Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Hoodwink Czar

The White House has taken heat for assigning Czars to oversee many major issues. These official policy Czars have proven to be largely ineffective. However the most effective Czar in the White House does not officially exist. The job of this
Hoodwink Czar involves invention of numbers and theories to tout imaginary success of policy, and offering platitudes to downplay failure. He's a magician who gets people to concentrate on his silver tongue so they don't pay attention to his hands.

The Czar's stage name is Barack 'Hoodwink' Obama.

His greatest acts include:

Act I - Obamanomics is the real Freakonomics:

General understanding among economists is that redistributing tax revenue and destroying assets does not spur lasting growth. The Czar showed his disdain for such nonsense through the
Cash for Clunkers program. The idea was to help consumers exchange their old cars for new by setting arbitrary mileage rules and offering free money. To further aid growth, the perfectly working 'clunkers', i.e. assets, were destroyed instead of reselling (to South American countries for example). Thus by simply preponing the transactions of consumers who would have bought a car anyway, Mr. Obama claims to have helped the economy and the auto industry.

Analysis of the program suggests that this scheme cost taxpayers over $20,000 per car sold and has raised used car prices. This means consumers who couldn’t afford new cars, now can't even afford used cars. Of course the Czar has dismissed such reports and added Edmunds to his enemies list.

Act II - Economics can be injurious to health:

Economics dictates that if you increase demand and keep supply constant, the price should go up. Mr. Obama has decided to challenge the silly laws of supply and demand. He will raise demand for healthcare by bringing in millions of uninsured people into the system. Since this will not increase the supply of doctors, nurses, or hospitals, it should lead to higher prices and/or lower quality.

Obamanomics however, has a way (which only the Czar knows) to reduce costs, increase quality, raise demand and keep supply constant. The plan is to reduce overall costs by taxing businesses and mandating people to buy a private good.

Constitutional implications aside, there are no details available to compare the inflow of revenue from the mandate and the cost of insuring millions. These details might make an appearance when the President comes on TV to force a jobless college graduate in Lexington to buy insurance so a former gang member in Chicago can get his knee replaced. My advice on further reducing costs - merge clinics and the DMV together.

Act III - Stimulation job:

Thanks to advances in economics under Obama, spending billions of non existent tax payer dollars on random projects (volcano research, arts endowment, etc) has helped revive the economy and decrease the rate of unemployment. The White House admits that job creation has not been upto expectation but they claim to have
'saved' over 650,000 jobs. They even have a way of measuring these saved jobs down to the exact number. The official number is 640,329! Mr. Obama should introduce the nation to Mr. 508,541 and Ms. 640,327 to motivate discouraged job seekers.

Common sense suggests that, short of companies sending Mr. Obama a weekly list of employees that they would have fired but did not, it is impossible to measure saved jobs. Luckily common sense and Obamanomics are mutually exclusive.

Assume, for argument's sake, that these
numbers have not been pulled out of the nether regions of the human anatomy. It still means that each job cost over $165,000 (real cost is around $220,000). Imagine what an American entrepreneur could do with $200,000. Alas, this is unacceptable to Mr. Obama because the government would be out of the equation. The President does not believe in such non governmental private sector job creation. He also does not pay much attention to tangible numbers like the 17% unemployment rate and the thirteen digit deficit. Details like that interfere with the Suspension of Disbelief required to truly enjoy the illusion.

To be fair, The President did show his concern for the 'sobering number' of job losses by offering this gem;
“My economic team is looking at ideas such as additional investments in our aging roads and bridges, incentives to encourage families and business to make buildings more energy efficient”. I knew it! Those unemployed bums should have insulated their homes properly if they wanted to keep their jobs.
Having solved the jobs problem, Mr. Obama then headed to the Capitol to push Healthcare.

The stimulus/saved job con job is the Hoodwink Czar’s greatest trick yet.

Mr. Obama's last show of the year is scheduled for December in Oslo to a full house of starry-eyed Scandinavians. Look for a dazzling display of useless platitudes, childish idealism, and self congratulation.
Next year the Hoodwink Czar will perform at the Capitol during the State of the Union Address. He will feature an additional neat trick where the
Candidate transforms into the President for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ten People That Need To Go Away

There is an amazing scene in the movie 25th Hour where Edward Norton's character blasts every ethnic, economic and social group in New York City. I found myself doing something similar; although for good reason. The items on this list probably earn the ire of anyone with common sense. Go ahead, turn on your TV. I guarantee at least one of these things is on.


TMZ/Jon-Kate/Balloon Boy/Kardashians and all the other scum sucking parasites that are destroying society from the inside out. I don't even know who most of them are and yet they offend me by existing. Drop dead.

Glenn Beck: You brought down a White House czar, publicized the acorn scandal and humiliated that idiot White House communication director. 'America' has had enough. Now disappear.

Keith Olbermann: Being uncontrollably aroused every time Obama reads a teleprompter is no reason to be on every time I flip to MSNBC. Your show is watched by no one and you are NOT funny. You've even managed to ruin Sunday Night Football. Go away.

Vampires: Seriously? Comical blood suckers are a multi million dollar industry? Esquire magazine thinks its because young straight girls want to have sex with gay men. If only "Blade" had paid his taxes.

Joe Biden: One would think after 25+ years of blowing hot air and being wrong on almost every major foreign policy issue, you'd stop repeating the pattern. But alas, old habits die hard. Although it does help when you voice your opinion on issues. It tells people exactly what not to do. But still, be like Dick Cheney and go to that undisclosed location. Oh wait, you told everyone about it. Its okay, no one really listens to you. Now scram.

Vince Vaughn/Will Ferrell: When it wasn't funny the first time, why would it be funny the next 20 times? Stop making the same movies over and over again. Take a hint from Napoleon Dynamite. Piss off.
(Exceptions: Old school, Swingers)

Sarah Palin: Your team lost. Its over. No one cares what you have to say. Especially on your Facebook page. Go do some actual work. Start with punching that ex son-in-law of yours.

Jimmy Carter: See Joe Biden. Add wimp and senile. No one cared what you had to say even when you actually mattered. As George W Bush so eloquently stated, 'If I'm ever eighty six and acting like this, someone put me away'.

Twitter: It is for twits and attention whores. No CNN, I do not want to follow you on Twitter. How about the radical idea of following you on CNN? Does that still work? Here's a tweet: 'F*** off'.

Barack Obama: Its called the Oval Office. Its designed to work on problems facing the nation. Use it. Even President Bartlet wasn't on TV as much as you are. People are homeless and jobless, soldiers are dying and the deficit has 13 digits in it. For the sake of the country, develop a spine, take responsibilty and accomplish something.

Brett Favre: Actually, no. Stay Brett. You make my Sundays. And Mondays, when I read about your exploits. And Tuesdays, when I watch SportsCenter for the 10th time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Search of A Policy

Ask the White House about the current Afghanistan/Pakistan (AfPak) policy and one is deluged by professorial phrases like 'deliberating a strategy', 'analyzing proposals', 'nuanced thinking' and so forth. Everyone agrees that the decision that President Obama needs to make within weeks is not an easy one and requires careful analysis and deliberation. However, as Charles Krauthammer points out, Afghanistan did not just spring up on them. It has been around for eight years. The administration has had over nine months to deliberate and formulate a strategy. This endless discussion can only be perceived as lack of backbone at worst and indecisiveness at best. At some point this President will have to decide (for or against the surge) and then sell that proposal to the country. Instead we see him second guessing his own six month old strategy before it even has a chance to be implemented. When the President can't even sell something he believes in (healthcare), how will he sell a policy that he himself doubts?

The primary problem here is prioritization. President Obama has decided to concentrate all his energy on the created crisis of healthcare. The system is broken to be sure, but Americans have survived with the current system for decades. One more year would not change much. By contrast, the economy (jobs and the sinking dollar), AfPak and Iran will definitely change (for the worse) in a year. These pressing issues should have taken precedence. Instead It is only the last few days that President Obama has finally started concentrating on Afghanistan. Until now he had talked to Gen. McChrystal only twice. One of those times was at an airport for 25 minutes. Obama's 'beer summit' lasted longer. As Stephen Colbert points out, Obama did address AfPak but it was after banks, cars, stimulus, health care, a dog, an herb garden, the Olympics and beer.

America's foreign policy has been delegated to Vice President Biden for the most part. It is the strategy being pushed by Biden that is getting the most attention among factions of the White House and Democrats. One can only assume Obama is leaning toward that policy because he has said practically nothing on the matter. Remember this the same Joe Biden who devised the brilliant proposal to divide Iraq into three 'nations'. He is also probably the only person in the country who has been stimulated by the failed stimulus package. The President would be ill advised to accept Biden's proposals.

It is a clear sign that things aren't going well when Gaddafi wants you to be the President forever, Hugo Chavez prays for your health and the French President chides you for living in a virtual world. Iran is adding to Mr. Obama's woes by continually dismissing American overtures for a meaningful dialogue. Iran did accept Obama's offer to unclench its fist, although it was to slap the collective face of this administration and by extension, the United States.

On the positive side, the war on terror as a whole has had recent successes. Raids in Somalia, drone attacks in Pakistan and the recent arrests of terror suspects in the US suggest that the tactics used to prevent further attacks on US soil are working. Iraq is off the news and Obama has been smart to let that country continue to stabilize. Unfortunately for the President, these are Bush legacies. They are working because Obama was smart enough to leave those policies in place.

Most of President Obama's decisions are a confluence of three traits: meteoric confidence in his own persuasive powers, naive idealism and a tendency to avoid confrontation. This explains his incessent need to be on TV and involve himself in everything from the swine flu to Kanye West. It would also explain his childish desire to see a nuke free world and his waffling on AfPak, Gitmo closure and the public option in the healthcare debate.

It seems Mr. Obama suffers from a case of Presidential ADD. Besides healthcare, AfPak, Iran, the economy, the war on terror, Iraq and the dismal unemployment rate, President Obama trying to micromanage Chicago gang crime (which Senator Obama didn't show much concern for), the New York gubernatorial race and even the Olympics. So far the only real accomplishment of Mr. Obama is appearing on TV more than any other President in history.

It is high time the Candidate became the President. Its not too late to develop a spine and clench his own fist and stand up for something. The blame Bush/Cheney cow has been milked dry and then some. People now interpret the 'inherited from Bush' tactic (to deflect blame) as whining.

The astonishing predicament that this 'transformational change agent' finds himself in would be amusing if it weren't so dangerous.
Still, one gets the feeling that George W. Bush is trying in vain to suppress a grin.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Real spending With Imaginary Money

"President Obama unveiled a $3 trillion-plus budget plan today that he says will halve the federal deficit by the end of his first term." — CNN, February 26, 2009.

Thus begins the change regime. One needs to possess serious oratory skills to get away with using 'trillions in spending' and 'cutting the deficit in half' in one sentence. But then oration and ambition are two attributes this President does not lack.
However, if you are still skeptical and annoyed then this candid White House email is just the thing you need to be convinced.

Dear Citizens,

A lot has been made of our massive spending proposals and how we will incur more debt than ever. These so called critics lack the intellectual vision that the President possesses. Allow us to address some of the more controversial and expensive aspects of the spending proposals.

- We must pour billions into education. So what that we do not have a concrete plan to go about it. No Child Left Behind was a concrete plan and you know how the President feels about that. This time it is money first, ideas later. Same goes for healthcare.

- The country is in dire need of big infrastructure projects including a rail from Orlando to Vegas. There is no better way to teach people financial discipline than giving them easy access to roller coasters and blackjack. After all it is only $5 billion of Chinese money that doesn't even exist yet!
- Going with our general theme of throwing money, billions of dollars in contracts to fund Green initiatives is only natural (or green?). Even though they might fail and most of these contracts might go to Al Gore's pals, it is in the interest of our planet.

- The President railed against Bush for expanding domestic spending but now it is necessary. When we do it, it is justified. This time it is for long term prosperity and not some short term gratification.

- A few millions here and there on acutely important projects like volcano monitoring, grape genetics and catfish study are a necessity. Surprise volacano eruptions have harmed a large number of grape eating catfish recently.

- Please do not worry about accountability. We have appointed all kinds of czars in the White House to do just that. Of course this would mean that the people who are supposed to be held accountable, will be monitored by people who serve the same people that came up with the plans that need accountability in the first place. Get it?

- Yes we are semi-aware that as soon as Bush left office, Pakistan released A Q Khan and signed a deal with the Taliban. North Korea moved missiles to launch sites and Iran fired a satellite. We have addressed these developments by dispatching an army of envoys to all hotspots. History has shown how effective envoys can be. Between the czars and the envoys, we have it all covered.

In addition to the above projects, we also have plans to cure cancer, eliminate global warming, provide universal health care and fight two wars. Leave the how to us. Details are overrated anyway.

Still concerned? Please tune in to the next speech by the President to allay your concerns. A mix of subtle condescension, gentle coaxing coupled with slight fear mongering packaged in an avalanche of words delivered with an evangelical flair will no doubt you completely.

Thank you,

The Office of President of United States


* We do understand that we can't even figure out if our nominees paid taxes or not but we plan to track every dollar of the trillions we will spend.

* Unemployment is on the rise and the stock market is approaching zero but we believe base appeasing reversals of Bush directives on abortion and the environment are the priority.

* The stimulus package is not a trillion dollar hookwink - it is a journey that is best experienced blindfolded. Follow the President into the light.

* Remember if it fails, it is Bush's fault for making us inherit this mess. However, if it succeeds, it was the President's vision.