Blog Archives

Shooting fish in a barrel

Finding media bias that favors President Obama is so old hat and so easy as to almost make the entire exercise pointless. Man remains the only creature capable of deceiving himself and media man is not only capable of deceiving himself, but others. Something about how misery loves company, I suppose.

None-the-less, here are a couple of observations just so I stay in practice.

On one hand you have Paul Gregory at Forbes who lays out a brilliant case against Obama-speak (“I saved GM from bankruptcy”) and Clinton-speak (‘He saved the entire U.S. auto industry’) while also making the point our imperial president chose to patronize his political allies, practice crony capitalism, and ignore the law and past practice with the Administration’s political solution to GM and Chrysler’s non-competitiveness. The efficacy of the political solution at GM, at least, is crumbling, while Chrysler—at least Fiat now owns most of it—had no where to go but up (although their 2011 sales were below their 2008 mark).

And as far as the crumbling goes, even GM is chaffing at the Administration’s foolishness. In fact, GM now wants to take repurchase stock from the taxpayer funded rescue. The problem is the government won’t let them do it:

At GM’s Friday [14 September 2012] share price of $24.14, the U.S. would lose about $15 billion on the GM bailout if it sold its entire stake. While GM stock would need to reach $53 a share for the U.S. to break even, Treasury officials would consider selling at a price in the $30s, people familiar with the government’s thinking have said.

There is also a political calculus. A deal at this time could be fraught for the Obama administration, which has maintained that the bailout saved hundreds of thousands of jobs at a critical time for the U.S. economy and was a win-win for business and taxpayers alike. Huge losses on taxpayer investment in the auto maker’s stock could tarnish the administration’s overall record in recovering crisis-era bailout money.

On the other hand you have a pro-Obama/anti-Romney article steeped in regurgitative media bias, A Desperate, Deceptive Gambit for Romney in Ohio, which appears in the New Republic (I’m shocked, shocked!).

It’s fair to say that they [‘thousands and thousands’ of Ohioans] owe their jobs to President Obama, who in 2009 rescued Chrysler and General Motors from likely liquidation.

Liquidation, as the author fails to notice, is the normal process of an asset being sold to settle an obligation. He additionally fails to understand the sold assets are then used by another entity.

The NR author is so in the tank for Obama (if you couldn’t tell from the headline), he later  feels compelled to add in some faux-objectiveness:

Did Romney intend to mislead Ohio voters [regarding Chrysler building a Jeep plant in China, the “desperate, deceptive gambit”]? I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Presidential campaigns are chaotic, particularly in their final weeks. 

Of course he isn’t prepared to give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt; it’s just a set-up and giving Romney such benefit would confuse his readers, his instincts, and his storyline.

Instead, the definitive New Republic assertion is Mitt Romney is desperate and deceptive while Dear Reader saved jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. Hundreds of thousands of jobs:

…as Chrysler and GM were on the brink of true collapse, the Obama Administration stepped in with federal loans and a managed bankruptcy. Almost immediately, the automobile manufacturing sector started growing again. Since July, 2009, the workforce has risen by about 150,000 jobs and that’s purely in vehicle manufacturing. If you include parts and other related jobs, it’s 250,000.

A managed bankruptcy is a nice way of saying a politically managed bankruptcy. Then the author uses a graph featuring a super-shallow “V” of automotive jobs as evidence of the Obama automotive “recovery.” But moreover, as Mr. Gregory points out, the entire effort is but another example of Clinton-speak:

Bill Clinton’s Charlotte boast of “250,000 more people working in the auto industry” refers to new automotive jobs at Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Ford, and assorted trailer, camper, and jeep operations in America – not at the “new” GM.

And meanwhile back in Ohio (emphasis in the Gregory original)?

In March of 2008, GM employed 12,300 Ohioans. Today, GM employs 9,533, for a loss of 2,767 jobs — equal the average GM job loss in U.S. operations. A structured bankruptcy would have yielded a similar jobs result, but a competitive GM. There would be about 10,000 GM jobs in Ohio today with or without Obama “Saving GM.”

While it’s useful to re-confirm that the left lives in denial land, things that can’t continue forever—like a Soviet-style command-directed economy—won’t.



Bottom of the intellectual journalism totem pole: sports writers

At the bottom of the intellectual “journalism” totem pole is your sports writer, or even better, your sports “journalist.” Example one Skip Bayless. Example two: Stephen A. Smith. Example three: Peter King, the paid-by-the-word guy at Sports Illustrated:

Tweet of the Week IV

“After catching a few hours of sleep, the #Packers game is still just as painful. #Returntherealrefs”

— @GovWalker, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, last Tuesday.

I see the man who won the battle in 2011 to rid Wisconsin of many of its union rights supported the NFL Referees Association, and from the look of the internet last Tuesday, I’m not the only one who noticed the irony.

In 2011, Walker advanced a bill in Wisconsin to deny unions in the state the ability to bargain collectively for pensions and to peg public employees’ raises to the inflation rate. In 2012, the NFL officials’ union bargained for lucrative pensions and for salaries above and beyond the inflation rate.

Hmmm. I am missing something here. Help me on this one.

OK Peter, besides the fact you appear to think question marks are optional, here’s the help you need (in fact, you even wrote it down yourself): Walker’s initiative was with regard to publicly financed unions. The NFL referees union works in the free market.

The former is funded by the government via taxpayers (and borrowing); the later is funded by the marketplace.

Is that help sufficient or must more clarification be added? Oh, you still need more clarification? Try this (via Art Carden at Forbes):

[Intellectual giant Ludwig von Mises demonstrated] that socialism cannot function as a rational economic system and that private ownership of the means of production is necessary if value is going to be maximized and waste is going to be minimized…

Peter, Carden offers that your intellectual horizons will surely be widened, assuming you possess such a capacity, should you check out von Mises at The Online Library of Liberty or at The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Economic Anti-Darwinism

Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, writing at Forbes, address the epic failure known as the welfare state.

Their basic hypothesis is that the freedom provided by true capitalism is win-win. That is, capitalism allows all—buyers/sellers; employers/employees; the black/the white/the red and brown, the purple and yellow—to participate (or not participate) in economic transactions as they see fit. Conversely, the un-freedom of the mandates of the welfare state require the productive to support the unproductive.

From Brook and Watkins:

…if the false charge against capitalism is that it allows “the strong” to exploit “the weak,” then the true nature of the welfare state is that it allows “the weak”—i.e., the unproductive—to exploit “the strong”—i.e., the productive.

Although our elites tend to use differing forms of Darwinism as an explanation for almost all things, the modern welfare state is a sort of reverse economic Darwinism; an anti-Darwinism.

I’m ready for the social evolution theorist to provide a proper explanation of how we mutated (and to what societal benefit) to the welfare state. Something about unintended consequences, I suppose.

The RealClear Brand

The RealClear brand (politics, markets, sports, world, history, books, ad infinitum) of websites have long been a great aggregator location to start exploring what’s going on in the world.

With one exception: RealClearReligion.

rcrOne might expect a site named RealClearReligion would exclusively address religious items. Instead, much of the writing is explicitly anti-religious. Look at the screenshot and draw your own conclusions.

Few articles serve as a better example than today’s Family Research Circus which is fundamentally pro-homosexual marriage, pro-secular humanism, and anti-eternal and non-negotiable truths.

Why does this matter? RealClearReligion is fundamentally a misrepresentation.

Additionally, the RealClear brand is 51% owned by Forbes; I expect better things from Forbes.

Central Bankers and Other Market Interference Types

Nathan Lewis, writing at Forbes in his article Central Bankers Don’t Know What They’re Doing: They’re Faking It, offers this as proof:

One of the hardest things for many people to comprehend is that the people in charge of currency management around the world – central bankers, the IMF and so forth – don’t actually know what they are doing. They’re faking it.

How do we know this? Because as soon as they are called upon to do something specific, they fail miserably.

His observation brings to mind other fakers, for example, the Administration and the Congress. They, through their economic quackery, have infused us with non-functional “solutions” to unemployment, retirement, housing, health care, the financial industry, the automotive industry, the educational industry, and more.

Policy gridlock is far preferable to fools with initiative.

While the Central Bankers may be the target of Lewis’ scorn, they’re little different than interfering government in any form.

The challenge becomes one of gracefully unwinding the many idiotic “good” things government—and the central bankers—have done.

The Bible, Barack Obama Translation

First, the line of the day from Jerry Bowyer at Forbes:

The government can only be our shepherd if we are its sheep…

Bowyer’s article re-addresses the President’s comments at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast, which include a somewhat-tangled, but perhaps heart-felt (like the Jefferson Bible?) Presidential theology.

Here is a passage of much discussion from a transcript of the President’s speech:

…But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper…

One of Bowyer’s big points is that the President’s comment takes the context of the phrase and turns it on its head. The am I my brother’s keeper? phrase is actually used mockingly in Genesis by Cain after he has killed his brother. It constitutes a part of Cain’s lie to God.

At least one theologian has said the three most important things in Biblical study are context, context, and context. That’s why systematic theology, what the whole of the Bible says about the whole of a subject, is so important and cherry-picking verses may result in grievous error(s).

(And of course, since we live in a post-modern PC world, my sister’s keeper must be explicitly added.)

Bowyer’s biggest point is the President attempts to use the Bible to justify his social-political positions. The poor you will always have with you was somehow left out of Obama’s speech, perhaps because of its inconvenient truth and the fact the rest of the verse encouraged the disciples to focus on Christ, first and foremost. Also ignored in the President’s speech is the whole he who does not work should not eat idea.

An important part of the poor you will always have with you passage is not that we shouldn’t help the poor, but that there is always more to be done than there is time and money to do, and beyond that, there are even more important things to first pursue, or as Steven Covey might say, Put first things first.

Is this cherry-picking on my part or avoidance by omission on the President’s part (better, the part of his speechwriters)?

Of course, the President could have explicitly leaned on the give to Caesar what is Caesar’s idea since he is the closest thing we have to Caesar. Along this line, it seems he wants the nation (ideally, the people to include the the legislature–in the name of bipartisanship–but if not them, at least the courts and our myriad bureaucrats) to provide his desired social-political outcomes. Naturally, these outcomes are veiled in language like sound decision making and smart policies. After all, who could be for unsound decisions or foolish policies?

However, calling on us to give to Washington what is Washington’s (and especially when the government establishes its own boundaries and thus becomes the de facto grantor of rights versus having a Creator who has bestowed on us certain unalienable Rights) is a risky political position; saying such a thing with an out-loud Presidential voice would be most unimaginable. Now as to Joe Biden saying such a thing, that’s another story…

Finally, since the President mentioned the need to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, I have to wonder if that’s an anti-abortion reference.

No, after pondering my own question for a full nanosecond, I think it’s just me.

(Image courtesy of Brilliant!)

Paragraph of the Day

CNN Headline Sports used to have the play of the day. I have the paragraph of the day.

It comes from Peter Ferrara at Forbes, writing on President Obama’s 2013 budget:

You would think that President Obama would have learned from his experience over the last three years that such economic policies don’t work.  But what we have learned from our experience with President Obama is that he doesn’t learn from experience.  He is all theory, inculcated in him from birth.