No Man Is a Hero to His Valet

Are the multiple breaches of White House security about which the editors of the Wall Street Journal complain in this editorial:

Whatever resolution the agents of the Secret Service used to call upon to protect the lives of the President and his family has apparently long since departed this once-elite corps. This month’s astonishing breach of the White House, supposedly one of the world’s most secure complexes, has exposed a culture of incompetence and duplicity. Government failures are legion, but rarely are they so dangerous.

The core mission of the Secret Service is to prevent an attack on the chief executive’s person and that includes defending the White House. Yet this crude intrusion would be implausible in an airport thriller. The guy waltzed in the front door.

consequences of executive incompetence or a change in culture in the Secret Service? Ultimately, I don’t think we have a ready substitute for doing things because they the right thing to do or because your honor requires it. How many are only apparent due to a changing culture in a press in which the compact to reflect only the best in certain government institutions has broken down? We may simply know too much about the Secret Service or, as Voltaire put it, no man is a hero to his valet.

These are questions not answers. I do think the reaction to the man getting into the White House is overly agonistic but that’s par for the course these days. The truth about the incident will come out in due course.

25 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    There used to be sign on the desk of the President, “The Buck Stops Here.” But we lack that kind of leadership today. Obama, ever the dewy-eyed disciple of Bill Ayers, is dedicated to the principles of violent overthrow of the government, including the murder of its top officials. He must be stopped before he gets himself killed.

  • Dr. Samuel Johnson Link

    Listen to him men, he’s just crazy enough to do it!

  • steve Link

    Our only hope is that he takes the rest of them with him.


  • ... Link

    Overly agonistic? It is, after all, a sacred mission. No shit, a sacred mission. I read that in the WaPo. Not that they’re deifying anyone or anything.

  • Guarneri Link

    I have no idea how to apportion incompetence, SS culture or increased illumination. This is admittedly totally anecdotal, but my experience with dozens of organizations is that some just always seem to be snake bitten. At the time, all the excuses, rationale whatever many times seem to have a degree of truth and understandability. (But please, no crap about the weather). But eff ups just keep coming. Other organizations? They just run better.

    In introspective moments when we look back we have invariably concluded that the problem investments were poorly run.

  • Ben Wolf Link


    It’s a symptom of sclerotic, rotting, zombie institutions that just lumber on from day to day. This country is in such bad shape our Secret Service didn’t notice bullet-holes until five days later, and it stretches through government into much of the private sector. I really think this is cultural implosion and it’s only going to get worse.

  • Modulo Myself Link

    Anecdotally, it seems that people given guns by the government seem to be doing pretty badly. So it’s not surprising that the Secret Service has its issues. At least, unlike local cops, they seem not to be blowing away Walmart shoppers.

  • Guarneri Link

    Well there you have it. Take the SS’s guns away.

  • ... Link

    Nothing on Ebola or the new jobs reports?

    On the job front, we’re still approximately 2.6 million full time jobs behind where we were at the prior peak. This after more than five years of ‘recovery’.

    Also, looking at FRED data I see that people ages 25-54 have over 4.85 million fewer jobs now than at the prior peak. But that population has only dropped by 1.4 million. Overall, the employment percentage for that group has dropped 3% points since the prior peak.

    All of which to say all the crowing about how good the economy is by the President and his worshipers is just so much bullshit, just like his confidence in the Secret Service, his assurance that ISIS was the JV and could never be a serious threat, his assurance that the intelligence community screwed up (as opposed to the fact that he wasn’t listening), Barry O’s assurance that Ebola would never get to the US, etc, etc.

  • ... Link

    I’ll note that over at OTB they’re cheering about the awesomeness of current jobs recovery again. Never mind the awful numbers I presented above, that’s just racist hate talk.

  • Guarneri Link

    You should go over to OTB and the jobs thread and cite your stats. Reynolds dropped by to claim I never have stats or citations, just talking points. So when I provided them he was not heard from again. Some guy named C Clavin just screamed ‘damned Republicans!!” and left. But a couple people had good points.

    Specifically, the causes of the participation rate by demographic on the table. I don’t want to bogart your numbers.

  • Bogart the numbers. I mentioned the 25 to 54 demographic to display that the demographic shift argument is BS.

    I put up these numbers with links to the FRED charts on my site, which should show up above. And my usual bloodyminded commentary, of course.

    But just Bogart them and add your own commentary. I’ve been harping on about this for a couple years now, it isn’t like I (a) haven’t put the idea out there, (b) haven’t provided the place to look, or (c) have come up with anything original.

    Besides, if _I_ do it over there Reynolds will get huffy again about my pointing out that he’s an addict. I really just need to get away from all this commenting so he will come back. I hate to ruin another man’s misery.

  • steve Link

    First, Drew mistyped a statement. Employment is way up since the trough. He should have said it is only up a bit compared with the last peak. Next, the best paper I have seen in the last year was this from the Atlanta Fed. Drew is wrong and there are a lot more retirees. (Paper goes over a lot mrs details than most.)


  • steve Link

    OK. I went and looked at the Zero Hedge charts. Record number of people over 55 working? Wonder why? What could have happened between 1946 and 1964. Let me think. And, of course, we should probably blame Obama for this.

  • ... Link

    steve, we’re still 4.85 million jobs SHORT for people aged 25-54, the peak working years, despite only having 1.4 million fewer people in that age group. That is a sign that the low participation rate has little to do with shifting demographics.

  • ... Link

    What happened was we hit bottom, and have been bouncing along at the bottom since. There’s been enough job growth, mostly in areas that are less remunerative than the old jobs, to keep from sinking further.

    Of course, you rich folk have recovered nicely, so you don’t notice or care, but the middle and bottom have been getting hammered in the ass so you guys can feel like big shots. Forget 2007, I know a lot more people that are worse off now than they were in 2012 than are better off. Or are you going to tell me that working part time minimum wage is better than making $85,000 a year plus benefits? Because that’s what I’m seeing amongst friends and acquaintances.

  • ... Link

    And spare me the BS line about how this recession was a financial debt crisis and blah blah blah. If true, and I believe that’s a good part of it, then you can’t take credit for the great job of recovery we’ve had because NOTHING that has been done policy-wise has been designed to reduce debt for anyone other than the rich. Hell, not only have you guys not eased up the bankruptcy laws, you have been encouraging people to take on more and more debt that cannot be discharged. The Democratic Party has been cheering on the creation of an entire generation of debt slaves, and been congratulating yourselves for doing it. That makes it intentional, which means you are all purely and irredeemably evil.

    Or, you’re the most stupid ruling class since the Renaissance, which makes me wonder how you’re all so lucky to be getting rich in the process. Hmm.

  • TastyBits Link


    In a fractional reserve lending financial system, new credit must be created to expand the economy, and old credit must be rolled over to keep it going. Most of the rich liberals who advocate creating more credit are too dumb to understand how the financial system works, but their wealth is based upon credit creation.

    The super elites understand this (Warren Buffett, Hank Paulson, Jon Corzine, etc.), and they dress up the policies to attract liberals and conservatives. Policies to put the poor into houses are really scams to put dollars into the pockets of the wealthy, but because everybody gets their “beak wet”, everybody goes along for the ride.

    The student debt, auto loan debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt, etc. support those industries, and the expansion rate of those industries will be slow without that debt. This debt also supports the financial industry, and this is where the debt schemes begin.

    The rich liberals can get richer while making other people poorer, and they will feel they are somehow the good guys in all this. They need the music to keep playing. It has slowed, but for them, it has not stopped. For everybody else, the silence is deafening, but when you build a fence around your world, you do not have a clue about the reality of the people you claim to love.

    The conservatives are no better. They have no clue about how they are being used either. Financial institutions make money off of bad credit not good credit. The way the financial system works. Most of the money in a financial institution was created by the institution. There is only a fraction at risk.

    Banks do not lend their money. Banks do not lend other people’s money. Banks lend money created through the magic of credit. The world of conservatives ended a long time ago, but they still believe that Adam Smith’s description is valid. They believe we live in the world of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and the financial institutions are run by George Bailey.

    The financial institutions will lend you anything as long they can get you into a legal contract. What do they care? The money they are lending you does not exist until they lend it to you, and they only have a fraction of the risk.

    That fraction is the same with a high payback or a low payback, and in a vibrant economy, the payback failure rate is low. There is also the secondary credit recovery market sales and taxes credit/deductions to offset the losses, and the Fed and the government’s easy money makes the fraction at risk cheap.

    The rich liberals and conservatives need credit to be created in order to increase their wealth. This created credit is mostly going to people who should not get it, and it is going for things that people do not need. Many of the people who receive the credit will be worse off, but the rich liberals and conservatives have worked out reasons why this is not their fault.

    You have a problem. The liberals do not like you because you will not admit to being helpless. The conservatives do not like you because you will not admit to being lazy layabout. The anarchists do not like you because you are not ready to torch the system. Cynics do not trust you because you have not bought marshmallows to toast if the system eventually burns down.

    I would like to set the anarchists on fire and toast my marshmallows while I watch the conservatives and liberals building their Ponzi scheme of debt. It will eventually end in a real war. When you f*ck with people’s money, somebody gets hurt. Unfortunately, I will be too old and fat to rejoin my beloved Corps.

  • Guarneri Link


    That’s correct steve. What actually happened is that I had a couple trains of thought going: the net new jobs since the crash (with a dip in between) and the yearly jobs since the inflection point in NFP. Both just over $1MM. I think some commenters were delighted, as it’s just a gotcha game and Obama sycophancy for them. I see precious little understanding over there.

    Separately, I don’t think Peters the retiring boomers explanation is going to stand up to scrutiny. David Stockman synthesizes data on the threads subject, and commentary worth reading, here:’t-mention

    As for Reynolds, he once went through a list of all the things the left had accomplished over the past 40 years, most economic and some social. I told him he was correct. Read Stockmans piece through that lens, though. It’s nothing to brag about.

    In addition, I find his comments on foreign policy interesting, but the man simply knows nothing about economics, finance, investment etc and I think he knows it. Hence he always resorts to racism, straw men, denial, simply declare victory etc.

  • Guarneri Link

    “Financial institutions make money off of bad credit not good credit.”

    That’s just not true. I’ve shown the math in comments before. Subprime and credit cards can be good lines of business, but subprime often has firm ending blowouts as well.

  • TastyBits Link


    Yes, financial institutions do make money from good credit, and a passbook savings account pays interest. I am sure that you have all your money spread out across savings accounts because they pay interest. (I know it is part of a balanced portfolio. blah, blah, blah)

    Honestly, I understand that you sell this shit to the rubes, but you cannot possibly believe this crap yourself. If so, Monday morning figure out who is going to take the rap if the Feds come calling. If you do not know who it is, …

  • Retiring boomers doesn’t explain the large minus for 25-54, given that the size of that cohort hasn’t shrunk that much. Trying complicated analyses to explain how 1.4 million missing people lost 4.8 million jobs is simply dishonest.

  • TastyBits Link


    … is simply dishonest.

    Or from one of the presidents’s bootlickers on another thread, par for the course. What is a poor acolyte to do? When only a racist would make the president look bad, stating the truth becomes racist, and being dishonest is par for the course.

  • Guarneri Link

    C’mon, Tasty. Banks make net spreads of 200-500 basis points and lever the balance sheet to make their return on equity. They don’t lend to foreclose, or makeup 20-50-100% in principal losses on a significant number of loans.

    There is a reason they are called banks and not Payday or Title loans.

  • TastyBits Link


    I did not use the term bank to stay away from being beat up over the technicalities. As you know, there are a gamut of financial institutions that lend, and they have all pretty much been commingled. Whatever line was remaining between investment and commercial went out the window with Dodd-Frank.

    As soon as they become solvent, everybody will be clamoring to lower lending standards. If credit were only extended to prime borrowers, you would be living next door to @Icepick. Without ever expanding credit, there is very little money to invest. The Fed cannot print $60 trillion dollars.

Leave a Comment