Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) continued to promote a right-wing Sept. 11 "National Day of Prayer and Fasting" on Thursday, telling an audience gathered at a Capitol Hill event that such actions were necessary because "judgment" had been passed down by God on that day in both 2001 and 2012.
Which drew a quick rebuttal from God the Almighty. "I vehemently deny these charges".
The Omniscient then went on to further explain himself.
"There are what, 7 billion people living on a planet in one solar system, around a star in the Milky Way galaxy which has billions of stars. And there are billion of galaxies. And I am supposed to keep track of everyone? Furthermore, I don't even know how to fly an airplane nor do I know where in the hell Benghazi is".
"I remember when Pompeii was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. They blamed me for that too. While I tried to explain it was a natural and common event, they didn't listen to me back then either".
"This is an age old problem. I created the earth and the universe to support life forms. Along the way I created humans with brains for reasoning and logic. I thought that was pretty cool. Now I just don't know. I am a creator; not an evil or a loving god. Blaming me for ever bad thing that happens is getting pretty tiring to be honest with you"
"As I said, I am just a creator. Just like Steve Jobs created the iPhone. Did Anthony Weiner blame Steve Jobs when he got fired from a sexting scandal? Did people pray to Steve Jobs afterwards? I created humans and gave them the "apps" to make their own judgements. It's not my fault, when the "apps" work, but the people don't".
May 12, 2013
Milton Friedman was the second most influential economist of the 20th Century. John Maynard Keynes being the first. Both economist's theories can only be understood during the times they were influential.
In the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, overturning the older ideas that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. Keynes instead argued that aggregate demand determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. He advocated the use of fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. His theories greatly influenced FDR.
In the 1970s' the US was suffering from stagflation - a situation where an inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows down, and unemployment remains steadily high. Friedman maintained that there is a close and stable association between price inflation and the money supply; price inflation should be regulated with monetary deflation. Friedman was an economic adviser to Reagan and underpinned Reagan's successful fight against inflation.
After the Great Recession, the ideology fight has been between followers of Keynes and Yuval Levin, probably the most influential conservative intellectual of the Obama era.
Levin hinged his view upon two specific contentions. The first was that the debt crisis was not merely a long-term fear but an existing reality, responsible for the present crisis. This became the basis for the Republican view that deficit reduction could not be delayed and must be undertaken immediately, and that radical new tactics, like threatening financial chaos through defaulting on the debt, were a justified response to an emergency that did not lay over the horizon but was already upon us.
Levin’s second argument was a hatred for the Affordable Care Act. Levin felt the ACA was bound to fail in absolutely every respect, especially in its claim that it could limit health care cost inflation.
Levin's first view, that austerity is needed immediately, has has suffered a series of disastrous reversals. It has failed repeatedly in Europe, and its most prestigious academic basis, a paper by Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, was exposed for a series of fundamental errors. And now most economists believe that the short-term deficit is too low, no longer a counter-intuitive dissent but a clear and barely contested reality. The nation’s unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011, according to private-sector and government economists.
As to Levin's second view, over the last few years, health-care inflation has indeed decelerated — far more deeply than even the most optimistic backers of the law dare hoped. The federal budget for Medicare and Medicaid in 2020 is now projected to be 15 percent lower than forecasters expected a few years ago.
At first, the sharp slowdown in health-care costs was assumed to have happened because the recession is making people cut back on their medical care. But as the trend has persisted, and undergone deeper study, a consensus is emerging that this is not the case at all. Several studies have found that the recession does not account for all, and possibly not even most, of the slowdown.
The trend precedes Obamacare, too. But the law can’t be cleanly separated from the broad sentiment that the medical industry needed to overhaul its practices. And the reasons are pure free market investment analysis. If forward-looking investors think that future increases in health care spending will be met with legislative efforts to curb health care spending, then investments that rely on future high levels of health care spending won't be made and the system will lack the capacity to deliver ever-growing levels of services. Construction on hospitals have cratered since 2009 and have not recovered.
This sums up why there is a Washington ideological fight. The GOP continues to cling to Levin's theories, while the Democrats and the Federal Reserve cling to the beliefs on Keynes. And the preponderance of data is not going to change the GOP's mind. There is no "we were wrong" in politics. There is only the relative misery index and accountability of future elections.
May 11, 2013
Obama Greeted By Rick Perry on Texas Tarmac
Skipped it. I didn't see any roses presented to Obama's wife. Nor did I see John Connally. Obama should be ok.
Megyn Kelly Says Media Issued "A Collective Yawn" on Benghazi
Skipped it. There are only two people on Fox News I respect. Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly. And Megyn is right. Hillary Clinton - the "2 AM problem solver" - simply ducked the issue under her "historic tenure" as Secretary of State. And the liberal media protected her. This is the single and only issue Karl Rove and I agree on!
Steve King: Obama "Lowering American Values"
Skipped it. Steve King is a congressman from Iowa. If Obama maintains a nuclear family, can read scripture from memory and tries to help poor people like Jesus would do; I am not sure that is lowering American values. Although I must admit, I have not kept up with Iowa book burning values, since watching Field of Dreams two decades ago.
Guess Whose Face Beyonce Shoved A Mic In This Time
Skipped it. I don't care. But it does begs the question - when do the Beyonce's age turn into the J Lo's age and become irrelevant.
Lawsuit Makes Damaging Claims Against McDonald's
Skipped it. The only thing I like at McDonald's is their breakfast burritto. I mean I really like it. If rats, roaches and their feces are part of the recipe ... I have no complaints.
The Real Reason Miley Cyrus Left Her London Home
Skipped it. Enough is enough. There is clearly an age pecking order for celebrities. And thank God. The Miley Cyrus's turn into the Britany Spears. And the Beyonce's turn into the J Lo's.
America's Hottest Model Is?
Skipped it. I am too embarrased to admit I beat out my wife and duaghter for the award.
May 10, 2013
I found an interesting article while traveling this week. It was a study of the degree of support countries have supporting Sharia law and which countries supported executions (like stoning).
Egypt and Jordan, support Sharia law by 74 and 71% respectively. Of those who support Sharia law, in Egypt they support executions by 85%, while in Jordan they support execution by 81%.
Pakistan's support Sharia law by 84%, but support for executions drops to 76%.
Iraq supports Sharia law by 91%. The largest support of any Muslim country. But they only have the support of 42% for executions.
Indonesia supports Sharia law by an impressive 86%. But they only have the support of 18% for executions.
And there are more inconsistencies.
The bottom line? There is an interesting lack of correlation amongst Islamist countries that support Sharia law and executions.
The article did not expound why. But after looking at the list - 39 countries - a lack of executions seem to strongly correlate to better economic conditions. And the corrolary is Egypt.
They can't feed their people. The people don't turst the government. They turn to trusting Sharia law because they think it is the only honest broker. And executions are supported to physically massacre lawlessness in a country without laws and bread.
May 9, 2013
Between the 1970s and today, the share of Americans living in warmer climates, has increased from 40% to over 50%.
Then of course the mortgage loan market crashed in 2008 and we are still trying to dig out of it.
One of the anecdotal reasons ascribed to the loan market crashing, was overbuilding in warmer climates.
Well, that's not entirely true. The economy and supply of homes is what matters.
Take Phoenix. The economy tanked and it was over built.
Take San Francisco. Double-digit economic growth. But a scarcity of land and home building initiatives. Leading to a migration out of the city and the state.
Finally, take Dallas and Houston. Great economic growth and builder-friendly.
The two former cities - Phoenix and San Francisco - have suffered greatly since the housing bubble. But for different reasons. Dallas and Houston's home prices never lost value and continue to climb.
The lessons are clear. It all starts with business growth. Be it expansionary or low growth or negative growth. Housing supply must match local economics.
May 8, 2013
Theo Epstein was recruited to join the Cubs and rebuild the culture of the organization.
While I applaud his grounds-up approach and understand why his young players will not be competitive for sometime; what he can control is instilling what he calls the "Cubs Way". Namely not making errors in the field, increasing on-base-percentage (OBP) and less base-on-balls.
Theo Epstein is a disciple of the Billy Beane's "Moneyball" approach. Heavily focused on statistics.
In that light, lets see how he is doing.
Errors. Next to last in baseball. Only the Miami Marlins are worse.
OBP. Only the Washington Nationals, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins are worse.
Base-On-Balls. In the middle of the pack.
All resulting in the fifth worst win-loss percentage in baseball. Only Miami, Houston, the LA Angels, and Houston are worse.
Cub fans can live without being a contender. But sloppy fielding, a lack of OBP (walks and hits subtracted by strikeouts) and their pitchers giving up too many walks, shows no systemic change has been made.
Epstein will likely fire his first manager and blame it on him. But as of this writing Epstein has failed to implement the "Cubs Way". Unless he meant continuing to not win a Worlds Series, going on a mere 105 years.
May 7, 2013
Syria's foreign minister said that Israeli airstrikes last week and on Sunday represent Israel joining forces with terrorists to topple the Assad regime.
Of course that isn't true. But it is important to understand who is who in the Middle East and why Israel attacked Syria.
The simple truth is that Sunnis and Israel share one thing. They both fear the so-called Shia Crescent.
This is the lens, Israel and Sunnis look at the Shia threat.
Iran has a Shia theocracy. Iraq was ruled by the minority Sunni Hussein regime until the US toppled it. It is now ruled by the Shia majority. Syria is the last ME regime run by minorities. The majority of its people are Sunni.
Then there is Lebanon. After a brutal 15-year civil war, the Christian minority-led regime was replaced by Syrian puppets. This has led to a dysfunctional Lebanon military; in which Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah terrorists dominate the military instead of the Lebanese state.
It was Hezbollah that fought Israel for 34 days in the 2006 Lebanon war.
Iranian arms flow through Hezbollah. Now some of the Iran's most potent weapons and missiles are flowing from Hezbollah to Syria.
Israel military strikes have nothing to do with the Syrian civil war. But they have everything to do with stopping the Assad regime from taking ownership of Iranian weapons.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia are ruled by Sunni majorities. To call both countries allies of Israel is a stretch. But they do make strange bedfellows. There is an only saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Jordan and Saudi Arabia fear the Shia Crescent as much as Israel does.
The Israeli airstrikes in Syria reflect the complicated geopolitics of the ME. Geopolitics that have roots in the 7th century schism of Islam. Syria now, and will continue to be, a proxy civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims. History tells us that civil war's length and violence are proportional to how long sectarian divisions are artificially squelched. 13 centuries is a long time and does not auger well for ME peace.
Israel is surrounded. Jordan's recognition of Israel and Saudi Arabia tacit recognition protects it eastern flank. Hezbollah and its partnerhip with Iran is Israel's main threat on its northern border. Thats why you can expect Israel to continue to use military force in Syria and Lebanon.
May 6, 2013
I personally don't like guns. But many of my friends and relatives do. They have vast quantities of guns, semi-automatic and automatic rifles.
I don't think you can legislate gun control and I don't think you can save lives.
Background check legislation was only a political pacifier. If someone is intent on getting a firearm with a bad background, much like drugs, the black market will gladly step in and service their needs.
I also get the NRA is strong enough to defeat gun regulation; much like any financial lobbyist is strong enough to dilute financial regulation. In both cases, the far majority of Americans want regulation. But any organized minority group with money will always be stronger than an unorganized majority group with no money.
What I am against is Wayne LaPierre. I would like him eliminated from my television and the news I read. If the NRA wins so be it. But I don't need to have LaPierre going all Joseph Goebbels and rubbing it in.
“We will never surrender our guns, never”. No one is asking you to surrender your guns Wayne.
“To the political and media elites who scorn us, we say let them be damned”. You won Wayne, but should people with opposite views be damned? Damned to what? Hell?
“How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?”. What? Wayne, a bad guy with a bomb can't be stopped by a good guy with a Bushmaster.
"They are coming after us with a vengeance to destroy us and every ounce of our freedom, It's up to us, every single gun owner, every American to get to work right now and meet them head-on.". No were not Wayne. Despite your Nuremberg Rally cry. You seem to imply that a good guy with a gun can defeat bad guys who represent Americans in Congress.
Wayne LaPierre goes beyond lobbying. He resorts to being a demagogue. Defined as a person, especially an orator, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions and prejudices of people.
There is a difference between advocating and being a fascist. I have no problem with logically advocating. I do have a problem with fiery rhetoric that whips up an audience by framing an argument meant to divide the American people.
Again, I don't have a problem with gun ownership. And I don't have a problem with the NRA.
I have a problem with Wayne LaPierre being an anarchist. Defined as a person who rebels against authority, established order and ruling powers.
If the NRA would agree to legislation that bans Wayne LaPierre - a demagogue and an anarchist - I am on board.
As for people who wish to defend him as a means of last resort? You must not trust the second amendment of the constitution and the American legal system to enforce it. Leaving you some super paranoid conspiracy nut.
Just go back to collecting your firearms like baseball cards. You have every legal right to do so. Just keep Wayne LaPierre away from us. Bearing arms is protected by the constitution. Being a demagogue and being an anarchist may not.
May 5, 2013
Yesterday, the number of jobs created grew and unemployment fell to 7.5%. But that doesn't mean 92.5% of Americans are employed. In fact, at the current rate of job growth, full employment, estimated to be 4%, will take five more years.
But nonetheless the Dow Jones Average hit 15,000 before closing slightly below yesterday.
The first question is, why has the Dow Jones Average kept going up? In short, international investors are running out of options. Bond yields are unattractive. 10-Year Treasury rates began May at 1.66%. $5.5 billion of 10-Year Apple bonds sold for a paltry yield of 2.415% this week. The average corporate bond yield for AA-rated stocks - Apple is rated AA - stands at 2.51% this week. How about municipal bonds? AA-rated municipal bonds yields stand at 1.81% this week.
Gold is down from its 2011 peak of $1,895 to $1,471.
The Global Dow is flat from 2011 while the US Dow Jones has risen from 12,000 in 2011 to 15,000. Or a 25% increase.
The second question is, how long will it keep going up? The answer in short is no one knows. But the lessons learned since 1929 - are when stocks trade over the average Price-To-Earnings ratio of 15 - they will fall eventually.
The reader can clearly see that the Dow is trading above its historical average of 15 in 2013.
But the Dow can trade for a long time over 15. In fact, P-E ratios are not absolute. When an economy or stock is rapidly growing, its P-E ratio should grow as well. The problem though is two-fold. The growth-inflated P-E ratio has a tendency not to self correct when growth stops. The second problem is the US economy is barely growing. Meaning the average absolute P-E ratio of 15 is more accurate now (note Apple's P-E ratio is only 10.74).
All of this is to say, that (a) the Dow is rising due a lack of options on yield and (b) absent some kind of economic growth from a country where 75% of economic growth comes from consumer spending - like an absolute increase in employment - the Dow will fall.
When it will happen is anyone's guess. But history shows it's just a matter of time.
May 4, 2013
GOP Congressman Says His Voting District Wants More Sequester
Skipped it. Sequestration is supposed to cut back government spending. But obviously it doesn't stop Billy Long from limiting his trips to the all-you-can-eat Shoney's buffet.
Krugman: GOP Intimidated The Fed
Skipped it. GOP intimidating the Fed? Ben Bernanke is loathed by the GOP for his liberal monetary actions. By my count, Bernanke was Krugman's last friend. Unless you count animals.
Boston Bombers Planned A Fourth Of July Attack
Skipped it. But it does beg the obvious question. Can a pressure cooker with fireworks make a better display?
Fox News Guest: Charlotte Celebrating Church And State Separation Is The Same As The Holocaust.
Skipped it. You can't be a conservative and be against the Constitution. And by the way, is it me, or does Penny Nance look like she could be Michele Bachmann's sister?
Big Changes Coming To The New iPhone
Skipped it. Jonathan Ive and Tim Cook are no Steve Jobs. Their idea of running a company is shedding 50% of their market value. Their idea of innovation? Floating $17 billion in bonds at low borrowing rates so they can return money to investors to prop up their stock price. That's not technology innovation; that's simply financial engineering. The kind of thing a company does when they can no longer turn capital into company growth.
JP Morgan Exec Allegedly Lied Under Oath
Skipped it. That's not lying. That's a business model.
The Drudge Report Fell Hard For This Fake Bloomberg Pizza Revenge Story
Skipped it. Why does the conservative media keep falling for parody pranks? Could it be they have no sense of humor? Come to think about it. I can't name one conservative comedian. Although I do find their "serious" journalism a joke.
May 3, 2013