Saturday, May 09, 2009

COTD Update: Irrational Racist Narcissists

clipped from

There are ideological considerations here you don’t touch upon. Western elites and so-called intellectuals have thrown out all belief in objective reality, received historical standards, Natural Law, Judeo-Christianity and rationality in favor of a self-sustaining, self-referential belief in themselves as the motive force and conscience of world history. In short, we are ruled by irrational racist narcissists who don’t care about browns killing browns (Pakistan), blacks killing blacks (the Congo) or browns killing blacks (Darfur).

None of these historical events have anything to to do with themselves.

Negligible Damage Ahead

clipped from
blaming Israel for the absence of peace in the Middle East while ignoring the Palestinians' refusal to accept Israel's right to exist; by seeking to build an international coalition with Europe and the Arabs against Israel while glossing over the fact that at least the Arabs share Israel's concerns about Iran; by exposing Israel's nuclear arsenal and pressuring Israel to disarm while in the meantime courting the ayatollahs like an overeager bridegroom, the Obama administration is telling Israel that regardless of what it does, and what objective reality is, as far as the White House is concerned, Israel is to blame.
Netanyahu should have no expectation that Israeli goodwill can divert Obama from the course he has chosen. And again, this tells us two things: Israel's relations with the US during Obama's tenure in office will be unpleasant and difficult, and the damage that Israel will cause to that relationship by preventing Iran from acquiring the means to destroy it will be negligible.


It's hard to feel too sorry for these folks...
The Telegraph reported today that some of Barack Obama's richest supporters fear they have elected a "class warrior" to the White House, who will turn America's freewheeling capitalism into a more regulated European system.
The Obama administration will propose $60 billion in new tax increases over 10 years on wealthy estates, businesses and others to partially pay for his expensive healthcare handouts.

Carefully Choked Geese

clipped from

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez pushed through a new law in December 2004 allowing him to ban news reports of violent protests or of government crackdowns and to suspend the broadcasting licenses of media outlets that violate any of a long list of broadly phrased regulations. And in Vietnam, the government has imposed strict controls on religious organizations and branded the leaders of unauthorized religious groups (including Roman Catholics, Mennonites, and some Buddhists) as subversives.

Each of these cases has involved the restriction of what might be called coordination goods—that is, those public goods that critically affect the ability of political opponents to coordinate but that have relatively little impact on economic growth.

The recent Federal Government economic interventions, as exemplified in TARP and the Chrysler bankruptcy, have highlighted the question of how far you can choke the goose without keeping it from laying the Golden Egg.

Inquisitor Redux

clipped from
Thus, he implies that Jesus, in giving humans freedom to choose, has excluded the majority of humanity from redemption and doomed it to suffer. Despite declaring the Inquisitor to be an atheist, Ivan also implies that the Inquisitor and the Church follow “the wise spirit, the dread spirit of death and destruction,” i.e. the Devil, Satan, for he, through compulsion, provided the tools to end all human suffering and unite under the banner of the Church. The multitude then is guided through the Church by the few who are strong enough to take on the burden of freedom. The Inquisitor says that under him, all mankind will live and die happily in ignorance. Though he leads them only to “death and destruction,” they will be happy along the way. The Inquisitor will be a self-martyr, spending his life to keep choice from humanity. He states that “Anyone who can appease a man’s conscience can take his freedom away from him.”

COTD: Overshooting The Mark

clipped from

The challenge of progress is managing the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Children are dependent and self-absorbed. Adults are independent and other-focused. At some point, we all have to change from the former to the latter.

For millennia, we pushed children into adulthood too early; they didn’t have the time to get a good education, largely because they were needed to put food on the table in order for the family to survive.

But as wealth grew in the West, we were able to leave children in school longer. This had many positive effects, including huge increases in knowledge and wealth-generation capability.

Eventually, however, we overshot the mark. Now we the spectacle of permanent childhood, a state of perpetual dependence and self-absorption. But our culture, and therefore our nation, cannot survive if the psycho-social pyramid is too bottom-heavy. There are too few adults supporting too many children.

Left to its own, such a situation will self-correct.

The Other Chart They Don't Want You To See

Today's chart presents the Dow divided by the price of one ounce of gold. This results in what is referred to as the Dow / gold ratio or the cost of the Dow in ounces of gold. For example, it currently takes 9.2 ounces of gold to “buy the Dow.” This is considerably less that the 44.8 ounces it took back in 1999. When priced in gold, the Dow is down 79% from its 1999 peak and the scale of the current two-month rally has not distinguished it from the many bear market rallies that have occurred over the past decade.

The Chart They Don't Want You To See

This is the chart they don't want you to see: the purchasing power of the dollar over the past 76 years has declined by 94%. And based on current monetary and fiscal policy, we have at least another 94% to go. The only question is whether this will be achieved in 76 months this time.

They Saw It For What It Was

clipped from

Given all the developments since our meeting with the president, it is now evident that his words to us bore no relation to his intended actions on national security policy and detainee issues. But the narrative about Mr. Obama's successful meeting with 9/11 and Cole families has been written, and the press has moved on.

The Obama team has established a pattern that should be plain for all to see. When controversy erupts or legitimate policy differences are presented by well-meaning people, send out the celebrity president to flatter and charm.

Most recently, Mr. Obama appeared at the CIA after demoralizing the agency with the declassification and release of memos containing sensitive information on CIA interrogations. He appealed to moral vanity

I asked Cmdr. Kirk Lippold why some of the Cole families declined the invitation to meet with Barack Obama at the White House.

"They saw it for what it was."

Those Who Control The Past Control The Future, Those Who Control The Present Control The Past

As Powerline’s Scott Johnson has pointed out, these protections for our current enemies markedly outstrip the paltry safeguards given the Nazis at Nuremburg—notwithstanding that Nuremburg, an international tribunal that afforded no right to American civilian court review, is celebrated by the Left (and was fondly recalled by candidate Obama) as a triumph of the “rule of law.”

The Obama campaign slandered the commissions, just like it slandered Gitmo

Gitmo is still open (and Obama and Holder now admit it's a first-rate facility), we are still detaining captives (except when Obama releases dangerous terrorists), the Obama Justice Department has endorsed the Bush legal analysis of torture law in federal court, and Obama has endorsed state secrets, extraordinary rendition, and national-security surveillance (and the Bush stance on surveillance has since been reaffirmed by the federal court created to rule on such issues).

Do these people ever get called on their hypocrisy?

O Duce's Lapdogs

That sure didn't take long! The very next day after Obama told Journalists to stress the "significant" nature of budget cuts, the Detroit Free Press obliges wholeheartedly. That's ignoring, of course, that $17 billion in budget cuts weigh little against a $3,400 billion budget that adds about $2,000 billion to the national debt this year alone!
That sure didn't take long! The very next day after Obama told Journalists to stress the "significant" nature of budget cuts, the Detroit Free Press obliges wholeheartedly. That's ignoring, of course, that $17 billion in budget cuts weigh little against a $3,400 billion budget that adds about $2,000 billion to the national debt this year alone!
So yeah - that $17 billion isn't much. Of course, the media lap dogs took to their keyboards and did their master's bidding for him.

Friday, May 08, 2009


clipped from

The general freedom of buying and selling is therefore the only means of assuring, on the one hand, the seller of a price sufficient to encourage production, and on the other hand, the consumer, of the best merchandise at the lowest price. This is not to say that in particular instances we may not find a cheating merchant and a duped consumer; but the cheated consumer will learn by experience and will cease to frequent the cheating merchant, who will fall into discredit and thus will be punished for his fraudulence; and this will never happen very often, because generally men will be enlightened upon their evident self-interest.

To expect the government to prevent such fraud from ever occurring would be like wanting it to provide cushions for all the children who might fall.

To suppose all consumers to be dupes, and all merchants and manufacturers to be cheats, has the effect of authorizing them to be so, and of degrading all the working members of the community.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Economist Gets It Too

clipped from

Bankruptcies involve dividing a shrunken pie. But not all claims are equal: some lenders provide cheaper funds to firms in return for a more secure claim over the assets should things go wrong. They rank above other stakeholders, including shareholders and employees. This principle is now being trashed. On April 30th, after the failure of negotiations, Chrysler entered Chapter 11. Under the proposed scheme, secured creditors owed some $7 billion will recover 28 cents per dollar. Yet an employee health-care trust, operated at arm’s length by the United Auto Workers union, which ranks lower down the capital structure, will receive 43 cents on its $11 billion-odd of claims, as well as a majority stake in the restructured firm.

The many creditors who have acquiesced include banks that themselves rely on the government’s purse. The objectors have been denounced as “speculators” by Barack Obama. The judge overseeing the case has consented to a quick, “prepackaged” bankruptcy

Occupied France

Our friend Fern Oppenheim points us to the video of Israel haters scouring a French supermarket to remove Israeli products from the shelf. There isn't a manager in sight. All the shoppers go about their business like it is 1942 Vichy France. The video was apparently shot in the northeastern suburbs of Paris that gained attention as the scene of the mysterious French "youth" riots of 2005.

UPDATE: Reader Martin Adamson picks up on the video's self-identified provenance:

This video is even more grotesque than you think. It was shot in a suburb of Paris called Aulnay-sous-Bois. The next-door town to Aulnay is called Drancy, about one mile away. Drancy was used by the Nazis between 1942-1944 as a deportation holding camp for the Jews of Paris prior to the deportation to the extermination camps in eastern Europe. Sixty-five thoursand Jews passed through Drancy, of whom 63,000 were killed.

More Distractions

clipped from

NEW YORK ( -- The chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York resigned Thursday, days after coming under attack for his continuing involvement in a company regulated by the institution.

Stephen Friedman received a waiver to remain on the board of Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), the Wall Street firm that became a bank holding company amid September's financial frenzy, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. He also holds a substantial amount of shares in the company and continued to buy more even after Goldman came under the Fed's supervision.

What Could Go Wrong?

clipped from

UH OH: Weak Treasury auction sends stocks lower. “The government had to pay greater interest than expected in a sale of 30-year Treasurys. That is worrisome to traders because it could signal that it will become harder for Washington to finance its ambitious economic recovery plans. The higher interest rates also could push up costs for borrowing in areas like mortgages.” It’s like people are losing confidence in the Obama Administration’s willingness to see that bondholders get paid. Oh, well — what could go wrong, really?

I guess the bond (non)buyers must all be racists or something.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ogabe's Line

clipped from
“We are hardly Zimbabwe, or even Venezuela. But if we keep using TARP to create a sort of ‘Most Favored Borrower’ status, we’ll erode the safeguards that keep election to office in America from being the kind of giant spoils system that’s common in much of the world.” We didn’t used to be a place where it was necessary to remind people that we are not Zimbabwe or Venezuela. But we’ve crossed that line already . . . .

The "Obligation"

clipped from

Here’s a tip for President Obama: Next time you excoriate tax cheats, try to keep Rep. Charles Rangel’s name out of the discussion.

Somehow, it doesn’t further your case. . . . Rangel, of course, knows a thing or two about offshore tax shelters: He’d been operating one for years.

The congressman had to fork over nearly $11,000 in back taxes last year after The Post reported that he failed to disclose more than $75,000 in rental income on his Dominican Republic villa.

Rangel wasn’t the only tax dodger lauded by Obama. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, too, won praise for “taking far-reaching steps to catch overseas tax cheats.” Takes one to know one, we guess.

Geithner, after all, was confirmed despite failing to pay, until nominated, some $43,000 in self-employment taxes.

Obama would be wise to tuck those two safely out of sight when he starts talking, as he did Monday, about paying taxes as “an obligation of citizenship.”

Ogabe Trifecta

Barack Obama's lawless conduct in connection with the Chrysler bankruptcy is sending shock waves through the business community. It is important to understand what is happening here. Many think that Obama is merely engaging in crony capitalism, favoring his political supporters (most notably the Auto Workers Union) at the expense of others. That's true, of course, but it is much worse than that: Obama has tried to bully those who have not bought his favor--Chrysler's non-TARP secured creditors--into giving up their legal rights by threatening to use the powers of the White House to damage their businesses. This sort of lawlessness is common in some of the more corrupt Third World countries, but it is brand new to the United States.

Bullying, lying and lawless: President Obama has achieved a sort of trifecta of dishonor in connection with the Chrysler cram-down.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

COTD: Silly In Retrospect?

clipped from

The unions will pour all their now tax payer backed resources into breaking the private ownership of Ford.

The timing I haven’t figured out yet is when the Obammunists will slap a tariff on the European and Asian owned auto makers to ensure the over priced, quality challenged, union manufactured, and inferior American cars are at least marginally competitive in the marketplace.

The other question is if the imminent collapse of Pakistan and possession of nuclear weapons by the Taliban and / or Al Qaeda in the very near future will render all this hand wringing over auto production silly in retrospect.


The President has just harshly castigated hedge fund managers for being unwilling to take his administration’s bid for their Chrysler bonds. He called them “speculators” who were “refusing to sacrifice like everyone else” and who wanted “to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout.”

The responses of hedge fund managers have been, appropriately, outrage, but generally have been anonymous for fear of going on the record against a powerful President (an exception, though still in the form of a “group letter”, was the superb note from “The Committee of Chrysler Non-TARP Lenders” some of the points of which I echo here, and a relatively few firms, like Oppenheimer, that have publicly defended themselves). Furthermore, one by one the managers and banks are said to be caving to the President’s wishes out of justifiable fear.
I am ready for my “personalized” tax rate now.

If Not Now Then Why Bother?

clipped from

The Business Insider (hat tip: Hot Air) alleges that a second source (Lauria being the first) in the negotiations has alleged that the White House been using strongarm tactics to make the cards come up their way.

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say they were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.”

this was going to be the most ethical administration in history,  led not by an ordinary man but by a transcendent figure fit to stand alongside Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi? Did they get that part wrong? Well now’s the time to for the uncowed and inquisitive to ask questions. Because if not now then why bother?

Monday, May 04, 2009

True Lies

clipped from

David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security wrote in a recent report documenting the progress of those facilities, “In the current climate, with Pakistan’s leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organized political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question.” The Pakistanis, not surprisingly, dismiss those fears as American and Indian paranoia, intended to dissuade them from nuclear modernization. But the government’s credibility is still colored by the fact that it used equal vehemence to denounce as fabrications the reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan, one of the architects of Pakistan’s race for the nuclear bomb, had sold nuclear technology on the black market.

In the end, those reports turned out to be true.

Now They're Gone

clipped from

data shows that investors in China have sharply curtailed their purchases of bonds in January and February.

Representative Mark Kirk, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and co-chair of a group of lawmakers promoting relations with Beijing, said China had "very legitimate" concerns about its investments.

"It would appear, quietly and with deference and politeness, that China has canceled America's credit card," Kirk told the Committee of 100, a Chinese-American group.

"I'm not sure too many people on Capitol Hill realize that this is now happening," he said.

The Republican lawmaker said that China was justified in concerns about returns from finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were bailed out by the US government due to the financial crisis.

Kirk said he was the first member of Congress to tour the Bureau of Public Debt, which trades bonds, and was alarmed at how much debt was being bought by the US Federal Reserve due to absence of foreign investors.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Phoney Bankruptcy

clipped from

And Don't Forget Alinsky

A month ago President Obama famously threatened a group of bankers, telling them that "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks".

Now Thomas Lauria, an attorney for the Chrysler creditor hold-outs, claims that Team Obama threatened the holdouts with public humiliation, which Obama went on to provide in his remarks announcing the Chrysler filing.  Of course, a White House flack implausibly denied everything.

It's clearly a case of the left hand not knowing what the far left hand was doing.

So where has bankruptcy law gone, and why are senior creditors getting less than junior creditors, sorry, "stakeholders"?   C'mon, Obama is in charge.  We don't need to know bankruptcy law, we need to know Alinsky's Rules.

In Case You Missed It

clipped from

Tapper reported: “Thomas Lauria, Global Practice Head of the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Group at White & Case, told ABC News that Rattner suggested to an official of the boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners that officials of the Obama White House would embarrass the firm for opposing the Obama administration plan, which President Obama announced Thursday, and which requires creditors to accept roughly 29 cents on the dollar for an estimated $6.8 billion owed by Chrysler.”

In short, Obama wants companies to eat nearly $5 billion so that he can give away Chrysler to protect union jobs.

The unions that backed him. This is their payoff.

If true, this is the biggest corruption scam in American history.

But like Obama’s $750 million campaign jackpot, this alleged pay-to-play scam will not be investigated by the authorities, Congress or the press.

Maybe Tapper will stay on it, if Walt Disney-ABC lets him stay on the story.

Junior Creditors

clipped from

MEGAN MCARDLE: “When did it become the government’s job to intervene in the bankruptcy process to move junior creditors who belong to favored political constituencies to the front of the line? Leave aside the moral point that these people lent money under a given set of rules, and now the government wants to intervene in our extremely well-functioning (and generous) bankruptcy regime solely in order to save a favored Democratic interest group. No, leave that aside for the nonce, and let’s pretend that the most important thing in the world, far more interesting than stupid concepts like the rule of law, is saving unions. What do you think this is going to do to the supply of credit for industries with powerful unions?”