?

Log in

Flame-Free Politics


June 14th, 2012

The Eurozone: A House of Cards @ 08:28 pm


Several days ago it was posted here that Eurozone finance ministers had agreed to lend up to $125 billion to Spain. That's foolish enough in itself, but . . .

1. Spain is to repay the loan with 3% interest.

2. Italy, one of the Eurozone's problem children, is required to provide 20% of the loan, which is up to $25 billion.

3. Italy does not *have* $25 billion to spare, and will borrow the money at 7% interest.

Got it?

Italy will borrow money at 7% in order to lend it at 3%.

If Spain borrows the entire $125 billion, the absolute *best* Italy can hope for is to get its $25 billion back with 3% interest and lose only a billion dollars.

Way to go, guys.
 

June 11th, 2012

The Inmates Are Running the Asylums @ 10:06 pm


French President Francois Hollande has cut the retirement age in France from 62 to 60. Despite the live in technicolor examples of the effects of borrowing to spend in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and other European countries - and yes, the United States - he does this in the name of "social justice." This is projected to increase the number of French retirees by 110,000 in the first year alone. His "plan" is to fund all this with increased taxes on workers and employers. One hand gives and the other takes away, or perhaps in this case the Left hand gives and the Left hand takes away.

Harry Reid and Barack Obama think the private sector in America is doing just dandy, thank you very much.

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to lend an indeterminate amount - up to 125 billion dollars - to Spain. The whole Euro boat is sinking, but the zealots are determined to ensure that no unspent money sinks with it.

The liberal press presented Wisconsin Governor (Republican) Scott Walker's victory margin of seven percent in the recall election as a "close race." Did they really think no one would remember that they trumpeted Obama's 2008 seven percent margin of victory as a "landslide?"

On June 7th, Les Moonves, head of CBS News, declared publicly that "partisanship is very much a part of journalism now." One day later, CBS spokesman Dana McClintock explained that the Moonves statement did not refer to CBS. Well, of *course* not. Ah ha ha ha ha ha.
 

May 7th, 2012

Hollande - Death Knell for the EU? @ 11:13 am


Well, perhaps nothing quite so immediate, but France has at the very least driven another nail into the coffin by electing Socialist Francois Hollande to the French presidency.

Hollande has been quoted as saying that his real enemy is "the world of finance."

The European Union agreed a couple of months ago to impose discipline on its spending, but Hollande wants to increase spending. Can you say "stimulus?"

Now it says here that the EU, and for that matter, the euro, are doomed, at least as we know them, and that the EU descended into farce when it congratulated itself on an agreement to impose fiscal austerity on countries such as Greece and Italy. It will be more difficult to effect that austerity than to herd cats, especially if the cats in those countries see tuna being thrown to the cats in France.

What *is* it with Socialists? Hollande can see the results of overspending in Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, yada yada yada, and for that matter the United States, so what special attribute does he think he possesses that will cause more spending in France to produce a different result? What is his equivalent of "shovel ready?" 

Hollande is mistaken. His enemy is not the world of finance, but reality itself.
 

April 9th, 2012

Obama and the Flap over His Supreme Court Comments @ 12:15 pm


Hokay, the dust has settled and it's time to take a dispassionate look at what transpired after President Obama's ill chosen remarks about ObamaCare and the Supreme Court (see preceding post).

The most important thing that transpired was that the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter setting forth the position of the Executive Branch regarding the question of whether Federal courts had the authority to overturn Congressional legislation.

The Court was hearing a case involving ObamaCare and physician-owned hospitals. The Justice Department counsel, one Dana Lydia Kaersvang, was asked whether the DOJ agreed that Federal courts could overturn laws it considered unconstitutional. Despite counsel's immediate response in the affirmative, Judge Jerry Smith, clearly looking for a fight, opined that the President's recent comments indicated otherwise, and issued the order requiring the letter from DOJ.

Questions:

1. By what authority did the Court issue the order? Was it simply because a DOJ lawyer was pleading a case at the moment?

2. Of what possible use to the Court could DOJ's response be?

If DOJ subsequently indicated that yes, it agreed that courts could overturn laws, what would have been added to counsel's immediate response indicating exactly that?

If DOJ subsequently indicated that no, it did not agree, what action could the Court then take, the entire question and answer dealing with hypothetical cases, not actually proceeding in opposition to actual rulings?

3. Does this constitute abuse of the Court's power?

Now the President definitely stepped in it with his remarks, but that was during a political speech. He was simply laying groundwork for his re-election campaign, not issuing a proclamation expressing his administration's position regarding the honoring of court decisions,  and in fact there was nothing in his remarks to suggest that the administration would not honor an adverse decision.

And what anal retentive judge issues a requirement for a three-page, single-spaced letter? Perhaps it is well that middle-aged (read "more mature") people fill cabinet posts, because if during my confrontational youth I had been Attorney General and received such an order, the judge would have received a reply consisting of a one page response followed by two pages of pop music lyrics to achieve the three page objective.

In the end, the kerfuffle forced Obama to backtrack, and perhaps that was the Court's objective. But was it the Court's responsibility? One sometimes hears of a judge imposing a harsh sentence and announcing that the purpose is to "send a message" to one group or another - the community, criminals, etc. But it is not a court's duty to "send a message." Is that what this was?

The Court has earned My Disapproval.
 

April 2nd, 2012

Obama, Buffoon @ 11:22 pm


Reuters reports that President Obama has said at a news conference
"Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
Now three things about that statement:

1. It contains an outrageous lie. The margin of victory in the House was less than two percent - all yea votes coming from Democrats only and with some Democrats defecting.

And who can forget what it took to get it through the Senate? Hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to the states of unpersuaded Senators.

2. Despite Obama's much touted legal education, he obviously knows absolutely nothing about constitutional law. Overturning laws passed by Congress is part of the Supreme Court's job. Overturning this one would be neither unprecedented nor extraordinary. The reason Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to pack the Supreme Court was that it had overturned a number of congressionally enacted laws - The National Industrial Recovery Act and other pieces of Roosevelt's "New Deal," all laws passed, by the way, with *genuine* strong majorities, not the razor thin majorities attained by Obamacare.

3. "Ultimately," he is *not* confident, but is whistling past the graveyard. However, it was a political statement and we should forgive him the hyperbole, if not his distortion of historical facts.
 

March 14th, 2012

Disarming the Troops @ 03:57 pm


The New York Times reports that yesterday, when US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan and addressed a group of 200 people, a mixture of American troops and Afghans, the Americans were disarmed. The Afghans were not armed, as is typical in such circumstances, and Marine Major General Mark Gurganus explains that he wanted "a consistent policy for everyone in the tent."

Why? Are we to pretend that Afghans have the same loyalties, including loyalty to the Secretary of Defense, that US troops have?

It is sometimes claimed that one military leader or another is someone his troops would follow to the gates of Hell. Gurganus is a general I would not follow across the street.

What a slap in the face.

If you are an officer responsible for US troops in a combat zone and if under *any* circumstances you do not trust your troops to keep their weapons, then you should get your politically correct, sorry ass out of the US military and join Marine-bashing Jack Murtha, who is even now roasting in his own special circle in Hell.
 

February 24th, 2012

Another 'Guess What Party' News Report @ 01:10 am


It has been reported - and demonstrated - here that when there is a negative report in the news about a political figure, then if the report does not mention the figure's political affiliation you can pretty much assume it's a Democrat.

Today Huffpost Miami provided another example with a report on the discovery that Florida House Representative Richard L. Steinberg, who is married, has been sending inappropriate texts to a married woman. The report contained no mention of Steinberg's political affiliation, but . . .

When three of the first five commenters called Huffpo on it, saying that silence on the matter indicated that Steinberg was probably a Democrat, Huffpo fessed up, however reluctantly, by revising the story and revealing in the last sentence of the fifth paragraph that Steinberg is in fact a Democrat.


 

February 20th, 2012

Chimichangas, Ladies, and Political Correctness @ 12:19 am


These days it's difficult to keep up with what's politically correct and what is not.

Of course, part of the reason for this is that nearly everyone even tangentially assoicated with public life has an eye out for the opportunity to call someone else racist, sexist, greedy, and for all I know, knock-kneed.

When Jim Messina, President Obama's campaign manager tweeted that the chimichanga might be the only thing Republicans had to offer Latinos, he really stepped in it. Flames appeared magically, eventually forming a circle around the obligatory Republican and Latino "demands" for an apology.

Well. Where to begin? I guess the first thing is what foundation does your demand have? That is to say, "Or what?"

Secondly, what's the problem, exactly? Shall we pretend that other races are more likely than, or even *as* likely as Latinos to have eaten chimichangas in the last few days? Is a chimichanga a gross, crass, crude, vulgar, and disgusting  thing to eat? Or to associate with someone? I'd bet Michelle Obama, self-proclaimed Food Czarina, would eat one. At least.

Have all the people in America lost their senses of humor? Their tolerance? If in fact this could be considered a faux pas, it must rank among the tiniest ever observed, but politicians - Democrats and Republicans alike - are ever on the alert for a chance at a gotcha moment.

Regarding other events I'd address other people, but for this one I'd advise Republicans and Latinos to get a grip.

I thought about writing the above at the time of the incident, but decided it was too trivial. So why write about it now? Well, I was reminded about it by some phony outrage published today at The Huffington Post over another matter.

Margaret Wheeler Johnson, Huffpo's "Women's Editor," is outraged that in reviewing Jodi Kantor's book, The Obamas, critic Douglas Brinkley said "Call it chick nonfiction, if you will; this book is not about politics, it's about marriage."

Johnson claims that this categorizes the book as belonging to "an inferior class of books that only women read." I don't see that. Do you see that? About inferiority, I mean? Or even about "only women?"

Ms. Johnson having attained such an exalted position, one assumes she is an adult, if not a grown-up. Mr. Brinkley implied, correctly, that in general women are more interested than men in literature about marriage. If this is not an indisputable fact then the sun just might rise in the west tomorrow.

The unintentional humor on that web page is just *too* delicious.

To begin with, it is, to use a word used and overused by Vizzini in The Princess Bride, inconceivable that a literate adult is unaware that there exist written works that are of more interest to women than to men. In-Goddamn-conceivable.

Next, she quotes author Jennifer Weiner. We will look at only a very small portion of that quote:
"However, when the old, pernicious double standards still apply, if it's a lady doing the investigation . . ."
A lady? The lady has forgotten that the womyn's movement banished "lady" from the language in the 1970s, except perhaps in the case of the wives of Lords.

Finally, there are many types of information in which women are more interested than men, and I would speculate that Ms. Johnson's subjects generally fall in that category. Why else would Huffpo require a "Women's Editor?"
 

February 15th, 2012

Hillary Clunton? Larry Summers? @ 11:39 am


Reuters reports that Robert Zoellick will step down when his term as President of the World Bank ends on June 30. The position has always been filled by an American, and two candidates mentioned in the article as possibilities are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Larry Summers, former economic advisor to President Obama.

It does not appear that Hillary knows more about economics than any other leading liberal, but it should be noted that she has been a very good Secretary of State for Obama. Dutifully, she attempted to persuade various nations to bend to Obama's will, even in the cases of policies with which she disagreed.

Summers, however, is the man who told us in the summer of 2009 that the stimulus package was working and that proof of that could be seen in the fact that fewer people were googling the phrase "economic depression."

Yup, neither foot on the ground. That's the person I'd want to see dispensing billions of dollars worldwide.
 

February 14th, 2012

Obama's New "Truth Team" @ 10:56 pm


President Obama's reelection campaign has recycled an old idea, forming a "Truth Team" to combat Obama's opponents by counterattacking when any serious criticism of Obama surfaces.

This is a short list, based only on broken campaign promises - and not even all of those, but what will the "Truth Team" say in response to any of the following questions?

What happened to his promised "new era of bipartisanship?" Now of course the team will blame Republican recalcitrance, but what will they say when reminded that Obama began this new era of bipartisanship by attempting to end disagreements with "I won" and by appointing as his Chief of Staff a man who was best known for saying "Republicans can go fuck themselves."

What happened to "When I am President they (lobbyists) won't find a job in my administration?" His cabinet, his "czars," and his senior staff are almost exclusively former lobbyists and have been from day one, as was the case with his cabinet nominees who could not gain Senate approval.

What happened that caused the promise of C-SPAN coverage of health care negotiations to turn into closed door meetings?

What happened to "a net cut in spending, pay as you go?" Are any of his broken promises as ludicrous as this one?

What happened to "sunlight before signing" - a promise to post legislation on the White House site five days before signing it? "When there's a bill that ends up on my desk as President, you, the public will have five days to look online and find out what's in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government's doing." Could someone provide the address of that site, please?

What happened to no individual mandate in health care legislation? "If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house." Since he apparently decided that a mandate *was* his solution, why hasn't he mandated that everyone buy a house?

What really happened, what the "Truth Team" can't say, is that every promise he made was a lie. He said what he thought he needed to say in order to be elected, and once elected he promptly dismissed all of it.

Get ready for Campaign Lies, Part II.
 

Flame-Free Politics