Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This is an Unpaid Ad for The True Born Sons of Liberty


Oil Price To Crash By Fourth of July?

Chris Cook thinks so, maybe even to $60, here:

In my analysis, absent a massive, and sustained, shortfall in oil supplies – which I cannot see occurring, since all involved have every interest in ensuring it does not occur – the oil price will, as I have already forecast, fall dramatically by the end of this year’s second quarter at the latest. It’s not a matter of if, but when it will happen.

That implies gold at $900 the ounce.

I can wait four months.

Q4 2011 GDP, Second Estimate, Up .2 to 3.0 Percent, Q3 at 1.8 Percent

So reports the Bureau of Economic Analysis, here.

The revision up does not move the needle up on overall 2011 GDP, which was a pathetic 1.7 percent.

Occupy Portland Vandalizes Two Banks and a Starbucks

Anti-capitalists, they call themselves:

Police said they received an e-mail that said it was from "Some Of Those Responsible" and read in part, "about an hour and a half ago (around ten pm, Tuesday night) a group of anticapitalists rolled up on the US Bank at SE 39th and Main and smashed out its windows and ATMs." ...

Police said a second e-mail was received after the Key Bank branch and Starbucks locations were vandalized, which read in part, "wherever capital chooses for its bunker, we will be there to attack it in the night." It was signed "For freedom, for equality, for anarchy".

Story, here.

A Chase branch and a Wells Fargo branch were vandalized last November (story here).

Santorum Voters in Michigan Heavily Self-Identified as Democrats

By a margin over Romney voters of 35 points, according to FoxNews exit polling here:

Santorum voters were also union members by 15 points over Romney voters.

Only 24 percent of Santorum voters thought abortion should be legal, and 77 percent of Santorum voters thought of themselves primarily as abortion issue voters, with only 13 percent of Romney voters seeing themselves that way.

Deficits and the economy mattered more to Romney voters than Santorum voters by 16 and 17 points.

Despite Santorum's view that mainline Protestants aren't really Christians, Romney and Santorum pretty much split that vote with Santorum winning Protestants by two points. But Santorum lost the Catholic vote by a 7 point margin.

Romney excelled among females, the over 65 demographic, those making over $200,000 a year, college graduates and post-grads, the somewhat conservative, those somewhat opposed to the Tea Party and those favoring legalized abortion.

Self-identifying moderates went for Romney 45 percent to Santorum's 31 percent. The somewhat conservative went for Romney by an even larger spread, 50 to 32.

The Washington Post here reported that 1 in 10 Republican voters yesterday self-identified as Democrats:

Early exit polls in Michigan seemed to show that the negative campaigning had weighed on the state’s Republicans. Less than half of voters there said they backed their candidate “strongly.” About one in seven said they made their choice because they dislike the other options — four times the proportion that said so in this political season’s first votes, at the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

The polls also showed that a large number of Democrats had, in fact, crossed party lines in Michigan. About one in 10 of Tuesday’s voters identified themselves as Democrats in exit surveys. That was a higher figure than in any of the other early GOP contests.

About 978,000 votes were cast in Michigan's primary yesterday.

Wins in Michigan and Arizona Give Romney 2 to 1 Lead in Delegates over Santorum

The Wall Street Journal here provides a handy delegate tracker:

Hey Romney! Is Obama's An Extreme Left-Wing Crusade To Bankrupt Us Or Not?

Sen. John McCain couldn't bring himself to talk this way in 2008, but he had to in 2010 to get re-elected to the US Senate:

"President Obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America,'' McCain says in one of the radio ads his campaign is airing.

Romney Views Republican Base As Angry Mob With A Beef Against Obama

Except he's not going there.

Remarks quoted here:

“It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments,” he told reporters. “We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls. You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support.”

But you already knew that:

O’Reilly: Is he a socialist?
Romney: You know, I prefer to use the term that he’s just over his head.
O’Reilly: Yeah, but you got to look at his economic plan. An economic plan that’s top down, federal leadership, getting us out of the recession--- he spent trillions of dollars on that. And people say, Listen, the guy’s a socialist — it’s class warfare that’s what he’s gonna wage against you if you get the nomination: You’re a rich guy, you’re out of touch. Is he a socialist?
Romney: Uh, you know, I consider him a big-government liberal Democrat. I think as you look at his policies, you conclude that he thinks Europe got it right and we got it wrong. I think Europe got it wrong. I think Europe is not working in Europe. And I’ll battle him on that day in and day out. But I’m probably not going to be calling him names so much as calling him a failure.

Like John McCain before him, who refused to criticize Obama or even question his political beliefs, Romney is out of step with the American people, the majority of whom believe "socialist" is a fitting moniker for President Obama:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick The Chameleon Santorum: Slams Cross-Overs in January, Courts Them in February

What a difference a few weeks can make, as reported here:

In stark contrast to his campaign's more recent courtship of Democrats, in January Santorum told Democrats that if they wanted to vote for a Republican, they should switch their party affiliation.

"It's the Republican nomination, not the independent nomination or the Democratic nomination," he said on the call. "If you're a Democrat and you want to be a Democrat, then vote in the Democratic primary, not the Republican. If you want to vote in the Republican Party then become one."

At the time, Santorum's main criticism was of Romney's success in the New Hampshire primary, where 53% of Republican primary participants did not identify themselves as Republicans. In the weeks following Romney's win in the Granite State, Santorum repeatedly cited that statistic in arguing that his rival's supporters was [sic] out of step with the mainstream GOP electorate. Now Santorum is hoping non-Republicans will help give him the edge in Romney's home state [of Michigan].

Rick The Snake Santorum Wants MI Democrats To Pick The Republicans' Candidate

So reports The Detroit News today here, claiming Santorum is making robocalls to Michigan Democrats to get them to turn out and vote for him:

"Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday," said an unidentified man on the call, which Talking Points Memo said was left on someone's answering machine in Trenton. "Why is it so important? Romney supported the bailout for his Wall Street billionaire buddies, but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker, and we're not going to let Romney get away with it. On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.

"This call is supported by hard-working Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president."

Isn't Santorum's opposition to auto bailouts a slap in the face to Michigan workers?

Roy Brewer Archives Show Some of Hollywood Ten Really Were Commies

From The LA Times Magazine:

The archives shed light on another mythologized piece of Hollywood history: the hearings held by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. I grew up hearing about the Hollywood Ten—filmmakers railroaded by congressional witch-hunters in 1947, ostensibly because they were liberals.

According to that familiar narrative, they rebuked the committee when subpoenaed. If there’s a “profiles in courage” touchstone in Hollywood, this is it. Those who did testify, such as Brewer and Reagan, are regarded as Judases.

However, a letter from John Huston found in the files says this story is a well-constructed myth. And if anyone would know key facts about those days, it would be Huston, a non-Communist liberal Democrat who opposed the hearings because he believed it was unconstitutional to require a citizen to state his political beliefs.

Writing on the filmmakers who refused to answer questions from congressmen, Huston recounted, “Some of them had already testified in California, and their testimony had been false. They’d said they were not Communists, when in truth they were. To have admitted it now would have been to lay themselves open to charges of perjury.”

Huston said that at the time of the hearings, they convinced him they were standing up for principle—the “freedom of the individual,” as he put it. However, as he later learned (and wrote in the letter), “they were really looking after their own skins. Had I so much as suspected such a thing, I would have washed my hands of them on the spot.”

Don't miss the rest of this riveting account about Ronald Reagan's anti-communism by John Meroney, here.

A book is forthcoming.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rules of the Road in Michigan

Come to an intersection and stop.

Wait a long time until you see someone coming to the left.

Then turn right, in front said someone, and drive 10 mph slower than the speed limit, 15 if the someone tailgaits.

Union state. No sense of urgency. No sense of courtesy.

Game to Obama.

Make No Mistake About It: The Federal Reserve Is The Enemy Of The People

From another insightful meditation by Jeffrey Snider, this time on the consequences of trying to make the artificial financial economy and the real economy one:

The Federal Reserve has gone far beyond TARP into ZIRP (zero interest rate policy). ZIRP is a direct tax on savers, figuratively taking money out of the pockets of those who have acted responsibly in the real economy, transferring it to the banking system (especially the largest investment banks, the very banks responsible for most of the credit creation and monetary imbalance of the past asset bubbles) that was negligent, reckless and complicit in this disaster. Monetary policymakers, the gatekeepers to the realm of the monetary or financial economy, now intentionally and directly penalize real economy actors in favor of financial economy actors. They do so with this narrative that as the financial economy goes, the real economy will follow. Very few people seem to challenge this as backwards, certainly not anyone in a policymaking role.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oil is Now Fairly Priced

Crude is almost $110, and gold is almost $1,774, so about 16 barrels buys an ounce of gold, just one barrel pricier than the ratio of 15:1 thought to be indicative of the historic relative fair value.

Yelling "Stop" is No Longer Good Enough

Because "Stop" preserves the damage done and doesn't roll it back.

Marxism Won In America: The New Deal and Great Society Stem From Socialism

So says R. Christopher Whalen here:

[D]espite America’s pretensions to being a free market, democratic society, the Marxian world view won the battle for ideas in the 20th Century. The New Deal and Great Society efforts to increase the scope of government in America all stem from the socialist ideas of FDR and his political heirs in both parties.

A genuine conservatism and a truly conservative Republican Party must stand for dismantling both.

"If I decide to do it, by definition it’s good policy. I thought you got that."

"I have abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Whopper of the Day is from Mike Shedlock, AKA 'Mish'

He says the middle class STARTS at $100,000 (here):

I am against a VAT completely. And I certainly do not like exempting the first $100,000 [from any taxes whatsover] because the tax burden would then fall only on the middle class.

How crazy is that?

Of just over 150 million wage earners in 2010, 141 million make less than $100,000 a year. How many of them do you think would agree that the remaining 9 million who make in excess of that are in any way, shape or form "middle class"? (here) shows on examination that federal taxable earned income divides pretty neatly into a lower, middle and upper class, with each class accounting for about $2 trillion of the total of almost $6 trillion in net compensation in 2010.

Americans in the lower class make up to $45,000 per year and haul in $1.9 trillion. The next tranche up, the middle class, makes up to $100,000 and hauls in $2 trillion. The upper class makes everything in excess of that, in total another $1.9 trillion.

It is a common conceit of the rich that they are middle class. The rich aspire down to it as much as the lower class aspires up to it.

Romney's Arizona Debate Statements on Plan B Drugs Fail Scrutiny

Evidence presented here indicates that Gov. Romney lied twice during the debate:

When Romney was asked in the debate if he had required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims and had infringed on Catholics’ rights, he responded, “No, absolutely not. Of course not.” That was untrue.

When Romney said “for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims…was entirely voluntary on their part”, that was also untrue.

The evidence indicates Romney came under pressure from legal counsel, under which he flip-flopped, but also that he personally embraced the idea of forcing Catholics to act contrary to conscience as the right thing to do.

How this makes him any different from Barack Obama who routinely acts in a capricious, authoritarian manner is beyond reconciliation.

A vote for Romney is a vote for Jello, every night.

US Exports 600,000 Barrels of Gasoline Per Day To Higher Priced Markets

So says this story in The Christian Science Monitor, which provides useful links to the data:

“I think it is simply disingenuous to think exports of gasoline are not a factor in the prices,” says Ben Brockwell, director of data marketing and information services at the Oil Price Information Service, which provides petroleum pricing and information to the oil industry. ...

Brockwell says gasoline exports, on a four week average, are now running 600,000 barrels a day compared to 200,000 barrels per day a year ago. ...

“Instinctively, I understand the API [American Petroleum Institute] not wanting the American public to know so much is exported and tied to high prices,” he says.

The export level of 0.6 million barrels per day represents more than 7 percent of current domestic consumption, according to Bloomberg here, which says gasoline usage is up to 8.28 million barrels per day from an historic low not matched since 2004:

U.S. gasoline demand rose 3.4 percent last week to 8.28 million barrels a day from a record low, MasterCard Inc. (MA) said.

The gain was the first in three weeks, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report. The previous week’s consumption was 8.01 million, the lowest level in MasterCard data that began in July 2004.

Demand was 6.4 percent below the same week in 2011. It was the fifth week in a row that consumption dropped more than 5 percent from the year-earlier level.

Consumption is down because millions have no jobs to which to drive, nor income with which to buy the gasoline or the cars which need it. Total vehicle miles driven are again in decline back to 2009 depression levels.

Total vehicles in operation, though up in 2011, continue below the all time high reached in 2008 by about 1.5 million, according to RL Polk and Company here:

Jeb Bush is a Weasel: Says "I Used To Be A Conservative" in Speech, Says Still Is Later

Not only is he a weasel, he's a coward. Get in the race or shut up, you fake.

Fox had the story here, WaPo here.

Michigan Democrat Calls Truly Closed Republican Primary "Phony"

The Detroit News has the story, here:

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, described the process as "unnecessary" and costing taxpayers $10 million. The candidate selection, she argued, should have been handled via a party caucus, which is how the Democrats will choose their delegates in May.

"Since you chose to play games with Michigan's elections, don't be surprised if voters choose to play games with your phony primary as well," she warned Republicans.

Democrats Trying To Queer Michigan Republican Primary Will Have To Lie On Ballot

Hallelujah, brother! And it's about time, too.

Which party you chose will be made public, according this excerpt from a story by Julie Mack here:

Within 71 days after the election, the Secretary of State will have available an electronic list of voters who cast a ballot and which party they choose. That list will be available to the public for 22 months.

The change was recommended in August by the Michigan Republican Party, to reduce the number of Democrats participating in the Republican primary. "We should have a process by which Republicans choose the Republican nominee for president," one official said.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ann Coulter Claims RomneyCare Everywhere Would Have Solved The Health Insurance Problem

She's doubling-down on her support of Massachusetts-style state compulsion, here:

"Romney pushed the conservative alternative to national health care that, had it been adopted in the 49 other states, would have killed Obamacare in the crib by solving the health insurance problem at the state level."

She's come a long way since March 2010 when Ohio's mandate was in her crosshairs:

"President Obama says we need national health care because Natoma Canfield of Ohio had to drop her insurance when she couldn't afford the $6,700 premiums, and now she's got cancer. 

"Much as I admire Obama's use of terminally ill human beings as political props, let me point out here that perhaps Natoma could have afforded insurance had she not been required by Ohio's state insurance mandates to purchase a plan that covers infertility treatments and unlimited ob/gyn visits, among other things. 

"It sounds like Natoma could have used a plan that covered only the basics -- you know, things like cancer."

Or from December 2009 when Oregon's was the object of her criticism:

"[N]ational health care – it will force states that didn’t adopt these idiotic universal health-care schemes to bail out the ones that did.

"Liberals cite medical horror stories from the very states they once cheered for enacting universal health care in order to argue for a national health-care plan that will wreck the entire nation’s medical care the same way liberal states already wrecked their own medical care.

"Only Democrats could propose fixing one Bernie-Madoff-style scam with an even bigger Bernie-Madoff-style scam.

"Maybe when national universal health care fails, we’ll be able to go international. Then interplanetary – then interstellar! Why should I pay for my gall-bladder surgery when some Venusian could?"

And of course just a few months ago in October 2011 she was still speaking of "the failure of even statewide universal care" in reference to Massachusetts because under Romneycare very few new individuals ended up getting coverage while costs for everyone continue to escalate.

Obama is the Extremist, Says Gingrich, and the Media Give Him a Pass

In last night's debate (video here), quoted here:

“I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. Okay? So let’s be clear here,” Gingrich said in response to a question about birth control. “If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Romney's Dog Problem Looks Set To Dog His Campaign If He's The Candidate

Like that's the only thing.

From Margaret Carlson for Bloomberg, here:

Romney insists Seamus loved his crate and appreciated fresh air, even at 60 miles per hour. That hasn’t appeased Dogs Against Romney, a group whose human founder, Scott Crider, is trying to get word out to the country’s 43 million dog owners, who represent all political breeds. Dogs Against Romney, which had more than 1 million visitors to its website in its first 10 days, recently organized an anti-Romney protest at the Westminster dog show. It also awarded a congratulatory “woof” to Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, who wrote in The Hill newspaper that a man who would insist his dog enjoyed such abuse is unfit to be president.

Think of it: 43 million dog owners. That's more people than all the adult Catholic voters.

Can't Criticize Mormonism? Sen. Santorum Opens Door By Trashing Protestants

If Santorum is free to say the following about Protestants, Democrats will feel free not only to attack Santorum over his religion if he's the candidate, but also Romney over his:

"[L]ook at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."

There is nothing qualitatively different about that statement from Christian Evangelicals' charge that Mormonism is a cult, not Christian, or some leftists' view that Mormonism is too weird to abide. At least Obama ditched Rev. Wright. But Romney is proud of his heritage, and so is Santorum pledged to defend all his beliefs in the public square.

Santorum has just played into the hands of the left and handed them a huge opening.

Thanks a lot, pal.

American Idle Presidency: Doing Everything Except His Job


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We Already Got The Change From Obama, And It Sucks

Obama can't run on change, or on economic achievements. So says a Vanderbilt political scientist in this report from The Associated Press:

"He can't run on change because he's the incumbent, and he can't paint too rosy a scenario because things aren't that rosy," said John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. "He's got to come up with a theme that appeals to voters, especially middle-class voters, alleviates their fears and gives them reason to believe the future will be better."

In other words, we already got the change, and it sucks.

Drudge Makes 'People for the American Way' Story Against Santorum Lead


The left had the story five days ago here, and later here.

Is Drudge's sin of "talking like the left" the same as Newt's attacking "capitalism" back around January 11?

Georgia Boys Are In The Militia Whether They Know It Or Not

So says James Garland here:

According to the state code, “the unorganized militia shall consist of all able-bodied male residents of the state between the ages of 17 and 45 who are not serving in any force of the organized militia or who are not on the state reserve list or the state retired list and who are, or who have declared their intention to become, citizens of the United States.” Thus, the vast majority of military-aged men in the state are in the unorganized militia, whether they realize it or not. ...

[T]he long-established expectation concerning volunteer organizations such as the State Defense Force and the unorganized militia is that they outfit and equip themselves. They traditionally have been expected to arm themselves and be ready to take action on behalf of the community should the need for such action arise. Given this fact, any contention that the Second Amendment prohibits the private possession of firearms would seem irreconcilably flawed.

Dutch Protest They Euthanize At Most 3.2 Percent Of Elderly, Not 10 Percent

Jawohl. And the Holocaust of Jews is just exaggerated by Zionists.

See, we're not such bad people . . . we don't kill anywhere near the number extremists claim we do.

Buzzfeed has the story, here:

Dutch sources estimate that legal euthanasia is the cause of what the Christian paper Nederlands Dagblad put at 3.2% of deaths at the most liberal estimate, and others put around 2%. Public statistics, which have been reported since the practice was legalized in 2002, cite 3,136 reports of euthanasia out of a total of 136,000 in the Netherlands in 2011, a bit more than 2%.

From the Wikipedia entry on the Jews in the Netherlands:

Another explanation is that vast majority of the nation accommodated itself to circumstances: "In their preparations for the extermination of the Jews living in The Netherlands, the Germans could count on the assistance of the greater part of the Dutch administrative infrastructure. The occupiers had to employ only a relatively limited number of their own. Dutch policemen rounded up the families to be sent to their deaths in Eastern Europe. Trains of the Dutch railways staffed by Dutch employees transported the Jews to camps in The Netherlands which were transit points to Auschwitz, Sobibor, and other death camps." With respect to Dutch collaboration, Eichmann quoted as saying 'The transports run so smoothly that it is a pleasure to see.'".

The Dutch are as morally hollow now as they were then.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Cost of Food Stamps? $75 Billion. 'Disability' Dwarfs That: $200 Billion Annually.

So says this story from The New York Post:

As of January, the federal government was mailing out disability checks to more than 10.5 million individuals, including 2 million to spouses and children of disabled workers, at a cost of record $200 billion a year, recent research from JPMorgan Chase shows.

The sputtering economy has fueled those ranks. Around 5.3 percent of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 is currently collecting federal disability payments, a jump from 4.5 percent since the economy slid into a recession.

Mental-illness claims, in particular, are surging.

During the recent economic boom, only 33 percent of applicants were claiming mental illness, but that figure has jumped to 43 percent, says Rutledge, citing preliminary results from his latest research.

The annual cost of the food stamp program is detailed here annually going back to 1969.

More On Santorum's Weaselly 'My Wife Wrote It' Excuse: Isn't He Now An Admitted Plagiarist?

From Dan Amira at New York Magazine here:

George Stephanopoulos brought up a controversial passage from Santorum's 2005 book, It Takes a Family, in which Santorum contends, "The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness." Santorum insisted to Stephanopoulos that he isn't saying women shouldn't work, only that there's nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, if that's what they choose. The explanation wasn't new; Santorum has been asked about that quote many times. What was new was that this time, Santorum added that, oh, by the way, "that section of the book was co-written, if you want to be honest about it, by my wife." ...

You also have to wonder why Santorum is only now bringing up his wife's co-authorship of that controversial passage. When the book initially came out, in 2005, Santorum was constantly on TV defending this very same "radical feminists" quote. But, curiously, he never mentioned that his wife helped to write it, according to a search of Nexis transcripts — not in a July 25 interview on Hannity and Colmes, or in a Today show interview that same morning, or a July 27 interview on Hardball, or a July 28 interview on CNN's American Morning, or a July 31 interview once with ABC's This Week (deja vu!), or an August 5 interview with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC.

More recently, Santorum was asked about this very same passage during a May 2011 Fox News presidential debate in South Carolina, and again, he neglected to credit his wife.

A failure to provide proper attribution for someone else's words in order to make them appear to be your own is called plagiarism.

Sen. Rick Santorum's Anti-Protestantism: They are 'Gone From Christianity'

As usual for the senator, the following is inarticulately stated, but nevertheless it is clear enough that Sen. Santorum operates under an anti-Protestant Catholicism which was more common in the past and which finds the short-comings of Protestantism's more liberal denominations too good to pass up.

Excerpted from remarks made in Florida in 2008, referenced here and here:

"We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."

A bunch of us Protestants think the same thing, but that's another story.

Moochelle Obama's 16 Vacations in Three Years Fly in Face of Economy in Shambles

Detailed here.

The president here a year ago obviously was talking about a different family cutting back, not his own:

Just like every family in America, the federal government has to do two things at once. It has to live within its means while still investing in the future. If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation. 

Pryvit, Ukraine

Gingrich Wants America Energy Independent: No More Presidential Bowing To Saudi King

See him say it at this link:

Remember this? Obama bowed to the Saudi King under the watchful eye of Sarkozy:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Going Back to 1881, Do You Think The Shiller p/e Ratio Spends Much Time in 20s?

Look for yourself, here.

Current Growth is Being Swallowed Up by Interest Payments on the Debt

Fiscal year 2011 interest payments on the federal debt (source:

Debt to the penny as of this moment (source:

Implied interest rate:

2.95 percent.

But the first report of Q4 GDP was only 2.8 percent.

So the current growth measure is being swallowed up by interest payments on the national debt. Growth is therefore slightly negative just by this measure, not factoring in inflation: minus .15 percent growth.

None dare call it depression.

Global Public Debt Clock: $44 Trillion and Counting

Message to the post-Christian West:

"Owe no man anything."


St. Paul, Epistle to the Romans 13:8

Watch it here.

Massive Global Central Bank Balance Sheet Expansion Interferes With Interest Rates

The balance sheets of the world's biggest central banks have exploded 178 percent between May 2006 and November 2011.

So says the data compiled and illustrated by James Bianco in late January at The Big Picture here:

The combined size of [the world's largest] eight central banks’ balance sheets has almost tripled in the last six years from $5.42 trillion to more than $15 trillion and is still on the rise! ...

QE is an expanding of balance sheets via increasing bank reserves.  The purpose of QE ... is to increase bank reserves through purchases of fixed income securities in order to lower interest rates. ...

[I]t is fair to compare the size of these balance sheets (now $15 trillion) to the capitalization of the world’s stock markets (now $48 trillion). ...

Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the eight central bank balance sheets were less than 15% the size of world stock markets and falling.  In the immediate aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ failure, these eight central bank balance sheets swelled to 37% the capitalization of the world stock market.  But keep in mind that the late 2008/early 2009 peak was due to collapsing stock market values combined with balance sheet expansion via “lender of last resort” loans.

Recently, the eight central bank balance sheets have spiked back to 33% of world stock market capitalization.  This has come about not by lender of last resort loans, but rather by QE expansion (buying bonds with “printed money“) even faster than world stock markets are rising.

Some people look at this information as evidence that the intent of the central banks is to boost asset prices to keep the illusion of growth going. But what if it's really just about buying time, attempting to secure lower roll over interest rates for refinancing massive debt loads which have become a giant millstone around the neck of the world?

The total public and private debt of the world's 35 most indebted nations alone tops $57 trillion, which is 95 percent of the $60 trillion in 2011 GDP of the world's 35 most productive nations. Of 27 of those most productive nations (not counting Greece whose 34.38 percent rate is an outlier) shown here, sovereign 10 year bond yields last week averaged 4.2 percent, implying world wide debt service payments of $2.4 trillion just to stay current.

The US alone spends nearly $0.5 trillion annually in debt service payments, and calls it a victory when $0.04 trillion in spending is cut. Meanwhile deficits and debt continue to build, here and abroad.

GDP growth averaging 3.5 percent per annum is the way out, but the debt burden eats up the progress.

This can't go on forever. 

US Foreclosure Law Map

From the Short Sale Association of America, here.

Dodd-Frank is 848 Pages Long, Glass-Steagall was 37 Pages

Robert Lenzner reminds us here that the shorter one worked pretty well for a pretty long time, but the longer one which replaces it is already a disaster.

For The Economist article referred to by Lenzner, see here, including an important cost correction correcting billions to millions. (Oops).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Hitch on G.K. Chesterton as Fascist Fellow Traveler

Seen here:

"[Chesterton's] idea of a body [the Roman Catholic Church] that actually did all the official thinking was probably not unrelated to the Mussolini concept of the corporate state. This would be repulsive to the English and American tradition."

Only until FDR, of course, who paved the way in America for the acceptance of the concept of the president as the blended strong man, as described in the memoirs of President Herbert Hoover.

In Spengler's phrase: "There is no contradiction between economic liberalism and socialism."

Can there be any other explanation for the three year somnolence of the 30 million strong Catholic Church in America while a ne'er-do-well poseur attempts to overthrow the country? Roman Catholics are incapable of recognizing tyranny, let alone stopping it, since they actually identify with a divine one. In fact, until recently Obama's social program and Catholics' have been virtually indistinguishable. Which is rather the point of Hitchen's critique of religion, and its heaven as the "Celestial North Korea."

Like many religious groups in America, Catholicism represents a country within the country and is only the most recent but vivid example of our continuing Balkanization and inevitable dissolution as one nation under the Protestant God.

The wall separating church and state in America was not built by Rome.

High Gasoline Prices Are In The News Again: Up 55 Percent Since 2007

For example, from The Associated Press:

The national average for gasoline began the year at $3.28 a gallon. The average price for February so far is $3.49 a gallon. That's up from $3.17 a gallon last February, a record at the time. Back in 2007, before the recession hit, the average for February was $2.25 a gallon. ...

Americans spent 8.4 percent of their household income on gasoline last year when gas averaged an all-time high of $3.51 a gallon. That's double the percentage a decade ago. They could pay even more this year, even though demand is the lowest in 11 years as people drive fewer miles in more efficient cars, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at OPIS. ...

World oil demand is expected to increase by another 1.5 percent to 89.25 million barrels a day in 2012, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Read the complete story here.

The Rich Should Answer Obama's Class Warfare With A Prosperous Middle Class

As recognized long ago by Aristotle:

Now a tyranny is a monarchy where the good of one man only is the object of government, an oligarchy considers only the rich, and a democracy only the poor; but neither of them have a common good in view.

Tyranny, the worst excess imaginable, [is] a government the most contrary possible to a free state.

Tyranny arises from a headstrong democracy or an oligarchy, but very seldom when the members of the community are nearly on an equality with each other. When there is a want of a proper number of men of middling fortune, the poor extend their power too far, abuses arise, and the government is soon at an end.

A tyrant is chosen out of the meanest populace; an enemy to the better sort, that the common people may not be oppressed by [the better sort].

The Tea Party: A Middle Class Rebellion Against Bailouts

So Richard Viguerie, here:

"One of the establishment outrages that led to the middle class rebellion now known as the Tea Party was the $700 billion TARP program that bailed-out a select group of Wall Street and international banks from their bad bets on the U.S. housing market."

As of the End of 2011, President Obama Has Golfed 92 Times

So Keith Koffler for, here.

That means he's averaged about 2.5 outings per month over the three years.

A Moochelle Obama Retrospective from

Keith Koffler provides a nice summary of the First Lady's extravagances, the latest of which is a ski trip to Colorado this weekend hot on the heals after 17 days in Hawaii over Christmas:

The first lady, who just returned last month from 17 days of relaxation in Hawaii, is skiing in Colorado on Presidents’ Day Weekend for the second year in a row. ...

Just last August, she sojourned on Martha’s Vineyard, and the month before she travelled to southern Africa for a trip that mixed official business with tourist outings like an African safari. In July 2010, she took an exorbitant excursion to the southern coast of Spain, flying out with friends and family on a large jet that often serves as Air Force 2 and then staying at a ritzy hotel. ...

For her last two Hawaii vacations, Michelle left separately from her husband at extra cost to taxpayers in order to ensure she got the full vacation while the president was forced to remain in Washington a few extra days to finish work with Congress.

Read the full entry, here.

Energy Subsidies to Fossil, Renewable and Conservation Equal to Nuclear '73-'03

So says Wikipedia here, but you'll notice that the data isn't framed that way.

The presentation lumps nuclear and fossil together at $74 billion to make it appear that these "bad" sources received far more in subsidies than poor old renewable and conservation at $26 billion.

But fossil, renewable and energy efficiency subsidies combined totaled $50 billion from 1973 to 2003, matching the subsidies to nuclear over the period.

Perhaps even more interesting fossil received slightly less in subsidies than renewable over the period.

Overall, subsidies amounted to just $100 billion over 30 years, for an average of $3.3 billion per annum, a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of dollars homeowners extracted from home equity, much of it blown on jet fuel for vacations.

Here is the screen shot:

Something funny going on with the reference, though. Must be too controversial:

Friday, February 17, 2012

In South Carolina Private Drone Shot Down With Small Arms

Video here. Story here.

The Percentage of People Working Hasn't Been This Bad Since November 1983

Get a grip, people. Obama is a fisherman, trolling along the bottom, catching nothing for three years except a good buzz from a boat-full of beer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Historical Real GDP From BEA, Recent Quarterly, and Annual Data 1996-2011

From the most recent release, Friday, January 27, 2012, here:

The 2011 GDP advance over 2010 of 1.7 percent represents a decline in the pace of recovery of 43 percent, a huge fall-off. The money borrowed (!) to stimulate the economy has done nothing to re-ignite growth, as critics of Keynesianism predicted.

Post-WW2 GDP growth averaged 3.5 percent per annum.

The period from 2001 through 2007 averaged only 2.4 percent.

The back-to-back declines in 2008 and 2009 represent a small depression.

The 2010-11 recovery period so far is averaging only 2.4 percent, a return to the unimpressive growth pattern under one George W. Bush, whose best year in 2004 merely equaled the post-war average.

Real recovery would look more like 6 percent real GDP growth or even higher for a number of years back-to-back.

2010's 3.0 is shaping up to be just a one-off.