People are voting with their dollars

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now lost 12% since Obama took office on January 21st. The S&P 500 is down 8% in the same time period.From Election day, November 4, both the Dow and the S&P are down 26%.So, at what point does this become the Obama Recession/Depression? I seem to recall that previous Republican Presidents became responsible for the economy as soon as they took power, if not before. Shouldn’t what was good for the goose be good for the gander, too?The country has been on the wrong track for a long, long time. It seems to me that all Obama’s doing is putting his foot down on the accelerator. He’s not moving the steering wheel at all, and that cliff edge is getting closer and closer.(Enough metaphors for you?)Freedom and especially personal responsibility will fix the economy. Phony stimulus, political spoils, class warfare, social engineering, fearmongering and Marxist-level income redistribution will make the problems we have worse, not better.

“Nobody saw it coming” — WRONG

Sometimes, we read that “nobody saw it coming” regarding the current economic mess, driven largely by the residential real estate bubble which was in turn driven by government policies that pushed banks to lend money to people who couldn’t afford them–the “sub-prime” mortgages which are now so notorious.

That particular Ponzi scheme collapsed last fall, just in time to elect hard-core leftists to power in the United States. Gary North of the Mises Institute effectively demolishes the “nobody saw it coming”[*1] line.

Ever since September of 2008, we have seen the fruits of the fiat money roots that Mises warned against almost a century ago. But modern free-market economists are as hostile to Mises’s theory of the business cycle as they were hostile to Mises’s theory of the economic irrationalism of socialism … until the Soviet Union fell. Then, they got religion, but they still never mention Mises. It was as if he had never lived.

Mises? Who is Mises? Yes, the Soviet Union went bankrupt. We didn’t think it would in 1986. Except for that lucky guesser Judy Shelton, nobody predicted that it would. We told people that the Soviet Union had remarkable economic growth. Yes, it turned out that the Soviet Union was nothing but Bangladesh with missiles, just as journalist Richard Grenier said in the 1980s. We did not see this at the time. Still, we will take credit for its collapse anyway: the new capitalism defeated it. We will continue to praise the regulated fascist economy that the United States has been over the last hundred years, and call for more of the same. We love economic efficiency, because efficiency lets the state get larger. When people get richer, they can pay more taxes.

This is why academic economists are demanding even more federal spending to bail out the banks and the other institutions associated with high finance. Almost to a man, they are saying that the bailouts are necessary. Why? Because they have been great proponents of the mixed economy ever since John Maynard Keynes wrote The General Theory in 1936 — even before this, since the real mentor of American fascist banking, Irving Fisher, back in 1911.

Here’s a post I made right here on on January 17th, 2008–nine months before the bubble burst:

How long can we afford to pay the bill for other people’s irresponsibility? At what point do we start demanding that our fellow citizens get their snouts out of the public till, put their heads down, get to work, and SUCK IT UP?

It’s hard to be “heartless.” It’s much easier to be an enabler–“oh, you poor thing, here, let me allow you to continue to wallow in self-destructive behavior while fooling yourself that all of your problems are caused by somebody else. Poor baby.”

You know what? If you took out one of these sub-prime mortgages to buy a house you couldn’t afford, you’re an idiot. If you were the ones holding out sub-prime loans to people who couldn’t afford them, you’re a scoundrel.

Scoundrels need idiots almost but not quite as much as idiots need scoundrels.

Suck it up, everyone. You made your own hole. Dig yourself out of it. Quit borrowing money, start living on, as Dave Ramsey says, “beans and rice, rice and beans.” Take control of your own life, unless you really, really, really want somebody else to control it for you.

Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look like a large segment of the American public wants exactly that. To which I can only say: be very careful what you wish for.

There were people who saw this coming. Hell, even George W. Bush, no brilliant economic mind, saw it coming, and belatedly tried to reform Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac just before they completely drove over the cliff, taking the rest of the world with them.

So now people in Washington are seriously talking about nationalizing banks, and forcing the responsible people (those who didn’t participate in the mortgage/housing bubble) to give money at the point of the IRS gun to the irresponsible people, those who made those disastrous loans, and those who were duped into taking them.

This is necessary in order for the idiots and the scoundrels to learn the proper lesson: that it’s OK if you do stupid things, because there will always be enough non-stupid people around who the government can steal money from to bail out the stupid people.

I guess I need to re-evaluate who’s really been stupid all along, and modify my behavior accordingly.

“What could possibly go wrong?” – A continuing series

Among the many unread goodies in the Law of the Land which was formerly known as the “Stimulus Bill” is the authority for the President to shut down the activities of the Inspector Generals of the various Federal agencies. Via Wizbang[*1] , from Byron York[*2] :

In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.

The RAT Board appears to be well-named. What do the Democrats and Obama plan to hide from the potentially inconvenient eyes of an Inspector General?

I HOPE that this particular law will be CHANGED. For the children.

Hawaii Circle Cruise, January 2009, Part Eleven

The 2009 Circle Hawaii Cruise – Holland America Zaandam, January 5-21, 2009

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Eleven

(Yes, Snookums finally finished up the writing, and Filbert finally has gotten around to posting the exciting conclusion to our Hawaii trip. Yee hah.

January 20 (Tuesday, Day 16, Ensenada, Mexico)

At 4 AM we were woken by the fog horn. It was still going off every two minutes at 8:30 when we really got up. We turned on CNN to see the inauguration activities. We decided that we are probably one of a very few number of people that were guests on a cruise during the election as well as during the inauguration. After watching the festivities, we went to breakfast. Snookums was thrilled since for the second time on this cruise, chocolate chip pancakes were served. They are delicious since the chocolate chips are ooey and gooey and all melty. Next to Regent’s raisin French toast, this is Snookums’s favorite cruise breakfast. It was a perfect start to an action-packed day.

Mexico in the evening twilight

More after the jump . . . The inauguration activities were being shown on the big screen in the Mondriaan Lounge from 7 AM until 2 PM today. There were also drink specials for $4.40 (for our 44th president) including Obama Special, President Shake and American Dream. The Sports Bar television was also tuned to CNN rather than ESPN for today’s events, too.

Snookums went to the 10 AM galley tour and learned that the dishwashers (and there are a total of 12) work on average 11 hours per day. The ship has a crew of 588 and each crewmember eats about 3.5 pounds of rice each week. The 1,450 guests eat 1,500 dozen eggs each week. Yep, that’s about 12 eggs per guest each week!!! The guests also eat 200 gallons of ice cream per week. Snookums knows she didn’t eat her weekly egg quotient but is confident that she ate her 2.2 cups of ice cream each week. 8,500 pounds of meat, 4,000 pounds of poultry, 2,000 pounds of fish and 2,500 pounds of seafood are consumed each week, too. 2,600 pounds of flour are used each week to make the 20 kinds of daily breads. Each day this includes 120 loaves of bread, 100 loaves of French bread, 4,000 dinner rolls, 800 croissants, and 800 Danish and sweet rolls.

Filbert and Snookums attended the noon organ recital in the atrium. A photo of this piece of art is in the January 9, Friday, Day 5 post. We figured that we had to see/hear it one time while on the cruise so we made a point of attending one of the four daily recitals on sea days. It lasted around 3 to 4 minutes and was fully automated. Some of the figurines holding musical instruments on the organ moved and added to the music.

Snookums and Judy did the Dam dollar volleyball serve. Judy was a very impressive two out of three and hopes to not have any bruises on her arm tomorrow. Snookums was three for three, even with the cheap volleyball, chilly weather and winds. Filbert watched the incredibly smooth sea while listening to his short-wave. Mom and Dad continued to watch the inaugural activities on the big screen in the Mondriaan Lounge.

Judy and Snookums went to the hole in one golf Dam dollars and each got one dollar. Filbert continued to stand outside on the verandah in his leather gloves, winter coat and headphones. He saw two seals and then managed to see a stick, another stick and a big mass of seaweed. Of course we thought those last three items were sea creatures until we determined they never moved. After three hours he came inside to warm up.

Snookums and Judy turned in the Dam dollars. The dollar value was a little different as compared to the 65-day cruise. T-shirts were more expensive but sweatshirts were cheaper than before. Judy really wanted a windbreaker but they didn’t offer them on this cruise. We ended up with a beach towel for 30 Dam dollars for Filbert since they didn’t have any t-shirts in his size. Judy and Snookums each got a sweatshirt for 35 dam dollars each.

The stop in Ensenada, Mexico was a short one–from 8 to midnight or thereabouts–not worth getting off the ship. So we didn’t.

We had a nice (free) dinner in Pinnacle Grill and managed to get out in under two hours since we requested fast service. The servers were aware of our dislike of LONG dinners and did their best to speed things up.

Mom and Dad went to the show of three of the different performers that had been on this cruise (dulcimer player, Sally Jones, male singer) while Judy packed. Snookums and Filbert went to The Dark Knight which is a 2 ½ hour movie. It was a late night for all but a good way to finish the cruise.

January 21 (Wednesday, Day 17, San Diego, California)

We met for breakfast in Lido and Snookums commented that everyone looked tired. The big cabin had toilet problems last night and so Mom and Judy didn’t get to sleep until 2:30 due to plumbers and phone calls and door knocks. It might be a long day.

We secured a table in the Lido and had a breakfast–an early one for Snookums and Filbert, the earliest either of them had breakfasted on the entire cruise. Then we went back to our staterooms and waited. Filbert found an old (early 1960’s?) movie about some guys with French accents trapped on an island with a volcano that was about to blow. It was not a good movie.

Three aircraft carriers at San Diego

Finally, they called our luggage tag color, about 10:45 (15 minutes early), so we collected up the gang, made our way to and over the gangway, snagged our luggage, then a taxi, and arrived at the airport with no problem at all. Of course, we had to wait three hours before Southwest would check our luggage in. This wasn’t a problem, as the traveling party comfortably drank coffee/pop, read newspapers, did crosswords, or took advantage of the free wireless Internet in the airport until it was time to check in.

Check in, on the other hand, took forever. The Southwest agent was very, very thorough. He weighed every bag and wrote the weights on tags that he then stuck on each piece. The one that was two pounds over the limit had to be repacked to fit the 50-pound limit. He inspected Dad’s wheelchair and attached the inspection ticket so that we can’t claim any existing damage to the wheelchair after the flight. Likewise, he inspected Dad’s walker. He had to change Judy’s ticket to “Judith” from “J.M.”. He did absolutely everything by the book and was very pleasant about it. It took at least 15 minutes. He had the gall to say that the auditors have commented on his efficiency! We weren’t in any hurry (luckily) and he was pleasant, but it was torture.

We finally got to our gate around 1 PM and had lunch at the restaurant by the gate. Filbert had two microbrews with his wings so he was happy. So far, so good! We boarded the nonstop flight and had plenty of room to spread out. Filbert was able to see the Zaandam in port waiting to sail away in a few hours with a new group of guests.

Our ride home
Goodbye, Zaandam

We arrived in Kansas City on time and SuperShuttle was there to pick us up. We dropped off Mom, Dad and Judy and then got home around 10 PM. We were unpacked (and repacked) by 11:30 PM since we were driving to South Dakota the following morning. All in all, it was a great cruise. We sailed a total of 5,314 nautical miles (6,111 statute miles) and consumed 85 gallons of diesel fuel per mile.

Smooth Sailing and clear skies to all!

The end result of driving on the wrong side of the road

British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic[*1]

Confirming media reports of the incident involving Britain’s HMS Vanguard and France’s Le Triomphant, Britain’s First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said the submarines “were conducting routine … patrols in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The submarines came into contact at very low speed… No injuries occurred,” he said in a brief statement to reporters.

Collective cluelessness

The headline is good enough for me to post: Rote memorization of historical facts adds to collective cluelessness[*1] :

Brenda M. Trofanenko, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education, says that teaching history by rote – that is, by having students memorize historical dates and then testing them on how well they can regurgitate that data on a test – is a pedagogical method guaranteed to get students to tune out and add to our collective civic and historical cluelessness.

The Road to Serfdom – in cartoons

Via Instapundit[*1] , this brochure at[*2] . . . brought to you by . . . General Motors! (Originally published in Look magazine, back in the day, when the U.S. was opposed to that sort of thing.)

You Obama voters really just don’t see this coming, do you? It’s still all changey-hopeyness and flowers and sunshine and unicorns and stuff.

Well, don’t say you weren’t warned. “People get the government that they deserve.”