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internet hot spot "The Rant". The Straight Hype's egregious spelling and atrocious grammar are kept in check by my associate editor, the lovely Miss Claire, and the site looks so pretty thanks to our in-house computer guru, the esteemed Mr. Paul Leger. Please feel free to email any comments to the editor, Joe Leger (that's me), at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Leger is a writer living in Atlantic Canada.
Before the great sequestration began, we asked noted economist Tim Dimas to reflect on the consequences of the election results, and the ugly class warfare that launched America into another 4 years of expected economic malaise. Tim took up the challenge and chipped away at the cliches and misguided thinking that led to the mess that is Obama 2.0 - a sort of pre-questration if you will.
Please enjoy, this month's installment of, Tim's Take.
New Year, America! Your paycheck is smaller.
it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.
really, all I’ve heard about since November 2000 is that Bush is a modern day
Hitler. So Democrats did the most logical thing and allowed one of his tax cuts
on workers expire, resulting in about a $50 smaller paycheck every two weeks
(for the “average” American). Of course, nobody is screaming in the streets
that Obama broke a promise never to raise taxes on anyone earning less than
$250,000.00 a year. Enjoy that extra pinch in your paycheck, America. You
earned it: You voted for it.
Bush-averse logic also led Democrats to make his tax cuts on the middle class
permanent. I think that’s a wonderful way to honor “BusHitler.” (Remember THESE
gems? http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=612 ) Nothing highlights how
much you hate the man quite like making his tax cuts permanent.
Figure 1 - "My predecessor was an ignorant
fool that ruined our economy, which is why you should elect me - AGAIN - and
why I'm making his tax cuts permanent" - President Barack Obama
wait, it gets better. You’re getting an average of $50 less in your paycheck
($100/month) so that you can get free birth control. Remember, you had to vote
for Obama because those pesky Republicans were waging a war on women. Too bad
you’re getting that $10 prescription for free but getting $100 less a month.
Of course most Obama voters were willing to
turn a blind eye to their dwindling paycheck in the hopes of soaking the rich
and sticking them with higher taxes, which was the theme of the fiscal
cliff-deal deal, the 2012 election, the 2008 election... Like many liberal
ideas, there are two-fold problems wrapped in this worldview: first is that the
principle of hosing the rich doesn’t makes sense, second is that the liberal
execution of policy won’t deliver more revenue . I suppose that qualifies as a
are some of the errors liberals make in assaulting the rich for their wealth.
What’s wrong with having money? Remember, love of money is the root of all
evil; not money as an object.
The rich are already paying their “fair share.” The CBO states that the wealthy
in this country control half of the money in the United States. They pay for
70% of its taxes. This is even before we discuss the fact that only about half
of Americans pay any income taxes at all. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/10/cbo-rich-pay-outsized-share-taxes/) The tax burden on the
rich has fallen in recent years: it could continue to fall another 20% and it
would still be more than their “fair share.”
objections to this are “Who needs that much money?”, and “What about people
before profits.” As we already discussed in the previous post, there’s nothing
wrong with making profit - that’s all that a corporation lives and breathes
for. As for “Who needs that much money?” there’s really only one response: Why
do you care?
some reason the left has dubbed itself arbiter of what is fair and what isn’t.
The problem, unfortunately, is that they are the ones setting the rules, and
the fact that the rich are paying a disproportionate amount of the tax burden
to begin with isn’t enough for them. This is because they wouldn’t ever be able
to squeeze enough out of the rich.
liberals here and abroad are hell-bent on taxing the rich, they’re going to
find themselves up against the grim reality that if they don’t want to let the
rich live as functional members of society, the Cayman Islands will gladly take
their emigrated dollars.
know what you’re thinking and what your objections are. Let’s briefly debunk
your liberal (and predictable) qualms with not soaking the rich so we can all
go out to Applebee’s and be friends again.
“No one needs that much money.” -Thanks for your concern. I’ll make as much as
“Rich people aren’t patriotic.” -Joe Biden said paying taxes is patriotic. And
the rich in the US are paying more taxes than anyone. So if they aren’t
patriotic, you certainly aren’t.
“It’s really crappy that the rich would move instead of paying taxes.” -What’s
wrong with trying to protect their assets? It’s not their fault you voted
someone in that hates them for no good reason except their success.
“Rich people only care about money.” I’m pretty sure everyone cares about
voted Obama back into office in November of 2012 thinking that they were voting
against Mitt Romney who was too rich or didn’t understand their needs. The
prior four years of economic destruction and tepid recovery didn’t register
when they went in the voting booth. As of this writing, the breaking news is
that GDP contracted for the end of 2012 by .1% The sad reality is that there
will be far fewer rich Americans if the failed economic policies of this
administration are enacted for another four years. Buckle up!
can’t say it any more succinctly than Lady Thatcher did: I’ll do my best to
are far less concerned with making the poor richer, than they are with making
the rich poorer.”
US president has put more effort and energy into punishing the successful and
the well-off than he has into lifting up the working class. Playing Robin Hood
is not a policy, it’s robbery. And it’s not a way to raise the middle-class.
It’s a way to subsidize votes.
are all like “Romney lost, you need to get over it.” When I stop seeing
HuffPost articles berating the guy, I’ll drop it. Three months later, he
remains the left’s whipping boy.
don’t tell anyone, but Marco Rubio’s meteoric rise in the GOP is encouraging to
me for two critical reasons. The first is that he’s brilliant and young,
symbolizing a possible conservative renaissance. The second is that if Rubio is
the GOP nominee in 2016 (yes, I know it’s early) I can say that liberals that
don’t like him are racist. And if those liberals are white, they will have no
defense. And I’ll be able to bless liberals with the ability to live the
utter hell of being called a racist for no good reason at all. People think I’m
joking about this, but look sharp! If you are a white liberal and Rubio is the
nominee, I’m coming for you. And I won’t be joking.
Dimas loves to hike, play soccer, and drink bubble tea (how harijuku!). He’s
also addicted to Words with Friends, even though he loses about 73% of the
A leaked "White Paper" document uncovered by NBC has the White House distancing itself from the Department of Justice. The internal memo, according the Wall Street Journal, summarizes the legal justification for using drones to kill al Qaeda operatives, including American citizens.
The memo states:
"The government does not need evidence that a specific attack is imminent, only that the targeted suspect is involved in ongoing plotting against the United States."
As K. McKinnely pointed out in response to the administration's hypocritical stance against waterboarding: "There is such irony in Obama's outrage over 'torture.' Why torture when you can just kill with drones?"
The lovely Mrs. Claire and I are hanging upside down in our car. This is not a comfortable position - trust me. After I'm sure we’ve stopped moving, I ask her if she’s ok, which is really the only thing that matters to me. She assures me that she is, and asks the same of me. After a few seconds of silence, I state what was probably obvious to her: “Honey, I am so glad you're ok. I think we're probably going to need a new car, though.” She laughs, and we continue to hang there for a moment, deciding what to do.
Being strapped in by a seat belt in a flipped car kind of feels like being in the junior space camp program, or getting a wedgie from Barney Frank, with the exception that I've never been to space camp. Orange was always the safe word with Barney. I released my seat belt first, and partially hit the roof of the car before I had a chance to brace myself. I say partially, because I was driving, so I was wedged - what should be under, but was then over – the steering wheel. It was an awkward position, considering that my chin was approximately at dashboard level and the roof was about an inch below my head, not to mention that the windshield was completely smashed, and there were shards of glass everywhere. It was tetanus shot city - like an Occupy rally. Claire then unbuckled her belt, and we quickly discovered that the amount of space one would usually have in the front portion of a car had drastically decreased, and it looked like we had been playing a really messed up game of Twister. After nimbly spider-walking exorcist-style into the backseat, she reconfirmed that she was unhurt, and was able to get a better vantage of the situation. The whole world was upside down, as the defeated British army sang at Yorktown.
We were driving on the highway, hydroplaned, fish-tailed, spun completely out of control, then rolled over a couple of times into the ditch. The automated Onstar voice would not shut up, and Bob Dylan kept telling us how "the times were a-changin'." No s#$t, Bob.
There was a piece of glass sticking out of my leg, and a good sized circle of blood pooling around it. Being a trained health care professional, Claire was extremely concerned, and cautioned me against yanking the glass out. I thought it just didn't look right and pulled it out anyway, like I do in parks at night - only it's not glass I'm pulling out, and it's other people who get scarred, but that's another story.
It's weird when you're thrust into a situation over which you have no control, like having to watch Obama get inaugurated for a second term. You just have to wait for the car to stop flipping over and hope today is not the day your number is up. Nothing felt like it was going in slow motion, as so many accident survivors recount.
The people who stopped their cars to stay with us while we waited for emergency personnel to arrive were all very kind. All the EMT/fire/police people were fantastic. Thank you, everyone in Bathurst. You were all very gracious and kind. On a side note, everyone seemed to have really cool decorative Kleenex on hand, which Claire used to put pressure on my leg wound while we were waiting (we were unable to get out of the car).
We were on our way to the hospital for an appointment anyway, so it worked out.
All that mattered to me was that Claire was fine. That piece of glass sticking out of my leg? It took only one stitch and a small band-aid to patch it up. The band-aid they used was about the size of what they put on after you get a flu shot.
Later that night, I went to WalMart to get some new clothes, clothes that didn't have my own blood on them. I found myself just wandering the aisles aimlessly, knowing that the weather and road conditions were terrible, causing 26 accidents that day, most very similar to our own. Some of the people in those accidents were severely injured; some of them died.
I think some of the people in the store started getting a little freaked out at the sight of a seemingly confused man in ripped jeans with two large, perfectly circular shaped blood stains that looked eerily like an old MasterCard symbol just meandering about.
The accident played over and over in my head: what if, what if, what if? I thanked God. I thanked Mom and Dad for looking out for us. I thanked God for protecting Claire. I thanked Dr. B for insisting he see me, and for prescribing the sweet-ass drugs he assured me I would need once the stiffness and aches set in, and they sure as hell did.
It was a miracle we survived - really. We went flying. The fact that we were both able to walk away - well, they made me take a stretcher, but no big deal - again, nothing short of a miracle.
Survivors of accidents often recount stories of their lives flashing before their eyes. I can tell you that by simply looking at Claire as our car embarked on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, it's true for me.
Addendum - The car shown above is not our vehicle, but it's eerily similar to the way our car looked after the accident.
The following is our exclusive interview with "Saving Lincoln" director Salvador Litvak. He is a graduate of Harvard College, NYU Law School, and the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. He directed the Passover comedy and cult hit "When Do We Eat?" starring Jack Klugman, which he wrote with his wife, Nina Davidovich Litvak.
Although The Straight Hype fully endorses Mr. Litvak and Saving Lincoln, his participation in this interview is in no way an endorsement of the views and opinions expressed on this blog. 1 - Before we get into the movie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Chile and grew up in NY. I was a lawyer for two years before I went to film school. My writing partner is also my wife, Nina. I blog at AccidentalTalmudist.com and I believe a good conversation is one in which both parties learn something neither knew before. 2 - Over the last few decades, we've seen the story of President Lincoln portrayed at different times inhis life, told through the eyes of many different people. Robert Redford's The Conspirator was told though the eyes of Mary Surratt's defense attorney, Frederick Aiken; The Day Lincoln Was Shot was recounted through the eyes of John Wilkes Booth; Stephen Spielberg's latest blockbuster Lincoln draws from historical accounts of those who served under him in his cabinet; even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter peered through the eyes of Joshua Speed and William Johnson. What drew you to Ward Hill Lamon?
Ward Hill Lamon was President Lincoln's best friend and self-appointed bodyguard. He's the ideal narrator because he was so close to Lincoln - a daily companion. Historians pay him less respect because he was an emotional fellow, often lacking objectivity about Lincoln's actions, but no one questions his loyalty. He would at times grow furious with Lincoln for being so careless with his personal safety, but he remained a faithful friend and protector. He also shared Lincoln's sense of humor, and entertained him with songs and banjo-playing. And he was a Southerner protecting the President while so many of his brethren were doing just the opposite.
3 - Oftentimes, when going into a Lincoln film, if you're not a Lincoln buff, you feel a bit lost. For example, the opening sequence of The Conspirator almost pre-supposed the audience did their homework. Will Saving Lincoln be accessible to audience members who may not have a broader knowledge of Lincoln, his life, and his legacy?
Absolutely. Our movie is primarily about Lincoln the man - what he experienced at the center of America's bloodiest conflict. The pressure on him was unrelenting. Congressmen, generals, newspaper editors...even his own party were all arrayed him against him. They called him feeble, unsophisticated, ineffective, etc. They all underestimated him, but they made his life very difficult throughout his administration. And he lost many people to untimely death - family and friends, as well as the soldiers he cared so deeply about. 4 - This movie has attracted some big names. What drew mega-stars such as Penelope Ann Miller and Creed Bratton to this project? The subject and the script at first. Then they were intrigued by our CineCollage style. No one made a movie before using this process, and they were curious how we would pull it off. We did extensive tests, and showed them the results. They liked it. And they were fantastic to work with - total pros and team players.
5 - Marshal Lamon's legacy seems to be be a mixed one. The blurbs about Saving Lincoln are very pro-Lamon. Was there a concerted effort on your part to preserve Lamon's honor and place in history, or does the movie explore some of the less than flattering pictures some have painted about him? Lamon was a bit goofy, but that's what Lincoln loved about him. He was also courageous as hell, and he was there for Lincoln during the President's darkest hours. Mary suffered terribly from grief, stress and migraines, and she was not able to comfort Lincoln in the same way that a buddy could. Lincoln could unwind with Lamon. When you imagine the pressure cooker Lincoln occupied 24/7 for four years, you realize how important that role was. And of course, Lamon saved Lincoln's physically by keeping the assassins and kidnappers at bay. 6 - President Lincoln had a fervent desire that the re-unification of the United States be a conciliatory process. Robert E. Lee and other prominent figures of the Confederacy, while mourning the death of the President, accurately predicted that this hope was smashed the day he was shot by Booth. Do you think the harshness endured during reconstruction could have been averted had Lincoln survived the shooting, and how do you think it would have changed the south and how it is perceived today? That is a complex and loaded question. I'm not a historian, but I know that there were many currents involved in that storm. Lincoln certainly wanted to reunite his people - he never considered the South to be another country. Southerners remained Americans in his eyes and he wanted to leave the bloodshed behind for good. Others felt differently, and would have imposed their views whether he was President or not. I do believe, however, that the South lost its best friend in Washington CIty that day.
7 - This movie is very special in that it was shot on a single stage using green screen technology. Tell us a bit about this method of film-making.
The actors performed in a studio, in front of a giant emerald screen we called the Green Mile. The furniture and props were real, but everything else was composited digitally in post-production, out of actual Civil War era photographs that we downloaded from the Library of Congress. On set, we had rough live comps so we could match camera angles with the pioneering work of photographers like Brady and Gardner, but the fine work was done in post. I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe we pulled this off. For an indie film to rely on visual effects for every single shot of the film is... ambitious. Truthfully it's insane, but now that we pulled it off, we can call it ambitious. It was possible thanks to a tight team of dedicated artists, working both smart and hard over the past year. The look is unique - we decided early on that we weren't trying to fool anyone. The backgrounds remain in black and white, the foregrounds in color, though highly desaturated. It's a stylized look, but an accessible one which invites the viewer to complete the loop.
8 - So what can our readers expect going into Saving Lincoln?
You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you might even sing - the characters do. It's not a musical, but people sang more in those days before TV and radio. Especially Lamon. Most of all, though, you will experience Abraham Lincoln leading the nation to victory in the Civil War at great personal cost. And you will also see how Elizabeth Keckly - another close companion of the Lincolns and a former slave who purchased her own freedom - helped bring freedom to all of her people.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to our readers. We look forward to seeing Saving Lincoln and wish you much success.
Thank you so much - your support for an independent film like ours is truly appreciated. I invite all your readers to visit Saving Lincoln on a Kickstarter, where they can view our trailer, see how the movie was made, hear a song recorded for the film by the legendary Dave Alvin, and become part of the Saving Lincoln story: http://kck.st/RV4QOh
Our readers can follow Saving Lincoln by Salvador Litvak at:
It's 2013 and look what Obama hath wrought! I asked TSH's own financial expert, noted economist Tim Dimas, to comment on some of the trends we observed sprouting up from the Hoople Heads on the left as 2012 came to a close. A fitting way to ring in the New Year! Tim's Take
Clearly Joe hasn’t discovered the photos or videos I posted online under a pseudonym involving a pair of jumper cables, a saddle, and a gallon of motor oil, since he’s asked me to return for another round of economic and fiscal commentary.
Poor Papa John’s
Last month, “Papa” John Schnatter said that because of the taxes involved with Obamacare, he would be forced to cut back hours and raise prices for consumers. Cue the media calls of “foul” and liberal resolutions to boycott the pizza place. These liberal boycotts intrigue me. First it was Chick-fil-A, when their founder simply said he supported “Biblical” marriage - the media and left were in such a frenzy you would have thought that the president had covered up a terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate, blaming it on a stupid YouTube video, and forcing his Secretary of State and CIA Director to fall on their swords for him while lying to his sycophant media handlers for two weeks. Curiously, the Starbucks CEO came out in support of Barack Obama, but judging by the lines in my local Starbucks, that hasn’t stopped caffeine-addicted hounds like me from dropping $5 for a frothy espresso drink. No matter; it’s not out of “tolerance” that I refrain from invoking a fatwa against liberal companies, its pure addiction.
The boycott against Papa Johns is puzzling, because if we pretend that all those hippie fools with “co-exist” bumper stickers actually DID boycott and it hurt Papa John’s bottom line, people would get laid off and even more hours would be slashed. But that would require medium term logical thinking on the part of said liberals. Clearly, I’m expecting too much. But here’s the defense of Papa John’s, friends. If you’re a liberal, it’s complex, so bite your lip and keep reading (for the articles, of course!):
It’s his company. He can do whatever the hell he wants.
That’s it. Period.
“Oh, but all food employees should have access to…” (yawn)
“But he’s making so much money off of...” (yawn)
It’s his. He owns it. He can pay them all minimum wage (I’ll save my anti-minimum wage rant for another day). His employees are there voluntarily. If they don’t like making $20 16” pizzas (I mean, seriously, Mr. Schnatter), they can go work at Domino’s. Or Pizza Hut. I don’t care. They aren’t beholden to the joint. The only defense necessary for Papa John is that it is his company to conduct however he wants. That’s a very difficult concept for some people. I suppose if you want to go through with the boycott, you’re certainly welcome to do so, as long as you are cognizant enough to understand that what you’re boycotting is the right of a CEO to conduct his company however he wants. I know, I know, you don’t like how he’s conducting his business. So I presume you approve of the politics of all the companies you buy from? Do all the places you give your money to meet your pathetic liberal litmus test? After all, liberals hate Wal Mart, but Sam Walton was one of the largest contributors to Obama’s Super PAC (http://washingtonexaminer.com/wal-mart-heir-funding-obama-big-time/article/2511391#.UKmQRY7A8Rk). Figure out on which side your bread is buttered before you start boycotting.
When I read Rick’s piece (that felt funny) I scratched my head. His main issue with Papa John’s is that by the company denying their employees medical insurance, they will go to the emergency room, where hospitals will pass the cost onto medical insurers, and thus him. That’s an odd stance for a liberal to take. “Yeah, healthcare for everyone, including illegal immigrants. But if I have to pay one cent for a Papa John’s employee…” It’s bizarre, especially coming from a lefty. Rick is funny, but I don’t think he means to be. “Token” would be better off just going back to sketching Rogue or Gambit.
Twinkies and the Unbearable Lightness of Hostess
The untimely demise of Hostess has brought unions in the US to the forefront of the political discussion – again. Hostess is saying that the unions essentially strangled them and forced them into bankruptcy. Good people from the rust-belt (who are biased in favor of unions whether they want to admit it or not) say that’s nonsense and that Hostess was paying top dollar to their executives a week before the bankruptcy. Not to sound like a broken record, but can someone show me where it is written that a business has to answer to anyone but it's owners? Here’s a concept: if the workers are unhappy, they can leave. “But all the manufacturing jobs have moved!” So move to another city. “But they’ve all moved overseas [because of Mitt Romney] to China.” So get a new skill set. “But…” There’s ALWAYS an excuse with liberals. Just ONCE I’d like to meet a liberal that can take it on the chin and not always be stringing up some line of garbage to justify their bizarre views on things. If I were Hostess, I would have declared bankruptcy just to bust up the union. You know how Alexander the Great cried the day he realized he had conquered the whole world? I cried the day my dad told me that union busting was illegal; until that day my career plan was to undermine and sabotage unions. If you’re SEIU and you hire purple-shirted thugs to beat people, that’s legal. If you’re hired by a corporation to intimidate union people, that’s criminal(Full disclosure: after the Hostess bankruptcy I bought two boxes of Twinkies – in good faith – with the intent of selling them on eBay at a later date. The two boxes lasted 10 days).
A. A company has no obligation to anyone but it's owners. That obligation is to make money. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fiscal fact. This is a MANTRA in business school.
Q: “Why does a company exist?”
A: “To create value for its shareholders.”
Liberals, conservatives, and moderates alike recite it. You don’t have to like it, but it simply is. Arguing against it is like being angry that gravity exists.
B. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Please stop calling Obamacare “Free Healthcare”. It’s not free. Someone somewhere is paying for it, even if it’s not you. If you understood that it wasn’t free, you might ask questions like “who is paying for it? How are they paying for it?” But then again, if you understood basic economics, you probably wouldn’t be excited by something as invasive and pathetically partisan as Obamacare. I will always be amused by liberals that try to tell me about this dumpsterfire of government overreach. Of course, these liberals don’t know what I do for every waking work-hour (I’m currently a consultant on the Obamacare contract). But yes, please forward me that HuffPo or Mother Jones article. You read an article during your smoke break. Please, enlighten me.
C. In light of the tragic Connecticut school shooting, gun-hating fools couldn’t politicize the issue fast enough. Innocent children lay in body bags, and already Jabbas like Michael Moore, RINOs like David Frum, and dipstick Democrats like Chuck Schumer were chomping at the bit to take away guns. The sadly ironic thing here is that when people threaten to take away guns, do you know what the general public does? They arm themselves as quickly as possible, stockpiling guns and ammunition at an alarming rate. I’m starting to think that gun manufacturers and Democrats are in business together. This is simply the playing out of supply and demand as a result of scarcity (the basic building block of economics). Odds are, though, that if you understood supply and demand, you wouldn’t be a gun-hating Democrat in the first place.
But understanding the relationship between stockpiling weapons and Democrats that call for gun control requires self-reflection. Allow me to illustrate:
D. Here in Maryland, Democrats are proud individuals. I don’t just mean that they are self-absorbed; they are genuinely pleased with being Democrats. One of the ways they do this is by caking their cars with bumper stickers that say “DEM” with a Maryland flag under it, accompanied with a plethora of stickers for as many Democratic candidates as they can fit on their car. As a rule, Democrats are insulated: they are wholly ignorant to a world outside of their own. Democrats in blue states are ignorant to the idea that there are conservatives that live amongst them. But they are also ignorant to how silly their pride is – they live in a state that favors their opinions 70% - 30%. In lay terms, 7 out of 10 of their fellow citizens believe exactly the same things they do. But to them, that is cause for celebration. They’re proud of that homogeneity, and when someone dares to speak up, they shout them down in a chorus. I don’t believe that Democrats are evil people – I just believe they lack any power of self-reflection. Progressives are dangerous not only because they are statists, but because they genuinely believe in their hearts that they are the only ones capable of leading the nation into a state of progress. They believe that the world would truly be a better place if tomorrow all conservatives and Republicans and libertarians were dead. Republicans have enough cognizance and suspicion of government to know that you need checks and balances. Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, them Dem's hate you. But they need each other, and I think that is partially why they are so energized and pat themselves on the back when they insulate themselves into their islands. This is why, when they are in the overwhelming majority, they cake their cars in bumper stickers proclaiming that fact. I spent most of my undergraduate years arguing against professors and entire classes that believed exactly the opposite of what I did. I cannot imagine a world where a liberal would get up in front of 50 conservatives and attempt to plead their case logically. It doesn’t happen.
How is this related to economics? In the financial world, there are always opportunities because of inequities in the markets. I don’t own a Ford vehicle, but I buy Ford stock because I believe in their business model and think they are undervalued. I see an opportunity and I take it (Full disclosure: This is an illustrative example, not stock advice. This article is not and never will give stock advice. Invest at your own risk). Democrats are unwilling to be that objective. A Democrat can’t see the situation for what it is. You can’t argue whether GM’s stock price is going to rise or fall, because all a Democrat sees is that Obama propped up the stock, therefore it has to be good, and all you wind up getting is “If you don’t like GM stock you hate America.” They really aren’t capable of further thought.Which brings us back to the Papa John’s boycott. I don’t care for their pizza, and I think their product is overpriced. I can admit that, still patronize their company, and have a conversation with someone about the pros and cons of said company. Democrats don’t have that ability. They see a policy that challenges their worldview and they cry foul. Remember the Maryland Democrat example: they need each other; they can’t be objective. A Democrat can’t say “Eh, I don’t like their union stance, but I love my Twinkies so I’ll keep buying.” I can proudly say “Apple is a super liberal company but I just cannot live without my iPhone.” These issues and approaches to business, boycotts, and finance are inherently wrapped up in their worldview. The savvy conservative will seek to exploit these weaknesses for social and economic gain.
Footnote: I liquidated my position in Ford (F) in early December. I have no plans to short or long the stock in the next 72 hours.
Tim Dimas loves capitalism, Winston Churchill, egg nog, and when you call him “Big Poppa.” He thinks that the most romantic song is “That Summer” by Garth Brooks, closely followed by Enrique Iglesias’ “Do you Know? [The Ping Pong Song].” He doesn’t believe in “Happy Holidays”, but would love to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah, and Happy New Year.We’ll get to the economic theory of sexuality next time. I promise. Maybe.
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led coalitionforces in the Persian Gulf War, dies
Published December 27, 2012
WASHINGTON – A U.S. official says retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died.
He was 78.
The official tells The Associated Press that Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. The official wasn't authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.
He lived in retirement in Tampa, where he had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command. That is the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.
So what was so disturbing about Susan Rice's first meeting with the GOP members of the Senate Committee? The story arc right now is that she knew what happened in Benghazi but ran with the bogus talking points anyway. Still, what would cause those involved to walk out of the meeting "more shocked than before?" Is that all there is? We knew this - like I know I should get that lump on my neck checked.
So what gives (that's what all the cool kids are saying these days)?
Turns out little miss 1% has hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of dollars tied up in oil, including the Keystone pipeline and over a dozen different Canadian (proven) and possibly other (Iranian) foreign (not yet proven) oil investments.
Major conflict of interest (the title of my upcoming underfunded spy novella).
When Tommy Thompson became HHS secretary in 2004 under President Bush, he had to sell all his stocks and holdings in a down market because the department is so sprawling, everything could have represented a potential conflict of interest. He was even grilled about a fist fight he had in high school during the confirmation process (those dems, sneaky rascals!).
Anyway, these investments should have immediately disqualified her from her current position, and should nix any chance for her to take on the position as Secretary of State.
Watch for this story to unfold, and when dems cry foul, remember Tommy Thompson.
Editor's note: The following blog is a guest article written by my wife and editor, the
lovely Mrs Claire. This moving tribute to her grandfather is in honour of all
those who fought and sacrificed for our freedoms.
We have become
accustomed to the term 'family unit'. It is a dry phrase, for when I reflect
upon my own family, one word trumps this commonplace expression, and that word
is 'legacy'. It is a legacy of a family, and a man I knew as 'Poppy'.
mother's family are very close-knit, and would do anything for one another, and
by extension, for anyone that can be considered family. I believe this is
because of the values instilled in them by their parents. My grandfather and
grandmother, Clyde and Edith Crews, were feisty Newfoundlanders, a rare and
special breed of Canadian.
We, their grandchildren, knew my grandfather,
quite fittingly given this subject matter, as Poppy. Poppy, as I knew him, was a
gentle, soft-spoken man, who loved bear hugs and back scratches. He was a warm,
kind, and genuine person, and the delight in his eyes was obvious when he saw
family coming. When I was young, if he saw our car coming up his long driveway,
he would lock the door, knowing that I would be the first one out of the car.
Running excitedly to the door, I would knock, and he'd look through the little
window and yell 'Go away, foreigner!' (they had since moved to Nova Scotia; we
lived in the neighbouring province of New Brunswick), then, flinging the door
wide, give me a giant hug.
As I got older, I started learning about World
War II in school. At some point, we were given an assignment: To speak to a
veteran about his time during the war. When I got home, my mother suggested I
call Poppy. I found out he had served in the Navy. I called him, and he told me
a story. At the end, he was quiet for a moment, and then he said 'That was the
most scared I was, during the entire war.'
My mother doesn't remember,
growing up, hearing stories about his service, because my grandmother didn't
want her children to know of the horrors of war. Once grown, my grandfather
would speak of it, albeit rarely, at times prompted by televised images of the
war, or, quite simply, if he was asked about it.
Through the years, I've
heard many stories about his service, from my mother, my aunts, and my uncles.
Please forgive the scattered nature of the stories, I don't know them in
Newfoundland, the province in which my grandparents
were born and raised, did not join the Canadian Confederation until 1949. During
the war, my grandfather signed up to fight for his country, a country to which
he did not yet belong. His younger brother, my Great-Uncle Mickey, lied about
his age and joined as well. Newfoundlanders (or Newfies as we now endearingly
call them) were treated as the mud on every one's shoe, but, for the most part,
they never complained, and followed orders - or at least they did on my
He served on the HMCS Haida, which served multiple
functions - everything from convoy escort to full-blown warship - from 1943
through to the end of the war. My grandfather was a gunner. He once recounted to
my mother that his and an Allied ship were sailing out on open water when a
U-boat surprised them and fired on the ship closest to it, which was not the
Haida. They managed to evacuate the Allied ship and sink the U-boat. They were
not always so lucky.
Once, they came upon another Allied ship that had
been fighting an enemy ship, but was at that point sinking. My grandfather said
he could see the men from the ship bobbing in the waters of the Atlantic, and
the Haida neared in an attempt to pick them up. They began drawing enemy fire,
and had to pull out of the battle. They saved as many men as they could, which
was not many. They were forced to retreat, leaving the vast majority of their
The story he recounted to me was what he described as
being 'the most scared I was, during the entire war.' While fighting an enemy
ship during a storm, firing at one another, huge waves were beating down on
them, pounding the ship into the ocean. At some point during the fight, an
enormous wave pushed the Haida high up in the air. He recounted that while they
were technically still in the water, they were basically at a 90 degree angle to
the ocean. They were completely exposed, and there was a 50-50 chance they'd
land properly. The ship could have easily tilted the other way and landed upside
down. When they landed bottom down, he said it was an ear-splitting booming
noise that probably would have been louder had he not been so terrified. They
won the battle.
The HMCS Haida sank more enemy surface tonnage during the
war than any other Canadian warship. He was proud to have the honour of serving
his country, and even as an elderly man, he could describe every detail of his
ship. My parents gave him a framed photograph of the ship one year for
Christmas, and it hung with a quiet dignity until he and my grandmother passed
away and their house was sold. My parents now have the picture.
begin to imagine the horrors he must have encountered during World War II, the
stories no one ever heard. He fought with stoicism and pride. He fought for our
freedom. He fought with honour.
After the war, he went on to marry my
grandmother Edith, moved to the province of Nova Scotia, and had 14 children. My
mother, the eighth child, can hardly remember a time he raised his voice (with
one exception, funny, but not appropriate here). He contracted tuberculosis
around 1956, and spent a year in a sanatorium. The doctors eventually removed a
portion of his left lung. He worked at the docks in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to
support his family, and support them he did. He raised a beautiful family, and
each of his children can and do tell stories that highlight the great man he
When he passed away in January of 2008, he was survived by his
wife, 14 children, 25 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren, as well as a
multitude of nieces and nephews. Those numbers have grown, and, if the world has
luck on it's side, we will instill the same virtues of kindness, gentleness,
generosity, and all of his wonderful traits, all the things that made him such a
wonderful man, into our children as he instilled in his, who in turn instilled
into us. This is his legacy.
This is the first in what will hopefully be many articles by noted economist, Tim Dimas. Before the Ryan pick, Tim weighed in on the question "Why Mitt"? So strap yourselves in, buckaroos, and enjoy the very first "Tim's Take".
First of all, a giant tip of the hat to Joe for letting me be a guest. And for the TSH readers, please go easy on me: it’s my first time and I have to be home before 11 p.m. Midnight if you buy me dinner.
We’re a little more than 90 days away from the U.S. General Election. And while there are plenty of good people that will be voting for Gary Johnson, scores of millions will choose between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Most have already made up their minds: they’re perfectly content with the rampant government expansion of Federal power, or they want to curtail it. Let’s examine the economics of “Why Mitt?”
Why not Barry?
Obama went to Harvard Law School and then became a community organizer. Not my career path, but whatever. From community organizer to public office to the White House (That’s kind of disturbing to write out in that order. Ugh). Obama is certainly well suited to be a professor. But considering what little regard I have for academia, professors, and their ilk, that’s not really saying much. He’s also really good at…organizing communities? Whatever it entails, it’s not contributing to any corporation’s bottom line.
Fact: The sole reason a company exists is to earn money. Period. Not open to discussion. It is an immutable absolute. Since Obama has never worked for a corporation, or headed one, he has never contributed to its bottom line. Obama doesn’t understand how business works. Period. So why would Democrats think he could fix the largest economy in a time of worldwide global meltdown? I have no idea.
Just for giggles let’s look at the unemployment rate during Obama’s tenure:
Courtesy of Bureau of Labor Statistics:
I know what you’re thinking: “OhmyGAWD, that’s so not fair. He inherited the problems of his predecessor.” Okay. But Obama also had the “benefits” of two stimulus packages. Remember Paul Krugman saying we had to spend and spend and spend our way out of this recession? Look how much good it did. It did…no good at all. Well, that’s swell! Alright, so we’ll cut Barry some slack for the unemployment rate when he first took over. Why don’t we give him…three years? The January 2012 unemployment rate is 8.3%. The highest it ever was under Bush was 6.3%. So we caved and did two stimulus plans (bad idea), two rounds of quantitative easing (ie., bastardizing our currency – also a bad idea) and the best it did was to give us a rate – at best – 2% higher than it was at its worst under Bush. The highest unemployment reached in the last 8 years was 10%, or 1.7% below Obama’s best. In absolute terms, Obama’s best unemployment rate is .3% closer to our recent worst than to Bush’s worst. And you call that progress. We’ll come back to the “he inherited that – don’t blame him” myth later.
No business experience, spiraling unemployment, and an inability to take it on the chin and accept blame (Damn you George W. Bush!). What we are in is not a recovery. It’s a period of stagnation – a fiscal purgatory. There is no indicator to make us believe we will get any hope or change (see what I did there?) economically if we stay the course. At least Obama did give us a consolation prize: the biggest tax hike (Obamacare) and debt that this country has ever known. None of this leads to why Mitt is the right person for the job.
So why Mitt?
He has an MBA. I don’t worship degrees like liberals, or where they are from (I really hate academic types, if you couldn’t tell), but clearly Mitt has received intensive and formalized training on how to do business and how business works. He’s had to master the theory and finer points of things like Business Law, Accounting, Economics, Marketing, Operations Management, and the like. Moreover, Mitt has corporate experience as evidenced by his time at Bain Capital. Mitt took a sinking ship by way of the Salt Lake City Olympics and saved them.
While there are elements of Mitt that make me sad (Romneycare), no one can deny his business acumen or what he has accomplished as a businessman. He made his fortune before entering politics, not because of it. Why is Barack Obama rich? He never contributed to a company’s bottom line….so…? Romney put in the time at work, juggled a family, found his corporate success and cashed out. Then he ran for office. From an economics point of view, this is in direct contrast to the pretender in chief. Romney doesn’t have much flare. But he has been successful at business and done well for himself and others. I don’t know why that is a liability. Our economy is stagnant and in desperate need of someone who knows how business operates, not someone that has never worked for profit a day in his life. And certainly not the clowns that voted for Obama and somehow think that reading an article on HuffPo is a substitute for knowing the pros and cons of IRR vs. MIRR.
What the Progressives will argue
Progressives are going to attack the economic for reasons for Mitt as follows.
1. He’s super rich
2. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work
3. The Dow has done better since Obama came into office
Let’s make quick order of the criticism before we adjourn.
1. He’s super rich
a. And liberals hate wealthy people. I get it.
b. Mitt was born wealthy. He also got himself an education and grew that wealth substantially.
c. You people love JFK – he was working class?
d. You are aware JFK’s dad bought the election, yes?
e. You’re also aware the JFK used the Laffer Curve to grow the tax rolls, right? (Wait – your HuffPo article didn’t explain the Laffer Curve to you?)
2. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work
a. Which is exactly why the 1980s were so prosperous economically.
b. Accusations as ridiculous as this don’t deserve an honest rebuke.
3. The Dow has done better since Obama came into office
a. Better since what? Nuclear Armageddon? Yes. That’s true, but….
b. According to progressives, only the “1%” invest in the stock market (this is a fallacy, but just roll with it), and since they hate the 1%, I don’t know why they’re benchmarking them as the epitome of progress.
c. We can’t blame Obama for the state of the economy his predecessor gave him. And that means no credit either. So this one doesn’t hold water. To get credit for this, he’d have to take blame for unemployment. Which requires responsibility. Which no progressive has. Additionally…
d. The Dow is a marketplace, not a confidence index. Cross-reference the VIX and you’ll get a very different story…Oh wait. Elizabeth Warren didn’t explain that to you? Come on libs, KEEP UP!
God Bless America. And in the words of Davy Crockett, “you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”
Tim Dimas is finishing his MBA in Finance and obsessively checks the Drudge Report, WSJ, and CNBC. He enjoys Starbucks iced beverages. He has applied his knowledge of economics to develop an astounding theory on the intersection of financial/economic principles and sexuality...But that will have to wait until next time.