Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Thoughts

Today is just a simple post, just a few end of the week thoughts. Nothing to see here... have an orange.

Citrus Omen: The special election in Florida has scared the crap out of the Democrats. They ran a top tier candidate against a middling Republican in a seat that Obama carried by 8% in 2012. The Republican was dogged by a Libertarian, who would walk away with 4%. And yet the Democrat lost. They lost because the locals were really, really, really upset about the state of Medicare as a result of all that money drifting over to Obamacare. MSNBC tried to claim this election was not a bellwether, but the amount of panic put out by the Democrats suggests that they sure think it is. And even MSNBC couldn't keep up the facade for long, not once Chris Matthews declared through his tears that the Republicans were going to win the Senate. Waaaaaah!

Now They're Getting It: In the past few days, I have seen Republicans everywhere say, "We need a positive agenda." Then they typically mention things like energy policy, jobs and healthcare. Clearly, this idea has finally taken hold beyond the early adapters. That's a great sign. Let's hope this continues.

Fringe Thinking: If you want to understand the problem with the fringe mindset, here is a comment made in response to the idea that the GOP could win the senate. This fringer said, "What's the point in winning the Senate if McConnell is still the leader?" That sums up the problem right there. This type of all or nothing thinking inevitably leads to nothing. It also shows a total lack of perspective that this dipstick would rather let the Democrats control the Senate than Republicans with whom he disagrees on very little. With friends like these, who needs enemies. Slow children playing indeed.

China: Oh oh. A lot of the economic data out of China suggests that China's growth rate is even lower than people think. I'm not surprised. China's economy depends on the American consumer, and the American consumer is not spending. I see this at Amazon where my US sales have been sliding even as my sales in the UK, Canada and Europe have remained perfectly steady. I see it in stores that are closing. I hear it when companies who never advertised before are advertising or even going door to door to drum up business. I see it in the falling home prices and lack of sales. I see it in the total lack of construction and grand openings. We have a sitzkrieg economy right now, where everyone pretends there's economic activity, but nothing new is actually happening.

Obamacare: Obamacare just keeps getting worse. Ha ha. Try as they might, they simply haven't been able to win over the young. Indeed, all the data suggests that only 27% of policies issued are for the young, even as they estimated they needed 40% to stay afloat. Moreover, it now appears that very few of the uninsured are actually signing up. It turns out that around 80% of the people signing up are people who had insurance last year, but lost it because of Obama. So basically, the program has failed to do the one thing it was supposed to do -- cover the uninsured. And now the insurers are starting to panic. They agreed to some very stupid things on the basis that Uncle Sam would force 40 million more people to buy their tainted products. If the 20% number is correct, they've managed only to get 800,000 new customers, and most of them will cost more than expected. "Waaaaaah! Our attempt to bully consumers blew up on us!"

Lethargic Legacy: Finally, Obama just signed an order "raising the minimum wage." Well, no. What he did was sign an order stating that Federal government contractors who provide services to Club Fed need to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. It is estimated that this will affect less than half a million workers and even that is a generous estimate... I've frankly never seen anyone paid that little on a Federal contract.

Obama's attempt to expand overtime looks to be equally futile. What he's doing is changing the level at which exempt employees who work more than 40 hours a week are required to be paid overtime. Said differently, when you are salaried (exempt from overtime), but you earn less than a certain amount ($455 per week), your employer needs to pay overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week. Obama is going to raise that $255 dollar amount. We don't know how high yet, but California's level is set to go up to $800 this year. And whatever it is, odds are it won't affect hardly anyone... and it can easily be avoided.

Wow, this Obama guy is really powerful. //sarc off

Thoughts? How's that orange treatin' you?


Tennessee Jed said...

here is the other "clear and present danger" to Obamacare. Sibelius continues to pretend the actual number of enrolles who continue to pay their monthly premiuns is "not available." Does anyone not consider having that information crucial? Does anyone honestly believe the numbers WOULD be available if they were anything other than a complete disaster?

BevfromNYC said...

TennJ - Sec't Sebelius has also admitted before a House Ways & Means Committee grilling that premiums and/or deductibles in the exchanges may have to rise next year. She also admitted that she has no idea how many people have enrolled and paid premiums...but it's working, it's really, really working and how dare you bring before this illegitimate body and dare question me [Okay, that last part was what I imagined was going on in her head]. So the unaffordable will get a little more unaffordable. Interestingly this has not been.

tryanmax said...

But! But! But! This is exactly what the evil idiot Obama planned! He's too stupid to make healthcare work, so he devised this ingenious plan to collapse the insurance market and turn it into single payer. That's why we have to take out every Republican possible to stop this nefarious Democrat plot! /sarc

I've been interestedly picking up bits and pieces about China for some years. About a year ago, I came across an article about China's ghost cities. (That's not towns, but cities.) They're not abandoned. Rather, they were built but never moved into. So when everyone was hand wringing over China's massive infrastructure push, this was the reality behind it.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Their claims about what they do or don't know have always struck me as false. Data like "how many signed up," "who did they sign up with," and "have they paid" are the exact type of data that always gets collected. Clearly, they are lying because they are worried about admitting that something like 25% of enrollees haven't paid.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Isn't that amazing? It's working!! It's working! How many have signed up? No idea. Have they paid? No idea. Are they new enrollees or just people who got dumped by their current insurers? No idea. But it is working, we know that!


If this were a company, she and Obama would be fired and they would both be sued by shareholders for fraud and dereliction of duty at this point.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the spirit, nothing forms a secret master plan like failure. Woo hoo! Failure is always planned, and those RINOs are part of it! Yeeeeee haw! Ain't no gay Mexican gonna steal my guns!!

Anyway, I've been watching China for several years now (for investment reasons) and just like you, I'm seeing a true divergence from the media portrayal of this ever-growing monster that will eat our economy and the reality. The reality is starting to turn ugly for China and their future is even worse. (1) Their economy is much weaker than people think, particularly because it is corruption based (their data is so fraudulent that people have to use proxies to figure out what is really going on). (2) The economic growth they've had has priced them out of the cheap labor market and they aren't qualified to do anything at a higher level than that. (3) Their military is a paper tiger which relies on fake photo-ops and purchased Russian gear to scare people. (4) They are facing a demographic bomb that makes the greying and depopulation of Europe look like a day at the nursery -- they are projected to lose half their population over the next 50 years.

And as you note, there are amazing stories of cities no one moved into because their central planning stinks. Whole populations moved so they could build some make-work project no one needed. Tremendously wasteful spending by state companies. Massive corruption. There are stories of intense pollution killing people. Unsafe roads, rails and everything else. Etc.

AndrewPrice said...

I don't know if people have noticed the GM ignition issue, but it's about to get really ugly. There are now reports that GM knew about the problem and that it could kill people, but didn't bother to fix it, and that around 400 people died because of it.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - Yeah...GM. So will the US Government and the UAW, as co-owners of GM, be sued? And when will the CEO et al of GM and the head of the UAW be called before Congress to explain themselves like Toyota was, remember? Oh, wait, George W. Bush must factor in here somewhere, so they are safe...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm sure that the poor, innocent unions and Obama had nothing to do with Bush's evil. And clearly, Bush was using his incredible mind powers to make GM choose profit for union coffers over lives. No doubt. Bad Bush!

Kit said...

Here are some photos of the Ghost Cities: LINK

And the 60 Minutes special on it. Its almost comical. Length:11min 57sec

Another thing that adds to the Ghost Cities is that they built a bunch of apartments in these cities to accommodate the urbanization going on where people from the rural parts of China. However, the apartments are too expensive for those people (many of whom are quite poor) to afford so no one moved into them.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I did see that. I have no love for the union and government motors. They can reap what they have sewn. Just so we aren't asked to bale them out again. Bev - forgive me for saying so, but I just want to punch Jay Carney in the mouth. I know that's wrong, but he so represents the arrogant leftist media. I see he is jumping ship (or walking the plank) to wifey Claire's new bullshit book

BevfromNYC said...

TennJ - If the American taxpayerS are EVER asked or forced to bale out any private company again ESPECIALLY AN AMERICAN CAR MANUFACTURER, I will personally go to the WH and THE CAPITAL BUILDING and slap each and everyone of them in the face...HERE THAT, NSA and SECRET SERVICE!?!

NSA/Secret Service (Definitely Not Andrew) said...

Ok, no problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It really shows the folly of central planning. In a market that is responsive to consumers, no one would have taken this risk, or else they would have bailed out much quicker. But the Chinese just pour money into these things without ever thinking them through from the consumer perspective. The result is a LOT of waste and a lot of damage. They are also infamous for low quality and unsafe construction at this point.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I have no love for them either and it doesn't bother me in the least if the company collapsed. As for Carney, I have no reason to stop you from punching him. Sounds like a good idea to me! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'll pay for your air/train fare and I'll bail you out of jail.

BevfromNYC said...

And hopefully you can find a good lawyer for me...hey, I pick Ron Kuby!!

AndrewPrice said...

I'll do my best! If not, we'll break you out.

And on an unrelated note, has anyone been following this airplane thing? Wow. It's looking more and more like the plane was skyjacked and taken to India.

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks, Andrew, and then you can write a book about it! The jail break, not the airplane thing.

Speaking of the unrelated airplane mystery. Seriously, in these days of non-stop satellite surveillance, how is it possible that a plane can just disappear off the face of the earth? I do find the skyjacked and taken to India scenario to be very intriguing. And with the transponder turned off it probably could have landed anywhere. But, why would someone hijack it and then not claim responsibility? Isn't that one of the top priorities in the "How To HiJack a Plane" manual? (sorry, I don't mean to make light of this really horrible thing...but)

Kit said...


I thought making light of the terrible and the tragic was a part of being at Commentarama. ;-)

But in seriousness, you too summed it up. Just where did that thing go?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's the question. If it was hijacked, why has no one claimed responsibility yet? It's possible they have stolen the plane with the intent of using it like a missile in the future, but it still seems really strange.

I read that after they turned off the transponder, they still got pings from the maintenance computers for five hours, which is how they tracked it toward India.

Very strange.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That is our forte, indeed! :D

Kit said...

"It's possible they have stolen the plane with the intent of using it like a missile in the future, but it still seems really strange."

That seems like a lot of trouble to go to. It seems more cost efficient just to find some losers and have them hijack the plane and fly it towards a building. Like 9/11.

The whole thing is very spooky.

AndrewPrice said...

True, unless they want to put something on the plane first like uranium.

At this point, the safe money still says they crashed, but the possibility the plane was stolen makes this really interesting... and really creepy.

AndrewPrice said...

Here is some information on who has actually paid for their Obamacare policies. These numbers are disastrous:

Connecticut ..... 57,465 ..... 92%
Minnesota ..... 33,722 ..... 90%
California ..... 923,832 ..... 85%
Rhode Island ..... 19,690 ..... 83%
DC ..... 6,516 ..... 75%
Nevada ..... 30,015 ..... 70%
Vermont ..... 24,326 ..... 59%
Washington ..... 191081 ..... 57%
Maryland ..... 38,070 ..... 54%

BevfromNYC said...

Are you sure these aren't the number for people who HAVEN'T signed up? Unless there are many, many more in the other 41 states...oh, wait is this where those extra 13 Obama-states** he mentions in 2008 come in? Anyway, I could swear that, according to Sec't Sebelius, everyone on Earth (and the Moon and some from Venus 'cause of the birth control freebies, doncha know) had signed up and paid! Oh, wait, she said she didn't know anything except that it's WORKING, WORKING, WORKING!!!!

Andrew, wherever you got these numbers, I am sure that the NSA now has your information and has given it to the IRS...prepare to be audited.

**I have it on good authority that these extra 13 states are known to have a combined population of about 330million people all healthy and between the ages of 27-31 who have all signed up and paid their premiums. These are also the same 13 states where everyone is gainfully employed in the job of their dreams with no "job-lock" which accounts for the every lowered unemployment rates without actual employment getting better...

Kit said...

Interesting article from the National Journal on Mike Duggan and how he might have the best job in politics as all he has to do his get city services working as the city's finances are in the control of an emergency Manager named Kevin Orr. Though things might get tougher once Orr leaves and full democratic control is returned to the city. He is also the first white mayor of Detroit in 40 years.


BevfromNYC said...

So, change of topic -
I contacted my various Democrat elected officials and asked them this simple question

Dear Rep. Maloney [Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand],
Since you voted for the ACA and believe so strongly that this the best for your constituents and the American people, have you and your staff given up your taxpayer supplied health insurance plans and signed up for one of the exchanges?

Though, I doubt I will get any kind of coherent response other than a "Thank you for being a concerned constituent" response, I will let you know and I fully expect I will be audited.

Kit said...

New evidence about Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that points to a possible hijacking or at least continued control of the aircraft for quite a while with things looking likely that it continued to fly over the Indian Ocean.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Those missing 13 states really skew all the numbers, don't they? LOL!

Good luck with your letter to your elected officials. I suspect you won't be too happy with the response.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It's looking like a hijack by the pilot perhaps.

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