Saturday, April 25, 2009

100 days

What kind of a man holds a primetime press conference just to declare how awesome he is?

Steven Green Drunkblogs Obama's special 100 day bash.
Some comments of his that stuck out, times in Paccific.

5:04PM The Prez needs a press conference to sell us on stuff that’s already passed Congress? Makes you wonder what his internal polls are telling him.

5:06PM “I think we’re off to a big start, but it’s just a start.” I think I speak for millions of Americans when I say, “Oh, crap.”

5:26PM Interesting stuff on Pakistan, really. Grown up, even. It’s the one issue where Obama doesn’t pretend to have a good answer, and he deserves respect for that.

5:44PM I will buy a very strong drink for the first person who can point to just one question/answer tonight that was worthy of a primetime press conference.

5:56PM “I don’t want to run auto companies. I don’t want to run banks.”

Then stop shoveling money at them, and stop telling them what to do. We have bankruptcy laws for a reason.

Of Polls And Memory Holes
Judith Klinghoffer’s article, "Obama’s Polls Trail Those of W.; Gallup Covers it Up," notes that Bush’s approval rating taken by Gallup stood at 62 percent after his first 100 days, while Obama’s currently stands at 56 percent.

You mean it's not all free candy and unicorns?

Friends and enemies.
Since January, President Obama and his team have schmoozed, ineffectively, American enemies over allies in almost every corner of the globe. If you're, say, India, following Obama's apology tour even as you watch the Taliban advancing on those Pakistani nukes, would you want to bet the future on American resolve? In Delhi, in Tokyo, in Prague, in Tel Aviv, in Bogota, they've looked at these first 100 days and drawn their own conclusions.

Brilliant Well when you think nothing of buzzing NYC with a 747 or taking over car companies with no plan, economic nuance is... low.
People are reeling from having their 401ks wiped out in the current market slide. And now those who had for years bought what they thought were "safe" blue-chip corporate bonds are discovering they were only safe until they were told by the government to go fly a kite because government wants to pay off the unions instead. That is deeply unfair to small bondholders, and it’s dreadful economic policy. As a friend of mine put it to me, "Who in their right mind will buy corporate bonds now? And if nobody's buying bonds, how exactly are our debt markets going to get humming again? What a mess."

Obama Tells GOP Leaders He's Getting Lots of Tea Bags In the Mail Lately Someone doesn't like being questioned.
And here's his public reaction.

You see he thinks people protesting his spending isn't serious, and he can't see how expensive new programs would contribute to a debt.

“But,” Obama continued, “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coincidence, again?

The last post talked of the coincidences of that DHS report and the Tea Parties, among other events.

From the Associated Press so you know it's real news... or at least "mainstream"

WASHINGTON (AP) - Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department did not agree with some of the language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway.

The intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week said some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans' groups.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was issued before officials resolved problems raised by the agency's civil rights division. Kudwa would not specify what language raised the concerns.

So, Civil liberties officials at DHS though the report had problems and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agrees that the report's definition of Right Wing Extremist should be changed.

Clearly there are problems with this draft, a lack of quantifiable information or trends is also missing.

This begs the question, why was such an obviously "incomplete" report issued on April 14th? Why the apparent rush to get it out the door?


So the day before the Tea Parties Homeland Security released a report on Right Wing Extremism.

The report has some... oddities.
John Hinderaker of Powerline has the story :
Of course, there are crazies of all stripes, and it's possible that a small group of "right wingers" could pose a terrorist threat. In principle, there is nothing wrong with assessing such threats from whatever direction they may come. Still, this report is an odd document. It is almost entirely unmoored to any empirical reality and appears to be heavily influenced by the political views of its (unidentified) authors. This is the central theme of the report:

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.

The whole point of the report is that "right wing" extremism is undergoing a "resurgence" as leaders of extremist groups take advantage of the down economy and the Obama administration to recruit new members. Weirdly, however, the report makes no effort to document any such increased recruitment or extremist activity of any sort.

I'm sure it's just an innocent omission, and I'm sure the timing is just a coincidence.

And it's not like the report uses such broad strokes that it describes the "extremists" in a way that doesn't distinguish them from -well- normal political opposition.

Millions of Americans--not just "rightwing extremists"--are concerned about the administration's positions on immigration and many other issues. Note that wherever possible, the authors slip race into the discussion, as with the reference to "expansion of social programs to minorities." I'm not aware of a single social program that the Obama administration has proposed to "expand to minorities." But the authors' assumption is, apparently, that anyone who opposes the expansion of social programs must be a racist. Once again we see the assertion that right wing extremists are "galvanized" and are "leveraging" these issues as "drivers for recruitment." But is recruitment up, down, or stable? The report doesn't say, and its authors evidently don't know.

Hmmm withholding information, distortion, fear mongering?

It's almost like it's a vague screed with no informational content, save an attempt to label opposition to government plans as extremist.

Nah.... there's no connection

I mean if there were, then people in power, people in government would be trying to link the Tea Parties with some sort of fringe.

Other House Democratic leaders took a different tack: One senior aide has been circulating a document to the media that debunks the effort as one driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis...

In addition, the tea parties are “not really all about average citizens,” the document continues, saying neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists are attending them.

Oh... So if you're one of the more than 300,000 that attended, or one of those that thinks our government is spending too much, then the House Democratic leaders think you're all "neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists."

No connection with the DHS report. I'm sure.

I mean it's not like the president is personally offended by this movement, and it's not like very powerful corporate and media groups are moving to protect his interests.

There was a long discussion about whether CNBC has become too conservative and is beating up on Obama too much.

One topic under the microscope, our insider said, was on-air CNBC editor Rick Santelli's rant two months ago about staging a "Chicago Tea Party" to protest the president's bailout programs -- an idea that spawned tax protest tea parties in other big cities, infuriating the White House.

Hmm... just a coincidence. I'm sure.

It's not like some members of the Mass Media went to these events with a specific ax to grind.

Record Everything.

Here's a lesson the Mass Media is going to have to learn.

Just because you stop rolling the camera doesn't mean that the people you're interviewing haven't stoped theirs.

And if they think you were doing a hit job on them, they just might post their own copy of what happened.

HotAir shows what happened after CNN did a... "nuanced" interview at a Tea Party protst.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party

A rough crowd estimation:

Given a 80,000 ft^2 space for the protest(7,432 m^2)

And a density of 1.27 – 2.0 people/m^2
On Crowd Density Estimation for Surveillance
H. Rahmalan, M.S. Nixon, J. N. Carter

That is for a consistent heavy crowd. So take in the areas with less crowd by halving that density. So call it about 3 to 4 thousand people.

Which matches nicely from the estimate here 3,625.

Very civil very well organized protest. It essentially filled the entire front of the Indiana State Capitol Building.

One of the best speakers was a Thomas Paine impersonator.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

These people are not nuts, they are also not your typical protestors. Their hot button is fiscal constraint and halting government expansion.

Something that neither party is great at, but the President sure is trying to eclipse any Republican spending wastes.

Appending to the data from the first link, at a conservative estimate.

That's with hundreds = 200, and thousands = 2000.

Here's the cities that the first list missed.

Hundreds of locations and about 0.1% of the country's population.

Pajamas has this as their estimate

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Bow?

White House says Obama didn't bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Hmm... so who you going to trust? Your eyes or the White House?

Now Bush and past presidents have done some very differential things to the Saudis too (bowing accepting medals, accepting swords, ect), but they at least didn't try to deny it.

I guess the best way to cover Obama's goofs on diplomatic protocol is to pretend they never happened. Though for this to work it depends on the press playing along and taking their orders from the White House.

Press Sec Gibs: I may have read that in a few of your publications or seen it on a couple of your news channels, but I appreciate your simply regurgitating what I say on such an easy basis.

Oh... well there we go.

Ed Morrissey asks: Will the media finally report this, as Ben Smith did, now that the White House is trying to deny the obvious and rewrite history? Or will they continue to sit silently while Obama tinkles on their heads and calls it rain? (also thanks to HA reader Geoff A)

Most Transparent Administration Ever. Let me repeat that to me the bigger deal is not the bow but the coverup, especially since this coverup depends on the mass media to be submissive to Obama's will.

Don't believe your lying eyes! Trust the One!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

NYT Goodwins itself and SNL asks what else will Obama go after.

A lot of people have been pointing outhow the dramatic entanglement of government into certian bisneses can operate is a bit... familiar.

Think Italy, think of a "Third Way" formed after markets collapsed and capitalism failed. A new system, one where companies would have protection and guidance by a supporting state.

Now look to the New York Times, where David Leonhardt notices the... retro connection between certian... policies.

In the summer of 1933, just as they will do on Thursday, heads of government and their finance ministers met in London to talk about a global economic crisis. They accomplished little and went home to battle the crisis in their own ways.
More than any other country, Germany — Nazi Germany — then set out on a serious stimulus program. The government built up the military, expanded the autobahn, put up stadiums for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and built monuments to the Nazi Party across Munich and Berlin.
The economic benefits of this vast works program never flowed to most workers, because fascism doesn’t look kindly on collective bargaining. But Germany did escape the Great Depression faster than other countries. Corporate profits boomed, and unemployment sank (and not because of slave labor, which didn’t become widespread until later).

We sure do live in funhouse times. The people that used to cry facist and Nazi at everything Bush did are now praising the Third Reich's economic policies. So, is it okay to call the president Nazi-like if it's a compliment? How did Leonhardt think this was a good idea?

Steven Green gets snarky:

What author David Leonhardt leaves out is one little tiny uncomfortable fact: Hitler’s plans required wars of global conquest no later than 1942-43 (that he got a global war in 1939 was an accident; he thought the Allies wouldn’t fight). Because after eight or nine years of Obamanomics Nazinomics, Germany was going to be out of money. Totally out of money.
So I’m thinking that sometime around summer 2017, we really ought to invade Poland.

Jonathan Tobin adds more

That’s right. Leonhardt believes that Adolf Hitler’s building of the autobahn, facilities for the 1936 Olympics, and other public works projects such as monuments to the Nazi Party “helped Germany escape the Great Depression faster than other countries.” Unmentioned by Leonhardt was Hitler’s vast expansion of the German military (long before the United States expanded its own armed forces) as well as the wealth that accumulated to various official arms of the state from the theft of Jewish properties. Later in the same piece, Leonhardt also lauds America’s World War II mobilization as showing the genius of a stimulus, though he fails to mention that along with all the tanks, planes, and ships that were built, nearly 15 million Americans were also under arms during the war. That helped lower unemployment too.
This doesn’t mean that Barack Obama is a card-carrying socialist or that he is plotting a rerun of Nazi Germany. What it does mean is that there is a slippery slope in arguments that assume statist economies and systems are a good thing. There is a price to be paid for putting so much power in the hands of government. Americans rightly tried to steer away from the excesses of the New Deal (such as the National Recovery Administration which arrogated to itself the right to decide virtually everything about the American economy). We repeat those mistakes or go further only at the peril of our prosperity and our liberties.

Emphasis added. The problem with arguing that statism is a good thing, that expanding the power of government over the individual in the name of fairness, the problem is... well... eventually you end up going "Maybe the Reich wasn't all bad. At least economically."

Looking at the date it was posted (March 31st)... could this all be some elaborate April Fool's joke?

And if so who is it on?

Some have said that if you lay out a facist platform and scrub it of any historical context, the Left would lap it up.

Goldberg's book showed how these ideas kept popping up with the Liberal/Progressives.
Is Leonhardt showing that you don't even have to whitewash facism, even Nazism, to make these ideas palatable?

What's going on?

Stephen Green's response: I wondered the same thing. But the article is dated March 31, and the whole thing is just so serious.

So if it's all a joke... man is it a straight-faced sardonic one.

And Stephen Green comes up with a corollary to Godwin’s Law: In any internet discussion, the first side to mention Hitler in defense of his argument shall be mocked, and mercilessly.

Speaking of sardonic satire.

Saturday Night Live has a sketch that asks: "What's so special about the Auto Companies? Why do they get "special attention" from Obama?"

Their response: Give Obama time. He'll get to the rest soon enough.

As hotair notes: Not so much “funny ha-ha” as “funny this-isn’t-nearly-as-far-from-reality-as-it-should-be.”

Obama ties to Wish Nukes Away. North Korea Shoots Missle.

The wish: Obama“I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,”

The reality:
But few believed that North Korea’s long-range, multi-stage rocket test had anything to do with communications, other than sending a warning to its neighbors. While North Korea claimed Sunday that their satellite was successfully deployed to launch its space program, U.S. and South Korean watchers said no satellite or other object went into orbit as a result of the launch.

Ed Morrissey has more thoughts.

People will react by saying, “Well, what’s wrong with wishing away nuclear weapons?” Nothing, up until we base American foreign policy on wishful thinking. We’ve been fully committed to non-proliferation for decades, and we can see how well that worked with the North Korea launch. We’re now almost two full decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the MAD standoff, and nuclear weapons haven’t disappeared — they’ve spread despite supposed commitments from Russia, China, and other nuclear nations to stop proliferation.

Unfortunately, the science won’t disappear. Nations that put enough effort into R&D will eventually figure out a design for nuclear weapons. Networks like the AQ Khan ring will sell the designs to dictators desperate enough to want them to cement their power. Lunatics, such at the Iranian mullahcracy, will pursue nuclear weapons to arrange their personal Armageddons. Quite literally, the only way to stamp out the danger of nuclear weapons is to depose every potential lunatic who might use them — which the nations of the West absolutely refuse to do, and which would actually underscore the security nukes bring to dictators. No one would depose an already-nuclear despot and risk all-out nuclear war, especially one with medium- and long-range missiles, like North Korea and Kim Jong-Il.

Emphasis added. Does Obama really understand what it would take to get rid of ALL the nukes? Does he really think North Korea, or say Iran in a bit, will give up their strongest diplomatic barganing chip?

The 90% Lie.

In addition to the creepy economic controls. Let's see how the admin is going on civil rights.

Bob Owens
I've said before that the anti-gun forces in this country must lie about the horrors of firearms, because reality won't to stoke a level of fear that would convince the American people to give up their Constitutional rights.
An anti-gun lie being pushed hard recently is that 90 % of the guns used to commit violent crime in Mexico come from the United States. Democrats favoring more gun control have been hammering that claim repeatedly, claiming the violence in Mexico justifies further restrictions here in the United States.

But the 90% figure refers to the number of guns sent to the US for tracking. 90% percent of the guns Mexico sends to the US for tracking are found to be US in origin.

The honest question to ask is: What percentage of captured guns does Mexico send up to the US? Clearly, they wouldn't sent guns of obvious non-US manufacture to the US. Well it turns out the US guns are only 17% of total.

Glen Reynolds gets to the heart of it. "So when you hear the Mexican Gun Canard, bear in mind that it’s a lie, told by people who want to manipulate American politics with a phony foreign connection."

These are lies to try to stir up fear in the populace so they can get away with their control.


Liberals and Guns

Says Uncle has some thoughts on people on the Left wanting to arm themselves.

Still, I think it’s a good thing for liberals to arm themselves and, frankly, I am not concerned what their particular reason or come to the pro-gun-Jesus moment is. I don’t care if you’re arming yourself to defend against right wing militias, rabid hippies, bigfoot, or to prevent friendly fire from wayward members of the Earth Liberation Front and the People’s Front of Judea. I’m just glad they’re seeing the value and self-reliance inherent in doing for themselves. As such, I welcome them into the gunny fold. After all, we have a lot of lefty, pro-gun readers here

Indeed, making the choice to arm oneself is the choice to take action in your own defense to be more responsible for your fate. This is how freedom works, people that disagree with you politically get the same rights you do.

And the more you know about guns the more you can see how brazenly the Anti-Gun groups lie.

Obama to Big Banks: Don't pay back your TARP loans

Normally, a company that took government support paying back it's loans early would be a good thing, but Stuart Varney shows that Obama doesn't want that.

Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest.

Now why would a bank do a silly think like pay off it's debt early?

He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics.

Consider that. Obama is using these loans to get power over these companies, and he's keeping them from gettting out.

Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can't a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can't special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit -- until now.

Lovely. So Obama can force comapnies to take goverment money, then prevent them from giving it back, and since they have government money he can control them. Like fire their CEO or set pay rates for everyone in the company.

Which brings me to the Pay for Performance Act, just passed by the House. This is an outstanding example of class warfare. I'm an Englishman. We invented class warfare, and I know it when I see it. This legislation allows the administration to dictate pay for anyone working in any company that takes a dime of TARP money.

Ahh... government control of buisness. Remember that's only a bad thing when Republicans are in office.

It's not about helping the economy; it's about control.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ah... Obama.

From Slublog: Must Read Obama and the UAW

After reading, consider this: the same administration who is willing to spend federal money backing GM warranties wanted to make wounded veterans pay for their own care.

And doing something unconstituional? No problem!
In deciding that the measure is unconstitutional, lawyers in the department's Office of Legal Counsel matched a conclusion reached by their Bush administration counterparts nearly two years ago, when a lawyer there testified that a similar bill would not withstand legal attack.

Holder rejected the advice and sought the opinion of the solicitor general's office, where lawyers told him that they could defend the legislation if it were challenged after its enactment.

DrewM: Well, thank God we've gotten rid of those evil Bushies and their nefarious plots to run roughshod over the Constitution!

Smart diplomacy: Obama gives the Queen of England an iPod (she already has one).

And if that wasn't tacky enough, it's full of audio of his speeches.

So what was Obama thinking? "What can I give the monarch of the United Kingdom? I know! My words! My wonderful words!" Can this man get any more full of himself?

All promises from Obama come with an experation date. ALL of them.

"I can make a firm pledge," he said in Dover, N.H., on Sept. 12. "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."
He repeatedly vowed "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime."

Unless you happen to buy tobacco products.
Now in office, Obama, who stopped smoking but has admitted he slips now and then, signed a law raising the tobacco tax nearly 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes, to $1.01. Other tobacco products saw similarly steep increases.

Whats a 160% tax increase on something that's unhealthy anyway? At least it won't soak the poor anymore than the rich.

This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.

Oh... well sorry smokers. Guess it's your fault for taking the President at his word.

Remember this next time Obama, repeatedly and frequently promises he won't do anything.

I'm sure Obama's supporters will defend that Obama meant he won't raise rates on Income Taxes for 95% percent of us. Even though Obama says "not any of your taxes".

And the New York Times proves that even the slowest horses eventually cross the finish line. Is President Obama trying to muzzle his press corps?

They finnaly notice Obama's dislike of reporters -well- questioning him. I guess the mass media isn't quite supine and fawning for the President's tastes.