Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Been absent again lately due to the continuing plethora of extended family issues. But a Merry Christmas to you all. Before the new year begins, I'll be offering up what I hope are at least moderately interesting observations on the year nearly past as well as what we might expect in the year that is to come.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back to the 70s: Remember Jimmy?

The myriad leftists who will populate President Obama’s administration will dramatically speed up America’s seismic shift toward a general acceptance of open borders; expanded rights and privileges for illegal aliens; radical environmentalism; judicial activism; opposition to the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism measures; racial preferences; taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; socialized medicine; redistributive economic policies; ever-expanding social welfare programs funded by escalating taxes; softer approaches to dealing with crime; the provision, for terrorism suspects, of all the benefits and procedural protections afforded by civilian trials; the removal of all religious symbols from the public square; the subordination of the American justice system to the mandates of international tribunals; the promotion of the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation; and America’s gradual, unilateral military disarmament...Obama's Legal Left Brain Trust, John Perazzo, Front Page Magazine, 12/18/08

For those unfortunate enough to have been in the military in the late 1970s, it was just one piece of bad news after another. The dissolution of the NCO and officer corps after Vietnam, the shrinkage of the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army, and the almost weekly lectures by Russian officials (not in Moscow, but in Washington!) on American misbehavior were trademarks of the Carter Administration. It all culminated the Iranian hostage crisis and the wholly inept rescue mission. It was clear to anyone who could manage to turn on the TV or read a newspaper that the United States was not only an undependable ally, but an incompetent military and diplomatic actor. As much as this may have touched the average American's desire to be an innocent in the world, it directly contributed to a long period of pain and suffering for many across the world. When a strong actor pretends to be ignorant and soft, the killers start looking for victims.

You could look it up.


President-elect Once a Young Man -- Oh, Dear!

A series of photos newly discovered by Time magazine were taken three decades ago and capture 20-year-old college student Barack "Barry" Obama suavely striking a pose in a leather jacket and dragging on a cigarette....O Was Cig Man On Campus, NY Post, 12/18/2008

Of all the useless things that reporters do, a story like the one in today's NY Post is probably the nadir. While the President-elect calmly installs a government that would make George Soros happy, the media discover that the President-elect was once a twenty-year-old, a little fixated on his coolness. What next?


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Others Think Of Us: Chinese & American Crisis Policies

The US has run a massive current account deficit for a long time, while China has run a sharp current account surplus...With a current account deficit and absent any willing lenders, the only way forward for the US is to recognize that a rebalancing of its economy away from consumption to production is in its interests. This calls for...overall contraction of the economy by over 20% and perhaps as much as 30%; for a very sharp decline in wages and other local factor costs of production and lastly for currency depreciation that helps to rebalance its global competitiveness...As for China with its gargantuan current account surplus, the only way forward is to effect greater government spending...intended to spark consumption as it attempts to replace production intended for the export market - primarily to the US market. The resulting Chinese economy will probably be 10-20% smaller, but certainly better balanced and capable of generating more profits than it does now...Instead of accepting these bald-faced truths, the two countries are trying to sugar-coat the situation by in effect switching their respective medications. The US is behaving as if the government has the wherewithal to fiscally stimulate a broken part of its economy, and China is behaving as if its path to resurgence lies in the age-old production route....Honey, I Switched the Medication, Chan Akya, Asia Times, 12/17/2008

If this were read in the Office of the President-elect this morning, it would probably cause an immediate ban on the presence of the day's copy of Asia Times, but go and read this very level-headed look at two big nations whose policies are acting against the grain of the crisis.

A great example: an obvious place for America to reduce its enormous current account deficit would be to develop its own oil resources, such as Rocky Mountain shale (1 trillion barrels, the largest reserve on Earth). Answer from the Washington? Sure, go ahead; but be sure to ask the governors of Colorado and Wyoming for permission. We won't do that for you and we won't provide any money or tax benefits. In other words, bring back a proposal for wind-powered cars and tide-powered furnaces. Oil represents close to half of the current account deficit, with the money going to fund our adversaries. Hey, way to go!

It isn't complicated. Two neighbors, living side by side. One, Mr. Johnson, who's just lost his job at Lehman Brothers, owes seven hundred thousand on an ARM mortgage for a house now worth five hundred thousand and has a 6-year-old Lincoln. The other, Mr. Chan, an SVP at the Southern Company, has half a million in quick assets, a paid-off house, and a 14-year-old Buick. Who would a rational car dealer offer a car loan to? On the evidence, not speculation, Ben Bernanke would give it to the guy closing on bankruptcy. A bank in China wouldn't give a loan to either. Needless to say, neither banker is acting rationally.

Chan Akya is a smart guy. Take a read of his other articles (linked in the piece on China and the US).


Behind Every "Great" Man...

Cable television introduced us to The Real Housewives of Orange County — an estrogen-infused reality show featuring a coven of conniving and ambitious women living pampered lives in Southern California. Blago-gate has brought us something even juicier: The Real Housewives of Crook County, Illinois. The public may be wearying of indicted Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich and the Chicago boys’ club, but the conniving and ambitious women behind the scenes of the corruption scandal are a must-see political drama all their own....The Real Housewives of Crook County, Michelle Malkin, National Review, 12/17/08

One of the beautiful touches of The Sopranos is that the tortured, saintly Godfather's wife was replaced by a thug almost as villainous, and just as ready to kill, as her husband. We owe a lot to Patrick Fitzgerald, especially women who've been traditionally under-represented in the news.


California Still Dreamin': Arnie and Dems Taxes

Democrats in the state Assembly on Tuesday countered the plan by Republican lawmakers for deep cuts to help bridge California's gaping budget hole, putting up for a floor vote a new $19 billion plan through mid-2010 that would adopt Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's tax ideas....Dems' New Budget Plan Fails To Get 2/3 Majority, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17/2008

Republicans refused to vote for a tax plan like this, despite "Republican" Governor Schwarzenegger's refusal to support their alternate plan.

An obvious source of funding, the Governor encouraging a follow-through on the US Congress's decision to allow offshore drilling, has been refused, of course. Arnie must still think it's 1969 when a platform off Santa Barbara blew out and made a mess of beaches. However, it's soon to be forty years later. There hasn't been a major oil drilling platform accident anywhere in the world in over decade, and nowhere in the United States since 1969. There's an estimated trillion dollars of revenue sharing money available for California in expected reserves off the Governator's shores. But, Californians can't get their hands dirty. Perhaps Arnie can propose a plan that puts windmills on every car's roof.

I have a better idea. Let's have every Congressional representative from California, especially including Speaker Pelosi, offer to push Californians to work. Think of the taxes they'll lose if people are stranded on the freeway! And think of the arguments they'll have about who gets first service!


Madoff Ponzi Scheme: The Perils of Cults of Personality

There aren't many people left for alleged mega-swindler Bernard Madoff to alienate - even his sons seem to want to let him rot in jail....Desperate "Super-Thief" Son-Berned, NY Post, 12/17/08

In the late 1960s, there was an investment theory developed around the idea that a particular executive, moving from one company to another, was a sure sign that his or her former company's stock would go down and his or her new company's stock would go up. It was called, after Chairman Mao, "a cult of personality." As investment theories go, it failed, as do most actions based on romantic interpretations of the evidence. This is endemic in New York even today. Cults of personality develop around certain heads of private schools, certain doctors, certain lawyers. Dig underneath the surface of such a proclamation about someone's perfection in a profession, however, as in statistical analysis of outcomes of education, treatments, lawsuits, and the basis for the positive assessment falls apart. Still, one still hears "I'd only go to Dr. J...; he's the only oncologist in New York."

In Palm Beach, one suspects that five, ten years ago, a common cocktail party sentiment was "Bernard Madoff is the only worthwhile investment manager in New York." Perhaps they can put the sentence on the tents they'll be living in after prosecutors, attorneys, and the police finish recouping all the loot they thought Bernie Madoff had earned.

In investment, as in politics, it's terribly old-fashioned, but also still terribly true: if you don't look at a person's record, you're just as dumb a mark as someone expecting to win at 3-card monte on 42nd Street.


Gov. Paterson to New Yorkers: Screw You

Gov. Paterson yesterday socked New Yorkers with a mind-boggling 137 proposed new and hiked taxes on everything from beer to cab rides to iTunes downloads and movie tickets...The doomsday, $121.1 billion plan represents the biggest tax hike in state history and slashes services across the board - while still increasing spending by $1.4 billion....Gov's Tax & Spend Shocker, NY Post, 12/17/08

Conceiving of state employment as an entitlement has reached a new low in New York State, with the accidental Governor proposing $4.1 billion in new taxes, almost all of which are regressive, i.e., suckers like us have to pay them. This, of course, is typical of the People's Republic of New York. Socialist bureaucracies, confronted by declining revenues, don't look at wasteful spending such as a retirement policy that allows service union employees to retire at 45. Instead, they look for "rich" people to make sure that early retirement remains an option for NYS employees. With these taxes, "rich" has been defined downwards to anybody stupid enough to work for a living. The taxpayer flight that has emptied out western New York will spread. Then Albany can tax state employees to pay their salaries and benefits, the ultimate zero sum game.

Like California's, New York's bureaucrats and politicians seem to be of the infantile opinion that there's nothing so valuable to state residents as the services rendered by state employees. The remarkable willingness of people to pay the exorbitant fees of private primary, middle and high schools is a fairly good indication of the speciousness of that opinion. Privately organized streetcleaning and garbage collection districts, widespread throughout New York City and set up to compensate for mediocre city service, is another. The willingness to put up with extravagant fees, high tolls, and vindictive parking restrictions rather than riding to work in the world's largest and most expensive transit system is another. Perhaps the best, however, is the looting of disability benefits by Long Island Railroad employees. That's almost a paradigm for people who think state employment is a gravy train, not service to the people: Looting is their most important product.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

President Elect Obama's Senate Seat for Sale by Governor Blagojevich

Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder...Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired...Il. Gov. Arrested in Obama successor probe, Yahoo news, 12/9/2008

Notice they didn't say "Democrat Governor of Illinois". Well, he is. And the story is true. Liberals buying political office is not new, of course. Look at Democrat Governor Corzine of New Jersey, or "Independent," former Democrat, Mayor Bloomberg of New York. But their purchases were in the form of a political advertising flood that overwhelmed opponents. Illinois Democrat Governor Blagojevich offered cash up front, which is new, as far as this writer is aware.

The affidavit said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor and that he would have access to greater resources if he were indicted while in the U.S. Senate than while sitting as governor...U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that 'the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering'...'They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator," Fitzgerald said.'...(Il. Governor Arrested...cont'd)

Evidently US Attorney Fitzgerald hasn't spent much time in New Orleans.

Blagojevich took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess...Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver's licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary
of state and governor...(Il. Governor arrested...cont'd)

Chicago! Chicago! It's a hell of a town...

According to Tuesday's complaint, Blagojevich schemed with Rezko, millionaire-fundraiser turned federal witness Stuart Levine and others to get financial benefits for himself and his campaign committee...(Il. Governor arrested...cont'd)

Rezko, now there's a familiar name, one long associated with President-elect Obama's Senate seat.

Among those being considered for the post include U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.(Il. Governor Arrested...cont'd)

There's a surprise. Just think, Jesse, Jr., could arrange to bring Busch Beer to the Senate floor.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Back to the 70s: Cynicism

While among the top echelon at Citigroup (as someone called “Citigroup Inc. director and senior counselor”) Robert Rubin [one of the President-elect's principal advisors on economics] took in an aggregate $115 million in pay and bonuses — even though his bank’s stock crashed and lost 75 percent of its value, and now the conglomerate totters close to bankruptcy...Parallel Lives, Victor Davis Hanson, National Review Online, 12/5/2008

A disciple of Robert Rubin, Timothy Geithner, according to the Office of the President-elect, will be the next Secretary of the Treasury. Larry Summers, another of Robert Rubin's buddies, is about to the White House's senior economics advisor. And still another Rubin protege, Peter Orszag, is about to become White House budget director. Who is Robert Rubin?

Before he became Citibank's Senior Counselor and a Director, he was Bill Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury,from which position he oversaw the deregulation of the banking industry, deregulation which the Office of the President-elect hopes to overturn as a means of recovering from the current banking disaster. He's also the guy who, as Senior Counselor it is claimed, convinced Citibank to buy a ton of collateralized derivatives from Citibank's board members, including himself (no one else would buy them). He's also the guy who is widely quoted as disclaiming all responsibility for the misbehavior of the world's largest bank (Citibank), misbehavior he was involved in himself as Senior Counselor and Director, and which, it is possible to allege, has cost investors several hundred billion dollars in stock value in the last year. At the same time, Rubin collected over a hundred million dollars in personal compensation from the same company.

Perhaps this is overstatement, but this biography of the mentor for the new President-elect's economics team reads a lot like being rewarded for robbery, not only by Citibank (which benefited enormously, for a short time, under former Secretary Rubin's deregulation scheme), but by the incoming administration in appointing one of his colleagues to be Secretary of the Treasury and two others to oversee White House thinking and action on the budget. One can almost imagine the job interviews in a Brooklyn social club.

But, hey, that's just cynical, eh?


Back to the 70s: Stagflation

Here was the problem: In order to fight inflation, policy makers raised taxes. In order to fight unemployment, economists pressured the Fed to rapidly expand the money supply. It wasn’t until Milton Friedman weighed in that people realized the core of the problem: Too much money was chasing too few goods...Back to the 70s? Lawrence Kudlow, 1/17/2008

In the days referenced, the early 1970s, almost 40 years ago,the economy went on a years-long downward spiral, culminating in two steps: a bear market that lasted from 1973 through 1974; and the inflation that lasted from 1973 to late 1981, after Reagan took office. The principal causes of the decline were easy to identify: a speculative marketplace that became something of a casino in the late Sixties; government Great Society (read "socialist") programs; and a war in Vietnam that Congress and the White House had decided were best funded by future generations. The market said "ha!" to these delusions; the bottom fell out. The economy shrank. Politicians, unable to manage simple concepts like supply and demand, God help us, responded with policy.

When Nixon unhinged the dollar from gold (Bretton Woods, 1972), there was no governor on the U.S. money supply. This monetary expansion substantially increased aggregate demand. And yes, the economy would periodically get a short-term spurt. The problem was that higher tax rates, either through legislation or inflation, stifled producers and investors. So the supply of goods and services was held down while the demand for them was increased. This stagflation raised unemployment and inflation at the same time...Sound familiar? (Back to the 70s..., cont'd)

Sure does. And remember, Kudlow wrote this a year ago, months before even Bear Sterns fell off the cliff. Hell, the several-months, 7% drop in the market he mentions is by today's standard's nothing. We've lost that much a day on several occasions in the last month. But, he saw, with uncanny precision, what we ought to be looking at.

What we’re hearing from Washington is cause for Ben Bernanke to gun the money supply and drop interest rates more. At the same time, Congress wants to spend more (either through temporary tax rebates or more spending, or both) and pay for it all with a tax hike at some later date. That tax hike could mean overturning the Bush tax cuts, or new surtaxes on high-end producers and successful earners...(Back to the 70s..., cont'd)

Remember, that was written on January 17th, 2008. Since then, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Congress have injected two trillion dollars into the economy. The Office of the President-elect, the new Congress, and the EPA have plans to take trillions more in taxes and fees from those who actually earn a living. When the productive are taxed, the economy goes down and people (half a million last month) lose jobs. But not to worry, the Office of the President-elect and Congress promise that everybody will have a bailout, or "stimulus," as it is delicately called. But, when everyone has money, and not much is being made, demand goes up. And so, dear friends, does inflation. Magic time, higher unemployment, higher prices, savings and investments worth nothing -- stagflation! Back to the 70s indeed! It won't be long until we'll all be humming "Candle in the Wind" again.

Would that someone had listened to Lawrence Kudlow in January of this year. It is highly apparent that no one --the banks, the housing industry, the government, or, dear reader, you and me, bothered to try. Cassandra, sadly, is usually regarded as mad.


Back to the 70s: Socialism and You

Americans may be in for some unpleasant changes. President-elect Barack Obama,[1] Senator Max Baucus (D-MT),[2] and former Senator Thomas Daschle (D-SD)--Obama's choice for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)[3]--have outlined policy proposals that, if enacted, would negatively impact private health care for millions of Americans. Private health plans and medical practice might continue to formally exist, but many crucial health care decisions would be made in Washington. All three politicians have advocated the creation of a new public agency--variously described as an institute, board, or council--that would make key recommendations regarding the kinds of medical technologies, treatments, drugs, and procedures that would be officially deemed "effective." To the extent that these recommendations were imposed as a condition for reimbursement, they would constitute an unprecedented level of government regulation and control over the delivery of health care...How a Federal Health Board Will Cancel Private Coverage and Care, Robert Moffit, Ph.D, The Heritage Foundation, 12/4/08

As Dr. Moffit makes clear, this is an evolved version of the 1993 Clinton health plan, decisively rejected by a Democrat controlled Congress. It is based on the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (called NICE -- silent 'H' -- in Britain). In it, a politically appointed board would, through its members and their staffs, determine whether or not any treatment was "effective." In Britain, this is done solely on a cost basis. If an effective treatment is more expensive than the guideline, you don't get it. Why do you think so many passengers to JFK Airport are Brits too sick to be treated in their own country? And of course, this health board would be unelected, i.e., answerable to the political persuasions of those making appointments to the board.

When evaluating the "fairness" of any national health insurance exchange, a key issue is whether the government's rules--particularly for benefits, financing, and solvency--apply equally to the government plan and the private plans that are supposed to compete with it. If they do not, the proposed "competition," presumably with the government plan having special advantages, is a meaningless charade. If the rules are the same for all plans, then logically there is no point to having a government health plan at all. In any event, the right of an individual to make a personal choice, based on their determination of what package of benefits would be best for them, would simply be out of the question in such an arrangement...Despite official rhetoric to the contrary, genuine market competition is not envisioned in any of these proposals. Indisputably, the professional literature shows that the expansion of government health coverage (Medicaid and SCHIP), a key element of the Obama health plan, "crowds out" existing private health options.((How a Federal Health Board...cont'd)

So, change in this instance has a direct meaning: you're too stupid to make your own choice; we'll do it for you. But, it also encompasses the usual artful avoidance of responsibility, so important to re-election campaigns. Remember the 70s watch word list. Cynicism was one:

"Most members of Congress would be glad to be rid of their responsibility for controversial health policy decisions...", (How a Federal Health Board...cont'd), quote from former Senator Tom Daschl (D., SD).

No kidding. First, Representatives and Senators can howl in their political announcements, circulars and TV ads that they've brought medical care to the people. Then, they can make more announcements, circulars and TV ads that they're not responsible for the Federal Health Board refusing to allow heart surgery in people over 60 (already true in France -- remember the 70,000 old folks who were allowed to die in French nursing homes in the 2005 heatwave? A fine example of socialism at work!).

Here's another from the Back to the 70s list: Surrender. Will you?


Back to the 70s: Alternatives to Taxation and Other Concerns

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) foreshadows new regulations of unprecedented scope, magnitude, and detail. This notice is not just bureaucratic rumination, but could very well become the law of the land. Jason Grumet, a senior environmental advisor to Barack Obama, has promised that a President Obama would "initiate those rulings." These rulings offer the possibility of regulating everything from lawn-mower efficiency to the cruising speed of supertankers. Regardless of the chosen regulatory mechanisms, the overall eco­nomic impact of enforced cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as outlined in the ANPR will be equivalent to an energy tax....CO2-Emission Cuts: The Economic Costs of EPA's ANPR Regulations, David Kreutzer, Ph.D., and Karen Campbell, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation, 10/28/08

While the Office of the President-elect has reported on several occasions that some of the larger, tax-funded programs planned for your hard-earned money are likely to be put on hold with the ongoing and increasingly horrendous recession, don't discount the Left's discount for finding ways to loot your wallet. The EPA, the Office of the President-elect advises, will be encouraged to put a stranglehold on the U.S. economy with its new carbon regulations. (Carbon, and carbon dioxide, it should be noted, are fundamental to all life on earth; describing them as pollutants is a deep ecologist's* wet dream.)

Because the economic effect of the pro­posed regulations will resemble the economic effect of an energy tax, the increase in costs creates a cor­respondingly large loss of national income....(CO2-Emission Cuts...EPA (cont'd))

The estimates by the Heritage Foundation are that the annual cost of these regulations could run at about $600 billion per year, with annual job losses of 800,000 a year for a number of years. And these regulations cross over into the ridiculous, to wit:

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution..."This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the proposal...It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog...The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He said he has talked to a number of livestock owners about the proposals, and "all have said if the fees were carried out, it would bankrupt them."Proposed fee on smelly cows, hogs angers farmers, Bob Johnson, Yahoo News, 12/5/08

If you've followed EPA actions and statements, as well as those by environmentalists, for the past twenty years, you know what their response is likely to be already: "who cares if hog farmers and cattle ranchers go broke?" Or "who cares if any manufacturer goes broke?" And you know why: they care more about the global warming than they do about your well-being. Global warming, as we have written and noted for years, is an increasingly discredited, ideological construct that declares not only the open falsehood that earth's atmosphere is rapidly warming, but that nobody has the right to disagree with this "consensus" of politically driven "scientists." (See the late Michael Crichton's State of Fear, 2005, a brilliant demolition of the politics of hysteria that so dominates the American Left.

For those who don't remember the 1970s, thankfully a diminishing group, the watchwords were Superstition, Surrender, Cynicism, and Socialism. In the 1970's, a leading Superstition was Global Cooling. Pick your own 1970's surrender; there were a lot of them. Cynicism was filled in with the sociopolitical pathologies of racial preferences and the witch hunts under the banner of satanic child abuse. Socialism, of course, was no different then than it is now, a system where the government would totally dominate all economic activity. The result was a decade of recession, a radical decline in American prospects, unending inflation and its accompanying devaluation of every American's savings and investments, and the humiliation of America by a band of 8th century thugs in Iran.

Back to the 70s, for anyone who was there, is not a subject of nostalgia but of fear.


* Deep ecologist: one who proposes it would be a better world without human beings, or at least at a technological level of, say, five centuries ago.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Feds Arrest Birmingham AL Mayor: Name That Party!

The headline says it all. The online Birmingham News reports:
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested this morning on federal charges and is being held at the federal courthouse, the FBI and other federal officials confirm.
The issue: Financial hanky-panky, of course. But hey, there's no mention in this piece as to which political party is pround to call Langford a member. You know what that means.

The freepers are having a field day commenting on this. And revealing Langford's actual political affiliation--Democrat.

But did you have to guess? Republican miscreants are ALWAYS identified by party in the MSM. Democrats are not. That's how you can tell their affiliation 98% of the time.

Fair and balanced. Just ask Sarah Palin how that works.

As one freeper observes:
Don't let the MSM know we've cracked their code.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weather Channel "Global Warming" Freaks Get Whacked

Actually, the Washington Post online headline reads:

NBC Fires Weather Channel Environmental Unit

Well, good. It's about time.

NBC picked up the Weather Channel a few months ago and it's now in their often questionable TV broadcast stable along with the Clinton News Network (CNN) and MSNBS, er, MSNBC, now the far-left moonbat's cable network of choice since it vets their religious tenets 24/7.

The downside of this story (linked via the above headline), is that NBC's Weather Channel purge ousted a few really good actual meteorologists. Of course, anyone involved in business, including Wonker--who got pole-axed from his own company this summer--knows that when you get older and better paid, there's a target on your back, enabling management to more easily shoot you during economic downturns, eliminating your "high" salary to make it look like they're profitable while protecting their own outsized perks and bennies.

In any event, it's sad that some good people got sent packing. All the better to hire a few youngsters, pay 'em less, and work 'em twice as hard.

However, better news and more to our point is that Weather Channel's asinine, leftist, eco-freak, "Forecast Earth" people, have also apparently been ousted. They include, probably (no confirmation yet), that odious, condescending Stalinist Heidi Cullen. You know, the idiotarian who won fame by actually trying to get the American Meteorological Association to effectively disbar members who "denied" the phony reality of "global warming."

It's not clear what this all means. Maybe the "Forecast Earth" ratings were in the tank. As they should have been, given the series' obvious agitprop raison d'etre. On the other hand, a good chunk of perhaps previously suppressed evidence has been surfacing recently indicating that it's Al Gore's lack of intelligence rather than "global warming" that's becoming an "inconvenient truth."

But wait! There's more:
The timing of the Forecast Earth cancellation was ironic, since it came in the middle of NBC's "Green Week," during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally-oriented week.

As anyone who's suffered through the ongoing NBC and affiliate "Green Week" garbage knows, this propaganda has truly jumped the shark. As we posted earlier this year, people are getting sick of the Elmer Gantry preaching. Now, apparently, at least some of the purveyors of this crap are beginning to notice. In their wallets.

Now, if Weather Channel could only get back to the reason why lots of us USED to watch it. For the WEATHER for God's sake. Leave the cheap, often shallow Michael Moore-quality documentaries to "History" Channel and TLC, once known as "The Learning Channel."

Meanwhile, comments to the cited Post article duly note that the term "Global Warming" is now morphing into "Climate Change." Another lefty slight of hand, readying us for the New Ice Age to be shortly resurrected from its hiatus dating from the early 1970s? How will the brainless explain this one?

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Debunking More "Global Warming" Bunk

We tipped you off yesterday to the new Ice Age shortly forthcoming. But wait. There's more.

As snowstorms howl through the U.S. last week and this, we now find out from the usual idiotarians at NASA (AlGore's "global warming" buddies) that this October has been one hell of a hottie. But there's one problem. They're wrong. They used the wrong dataset. But let Christopher Booker tell it:
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
What's the prob? Simple:
GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
Yep, here's the usual suspects running full tilt with false data even while our new Ice Age is commencing with the accumulation of ice in and around Antarctica as we previously told you.

Read the rest at the initial link above. And a hat tip to Drudge for the link to this story. Next thing they'll be telling us is that the Rosenbergs were innocent.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Ice Age Upon Us?

From the desk of our "Ooops" Dept.:
An abnormally cool Arctic is seeing dramatic changes to ice levels. In sharp contrast to the rapid melting seen last year, the amount of global sea ice has rebounded sharply and is now growing rapidly. The total amount of ice, which set a record low value last year, grew in October at the fastest pace since record-keeping began in 1979.
This quote, extracted from a piece in DailyTech, provides the predictable rebuttal from our Global Warming friends, but then puts forth this interesting nugget:
On average, ice covers roughly 7% of the ocean surface of the planet. Sea ice is floating and therefore doesn't affect sea level like the ice anchored on bedrock in Antarctica or Greenland. However, research has indicated that the Antarctic continent -- which is on a long-term cooling trend -- has also been gaining ice in recent years.
Gosh. Who knew? Certainly, no one who reads the newspapers.

The piece notes that NASA's climate model--the one that's helped flog the "Global Warming" hoax for the past several years, doesn't account for the aforementioned data called out in the linked study info.

It's been HazZzMat's basic position that while "global warming" may be occurring at this point, it's neither a big nor catastrophic deal. Alternating warming and cooling cycles have existed since the planet started settling down from its early volcanic stages. While temperature numbers may currently be nudging up, they are not caused, in their entirety, by carbon dioxide emissions, which is the ridiculous case the "global warming" fanatics have been pushing in their underground effort to weaken western economies. Meanwhile, temperatures will cycle down again as inevitably as they went up.

Climatic temperature changes are provably cyclical and will reverse over time. The above data seem to indicate that such a reversal may already be occurring.

The ongoing "global warming" freakout could have been avoided had scientists not allowed themselves to be corrupted like humanities scholars did a couple of decades ago. Political propaganda is not a substitute for serious, skeptical science. And serious, skeptical science is already indicating that "global warming" is nearing its end. Until the next time.

Fossil fuel demand, pricing, and alternative energy technologies, as well as air pollution are and always have been the real issues here. They're worth seriously discussing and indeed, solving. "Global Warming" as cast by the left is a distracting circus sideshow whose ultimate aims are socialism, political correctness, and being invited to all the best parties. We'll take a pass.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Palin Cleared in "Troopergate"--On Election Day

Wouldn't ya know it?

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - This time, Gov. Sarah Palin can claim vindication against allegations that she abused her power in office by firing her public safety commissioner.

Palin - running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain - violated no ethics laws, according to a report released by the state personnel board on the eve of Election Day. An earlier, separate investigation by the Legislature found that Palin had abused her office.

"There is no probable cause to believe that the governor, or any other state official, violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with these matters," the personnel board's report said.

The report was actually released yesterday. But why did we know that the foregone conclusion of this bogus tempest-in-a-teapot wouldn't come out until all the electioneering was done? Meanwhile, we have yet to have a single comprehensive report in the MSM about Obama's deep affiliation with the radical left, including Gramsci disciple Saul Alinsky. Or about Obama's almost certainly illegal acceptance of effectively anonymous campaign contributions hugely adding to his total. Or about the systematic efforts of ACORN and others to steal the vote in all the battleground states.

Nope. Instead, we get a neverending, breathless take on "Troopergate," and, lately, more bogus stories about how no one supports Palin anymore and thought she was a bad choice for McCain's running mate. Even though she continues to draw record crowds wherever she goes. The truth has been a major casualty of this election cycle, as it was in the last two.

Sarah will be back. One way or the other. In the meantime, we'll see to what extent electoral fraud influences this electoral cycle shortly. With what we've clearly seen already, God help us.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Next Opinion Is Yours: Express It

All day tomorrow you'll have your chance. Exercise the franchise generations fought and died for.


Obama's French Solution

France, Germany and most of continental Europe have reformed their economies, lowering taxes, loosening labor market restrictions, and reducing the scope of their social programs. Europe can no longer afford an economy that discourages productivity and entrepreneurship...But even as Europe abandons the French model, Sen. Obama wants to embrace it. The same policies that have failed in Europe won’t work here. Higher taxes on saving and working, government bureaucrats deciding how many workers companies can hire and how much — or little — workers will earn, government run health care, and not quite voluntary union membership discourage entrepreneurs from taking risks and starting new businesses. They discourage productivity and innovation. They discourage growth and prosperity...Sen. Obama proposes changing America, but change is a vague promise. Most Americans want to change course, but the change Obama promises would change America into a social welfare state where the American Dream is all but impossible...United States of France? James Sherk, National Review Online, 11/3/2008

Sherk's article is a good indication of where Obama would lead us. You still have time. While socialism like France's is somewhat more benign than other possibilities, it's still poison to the country we know.


One Observation on Election Eve

We are perhaps too verbose at times in outlining our positions on the known universe. Although in our defense, so little truth is being throw at the public these days on virtually all topics--including politics, jurisprudence, culture, arts, and education--that we feel a need to explain our positions in detail.

However, there are some with a real gift for the succinct. Try out this pull quote from a piece today by New Criterion's Roger Kimball who describes in a short graf just what's gotten us to this miserable point in our history where preening faux intellectuallism has been almost entirely substituted for reason and common sense in the electorate:
I understand that larger and larger swaths of America are turning purple if not blue as affluence coupled with tertiary education and cultural relativism transform more and more people into latte-drinking, NPR-listening, global-warming hysterics who regard Karl Rove as an evil genius and Sarah Palin as an anencephaltic breeding machine on skis.
Kimball's piece describes why he thinks McCain can still actually pull this election out. I myself, the eternal optimist, have my doubts, what with the Democrats' advantages of thousands of illegal votes via ACORN; quadrillions of extra campaign funds courtesy of flouted campaign promises and lousy electoral oversight; and the sight of a shameless media completely in the tank for Obama, completely shredding for all time any pretense at journalistic objectivity.

But I can't help but think that all of the above might not be shielding the mother of all surprises, given that a surprising proportion of working class voters may actually be on to Obama's creeping socialism. This could be skewing the polls which already build in extra skewing in favor of the Democrats. While I'm not entirely sure of a McCain surprise, I'm sufficiently disgusted with the reporting and the polling to believe that it just might be possible. So is Kimball.

Quote of the Morning: Victor Davis Hanson on American Resilience

The current financial crisis has startled America from a hypnotic trance of self-indulgence and irresponsibility. But as we return to American fundamentals, we may discover that our political, social and economic system - despite all the current election-cycle hysteria - is still by far the most resilient in the world....Comparing Us To What? Victor Davis Hanson, The Washington Times, 11/3/2008, cited on, 11/3/2008

Before you run screaming to the polls, look up. The sky is not falling. Artificial value is being squeezed out of the market. Freedom lives. Doom is more suitable to the other side of the debate.

Make sure you remember which side you're on!


Obama Coercion for "Alternative" Energy

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year...So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted...That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches....Senator Barack Obama, D-Il., cited in 'Obama Told SF Chronicle He would 'Bankrupt' the Coal Industry', Frontpage magazine War Blog, 11/3/2008

The Left at its finest. First, accept the false thesis of global warming. Then, build a policy on a fabrication. Carter was too clumsy a politician to get away with this. The Senator from Illinois is not.

Think! The country they're after is yours.


Obama Re-Education Camps, or Waffen SS?

Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies in 1993. Obama plans to use the nonprofit group, which he features on his campaign Web site, as the model for a national service corps. He calls his Orwellian program, "Universal Voluntary Public Service."...Big Brother had nothing on the Obamas. They plan to herd American youth into government-funded reeducation camps where they'll be brainwashed into thinking America is a racist, oppressive place in need of "social change."...Michelle's Boot Camp for Radicals, The Editors, Investor's Business Daily, 9/4/2008

The Left's methods never change. Every step is a means to total domination. First, they lie about themselves. Then, they go after your children. The closer we get to an Obama Presidency, the more it looks like Americans, after two and a third centuries of getting away with being ignorant, are about to get sucker punched into voting for an agenda designed to do away with the country they love.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Obama, Reid, Pelosi: The New 3 Stooges?

Check out this swell You-Tube video. Best intellectual response yet to next week's possible cultural Armageddon in the US:

Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama and Restoration of What?

The Democrats are now the partisan home of the upper crust of the American meritocracy, of the credentialled classes, the classes that believe every endeavour is some variety of IQ test. USA Today did a review of fund-raising data and discovered that Obama dominates fundraising among the leaders of ‘finance, insurance, real estate, health, communications and law’. His campaign has run through hundreds of millions more than McCain’s, and will spend a quarter of a billion dollars on television alone before this election is over. Obama has far more than twice as many ads up in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In Florida, he has run 18,909 ads to McCain’s 5,702. The Democratic party is the vehicle through which, after a populist interlude, the governing classes are proposing to take their country back. Obama is a restoration candidate but that doesn’t mean he has a plan....Obama is On Course for Victory, But He Isn't Ready for the White House, Christopher Caldwell, UK Telegraph, 10/31/2008

Restoration can mean a good thing. After the Oliver Cromwell disaster in 17th century Brtain, restoration meant the return of a stable, predictable state. It was no longer absolutist as, say, Elizabeth the First's regime was, but the new monarchy wasn't an unending parade of wars, rump parliaments, and revolutionary zeal either. There was a restoration in France after Napoleon, which was very good news for most of Europe, overrun and battered for decades. Another restoration came under Konrad Adenauer in postwar western Germany; no one would doubt the importance to all of humanity of that.

But in the case of the Democrats, restoration means the end of values at odds with their own; it means a crushing victory over the essential American idea that individual choice is fundamental, the state a limited necessity, and that success or failure is more dependent on personal will and integrity than on a handout or a social program. The constituencies for statism, a political perception at permanent odds with that idea, have now turned to a man who is a cipher to those unexposed to alternate views of his past, his Marxist mentors, his associations with radicalism as a community organizer, and his allies, domestic and foreign, as a rising politician. To be blunt, in the Democrats' hysterical attacks on Obama's opponents for office, in their disavowal of any alternative view of facts, in their turning to him as a secular savior, combined with astonishingly little consideration of consequences, these elites bear a passing resemblance to those German industrialists who thought a little bit of Hitler wouldn't be such a bad thing. After all, Adolf had smiled charmingly and benevolently upon the burgermeisters and the factory owners. Hitler made such marvelous presentations of hope and joy for the New Germany at enormous political rallies. What matter if his associates had ideas and plans aimed at a completely different objective than the restoration of the old Germany? What had to be ended was the indecency of democracy.


When Silencing Dissent is "Progressive"

Those who see a racist in every non-Obama voter are themselves the people for whom Obama’s race is his defining characteristic. They say in terms that his race is the reason we must vote for him. They are the people who, by smearing every conceivable criticism of Obama or revelation of his unsavoury associations as ‘racist’, have emptied the term of its meaning. They are the people who, posing as ‘progressive’, display daily their utter contempt for their fellow human beings who are apparently incapable of voting against Obama on the rational grounds of the disturbing information they have learned about him, because by definition such information is just a load of racist smears. It cannot be true because there cannot be any dissent...The Politics of Mass Hysteria, Melanie Phillips, UK Spectator, 10/31/2008

You can hardly miss this if you've paid attention to news sources other than CNN. Yesterday it took the form of lifting press credentials for three American news organizations, barring them from Obama's last weekend campaign trip. They dared to editorialize that Senator McCain would be a better choice for President.

The writer remembers a similar hysteria when David Dinkins ran for Mayor of New York. If you were opposed to him because, for instance, just before his candidacy he was doing a work/release program for tax evasion, then you described as a racist. If you pointed out that, as a Democrat, Dinkins was likely to continue the preposterously corrupt practices that had bankrupted the city, the retort would be "it's because he's black that you're saying that." If you pointed out that Dinkins' political perception of the "quiet riot" of black crime would not reduce the city's then-astronomical murder rate, the worst of any large city in the world at the time -- well, you know. The level of corruption escalated because the new Mayor's friends and associates were the same bandits who had populated the Koch mayoralty. The level of murder increased because of a continuing disregard for the connection between small and large crimes (the broken window thesis so brilliantly pursued by Dinkins' successors, which has brought New York's crime rate so low that it's now one of the safest cities in the United States). None of that mattered, though. What did was that a cultivated, intelligent black man, a former Marine, but a man who also bad political alliances and worse political ideas, was assumed to be a better choice than someone with different convictions, simply because he had darker skin.


New Voting Bloc for Obama

John McCain and Barack Obama, if you're wooing a population of registered voters who are young, female and drawn to men in suits, then Allegheny County has 675 ladies ready to pull your lever...They're convicted streetwalkers, escorts and brothel babes collared in 2000 and from 2003-2006, uncovered by the Trib...Based on the prostitutes' voter registration cards, they're destined to become Obama girls in November. That's because 78 percent of them registered as Democrats....Majority of Allegheny Prostitutes are on the Democratic side, Carl Prine, Tribune Review, 10/30/2008

Expect a DNC statement on legalizing prostitution soon.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plumbing the Depths with Obama

Joe Wurzelbacher (also known as Joe the Plumber) has learned there's a price to pay for being the one to get Obama to admit that he has a socialist dream to "spread the wealth." Not only are you thrust into the public eye, you get the privilege of having government officials who support Obama rifle through private files looking for dirt on you...Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and a maxed-out contributor to the Obama campaign, has confirmed that she approved the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher after the Oct. 15 presidential debate...Jones-Kelley explained her governmental prying by saying, "Our practice is when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight, we often take a look" at them. For example, she cited the case of a lottery winner who was found to owe back child support. But Wurzelbacher didn't win the lottery; he merely asked how much more of his hard-earned money was going to be taxed away under the Obama plan....Obama's Plumbers, The Editors, Investors Business Daily, 10/29/2008

If you wanted to know about that Senator from Illinois's priorities, this tale of how much was invested into investigating the deadly threat of Joe the Plumber's curiosity should be of help.


Fox in the Henhouse: Democrats Fixing the Financial Mess?

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has put free-market capitalism at the root of the current mortgage industry debacle, denying the real history of government interference in that market...On Sept. 15, with banking giant Lehman Bros. filing for bankruptcy protection, Obama was given the opening to begin weaving his anti-capitalist storyline. And that he did. Artfully blurring the mortgage industry crisis with generalized tax policy, Obama declared: "I certainly don't fault Sen. McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It's a philosophy we've had for the last eight years, one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else." ...The words were carefully chosen. That day in Colorado marked his return to the teleprompter and a strictly refocused campaign message intent on fusing the mortgage industry woes and free-market capitalism in general...Confident the American people are primed for his brand of "change," Obama maintained his anti-capitalist theme..."What we have seen in the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed."...According to Obama, capitalism has been "rendered . . . a colossal failure."....

Contrary to the Obama narrative, however, free-market capitalism is not at the root of the current mortgage industry crisis, but rather the very socialism he hawks. The historical record makes this fact unmistakably clear. Why the Mortgage Crisis Happened, M. Jay Wells, Investors Business Daily, 10/29/2008

What follows is that actual history in great detail. Go to the link and read it all. If you miss this, and listen to the rhetorical frenzy of a crowd-rousing Marxist (see Wonker's citation below), you'll miss the only story that matters. From politicizing markets by enforcing a policy that encouraged loans to anybody on the basis of race, instead of on financial merit, to the furious refusal of Barney Frank and Congress to regulate a gathering storm, it's a horror story whose denouement we're living in right now.

Wake up, sleepers. They're trying to take it all on the basis of lies and rhetoric.


Obamamania a Symptom?

There is something odd -- and dare I say novel -- in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right...As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality....Obama and the Politics of Crowds, Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2008

A bitter listing of crowd-oriented politics includes not only Third World dictators like Robert Mugabe, but Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Juan and Eva Peron, and Napoleon Bonaparte, whose primary legacies were, or still are, ruins. Crowds, the basis of mob rule, not of democracy, are the most fearsome collective on Earth. They make a school of sharks look pacific.


Cutting to the Obama Chase; or, What Oft Was Thought

My top secret correspondent datamines really good stuff from time to time. Of the following snippet, he opines: "You will neither notice nor care about the following if you hate Bush enough." Adding: "Leave it to a Brit to phrase things so eloquently...and perceptively."

"You have to pinch yourself - a Marxist radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshiped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States… and apparently it's considered impolite to say so."

- Melanie Philips, The Spectator ( UK ) 10/14/08

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More on Democrat Plan to Emulate Argentina on 401(k) Accounts

Earlier, we pointed out an article in U.S. News about hearings in Congress on a plan to eliminate 401(k) account tax breaks to recapture the $80 billion dollars in taxes "lost" via these retirement accounts. We weren't kidding.

Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive...House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.House Democrats Contemplate Abolishing 401(k) Tax Breaks, WorkForce Management, 10/16/2008

Yep, it just hurts the Democrat plans to redistribute wealth to their constituents too much! However...

A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered...Under Ghilarducci’s plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation...The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated....(Absolish 401(k) tax breaks, con'td)

Yep, instead of voluntarily contributing money for property that you have control over, you will be required to contribute a fixed amount. Mandatory volunteerism, anybody?

“I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break....”

Trust a professor from a hard left institution like the New School for Social Research to dictate her terms for how other people should invest.

This is what you're looking forward to?



Gov. Paterson Requests Federal Aid, Democrat Assembly Unwilling to Make Cuts

Gov. Paterson grimly declared yesterday that New York faces a historically unprecedented four-year, $47 billion budget deficit, $20 billion higher than projected just three months ago - and will need some form of federal bailout..."In order to address these issues, as New York is really the epicenter of the national crisis of finance, we're going to need federal assistance," said Paterson , as he presented a six-month report on the state's current budget....PATERSON PLEA TO FEDS: RE$CUE US!, Fredric U Dicker, NY Post, 10/29/2008

It had to happen. When you throw $700 billion at losers on Wall Street, you can expect the same kind of beggary from state governments, especially one that gets a third of its tax revenues from the financial services industry, now in its worst mess since the 1930s. With a $122 billion dollar budget in New York State, with no effort to cut spending by an Assembly as profligate as California's, does the accidental governor really expect the Feds to say, 'sure, where do we send the check?' Sadly, unlike the last New York State disaster in the 1970s, the answer is likely to be 'yes, only too happy to comply.' President Bush and the current Congress bear little similarity to former President Ford and the Congress he had to work with. This is what it means when analysts talk about moral risk. When you cave in to one group of con artists and send them money as a reward for their screwing up, every con artist in the country is going to get on the receiving line. The net result will be sharp devaluation of the dollar, and inflation. Back to the Seventies!

The NY Post's editors have a different reaction, worth looking at in part.

[Paterson] is also going to tell lawmakers that the state's economy "is a vital engine" that drives that national economy...Alas, Washington's own cupboard is bare...The good news is that New York's budget is so bloated that finding fat to cut shouldn't really be all that hard...Take school spending. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli just uncovered more than $400 million that districts squirreled away in various retirement reserve funds...The money apparently isn't needed to pay those costs - and much of it can't even be used for that purpose...It seems these school districts had so much money - from sky-high property taxes and ever-soaring state aid - they didn't know what to do with it all...Overall, state aid to schools is slated to soar 12.3 percent next year. Medicaid, meanwhile, is set to rise 19.6 percent.

Earth to Albany: Think again. A $47 Billion Gap, Editorial, The New York Post, 10/29/2008

Second the motion....


Obama and the Courts, WSJ

One of the great unappreciated stories of the past eight years is how thoroughly Senate Democrats thwarted efforts by President Bush to appoint judges to the lower federal courts...Consider the most important lower federal court in the country: the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan appointed eight judges, an average of one a year, to this court. They included Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Kenneth Starr, Larry Silberman, Stephen Williams, James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle. In his two terms, George W. Bush was able to name only four...Although two seats on this court are vacant, Bush nominee Peter Keisler has been denied even a committee vote for two years. If Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will almost certainly fill those two vacant seats...The net result is that the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation's most important regulatory court of appeals...The balance will shift as well on almost all of the 12 other federal appeals courts...On the Supreme Court, six of the current nine justices will be 70 years old or older on January 20, 2009. There is a widespread expectation that the next president could make four appointments in just his first term, with maybe two more in a second term. Here too we are poised for heavy change...These numbers ought to raise serious concern because of Mr. Obama's extreme left-wing views about the role of judges. He believes -- and he is quite open about this -- that judges ought to decide cases in light of the empathy they ought to feel for the little guy in any lawsuit....Obama's 'Redistribution' Constitution, Stephen Calabresi, The Wall Street Journal, 10/28/2008

You know, the little guy who doesn't like guns, the little guy who wants his pregnant girlfriend to have an abortion, the little guy who claims that the finger he scalded at a fast food restaurant is worth ten million dollars, the little guy who wants to sue General Electric because a UFO landed on his porch...don't be fooled. Most of all the "little guy" is a Democrat after money someone else has earned.


Thomas Sowell on Justice and Obama

Senator Obama has stated very clearly what kinds of Supreme Court justices he wants-- those with "the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old."...Like so many things that Obama says, it may sound nice if you don't stop and think -- and chilling if you do stop and think. Do we really want judges who decide cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law?...Obama and the Law, Thomas Sowell, 10/28/2008

Thomas Sowell's pursuit of the truth about this year's Democrat savior is one for the books, and one expects a book to come out of it. For those in doubt about the value of future Supreme Court appointments and its bearing on their choices in the election, read this column.


Malkin's Top 5 Obamamedia Picks

We'll give you one; you can look at the rest.

1) The Los Angeles Times and the suppressed Obama/Jew-bash videotape.

In April, L.A. Times reporter Peter Wallsten reported on a 2003 farewell party for Rashid Khalidi, a radical Palestinian Liberation Organization spokesman/adviser turned Ivy League professor. The anti-Israel Arab American Action Network sponsored the gala. In attendance: good neighbors Barack Obama and Weather Underground terrorist duo Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn...Wallsten reported that the "event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times." But the news organization refuses to let readers watch the video of Obama and his left-wing terrorist friends and will not release the tape. It's "old news" now...The paper had no problem, however, embedding a video clip of Sarah Palin's 1984 swimsuit pageant on its gossip blog and deeming it newsworthy....Notororious Obama Moments of 2008, Michelle Malkin,, 10/29/2008

When a great paper becomes a schill for a single point of view, it's just another version of Pravda, the newspaper of record of the defunct Soviet Union. But, read Malkin's greatest hits anyway.


Dems and Military Vote: If You Can't Win, Cheat

As absentee ballots pour in from U.S. troops overseas, officials are voicing concerns that many of those votes won't be counted..."It's dismal," said Rosemary Rodriguez, who works for the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, a non-partisan group. "These are the voters that are in some cases preserving our liberties and out there with their lives on the line."...Rodriguez estimates that in the last general election, only about 30 percent of overseas military ballots were actually returned and counted...Ballots from US Troops Risk Being Discarded, CNN, 10/28/2008

It's no secret that 60-70% of serving military men and women favor John McCain. That's a potential of 700,000 or more votes. Spread across the right states, it could dramatically impact the election. Apparently, the DNC believes that if they can't win a constituency, they should ban it from voting. This is evidently another example of Democrat fairness.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Government Intervention or Bust?

The U.S. stock market has lost 1,417 points--a decline of nearly $3 trillion in value--since President Bush signed into law a $700-billion financial industry bailout bill that was supported by both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates....Stock Market Has Fallen Steadily Since Bailout Bill Signed, Matt Cover, CNS News

Somehow, the thought of a President and Congress devoted to a lot more of this, including seizing your 401(k), you know, the nest egg you've worked for the last thirty years (see below), is not comforting.


Hillary's Odds Knocked Down by Frauds?

With accusations of voter registration fraud swirling as early voting begins in many states, some Hillary Clinton supporters are saying: “I told you so.” Already in Iowa, the Obama campaign was breaking the rules, busing in supporters from neighboring states to vote illegally in the first contest in the primaries and physically intimidating Hillary supporters, they say...Obama’s surprisingly strong win in Iowa, which defied all the polls, propelled his upstart candidacy to front-runner status. But Lynette Long, a Hillary supporter from Bethesda, Md., who has a long and respected academic career, believes Obama’s victory in Iowa and in twelve other caucus states was no miracle...Long has spent several months studying the caucus and primary results...“After studying the procedures and results from all 14 caucus states, interviewing dozens of witnesses, and reviewing hundreds of personal stories, my conclusion is that the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process,” she said...Hillary Backers Decry Massive Obama Vote Fraud, Kenneth Timmerman, Newsmax, 10/25/2008

It's true that cries of "fraud at the polls" predate Tammany Hall's great days. There's probably a similar phrase in classic Greek. However, the caucus game, which turned the primaries into an Obama triumph despite the loss of a number of state popular votes, is one of the truly ugly political stories of 2008. It's even bigger than dead people voting in Cook County in 1960. As somebody's saying goes, who you emulate may determine how you act, whether Hugo Chavez, or the real JFK.


ABC News Reporter on MSM's Career-Driven Bias

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates. The media have covered this presidential campaign with a bias and that ultimately could lead to its downfall. The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer. But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living...Media's Presidential Bias and Decline, Michael S. Malone, ABC News, 10/24/2008

This is a message that should have been obvious to bloggers a long time ago. It's the old cornered animal story. When the porcupine can't get away, that's when quills start to fly. Fact is, network news of any variety, except for, has had a declining audience for decades. The fragmentation of news sources, starting nearly forty years ago with CNN, but now with thousands of blogs, multiple cable networks, has made the actor reading the network executive's approved copy mostly irrelevant. (Quick, name your top five network anchors.) More significantly, it's made the network executive in the news division, and the news division itself, increasingly irrelevant to the network's future. The conversion from efforts to report all the facts of a story to sensationalism was the first step.

I watched with disbelief as the nation's leading newspapers, many of whom I'd written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S. ...(Media's Presidential Bias...(cont'd))

The writer stopped reading the NY Times in 2000 after the Presidential election, figuring trade fiction was probably more interesting if purchased in the fiction section of a bookstore. Those writers are at least professionally engaged by telling tall tales. The next step, all the more disturbing, is becoming the New Pravda, one-sided news sources that deny the existence of any other view.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press...what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del...If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography...That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so....(Media's Presidential Bias...(cont'd))

What's noteworthy additionally is that a public treated to only one side of a story, as if there were no other, may give an equally false response to a polltaker's question. This was standard fare in the Soviet Union. The only honest answers you could get would come in a private party where the room had been scanned for microphones, and then only after months, or even years, of developing trust. Toward the end of the Bolshevik regime, the assumption on the street, widely reported, was that nobody in official circles, or in the press, told anything but lies. Is this what the media wants?

Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent...Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more...In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -- and desperate times call for desperate measures...And then the opportunity presents itself -- an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career...With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there...And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country...((Media's Presidential Bias...(cont'd))

Believe it.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama and Your 401(k)

I hate to use the "S" word, but the American government would never do something as, well, socialist as seize private pension funds, right? This is exactly what cash-strapped Argentina just did in the name of protecting workers' retirement accounts (Efharisto, Fausta's Blog). Now, even Uncle Sam isn't that stupid, but some Democrats might try something almost as loopy: kill 401(k) plans....Would Obama, Dems Kill 401 (k) Plans?, US News Capital Commerce, James Pethokoukis, 10/23/2008

You aren't surprised, are you? Obama's fellow Chicagoan, Jesse Jackson, has been talking about "unjust, untaxed resources" for years. He wasn't talking about his son's Annheuser-Busch Beer franchise. He was talking about IRA's and 401(k)'s, you know, those investment vehicles tens of millions of Americans have as insurance against a badly managed, overindebted Social 'Security" system. As an ACORN community organizer might say at a rally, "there's 5 trillion in money we don't have in those accounts."


Palin: The Feminist Straw Woman

A few months ago Vanity Fair ran an article about the discovery that the playwright Arthur Miller, with his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath, 40 or so years ago had a Down syndrome son. Miller promptly clapped the boy into an institution...and never saw the child again. Most people would have taken this for a heartless act...on the part of a man known for excoriating the putative cruelties of capitalism and the endless barbarities of his own country's governments...Yet, so far as one can tell, Arthur Miller's treatment of his own child has not put the least dent in his reputation, while Sarah Palin's having, keeping, and loving her Down syndrome child is somehow, by the standard of the liberal woman of our day, not so secretly thought the act of an obviously backward and ignorant woman, an affront to womanhood. "Her greatest hypocrisy," proclaimed Wendy Doniger, one of the leading feminist lights at the University of Chicago, "is her pretense that she is a woman."...Loathing Sarah Palin, Joseph Epstein, Weekly Standard, 10/24/2008

The attacks on Governor Palin by feminists (with the notable exception of Senator Clinton, who has restricted critical remarks of the Alaskan Governor to the usual and facetious subject of experience) are not very puzzling. As the noted essayist Joseph Epstein suggests in this essay, it's not very different from accusations of witchcraft in 17th century Salem, transference of jealousy into divine rage.


Russell vs. Murtha Update, Michelle Malkin

The symbol of everything wrong with Washington is 18-term Democratic Rep. John Murtha, king of congressional pork and infamous Abscam sting target who was videotaped entertaining a $50,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents posing as emissaries for Arab sheiks trying to enter our country illegally in the 1980s. Most recently, in June, the Democratic porkmeister was caught intervening on behalf of a law-breaking Pennsylvania company convicted of selling military equipment parts illegally overseas and knowingly violating national-security rules...The champion for hope and change is GOP challenger Bill Russell, a Desert Storm veteran, former Army lieutenant colonel and Army reservist who survived the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon...Republicans face tough odds across the country. A Russell upset over the nation’s dirtiest Democrat promises a silver lining. Murtha’s constituents are ready to throw the bum out. And not a moment too soon....Booting John Murtha, Michelle Malkin, National Review, 10/24/2008

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for showing this to the rest of the world. Read the whole, inspiring story. There are some reporters out there. Not every byline belongs to a DNC official.


Back to the Seventies?

A newcomer to national politics, he claimed to transcend partisan labels. He moved to the center during the campaign, at a time when the Democrats held large congressional majorities. In a troubled economy, he told voters he would keep taxes down for most Americans, limit spending, and balance the budget, all while implementing ambitious social programs. He planned to cut military spending to free money for other purposes, but assured moderates and conservatives that when it came to America’s enemies, he would be tougher than the Republicans. The media, droves of moderates, and some conservatives believed him, having pegged him as a man of character...His name was Jimmy Carter, the year was 1976, and he won. His presidency helps us predict the likely results of an Obama victory in 2008.....1976 is Back, Mark Moyar, National Review, 10/24/2008

Glad somebody said it! Oil shock, financial mess, endless bear market, the Fonz (older and dumber?), wind power, refusal to develop our own oil resources -- sounds familiar to anyone over 50. Yep, Moyar hit the nail on its head. Is anybody paying attention? In 1976, the choice was clear, a sober, levelheaded, fiscal conservative vs. a rhetorical empty suit. For mysterious reasons, American believed the latter. We know the results. Unlike television shows, political reruns get worse with time.


Quote of the Day: Media Bias

There turns out to be no standard of objectivity in contemporary journalism. Palin’s career as a city councilwoman, mayor, and governor of Alaska was never seen as comparable to, or — indeed, in terms of executive experience — more extensive than, Barack Obama’s own legislative background in Illinois and Washington. Somehow we forgot that a mother of five taking on the Alaskan oil industry and the entrenched male hierarchy was somewhat more challenging than Barack Obama navigating the sympathetic left-wing identity politics of Chicago....An Instructive Candidacy: What Sarah Palin Taught Us About Ourselves, Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 10/24/2008

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and classicist.

Note to Obama: Capitalism Works in Aviation

An American firm is on the cusp of re-imagining the supersonic dream and confidently plans to have supersonic commercial aircraft back in the skies as a reality by 2015....The New Concorde: Supersonic jet will get you from New York to London in Three Hours, Daily Mail, 10/23/2008

The original Concorde, heavily subsidized from design to flight and throughout thirty years of operation, lost billions of dollars for its builders and operators. Finally, overwhelmed by its financial problems, the brilliant first SST was retired. Now what? A privately organized and financed American company, Aerion, has taken fifty deposits on a 12-seat, supersonic business jet it will bring to service in four years. It will serve approximately the same crowd the Concorde did, at greatly reduced cost, both financially and environmentally. It will also meet noise standards for modest supersonic flight, as it sheds no supersonic boom at speeds up to Mach 1.15.

Hmmm. Maybe NASA, the vastly subsidized American space agency, should be turned over to Aerion. The Mars mission might be fulfilled in five years instead of twenty.


Greenspanning The Crash?

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's congressional testimony yesterday on the economic crisis was surreal. During his appearance before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Mr. Greenspan, and Committee Chairman Henry Waxman of California and other Democrats, spent much of their time dancing around the political decisions that created the subprime-mortgage-market collapse. This behavior should not come as much of a surprise. Both Mr. Greenspan and the liberal Democrats who control the committee have important reasons not to delve too deeply into the role of Congress in pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the brink of collapse, a financial catastrophe that will cost taxpayers $200 billion....Whitewashing Fannie Mae, Freddie, Editors, The Washington Times, 10/24/2008

Easy money -- for all of the obfuscations of Alan Greenspan, a linguistic style well-known from any lifelong bureaucrat, those two words define the spirit that created the current crash, with its driving factors of defaulted subprime mortgages and all of the mortgage-based securities built on that cardboard foundation. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were encouraged by the Democrats to guarantee mortgages that would not otherwise have been given, but the flood of cheap money that made such faulty instruments possible was provided by decisions of the Federal Reserve when Greenspan was Chairman. However, even he made an effort to stop the political manipulation of mortgage risk.

During this period, Mr. Greenspan called for reforming the GSEs. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 24, 2004, for example, he called on Congress to place limits on the size of Fannie and Freddie's portfolios in order to restrict their issuance of debt. But Congress failed to listen, and the Bush administration lacked the political muscle to pressure it to do so. Instead of reining in the GSEs, powerful members of Congress put pressure on Fannie and Freddie to massively expand investment in financially risky "affordable" housing projects from 2005 to 2007, ultimately triggering the GSEs' collapses. Irresponsible politicians — not "market failure" — bear primary blame for these financial disasters....(Whitewashing Fannie Mae...cont'd)

Don't expect to see a position paper on that from the DNC or from Obama's media campaign.


Obama Not Civil Service Material?

How many of politicians have a single tie to either group, much less seven of them? John McCain charitably calls Obama "a person you do not have to be scared [of] as president of the United States," but Obama's multiple links to anti-Americans and subversives mean he would fail the standard security clearance process for Federal employees...Islamic aggression represents America's strategic enemy; Obama's many insalubrious connections raise grave doubts about his fitness to serve as America's commander-in-chief...Obama Would Fail Security Clearance, Daniel Pipes, 10/21/2008

You haven't heard much of this, because discussion of it is banned by the "free" press representatives at MSM. But you ought to look further and decide for yourself if a friend of CAIR is a good prospect for occupant of the White House.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama and Soros Interview

Senator Barack Obama treaded onto Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home turf last night to meet with prominent Democratic donors and feel out those who might prefer the sound of President Obama to President Clinton (as in Hillary, not Bill).

Amid intensifying presidential musings by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama met with George Soros, the liberal billionaire philanthropist, then some other donors last night at Mr. Soros’s offices. Afterward he spoke at a charity event that was to be followed by a news conference.

One of the donors who met with Mr. Obama, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to offend Mrs. Clinton, said that he and several others had supported Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns but were not committed to her as a presidential candidate....Obama Meets Party Donors in New York, Patrick Healy, NY Times, 12/5/2006

Some wag might express surprise that the "newspaper of record" left that item on their Web archives. Don't forget what George Soros's connection to American politics is. In 2004, he spent millions to try and stop President Bush's reelection. In the 1990s he deliberately undercut, and forced the devaluation of, the British pound. He has long worked with groups and individuals openly hostile to the United States. His thinking should sound familiar, as in this quote from a speech to the Jewish Funders Conference in 2003.

'There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that,' Soros said. “If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish,” he said. “I can’t see how one could confront it directly.' Do We Have to Listen When a Billionaire Speaks?,

No doubt the policies of the Roosevelt Administration in the 1940s caused a rise in anti-Semitism in Germany...what can we hope for from a future President with allies like this?