Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope I was able to provide some entertainment.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It is sad. Really really sad that a conservative would believe that losing this election could have a long term benefit to conservatism. Anyone who believes that is either hopelessly naive to what the next 2 years may hold, or cares more about ideology than country. The reason that conservatives must win this election is that the threat of a depression is real, and conservatives have the right ideology to pull America through it as painlessly as possible. Liberals, on the other hand in an attempt to spread the wealth, will spread the poverty instead.
Many of these Sarah Palin hating conservatives are well off rich fools who are essentially insulated from the hard times that they are willing to consign many Americans to. And, they are doing it to advance liberal policy positions.
If followed, the right theory will never come in contact with the enemy, because it will tell policy makers how to avoid such contact. Milton Friedman's theory on monetary policy took hold in the 80's and have been the basis of world monetary policy ever since. No one is discarding Milton Friedman's monetary policy theories because of this crisis. In fact, all policy makers are building their bailout policies in accordance with that theory because of its strength. So, if his theories are so sound, why did the theory come in contact with the enemy? Because his theories on government fiscal policy have been ignored for 70+ years, and to be fair his theories on government fiscal policies while strong are more ideological rather than based upon a theoretical framework. Economists need to provide a strong theoretical framework which shows that Milton Friedman's views on government fiscal policy are theoretically just as strong as his theories on monetary policy.
Canadian Conservatives prefer relatively pro-market policies. Quebec is the most statist province in the country and its political influence drives Canada's economic policies well to the left of where they would be in a separate anglophone Canada. Canadian Conservatives hate paying for federal government subsidies to Quebec (Quebec is a major net recipient of transfer payments from the federal government). Obviously, there would be no such subsidies if Quebec were an independent nation. In the long run, secession might even lead to relatively more market-oriented policies within Quebec itself, since an independent Quebec government could no longer rely on Ottawa transfer payments to finance its statism. Finally, Quebec secession would be a major political boon for the Conservative Party. In the recent election, the Conservatives won 133 of 233 parliament seats in the anglophone provinces, but only 10 of 75 in Quebec. The Tories won't necessarily do this well in the "rest of Canada" every time; but their odds of getting a majority would be greatly improved if Quebec were to secede.
One of the readers at the Volokh conspiracy answers Ilya's question by saying:
Being a "federalist" party in the Canadian sense (that is, anti-secessionist) is the sine qua non for support in English Canada. There might be some number of western voters who would cheer Quebec's departure and be happy that the ideological median in their new country had moved a long way right. But the Conservatives would sacrifice something close to all their votes in Ontario (the largest province)-- many of whom have no identity-commitment to being Conservative but have a massive investment in the idea of Canada.... Ontario is far from solidly conservative or culturally conservative, and it would electorally cut off at the knees any party that abandoned federalism. Whatever Conservative leaders might wish in their hearts, it's a political non-starter.
How about America, Canada, Conservatives and Liberals come together and give everybody a little of what they want? Quebec gets its own nation. Liberals get a nation made up of the following Canadian provinces and American states: Ontario, Newfoundland and Labradour, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. Conservative get a nation made up of the following Canadian provinces and American states: Alaska, Yukon Territories, Northwest Territories, Nunavet, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. The following American states would go with whatever nation they prefer to join: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.
I know it is not going to happen, but it would be a solution that should leave everybody better off.
The world desperately needs the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the Iranian regime. It also might be in the Iranian people's interest to replace the Iranian regime. As the Iranian regime seems to show no regard for the fact that such an attack might be greeted with a massive retaliation that endangers the lives of many innocent Iranian civilians.
The bigger the obstacles that you have to overcome; the greater the rewards are when you succeed. Additionally, America faces a critical choice in this election. Choose one way, and America may very well choose poverty, choose another way and America may very well choose prosperity. Both parties believe that their way brings prosperity, while the other party's way brings poverty. Hence, both parties should feel that winning this election is critical. I hope America chooses wisely.
Why exactly would anybody want this job?
The candidate who wins the White House on Nov. 4 will face the most calamitous economy for any new president since Franklin Roosevelt took over amid the Depression in 1933. He'll assume command of the biggest wartime deployment of U.S. troops since Richard Nixon was sworn in during the Vietnam War in 1969.
If managers are misusing a corporation’s assets, there will be profit opportunities for the alert investor who figures it out, buys up a controlling share of stock, and replaces the managers with better ones. This is a hostile takeover....
The takeover is a key tool in what Henry Manne, the great economist and former dean of the George Mason University Law School, long ago dubbed the market for corporate control....
...the federal and state governments have done all they could to prevent corporate takeovers. In 1968 the federal government enacted a law forcing anyone who acquires a specified amount of a corporation’s shares (today it’s 5 percent) to disclose his intentions to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Obviously, if someone announces that he intends a takeover, the stock price will rise, wiping out the profit in the takeover. That was the point.
...managers who feared losing their jobs lobbied Congress and the president. It was special-interest, protectionist legislation all the way....
In the 1980s the states and state courts enacted even harsher anti-takeover measures. The result? “The number of hostile tender offers dropped precipitously and with it the most effective device for policing top managers of large, publicly held companies,” Manne writes.
The article that I linked to was written in 2002. I believe that further corporate managers protection laws were enacted after that article was written in 2002.
...after the 1929 market crash and subsequent bank runs, 10,000 or roughly 40% of banks failed, $2 billion in deposits were wiped out and 30% of the money supply disappeared. So did a similar percentage of GDP. Today, bank deposits are mostly safe, but with $1 trillion in bank and Wall Street writedowns taken or soon to be taken on bad real estate securities, some multiple of that in money supply will vanish with the stroke of an accountant's pen. Restarting bank lending is the only way to top it back up.
The contraction in the money supply is what will trigger the depression. It must be avoided. Desperate times call for desperate meaures.
"In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better," said Jane Houlihan, an environmental engineer who co-authored the study.In my experience, bottled water always taste better than tap water. Maybe it is a placebo effect.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sen. John McCain today proposed $52 billion in tax breaks aimed at reducing the impact of stock market losses on the nation's seniors, providing relief to the unemployed and encouraging savings.
Furthermore, this probably will not win him any votes, but it is good to see that realizes that the government should not have any financial interest in the banks any longer than is necessary.
McCain's made his tax cut proposals as President Bush announced an historic $250 billion plan to have the federal government inject money into the economy by directly investing in private banks.
McCain did not directly comment on the president's announcement. But he warned that as president he would require that government investment end once the private banks and institutions are restructured and healthy.
I could be wrong, but I doubt that it is a view that is shared by Obama.
So mainstream theory has no explanation of why things have gone so horribly wrong. To understand how markets can generate their own hurricanes we need to return to John Maynard Keynes.I wonder if this author is an economist, because I do not think he knows what he is talking about. For example, take the following passage:
...Keynes's insights should not be tossed away as old garbage. At the very least we can say that we have no warrant for basing economics on assumptions that are so often discredited by events.The reason that "Keynes's insights" regarding monetary policy were "tossed away like old garbage" was because they were "discredited by events".
Furthermore, even though its true that economist have forsaken Keynesian monetary policy, America has had an unbroken string of 70+ years of Keynesian fiscal policy. In fact, small parts of the Keynesian fiscal policy might have been the cause of this financial crisis. Additionally, regardless of whether it was the cause, Keynesian fiscal policy has robbed America of the flexibility it needs to address this problem.
Hopefully, this crisis will be the final nail in the coffin of Keynesian fiscal policy. However, that is unlikely. Instead, America is likely to see a rapid expansion of Keynesian fiscal policy.
Update: Apparently, he is an economist, and a very accomplished one at that. Which makes his defense of Keynes bizarre.
Rich Lowry says Christopher Buckley is not only a fool but a liar as well (or at least that is what I take from his comments).
I used to sell on eBay, and eBay's problems do not stem from Amazon. eBay's problems are all of their own making. eBay is monopolistic bureaucratic corporation that has an incompetent understanding of their own business model. Here are some quotes from the CEO of eBay which displays the arrogant general lack of understanding of who their customers are:
Just three years ago, eBay had 30 percent more traffic than Amazon. Today, its total of 84.5 million active users is barely ahead of the 81 million active customer accounts that Amazon reported in June.
Amazon has exceeded eBay in other measures as well. EBay's market capitalization was three times Amazon's in 2005, back when Wall Street loved the fact that it carried no inventory and generated huge profits. This year, eBay's stock has lost over half its value and, in July, Amazon's valuation surpassed eBay's for the first time.
In a series of interviews, Donahoe acknowledged that eBay, based in San Jose, Calif., didn't adapt fast enough to shifting e-commerce winds. He now embraces a turnaround mind-set" and is refocusing its Web marketplace toward shoppers who don't want to waste time in online auctions.
"There are times when I wish we can close this store and just open a new store, but we can't," he said. "We need to make bolder, more aggressive changes to the eBay ecosystem even if they are unpopular."
eBay's business model is built completely around third party vendors selling products on eBay. In essence, eBay's customers are the people who are selling the products on eBay. The shoppers on eBay are not eBay's customers, instead they are the customers of the third party vendors. John Donahoe's quotes above makes it clear that eBay is unaware of this and treats the shoppers as if they are eBay's customers, and treats the sellers as if they are an unwanted nuisance. Through a combination of arrogance and ignorance, eBay is driving off their seller/customers in the hopes of attracting more shoppers. Well, as eBay drives off its customers, what exactly are those shoppers going to buy?
eBay should be catering to its customers (i.e, the sellers), and attempting to attract more sellers if it wants to grow its business. Now part of attracting more sellers will involve attracting more shoppers and increasing the rate of sales conversion. However, attracting more shoppers should not be done at the expense of making changes that are "unpopular" in the "eBay [seller] ecosystem".
Update: Lest anyone think I am disgruntled former eBay seller who is merely upset that eBay was trying to make it harder on the bad sellers, you are more than welcome to check out my ratings. I think that although I was not perfect, my ratings do show that I was one of the sellers that eBay should have definitely wanted to retain and not drive off.
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin suggested Tuesday that Barack Obama shares responsibility for recent reports of voter fraud conducted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.Republicans need to learn that if they want the press to fairly cover some issues they have to force them to do it by addressing those issues themselves.
I was interviewing Obama a couple years ago, and I'm getting nowhere with the interview, it's late in the night, he's on the phone, walking off the Senate floor, he's cranky. Out of the blue I say, 'Ever read a guy named Reinhold Niebuhr?' And he says, 'Yeah.' So i say, 'What did Niebuhr mean to you?' For the next 20 minutes, he gave me a perfect description of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought, which is a very subtle thought process based on the idea that you have to use power while it corrupts you.A first I thought it sounded good. But, then the following insight dawned on me, Obama's response is an implicit acknowledgement that he has been studying how to use power to achieve his "noble" ends (i.e., liberal policies) before he gets corrupted and uses the powers available to him to commit "ignoble" acts (i.e., oppressing his opponents, stuffing ballot boxes, ignoring laws, etc). Considering that it appears that Obama has already been corrupted by so little actual power, shouldn't America dread giving this man the real power that comes with being President?
Update: Stephen Green of Vodka Pundit has a post where he wonders about whether Obama will suppress free speech rights on the internet via the Fairness Doctrine.
A cult of personality... arises when a country's leader uses mass media to create a heroic public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are often found in dictatorships but can be found in some democracies.and
Generally, personality cults are most common in regimes with totalitarian systems of government, that seek to radically alter or transform society according to evolutionary new ideas. Often, a single leader becomes associated with this revolutionary transformation, and comes to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation, without whom the transformation to a better future cannot occur.
Obama's Cult of Personality:
Textbooks to indoctrinate 8th graders.
One of McCain's problems is that voters aren't paying much attention to Iraq--because it looks from our distant vantage point like the war is finally on a glide path to an honorable U.S. drawdown of troops. How much damage could Obama do?
To answer his question, in Iraq, very little. In the American economy, a tremendous amount, unfortunately.
...the worst case scenario is now a distinct possibility: a Democrat in the White House, a Democratic Senate with a filibuster-proof majority, and a Democratic House with a bolstered majority.
If this scenario unfolds, Washington would become a solidly liberal town
again for the first time in decades. And the prospects of passing the liberal
agenda--nearly all of it--would be bright. Enacting major parts of it would be
...permit organized labor to unionize the private sector without winning a
certification election by secret ballot....
...Democrats might go after.... right-to-work laws....
...killing conservative talk radio--[via] the so-called fairness doctrine--would stand an excellent chance of becoming law....
...Obama would nominate liberals to fill Supreme Court vacancies....
...free trade agreements would become a thing of the past...
...[Obama's] described [his health care plan] as step or two away from a single payer, government-run health system like Canada's....
...Obama has called for increasing the tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and the income of top earners, and raising the cap on payroll taxes. But tax hikes would worsen, not stimulate, a weak economy....
...cap and trade.... would drive up the cost of energy, another downer for the economy....
...a quick troop exit from Iraq and presidential-level talks with anti-American
Unfortunately, my crystal ball does not look any better than Fred Barnes.
...Democrats will probably be running the government.... What we’re going to see, in short, is the Gingrich revolution in reverse and on steroids. There will be a big increase in spending and deficits. In normal times, moderates could have restrained the zeal on the left. In an economic crisis, not a chance. The over-reach is coming. The backlash is next.
I just hope that it is not too late.
Monday, October 13, 2008
As one of my correspondents wrote this very morning: 'PLEASE KEEP YOUR REMARKS TO YOURSELF! Nobody but Democrats wants to hear them.' Well he may have a point. Perhaps it is our job at NRO is tell our readers only what they want to hear, without much regard to whether it is true.
Why is it that the some of the most "intelligent" conservatives (David Frum, Christopher Buckley, David Brooks, etc.) are so blind to how detrimental their obsessive Sarah Palin hatred is to the conservative cause? Readers of the NRO are looking for articles that advance the cause of conservatism. They do not read the NRO for articles that are detrimental to conservatism (numerous other outlets exist to provide those articles). If David Frum can not write articles that advance the cause of conservatism, and if he can not understand how pivotal this election is to the future of American conservatism and how detrimental it is to that cause to create doubts about the wisdom of electing the presumptive leader of the conservative cause, maybe he should not be writing for the NRO.
- American wealth has been lost.
- Additional wealth remains at risk.
- Through taxes, laws and regulations the government can affect the value of wealth.
- America is in the middle of an election.
- It seems probable that the Democratic Party will come out of the election with unchecked political control.
- The Democratic party believes that economic restrictive laws and regulations, and some high taxes benefit society.
- Taxes, laws and regulations that the Democratic party prefer reduce the value of wealth.
- The Republican party believes in cutting taxes, and easing the economic burden of restrictive laws and regulations.
- Cutting taxes, and easing the economic burden of restrictive laws and regulations increase the value of wealth.
- Just because something is probable does not mean that it is a foregone conclusion.
- People respond to their own self interest.
Democratic Barack Obama on Monday... propos[ed] a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures at some banks....
If enacted, this policy would make it harder and more costly for banks to foreclose on non paying home owners. By increasing the cost of foreclosure, the policy would reduce the value of the asset. The reduction in the value of the asset would show up as a net loss of wealth for the bank and society as a whole. The intrinsic destruction of wealth is the root cause of America's (and the world's) current financial crisis.
Obama has noble goals, but he can not see that how he would achieve these goals could worsen the root causes of the current financial crisis. The American people need to ask themselves, do they want to help non paying home owners stay in their home, or do they want to stop the cycle of wealth destruction that is leading America to the precipice of economic ruin. Obama and Democrats through noble goals and economic ignorance may very well push America over the edge.
On Saturday, advisers to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told the Politico's Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin that McCain was "considering additional economic measures aimed directly at the middle class that are likely to be rolled out this week...
Late Sunday, McCain decided no new economic proposals would be forthcoming after all.
John McCain, my friend, thank you for getting my hopes up that you were actually going to attempt to explain to the American people why conservative policies are better than liberal policies for the economy.
It sounds good in practice, but generally, when people try to spread the wealth, they spread poverty instead.
Someone should tell Obama that American wealth is currently in the process of being destroyed, and more is at risk of being destroyed. Furthermore, the mere suggestion that the government may take wealth increases the risk to holding assets which might be confiscated. The increased risk devalues those assets. In essence, wealth is destroyed simply by increasing the expectation that the risk to holding those assets has increased.
In this case, the asset in question is expected future income. Obama is making it clear that he intends to make it less profitable for the wealthy to engage in the work necessary to produce that future income. This decreases their incentive to engage in this work. It also decreases the incentive for the wealthy to consume today based upon the reduced income they expect to generate in the future.
Obama is already making America poorer. I am betting it will only get worse.
...[Sarah Palin's] take-no-prisoners populism is inherently radical; it's at odds not only with McCain's "I'm safe, he's an unknown" strategy but with the very things that conservatism claims to be about: stability, order and tradition.
That is nonsense. American stability has been destroyed by 70 plus years of corrupting government influences in the economy that resulted in the current financial crisis. The lack of stability may get worse not better. It will almost certainly get worse if Democrats gain unchecked political control and increase rather than decrease the corrupting influences of the government on the economy. Conservatives have never believed in an order and a tradition of government control over the economy.
Hence, Sarah Palin's "populism" is in line with what conservatives have been advocating for 70 plus years. The only difference is that the financial crisis has increased the urgency with which conservatives must act to save the wealth and prosperity of America.
The country is headed for recession; the only question is: Just how low can the markets and economy go?
It could be a lot lower - it all depends on the policies of the next president.
And, as it looks increasingly likely that Obama will be that man, the markets are casting a vote of "no confidence."
Does urging political restraint apply to McCain and Obama or just the Republicans?That is a good question. Rather than posing this question to his readers who can do nothing about the press' behavior, I wonder if he has ever considered posing the question to his bosses at the LA Times.
via Glenn Reynolds
Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election.
I wish John McCain would step aside and let Sarah Palin finish the race. The stakes are too high, and conservatives and Republicans deserve a candidate who will fight for victory till the last vote is counted. When this race is over, should John McCain lose, he can easily go back to the Senate and continue to receive his six figure income. Most Americans, on the other hand, may very well see their net worth severely diminished by the burden of the economic policies that the Democrats most likely will enact.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
...while the blogosphere sometimes reports by starting with a tip or a theory (Obama didn't write his own book! Palin didn't bear her own child!) and testing it by making it public, I'm old-fashioned enough not to print what I can't confirm.
That is probably a pretty fair reaction for a reporter, but in defense of the blogosphere:
- The Palin did not bear her own child rumor was shot down within days of appearing (by members of the blogosphere).
- The Obama didn't write his own book! rumor, as far as I am aware, has not been shot down, but what harm would there be for a reporter to say "Hey Obama, some people claim that Bill Ayers was the ghost writer for your book. Any Comments?".
He provides some clues to the source:
The name of the source is one that you would surely recognize, since he commands respect throughout the mainstream media, not just in blog-world. He is a famous investigator. For that reason -- and for another reason which will soon become clear to you -- I will here call him "Sherlock Holmes."
(Consider that a clue.)
I greatly admire Sherlock's previous work. Most of it, at least. You probably do as well. However, he has been fooled in the past. His most infamous slip-up concerned a story about a person I will here call MM. Fake documents were involved in that instance.
(Consider that another clue.)
My guess on the source is that it is Seymour Hersh (Sherlock Holmes=SH=Seymour Hersh, Marilyn Monroe=MM):
Hersh thought he had happened upon a previously buried treasure-trove of documents proving all kinds of previously unsubstantiated allegations. Newsweek reported that a series of signed agreements dated between March 1960 and Jan. 1962 allegedly proved that Kennedy paid Marilyn Monroe more than $1 million for her silence -- not just about her long-rumored sexual affair with John Kennedy, but about JFK's purported relationship with mobster Sam Giancana and other "underworld figures."
If it is Hersh, I personally do not consider him that reliable.
Update: As important as it I think it is that Republicans win this election, I do not want to win it because Michelle Obama turns out to be a "racist POS". I want to win this election because the American people come to realize that Republican ideas are much better for the future of America.
The wealthy may may consider the new taxes. Next, they might consider the financial condition of the United States. And then, they might consider the burden of additional taxes they will be expected to bear in the future. And then, they might consider that they have to wealth necessary to migrate. After all this careful consideration, they might decide that the financially wise thing to do is emigrate. If they do it in large numbers, it would be economically devastating to America.
I agree with Ace of Spades for the most part. However, this story was largely a myth of hyperbole concocted by the Obama campaign. The propagandist in the Media then willingly spread the hyperbole for the benefit of the Obama campaign. And, they did so without ethically showing the lunacy of the left. To me, the story should be how unreliable the media is. The mainstream media is willingly lying to the American people on a scale never before seen. Are the American people aware of how deceitful the press is?
Some Republicans are... unsophisticated angry morons who shout things like "Terrorist" about Obama when McCain is speaking, thus putting him on the extreme defensive....
They substantially vindicate every stereotype the left and MSM has about us, and make the rest of us not only look bad, but make us squeamish from even being political associates. And they lose us precious votes.
And yet these screamers and tantrum-throwers really think they're the ones helping the team. These malformed, brain-damaged shut-in angry monsters think they've got the right message to carry to the non-deformed, non-retarded demographics.
99% of readers and commenters are great. It's the 1% of brain-damaged, ignorant mutants that always causes all the embarrassment.... And at campaign rallies.
The fringe 1% is regrettable. However, conservatives and Republicans should not destroy themselves over the regrettable actions of a few. Instead, conservatives and Republicans should rally together, expose the lies of the media, and inform the American people, yes we are human and imperfect, and we can be passionate about our beliefs. However, in our passion, conservatives and Republicans are fighting to make America better and not bring it down.
I understand that Ace's rage against the 1% has more to do with a bad experience with one of his own commenter's. But, times are dire, and it is gonna take a miracle. Ace's intentions are good, but now is not the time for conservatives to give off the appearance that we are eating our own.
At the moment, I am feeling glum because Christo has broadcast a public endorsement of Barack Obama.
I heard a rumor about it a week or so ago and wondered at first whether it might be one of those winking, tongue-in-cheek gambits satirists sometimes employ to get our attention. “Wow, Christopher Buckley, son of Wm. F. Buckley Jr., Republican speech writer, board member and regular contributor to National Review is supporting Obama! He’s not serious, is he?” And then it would turn out that, no, he wasn’t serious.
But inspecting his public declaration I conclude that he is very serious indeed.
I wrote about Buckley's endorsement of Obama previously, but I just want to add that Christopher Buckley's endorsement was most likely one part cowardice, and one part rationalization.
Christopher Buckley's cowardly endorsement of Obama is a means to avoid peer pressure. Many of Buckley's peers are most likely "intellectual" liberals who have continually mocked John McCain and his supporters since Sarah Palin was selected. Consequently, rather than bear the "shame and stigma" of supporting a candidate who many of his "intellectual" friends mock for having chosen an "imbecile" as a running mate, Christopher Buckley succumbed to this peer pressure and cowardice and endorsed Obama.
Additionally, Christopher Buckley is endorsing Obama as a means to rationalize supporting something that he feels is a foregone conclusion. In his endorsement that he states "[i]f Obama raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr". Yet he endorsed him nonetheless. He rationalizes this support by saying "having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves". Hence, Buckley is not endorsing Obama, but is instead endorsing the hope that Obama will govern like McCain (i.e., he is rationalizing his support for the inevitable outcome he dreads).
The press is unlikely to do that because it is biased, and because the McCain campaign is unlikely to push the story the way the Democrats did. If Republicans really want the press to be fair and balanced, they are going to have to demand that McCain push the story.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack last month made the latest Russian operations above the Arctic and in the Caribbean, dubbed "Stability 2008," sound more like a joke. Sneering at the weakness of Russia's fleet en route to Venezuela, McCormack said, "We'll see if they actually make it there. Somebody told me they had a tugboat accompanying them in case they break down along the way."
I laughed when I first read that, but then it actually filled me with dread. I think there is a quote something along the lines of a weak adversary who thinks he is strong should be feared more than a strong adversary. The strong adversary is most likely rational and predictable and will not risk provoking conflicts it can not win. Conversely, a weak adversary will be rash and impulsive, and through blissful ignorance will provoke conflicts that it can not win. In doing so, the weak adversary will inflict costs that the strong adversary rationally avoided.
Update: This article explains the point I was trying to make above about how value of wealth is lost.
Iceland's prime minister, Geir Haarde, warned last week that it was now "every country for itself." This smacks of the financial autarchy that characterized defaulters in the financial crisis in Asia in the late 1990s. Similarly, when Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001-'02, politicians there faced enormous pressure to change the rule of law to benefit domestic property holders over foreigners, and they changed the bankruptcy law to give local debtors the upper hand. In Indonesia and Russia after the crises of 1998, local enterprises and banks took the opportunity of the confusion to grab property, then found ways to ensure that courts sided with them.
Some key decision makers in Israel fear that unless they attack Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities in the next few months, while George W Bush is still president, there will not be another period when they can rely on the United States as being anywhere near as supportive in the aftermath of a unilateral attack.If the Iran is attacked, it is imperative that they are hit in a way that they can not respond, (i.e., via nuclear attack). I doubt anyone has the nerve to kill 70 million Iranians for the sins of a few deranged mullahs. Consequently, Israel and the United States should find a solution that does not involve military action.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
For those who think this ad is homophobic, I would say that I am a libertarian, and I believe that the same principles that lead me to believe that gays should have the freedom to do what they want with other consenting adults gives me the same freedom to post this video, and find the behavior that it displays as being humorous.
via Allah Pundit
The United States said on Saturday that it is striking North Korea from a terrorism blacklist as Washington worked furiously to salvage a historic nuclear disarmament deal.
Angry at Washington's refusal to delist it, Pyongyang in the last few weeks vowed to restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor that it shut down under a landmark deal in 2007 and has taken tangible steps toward doing so.
I must admit that it does look like kowtowing. However, I think that there is a plausible explanation that does not involve the US kowtowing to North Korea. To understand that explanation, one must understand the American bureaucratic/civil servants culture
For those who are unaware, America has civil service laws that dictate how the President can hire and fire government employees. Additionally, pay raises are mostly proscribed by law. The President has little to no flexibility to hire or fire government employees. Additionally, the President has little ability to reward the most productive government employees with pay raises.
Consequently, the vast majority of civil servants do little to no work. Why should they? They can not be fired for lack productivity, and they are not going to be rewarded for being an extra productive worker. In fact, they will get their pay raise regardless of whether they are a productive employee or not. This creates an American civil servants culture of bureaucratic inertia where very little gets accomplished
Consequently, it is possible that the State Department through bureaucratic inertia was not as diligent in delisting North Korea from the terrorism watch list as it was supposed to do via the agreement. In response, North Korea lit a fire under the State Department's feet to get them moving. North Korea's actions appeared to have the desired result.
The Obama campaign is trying to peddle the story that Republicans are stark raving mad lunatics. The press dutifully complies. His supporters try to rally to the defense of the cause. And, how does John McCain respond? I do not know how he responded, but however he responded to it, he has allowed Obama to make it look like John McCain thinks his supporters are stark raving mad lunatics:
Barack Obama acknowledged Saturday that John McCain has asked his supporters to temper their attacks on him.
Thank you John McCain from one of your stark raving mad lunatic supporters (that would be sarcasm in case anybody tries to use this against me in the future)!
Unless somebody starts a viable write in draft someone (Petraeus, Thomas Sowell, Glenn Reynolds, I do not know, etc) movement, I am stuck supporting this man. So, please vote McCain and Republicans in November, it is the last best chance to save the American dream.
If you have the wherewithal to stand up to these totalitarian bullies, they stampede for the exits. But, if you're just an obscure Alberta pastor or a guy with a widely unread website or a fellow who writes a letter to his local newspaper, they'll destroy your life.
But, I wonder if the cause of free speech might have been better served by him offering no defense to the charges beyond saying I thought I had the free speech right to write what I wrote. It certainly would have saved him some money:
...we spent a ton of money and had a bigshot Queen's Counsel.
I think the outcome would have been the same, but it would have place greater onus on the government of Canada to justify their attempts to stifle Free Speech.
via Hugh Hewitt
I have been tentatively arguing that it would be better for the nation and the Republican party if Obama were to win. But I should now let readers know that I may be changing my mind on the matter. I am considering voting for McCain. With the financial crisis we are facing, an Obama Presidency combined with a strongly Democratic Congress would be much worse than the situation we were previously facing. Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very badI am glad that Mike Rappaport has come to a conclusion that I have been trying to voice for the past couple of weeks. Now, I wish he would get off the fence and work to help preserve capitalism in America. I wish he would say I am going to vote for John McCain, and I hope every body who reads this will do the same. Even if he is not sure that he intends to vote for McCain, I wish he would say this. Ultimately, how a single person votes is unlikely to change the outcome of an election. However, by voicing doubts about a candidate, an individual can influence the outcome of an election by helping other people mentally justify their own inaction. For conservatives, the cost of sowing such doubt is too great, for the dream of America that conservatives have been fighting for dies with a Democratic party landslide in November.
way. I haven't made up my mind yet.
via The Volokh Conspiracy
Friday, October 10, 2008
If you peruse the conservative blogs or listen to talk radio - you can almost feel their anger. There's plenty of blame to go around, they argue. And of course they're right - both parties are to blame - but it doesn't matter.
The average voter doesn't understand the intricacies of economic policy. Heck, when you think about it, nobody really understands the economy. So, voters often rely on simple yet sensible metrics to make political decisions about the economy. One of them has been more or less operative since the election of 1840: if the economy tanks during a Republican administration, vote Democrat. If it tanks during a Democratic administration, vote Republican. Applying this rule to 2008, we get the following. McCain, because he is of the incumbent party, gets the political harm. Obama, because he is of the out party, gets the political benefit. That's all there is to it.
That is not all there is to it. At the beginning of the crisis, Obama's response to the crisis was it is Bush/Republican's fault. McCain's response was let us not blame anyone and hope this subject goes away. When voters hear those two responses, is it any surprise that the issue played to Obama's benefit?
It is true that McCain has started to go on attack on the issue, but he has done it very poorly, and he still has not made the argument that if you think it is bad now, wait till the Democrats are given complete and total political control, it will only get worse. McCain has an economic argument that will turn this financial crisis to his favor, but he has failed to make it so far.
Incidentally, the people who run the McCain campaign and the Obama campaign have almost certainly study the same history that Jay Cost have, and they have probably all learned the same wrong lesson (i.e., nothing that can be done, so find other areas to engage). Consequently, if history ends up repeating itself, the lesson ends up appearing to be true because no attempted to overcome it.
Finally, if Jay Cost is right, the race is over, and there is nothing that McCain can do to change it fortunes, so if they attack Obama on the Economics issue, they really have not lost anything but the time and effort that they invested. Whereas, if I am right, and they take Jay Cost's advice, they have lost their best chance at winning the election. Simple logic dictates that the McCain campaign should be attacking as hard as it can on the economics issue.
There is no official designation of depression. Traditionally, milder contractions are called recessions and more severe contractions are called depressions, but there is no official word on which is which.A recession is an economic downturn caused by a substanial decrease in the expected rate of inflation. A depression is an economic downturn caused by a substantial contraction in the money supply where people's expected value of wealth decreases instantly due to the money multiplier effect going in reverse.
Unless the destruction of wealth can be quickly stopped and reversed, America is heading for a depression.
Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon.
President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.
Well, most conservatives will be praying for the same thing if Obama is elected. The difference is that most conservatives are going to vote for the candidate who has spent a career fighting for the policies that Christopher Buckley wants Obama to pursue, while Christopher Buckley is going to vote for the candidate who has been fighting against those policies for his entire career.
Christopher Buckley should take a long look in the mirror before the next time he wishes to opine that it is “'the bleeding obvious'... that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment".
via Gateway Pundit
Of course, there jumping had nothing to do with them being biased in any way.
Update: More members of the press jump to get their doggy biscuit.
...the outcome in these last few days may be seem contingent in large part on breaking news beyond the candidates’ control.
Nothing is beyond your control, unless you allow it to be beyond your control. The McCain campaign has not attempted to control how people respond to the financial crisis, and as a result has been controlled by it.
For those who do not get the John Galt reference, it comes from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Update: When I originally wrote this post, I apparently copied the wrong link into the "Who is John Galt" question. That link has now been corrected.
I am giving a public talk for the Secular Freethinkers society on Tuesday next (details below the fold) on why secularism does not require the end of religion, and in fact why the religious ought to support it to protect their future standing in society.
I hope he is promoting true secularism and not fraudulent secularism. Many individuals who claim to be promoting secularism are actually promoting a fraudulent form of secularism. Secularism is the belief enshrined in the first amendment that guarantees the American people the freedom to exercise their religion without coercion or interference from the government. As I explain below many people who claim to be promoting secularism are actually promoting government coercion and interference in American citizens' free exercise of their religious beliefs.
We have public schools in America. That means that all citizens must pay for schools through taxes. Hence, some parents are being forced to pay for public schools through taxes, but then told if they want the benefit of public schools they must send their children to schools that specifically attempt to indoctrinate the children with the belief that the parents' religious teachings on creationism, sexual abstinence and gays is wrong. That has to be the single most offensive form of state coercion that exists today in America, and certainly violates the parents' right of free exercise of their religion. Anyone who promotes such a policy based upon secularism is a fraudulent secularist violating the principle behind the first amendment.
It could be easily avoided by allowing school choice. However, most fraudulent secularist fight against school choice. Due to this behavior, it is actually these fraudulent secularist who are using the power of the state to indoctrinate children with the beliefs that the fraudulent secularist promote. The fraudulent secularist are actually the individuals who are violating the founding secularist principles of our nation established in the first amendment.
Already advertising at record levels, Barack Obama has scheduled a half-hour commercial for prime time on Oct. 29, six days before Election Day.
Such a vast purchase of commercial time is a multimillion-dollar expense, but Obama has been spending dramatically on ads, overshadowing rival John McCain and the Republican National Committee.
Some might view this as a sign of political strength. I say as long as he is stuck at 49% in the polls, it is a sign of weakness.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Obama also lashed McCain for focusing on Ayers on a day of dramatic economic turmoil, calling the issue a "red herring."The President of the United States is a very powerful position with a great influence over the lives of Americans for the next four years and beyond. The American people can not predict what will happen in the future. They can only guess what qualities that a President will need to be able to do the best job possible. In making these decisions, they are placing a large amount of trust that such individuals will have the judgement to make the best decisions possible.
It is incomprehensible to many Americans how being friends with William Ayers, an unrepentant anti-American terrorist, would be the best decision possible for anyone in power or who seeks to be in power. They are looking for Obama to provide them with an honest answer to the nature of the relationship with William Ayers so that they can understand why Obama felt the relationship was appropriate. If Obama does not want to provide the answer, and instead, continues to call such questions a distraction, the American people will be forced to make judgements about the nature of the relationship without input from Obama.
Those judgements will presumably be very harsh towards Obama. The American people, very well, might conclude that if they can not trust Obama to be smart enough to make sound judgements in who he has professional relationships with, that they should not trust him with the power to write budgets, sign laws into effect and make appointments that will have great influence over their lives for the next four years and beyond.
Update: Mark Halperin at Time magazine poses a question about the relationship to an Obama spokesman in a way that needs to be addressed. Peter Wehner at Commentary wants Mark Halperin's question put directly to Obama.
Steve Sturm (via Instapundit) uses an argument via analogy to make the case that questions about Obama's relationship with William Ayers are a red herring. I disagree with Steve. Steve thinks the dynamic of the race are such that there is nothing McCain can do to win. I disagree. Steve has not taken undecided voters into account. As long as Obama is less than 50% in the polls (which he is), enough undecided voters remain to make McCain President.
As I argued previously, I think the remaining undecided voters will do one of two things: either vote for McCain, or stay home. So, raising questioning about the relationship is about convincing "soft" Republicans that the cost of not voting is too high.
Another Close Terrorist Friend of Obama's: A Former PLO Spokeman, when the PLO [was an avowed] terrorist organization.
Barack Obama's claim? "His kids go to the same school my kids go to."
Obama should put his children on timeout. They keep getting him into relationships with terrorist and terrorist sympathizers.
What kind of man continually blames his children for his own questionable decisions?
On the same topic, James Pethokousis has an article with a title asking is Obama depressing the market. However, his first line in the article calls such a suggestion "an absolute cheap shot".
IMO, the relationship displayed in the graph is the cause of two correlations and two causal effects, which are:
- The economy has gone into a tailspin. This creates a correlation between the expectation that Obama will win and the fall in the stock market. Investors in the stock market are selling because they feel the economy is in bad shape, and going to get worse. Voters vote their pocketbook (i.e., if the economy is bad, the incumbent's party is punished in the election) is a known phenomenon. If the past is a guide, Obama benefits from this phenomenon. Hence, the expected value of Obama contracts is increasing.
- The fall in the stock market is the most visible indicator of the state of the economy. As the stock market has fallen, the state of the economy becomes apparent to many additional voters, which increases the probability of voters voting their pocketbook. This has a causal effect of further increasing the value of Obama contracts.
- Investor's buy based upon how they feel future laws and regulations will affect the market. As the phenomenon of voters voting their pocketbook also increases the probability that Democratic Party will increase their control in Congress, this creates an incentive to sell stocks that will be adversely affected by the Democratic Party control. Any decrease in the stock market due to this effect would be a result of correlation rather than causation (i.e, in regards to the original graph).
- If I were an investor, I would much rather have a President who respects free markets, and will try to reduce the cost to production by cutting taxes and regulations, rather than one who will increase the cost of production by enacting new laws and taxes, and who will impose subsidies that benefit non producing members of society. In this sense, if I truly felt that Obama was more likely to win the next election, I would be selling across the board. I suspect that their a quite a few investors who feel the same way. So, I suspect that yes, the rise in the expectation will be the next President is having a small but causal effect on the decrease in the Stock Market.
Andrew Vactor was facing a $150 fine for playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo in July. But a judge offered to reduce that to $35 if Vactor spent 20 hours listening to classical music by the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.
Vactor, 24, lasted only about 15 minutes, a probation officer said.
If the judge hadn't given the student the choice, I would have said that the punishment is unconstitutional.
Could you last 20 hours of this:
Allegro Moderato by Bach
Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
Funeral March by Chopin
What Jay and I have is real. It's not about interviews or getting the right photo op. It's real,
I am impressed with their philosophy regarding their relationship. I wish more celebrities would embrace that attitude. It would be healthier for their relationships as well as for the public's obsession with celebrities.
...it is really irresponsible, outrageous, and insulting [for Sarah Palin] to say that it's unpatriotic [to suggest that people pay higher taxes].Sarah Palin never said that it is unpatriotic. Here is Sarah Palin's comment that has David Post (and Thomas Friedman) upset:
Now you [Biden] said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that's not patriotic. Patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper.
Now as a hypothetical, assume that I say "drinking beer is the patriotic thing to do". If someone responds, "that's not patriotic". Are they calling drinking beer unpatriotic, or are they pointing out that I have a bizarre definition of patriotism? Sarah Palin was right and her detractors owe her an apology.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
There is broad agreement among economists that what the financial system needs right now is not only an injection of liquidity but also a recapitalization....
The question for the moment is, How can we get capital back into the
All economist should hate the payroll tax. Therefore, as a free market solution, economist should advocate aboloshing the payroll tax as a means of getting capital back into the financial system. It would not go directly into the financial system, but it would definetly free up capital for the financial system. It also might have the added benefit of addressing one of the fundamental causes of the crisis (i.e., falling home prices). Additionally, economist should advocate that the government cut income taxes as much as possible (while adding a small consumption tax for those who pay no income tax). Cutting taxes would add capital to the financial system, but many might be oppossed to cutting taxes for the following reasons:
- Taxes can not be cut without an act of Congress.
- The seriousness of the situation may not allow the time that is need to implement tax cuts.
- The lost tax revenue would add to the deficit.
- The capital added to the economy would not flow directly to the financial system.