Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dr. Pritchett and the Philosopher's Moan

"Dr. Pritchett" speaks:
There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make his money. He did not make his money alone. He used taxpayer infrastructure. He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors. There are no self-made men! The wealthy have gotten rich using what previous taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country a great deal and should be paying it back.
-George P. Lakoff, PhD, Professor of Linguistics - UC Berkeley

Dr. Lakoff's advice is important to Democrats. Speeches by Elizabeth Warren and the president have been informed by his writings.

A man who has been supported solely by taxpayers for his entire adult life, every check from the government, may quite naturally confuse his employers with the paymaster. This includes Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren.

We may debate who today has Mouch as his avatar, who plays Kinnan, who is Toohey, who is Thompson, who Boyle and who Taggart; but Lakoff is unequivocally Rand's Dr. Pritchett.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Decontextualization

The president insists he didn't say hard-work and intelligence are of little value without collectivist government intervention.

He claims his recorded, clearly articulated, heart-felt words are being taken out of context. To paraphrase his Democrat predecessor, "It depends on the context of "context."".

In the context of reality, the context of the president's remarks is even worse than the bald meaning of "You didn't build that.". That's why he's saying he didn't say it. At question is the difference between meaning what you say and saying what you mean.
“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least—at least I mean what I say—that’s the same thing, you know.”
When the president says what he means he gets in trouble. As for meaning what he says? He does mean he didn't say "You didn't build that," and probably even believes it himself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mitt was right

And so was I.

GM The UAW should not have been bailed out. Thanks to ZeroHedge: GM Stock Slides To Fresh Post-Bankruptcy Lows


GM Stock Price vs GM Channel Stuffing:
Click to enlarge.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Animal Farm Shrugged

Google Says Some Apple Inventions Are So Great They Ought to Be Shared

In plain English, Google wants Apple's intellectual property to be declared public property. Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote:
While collaborative [Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs)] play an important part in the overall standard setting system, and are particularly prominent in industries such as telecommunications, they are not the only source of standards. Indeed, many of the same interoperability benefits that the FTC and others have touted in the SSO context also occur when one firm publishes information about an otherwise proprietary standard and other firms then independently decide (whether by choice or of necessity) to make complementary investments to support that standard in their products. … Because proprietary or de facto standards can have just as important effects on consumer welfare, the Committee’s concern regarding the abuse of SEPs [standards-essential patents] should encompass them as well.
He means some Apple patents should be seized and given freely to Google, because they are popular. And Google is at a competitive disadvantage without them. License them? No, that's unfair, or too expensive, or insufficiently damaging to a competitor. It is the job of government to DO SOMETHING about this.

A reading of Atlas Shrugged reveals this is exactly the same pressure Hank Rearden faced from an eerily familar Kleptocracy. I used to nod and have a smallish chuckle when I saw an Ayn Rand plot device writ in MSM headlines. Now? I'm scared.

I understood Animal Farm as a warning, not a manual for governing. Now, I hear the president of the United States paraphrasing Old Major and Napoleon in every campaign speech.

Reality's convergence with the "fiction" of Rand and Orwell is accelerating. Google is Orren Boyle, Jim Taggart, Wesley Mouch and Dr. Potter combined. Old Major and Napoleon are the current administration.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Outgoing President Felipe Calderon, Mexico's Answer to Mike Bloomberg

Two words for you Mr. President Calderon. Butt out. You already stood with Obama and Hillary to lie about guns coming to Mexico from the US, and that didn't work out. All you're doing is encouraging Eric Holder to start Fast & Furious II. So thanks for your "advice," but take care of your southern border and then get back to us. It's the border with Guatemala you should look to.

Massacres of the Aurora scale happen monthly in Mexico. They happen on the streets. They happen neither because of guns from the US, nor due to certifiable PhD program dropouts. Automatic weapons are NOT legally entering Mexico from the US, unless those guns come from a program run by Eric Holder. And that's not legal, either.

You might consider giving honest Mexican citizens the right to defend themselves, rather than Tweeting this sort of BS:
Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned U.S. gun laws as "mistaken" and urged Washington to review them after a shooter killed 12 people and injured more than 50 others at a U.S. movie theater on Friday...

Fighting among the [Mexican drug] cartels and their clashes with the state have killed more than 55,000 people since 2007.
55,000? That's more than Chicago in a decade, so I'd appreciate a comment on the effectiveness of Mexican gun prohibition. If it's really working well there I might change my mind. You know, if between 2002 and 2007 there were 100,000 people killed, and it's almost been halved.

We don't need your advice Mr. Calderon. Your citizens are disarmed and unable to defend themselves. THEY need the Second Amendment.

As to guns used against innocents in your corrupt state, it's you who is mistaken. You'll find educational material here.


#youdidntbuildthat
Subsidies required to meet government mandates

BMW CEO Orren Boyle James Taggart Norbert Reithofer says that Germany's goal of having a million electric cars on German roads by the end of the decade will require the government to enact subsidies in the form of tax incentives. It brings to mind Solyndra, A123, General Motors and others. Especially General Motors.

The struckthrough names are fictional. James Taggart and Orren Boyle are obsequious, scheming crony capitalists in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Taggart's railroad is failing because he is incompetent, but the government is there to help:
Empty trains clattered ... They carried a few carloads of sheep, some corn, some melons and an occasional farmer with an overdressed family, who had friends in Washington. Jim [James Taggart, President of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad] had obtained a subsidy from Washington for every train that was run, not as a profit making carrier, but as a service of "public equality."
Later, in a meeting with a Federal Czar*, who is hammering out a series of edicts designed to seize complete control of the economy, Taggart and Boyle have this exchange:
"It is not essential whether you can afford it or not," Taggart said coldly. "You have to be prepared to make some sacrifices. The public needs railroads. Need comes first - above your profits."

"What profits?" yelled Orren Bole. "When did I ever make any profits? Nobody can accuse me of running a profit-making business. ... But, of course, the public does need railroads, and perhaps I could manage to absorb a certain raise in rates if i were to get - it's just a thought - if I were to get a subsidy to carry me over the next year or two..."
*Wesley Mouch, Co-ordinator of the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources. See Atlas Shrugged Chapter VI, from the start, for the meeting minutes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blunt Instrument of Goverment

"Swatting" is the term describing an attempt to have a SWAT Team dispatched to an innocent person's house by fraudulently reporting a serious crime. When a SWAT team comes to your house because they think you've just murdered your wife, someone could easily die.

This practice has recently been employed against several conservative bloggers by those on the far left. It was combined with harassment of their families and employers sufficient to force some into hiding.

"Swatting" is not the only form of harassment to which government may be put by the unscrupulous. There are yet blunter instrumentalities that can be aroused. Here is an example:
  • An Obama campaign website, "Keeping GOP Honest," calls out eight private citizens backing Mitt Romney as "wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records." One of them is named Frank VanderSloot, owner of Melaleuca Inc..
  • Within days, a former law clerk (on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) asks for court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot's divorces, as well as records of cases involving Melaleuca. He is later found to be working for a firm that does oppo research. Remember, VanderSloot is a private citizen. He's not running for office. Character assassination doesn't change votes here, it can only be intended to deter others from speaking without approval.
  • Shortly after the Obama campaign website's attack, VanderSloot is made subject of an IRS audit.
  • Two weeks later, Mr. VanderSloot is told that the Department of Labor will be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch.
Maybe it's all coincidental, but it appears to be blatant application of undue political influence. Someone not well marinated in Chicago-style politics might avoid even the appearance. One is certainly justified in wondering if any highly placed Democrat politician or bundler happened to pass a note about Mr. VanderSloot to the IRS and DoL.

"Swatting" is a crime for obvious reasons, the perpetrator must lie to authorities to solicit the response and, if successful, he puts lives at immediate risk. "IRSing" by public innuendo is legal. It requires no overt lies. Indeed, it seems to require no activity beyond the suggestion that specific donors to your political opposition are disreputable. If certain list-keeping authorities appear to act independently on such allegations, who is to say those authorities are politically motivated? Who is to say it's government that's unscrupulous? No lives are immediately at risk, it's merely the principle that government operates fairly and without favor put in jeopardy. We know that that is of little consequence to the present administration.

When the IRS and Labor Department are the actors instead of your local police SWAT unit, the perpetrator is some politically motivated bureaucrat, protected by the state. Which is worse? And before you answer, recall that the IRS is hiring over 10,000 new enforcers to deal with the tax that is Obamacare.

The bullet points above were drawn from stories by Kimberley Strassel at the WSJ:
Strassel: Trolling for Dirt on the President's List and
Strassel: Obama's Enemies List—Part II

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Harry Reid and the Burning Yellow ap-Peril.

The US Olympic Team is outfitted in uniforms made in China. This has some people upset. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for example:
I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "You'd think they'd [The US Olympic Committee] know better." It's John and Harry who should know better.

My first thought was to put all the Senators and Congressman in a big pile. But I couldn't figure out if Barney Frank would be on the top or on the bottom, and I quickly stopped thinking about it.

But what's the problem? The president and Congress gave a loan guarantee of $529 million to a foreign competitor of US automobile manufacturers. The president and Congress spent at least a billion and a half taxpayer dollars to create jobs overseas, sending a lot of it to places who don't do much for us at all. The Chinese, at least, have lent about a trillion dollars to the US. And whose fault is that?

In any case, the US Olympic Committee is privately funded, so it isn't even taxpayer dollars Harry wants to burn. It's private funds, like the more than $40,000 Ralph Lauren has donated to Democrats since 2008.

What's Ralph Lauren got to do with it? He is the guy who outsourced the uniform production. Harry should raise his objections with Ralph about this, give back the money, and then get in the pile.

Update 4:16PM. Similar thoughts at Cafe Hayek and RealClearMarkets.

Update 5:01PM Jul 15. More thoughts at FutureOfCapitalism.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Government Motors: Morally Hazardous...

... to the Rule of Law; to the economy; to taxpayers; to shareholders.

This is not Capitalism, it is Fascism. Capitalism actually requires that bad companies be allowed to fail. And their assets, or lack thereof, cannot appear on a government balance sheet.
"It looks like General Motors will be throwing everything in but the kitchen sink to help fluff its second quarter earnings numbers. Taxpayers continue to help with the cause as President Obama campaigns on the "success" of GM following the manipulated bankruptcy process that cost taxpayers $50 billion and another $45 billion of tax credits gifted to GM to help protect powerful UAW interests. We now learn that government purchases of GM vehicles rose a whopping 79% in June."
And the old channel stuffing trick has been revived to inflate "earnings."
"Old habits die hard at GM. According to a Bloomberg report, "GM said inventory of its full-size pickups, which will be refreshed next year, climbed to 238,194 at the end of June, a 135 days supply, up from 116 days at the end of May." 135 days supply is huge, the accepted norm is a 60 day supply. The trick here is that GM records revenue when vehicles go into dealership inventories, not when actually sold to consumers."
There's now a shareholders' class action suit filed because of that.

Who'da thunk there would be political motivation to maintain the illusion that UAW/Federal joint-ownership of a car company was a good idea? In an election year yet... from the most transparent Administration ever to preen before a mirror.

Mitt Romney, along with many others, was right: GM should have gone bankrupt.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Life. Liberty. Pursuit of happiness.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

Is the United States better off than it was 48 years ago?


Re-Declaration of Independence Day
- Tuesday, November 6, 2012 -

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Free Riders of the Purple Wage

Nancy Pelosi is now insisting that the #ObamaTax is not a tax. Since this would make it unconstitutional, one wonders whether Ms Pelosi's sanity has been trumped by her partisanship. Not.
The former speaker vigorously disputed Gregory's characterization of the individual mandate as a "new tax," based on the court's finding that the mandate passed constitutional muster based on Congress' authority to impose taxes. Pelosi said the fines to be levied on those without insurance should be considered a penalty, not a tax.

"The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance figuring they won't be sick and if they do other people will have to cover it," Pelosi said. "So these free riders, as they were identified by Gov. Romney himself, he said people have the ability to pay and don't can't expect to be free riders. And I think that he termed it exactly right. These free riders make health insurance for those who are taking responsibility making it more expensive."
The Free Riders are apparently 75% comprised of Americans earning less than $120,000 per year.

Added to the illegal immigrants who are the major free riders, and to a large number of whom the president has just granted amnesty, that probably covers 99% of US residents.

Happy Canada Day!

To my friends north of 49.