Saturday, October 11, 2008

A few days ago I did a partial fisking of a currently very common set of Leftist ideas on the net: That America has just had some great collapse relative to the rest of the world and that it's all the fault of capitalism and conservatism. I am not in the mood to keep fisking such rubbish so I reproduce initially below the introduction to a VERY extensive fisking of such ideas (if you can call them that). I then give an excerpt from an article that probably gives a good idea of German thinking on the matter. Its statements are however so sweeping (in good Hegelian style) that I will leave it uncommented. The comments on the website where the article appears make a good start on bringing it back down to earth, however.

The basic downfall of these Leftist rants is their usual inability to see any reality that they do not like: In this case they fail to note that in all sorts of ways America still compares favourably with declining Europe -- and that Europe has had to take even more desperate measures to deal with the financial crisis than America has. I don't think America has nationalized a single retail bank yet but in Europe governments are taking over financial institutions wholesale. And China's banks have been on a knife-edge for YEARS! Capitalism is still doing better! And it would do even better if it were not so hog-tied by a tangle of Democrat-inspired regulations

Did you realize that we conservatives got all we wanted and that's what screwed up just about everything, from hurricanes and Iraq to the global financial meltdown? That's a rapidly-developing propaganda theme being disseminated in the Big Media. Case in point: Thomas Frank (What's the Matter with Kansas?) in the Wall Street Journal.
"Over many years of ascendancy, conservative Republicans have filled government agencies with conservative Republicans and proceeded to enact the conservative Republican policy wish list -- tax cuts, deregulation, privatization, outsourcing federal work, and so on.

"And as a consequence of these policies our conservative Republican government has bungled most of the big tasks that have fallen to it. The rescue and recovery of the Gulf Coast was a disaster. The reconstruction of Iraq was a disaster. The regulatory agencies became so dumb they didn't even see the disasters they were set up to prevent. And each disaster was attributable to the conservative philosophy of government."

If Mr. Frank really believes this, then one of us is crazy. But I don't think he believes it. I think he's in the tank for Barack Obama and wants to use the megaphone of the WSJ to put some meat on Obama's bones of "the last eight years." You can read his whole article, and you'll find no shred of evidence to support any of his claims. His logic is simple -- and flawed. It goes like this.
Republicans are conservative. (Flawed premise number one.)

Republicans have ruled in recent years. (Flawed premise number two.)

Everything wrong in that time is therefore due to conservatism. (The good old post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, even if based on good premises.)

We conservatives wish Republicans governed with any conservatism. There were some tax rate cuts in 2001, but that's about the sum total of the conservative "wish list" that was enacted under George W. Bush.

Much more here


How can the land of victories and optimism come to terms with a life after the imperial moment?

Learning to decline - is it doable? Can a world power that no longer presumes to dominate the world find a new role, without depression or biting fear, is there life after the imperial moment? That is the question that the United States faces and that will define the term of the next American President starting 20 January 2009. Managing getting weaker, revising the political self-image, if not the national identity is at least as great a challenge as tangible dangers; from the results of the financial crisis to competition from Russia and China to terrorism. Anyone who heard Barack Obama and John McCain at the end of the last week during their first debate had to have had doubts as to whether they (and their country) have clearly made out the entire dimension of the fall of America or whether they have found the courage to speak the truth.

It feels like a mocking punishment of the Gods that George W. Bush, the onetime embodiment of American Hubris, has to preside over the economic humiliation of his nation after the political and moral crises that had already openly broken out. America is simultaneously paying the price of power and powerlessness. The global image of the United States has not recovered since the days of the dominance rush, when the Bush government made its land hated in the world with the Iraq War and the excesses of Abu Ghraib. At the same time, however, the superior power position against which the anti-American resentment is still pointed, has long begun to crumble.

The economic and political dynamic has shifted to Asia at the outset of the 21st century - a secular process that has only entered the world consciousness with true drama in the last three of four years. A resurgent Russia can militarily force Georgia, the US client, to its knees without penalty. The fall of Saddam Hussein did not bring the democratic transformation of the Islamic world, but instead the end of the American era in the Middle East - from the Iranian atomic danger to the oil production quotas of Saudi Arabia to the power games of Pakistani domestic politics - control has slipped away from Washington.

This is all happening with breathtaking speed. Even in January 2005, at the beginning of his second term, George W. Bush announced perhaps the most ambitious historic program that has ever been proclaimed by a modern democratic statesman: The spread of the "fire of freedom" that, like a prairie fire, would grip the far corners of the world. It is difficult to imagine that Bush's successor, whether Democrat or Republican, will again act and speak in this manner...

Preachers of calm, who fight against the downfall thesis, point to earlier periods of American weakness, that soon thereafter were over with: At the end of the 1980s, the future seemed to belong to Japan, and during the Cold War there were even experts that gave the destitute and strictly disciplined Soviet Union better chances of winning and surviving than the opulent and softened down United States.

But it isn't always all as it once was - today's American loss of power it is not. The Communist eastern bloc was in truth only capable of competing militarily and hopefully inferior in all other areas, as was immediately shown after 1989 during the complete industrial collapse from East Berlin to Vladivostok. And Japan is a small country handicapped as the historic aggressor in the Second World War when compared to self-confident giants like China or India. The entire history of the United States to date was the story of its rise to the pinnacle of a world dominated by the West; but exactly this world, however, is no longer self-evident.

More here



British bureaucrats are STILL losing data: "A computer hard drive with the private details of 700,000 Armed Forces personnel and potential applicants is missing, The Ministry of Defence said today. The portable drive contains the names, addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth and driving licence details of around 100,000 serving personnel across the Army, Royal Navy and RAF, plus their next-of-kin details. It also has data on 600,000 potential services applicants and the names of their referees. Officials are 'not ruling out' the risk that bank account details of personnel were held on the drive, which belonged to its IT contractor EDS. The department said it learned of the loss on Wednesday and MoD Police were investigating. The missing drive is the latest information security breach to hit the MoD"

Stopping ACORN: "ACORN is rapidly becoming a major issue, with the Republican base outraged over the voter registration fraud investigations in ten states. An online petition has been created to demand an investigation of it and that the government take steps to stop its continued violations of election law. While there, take a look at the website of this new organization,"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, October 10, 2008

Palin vs. Biden

How is it that an attractive woman who has been involved in state and local government since the early 1990s without much controversy is passed off in the media now as an airhead? Yet her opponent -- long known as an airhead, a braggart and even a plagiarist -- now is passed off as a statesman? I have in mind Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware or Scranton, Pa., or wherever he now claims to hail from. In September, Gov. Palin sat before ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric and was asked any question that popped into their minds or the minds of their researchers. The comely governor responded adequately. She might not win first prize on "Jeopardy," but then no "Jeopardy" winner has governed Alaska. Nonetheless, she is portrayed in the mainstream moron media as an airhead, and Sen. Biden is a statesman.

Well, take a glance at Sen. Biden's performance just last month. On Sept. 22, he bragged to a Baltimore audience: "If you want to know where al-Qaida lives, you want to know where bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me. Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down with a three-star general and three United States senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are." Two days later, he continued his BSing that al-Qaida's headquarters had been moved to "the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where (his) helicopter was recently forced down." Both statements were rehashes of his Sept. 9 garbage spiel that "the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan (is) where (his) helicopter was forced down." Left unsaid by the senator -- who rarely leaves anything unsaid -- was that the helicopter was "brought down" not by enemy fire but by inclement weather.

OK, maybe those outbursts do not reveal Sen. Biden as an airhead, but they do reveal him as a phony. So consider a few more of the senator's September follies. On Sept. 17, at an appearance in Ohio, Sen. Biden tapped the chest of a reporter (presumably male) and said, "You need to work on your pecs." Then there was the senator's interview with Katie Couric. It is Couric, of course, who supposedly revealed Gov. Palin's intellectual weightlessness, but late in September, she revealed both herself and Sen. Biden to be ignoramuses.

While interviewing him on what appeared to be a bus, Couric evoked this response from the Democrats' vice presidential candidate: "When the stock market crashed (in 1929), Franklin Roosevelt got on television and didn't just talk about, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'" Actually, Roosevelt was not president until 1933, and in 1929, there was no "television audience" because there was no television available to consumers. By now, all Biden watchers have had a good laugh at his expense on this one, but the laugh is on Couric, too. Her round, girlish, expressionless face revealed no hint that she was aware of the senator's botched historical reference.

So Sen. Biden, in one month, reminded us that he is a phony and an airhead, but in September, he also reminded us that he is a plagiarist. In his 1988 presidential bid, he was caught lifting from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock the Welshman's biographical treacle, adapting it for an American audience thus: "My ancestors who worked in the coal mines in Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours." In Kinnock's version, his Welsh ancestors "could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football." This was a dreadful humiliation for Sen. Biden, made all the worse when it was revealed that he had faked his academic record and been accused of plagiarism in law school.

After being forced out of the 1988 race, the senator, one would have thought, never again would mention his "coal-mining" heritage. Yet Sept. 21, while addressing an audience filled with coal miners in Virginia, he fibbed: "I am a hard coal miner -- anthracite coal, Scranton, Pa. That's where I was born and raised." He was never a coal miner, and most of his early life was spent in Delaware. Amazing as it sounds, all the recent pratfalls were committed by the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in but one month. Nonetheless, as we enter October, it is Gov. Palin whom the media deem controversial.



More proof that a Democrat caused the Great Depression

He's got modern-day ideological descendants who are equally destructive

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933. "President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."




Huge British power generation bungle: "British companies are being forced to pay over four times more for their electricity this winter than competitors in France and in excess of 70 per cent more than in Germany. The discrepancy will increase concerns that Britain's crumbling power infrastructure is a growing threat to the country's competitiveness and comes as Ofgem today announces its report into competition in the energy market. Wholesale power prices in the UK have soared because of a squeeze in generating capacity, which is expected to leave an unusually thin margin of spare supply next month. On Friday, the forward price of power for November reached more than $260 per megawatt hour. In France, it was about $62 per megawatt hour, according to Spectron, a supplier of energy market data. In Germany, the price stood at around $194 per megawatt hour. Jeremy Nicholson, of the Energy Intensive Users' Group, gave warning that some British companies could close this winter because they will not be able to pay such high prices. Power-hungry industries such as brickmaking, cement, glassmaking and papermills are particularly at risk."

Voter fraud by ACORN again: Nevada state authorities seized records and computers Tuesday from the Las Vegas office of an organization that tries to get low-income people registered to vote, after fielding complaints of voter fraud. Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state's office, told the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about "erroneous" registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN. The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote. "Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications," Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev."

Regulators cannot avert next crisis: "As usual after a financial crisis, we hear demands for new controls and regulations to stop it from happening again. But since every crisis has led to thousands of new pages of regulation, why is it that regulation doesn't stop crises from happening again? No matter what pundits say, we are nowhere near a laissez-faire situation. Look no further than the US federal institutions in Washington, DC, and we find 12,113 individuals working full time to regulate the financial markets. What did they do with the powers they had? Made mistakes. American politicians, central banks and regulators were just as eager as speculators to expand the housing bubble. They just had a bigger pump... The problem with regulation is that it is always a response to the last crisis. Generals fight the last war and always try to avoid the mistakes made then. So we get new rules that target the mistakes that everybody already knows they must avoid. The next possible crisis and its causes are so far unknown, and our regulations may have no effect or even make them worse."

Social Security still needs to be privatized: "Wall Street's wild ride over the last few weeks has many critics of President Bush's 2000 campaign promise to create personal Social Security accounts dredging up the issue to score points with justifiably frightened voters. Barack Obama's campaign has used the issue as a cudgel to whack John McCain, who supported President Bush's plan. Embattled GOP senators such as New Hampshire's John Sununu are also finding themselves on the defensive as the issue of private accounts is resurfacing in campaign attack ads. resident Bush deserves criticism for the way he pushed private accounts, but not for the idea itself. ... Private accounts made sense in 2001, and they still make sense today, even after the calamitous last month in America's capital markets."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Reactions to Worst. Townhall. Ever

The Anchoress summarizes a lot of reactions:

Good heavens that was the most boring townhall debate I've ever seen. No "moments" to it. Both the Kerry/Bush and Gore/Bush townhalls were a great deal more informative and persuasive. Brokaw needed more input from the audience and less from his gasbag self. I am told it was better on radio, but to me neither one of the candidates brought their A game, tonight. Both seemed like they needed a cup of Mystic Monk Coffee

Vodkapundit says McCain won, just barely. He might be right.but I think Obama did nothing good for himself tonight by sounding like a policywonk going-on-80, and failing to bring the charisma or even a modicum of humor. Obama made himself seem like any other politician. With his youth, he should have shown a brightness, a bounce to the step, even a cockiness; he should have walked all over the 72 year old McCain, and he didn't do it. Instead, he was wonkish and grim to the point of coma, and he almost seems like he has to be prompted (in rebuttal) to say anything good about America. I think the nation needed to see a bit more Obama Ommph. They don't expect it from McCain, but a little energy from Obama was really necessary. So, all in all, I think more than McCain winning "a little," Obama actually lost "a lot." He handed the "youth, energy and charisma" ball to Sarah Palin.

Instapundit notes that intrade markets show a 24 point drop for Obama and remarks, "That's odd. I didn't think it was that lopsided." It wasn't, except for Obama's utter lack of energy; his ability to seem distinct from any other politician. That is what I meant, when I said the debate gave the most help to Sarah Palin.

Vanderleun seems to agree with my assessment!

Question: Does anyone think Obama sounded like he was being prompted, almost word-by-word on his answers re Russia and Israel? He was so halting and dull it was receiving.each.word.through his left ear. But maybe I just have a very active imagination. And when one is bored, the imagination DOES take over.

I note that John McCain showed none of the oomph, vigor and fire that he showed just two days ago. I wonder if he is unwell?

UPDATE: YIKES!! Ann Althouse thought she saw an earpiece in Obama's LEFT ear.I kept asking my kids if it didn't sometimes seem like Obama was looking LEFT and giving halting answers, as though he was being prompted. The yawned at me, of course, but some of Althouse's commenters also thought the same thing. So, I ain't totally crazy.

Update II: Okay, Ann is "reconsidering" the earpiece. But I still think it's funny that she saw something in his left ear, and I'd been wondering about his looking to the left when his answers plodded. Oh.that works on so many levels, too! Heh.

McCain did not say the thing that would have won him the election, tonight. As we have seen before, no one ever listens to me. Both of them had their best moments on their closings, with the only interesting question of the night: "what don't you know?"

Althouse liveblogged and her commenters were very busy. All I know is Ann switched from tea to cognac by the end of it, and I wish I had, too.

Also.I'm sorry but the Palin/Biden debate was more interesting and entertaining. What has happened to Obama's energy and charisma? He seemed lethargic. McCain seemed old. Nothing vibrant or new or fresh about either of them. Neither of them managed to display much humor, self-deprecating or otherwise. Don't they understand the power that one has in the ability to laugh at oneself?

Reactions to the debate below, most recent links first:

Betsy Newmark: "We're in deep trouble". Not sure if she means the whole nation or just the GOP, there, as I am unimpressed and uninspired by either of these men.

Lorie Byrd emails that, watching on TIVO she sees McCain hitting all these points she'd hoped for. She feels more positive than many.

Camille Paglia: Do not underestimate Palin. As ever, she is a delight and a blast to read, even when one disagrees with her. On Palin, she is clearly having fun throwing darts at the provincial left. Don't miss it - including the letters.

Reuters: McCain camp has a sense of humor. Obama camp clearly does not. You gotta be able to laugh, guys.

Ace: Barack is a liar but McCain needed to change the game, so Barack wins by a hair and here's sixty seconds of truth. 60 seconds ain't enough time.

Andy McCarthy: Why won't Obama talk about Columbia? Maybe because he didn't write so well, back then?

Rod Dreher: What appalling candidates!

Jim Geraghty: "another hour and a half of my life I won't get back".

Mark Steyn: This debate a horrible travesty.

Stanley Kurtz: Obama's Seeds of Disaster

Mary Katharine Ham catches Chris Matthews cooing about Obama. Ick.

Michelle Malkin liveblogged, snored and woke up when Obama called 9/11 a "tragedy" that "most remember". Yeah, that was an eek. They both made eeks.

Palin watched the debate in a pizzaria. Pubs and pizzarias. I think I know this gal!

Ed Morrissey, who earlier today wrote of CNN commiting an act of random journalism, writes tonight that McCain won on points.



Barney Frank tries to pass the buck

Rep. Barney Frank is blaming a familiar scapegoat for the financial crisis: racist Republicans. As the Associated Press reports:
The Massachusetts Democrat, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the GOP is appealing to its base by blaming the country's mortgage foreclosure problem on efforts to expand affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act.

He said that blame is misplaced, because those loans are issued by regulated institutions, while far more foreclosures were triggered by high-cost loans made by unregulated entities.

"They get to take things out on poor people," Frank said at a mortgage foreclosure symposium in Boston. "Let's be honest: The fact that some of the poor people are black doesn't hurt them either, from their standpoint. This is an effort, I believe, to appeal to a kind of anger in people."

In fact, there was a concerted government effort to relax credit standards in order to make it easy for low-income and minority borrowers to get mortgages. As the Boston Herald reports, in 1992 the Boston Federal Reserve Bank put out an influential study called "Closing the Gap: A Guide to Equal Opportunity Lending." It concluded "that a serious problem exists in the market for mortgage loans, and lenders, community groups and regulators must work together to ensure that minorities are treated fairly." Among its recommendations to that end:
Policies regarding applicants with no credit history or problem credit history should be reviewed. Lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor. Certain cultures encourage people to "pay as you go" and avoid debt. Willingness to pay debt promptly can be determined through review of utility, rent, telephone, insurance, and medical bill payments. In reviewing past credit problems, lenders should be willing to consider extenuating circumstances. For lower-income applicants in particular, unforeseen expenses can have a disproportionate effect on an otherwise positive credit record. In these instances, paying off past bad debts or establishing a regular repayment schedule with creditors may demonstrate a willingness and ability to resolve debts.

The Herald reports that economist Stan Liebowitz "says the widely disseminated guidelines were misused or exploited by lenders, some well-meaning and some predatory, and laid the groundwork for abusive practices--ch as no-money-down, option adjustable-rate-mortgage and liar loans--that have spiraled into the mortgage meltdown the country is faced with today." The head of the Boston Fed at the time was Richard Syron. The Herald describes his later career:
The Fed published a guide in 1993 for banks on equal opportunity lending, with a foreword written by Syron. The guide recommended changes to mortgage underwriting standards and practices that, according to Liebowitz, is where we find the seeds of today's mortgage meltdown. . . .

Syron left the Boston Fed in 1994 and wound up as CEO and chairman of the Federal Home Loan Corp., or Freddie Mac, in 2003. As head of Freddie Mac, Syron has said he faced increasing pressure to buy up more and more risky mortgages, some of which the Boston Fed's guide had, in effect, served to legitimize.

When too many of the mortgages went bad, the federal government stepped in last month to take over Freddie Mac and another government-supported enterprise, the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae. Syron and Fannie Mae chief Daniel Mudd were ousted.

Barney Frank is playing an old and disreputable liberal game, one that we've seen in past debates over welfare and affirmative action: ascribing a racial motive to criticism of policies designed to help minorities. But not all of his Democratic colleagues are playing. Fox News quotes Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus:
Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.

Does Frank want to call Davis racist too?



Brookes News Update

The US is definitely in recession: In the second quarter of the year GDP grew by 2.8 per cent. This was up from the 0.9 per cent increase posted in the first quarter. With GDP positive there can be no recession. Wrong. The US is definitely in recession
Can congress save the US economy from recession?: Supporters of the rescue package believe that without it there would be severe economic disruptions. This amounts to financial support at the expense of the taxpayer for a variety of phoney financial activities. The result is more political controls that will hamper genuine economic growth
Why the congressional bailout won't solve the credit crisis: The bailout cannot solve the problem because the real problem is one of lousy economics and an equally lousy understanding of economic history as well as the history of economic thought. So we can all look forward to more economic crises followed by more destructive politically inspired intervention
You're an angry feminist? That's so cute: Their shameful attacks on Palin and her family have revealed that liberal Democrats, the mainstream media, and those malicious hacks in the 'progressive' blogosphere are willing to navigate the deepest, darkest sludge of slash-and-burn politics to see their man, Barack Obama, elected President
Sarah Palin and the Experience Factor: "Palin accomplished more in 18 months than most governors do over full terms, including facing down a corrupt and entrenched old-boys network and bringing the oil companies - the state's biggest business - to heel, and completing a pipeline agreement with Canada. What did Obama ever do?
Obama advisors received millions instead of jail terms: The party of fraud, vote rigging, slander and treason has done it again. The three Democrats who looted Fannie Mae to the tune of scores of millions of dollars are now top advisors to Obama. As expected, the diseased media have refused to report or investigate
Israel on the brink as the winds of war from Syria and Iran gather intensify: Muslim enemies of Israel are getting ready - with the help of Putin - for another war. One that will, they hope, destroy Israel and finally bring about the total extermination of the Jewish race
Obama's economic agenda: This is change?: Any economists worth his salt knows damn well that equalizing incomes means attacking economic growth. But that doesn't bother Obama. He intends to raise capital gains taxes even though he knows it would damage economic progress. So what is fair about that?
Why America's economic crisis was unavoidable: As the financial crisis unfolds Americans have nothing to fear other than Congress. The Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac crisis is part of a larger and far more serious economic crisis, one that few economic commentators foresaw. There is nothing new here; financial crises are as old as banking itself. Fortunately the fear of another Great Depression are baseless
Can the US Government save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?: To save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from total collapse taxpayers will have to foot a massive bill. This means a further squandering of America's already depleted pool of real savings. It is only wealth generators that can revive the economy by accumulating enough real capital. This is the real cost of FF - the cost taxpayers do not see
Good job figures point to gloom times ahead: Regardless of what our Panglossian economic commentators are saying: one-third of Australia is not in recession. What we are seeing is the first material signs of a genuine recession and one that our economic commentariat is unable to explain
Media yawn as new museum honors Saddam's Abu Ghraib victims: When Abu Ghraib popS up in the news the leftwing media go on instant alert, sensing a renewed opportunity to negatively portray the Bush administration. But when the Iraqi government announced last week it was going to reopen the notorious prison as a museum honours the victims of the horrors committed there in years past, a collective yawn greeted the statement, proving that they are nothing but lying political bigots
Fannie May and Freddy Mac: the time bomb finally explodes: If you think that Fannie and Freddie's bust is a big deal, just wait until Medicare comes crashing down. Then, the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be truly unbearable. As that day rapidly approaches, however, you'll notice that the politicians are doing utterly nothing to forestall it
Discreet influences: Guenon, the author of the decay of the European West, had concluded in the 1920s that only three ways offered themselves to this civilization: the fall into barbarism, the restoration of the Catholic Church, or Islamization
The Book-Banners Hollywood Ignores: The September 11 terrorist attacks didn't turn celebrity leftists into hawks. But the minute they started reading false rumors about Sarah Palin restricting unfettered access to Daddy's Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies in her hometown library, Tinseltown's docile doves became militant warmongers
Why not use food as leverage for oil?: "If those leading America in the future had fortitude to do so, food could be used as part of a geopolitical strategy to make our country secure and as a counterweight to oil extortion. This may seem crass to liberals but our enemies do not share their sensitivities. We cannot continue to defend ourselves without using all our weapons in a world where our enemy only recognizes strength
Olavo de Carvalho's lecture: The structure of the revolutionary mind: When revolutionaries like Che, and Hitler's operatives murdered innocent people, they blamed their victims for making them do it by refusing to go along with their revolutionary notions. This is where moral relativism leads


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Here's all you need to know about the financial crisis

Two British comedians get perilously close to the truth

The alarming thing is that the video is 12 months old yet it is totally up to date. Even comedians could foresee what the Democrat Congresscritters could not. (H/T Agmates)


Sarah smarter than the pundits

She knew who the President of Iraq is. They didn't

A hilarious example of press bias against Palin occurred last FridayI on "The Diane Rehm Show," a production of Washington's WAMU-FM. The exchange between hostess Rehm, caller Tom of Norwich, Vt., and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne begins at about 46:10 of the "10:00 News Roundup":
Tom: I just wonder why not more has been made of the statement by Palin during the debate last night that "Maliki and the Talabani"--this is a quote from the transcript--"also in working with us are knowing again that we are getting closer and closer to the point of victory." The Talibani obviously are our absolute enemy and have been since 9/11; Maliki, our central ally in Iraq. This to me is a tremendous blunder, revealing a very superficial familiarity with these sorts of terms.

Rehm: Thanks for calling, Tom. . . . E.J.?

Dionne: I think that "superficial" is absolutely the right word for the knowledge or the lack of knowledge Palin showed yesterday. I'm glad the caller raised that one, and I suspect there is going to be a scouring of that transcript for exactly that sort of gaffe. That has echoes of some of the stuff she said to Katie Couric.

If you look at the debate transcript, however, you will see that the reference is not to "the Talabani" but to Talabani--as in Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq.



Sarah brings part of the American dream to life

When Sarah Palin appeared on the national stage, she was stepping into an archetype that already existed. In personality, looks, and behavior she resembled nothing less than our cultural image of the frontier woman. She was something out of history -- something that we already knew, were quite familiar with, and strongly approve of. But at the same time it's true that few people living (and those very aged) have ever met a frontier woman of the original breed. Our archetype comes from somewhere else. It comes, in fact from the movies. And in large part, from Maureen O'Hara.

While Palin looks nothing like O'Hara (who was a redhead, just for starters), the gestalt -- the overall picture -- is strikingly similar. The same strong features, the same sense of character, the same way of holding themselves. They even have the same powerful jawline that would look masculine on a less feminine woman.

The importance of the frontier woman cannot be overrated, because it was the women, in the end, who broke the frontier. Mountain men and related types had been traversing the wilderness for decades before the Westward Migration got rolling, without leaving behind as much as a scratch on the landscape. It was the women -- and their families -- who made the land bend, who brought with them a sense of permanency, who civilized the frontier. Where men went, they created forts and outposts. When women followed, they established settlements and towns.

The frontier was supposed to have "closed" by 1900, when no area existed in the continental United States that remained unsurveyed, unsettled, or untrod. That was undoubtedly the case in the real world. But in the American psyche, it's another story. There, the frontier will never be closed -- it survives as a living reality. The Westward Migration is this country's Odyssey, in the same way that the Civil War is its Iliad. What the road west implanted in our character remains, for good or ill, and is likely to remain for as long as there is an America.

That is why Sarah Palin will prove immune to attacks by the legacy media, no matter what form they may take. Palin reflects an ideal - an aspect of our best selves burned into history and made a permanent part of us all. In Palin they have come up against an archetype, a facet of the American character. This is not something you run into every day, not something the media has much experience with, and something that they will discover is not at all vulnerable to the techniques they're used to.

More here



Many countries now have lower taxes on business than the USA does -- and are doing very well as a result

Because they contribute to capital flight, high corporate tax rates lower government revenue. With increasing capital mobility, multinational firms respond to higher taxes by moving activities to lower tax jurisdictions. This capital flight means fewer taxes are paid domestically. In fact, governments frequently find that at a higher rate the tax actually raises less revenue. This finding adds support for the Laffer Curve, says Mehreen Younis, a research assistant with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The insight behind the Laffer Curve is that if a tax rate is high, a government can raise the same amount of revenue (or more) by lowering the tax rate. Most countries have found that tax revenues rise following cuts in their corporate tax rates. For example:

* The average corporate income tax rate worldwide fell from 46 percent to 33 percent between 1982 and 1999, while corporate income tax collections rose from 2.1 percent to 2.4 percent of national income, reports the Cato Institute.

* Similarly, the average corporate tax rate in 19 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries fell from 45 percent in 1985 to 29 percent by 2005, while corporate tax revenues soared from 2.6 percent to 3.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

* Over the 2000 to 2005 period, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, average corporate income tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was one-third greater in OECD countries (3.4 percent) than in the United States (2.2 percent).

The revenue-maximizing corporate tax rate in developed countries was about 34 percent in the late 1980s and has declined steadily to about 26 percent in recent years, estimate Alex Brill and Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Thus, at 39.25 percent, the U.S. corporate tax rate is not only high but also inefficient in producing revenue, says Younis.



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A shattering moment in America's fall from power (?)

I rarely fisk Leftist ignorance but I will do so now because the article below is typical of the frantic self-congratulation that Leftists are trying to extract from the banking crisis. It relies heavily of course on a belief that empty assertion can replace the facts. A great combination of supreme self-confidence and supreme ignorance is excerpted below

OUR gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over. [Yet it was America that the world looked to to solve the global banking crisis]

You can see it in the way America's dominion has slipped away in its own backyard, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez taunting and ridiculing the superpower with impunity. [Why should America be worried by a Chihuahua?]

The setback of America's standing at the global level is even more striking. With the nationalisation of crucial parts of the financial system [All that is happening in the main is that some banks are taking over others. The big bank nationalization spree has been in Left-run Britain, where they have a history of that sort of thing], the American free-market creed has self-destructed while countries that retained overall control of markets have been vindicated. [So why are European banks in meltdown?]

In a change as far-reaching in its implications as the fall of the Soviet Union, an entire model of government and the economy has collapsed. Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have lectured other countries on the necessity of sound finance. Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina and several African states endured severe cuts in spending and deep recessions as the price of aid from the International Monetary Fund, which enforced the American orthodoxy.

China, in particular, was hectored relentlessly on the weakness of its banking system. But China's success has been based on its consistent contempt for Western advice and it is not Chinese banks that are going bust. [The Chinese banks are VERY shaky and have long been propped up by the Chinese government]

Despite incessantly urging other countries to adopt its way of doing business, America has always had one economic policy for itself and another for the rest of the world. Throughout the years in which the US was punishing countries that departed from fiscal prudence, it was borrowing on a colossal scale to finance tax cuts and fund its overstretched military commitments. Now, with federal finances critically dependent on continuing large inflows of foreign capital, it will be the countries that spurned the American model of capitalism that will shape America's economic future. [Like how?]

The dire condition of America's financial markets is the result of American banks operating in a free-for-all environment A typically Leftist reversal of the truth. It is Congressional regulation preventing normal market operations that led to the problems] that these same American legislators who have been debating a bail-out created. It is America's political class that, by embracing the dangerously simplistic ideology of deregulation, has responsibility for the mess.

In current circumstances, an unprecedented expansion of government [All that has happened is that the Feds have bought a huge gob of undervalued paper which they will in due course sell back to the market at a profit] is the only means of averting a market catastrophe. The consequence, however, will be that America will be even more starkly dependent on the world's new rising powers. The federal government is racking up even larger borrowings, which its creditors may rightly fear will never be repaid. It may well be tempted to inflate these debts away in a surge of inflation that would leave foreign investors with hefty losses....

There has been a good deal of talk in recent weeks about imminent economic armageddon. In fact, this is far from being the end of capitalism. The frantic scrambling in Washington marks the passing of only one type of capitalism - the peculiar and highly unstable variety that has existed in America over the past 20 years. This experiment in financial laissez-faire [Heavy and stupid regulation = laissez faire?] has imploded. While the impact of the collapse will be felt everywhere, the market economies that resisted American-style deregulation will best weather the storm..... Yadda, yadda, yadda

More here


George Bush has been in office for 7 1/2 years. The first six the economy was fine. A little over a year and a half ago:

1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2-1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.
4) The DOW JONES hit a record high -- 14,000+
5) American's were buying new cars, taking cruises and vacations overseas, living large!

But American's wanted 'CHANGE'! So, in 2006 they voted in a Democratic Congress & yep -- we got 'CHANGE' all right!

1) Consumer confidence has plummeted;
2) Gasoline is now over $3.75 a gallon & climbing;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 trillion dollars & prices are still dropping;
5) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.







European glee faded fast: "The only thing more predictable than European glee at American economic trouble is how quickly it fades amid Europe's own problems. So no sooner did Der Spiegel publish its latest eulogy for American power last week ("The Price of Hubris") than European banks had to be rescued one after another. The euro's recent fall of about 5% against the dollar is further proof that the credit mania was a global phenomenon and its aftermath requires global responses. In contrast to the U.S., Europe has no lender of last resort. The European Central Bank was created to manage the supply of euros, not to rescue failing institutions. It can provide short-term liquidity against collateral -- which it has done admirably so far. But it can't ease a solvency crisis. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet can provide intellectual leadership, but in Europe there are 27 separate national purses and no central treasury."

Dry-Cleaning Economics in One Lesson: "Another day, another news story about economic wackiness. Gas prices rise, the dollar sinks, and stores are limiting rice sales. What could be next? Clothes hangers. Yes, clothes hangers. Marie Sledge, co-owner of Rome (Georgia) Cleaners, states, "Hangers last year at this time were $28 a box, where now they are $56." News reports indicate that cleaners in Springfield, Missouri; Birmingham, Alabama; and Harlem are also encountering doubling hanger prices. In response, many cleaners are posting signs in their shops encouraging customers to return used hangers. Hangers can't, even if combined with government subsidies, be converted into biofuels. So what is causing the rapid increase in hanger prices? Government, of course, though in this case it's the trade bureaucrats at the Department of Commerce rather than the folks behind other debacles in the news these days".


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, October 06, 2008

Site blocked

Apparently, this site has been blocked in some places. An email recently received:
I thought you needed to know that you are being censored at various US locations. I tried to access your site, a daily ritual over my morning coffee, and now suddenly my employer has labeled your site as "unacceptable". I am pursuing a redress and am hopeful that reason will prevail. The Tech folks have not given me any idea on why your site is suddenly blocked while Daily Kos is not....

If it happens to you, don't forget my mirror sites listed: here and here


Who were the defaulters among holders of sub-prime loans?

The following report seems intended to show that whites were the main culprits. It fails to do that, however. It shows that it was mainly whites who got the loans but it does not show who were the main defaulters. I suspect that will be kept a deep, dark secret

ComplianceTech, a provider of technology and business intelligence for consumer lending institutions and government agencies, has released an industry report indicating that the majority of subprime-rate loans originated in 2006 were made to non-Hispanic Whites and upper-income borrowers (conventional, 1st lien, 1-to-4 family, owner-occupied, home purchase and refinance).The findings are contrary to the way subprime-rate lending has been portrayed. Frequent media portrayals and congressional dialogue refer to subprime-rate lending as a minority and low-income issue. Findings in the report are based on data submitted by lenders under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) analyzed with the data-mining tool LendingPatterns(TM).

The report concluded that a disproportionate share of loans made to minorities and low-income borrowers were subprime-rate loans, but the majority of subprime-rate loans were made to non-Hispanic Whites and upper-income borrowers. Of the 1,917,809 subprime-rate loans originated in 2006, non-Hispanic Whites had 70.82 percent of the loans, and 56.23 percent of the subprime-rate loans. Upper-income borrowers had the highest share of the subprime-rate loans at 39.37 percent, followed by 27.55 percent for middle-income borrowers and 20.99 percent for moderate-income borrowers.

Contrary to popular belief, low-income borrowers had only 149,173, or 7.57 percent, of 2006 subprime-rateloans. The report also concluded that the majority of subprime-rate loans were originated in predominately-White geographic regions (areas representing census tracts less than 30 percent minority).

More here


With One Month To Go: Why McCain Will Close and Win

By Hugh Hewitt

Because the country cannot afford the greatest gamble in its modern history at this moment in time. A confrontation with Iran looms and instability in Pakistan grows. The Islamist threat has been beaten back in Iraq, but continues to nurse its fanatical hatreds in many other places, from Waziristan to London. Israel is ringed not with an enemy that wants a state but by two enemies that want Israel to be destroyed.

The world's financial system is teetering, and the estrangement between the American people and their government has never been this deep in modern times.

The cost of energy has soared and will continue to climb. The entitlement trap has only grown worse in the three years since George Bush asked the Democrats to work with him on Social Security and they said no. The corrupt, self-dealing culture of the Beltway has poisoned the decision-making of many bureaucracies and in ways only the burdened know, and the credibility of the big media is shattered even as their audiences shrink and many of their news rooms come close to shuttering.

So, despite the rapture of college students and the registration of the homeless in Ohio, the common sense of Americans will override curiosity about Barack Obama and infatuation with his celebrity, and trust John McCain to pilot the country for the next four years.

More here


Advice from Karl Rove

On experience, I'm all for it. But judgment is at least as important. Biden has 35 years in the Senate, yet his record on national-security issues during that span has been atrocious. He might be able to name Germany's chancellor, but he was wrong in his fierce opposition to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and to the surge in 2007. Even Democrats don't see Biden as president. He got 0.9 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Forced out of the 1988 White House race for plagiarizing, he is that blend of longevity and long-windedness that Washington accepts as statesmanship.

McCain and Palin face an uphill struggle. Economic woes, war and the natural desire of Americans to give the other side a chance (after eight years with one party in the White House) should mean a big edge for Obama and Biden. But the race is tight, no candidate can get above 50 percent for more than a day or two, and it is likely to stay close right to the end.

The reason is, people have persistent doubts about whether Obama is qualified. NEWSWEEK's poll last month found that 47 percent felt Obama "has enough experience in politics and government to be a good president" but 46 percent said he didn't. In the recent ABC/Washington Post poll, 45 percent said Obama doesn't have "the needed experience," the same as last March. Even the late-September CBS News/New York Times poll found that while 46 percent feel "Obama has prepared himself well enough for the job of president," 45 percent do not. For good reason: Barack Obama has less than half a term in the Senate, where he's proposed little, accomplished less and spent virtually every day campaigning-as if being on the trail is a principal qualification for president.

McCain-Palin must deepen those doubts by pounding away on questions about Obama's character, judgment and values. Drawing on Obama's own record and statements, they need to paint him as a big spender, class warrior and cultural elitist; they need to say he's never worked across party lines or gotten his hands dirty solving big issues. But the duo must also give voters reasons to support them. They must crystallize a positive, forward-looking vision so people who see Obama as unqualified have something to hang on to. It can't be a laundry list of positions. McCain-Palin must offer a narrative about what they will do to help America see better days, especially on kitchen-table concerns.

More here


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Even a British Leftist lady grudgingly finds great virtue in Sarah Palin

Excerpts from a comment in "The Times" about the VP debate

And the joy of Mrs Palin, what endears her to Middle America and fascinates every British woman I know, is her quality that cannot be bottled and sold: authenticity.

It shines out, even through her shopping-channel presentation, the Day-Glo patriotism of her XXL Old Glory lapel pin, her talent for talking while perpetually smiling (which, ask Gordon Brown, is a tough trick to pull off without looking deranged), the cheeseball winks, the local DJ shout-outs to kids at her brother's elementary school, the exaggerated nose wrinkles when uttering something as disgusting as "single-sex relationships" or "redistribution of wealth". She is Nicole Kidman as the driven weather girl in To Die For, Reese Witherspoon, the ruthless high-school candidate in Election. A candy-coated ball of granite.

When she offered "a bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street", Joe Biden had to counter quickly with the word down in Kay's Restaurant and the Home's Depot in Wilmington. When Mrs Palin played her son in Iraq, her special-needs baby, her worries about college fees, Mr Biden had to match it with a soldier boy of his own and raise her with his dead wife and daughter, then an emotionally welling remembrance of struggling to raise two injured sons alone.

And you could detect frustration and pique in Mr Biden's lament that, "just because I'm a man", he doesn't understand the hard decisions made over that mythical American kitchen table. But perhaps in this alone women politicians have an advantage, being the ones most able to convince voters that they have seen the inside of a maternity ward, a supermarket, a classroom, have dried tears and chewed pencils over household budgets....

Authenticity is now at a premium. William Hague, with his soft Yorkshire tones, his tales of delivering fizzy pop to streets like my own, is an asset at this hour. Perhaps he is dragging out his kitchen-table conservatism even now. Even John Prescott, oddly, is a voice for these times, as is Alan Johnson, who raised three kids on a council estate. Peter Mandelson, with his slick suits and slippery mortgage, is the last face voters can bear. But then Gordon Brown has the more clearcut task of steering the ship between the icebergs: Cameron must get with the bodies in the water.

After that debate, those who loathe Mrs Palin will still loathe her; those who cleave to her will find no new reason to be repelled. It is just shtick, she's sticking to the rigid train tracks of her notes, you tell yourself when she says how Saturday soccer parents fret at the touchline over their investments. But then the debate ends, her great messy family spreads out on stage, and Mrs Palin tenderly passes her always-placid Down's baby to her little girl. The sound is off, the scripted babble is over. It is a silent gesture, something compellingly real in a cooked-up world.

More here. It's a pity the lady commenting does not speak Australian. Australian English has a very apposite word for the virtue she sees in Sarah. Sarah is "fair dinkum".


Nothing's the Matter With Kansas

My bank is still making loans. We have none in default

Here in the heart of Kansas, the sky isn't falling and Chicken Little isn't running around without a head. Community banks like mine are still making loans and serving the needs of customers.

I used to worry about competing in the world of mega "too-big-to-fail" banks. But now I know community banks offer something the monsters can never offer -- real personal service. Many financial-type businesses say they offer the same thing, but they usually don't list personal numbers in the phone book and probably aren't driving the volunteer fire truck. My father always told me that character repaid many more debts than collateral ever would. Community banks form long-term relationships with customers.

During the farm crisis of the 1980s the over-line credits we had placed with the city correspondent banks were called. A community bank used to rely on participating loans with large metro banks. For example, if my bank had a regulatory loan limit of a million dollars and I made a two million dollar loan, I would "sell" the over-line to a large bank. These large banks suddenly suspended and called all rural credits. This is probably similar to what is happening to borrowers who use super-large banks in today's panic environment. There was nothing wrong with these loans but every small bank suffered from this irrational wrath.

A group of fellow bankers formed an ad hoc loan-pooling arrangement and we traded loans. Not a dime was lost, no borrowers were sold out and we didn't need a government bailout. It did instill a fierce sense of independence and self reliance.

Today we are reacting to a crisis that absolutely everyone knew was going to happen. Can you tell me that the entire congressional delegation from California didn't read a newspaper or watch any TV when unregulated brokers were offering 100% loans and allowing borrowers to make up their income?

Appraisal rules were established after the savings-and-loan debacle. The brokers and packagers weren't regulated so some appraisers really had a field day being creative. And now the government thinks we need new rules? They didn't enforce the existing ones.

Community bankers get really ticked off when Treasury can, with the stroke of a pen, guarantee $50 billion in money-market mutual funds, including the tax exempt funds. These funds didn't participate in generating the guarantee dollars, weren't regulated, and aren't subject to Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rules. Why does that not surprise me? The CRA was passed in 1977 to ensure that banks meet the credit needs of their local communities but in effect practically compelled some regulated lenders to make loans to people and projects that have limited ability to repay them. Billions of these loans have been made, with a large percentage of the housing loans ending up at Fannie Mae. Community banks feel that if we must follow these CRA rules to comply with deposit insurance regulators, then anyone else receiving government guarantees should as well. Banks paid for all of the FDIC fund dollars as well as the operating costs of their regulators. We have been competing with these money-market funds for years, they mess up and now are handed a "get out of jail free" card.

All of the media pressure about this terrible crisis has really worried people. We community bankers must spend time reassuring folks that everything will be fine. The best way I have found to do that is to make more loans this September than we made a year ago, offer new products, and serve a fantastic group of customers with home loans at our bank where all is well and none are facing foreclosure.

If the government really wanted to help banks stimulate this economy, all that would be needed is a bonfire eliminating redundant red tape. While starter homes may cost a half-million dollars in some parts of this country, they are one-tenth of that here. So why does the borrower sign but three pieces of paper to process a $50,000 auto loan but needs two dozen-plus documents (which are never read) for a home purchase of the same amount? All that extra paperwork sure didn't protect anyone in this crisis.

Can anyone tell me why my small bank headquartered in a town of 1,100 is subject to the onerous rules of CRA, HMDA, CIP, FACTA, Red Flag and others? We have no red-lined areas or stop lights and everyone is making a low or moderate income. We were probably at the hospital when the borrower was born.

I am really concerned about my grandchildren's future being mortgaged by a $1 trillion porked-up bailout. But our small bank, along with many others, is alive and well and still making loans. To paraphrase the late great Kansas newspaperman William Allen White: What's right with Kansas are the more than 300 local banks taking care of Main Street.




Big, Big Audience for VP debate: "I think we've probably seen the last presidential debate on a Friday night for a while. Last week's presidential debate had an audience of about 52 million. They're talking 70 million to 75 million for last night's Palin-Biden showdown."

The Biden Error/Lie/Hallucination List (UPDATED to 22): "Below, you'll find a list of 14 "lies" Biden told last night, distributed by the McCain campaign. I'd just note two observations: first, when you tell stories of things that didn't happen with the frequency of Joe Biden, coupled with his fervent belief of these untrue and inaccurate statements, I don't think "lie" is the appropriate term. "Hallucinations" seems more accurate, I think. Second, they missed a bunch, so Biden's list of li- er, hallucinations is well beyond 14."

Great news!: "O.J. Simpson has been found guilty on all charges in the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room more than a year ago. The 61-year-old former football faces up to life in prison. A somber Simpson released a heavy sigh as the charges were read Friday in Clark County District Court. He was immediately taken into custody. The verdict comes 13 years to the day after Simpson was acquitted of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. Co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart also was found guilty on all charges and taken into custody. The men were tried on 12 criminal charges."

Cash strapped British Navy cuts destroyer fleet : "The Fleet now has just five air defence warships left to protect vessels missile or aircraft attack at a time when other nations such as China, India and Iran are investing heavily in anti-ship warfare. Three Type 42 destroyers – Exeter, Nottingham and Southampton – have been "parked up" in Portsmouth at "reduced readiness" up to two years before they were due to be decommissioned. Britain's force of destroyers and frigates has now been reduced from 35 to 22 in the last decade despite government promises it would not slip below 25. It will be another two years before the first of six of the highly sophisticated Type 45 destroyers can be deployed on operations leaving a "gaping hole" in defences. Senior Navy commanders have told The Daily Telegraph that the nation is taking "serious risks" in protecting carrier groups or amphibious flotillas and have accused the Government of neglecting the Fleet that protects the 90 per cent of Britain's imported trade"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)