January 25, 2012

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial Teaser

A canine chorus barks a familiar tune. Keep an eye out for our 2012 Game Day commercial—it will all make sense. Love Star Wars and Volkswagen? Create an Intergalactic Invite to your Big Game party here: http://vw.com/star-wars-invite

Star Wars and The State of the Union

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 at 3:33 PM EST

You can always count on Glenn to bring everything back to Star Wars – even the possible end of the country as we know it. While discussing last night’s State of the Union address, Glenn and the radio crew couldn’t help but notice the stunning parallels between the Star Wars prequels and Barack Obama’s call to consolidate bureaucracy under the Executive Office. Pat even added some of the Star Wars music to the speech to show just how spooky the scene compared to last night’s events. Of course, this led to a huge discussion over whether Jar Jar Binks was ultimately responsible for the fall of the Galactic Republic – but the comparisons are pretty strong. Watch the clip above and see if you agree or not.
And from Star Wars, Palpatine restructures the Republic into an Empire:



The making of a post-post-partisan Presidency.

by JANUARY 30, 2012

On a frigid January evening in 2009, a week before his Inauguration, Barack Obama had dinner at the home of George Will, the Washington Post columnist, who had assembled a number of right-leaning journalists to meet the President-elect. Accepting such an invitation was a gesture on Obama’s part that signalled his desire to project an image of himself as a post-ideological politician, a Chicago Democrat eager to forge alliances with conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill. That week, Obama was still working on an Inaugural Address that would call for “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
Obama sprang coatless from his limousine and headed up the steps of Will’s yellow clapboard house. He was greeted by Will, Michael Barone, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Lawrence Kudlow, Rich Lowry, and Peggy Noonan. They were Reaganites all, yet some had paid tribute to Obama during the campaign. Lowry, who is the editor of the National Review, called Obama “the only presidential candidate from either party about whom there is a palpable excitement.” Krauthammer, an intellectual and ornery voice on Fox News and in the pages of the Washington Post, had written that Obama would be “a president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin,” who would “bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan.” And Kristol, the editor of theWeekly Standard and a former aide to Dan Quayle, wrote, “I look forward to Obama’s inauguration with a surprising degree of hope and good cheer.”
Over dinner, Obama searched for points of common ground. He noted that he and Kudlow agreed on a business-investment tax cut. “He loves to deal with both sides of the issue,” Kudlow later wrote. “He revels in the back and forth. And he wants to keep the dialogue going with conservatives.” Obama’s view, shared with many people at the time, was that professional pundits were wrong about American politics. It was a myth, he said, that the two political parties were impossibly divided on the big issues confronting America. The gap was surmountable. Compared with some other Western countries, where Communists and far-right parties sit in the same parliament, the gulf between Democrats and Republicans was narrow.
Obama’s homily about conciliation reflected an essential component of his temperament and his view of politics. In his mid-twenties, he won the presidency of the Harvard Law Review because he was the only candidate who was trusted by both the conservative and the liberal blocs on the editorial staff. As a state senator in Springfield, when Obama represented Hyde Park-Kenwood, one of the most liberal districts in Illinois, he kept his distance from the most left-wing senators from Chicago and socialized over games of poker and golf with moderate downstate Democrats and Republicans. In 1998, after helping to pass a campaign-finance bill in the Illinois Senate, he boasted in his community paper, the Hyde Park Herald, that “the process was truly bipartisan from the start.”
A few years later, Obama ran for the U.S. Senate and criticized “the pundits and the prognosticators” who like to divide the country into red states and blue states. He made a speech against the invasion of Iraq but alarmed some in the distinctly left-wing audience by pointing out that he was not a pacifist, and that he opposed only “dumb wars.” At the 2004 Democratic Convention, in Boston, Obama delivered a retooled version of the stump speech about ideological comity—“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there is the United States of America!”—and became a national political star.
In 2006, Obama published a mild polemic, “The Audacity of Hope,” which became a blueprint for his 2008 Presidential campaign. He described politics as a system seized by two extremes. “Depending on your tastes, our condition is the natural result of radical conservatism or perverse liberalism,” he wrote. “Tom DeLay or Nancy Pelosi, big oil or greedy trial lawyers, religious zealots or gay activists, Fox News or the New York Times.” He repeated the theme later, while describing the fights between Bill Clinton and the Newt Gingrich-led House, in the nineteen-nineties: “In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation—a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago—played out on the national stage.” Washington, as he saw it, was self-defeatingly partisan. He believed that “any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in.”
If there was a single unifying argument that defined Obamaism from his earliest days in politics to his Presidential campaign, it was the idea of post-partisanship. He was proposing himself as a transformative figure, the man who would spring the lock. In an essay published in The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan, a self-proclaimed conservative, reflected on Obama’s heady appeal: “Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us.”
Obama was not exaggerating the toxic battle that has poisoned the culture of Washington. In the past four decades, the two political parties have become more internally homogeneous and ideologically distant. In “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama wrote longingly about American politics in the mid-twentieth century, when both parties had liberal and conservative wings that allowed centrist coalitions to form. Today, almost all liberals are Democrats and almost all conservatives are Republicans. In Washington, the center has virtually vanished. According to the political scientists Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have devised a widely used system to measure the ideology of members of Congress, when Obama took office there was no ideological overlap between the two parties. In the House, the most conservative Democrat, Bobby Bright, of Alabama, was farther to the left than the most liberal Republican, Joseph Cao, of Louisiana. The same was true in the Senate, where the most conservative Democrat, Ben Nelson, of Nebraska, was farther to the left than the most liberal Republican, Olympia Snowe, of Maine. According to Poole and Rosenthal’s data, both the House and the Senate are more polarized today than at any time since the eighteen-nineties

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lizza#ixzz1kXB3ycD2
New Prediction – Economic Collapse: 1st to Europe then to U.S. and the World

Glenn took time today to breakdown a new theory and prediction on what was facing the globe as economic conditions across the country continue to decline. Many will remember that last year Glenn predicted the Arab Spring would sweep the Middle East and Europe before leading to protests in the United States. He was right. Tonight on GBTV, he laid out what he predicts is coming next.
Last year when the protests started to erupt in Egypt, Glenn went on the record early and said the following:
1) Groups from the hardcore socialist left, and extreme Islam will work together because of the common enemy of Israel.
2) Groups from the hardcore socialist left and extreme Islam will work together because of the common enemy of capitalism.
3) Groups from the hardcore socialist left, and extreme Islam will work together to overturn relative stability, because in the status quo, they are both ostracized from power and the mainstream in most of the world.
He predicted that those protests would become contagious, cascade, sweep the Middle East, and begin to destabilize Europe and the rest of the world.
That sure sounds a lot like the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement, doesn’t it?
Tonight, Glenn’s new theory was revealed.
It follows:
Economic Collapse is coming. First to Europe, then to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

As a result:

1) The dollar will no longer be gold standard.
2) Civil War, unlike Civil War of the 1860s, will be fought in our inner cities led by radicals (anarchists, communists, revolutionaries, and Islamists)
3) This conflict will be fed and fueled by those in power in Washington D.C. and in our universities
4) Global War is coming
5) Radical Islamist and Communists will seek violence in our cities and on our border as they pour in from South America and Mexico to reclaim land
6) Farmers will be urged to farm collectively
7) Violence and famine will follow
How will this happen?
Glenn explained by taking a look at war, collapse, hate, and government control already taking place in society and in the news across the world.
First, he discussed war and collapse:

Then he discussed hate growing in America and across the globe:
Finally, he discussed collapse:


11 Stunning Revelations From a Confidential Economics Memo to President Obama
This photo provided by CBS Sunday, April 25, 2010, shows Lawrence Summers, former Director of the National Economic Council as he makes a point on the Sunday talk show "Face The Nation" in Washington, April 25, 2010.
Columnist Ryan Lizza’s in-depth New Yorker article (“The Obama Memos”) is an in-depth examination of the Obama administration’s handling of the U.S. economy. But unlike most op-eds, his column involves more than just speculation and conjecture. Lizza uses a 2008 “sensitive and confidential” memo written by the economist Larry Summers as one of the article’s chief resources.
For those unfamiliar with the memo’s author, Larry Summers is the former Director of the United States National Economic Council for President Obama. And although he resigned from this position in November 2010, as the White House’s chief economist he “played a leading role in crafting the administration’s interventions in the economy,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Summers’ influence being understood, this 57-page memo helps explain why certain economic strategies and initiatives have been adopted, and in many cases maintained, by the Obama administration. But it does a little more than that: the memo also sheds some light on why the administration has failed to revive the economy.
Summers’ memo is “striking for two reasons,” writes Dean Baker of The Guardian. “First, it…showed the economic projections that the administration was looking at when it drafted its stimulus package. These projections proved to be hugely overly optimistic.”
Many critics would agree.
Baker continues:
The other striking part of this memo is the concern with “bond market vigilantes”. The memo discusses the need to focus on the medium-term deficit with the idea of reaching deficit targets by 2014. The highest deficit target listed in the memo for this year was 3.5% of GDP. The memo also includes calculations with a deficit target of 2.5% of GDP, and a balanced budget.
The deficit for the fiscal year that ended last October was 8.5% of GDP. Depending on how the payroll tax debate, the extension of unemployment benefits and a few other issues get resolved, the deficit is not likely to be very much lower in 2012.
This means that getting from a 2012 deficit near 8.0% of GDP to even the 3.5% target for 2014 would require some very serious budget cuts in an economy that will still be suffering from massive unemployment. The difference between a budget deficit of 8.0% of GDP and 3.5% of GDP is equal to almost $700bn annually.
So what does this mean?
11 Stunning Revelations From a Confidential Economics Memo to President Obama
Larry Summers and Barack Obama.
“In short, the Obama administration made plans that were quite obviously based on a far too rosy view of the economy,” Baker concludes. “While this favorable assessment was the prevailing view at the end of 2008, what is inexplicable is why the administration never appears to have strayed from its original path – even when it became clear that the economy was doing far worse than projected.”
Just how poorly did Summers and the Obama administration “fail to grasp” the seriousness of America’s economic situation?
For an answer to this question, one can turn to James Pethokoukis of The American, the online magazine for the American Enterprise Institute.
The following are the most “stunning revelations” about what the Obama economic team was thinking as the financial crisis was blowing up (as compiled by Pethokoukis, with quotes from the 2008 memo itself):
 1. The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda.
The short-run economic imperative was to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary. …  The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.
2. Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them).
Closing the gap between what the campaign proposed and the estimates of the campaign offsets would require scaling back proposals by about $100 billion annually or adding new offsets totaling the same. Even this, however, would leave an average deficit over the next decade that would be worse than any post-World War II decade. This would be entirely unsustainable and could cause serious economic problems in the both the short run and the long run.
3. Obamanomics was pricier than advertised.
Your campaign proposals add about $100 billion per year to the deficit largely because rescoring indicates that some of your revenue raisers do not raise as much as the campaign assumed and some of your proposals cost more than the campaign assumed. … Treasury estimates that repealing the tax cuts above $250,000 would raise about $40 billion less than the campaign assumed. … The health plan is about $10 billion more costly than the campaign estimated and the health savings are about $25 billion lower than the campaign estimated.
4. Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast.
Constructing a package of this size, or even in the $500 billion range, is a major challenge. While the most effective stimulus is government investment, it is difficult to identify feasible spending projects on the scale that is needed to stabilize the macroeconomy. Moreover, there is a tension between the need to spend the money quickly and the desire to spend the money wisely. To get the package to the requisite size, and also to address other problems, we recommend combining it with substantial state fiscal relief and tax cuts for individuals and businesses.
5. Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic.
As noted above, it is not possible to spend out much more than $225 billion in the next two years with high-priority investments and protections for the most vulnerable. This total, however, falls well short of what economists believe is needed for the economy, both in total and especially in 2009. As a result, to achieve our macroeconomic objectives—minimally the 2.5 million job goal—will require other sources of stimulus including state fiscal relief, tax cuts for individuals, or tax cuts for businesses.
6. Team Obama wanted to use courts to force massive mortgage principal writedowns.
The next step in the housing plan is responsible bankruptcy reform along the lines of the Durbin bill you cosponsored. This would allow bankruptcy courts to write down the principal of primary residences to the current market value. We recommend announcing this reform to begin immediately following the close of the enhanced Hope for Homeowners period.
7. Team Obama thought a stimulus plan of more than $1 trillion would spook financial markets and send interest rates climbing.
To accomplish a more significant reduction in the output gap would require stimulus of well over $1 trillion based on purely mechanical assumptions—which would likely not accomplish the goal because of the impact it would have on markets.
8. Greg Mankiw, economic adviser to Mitt Romney, was dubious about the stimulus.
Greg Mankiw is the only economist we have consulted with who refused to name a number and was generally skeptical about stimulus.
9. But the Fed was a stimulus enabler.
Senior Federal Reserve officials appear to be of the view that a plan that well exceeds $600 billion would be desirable.
10. IPAB was there at the very beginning.
There are two possibilities for making tough decisions on the long-run budget, which could be done either separately or together: creating an executive-branch “health board” (which focuses on one part of the issue) and a Congressionally chartered commission (which could focus more broadly).
11. The financial crisis wasn’t just Wall Street’s fault.
A significant cause of the current crisis lies in the failure of regulators to exercise vigorously the authority they already have.
Perhaps more unsettling than Pethokoukis’ list is the fact that the Obama administration has done very little to update any of these ideas. It’s as if Summers set the tone in 2008, and the Obama administration never looked back.
Now, considering that there‘s a growing consensus that the president’s understanding of the U.S. economic crisis has been naïve (if not willfully ignorant), is it any surprise that he is receiving so much criticism? Take, for example, many of the conservative-to-moderate commentators who, despite having once possessed “a surprising degree of hope and good cheer” for his presidency, have denounced President Barack Obama as an abject failure:
In 2009, the president was a dinner guest in the home of conservative commentator George Will, according to Lizza. By 2011, Mr. Will had declared President Obama a “floundering naïf” and someone advancing “Lenin-Socialism.”
In 2009, Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer wrote that Obama could be “a president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin” who would “bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan.” By 2011, Mr. Krauthammer had written the president off as “sanctimonious, demagogic, self-righteous, and arrogant.”
In 2009, the economist Larry Kudlow claimed that the president loved “to deal with both sides of the issue,” when it came to business and the economy and that he “revels in the back and forth. And he wants to keep the dialogue going with conservatives,” according to Lizza. By 2010, Mr. Kudlow had accused President Obama of presiding over a government of “crony capitalism at its worst.”
In 2009, while commenting on the violence set off by Iran’s rigged elections, the supposed “Reaganite” Peggy Noonan gushed “Mr. Obama was restrained, balanced and helpful in the crucial first days, keeping the government out of it.” By 2011, Miss Noonan declared the president “a loser.”
Given the fact that the Summers memo only confirms what several of these critics had already feared (i.e. that the Obama economic team has been utterly incompetent), perhaps these “over-the-top” criticisms aren’t that far off the mark.