Monday, June 30, 2014

Mississippi Burnout

by tryanmax

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s runoff election victory over his primary challenger on Tuesday sure has brought the ugly from the Tea Party. Not only has Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party’s candidate, been taking the loss like a spoiled child, but the entire far-right radio/blogosphere is having fits. Here are the highlights I have come across.

First, the loser himself. “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.” These are words from McDaniel’s non-concession speech in which he repeatedly accused the Republican Party of losing its conscious. This from a man who’s supporters broke into a courthouse.

Next up, with three hours a day to bloviate, you know you’re going to find some gems from Rush Limbaugh. Liberal detractors have seized on his ill-advised (unadvised?) choice to refer to the black turnout in favor of Cochran as “Uncle Tom voters.” In context, Limbaugh was playing off a routine slur hurled at conservative blacks, but it still doesn’t play well.

Beyond riffing on liberal prejudices, Limbaugh has characterized the support Cochran received from black, most likely Democrat voters in Mississippi as somehow illegitimate. I don’t like open primaries myself, but Limbaugh’s comments had easy racial overtones that were a little uncertain even to me, a longtime listener.

Other radio personalities, such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, were quick to dismiss their own influence on elections. Suddenly, they weren’t interested in the elections they were so deeply invested in the day before. Now they just care about “the culture.”

Sarah Palin chimed in, calling Cochran’s aggressive door-to-door get-out-the-vote campaign “shenanigans.” (Incidentally, this flies in the face of claims that Cochran won via a media carpet-bomb campaign.) Again, the overtone is that Cochran had no business courting black voters. Palin also took issue with Cochran campaigning on things he’s done for his state’s benefit, like securing relief following Hurricane Katrina and getting funds for special education. In Palin’s book, that’s running on the Big Government ticket.

Ted Cruz echoed a different theme also heard on talk-radio—that the McDaniel loss is actually a victory. By this reasoning, if you take out the Democrats, then McDaniel won amongst Republicans. This form of analysis is again rife with racial implications. Besides, both candidates knew the rules going in. Only one actively courted the black vote in the runoff.

In addition to these incautious statements, most of the tea-party-sphere has launched into the usual theories about the establishment and the mainstream media that get more conspiratorial sounding each time they are repeated. This can only help to make the GOP look sane in comparison. With the Tea Party to triangulate against as well as the current administration’s incompetence, this looks like good news for the GOP this fall.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

IRS Open Thread

Here is an open question: Does anyone out there really believe that Lois Lerner's computer hard drive crashed and just happened to destroyed the emails for the exact time period that the House committee has been requesting for over a year? These emails that would be evidence of that the IRS was targeting conservative groups. A fact that Lerner had already "confessed" really did take place. [transcript of Lerner's response to a purported staged question at a May 10 2013 Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association] That conservative groups were specifically targeted for 'extra scrutiny' by her office?

My head cannot wrap itself around how the IRS, the Senate Democrats, and the HuffingtonPost-ocrats can actually keep repeating that there is no issue that needs a investigation here. Am I just missing something? Now, I am not saying that the WH is implicated, but certainly there is evidence that Congressional Democrats requested this "extra scrutiny" and more mounting evidence that it was politically motivated. How can it not have been?

Anyway, what do you think?

In case you are interested, here is the report issued on May 13, 2013 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review" . If you can schlogg through this report, you will understand that what Lois Lerner "confessed" to on May 10, 2013 is pretty much what in the Treasury Inspector General's report dated May 13, 2013. I know you are smart people, but I will point out anyway that the date of her "confession" is three days before the date on the Inspector General's report. Now, I am not stupid or naive enough to think that Lerner didn't have draft of this report before it was publically released...
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Girl's A Genius!

I've mentioned before that I'm going to get married. I believe I've also mentioned that my fiancee has two little girls, ages 9 and 11. These are amazing little girls in every way. I am serious when I say that too... it's not puffery. They are both far beyond anything I ever expected from kids. Anyways, I had a fascinating conversation with the 11 year old yesterday (she wants to be a scientist). With no prompting from me at all, she told me how she thinks the whole global warming argument is bullship and how she can't believe that scientists can't figure this out when she, an eleven year old, can. It seems that she realizes that (1) the underlying concept of there being a state of zero change in nature is nonsense, plus (2) the effects of man's activities are so small that we can't possibly be the cause of global warming. She also realizes that a 2 degree increase isn't going to hurt anything. Fascinating! She's right, and the fact she can see through the 100% propaganda being pushed on her by most of her teachers is astounding. This all does my heart good.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

An Interesting Poll On Obama

There was a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last week which really drives home how badly things have gone for Obama. It's causing unhappy liberal pundits to speak in funeral voice and to throw around words like "failed term" and "malaise." Observe some of its more damning findings:

● Obama's disapproval ratings are at all time highs, with his approval down at 41%. 45% disapprove, leaving him underwater.
● 54% of Americans think Obama lacks the leadership ability to get the job done: "cannot lead and get the job done."
● 57% of Americans disapprove of Obama's foreign policy.
● 41% say their view of the administration has gotten worse over the past 12 months. 15% say their view of Team Obama has improved.
● 31% think Obama has done a good job handling immigration.
● 10% of people plan to vote in November "to send a signal of opposition to Obama."

Obama is the past, not the future, so in many ways, this doesn't help us. But on the other hand, this is how his legacy is being defined, and through that, the value of liberalism. Said differently, Obama is discrediting liberalism in a way which hasn't happened since the 1970s. Now we just need to step in and help define Obama as nothing more than a typical liberal, and offer our own solutions to make life better for the public.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Open Thread re: What Would You Do If Zombies Attacked? - UPDATED

I got nothing tonight. It may be that nothing is happening in the world {{cough, cough..Iraq, Iran, Syria, ISIS...cough, cough}}. Oh, I could expound on how the NY UFT just got a sweetheart deal from our Mayor that pays teachers retroactively from 2009. Or that Charlie Rangel is in a fight for his political life in a hotly contested primary next week. But what I've been thinking about, okay, obsessing about lately is something much more pressing and relevant. What if zombies attacked right now? Would I be prepared?

Well, fortunately, as you can see from the photo above, the New York City Fire Department is fully prepared. [Yes, that is an actual photo of an actual decal on an actual NYC fire truck.] So I am safe as long as I have a wet towel and my running shoes on. I learned this valuable life-saving maneuver from "Zombie" a documentary I saw at a drive-in*...phew! They may want to eat my brains, but if I just pop them with a wet towel, they fall down and I can run away! Preferably I would run to someplace where no one goes like Times Square! It has to be true because it was at a drive-in* documentary, right?

Anyway, what would you do if zombies attack? Are you prepared? Do you have enough towels?

As you may have guessed, this is an open, do your best open-threadage with your best open-threaditude.

P.S. Speaking of Iraq, Iran, Syrai, ISIS, and lots and lots of dead people, has anyone noticed how the U.N. has gone silent?

UPDATE: Show of hands - How many people believe that all of Lois Lerner's IRS emails were accidentally and coincidentally destroyed?

*For those of you too young to know what a "drive-in" was...well, too bad. Hah! You were just born too late!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fixing Internet Fakes

Earlier this week, Politico pointed out that a vast number of Twitter accounts are using fake followers to make themselves seem more important. 46.8% of Obama’s are fake, 35.1% of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s are fake, 23.6% of John McCain’s are fake, 21.9% of Hillary’s are fake. Interesting. Did you know that you can’t trust online reviews either?

Let’s start with this: why would someone fake Twitter followers? Well, the answer is simple. Success on Twitter is measured by the number of followers each account has. Hence, if you want to be seen as an influential person, then you need a lot of followers. The same is true of book reviews. The more reviews you have at a place like Amazon, the more likely it will be that you will be seen as an important author.

Why does this work? Well, people are herd animals and they do what everyone else does. So when they see two books and one has 1,000 reviews and the other has 10, they will instinctively drift to the first.

But do you know what? Just as you can’t trust the fake Twitter followers, you can’t trust any of the reviews you see at Amazon or Yelp either (or anywhere else online). Why? Because there are too many people who have incentives to fake their reviews. Consider these examples:
Authors: Authors know that reviews sell books, so they have an incentive to put up fake “highly positive” reviews. It won’t surprise you to learn that many authors do this, and I don’t just mean reviews by families and friends. I am aware of authors who have posted dozens of fake reviews to their accounts. One woman actually posted two glowing reviews within hours of any negative review that appeared. And each of those new reviews would go out of their way to contradict the negative reviews. I suspect that publishers and agents play this game too.

Competitors: People are constantly getting caught smearing their competitors online. What’s bizarre about this, at least in books, is that there are way more than enough sales for everyone and a rising tide means more sales for everyone. Nevertheless, there are authors who think it helps them to tear down the competition and they go around and secretly leave devastating reviews to their competitor’s books. I’ve had this happen several times to my books and even been able to track it back to specific authors.

Trolls: Believe it or not, there are people who get off attacking products online. You can spot these people because their reviews are typically way off base and so negative that they border on personal attacks. And if you check out the other reviews written by these people, you will typically see that they hand out nothing but 1s and 2s, and they do it to dozens of products.

Politics: Anything that ends up on the political radar will be massacred by the other side typically without a single “critic” actually purchasing the product.

Top Reviewers: Some places have created a series of “awards” and “distinctions” for people who get the most positive feedback on their reviews. This status brings with it certain benefits. One of those benefits is that these people get a lot of free products in the hopes that they will leave a glowing review. Here’s the thing: to keep getting positive feedback on their reviews, these people have learned to only say good things.

Paid Reviews: Finally, there are companies out there who will post reviews in exchange for money.
The end result of all of this is that I would bet that maybe 25% of all the reviews you see online are false reviews posted by people with the intent of manipulating you rather than informing you. So which reviews can you trust? The answer is: none.

Even worse, there are people who set up whole websites to sell their products, and these are often flat out fraudulent. To give an example, try doing a general search for the dangers of diet supplements. The first hundred or so responses you get will be created by the manufacturer, who has set up dummy websites to sell these products. At first glance, these websites look like individuals who bought the product, used it, liked it, and wrote about it. But if you look closely, you’ll see the telltale signs of something created by an unethical marketing department.

Interestingly, they also clog up the “negative” sites. In fact, if you click on many of the sites that at first appear to be exposés on the product, you will be shocked to discover that each of these supposed skeptics tells you how skeptical they were because all those other products out there are so harmful so this must be a fraud, right? Well, gosh darn it, if this product isn’t different. Not only does this product work, but angels sang when I used it.

When you do find a legitimate debunking, typically done by a doctor or consumer rating organization, you will see their comment section filled with utter hate. That’s the manufacturer’s unethical marketing team again.

The sad truth is that you can’t believe anything you see online that is supposed to tell you what the customers really think. Most of it is fake, and you have no way to tell the difference.

Interestingly, there have been several instances lately where companies have started suing people who leave negative reviews. The most recent examples have been restaurants and hotels, each of which won their suits. So do I support this? Absolutely. If you’re going to attack a product online, then you better be truthful about your attack. Hopefully, this will start to make people think twice.

At the same time, I would actually expand the power of these lawsuits. If it is a competitor, then there should be a fine attached... a hefty one as this is a deceptive trade practice. At the same time, if a company gets caught posting their own fake favorable reviews, those should be fined as well for the same reason. As much as I dislike bringing the legal system into life, I am starting to think that the legal system is needed to rein in the worst misbehavior on the web.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The S.S. Hillary Takes On More Water

I’ve always had my doubts about Hillary Clinton. Time after time, whenever she grabbed some power for herself, she ended up falling flat on her face. From Hillarycare handing the Republicans the House, to the public exposure of her farce of a marriage, to her campaign’s utter collapse in 2008, to her incredibly shrinking stature as Secretary of State, she’s failed at everything she’s ever done. Now she has a book and is planning to run in 2016, but things are going poorly already. Consider this...

Not So Inevitable: Hillary has long been considered the inevitable nominee for the Democrats, but I pointed out back in May, the left has been pushing back against Hillary being “inevitable.” The result is that a nasty groundswell of opposition to her is arising on the left... an opposition she is not equipped to handle.

Foot In Mouth Disease: Hillary has major foot in mouth disease. Last Friday, she was giving an interview in which she said that she’s “totally done” curbing her speech for political reasons and finds her new perspective “liberating.” Actually, she was more wishy-washy about it. She said, “Maybe I’m trying to model that, I don’t know, but that’s how it feels to me, and it feels a little bit liberating, to be honest.”

This is not a smart quote. First, it makes it sound like she hasn’t been telling the truth in the past for political reasons. In other words, if she’s only feeling free to speak her mind honestly now, and she has only stopped curbing her speech now, then clearly she’s been withholding anything that doesn’t play well politically. Should we trust her?

Further, she had really bad timing in saying this as the news of the last week is her getting snippy with reporters who tried to question her about her “evolving” views on gay marriage, i.e. she's still being squirrely for political reasons. Indeed, when she was being interviewed by NPR Radio, the host (Terry Gross) asked her why she changed her position on supporting gay marriage. Hillary tried to evade the question at first, but he asked again. For seven minutes, Hillary couldn't provide a clear answer. Finally, she threw a fit and accused Gross of trying to make her look bad. This exposed Hillary as (1) not someone who is capable of dealing with an unfriendly audience, (2) someone who is uncomfortable explaining her prior "wrong" views, and (3) a liar.

But this is hardly the first instance of foot in mouth disease of late. Just as bad, in her book, Hillary claims that she and Bill left the White House “dead broke” and that they “struggled” to gather enough money to afford a mortgage and to pay for Chelsea’s college. She said this to justify the obscene fees Bill was getting for speaking engagements and otherwise selling his influence. But this is obviously false and the MSM quickly called Hillary on it, attacking her for insulting people who really are broke or live paycheck to paycheck. Hillary immediately backtracked but sputtered in finding a decent escape. Not only did she look out of touch with the common man, but she looked like someone who wanted to present herself as a victim when it was obvious she was not.

All of this has coincided with her poll numbers crashing.

Tainted Legacy: Now we have the Iraq issue. Iraq has always been a major problem for Hillary. To prove she had balls, she was all gung-ho for the war. When the left started whining about it, however, she claimed to have been an opponent, something that didn’t work for her. After Obama took over, Hillary took over as Secretary of State and became somewhat responsible for anything foreign policy related. That led to Benghazi, which continues to hang around her neck as far as wonks are concerned (the public doesn’t care). Now the entire Obama team looks bad for recommending a pull out of Iraq and chest thumping that something like what is going on could never happen. This includes Hillary.

Rather than avoid this debate, as she should have, Hillary chose Sunday to try to lay the blame for all of this on President Maliki, who may yet be needed as an ally if Obama chooses to do anything. In essence, she got out ahead of Obama’s foreign policy in an effort to shift the blame away from her decisions. I suspect this will blowback on her when Obama starts looking for others to blame. He is, after all, no friend of Hillary’s. Moreover, I’m already seeing articles suggesting that Joe Biden was the only one in the administration who grasped the danger. Again, that’s not good for Hillary.

Rape Rape Ha ha ha!: Now there's a video someone has found of an interview Hillary gave in the 1970s in which she discusses defending a man accused of raping a 12 year old girl. That's bad enough, but it gets worse. During the interview, Hillary suggests that she knew the man was guilty, but she found a technical mistake in the prosecution's case and got the guy a great deal (one year... reduced to two months). Even worse, she laughs when she suggests that she knew he was guilty, but that she still had him pass a polygraph. This doesn't play well for someone claiming to be a champion of women and children and her laughing about this could be a campaign killing commercial.

WTH? Finally, we have this. This is what Chelsea wore to a public event the other day:
Yikes. Frankly, this MUST reflect poorly on her mother. Drag a $10 bill through a trailer park indeed.

Obviously, none of this is fatal and it will most likely only be seen by ideologues. The problem here really is what this suggests. It suggests a Hillary with a very poor track record she needs to run away from, but that she simultaneously lacks the skill to do any running. Instead, she gets pissy and complains about being ambushed by friendly journalists. It also suggests that the left is likely to put up a strong fight to stop her. None of that is good for her.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Education Earthquake Continues In California

Our education system has been in the middle of a decade-long reform period that is working wonders. The spread of charter schools, the imposition of standards (over Glenn Beck’s dead body), and the requirement for testing so that failing schools can be identified and overhauled are all very quickly improving education in America in a dramatic way. Now there’s a new piece of the puzzle from California.

One of the biggest problems facing the reformers (aside from the sudden outbreak of fringe idiocy) has been the opposition of unions. They have fought every single reform to the death, without a moments regard for whether or not that reform would make things better. But little by little, the unions are starting to fail. In fact, in the past decade, the left has actually come to realize that the teachers unions stand in the way of repairing and improving the system. As a result, the left is starting to abandon their defense of the unions. They’ve given up on the idea that more money will solve the problem. They are admitting that testing and standards and better teachers are required. And they are looking to weaken the unions.

That brings us to California.

One of the biggest problems education reformers face is the inability to get rid of the lousy teachers. Bill Gates once noted that “if every child had math teachers as good as those in the top quartile, the achievement gap between America and Asia would vanish in two years.” Unfortunately, when you can’t dump bad teachers, you can’t do that. In only 23 states can a teacher be fired for unsatisfactory evaluations... the rest are protected by tenure.

In California, a teacher has a one in 125,000 chance of being fired for incompetence. Getting rid of teachers is almost impossible and can cost millions to make happen – California teachers get tenure after two years. And when layoffs happen, the new teachers are require to be fired first, leaving the tenured teachers no matter how they perform.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when an advocacy group called Students Matter sued California on behalf of nine minority students and argued that California’s tenure rules “allowed grossly ineffective teachers to remain in their jobs, and that such teachers were disproportionately to be found in poor and non-white areas.” Interesting. This is a brilliant attack, using liberalism against liberalism.

Well, Judge Rolf Treu bought this and struck down five tenure laws, saying they violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to equal education. In fact, he called the evidence of this overwhelming and the result “shocking.” The case is on appeal, but stands a decent chance of being upheld. From there, it is likely to spread to other states.

Naturally, the unions freaked out. They’re screaming that teachers can now be fired on unreasonable grounds and that the expensive teachers will be fired first. And with a massive amount of gall and irony, they whined that using a court to strike down these laws wrongly circumvented the legislative process... something that never once bothered them when they sued the state time and again to impose things the legislature didn’t want.

This is another piece of the puzzle and may result in a major improvement in public education. It will be interesting to see if this ruling gets upheld and if it spreads to other states.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Get Thee Behind Me,

Let's see, I know that you have all been waiting with baited breath to know what's been happening in NYC since we elected our new Mayor. Let's see...oh, yeah, this is fun. The Walmart Family Foundation announced a few weeks ago that they were making a $3 million donation to be distributed amongst several charities in New York City. You know, food banks, job training programs for low income women and the like.

Now you'd think that this would be met with applause and back slapping or at least a thank-you card. But no, this is New York City, where we do things "our way". So, when met with this generous charitable donation, what do we do? We, as in our city council, had a total liberal freak-out. Now you'd think that Walmart was maybe donating tons of recalled, tainted meat or expired milk or maybe even a bunch of 32 oz. sugary sodas or something. Not really, it was just cash money. Well, anyway, last week 26 of our 51 newly elected city council members decided in their infinite wisdom to send a cease-and-desist letter to Walmart. Yes, they demanded that Walmart stop making multi-million dollar donations to our local charities. Their letter went something like this:

“We know how desperate you are to find a foothold in New York City to buy influence and support here. Stop spending your dangerous dollars in our city. That’s right: this is a cease-and-desist letter.”

Yes, you read that right. And not only did they send this letter to Walmart, but the city council demanded that the charities that received these "toxic" donations! You can imagine how that went over with the charities. With a giant "Have you lost your liberal freakin' minds??" You'd think that they would have learned since it was exactly the same reaction the liberal freak-out brigade got when they liberally freaked out over the New York/Presbyterian Hospital announcement that the evil David Koch was donating $100 million for a new ambulatory care wing. Apparently, to these idiots multi-million dollar donations will only be tolerated if they come from the right people.

Of course, there is a back story to the whole Walmart thing. For over 10 years, Walmart has been trying to move into our area. But they have been held back by any and all the excuses the city fathers could muster. The most ridiculous being how Walmart will put the "little mom and pop stores" out of business. That line of attack was seen through pretty quickly since we already have Target, Costco, K-Mart, Gaps and Starbucks on every corner, and just about every other chain store already. Of course, the real reason is that Walmart refuses to unionize. And no one is more beholden to the unions than the our city council especially in the new era of Marxist Mayor de Blasio.

Oh, btw, apparently not all of New York is so intolerant since Walmart has donated about $22 million to other charities around the state. And not to put too fine a point on it, but they were the first in after Hurricane Sandy with truck loads of water and blankets. Man, I miss Bloomberg...

Anyway, feel free to comment or change the subject.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Addition By Subtraction: Eric Cantor

So in a surprise tonight, Eric Cantor lost his primary race to some Tea Party/Religious Right guy. I have to say that I'm not really upset about this. Here's why.

First, for those who have followed the site long enough, you will know that I have no love for Eric Cantor. Cantor was the number two guy in the House and was widely seen as the heir to John Boehner, but I had a lot of problems with him. For one thing, Cantor is one of these guys who has never had a career outside of politics and that has resulted in him having no sense of what the American public cares about. This tin ear made an appearance repeatedly in his speeches and in his judgment. For example, he never produced an agenda, despite declaring himself one of the "young gun conservatives" in the House. The agenda he did support was wonky and pointless at best. It was also delivered to him by K Street. He was quick to surrender too on every issue and often threw his fellow Republicans under the bus at the first sign of trouble, no matter how minor. Had he become leader, it would have been like replacing an accountant with an auditor when the party really needs a salesman or marketer. So this should help improve the leadership.

Secondly, in a related point, Cantor has zero political instincts. He's not someone who should ever be put in a position of speaking for the party or formulating strategy. I can't think of a single time that he's had an effective counter-point in any argument or debate.

Third, Cantor has a propensity to disloyalty. He tried several times to topple Boehner between 2008 and 2011. This resulted in him often refusing to back Boehner at critical times and offering hints of support for anyone who attacked Boehner. In the last couple years, he's been more loyal because he thinks Boehner will retire soon, but you can't really ignore history and you can't trust someone who betrays their own leadership partner.

Fourth, this is a little big picture but with his loss, Virginia will lose a good deal of influence. That's actually a good thing at the moment because Virginia's GOP is batsh*t crazy, and the only way to clean them up and make them competitive again in a state that should be red will be to strip them of the benefits guys like Cantor brought to the state.

On the negative side, this has energized the Tea Party nuts for the night and they are leaving all kinds of racist, anti-Semitic and just plain retarded comments all over the web. But how is that different than any other night? Talk radio too will spend tomorrow jerk themselves off into a frenzy at their supposed power, but again, how is that different than any other day? And it's not like this really changes anything. Indeed, a handful of wins out of nearly 500 races isn't exactly something the GOP will fear.

So I guess ultimately, my take on this is that the Tea Party has done us a favor. Good for us.
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Sorry Drudge, The Unidos Estados Has Been Cancelled

OMG! The US is being overrun by brown people! Drudge screamed last week: “Hispanics to be majority within 25 years” and “Illegals pour into US”! Is he right? Hardly. Let me point out a few things, like some recent “inexpiable” changes in demographics.

Let me start by reminding you that Drudge, like his talk radio fellow travelers, is a fear monger who maintains his white, angry, scared audience by telling them that the gays, the browns, the blacks, the atheists, the Muslims, and the feminists are quickly securing the country and will soon be coming for them. But it's all garbage. So what about his headline: “Hispanics to be majority within 25 years”? is Drudge right? Well, no. If you followed the link on this headline, you would not have found an article discussing demographic trends. You would not have found an article from the Census or some new study. What you would have found is an article about a GOP candidate who claims that Hispanics will be the majority ethnicity in Texas in 25 years. In making that claim, he cites to a Gallop poll, which doesn’t say anything of the sort. It says instead that Hispanics favor Democrats. That's it.

So you tell me: was Drudge's use of the headline fair? Well get to the other one in a moment.

The idea of an Hispanic takeover of the US has been popular among racially-conscious talk radio and their opposite numbers in the Democratic Party for some time. The problem is that reality doesn’t cooperate with their thinking. Here’s the problem. They have taken a couple data points at their most extreme and then extrapolated that as a permanent thing. It’s like realizing that I gave you a dollar at noon, two dollars an hour later and four dollars an hour after that and then extrapolating that to tell the world that I will be giving you $256 in ten hours and millions by morning. Good luck with that.

What has happened is this. Hispanics have been the fastest growing group in the US because of two factors: immigration combined with a higher birth rate than everyone else. Taking this higher growth percentage than everyone else and projecting it into the future unchanged eventually leads to Hispanics becoming the majority.

But that’s not how humanity works. It also ignores the inputs, as I’ve written about before. Indeed, I’ve mentioned twice that the first big problem with this is that the majority of the growth rate for Hispanics has been immigration from Mexico, and that is coming to an end. Mexico’s economy is recovering and their birthrate has plunged well below ours. The end result is that there just aren’t enough Mexicans to go around anymore and they are choosing to stay home rather than come here. Because of this, Mexican immigration peaked in the 1990s and has been falling since. The last several years have actually shown a net ZERO in terms of Hispanic immigration. In other words, for every Mexican who came here, one left... yet Drudge says “Illegals pour into US!”

The result of this is that the same doomsday demographers who were sure we would become the Unidos Estados are now putting off that day. But never fear, they say, it’s still coming because those dirty browns breed like cockroaches!!

Only, they aren’t doing that in Mexico anymore. In fact, the birthrate in Mexico crashed from 6.7 in 1970 to 2.2 in 2012 and is approaching the same level as white European or even northern-Asian levels. Similar declines are taking place in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador – the biggest contributors to Hispanic immigration to the US.

What’s more, the Hispanic birthrate in the US has been plunging. In the 1990s, when Mexican immigrants first began to arrive in record numbers, the Hispanic birthrate in the US was about 3.0. At the same time, the black birth rate was 2.1 and the white birthrate ranged from 1.7 to 1.9 depending on the year. But these numbers don’t remain constant. By 2008, the Hispanic birthrate had fallen to 2.7. Then in 2008, something dramatic began. The Hispanic birthrate began to crash. By 2012, it fell to 2.19... just above the replacement rate of 2.1. Birth rates for Hispanics stayed the same in 2013, while whites and blacks both showed a slight increase, while Asian births fell by 2%.

In other words, these el cucarachas that were going to breed us out of existence suddenly were only turning out just enough kids to keep their population level. Moreover, Hispanic immigration had gone to net zero. That means no growth.

Hispanics are currently about 15% of the population. Based on everything we know, they are likely to top out at 17% of the population. And as we’ve pointed out before, they tend to meld into the white population fairly easily.

So much for Democratic dreams and talk radio fears.
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Obama's "Moment" Has Arrived

There was an interesting article in the Financial Times the other day. To sum up the article, here is the money quote: “When leadership fails, people stop following. It appears in the sixth year of the Barack Obama presidency, that moment has arrived.” Yep.

According to the author, the American public has now had a long, hard look at the “talent” inside the White House and they have begun to “despair for real leadership and competence.” This is based on a recent CNN poll which found that Obama doesn’t gain a majority of support any of twelve issues surveyed. In fact, the closest he comes to having public support is on environmentalism, which is normally an overwhelming Democratic issue. Here that's his best issue because his disapproval only leads by 4% -- 49% to 45%. Interestingly, when it comes to healthcare, Obama’s key issue, his disapproval swamps his approval 63% to 36%. Similarly, on economic issues, his disapproval crushes his approval 61% to 38%.

Even more to the point, the author cites to an analysis by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, who says that Obama’s polling problems are the result of a lack of competence. He notes that “the core of Obama’s appeal [in 2008] was the idea that he would restore competence back to the White House after President George W. Bush’s eight years.” But as the scandals keep piling up (the real ones, not the talk radio ones), it has become glaringly apparent that Obama is just as incompetent as Bush, if not worse. In support of this analysis, Cillizza cites to a Pew poll which asked the public about Obama’s “executive competence.” In February of 2009, the poll found that Obama was overwhelmingly seen as competent by 70% to 15%. By December 2013, this number had fallen to base-support level of 43% to 51%. In other words, the only people who still see Obama as competent are base Democrats.

According to the Financial Times, this is the result of three specific scandals. First is Obamacare, where the rollout of the website was a disaster even after 42 months and $400 million spent. Moreover, Obama promised everyone they could keep their plans, and yet millions got cancelled and millions more lost their doctors. And how did Obama respond? Did he fix anything? Did he fire those responsible? No. He proclaimed himself madder than anyone else and then said Sebelius had done a great job.

Then you have the VA scandal. This is an issue Obama himself campaigned on. He demanded more money and called Bush incompetent and uncaring. Congress then gave Obama $235 billion more over the next five years and what did that get us? Even worse incompetence... plus lies. Whistleblowers showed up to say that the VA was lying about waiting lists (an internal investigation found that 64% of facilities had engaged in wait-list fraud and 13% of schedulers had actually been trained in how to commit it), had falsified records to hide the truth, and that dozen of veterans died while being denied medical attention.

Obama responded by declaring himself madder than anyone else and did nothing until Secretary Shinseki decided he couldn’t take the heat anymore and resigned.

The third they identify is a national security catchall, which is basically the trade of five Taliban commanders for this dipsh*t deserter. As this story unfolded, Obama kept denying the truth, offering new reasons why this trade had to be made, and swearing he would do it again and again. Yet, at every phase, the White House story has fallen apart. And Obama’s attempt to defend himself by attacking the critics have blowup on him since the critics are the soldiers who did their best to save this skunk. Even the Democrats are freaking out about this one.

The key thread in each of these instances is that Obama appears clueless. Obama makes some claim about something being important to him. He appoints incompetent people to handle the issue. He makes some unicorn-like speech that fails to address reality and makes promises he can’t keep. Everything blows up when reality strikes. Then Obama acts indignant, does his “tell me whose ass to kick” routine, and attacks everyone else for somethingsomethingpoliticizedsomethingsomething, and he promptly retreats from the camera and responsibility.

That’s not competent leadership, not by any stretch.

Now, I would add a few other things that have gone wrong for Obama. Let’s start with Russia. Obama made political hay throughout his administration by accusing the Republicans of being hopelessly lost in the past when it comes to Russia. To much fanfare and self-congratulations, he pushed the reset button and ushered in a new age of friendship. But not only have recent events proven that to have been foolish and delusional, but Putin has gotten away with waving his tiny Russian pecker in Obama’s face for months.

Obama’s economic policy is impotent. He’s fired trillions of dollars in stimulus at the economy and all he’s gotten for it was grief, like when everyone mocked him for claiming that he “saved or created” jobs. There was an announcement this week that we’ve finally recovered all the jobs lost since 2008 this week. So it took Obama’s vaunted economic policy six years to get back to zero – and even then, this isn’t zero because these jobs have lower income and no jobs were created for all the people who came of age over the past six years. Add to this that millions of Americans are still upside down on their home mortgages. Consumer debt is at record levels. Unemployment is still higher than at any point under Bush. And work force participation is at the lowest level in history. Yet, Obama has stopped talking about his plan because he doesn’t have one. Basically, he tried one thing in 2009... it didn’t work... and he quit.

Consider his political timing too. Obama’s timing is so bad that it almost seems like he’s trying to undermine his own party during the elections. His release of his coal-killing rules came out the day after Mitch McConnell won the primary in Kentucky and liberal news sites are screaming that Obama just handed the Republicans that seat. He's done similar things repeatedly because he just doesn't think about the effects of his actions on others, even his friends.

This is all bad for Obama because this is where his legacy is being written. And what his legacy is morphing into is our first “lazy quitter” President. What you have is a President who has demonstrated that he doesn’t hire competent people, he doesn’t monitor them, he makes unrealistic promises, he never admits mistakes, he never learns from his mistakes, he doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions, he’s impotent when faced with someone of equal stature who won’t surrender, and he walks away when things go wrong. There’s not much there to love. And the polls are reflecting that.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Release of Bengdahl and other stuff...

Let's see, what is the controversy for this week? We all know the drill. The late Friday afternoon media drop of the week. Oh, yeah, the release of Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five notorious, high ranking members of the Taliban. YEY! No man left behind! The only US POW has now been freed. Oh, but the WH just didn't have time to let Congress know as is their obligation. Oops, they're sorry, but it was crucial. [God, I'm tired of this stuff and we have 2 1/2 more years of this crap.]

Right on cue, Susan Rice, someone we can always count on to tell the truth, hit the weekend pundit shows with the usual blah-blah and the "accusing the Republicans of making this political" has begun. At the same time Obama took to Air Force One and left the country just in time for the "narrative" to get muddled in "It's the Republican's fault" accusations. I hear that Obama was caught off guard with the negative response. He was expecting "euphoria", but all he got was a lead balloon crashing on the WH lawn. Even Diane Feinstein is upset. Once again we see the WH leadership playbook in action. Oh, and the big parade in Bengdahl's hometown has been cancelled.

Frankly, I don't really care much about Bengdahl's release. I tend to believe his own writings and all of his platoon mates who have come forward to say he deserted to go "walk-a-bout". I mean, this is a volunteer military, so it's not like he was forced to be there in the first place. He volunteered. He deserted his post. And no matter what the military decides to do in the way of a court marshal, all Obama has to do is pardon him. What I do care about is that five very dangerous people who even Diane Feinstein refused to release in an exchange for four years now, are now free to move about the world freely. Oh, yeah, Obama promised that part to the deal was that these five men would be monitored and that the Qataris would keep them under close scrutiny. Oops, well, Qatar has already released them to move about their country unmonitored and...oops, didn't Obama say we would would be monitoring their whereabouts. Well, no, we won't. Their families have already been flown to their side and I predict that they will be back in the bosom of the Taliban within the next few weeks, just as soon as all the hullabaloo dies down.

Why do we even bother. I had a friend who voted for Obama twice say to me how angry she is about all of this. When I informed her that Obama did this without informing Congress which is his obligation, she responded that Bush never informed Congress about going into into Afghanistan or Iraq. Uh, say what? I love her dearly, but you can imagine my response. Oh, yeah, isn't "blame Bush" part of the liberal program?

Oh, did you hear that the VA is stonewalling any investigation? Yeah, we are at Stage 7 of my 10 Stages to Leadership list. I wonder how long Bengdahl will have to wait for his appointment with the VA?

Anyway, I'm done. Any thoughts?

P.S. Remember a few weeks ago when I alluded that I was having to pay 247% more for my employee provide health insurance coverage? Yes, I am truly thrilled about Obamacare. Well, now I learned this week that, as of June 1, I only "technically" have health insurance, but no one can actually "verify" that I am covered. Yeah, my new insurance company is "backlogged" in assigning policies, so I won't actually be covered for the next "few weeks". I just hope that in the next "few weeks" I don't need any life-saving emergency procedures. My family may have to resort to my life insurance coverage to pay for it. I feel so much better about Obamacare now. Yeah, it is so working...
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

NRA Condems Open-Carry Rallies

The NRA is a mixed bag to me. On the one hand, they are an incredibly impressive lobbying organization. They have managed to protect gun rights (and to win gun rights in court) to an amazing degree. On the other hand, they often go too far in terms of absolutism. So imagine my surprise when the NRA came out and basically condemned these open carry rallies where a bunch of gun nuts descend upon a restaurant or store fully armed.

The open carry ralliers claim they are showing support for those businesses that allow patrons to carry guns on the premises. The NRA, however, called these rallies “weird” and noted that they are counter-productive because they typically end up putting so much pressure on the businesses that they respond by changing their policies to disallow the carrying of guns.

Frankly, the NRA is right about this. These open carry rallies are more pointless fringe theater that just doesn’t play well with the public at large. Think about it. These guys think they are seen as modern patriots who dare to stand up for our rights and that we all secretly respect them and wish we were with them. But that’s bunk. That’s not at all how the public sees them. The public sees them engaging in provocative rallies. They are provocative because there is no clear purpose to the rally except to show that they are armed; essentially the message is “I’m dangerous,” and that is not a message that will be well-received.

Moreover, they are carrying guns when there is no need, and that scares people. Indeed, the introduction of a gun into any situation raises tension because guns are dangerous. That’s why responsible gun owners are taught to handle guns with extreme care and to use them sparingly. That’s why you don’t carry a gun unless there’s a specific need and that’s why you never use guns as props. Yet, these rallyists are using their guns as props. So the public will see this as risky and dangerous and out-of-touch. In fact, the biggest problem is that people will see the inherent danger in this, as it takes only one mistake to cause tragic results with a gun, and yet these rallyists are introducing that danger for no purpose. That makes them irresponsible, a menace, or a threat.

At the same time, the businesses aren’t thrilled about this either, as evidenced by most of them changing their policies after such rallies are held to prevent a recurrence. And the reasons are obvious – they lose customers, they find themselves unwillingly forced into a political debate by one side, and they suddenly face demands by customers to change their policies. The easy way out is to ban guns to calm the public and back out of the debate again.

Pro-gun types who understand that you need to win the hearts and minds of the public to maintain those rights also aren’t thrilled by these rallies because they make pro-gun advocates look like they lack judgment, like all our talk of responsible gun ownership is just talk, like we are a menace, and like we simply don’t fit in to the modern world. None of that is good.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moron Alert: David Haslett

Wow. CNBC gets some a-hole guest, but nobody tops this guy David Haslett, who was on last week. Haslett is the author of a book called “Capitalism with Morality,” and he’s advocating a cap on inheritance. Check out this load of monkey poo!

Here is Haslett’s point. We’re in the middle of the largest wealth transfer in human history as a bunch of stinking rich old people die off and leave hundreds of trillions to their kids. This is bad because being rich causes people to lose their inventive to work hard. So it would be better for those poor dears if we took away some of that inheritance so they don’t have “too much.” Then the government can use that money to make the country more equal!

Yay!! Communism!!

How Much Is Enough: Like all thieving leftists, Haslett tries very hard to avoid being pinned down on exactly what he is advocating. This became clear once they tried to get him to tell them where he would place the cap. Haslett at first shrugged his shoulders and acted cagey, saying it wasn’t up to him. He then said it would be up to the Congress, though clearly we can’t trust the current Congress. The interesting moment finally came a few discussion points later when he floated the idea, as an aside, that a cap at $100,000 would ensure that everyone still had an incentive to work.


Yes, $100,000.

Think about that. Haslett tries to sell his idea by complaining about the evil rich having too much... and then he sets the cap at $100,000. Haslett tells us that his big concern is people losing their incentive to work... and then he sets the cap at $100,000.

At $100,000 you couldn’t even pass on half of the median house. So who gets whacked here? The rich or all those middle class people who want to pass on their homes and their cars and what little money they’ve saved to their kids? This is a “RAPE EVERYONE” plan. This is communism using a meaningless $100,000 figure rather than a $0 figure.

It’s no wonder he tried to avoid answering this question.

It Won’t Work Anyway: Even if we accept Haslett’s stupid idea, it still won’t work. The rich, i.e. the people who hold 70% of the nation’s assets, will simply transfer them out of the country, where they can pass them under Swiss law or Cayman law. In effect, Haslett will leave this country as barren as a Walmart after a riot. Smart thinking jerk.

As for the assets that can’t be yanked out of the country, those can be put into corporations that do not die and then the corporations can be inherited overseas. And if you want to get your kids some easy cash, just employ them and pay them that way.

In the end, the only people who will pay this tax are middle class people who have no way to avoid it. And in doing so, Haslett will effectively destroy the American middle class and will recreate the 14th Century, where the ultra-rich live a privileged multinational life and everyone else is poor and unable to own property.

That means they have no incentive to earn or save. Their incentive will be to live off the government... a government with no income because all the rich people fled.

This is so typical of liberals. They come up with these broad-brush overly-simple solutions without having the slightest clue how their plan will affect people. This jerkoff claims he wants to reduce inequality, but his plan is not only guaranteed to increase inequality, it will increase it to a level not seen since the age of divine despots. He doesn’t even realize that he can’t reach the people covets with his stupid plan. All he’ll do is drive US wealth overseas.

You’d think they would have learned something from their failure in the Soviet Union, but I guess all they learned was to hide their true goals.
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Are You Saying Women Are Stupid?

That’s a provocative headline, but it's the only conclusion I can draw from an article I stumbled upon at Huffpo. This article had five “powerful women” tell us what advice they would have given their 22 year-old selves if they could. This is part of LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series and it was an opportunity to really show off the wisdom these highly successful women have gained. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. To the contrary, it left me wondering, “just how stupid were you as a 22 year-old?”

Elizabeth Warren: Let’s start with the best. Warren is a US Senator and still possible challenger to Hillary from the left. She also ran Obama’s consumer protection agency, where she proved to be a hard-left ideologue. Presumably, she’ll tell us some truth about the haves versus the have nots, about main street versus Wall Street or about the nature of political success, right? Let’s see:
“Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected. . . that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. . . [that] you don’t have the fortitude, grace and resiliency to rethink and regroup.”
Well, that's underwhelming, but as advice goes, this isn’t bad advice. Unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious that everyone knows that you need to be flexible in life, that you will never get 100% of what you want. You kind of learn that every day of your life. And those who don’t know that will soon be disabused of their wrongheaded notions. So this is really telling people what they already know. Still, if we take this in a more broad sense, then it is good advice to remind people to always remain flexible in their views and plans and to constantly rethink everything they think they know. Sadly, this is the best you're going to get from this crew.

Suze Orman: Orman is a television personality and she got rich handing out shockingly basic “financial” information to morons... “Don’t spend more than you can afford.” Suze is also a recently uncloseted lesbian, though she was tripping people’s gaydar as far back as high school. So what choice advice would Suze give her 22 year-old self? Would she tell her how to exploit suckers to sell self-help books? Would she tell her to forget the impossible quest of finding a hot lesbian? No.
“Money will never define you. You define your money. . . . It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have.”
Gee. Who knew? Seriously, do people need to be told this? This is the kind of generic advice that all graduation speakers give and everyone ignores because it's obvious except to that one rich frat kid whose going to go to jail for insider trading in a few years. Is this really the pearl of wisdom that your 22 year-old-self needed to hear?

Martha Stewart: Martha built a massive business empire teaching women to make their own goose liver pate and doilies for their toilets. She literally built a billion dollar empire based on domestic arts, and then she went to prison. Think about the things she’s experienced. The hurdles she overcame, the trying times, the lows of failure and the highs of success. I’ll bet Martha has some truly amazing advice to give. Let’s see what she offers her younger self:
“Stick with it. Don’t give up. Defend your ideas, but be flexible. Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will."
Are you kidding me? Stick with it? That’s just the opposite of “don’t quit.” Amazing. I’m sooo glad she’s here to tell people that. Oh, and “be flexible.” Really? So you’re saying that holding out for all or nothing is not a means to success? Does anyone really need to hear this? What exactly has she said here that every human being doesn’t already know instinctively? Advice is only useful when it's something people don't already know.

What she should have said is something like this: “When you present your ideas to people, make sure you have every angle thought out in your business plan” or “take classes in psychology, they come in surprisingly useful” or even “If you’re going to suitcase a shiv, make sure you wrap the handle in leather so you have a strong grip to let you pull it back out.” Telling people “stick with it” is so basic it’s insulting.

Helen Gayle: Gayle is the CEO of CARE. Call me crazy, but I'm losing hope. Let's just see if Helen offers something other than a stupid platitude:
“Find your passion and hang on to it. Never forget what motivated you to get to where you are today.”
Nope. This is the generic platitude to end all platitudes. It's also asinine advice because few people will be able to pick and choose what they do to find something they will love, and constantly quitting jobs until you find the perfect one is pretty much the perfect way to build a resume that will forever keep you from finding the job you love.

Sallie Krawcheck: Finally, we come to Sallie Krawcheck. Krawcheck is the former head of Merrill Lynch and owns a professional women’s network. So she worked her way to the top of the male-dominated financial industry. I’ll bet she gives her young self some keen insight into how to handle working with a bunch of nerds who think they’re alpha males! Let’s see!
“Keep a running note of what works and what doesn’t work for you, what you like and what you don’t like, what you’re good and what you aren’t. . . . The chance of the stars aligning on these fronts in your first job, or even your first couple of jobs, is very low, so you’ll have to keep searching.”
//slaps forehead

Seriously? Keep a running note of what you like and what you don’t and then try to find a job doing what you like?! I’m not even sure what to say in response to this. Wow. Seriously, what is the very first question everyone asks themselves when they start looking for a job? “What do I think I’d like to do and what would I be good at?” In fact, I can’t imagine anyone starting a job search or picking a college major or even selecting elective classes in high school without first asking themselves these very questions. Does she really think that this is the advice that her 22 year-old self needed to hear?!! Was her 22 year-old self that dumb that she randomly launched herself into the world?

Holy crap. How about “face time trumps competence at big firms” or “however many hours your boss works, work more” or “finance sucks, get a philosophy degree”? Any of that would be more helpful than “try to figure out what you’d like to do for a living.”

You see what made me write this article, I trust? These are supposed to be some of the top women in the world and here is their chance not only to show the collective wisdom women these top women have gathered, but to demonstrate this supposed "different" way that women supposedly approach the world. Yet, they spit out the same stupid platitudes that every other graduation speaker ever spits out. Moreover, this advice is so basic and so obvious and so well-known already that they aren't saying anything that shouldn't already be apparent to a 22 year-old. What a waste!
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