Thursday, April 29, 2010
British Labour Party meltdown
Leftist hypocrisy exposed
GORDON Brown prostrated himself as a "penitent sinner" yesterday after a brush with a voter triggered a calamitous chain of events that threatened to derail Labour on the eve of tonight's pivotal TV debate.
The Prime Minister spent an unscheduled 45 minutes inside the terraced house of Gillian Duffy apologising to the Labour-supporting widow for insulting her behind her back.
His muttered description of her as a "bigoted woman", picked up by a microphone as he drove off from their combative but apparently friendly encounter, plunged Labour's high command into its most serious crisis of the campaign.
Instead of pressing the party's record on the economy before tonight's final trial by television, the election machine was reduced to desperate firefighting as Lord Mandelson led a series of cabinet ministers on to the airwaves.
The Business Secretary said that Mr Brown had been wrong to criticise the pensioner, whose mistake, on her way to buy a loaf of bread, had been to buttonhole the Prime Minister over the deficit, immigration and student debts.
A mortified Mr Brown issued six apologies over the next six hours, including one by e-mail to Labour supporters for letting them down. Despite saying sorry to Mrs Duffy over the telephone, he ignored aides and insisted on driving back to Rochdale from Manchester, abandoning his preparation for tonight's third and final leaders' debate, to atone in person for his blunder.
He emerged from her house smiling fixedly, saying that he had misunderstood her earlier words. But a more telling image showed him in a Manchester radio studio earlier, head in hands, the full horror of the episode dawning as he listened to a tape of his remarks.
The ghastly unfolding seemed unlikely when the pair parted on apparently good terms after a five-minute conversation in the street. Mr Brown told Mrs Duffy that it had been "very good" to meet her and she told journalists that she had found him "nice" and that he had won her vote.
But within seconds Mr Brown could be heard - courtesy of a Sky News microphone that he had worn for his walkabout - declaring their meeting a "disaster", blaming aides for putting him in such a position, and describing Mrs Duffy as "a sort of bigoted woman". He concluded, days into a new campaigning style in which he meets more real people: "It's just ridiculous."
His reaction was apparently sparked by a comment on immigrants, when she said: "All these Eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?"
Obama's regulatory disaster
Putting the smackdown on banks will further harm the economy
President Obama rails against Wall Street to score populist political points. But when the smoke clears from all the demagoguery, the financial regulations he is pushing will result in fewer loans, more costly credit and individuals facing more risk.
Contrary to the president's talking points, the proposed regulations will not prevent "a second Great Depression." In fact, the problems that created America's recent financial troubles have been ignored in pending legislation. Nothing is being done to reform government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac despite their history of fraud and responsibility for taxpayers being saddled with $400 billion in bailouts. Mr. Obama won't even discuss changing government regulations that forced banks to make risky mortgages.
Given Mr. Obama's continued bashing of the free market, it's hardly surprising that the Democrats' regulations run counter to how markets operate. A good example is the "Volcker rule" to limit the size of banks, which is one of Mr. Obama's five "key proposals" for new financial regulation. What the president never addresses is why some banks become large. He seems to assume it's because they are just lucky or have been up to no good.
There are more rational explanations that determine bank size. Companies grow because they offer better services than their competitors. Larger banks can provide services at a lower cost. Big loans frequently necessitate the involvement of multiple banks working together, which requires complicated negotiations; large banks can handle larger loans and sometimes avoid such extra costs. Limiting bank size means these efficiencies will be lost. As a result, there will be fewer loans, and their costs will increase.
There is similar danger in Mr. Obama's proposal to "bring derivatives and other complicated financial instruments out of the dark" by forcing them to be traded on registered exchanges and approved by regulatory bureaus. This idea ignores why firms and individuals make deals between themselves rather than doing everything through exchanges. Derivatives often provide insurance to investors. Farmers trade in derivatives when they sell crops harvested in the fall before they are planted. By doing so, they know how much to plant and how much they will get paid, thus avoiding price risk. Many firms do the same thing.
Simple deals between companies often make more sense than having to deal on an exchange. If government forces companies to go through a regulatory process for every transaction, they won't do it as often and they won't be benefiting from the insurance they otherwise would have gotten.
Mr. Obama is trying to put bureaucrats in the corporate driver's seat by regulating every aspect of business. Government has neither the expertise nor the incentive to run companies correctly, and government surely can't keep politics out of its decisions. These general rules apply even more to banks, whose performance can be greatly manipulated through regulatory tinkering. No matter how Democrats spin their power grab in the banking sector, making the financial system less efficient means higher costs for American consumers.
The Left's Favorite Bank
In the ubiquitous echo chambers of the left, the embattled Goldman Sachs is being falsely characterized as both Republican-friendly and a symbol of free-market corruption.
Of course it's pure nonsense that has been eagerly lapped up by those who want to believe the worst about Republicans, capitalism, and America itself. The Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Goldman for securities fraud was filed just in time for the bank to bend over for a televised spanking in Congress.
But Goldman, which engages in the ritual of public self-flagellation from time to time on advice of counsel, is the best friend that Democrats and leftists ever had on Wall Street. Its alumni and enablers have pushed faddish, left-wing, pro-Big Government policies for as long as I've been a journalist.
Goldman's business model is simple: the bigger and more stifling government gets, the more profit Goldman makes.
Why would a highly profitable company -- it made a staggering $3.46 billion in the first quarter– --want more regulation unless it stood to benefit from such assaults on the marketplace?
Because laissez-faire is anathema to Goldman. The high-flying bank abhors free markets with a Mussolini-like zeal. Like Il Duce and his less thuggish imitators in the welfare wasteland of modern Europe, Goldman stands for centrally managed markets, provided that it gets to make the rules.
Goldman thrives on complexity and backroom dealing. It reaps huge profits from regulations that place its smaller, less politically nimble competitors at a disadvantage.
So it should surprise no one that Goldman favors increased regulation of the economy as a matter of policy, including President Obama's Wall Street takeover bill which virtually mandates bank bailouts in perpetuity. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told reporters yesterday, "The biggest beneficiary of reform is Wall Street itself."
Blankfein echoed one of his colleagues. "We're not against regulation," a Goldman official told the Politico last week. "We're for regulation. We partner with regulators."
As the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney noted, in a teleconference call for reporters last week Goldman officials affirmed no fewer than three times during the call that the company wants more federal control.
Regurgitating pious catch phrases and politically correct slogans, Goldman supports disastrous Big Government policies, including corporate bailouts, economy-killing carbon emission controls, and the financial affirmative action law known as the Community Reinvestment Act.
Through its charitable arms, the bank has lavished money on its liberal friends. Those of Goldman's donations that can be said to have an ideological dimension go almost exclusively to causes on the left.
Here are just a few:
Wildlife Conservation Society ($36,770,562 since 2004 – $35 million of it in real estate); United Nations Association of the USA ($1,000,000 since 2002); Planned Parenthood ($650,200 since 2003); National Urban League ($250,000 since 2000); Brookings Institution ($175,000 since 2003); Urban Institute ($175,000 since 2001); William J. Clinton Foundation ($167,300 since 2007); People for the American Way ($166,667 in 2007); Center for American Progress ($105,000 in 2007); Tides Foundation ($50,000 in 2007); Jesse Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund ($25,000 in 2007); and National Public Radio ($25,000 in 2007).
Despite periodically inviting a few Republicans along for the ride -- fake conservatives such as the tree-hugging Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson -- Goldman is at home on the left side of the political spectrum.
Chris Dodd’s carve-outs for cronies: "The financial-regulatory bill now before the Senate is so filled with special-interest loopholes and exclusions that it makes the health-care ‘reform’ bill, with its ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ and ‘Louisiana Purchase,’ look like a model of rectitude. The Senate bill, sponsored by Democrat Chris Dodd, claims to subject all ‘too big to fail’ institutions to greater federal supervision, but in fact it only mandates such regulation for bank-holding companies. Regulators would have to make a case-by-case decision on whether to apply it to other financial companies. That’s no minor oversight, because insurance companies, like AIG, tend to have thrift charters rather than bank charters. So, as the bill stands now, AIG and other insurers that accepted massive bailout funds, such as The Hartford, would not be automatically covered. That’s a head-scratcher only if you forget that most insurance companies reside in Dodd’s home state, Connecticut.”
Sweet sixteen: "After more than a month’s worth of polling, this much is clear: Americans want Obamacare to be repealed, and they’ll reward the political party that strongly champions that cause. Over the five-week span since the Democrats passed Obamacare, which they did so in clear and open defiance of the American people’s will, Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters has shown that Americans favor repeal by 16 points (56 to 40 percent) — more than twice the margin by which President Obama was elected.”
Abolish municipal unions: "Sooner or later, the Devil always overplays his hand. In the current crisis of public employee unions bullying cash-strapped governments, that is a good thing. Politicians and the public now see the vice-like control of the unions. Government at all levels is in dire financial need as a result of extravagance, mismanagement, and political cowardice. Paradoxically, public employees enjoy pensions, health benefits, sick pay and salary levels that are the envy of their private sector counterparts. The two problems are related. … So what to do? Answer: Level the playing field by outlawing unions for public employees.”
Everyone prospers with free trade: "Trade is win-win. Two people trade only because each values what he gets more than what he gives up. That’s why in a store both customer and clerk say, ‘Thank you.’ But when an international barrier is established, people forget that obvious truth. President Obama started a ‘trade war’ with China over cheap tires they want to trade with us. That is lose-lose. My colleague at Fox, former Gov. Mike Huckabee has said a country can only be free if we can feed ourselves, fuel ourselves and fight for ourselves … when we start outsourcing everything, that’s a road to being enslaved. In fact, as China learned, such self sufficiency is a road to stagnation.”
Parking lots teach a lesson: "I was driving across a parking lot recently and I realized that just about everyone, including me, considers the signs and striping in a parking lot to be a suggestion, rather than an order. Yet, while accidents do happen, they are fairly rare. Nothing at all like the ‘chaos’ that is predicted by people who think there needs to be a cop on every corner.”
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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 7:52 PM