Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
In some cases I think newspapers just don't give much news for a variety of reasons. Some of this is ideological and some of it is just bad or inefficient reporting. I have found blogs to give more in-depth analysis and are often days ahead in reporting what is happening. And you can always check opinions out quickly by looking at blogs that report and comment from a variety of perspectives.
However, as a long time subscriber to the Dallas Morning News, I have been puzzled for months about its decision-making. First, let me say that I think it is really a good newspaper (far better then those I have seen in other cities, including my beloved Chicago Tribune). I felt its news reporting was above average, its opinion paged is balanced and filled with thought-provoking comments from left and right, the business section is strong, and the sports pages are great (especially if you are a Cowboys fan).
In September our renewal rate went to over a thousand dollars for a one year subscription! As a middle class family this is entirely beyond the budget so we dropped our subscription. Who can afford a newspaper subscription, at least at the Dallas Morning News? I am sure there will be at least 10,000 people who will want to pay this rate.
The interesting thing is that I have recently received subscription letters from Fortune and now Kiplingers (and maybe Forbes) with a yearly subscription rate of less than $10. Maybe they are trying to hook me for a year and then ask for a $500 renewal rate for the next year! I assume they want to raise circulation levels and then show advertisers the value of an ad.
Recently the Dallas Morning News called to win us back with a special offer. We didn't even ask what the offer was--no thanks--don't need an umbrella or a $999 special. I wish you guys the best, but it is going to take some doing for the print media to bring us back.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
p. 53: A discussion of the 1942 Supreme Court ruling Wickard v. Filburn that a farmer growing wheat on his own land and for his own use was still subject to federal production limits, even though none of his what ever left the state.
p. 65: Saul Alinsky and the radicals desire to eradicate the middle class.
p. 76: . . .ethanol has been around since the 1800s. If it were a vialbe alternative or additive to gasoline, which supposedly would reduce oil use, gasoline prices, and automobile emissions, the free market would have responded positively. [I am not sure Rockefeller would have allowed it, although I agree with his argument that ethanol is not a solution to the energy issue.]
p. 86: Quoting Rexford Tugwell (advisor to FDR): We didn't admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.
p. 89: The reason stimulus plans of this sort do not work is a fundamental reality of governance: The government does not add value to the economy. It removes value from the economy by imposing taxes on one citizen and providing cash to another. Or it borrows money that would otherwise be used by investors and redistributes it elsewhere. Or it prints money and threatens the value of the dollar. Nothing is stimulated.
p. 120: A discussion on enviro-statism and attacks Earth First for putting the earth ahead of human beings. Humans are expendable, the earth is not.
p. 127: In 1971, Dr. S.I. Rasol, a NASA scientist, insisted that "in the next 50 years, the fine dust man constantly puts into the atmosphere by fossil-fuel burning could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees." An ice age was predicted.
p. 140: A 2 1/2 page (small print) of all the things caused by global warming--everything from acne to yellow fever. But spiders invading Scotland and a squid population explosion particularly caught my eye!
Friday, December 11, 2009
He stated clearly that war can be just, indeed, that sometimes it is the only path of justice.
"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes," he said. "There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naive -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King, but as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."
Lysenko's experiments were heralded, although the experiments were never replicated. The Soviet Union was full of botanists, biologists, geneticists, and other life scientists, and it was obvious to anyone with a free mind that Lysenko was propounding nonsense. But it was not until 1962 that the Soviet government allowed a real critique of his cartoon science
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
In 2004, retired businessman Stephen McIntyre asked the National Science Foundation for information on various climate research that it funds. Affirming "the importance of public access to scientific research supported by U.S. federal funds," the Foundation nonetheless declined, saying "in general, we allow researchers the freedom to convey their scientific results in a manner consistent with their professional judgment."
Which leaves researchers free to withhold information selectively from critics, as when CRU director Phil Jones told Australian scientist Warwick Hughes in a 2005 email: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."
Volokh has a detailed analysis of the data issues.
And here is an even more complete summary of issues involved.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Also it is interesting to see that Obama has flipped on the Iraq surge. Under Bush he criticized it, but now he uses it as a model.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, like Karen; there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away. Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.
The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.
I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving healthcare and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Drew's assessment of Obama's advisors: She scored "the Chicago crowd," which she characterized as "a distressingly insular and small-minded West Wing team." The White House, Ms. Drew says, needs adult supervision—"an older, wiser head, someone with a bit more detachment."
Noonan comments: Who are the wise men and women now? Who are the Robert Lovetts, Chip Bohlens and Robert Strausses who can came in to help a president in trouble right his ship? America seems short of wise men, or short on those who are universally agreed to be wise.
The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic not for those reasons, however, but because they express a growing political perception, and that is that there is something amateurish about this presidency, something too ad hoc and highly personalized about it, something . . . incompetent, at least in its first year.
Noonan also notes that a president's actions and image created in the first year of a presidency, often stay with the president. It remains to be seen, but Obama doesn't appear to be coming across as a Lincoln or Kennedy--the Carter image seems to be more appropriate at this point.
The Economist asks: "Does this president have a strategy. . .?" It assesses both his critics and those arguing that he is only in the first inning of a grand strategy. The writer states: It is a fair point, but as the months drag on, the “weak” case has been gaining the upper hand. Mr Obama has yet to show he has the staying power to take on a dangerous, stubborn and occasionally bad world. Even allowing for Israel’s shift this week, the president has hardly lived up to his promise to work for Middle East peace “with all the patience and dedication that the task requires”. With one big exception, he has not yet shown that he can back his oratory with a stick—and that was a tariff on Chinese tyres, a weak sop to America’s unions.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Another view. There is some kind of conspiracy or cover-up.
Watch this video!
The Politics of Science: Hillary Clinton famously remarked that during the Bush years it was “open season on open inquiry,” rehashing the familiar charge that a faith-based obscurantism dogmatically dismissed not only the claims of legitimate science, but also the very claims of reason itself. President Obama has stayed true to the liberal posture that whatever policy he happens to advocate is the only one substantiated by empirical science. However, it has become increasingly clear that the president’s claim to rigorously adhere to a science of politics—a science that provides unprejudiced information upon which he can craft sound policy—has been overtaken by a politics of science—the crass and Procrustean transformation of whatever data is available into further confirmation of his own ideological commitments.
And I like the following quote from Instapundit. It's beginning to look more and more like Czechoslovakia in 1973.
ROGER SIMON on ClimateGate and Talk of “Transparency.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “I now have a sense of what it was like living under Communism in Eastern Europe. The state-owned (in our case, establishment) press won’t report on reality so people had to turn to Samizdat to learn what’s actually happening in their world. It’s rather amazing. Also, having an Army of Davids go through these emails will pay dividends for years.” Well, Declan McCullagh at CBS has done a good job. But big-media folks seem to be slotting most of what coverage they do for the web, not for print or broadcast.
But word seems to be getting out.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The first step toward "cultural competence," says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize -- and confess -- their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the reeducation camps of China's Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.
The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an "autoethnography" report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their "cultural" motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a "cultural intelligence" assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other "isms." They "earn points" for "demonstrating the ability to be self-critical."
When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.
The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As the Obama administration considers how to approach the next phase of the $700 billion financial bailout, questions are being raised on Capitol Hill about whether it is helping the economy.
. . .not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.
And here are some of the hacked emails indicating some kind of conspiracy to keep the global warming theory alive when the data is not supporting it.
Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.
But if the Hadley CRU scandal is true,it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.
An Update (11/24/09).
More seriously, in one e-mail, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. Anthony Watts provides an explanation of this case in technical detail; the "trick" consists of selectively mixing two different kinds of data-temperature "proxies" from tree rings and actual thermometer measurements-in a way designed to produce a graph of global temperatures that ends the way the global warming establishment wants it to: with an upward "hockey stick" slope.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rod Dreher: I see him as a disillusioned early supporter. Sarah Palin is selling a personality, not a platform. That's not dumb. She's doing the best she can with what she has to work with. She quotes her father's line upon her resignation this summer as Alaska's governor: "Sarah's not retreating, she's reloading." On evidence of this book, Sarah Palin is charging toward 2012 shooting blanks.
A discussion of why the left fears her: What this country needs is a strong conservative leader with the courage of her convictions. Sensing those qualities in Sarah Palin, the liberal left is becoming frantic because they can't seem to halt her popularity. The reason they're panicking is because they're afraid of her connection with regular folks who work for a living, pay their taxes, attend a religious worship service regularly and believe that our country has lost the moral fiber that once united us.
An Alaska opponent: Palin neither organizes nor mobilizes. There is no Palin movement -- or organization of any depth and substance. There is no Palin philosophy beyond bromides about smaller government, the evils of abortion and the dangers of popular culture (which, right this moment, is making her a rich woman). While she easily won election as governor of Alaska in 2006, her victory was built largely on her fresh, attractive face and her predecessor's unpopularity.
Palin-Beck in 2012!
The media is really negative on Palin. 37 negative stories; 2 positive stories.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
At the heart of the identity crisis plaguing today’s France is a significant immigrant population that refuses to become French, and a multicultural left that has allowed them to live isolated in ghettoes for decades, where many have fallen prey to Muslim preachers of hate.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This has been a frustrating thing for me as a Muslim activist. Many Muslims disagree with political Islam, but they're not pressured to take on the mosque leadership. So you have discussions in the mosque going far beyond theology and the example of the Prophet; imams use the pulpit, or minbar as it's called in Arabic, to discuss politics. I've sent this over and over again in mosques I've attended.
Remember that mosque in Phoenix? There were 500 people there that day. I was the only one who publicly criticized the imam for that. And yet, every Muslim I talked to was offended by what the imam did. But they have this sheep mentality. They don't want to fight the tribe. They don't want to rock the boat. They don't understand that showing that we can criticize ourselves is not a weakness, it's a strength.
And Rod Dreher also wonders where the media is when dealing with radical Islam in America.
When it comes to investigating and exposing radical Islam in America, the media see their job as managing the story, not telling it. Six years ago, the then-head of the Islamic Society of North America came in for an editorial board meeting. He talked about peace, friendship and tolerance. But when I calmly asked him how he reconciled that rhetoric with the record of support for radical causes among ISNA board members, he shook his fist at me and called me a Nazi.
When anti-Semitic, anti-Christian hate literature is found at a mosque, or radical speakers give a program praising a Muslim fanatic, or Muslim children are taught the philosophy of the foremost philosopher of Islamist terror – all of which have happened in the Dallas area in recent years – few care to notice.
"Connecting the Dots" -- Stephen Hayes tries pull together the trail of Hasan.
The vast majority of Africans hold a worldview of causation very different from our own. Most Africans believe that any major occurrence, good or bad, has two causes. The first might be called physical: for instance, that a retrovirus causes AIDS by destroying the cells of the immune system. The second is a spiritual, less tangible cause, but is perceived to be no less real.
A natural corollary of viewing the spirit-world as the source of human suffering is the belief that man is (or thinks he is) under the thumb of God. If a person genuinely believes this, he will work to please the spirit-world through his actions. Morality has a practical emanation in this sense, because the goodness of a man's actions is tied to perceived material benefits. Evangelical Christianity encourages Africans to view their problems in this spiritual-moral frame of reference. The rhetorical pattern that emerges from African churches today is a lamentation, but not self-pitying, asking, "How can we change to better please God?"
The public health lobby answers this question by saying, essentially, "Start using condoms." This is the narrow-minded response, much more so than the call for behavioral change. As long as this attitude persists, Western policy will remain discordant with the realm of cause and effect within which Africans are operating. Christianity, as well as Islam, is a huge force whose day-to-day impact on African lives cannot be ignored. Any successful HIV/AIDS strategy will have to enlist churches, their moral authority and their enormous memberships.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Major problems exist for the elderly in the current bill. Where is the AARP?
The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.
Officials said the Defense Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to discuss an examination of the Muslim presence in the U.S. military and the threat of Al Qaida influence.
Officials said the Pentagon has been receiving reports of Muslim soldiers who expressed opposition to the U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. They said the opposition was encouraged by Islamic clerics as well as Muslim officers such as Hasan, who warned Muslims against harming co-religionists.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Given that Qutb thought any Muslim that didn't share his bloodthirsty totalitarian view of Islam was no better than an infidel, you'd think that a Muslim who wanted to help the US government flag potential extremist threats domestically would be alarmed by discovering that Qutb was being taught to kids at a large local mosque. You would be wrong.
Across the region, concern is rising about the absence of US leadership on trade since Mr Obama took office. Few believe that he has the will or power to restart the Doha round of global trade talks – and he has not asked Congress for a renewal of the president’s fast-track negotiating authority.
Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate. I think you would also be talking about the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Indeed, when one raises even a handful of the many, many scandals surrounding the UN and money, the reaction among international law observers tends to be, in my experience, not shock and a resolution that the organization needs to be better held to account, but a general sense that those who dwell on the sordid details are somehow demeaning the institution.
Friday, November 06, 2009
In other words, the narrative after 9/11 largely remains that Americans have given in to illegitimate "fear and mistrust" of Muslims in general. A saner approach would be to acknowledge that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every three to six months.
Bruce Bawer's take.
Most of the people in the mainstream media, I suspect, could also see early on exactly what was going on — but to an outrageous degree, they, too, spent Thursday evening doing their best to turn away from the obvious truth. Throughout the evening military and other authorities kept saying, and the talking heads on CNN kept repeating, that there was no sign that this was “a terrorist act” — as if Nidal Malik Hasan had to be officially connected to al-Qaeda to be a jihadist, a pious Muslim who saw the infidel as his enemy.
From Hot Air: Hasan attended a radical mosque in Great Falls, Virginia.
The issue of political correctness in dealing with terror is analyzed by Ralph Peters.
How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist whacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who’ve been assigned to his care? And he’s not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?
Hasan psychotic according to Walter Reed officials. Doctors questioned his behavior. He wired money to Pakistan. Pam Geller's view.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
The Congressional Budget Office Wednesday night released its cost analysis of the Republican health care plan and found that it would reduce health care premiums and cut the deficit by $68 billion over ten years.
The Republican plan does not call for a government insurance plan but rather attempts to reform the system by creating high-risk insurance pools, allowing people to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and instituting medical malpractice reforms.
"Not only does the GOP plan lower health care costs, but it also increases access to quality care, including for those with pre-existing conditions, at a price our country can afford," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
People have changed the planet's climate, warming the atmosphere by churning out greenhouse gases.
But that process didn't start during the Industrial Revolution. It began thousands of years ago, according to a controversial hypothesis, before anyone uttered the phrase "global warming."
The warming, triggered by a relative handful of farmers, some cutting and burning forests and others planting rice paddies, could be the best way to explain one of the strangest oddities in earth's climate record. The notion has admirers but also adamant detractors, who say it has major holes and—just as seriously—provides an excuse for skeptics of current global warming to say that climate change is a long-term trend that has little to do with car tailpipes and modern industry.
And once again Business Week had an interesting article about the lack of investment in research and development. Both business and the federal government are very short-sighted, because it is r & d that creates future jobs. Stimulus money spent to keep some people hired in a day-care center has much less impact than money spent to develop innovations that lead to the jobs of the future. Washington and businesses are just focused on the present and not the future. But the future will come at some point.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
An aside: I think Ninotchka and The Russians Are Coming are must sees when you want to raise your spirits.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Whichever path we take, like it or not, we will be moving away from current arrangements, the dollar-reserve system. There are only two questions: will the movement away be orderly or disorderly, and will America play a part in shaping the new system that will emerge? I believe that the transition to the new system will be smoother and that both the United States and the world will benefit if we stop putting our heads in the sand and help create the worldwide reserve system that the globalization of financial markets requires. Keynes recognized the need for such a global reserve currency seventy-five years ago. At the Bretton Woods meeting of 1944, in a costly act of self-interest, the United States blocked the full implementation of Keynes’s scheme. This is an old idea whose time has finally come.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
- No Child Left Behind. Forget about abolishing the Department of Education. Bush made the federal government a much more intrusive and costly part of local schools.
- Project Safe Neighborhoods. A draconian law that further guts the 2nd Amendment, like 20,000 other unconstitutional gun laws before it.
- Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. This the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ and will cost the already bankrupt Medicare system trillions more.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Possibly the most expensive and restrictive change to the securities laws since the ’30s. A major reason why companies will either stay private or go public outside the U.S.
- Katrina. A total disaster of bureaucratic mismanagement, featuring martial law.
- Ownership Society. The immediate root of the current financial crisis lies in Bush’s encouragement of easy credit to everybody and inflating the housing market.
- Nationalizations and Bailouts. In response to the crisis he created, he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and passed by far the largest bailouts in U.S. history (until OBAMA!).
- Free-Speech Zones. Originally a device for keeping war protesters away when Bush appeared on camera, they’re now used to herd in opponents.
- The Patriot Act. This 401-page bill, presented for passage only 45 days after 9/11 (how is it possible to write something of that size and complexity in only 45 days?) basically allows the government to do whatever it wishes with its subjects. Warrantless searches. All kinds of communications monitoring. Greatly expanded asset forfeiture provisions.
- The War on Terror. The scope of the War on Drugs (which Bush also expanded) is exceeded only by the war on nobody in particular but on a tactic. It’s become a cause of mass hysteria and an excuse for the government doing anything.
- Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush started two completely pointless, counterproductive, and immensely expensive wars, neither of which has any prospect of ending anytime soon.
- Dept. of Homeland Security. This is the largest and most dangerous of all agencies, now with its own gigantic campus in Washington, DC. It will never go away and centralizes the functions of a police state.
- Guantanamo. Hundreds of individuals, most of them (like the Uighurs recently in the news) guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are incarcerated for years. A precedent is set for anyone who is accused of being an "enemy combatant" to be completely deprived of any rights at all.
- Abu Ghraib and Torture. After imprisoning scores of thousands of foreign nationals, Bush made it a U.S. policy to use torture to extract information, based on a suspicion or nothing but a guard’s whim. This is certainly one of the most damaging things to the reputation of the U.S. ever. It says to the world, "We stand for nothing."
- The No-Fly List. His administration has placed the names of over a million people on this list, and it’s still growing at about 20,000 a month. I promise it will be used for other purposes in the future…
- The TSA. Somehow the Bush cabal found 50,000 middle-aged people who were willing to go through their fellow citizens’ dirty laundry and take themselves quite seriously. God forbid you’re not polite to them…
- Farm Subsidies. Farm subsidies are the antithesis of the free market. Rather than trying to abolish or cut them back, Bush signed a record $190 billion farm bill.
- Legislative Free Ride. And he vetoed less of what Congress did than any other president in history.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Concerning a staff meeting: Though they don't talk about it, they seem ever aware of President Barack Obama's iron-handed control of decisions. [emphasis mine]
Also he describes Clinton as more moderate than others in the administration: Clinton has a hard edge to her foreign-policy views and generally positions herself to the right of her colleagues in national security.
Friday, October 23, 2009
From the Atlantic: I think we finally have hit the wall of deficit spending.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
What I am saying is that the government's actions to date have not fixed the underlying problems or helped stabilize the economy. The government has been doing all of the wrong things and made the situation worse by, among other things:
(1) Throwing trillions of dollars at the "too big to fails", instead of admitting that many of them are insolvent
(2) Undermining trust of nations all over the world in the American economy
(3) Failing to restore Glass-Steagall, reign in credit default swaps, or do anything else necessary to stabilize the financial system
(4) Attempting to restart high levels of leverage and securitization
(5) Failing to take real measures to decrease employment and increase manufacturing
(6) Creating an enormous debt overhang and trashing our currency
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"People have predicted the end of America in the past and been wrong," Ferguson concedes. "But let's face it: If you're trying to borrow $9 trillion to save your financial system...and already half your public debt held by foreigners, it's not really the conduct of rising empires, is it?"
Given its massive deficits and overseas military adventures, America today is similar to the Spanish Empire in the 17th century and Britain's in the 20th, he says. "Excessive debt is usually a predictor of subsequent trouble."
Frontline has a program on how Greenspan and Congress helped cause the breakdown of the go-go 1990s.
In The Warning, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk unearths the hidden history of the nation's worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all he finds Brooksley Born, who speaks for the first time on television about her failed campaign to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar derivatives market whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.
"I didn't know Brooksley Born," says former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, a member of President Clinton's powerful Working Group on Financial Markets. "I was told that she was irascible, difficult, stubborn, unreasonable." Levitt explains how the other principals of the Working Group -- former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin -- convinced him that Born's attempt to regulate the risky derivatives market could lead to financial turmoil, a conclusion he now believes was "clearly a mistake."
Born's battle behind closed doors was epic, Kirk finds. The members of the President's Working Group vehemently opposed regulation -- especially when proposed by a Washington outsider like Born.
Also see "How did America fall so fast?"
In 2000, America was described as the sole remaining superpower - or even the world's "hyperpower". Now we're in real trouble (at the very least, you have to admit that we're losing power and wealth in comparison with China).
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The data posted Thursday was the result of the government's initial attempt at counting actual stimulus jobs. Obama administration officials stressed that data was partial -- it represented just $16 billion out of the $339 billion awarded -- but they said it exceeded their projections.
This mean there will be a total of around 650,000 jobs created if my math is correct when all of the money get spent. There could be a multiplier effect resulting in more jobs, but this doesn't give a lot of hope to the unemployed.
Michigan has only created 397 jobs from 650 million in stimulus, not the 19,500 claimed.
The Bureau of Labor has made a mistake and the job losses are worse than first estimated.
When we combine the weak job numbers with declining wages, tight credit, record household debt and the impending explosion of home foreclosures, the chances of a sustainable economic recovery looks exceedingly slim. Yet, for the third time in this decade the stock market is off on another binge not based on reality. Such flights into fantasy always end badly.
Bush's policies = 85,000 dead.
Gateway Pundit has an interesting video on what Secretary of State Albright said in 1996.
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.
And the Antarctic ice melt is at its lowest level in history.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
With an incredible rapidity, America's status as the world's pre-eminent superpower is now passing away. This is a function both of the nearly systematic abandonment of U.S. interests and allies overseas, with metastasizing debt and bureaucracy on the home front.
And while I think the U.S. has the structural fortitude to survive the Obama presidency, it will be a much-diminished country that emerges from the "new physics" of hope and change
It is Bush's fault according to Senator Burris (D, Illinois)
Two examples from just the past week. A few days ago, I was sent a link to a screed by MSNBC's left-wing anchorman Ed Schultz, in which he explained opposition to the president's health-care reform. "The Republicans lie. They want to see you dead. They'd rather make money off your dead corpse. They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don't have anything for us." Next, a link to the syndicated show of right-wing radio talker Alex Jones, on the subject of the U.S. military, whose security efforts at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh show them to be agents and lackeys of the New World Order. "They are complete enemies of America. . . . Our military's been taken over. . . . This is the end of our country." Later, "They'd love to kill 10,000 Americans," and, "The republic is falling right now."
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Goolsbee peppered an otherwise expected stump speech on the Obama administration's goals with subtle asides that constituted a humorous, sarcastic, self-deprecating and conspiratorial insight into the administration's most accessible punchlines. The targets? Hillary Clinton, Sen. Ben Nelson, Rod Blagojevich, Sarah Palin and Fox News.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”
Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. “He f***ed it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.” As for his wider vision: “Maybe he doesn’t have one, not to imply he is a fraud. He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ‘I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs — a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” Has he met Obama? “No,” he says quietly, “I’ve had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang.” He is referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated. “Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.
A moderate conservative also is criticizing Obama. Rollins considers Obama's criticism of the Bush administation in his UN speech as tasteless
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
West's company – Group & Pension Administrators Inc. of Dallas – is defying this trend. When a hospital submits a claim, GPA staffers ignore the charges. They check the data hospitals report to Medicare, where hospitals show their actual costs for each procedure. Then GPA pays those costs, plus 12 percent for the hospital's profit.
For a patient who stayed three days in an Austin hospital after knee surgery, that payment method reduced the bill from $69,000 to $15,000. For another patient, the bill fell from $11,000 to $1,000, West said.
Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief.
No one should believe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran seems intent on developing a nuclear weapons program and the missiles capable of delivering them. This -- not the public revelations of a known installation -- is the real crisis, possibly one that can only end in war. It is entirely possible that Israel, faced with that chilling cliche -- an existential threat -- will bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. What would happen next is anyone's guess -- retaliation by Hamas and Hezbollah, an unprecedented spike in oil prices and then, after a few years or less, a resumption of Iran's nuclear program. Only the United States has the capability to obliterate Tehran's underground facilities. Washington may have to act.
A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.
German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.
Will all the pundits who relied on the discredited 2007 NIE on Iran now admit that they were wrong? That they bought into and kept citing, without any serious questioning, the now clearly politically skewed analysis in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate of that year? You remember: the considered consensus wisdom of the entire U.S. intelligence community, which misled the world into believing there was nothing to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, that it had virtually ceased. When, in fact, out of the three components of a nuclear weapons program, at most one might have been suspended, if that.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Now I see some others noticing this attitude abroad. Reihan Salam, "Can He Wow the World Again." The weak US economy does play a role in this, but I don't think this is the complete picture.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The President's domestic critics who accuse him of being the sinister wielder of a socialist master-plan are wide of the mark. The man who has run nothing more demanding than the Harvard Law Review is beginning to look out of his depth in the world's top job. His credibility is seeping away, and it will require concrete achievements rather than more soaring oratory to recover it.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Obama’s tire tariff isn’t your everyday sort of protectionism. It could end up causing a serious ripple effect. Due to a loophole in the 2001 agreement that allowed China to join the WTO, if any one member decides to impose safeguards on Chinese imports, all others can follow suit. It doesn’t take a genius to see how bad it could get.
Obama has largely decided to become a domestic-policy president. His supporters, his base and the politicking of his underlings indicate things will only get worse. With the global economy in deep crisis, protectionism is a terrible way to build a recovery.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
If Obama didn't get a quid pro quo for this decision from Putin, it shows remarkably weak leadership in foreign affairs for the future. He is not sending a strong signal to East European countries. And he announced it on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland!
The US is to abandon its controversial plan to build a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Czech prime minister has announced.
One British foreign affairs analyst sees it as a surrender.
This is bad news for all who care about the US commitment to the transatlantic alliance and the defence of Europe as well as the United States. It represents the appalling appeasement of Russian aggression and a willingness to sacrifice American allies on the altar of political expediency. A deal with the Russians to cancel missile defence installations sends a clear message that even Washington can be intimidated by the Russian bear.
Senator Schumer may agree with me!!!! Where's the quid pro quo?
Other Democrat questions.
If this is how Obama is conducting foreign policy, the US is in for a difficult road ahead.