Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slouching towards a Banana Republic (cont.)


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Just a reminder, gang: this rogue, thuggish agency that from all evidence has served (is serving?) as the President’s and Democratic Party’s sic’em dogs will be the enforcement wing of the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare.


And do note that the President, when news of IRS targeting of conservative groups first broke, went from doing his “no one is more outraged than me” schtick to inferring it was a “phony scandal” in just six short months.



Stonewalling… it’s what they do.


From Investors Business Daily:


The IRS is stonewalling two congressional committees over new evidence it illegally targeted dissidents, this time citing employee confidentiality. If this means zero accountability for abuse of power, it's time for new laws.


Christine O'Donnell, a Tea Party candidate from a few years ago, may not be everyone's cup, but she was spot-on when she told the Washington Times on Sunday: "Unless this is all exposed, unless every level of inappropriateness and corruption is exposed, I certainly won't be the last person to be politically intimidated like this."


Back in 2010, as she campaigned for a Senate seat in Delaware, O'Donnell's private tax records were leaked by the IRS to her political opponents and phony claims about her tax liabilities were leaked to the press, all in a sleazy subterranean effort to keep her from winning that election.

And by remarkable coincidence, that was done by the same agency that has since admitted to targeting Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status, harassing them with insanely intrusive questions and delaying their applications for years at a time — all to repress political groups disliked by President Obama, who made it clear his administration considered them "terrorists."


And let's not forget that Joe the Plumber's tax records were leaked in 2008 and conservative Commentary magazine was targeted for a "corruption" probe in 2009. Now Chuck Heath Jr., brother of Tea Party manque Sarah Palin, has declared on his Facebook page that their father was "horribly harassed" six times beginning in 2008, after 50 years of faithfully paying his taxes without a single IRS inquiry.



Please bear in mind that no one, repeat, no one has been held accountable for this criminal behavior. Lois Lerner, the woman central to the targeting, merely resigned with all her retirement benefits intact and full military honors in a manner of speaking.


And the reason for stonewalling? The IRS is claiming “employee confidentiality”. Yeah. We’ll bet. Because exposing the operating practices of the IRS is apparently sacred ground when it comes to how it is they come to harass and intimidate conservative groups.


The IRS needs to be abolished. Our fellow travelers on the right can bitch and moan about the NEA all they want but that's small potatoes and more importantly, no one is forcing us to the Piss Christ exhibit. Dealing with the IRS, however, is an involuntary exercise.


Of all the scandals crises surrounding this administration, not one better illustrates the naked aggression and top-down abuse of power starting from within the administration than this one.


Time for a national sales tax... we're open to any and all suggestions that would effectively replace this abusive institution.




Next stop, Zimbabwe.


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Can we please talk about the last guy?


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They blamed the Benghazi attack on a crappy Youtube video trailer and then threw the guy who made it in jail after frog-marching him blind-folded from his home in the dead of night, “escorted” by a gaggle of L.A. county sheriff deputies.
They later recanted this lie but the damage had been done. 4 dead brave Americans, a schlep left to rot in jail, whom to date, remains the only person the administration has “held accountable” for this disaster.


Author and filmmaker of a book and corresponding movie critical of this regime and which was the 2nd most successful political movie of all-time is indicted on the charge of illegal campaign contributions.


Looks like the regime will soon have two filmmakers behind bars.


Conservative guerilla videographer, James O'Keefe, is accusing the Cuomo administration of harrassing his group by seeking subpoenas of his group's documents. Cuomo recently stated that conservative viewpoints were not welcome in New York state.


Do I hear three?



President Dronestrike has himself a kill list which he once claimed he could use against civilians here on American soil until he was called out on it by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz after which Attorney General, Eric Holder feebly contended that maybe, kinda, pinky-swear sorta the President does not hold such powers.


President Dronestrike makes a laughably pathetic speech on the NSA reforms he claims he is going to implement which will do nothing to fundamentally alter the warrantless gathering of the private data of U.S. citizens. Subsequent to that, an independent oversight panel found that the NSA data sweeps have been illegal and should end immediately. The White House, of course, rejects these finding.



The Justice Department that spied on 20 AP journalists and Fox News Reporter James Rosen in separate incidents is being investigated by… the head of the Justice Department, that worthless hack, Eric Holder.


And holding form, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence who repeatedly lied to Congress about the scope and depth of the NSA domestic spying program will be investigated by, you guessed it, James Clapper.


Targeting and harassment of conservative groups by the enforcement wing of the Democratic Party, the IRS...? They’re on it. At least they brought in a completely unbiased 3rd party to do this investigation… an Obama campaign donor.



But please tell us again about waterboarding and the firing of District Attorneys.


The chump in the Oval Office makes Richard Nixon look like a rank amateur.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

So, that's what they're really saying



It's the weekend before the Super Bowl so that, unfortunately, means no football. To the good, however, it also means we won't have to hear about your fantasy football team.


To that end, we're hitting the easy button and posting Bad Lip Reading's take on the 2014 NFL season.


Enjoy.







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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Video clip of the day



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Recruiting celebrities for your pet cause:


Pro: name recognition which isn’t to be confused with credibility but, whatever, name recognition.


Con: an uncanny propensity for said celebrity to say stupid s**t.



And speaking of which… hey, did you hear the one where Canadian rocker, Neil Young compared the Alberta oil sands development to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Here’s Canadian Broadcast Corporation commentator, Rex Murphy, taking Young to task for his callous stupidity and just being plain wrong-headed in his criticisms of the Fort McMurray project.








Murphy makes a point we’ve been screaming about for years: who better to drill, frack and mine for rare earths than us North Americans. For all the overheated rhetoric they’ve employed over the years, perhaps the greatest benefit the greenies have provided is to make straight shooters of the rest of us.


Dude, if we don’t get this mess cleaned up, Mom is going to absolutely flip out when she gets home.



Mom, you see, won’t be coming home any time soon, if at all, in places like China, Russia and far-flung and remote places in Africa where any semblance of environmental responsibility and humane working conditions are pretty-much non-existent if not simply unenforced.


Who’s has the technology and conscience to go after proven energy sources better than us (and our Canadian friends, of course)?


Fun ironic drilling fact: our struggling recovery has been propped up in a big way by that which our President has exhibited the most extreme hostility towards.



And despite his dunderheadedness, we’ve always loved Neil Young’s music so we will leave with a totally underrated gem from his 1989 album Freedom: “No More”.


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Monday, January 20, 2014

What we and others have been tweeting


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Seattle Seahawk stud cornerback and righteous smack-talker, Richard Sherman, was definitely ready for his close-up last night for America after the ‘hawks beat the Niners 23-17 in the NFC conference championship game.


Here’s Sherm after the game with Fox’s Erin Andrews:






Twitter and other social media outlets went bonkers almost immediately criticizing Sherman for his brashness and crassness.


Ummm…. You stick a microphone in Richard Sherman’s face right after an amazingly emotional roller coaster of a game and you are going to get Richard Sherman. America was apparently unaware of this phenomena.


All this really was reminisce of the whole Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty kerfuffle of a few weeks back: wow… you think a rural, southern, evangelical Christian might not be down with gay marriage or homosexuality in general? Shocking.


And in the same vein, how absolutely boring would the NFL be if everyone gave interviews like Peyton Manning.




Anyway…












Diva much? And...?







And in terms of media freaking out...







Can’t help but think that many of the same people that decry the banalities and clich├ęs of your typical sports interview, were absolutely hammering Sherman for cutting against the grain and actually providing some entertainment.







We admire Peyton for his humility and down-to-earthedness, why can’t we like Richard Sherman for baring a personality that is in direct opposition to that?






And as the healthcare world turns… same ol’, same ol’…


















Across the pond, England threw some hapless schmuck in jail for saying mean stuff on social media. Remember, gang, we can’t get too caught up in American exceptionalism – we need to look, also, to our European cousins for things like healthcare and not-so-free speech.


















Oh, and then there was that awesome article from Salon.com






























Related: our feckless mainstream media…











Texas Governor Rick Perry told his citizens that pro-choice folks aren’t welcome in Texas. Naw… you knew we were pulling your leg. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo on the other hand…





















Damn. We forgot about the German Shepherd option







Our liberal/"progressive" friends are addicted to the cult of personality and refuse to acknowledge the following:










Selling a crappy law and the politics of weird:











Big #NSA speech on Friday by the President…



































In case you haven’t been paying attention, the new church ladies and nanny-staters are on the left:



















And, finally, ladies and gentlemen, the gift that keeps giving: our Vice President, Joe Biden:









Friday, January 17, 2014

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


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With access to federal funding temporarily blocked and absolutely zero private investment seen for funding of California’s high-speed rail project, what’s the state’s governor to do? Raid funds from other state programs, that’s what.



From Fox News:


California Gov. Jerry Brown is scrambling to keep a pricey high-speed train project from being derailed by raiding millions of dollars from the state's cap-and-trade program -- in what critics are calling a "desperate" ploy to save the beleaguered plan.

The state's cap-and-trade program puts a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, but lets companies buy "allowances" to pollute more. In it, the Golden State governor sees a funding source that could help resurrect one of the state's most ambitious, and controversial, projects -- a $68 billion, 500-mile rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

"California is still the generator of dreams and great initiatives," Brown told reporters, in calling for $250 million to be allocated toward the project. "And I think high-speed rail is worthy of this state."





And the good governor is doing his best to prove that California is still the generator of massive cockamamie unneeded public make-work projects.

Republicans have asserted that this ploy is just further evidence of the financial insolvency of the project as they have done for years. But now, even the environmental left is getting in on the criticism claiming that raiding the cap-and-trade fund violates the principle of the program.


Backers of the high-speed choo-choos counter that by saying that in the long term the project will be an environmental benefit. The carbon footprint required to build the largest public works project in the history of this nation makes this a dubious assertion at best.


And as Moonbeam must convince an increasingly skeptical, albeit Democratic-dominated legislature, to raid the cap-and-trade fund, he may be facing a ballot-box challenge of the same variety that breathed life into high-speed choo-choos back in 2008.



As the governor tries to sway the legislature on the merits of his plan, he faces another challenge from Gorell, who is trying to get a measure on the November ballot that would ask voters to reject further bond sales for the high-speed rail.

Before he can get the measure on the ballot, though, Gorell first must collect 504,760 signatures via petition. Gorell's bill is similar to measures introduced in 2012 by Rep. George Radanovich and then-state Sen. Doug La Malfa. Both of their measures failed to qualify.




Mid-term elections were made for low-turnout activist-oriented ballot initiative results. The challenge will be getting the signatures as we are confident that the voters who will turn out in November, from across the political spectrum, will be aware of what a turkey this project is and will check the box accordingly.


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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Graph of the day


Alternate headline: We’re #12!


We're back from sea trials and trying to get up and running. An unfortunate, untimely and salt water-induced destruction of our smart phone has led to the purchase of a new S IV. Unfortunately, we were unable to transfer anything from the old phone which means uploading all our contact infos and apps such as Twitter (will it recognize our existing account?). These are things for which we are not technologically cut out so please bear with us.


In the meantime…


You are all aware one of the central memes of the President’s current second term slouch is income inequality. Why not employ code to stoke the continual flame of class warfare in order to pass more counter-productive legislation like a minimum wage hike and marginal tax rate hikes?


And in other news today, the U.S. has fallen out of the top ten in terms of economic freedom.


From the Wall Street Journal:


World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

It's not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index's history.



Here’s the chart:

(click to enlarge)






No surprise that the countries that have made the biggest gains are those of eastern Europe that were living under communist rule just over 20 years ago. They’ve seen the results of central planning and a disregard for property rights which is at the heart of a free economy.


As It stands, when the President promised to fundamentally transform this country, that will turn out to be the one campaign promise he will most likely keep and not for the better.



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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Programming Notice



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Due to work obligations, we will be out-of-pocket and believe it or not, unable to communicate with any of you all via this blog or even Twitter (let alone the phone ;). We shall, hopefully, be back next Wednesday to pick up where we never left off.


Ciao, gang.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


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Oh, California high-speed choo-choos, we just can’t quit you as we are hopelessly addicted to wasteful and completely counterproductive public works projects. You keep this up and you just might supplant 2009’s $780 billion American Recovery Act aka Porkulus as #1 in our hearts.


The level of corruption, deception, mendacity and willful suspension of disbelief contained herein makes this probably a done deal.


No new breaking news with respect to California’s high-speed rail project but sometimes it’s good to see where things stand, particularly in light of some legal setbacks suffered the project at the hands of Sacramento Superior Court Judge, Michael Kenny earlier this past year.


From the Sacramento Bee:


Officials overseeing California's $68 billion high-speed rail project have taken pains in recent weeks to assure the public that construction plans are moving ahead, characterizing a series of recent setbacks as "a bump in the road."
That optimism comes despite recent court rulings against the project, creating confusion about the bullet train's prospects.

A Sacramento County judge rescinded the rail authority's funding plan, forced it to show how it will pay for the first 300 miles of construction and rejected a request from the authority that would allow the state treasurer to sell $8.6 billion in bonds.

But members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board seemed undaunted during their December meeting. They praised staff for filling key positions at the agency and pointed to a nearly $1 billion construction contract signed in 2013 as evidence of progress.



It is duly noted that this contract award was to Tutor Perini-Zachry-Parsons, a politically-connected firm where the rail project’s very own acquisition rules were summarily thrown out the window to make way for TPZP.


But let’s talk about funding, shall we?:



Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any further funding for the rail line and will hold a railroad subcommittee hearing in January to investigate the state's spending of $3.3 billion in federal funds that are supposed to be matched by the state.

Rail authority board Chairman Dan Richard has said California has an agreement with federal officials allowing it to spend the federal money first while the state bond money is in limbo. Richard said officials hope to have shovels in the ground in the Central Valley in January or February and projected that the federal money might last through "late spring."




This “agreement” with the feds is in direct violation of the 2008 ballot initiative language that paved the way for the project and which is the subject of another lawsuit. One can see the trickle-down effect of the “We Can’t Wait” mentality affected by the current administration which is strongly supporting the choo-choos when the rule of law is concerned.


Judge Kenny’s rulings did not stop the project from moving forward, so where do things go from here?:



Rail officials appear poised to deliver a new funding plan to their own high-speed rail board for approval, while the plaintiffs who sued believe the plan needs to go before the state Legislature, which approved a 2012 funding bill that squeaked through the Senate with only one vote to spare.

"I think there was a lot of assumptions by my colleagues when we voted that there was a pretty good chance of getting more federal funds and a pretty good chance of getting private funds, neither of which has materialized," said Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, who voted against the 2012 legislation.




This logic baffles us. From where exactly did he think that private funding was going to materialize when there was and is nowhere near the demand to project any sufficient amount of funding?


But the project has many, many powerful friends including the Governor who is banking on choo-choos to be his grandest legacy as our former Seminary dropout rides off into the sunset.



Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, remains a strong supporter of high-speed rail and has appointed top advisers to the board, including Richard. Democrats also control both houses of the state Legislature and many of them are supportive.
If a new vote is needed, some might be wary of funneling money to a massive project that appears on the ropes, especially in an election year.

"The climate has changed in the last year. You might see people in the Legislature saying, 'We should cut our losses and just move on,'" said Brady, the attorney representing Kings County plaintiffs.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican who has sought to block federal funding for the project, said now is a good time for Brown to reflect on his high-speed rail dream and back out. He said it's becoming clear that "it will not fulfill the promises made to voters."



This. Will. Not. Happen.


More legal wrangling is in the offing this year and we will continue to keep you posted with respect to any and all goings of our beloved California high-speed choo-choos.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

If one has to spend that much time thinking about it...


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We weren’t really paying attention when that now news-cycle infamous Old Spice commercial ran during the Chargers-Bengals game but made sure we locked–in on it when it ran later in the afternoon during the Niners-Packers game. We watched it again on YouTube today after reading Allah Pundit’s take on it, here.


Here it is, in its 60 second wild card weekend ad spot glory:









AP never really settles on anything definitive with respect to the motive behind the ad nor, more importantly, the target audience and we were frankly at a loss as to what was the deal with the freakiness of it all until AP wrote the following:


The look of the ad is oddly timeless, too. There’s really nothing here to suggest we’re in 2014 instead of, say, 1985; the hairstyles and clothes in the high-school cafeteria seem outdated. That detail would be lost on an 18-year-old but a fortysomething mom might recognize it from her own youth.



Well, bingo. Not fortysomething moms rather 40 something men and Dads.


We fall smack dab into that market demo and as young lads growing up in our pre-teens and early teens we do indeed remember seeing Old Spice ads during NFL broadcasts and thinking to ourselves: well, there’s a rakish gentleman in a captain’s hat and country club blazer at the helm of a sail boat at half-time of this NFL game… this Old Spice must be a thing.


Subsequent to that, and for whatever reason, it seemed that Old Spice became branded as an “old man’s” product (seriously, if we are talking target demos, who the heck was yacht boy’s target demographic?) and now some 30-35 years later, Old Spice is attempting to reconnect with average, white, middle-aged, middle-class Joe that had discarded it during the 90s and 2000s with an odd-ball nostalgia piece replete with the clingy, stalking Mommy figures of our nightmares. Works every time.


Hey, listen, that’s the best we could come up with. If you've got a better explanation, we'd love to hear it.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

NFL Wildcard Weekend Open Thread




Two great weekends of NFL football back-to-back starting this afternoon. Wildcard weekend followed by division playoff weekend next Saturday and Sunday when unfortunately we will be out of pocket and at sea for trials.


So who do we like? In order of game starts:


Take the Colts at home giving 1-1/2 points against the Kansas City Chiefs. The progression of quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts team will take its next step this afternoon.


Later this evening, we like the Eagles giving 3 points at home to the visiting Saints. The cold won’t effect “Shady” McCoy from going off against that porous Saints run defense. Don’t like Dome teams in these sort of extreme weather elements.



Tomorrow’s games:


We like the Chargers getting 7 points on the road against Cincy. Look for a steady diet of running backs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead and Philip Rivers’ short passing game to keep the Cincy offense off the field. Ball control won them the most impressive road victory of the NFL season in November against the Broncos and it will prevail again against the Bengals.




Sunday afternoon, take the Niners giving 3 points at Green Bay. Weather folks are calling for blustery conditions with temps that could plunge as low as 25 below. Though a west coast club, Niners are built to handle these conditions. Similar to the San Diego/Cincy game, look for the Niners ground game to chew clock and wear down the Green Bay run defense and for the Niner's defense to be running down hill all game long frustrating Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense..



Good luck, everybody!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The new economic order of things



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Recall how in David Brook’s “award-winning” column of a few weeks back, he contended that the Oval Office is somehow more shielded and therefore less susceptible to political interests than is Congress.


Here’s Brooks:


This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood. It’s not that the executive branch is trustworthy; it’s just that we’re better off when the presidency is strong than we are when the rentier groups are strong, or when Congress, which is now completely captured by the rentier groups, is strong.




Now check this out from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required):


President Obama is calling in the political cavalry, notably John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff before he became America’s most powerful unelected liberal by founding the Center for American Progress. So it’s instructive to inspect the list of corporate donors that Mr. Podesta’s think tank released last month.

Mr. Podesta founded the alternative to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, but it has long resisted disclosing its donor list. The motivation to do so now seems to be that it would be embarrassing to keep mum amid the current Democratic political campaign against businesses that give to conservative candidates or causes. All the more so with Mr. Podesta in the West Wing. . . .

Whatever the motive, the list of 58 corporate donors is revealing about the ways of the modern regulatory state. It certainly blows apart the myth that corporate America is “conservative” in any modern political sense of that word. It’s more accurate to say that Fortune FT.T +8.00% 500 CEOs think they must buy political protection from the left. So it’s no surprise to see the list is heavily weighted toward the most politicized parts of the economy.

Health insurers are there in force (eight), befitting their new role as public health utilities. That includes the insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose silence amid the make-it-up-as-you-go start of the ObamaCare shows it is now essentially a business partner of the Obama Administration.



A hat-tip to Instapundit who helpfully reminds us to add Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Apple, General Electric, Google, Facebook to the list of the King's court.



Back during the great ObamaCare debate, before it became law, we heard the phrase “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” The health insurance lobby saw the writing on the wall back in 2009 and decided that rather than getting carved up by the new law, they would ante-up and play ball with the congressional and Senate Democrats and assist in writing the legislation in a manner that would benefit them to the greatest extent possible.


The individual mandate which was something that the President opposed on the 2008 campaign trail, was implemented at the insistence of Big Health as they knew that there was no way in hell they would be able to finance all the additional health insurance benefits without people paying into the system that would not burden the health care system in a disproportionate manner.


Never forget that the healthcare law is the direct result of the cozy relationship between Big Health and the White House and Congressional Democrats.


So, this interest pressure works both ways. You pony-up as donors to influence favorable legislation and you also pony-up for mob-like protection so that your interests don’t get hammered by additional regulatory burdens. This is the reality as it stands currently in David Brooks’ stronger-executive-branch world.


How sick is our nation when the large moneyed interests over which Brooks frets have effectively encamped themselves inside the "shielded" White House half out of opportunity and half out of fear.


This in no way resembles a free constitutional republic rather a banana republic practicing public-private economic fascism and cronyism and woe to anyone who attempts to stand up to it.