Saturday, April 20, 2013
Remember the days and weeks following 9/11 when academics blamed America because we were so mean to Saudis and Kuwaitis and Egyptians? That was a tough sell but nothing compared to the obstacles faced by advocates for Chechnyan martyrs. If there is one spot on Planet Earth immune to Yankee Imperialism, that spot would be Chechnya.
Tony Bennett and Jeremiah Wright have their work cut out for them this time around.
Suppose further that you operate a union construction company with 20 employees whom you also pay $25 per hour but instead of a 401k you must contribute $3 for each employee hour worked to a union pension fund. That would be 40 hours X $3 X 20 employees for a total of $2400 plus the $20,000 wages for a total labor cost of $22,400. I have a small competitive advantage over you but nevertheless an advantage.
Now comes the kicker. You must contribute another $4 per hour for each employee to a health care plan run by the employees' union while I insist that my employees buy their own health care on a state run exchange but through the wonders of Obamacare depending on family size my employees are eligible for a annual subsidy to offset the cost of the policy and again by virtue of Obamacare my employees will have an insurance plan that is at least equal to your employees' plan. If my employees press me I'll give them another dollar on the hour to help with their health insurance. If they press me really hard I'll make it $2. I can afford it!
Admittedly, the $4 figure I used in the example is just a guess. It would mean that the union insurance plan would be providing insurance to the worker and his family for $8320 per year which strikes me as a little on the cheap side. The point is your labor cost is not just a bit higher than mine. It's a bunch. My weekly labor cost are $20,600 and yours are $25,600 or a little better than 24%.
This back of the envelope calculation illustrates the reasoning behind the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers call for the repeal of Obamacare. I wrote a post about that earlier this week. The union leadership now must go to its membership and tell them that to remain competitive with nonunion workers they must either give up their union health insurance or be prepared to take a massive wage cut or there is very apt to be little work for union roofers. Should the membership refuse the number union contractors will dwindle until there are none. Note Bene United Union Roofers et al every time you trust the government you get screwed.
It is one thing to barricade a 20 block area. It is another matter to cancel bus service 30 miles away.
It is one thing to conduct a door to door manhunt where a bomb thrower is at large. It is another matter to tell a nurse who lives in Cambridge (five or so miles away) that she cannot walk to work in nearby Somerville.
Why just suddenly stop mass transit for an entire metropolitan area?
Why close banks in places like Salem, Massachusetts some thirty miles away?
Why lock down people in their workplaces after allowing them to go to work?
I cannot begin to tell you of the domino effect, the unforeseen consequences, the chaos and confusion that was generated by the watch repair with sledge hammer approach Massachusetts laid on her citizenry. At least with a blizzard or hurricane we have time to prepare.
One of my favorite novels is "The Simulcra" by Philip K. Dick. I cannot list all of the reasons why I love this book. First and foremost is Dick's signature dystopia. Whereas Orwell and most other dystopians advance brutal regimes, Dick's future is a nightmare that could easily gain traction in the Good Ole USA.
Imagine a world run by PBS/NPR. A world where citizens are bombarded with mind-numbing propaganda concerning the minutia of government and citizenship (such as the contents of the First Lady's china cabinet.) A lot like the world we now live in except that we are not yet subjected to pop quizzes that could cause us to face eviction from our residences.
The president is an android (simulacrum) and a series of actors portray the first lady. I can't believe this book was written in 1964. When other science fiction writers were focusing on spaceships, Dick was providing a glimpse into a complicated, strange and unappealing future. 1964 was the year of Marshall McLuhan's masterpiece,"The Medium is The Message." In some ways, Dick is as perceptive as McLuhan on the nature and uses of mass communication.
Back to the present. We have an unvetted president who still has gaping holes in his biography. His own autobiography has dozens of significant deceptions including a composite girlfriend (Will Dr. Phil ever address the unique challenges of a composite relationship?) The president is ruled by his teleprompter.
When Barack Obama speaks I usually leave the room or change channels. It isn't that I dislike the man but that I see him to be as phony as a simulacrum or at best, an actor who is pretending to be presidential. In real life the actor who plays President Obama was a crack-smoking community organizer who never distinguished himself in any walk of life. I for one do not accept guidance from a pitchman reading a script.
Given the artificial nature of President Obama, I relish those times when emotion seeps through the character. In the following clip, Barack Obama gets angry. It is not a high minded rage. No, the President is mad that he did not get his way. This is a brown M&M in the green room sort of anger. A Midol sort of anger. The anger only a diva can know.
But it is good to know that our president is human after all.
OOOPS! NEED TO FIX THAT TRUTH FILTER
All this is done with the backdrop of an all knowing government that exudes an air of infallibility. NASA knows more about automobile brakes than Toyota. Only Dr. Chu, who never worked outside a laboratory, knows exactly how to place a blowout preventer a mile below the sea's surface. Private sector technocrats, excluding those who know something remotely connected to computers, are usually incompetent or craven slaves to an evil industry. Emergency medical responders are all knowing. For the most part they are competent but a bit of a joke in some circles such a cops and construction workers but are always believed by a credulous media just as utility linemen who must bring the power back after a hurricane are always incompetent.
So now government has both a monopoly on power and wisdom and unending line of of spokespersons who enjoy looking dour. It could be that the more sanguine looking spokespersons are prone to budget cuts since they could be deemed as superfluous but a dour spokesperson with a message of immediate and impending doom is hard to beat. The "serious as a heart attack" face plays well for the political class too. New Yorkers tolerate Mayor Bloomberg because he looks like a mortician and that's about as serious and dour a a fellow can be.
If the aim of terrorists is to disrupt the lives of normal people then yesterday was a bigger success than the World Trade Center bombing or even Pearl Harbor. Like it or not, yesterday's big winner was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Yes, the various Massachusetts law enforcement agencies and the FBI did a commendable job in rounding up and dispatching the brothers Tsarnaev. And yes, actions do speak louder than words which is fortunate because many of the details of this case are inconsistant or omitted and much of the verbiage is not factual.
The FBI reports that three people has been taken into custody but they are not suspects nor are they under arrest. If one is not under arrest then presumably one can move about freely or leave. Now maybe these people are free to leave but it won't be much fun with the cuffs on.
Then there is the matter of another FBI oversight. Had the FBI not flubbed a tip from an unnamed country the terrible bombing could have been prevented. The FBI went so far as to interview Tamerlan Tsarnaev and concluded he was no jihadists. Evidently they didn't bother to monitor his YouTube account or has the political correctness so dear to the Obama administration effectively degraded federal law enforcement? Tsarnaev could have been deported for an arrest for domestic violence as Judicial Watch has noted here. Of course expecting the Department of Homeland Security whose head honcho, Janet Napolitano, cannot even say "Islamic terrorism" to act decisively in a case not involving a card carrying Tea Party member or a military veteran is too much to ask. One Boston commentator on FoxNews actually said, to my amusement, that the FBI didn't enjoy a very good reputation in Boston. When Bostonians have had a chance to think this thing through I doubt if the FBI's esteem will be measurably better.
So what about the mysterious Saudi student? Not the one who is being deported but the one the who was hospitalized and named as a person of interest? Quoting the Hill;
"The first Saudi student is not a suspect in the Boston bombings but was hospitalized after the attack and questioned. Authorities also searched his apartment in Revere, a suburb of Boston."
Was he not arrested and not a suspect in the same manner as the three people pictured above? He was not a suspect but the FBI thought it would be fun to search his apartment? Probably he is innocent but why can't the FBI have the candor to say they made a mistake? Funny no one in the media wanted to interview this victim of racial profiling and Islamic phobia or is he not available?
It's good to see that Obama is finally taking advice from Republicans but did he have to start with Lindsey Graham? Just as Senator Grahamnesty insisted, Obama chose not to Mirandize the younger Tsarnaev brother. While that is perfectly legal any statements he may make cannot be used against him. Coming from an administration that routinely Mirandizes foreign jihadists on foreign battlefields, denying Miranda rights to a US citizen for crimes committed on American soil is a little too inconsistent.
Lastly, what national tragedy would be complete without a lecture from the Chief of State on the virtues of diversity? True to form, Obama rambled on for some 6 minutes without mentioning the cause of the bombing, Islamic terrorism. He did, however, omit the shout out to Doctor Joe Medicine Crow.
The President continues to be briefed on the investigation by his national security team. The most recent briefing, provided in the Oval Office by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, concluded shortly after 4 p.m. Following that briefing the President placed calls to Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, to express his condolences for the two officers who were killed overnight. The President said that the entire country is behind the people of Boston as well as Massachusetts, and that the full force of the Federal Government will continue to be made available until those responsible are brought to justice.Later the White House, probably after consulting with Susan Rice, managed to get the number of police killed back to one.
We may want to ask Janet Napolitano why he wasn't deported. From Judicial Watch:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old killed in a wild shootout with police, was a legal U.S. resident who never the less could have been removed from the country after a 2009 domestic violence conviction, according to a Judicial Watch source. That means the Obama administration missed an opportunity to deport Tsarnaev but evidently didn’t feel he represented a big enough threat.
The events of the past week have been mind-blowing. Boston is a truly unique metropolis. Boston is not a colossal metropolis in the style of New York or Chicago or Houston or Atlanta. It is small of area and even though the greater metro is considered the sixth largest TV market, the Boston area is more intimate than most American settings. What might be six degrees of separation in Los Angeles is two or three degrees of separation in Boston.
I did not know any of the 9/11/2001 victims but quite a few of my friends had friends who were on one of the doomed planes that departed Logan on that fateful morning. On this past Monday I knew of more than a few people who had relatives in the blast area. It was a roller coaster week for many of us and it is not over.
I am not surprised at the terrorists' religion. Nor am I surprised that one of them attended "the same prestigious high school that graduated Matt Damon and Ben Affleck." Whatever else was learned at Smugville, you can bet that the curriculum delved into the evil nature of the American Empire and the devils who uphold traditional American values. Who will be the first media hack to blame the bombings on George Bush? Lots of fast horses in that race.
Like a lot of people, I am keeping one eye on the TV set as I multitask. Hope the authorities catch the terrorist real soon.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Senator Rand Paul is considering a run for the Presidency. His libertarian ideas sell well with younger voters and his filibuster over drone killings of American citizens won him a few friends among honest liberals.
“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
One supposes the President inwardly looked homeward to his adopted Illinois were the Democrats run things; to where Democrats in the lower house hold a 71 to 47 majority over the despicable Republicans. They would put the NRA in it place. A funny thing happened in the Illinois. Almost as the federal gun bill was going down in flames in the Senate the downstate Democrats revolted at restrictive gun legislation sending the proposed legislation to 31 to 76 painful death. Maybe the sequester had something to do with it.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I generally don't find Savage amusing but I'll scan the dial when John Batchelor and Dan Rea and Jerry Doyle all go to commercial and I can't pick up Clyde Lewis. And Savage was advancing his conspiracy idea. Savage is to be taken with a grain of salt but he is a weather vane. He is in tune to the paranoia of the day.
Not surprisingly I blame the paranoia on the Mainstream News Media. They have generated widespread mistrust by allowing Obama to lie with impunity. From the three dozen ignored inaccuracies in Obama's autobiography to his $250 million dollar false witness smear of Mitt Romney to the motive for the Benghazi attack to the effects of the sequester to the most recent fibs about his budget cutting the deficit....Americans have never been lied to so frequently or so boldly.
And of course, the news media will not call Obama on his lies. The result is that no one believes anything anymore. Everything is a scam. Everything is a conspiracy. Drink the Kool-Aid and lose your mind to sedation or fight the power and lose your mind to the drip drip drip of deception.
I understand, Michael. I understand.
Buzzfeed reports that;
" The White House visitors log, showing Reilly met with administration officials Dec. 5th, appears to have been signed in by Victoria McCullough, a staff assistant to Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett."
In a brief post at CBS, Attkisson writes that several whistleblowers ( her word ) are privately speaking to investigators with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee which readers know is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa.
While “in some circumstances law enforcement officers may conduct a search without a warrant to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, it does not follow that we should depart from careful case-by-case assessment of exigency and adopt the categorical rule proposed by the State and its amici. In those drunk-driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so.”
SEC. 1107. ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PERSONNEL. (a) SOUTHWEST BORDER REGION EMERGENCY COM-MUNICATIONS GRANTS.—
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Whereas other important historical figures are remembered for their negatives (Stalin, Mao, Hitler) Lady Thatcher was a liberator. In the UK, socialists succeeded where Hitler had failed. Thatcher ushered in a British Renaissance in a land that experienced 18% annual inflation.
Murray Rothbard and other Austrian Economic proponents criticized Atilla The Hen for her half-hearted reform measures and because her actions fell short of her rhetoric. Point taken but the UK thrived under Thatcher. By any objective measure she was better than her predecessors.
At any rate, the President will not be in attendance at this great woman's funeral. Nor will the vice president or the Secretary of State. The US is sending George Schultz and James Baker, cabinet members of Reagan and Bush I and retirees for 20 years. This is a bigger insult than the return of the Winston Churchill bust.
The President has no trouble hopping on a plane. There is always a Tiger Woods or a Hollywood big shot who earns his company. But Lady Thatcher will be buried without a president on hand to pay his respects.
Maybe it is better for all concerned if the Barry stays home. Margaret Thatcher was a woman of integrity. Her words meant something. A is A. Barack Obama is not an heir to that tradition. He would be out of place.
Still, it would be nice to think that an absurd ego could humble himself to honor someone who was truly great. Unfortunately, Obama never disappoints at disappointment. Rest in peace, Maggie.
Let me think. Is the ATF the same agency that is responsible for the deaths of 2 Americans and the estimated 200 deaths of Mexican nationals? Next they'll be bootlegging pressure cookers to Castro.
World leaders, including Canada's Stephen Harper, Mario Monti of Italy and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, are attending the service in person. More.
Our Union and its members have supported President Obama and his Administration for both of his terms in office.
But regrettably, our concerns over certain provisions in the ACA have not been addressed, or in some instances, totally ignored. In the rush to achieve its passage, many of the Act’s provisions were not fully conceived, resulting in unintended consequences that are inconsistent with the promise that those who were satisfied with their employer sponsored coverage could keep it.
These provisions jeopardize our multi-employer health plans, have the potential to cause a loss of work for our members, create an unfair bidding advantage for those contractors who do not provide health coverage to their workers, and in the worst case, may cause our members and their families to lose the benefits they currently enjoy as participants in multi-employer health plans.
For decades, our multi-employer health and welfare plans have provided the necessary medical coverage for our members and their families to protect them in times of illness and medical needs. This collaboration between labor and management has been a model of success that should be emulated rather than ignored. I refuse to remain silent, or idly watch as the ACA destroys those protections.
I am therefore calling for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act to protect our employers, our industry, and our most important asset: our members and their families.”
After the Oklahoma City bombing, gun control was pushed hard. That doesn't make any sense but it is what happened. And you can bet that domestic spying will be expanded (not that there is much privacy left to sift through) and that it will be declared near and far that the official motive for the bombings was pure, unadulterated racism. Everyone who opposes the White House on matters large or small will find themselves linked to the bomber faster than Uncle Fanboy can link Bing Crosby to Kevin Bacon. Guilt by association minus the association.
And if the Timothy McVeigh demographic goes undiscovered? Brace yourself for an onslaught of workplace violence stories in the news.
Monday, April 15, 2013
How does Governor Rendell explain all this? Bureaucratic incompetence.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much. Ed, this is a coincidence, but this was happening before you were governor, during you were governor, after you were governor. I got to ask you a tough question here. The grand jury and the prosecutor has said one of the reasons why this clinic wasn't investigated is because there is political pressures. Whenever somebody wants to go in and investigate an abortion clinic or do tough regulations on it, suddenly, people start screaming and yelling that somebody is trying to take away their constitutional rights. What happened here?
ED RENDELL: Again, I think it was more bureaucratic incompetence than that, Joe. I never heard anything about that. When I was district attorney I actually prosecuted a doctor for doing exactly what Dr. Gosnell did.
SCARBOROUGH: What years were you governor?
RENDELL: 2003 to 2010.
SCARBOROUGH: So you never once heard anything about this?
Ya think George Bush wasn't sharp enough to blame it on the bureaucrats? Too bad Rendell has reached the end of his political career.
Like everyone else in the media Anderson Cooper has been shamed into covering this story by primarily Kirsten Powers who castigated the national media in a USA Today editorial for their failure to cover this story but this report is about as hard hitting as any I've viewed.
Part 2 is discussion.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
And if they paid at a lower rate than their serfs at 20%, they probably also paid at a lower rate this year, when their tax bill was 18% of income.
Far from being shamed by his conspicuous hypocrisy, Obama embraces it proudly. This is on par with Green Warrior Barbra Striesand going shopping in her RV so that she doesn't have to sit on a public toilet. It tops Bloomberg's eight armed guards who escort him to his anti-gun speeches. These people are incapable of shame.
For the beautiful people, hypocrisy is a status symbol. And who is more beautiful than Barack?
In the past and on another blog I have written about bond market vigilantes. It's not as if there exists a group of men with six guns and nooses that hunt down deadbeat corporations and municipalities but they are real. Simply by refusing to buy the debt of financially shaky private or public institution bond traders hold tremendous power. Seldom do they ever refuse to buy a doubtful issue but rather they make the issuing authority pay up for the risk they are taking in purchasing the bond and rightfully so. Bond funds, which buy the bulk of municipal paper, have a responsibility to their investors not the cash strapped city governments of California and Illinois.
In the pending bankruptcy the city of Stockton is asking the debt holders to take less than the amount it pledged it "full faith and credit" to repay. The reason Stockton is broke is because it cannot possibly pay the pensions it promised its employees. Debt service accounts for only about 7% of the city's budget yet that is the area Stockton wants to cut. Should the bankruptcy court agree to this arrangement expect borrowing costs for all California cities to jump dramatically as the so called vigilantes come to life.
Coyote blog writes:
In light of the recent Stockton bankruptcy, this should carry a warning label: "California reserves the right to repudiate up to 100% of these bonds whenever payment of the interest or principle interferes with paying state employees the maximum possible pension benefits. These bonds are subordinated to any promises made at any time by any politician to state employees unions, past, present, or future."
"If you're a law-abiding gun owner, you're going to like this bill," Senator Joe Manchin said, explaining there are things in the gun bill that the National Rifle Association has been "trying to get for years."
I'm sure we will all love it. That's the reason we don't know what's in it. Maybe we can call it Obamacare Two. Name one piece of legislation enacted in the past decade that has contributed to the well being of the average American.
Relatives to those killed in the 9/11 attack are outraged.
“I don’t want the American public to have to pay a dime to pay respects to my son,” said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died in the World Trade Center attacks.
“They made . . . a vow that no one would ever be charged for going to the memorial, but money is the bottom line here,” she fumed.
“They’re making money off the people that died. It’s disgusting,” said Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his firefighter son, Jimmy, on 9/11.
“The memorial should be free for everybody to pay their respects. You wouldn’t charge money to get into a cemetery.”
The foundation has been funded to the tune of $830 million by a combination of federal grants, and private donations including pennies raised by school children. Naturally the foundation is chaired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg who with his is phobia of trans fats and the second amendment has pretty much adopted a "the public be damned" attitude on all things ordinary people care about but as chair he is responsible for the extravagant salaries. Of the 12 directors, 10 made more than $200,000 in 2011. Foundation CEO Joe Daniels pulled down $336,224 in salary and benefits, and Museum Director Alice Greenwald made $351,171, tax filings show. One former employee, Joan Gerner, got a $300,000 severance after leaving the foundation — on top of her $439,463 salary.
In spite of all the largess it already received the foundation wants an annual stipend of $20 million from the National Park Service. For what? To compete with Disney Land?
Hardly a day goes by when we don't hear about the Feds abusing their powers. The IRS reading our email without warrants.The NSA stepping up their eavesdropping. Domestic spy drones. The Feds conduct law enforcement training to warn about "sovereign individuals." The Defense Department classifies Mormons, Evangelicals and Roman Catholics as possible terrorists. Homeland Security warns us about rerturning veterans.
Our government has always abused its power but for the past four years the bullying has crescendoed. Whatever else can be said about the Bush Administration or the Clinton Administration or for that matter every preceding administration, none of them were hostile to the American public. That has changed. Barack Obama wears his hostility as a badge of honor. Hostility is perhaps his defining characteristic, more significant than even his avarice or his unending duplicity. We have never seen anything like it.
Obama spits in the faces of gun owners.
Obama spits in the faces of Roman Catholics.
Obama spits in the faces of middle America.
Obama spits in the faces of anyone who advocates for the rule of law.
Obama spits in the faces of advocates for rational discourse.
Having a killer commute, I listen to talk radio for 10-15 hours/week. I listen for information, for entertainment and to gauge the zeitgeist. Information and entertainment is often lacking but the spirit of the times is always intriguing.
I will sometimes hear of someone on talk radio and I will go home and listen to them on youtube. A year ago I would dismiss Alex Jones and all Truthers. Now, I am curious as to what he has to say. I believe 9/11 was an outside job conducted by Al-Qeda and I reject all 9/11 conspiracy theories beyond the officially-sanctioned conspiracy. But I do share Alex Jones' suspicions of the Obamamedia.
Never before I have seen such pervasive fear and pessimism. We have been lied to in a systematic manner and we know we have been lied to in a systematic manner. Meanwhile, Obama divides and destroys. That is all he knows how to do.
Obots read my blog but they rarely comment. This is one more time when I wish they would come forward. Tell us that Barack Obama is a good man with good intentions and that he has surrounded himself with good people with good intentions. And please make the case without parroting Obama's silly ass, mind-numbing. anti-rational talking points.
It won't happen. Deification requires the bypassing of the rational mind. Obots love Obama but they cannot tell you why. They can articulate their hatred for all opposition but they cannot make a rational case for Barack Obama. Theirs is an ineffable experience but profoundly religious nonetheless. We can make snide remarks about the deification but make no mistake about it: It is real. It is genuine. It is profoundly religious.
I cannot see the cult leader with all the attributes one would associate with a cult leader graciously passing the torch to a successor. I cannot see the religiously blissful surrender their faith. Divide and destroy. Divide and destroy. Divide and destroy. Our past, our present, our future.
Does anyone think this nightmare will have a happy ending?