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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Line: A Rant

There comes a time when you just throw your arms up in frustration. Everyone has those days. They come often enough. You do it at work, with family, with some kind of drama, at the DMV; something crosses the line from a simple problem to a thorn in your skull twisting until you can't take it.

That's what it's felt like since Obama won. A small problem (his statism) that has grown into frustration beyond belief. It isn't just the President, though, it is those who believe in him, those who back him ideologically, and those who seek to profit from his corporatist economics. It's the isolationists and selective imperialists who celebrate his soft line against the Iranian tyranny. It's the lazy and the well off who celebrate his push for universal health care. It's the idealists who refuse to notice the mistakes, the PR fiascoes (a ice cream stunt on the day of a major Iranian dissident protest). All these people, all these false prophets and pseudo-intellectuals. The just turn the vice harder while whispering soothing words of “equality” or “non-intervention”. To them, it's all good, as long as it's their vice.

The line, right now, is economic freedom. When I read some youngin' post about fairness or read Ezra Klein bemoan private insurance, I go “I get it. I get it.” While I'd love to see the welfare state die, I understand that somethings we just can't take back unless we want some serious dissent. I get we're going to keep welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, social security. That's all part of our culture now, not just simple programs. I get they'll stay, and you know what, they make some sense when they are run efficiently and minimally.

But they aren't arguing for either, at least not at heart. They may say federally run insurance or health care will be better, at lower cost and all that bullshit, but what they are arguing for is material fairness Green-eyed activists licking their chops at the wealth behind private insurance. They are, at heart, nothing more than cows looking at a new pasture ready to mow it clean. We all know what cows do when they eat...

This is a basic moral story, if we bring it down to terms even a five year old can understand. During his life, Jesus was tempted by Satan with comfort, riches and power. Jesus rejected these things. He was in poverty, but when offered the world he went with his principle and not his ambition.

Today's government, to be accurately crude, is a collective Satan. It offers riches to those that accept its creeds. Pours honey into your ear while your gold purse is cut from your belt. It grows and grows and grows and the misery of humanity grows with it. And, most of all, if you are ever targeted by its wrath, you are very certainly going to be in a hell beyond your imagination. But, hey, the key to avoiding all this is to be on government's side, no matter the problem, no matter the cost, no matter the loss of principle. No matter what.

Liberals like to believe their hearts are big and their brains are bigger. Alas, they refuse to realize that there is a devil in the world. There is something that infects us and makes us evil. It's envy. It's power. It's blind idealism. It's the loss of humbleness. It's material obsession. It's our own flaws. Liberals think they can change human nature through government. They have not only shaken hands with the devil, but put him on their shoulders.

They will reap what they sow. They will regret ever giving up freedom for fool's gold.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Victory for Federalism

The Supreme Court compromised Monday in a major voting rights case, finding that a powerful enforcement tool in the landmark Voting Rights Act was being applied too broadly.

The Supreme Court avoided the larger constitutional issue in the voting rights case.

However, the decision avoided the larger issue of whether the federal government should continue to have oversight to ensure local areas are free of voter discrimination.

By a unanimous vote, the justices allowed states and local communities more power to challenge the "preclearance" provision of the 1965 law. That provision provides continuing federal control over election practices in 16 states, based on past discrimination against minority voters.

Other states are not covered by the provision even if they, too, might discriminate against minority voters.

"Things have changed in the South. Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. "Past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the preclearance requirements.

"The Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs."

The 9-0 vote reflects the consensus the justices reached, putting aside for now the larger, more difficult questions on race and discrimination.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Keep It Classy, Lefties

Look at Iran and give thanks that the Republican Party - the tool of America's mullahs married to the Neocon war mongers - is in decline and has been rejected by the American people. Work to keep America secular, free and democratic.
Apparently, the best way to deal with the new Iranian revolution is to connect the tyrants to the Republican Party. Because the Republican Party, a diverse collection of foreign policy hawks, libertarians, social traditionalists, religious conservatives, fiscal hawks and other political groups.

Cheap shots from the left during a major historical rebellion. Not surprised.

This comes from the blog of a major Democratic Party supporter.
Guess who?

H/T: American Power Blog

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Tipping Point

Tomorrow, according to all the tweets I've gotten, there will be a rally in Iran against the entire Mullahocracy. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has put the onus of bloodshed on the pro-democracy dissidents in an attempt to delay the protest, but it will go on. We may see the tipping point of liberty in Iran, or we may see the repression expand to greater lengths.

And I apologize for the lack of updates. Packing, work and other things have kept my attention away from the blog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can the Federal Reserve Regulate Systemic Risk?

The latest “bright” idea that the Obama Administration has proposed is to have the Federal Reserve (Fed) regulate the largest financial players in the market (those that are “too big to fail”) in an effort to prevent a future financial meltdown. This decision begs the following questions. 1) How can the Fed ensure future financial security when it not only already has regulatory authority, but its monetary policy played a role in the housing debacle that ignited the meltdown? 2) Is it wise to expand the Fed’s regulatory authority when it has no accountability? 3) Is it possible to regulate systemic risk? If so, one can argue that the Fed itself poses systemic risk.

It is interesting how the Obama Administration proposes giving the Fed this regulatory authority when it already has general authority to regulate all banks in the United States. The Fed controls the nation’s monetary system. Its influential powers over money supply, interest rates and the availability of credit have a direct effect on the overall stability of the economy. The Fed’s effort to maintain economic stability is essentially the attempt to manage systemic risk.

One of the core responsibilities of the Federal Reserve is to supervise and regulate banking institutions to ensure consumer protection. The Fed has done a wonderful job protecting consumers and managing systemic risk in the past…why not have confidence in the future?! While it is true that Congressional policies (i.e. the Community Reinvestment Act and the vast expansion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) played a role in the housing crash, the Fed helped to provide financing by keeping interest rates at questionably low levels between 2002 and 2005. The Fed could have brought to light the damage the regulatory quest for “affordable housing” caused. However, it chose to finance it instead.

The Federal Reserve is accountable to no one. It is an independent entity within the government that is quasi-public. The Fed’s decisions do not have to be ratified by Congress. The Fed does not have a budget, and it is not subject to audits. In addition, no governmental body including the President can supervise its operations. Therefore, how can the Obama Administration propose expanding the Fed’s powers when it not only failed to prevent the housing crash, but its regulators cannot be held accountable? Unfortunately, this is politics at its finest. Obama is providing nothing more than an illusion that he is taking serious action to prevent a future crisis. If the President was serious about preventing a future crisis, he would propose a legislative overhaul of the regulations and policies that created the sub-prime mortgage market in the name of “affordable housing” that lead to the crash.

Systemic risk is defined as overall market risk that cannot be diversified. The economy is cyclical – it always has been and always will be. Just as there are four seasons in a year, there will always be four parts to the economic cycle – 1) Expansion, 2) Recession, 3) Trough, and 4) Recovery. The degree of systemic risk depends on the economic cycle, which means it is impossible to avoid.

If systemic risk is impossible to avoid, then how can the Fed regulate it? The answer is obvious - it cannot. What the Fed can do is continue to prop up large financial institutions due to the fact that they are “too big to fail.” This will come at the expense of future opportunity, and it will be extremely difficult for smaller financial branches to be competitive when the larger institutions are being subsidized by the government. What should have taken place and what should take place in the future is to let the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) step in, as it would make way for more viable players in the market without causing major market turmoil.

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve can CAUSE systemic risk through its policies. Just as low interest rates helped fuel the housing bubble, monetary policy in the future can contribute to more artificial bubbles and busts. The Fed has unchecked power as well as the power to negatively influence the economy. Its decisions can cause inflation, deflation, weaken currency and other factors which sharpen the impact of economic downturns and give way to future problems.

Rather than expand the powers of institutions that already have too much power, the Obama Administration should have the courage to repeal the laws and regulations that caused the housing crisis. It is fact that major banks were required to comply with the provisions of the “Community Reinvestment Act,” which forced them to loan money to people who were not worthy of such credit. Instead, lawmakers have blamed what happened in the aftermath of such a proposal: foreclosures, speculation, derivatives and the bundling of mortgage-backed securities instead of admitting that the negative consequences that ensued were the direct result of interfering with the free market. Going forward, the best way to regulate systemic risk is for the government to get out and stay of the private sector.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Speech and Uniting

When George Tiller, the late term abortionist, was murdered, the Left cried foul on conservative commentators. When a mentally ill, racist World War II vet shot up the Holocaust Museum, they declared that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly were dangerous and conservative speech that criticized controversial issues was a safety risk (in so many terms). Scum like David Neiwert and his blogging allies, some who go so far as to believe that radio hosts are out to murder liberals, are not looking out for the safety of abortionists or museum security guards. They're out to smear the conservative movement with an image of radical violence and seething hate.

Then came the “victory” by Iran's incumbent president. The the riots that have gone on for three straight days are the collective anger and frustration of an entire generation waking up to the reality of the Mullahs and their Islamic “republic”. For years, the conservative movement and foreign policy hawks have pushed for support of Iranian reformers and democracy activists. The Left and so-called “realists” has opined that we should not provoke Iran, lest they do something bad, like support terrorists in Lebanon (which they've done since day one), or attack our troops (which they've done since day one), or work on a secret nuclear weapons program (which they started under the guise of conforming to non-proliferation). They called President Bush's tough words “cowboy diplomacy” and condemned them, blaming his words for everything from terrorism to North Korea's belligerence.

Now, three days into the riots and a potential major challenge to the Mullahs, the importance of words comes back into play, but all we have is silence. The White House said that it wants to work with Iran DESPITE the fact the nation is burning, the election was a sham and democracy activists are being beaten in the streets or disappeared into Iran's horrific prison system. My fellow conservatives didn't find this surprising from Mr. Obama, nor do we find the silence of the Left surprising either. Despite talk of freedom and democracy at home, when it happens abroad, we must be cautious as not to anger petty tyrants with dreams of regional or global hegemony.

Words are not just words on the international stage, unlike at home when it's by TV personalties or bloggers. Rachel Maddow can say “teabaggers” all she wants. Olby can claim fascism one year and become a fascist the next year. The NYT can whine about conservative hate. The National Review can defend marriage. Free speech in the press and in journals is just that, free. It is under no obligation to conform to the government because, for the most part, it does no harm, despite the fantasies of David Neiwert.

But when it comes to critical times in the world, like that of the Iranian riots, words mean a lot. The Left had a point about Bush's words, even if we disagreed with their assessment. Churchill's soild belief in victory helped win a war. Carter's words on the Shah brought him down and brought about the Mullahs. Reagan's “tear down this wall” energized an already kinetic Soviet dissent movement. H.W. Bush's words about rising up against Saddam ended up getting thousands of Shia killed when he didn't back them up. Clinton's appeasement of North Korea and words of support ended up biting us in the ass when it exploded it's first atomic weapon. What our leaders say on the stage affect outcomes, push our friends or provoke our enemies. And in the case of Iran, we could really use the Left's feverish support of direct democracy and liberal freedom. This is a time to support a people repressed by a regime both the Left and Right despises. Let their paranoia and sarcasm quiet for a moment to help Iran achieve some freedom.

America should stand together on this...even if the Left thinks of us as radical individualist Nazi Christianist racist capitalists (and all the universe ending contractions that creates).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eye on Iran

Busy day. 1st Wedding anniversary. Also, happens to be the day the Mullahs tricks and lies finally come to a head. Some of the biggest protest since the Revolution are underway in Tehran due to the questionable victory of President Ahmadinejad. My phone has been blowing up with Twitter updates by pretty much everyone I'm following.

As of now, the updates say that power has been cut to Tehran and the protesters are having to circumvent the Iranian censors using any social networking software they can. Police have been seen going door to door trying to shut down all internet connections in the city.

Let us hope the freedom loving Iranians make their mark on the Mullahs.

Updates to come.

UPDATE: @change_for_iran is saying that the secret police are looking for a student activist at the Economics college and are actively trying to get inside the locked building.

UPDATE II: Secret police have been targeting female students. Over 100 have been arrested, including journalists and famous dissidents. Worst is that the MSM has barely covered it. During night, no station had complete coverage, but snippets. The BBC had a story about dogs and flowers when I tuned in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They Say They Want A Classless Society...

...and this post by good buddy Donald Douglas proves, once again, the Left have no class. Nothing is below political victory for them.

Quote H/T: Jay Nordlinger of NRO

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't Wet Your Pants, Shep

I was listenting to Fox News on my SIRIUS radio on my way to work and it seemed poor Shepard Smith was making a mess about how the DHS report on right-wing terrorism was correct in the light of the Holocaust Museum shooting. He didn't cite it by name, he kept using the words "report" and "reports". He went so far as to read kook emails about Obama's birth certificate to show the insanity of the far-right and how the DHS was correct. All this before they really knew the age and politics of the shooter.

Shep, I don't think the DHS talked about an elderly, mentally ill, racist World War II vet.

I despise kooks just as much as the next sane folk, but that DHS report was far from nuanced and wouldn't have done crap to stop this attack, considering the guy parked his car, walked up and started shooting. It wasn't like hung out in the Museum and whispered about Jew money and the Holocaust myth.

You Have The Right To Remain Silent... Oh Sh*t, Forget I Said That

Terrorists get Miranda rights Miranda is something that isn't even actually REQUIRED constitutionally for AMERICAN citizens.

Comedy Fail

The LOLZ world can be quite hilarious. Sadly, politics has entered it to the point of, well, sadness.



Not funny plus missed opportunity.

Not funny plus future journalist

Not funny plus sick moral equivalence only teenagers and liberals can create

I recommend you stick to the cats, dogs, accidents and Asians.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sunday Morning Linkage 2

Ahh. A good Sunday on the horizon. Even better with my fellow bloggers!

Donald on the uselessness of late term abortions.

No Sheeple vs the Playboy rape fantasies. Guess who wins?

Althouse enjoying a day out house browsing.

Pat quotes WSJ on Obamacare. Must read!

The Other McCain highlights the idea of giving everyone auto stock. Would you buy into a decaying corpse?

And a shout out to Yukio at Critical Narrative. He's currently working hard on a book and deserves many, many hits. Check out all his works. Very intelligent and insightful.

Justifying War with Allusions

Today is the day we remember the grand invasion of Europe known as D-Day. Hundreds of thousands of men stormed beaches, bombed enemy buildings, fired giant guns at nearly impenetrable bunkers; all members of free peoples, all members of the right side of history. Our society remembers World War II because of its altering of history. We remember it because of the Holocaust. We remember it because it is the one war most people consider just, that most people consider untouchable from moral questioning.

There are plenty of people out there on the Left and the Right who have issues with World War II and the actions of America during that time. They like to bring up the bombing of Dresden, the use of atomic weapons and the internment of Japanese to name a few events. Some go so far as to say that FDR was a communist and conspired to bring the US into a war so it could save the Soviet Union. There are countless reasons pacifists and isolationists give, all hindsight, of course.

I believe every war is wrought with moral choices and I believe that in every war there are times when moral right gets in the way of military victory. Most the horrific acts in war are done despite the military goal (the Holocaust, Srebrenica , Darfur, etc), but like the use of atomic weapons to force Japan's surrender, sometimes you have to put down the enemy hard, so it stays down.

Honestly, I don't think we can ever determine if a war is just as it's being fought. We can believe it is, we can give evidence to why it is (or why it isn't), but it is only in the aftermath of war can we actually say if it was right or not. The Holocaust was only rumor and stories to the public until the camps started to be uncovered. For four years, we fought based on other reasons: Hitler's aggression, Japan's imperial ambitions, Italy's arrogance. We fought because we were attacked. We fought because there was a threat.

Today, the media, the politicians and all of us politicos tend to justify conflicts both real and hypothetical by alluding to World War II. I don't think this is a bad thing to do when it's relevant, like with Iraqi's ethnic cleansing and sadistic torture network, but sometimes a threat is just a threat and making it more popular with allusions to the valiant actions of World War II, loosely or accurately, creates the idea that the only just war is one where we do it despite our own interests. Sometimes, our interests are reason enough.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There Is No Muslim World

Still busy here, but I have to comment on the constant use of the "Muslim" world.

Its a staple of dumb politics to group people in to large, vague groups that can be easily offended or easily swayed. "Black community", "Arab street", "white vote" and so on. It's sad to see our President publicly using such terms.

There is no such thing as the Muslim world. There is no monolithic singular consciousness of Muslims who will swoon at the word of our President. Islam has several distinct and conflicting branches, and in some countries these branches are at war with each other.

So when our President talks to the Muslim world, who is he talking to? Shiites? Sunnis? Salfists? Wahabbis? Who? What about classical liberal Muslims? What about communist Muslims? What about... and so on and so on.

If he's going to talk to nobody and say he's talking to millions, just put him on prime time TV again. But don't make Americans look like idiots (more than the world already thinks we are) by pretending all Muslims think alike.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Does General Motors’ Bankruptcy Really Mark the End of an Era?

On June 1st, General Motors (GM) filed for bankruptcy protection. $20 billion dollars in government aid later, the company has now realized what has been inevitable all along. The efficiency of global competitors has brought the auto giant to its knees. As a result, the United States’ government now has a 60 percent stake in the company. The United Auto Workers’ Union (UAW), creditors and the Canadian government own the remaining 40 percent. In lieu of the new ownership, the name “Government Motors” would better suit the company. It is now official: the auto industry in the United States is effectively nationalized as two out the three giant U.S. automakers are now under the supervision of bankruptcy judges, the U.S. and Canadian governments. (Chrysler LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 30th.) One can only wonder if Ford Motor Company will suffer the same fate in the near future in spite of the short-term success of its restructuring efforts.

Cost-Benefit Analysis for Taxpayers

Taxpayers are not given a choice when the government decides to take ownership in what was once a private business, and unfortunately, the results of this decision will be grim. Failure is a part of business, and the market is resilient in the sense where the death of business cannot be prevented. The only probable outcome of this type of decision is taxpayers are stuck with a sunk cost. While an argument can be made that government involvement buys time, it also creates bigger and more catastrophic problems in the future. As death is part of life, the death of business is just as certain when a business does not adapt and move with the times. When the government gets involved, it is funding a bottomless pit and cannot sustain the life of the business regardless of how much money it invests.

Taxpayers have now unwillingly invested $50 billion in GM - $20 billion in loans prior to the Chapter 11 filing and $30 billion in promised aid during the restructuring. The Bush and Obama Administrations have argued that GM’s failure would produce a calamitous ripple effect on the economy as suppliers, plant workers, dealership employees and many other businesses would be affected. However, General Motors’ problems did not begin in 2008. The giant automaker has been dieing since the 1970’s. The question that confronts taxpayers now is how much money will the government continue to invest in order to keep GM on life support and prolong what the market will eventually correct and has already begun to correct since the early 1980’s?

Near 600,000 vs. less than 60,000

In the 1970’s, GM employed nearly 600,000 Americans, and the company sold one of every two cars in the United States. (1) The 1980’s brought revolution to the auto industry. The emergence of foreign competition put pressure on American car companies to change the way they did business. Toyota Motor Corporation was able to rapidly grab market share through its innovation and by pioneering new ways to produce a wide range of quality automobiles at a low cost. Toyota was among the first of the automobile manufacturers to re-invent the mass production process to lower costs and become more efficient.

In the meantime, GM along with the other two major U.S. automakers (Chrysler and Ford) was very slow in adapting their business models to the dynamic changes in the market. Pressure from the UAW prevented scaling back on some of the company’s unsuccessful brands. As a result, dealerships, workers and factories were kept open in spite of a hemorrhaging market share which came at the expense of future innovation and opportunity. In addition, GM’s expansion of General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in recent decades has caused the automaker to become less focused on making quality automobiles and increased its exposure to other negative economic impacts. Due to GMAC’s expansion into home loans, the company felt the impact of the housing crash as foreclosures began to mount. Over-diversification along with the reluctance to change long-held business practices has put the once dominant auto giant in the position it is in today.

Market Forces Trump Political Forces at a Substantial Price

Returning to the argument made by the Bush and Obama Administrations, one must wonder just how much of a ripple effect will the failure of GM have on the economy and how much of this decision is political. It is clear that GM cannot continue on the path it has been on for the past 30 years. Considering that GM’s workforce is currently one-tenth of what it was in the late 1970’s, it is safe to say that the market has already adjusted, and the full force of the negative ripple has already been felt. If American automakers cannot sell cars, then businesses that rely on their success will have to look elsewhere in order to thrive. The businesses that quickly adapted survived and those that did not have already perished. Therefore, what exactly is $50 billion supposed to save? The government is attempting to apply a band-aid to companies that have been bleeding for decades, and now this exorbitant band-aid will be applied to what is nothing more than a slow leak.

In addition, The Bush Administration’s initial argument was that Chapter 11 bankruptcy was not an option due to the negative impact a bankruptcy would have on the economy. The Obama Administration made that same argument when it agreed to give GM a second loan. Less than a year later, GM is forced to file Chapter 11. Therefore, the negative impact will now be worsened by billions of dollars in sunk costs.

GM has plans to divest its Saturn, Hummer, Pontiac and Saab brands and shed more than 2,000 of its 6,000 dealerships by next year. As a result, it is estimated that 100,000 job losses will occur from the closure of these dealerships. At least a dozen plants that employ most of more than 20,000 U.S. workers have been identified for closure by the end of next year. Assembly lines in Pontiac, Michigan as well as a Wilmington, Delaware-based facility will be closed later this year. (2)

In summary, the current situation begs the following question: What is the taxpayers' return on investment? The answer is ZERO, and it will remain ZERO in the future. The government has spent billions in an attempt to avoid what market forces will always dictate. When the government tries to prevent the inevitable, not only do market forces trump political forces, but the government’s investment comes at the expense of FUTURE opportunities. It is quite fitting to quote Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” A wiser approach would be for the government to cease involvement with the private sector and allow market forces to bring about new life and opportunity in the automobile industry and elsewhere.



Monday, June 1, 2009

A Comment on A Murder

The senseless murder of George Tiller has brought back the fear of right wing terrorism. Nary a hour went by after the he was killed before the Left throwing its arms up in outrage over the right wing's violent means and ignoble ends. They want to kill doctors and enslave women, some will say. They are fascists and want to eliminate liberals, David Neiwert will gleefully post, making sure to plug his new book on the subject of violent conservatives. With a single murder, the first murder of an abortionist in a decade, the Left will paint an entire conservative movement, the pro-life movement, with a brush dipped in the blood of a murder victim. A single death, with the help of a sensationalized media and well-trained political hounds, may take down a movement that's spent the past ten years trying to remove the stain of fringe individuals committing evil acts.

And yet, as cold as it is to do so, I think about the past ten years of the far left, I seem to remember those years starting with the destruction of downtown Seattle by anarchists and other anti-capitalist protesters. I remember ten years of terror attacks by the Animal Libertarian Front and the Earth Liberation Front on property and people, including setting bombs under cars (which some went off, burning their targets), kidnapping and torturing scientists as well as harassing families. I remember the anti-capitalists in Miami, those arrested in New York at the 2004 RNC, those arrested in 2008 with plans to bomb the RNC in St. Paul, and so on. Does the mainstream Right bring up ALF and ELF and try to paint Al Gore with its horrific acts of violence? I've never seen it.

The murderer of Mr. Tiller should be brought to justice and given the harshest of sentences. Not because he sullied the pro-life movement, something I don't have any stake in, but because it's the law and what a moral society demands. Already, many famous pro-lifers like Kathleen-Jean Lopez of National Review have called for this evil man's head, despite the conservative fringes playing up the murder as a righteous act.

To make the murderer out to be hero would be an immoral thing to do. To make any murderer out to be a hero is immoral. Just ask the Left about Bill Ayers. A man who committed violence and killed in the name of his beliefs. He was sent to jail and eventually regretted his actions. He was condemned far and wide by the mainstream Left and nary a left-wing politician had any connections with the man.

Oh, wait...