Sunday, July 19, 2009
Marginalizing Sarah Palin
by Bill O'Reilly
About a month ago, in this space, I told you The New York Times had rigged a poll about Americans wanting to pay higher taxes to fund government-run health care. The Times poll said 57 percent were willing to pay more tax and 37 percent were not willing to do so. But what the Times did not tell its readers was that 48 percent of those polled voted for Barack Obama. Only 25 percent supported John McCain. Of course the poll results would skew left.
Now we have another media deceit. The most recent edition of Newsweek magazine includes a nasty hatchet job on Sarah Palin by a guy named Rick Perlstein. The piece is presented as hard news -- not an opinion column -- and basically says that the governor is a moron who is supported by dimwitted conservatives at odds with smart Republicans. Perlstein also submits that I and other Fox News people lead the dumb GOP folks.
Anyone reading the story would think that a Newsweek correspondent put it together -- the magazine has a staff of trained journalists to do its reporting and analysis. But Perlstein is not a Newsweek correspondent and is identified only as an author at the end of the piece. Strange.
But it gets even stranger. Turns out that Perlstein is a far-left zealot who blogs for a liberal site called "Campaign for America's Future." He lists one of his "interests" as "conservative failure." In 2007, Perlstein wrote: "I've just become a proud Fox (News) attacker. Now, you can, too. It's not a boycott. It's simply calling advertisers and informing them what Fox says. Fox can't survive that."
So Newsweek hired a far-left loon to do a hit piece on Palin, conservatives and Fox News, and did not inform its readers of his dedicated point of view. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham basically tried to disguise an ideological attack as news coverage.
Newsweek magazine is in dire financial trouble and is seeking to survive by cultivating a liberal, urban audience. There is nothing wrong with that as long as the editors are upfront about it. But this sneaky media stuff is harming America, and it must be unmasked.
With Barack Obama in the White House, the country is facing profound change. America is already on the verge of bankruptcy, and federal intrusion into private business, health care and the environment is unprecedented. The far left aims to create a huge federal apparatus that will promote income redistribution and "social justice." They also see a major opportunity to knock out Judeo-Christian traditions, replacing them with a secular philosophy.
In order to accomplish this, leftwing media are marginalizing people like Palin who oppose the strategy. Under the guise of hard news reporting, the media are pushing rank propaganda on the citizenry. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, successfully developed this tactic in the 1930s. Americans need to wake up and smell the corruption. If crazy ideologues have infiltrated the news business, we need to know about it. And now you do.
Krugman gets something right
Sometimes the distinguished economist emerges from within the Leftist ideologue -- see below
The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed. Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it’s preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis. What does this contrast tell us? First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.
Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.
Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.
Let’s start by talking about how Goldman makes money. Over the past generation — ever since the banking deregulation of the Reagan years — the U.S. economy has been “financialized.” The business of moving money around, of slicing, dicing and repackaging financial claims, has soared in importance compared with the actual production of useful stuff. The sector officially labeled “securities, commodity contracts and investments” has grown especially fast, from only 0.3 percent of G.D.P. in the late 1970s to 1.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2007.
Such growth would be fine if financialization really delivered on its promises — if financial firms made money by directing capital to its most productive uses, by developing innovative ways to spread and reduce risk. But can anyone, at this point, make those claims with a straight face? Financial firms, we now know, directed vast quantities of capital into the construction of unsellable houses and empty shopping malls. They increased risk rather than reducing it, and concentrated risk rather than spreading it. In effect, the industry was selling dangerous patent medicine to gullible consumers.
Goldman’s role in the financialization of America was similar to that of other players, except for one thing: Goldman didn’t believe its own hype. Other banks invested heavily in the same toxic waste they were selling to the public at large. Goldman, famously, made a lot of money selling securities backed by subprime mortgages — then made a lot more money by selling mortgage-backed securities short, just before their value crashed. All of this was perfectly legal, but the net effect was that Goldman made profits by playing the rest of us for suckers.
And Wall Streeters have every incentive to keep playing that kind of game. The huge bonuses Goldman will soon hand out show that financial-industry highfliers are still operating under a system of heads they win, tails other people lose. If you’re a banker, and you generate big short-term profits, you get lavishly rewarded — and you don’t have to give the money back if and when those profits turn out to have been a mirage. You have every reason, then, to steer investors into taking risks they don’t understand.
And the events of the past year have skewed those incentives even more, by putting taxpayers as well as investors on the hook if things go wrong. I won’t try to parse the competing claims about how much direct benefit Goldman received from recent financial bailouts, especially the government’s assumption of A.I.G.’s liabilities. What’s clear is that Wall Street in general, Goldman very much included, benefited hugely from the government’s provision of a financial backstop — an assurance that it will rescue major financial players whenever things go wrong.
You can argue that such rescues are necessary if we’re to avoid a replay of the Great Depression. In fact, I agree. But the result is that the financial system’s liabilities are now backed by an implicit government guarantee.
Now the last time there was a comparable expansion of the financial safety net, the creation of federal deposit insurance in the 1930s, it was accompanied by much tighter regulation, to ensure that banks didn’t abuse their privileges. This time, new regulations are still in the drawing-board stage — and the finance lobby is already fighting against even the most basic protections for consumers.
If these lobbying efforts succeed, we’ll have set the stage for an even bigger financial disaster a few years down the road. The next crisis could look something like the savings-and-loan mess of the 1980s, in which deregulated banks gambled with, or in some cases stole, taxpayers’ money — except that it would involve the financial industry as a whole.
The bottom line is that Goldman’s blowout quarter is good news for Goldman and the people who work there. It’s good news for financial superstars in general, whose paychecks are rapidly climbing back to pre-crisis levels. But it’s bad news for almost everyone else.
Consequences of the Liberals' Death Wish
by Emmett Tyrrell
Witnessing the current attempt by liberal Democrats in Congress to investigate CIA officers and possibly prosecute them for a covert initiative allegedly undertaken in time of war (a war that still is going on) inspires a happy thought. Perhaps these liberals have a death wish. The American people do not want another 9/11 attack on our shores. They approve of operations against al-Qaida, covert or otherwise. If the liberals continue in their harassment of the CIA for its efforts to protect American national security, for a certitude the electorate will turn these liberals out. Sayonara, my liberal friends!
If the liberals' death wish only extends to themselves, they have my full support. Yet it is conceivable that their death wish extends to the country itself. They rarely have anything very complimentary to say about their homeland. President Barack Obama talks about the United States as though it were a failed state. Liberals in general talk about the United States as though it were the provenance of slavery, bigotry, male chauvinism and -- oh, yes -- cowboy diplomacy. The only favorable thing about America that I have heard from the liberals recently is that America was the birthplace of Michael Jackson. In Congress, they observed a moment of silence to commemorate his assuming room temperature.
The liberals' present furor over the CIA's covert operations against al-Qaida suggests that they harbor a death wish not only for themselves but also for the whole country. Nations at war are not supposed to divulge military or intelligence operations. Often they keep them confidential for generations. British historian David Reynolds, in his superb book about Winston Churchill's World War II memoirs, tells us that both Churchill and the Labour government kept state secrets hidden from the British public and from the world years after the war had ended. Reynolds relates in "In Command of History" how Churchill's famous Nobel Prize-winning memoirs abound with evasions and inaccuracies, for instance, Churchill's silence about cracking the Nazi code (Enigma) and Churchill's true assessments of Dwight Eisenhower and Josef Stalin. Had Churchill been forthright on those matters, the Labour government might never have allowed the volumes to be published.
Today's liberals in Congress are demanding the investigation and threatening the prosecution of intelligence officers who are rumored to have undertaken a secret initiative to assassinate al-Qaida leaders. The initiative supposedly was authorized by President George W. Bush immediately after 9/11. It is not clear whether the initiative ever got beyond the planning stages. Reportedly, it envisaged sending hit teams into al-Qaida territory to do what our Predator and Reaper drones are doing now: kill our enemies. Naturally, much about the initiative is shrouded in secrecy. Yet by charging that Congress should have been informed of the initiative, liberals are making a colossal fuss. They claim that the diabolical Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to keep Congress in the dark and that the initiative was illegal. They want the whole shocking scheme out in the open. Doubtless, al-Qaida does, too.
There are serious consequences to this sort of harassment of intelligence operations. Over at the CIA, there are professionals today who are fearful that they may be forced to hire lawyers soon to defend them against the politicians' investigations. Uncertain as to whether the Obama administration will protect them, they are distracted and hunkering down. Ongoing operations are being affected.
Right now, very reliable sources tell me that the CIA is aware of the presence of al-Qaida leaders in Somalia and possibly Yemen. The terrorists have moved operations there from Pakistan, but the CIA is reluctant to take action against these brutes out of fear that they will not be supported by the government and may be exposed on Capitol Hill.
Such are the consequences of our liberals' death wish. As I say, I do not mind them imperiling their own existence. But when they imperil our intelligence community's ability to prevent another 9/11, it is no joke.
An excellent meditation on the meaning of Romans chapter 13, where Christians are required to submit to secular authorities.
Fired inspector general files lawsuit: "The inspector general President Obama fired last month filed a lawsuit Friday to get his job back, claiming the firing was politically motivated and broke a 2008 law governing how watchdogs can be dismissed. Gerald Walpin, inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, was removed June 10. In a letter telling Congress of his decision, Mr. Obama said he no longer had confidence in Mr. Walpin, but did not elaborate. Mr. Walpin says he was fired because he targeted an Obama supporter, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, in a successful investigation that resulted in Mr. Johnson and an academy on which he formerly served as executive director repaying half the $847,000 it received in government grants. He also said in its haste to dump him, the administration never interviewed him or any of his staff - an omission Mr. Walpin said in his lawsuit violates a 2008 law meant to protect government watchdogs."
A small reprieve. Cardcheck is dead: "Organized labor is nearing a deal to salvage legislation that could aid the union movement, but it had to drop "card check" -- a key component of the original bill that would allow workers to form a union by signing cards instead of holding a secret ballot vote. While giving up on card check is a setback for organized labor, a reworked bill would still offer a major overhaul of labor laws to help unions sign up more members. The bill calls for binding arbitration within 120 days if a new union and management can't agree on a first contract and stiffens penalties on businesses that threaten or intimidate workers trying to form a union... Businesses groups that have spent millions on ads and lobbying campaigns railing against card check say its removal would not change their position. While card check has dominated the debate, business leaders say they were always more concerned about binding arbitration."
Taxpayer-subsidized automobiles coming: "On June 1, GM Vice President for Global Manufacturing Gary Cowger announced as part of the company's bankruptcy filing that it would close the Orion facility in its drive to become a "leaner, stronger and more flexible" company. Though still a relatively modern facility making midsize Chevy Malibu and Pontiac G6 sedans, Orion's once 5,000-strong labor force had shriveled to 1,200 as the recession ravaged sales and the company planned to eliminate its Pontiac brand and consolidate Malibu production at a Kansas City facility. But a few weeks later, the company reversed course. GM now says it will retool Orion to make compact, gas-sipping cars. The change of heart says a lot about how GM's new owners -- the federal government owns 60% of the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) owns 17% -- are making considerations other than profitability a top priority for the auto maker.... However, there is one way to make building small cars in America pay off -- through government subsidies."
Germany believes Iran could have nuclear bomb within 6 months: "Iran is capable of assembling an atomic bomb within six months, German intelligence analysts told the German weekly newsmagazine Stern. "If they want to, they will be able to set off a uranium bomb within six months," an analyst with Germany's intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), told the magazine. German intelligence officials told Stern believe Iran has "mastered" every stage of uranium enrichment and that they have activated enough centrifuges to produce sufficient quantities of weapons-grade uranium for at least one atomic bomb. "Nobody would have thought this possible some years ago," an intelligence official told Stern."
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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)
Posted by JR at 12:36 AM