Saturday, October 04, 2008

A selection of conservative comments on the VP debate

Maybe John McCain should fire the advisers who won't let Sarah Palin do more interviews. The Alaska Governor has faced two major campaign challenges -- her acceptance speech and last night's debate -- and each time she's shown herself worthy of the national stage. Let Mrs. Palin be herself, and then when she makes a mistake, as every candidate does, it won't be treated like some epic judgment on her fitness to be Vice President.

Mrs. Palin couldn't match Mr. Biden's fluency on Bosnia or Darfur last night, but not too long ago neither could Barack Obama. The Republican nominee more than held her own on foreign policy in general, and in our view won on points at least on Iraq and Afghanistan. She didn't let Mr. Biden get away with interpreting the comments of a U.S. general in Afghanistan as a rejection of Mr. McCain's strategy. And on Iraq she exposed both Mr. Biden's change of heart on the war, and his change of heart on Mr. Obama's views on the war. At times Mr. Biden even looked a little frustrated -- as if he couldn't quite believe he had to share the stage with someone who hasn't hung out with Dick Lugar or . . . Mike Mansfield back when the Senate was still a civil place. Or someone who says "doggonit."

More here


She killed. She had him at "Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?" She was the star. He was the second male lead, the good-natured best friend of the leading man. She was not petrified but peppy.

The whole debate was about Sarah Palin. She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled-they are thrust and parry. They are for campaigners. She is a campaigner. Her syntax did not hold, but her magnetism did. At one point she literally winked at the nation.

As far as Mrs. Palin was concerned, Gwen Ifill was not there, and Joe Biden was not there. Sarah and the camera were there. This was classic "talk over the heads of the media straight to the people," and it is a long time since I've seen it done so well, though so transparently. There were moments when she seemed to be doing an infomercial pitch for charm in politics. But it was an effective infomercial.

Joe Biden seems to have walked in thinking that she was an idiot and that he only had to patiently wait for this fact to reveal itself. This was a miscalculation. He showed great forbearance. Too much forbearance. She said of his intentions on Iraq, "Your plan is a white flag of surrender." This deserved an indignant response, or at least a small bop on the head, from Mr. Biden, who has been for five years righter on Iraq than the Republican administration. He was instead mild.

The heart of her message was a complete populist pitch. "Joe Six-Pack" and "soccer moms" should unite to fight the tormentors who forced mortgages on us. She spoke of "Main Streeters like me." A question is at what point shiny, happy populism becomes cheerful manipulation.

Sarah Palin saved John McCain again Thursday night. She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles: Clear! Zap! We've got a beat! She will re-electrify the base. More than that, an hour and a half of talking to America will take her to a new level of stardom. Watch her crowds this weekend. She's about to get jumpers, the old political name for people who are so excited to see you they start to jump.

More here


Governor Palin destroyed Senator Biden tonight and had fun doing it. She was a smiling barracuda teasing a guppy. The joy on her face was infectious - it was lost on Biden until she even made him smile broadly with her "There you go again" Reaganisms. There were no teleprompters. There were no MSM editing the footage to make her look bad. It was just plain Sarah - the most authentic person working as a politician I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Now if you thought Senator Biden was the winner you should have listened to Karl Rove on the roundup. He said Biden made ten undisputable misstatements and another eleven he could argue about. Biden may have sounded experienced - unfortunately he was spewing fiction. However, I never heard a word about the most damaging thing he had to say. No one apparently caught it or if they did I didn't catch it.

He said the bankruptcy courts should be able to readjust not just the interest rate on your home (in default) they should be able to adjust the principal. For example your $500,000 mortgage now is supported by a $250,000 house. He and Obama want taxpayers or the lender to foot the bill for the $250,000 loss. They support having taxpayers footing the $250,000 bill (or the lender) so the homeowner could keep their home.

That is communism. Taking property by government fiat. It is most surprising that Democrats have become so comfortable with Karl Marx that a vice-presidential candidate would espouse confiscation of private property on national TV in a presidential debate. However, if Barrack Obama and the Democrats take over the administration and the Congress I guess we need to get a copy of Das Capital to discover the many ways the American culture will be undermined and our sovereignty stolen

Comment from Dick McDonald, not online elsewhere


Senator Joe Biden lied at least 14 times during the vice presidential debate according to those counting at John McCain's presidential headquarters. Tucker Bounds, a spokesman from GOP presidential candidate John McCain's campaign said in a statement, ""Joe Biden graduated from his trademark verbal gaffe to outright lie in tonight's debate." McCain's blogger-in-chief Michael Goldfarb chronicled the 14 lies HERE.

On the foreign policy front, Biden challenged Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin when she said Barack Obama's pledge to meet with any foreign leaders, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, without precondition "goes beyond naivete and goes beyond poor judgment." Biden lectured Palin, "That's just simply not true about Barack Obama. He did not say he'd sit down with Ahmadinejad." During the YouTube Democratic primary debate last July Obama was asked if he would meet the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea without "precondition" during his first year in office. "I would," he replied.

Biden appeared to attack Obama for making that very statement in August 2007. While Biden was challenging Obama for the Democratic nomination for president Biden said he would not support such a pledge. "Would I make a blanket commitment to meet unconditionally with the leaders of each of those countries within the first year I was elected president?" he said in an appearance at the National Press Club. "Absolutely positively no."

Five of the lies Biden told were related to tax and energy votes. During the debate Biden adamantly claimed McCain voted the same way as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama did on a vote to raise taxes on those making $42,000 a year. The legislative record shows McCain was not present in the Senate for either of those votes and is recorded as "not voting."

More here


Sarah won this by a mile. This was her first unscripted moment on national stage and she proved herself. This makes me wonder how many good answers Gibson and Couric left on the cutting table. It would be interesting to see how the MSM spins their insistance that Palin is dumb.

Was Biden better with points? Maybe. But who in the audience noticed that? Biden mostly made wonkish points that will give boners to Washington insiders. Sarah talked in a language ordinary Americans understand.

Even fluffy Plouffe agreed (sort of) that Sarah did good. McCain's chances just went way up. McCain has taken a big hit by suspending his campaign to work on the economic crisis. This debate makes up for that.

More here


Kos: "Sarah Palin won!" He tried to be sarcastic, he tried to spin it, but he had to admit it.

And this was the most telling part of his post: "So who won? Who cares. Nothing happened to change the dynamics of this race. Palin proved that she's still unable to answer the questions posed to her, but she also didn't fall flat on her face. And in the ridiculously depressed expectations for the governor of Alaska, she didn't crash and burn. But she didn't need to maintain the status quo. That's toxic territory for her. She needed to prove that she could get beyond pre-packaged talking points to demonstrating some capacity for analytical thought. In that regard, she failed."

Those grapes are sour.



Republican Sarah Palin flicks off Democrat Joe Biden's talking points. The moose hunter bags another one.

Biden has veered off the facts into Daily Kos land. Biden saying Republican John McCain was wrong on the war. Two words: The Surge. Palin has sliced this guy bad. She shows he knows nothing about energy, the economy and the war. Every answer he has is Bush, Bush, Bush. He's scripted. She's not. Biden's lying. She's not.

I don't know if she can still save McCain, but she got game. Line of the night: Doggone it, Joe. : The shot of the night, after the debate, she took a sleeping Trig and perched him on her shoulder. Not fair but them's the breaks.



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 03, 2008

There are TWO ways the U.S. government has destroyed the financial system

The email below from someone in the system (Steve Goodman of Voorhees, NJ) explains all. Not only did the government cause the problem with its insistence on lending money to anybody capable of staggering into a bank but it is now preventing any recovery of the system with its "mark to market" regulation. The essential point is that most sub-prime borrowers are in fact making their payments but the regulations not only ignore that but force the financial system to treat the mortgages concerned as worthless

I am an attorney and have spent most of my career advising banks and other lenders on compliance with the many laws and regulations that govern loans to consumers and businesses.

I think that the culprit behind this mess is fast coming to light. It is our government. In part the crisis is a runaway subprime loan giveaway foisted on regulated lenders by the government. Banks and other mortgage lenders were required by federal law to make and invest in mortgages made to persons who could not afford to borrow, or they would be in violation of the federal 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Over the years, consumer activist groups, such as ACORN (but there are others), used the CRA to interject themselves in the regulatory process regarding requests by banks to open new branches or to merge with other institutions. Initially, the Federal Reserve Board gave little weight to these activist claims but, as the Congress criticized the Fed to enforce the CRA (and thereby to STOP discrimination in home lending, of which there was little or no evidence), banks were forced to enter into contracts with ACORN and other activist groups under which they committed to make billions of dollars of subprime loans.

The CRA was used more recently as a cudgel to force banks to make loans the banks would not make on their own. How could a bank refuse to make a loan if it would be approved by applying the very low approval standards adopted by the gse's (Fannie and Freddie)? And, under Andrew Cuomo, the Chairman of HUD in the 90's, the then "normal" rules for rejecting loans were replaced by very lax standards intended to rapidly increase home ownership by those persons who could not afford to buy homes under the old rules. HUD permitted the charging of broker's fees, ALT-A loans, interest only, and whatever the market would bear. It created the subprime market we know today and induced lenders to participate. States and localities are adopting laws and ordnances to regulate the practices of mortgage lenders and brokers, with no real understanding of how the market got to this point.

The majority of CRA (subprime) loans are now performing. But, that fact seems to have no impact on their "market" value, at least to regulators, auditors and accountants. The market for subprime loans has quickly dried up because the "mark to market" rule adopted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board requires that all assets be valued and revalued based on their current market worth. If the secondary market for any financial product (such as a loan) tends to dry up, the mark to market rule comes into play to further devalue those products traded in that market. Thus, fairly quickly, an otherwise performing subprime loan secured by residential real estate collateral has a near zero market value. Even if a buyer wanted to purchase the subprime mortgage for what the buyer deemed its worth based on the performing stream of payments. interest rate, and the like, the buyer would be required to immediately mark the asset value down on its books and undermine its own stock market value.

So, if a buyer purchased a mortgage that, based on the likelihood of payment, remaining payments, interest rate, and credit worthiness of the borrower it valued at $100,000, it would then have to apply the mark to market rule to value the loan at near zero on its books. No publicly traded or regulated company or bank can do that. Moreover, in my experience, the bank regulators will soon demand that other loans, such as prime mortgage loans, car loans, installment loans, and the like, be written down as their marketability will come into question. The regulators can themselves bring a loan market to a standstill. They did it before and will do it again.

Thus, the net effect of the mark to market accounting rule is to create a downward spiral in valuation of all loans, without regard to their true worth. And, while the mark to market rule was supposed to create a better understanding of a company's (or bank's) value, which the cost basis somehow did not do (although it worked for a long, long time and there was no perceived need to change it), it has quickly been found to artificially undermine that net worth.

So, instead of throwing $700 Billion into a black hole, to be doled out at the discretion of some bureaucrat who will have no idea what he or she is doing, and thereby prolonging instability in the market and inviting a depression, we should simply rescind the mark to market rule and let buyers and sellers reach the price for loans that would allow them to value loans in the real world and use that cost or historical value for bookkeeping purposes. To do so will keep bank regulators, accountants and auditors at bay and open the market to market trading.

(It would be a positive on public confidence in the banking system to raise the cap on deposit insurance, too but, in my opinion, that is not as essential as rescinding the mark to market rule.)

Note that by requiring the use of the mark to market rule, the government that required that subprime loans be made, is now requiring that they be written down to near zero values that Secretary is advising the Congress are much less than their real worth. After all, his argument in selling his plan to the Congress is that the government can hold the loans for a short while and then sell them into the market for large profits. But, unless and until the mark to market rule is rescinded, The government will be able to sell subprime loans only to nonpublicly traded companies. So, to unload these loans for the promised profits, the mark to market rule will rescinded when it is in the interests of our government to do so.

In essence, the U. S. Government has required banks and other mortgage lenders to make imprudent subprime loans and, under Paulson's plan, gets to steal them and later sell them for a profit. This is not a bailout. It is highway robbery. And, we are now getting to see the Paulson plan for what it is. This is a very incompetent man who rose far above his capabilities.
On Jews and the Left and the Book of Job

A couple of days ago I wrote "A small meditation for the Jewish New Year", in which I commented on a possible lesson to be learnt from the book of Job. I expected that I might hear from one or two of my Jewish readers about it and I am pleased to say that I have. Because of my strange combination of utter atheism and great respect for Judeo-Christian religion, I get a fair bit of correspondence from religious people and I appreciate it all. I reproduce below an email from a religious Jewish reader that comments further on the issues I raised earlier:

The book of Job is a profound book; we read it on Tisha B'av, the commemoration of the destrruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. The main thrust of it is that one has to have faith, ultimately, that God has reasons for what he does. While God does "attack" Job, He later gives back everything, but the story really speaks to the problem of theodicy, trying to explain the existence of evil in a world we believe is run by a benevolent God. Of course, there ARE no answers that make sense, and one either takes it on faith that it is so, or goes the way of atheism. And I am not condemning the latter at all!

But I began being a religious Jew in part because I loved the "non-answer" of Job, that there ARE no real answers. Job's friends try to make sense of what is going on, but they can't persuade Job, and that is because, philosophically and superficially, there ARE no answers that make sense. I fell in love with my own religion because it recognized that, even as the rest of the time, it acts as if it does know the answer.

Same thing in that on the day of a funeral for a close relative, there are certain prayers and things not done by the mourner. Why? Because Judaism realized it is impossible to fully accept the idea of a god or benevolent deity in the face of grief. And the rest of it may seem pretty crazy, the stuff we do (and I can step into an outsider's shoes and understand that!), and as always, this is not an attempt to persuade towards Judaism...we don't do that...but I loved these couple of things that I wrote about above.

As to Jews and evangelical Christians...I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. During the intafada, the only ones who supported Israel were Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians. The lack of brains on the part of Jews concerning this, as well as them voting Democratic, has nothing to do with anything from Heaven! More like some suicidally stupid something from Hell.

Part of the problem is that the Nazis were labeled as "right wing", which is a perversion of what they really were. But I didn't learn or understand that until a number of years ago either. And to this day, nationlistic movements, especially in Europe, SOME (and some mistakenly) are labeled anti-Semitic AND are termed "right wing". In my father's time, in Europe, prior to the Holocaust, the anti-Semites were the Hungarian and Romanian "right-wing" nationalistic groups that allied with the Nazis, and many Jews still equate the terms.

It's wrong, but it's almost an educational problem, plus a blind spot on even the idea of learning anything new. It's the same thing of Jews voting Democratic. They still refuse to accept that FDR was an anti-Semite, or at least no friend of ours...that all the totems of the early Left that were supported by Jews were WRONGLY supported by Jews...but we have this weak spot in our hearts..and brains..that buys into the same crap, excuse the expression, that the Left is always the side of good intentions and caring about the "forgotten man"..but as has been pointed out, the very idea of that phrase was PERVERTED by FDR for political use, just as the very word "liberal" came to be coopted into something it wasn't meant to be.

Does this mean I give my fellow Jews a pass? NOPE. I am livid that we don't learn the truth, that we can't even bother to look into it (though I go to a small congregation where 90% will vote for McCain/Palin and the Republicans!). It's not just Abe Foxman, either. He's but one of many.

Finally, the other problem is that the biggest proportion of Jews in the United States are anti-religious, not just not religious. They are more concerned about "gay" and "abortion" rights than protecting Israel (or themselves, in my opinion, since they don't see the damage this does to our own people). It makes me sick, truthfully, but there it is. The irony is that most Jews are afraid of the Christian Right because of those kinds of issues, but will also say "but they are trying to convert us!". It's true, but so the hell what?! 75% of the Jewish religious Left intermarries out and loses connection to Judaism anyway, plenty getting married in churches. So what are they really worried about?

Religious Jews vote increasingly for Republicans, and though we tend to not like conversion efforts directed our way, realize we have commonalities with the Christian Right. We can still be friends...maybe not the closest, but we can certainly be allies to a point, because we absolutely believe in Israel and even many social issues.


Desperate dissing of Palin

A dispatch by Jason Szep of Reuters carries the headline "Palin's Troubles Mount for McCain in White House." What are these "troubles"? Here's the list:

An editor at Newsweek wrote a column saying that Palin is "unqualified."

Palin's interviews with CBS, Fox News and ABC "raise questions over her nomination and dealings with the media."

Palin faces "a stubborn investigation into charges that as governor she abused her power by firing a public safety commissioner."

A conservative columnist "called on Palin to step down ."

Palin has been mocked on "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Show With David Letterman."

A "conservative New York Times columnist . . . called her candidacy 'embarrassing.' "

Mitt Romney "questioned the campaign's strategy of restricting Palin's media exposure."

Except for the "stubborn investigation," all of these "troubles" are troubles with the media. One wonders why Szep did not include his own article in the list.



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 02, 2008

Bailout nonsense

By Steven E. Landsburg, a professor of economics at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York

We are embarking on the most radical transformation of the American economy since the New Deal, committing hundreds of billions in taxpayer money to save banks and other financial institutions from the consequences of their own bad investments. This, we are told, is the cost of averting a crisis. But I sure wish someone would explain to me exactly what crisis we're trying to avert.

What's clear is that a bunch of financial institutions have made mistakes and lost money. What's unclear is why anyone (other than the owners and managers) should care. People make mistakes and lose money all the time. Restaurants fail, grocery stores fail, gas stations fail. People pick the wrong stocks, they buy the wrong cars, and they marry the wrong spouses without turning to the Treasury for bailouts.

So what's special about banks? According to what I keep reading, it's that without banks, nobody can borrow, and the economy grinds to a halt. Well, let's think about that. Banks don't lend their own money; they lend other people's (their depositors' and their stockholders'). Just because the banks disappear doesn't mean the lenders will. Borrowers will still want to borrow and lenders will still want to lend. The only question is whether they'll be able to find each other.

That's one reason I feel squeamish about the official pronouncements we've been getting. They tell us bank failures will make it hard to borrow but never that bank failures will make it hard to lend. But every borrower is paired with a lender, so it's odd to state the problem so asymmetrically. This makes me suspect that the official pronouncers have not entirely thought this thing through.

In the 1930s, a wave of bank failures did make it hard for borrowers and lenders to find each other, and the consequences were drastic. But times have changed in at least two relevant ways. First, the disaster of the 1930s was caused not just by bank failures, but by a 30% contraction of the money supply, which is something today's Fed can easily prevent. Second, as any user of can tell you, the technology for finding partners has improved since then. When a firm wants to raise capital, why can't it just sell bonds over the web? Or issue new stock? Or approach one of the hedge funds that seem to be swimming in cash? Or borrow abroad?

I know, I know, the rest of the world is in crisis too. But surely in the vast global economy, it should be possible to find someone capable of introducing a lender to a borrower. (Note that I'm not talking about going to foreign lenders, though that's another option. I'm just talking about the same American borrower and American lender who would have found each other through Bear Stearns finding each other through Barclays instead.)

In other words, I'm not sure these big Wall Street banks are really necessary, and I'm not sure we'd miss them much if they were gone. Maybe there's something I'm missing, but if so, I think it should be incumbent on Messrs. Bernanke, Paulson and above all Bush to explain what it is.




Bailout marks Karl Marx's comeback : "In his Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, Karl Marx proposed 10 measures to be implemented after the proletariat takes power, with the aim of centralizing all instruments of production in the hands of the state. Proposal Number Five was to bring about the `centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.' If he were to rise from the dead today, Marx might be delighted to discover that most economists and financial commentators, including many who claim to favor the free market, agree with him."

Why I oppose the bailout, by US Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): "Economic freedom means the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. The decision to give the federal government the ability to nationalize almost every bad mortgage in America interrupts this basic truth of our free market economy. Republicans improved this bill but it remains the largest corporate bailout in American history, forever changes the relationship between government and the financial sector, and passes the cost along to the American people. I cannot support it."

A damn good defeat: "There is no disputing that financial firms have too much unidentified and unpriced, semi-performing assets on their books. To regain access to the credit and capital markets, all these firms have to do is identify and price those assets. The resulting write-downs will trim the share price and capital will once again flow in. It's that simple, kind of. You see, these firms don't just want access to the capital markets again, they want it at the share price they can command with those overvalued assets on their books. Hey, I want $30K for my `92 Accord with 200k miles on it, too, but I'm not holding my breath. The Billionaire Bailout scheme, in a round-about fashion, is to force you to take on these overvalued assets at book value or, in most cases, higher thus replacing ??? with cash on the books of financial firms. When the scheme fell apart this afternoon, the stock market resumed its one-and-only function: discovering the share price at which firms can access capital markets."

Economic laws of conservation: "One of the economic broad principles that I am familiar with is that, while the market can be wrong, you (whoever you are) are almost certainly unable reliably to do better than the market. Claims that the government will probably recoup its investment and even profit violate this principle. Another of the economic broad principles that I am familiar with is that the market works by no other means than rewarding wise investment and punishing foolish investment. That is how it works. A more general broad principle, upon which this relies, is that you get more of what you reward. The bailout violates this principle as well. Miron, and other economists who have spoken out against the bailout, have tended to make arguments that I find comprehensible and persuasive, because they appeal to broad economic principles that I am familiar with and have long since accepted. Those who have spoken out in favor of the bailout - well, for one thing, rather than see actual arguments from them I have seen appeals to authority, appeals to hidden knowledge, sky-is-falling warnings that have no actual content but serve merely to shift the reader into panic mode, vehement attacks on those who disagree, and the like".

If you're going to bailout anybody... : "It is not clear whether there would be a financial catastrophe if the bailout were not passed. Credit is still available; millions of people are still using their credit cards. Businesses are still getting loans. However, it is true that many firms can't obtain funds except at quite high risk premiums, or not at all. The credit markets are somewhat stuck, but maybe that is because lenders are waiting for the government to act. Any plan that bails out banks and mortgages is going to favor some at the expense of others. Many who have been dutifully paying their mortgage payments, or fully own their homes, will not get any aid. If there is a major liquidity problem, and if government has to step in to prevent financial chaos, the egalitarian solution would be to provide money to everyone equally. Money to the people!"

The end of the US financial system as we know it? : "A number of Republican House members and staff, along with others who are plugged in, are telling me that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will come back with a new bill that includes all the left-wing stuff that was scrubbed from the bill that was defeated today in the House. . Of course, this scenario will lose more Republican votes. But insiders tell me President Bush will take Secretary Paulson's advice and sign that kind of legislation."

Bush signs sprawling spending bill: "President Bush on Tuesday signed a sprawling, stopgap spending bill to keep the government running for the next 12 months. The president's move, which came on the last day of the government's budget year, was expected even though the measure spends more money and contains more pet projects than he would have liked. The legislation is one of the few bills this election year that simply had to pass. The $630 billion-plus spending bill wraps together a record Pentagon budget with aid for automakers and natural disaster victims, and increased health care funding for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure also lifts a quarter-century ban on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a victory for Bush and fellow Republicans."

UK: We'll protect bank savings: "`Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told the BBC that he will do "whatever it takes" to protect people's savings.Moves to guarantee bank deposits up to 50,000 pounds - compared with the current 35,000 limit - are expected shortly.He declined to offer an unlimited guarantee, as has happened in Ireland, but pointed out the government had not let any UK depositor lose out. .. The Irish government has made an emergency decision to guarantee the safety of all deposits in six of its main savings institutions for two years."

You can trust us with your personal data? "Britain's MI6 intelligence service is investigating how a camera holding sensitive information about al-Qaida suspects came to be lost by one of its agents and then sold on eBay, police said on Tuesday. `We can confirm we seized a camera after a member of the public reported it,' said a statement by police in Hertfordshire, north of London, after the camera was handed into a police station."


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 01, 2008

A small meditation for the Jewish New Year

Although I am an atheist, I am acutely aware of the vast influence that the New Testament has had on my thinking. And I regret not one jot or tittle of that. Whenever I follow the teachings of Christ (alas far too seldom) I get a blessing -- sometimes very rapidly.

I also however have great respect for the Old Testament and often read it with pleasure. One book however stands out for its difficulty: The book of Job. However you explain it, the fact of the matter is that the God of Israel placed great burdens and afflictions on a good and holy man.

If I were a Rabbi, I would see that as a metaphor for the relationship between the God of Israel and his people as a whole. The God of the Jews has given his chosen people enormous gifts but in his wisdom he has also given them one enormous handicap: political stupidity. Israel and the Jews have only ONE powerful friend in the world: American evangelical Christians. And yet Jews generally despise them. Through the despicable Abraham Foxman, they do all they can to thwart evangelical Christians and they vote in droves for the antisemitic Democratic Party, the party that also despises evangelical Christians.

Now that seems to me to be a curse from on high but I speak from a particular perspective. What Jews do politically is virtually inexplicable from an Anglo-Saxon viewpoint but to the rest of the world it may not be so at all.

This is not the time or place to spell it out in historical detail, but a large element in Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism is the way they value alliances. When Anglo-Saxons go to war they generally do so as "Allies". They in fact refer to their side of a conflict as "the Allies" or "Allied forces". They have an instinctive appreciation of the importance of friends, banal though that may seem. There is much egotism in the world that causes both people and nations to "go it alone" at times but that is something that seems to be missing in Anglo-Saxon thinking.

And that seeking of alliances even overcomes old wounds. There is only one country that has burnt Washington to the ground and that is Britain -- in 1812. But, despite that bad start, the commonality of attitudes and values has prevailed and the USA and Britain have fought alongside one-another repeatedly since then.

Why cannot Jews do the same? Christians were once a plague upon Jewry but they are not so now. Both fundamentalist Christians and Jews want to see Jews in Zion but very few Jews will grasp the hand of friendship that is held out to them by the Christians. That blindspot does seem to me very much like a curse from on high.

There are of course some Jews who fight the good fight: Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, Jeff Jacoby, Dennis Prager etc. But on some accounts 88% of Jews voted for the Islam-loving Democratic party at the 2006 mid-terms -- so the curse is pervasive despite that.

There has always been antisemitism on both sides of politics but at least since Karl Marx it has always had its principal home on the Left. Jews can remember conservative businessmen keeping them out of country clubs but forget that Hitler was a socialist. One should be able to expect better than that from a generally clever people. In the late 19th century, the British Conservative party made a Jew (Disraeli) their Prime Minister. About 50 years later the socialist Hitler incinerated 6 million Jews. Can anybody see a difference there?

In 1939 Germany went to war with a powerful ally on its side: Soviet Russia. The German Panzern that stormed through France were powered by Soviet fuel. Germany later however turned on its ally, with disastrous results for itself. One hopes that Jews will not similarly antagonize THEIR best ally. Abe Foxman, take note.


Jewish Left Wins, Jews and Israel Lose

by Dennis Prager

For decades most of the organized left has fought against Republicans and conservatives more than against the world's greatest evils. During the Cold War, starting in the late 1960s, one heard little if anything from the left about the evils of Communism or of Communist societies such as the Soviet Union or Communist China. But one heard a great deal about the evils of American anti-Communists; Ronald Reagan was vilified much more than Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

But last week, a new line seems to have been crossed. The organized Jewish left -- i.e., left-wing Jewish organizations that claim to be committed to the welfare of Jews -- made it clear that even in the fight against the greatest enemy of the Jewish people, the Jewish left prefers to fight what it considers an even greater enemy -- conservatives and Republicans.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who has repeatedly called for the annihilation of Israel and who denies the Holocaust, came to speak at the United Nations. The day before he was scheduled to speak, Jewish organizations across the religious and political spectrum had organized a "Stop Iran" rally at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the UN. They had invited Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and then invited Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The intent was to maximize publicity for the anti-Iran cause, the most important Jewish concern (and arguably the most important world concern) today. With Clinton and Palin present, the world press would cover the anti-Iran rally, and the Jewish community could show the world and America that this was one cause that knew no politics -- the most prominent female Democrat and the most prominent female Republican would both lend their names and prestige to this rally.

However, the moment that Clinton learned that the organizers had invited Palin, she withdrew. For Clinton, giving the other most popular woman politician in America publicity was unacceptable -- even among New York Jews, one of the steadfast liberal and Democratic groups in America. The near collapse of the Stop Iran rally was of less consequence to Clinton than denying Palin a public platform.

Not many were surprised by Clinton's action. What was alarming was the realization that for much of the Jewish left -- not leftists who happen to be Jews and for whom the welfare of the Jewish people is not particularly significant, but left-wing Jews who claim to care deeply about Jewish survival -- fighting Palin is of greater importance than fighting Ahmadinejad.

Left-wing Jews and Jewish organizations put intense pressure on the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to cancel the invitation to Palin. And the pressure worked. As the liberal editorial page of New York's major Jewish newspaper The Jewish Week put it: "But somehow, a big-tent cause like Iran as a terrorist power seeking nuclear arms has become so politicized within our community that Monday's rally was more about the non-presence of Gov. Sarah Palin than about the very real presence at the UN of a Holocaust denier whose goal is to destroy our way of life."

Yet, in a rare move, publishing an entire speech that was never given, Ha'aretz, Israel's equivalent to The New York Times in its prestige and in its liberal politics, published the speech that Palin would have given. In Israel, liberal and even many left-wing Jews know that Iran is a greater threat to Israel than American conservatives.

The Palin speech was so good it should be read by every American concerned with Israel's survival. And it was so nonpartisan that it praised Clinton for being at the rally. To say that Palin -- who has the American, Alaskan and Israeli flags in her Juneau office -- is a better friend of the Jews and Israel than much of the American Jewish left sounds odd only to Jewish leftists.

But the Jewish left acts as if it fears and hates her more than it fears and hates Ahmadinejad. That is why within days of her nomination Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., announced that "John McCain's decision to select a vice presidential running mate that endorsed Pat Buchanan for president in 2000 is a direct affront to all Jewish Americans. Pat Buchanan is a Nazi sympathizer with a uniquely atrocious record on Israel. . It is frightening that John McCain would select someone one heartbeat away from the presidency who supported a man who embodies vitriolic anti-Israel sentiments."

Wexler's statement was false: Palin supported Steve Forbes, not Buchanan. And associating Palin with Nazi or anti-Israel sympathies is morally loathsome, not to mention weakens the struggle against real anti-Semites.

For left-wing Jewish organizations and their supporters -- as opposed to many rank and file liberal Jews -- the real fight is against Republicans and especially Christian conservatives (as a community, the Jews' best friends) more than against a nuclear Iran.

After the cancellation of Palin, a left-wing Jewish organization that was influential in opposing Palin's appearance, an organization called J Street, on whose Board of Advisors sits the executive director of, headlined on its website: "We Won!" That is indeed the case. The Jewish left did win. Which is why the Jews and Israel lost.



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, September 30, 2008


To my Jewish readers. And may the New Year bring shalom to us all, Jew and goy alike.

By Jeff Jacoby

"The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it." That's Barney Frank's story, and he's sticking to it. As the Massachusetts Democrat has explained it in recent days, the current financial crisis is the spawn of the free market run amok, with the political class guilty only of failing to rein the capitalists in. The Wall Street meltdown was caused by "bad decisions that were made by people in the private sector," Frank said; the country is in dire straits today "thanks to a conservative philosophy that says the market knows best." And that philosophy goes "back to Ronald Reagan, when at his inauguration he said, `Government is not the answer to our problems; government is the problem.' "

In fact, that isn't what Reagan said. His actual words were: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Were he president today, he would be saying much the same thing.

Because while the mortgage crisis convulsing Wall Street has its share of private-sector culprits -- many of whom have been learning lately just how pitiless the private sector's discipline can be -- they weren't the ones who "got us into this mess." Barney Frank's talking points notwithstanding, mortgage lenders didn't wake up one fine day deciding to junk long-held standards of creditworthiness in order to make ill-advised loans to unqualified borrowers. It would be closer to the truth to say they woke up to find the government twisting their arms and demanding that they do so -- or else.

The roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when government officials, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites.

The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. In 1977 Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods." In 1995, under President Clinton, the law was made even more stringent. Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this "subprime" lending by authorizing ever more "flexible" criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of the questionable mortgages that ensued. Some state and local governments added pressure of their own.

All this was justified as a means of increasing homeownership among minorities and the poor. Affirmative-action policies trumped sound business practices. A manual issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston advised mortgage lenders to disregard financial common sense. "Lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor," the Fed's guidelines instructed. Applicants lacking sufficient savings to cover a down payment and closing costs should be allowed to rely instead on "gifts, grants, or loans from relatives, nonprofit organizations, or municipal agencies." Lenders were even directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as "valid income sources" to qualify for a mortgage. Failure to comply could mean a lawsuit.

As long as housing prices kept rising -- and with millions of otherwise unqualified borrowers adding to demand, they did -- the illusion that all this was good public policy could be sustained. But it didn't take a financial whiz to recognize that a day of reckoning would come. "What does it mean when Boston banks start making many more loans to minorities?" I asked in this space in 1995. "Most likely, that they are knowingly approving risky loans in order to get the feds and the activists off their backs . . . When the coming wave of foreclosures rolls through the inner city, which of today's self-congratulating bankers, politicians, and regulators plans to take the credit?"

Not Barney Frank. And yet his fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that "these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis." When the White House warned of "systemic risk for our financial system" unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

Now that the bubble has burst and the "systemic risk" is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: "The private sector got us into this mess." Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one likely suspect in the nearest mirror.



The bailout: McCain is the Man who Got Action

He secured the compromises without which there was no way that House Republicans would have supported the bill

Weisman's article sums up the objectives of both McCain and Obama:
"McCain has been trying to help the House guys, trying to get their ideas into the broader bill," said a senior Republican Senate aide. "If McCain can do that, he can bring 50 to 100 House Republicans to the bill. That would be a big damn deal." . One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans.

If Democrats did succeed in forcing McCain to choose between House Republicans and President Bush McCain choose wisely. President Bush is effectively a lame duck and without the support of House Republicans John McCain cannot be elected President. But more to the point, without McCain's action to stop the runaway freight train that the Obama-Dodd-Frank-Paulson bill had become, the bill might very well have failed to gain passage in the House causing further panic in world financial markets.

In an orchestrated attempt to showcase Obama's leadership ability, it's clear that instead, Obama only served to foster division by stoking the unease House GOP leaders felt over being pressured to sign off on what they knew was a bad bill. Weisman described Obama's participation at the White House meeting as a "hectoring performance" certainly not one designed to win over converts to the Democrat plan.

McCain's performance was much more presidential. Instead of doing all the talking, he LISTENED to what House GOP leaders were saying instead of trying to browbeat them into a bad agreement. And in the end, McCain is motivated by lifelong principles dedicated to protecting the taxpayer from big government boondoggles which is exactly what the Democrat plan pushed at the White House had become. If the current compromise passes, as many insist it must to avoid financial disaster, there will be only one man to thank: John McCain!

Much more here



A stupid priest who is so far out of his depth he is drowning "The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has spoken up in support of Karl Marx, defending key aspects of his critique of capitalism. Dr Williams warns that in the face of the credit crisis, the financial world needs new regulation and says that our society is running the risk of idolatry in its relationship with wealth. In an article in Friday's Spectator, Dr Williams compares today's debtors and financiers to the feckless young clerics and landowners described in the novels of Anthony Trollope. He writes: "Individuals find that their own personal financial decisions and calculations have nothing to do with what is happening to their resources, in a process for which a debt is simply someone else's wholly disposable asset."

No Funds for Squirrely ACORN: "Given that the bailout bill is largely agreed upon as a necessary "crap sandwich" that "sucks," it is worth noting that conservative outrage did succeed in stripping the most egregious pork from the bill- funds in an "affordable housing trust fund" that could have gone to Democrat-allied and often nefarious advocacy groups like ACORN. All possible proceeds from the sale of these toxic assets will now go toward the national debt, not to affordable housing groups that pressure politicians to pressure banks to offer risky loans to low-income families, so those families can get into mortgages they can't afford. Hmmm, doesn't that sound familiar? Unhappy with the revocation of another round of gorging at the government teat, ACORN is releasing angry press releases, which is at least one reason to smile"

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


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, September 29, 2008

Newt gets it: Let the financiers sort themselves out

Republican Newt Gingrich: "You have an administration which, in my judgment, has lost its mind." And I agree wholeheartedly.

President Bush is so worried about his legacy - he is so afraid of being looked at as Herbert Hoover - that he is doing the very things that Hoover did: Intervene, intervene, intervene. He should do what Ronald Reagan did in 1981 and 1982 and 1987: Let the market play it out.

From the Atlantic Journal-Constitution, Gingrich wants Hank Paulson canned and Gingrich said, "They may have to, in the end, tolerate some of this. Because in the end, you have the Democrats desperate for socialism now. You have an administration which, in my judgment, has lost its mind. That gives you two big elements. And you have Senate Republicans desperate to go along. I'm just being truly candid. Because I think the country ought to know what the pressures really are like.

"And you've got the House Republicans and John McCain prepared to stand on as much principle [as possible] - but in the end, I don't think they're going to be prepared to do nothing. Because they understand that next week, as long as the current situation. stays the way it is, you're going to have a genuine credit crisis."

Either Republicans start behaving like conservatives or they can kiss it all off. Look for the return oif the '70s and it ain't very pretty.



Replenishing ACORN's Account: Keeping the Housing Mess Going

Like me the WSJ thinks it's outrageous that the Democrats are trying to find money in the bailout to keep their friends in ACORN well nourished:
Acorn has promoted laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, which laid the foundation for the house of cards built out of subprime loans. Thus, we'd be funneling more cash to the groups that helped create the lending mess in the first place.

This isn't the first time this year that Democrats have tried to route money for fixing the housing crisis into the bank accounts of these community activist groups. The housing bill passed by Congress in July also included a tax on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise an estimated $600 million annually in grants for these lobbying groups. When Fannie and Freddie went under, the Democrats had to find a new way to fill the pipeline flowing tax dollars into the groups' coffers.

This is a crude power grab in a time of economic crisis. Congress should insist that every penny recaptured from the sale of distressed assets be dedicated to retiring the hundreds of billions of dollars in public debt that will be incurred, or passed back to taxpayers who will ultimately underwrite the cost of the bailout.

Update from Clarice Feldman: Tom Maguire catches how outrageous the Dodd payoff plan to ACORN is:
Jim Lindgren points out multiple problems with Chris Dodd's original draft. My only reassurance - the current plan has moved beyond that. I had derided the Dodd approach to equity stakes last week but Lindgren has more trashing from a different direction.

And his insight on the housing slush fund is an eye-opener -- the original Dodd language called for 20% of the profit on each sale to be diverted to the Dem slush fund; this is far different from 20% of *net* profits. In a net profit scenario, losses on some sales would offset gains on others. Under Dodd, any profit is immediately subject to diversion, regardless of whether there are other, greater losses. That is not taxpayer protection. What it is is absurd

Source. More on ACORN here


They've Reached a Deal on Bailout

House and Senate negotiators have reached tentative agreement on a financial rescue plan after a marathon Capitol negotiating session that started Saturday afternoon and stretched into early Sunday morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said their "breakthrough" still had to be "committed to paper," a process that was expected to continue through the night. "We have something verbal," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.).

Republican Whip Roy Blunt, the chief negotiator for House Republicans, said he was "looking forward to what we're going to see on paper" and was optimistic that it would be something House Republicans could support.

Said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: "We've been working very hard on this and we've made great progress toward a deal which will work and will be effective in the marketplace and effective for all Americans . . . .We've still got a lot to do to finalize it, but I think we're there." The plan would likely give Paulson a relatively free hand accessing the first $350 billion of the $700 billion he sought. It was not clear when the remaining $350 billion would become available, but Treasury apparently agreed that a future Congress could block its release though a joint resolution signed by the president.

The agreement would also include much greater oversight than the Bush administration had initially proposed; an opportunity for the government to take an equity share in the companies it helps, either through warrants or options to buy stock; and a provision limiting the compensation paid to executives of those companies.

To help win the support of House Republicans, the agreement also would likely include an option under which Paulson and future Treasury secretaries could choose to sell companies government-backed insurance to cover securities - thereby improving their value - rather than buy the assets as initially proposed.

A vote in the House could come as early as Monday seemed, Emanuel said.

Source. Much more here. It is rumored that ACORN misses out!



The last straw for South Africa: "A wave of alarm swept through middle-class South Africa last week as President Thabo Mbeki was sacked by the ruling African National Congress and replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe, who has already presided over sweeping cabinet changes. The new president is still remembered as a communist militant who urged that the country's youth be "taught to hate capitalism". The real winner in the coup against Mbeki is Jacob Zuma. He will lead the ANC into next April's election and is strongly backed by the powerful Communist party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, both of which favour radical left-wing policies. Polls show that business confidence has slumped to a seven-year low. There has long been considerable evidence of "white flight" to cities in Britain, Australia, America and New Zealand. It is estimated that up to 20% of South Africa's whites have emigrated since the advent of democracy in 1994. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Zuma's rise, coupled with nationwide power cuts and a continuing crime wave, has led to a further massive brain drain"

Americans Revealed To Have Lives on Friday Nights: "Ratings for last night's debate were average, by some counts lower than Bush-Kerry. Shouldn't be shocked, really; Americans have much better things to do on a Friday night in September - high school football, go out to the movies, hit the bars, splurge with their Friday paycheck coming in. The baseball playoffs are being set, the NL East and AL Central are still up for grabs, as is the NL wild card...

Anti US paranoia flares in EU over Irish vote : "FIRST it was the sheer ingratitude of the Irish, then it was the failure of the Dublin government to mount a successful yes campaign. Now Brussels has found a new explanation as to why Ireland voted down the European Union treaty in June - a CIA and Pentagon-backed plot, devised by American neoconservatives to weaken the EU. The European parliament wants an inquiry into whether Declan Ganley, the multi-millionaire chairman of the Libertas group that campaigned against the treaty, could be in the pockets of US defence and intelligence services. The calls have been led by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the firebrand 1968 student leader turned Green MEP"


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, September 28, 2008

Liberalism is an Addiction

by Burt Prelutsky

It occurred to me the other day that in spite of a bad back and his marriage vows, JFK chased everything in skirts; that Gary Hart allowed his libido to sink his political career; that even nerdy Jimmy Carter confessed to having lust in his heart, although nobody in recorded history has ever been so silly or sanctimonious as to suggest that lust resided anywhere above the belt; and that Bill Clinton, like a spooky version of Mr. Rogers, patiently explained to America's kids that oral sex isn't really sex.

With all that in mind, doesn't it strike you as hypocritical for the Democrats to get up in arms over a married mother of five running for the vice presidency? Doesn't it seem at least slightly absurd that the only sexual activity that liberals frown upon is the sort that actually leads to babies being born? ...

I'm certain that by this time most people have seen the photos of the American flags that were left for the trash collector after the Democratic convention in Denver. Even though I have a flag outside my front door and hate to think of a flag, the symbol of a nation that inspired my two sets of grandparents to travel 7,000 miles so I could be fortunate enough to be born an American, I wasn't as troubled by the photos as I would have been if they'd been misused after the Republican convention. Liberals, after all, are always insisting that they're as patriotic as conservatives, but I don't believe it. If they were, they'd respect the military far more than they do, they wouldn't nominate someone like Barack Obama and they certainly wouldn't keep saying how much America is despised around the world, while ignoring the fact that it's a badge of honor to be despised by the likes of Russia, China, Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and the PLO. They would also acknowledge that there must be a darn good reason why millions of people who weren't as lucky as we were to be born in America are, literally in some cases, dying to come here.

So, when I see that the Democrats disrespected the flags, I understood that to them the flags were only cheap props like the balloons, the bunting, the confetti and those corny Greek columns. The real problem isn't that the left trashed a few flags, but that they keep trashing the country.

A friend of mine has come up with what I regard as a wonderful solution to the problem of leftist influence. She proposes that liberals be offered an incentive to leave the country, as they are constantly threatening to do whenever it appears that a Republican might be elected president. The sum she came up with is a million dollars per person That sounds like a lot until you realize that nowadays people casually toss around sums in the trillions when discussing federal budgets and deficits. Still, I think there is room for negotiation. The point is, these left-wing whiners would get a deal similar to the one the protagonist received in Edward Everett Hales's short story, "The Man Without a Country." Unlike Philip Nolan, though, they wouldn't be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives sailing the seas, but they would be denied the opportunity to ever set foot again on this sacred ground. Not even for a visit. Even if only a relatively small number of leftists accepted the deal, I, for one, would consider it money well spent.

Liberals have an impossible time defending their beliefs, which is why they rely on slogans and catch phrases, unfounded rumors and ad hominem attacks, on those who, like Sara Palin, think clearly and live according to Judeo-Christian principles.

The brains and values of left-wingers have decomposed to the point where they actually believe Keith Olbermann, Rosie O'Donnell and Chris Matthews make sense and that people like Whoopi Goldberg, Al Franken and Bill Maher, are funny. That is why I say that liberalism is an addiction -- and why, as with other addictions, I'd like to see it kicked. Kicked good and hard.



Palin and wolf hunting

A wildlife group's ad attacks Palin for supporting the shooting of wolves from airplanes. She does, but there's more to it than that. Killing a few wolves stops lots a caribou calves from being killed. What have the animal lovers got against caribou calves? No mercy for calves? Are some animals more equal than others? Maybe the animal lovers concerned think caribou are a type of vegetable. They seem dumb enough. Real animal lovers would SUPPORT Palin

A new ad from Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund shows the pursuit and shooting of a wolf from a small plane and tells viewers that Sarah Palin "actively promotes" such killings. It's true that she does, and in 2007 she offered $150 payments for anyone who brought the left forepaw of a wolf to state officials. The ad calls the practice "brutal and unethical" but doesn't tell the whole story.

* Alaskan officials call it "predator control," not aerial hunting, and use it to keep the populations of moose and caribou high for subsistence hunters.

* The program is limited to just 9 percent of the state's land mass, or five of 26 Department of Fish and Game districts.

* Far from being endangered, as they are in the Lower 48 states, gray wolves number between 7,000 and 11,000 in Alaska.

This TV spot isn't for the squeamish, especially not squeamish animal-lovers. Its visuals include sinister-looking photos of Gov. Sarah Palin juxtaposed with footage of a wolf trying to outrun an airplane, then being shot and writhing in pain. Finally we see a small plane taking off, a wolf carcass tied to one of its wing struts.

There's a lot of emotional huffing and puffing in the ad. It says "Sarah Palin actively promotes the brutal and unethical aerial hunting of wolves and other wildlife" and says she encourages "cruelty" and "champions ... savagery." But strip away the emotional characterization and we're left with a description of Palin's position that is essentially factually correct, though incomplete....

If you think the explanation above implies a more complicated landscape than the ad shows us, you're correct. In the first place, while gray wolves are listed as an endangered species in the Lower 48, and great efforts have been made to reintroduce them in some Western states, they are abundant in Alaska. Ron Clarke, assistant director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says the state is home to between 7,000 and 11,000 of them. Wolf populations in Alaska have bounced back since the 1950s, when federal agents conducted an extensive poisoning and aerial shooting campaign; moose and caribou proliferated as a result, in some cases leading to severe degradation of their own habitats.

Second, it's not for nothing that wolves have acquired their big, bad reputations. Studies indicate that predators (wolves and bears) often take 70 percent to 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die each year in Alaska. Research by the state Department of Fish and Game shows that "a single wolf eats 12-13 moose in a typical year and/or 30-40 caribou, mostly calves."

More here



Deal for Financial Bailout Disintegrates as Obama, McCain Look On: The fate of the Bush administration’s $700 billion Wall Street’s bailout package was thrown into doubt Thursday evening, after congressional leaders left a landmark White House summit on the economy hurling accusations at each other and declaring there was no deal. Congressional leaders continued into the evening negotiating the proposed bailout of the financial industry with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s participation, but the negotiators ended the night without a deal. The summit at the White House, which included Barack Obama and John McCain, was intended to be a consensus-building exercise - one of the final stops on the rocky road to approving the controversial rescue package. Congressional leaders just hours earlier had announced they had reached an agreement in principle on the rescue package. But as Obama and McCain left, officials and aides who had attended the meeting said the summit ended on a very low note. “This meeting ended bad - real bad,” one source told FOX News. Others described the tone as “angry” and “heated,” saying Democrats were upset with House Republicans in particular who would not drop their opposition to the administration’s proposal."

John Rosenberg has an interesting post on why the Democrats don't pass the "bailout" bill that they seem so heavily to favour. They do after all have a majority in both houses. Why, then, do they insist on Republicans joining in them in passing the bill? I think it is obvious that they know it is a bad bill and do not want to be saddled with the blame for it at election time.

Data security? Unknown in Britain: "Files containing the personal records of thousands of serving and former RAF staff have been stolen, the Ministry of Defence confirmed last night. Three computer hard drives storing the information were taken last Wednesday in a raid on a high-security area at the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at RAF Innsworth, Gloucester. The agency provides support for about 900,000 current and former RAF personnel. The loss of the data comes in the same week as a disk containing the names and addresses of almost 11,500 teachers went missing in the post. The Government has already come under scrutiny for its data protection procedures since the details of 25 million child benefit recipients were lost in transit by a courier almost a year ago. Earlier this month, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, ordered an inquiry into the loss of a computer hard drive containing the details of up to 5,000 employees of the justice system."


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)