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Monday, December 20, 2010

So Long To Ya, 2010 | The JibJab 2010 Year in Review!

Government propagandist attacks Tea Party and FOX News viewers

A "study" from the University of Maryland is fundamentally dishonest since it was created to make the Demwit sheeple think they are better than tea partiers.  It is government funded propaganda.  Its conclusion is that FOX News viewers are ill informed and, in Leftover blogflatulence, the wilder inferences drawn extend to claims  that no one need debate anyone who watches FOX and perhaps FOX viewers should not have their votes counted.  (The "milder" inference being simply that the mid-term elections were a mistaken consumer choice caused by faulty information in the marketplace, best corrected by FCC regulation of the internet and cable news.)


In reality for years better studies by the PEW Foundation have shown that ALL cable news audience are less informed than people who listen to talk radio or read newspaper websites.  CNN viewers are as badly informed as FOX; on the other hand Rush Limbaugh listeners are as well informed as NPR listeners.

The UMaryland study also fails to address such obvious issues as that FOX has a much bigger audience than other cable news channels, so that the average FOX audience includes a broader socioeconomic sample which the study disguises by averaging.  So 6 million "Factor" viewers could include both 1-2 million viewers far more informed than the 1 million watching CNN or MSNBC as well as 1-2 million less informed.  Then on average the FOX viewers might be less informed (on any particular set of proposed questions), while simultaneously the most informed viewers were watching FOX.

In addition the study fallaciously codes certain false answers to its questions as correct beliefs, e.g. that the economy is improving (even though in reality unemployment is rising from 9.6% to 9.8%), or that the Obama stimulus created or saved jobs (disproven, see http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/16/stimulus-still-not-working).

From a PEW study:

Which Audiences Know the Most?

Attention to the news is strongly associated with knowledge levels, but some news audiences know considerably more than others. Overall, 35% of the public was classified as having a high level of knowledge - on average, 18 correct answers out of the 23 total questions. Half or more of the audiences for six media sources scored this high: the comedy news shows and major newspaper websites (54% in the high knowledge group), the NewsHour (53%), National Public Radio (51%) and Rush Limbaugh's radio show (50%). Regular readers of news magazines were not far behind (48%).
By contrast, the regular audiences for many other sources scored no higher than the sample average. The audiences for morning news (34% high knowledge), local TV news (35%), Fox News Channel (35%), blogs (37%), and the network evening news (38%) were not significantly different from the norm for the whole sample (35%). The audiences for CNN, internet news sites such as Google and Yahoo, local newspapers, and TV news organization websites scored slightly higher (41%-44% high knowledge).


This pattern is evident on many of the individual questions in the survey. For example, 32% of the public overall could name the Sunni branch of Islam, but 52% of readers of major newspaper websites could do so, as could 50% of the regular audience for the comedy news shows and 49% of NPR's regular audience. Similarly, 29% of the general public could identify Lewis "Scooter" Libby, but 45% of the NewsHour audience and 41%-44% of the regular audiences of Bill O'Reilly, comedy news shows, NPR, Rush Limbaugh, the national newspaper websites, and news magazines could do so. On both of these questions, the audiences for morning news, local TV news, Fox News Channel, blogs, and the network evening news either matched or did only slightly better in answering correctly than did the average American.

The fact that a particular news source's audience is very knowledgeable does not mean that people learned all that they know from that source. As noted earlier, some news sources draw especially well-educated audiences who are keenly interested in politics. Because of their education and life experiences, these individuals have more background information and may be better able to retain what they see in the news, regardless of where they see it.
Similarly, the news-hungry public tends to visit many outlets. The audiences for sources such as major TV news websites, the comedy shows, or the O'Reilly Factor tend to be fairly omnivorous in their media consumption - an average of more than seven separate sources for the regular audiences of each of these, compared with the overall average of 4.6 sources. Well-informed people do gravitate to particular places, but they also make use of a much wider range of news sources than do the less informed.

Still, differences in background characteristics and overall news habits do not explain all of the differences in knowledge across news audiences. Even after taking into account their overall news gathering habits and their political and demographic characteristics, the audiences for the comedy shows, The O'Reilly Factor, the web sites of national newspapers, and NPR all have significantly higher knowledge scores than the average.






I'm in Love with Friedrich Hayek

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Obama's Stimulus Myth

Parisian-Viennese (i.e. Sorbonne to Vienna, VA) economist V. de Rugy wrote this excellent note on the failure of Obamanomics, fashioned by chief ENRON economic advisor Paul Krugman.  If you cannot manage to read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," Ludwig von Mises' "Human Action," and F.A. Hayek's "Prices and Production" over the holidays to understand Keynesian myth-making, you can start with this:



Stimulus: Still Not Working!
Unbelievably, the administration and its allies keep insisting that a failed policy was a success.

Veronique de Rugy from the December 2010 issue of reason
(www.reason.com)

Imagine that I break my arm, but instead of getting a cast I take a big shot of morphine. The drug will make me feel better, but it won’t fix my arm. When the effect wears off, the pain will come back. And instead of being restored to their proper position, my bones will remain out of place, perhaps solidifying there, which will surely mean chronic pain in the long run.

Stimulus spending is like morphine. It might feel good in the short term for the beneficiaries of the money, but it doesn’t help repair the economy. And it causes more damage if it gets in the way of a proper recovery.

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed on February 13, 2009, it became the biggest spending bill in the history of the country. Its original cost of $787 billion was divided into three main pieces: $288 billion in tax benefits such as a refundable tax credit; $272 billion in contracts, grants, and loans (the shovel-ready projects); and $302 billion in entitlements such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.The checks felt good for the Americans who received them. And the contractors who got those grants and contracts were happy to have the work. But the idea behind the stimulus was that this money would not just be a subsidy to those in need; it would revive the economy through a multiplier effect. The unemployed worker, for instance, would cash his unemployment check and spend it at the grocery store. The store owner would in turn spend the money on supplies, and so on, triggering a growth in the economy that goes beyond the original investment and jumpstarts the hiring process.

White House economists used forecasting models that assumed each dollar of spending would trigger between $1.50 and $2.50 of growth. As a result, President Barack Obama announced that his plan would grow the economy by more than 3 percent and “create or save” 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, mostly in the private sector. These models also forecasted that without the spending, the unemployment rate would increase from 7 percent to 8.8 percent.

Since then the U.S. economy has shed another 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.6 percent. Figure 1 shows the monthly unemployment rate, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the adoption of the act, alongside the cumulative grant, contract, and loan spending as reported by the recipients on recovery.gov.

The stimulus isn’t working because it is based on faulty economics. Using historical spending data, the Harvard economist Robert Barro and recent Harvard graduate Charles Redlick have shown that in the best case scenario, a dollar of government spending produces much less than a dollar in economic growth—between 40 and 70 cents. They also found that if the government spends $1 and raises taxes to pay for it, the economy will shrink by $1.10. In other words, greater spending financed by tax increases hurts the economy. Even if the tax is applied in the future, taxpayers today adjust their consumption and business owners refrain from hiring based on the expectation of future tax increases, which worsen the economy today.

There are other reasons the stimulus bill has hurt rather than helped the economy. Four of every five jobs reported “created or saved” are government jobs. That’s far from the 90 percent private sector jobs the administration promised. Also, the Department of Education claims it has “created or saved” at least seven jobs for every job “created or saved” by any other agency.  In other words, federal stimulus funds have been used to keep teachers on state payrolls. By subsidizing public sector employment, the federal government is getting in the way of addressing the issue of overspending in the states.

These injections of cash may provide a short-term boost, but they don’t increase economic growth permanently. When the money goes away, the jobs go away too, and so will the artificial GDP growth.
In spite of such evidence, the administration keeps touting the success of stimulus. Speaking at the National Press Club in September, outgoing Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer crowed that “the Recovery Act has played a large role in the turnaround in GDP and employment,” citing as evidence an estimate she prepared before Obama’s inauguration that a stimulus package “would raise real GDP by about 3.5 percent and employment by about 3.5 million jobs, relative to what would otherwise have occurred.” The Congressional Budget Office, she claimed, agreed that the stimulus “has already raised employment by approximately two to three million jobs relative to what it otherwise would have been.”

But no such improvements have actually taken place. Romer was acting the part of weatherman repeating last week’s sunny forecast while ignoring the downpour outside. The only measurable evidence that these millions of jobs exist comes from models—including the CBO’s—that predict that these jobs will exist. Since some of those same models predicted the Recovery Act would cap unemployment at 8 percent, they do not belong in a discussion about the Act’s effectiveness.
Some stimulus advocates do admit that the spending package hasn’t worked. But that doesn’t mean they’ve turned their backs on the stimulus concept. In an August blog post, for example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued that the “stimulus wasn’t nearly big enough to restore full employment—as I warned from the beginning. And it was set up to fade out in the second half of 2010.”
This argument is nonsense. As Megan McArdle of The Atlantic wrote in August, “If we assume that stimulus benefits increase linearly, that means we would have needed a stimulus of, on the low end, $2.5 trillion. On the high end, it would have been in the $4–5 trillion range. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even if Republicans had simply magically disappeared, the government still would not have been able to borrow and spend $2.5 trillion in any reasonably short time frame, much less $4–5 trillion. The political support for that level of government expansion simply wasn’t there among Democrats, much less their constituents.”

Unless you believe that federal spending magically conjures up purchasing power (or that morphine heals bones), the total GDP will remain unchanged, because the federal government has to borrow the stimulus money from either domestic or foreign sources. This borrowing in turn reduces other areas of demand.

Stimulus spending does not increase total demand. It merely reshuffles it, leaving the economy just as weak as before—if not weaker, since it also increases the national debt. By trying to ease the pain, the administration may well have made the patient worse. 

Contributing Editor Veronique de Rugy (vderugy@gmu.edu) is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Myth of the Clinton Balanced Budget

It's fun to watch leftovers and pro-regressives demand more tax slavery because of our debt crisis, which they claimed did not exist a few years ago.  A related claim is that President Clinton balanced the budget (which tea partiers and such all know means a GOP Congress and gridlock forced him to balance the "budget" which excluded Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and other off budget debts).

But today I also came across this:

  • The Clinton Balanced Budget Myth:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_surplus_did_the_US_have_when_Clinton_left_office


    Clinton ran deficits throught all 8 years of his term, and one can go to the US Treasury Department and looking through the history of the total outstanding debt throught Clintons term. (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/...)

    Every year Clinton was in office, the total national debt continued to climb.

    How Clinton managed to claim a surplus was that while the general operating budgets ran deficits but Clinton borrowed from numerous off budget funds to make the on budget fund a surplus.

    For example, in 2000, Clinton claimed a $230B surplus, but Clinton borrowed
    $152.3B from Social Security
    $30.9B from Civil Service Retirement Fund
    $18.5B from Federal Supplementary Medical insurance Trust Fund
    $15.0B from Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund
    $9.0B from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund
    $8.2B from Military Retirement Fund
    $3.8B from Transportation Trust Funds
    $1.8B from Employee Life Insurance & Retirement fund
    $7.0B from others

    Total borrowed from off budget funds $246.5B, meaning that his $230B surplus is actually a $16.5B deficit.
    ($246.5B borrowed - $230B claimed surplus = $16.5B actual deficit).

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS - WHAT IF WE ALL STOPPED PAYING TAXES?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Unemployment Benefits

One fraudulent aspect of unemployment benefits and their extension to 3 years is that many of the people most effected by the financial crisis were self-employed (realtors, mortgage brokers, home contractors) and they cannot apply for or receive unemployment benefits (even though they had to pay the FICA taxes, both the employee and employer sides). But then, probably fewer of them vote for Democrats.

Boston Tea Party 12/12




When
Sunday, December 12, 2010 12:00 PM
RSVP Now
YES
NO

Meetup Description
ROAD TRIP! The overall plan is to leave Philly (location TBD) late morning / early afternoon Saturday 12/11/10. The actual event is on Sunday 12/12/10 from 12-5. A few of us are planning on attending, if you're interested, email me at salvi@truthfreedomprosperity.ws.
This event was entirely planned by "The Liberty Preservation Association of Massachusettes," for details visithttp://www.masslpa.org/content/boston-tea-party-2010
"In most people's lives there are not many opportunities to be a part of making history. At Faneuil Hall on Dec 12, 2010, just as it was on Dec. 16, 1773, history will be made. You will stand on the very spot where so many of our famous Founding Fathers stood... you will hear what they said and what needs to be said by us again! There will be a packed hou...se so do not miss your chance, get your reservation in now before there are no more seats available."
The Liberty Preservation Assoc. of Massachusetts (MassLPA) is Chief Sponsor this year of BTP2010, on 12-12-2010, between 12:00 - 5:00 pm.
This is the annual event in Faneuil Hall, given to Boston in 1742, the meeting place of the Sons of Liberty, and proclaimed the "The Cradle of Liberty", Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, Massachusetts 02109.
11:00 AM. The DOORS of Faneuil Hall WILL OPEN for the Event for Info Table Access and First Come First Serve seating.
BTP2010 has a Great Line-up of Powerful Speakers and Liberty & Freedom Leaders from around the country! A Call to Action for Constitutional Restoration and Building Beyond the 2010 Successes of the Power of the Ballot Box!
SPEAKERS Confirmed:
PASTOR GARRETT LEAR - The Patriot Pastor, Pastor to Patriots
GOVERNOR GARY JOHNSON - Governor of New Mexico '95-'02
SHERIFF RICHARD MACK - Author: County Sheriff, America's Last Hope
SENATOR BOB HEDLUND - Mass. State Senator, talk show host
REP. JENN COFFEY - NH State Rep., Nat. Coord.-2nd Amendment Sisters
PETER SCHIFF – Economist and talk show host
G. EDWARD GRIFFIN - Author: The Creature from Jekyll Island
JOHN MCMANUS - President, The John Birch Society
STEWART RHODES - Founder of Oath Keepers
GARY FRANCHI - Founder of Restore the Republic
DAVID R. GILLIE - Rediscovery of the American Civic Creed
ADAM KOKESH - Congressional candidate and talk show host
JORDAN PAGE - liberty songwriter/musician

We are selling 700 General Admission TICKETS.
ADVANCE: $25. Check or Money Order (instructions below)
DOOR, day of Event: $30. Cash or Money Order only at the door.

Super Weird: Obama Leaves Clinton to Conduct White House Press Conference



from Jeffrey Small's blog SmallThoughts


Being President Is Hard! 


Now some say he's a clipster and a tailor's toad
And he could hype a miserman for all his gold
Some say he's a hipster and some say nix
But everyone's solid when he gets his kicks
He's a shape in a drape
——
Joe Jackson


Here is a must-see video clip that I believe will be carefully studied in college political science classes for generations to come.
After his public "shellacking" during the midterm elections, and now facing mounting opposition from Democrats across the country in response to his willingness to compromise on his long standing pledge to raise taxes on the "rich", Obama scheduled a conference with former President Bill Clinton to discuss a strategy for moving forward. After meeting for just under one and one half hours, the two men then attended a hastily organized press conference. After some brief introductory remarks, Obama turned the podium over to Clinton and then indicated that he was leaving to attend a Christmas party, stating:
    "I've been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour, I'm going to take off. I don't want to make her mad. You're in good hands and [Press Secretary] Gibbs will call last question."
at which point he exited the room while Clinton could be heard exclaiming, "Help me!" — whether done in seriousness, or jest, or a combination of the two was unclear. The press grilled Clinton for the next twenty minutes, and in his responses to the first two questions, seen in this clip, it is clear that even the usually smooth talking Slick Willie cannot find any way to spin the narrative in a favorable light. No wonder Obama wanted to escape without having to face the same inquisition.
In any case, the fact that Obama would abandon the press conference to attend a party while effectively turning the Presidency over to Clinton, leaving him to explain the administration's positions and polices, was certainly a very teachable moment, showing the entire country just where his priorities lie. But of even greater concern are the questions that this raises regarding Obama's judgment and current mental state. Whether you support or despise his ideology, most people agree that he is facile in the art of politics, so to see him engage in a gaff of this magnitude demands pause and serious reflection.
The real significance of this event is that it has momentarily pulled back the curtain, revealing that the emperor is truly naked — bereft of any ideas or actual solutions for moving the country forward.
The Tea Party was the first to get it. Then the Republicans began to wake up. And now the Democrats are finally beginning to see the light too. How about you?
He's just a shape in a drape.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ten facts about the upcoming "Atlas Shrugged" movie


I went to Manhattan this Tuesday to the Hudson Theater to see a bit of the upcoming "Atlas Shrugged" movie.  It was the unfinished version and in its current state I thought it looked worth watching and better than direct to DVD, but, to use an Anne Rice cinema metric, more like "Queen of the Damned" than like "Interview with a Vampire."


Still, if you've never read AS you may want to do so now. It will be better to have read (the first third of) the book first, besides the fact that it will explain a lot about your libertarian friends and show you an amazingly prophetic story foreshadowing Bush-Obama late stage disaster statism.

Ayn Rand

Ten facts:

Release date is April 15, 2011.

Armin Shimmerman, everyone's favorite Star Trek Ferengei/Buffyverse high school Principal, is in it.

Armin Shimmerman

Eddie Willers (Edi Gathegi) is like totally black!

Edi Gathegi Picture 

Taylor Schilling ("Mercy") does at least have Dagny Taggart's fabled legs.


The movie is filmed with a new technology called red camera.
http://gizmodo.com/5516869/sony-builds-its-own-red-camera

It only covers the first 3rd of the novel.

Sam Witwer, Jasmine's victim in "Angel," is in it.

Sam Witwer Picture 

Christina Pickles, who played Judy Geller, mother of Monica and Ross on "Friends," plays Hank Rearden's mother.

Who is John Galt?  Paul Johansson of "One Tree Hill."

Paul Johansson Picture 

Except for co-writer/producer/funder John Aglialoro, no one involved had acquaintance with Ayn Rand's work beyond reading it in college.

People at the premier, including John Fund of the WSJ, Stephen Moore of the WSJ, Ed Crane of CATO, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, David Nott of Reason Foundation, and Tucker Carlson of the Daily Caller seemed to think the trailer and unedited film looked good, and would have an impact on the culture and upcoming elections.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480239/


15 June 2010 6:23 AM, PDT | SneakPeek | See recent SneakPeek news »

Filming has now started for 5 weeks on the $5 million big screen adaptation of author Ayn Rand's 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged".

Atlas Shrugged Poster 

Shooting in Los Angeles, "Atlas Shrugged Part One" is directed by Paul Johansson from a script by Patrick O'Toole, for producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow.
The book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society. Protagonist, 'Dagny Taggart', sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry, while society's most productive citizens, led by the mysterious 'John Galt', progressively drop out. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the "minds" that drive society's growth and productivity; with their strike these creative minds hope to demonstrate that the economy and society would collapse without the profit motive and the efforts of the rational and productive.