Saturday, October 11, 2008

Expand your horizons

Cupios Dissent has an interesting video on an off shore drilling platform.

Mr T has got some nuts for you

I guess this British snickers ad is a couple months old, but I had never seen it, and I thought it was hilarious.

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

Delisting North Korea

I know that many conservatives might think this is proof that the Bush Administration is kowtowing to North Korea:

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.

I hate John McCain, but please vote for him nonetheless

In a post earlier today, I expressed disappointment that another blogger was not forcefully advocating the election of John McCain. Seconds after writing that, I read this article, and I thought to myself I hate John McCain, I really hate John McCain.

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.

Free Speech in Canada

I am glad that Mark Steyn was found not guilty:
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

Fiddling while Rome burns

After having advocated that Republicans and conservatives would be better off losing the presidential election, Mike Rappaport is beginning to have second thoughts:
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 bad
way. I haven't made up my mind yet.
I 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.

via The Volokh Conspiracy

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain's Economic argument

Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics does not get it:

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.

Depression versus a recession

Greg Mankiw writes:

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.

Chart of U.S. Money Supply Growth

William Buckley's son endorse Obama

William Buckley's son has endorsed Obama:

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".

Jump Fido!

Democrats say "Jump!", and the press jumps here and here:

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.

Beyond McCain's control

Victor Davis Hanson writes:
...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.

Who is John Galt?

Who is John Galt? And, where is he? America desperately needs someone who can save capitalism in America.

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.

Democracy in America

John McCain said "No one should be corrupting the most precious right we have, that is the right to vote". Unfortunately, Acorn and the Democratic party disagrees with this view.

How is RFK doing?

I do not know what Matt Lauer's views on Sarah Palin are, but it would not shock me if he thought she was too ignorant to be America's Vice President. Hence, I will gladly laugh at him, when he makes a fool out of himself.

Fraudulent secularism

John S Wilkins is kind enough to take time out of his pursuit of science to attempt to teach "ignant religious folk" how secularism is really meant to protect their religious beliefs:
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.

A half an hour of Obama

Obama is spending vast amounts of money on his campaign:

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 and Ayers

Ben Smith at the Politico writes:
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.

Obama's children should be put on Timeout

Ace of Spades writes:

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?

Obama and the Stock market

Glenn Reynolds links to a post with a graph showing the correlation between the betting odds that Obama will win and the fall of the Stock Market. He correctly points out that correlation is not causation, but he does not elaborate. I presume that he is suspicious of the suggestion that the increase in the expectation that Obama will win is causing the stock market to fall. However, it is possible that the graph is revealing another causal relationship (i.e., the fall in the stock market is increasing the expectation that Obama will win).

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.

Cruel? and unusual punishment

A judge imposed a cruel and unusual punishment on a Urbana college student for playing his rap music too loud:

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

Beyonce and Jay-Z

Access Hollywood quotes Beyonce as saying:
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.

Drinking beer is patriotic

David Post at the Volokh conspiracy owes Sarah Palin an apology for writing the following post: 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

Crying by Roy Orbinson

Crying by Roy Orbinson

The Mulholland Drive version

Japanese IQ Test

Are you smart enough to get a job in Japan?

Cut taxes

Greg Mankiw writes:

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
financial system?

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.
Nonetheless, the payroll tax is one of the most economic inefficient taxes this nation has to bear. If this crisis can be used to get rid of it, economist should jump at the opportunity.

General Petraeus on Iraq

A speech by General Petraeus on Iraq.

Low brow humor

Too funny

Selling the Conventions

Ian Ayers at freakonomics writes:
What if the Democratic and Republican National Committees had decided to sell the broadcast rights to their conventions? What would that have been worth? NBC paid $894 million to get a total of 435 million viewer-days out of the sports in Beijing. At $2 per viewer-day, that suggests that the Democrats could have gotten $180 million for their 90 million viewer-days. Now, a convention has fewer commercial opportunities, especially during the candidate’s acceptance speech, and on the networks it’s only on for a couple of prime-time hours each day; so let’s knock that down to $100 million. Still, that’s a nice sum.

It sounds nice in theory, but it fails to realize that all networks carry the conventions because they feel compelled to as an good act of good citizenship. If the parties start trying to sell their conventions, they are going to have to sell exclusive rights, and the other networks will feel free to counter program. The counter programing with definetly drive down viewership for the conventions and decrease the value of winning the exlusive rights to broadcast the conventions. The extra money that the campaign could make from selling the conventions would probably be worth less than the loss of free media that is available by giving the product away.

News the media refuses to provide

via Youtube and Cupious Dissent

Obama's impressive team

Danny Shays quotes David Brooks as saying:
...although he found Obama to be "a very mediocre senator," he was is surrounded by what Brooks called "by far the most impressive people in the Democratic party." "He's phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team," Brooks said. "I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he's chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes. So again, I have doubts about him just because he was such a mediocre senator, but his capacity to pick staff is impressive."

Why would any conservative be impressed by this? As an analogy, if you wanted to, you could assemble the 2008 Olympic Redeem Team as your team, but you shouldn't expect to win the MLB World Series with that team. Similarly, why would David Brooks be impressed with Obama's ability to assemble a team that he feels is intellectual, but ideologically wrong on issue after issue? If his team was so impressive, shouldn't David Brooks feel that they are ideologically right on issue after issue? The two following possibilities exist:
  • Obama's team is ideologically right, and David Brooks lacks the intellectual insight to understand why his ideological thinking is flawed.
  • David Brooks is ideologically right, and Obama's team lacks the intellectual insight to understand why their ideological thinking is flawed.
If David Brooks is ideologically right, why is he impressed with the Obama's team inability to understand the flaws in their ideological thinking? I presume that David Brooks is convinced that he is ideologically right, so there is no point in asking the converse. Furthermore, why is David Brooks impressed rather than horrified by Obama's ability to assemble such an impressive staff? Isn't it logical to assume that Obama's impressive staff means that Obama is going to be spectacularly successful at advancing "flawed" ideological ideas and policies? Why would any conservative be comforted by that thought?

Until David Brooks can offer a coherent response to explain his fondness for the team Obama in spite of the ideological threat they pose, I am going to view David Brooks and not Sarah Palin as the "fatal cancer to the Republican party".

Obama's Socialism

Thomas Lifon at the American Thinker writes:

The New Party was a radical left organization [with membership, including Barack Obama], established in 1992, to amalgamate far left groups and push the United States into socialism by forcing the Democratic Party to the left.
The irony is that regardless of what Obama's intent was regarding socialism during his political career, he will almost certainly lead a Democratic party that pushes socialism on the American people in response to the financial crisis.

via Ace of Spades

For the greater good of Republicanism

Steve Kornacki writes:
After eight years of George W. Bush, Republicans need to decide who they are and what they stand for. Nothing would jump-start that discussion more effectively than a drubbing next month.

That may be the case, but the biggest loser in such a scenario would be the American people as the Democratic party would have unchecked ability to radically alter America's capitalist system. I prefer preserving America's wealth and capitalist system to sacrificing it for the greater good of the Republican party.

The End of Prosperity

In an article at The American Spectator, Peter Ferrara quotes the authors of the book The End of Prosperity as saying:
[W]e are now witnessing nearly all of the economic policy dials that were once turned toward growth being twisted back towards recession. [O]ur politicians in both parties, but especially the liberal Democrats, are getting everything wrong -- tax policy, regulatory policy, monetary policy, spending policy, trade policy. We call this the assault on growth. The political class seems to be almost intentionally steering the United States economy into the abyss -- and, to borrow a phrase from P.J. O'Rourke, the American electorate, alas, seems ready and willing to hand them the keys and the bottle of whiskey to do it.

I hope every Republican politician reads at least this article and even maybe the book, and is able to adopt the arguments. If not, I fear Peter Ferrera's closing thoughts may prove to be prophetic:
We know how to create an economic boom, and we know what policies will lead to economic disaster. The Left denies these obvious truths only because it craves more government power. If America does not wake up to what is happening, there will be much suffering through a long dark night.

Depression fears

Lee Ohanian gets it, but has not yet quited figured out the importance of what it means:
Will we duck a depression? We will if the principles of economic growth -- increasing the incentives to work and save, promoting competition, and fostering economic openness -- are maintained. This is the most important lesson we learned, the hard way, from the 1930s.

I agree with that, but the problem is he said this earlier in his article:
...there is a real danger that even a moderate recession, along with the current perception of an economic crisis, would lead to calls from various quarters for bad economic policies -- policies that tend to either pander to special-interest groups, benefiting relatively few at the expense of many, or raising taxes, particularly on the nation's most productive citizens, many of whom create jobs through their own enterprises.

Well, the Democratic Party is on the verge of a possible electoral landslide, and they are the party that is more likely to "pander to special-interest groups, benefiting relatively few at the expense of many, or raising taxes, particularly on the nation's most productive citizens, many of whom create jobs through their own enterprises". Lee Ohanian has yet to put these facts together to see how perilously close we are to the next depression.

McCain and Economics

McCain did an awful job last night making his economic case. Republicans are offering people wealth. Democrats are threatening to take away people's wealth. How hard is it to make that argument. All Republicans and free market advocates need to find some one who can make that argument and can make it in a hurry. Shout it from every mountain top. The wealth of our nation is at risk like it has never been before. Why aren't Republicans and free market advocates engaged in self interested fight for economic survival?

The State of the Race

Paul Mirengoff on last night's debate:
A win on the visuals and at least a draw on substance (if that’s a fair assessment) is a win for Obama at this point. So tonight he moves a little closer to the presidency.

That is pretty much the conventional wisdom.

However, as a McCain supporter, I am foolishly optimistic that conventional wisdom is wrong. My optimism comes from the fact that even though Obama has the lead in the polls, he is stuck at just below 50% (it is true that 2 polls have Obama at 51%, Gallup and Rasmussen, but that is still within the margin of error). This means that hopefully there are still enough undecideds left to put McCain over the top.

Conventional wisdom holds that is unlikely that all of those undecideds will vote for McCain. Hence, conventional wisdom holds Obama won last night's debate through attrition. However, I think conventional wisdom is wrong is because they misunderstand who the remaining undecideds are. Almost all of the remaining undecideds are certainly former Bush supporters.

Think of it this way, Obama's standing in the polls is a reflection of the fact that he has the commitment of the half the population who voted for Kerry and Gore. The reason that he can not get above the 50% is because he can not convince former Bush supporters to vote for him. I think that it is unlikely that he will be able to convince them to vote for him, but he can win the election, by convincing enough of them to stay home and not vote on election day. Here is a small anecdotal piece of evidence that supports my belief:
...when Hart stepped back and focused in particular on the four voters who said their vote could still be won by McCain or Obama, it was telling that all four had supported President Bush in 2000 and 2004. Not a single Kerry or Gore voter was wavering over Obama.

When viewed in that light, Obama's goal last night was to make these voters feel that staying home and not voting is preferable to voting for McCain. McCain's goal was to convince them that voting for him is preferable to staying home. McCain could have done more, but I believe he marginally improved his standing with last night's debate.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spread the truth

Every American needs to know the truth about our economic crisis. I stole this video from Ace of Spades (I hope he approves and understands).

Moral Humility

A speech by Jonathan Haidt

Silver Springs (rough outtake) by Fleetwood Mac

Pulled from You Tube

Look at your 401K plan

Megan McArdle thinks that you should not look at your 401K plan:

How to handle the crisis in your 401K. Don't look. Seriously, don't look.
I respectively disagree. I think you should look. When you look, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How did this happen?
  • What can be done to prevent your 401K from losing anymore value and help it regain value as quickly as possible?
  • What can be done to prevent it from happening in the future?

How did this happen? Ever since the last depression, the Democratic party has believed that interventions into the free market produce positive gains for society. The Republican party has believed that the Democratic party was wrong, but has not forcefully fought for its own political philosophy. The Republican party accepted political defeat and compromise rather than fighting for victory because they rationalized that society could bear the small costs that defeat and compromise entailed.

However, the crisis shows that both parties were wrong. Past minor interventions into the free market has produced a major cost and risk to the wealth of society and its citizens. Additionally, the government is currently limited in its ability to respond to this crisis because it allowed much of its wealth to be inefficiently spent by lavishly subsidizing non productive members of society.

What can be done to prevent your 401K from losing anymore value and help it regain value as quickly as possible? In the next election, vote for politicians who advocate a free market governing philosophy. Hope that they adhere to the governing philosophy of purging inefficient regulations and cutting taxes and spending.

What can be done to prevent it from happening in the future? Continue to support politicians and political parties that advocate a free market governing philosophy. Additionally, become immune to those who would use your compassion against you. Are these individuals showing compassion towards you by arguing that you should willingly forsake your own wealth for the benefit of those who in many cases do not need the assistance of the government?

Finally, Megan McArdle says

...selling into a massive liquidity crisis is a pretty bad idea. Selling in a panic because your assets just dropped 30% is almost certainly a bad idea.
That is only a good suggestion if the market has already hit the bottom, or is very near the bottom. I am not certain how close we are to the bottom, but I am convinced that if the Democrats gain more political control, and do not get religion on free markets, the market can almost certainly go lower.

Preventing the next depression

Hugh Hewitt makes the case that Obama is the Herbert Hoover of 2009. Republicans need to be making this case forcefully. It is America's last best chance to prevent the wide scale destruction of wealth that a Democratic control of all branches of government would cause.

If you have not read them, here are additional posts where I lay out the economic arguments that Republicans should be making:

Bill Ayers' Radical Agenda

Scott Johnson at Power Line quotes Sol Stern as saying:
For the first time in his life, [William] Ayers seems to be observing Democratic Party discipline and won’t be talking until after November 4.

Maybe that is because for the first time in his life, William Ayers really believes the Democratic party has embraced his radical agenda.

A mugging with a happy ending

A wonderful story. Click the listen button at the link to hear the story in his own words.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Third World versus First World

Below is an interesting video challenging fundamental assumptions about poverty, world health and economic growth.

Pulled from You Tube

The truth will set you free

Ace of Spades writes:

Jay Cost, by the way, disagrees with me and thinks that McCain might as well "pee into the wind" as attempt to deflect blame from Republicans when it comes to a banking crisis. He suggests just hitting Obama on Ayers and Wright.

I say: Um, okay, can we not try all three?

Ace is right and Jay Cost is wrong. If Republicans act like they are to blame, the American people will assume that they are to blame. Republicans must argue forcefully for the truth (i.e., Democrats caused this fiasco).

Update: More than this election is at stake. If Republicans cede the economic argument to the Democrats, for the next 20 to 30 years, George W Bush will be used against Republican candidates for President the way Herbert Hoover was used. The only way to prevent this, is tell the truth and hope the American people are smart enough to see the truth.

Jackie Wilson Said by Van Morrison

Pulled from You Tube

Democratic Economic Incompetence

Glenn Johnson of the AP quotes Barney Frank as saying:
Republican criticism of Democrats over the nation's housing crisis is a veiled attack on the poor that's racially motivated...

Republicans should respond that:
  • They are not attacking the poor or minorities.
  • Poor and minorities are just as much a victim of Democratic incompetence as all Americans are.
  • Democrats attempted to further the "interests of the poor and minorities" at the expense of business.
  • Those attempts produced nothing for the poor or minorities, but has created a dire financial crisis for America.
  • If the American people choose to give more political control to the Democratic party, the financial crisis will only get worse.
  • The choice is America's to make, but it can only make an informed choice if Republicans honestly speak about the causes (The Democratic Party's bureaucratic socialist incompetent ideology) of the crisis.

via Power Line

The Crash was foretold in June

I am guessing that quite a few investors wish they had read Melissa Lafsky's blog in June:
You may recall that nerves were jangled this summer over the appearance of a recent Hindenburg Omen—the mathematical formula that measures the probability of a stock market crash, and has reportedly predicted every crash since 1985.

An Inconvenient Truth

Global Warming is a myth:
Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.

Information that you are unlikely to get from the mainstream media.

McCain's path the victory

McCain needs to commit to making this argument and making sure as many people in America as possible here it. America's economic future is better served by electing McCain as opposed to Obama.

via Power Line

Friends of Obama and Ayers say they were friends

Contrary to what the press wants people to believe about the nature of Obama and Ayers relationship:
...Palin's description of the Obama-Ayers relationship... were criticized as exaggerated....

Evidence does exist which does show they were friends. As Ben Smith reported in February:

Dr. Young described Obama and Ayers as “friends,”....

At the end of the Ben Smith post, additional information is provided that shows the press and the Obama campaign are not being honest about the Obama-Ayers relationship:
Maria Warren, described [the 1995 meeting at Ayers house] as an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left. “When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,” Warren wrote on her blog in 2005. “They were launching him — introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.”

More information on Obama's friend Dr Quentin Young:
Dr. Quentin Young had been accused of involvement and membership in the Communist Party, and he refused to answer as well when he was called before a committee to explain his financial support for radicals who were behind the riots in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention back in 1968.

Did Bill Ayers ghost write Obams's first book?

Did Bill Ayers ghost write Dreams of My Father for Barack Obama? If so, it would disprove the claim that they were not that close:
...Palin toned down her description of the Obama-Ayers relationship after her weekend remarks were criticized as exaggerated....

An Obama economy

An Investor Business Daily editorial makes the case why no one should vote for Obama:

It was Democrats' regulatory and litigious assaults upon the mortgage market in pursuit of "social justice" that left our economy in its precarious position of today; indeed as an attorney, Obama himself in 1994 represented a client suing Citibank, accusing it of systematically denying mortgages to blacks.

But if the taxpayer rescue of Wall Street and Uncle Sam's taking over the banking system scares you, the broader socialism planned by the Democratic presidential nominee should leave you petrified.

Unfortunately, the McCain campaign does not want to talk about the economy. They think it is a losing issue. It is not a losing issue if they make the American people understand that the Democratic party's ideology is responsible for the crisis and will make it worse. Only, the Republican party's ideology offers the best means to clean up the mess as quickly as possible.

via The New Pundit

Mythbusters on Sulfer Hexafluoride

Pulled from YouTube

I want to try it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A well thought out plan

I hope they catch this guy:

...the robber, wearing a yellow vest, safety goggles, a blue shirt, and a respirator mask went over to a guard who was overseeing the unloading of cash to the bank from the truck. He sprayed the guard with pepper spray, grabbed his bag of money, and fled the scene.

But here's the hilarious twist. The robber had previously put out a Craigslist ad for road maintenance workers, promising wages of $28.50 per hour. Recruits were asked to wait near the Bank of America right around the time of the robbery--wearing yellow vests, safety goggles, a respirator mask, and preferably a blue shirt. At least a dozen of them showed up after responding to the Craigslist ad.

But, I have to admire his ingenuity.

Human Evolution

An interesting site on human evolution if you have time to waste.

6,000 Congress People

I stumbled upon an organization that thinks America's problem is that we have far too few Congressman. I guessing they are fighting a losing battle, but to be fair, some of their arguments are good:
The smaller the House, relative to the total population, the greater is the risk of unethical collusion or myopic groupthink. In contrast “Numerous bodies … are less subject to venality and corruption”. [James Madison, 14-August-1789]

I would add another one. Right now, many of are laws are written by the executive branch through regulations. This is a direct violation of the constitution, and the civil servants who write these regulations are unelected and due to civil service laws can not be fired nor motivated (they get promotions and pay raises regardless of the quality of their effort). Such a change would most likely increase the democratic nature of the laws and regulations that guide our lives.

Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey

Ever seen Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey and not understood it. This site attempts to explain it.

A bright happy future for the planet earth

The global warming part was annoying, but the rest was interesting. Although, they left out the part where the earth becomes a giant ice ball because the moon has drifted off into space.

Humanity needs to privatizes space to help prevent the bleakest of futures Some asteroids are full of precious metals which could be profitably mined. As a caveat, the figures of asteroid's value or worth in the linked article is severely overstated because introducing that much new raw metals into the market would severely depress the market price. Even given that caveat, that single asteroid would still be extremely valuable, and there are many many more just like it.

Yet, no one is developing the technology to mine these asteroids because space treaties declare that all profits must be shared with humanity. By privatizing space, profit motives would cause humanity start investing more in space travel. This would ultimately lead to the colonizing of space and help humanity escape our dying planet.

Obama wants you to think the election is over and he won

The Obama campaign is attempting to de-legitimize the McCain campaign's criticism of Obama by claiming that those criticisms are inappropriately divisive and acts of desperation. As Obama said today:
That's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time.

The McCain campaign has to fight back forcefully to prevent either of these stories from becoming the meta-narrative for the press.

Since one is absolutely false (the inappropriately divisive claim), and the other one is hopefully false, it should not be to hard to do.

Obama is a racist

It is time to go to the mat. If liberals are going to divisively accuse conservatives of being racist, conservatives should return fire in kind.

Obama is so racist that he won't even give his own grandparents the benefit of the doubt over the question of racism:
...I thought about my grandparents. They had sacrificed again and again for me. They had poured all their lingering hopes into my success. Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would. And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fear.
Maybe Obama is right (i.e., that his grandparents are racist), but the fact that he assumed that they are simply because they are white shows Obama's inherent racism.

Obama is a "foreigner" who is breaking the law.

Is this some kind of a joke?
The Republican National Committee's complaint about "foreign" contributions to Barack Obama's presidential campaign is... designed to raise questions about Obama's foreign-ness....

It is a documented fact that the Obama campaign has received illegal foreign contributions. So the word foreign does not belong in quotations.

It is true that the Obama campaign returned the documented illegal foreign contributions, but they only did so after others pointed the illegal activity out. It leaves the suspicion that additional unreported Obama campaign's contributions might be illegal. The only way to really know if the contributions are legal is for the Obama campaign to release the names of all his donors. Yet, if the RNC points this out, people accuse them of using divisive politics.

What about Doodad Pro, and Good Will? Can the RNC ask about their illegal campaign contributions without being accused of divisive politics?

via Ace of Spades

World on Fire by Sarah McLachlan

Caldonia by Sugar Chile Robinson?

Uploaded by redhotjazz1

Pulled from Daily Motion

The Gate Keeper's of Truth are not always truthful

Greg Laden does not trust or the to give him the truth:, and Snopes have become sources of a special kind of truth for people around the world. Dedicated to undoing legend and independently analyzing political or other rhetoric, these and other sites, as well as various news segments and print media spots, are to be commended for their efforts to turn down the BS meter, which all agree has been running on high ever since the old days, when there was no BS at all.

(Which, of course, is an urban myth.)

However, what you may not know is that these sites are not necessarily politically neutral, can be quite biased (in non-political ways) about certain issues, and can be annoyingly FOS all on their own.

Amen to that. exaggerates the amount of dishonesty in politics because it is their interest to do so. In some instances, they would be better served to just state the facts, and let the politicians make the case as the the importance of those facts.

Please vote Republican

America's is on the edge of one of its worst economic crisis in the last 78 years. And, the party (the Democrats) that is largely responsible for crisis is on the verge of even greater control of the American economy.

AP says Sarah Palin hates white people

Douglass K. Daniel of the AP accuses Sarah Palin of making a racist attack:
By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists"..., vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin' attack... carried a racially tinged subtext....
How is pointing out that Obama was friends with a terrorist who is a white man racially inappropriate? The Daniel's goes on to say:
...portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism.
Obama is unlike most Americans, and pointing that fact out is not racism. Most Americans have no relationship with an unrepentant terrorist who on the day of the 9/11 attack published an article expressing regret that he did not commit more attacks against the USA (”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”).

Finally, Daniels says that Palin's attack on Obama regarding his "palling around with terrorist" is "unsubstantiated". That is false. In the clip below, you can hear Obama compare his relationship with Ayers to his relationship with Senator Tom Coburn. Obama says that he "is also friendly Tom Coburn". That can only be understood as an implicit acknowledgement that he is also friendly with Bill Ayers.

Update: More "racially tinged subtext" here and here.

Update II: (via Allah Pundit) Palin continues to tell the truth:
I think it's fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy's living room.

Tucker Bounds, McCain-Palin spokesman, statement is also very effective:
The last four weeks of this election will be about whether the American people are willing to turn our economy and national security over to Barack Obama, a man with little record, questionable judgment, and ties to radical figures like unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. Americans need to ask themselves if they’ve ever befriended an unrepentant terrorist, or had a convicted felon help them buy their house — because those aren’t smears, those are true facts about Barack Obama.

It is about time that the McCain campaign got the courage to tell the truth.