Cash-for-Clunkers SAVED!

We've reported on this horrible initiative (here) before and yesterday the head of the program said they were running out of money.

This is the plan where the government gives people money for their old cars. Up to $4500 if they go out and buy a new car. Congress agreed to spend $1 billion of your childrens money to fund this idiotic program all in the name of the environment and to save humanity, they said.

Well the farce continues as congress today enacted some emergency legislation to save the program. It authorized another $2B of your childrens money. And with brilliant commentary like this, who can question them:
"Consumers have spoken with their wallets and they've said they like this program," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis.
That makes no sense. David Obey, you are an idiot.

Folks, these are the same people trying to become solely responsible for your health. Doesn't that terrify you?!?

UPDATE: Sic Ibid pointed me to the fact that the government will destroy the cars that they pay up to $4500 for. That's right America, your children are paying for cars to be destroyed. This to save mother earth.

And on another note, they define these cars as gas guzzlers which are those that get less than 18mpg. Have you taken a look at GMC's truck website. Not one truck produced by GMC gets more than 18mpg in the city. That's funny especially because it's our government's car company.


Manny Ortez tested positive for steroids

During the 2004 Presidential campaign, haughty, French-looking Democrat (who by the way served in Vietnam) John Kerry demonstrated his love of America's pastime and his local Red Sox by answering a question about his favorite baseball player, "Manny Ortez."

The two players whose names were mangled together by Kerry were reunited in the news today. It was revealed that both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for steroids in 2003.

This should not diminish John Kerry's esteem for Manny Ortez. Kerry is a long-time supporter of biological enhancement, being a well-known botox junkie himself.


Timmy the Tax Cheat's house on Daily Show tonight

I'm not staying up that late, but Say Uncle tells us that Timmy the Tax Cheat's house will be featured on the Daily Show tonight.

Bottom line is that Timmy and his wife bought a house in 2004 for $1.6 million which was a stretch on their income (if you don't count Timmy's extra income from tax cheating), tried to sell it, and then decided to rent it out until Timmy's buddy Zimbabwe Ben bailed them out with hyperinflation.

Jim the Realtor covered it here.

UPDATE: Here's the clip.

My lack of a camera phone is your loss

A twentyish girl just walked into the restaurant totally unaware that her right breast was completely hanging out of her dress.

Gotta love Del Mar race season!

Obama Becomes Product Pitchman

This is sad on so many levels:
President Barack Obama will have Bud Light tomorrow when he hosts an old friend and the police officer who arrested him.
Let us count the ways:
1. The President is schlepping for the most popular beer in the land to gain support.
2. The most popular beer in the land also might be the most awful.
3. MillerCoors (when did they merge?) had to be contacted for a statement.
4. Bloomberg is reporting on what beer the President is drinking as part of its commitment to cutting edge financial journalism.
5. The issue requiring this beer bash is between a cop and a citizen. The issue is not within the province of the President of the United States just as the Terry Schiavo circus wasn't.
6. Finally, Budweiser is BELGIAN! This damn socialist president can't even drink an American beer!

And of course it has to be noted that nowhere in the article does it mention if the president chose White Rhino, Hindu Kush or California Skunk for the evening smokeout.

Goldman Sachs lawyer Todd Genger busted in child predator sting

Usually Goldman rats just want to screw the little guy. Todd Genger wanted a little girl.
A lawyer for Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs was caught in a sting operation aimed at perverts who solicit young girls for sex, officials said Tuesday.

Todd Genger, 33, is accused of trying to lure an underage teen with explicit chat on the Internet and then traveling to Westchester to consummate the cyber-affair.

In reality, the "girl" Genger was chasing was an undercover investigator posing as a teen in the chat room, the Westchester County district attorney's office said.

Genger, a Manhattan resident who is married and has three children, was snared after a series of Internet conversations that began April 13 and ended Monday, officials said.

HT: Blinko.

UPDATE: It's a given that Genger is immoral and depraved; he works at Goldman Sachs. But Goldman rats aren't known for being this stupid:
But what inquiring minds want to know is, has anyone ever heard of one of these 15 year old girls on the internet, supposedly just agog with excitement at getting it on with someone possibly older than their own fathers, actually being 15 year old girls just agog with excitement?

Aw, c'mon, Mister, doncha wanna buy some Treasuries?

"Lookie here! I got 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 30! What could be more sound than the U.S. dollar? You know your buddy Timmy wouldn't lie to you!"


Bunning out. Rand Paul in?

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning has had moments of brilliance standing up against the bailouts, the banksters, and the crooks at the Fed. But he's widely regarded as past his prime and losing his marbles. Yesterday, he announced that he will not seek re-election.

Will libertarian/constitutionalist hero Rand Paul run? I don't know, but I know that he'd represent real Hope and Change!

You can donate here, and vote in the Kentucky newspaper poll here (halfway down on left).


The other side of those cute seals at the La Jolla Children's Pool

There's a political battle over the Children's Pool at La Jolla. A sheltering seawall was was built in the early days of San Diego to give children a place to play at the beach without big waves. A trust was established which made the beach public in perpetuity for the children.

Well, seals like the shelter too. Dozens of seals have taken up residence in the cove, and people are now discouraged by signs and activists from using the beach. A judge recently ruled that the seals should be shooed off with barking dog recordings, but the state and city legislators look close to declaring a seal sanctuary.

I've supported the seals. I tend to think if the seals have picked one little spot to hang out, let's let them have it.

Here's the other side of the story: the overpopulation of seals is destroying the local sea life in the kelp forests. And seals are not just predators but also prey. They are attracting great white sharks. Last year a dude got chomped at nearby Fletcher Cove, the first apparent great white attack in these waters I've ever heard of. And last week a juvenile great white was caught off of La Jolla.

And it turns out that the seals did not appear there naturally, but were dumped there by Sea World's rehab and release program. Sometimes we throw ecosystems out of balance in the name of "protecting nature." Seals are nice to look at, but maybe a highly concentrated population right here is not the best idea.

Our friends at Temple of MUT have more, by way of an introduction to the August 28 Sacramento March on Eco-Tyranny.

Denninger question gets through to Bernanke on Lehrer

I'm watching Zimbabwe Ben on the Lehrer PBS show right now, and was shocked to hear a question from Karl Denninger of Florida. Yes, the Karl Denninger, internet Fed-basher extraordinaire.

The question was [paraphrasing], "Isn't encouraging more credit to overleveraged borrowers essentially like giving a drunk a bottle of whiskey and pronouncing him cured?"

Zimbabwe Ben didn't show signs of recognizing Denninger's name, and gave the usual political blah-blah-blah answer.

UPDATE: Here's the transcript:

JIM LEHRER: Got an e-mail, Mr. Chairman. This is from is Carl Deninger in Knoxville, Florida. The question is, "Since this crisis began with people unable to pay their bills and continues to be marked by this problem, how does expanding credit solve the problem? Isn't that going to be like giving a drunk a bottle of whiskey and calling him cured"?

BEN BERNANKE: Well, we have a case here of overreaction. It's true to some extent that this crisis was caused by too much credit, credit that was too risky, too easy. That's all true. But the financial crisis has caused a huge reaction in the other direction. And if you're - if you have a small business and you've tried to get a loan, you know that credit is very, very tight right now. We need to have sort of a middle course between credit that is excessively risky, excessively easy, and credit which is so tight that legitimate borrowers can't get credit.

The Federal Reserve has been working hard on this in a lot of ways. First, we've cut interest rates all the way to zero, the short-term interest rate, the one that we control. We've then worked with banks to try to increase their lending. And we have a whole set of programs. Let me just talk about one. We have a program that lends to investors who want to purchase consumer or small business loans from banks, and that puts more money into the system. And what we've found is that this program has brought down auto loan interest rates. We've helped finance 1.6 million auto loans. It's helped a lot in small business loans. We've financed about 600,000 small business loans. And so we have actually intervened in the market to try and get the credit markets working again.

So we had too much credit. It was too risky. It was too excessive. Now we've got to bring things back to sort of a nice middle ground.

Just thinking out loud here, but WTF is wrong with cash? Do we really want an economy that requires ever-increasing debt? I'm doing my part to shrink consumer credit right now by paying off the car and never borrowing again. If it requires debt, I don't need it.

Calpers - Tragic in its Hilarity

As we have documented often (here, here, here, here, and in a few other places), CALPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, is to sound investing what GM is to sound automobile manufacturing. They both suck at what they do and GM has already been bailed out while Calpers obviously will be bailed out.

Unless Joseph Dear's (Calpers fund manager) brilliance can save the day after their recently reported $56b loss on stocks and real estate, they may be in trouble. So what's his plan? Invest in more California real estate of course! Nothing signals future real estate booms like 18% real unemployment and new laws, like Cap and Trade, that are guaranteed to destroy what's left of the American economy. He makes at least $400,000 and he's worth every penny!


Banned on Zillow: "realtard"

Zillow has a fun feature called Q&A where you can insult people's houses (see my insults here).

This morning I tried to comment on one exceptionally overpriced house, but the system rejected the word "realtard" as inappropriate content. Interesting that that term has become so commonplace as to be included on a list of banned words.

San Diego Stop Obama Protest - Fashion Valley, July 25

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 25 patriots gathered along Friars Road at the Fashion Valley Mall to protest against President Obama.

I almost didn't participate. When I pulled up to the protest, there was a guy with a sign saying "America is a Christian nation." That was so off-putting that I almost drove away right then. America is not a Christian nation. America is a secular nation founded by Christians who were totally cool with atheists and people of other religions. A Muslim with a Messiah complex has as much right to be President as anybody else.

And that brings me to Roger, the organizer. Roger is a nice guy and I appreciate the effort he put into bringing this protest together, but his message is a little extreme and counter-productive. He had signs about Obama being a Black Nationalist Socialist, with images alluding to the Nazis. Yes, Obama's ideology and associates are radical, racist, authoritarian, and scary. But that message doesn't sell to the target audience. We're trying to persuade the average person driving past a mall in San Diego. Anyone that would respond positively to that message is already against Obama. Extremist stuff like that discredits the whole protest.

Roger, center.

Fortunately, the vast majority of the protesters had signs with messages that did resonate with the average driver: Obamacare, deficits, debt, freedom, the Constitution. And the number of supportive honks from passing drivers was impressive.

This is Linda, an absolute bundle of energy and delight to talk to. She went to the Washington D.C. Tea Party on July 4.

That's Grandma in the back window. Obama told her to take a pain pill and get some "end of life counseling" instead of surgery.

Ask not for whom the pig oinks -- it oinks for a homeless guy, not for the protesters.



The Bankster-Industrial Complex, after decades of encouraging excess consumption and excess borrowing (see FHA, Fannie Mae, FrankenDodd, Sallie Mae, Home ATM, Cash for Clunkers), now has decided that saving is a virtue that should be encouraged among the underclass.

The government banksters think, "How can we encourage saving among the poor, the stupid, the minorities? Let's see. Well, the poor, the stupid and the minorities like to buy lottery tickets. Let's make saving money like buying a lottery ticket!"
On July 30, 2009, the FDIC will host its seventh meeting of the Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN). The Advisory Committee was formed to provide advice and recommendations on initiatives to expand access to banking services by underserved populations. This meeting will focus on prize-linked savings and issues and challenges related to reaching out to underserved and low- and moderate-income consumers.

This is wrong on so many levels. It's bad enough that we have gotten to the point of a huge underclass with no desire to save money. This I blame largely on the easy credit and consumption mindset pushed by both government and industry (lenders as well as manufacturers and retailers).

Given that government and industry have created this huge, stupid, underclass, it's offensive to see that same government and industry now manipulate the underclass with lottery gimmicks. You know what would encourage savings? No more easy credit! You want a new TV? Then save the money for it. No financing! You need a car? Save up and buy a beater. You don't need to finance a new car.

But easy credit to the underclass is highly profitable for the banksters, especially when they know they'll get a government bailout if the loans go bad. So the cycle of irresponsibility and debt slavery continues.


CNBC You've Been Served - Smart Like

For those who haven't been following, CNBC's Charlie Gasparino and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera have been going after financial bloggers, specifically Zerohedge here and here. Check out the super clever comment by that sassy Michelle stating "...moronic bloggers, that's redundant Charlie". Hah, that's classic comedy, very rich. They also refer to ZeroHedge as Zero Intelligence. Ivy league humor straight up.

It's a little odd in general that CNBC would go after bloggers. In response to their low brow attack, 1-2 and Marla Singer at Zerohedge posted An Open Letter to the Financial Media. It is truly a must read for anyone interested in the financial world and the role media is playing and will play going forward. It is one of the most intelligent essays I've read on the blogosphere.

It's authored to respond to CNBC's accusation that Zerohedge are cowards for not giving up their anonymity. That somehow their arguments and ideas are invalid because of that.

The essay succeeds in making CNBC intellectually look like Fred "The Ogre" Palowakski seen in our previous post here holding the nerd upside down. Well done ZeroHedge. The folks here at WC Varones salute you.

ADDENDUM: Denninger also responds to CNBC's attack on ZeroHedge here and catalogs CNBC's irresponsible journalism and a few horrible financial calls as part of his argument. It's funny that these "journalists" are so eager to attack.


Gray Davis and Bill Clinton don't look so bad in the rear-view mirror.

Some of that is just because outrage fades with time and because they no longer have any power over us, but the bigger reason is that the current occupants of those offices really are orders of magnitude worse.

Cash for Clunkers: bad for the environment and yet another taxpayer bailout for Government Motors

Cash for Clunkers is not good for the environment. It takes good used cars out of use and creates artificial demand for the environmentally destructive manufacturing of new cars.

Ever heard of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," you assholes? I guess that doesn't apply when union autoworkers need Americans to keep over-consuming.

Bank Failure Friday: Seven Deadly Sins

Not even 4pm on the west coast, and Sheila has unleashed her minions on seven banks:
Security Bank of Jones County, Gray, GA
Security Bank of Houston County, Perry, GA
Security Bank of Bibb County, Macon, GA
Security Bank of North Metro, Woodstock, GA
Security Bank of North Fulton, Alpharetta, GA
Security Bank of Gwinnett County, Suwanee, GA
Waterford Village Bank, Williamsville, NY

Sounds like the first six are related.

Green shoots!

Not for the economy, but green shoots for democracy and freedom!

1) Obama approval below 50% for first time

2) Blue Dog Democrats mad as hell about being "lied to" by leadership on ObamaCare

Stop Obama protest tomorrow July 25 at Fashion Valley in San Diego

There's a protest against Obama tomorrow by what would appear to be a splinter faction of the Tea Party movement.

While the Tea Party movement focuses on issues, Stop Obama is obviously more directly aimed at one individual.

This guy Roger, who looks like Greg Kinnear, has organized the protest and claims to be getting 80+ people to show up tomorrow. I'll guess it will be closer to ten or twenty, but it still could be a lot of fun.

See you at Fashion Valley!


Zero Hedge thanks CNBC

The cheerleaders at CNBC don't get the whole "internets" thing, and have taken to the airwaves to denounce financial bloggers.

Zero Hedge, an excellent but until recently fairly obscure blog, appreciates the exposure.


Movement of Jah people:
Ponder the latest report from United Van Lines’ migration experts. It says the population exodus from Orange County continues. At least, via its moving vans.

In 2009’s first half, 55% of the moves handled by United were outbound from Orange County. That’s an exit rate up slightly from the 54.3% rate for all of 2008. (Psst! California’s exit rate also is up this year!)

So where are all these folks going to?

Well, if it’s by United, the top destination is Texas, followed by the state of Washington; elsewhere in California; Florida and Virginia.

Not that it's at all relevant, but the top income tax rates in the four destination states are 0%, 0%, 0%, and 5.75%.

Investors Outside the USA LOVE OBAMA!

In Europe and Asia, 87 percent of respondents say they view Obama positively, compared with just 49 percent in the U.S. His standing among American investors is even lower on economic matters: only a quarter of U.S. poll respondents rate his economic policies as “good” or “excellent,” compared with more than half in Europe and Asia.

No way! You mean foreigners love Obama because he is allowing the Fed to commit $500 BILLION dollars in currency swaps. That is to risk $500 billion of taxpayer money without the approval of congress. That used to be illegal according to the constitution but then this used to be a democracy.
Check out Alan Grayson grilling Bernanke:

By the way, isn't it just a little scary that the Chairman of the House Finance Committee(3:38) doesn't know the year the Federal Reserve Act was signed into law. He believes it was 1914. I believe he's an idiot but I guess I could be wrong as well.

Ironical Mr. President!

I can't believe he used the blue pill - red pill analogy. I love the Matrix and Mr. MaObama definitely wants us to take the blue pill.


China goes shopping

And so it begins:
Beijing will use its foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, to support and accelerate overseas expansion and acquisitions by Chinese companies, Wen Jiabao, the country’s premier, said in comments published on Tuesday.

“We should hasten the implementation of our ‘going out’ strategy and combine the utilisation of foreign exchange reserves with the ‘going out’ of our enterprises,” he told Chinese diplomats late on Monday.

Mr Wen said Beijing also wanted Chinese companies to increase its share of global exports.

The “going out” strategy is a slogan for encouraging investment and acquisitions abroad, particularly by big state-owned industrial groups such as PetroChina, Chinalco, China Telecom and Bank of China.


Mr Wen did not elaborate on how much of the $2,132bn of reserves would be channelled to Chinese enterprises but Mr Qu said this was part of a strategy to reduce its reliance on the US dollar as a reserve currency.

“This is reserve diversification in a broader sense. Instead of accumulating foreign exchange reserves and short-term financial assets, the government wants the nation to accumulate more long-term corporate real assets.”

Translation: "No more Zimbabwe Ben dollars. We want real stuff."

I expected this to happen a long time ago. I wrote about this in 2005, so long ago that it counts more as "wrong" than as "early." But even a stopped Varones is right twice a decade:
Transfers of assets are a foreseeable result of huge trade imbalances. We are buying billions of dollars worth of goods from the Chinese, and they have to put those dollars somewhere. For the past several years, those dollars have gone largely into U.S. Treasury bonds.

Now the Chinese appear to be getting tired of measly 4% yields on a depreciating U.S. Dollar. Where else to invest? Sickly Europe? The real estate bubble, as the Japanese did to disastrous effect in the 1980's? No, the new target is U.S. equity. China's Lenovo recently bought IBM's PC business. Cnooc is trying to buy Unocal. Expect many more bids for U.S. companies, and expect the phenomenon to be very positive for the U.S. stock market.

You spelled that wrong

"Desserted Island," one of the plague of yogurt shops that has descended on Del Mar and Solana Beach. Despite huge crowds for opening day at Del Mar Race Track and an exceptionally hot summer day, no one wanted frozen yogurt.

Next door, the venerable and excellent Pizza Port was packed.

Nope, not working.

Now for some Opening Day pics from Del Mar:

Your correspondent had to stash his bag in the bushes.

Clever women wear hats.

But the cleverest don't.

Sonny Crockett was there.

The Pink Duo.

I don't know what this guy did, but El Puerco was lurking right outside the Fairgrounds and popped him right after he came out. It's probably just that he doesn't have a front license plate, which is illegal in California, and El Puerco saw the chance to make the daily quota. I sure would have appreciated it if they'd given him a wood shampoo.

New Programming Note - More to Love

While the country is being flushed down the toilet by its government, we here at WC Varones want to point out what's REALLY important. It's shows like this that say 'hey, obesity, with all its associated medical pitfalls, is ok.' Please enjoy these hotties!

Did Orwell's 1984 include something like this?


Three Cheers for Signing Statements

Having your own blog is nice. You can use any foul language you wish, be as slutty as you desire, or just be a downright bitch. But I tossed out all those benefits a while ago and closed up my blog.

There are times I see things like this tho - Democrats irked by Obama signing statement - and just want to laugh. Not only laugh, but share that laughter with as many people willing to listen to me.

As I commented in the article, "Obama! Change you can believe in!", (sarcasm in case you weren't sure) people actually believed that during the campaign. No more rich white Republican. Hell no! America, Americans!!, want change. True change. HA! Love the change I'm seeing here.

I sent this article over to W.C., half hoping I would see it posted up on the site. Instead I got an invite to contribute. As I said in my email, doesn't matter the color or political leaning, a politician is a politician and they will screw you.

Not in the way I like to be screwed either.

Okay that comment wasn't in the email.

As to signing statements - have the balls to veto the bill or sign it as is. As a side note, Obama has more signing statements to date than Bush did by this same date in his first term. Just your little FYI.

For more info - Obama's comment on signing statements and Presidential Signing Statements FAQs

The Great Pumpkin, or...

Hillary freed from Guantanamo.

Obama lied, spending cuts died

On April 20, President Obama challenged his Cabinet to cut $100 million in spending over the next 90 days.

Well, 90 days has come and gone.

To understand the magnitude of these cuts, that's 0.01% of the size of Obama's $787 billion porkulus bill. And yet the man who is going to take over the nation's entire health care system and finance it with cost savings can't even come up with $100 million in savings from all of his departments.

HT: Sheff

CalPERS fraud watch

It was a year and three days ago that CalPERS attempted its great performance fraud, claiming that its subjectively valued assets (real estate and private equity) were going straight up even as global asset markets were declining.

CalPERS today will try to sneak out a partial confession as the media are distracted by the state budget deal:
California's huge government pension fund is expected to report today a whopping annual loss of an estimated $56.8 billion, almost a quarter of its investment portfolio.

The loss at the California Public Employees' Retirement System for the fiscal year ended June 30 is the second in a row for the country's largest fund. A year ago, CalPERS reported an $8.5-billion loss, as the severe recession began to take hold.
Yes, the official numbers are horrific, but the smart money says that the truth is even worse.

UPDATE: Yup, it's bad:

The California Public Employees' Retirement System reported a decline of 23.4% for its latest fiscal year ending in June, marking its worst year ever.

The pension fund saw its value fall by $56 billion from the previous fiscal year to $180.9 billion.


Some of Calpers's worst-performing assets were private or "alternative" investments, which have attracted the interest of many public pensions and endowments in recent years. Real estate was hardest hit, falling an estimated 35.8%, and private equity was next in line with a 31.4% decline. Figures for both of these categories reflected the 12-month period ending in March.

Cash, up 1.4%, and the fund's global fixed-income, which earned 0.6%, were the only reported assets to finish higher.

Real estate and private equity only down 35.8% and 31.4%? I doubt that, as much of it was highly leveraged, and last year's valuations were fantasies.


California budget deal

It's all over, baby blue.

Schwarzenegger and Democrats agree on phony budget deal that pushes the problem down the road with borrowing and accounting gimmicks:
Besides spending cuts, the budget proposal includes capturing more than $4 billion from cities, counties and special districts.

It also relies on accounting tricks, such as increasing income tax withholding schedules by 10 percent to shift money from 2010-11 to 2009-10, as well as delaying state worker paychecks next June 30 to July 1.

UPDATE: Whoomp! There it is!

Portrait of a home ATM: 1424 Innsbruck, Lake Arrowhead

This is what a home ATM looks like. Lake Arrowhead is a resort area a couple hours from Los Angeles that is a popular weekend getaway.

The owners at 1424 Innsbruck hit the jackpot, apparently taking the bank for $590,000 in cash plus a couple hundred thousand in depreciation.

Look at this history:
Sep 15, 1989 Sold $160,000
Oct 13, 2005 Sold $785,000
Apr 02, 2009 Sold $1,374,996
May 05, 2009 Foreclosure Listed $810,000
Jun 19, 2009 Price Changed $699,000
Jul 11, 2009 Price Changed $599,000
Now, I don't have access to title or loan data, but the most likely scenario here is that the April "sale" is not a real sale but the trustee's sale, where the bank took it back and the $1.375 million is what was owed at the time.

So the owner bought for $785,000 at the peak of the bubble, then managed to swindle the bank out of another $590,000 (likely based on a fantasy valuation from a crooked appraiser).

I'm curious who the bank, the borrower, and the appraiser are. The FBI ought to be curious too. These people managed to walk away with $590,000 -- more than most people are able to save over their entire careers.

Nerds attack San Diego

San Diego is already being overrun by geeks here for next weekend's comic book convention Comic-Con. Sea World was full of them yesterday, and traffic seems much worse than usual summer weekends. I was going to go to the Wild Animal Park today, but I canceled to avoid the nerd hordes.

On the bright sight, comic book geeks tend to be politically enlightened, so I've seen quite a few beater cars with anarcho-libertarian bumper stickers.

Washington Post: Obama sucks!

He's like the worst of Jimmy Carter...
So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter. Like the 39th president, Obama has inherited an awful economy, dizzying budget deficits and a geopolitical situation as promising as Kim Jong Il's health. Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when America's best-known peanut farmer was installing solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party's left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.

And perhaps most important, as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular. The auto bailout -- which, incidentally, is illegal, springing as it has from a fund specifically earmarked for financial institutions -- has been reviled from the get-go, with opposition consistently polling north of 60 percent. Majorities have said no to bank bailouts and to cap and trade if it would make electricity significantly more expensive.

According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than 80 percent are concerned that health-care reform will increase costs or diminish the quality of care. Even as two House committees passed a reform bill last week, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the proposal "significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs" and dramatically raises the cost "curve." This sort of voter and expert feedback can't be comforting to the president.

As writers who inveighed against last year's GOP candidate and called George W. Bush's presidency a "disaster," we're equal-opportunity critics. As taxpayers with children and hence some small, almost certainly unrecoverable stake in this country's future (not to mention that of General Motors, Chrysler and AIG), we write with skin in the game and the fear that our current leader will indeed start busting out the 1970s cardigans.

... combined with the worst of George W. Bush:
The key to understanding Obama's predicament is to realize that while he ran convincingly as a repudiation of Bush, he is in fact doubling down on his predecessor's big-government policies and perpetual crisis-mongering. From the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists to gays in the military to bailing out industries large and small, Obama has been little more than the keeper of the Bush flame. Indeed, it took the two of them to create the disaster that is the 2009 budget, racking up a deficit that has already crossed the historic $1 trillion mark with almost three months left in the fiscal year.

Beyond pushing the "emergency" $787 billion stimulus package (even while acknowledging that the vast majority of funds would be released in 2010 and beyond), Obama signed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill and a $106 billion supplemental spending bill to cover "emergency" expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan (and, improbably, a "cash for clunkers" program). Despite pledges to achieve a "net spending cut" by targeting earmarks and wasteful spending, Obama rubber-stamped more than 9,000 earmarks and asked government agencies to trim a paltry $100 million in spending this year, 0.003 percent of the federal budget.

In the same way that Bush claimed to be cutting government even while increasing real spending by more than 70 percent, Obama seems to believe that saying one thing, while doing another, somehow makes it so. His first budget was titled "A New Era of Fiscal Responsibility," even as his own projections showed a decade's worth of historically high deficits. He vowed no new taxes on 95 percent of Americans, then jacked up cigarette taxes and indicated a willingness to consider new health-care taxes as part of his reform package. He said he didn't want to take over General Motors on the day that he took over General Motors.

Such is the extent of Obama's magical realism that he can promise to post all bills on the Internet five days before signing them, serially break that promise and then, when announcing that he wouldn't even try anymore, have a spokesman present the move as yet another example of "providing the American people more transparency in government."

What the new president has not quite grasped is that the American people understand both irony and cognitive dissonance. Instead, Obama has mistaken his personal popularity for a national predilection toward emergency-driven central planning. He doesn't get that Americans prefer the slower process of building political consensus based on reality, and at least a semblance of rational deliberation rather than one sky-is-falling legislative session after another.


Bush learned the hard way that running government as a perpetual crisis machine leads to bad policy and public fatigue. Obama's insistence on taking advantage of a crisis to push through every item on the progressive checklist right now is threatening to complete that cycle within his first year.


How capitalism died

Paulson reveals US concerns of breakdown in law and order

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin

Brain Teaser: Name That Chart

What data series does this chart represent?

UPDATE: For answer, highlight here --> It's the Obama Presidential approval index from Rasmussen Reports.

Chappaquiddick Day

It was 40 years ago today that Ted Kennedy drove Mary Jo Kopechne off a bridge, left her there to drown, and went to a hotel and went to sleep without calling the police or fire department.

Oh for those quaint days of yore when Democrats killed people one at a time rather than by the thousands with national health care!


Angry Obama apologist Susan Roesgen out as "reporter" at CNN

'Bout time.

Cliff Asness on ObamaCare

Cliff Asness is a wacko, but he makes so much more sense than Obama.

Free cash advances on your credit card from the U.S. Mint

You know those cash advance rip-offs where you pay your credit card company an upfront fee plus a usurious interest rate? Well, there's no need for those any more.

Charlie discovered a free money scam from the dimwits at the U.S. Mint, called Direct Ship.

You can order thousands of dollars of $1 coins on your credit card at face value, and the mint will ship them to you overnight free of charge. They are treated as a purchase, not a cash advance, so not only do you not pay finance charges, but you earn airline miles or cashback rewards just like a regular purchase. You can then immediately take the coins to the bank and deposit them to start earning interest, and you don't have to pay for them until the due date on your next credit card bill.

$1000 of coins weighs about 20 pounds. Imagine the idiocy of a country that pays UPS insured overnight shipping on multiple 20 pound boxes, plus pays credit card merchant fees, just to take a loss to get people to use its currency. Sounds like something Zimbabwe would do, huh?

Bonus play: If you're going down, go big. If you're planning to default on your credit cards, make sure you max them out getting cash from the mint first! Then laugh at the banks as they beg you to settle for pennies on the dollar.

Beck on Goldman Coup

Seriously calling this a coup is not a joke. Goldman Sachs runs the country now and Obama runs its enforcement wing.


CBO chief: ObamaCare will destroy, not save, the budget

So much for the Messiah's "health care reform will fix the deficit."
President Obama blamed health care costs for the mounting federal deficit, saying Tuesday the country will spend $1 out of every $5 on health care within the next 10 years if the government does not mandate reform.

Describing the need to control costs as the administration's "top priority," the president said health costs as the "primary driver" of the federal deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office says ObamaCare will only make things worse:

The health care overhauls released to date would increase, not reduce, the burgeoning long-term health costs facing the government, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said Thursday.

That is not a message likely to sit well with congressional Democrats or the Obama administration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., said Thursday she thinks lawmakers can find ways to wring more costs out of the health system as they continue work on their bills.

We had to destroy the village in order to save it

Goldman Sachs in Talks to Acquire Treasury Department

Borowitz Report:

Sister Entities to Share Employees, Money

In what some on Wall Street are calling the biggest blockbuster deal in the history of the financial sector, Goldman Sachs confirmed today that it was in talks to acquire the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

According to Goldman spokesperson Jonathan Hestron, the merger between Goldman and the Treasury Department is "a good fit" because "they're in the business of printing money and so are we."

The Goldman spokesman said that the merger would create efficiencies for both entities: "We already have so many employees and so much money flowing back and forth, this would just streamline things."

Mr. Hestron said the only challenge facing Goldman in completing the merger "is trying to figure out which parts of the Treasury Dept. we don't already own."

Goldman recently celebrated record earnings by roasting a suckling pig over a bonfire of hundred-dollar bills.

Video of Michael Jackson's hair catching fire

Why was US Weekly holding out on us 'til he kicked the bucket?

Video here.

You know what Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor's favorite charity is, right?


Greenspan's Body Count: Ernest Scherer Jr. and Charlene Abendroth

Body Count goes to Vegas!

Ernest Scherer III was a Vegas loser who fancied himself a professional poker player.

Doesn't that photo tell you all you need to know about the likelihood of Ernie being able to service a $616,000 mortgage on his wits alone?

Yes, Ernie, like a lot of simpletons, thought Greenspan's easy money would keep coming forever. So he got in trouble on his mortgage and decided the best way out would be to whack his parents to get an inheritance.
Prosecutors say he was deeply in debt and killed his parents for an inheritance valued at more than $1.3 million. He also owed his father $616,000 for a temporary (short-term) mortgage loan, authorities say.
More of Ernie's story here, including that he had just $340,000 in tournament wins over six years, which was no doubt exceeded by his losses. Try raising a family and paying a $616,000 mortgage on those figures.

Greenspan's Body Count now stands at 102.

Ernest Scherer Jr.
Charlene Abendroth
J.D. Wood
Cynthia Wood
Aubrey Wood
Dillon Wood
Betty J. Lipply
Dwight Deely
Linda Patrick
David Kellerman
Christopher Wood
Francie Billotti-Wood
Chandler Wood
Gavin Wood
Fiona Wood
Gil Weber
Gregory Graham
Randolph Graham
David Kelley
Ramona woman
Del Mar man
Wayne "Mike" Anderson
Jeffrey M. Pearson
Ervin Antonio Lupoe
Ana Lupoe
Brittney Lupoe
Jaszmin Lupoe
Jassely Lupoe
Benjamin Lupoe
Christian Lupoe
Steven L. Good
Adolf Merckle
Mike Upham
Randy Motts
Kristy Hunt
Joseph Nesheiwat
Tom Brisch
Alex Widmer
Brian Pugh
Marilyn Lewis
Sid Agrawal
Kirk Stephenson
Barry Fox
Dallas Dwayne Carter
David Hetzel
Sharron Hetzel
Cliff Kendall
Pamela Ross
Roland Gore
Mrs. Gore
Wanda Dunn
Karthik Rajaram
Subasri Rajaram
Krishna Rajaram
Ganesha Rajaram
Arjuna Rajaram
Indra Ramasesham
Joe X
Isabelle Jarka
Robert Wagner
Lt. Michael Howe
John Roberts
Palmer C. White
Dianne Pittman White
Ed Boesen
Edwin F. Rachleff
Carlene Balderrama
Troy VanderStelt
Scott M. Coles
Dawn E. Armstrong
Thomas Lizotte
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Salvador X
Lupe X
Jade X
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington

California bleedin'

Toyota Motor Corp. is assessing the cost of shutting a California auto plant previously shared with General Motors Corp. and is leaning toward closure instead of funding the factory on its own, two people familiar with the plan said.

The unprofitable carmaker is likely to close New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. since the cost of keeping the factory open will rise, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public.


By 2012 California is to begin a program aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming by 30 percent. Business groups in the state including the California Chamber of Commerce and California Small Business Roundtable have said the program will boost energy and other expenses for companies in the state.

Not to mention little things like workers' comp, taxes, cost of living, schools...

Toyota will say "Sayonara" unless they get the mother of all backroom deals from the state.


Taxpayers to be forced to bail out CIT so that Democrats can be re-elected

Uh-oh! Another bad lender is in trouble. Time to screw the taxpayers!

"It seems like official Washington is just coming to grips with what would happen if the largest small-business lender went belly up," said Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst at Concept Capital's Washington Research Group. "It would destroy Democratic hopes of getting unemployment under control before the mid-term election."

United States of America - the FED Coup

This is a great video about the FED’s power in the United States. The reason I call it a coup is because of what Alan Grayson stated at the end of the video:
“Nobody has that kind of power in a democracy,.. in a constitutional country.”
I completely agree.


You walk away? The bank won't take it!

Sometimes taxes and maintenance mean properties are worth less than zero.

Green shoots

The idea that marijuana taxes would raise substantial revenue is silly, but if it helps legalize God's green earth and end the harmful and counterproductive "war on drugs," I'm all for it.

The Audacity of Hope: 144 N. Rios, Solana Beach

Remember 144 N. Rios? The four-plex condos some greedy developer was trying to sell for more than $1.5 million each when single-family homes in the area have trouble selling for more than $1 million (this search shows 51 listings and 4 sales in the past 3 months meaning 38 months of inventory, and only one of those sales was east of Highway 101).

How did that spring selling season work out for our greedy developer?

Well, it's been more than a year now, and they are still holding out for the original price of $1.55 million. I think it's only a matter of time before they give up and give it back to the bank. I'd be shocked if they are still making payments on it.


San Diego ObamaCare Protest Pictures

The crowd as I approached before the 10am kickoff. I would estimate it grew to more than 100 eventually.

Dawn Wildman, one of the founders of the local tea party movement.

Leslie Eastman, another local founding mother.

Yes, this is about ObamaCare. But we still hate Schwarzenegger.

The tourists on the bus checked out the scene. Some passing motorists gave supportive honks.

Good point.

Mason Weaver, a great speaker, radio host, and, judging by the "Draft Mason Weaver" signs in the crowd, possible Congressional candidate.

Founding member, Babies Against Communism

About 15 Obamunists showed up to counter-protest across the street. They shouted a lot but were largely ignored.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! And check out organizer Leslie Eastman's blog post on the event.

San Diego Communist Health Care Protest

Today, July 11, 10 AM at the Star of India downtown.

See you there!

Just say no to mortgage loan modification slavery

[The data] illustrate the fundamental flaw in the notion, widely embraced, not least by the Obama administration, that loan modification is salvation for troubled homeowners, beleaguered builders and lenders. Bull, says Mark [Hanson of Hanson Advisors].

"Loan mods," he contends, are designed to keep the unpaid principal balance of the lender's loans intact while re-levering the borrower" and are worse than all those horrors concocted by mortgage bankers during the bubble.

Mortgage modifications, he thunders, turn "homeowners into underwater, overlevered renters for life, unable to sell, re-buy, refi, shop or save. They turn homeowners into economic zombies."


Obama's science czar: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet

For your consideration: John Holdren, Obama's Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet

California tax revenues surge!

I just got the new budget update from Johnny Chiang, and to my great surprise:
Total General Fund revenues were up $132 million (1.1%) from the 2009-10 May Revision estimates.
Green shoots!!!

But what's this?
A surge in corporate tax payments made to avoid a new penalty bolstered State receipts for the second month in a row. Total General Fund revenues were up $132 million (1.1%) from the 2009-10 May Revision estimates.

Corporate tax payments were $1.31 billion above (41.2%) estimates. Personal income taxes were $987 million below estimates (-18.0%), and sales taxes lagged by $154 million (-5.8%).

Compared to June 2008, General Fund revenue in June was up $1.67 billion (15.4%), again driven by corporate payments related to the new penalty. The total for the three largest taxes was above 2008 levels by $1.45 billion (14.5%). Corporate taxes beat last June’s totals by $2.67 billion (146.3%), but sales taxes in June were down $295 million (-10.6%), and personal income taxes were down $918 million (-16.9%) in a month-to-month comparison to June 2008.
So we got a one-time boost from corporations trying to avoid penalties (some of which may in fact have to be refunded as there are likely overpayments in there), but California's recurring revenue streams are plummeting and are already far worse than the May revised estimates.

Obama pervs on 17-year-old ass

She's jailbait, dude!

When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal!

UPDATE: The Obama Fan Channel, MSNBC, says Obama was innocently turning around just to help the woman in black step down (at 0:43):

I don't know about that. It looks like Obama was turned around looking at the girl's ass before the woman in black even started moving. What do you think?

Strange days indeed

I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but look at what the security agencies did to create and promote the Russia collusion hoax and th...