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Thought for the day

We live in a world where the central bank (Fed) *rigs interest rates low, in order to rig debt levels and asset prices high* as they can possibly go.

I know it’s abstract and I comment on it ad nauseum, but I’m not sure it can be over-stressed. It has lots of bad effects.

  • You think homes are unaffordable, compared to (say) 40 years ago? Guess why home prices aren’t a good deal lower. (There are many reasons – but try guessing the biggest.)
  • Feel hopeless about your ever retiring? Take a guess why retirement income is hard to come by.
  • Feel like you struggle to make ends meet every month, while wealthy people (having lots of financial assets) keep doing better and better? One more guess why.
  • Feel like new, good jobs are impossible to come by? The Obama administration (including Obamacare) is a big drag, there. But the Fed doesn’t exactly help.
  • Feel like the stock market is a crazy bubble again? Feel like we learned nothing from the 2008 crisis, and our economy is still much too ‘financialized’ and debt-ridden? Again, many causes – but one guess as to the top cause…

Interest rates are the most important price in the economy. They should be set by the People in free markets. I see no reason to have a Politburo which plans them – and plans them badly, in ways that injure society.

Someone Thinks Pretty Highly of Himself

Posted by V the K at 10:29 am - April 16, 2014.
Filed under: Liberals

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of Munchkinland New York City, doesn’t have to use fossil fuels to heat his massive estate; his ego is plenty sufficient.

Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

I am reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

But then, what did he know? He was a Christianist.

More Bizarro-World Economics

Remember this promise: “We’re going to solve the health care crisis by adding millions and millions of poor people to the health care system. We’re going to force insurers and providers to provide more services to them. But this will result in massive savings, affordability, and lower costs for everyone!”

Yeah, that.

Well, those same Bizarro-World Economists are making a new promise: “We’re going to solve global warming by putting severe limits on the use of carbon-based fuels. We’re going to put severe limits on industry to force them to emit less carbon. But this will result in “co-benefits” that result in economic growth and prosperity for all!

How well do you reckon that will work out?

bizarro

[Is "Co-Benefit" even a word?]

Yet another ‘limousine socialist’

Left-wing NYC Mayor de Blasio has released his tax return. Guess what?

  • “$165,047 in total income” (probably includes his “$52,000 in rental income”)
  • “Mr. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was 8.3%.”
  • “reported $5,597 in gifts to charity, roughly 3%”

So de Blasio got a 6-figure income and gave basically 11% back to the society in which he lives.

I seem to remember lefties screeching with drama and contempt in 2012 when Mitt Romney paid an effective tax rate of 14.1%, plus another whopping 29.7% to charity, for a total give-back to society of 44% of his income, or four times the rate of de Blasio.

Mohammedan Cabdrivers Doing What Christian Bakers Are Not Allowed to Do

Posted by V the K at 8:12 am - April 16, 2014.
Filed under: Islamic Intolerance

In Cleveland, some cab-drivers are refusing to take fares from the airport… because billboards advertising the Gay Games are offensive to them.

Some drivers of the zone-based taxis operating out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have notified their companies they don’t want to drive the cabs for religious reasons, citing rooftop placards that are advertising the upcoming Gay Games.

Hopkins released a statement saying that two of the three taxi companies operating at the airport — Ace and Yellow Taxi – were informed by several of their drivers they will no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated taxi cab program.

Patrick Keenan, general manager for the third company, Americab, said two of his drivers also have opted not to drive because of the Gay Games ads. The drivers are Muslims, Keenan and Hopkins spokeswoman Jackie Mayo said.

So … Mohammedan cabdrivers can refuse to carry passengers, blind passengers with guide dogs, or people who bought alcohol… “because Islam forbids”… and we have to respect their religious rights, otherwise racism.

But… Christian photographers, bakers, and florists can be forced to participate in gay weddings that they object to… because the gay “right” not to be offended by someone else’s disapproval trumps their religious liberty.

And… Mozilla can be forced by the gay mob to fire their CEO because he once donated money to oppose gay marriage, because that’s just a corporation acting on its principles.

But… Hobby Lobby is not allowed to refuse to pay for abortion-inducing drugs for its employees, because corporations are not people, and so have no right to put their principles into policy.

It all makes perfect sense when it’s explained that way, doesn’t it?

Joe Biden Says Something Mind-Numbingly Stupid

Posted by V the K at 7:53 am - April 16, 2014.
Filed under: Biden Watch

I know, dog bites man.

Less than a minute into his speech at the Boston marathon bombing memorial on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden went tragically off script and told the crowd of Boston bombing survivors that “it was worth it.”

After expressing how impressed he was with the tribute, he said somberly, “let me say to those ‘quote survivors,’ my God, you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it. I mean this sincerely – just to hear each of you speak. You’re truly, truly inspiring.”

Let’s see. An eight-year old boy was blown to pieces. Other people will spend the rest of their lives with prosthetic limbs (because the massive NSA surveillance state couldn’t keep tabs on two radical Muslim immigrants the Russian Government warned us about). But it was worth it because Joe Biden Got to Hear a Speech.

And the $100,000 in welfare benefits the Boston Bombers received… also, totally worth it.

Finland Issues Tom of Finland Stamps

Debated whether to insert the image and then decided… um… No. But you can see it here.

The Finnish postal service, is releasing commemorative stamps featuring the art of Tom of Finland, or Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991). Laaksonen remains a towering and iconic figure in the gay art scene. His sketches, often explicit, were unapologetic depictions of gay sex and relationships. Laaksonen’s subjects were almost always muscle-bound, handsome figures, often bursting out of their clothes. His work, a meditation on masculinity, was also heavy on leather fetish imagery.

Given the Democrat Party’s ceaseless gay-pandering, (like Obama’s recent choice for an openly gay clergyman to deliver the prayer at Easter breakfast) I expect that a similar set of Robert Mapplethorpe stamps will be issued here before too long. I just hope they’re the self-adhesive kind. Nobody wants to lick that.

Importing the FSA

A study recently found that the reason immigrants favor Democrats 2 to 1 over Republicans is because immigrants want what the Democrats promise: Free [Stuff] from the Government. The more immigrants that get imported, the larger the Free [Stuff] Army (FSA) grows, even in Texas.

So, the Republican Party is doomed… and pro-Amnesty, pro-Mass Immigration types like Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and John McCain… are eager to facilitate the demographic Kervorkianing of the GOP.

One problem though; the economy is way, way past its freeloader carrying capacity. Our actual private economy is in decline; a decline hidden only by massive borrowing and spending by Government at all levels. (Government spending is actually a component of the Gross Domestic Product; which is kind of like if I counted the money I spent every year as part of my annual income). A declining economy and an expanding Government are mutually unsustainable. The USA today is in very much the position of the USSR in the 1980s; except instead of a bloated military complex, we have a bloated entitlement complex.

The appetite for Free [Stuff] from the Government is infinite; but economic resources are limited. The new Democrat majority can vote for everything their greedy little hearts desire; but at some point, there’s no money to pay for it. We are already beyond that point.

The Race Question

The (needless to say) left-wing president of Western Washington University has put his finger on the biggest problem in higher education. And it isn’t ridiculously overpriced and ultimately worthless degrees, it’s… too many white people.

A school-wide questionnaire at Western Washington University (WWU) asked the community “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today?’”

The question, released through the communications and marketing department’s daily newsletterWestern Today, comes on the heels of admonishments given in multiple convocation addresses by WWU President Bruce Shepard for the university’s “failure” to be less white.

“Every year, from this stage and at this time, you have heard me say that, if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as university,” Shepard said in the 2012 speech.

So, here’s a picture of Bruce Shepard. Suffice it to say, Malik Shabazz he ain’t.

Tax Day homily

Although this story focuses on California’s abuses, it shows how government gets its revenue in general: arbitrarily and with the power and willingness to ruin people’s lives.

In 1970, a young Southern California electrical engineer and inventor named Gilbert Hyatt filed a patent application for an innovative microprocessor chip…

Twenty years later…the U.S. patent office awarded Hyatt the patent…a multimillion-dollar windfall. He moved to Las Vegas, where he said he was a full-time resident before he received the earnings.

California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB)…decided to seek $7.4 million in back taxes, claiming that he was still a resident of California when the money came in. That sounds like a simple enough dispute that could quickly be resolved, but what followed has been an ordeal that has consumed a good bit of Hyatt’s adult life.

…[for] a sum that now tops $55 million as interest and penalties have accrued…The tax authorities have been pursuing him through its administrative process. Tired of the endless investigations, Hyatt filed suit in Nevada court in 1998. California officials said they weren’t subject to an out-of-state tort lawsuit. California lost that argument in the Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court and the high court decision sent the case back to a Nevada district court, which awarded Hyatt nearly $400 million in damages after finding that the California authorities abused their power and invaded his privacy. That case is on appeal.

Hyatt believes that California officials are purposefully delaying. “Specifically, because of the 20 year delay Hyatt can no longer obtain a fair and full adjudication of whether he owes state taxes to California,” according to his lawsuit. “During this time, material witnesses have passed away, memories of witnesses have faded, and documents relevant and important to Hyatt are no longer available.” The board keeps assessing penalties…He suspects the tax board is waiting for him to die so that it can go after his estate.

Under California law, the Franchise Tax Board has the “presumption of correctness,” meaning that the onus always is on Hyatt to disprove what the tax officials say. And, he argues, they keep changing their stories and their allegations, thus resulting in more years of legal expenses and disputes…

To sum up – When dealing with the tax man in America today, you have:

  • No “innocent until proven guilty”.
  • No real “right to a speedy trial”.
  • Kafka-esque complexity and situations rigged for you to lose.

To anyone who wants to claim that our tax system is “voluntary”, or that government somehow isn’t a gun, or that taxation somehow isn’t a use of force on people (many conscientious tax-objectors are given long jail sentences): You’re just lying.

The Thin Skin of the President

Posted by V the K at 9:58 am - April 15, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Watch

Dr. Ben Carson is one of America’s top neurosurgeons … which, unlike being a Community Organizer, is an actual achievement. At last year’s National Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Carson gave a speech that was critical of political correctness, and offered some suggestions for reforming health care delivery that were at least a million times better than anything in Obamacare.

Afterwards, the White House apparently asked him to apologize for “offending the president.”

“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

We can only hope that Reggie Love was waiting in the 42 vehicle armored motorcade with a crying towel.

Progressives For Cronyism; Ridesharing Edition

Posted by V the K at 7:02 am - April 15, 2014.
Filed under: Crony Capitalism Consequences

Surprised Jeff didn’t have this one. Technology has enabled people who need rides to connect with people who have rides to offer through services like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber. The taxicab companies are not happy about these interlopers. In a Free Market, the taxicab companies would have to up their game in order to hold onto their customers; i.e. offer better services and/or better prices… cabs that don’t smell like the floor of a dive bar’s bathroom, drivers with a higher level of courtesy than a rap star’s bodyguards. But in the modern “progressive” political economy, it’s easier just to get their bought-and-paid-for politicians to shut the competition down and claim it’s for the Common Good.

In Philadelphia, the city has confiscated the automobiles of people participating in Sidecar’s ridesharing service.  In Austin TX, these services have been banned outright at the behest of… of course … taxicab companies. Minneapolis is requiring ride-sharers to register and be licensed as taxi drivers (an expensive, time-consuming process subject to the whims of bureaucracy). Efforts are underway in NYC, DC, Atlanta, and other large socialist-run cities to ban the services entirely.

It is also bothersome to the bureaucrats that the ratings systems provided by consumers offer a higher assurance of driver quality than the paperwork of a thousand bureaucrats.

Ask yourself: Would you rather ride with a driver who has been rated by other passengers, with that rating posted on your cell phone and monitored continuously by a company with a stake in maintaining consumer confidence, or one who has been cleared by some local political appointee who might, just might, see approval of a driver as a source of income?

You also don’t have to worry about a Somali cabdriver refusing to give you a ride because your guide dog is forbidden according to his Mohammedan religion.

Demagogues will always find some reason to oppose the free market; “public safety” or “protecting jobs.” When Progressives rail against “unbridled capitalism,” they are railing against the innovation, efficiency, and higher standard of service that comes from free market competition. And what they are advocating instead is bureaucracy, cronyism, and stagnation.

The Ukraine crisis – and the dollar’s decline

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:18 am - April 14, 2014.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy,National Security,Obama Incompetence

We know the Ukraine crisis is hot, with Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of terrorism and east Ukraine basically expecting a Russian invasion. But what interests me is the larger backdrop: the erosion of the U.S. dollar as the world “reserve currency” (or centerpiece of global finance and trade).

You see, the more President Obama tries to isolate Putin, the more he pushes Russia and its trading partners – such as China, India, Germany, Iran – to speed their efforts to integrate their economies and financial systems, to the exclusion of the U.S.

Consider the following news items. None are earth-shattering, but each reveals a bit of the picture.

So, Russia annexing territory (the Crimea) is not really a big deal to Washington; it triggers token U.S. sanctions. But Russia trading with its own neighbor (Iran), in a way that bypasses the dollar-based financial system and thus the U.S. ability to eject little countries from world trade – that gets Washington’s attention. That tells you where the sore spot is.

To continue:

Do you see where this is going? Not toward Russia being isolated. Maybe, in time, toward the U.S. being isolated.

UPDATE: Ordinary Russians are only annoyed, not frightened, by U.S. sanctions.

My New Favorite Campaign Ad

Posted by V the K at 7:47 am - April 14, 2014.
Filed under: 2014 Elections

From Mr. John Boehner’s Primary Opponent

YouTube Preview Image

Leftists: Still running amok

They’re still claiming that any opposition to leftism could only be motivated by racism. Here, Rep. Steve Israel (D) says it back-hand style:

Candy: Do you think your Republican colleagues are racist?

Israel: Not all of them, no. Of course not. But to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.

They’re still demanding that their failures be subsidized and bailed out. Here, a “green” solar company sues the government for only having dished it $250 million of taxpayer money, instead of millions more.

They’re still using highly questionable statistics to demagogue the issue of equal pay for men and women.

They’re still fighting their ‘war’ on Fox News, and failing – sometimes with hilarious results. The video shows Greta van Susteren cornering an aggressive Democrat into admitting that he lied about his resume.

They’re still racially divisive with amazing double standards. Here, a Democrat belittles her African-American GOP colleague for being only “half” black. Which, remember, happens to be what President Obama is.

They still have amazing double standards on the issues of Islam, free speech and women’s rights. Last week, leftists hit a triple (the wrong positions on all three) when Brandeis snubbed Ayaan Hirsi Ali after considering her for an honorary degree.

They’re still screeching “McCarthyism!” to deflect attention from their misconduct, as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) did last week, when questions arose over his own staff’s collusion with the dangerously out-of-control IRS.

UPDATE: At least there’s hope for Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has had a good run lately. He signed a major tax relief package into law, his controversial budget reforms have put the state back in the black…A new poll from Wisconsin Public Radio suggests that voters are appreciative of the governor’s accomplishments. Walker leads Democrat Mary Burke by 16 points in the survey (56/40), with Walker’s approval rating soaring to just shy of 60 percent — an all-time high in the series. (President Obama’s job approval is underwater at 48/50 in the poll). Walker’s lead is fueled by a 19-point advantage among independents…

#BanBossy update

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:48 am - April 14, 2014.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Democrats & Double Standards,Hillary Clinton

First, some Middle Eastern guy did it to President Bush in 2008. Now, a woman has done it to Hillary:

I’ll say little except to note Hillary’s comment, “That is not the way democracy works” – which is not what I remember lefties saying in 2008.

Showing Who Their Heroes Are

The Gay Left has decided that the ideal choice for Honorary Grand Marshal of the San Francisco Pride Parade is convicted traitor Bradley Manning.

Today, the nation’s largest Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee announced on its website that WikiLeaks whistle-blower traitor (-Ed) Chelsea Manning has been chosen to represent the event as a 2014 Honorary Grand Marshal.

Manning thanked the San Francisco Pride Committee from Fort Leavenworth military prison, declaring, “As a trans* woman, I appreciate the Pride movement’s significant role in bringing together diverse communities and elevating the public profile of the fight for queer rights. I have always enjoyed attending Pride celebrations given the opportunity, and I’m deeply honored to receive this title.”

Obviously, he was the only gay person in the military worth honoring.

Then, I remember this article from The Onion, and Bradley Manning seems perfect: Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years

 

 

Because 12-Year-Olds Really Need to Know This Stuff

Posted by V the K at 9:26 pm - April 13, 2014.
Filed under: Liberalism Run Amok

Part of a Sex Education Conference for Middle Schoolers brought to you by the State of Oregon and Planned Parenthood*

adolescent_sex_conference

IMHO: There’s something just downright creepy about adults who are obsessed with teaching kids how to have sex.

* FY2014 Federal Taxpayer subsidy: $542,000,000.00

Sunday cartoon

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 4:42 pm - April 13, 2014.
Filed under: cartoons,Democrat incompetence,National Security

Kerry the Magician:

U.S influence goes Poof

Courtesy of ZH.

Democrat Lawmaker Makes an Eloquent Case for Same Sex Marriage

Posted by V the K at 10:19 pm - April 12, 2014.
Filed under: Gay Marriage

I confess, it moved me. There was an actual tear. Just a little one.

“Now, I’m for interracial marriage. I’m for same-sex marriage. I’m the one that introduced the bill to have same-sex marriage. I don’t care who marry who. If a man meet a little mule and he wanna get married to the little mule, as long as he and the little mule get along all right, that’s fine with me. It doesn’t bother me any kind of way.”