June 16th, 2009

#1594: Walking on a broken leg for 29 years.

"Steve Webb, 49, broke his left leg in a motorbike crash when he was 20-years-old. But after suffering decades of pain he found it had never actually healed."

Yeah, if you walk on a broken leg for 29 years, it's not going to heal.

I was going to comment about socialized medicine, but I'm starting to think the guy himself is at fault here, too.

* * *

Obama bankruptcy of GM hurt a lot of middle class people.

See, here's the fact of 21st century American capitalism that the liberals and communists won't tell you: The workers own the means of production. Large corporations are owned by stockholders, and there are a lot more middle class stockholders than there are rich ones. Whenever you decide to punish "the rich" by increasing capital gains taxes or by forcing an extra-legal form of bankruptcy on a major corporation--one which rewards the unions first and pays back stockholders last--you are not actually hurting the rich at all but socking it right to the middle class.

The rich can afford to lose whatever money they've got in the stock market--in fact a smart person with a fuck-ton of money will have all sorts of investments, some risky, some not, precisely because risk is proportional to reward: the long shots have the highest potential for big payoffs, while the safe investments don't have much of a rate of return but they do pretty much guarantee that you'll end up with more money than when you started. (Absent a total economic meltdown, of course, but a meltdown that bad rarely happens.)

So let's say we've got two hypothetical investors, Tom Sixpack and Johnathan Congac. Both TS and JC have invested in ABC Widgets by buying corporate bonds: TS has about $50,000 and JC has $500,000 worth of ABC Widgets corporate bonds. TS' net worth is something like $200,000 and JC's is something like $20,000,000. These two have essentially made a loan to the company, which the company promises to pay back with a certain amount of interest after a certain time has elapsed.

Now, before their bonds mature, ABC Widgets tanks. The company has been following a stupid business model for 30 years and it ends up with the wrong products at the wrong time. ABC Widgets must file for bankruptcy.

Under bankruptcy law, TS and JC are the first in line to get compensation for their bonds; the bonds are a hard-and-fast contract that must be honored.

But then a meddlesome President steps in because ABC Widgets is "too big to fail", and President Meddler rewards the union thugs by making sure they have first crack at the ABC Widgets pie. The bondholders (and other creditors) get screwed.

Tom Sixpack gets perhaps $5,000 of his investment back. Johnathan Congac gets perhaps $50,000 back of his investment. Which of them got screwed worse?

I know everyone is inclined to think, "Well, JC lost more money, didn't he?"

Not as a percentage of his net worth.

JC lost $450,000 out of $20,000,000, or 2.25% of his net worth. TS lost $45,000 out of $200,000, or 22.5% of his net worth.

The point is, the "rich" aren't hurt by this, not unless they are woefully stupid: if JC had had 22% of his net worth invested in what is considered a risky investment--and if he leaves his money invested for all the years while ABC Widgets is in obvious decline--that would count as "stupid" in my book.

The fact is that TS was stupid--first for risking so much of his net worth, and second for not pulling out as soon as it became obvious that GM was headed for the hurt locker.

Regardless, however, as bondholders they should have been the first to be paid back, not the last. They should have gotten back much more than 10% of their investments. But President Meddler had the unions to mollify as they helped him become President in the first place. And PM has no interest in, or sympathy for, average people who want to earn money.

I think the analogy is obvious even if the figures are fictional. I don't really have to explain it, do I?

* * *

I have to ask again: why the hell is it such a sin to want to be rich? Why do Democrats insist that anyone who is trying to make a buck--legally!--using the financial laws which were largely put in place by Democrats?

* * *

Come to think of it, the title of this post is an adequate allegorical explanation why GM is even in bankruptcy in the first place.

#1595: "Support for the regime"?

Here I thought millions of people were unhappy at having their non-support for the regime "corrected" by that same regime. The Iranian voters were angry, I thought, that Thug Thizzle Ahmadinejad had comitted election fraud in order to remain in power.

Now the AP tells me that the people are in fact marching in support of their tyrant.

...actually today the tyrant has manufactured a rally in support of himself. This march is a fraud.

* * *

And speaking of "support for the regime":

I have no idea if this link to the Drudge Report will remain or what, so I'm just going to cut-and-paste the whole schmeer:
Tue Jun 16 2009 08:45:10 ET

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.


Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:

Dear Mr. Westin:

As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

Ken McKay
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff


ABCNEWS Senior Vice President Kerry Smith on Tuesday responded to the RNC complaint, saying it contained 'false premises':

"ABCNEWS prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers -- of all political persuasions -- even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum. ABCNEWS is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue.

"ABCNEWS alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience."

So what we have, here, is a news organization allowing itself to be used as a vehicle for propaganda.

Wait, this isn't news; they've been like this all along--it's just more obvious now.

I suppose it's kind of like the election, in a way: it's histroy* in the making! and "we of the press are part of it!"

It used to be that the press reported on things, but it hasn't been like that since the 1960s. Now the press thinks its job is to interpret the news for us poor stupid clods who didn't go to the right universities.

It's why the media are all so slanted to the left: if they give us all the information on a subject and let us make up our own minds, some of us won't make the "right" decision, and we have to be protected from that possibility. (Actually? THEY have to be protected from that possibility.)

This is why ABC is not about to allow any opposing viewpoint to be heard in this propaganda-fest they're planning for the 24th. No doubt the Obama administration is unwilling to subject their guy to any hard questions, either, given how badly he screwed the pooch when Joe the Plumber asked about his policies on taxation. No, it's going to be a liberal love-fest which lasts for an entire evening.

*I realized right after I typed this word that I had transposed the the O and the R, but then I decided to leave it. Why? Because it's a Freudian slip, me trying to spell "history" the same way one spells the latter syllable of "destroy". I'm not sure "destroy" is the wrong word.

* * *

The wisdom of Lincoln's famous quote ("You can fool some of the people some of the time....") becomes more obvious to me as I get older.

Reagan--despite being President in a time when CBS NBC ABC NYT controlled what was reported and what wasn't--is still considered by the American people to be one of the best Presidents in history.

Obama--despite the hagiographic coverage he gets from those self-same CBS NBC ABC NYT MSNBC CNN ETC--is beginning to lose his momentum mere months after his inauguration. The people are beginning to get that they were sold a bill of goods; it's not a big thing yet and it's being kept as quiet as possible by the big media outlets, but the collapse of support is gathering momentum.

At least, I'd like to think so.

The press would gleefully report on every downward flick of Bush's approval rating, but every time I hear about Obama's I have to read between the lines to get anything approximating the truth. Obama's "positives" are still high, but his "negatives" are on the rise--and nowhere but certain conservative news sites has that been reported. And although the "positives" are still high, they are coming down: he is not as popular as he was five months ago.

The cap-and-trade scheme in Congress is beginning to face opposition from Democrats whose constituents would be hit by the consequences. The socialized medicine scheme, we have been told by Obama, is "now or never". He can't just wave his hand and make it happen any longer, not the way he could earlier this year. The Congressional Democrats have to look out for their own interests and some of those interests run counter to those of the Obama administration.

Which is a good thing.

* * *

The interesting thing about the situation in Iran--at least to me--is the full-on outrage displayed by the people of Iran. It ties into my comments about Lincoln's quote, too, because people are people regardless of where (or when) you look.