Monday, September 28, 2009

Barack Obama’s Dance with Despots

Here’s the lead from the Associated Press’ Havana bureau feed early on the morning of September 23, 2009: “HAVANA - Barack Obama's call for action on climate change and his admission that rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead has received strong praise from an unusual source - U.S. nemesis Fidel Castro.”

Now, here’s the problem with that lead: we now have a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their enslaved minions.

And to make matters worse, that President – Barack “Sorry-to-be-an-American” Obama – is in lockstep agreement with all of what Castro says and much of what Castro does. How do we know that? Well, let’s look at the record.

In August of this year, Obama delivered a 53-minute medley of his favorite apologies to what amounted to a pep rally for Latin American dictators. Included among his supine we-a culpas was this gem in reference to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion: “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”

Well, so much for the brave Cuban freedom fighters who died at the Bay of Pigs vainly attempting to rescue their country from the bloodied hands of Fidel Castro. So much for JFK’s declaration that “We will support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” And so much for the truth: Barack Obama wasn’t even born when the invasion occurred.

As if to make sure his amigo bueno Fidel got the bouquet, Obama then proceeded to pull the plug on the highly popular “Freedom Message” ticker on the US mission building in Havana. Twenty-five feet long, its bright red letters emblazoned in the sky, the ticker’s inspiring words of encouragement from democratic leaders like Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and Lech Walesa had served as a beacon of hope for the Cuban people. But, alas, that was clearly not the kind of “hope” Barack Obama intended to foster.

No wonder, then, Obama felt compelled to warmly embrace the Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez at the same Latin America Despots Dance at which he cuddled up to Danny and Fidel. In return, Chavez lauded Obama as “more of a Marxist than Fidel and me.” He enthused that “the changes that started in Venezuela in the last decade of the 20th century have begun to reach North America.” And he warned his compadre Barack not to go too fast in socializing the US lest he create a backlash.

Obama, for his part – ever the faithful amigo intimo ¬– repaid Chavez loyalty first by appointing Arturo Valenzuela as the Obama Administration’s “Western Hemisphere Czar.” Sr. Valenzuela, it should be noted, considers Chavez one of the history’s greatest Latin American leaders. He has even gone so far as to praise Chavez’ crackdown on Venezuela’s formerly free press.

Not content with putting Hugo’s good buddy in charge of everything Latino, Obama added injury to insult by appointing Chavez’ lickspittle Mark Lloyd as the Federal Communications Commission’s “Diversity Officer.” Not only does Mr. Lloyd agree with Mr. Valenzuela that Venezuela’s free press was an anathema, he has even gone so far as to praise Chavez for his “incredible revolution” that gutted the country’s democratic institutions top to bottom.

So, it’s little wonder that we now have “a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their own people” kowtowing to like-minded despots at every opportunity. And creating opportunities where none exist.

Which, of course, is exactly what he did in the UN speech that won Castro’s praise. In essentially apologizing (once again) for all things American and declaring that “rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead” in de-industrializing the world, Obama has shown (once again) that he can tout Marxist dogma with the best (no, make that the worst) of them.

It is, of course, the “rich” nations that gave the world such onerous commodities as electricity, transportation, modern communications, and advanced medicine. Not to mention food, potable water, the clothes on our backs, and the roofs over our heads. And it is the rich nations of the world that brought hope from despair, light from darkness, and dreams of a better tomorrow to the nightmarish lives of hundreds of millions of Third World minions.

That’s the message the President of the United States should have delivered to the Two-Bit Tyrants of Turtle Bay, who huddle in the lap of luxury to denigrate democracy while swilling its largesse. But, unfortunately, it is not what this President of the United States believes. So, he bellows his own bellicose denunciations of all who have labored long and hard to build a better world – while basking in the glow of Fidel Castro’s poisonous approval.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, a posturing, preening Barack Obama piously advised the American people to “Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself.” We are, Mr. Obama. Yes, sadly, we finally are.



Don't regulate banking – liberalise it

Comment from Britain: It's ludicrous to call the current financial system in Britain or the USA laissez-faire

Barack Obama's speech on Monday to Wall Street outlines an overhaul of the regulatory regime. On the anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, politicians from both sides of the Atlantic are looking to remodel capitalism. The thirst for greater regulation is strong, united around Gordon Brown's judgment that "laissez-faire has had its day … the old idea that the markets were efficient and could work themselves out by themselves are gone".

The notion that the present financial system is "laissez-faire" is, of course, ludicrous. At present, we have a nationalised organisation that holds a state-granted monopoly on the issuance of currency. If this were any industry other than finance, the Bank of England would be seen as the Soviet-style planning board that it is.

Defending laissez-faire is therefore not a defence of the status quo; it is a positive prescription for a totally new regime. Here are three courses of action that would liberalise the banking system:

1. Legalise insider trading. The regulators have failed spectacularly. They did not foresee the systemic risk created by excess credit creation and over-leveraging, and it would be naive to expect any single organisation to steward an entire industry. Demonising hedge funds and banning short-selling miss the point since these are the ultimate protest vote for market participants. The meltdown of a year ago would not have happened had protesters been truly able to act on their knowledge; legalising insider trading would allow asset prices to integrate as much information as possible.

2. Repeal legal tender laws. When sovereigns control currency, they debase gold coins to augment their own coffers. When politicians control currency, they print money to monetise their debts. Even by giving control to independent central banks, we haven't found a way to protect the value of money, since there is still a monopoly provider with an incentive to inflate. The best form of consumer protection is competition, and commercial institutions should be allowed to offer currency to allow markets to determine the most effective medium of exchange.

3. Eradicate crony capitalism. The official narrative is that when Lehman Brothers failed, it sparked a crisis of such proportions that state action was the only way to prevent another Great Depression. But as we start to learn more about what went on behind closed doors, things become murkier. The haphazard manner in which some banks went bankrupt and others were bailed out probably has more to do with personal networks than economic necessity. But even if you have faith in the government to exercise its powers in the public interest, it simply doesn't have the knowledge to act. It's understandable that Hank Paulson put more emphasis on Wall Street than on conservative banks that spend less on lobbying, because that's the world he lives in. For the rest of us, these deals create regime uncertainty and weaken the power of markets.

These radical proposals challenge conventional wisdom and, in doing so, manifestly demonstrate that the present system is not laissez-faire. We have just scratched the surface of a free-market alternative, and critics have an intellectual obligation to admit this. Let's open the debate to a free market in money.



In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors

There was an international uproar when, on Sept. 4, in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, an American fighter jet under NATO command bombed a group of Taliban fighters who had hijacked two fuel tanker trucks. The trucks exploded, the fighters were killed, and so were a still-undetermined number of Afghan civilians.

The civilian deaths sent shudders through the American military command, already fearful that civilian casualties would further alienate the Afghan public. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, was said to be angry and determined to tighten the U.S. force's already-strict rules of engagement even more to avoid future civilian deaths.

Then something odd happened. When McChrystal met with local leaders in Kunduz, a few days after the bombing, he got an earful -- but not what he expected.

According to a detailed account in The Washington Post -- a story that has received too little attention in the ongoing debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan -- the local Afghan leaders told McChrystal to stop being so fussy and to go ahead and kill the enemy, which they said would help bring stability to the region.

Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran was given extraordinary access to the bombing investigation. According to his account, McChrystal began the meeting with a show of sympathy for those who had been killed or wounded. The general didn't get very far before he was interrupted by the provincial council chairman, Ahmadullah Wardak.

The security situation has been getting worse in Kunduz, Wardak told McChrystal. American and NATO troops haven't been aggressive enough in pursuing and killing the Taliban. In Wardak's view, the bombing of the fuel tankers, rather than a mistake, was the right thing to do.

"If we do three more operations like was done the other night, stability will come to Kunduz," Wardak said, according to the Post account. "If people do not want to live in peace and harmony, that's not our fault."

Chandrasekaran reported that McChrystal "seemed caught off guard." Wardak clarified a bit more: "We've been too nice to the thugs," he said.




Net neutrality is theft: "In an article for the Associated Press, reporter Daniel Lovering describes soon-to-be-proposed rules on ‘Net Neutrality’ as ‘prohibit(ing) Internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks.’ The cries of ‘interference’ are standard rhetoric from those who support regulation of the Internet, intentionally ignoring the fact that Internet infrastructure isn’t free. The very term, ‘neutrality’, is a nice-sounding but intentionally misleading description of the policy.” [See also here and here]

Volcker Says Obama Plan Leaves Opening for Bailouts: "Paul A. Volcker, a top White House economic adviser, said Thursday that the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of financial rules would preserve the policy of “too big to fail” and could lead to future banking bailouts. Mr. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, told Congress that by designating some companies as critical to the broader financial system, the administration’s plans would create an expectation that those companies enjoy government backing in tough times. That implies those financial companies “will be sheltered by access to a federal safety net,” he said. He urged lawmakers to make clear that nonbank companies would not be saved with federal money."

Obama pursues arms control treaties; Iran builds the bomb: "The President brought his soaring sermon about "a world without [nuclear] weapons" before the U.N. General Assembly. He called for a new arms control treaty and won Security Council support for a vague resolution on proliferation. On cue yesterday, Iran showed the world what determined rogues think about such treaties. On the evidence of his Presidency so far, Mr. Obama will not let that reality interfere with his disarmament dreams. The disclosure that Iran has a second facility to make bomb-grade fuel, the latest of many Tehran deceptions, isn't exactly surprising. Administration officials say U.S. intelligence has known about the secret underground plant near the city of Qom for years. Iran sought other hidden sites after the Natanz facility was discovered in 2002, and now officials say they suspect there are other facilities too."

A property rights victory in New Jersey, of all places: "Last week saw a major victory for property rights, as besieged homeowners in New Jersey claimed victory against politicians and developers trying to seize their land. This continues the nationwide grassroots effort to stop government abuse of eminent domain power since the Supreme Court's misguided 2005 Kelo ruling. This story began back in the mid 1990s, when the city of Long Branch marked the well-kept neighborhoods of a cottagy beach community "in need of redevelopment." Residents were told that their homes and property were "blighted" and were to be handed over to real-estate developers for a more than $100 million condo project. The families, represented by the Institute for Justice, protested but the confiscation was initially allowed to proceed by state judge Lawrence Lawson. In August 2008, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division unanimously reversed and remanded that decision, saying that the city did not have enough evidence to declare the area blighted. And last Tuesday the city of Long Branch agreed to drop their eminent domain claims."

The law-ignoring lawyer: "As reported two weeks ago in The Patriot Post (and practically nowhere else), Indiana Treasurer Richard Murdock filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the legality of the Obama-forced bankruptcy of Chrysler, LLC. Murdock is petitioning the Court to rule on Barack Obama's blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, which explicitly authorizes Congress, and not the president, to determine bankruptcy laws. In particular, Murdock is challenging the president's unashamed indifference to more than 220 years of bankruptcy precedent, which puts senior, or secured, creditors ahead of junior, or unsecured, creditors during bankruptcy proceedings."

Federal Reserve Scandal Bigger than ACORN: "But the question of what the Federal Reserve is doing with trillions of taxpayer dollars makes the ACORN scandal look like peanuts. For the first time, a hearing is being held on Rep. Ron Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207) by the House Committee on Financial Services. Grass-roots pressure has been credited with forcing the hearing into what has happened to trillions of dollars supposedly spent by the Federal Reserve on the stabilization of the financial system... While the ACORN scandal involves tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and became a national scandal because of the videos, some other videos that examine what has happened to trillions of dollars involving the Federal Reserve have become increasingly popular. These videos, however, don't involve undercover footage. Rather, they show Rep. Alan Grayson trying to pin down government officials at congressional hearings on what has happened to the missing money."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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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)


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