Archive for the ‘business’ Category

By John Ruberry

Outside of sheer incompetence, a theme has emerged from the Joe Biden administration. When they need help, the White House calls on people they deem to be experts. 

Here’s a dirty secret of politics, or if your prefer, of advancing a preferred narrative. Anyone can find an “expert,” more on them in a bit, to support any opinion. It works in journalism too, the media wing of the Democrat Party.

When the discovery of the Hunter Biden laptop was revealed by the New York Post nearly two years ago–the mainstream media, social media, and of course the Biden campaign immediately moved to denounce it. The casus belli for journalists, Facebook, Twitter, and the like–Biden brought this up in a presidential debate–was that its emergence three weeks before Election Day in 2020 had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” according to 51 former national security experts, led by James Clapper, a director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama. Every one of these “experts” either lied, signed on to something they knew little about, or just simply wanted to do whatever it took to prevent the reelection of Donald J. Trump. 

Eighteen months later, the New York Times admitted Hunter’s laptop, which provided voluminous evidence of his influence peddling centered on his being the son of a powerful politician, was authentic. The 51 experts can expect subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee next year, assuming the Republicans take control of the House. Every one of these “experts” should have their security clearances permanently revoked.

Biden of course won the election. As a result of his policies, such as cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking new permits for drilling on federal land, gasoline prices soared and remain high. Although the economy was well into recovery mode two years ago, Biden signed into law the unfunded American Rescue Plan. Many experts at the time claimed it would not fuel inflation. They were wrong. Just as those national security “experts” were wrong on Hunter’s laptop. 

When inflation began its ascent, the White House cited 15 Nobel laureates in economics who said that Biden’s Build Back Better bill, enacted in late 2021, would not fuel inflation. They were wrong too. Inflation is now at levels not seen since the early 1980s. Last year Biden and other “experts” were saying inflation was “transitory.” Liberals reading this post will blame inflation on the War in Ukraine, you know, “Putin’s price hike.” Sure, the war likely has an effect on inflation, but the scourge was with us before Russia’s invasion Ukraine. 

Build Back Better was originally part of a much larger bill, the green energy stuff was split off and later discarded after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he wouldn’t support it. Well, Build Back Better Part Two is back, laughably renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. And to bolster its support, the Biden White House has–are you ready?–called on experts, this time, four former Democratic Treasury secretaries and one Republican, who claim, among other things, that the Inflation Reduction Act will “fight inflation” One of those ex-Treasury secretaries is Larry Summers, who warned last year the Biden White House, “We’re taking very substantial risks on the inflation side.” 

A good journalist would track down Summers and ask him specifics on why this bill really will fight inflation.

Earlier I mentioned that journalists have a role in advancing political narratives. For example, at Forbes, Rhett Buttle offers a slobbering French kiss of propaganda, which is accompanied by this headline, “Experts Agree: The Inflation Reduction Act Accomplishes A Lot For Small Business And Working Families.” While late in the piece Buttle manages to write about the bill, “some who represent select corporate interests in Washington don’t completely agree” with the hype. But if Buttle was truly a journalist, he would have tracked down opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act and presented a balanced article.

Then again, real journalism is dead. Twenty years ago such a piece as the one written by Buttle would contain the sub-headline, “news analysis,” assuming a magazine like Forbes would even publish it. I took some journalism classes at the University of Illinois. If I turned in such an article for an assignment, a professor would have deservedly given me an “F,” enhanced by this underlined comment written in red ink, “This garbage reads like a press release.”

But Biden’s new batch of experts have spoken: The Inflation Reduction Act, which the Senate will vote on Sunday afternoon, will “fight inflation.”

Watch your wallet. Watch the cash in it lose its value.

Disclosure: This blog post should be classified as “news analysis.”

UPDATE 5:15pm EDT: The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“The fliparoo theory of PolitiFact is now confirmed,” Dan Bongino said early in his July 28 podcast, “The fliparoo theory is this: If a fact-checker, airquotes, PolitiFact, says something is true it is probably false. If PolitiFact says something is false it’s probably true.”

Which means, of course, that we are now in a recession. PolitiFact, in a piece written by propagandist Louis Jacobson entitled, “No, the White House didn’t change the definition of ‘recession,'” he fact-checked a claim that originally came from an Instagram post. In seemingly 10,000 words, meant to overwhelm low-information voters, Jacobson ruled that statement false.

Jacobson is wrong, he’s gaslighting us. We are in a recession.

And Jacobson is not alone.

The Biden White House, led by the embarrassment of a press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has been redefining “recession” for at least a week. For decades, the generally accepted definition of a recession has been two successive months of negative GDP growth. In the first quarter of 2022, the American economy shrank by 1.4 percent, and it contracted by 0.9 percent in the second quarter. These are facts. 

“However, the two-quarter threshold cited in the Instagram post has never been official,” Jacobson said in his so-called fact-check. “It’s more like a rough guide,” he continued, “one piece of a complicated puzzle.” Translation: the wise and oh-so-brilliant Jacobson is right, and you are a semi-literate yokel for accepting the commonly agreed upon description of a recession. 

In another overly long fact-check, Newsweek’s Tom Norton, another hack apologist, also ruled “false” the claim that the Biden White House is redefining what a recession is. “Furthermore, the White House website doesn’t have a dictionary or catalog of all political terminology and jargon it uses (that is the case for other governments, such as those of the UK and Canada, too),” Norton offered. 

Wow. I’m convinced. Not.

In Norton’s Newsweak–or is it Newspeak?— fact-check, Norton quotes Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, who, by the way, was wrong about inflation being “transitory,” that it is really up to a secretive private organization to determine a recession. Who knew? “There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession,” she revealed.

Another fact-check fabulist, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, appears to be on vacation so he hasn’t weighed in on the leftist-induced recession debate. Three years ago, while fact-checking Donald Trump, Kessler wrote, “A recession is two quarters of negative economic growth.” But Joe Biden wasn’t president then.

Another prominent (along the lines of someone having an ugly prominent nose) fact-checker, USA Today, also hasn’t recently given its opinion on what a recession really is. Oh, what’s this? In a 2020 fact-check USA Today informed us, “A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of declining GDP, or gross domestic product, a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced during a specific time period.”

But on the other hand, Snopes is bowing to the Democrat Party mantra about recessions. Referring to a couple of social media messages, “The tweets quoted above may give readers the misleading impression that the Biden administration literally tried to revise the criteria economists use to determine when a recession has occurred. But that was not the case,” Bethania Palma chimes in for Snopes.

It is the case. Snopes is lying.

Here are some media talking heads talking not too long ago, based on who I see here and the chyrons, using the classical definition of a recession, in a montage compiled by the Media Research Center. You know the, you know the thing, as Biden likes to say, two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth. C’mon man!

But, assuming briefly we are not in a recession when will we be in one? The Biden administration won’t say. Is it a recession when we have three successive quarters of declining growth? Four? Five-and-a-half?

Or will it be a recession only when there is a Republican president?

Dan Bongino is right. The fliparoo theory of “fact-checkers” is now confirmed. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Blogger in Big Bend Ranch State Park last week

By John Ruberry

After a ten-day vacation I’ve returned home to Illinois, which should be renamed ILL-inois.

Since I was born–let’s just say for the same of humility it was a really long time ago–Illinois and Texas had roughly the same population. The Land of Lincoln had slightly more than 10 million residents then, while the Lone Star State had about half-a-million fewer people. According to the 2020 Census, Texas was the home of 29 million people, with Illinois at just under 13 million. Overall, in the same time period the overall US population soared from 179 million to 329 million. 

Texas has prospered and continues to do so; Illinois has gone from stagnation to decline. The Prairie State has been losing population every year since 2014.

I know of many Illinoisans who have bailed on this state and moved to Texas. The most noted departure was that of Roger Keats, a former Republican state senator and onetime candidate for Crook County–oops I meant Cook County–board president. In his 2011 farewell letter to suckers like my wife and I, who remain here, titled “Goodbye and Good Luck,” Keats wrote, “I am tired of subsidizing crooks.”

Since I was born four Illinois governors, three Democrats and one Republican, have served time in federal prison. No Texas governors have suffered that indignity. Last month, Michael Madigan, who was Illinois’ most powerful politician until he was ousted as Illinois speaker of the House in 2021, was indicted on a whole slew of racketeering charges. Madigan, except for two years in the 1990s, served as House speaker beginning in 1981. From 1998 until 2021 Madigan was also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Overlooked in the rundown of Boss Madigan’s career by journalists after his indictment is this ironic nugget: his predecessor as speaker was George H. Ryan, a Republican, who is one of Illinois’ felon governors. 

While the numbers might be slightly different today, here are more highlights from Keats’ Parthian shot: 

Illinois is ranked 50th for fiscal policy; 47th in job creation; first in unfunded pension liabilities; second largest budget deficit; first in failing schools; first in bonded indebtedness; highest sales tax in the nation; most judges indicted; and five of our last nine elected governors have been indicted. That is more than the other 49 states added together!… “We are moving to Texas where there is no income tax while Illinois’ just went up 67%. Texas’ sales tax is half of ours, which is the highest in the nation. Southern states are supportive of job producers, taxpayers and folks who offer opportunities to their residents. Illinois shakes them down for every penny that can be extorted from them.

While flying into Dallas Fort-Worth Airport I saw numerous suburban subdivisions under construction. I remember those halcyon home building days in Illinois. But the biggest boom I saw was in the oil industry towns of Odessa and Midland on the Permian Basin. Homes, office buildings, and hotels are popping up there like dandelions in spring. Or like Illinois politicians in prison.

Southern Illinois could be a lucrative area for oil fracking. But our state’s Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, says he supports “clean energy” and it’s believed he opposes fracking. He’s up for reelection this year. Why aren’t his Republican opponents calling for fracking in Illinois?

No place is perfect, not even Texas. It has its own power grid, heavily dependent on wind power, which works great, until it doesn’t, as was the case after a large ice storm last year. Millions of Texans were without power for several days after that storm. But twice in the last decade, I was without electricity for several days, as were hundreds-of-thousands of others in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Unlike the Texas outages in 2021, this was not a national news story. My provider for electricity is Commonwealth Edison, which has been implicated in the Michael Madigan scandals.

Illinois is misruled by con-artists like Professor Henry Hill, the scoundrel from the play and the movie The Music Man, only our grifters are bereft of Hill’s charm.

We may not end up relocating in Texas, but Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I will leave Illinois. My family roots here reach back to 1850. When my great-great grandfather, another John Ruberry, arrived in Illinois from Ireland, this state was the land of opportunity. Illinois is now the land of corruption, high taxes, and decline. 

Like Keats, my wife and I are sick of subsidizing these crooks.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Morton Grove, Illinois at Marathon Pundit.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Posted: February 2, 2022 by datechguy in business, entertainment, fun, pinball
Tags: ,

Today is February 2nd the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 40th day after Christmas.

Under the old church calendar this day marked the end of the Christmas season which under the current calendar ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

By an odd coincidence this also marks the end of the Christmas gift my sons got me because today the good folks at Bushey Brothers came down to pick up the pinball machine that they dropped off on the 2nd day of Christmas Dec 26th.

The storm that hit New England snowed him in badly so I ended up with four extra days which meant this Christmas gift lasted the entire traditional Christmas season. My best score of 65,7 Million but alas that was only good enough for 3rd as my youngest scored 66.4 million and on his next visit managed over 91 million.

Most arcades these days that are not pay one price tend to charge between .75 & a buck a game and with over 300 games played on this machine in the time I had it it was pretty much like going to the arcade on a daily basis. Here is our exit interview:

I highly recommend such a rental as a gift and if you’re so inclined you can find the Bushey Brothers on facebook here.