Thursday, February 27, 2014

Contest - Conspiracy Theories

I love conspiracy theories, don't you? I mean you've got to blame someone or something (not you) for the inexplicable, right? Stuff just doesn't happen randomly, right? Here's one...God, will the cold weather never end? I am not sure how much longer I can take it. Personally, I blame Canada. They are really nice people as a whole. Okay, the Mayor of Toronto is kind of a hot mess, but otherwise they are really nice with their hockey-playing, beer and bacon. I mean, who doesn't like bacon, right? So why are they torturing us with their weather? I think that maybe is has something to do with the Keystone pipeline, but that's just me. Canada is to blame more than likely. I'm thinkin' weather machines.

Speaking of weather machines, I noticed that for the last 12 years or so, New York has had pretty mild winters. Oh, there's been a few big snow storms, but nothing really too bad. Suddenly, starting January 2014, the weather takes a real turn for the worse. Why is that? Well, here's one theory that I just can't shake - the minute Mayor Bloomberg leaves office and BAM! It's snowing every other day! I'm thinking our former billionaire mayor had some kind of billionaire owned, Upper East Side lair-like weather machine! I mean, he tried to control everything else, why not the weather? Yeah, that must be it.

And how many theories are there on the assassination of President Kennedy? There are hundreds, right? [I know what you are thinking - I was living in Dallas in 1964, but for God sake, I was four years old, so it wasn't me, okay?] And there's 9/11, the Illuminati, the Masons, Mary Magdelene, Big Foot/Yetti, Loch Ness monster, New Coke, the list can go on and on.

So here's what I'm thinking. Andrew is under the weather and he probably needs some cheering up. And conspiracy IS the best medicine (after good ol' chicken soup and Nyquil), so why don't we riff on conspiracy theories?

Do YOU have a favorite conspiracy theory? Don't hold back. It may seem crazy, but then one never knows, does one? I mean, people will believe anything...Here's something to inspire you...and....GO!

Oh, and there may be a free Commentarama (invisible) t-shirt in it for the most plausible theory. Who doesn't need an extra invisible t-shirt, right? [DISCLAIMER #1 - I have to check with The Management to make sure we have an ample supply. We never found the last shipment because...well, they are invisible and all} And I have it on good authority from a "highly=placed, unauthorized, unnamed government source" that the IRS, NSA, CIA, and all the other government alphabet organizations will not be reading this, so you don't have to worry about any "Three Days of the Condor"-type situations...but if you see any stray kittens with WMD's in your neighborhood...RUN!

DISCLAIMER #2: CommentaraPolitics will not be responsible for any residual issues from random conspiracy theories rendered in the comment section of this blog post - The Management
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Takin' The Rest of the Week Off

Folks, I'm still struggling to get over this cold or flu or plague or whatever I caught a couple weeks back. It's got me too exhausted even to write at the moment. So I'm taking off until early next week. I'll leave the door to the blog unlocked in case you just want to hang out. There are some bitcoins in the fridge... unless somebody stole them.
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Misreading The War On Women

Last week, I pointed out that the fringe gets a really distorted view of reality from their leaders. To give you a sense of how distorted, let's take apart an article published at the Daily Caller about the “War on Women.”

According to the article, Pelosi and Reid are planning to use the “War on Women” playbook for the 2014 election. The author, however, dismisses this as “overplayed propaganda” and she asserts that it won’t work because the Democrats are “missing the big picture.” Hence, she boldly declares, “As a Republican woman, I say bring it on.”

Oh boy.

While it will certainly play well with the fringe, the assertion that the “War on Women” attack is “overplayed propaganda” is ridiculous. In 2012, the Democrats won a stunning statistical victory among women. They won single women by 40%. That's not 40-39, that’s a 40 percentage point difference. In other words, seven of every ten of these women voted for the Democrats. That means their “War on Women” strategy was amazingly effective, and dismissing it as “overplayed propaganda” is wishful thinking. Instead, we need to find a way to defuse it.

The author argues that this has already happened, but her argument is seriously flawed. According to her, women will now reject the “War on Women” meme because of Obamacare. See, a recent poll showed that 60% of women oppose the disastrous law. Ergo, argues the author, they will shun the propaganda of the “War on Women” playbook and will turn out to help us thump them Democrats good.

Yikes. There is so much wrong with this assertion.

First, there is no indication in that poll or any other poll that opposition to Obamacare translates into voting out the Democrats. And what the author ignores is that outside of a tiny minority, people make up their minds how to vote based on general affinity with a political party rather than the basis of single issues. So opposition to Obamacare is just one fact to weigh against things like the “War on Women,” it is not a trump that will overpower all other issues. In fact, if it were such a trump, then we would see it in the generic polls, but we don't. To the contrary, the Democrats lead the Republicans 41% to 37% in the generic polls. This would not be true if her assertion were valid.

But wait, she adds, a study by some group found that supporting Obamacare cost incumbent Democrats 5.8% at the polls in 2010. Add that to the fact that sitting Presidents lose seats in midterm elections and “[the] Republicans are once again on solid ground.”


Ok, let’s unwind this. First, this would again show up in the generic polls, but it doesn't. Secondly, this effect was not repeated in 2012, and there's no reason to believe that this issue would vanish in 2012 only to return in 2014. Public anger doesn't work that way. It sparks, then it dies. It doesn't come and go. More importantly, she misunderstands the dynamic of the last couple elections. Obama had MASSIVE coattails in 2008 when he won and his party way over-performed what one would expect from a normal election. The result was that the Democrats won many seats they would not normally have won. Thus, 2010 represented a normalization in many ways as the Republicans won those seats back. By comparison, in 2012, Obama had no coattails and did not over-perform. If anything, he underperformed for a winner. That suggests there aren’t any overextended Democratic seats to be lost in 2014.

And keep in mind that even in 2010 (and in 2012), the Republicans failed miserably in Senate races, i.e. races that didn't involve gerrymandered constituencies.

Further, the 2010 victory was spurred by low Democratic turnout and exceedingly high Republican turn out. Turn out should in theory favor the Republicans in 2014, except that these days the fringe pride themselves on not voting. And if they didn't turn out in 2012 when the election of Republicans could have stopped the law ever being implemented, there's no reason to think they'll turn out in 2014 when there's no chance of influencing the law and after years of smears by the fringe against the Republicans.

Finally, the author tries to bolster her argument by claiming that Democratic lies about Obamacare also will bring out these women: “If the implications of the healthcare law weren’t enough to turn away women voters, the lies Democrats have told them should.” Yeah, right. Except, this is all already calculated into the opposition to Obamacare, and all these lies were well known in 2012 and didn't swing women to the GOP.

All right. So what's the point? The point is that these are the kinds of articles that flood The Daily Caller and Breitbart and other fringe sites. Articles like this provide false confidence and keep the right from asking the basic questions they should be asking: why did women abandon us in record numbers, what about the “War on Women” proved so effective, and how do we win women back? The first step to solving a problem is to admit you have a problem. This article and the hundreds of others like it and the parrot effect of talk radio keep the far right from realizing that.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Sadly, We Lost... Open Thread

So the Olympics are over and we're stuck with Justin Bieber. Talk about depressing. Just as depressing, the American Olympic team continues to disgrace themselves with whining and in-fighting. On the plus side, it was confirmed for all to see that Russia is indeed a cheating backward sh*thole with undrinkable water and a police state that only Pat Buchanan could love. Oh, there was a war or something in the Ukraine. What else happened this weekend? Let's see. Oh yeah, another Tea Party clown is going down in flames. Add him to the growing pile with Tea Party clown Stockman in Texas. Meanwhile, Mama-Bare Clown is getting her own reality show again. And Piers Morgan is losing his. So there's good and bad. Talk about whatever you like. I'm going to go drown my Bieber-related sorrows in a donut.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Philosophical Friday

Let's do a philosophical question. I think you'll find this interesting. Today's question involves omission versus commission. Here's the question...

Suppose you find yourself in a very bad situation. You are in the enginer of a train speeding down the tracks. You are coming to a switch which will let you either stay on the current track or switch off to an alternate track. In the engine with you is a villain. The villain has tied five people to the main track ahead. He has also tied two people to the alternate track. He now tells you that you must choose. Do you do nothing and left five people die or do you act to save them, but kill two others in the process. What do you do?

This is a real issue that you will study in philosophy and in law school if your teachers are any good. What this gets at is the question of omission versus commission. Said differently, is it morally better to act (commission) and kill people, even if it saves more lives, or is it morally better to refuse to act and thereby kill no one by your own actions, but in the process let people die by your failure to act (omission). As with all philosophical questions, there is no right answer and the scenario can be tweaked to try to understand the boundaries of what we consider to be moral behavior. For example, suppose you believe that it is morally right to kill the two to save the five. Does your answer change if the five are all in ill-health? What if they are criminals? What if you are related to one of the two or the five?

As you work your way through this, you slowly start to understand how your own moral code works -- an understanding you can then compare to our legal code. And what this debate comes to ultimately is, are you practical or principled? See, the sides break down like this. Practical people will point out that you must act to save the five because you are saving more people by acting. But principled people will counter that you cannot weigh lives just in raw numbers and they will point out that the practical people will change their answers as they start to assign values to the people on the tracks based on factors like age, gender, health, relation, etc.

The principled people will also point out that what we are talking about is a moral code. And as such, everyone should follow the code. And if everyone follows the code, then "omission" will result in no deaths because the villain would not set out to do this in the first place. The practical people, however, will counter that humanity doesn't work that way and we all know that not everyone will follow the code. Thus, we cannot essentially wish the problem away and we must be prepared to meet with situations like this from the villains in our midsts.

Ultimately, there is no right answer, but how you answer says a lot about you and should help you understand the way you analyze problems and the weaknesses of the methods you choose. If you believe only in principle, then you are essentially hoping for an ideal world that will never exist. If you are a practical thinker, you will find yourself swayed by data. And this is true whether or not the issue is how and when to discipline a child to your view of elections to how you'll handle that moment where you need to decide between two very bad choices.

Thoughts? What would you do and what would change your mind?
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Clown Crisis Open Thread

Oh no! Houston, we have a problem! A really big crisis is coming at us and if we don't do something quick, we will be in BIG trouble. Or should I say "Big Top" trouble.

In an exclusive report in the New York Daily News this morning, it was reported that there is an impending clown shortage! NOOOOOOOO! If the projections are correct, there won't be enough clowns to fill a tiny clown car. Who will buy the big red noses and floppy shoes? What will happen to the seltzer bottle and confetti-filled water bucket industry?

People, we CANNOT allow this to happen. Think of the children!! Think of Congress!! Who will we elect now??

Oh, wait, nevermind. Well, it looks like we just dodged a huge bullet, but just in case, the clowns are lying, here is how you can help - LINK

But seriously, folks, if you have anything to say, now is your chance.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TV Review: Justified (2010-present)

I hate cop shows. Seriously hate them. They’re lowest common denominator crap which feed you the impossible idea that a computer can predict crime or neon-laced crime labs that work in the dark can solve crimes with a carpet fiber and sexy banter. Might as well use pixie dust. What these shows really are is soaps where the characters carry guns and fence with stylized serial killers destined to lose by the script. Even worse, they’re all the same. There are a couple that stand out however, and Justified is the best of those. In fact, this is an awesome series.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Smoke and Mirrrors

One of the things that has troubled me throughout the past couple years is the seeming mixed messages from the economic indicators. Everything I see tells me that the economy stinks. Yet, there are some indicators that seem to be going the other way. Well, I figured out what is going on. Let's discuss.

Unemployment: Let's start with the obvious one, which is unemployment. There just aren't many jobs out there right now. Nevertheless, we keep hearing that the unemployment number is falling slowly and isn't really that far out of line with most recessions. But here's the thing. The unemployment number can be massaged very easily and one of the ways they do it is to drop off the people who have given up looking for work. There are about three million of those and if you factor them back in, then unemployment rises from 6% to 11%. It goes even higher if you factor in underemployment, which is when people are forced to work at jobs below their level of qualification. Count those people and we're looking at around 16% of the workforce being in employment distress.

Corporate Profits: Consumers are weak. Unemployment is high. So how in the world can corporate profits be up? Hmm. This was quite a poser. The stock market has been flying high on the basis that corporate America is doing great because their earnings and profits are at record levels. But the real economy suggests this can't be. What explains this? In a word: buybacks. Companies have been buying back their stock. The result is fewer shares to spread the profits over. Thus, even though actual profits are flat or lower, the company's balance sheets report higher and higher earnings/profits per share.

Housing Recovery: For some time, we've heard that housing prices have stabilized and have been soaring. How can this be? Well, it turns out that a handful of companies decide that housing was a good investment. They basically assumed that either housing would recover or that someone would bail out the housing market, so they went out and bought more than a billion dollars worth of homes. They originally targeted the hardest hit areas like Phoenix, Vegas and California. When they ran out of homes to buy, they moved to other areas like Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago.

What this did was place a floor under the market generally, because market numbers are an average across the country, and it caused the housing market in the cities where they went to rise basically by as much as they invested. In other words, they bailed out the places they went, and the result caused the average price of homes to appear to stabilize or even rise a bit. But there's a problem. No one else is playing this game. In effect, they've entered a poker game with themselves. And now they want out. First, they stopped buying more, which brought a "surprise" reduction in home sales in December -- with the markets in which they stopped buying being hit the hardest, e.g. prices fell 17% in Phoenix from a year ago. Now they plan to sell off their properties, which didn't rise as expected in value, over the course of the next 5-6 years. This will send the market back down in those cities right back to where it was in 2008. This is (1) why "the housing market" has been going up, nationally speaking, (2) why the housing market actually was only going up in some cities, (3) why it has suddenly stalled, and (4) why it's in danger of collapsing again.

Inflation: Finally, everyone tells us that there is no inflation. Even government figures estimate inflation close to 0%. Yet, everyone seems to sense that inflation is out there and running wild. What's going on? Well, the obvious answer is that government inflation figures exclude the things that suffer from inflation. Specifically, government estimates exclude food and fuel... the two areas where inflation is occurring most rapidly. Further, the inflation has been hidden in many ways. One prime example involves reducing the amount of product in the containers. Product after product has been cutting the amount in each package by 10-20% and then increasing the price by 3-5%. This records as 5% inflation even though it's actually 25%. Other companies have done things like eliminate coupons, add service charges, eliminate things like free shipping, and substitute inferior quality parts. Amazon increased the amount you need to buy to get free shipping.

In instances like Obamacare, the Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media are picking false points of comparison. For example, rather than compare the cost of insurance from 2010 before the Obamacare mandates started to kick in, they compare today's rates to insurance from 2013, which already includes most of the additional costs added by Obamacare. Moreover, they make it impossible to do a direct comparison because the new policies include things the older ones didn't. It's like forcing a Honda owner to buy a Cadillac and then claiming that because the new car is better you can't compare how much more this cost the consumer.

This is what is going on. The economy isn't in doomsday mode, but unemployment is very high, corporate profits are falling (and the stock market should be), there is no housing recovery, and inflation is out of control. The above is how all of that is being hidden from you.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fringe Is Routed

This comes from many months of careful observation, hence it's long. But it's worth reading. While talk radio hosts continue to talk up their heroic Ted Cruz and his secret army of reel ‘merikans who are only minutes away from sweeping away the hateful GOP, the truth is that the fringe has lost and is in full collapse. Here is what you won’t hear from talk radio.

Embracing The Enemy. In 2010, the Tea Party caught people off guard by unseating a handful of Republican moderates who had been in their seats for a very long time. At first, this was a good thing. But then the Tea Party morphed into crazytown and their primary goal (only goal actually) became making war against the GOP. (Michelle Malkin has actually admitted that "[t]his to me is much more fascinating than the usual left-right battles.")

The GOP, most of whom sit in safe seats, suddenly realized that the new danger didn’t come from the Democrats to their left, it came from a challenge to their right. Thus, the GOP embraced the Tea Party to protect themselves from challengers. And for the next three years, the GOP kowtowed to these people.

Unfortunately, trying to appease the insane never works and the GOP discovered that nothing they did was ever enough. No matter what the GOP did, the fringe continued to hate them and to try to destroy them. Moreover, the more entangled they become with the fringe, the further away they drove the public. As a result, the GOP has been flirting with permanent minority status.

The First Victory. After November 2012, things changed. The GOP decided that they needed to move away from the fringe and they began the process. They developed a strategy for dealing with fringe candidates, tested it, and are now applying it. At the same time, they started introducing an agenda to turn them back into a responsible party again. The results have been dramatic, even if they are largely behind the scenes.

The strategy they employed started with this. When Liz Cheney decided to attack Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi, the fringe jumped onboard as usual. This was one of about a dozen attempts to "primary" sitting Republicans. At the time, groups like Tea Party Express and Freedom Works declared that Cheney would sweep to victory, as would a dozen others, and they would finally unseat the RINO leadership.

But this time, the GOP fought back. First, they gave a massive number of endorsements to Enzi and they made it clear that they would not simply stand on the sidelines. They also ridiculed the Senate Conservatives Fund (Cruz’s group) as being in the business of replacing Republicans with Democrats, which is essentially all Cruz has accomplished. The results were strong and immediate. Cheney’s candidacy collapsed and she withdrew for “family health” reasons.

Within days of her withdrawal, the fringe did what they always do: they disowned her. Indeed, a number of people who had been praising her as a reel ‘merikan only days before suddenly dismissed her as an establishment carpetbagger. Cult-like groups always work this way because they cannot afford failure. More was coming...

The Turning Point. As Wyoming played out, Ted Cruz decided to make a power play in Washington. He saw an opportunity to embarrass the GOP leadership by demanding a shutdown. He figured that the GOP leadership would never act so irresponsibly, so he was safe making the demand because he knew they would never give him what he wanted. Essentially, he had a free pass to thump his chest and claim to be the only courageous Republican. He also used the opportunity to spread the idea that the public was secretly with him and that they would rally to a shutdown, which would expose the GOP leadership as out of touch. Again, he could make this claim because he knew it would never be tested. He even got the House GOP backbench to support him in an effort to make Boehner look like a fool.

It was a fantastic bluff. Not only did it allow him to define himself as better than everyone else in the GOP, i.e. as the only genuine conservative in a nest of RINOs, but it let him offer the Kool-Aid of the “secret majority” to his fringe audience all without any fear that his claim would ever be exposed. The fringe, naturally, jumped on this like retards humping a doorknob and they all parroted how cowardly the leadership was and how Cruz must be made the new leader.

Then it went wrong. Boehner shrewdly gave Cruz what he wanted and the government shut down. This became the real turning point. See, it turns out the public did not support Cruz and the fringe. To the contrary, around 90% blamed the GOP for shutting down the government and felt they had acted irresponsibly. Moreover, the deal that was needed to end the shutdown wiped out sequestration. Cruz had, as usual, set the cause of conservatism back.

More importantly, however, while this was going on, Cruz’s behavior exposed him. When the shutdown first happened, Cruz actually refused to say whether or not he supported what had been his own idea. He was waiting to see how it played. And when it went sour fast, he denied that this had been his idea at all. Even four months later, he continued to deny this. Said Cruz on Face the Nation:
“I didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time. I don't think we should ever shut down the government. I repeatedly voted to fund the federal government.”
Of course, evidence to the contrary abounds all over the net.

What this did was expose Cruz. Intelligent conservatives would now see that he was a liar who used them for personal gain, and they talked about how shocked they were when he admitted that he had no exit strategy for the shutdown, i.e. no purpose in doing it. Conservatives like Kelly Ayotte apparently met him with quite a fury. And when Cruz tired again recently to cause a shutdown and then forced the GOP to vote for the budget to overcome his filibuster, he found no supporters. The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page even called Cruz, “the Minority Maker” and chastised him for making the GOP “walk the plank on a meaningless debt ceiling vote.” Outside of the deep fringe, the love and blind faith is gone.

Open Season. Immediately after the collapse of the shutdown, Boehner verbally attacked the fringe by calling groups like The Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks “ridiculous” and claiming they had “lost all credibility.” Blogs like Hot Air quickly mocked this as a tantrum and called him whiny, but they missed the point. Boehner’s message wasn’t intended to win the fringe, it was intended to tell the rest of the GOP that it was open season on the fringe. And open season it became.

Since Boehner’s comments, there have been a steady stream of attacks on the fringe from people like Tom Coburn, Charles Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin. The GOP changed its election rules to make it harder for small candidates to win primaries and to force everything to wrap up quicker, i.e. to make another Santorum unlikely. The GOP also fired companies who had worked with Cruz’s anti-Republican PAC. Iowa’s governor is doing his best to make the Iowa GOP mainstream by driving out the fringe. Mike Huckabee essentially likened the fringe to the Nazis, which brought howls of anger from various blogs. John McCain, who had planned to retire, now will likely run for a new term because fringers in Arizona censured him for “associating with liberal Democrats” and he plans to spite them. Everywhere, the establishment is fighting back and more and more conservatives are switching sides to join the establishment against the fringe.

Routed: The Battle of Kentucky. With things going poorly for the fringe as recognized conservatives started deserting the cult and speaking against them, the fringe needed a big victory. They chose to attack a man they saw as a soft target: Mitch McConnell. McConnell is a fairly reliable conservative, though a practical one, and he and Boehner have become the fringe’s boogeymen, an odd package of spineless dupes and evil RINO geniuses who are simultaneously incompetent yet manage to dominate and frustrate 60 million conservatives. They saw McConnell as the perfect target because unseating him would be a huge show of their power and they believed he was vulnerable to a primary challenge. So they decided to support his Tea Party sponsored opponent: Matt Bevins.

In fact, “support” is an understatement. Like Hitler at Stalingrad, they are pouring everything they have into this fight. Everyone from groups like the Club for Growth to Sarah Palin have sent money and endorsements to Bevins. Every single fringe group you can think of is involved in this effort. Talk radio has repeatedly and unanimously pimped for Bevins and torn down McConnell. The idea was this: if the fringe can win this one huge victory, then it can wash away all the defeats it has suffered in primaries, special elections and with all their candidates going down in flames to the Democrats in 2012. More importantly, they can regain their ability to rule the GOP by fear. That was the plan.

But the new GOP tactics have proved extremely effective. Bevins was close until the GOP started attacking the fringe as crazy, as having no end game to their strategies, and as aiding the Democrats. And after the Cruz shutdown debacle, things started to go wrong. The latest poll has McConnell beating Bevins by 42 points.

This is an epic disaster for them. Indeed, the fringe has completely lost its influence, and they know it. What is most telling has been the change in rhetoric. After promising, a month or so ago, to unseat two dozen Republicans in the primaries, the same groups now are saying that they didn’t expect to win any of those contests, but it was enough to raise awareness of the issues. That’s loser speak. At the same time, the fringe starting whining about how unfair the GOP has been treating them. Even Cruz whined about this, stating that the GOP was “carpet-bombing” Tea Party candidates and that they should focus on the big bad Democrats. This is how people talk when they know it’s all over... and note the hypocrisy.

At this point, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks is still promising to unseat 28 GOP incumbents blah blah blah, including Eric Cantor and John Boehner, but no one is taking that seriously. In fact, the GOP is so confident that they’ve gone from the defensive to the offensive. First, the Chamber of Commerce came out and supported any GOP candidates who would oppose Tea Party candidates. Now former Rep. Steven LaTourette has founded a new PAC whose goal is to “beat the snot out of Tea Party Congressional candidates.”

All of this smells of a route.

Where Things Stand. So where do things stand? The fringe is still speaking of their glorious victories to come, but from the sound of things, there will be no more Tea Party victories in primaries. A good number of Tea Party congressmen may also lose their seats. The GOP is slowly working on an agenda that will align it with the public and the actual GOP base again – not the fringe. For example, with polls consistently showing that even 60% of the GOP base wants immigration reform, its interesting to note that every single GOP candidate for President has endorsed the idea even as the fringe views this as heresy.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent conservatives started talking about an agenda – an agenda that goes against everything the fringe stands for. The article about Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin the other day is just the latest example. Even people like Rand Paul, who the fringe assumes are with them, have distanced themselves. In fact, in a very telling comment the other day, Rand Paul said this:
“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party. . . and it has to be a transformation, not a little tweaking at the edges.
So we need to become hard core “conservative,” right? Well, no. Here’s what he said next:
“Republicans haven’t gone to African-Americans or to Hispanics and said, ‘You know what? The war on drugs, Big Government, has had a racial outcome. It’s disproportionately affected the poor and the black and brown among us. There is a struggle going on within the Republican Party. It’s not new, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of the fact that there is a struggle. And I will struggle to make the Republican Party a different party, a bigger party, a more diverse party, and a party that can win national elections again.
That is the complete opposite of what talk radio preaches about needing to become a smaller, nastier, more pure party.

The fringe is bleeding support too. Indeed, there was an interesting poll the other day, whose import was missed. The poll asked Republicans who they would support for 2016. Despite the fact that Ted Cruz was the only reel ‘merikan on the list, he scored a pathetic 12%. The other 88% were spread around various people who have all been accused of RINOcy. This means that the fringe is down from a high of around 20% of the Republican party to 12% tops. That’s a loss of 40% in six months and makes them about the size of Ron Paul’s support in the past.

Interestingly, I’m seeing evidence too that many of the fringe are giving up on the GOP and going back to whence they came in third parties.

Does this mean Cruz is finished? Hardly. The fringe only listens to talk radio and talk radio won’t tell them any of the things above because that would harm their ratings. To the contrary, if you listen to Rush or Levin or the rest, or you read HotAir or Breitbart, you will hear a steady stream of how Cruz and his army of reel ‘merikans are about to win victory after victory over Boehner and McConnell, who will soon be replaced. And then they will explain away the divergence from reality with tales or RINO traitors and magic. Because of this, Cruz, the phony-outsider, will get to continue to milk the fringe for money and he can continue his war against the GOP... but his influence is over. Things are changing a lot.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy President's Day!!

(click image to expand)
Wow, we've had some great presidents... and some duds.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Bond-arama: No. 00? Dr. No (1962)

As we enter the top three, I’m going to avoid putting a rank on these for the moment. Instead, I’m going to outline the cases pro and con for each being number one. Today we start with Dr. No. Dr. No is not the first time Bond has appeared on the screen, but this is the first James Bond film in the series... this is the film which started it all and which made Sean Connery into a superstar. It is a solid film with no real plot holes and all the elements we have come to expect from Bond. It has only a couple minor weaknesses. Could it be No. 001 of 0023?
Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Happy VD! So What Is A Rose?

It's Valentine's Day and hopefully you've all gotten cards and chocolate and flowers from/for loved ones. If not, then you better get hopping. This raises a question though. Why do we give roses? What exactly is a rose that it deserves this place of honor?

Obviously, a rose is a flower. It is an expensive flower that sucks water like it's going out of style, but it's also a beautiful flower. And its more than that. In Ancient Greece, the rose was considered sacred by followers of the goddess Isis. In the novel "The Golden Ass," (which should be the name of the Kardashian story) a rose saved the hero from being bewitched and spending his life as a donkey. Clearly, Obama was not so saved. The rose was then identified with the goddess of love Aphrodite (and then the Roman version Venus). So it became ass-ociated with romance. ;-)

Not to be outdone, Medieval Christians associated it with the Virgin Mary, though what a virgin knows about romance is beyond me, and they attributed the five pedals to the wounds of Christ. The rose then became the symbol of England, because the British are natural romantics (just like the Germans and grizzly bears). Others adopted it as well, like socialists.

In any event, despite a few dubious connections, the rose remains the symbol of romance today. Is this why we give it? Perhaps. But let's think about this a little more closely. What is the point in giving a rose? Ultimately, a rose is pretty worthless. It will wilt and die in a couple days and suddenly your gift is lost. So wouldn't you be better off buying something that will last like a book the person may enjoy or a dishwasher?

Maybe not.

See, advertising works on a strange principle where both the company and its target market know that any spending the company makes on advertising will be lost if the company misbehaves. Essentially, advertising spending becomes a bond the company offers the public: if we perform, then our advertising has value, if we fail, then it becomes worthless. And the more a company spends, the greater the bond.

Perhaps giving a useless gift like a rose is the same thing? By throwing money away on a non-practical gift, you are essentially offering a bond. You are putting your money to use to buy something that only has value so long as your target continues to care about your relationship. If you bought that dishwasher, by comparison, then you could presumably split it if you broke up and get some value out of it, you can't do this with a long-dead flower. So maybe that is what is going on here? Maybe, you are telling your beloved that you are willing to waste money to prove to them just how much your relationship is really worth it.


In any event, remember your loved ones today because they are what count in your life. So go do something nice and let them know how you feel about them. And if they aren't sufficiently appreciative, then remember that Commentarama loves you more. :D
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Thursday Work, Schmerck, "You Don't Need No Stinkin' Job" Contest

Huzzah! It was announced by the CBO, the Democratic leadership, and WH decree that we are now free to be who we've been waiting for. Yes, because of Obamacare, we can throw off the shackles of boring, soul-sucking "employment" and passionately embrace our most precious inner-child. So it's time to pack up those sensible shoes and boring power suits and break out the painting smocks, berets, and feather quills! Great poetry and literature are just waiting to be written (or rewritten), great philosophical thoughts are ready to be thought, and great works of art are just waiting to be painted, sculpted and decoupaged. Oh, and ladies, you now have the "choice" to stay at home with the kids! Hey, Obama said so!

Okay, I know I am making light of this, but the spin is fascinating. The CBO report states that Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act will result in at least a 2.3 million job loss. Oops, realizing that Obama wouldn't like that, they immediately "clarified" that what they meant by "job loss" wasn't "lost jobs" or that workers would lose their jobs or work hours. They really meant that at least 2.3 million workers will be able to "transition" out of jobs that they would no longer need just to get their health insurance. They called it "job lock" and that is bad.

Now for the "contest" section: Just for fun, quit your, really, Nancy Pelosi said you could. Okay, I know, you can't do that because you've grown accustomed to electricity and indoor plumbing, but let's play a game just for laughs and get in touch with your inner-Eloi. What would you do if you no longer had to worry about the mundane things in life and could do anything?

Oh, and great works that are already taken and are off-limits:

1. Gregorian chant
2. The Flying Buttress
3. The Sistine Chapel
4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
5. Kama Sutra
6. The Gettysburg Address
7. Saving the Delta smelt and/or the spotted owl
8. Twitter
9. Curling

Oh, and Tryanmax already called dibs on The Bible 1 3/4 - The Middle Testament, Mount Rush-even-more, and all the Dante's Inferno sequels from DI2: Hell Rising through DI5: Burnout. I call dibs on The Bible 2.0 - The Newer Testament.

In honor of the Sochi Olympics - On your marks, get set.......GO!!
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why I Despise Critics

I was going to write about Stanley Kubrick, but then I saw a quote which struck a nerve. The quote comes from A.O. Scott of the New York Times. Scott is their film critic. And to me, this quote highlights just how sick the critic profession is. Observe.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Obamacare Updates Are Painless...

Put down the gun, step back from that ledge my friend, climb out of the wood chipper. We’ll get through this Obamacare update together. You will be ok. I promise. So grab a handful of valium or Viagra or furosemide and let’s begin!

Doctor No: The Thompson Twins sang, “Doctor, doctor, can you hear me calling calling,” and apparently the answer in “No,” as Californians are learning. See, it turns out that to keep costs “low” (“you use that word... I do not think it means what you think it means”), the Obamacare insurers in California created networks with very few doctors in them. Essentially, they filled these networks with the cheapest, skankiest doctors they could find and they cut out anyone who actually wanted to be paid.

Now people are furious as they discover that their doctors aren’t in the networks, that they can’t find doctors, and that they can’t find specialists and hospitals who will take their insurance. Naturally, California Democrats are outraged that the laws of economics have ruined their plans, so the legislature is passing laws with the intent of forcing these insurers to add more doctors to their networks by magic. Zero thought has been given to how this will affect the prices, but that’s the fun of watching California do its thing... watching them bounce from mistake to mistake until it all falls apart.

Jobs Are For Losers: Once upon a time, there was a charmless monster called Obamacare which lived to eat people’s healthcare and kill their jobs. And boy did it ever feast. The CBO has determined that Obamacare will cost two million jobs over the next decade because it increases the costs of employment. Add that to Obama’s economic record of zero net jobs created.

Bizarrely, Team Obama is claiming that this will be a good thing because it means that these people who lose the jobs they depend upon to earn a living will now have more time to spend with their families. Huh?! Are they serious? Ok, I’ll call your bluff, Mr. President. If people losing their jobs is a good thing, then fire half the government... set them free to spend their time with their families. Jerkoff.

So Much For Competition: Obamacare does nothing to lower costs. To pretend they did, Obama claimed that Obamacare would lower costs because competition would cause the companies to reduce their costs to win customers. Apparently that was a lie too. Shocking. It turns out that four companies are getting 95% of the signups. That’s called an oligopoly.

The Check’s In The Mail: There is a law under which the federal government pays the insurance premiums for AIDS patients, because they deserve it and you don’t. Anyways, there is a problem. Insurers aren’t allowing third parties to pay premiums under Obamacare because they think the law makes that illegal. So suddenly, people with AIDS who moved over to Obamacare are being dumped by the insurers on the basis that they won’t accept the third-party checks. Nice.

In truth, this is probably really just an attempt to dump AIDS patients, who are very expensive, but we’ll see who’s really to blame here.

You Got Screwed!: Before the election, many companies talked about the costs they would incur under Obamacare and how those costs would be passed down to workers. The MSM ignored them. Well, we’re seeing it now: lost jobs, jobs cut to part time, dumped healthcare are all part of it. Now we’re hearing about things like AOL, which just changed their 401K rules ostensibly because of the costs of Obamacare. What they’ve done is stop contributing to 401Ks every pay period. Instead, they will make a one time payment each December, assuming you are still employed on that date.

Young Hearts: Finally, young people keep staying away in droves. Team Obama is blaming the chaotic rollout, but that’s not the problem. They need around 40% of those signing up to be young suckers, but they are only getting 25%. Even worse, I’m seeing hints that the young they are getting are on Medicaid. Whoops. These are not the droids you’re looking for!

There. We’re done. You lived. Go have some cake. :D
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

National Review Waking Up To Reality

This is good news. A couple people sent me a link to an article written by Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin (P&L) at National Review. What’s interesting about it is that while they still make some of the mistakes commonly made on the right, they seem to be catching up to things I’ve been saying here for quite some time. This is an important step for conservatism

As you will recall, I’ve been talking about income inequality as a huge issue conservatives are missing. I’ve also pointed out that conservatives have a tin ear when it comes to the public, and that the conservative "agenda" (what there is of it) is meaningless to the public, i.e. the public is not the one acting irrationally or stupidly. Pointing this out has led to lots of bad blood and the loss of several readers who are happier drinking the Kool-Aid of talk radio. Good for them. Well, the conservative world is starting to wake up to what I've been saying. Indeed, check out this quote to get a flavor of this National Review article:
“Republicans could do better: If they took better account of what worries Americans today and why, they would see that the Democrats’ obsession with inequality could leave the GOP with a great opportunity to offer the public an appealing, constructive, conservative economic agenda.”
Those are my points: conservatives have lost touch with average Americans, they don’t offer a worthwhile agenda, and they are blind to an issue that is becoming huge. There’s more too. P&L note that the Democrats have managed to sell the public on the idea that they care about the public whereas Republicans don’t, but P&L blame the right for this: “this success has had more to do with Republicans’ lack of understanding of (and at times discomfort with) the public’s economic concerns than with the strengths of the Democrats’ arguments.”


How long have I been saying this? The problem is that the right does not understand or care about the public’s concerns -- instead, they mock the public. And what do P&L recommend? Well, they engage in a lengthy discussion in which they highlight some areas where the right can win the public. Here are some of their quotes:
● “Voters are worried about stagnating wages, inadequate mobility out of poverty and through the middle class, weak growth, and the high costs of raising a family.”

● “People worry that the cost of health insurance is too high, putting coverage out of reach for too many and depressing wages.”

● “Higher education is another source of great anxiety in American life: Will we able to afford it for our kids, and will it leave them with an unbearable debt burden?”

● “The cost of raising a family is another issue where conservatives can offer potentially popular reforms.”

● “To stand a chance of being enacted, the agenda conservatives offer must speak directly to the needs and wishes of middle-class voters.”
Sound familiar? These are same points I've been making since December 2012. Seriously, go back and look. While others have been arguing that we just need to up the hate against gays, Mexicans, women and Obama... and have been trying to dismiss their failure by calling the public "low information voters," I've been making the point that conservatives are the ones who need to start offering something that people outside the fringe will want. Now P&L are making that very same point.

Interestingly, P&L reached these conclusions despite continuing to make some of the common mistakes that continue to cripple conservative thinking. Specifically:
● They use the wrong data to delude themselves into thinking that income equality is about greed rather than pain. What they do is use the nominal data, which results in them admitting that incomes at the top grew a lot more than incomes at the bottom, but then they claim that all incomes rose: “Everyone’s incomes grew, but those of the wealthy grew more, leaving America’s wealth more concentrated at the top.” Hence, they see income inequality as being about greed. But this isn’t true. If you factor in inflation, which you must, then everyone from the middle class on down lost income during that period. So while they claim the “most prominent plank of the left’s inequality argument” is disproven, they are wrong. The reality is that people are concerned because their incomes have been falling, not because they are upset that the rich are doing better than they are.

● They are still comparing income inequality to “growth,” as if growth is a proxy for the economic security of the public. As I’ve pointed out before, growth and economic security have proven themselves to be unrelated. To really understand the problem, conservatives need to start focusing on jobs and income, not growth, because it is jobs and income that are vanishing even as economic growth soars.

● They take the same wrong approach conservatives take regarding other issues, particularly scientific, and they conclude that while there is evidence to show that income inequality is a problem, it’s not conclusively proven. No one cares about “conclusively proven” because there is no such thing in life... asking for conclusive proof is a delaying tactic.

● Fourth, they have wrongly interpreted the polls. They point out that polls show “income inequality” as being a relatively low concern of the public compared to other issues. But as I pointed out the other day, that misunderstands the nature of polling, and it misidentifies the actual issue.
Indeed, building on this last point, even as they dismiss the idea that “income inequality” is something that does or should concern the public, they then conclude that the base elements of income inequality (vanishing jobs, shrinking incomes, loss of upward mobility) are concerns of the public. That's arguing form over substance on their part.

It would be nice if P&L could finally look beyond the years of propaganda they have ingested, but frankly, I’ll take what they have given here and be happy with it: this is a good start. Conservatives need to realize that until they grasp the concerns of the middle class and start offering solutions for those, the middle class will continue to look elsewhere for solutions. Articles like the one by P&L are a huge step in the right direction because they shatter the idea that the public is at fault for conservative failures and that a platform aimed at addressing the pet peeves of the fringe can succeed. Said differently, this is the kind of article people like P&L should have been writing since December 2012 to send conservatives in the right direction. They didn’t, but at least they are starting to now... and that's a good thing.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Sending Messages News Round-Up

I was going to write something brilliant tonight, but let’s do a bit of a news roundup instead. There have been quite a few interesting little tidbits of late. Today’s theme is sending a message.

The Iranians Are Coming!: The Iranian Navy is actually sending a ship to our shores. Yes, they are. According to their Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, they are doing this to “send a message.” Seriously. What possible message could the Iranians be sending – “We are pathetic!”? These guys are dumbships. They don’t seem to realize that the message their little show of farce shows is just how overmatched they are. This is the sort of thing that not only exposes them as hopelessly incapable of competing with us, but also as too stupid to understand why that is. Frankly, I’m hoping they sink on the way... or get captured by pirates. That would be fitting.

Run Joe, Run!: Slow Joe Biden got a message the other day when the latest polls showed him 61% behind Hillary. This sends an interesting double message. The message tells us that the Democrats are unified behind Hillary (though Cuomo wasn’t in the poll). At the same time, her topping out at 73% suggests that the Democratic fringe will be restless.

As an aside, the Republicans were a little closer. Paul Ryan led Jeb Bush 20% to 18% with Christie third at 13%. There is a message here too: the non-reel ‘merikan candidates total 88%. This is further proof of what I’ll talk about later this week, which is that the fringe is failing.

Russia is Great!: Russia is trying to send a message with the Olympics. They have done their best to copy what China did with the Olympics to create a spectacle which is supposed to tell the world that Russia is a modern, powerful country... rather than a backwards land of strongmen and corruption.


Too bad they (1) didn’t finish the hotels, (2) don't have water you can use, (3) started threatening journalists and falsely accusing them of lies when those reporters exposed problems, and (4) have been playing political games with opponents. All this does is reinforce that Russia is a sh*thole kelptocracy.

Silence Sends A Message Too: It’s been almost two weeks since Obama’s pathetic state of the union in which he promised to make himself a dictator by Executive Order. His silence has been deafening. Once again, Obama has promised to charge out there and somethingsomething only to pretty much blow it off. We have a lazy, lazy president, folks.

Interestingly, this weekend (notice the weekend announcement to downplay it), Eric Holder announced that they will try to maximize the federal benefits given to gay couples. Wow. Let’s put this into perspective. The law already requires that from Holder. So what he just promised is to do what he was already required to do. I wonder if Obama’s followers are going to figure this one out?

Foul Language: Obama’s new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, was forced to apologize to the EU after being caught on tape saying “F*ck the EU” over their attempts to intervene in the Ukrainian crisis. Nice. This is after a string of embarrassment with Obama appointed-ambassadors. Obama is causing himself problems everywhere. What's the message? "I'm a danger to myself and others."
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Friday, February 7, 2014

(Lack of) Speed Kills

Slow people are more likely to die. And no, this isn’t just the joke about the two guys, the lion and the tennis shoes: “I don’t have to outrun the lion, I just have to outrun you.” What I’m talking about is reaction time. Believe it or not, having a slow reaction time can kill you.

Last week, a group of researchers published the results of a rather interesting study. Between 1988 and1994, they tested the reaction times of 5,134 Americans using a computer and a button pushing exercise. Each person did the test 50 times and their average score was used to group them by reaction time and by their “variability,” which was how much their times varied over the 50 tests.

After measuring the reaction times range, they separated people into groups by standard deviation from the mean. Then they watched the group over the next 15 years.

Of the 5,134, a total of 378 died during those 15 years. Of those, 104 died of cardiovascular death and 84 died of cancer. Study of the damned... study of the damned!

Anyway, when they compared the deaths to the reaction speed times, they found this:
● Those with the slowest reaction times where the most likely to have died. Indeed, each standard deviation the person was away from the mean increased their likelihood of dying by 25%. Wow!

● Those who were at least four standard deviations from the slower were twice as likely to die within the 15 year follow-up period.

● In terms of risk factors that predict death, reaction time was as reliable at predicting death as smoking was.

● High variability was also linked to higher risk of death.

● Reaction speed was more likely to predict cardiovascular death than cancer death.
What the research think, and I agree, is that a slow reaction time is an indication of the creeping progress of narrowing arteries, inefficient blood flow, and weakening hearts.

This is really interesting to me. It’s interesting for a couple reasons. First, something like this might become the best way to measure health in the future. Think about that. Maybe the age of the tricorder is closer than we think if we can now judge human health by looking at things like reaction time or maybe blood speed?

Secondly, I think it’s interesting that it shows just how much of a system humans are. When things start to go wrong, everything starts to go wrong. It may be too imperceptible for us to notice ourselves, but signs like this abound as the system as a hole starts to fray.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Open Thread to Beat the Winter Blues...

Now is the winter of our discontent.

- Richard III (Act I, Scene I) by W. Shakespeare

I apologize, but this week I am tapped out. With the constant roiling swirl of discontent, it is hard to focus. So for today, let's riff on what is making this a "winter of discontent" or, more importantly, is there anything that is going right? Okay, the 40 gagillion-eth snow of the January isn't helping, but what would make you happy?

As always, please feel free to change the subject at any time. Does anyone know any good jokes?
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What Woody Allen Tells Us

Let’s talk about Woody Allen. For those who don’t know, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter has just written a letter accusing him of molesting her when she was 7. These aren’t new allegations, but they are unresolved. My question is, how should we respond?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Republican Health Plan... Arg

So last week sometime, the Republicans put out their proposed healthcare plan... the thing they want to replace Obamacare with. The plan was drafted by Orrin Hatch, Richard Burr and Tom Coburn and it kind of stinks. Well, drop the “kind of.” Here are the details.

The plan stinks, but it’s not all bad. Here are the good parts:
● First, it starts be repealing Obamacare in its entirety. That’s a good start. There is too much insider and insidious crap buried within Obamacare to try to poke through it line by line. Kill this rotten beast and start fresh. Good move.

● Secondly, they keep the most popular parts of Obamacare – the parts the public will not give up easily: ending lifetime limits and letting adult children stay on their parents’ plans until 26.
Then things go downhill fast.
● First, it wipes out the state exchanges and the mandate, which is good right? Well, yeah, only it doesn’t really wipe those out. Yes, it technically wipes both out. BUT the law provides that insurers can’t charge for pre-existing conditions so long as you’ve been “continuously insured for 18 months.” This is a hidden mandate and I have no idea how you track this without an exchange to designate what is acceptable coverage. But that’s not even the real problem. The real problem is that this moves the uninsurables from the Exchanges, where they can be tracked and everyone see their cost, into the private insurance market where they will be hidden behind the cost of insurance generally.

In other words, the government is dumping the uninsurables into the lap of the insurers, just as Obama is doing, only the Republicans are doing it secretly.

● Secondly, whereas Obamacare limited insurers to charging old people three times as much as the young, the Republican bill doesn’t eliminate this limit, it just changes it to five times. Basically, young people continue subsidizing old people, only not as much.

● With the individual mandate vanishing, insurers will need some other subsidy to support the requirement that they take on the uninsurables. The Republicans raise this money by taxing portions of employer plans.

● Because the feds can never hand out too much money, they continue the idea of tax credits for anyone earning less than 300% of the federal poverty level, i.e. the Obamacare subsidies.
So here’s what we have. The Republicans are keeping the Obama bribes for the old and the poor and Big Insurance. They are hiding the cost of what they are doing by shifting it from the Exchanges deep into the balance sheets of private insurers, to whom they will provide a subsidy. To raise the money for all of this, the Republicans tax the insurance policies that middle class workers get from their employers. They do exactly nothing to make the system better, safer or cheaper.

Maybe they should kick a few puppies while they’re at it. Seriously, a retarded monkey working at a broken typewriter would probably come up with better policies than the GOP. How can an entire party be so bereft of intelligence?
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Obama's Economic Legacy

Obama’s popularity is below Bush’s popularity at this point in his presidency. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Why didn’t you know it? For the same reason you aren’t hearing casualty counts in Afghanistan or how gas prices are so high or that people can’t find work... because the MSM doesn’t talk about it. But it’s true. Anyway, I read an interesting article about Obama’s economic failure.

The article started with the usual liberal routine of blaming Bush for Obama’s failure, crediting Obama with “steering us through” the Great Recession, and then assuring us that this time the economy really is finally working and growing and everything is going fine. Pro forma bullshill from the left. What interested me was that it then lamented the fact that despite all of that, Obama’s economic legacy is going to be crappy. Aww.

According to the Commerce Department, the economy grew at 3.2% in the final quarter of 2013. They are hoping for 4.1% growth through the summer. Yet, even if these numbers hold up, Obama’s numbers won’t be anywhere near as good as Clinton’s numbers or Bush W’s numbers... and forget Reagan’s numbers! Consider these:
● Up to now over the first five years of his presidency, the Obamaconomy has grown by an anemic 1.8%. Over Clinton’s first five years, the economy grew 3.6%. Bush’s first five years saw 2.5%.

● Disposable income, i.e. what you can spend after taking care of your needs, rose a pathetic 0.6% annually under Obama. Clinton and Bush both saw 2% growth each year.

● Unemployment is currently at a five year best at 6.7% (more on this in a moment). Obama's worst was 10.09% and he spent most of his term in the 9% range. By comparison, unemployment under Bush and Clinton was 4.7% at this point, and the worst Bush ever got was 6.5% in one month. In other words, Obama has yet to achieve a best that is better than Bush’s worst and he spent most of his time with an unemployment rate that is about 1.5 times the worst Bush ever had.
But hey, Wall Street doubled under Obama.

Indeed, let me point out this too. Obama is talking about income inequality, which is a much stronger issue than conservatives want to believe (we need to capture and define this issue), but income inequality has spiked under his reign to the worst since the 1920s. Black unemployment has been at or near all-time highs. Youth unemployment has been at or near all time highs. Etc.

And then there’s this...

While Obama is touting his amazing 6.7% unemployment rate... a rate that is still worse than the worst the evil Bush ever achieved, the primary reason this number has been falling is that people are dropping out of the workforce rather than getting jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you count the people who gave up looking and thus get excluded from the official unemployment figures, the true unemployment number would be more than 11%.


There’s Obama’s legacy: twice as crappy as Bush.

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