only in debates with statists, but also in debates among those who share a radical libertarian, i.e., market anarchistic, point of view. One such question is the sanctity of the democratic process, voting and all that.
I love this position, and it makes me have less faith in voting than ever. It also makes me more convinced that voting itself in not only ineffective, but immoral, and I thus can not use such a method to inflict my will upon others without their consent.
Is voting a necessity for a free society or simply busy-work for the unwashed proletariat, completed while the rulers continue to do what they've always done? Russell Langcore's recent column reminded me that this question has, thankfully, pretty much been decided among radial libertarians. However, he also reminded me of a couple of issues that almost always come to the fore when one discusses voting.
A Really Short Answer for a Relatively Short Question
Here's the question: Do I vote? Here's the answer: No.
While some folks would argue that he's no philosopher, I'll still take George Carlin's argument on non-voting as excellent justification. (I realize that I may be in the minority on that.) I cannot think of a single scenario whereby I might vote in a national election such as that for president. Not one.
Voting is immoral in that the act of voting is empowering individuals to act our our behalf, yet those representatives tend to act in their own interests, using the force of the state to direct their will. I can not condone using force against any individual, hence I can not support a system which uses force against anyone where I would not do so myself. Funny, I never heard this bit by George Carlin, yet it is the correct position regarding the failure of electoral politics.
I don't care who the candidate is. I don't care what issues to which he seems to gravitate. I don't care about his record, his leadership qualities, the apparent first-lady-ness of his wife (or her husband), his insider-ness or his outsider-ness, his race, his height, his weight, how well he speaks, how wonderfully he photographs, the nation of his birth, how likely it might be that he's fun to drink with, or his appreciation for unique uses for a fine cigar.
They're all aggressors, despite any misconceptions and media bias
More importantly though, given two other observations, voting strikes me as an incredible waste of time for anyone who is ultimately interested in two rather vital issues: personal liberty and personal responsibility.
First of all, under the U.S. "first-past-the-post" electoral system, one is assured of only two viable parties. Secondly, with the use of a secret ballot, one is assured that no one will assume personal responsibility for the actions of their ostensible candidate or his party. Every voter is automatically absolved for doing that which his vote suggests that he is doing: selecting the implementer of the policies he supports.
We get to cast guilt onto those who we vote for, so or hands are clean when our government bombs the innocent residents of some foreign land for opposing American empirical policies. It's not our fault, but we'll vote those crooks out next election and vote in others who probably won't do anything remotely like that again. I'm sure of it.
When I say the U.S. system guarantees only two viable parties, I'm simply citing Duverger's Law. While there may remain debates about whether or not there are exceptions to Duverger's Law, the U.S. system seems not to be one. (This is a striking irony given how rarely the resulting pseudo-kings obey any laws after they are elected!) When I say that there will be no responsibility for the action of either party, I am referring to two other phenomena.
I believe that Duverger's Law distills down to less than the likely two-party system, but to a single party which eventually collapses and leave a stateless society. I think it's an eventuality, as no population chooses to remain oppressed indefinitely. It is simply a matter of time before the common people rise up against tyranny, no matter how colorful and pleasant it looks, and strike down the idea that government is necessary in any regard.
One, the inherent incentives of a coercive state virtually assure that only those who ascribe to either megalomania or theft-is-good as a paradigm will survive the electoral process. The overwhelming bulk of the money necessary to elect a candidate is given with 'strings' attached to it. Lobbying is widespread because it works. But much more importantly, everyone who contributes to a candidate hopes that their candidate will enact their version of control over everyone else, and everyone knows it! There is no other alternative for a coercive state.
At least the likely eventual dollar collapse will help bring an end to electoral politics, at the unfortunate cost of productive markets which will have to go through a transition back to a trade system using tangible goods and items of value, which do not include fiat currencies. Every fiat currency eventually devalues to the level of zero. It's another unavoidable eventuality.
Two, people who vote are quick to distance themselves from the guy to whom they gave their support. It seems to me that if your candidate lies, cheats, steals, or gets a whole bunch of people killed, you--the voter who supported him--might share some blame. (I also realize that with the amount of graft in the U.S., even if no one voted, the 'elected' cretins would probably still find a way to keep spending money and killing people.) With the secret ballot, everyone can claim to be disappointed with the guy they actually helped elect!
I think that the candidates distance themselves from the campaign promises that helped them achieve public office faster than their supporters lose faith in those for which they voted. George Carlin was right on this point as well. Imagine that...
Becoming president is a viable quest only for those too stupid to know better or too smart to not realize the availability of responsibility-free power and plentiful stolen cash to the holder of the office and all his friends. Notice I said 'viable' quest. There may be those who would use the incredible power of the office for good. Frankly though, I rather think the Presidency of the United States is rather like the One Ring from Tolkien's classics. It eventually corrupts all who possess it, even if they were initially pure of heart. I won't comment on my own cynicism regarding the existence of any such person. Let's just say that 40-plus unrepentant rights infringers and counting is enough evidence for me.
While I have conveyed my view, better erudition than mine is available. There is a plethora of non-voting--both pro and con--and general free market prose already out there. A rather awe-inspiring (although still somewhat incomplete) bibliography in testament to that fact, put together by Johan Ridenfeldt, with some additions from yours truly and others, may be found below. (Please note that some of the essays listed are "answers" to others. The listings are in alphabetical order, regardless of intended target.)

More: I Don't Mind If You Keep Voting, But Do You Mind If I Keep Laughing While You Do? | Strike-The-Root: A Journal Of Liberty

SNL mocks ‘undecided’ voters

Saturday Night Live stopped being funny sometime after I was born, but only just. 

Making fun of people who can not decide (likely because they ant tell the difference between Romney and Obama) is simply statist. Somehow, I see those who immediately display support for a political candidate without a truly in-depth analysis of that candidate's positions, record, and actions as being more deserving of the ire of the rest of us with the ability to think critically and independently. Voting along party lines is a weakness of character. 

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why choose the lesser evil?

When election time comes, think to yourself if you've ever tried something really different?

When times to choose our next master for another term, I'd rather vote for something that can not die, yet has never lived. At least I'd not have the illusion of freedom.

There's lots more: The Lovecraftsman: Why choose the lesser evil? 12 great Lovecraft and Cthulhu election posters

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Obama Took $1 Million From Liberal Anti-Islam Filmmaker

Liberal hypocrisy is sometimes so great, we really need a new word to describe it. Maybe “Obamacrite.” …
With the Islamic violence spreading globally this past week, the Obama Administration has hammered on one point it desperately wants everyone to believe, that it’s all caused by a cheap, homemade anti-Islamic video.
That’s a transparent ruse, but let’s play along for a moment.
The killings, rampages, bombings and violence are NOT the fault of the psychotic Muslims running through the world’s streets with guns and bombs, and they certainly are NOT the fault of the moronic, slipshod management of foreign affairs by the Obama Administration that ignored prior warnings and even refused to take common sense security measures (like loading Marines’ guns with ammo).
All of the violence, including the reported raping and killing of our ambassador, is actually caused by a little, green-screen video that was made in someone’s garage. Never mind all the mystery surrounding the film’s creators, just focus on the one point: It’s all the fault of an anti-Islam film that nobody has seen.
Logically, then, ANY anti-Islam film that has been seen by a lot of people would be even more culpable by magnitudes of order. And if the people allegedly involved in the making of “The Innocence of Muslims” are essentially accessories to murder, rape and rioting, then the makers of a successful anti-Islam film would be even MORE criminally responsible for Mideast violence.
And in our current guilt-by-association climate, anyone who took money from such an Islamophobic filmmaker would be equally guilty of insulting Islam.
Well, if you go back a few years, there was a successful documentary called “Religulous” (supposed to rhyme with “ridiculous”) that criticized Christianity and Islam. DVDs of the film can be bought on Amazon, which is much more than can be said for the White House’s current scapegoat.
The maker of the film is a prominent liberal and critic of conservatives, who donated $1 million to a certain big-mouthed liberal politician. The filmmaker is Bill Maher, and the politician is none other than King Obama.
So the president who is currently pushing the theory that a little film insulting Islam drives the terrorists who are rising up around the world is in fact benefiting from a huge donation from the maker of a popular film that mocks Islam.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Clint Eastwood was right, it's an empty chair...

Clint Eastwood proved during his appearance at the Republican National Convention that any good conservative can make an improvised speech - and get it right the first time without a teleprompter. And Barack Hussein Obama has been going out of his way to show how much Clint Eastwood knows about running the government. Or about who isn't running the government. Seems that lately, no one is except that empty chair. 

It didn't take long before we found out that Barack Hussein Obama is more concerned about making his campaign stops than he is about Muslim mobs killing a U.S. Ambassador and three other diplomats in Libya or sacking our embassies in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia or the Sudan.


Conscience of a Conservative: Clint Eastwood was right. The only thing running the country right now is an empty chair.

Obama-Carter: History Repeating Itself

"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others." --Alexander Hamilton
We warned last week about the U.S. throwing good money down the rat hole that is the Middle East. Events this week have confirmed just how prescient we were. In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, adherents of the Religion of Peace™ rioted first in Egypt and then in Libya, murdering four Americans in the latter nation, including our ambassador and two former Navy SEALs. Another embassy assault in Yemen followed. It shouldn't be lost on anyone that this occurred on the day that America solemnly observed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In the face of it all, the Obama administration continues its failed policy of abandoning friends, bowing to enemies and apologizing for America at every turn. It's uncannily reminiscent of the Carter era. Apparently, all the "hope and change" fomented during the Arab Spring has resulted in quite a spectacular Arab Fall.
How's this aggressive foreign policy working out for the American Empire these days? Not too well...
In Egypt on Tuesday, protesters allegedly became angry over a film that they claimed insulted the murderous pedophile Mohammed. Reminiscent of their sieges of Christian cities in the 7th and 8th centuries, they scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, hauled down and desecrated its American flags and replaced them with black flags containing Islamic emblems and the words, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger." The riot prompted U.S. security guards to fire off a volley of warning shots as a large crowd of more than 2,000 angry Muslims (is there any other kind?) gathered outside the embassy. Egypt, of course, is the country for whom the Obama regime just announced it will forgive $1 billion worth of debt to the American taxpayer. And this is the thanks we get.
Of course, BO isn't sure if Egypt is an ally, so the confusion is hardly surprising.
The official response to the initial violence (before the walls were breached) from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was offensive, at best. The embassy issued a statement condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." So Muslim riots and attacks on our embassy -- on 9/11 -- are the fault of some amateurs with a video camera?
Mitt Romney weighed in immediately after the embassy's apology, saying, "It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." Naturally, the Leftmedia went apoplectic and changed the focus to Romney's "timing" and his "politicization" of the matter instead of Obama's Carter-esque foreign policy failings.
Obama quickly responded and threw his embassy personnel under the bus, saying the embassy's statement "didn't come from me, [and] it didn't come from Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton." Always passing the buck. He then helpfully added, "[T]he United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." This was just a week after members of his own Democrat party at their convention loudly rejected the most central tenet of Liberty, that it is "endowed by our Creator" and not the gift of benevolent political masters. And just months after the administration trampled religious liberty with its ObamaCare contraception mandate.


Game of American Thrones

Last week, Dustin introduced us to the “Dogs That Look Like Game of Thrones Characters” meme, and now, in the Internet’s attempt to compare everything to everything else (“12 Rocks That Look Like Members of Cheap Trick”), we have “Game of American Thrones.” What can we take from this? Well, whoever made it hates Hillary Clinton and George Bush. Also, the Dany-Sarah Palin match-up isn’t particularly flattering for the Mother of Dragons — Drogon always uses protection when he’s off doing It with a pool of lava or whatever dragons have sex with. Probably other dragons, I guess. But there are only two other dragons in the world, Rhaegal and Viserion, and they’re Drogon’s rarely-seen brother and sister (brother and brother?). Can dragons commit incest?
Man, this image is a real conversation starter. Recap soon. (Via)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There's Nothing Left That the Romney Campaign Respects

First Read responds to the Romney campaign's contemptible rush to gain political advantage from the attacks on U.S. embassy personnel in Egypt and Libya last night:

Yesterday we noted that Mitt Romney, down in the polls after the convention, was throwing the kitchen sink at President Obama. Little did we know the kitchen sink would include — on the anniversary of 9/11 — one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out) incorrect attacks of the general-election campaign....This morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.

Bottom line: This was news-cycle campaigning by the Romney campaign gone awry. Why didn't the Romney campaign wait until it had all the facts? On his overseas trip in the summer, Romney was so careful not to criticize Obama while on foreign soil. But how much time do you give an administration to work through a diplomatic and international crisis before trying to score immediate political points? You'd expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land? After the facts have come out, last night's Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate.

The Romney campaign was so eager to get out its statement of outrage that they initially scheduled it for release at 12:01 am. Why? So that no one could claim they were trying to score political points on 9/11. But eventually their giddiness got the better of them and they let it go late Tuesday night.

These guys just don't know when to quit. I don't think there's anything left that they won't say or do if they think it might give them a 1% pop in the polls. They really don't respect anything at all anymore.

And people wonder why have zero faith in representative governance. Those charged with representing is seem more concerned with public opinions than policy. Yet I still can't tell the difference between Obama and Romney. 

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DNC Delegate Threatens To Kill Mitt Romney

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed to ABC that the agency is aware of the video and is taking "appropriate follow-up measures."  As part of that process, Secret Service personnel will try to determine Rodriquez’s intentions, as they did when they met with Ted Nugent earlier this year.
Someone has bought into the political garbage and believes one is a savior, one is a demon. Like most that get polarized by politics and the media, they fail to grasp that the political system is the great evil which must be overcome, not an empty suit from one party or the other...
Rodriguez, who said on the video that she is from the Bronx, is listed as a delegate on the official Democratic website.  She was also photographed by the Associated Press holding a Puerto Rican flag in a photo booth at the convention in Charlotte.

INSTANT CLASSIC: Watch A Not Very Bright DNC Delegate Threaten To Kill Mitt Romney - Home - The Daily Bail

Sunday, September 9, 2012

President Obama is Like a Bad College Roommate

college roommates_Cropped 
I had a roommate in college who never did the dishes. I’d come home and find him on the couch watching TV. The kitchen would smell like left over Tuna Helper, and the sink would be full. I would start to do the dishes, and my roommate would say from the couch, speaking over the TV, “I was gonna do’em!” But he never did. And he never got off the couch to help me. It got to the point where I was mildly amused at the whole thing, and I would do the dishes just so that I could hear him say, “I was gonna do’em.”
I listened to Obama’s speech Thursday night on the radio. I was laughing at it with my wife because he kind of reminded me of my roommate. If Romney wins in November, and the Republicans start to turn things around (fingers crossed), Obama will be there watching, saying, “I was gonna do it!” But he never did. He had his chance. He made things worse, and he didn’t do anything that he promised.
Fewer people are employed now than four years ago. He promised that unemployment would go down to 6%, but it’s never gone below 8% the past three years, and that’s after they’ve fudged the numbers to make it as low as possible. The new jobless numbers are in. They show that only 96,000 jobs were added in the month of August, dropping the unemployment rate to 8.1%, not much better than where it was. And what they won’t tell you is that people are dropping out of the workforce altogether because they can’t find work.
And the reality is that the official unemployment numbers are exclusionary, with the actual rate being nearly 25%. Not that it's all Obama's fault, or Bush's. They are simply figureheads, but both parties are equally responsible for the massive interventionist failure into the US economy, just as both are nearly inept in resolving the issues they create.
Obama said four years ago that Bush was “unpatriotic” for adding $4 trillion to the national debt, but he has added over $5 trillion, more than any other president. He promised to at least cut the deficit in half by this year, but it’s still over a trillion dollars.
Six of one...
He truly has been the “food stamp” president. Fifteen percent of Americans are now on food stamps. That’s over 46 million Americans. Over the past four years, food stamp spending doubled to over $75 billion. He even promised that if he didn’t have the economy fixed by the end of his first term, he would forgo a second term. Well, we know that he’s not about to drop out of the race anytime soon, so I guess his definition of “fixed” is different from ours. Maybe he thinks he has “fixed” the economy.
Even on foreign policy, he hasn’t been able to keep his promises to his own base’s supposedly anti-war sentiment. Obama, the “anti-war” president was responsible for the troop surge to Afghanistan, where troops are scheduled to remain until 2024. Obama hasn’t closed Guantanomo Bay, and it doesn’t look like he intends to. He indicated in his acceptance speech that he “ended the war in Iraq,” but actually he didn’t. The initial agreement for troop withdrawal was negotiated by President Bush in 2008, and the last of the troops to leave were scheduled to leave at the end of 2011, but that had nothing to do with Obama.
And then there’s the debacle in Libya, where Obama circumvented the Constitution and authorized a military strike with NATO forces. But that wasn’t a war. It was a “humanitarian mission.”
The one thing Obama has is Osama bin Laden, but even that is questionable because the White House’s account of the incident changed multiple times. We still don’t even know what really happened. It’s a very touchy subject with Obama’s administration. So touchy, that the Pentagon is threatening to sue the Seal Team 6 member who wrote a book detailing the mission to get bin Laden. There must be something in that book that Obama’s administration does not want anybody else to see. So, does Obama even have bin Laden to brag about? I don’t think so. Besides, he didn’t get him. He only authorized the mission.
Overall, the economy is worse. Gas prices are higher. Inflation is on the rise. People’s median incomes are lower. We’re less safe. The national finances are much worse. Obama talked about “hope” and “change” in his speech. Here’s hoping we have change this November.

Time is the Last Thing Obama Needs

The convention pleas of Barack Obama for more time to fix the economy sounded more like begging for mercy than a plan of action. Only someone with a completely numbed brain who hadn’t been paying attention for the past four years could have fallen for it.
Naturally, the Democrat faithful lapped it up.
King Obama has already had too much time to fix the economy, as Friday’s unemployment numbers showed.
The Democrats’ demagogic faith in their “tax ‘em to help ‘em” strategy has kept the country at above 8 percent unemployment for 43 months. During that time, millions of unemployed people have given up hope of ever finding another job and dropped out of the labor pool entirely.
According to the American Enterprise Institute, if the labor pool included the same number of people today that it did when Obama first entered office, the  unemployment rate today would be over 11 percent, not hovering just above 8 percent.
In a very real way, Mr. Hope and Change has benefited from Americans’ loss of hope that the economic picture will change.
The just-released figures for unemployment in August are a perfect example. The headlines have touted the creation of 93,000 jobs, but far more people lost jobs during the month, 119,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just to keep up with population growth, the U.S. economy needs to create between 150,000 and 200,000  jobs net per month.
Because 368,000 people fled the labor force in August, shrinking the pool included by the government in its figures, the unemployment rate “shrank” to 8.1 percent.
The more people give up, the better the numbers look for Obama, who has accomplished nothing substantial in his first four years of “fixing” the economy.
If the labor pool continues to shrink under Obama’s and the Democrats’ misguidance, at some point there will be nothing left to fix.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Auto Bailout Success? For Union Workers, Maybe

President Obama's auto bailout is being touted as a great success of his Administration. Speaking in Detroit at a Labor Day rally, Vice President Joe Biden used it to explain how Americans were better off. "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden boasted.

In Charlotte, former President Bill Clinton cited the bailout as a manufacturing success story, and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) sang its praises. But taxpayers lost $25 billion. Plants were closed, jobs were lost, and nearly three years later, the government still owns one-third of General Motors.

Success? I count that as a massive failure. 

There is a story that President Obama and these others are not telling—the story of the 20,000 workers who lost nearly all of their pensions because the Obama Administration chose not to protect them. Let Freedom Ring released a video highlighting this story.

In 2008, candidate Obama said that pension protection was a "top priority." But Heritage's James Sherk, who wrote about the bailout in June with George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki, explained how union workers benefited from the bailout while the non-union employees at Delphi, an auto parts manufacturer and former GM subsidiary, weren't as fortunate.

When Delphi filed for bankruptcy the maximum pension benefits were $54,000 a year for retirees aged 65 and above, with lower benefits for early retirees. About half of Delphi's union and non-union workers faced reductions in their pension benefits [if the plan was terminated and transferred to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

The termination would normally mean pension cuts for both Delphi's union and non-union workers. However, the United Auto Workers' members got special treatment. According to Heritage's James Sherk:

New GM no longer had an obligation to supplement the Delphipensions. The bankruptcy filing eliminated its contractual obligation to do so. However, New GM's management—while being overseen by the Obama Administration—nonetheless agreed to spend $1 billion to supplement the pensions of Delphi's UAW retirees. The non-union employees were not so fortunate— GM did not supplement their pensions.

The left, led by President Obama, is touting this as one of the biggest successes of the Obama Administration, but where is the success? It was successful for the United Auto Workers and their special interests, but not many others. Especially not for Delphi's nonunion retirees.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Free Market in Higher Ed?

President Obama couldn't have picked a more opportune time to put colleges on notice about their rising costs. Days after Mr. Obama threatened colleges with the loss of some federal aid during his State of the Union address, hundreds of private-college presidents descended on Washington for their annual meeting. A few of them stuck around for the annual meeting of Christian colleges, which followed a few days later.

The talk among the college presidents about the Obama administration's proposals was similar at both meetings. While they welcomed the potential additional dollars that were part of the proposals, they didn't like the strings that were attached.

"The very issue of setting tuition is the principal fiduciary responsibility of a college," David L. Warren, the head of the private-college association, told me.

During a panel discussion at the meeting of Christian colleges, a president challenged me on the need for additional government oversight. Let the "free market" correct rising college prices on its own, he said.

The problem is, the current financing mechanism for college is far from a free market. Government subsidies account for close to 90 percent of revenues at some colleges when you add up grants, loans, and research funds. Also, nonprofit colleges are exempt from paying many taxes, and they receive tax-exempt gifts from donors.

"In the absence of a government subsidy, most colleges could not fill up their seats," argues Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a higher-education economist and professor at Cornell University. "It's silly to think that this is a free market."

Even if higher ed were a true free market, more competition hasn't led to lower prices (as it has in many other industries) because consumers have so little information on which to judge the quality of colleges. Well-informed consumers tend to make rational decisions. But in the absence of good information about colleges, students and their parents are often irrational, selecting colleges based on low sticker price (rather than net price), athletics teams, geography, or brand name.

Going to college is an "experience good," meaning you need to experience it before you can determine its value, explains Justin Wolfers, an associate professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

"People are making the best decisions they can, given the circumstances," Wolfers says.

But for an expense that is among the biggest of a family's lifetime (perhaps second only to the purchase of a home), we should be able to do better than rely on annual rankings from a magazine that doesn't really publish anything beyond rankings anymore.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

99 Problems but Mitt Ain't One

99 Problems - Barack Obama Spoof (NOW on iTunes) - YouTube

Obama That I Used To Know

Obama That I Used To Know - Gotye Parody - YouTube

Dead Ted Kennedy descends on Obama DNC

God may have been expelled from the Democratic Party's 2012 platform, but according to a new video shown at the Democrat National Convention, Sen. Ted Kennedy lives on — and has passed the torch to President Barack Obama.

Despite God being kicked out of the democratic platform, religious fervor is no less prominent. 

The arena's massive video screen provided a vision of the late Sen. Kennedy from high above an enthralled throng of 20,000 Democratic faithful.

YouTube Preview Image

The video begins with a brief clip of Kennedy's speech at the Democratic convention in 1980.

Kennedy undermined President Jimmy Carter's re-election chances with a damaging insurgent campaign, and then gave a stirring concession speech that concluded, "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

The video reprises major hits from his career: "Expanded Civil Rights, Sponsor of Voting Rights, Author of Immigration Reform … Fought to End the Vietnam War."

The video also shows some segments of the 1994 Senate-race debate between Kennedy and Romney — where Romney embraced liberal positions but was trounced by Kennedy — before offering video of Kennedy endorsing Obama in 2008 and video of Obama's effort to bring control of the nation's health sector under Washington.

Read more:

Red Carpet for Solyndra Figure at DNC

PHOTO: Top Obama bundler Steve Spinner, who was at the center of the federal loan to Solyndra, got a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte and posed at the podium.

The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.

Oh, look. Republican and democrat politicians aren't much different in reality. Imagine that...

Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit.

Spinner was last in the headlines in October, when emails surfaced showing he had pushed for the Solyndra loan from his post in the Energy Department, apparently in an effort to score the loan as a political victory for President Obama.

"How hard is this? What is he waiting for?" Spinner wrote in one of them. "I have OVP [the Office of the Vice President] and WH [the White House] breathing down my neck on this."

The fast-tracked Solyndra loan became the showpiece of the Obama administration's Green Energy loan program -- a plan to give a jolt of federal aid to firms developing new forms of alternative energy. Solyndra, the program's inaugural loan recipient, received $535 million.

But it fast became a symbol for Obama's Republican opponents, who have characterized the loan as a boondoggle. The company's bankruptcy led to a lengthy investigation by the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee, which argued that the administration failed to heed warnings from budget analysts who believed the company was a bad bet.



Nugent, NRA hold key to Romney executive privilege pledge - National gun rights |

An open letter request to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to make good on his words of “applause” for the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” investigation with a pledge, should he be elected, to revoke executive privilege protecting the production of subpoenaed documents, is likely to go nowhere if confined to limited niche readerships.

While there has been modest support spreading the word on social media sites, realistically, not enough attention will be generated that way to create the pressure needed to convince the Romney campaign that this is something they shouldn’t ignore.

One correspondent advised me that we really need to be able to put the pressure on a campaign insider, but that’s problematic—Romney’s manager, Matt Rhoades, keeps himself insulated with a low profile, and his style and strategy appear to be fixed on the center line and swing voters, rather than a core constituency the Republicans reflexively take for granted.

More: Nugent, NRA hold key to Romney executive privilege pledge - National gun rights |

Obama: Family time prevented outreach to GOP

On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday show, Jessica Yellin said she interviewed Obama for a forthcoming documentary and asked him why he did not do more outreach to Republicans in the beginning of his term to bridge the divides Obama often rails against. Yellin said Obama told her one of the reasons he did not was because he wanted to spend more time at home with his kids and family.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Empty Chair



By request of inothernews

“So a lot of you are probably wondering what this is.  (Points to hologram of Princess Leia.)  This is Princess Leia.  Well not really Princess Leia.  That’s, um, that’s Carrie Fisher, from that movie Star Wars, which I know none of you dillholes have ever seen because Hollywood is a bunch of grizzled liberals like me.  Well anyhow, the plot of Star Wars — since you’ve never seen it — is that Princess Leia is in a spaceship and that spaceship is getting chased by Darth Vader and anyway Darth Vader — played by Dick Cheney, JUST KIDDING, GET OFF MY LAWN — catches the princess’s spaceship and she plants a holographic SOS into an R2 unit who escapes to Tatooine which is this desert planet and Jesus Christ, just go see the fucking movie.  Anyway, Princess Leia’s hologram asks Obi-Wan Kenobi for help.  Which I could use right now along with a God-damned drink.  Anyhow, um, don’t bother asking me to explain how holograms work — that involves science, which I know we’re not too fond of in this grand old party, and, um, where was I?”

he wins
By request of inothernews
So a lot of you are probably wondering what this is.  (Points to hologram of Princess Leia.)  This is Princess Leia.  Well not really Princess Leia.  That’s, um, that’s Carrie Fisher, from that movie Star Wars, which I know none of you dillholes have ever seen because Hollywood is a bunch of grizzled liberals like me.  Well anyhow, the plot of Star Wars — since you’ve never seen it — is that Princess Leia is in a spaceship and that spaceship is getting chased by Darth Vader and anyway Darth Vader — played by Dick Cheney, JUST KIDDING, GET OFF MY LAWN — catches the princess’s spaceship and she plants a holographic SOS into an R2 unit who escapes to Tatooine which is this desert planet and Jesus Christ, just go see the fucking movie.  Anyway, Princess Leia’s hologram asks Obi-Wan Kenobi for help.  Which I could use right now along with a God-damned drink.  Anyhow, um, don’t bother asking me to explain how holograms work — that involves science, which I know we’re not too fond of in this grand old party, and, um, where was I?”
he wins

inothernews: softsummers: By request of...

Divide and Conquer: A Government Agenda

In my opinion, government is at best, tolerated because there is no other recognizable option available at the time. At worst, it is an evil and tyrannical overlord of the individual, never ceasing in its desire for power, money, total control, brutality, war, and imperialism. This opinion obviously does not serve as a recommendation for any governing system, with the one exception of peaceful anarchy, or a society without the State.
Government is always an instrument of force, as government has nothing, creates nothing, and produces nothing; it only steals from those who do. Therefore, politically based government should be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately, this has rarely happened in history.
Although government is controlling and brutal in its efforts to remain in power, it can only retain that power over the rest of society given that the majority consents to be ruled. In many instances, this consent is simply implied.
In order to gain the consent or implied consent of the people, the state uses many strategies that are steeped in lies and deceit. Government’s most important and necessary strategy for retaining control is fear. Fear mongering therefore, is a constant weapon in the arsenal of the state. For if the people were not afraid, they would have little use for government’s continuous assault on their liberty. Fear is a most powerful driver of emotions, and the illusion of safety a most coveted prize of the sheep. Rulers, whether elected or not, fully understand the importance of using fear tactics and the illusion of safety as weapons against the people. The desired effect is to at once purposely intimidate the population at large, while allowing for a state manufactured rescue. The result is an acceptance by the citizenry of less freedom for an imagined safety.
To achieve these ends, the state has to create false enemies. In order for this strategy to be successful, one individual has to be pitted against another; one group against another group; one nation against another nation, and so the deception goes. This strategy is nothing new, but it has been forever effective. It is the strategy of divide and conquer, derived from the Latin saying, Divide et impera, which may refer also to divide and rule.
This divisive agenda takes on many faces, and planned divisiveness and dissension is found virtually everywhere, this due to the stirring of the pot by political agitators. Consider white versus black, heterosexual versus homosexual, Christian versus Islam, men versus women, rich versus poor, and Republicans versus Democrats. Consider Wall Street versus Main Street, citizen versus immigrant, and the U.S. nation state versus the Middle East. As George W. Bush said after the 9/11 attacks, a statement meant to divide if ever one was uttered, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
Most are aware of this great divide in our country, but most don’t understand that much of it came about by design. Division leads to separation. Separation leads to weakness. Weakness leads to serfdom, which of course is slavery!
Those who seek to rule understand this concept very well, and use it in order to gain more power. Those in power control the mainstream media, and that media is a willing accomplice in the spread of hate. John C. Danforth once said:
The loudest voices we hear are those who advocate conflict, divisiveness.

This is a true statement, and it should serve to alert all to the fact that those who scream the most, those who spread fear, and those who would seek a platform to pit one against another, are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. The U.S. government is just such a wolf, and constantly seeks to spread fear and hate among us.
It is government that should stand in fear of the people. Government is afraid of an educated and intelligent populace. Government is threatened greatly by self-responsibility and self-reliance. Government becomes impotent in the presence of peace. Government cowers when confronted by a unified people. Government loses control when the people know the truth.
But this government is not afraid. It is not impotent. It does not cower. It has not lost control of its power. It is a monster!
So long as "we the people" continue to accept the government’s plan for us, so long as the hate continues, so long as most continue to live in fear, so long as unholy war continues unabated, and so long as Americans hide from the truth, our future will be predestined. If we do not alter that now probable destiny, only a life of lost hope will remain!
Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
~ Ludwig von Mises, Human Action [1949]

Obama and Romney are more of a joke than Mickey Mouse. If you are fine with the legacy of failure by one-party (two halves) over the last few decades, then by all means, ignore the independents and alternatives to that failure. But don't discount third-parties and independents are stealing votes from Obama or Romney. Mainstream candidates are banking on you buying that line of reasoning so that no alternatives gain sufficient traction. I am only saddened by the voluntary obedience to statism by such a large portion of the population.

Obama needs to go, but Romney is hardly an alternative. If we continue to vote for the lesser evil (which hasn't worked out so well for the last four or five administrations), we will never truly move on to something better. We will never see a restoration of liberties. We will never see the scope of a fascist state reduced. The policy of foreign violence will never cease. Obama and Romney are both aggressive in their foreign policy and in their support for increased economic intervention. I think that we need more moderates in both parties which recognize the history of failure, but we need more who are willing to concede that continuing the back and forth between the two only gives more power to them collectively, and reduces our liberties and weakens our economy. Romney is not the answer to Obama no more than Obama was the answer to Bush. There's a pattern of institutional abuse here and most of us are willing participants. We see that we get to vote for a new abuser every four years and are vested in the idea that it makes everything okay. We accept the illusion of choice. It lets us feel free in our prison. 

Divide and Conquer: A Government Agenda by Gary D. Barnett

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paul Ryan: A Closet Bernanke Fascist?

Paul Ryan: A Closet Bernanke Fascist? - upswing's column on Newsvine:
Revelations by WikiLeaks suggest that, despite his public "anger" at Ben Bernanke's "Federal" Reserve fascist/monetarist policies, VP Candidate Paul Ryan actually advocates Bernanke's fascist monetarist policies.
I think I finally have it. If Romney wins, Paul Ryan will be the conservative economic policy champion, reigning in Ben Bernanke and the Fed. We'll get the administration's promise that they Fed will be audited and publicly accountable. And nothing will change. Just as nothing changed from Bush to Obama.

Wikileaks Exposes Paul Ryan's True Stance on Monetary Policy & the Federal Reserve

Paul Ryan wants to come off as Ron Paul in public, but a leaked cable from December 30, 2008 betrays the role Ryan plays as a critic of the Federal Reserve. On the contrary, he approves of many of the FED's policies, but believes he knows how they can be better utilized.
Salon (Aug 14, 2012) - By Sam Knight
'... according to the aforementioned diplomatic cables, Ryan himself has recognized, in times of crisis, the merits of currency devaluation (a policy, by the way, that seems to work out well for China, in general). With the cameras off, Ryan expressed confidence in the Fed’s fight against deflation, and he recognized “the negative consequences … of taking liquidity out of the system” in times of a sharp downturn.
These policies undermine the value of the dollar, but boost employment by lowering both the cost of borrowing money and the price of the American dollar on foreign exchange markets.
Ryan’s support for them also undermines his carefully cultivated image, in the words of REUTERS as a “vocal critic of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to stimulate growth.”
LEAKED CABLE - December 30, 2008:
6. (SBU) Rep. Ryan noted that among the many tools being deployed to address the crisis, careful attention was being paid to monetary 
policy, which previously had sought to contain inflation but now 
needed to target potential deflation. He called ""historic"" the 
Federal Reserve's decision the previous day to lower interest rates 
to near zero. Ultimately, the important thing was to fix the 
financial system by requiring greater transparency and to keep 
speculation from spinning out of control. He noted the most 
optimistic projection for the duration of the present recession was 
18 months.
7. (SBU) Massa disagreed, said he expected the recession to be 
shorter, explaining his belief that the lightning speed of modern 
communications (compared to the pace of information in the 1930s) 
would accelerate the recovery. Rep. Ryan recalled that Federal 
Reserve Chairman Bernanke was one of the most prominent scholars of the Great Depression in the 1930s, and that two lessons he had drawn from Bernanke's academic work were the negative consequences in this type of crisis of taking liquidity out of the system and of enacting protectionist measures.
Ryan's public face:

Reuters (Aug 13, 2012) By Mark Felsenthal
Republican VP pick Ryan a critic of Fed policy
* Ryan has frequently sparred with Fed chairman
* Running mate criticized quantitative easing
* Backs congressional audits of Fed monetary policy
…Ryan's arguments are likely to endear him not only to conservatives who believe Fed policies are another example of big government overreach but also to supporters of Representative Ron Paul, who believes the Fed should be eliminated and that the United States should return to a currency pegged to the value of gold or silver…

Journal Sentinel
(Nov. 21, 2010) By John Schmid and Craig Gilbert
Ryan leads opposition to Fed's economic efforts
Just as harmful, Ryan warns, is that the proliferation of newly printed dollars inevitably unleashes inflation and throws the economy out of kilter in other ways.
"Inflation is a killer of wealth. It wipes out the middle class. It eviscerates the standard of living for people who have retired or are living on fixed incomes," he said. "Name me a nation in history that has prospered by devaluing its currency."
As the incoming chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, Ryan's blasts carry newfound weight. And he's hardly alone in his castigations; the past week's unrelenting attacks on the Fed mark an unusual turn in the economic debate.
In 2010, Ryan stated:

"There is nothing more insidious that a government can do to its people - than to debase it's currency"

Wikileaks Exposes Paul Ryan's True Stance on Monetary Policy & the Federal Reserve | Peace . Gold . Liberty | Revolution

On Alternative Choices in Politics

On choosing a third party candidate for president, I receive responses such as this quite often:

Tell me again how voting for some third party no-chance-in-h*** will change anything at all.
It appears that many statists believe I should choose one mainstream candidate over the other, as any vote for a third party candidate will simply be a vote for one of the mainstream ones. I fail to grasp the (lack of) logic. Yeah, stick to that line of thinking. Let me know how it works out for you in the end...

Seems they've bought into the false paradigm completely and without reservation. We are given a choice between Obamney and Obamney. Without hesitation, the sheeple choose Obamney. Good luck with that. Picking right-fascism over left-socialism is akin to choosing your executioner. The result is the same.

I think I'll choose something else. Silly me, self-preservation and all...

"A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." - Lysander Spooner

On Choosing the Lesser Evil

The last thing I am going to do is play dead. I am at a loss to see how choosing the lesser evil is better than voting with a conscience (odd word, that). Moving to a voluntary society is not quite as simple as opting out of a failed political system, but it's a start. Maintaining a capitalistic position on interactions in markets is another cornerstone. What we do for our own self-interest also benefits society, much as statists on the left (and some on the right) believe we need government to tell us how to interact in society, those of us with the will can do just fine on our own.

Or maybe I should just go with the flow and cast my vote for whoever the TV tells me to...

I am more shocked that many (but not all) modern conservatives have abandoned the principles of the Founding Fathers and wholeheartedly accepted the government as the answer the all of the needs of society. That's fascism, we used to hate it. Funny, that. Some people buy into the status quo like it's on sale at Wal-Mart. Blue Light Special!

The Hope And The Change

The Hope And The Change - Official Movie Trailer - YouTube