Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thomas Friedman's Socialist America

Merry Christmas! (even if it is a little late)

Here's a review of this Thomas L. Friedman article by William M. Palumbo.

Time to Reboot America

This article is written by a socialist. I mean that in the following way: it has the mentality behind it that regards government and its leaders as being the reason for progress in the world. It gives little credit to everyday individuals and looks to the Nietzschean Übermensch as the catalyst of change. This elitist charge is becomes doubly offensive to the defender of a free society because Friedman, at the same time, presumes that this person comes from government. (Keep in mind that only agents of government possess the ability to affect change through legal use of force.)

Thomas Friedman, while implicitly recognizing what sort of production actually benefits living standards and those that do not (re: his argument, that to the detriment of society, the best intellectually are entering the financial services industry and not engineering or manufacturing, etc.) does not seem to apply this argument to which direction progress should take; to what voyage should our country next embark on? Instead of leaving this uncharted course to be navigated on the free market, he presumes, incredibly, to know what must be done. For example we need investment in new energy and it should be governmentally imposed at a cost to us all, a cost presumably acceptable to Friedman and thus his class. It is an argument for how best to readjust the classes under him so as to make his own life more accommodating, and is argued in a way an aristocrat might to the peasantry if he had no worry for revolt. I believe we can see this aristocratic attitude clearly in the first three snobby paragraphs, bragging, as they are, in blasé self-contentment.

Immediately the column, as it enters America with Friedman’s JFK arrival, shifts its tone from complacency to near disgust. The “Flintonstone”-esque “ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped” and JFK had the nerve to charge $3 for luggage cart rental! Friedman whimsically muses to himself how yes, he had seen this terminal before, in 1998 Hong Kong. Hah! How dare they, err, I mean we, Americans allow this! (Consider for a moment how many Americans have not been to an airport since 1998. If this man writes for the middle class he is apparently in such high demand that they continue to read him despite being flatly put down.) Friedman then pretends, like a good steward, to be concerned with how “our kids’ future” shapes up, this, argues Friedman, largely contingent on how the bailout money is spent. The money should be invested wisely for the future in prescient projects. If it is “spent on pork, it will be the end of us.” Like a good economist, and hinting of an answer, he reminds us that infrastructure is crucial for economic expansion.

Two points here: first, the money being spent is largely on pork, and, while it will not be the end of us, it will certainly prolong this recession. Second, if we are going to spend money on infrastructure, do we really have to focus on international airport terminals before, say, roads and bridges? Is a less than 12’ high terminal really going to offend the tastes of your average business traveler enough that they stop conducting business with the largest, most productive and prolific economy in the world? I, for one, sincerely doubt that, and I also doubt that if Friedman took the time to consider his own argument as formulated he would find practicality either. The man is, in all probability, in and out of airports frequently, some surely with less than grand terminals (which speaks to how little effect they have on him business-wise) and thus views “infrastructure” not as a middle-class person or blue-collar worker, but as one of privilege.

Friedman views Americans as “dumb as we wanna be.” Besides infrastructure, his wish list includes shoveling pork to teachers (a popular idea based on the fallacy that money alone yields higher standards in education), nationalizing education standards, changing immigration laws (a very good idea, though I very much doubt Friedman would support sealing the southern border as a complement to relaxing other restrictions to increase the importing of intellectual capital), and dictating what cars private industry should produce. It’s a laundry list of which Mao would see much merit.

Back to the socialist attitude: are Friedman’s not the pretenses of every socialist? The assumptions made by one whom considers too exclusively his own position and/or personality in society, not sufficiently able to extend their ethics past current personal conditions? Friedman shows disdain for genuine choice when he states that cheap “energy prices” (that is, energy that is already inflated in price due to our own government) is delaying investment in new fuel. (He misses the fact that future research by energy companies is figured into the price.) Would he like to make gasoline $8 a gallon by tax and fund the energy research publicly rather than privately? One gets the sense he would, yet I would ask he justify subsidizing the research costs of energy companies. His instincts in problem solving have a theme of centralization, and that has proved economically, and intellectually for that matter, backwards.

Finally, the very title suggests that he views America, Land of the Free, as defunct in concept and in need of molding, hopefully by a capable, incoming President. In addition to being of the garden variety-cleverly cloaked socialist mindset too common in editorializing, Friedman also shows a political affinity towards socialists, offering his apologetic influence to Obama.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Some lessons are never learned

A cautionary tale about protectionism from The Economist – The battle of Smoot-Hawley.

Of note:

“Smoot-Hawley did most harm by souring trade relations with other countries.”

Despite all of the arguments from the left about all of the damage that Bush was doing to the US reputation abroad, or the fact that our trade with emerging markets improves the quality of life for those whose cause the left supposedly champions, given the inevitable failure of the Big 3 bailout, we can expect to see stepped up protectionist propaganda from the unions, the left, and unfortunately, some segments of the right.

Giving Biden a Room of His Own

In an age of expanded executive power where the vice president plays a significant role in domestic and foreign affairs, what do you do with a Number Two who is a complete dolt? Give him a job that offers a relatively empty task where he can't hurt himself and others around him, particularly the president.

Behold Joe Biden's task force to bolster the middle class. This little gem follows the same model I noted yesterday about how Obama will best be able to measure his administration's success by establishing goals that cannot be measured. For instance, boosting the size and equity of the middle class may be measurable, but how certain can we ever be certain that it will grow naturally over the next four years or that it will grow only with Biden's help?

Judging Biden's history of verbal gaffes, political miscues, and outright ignorance of the real world around him, I'm going to cautiously err that the middle class will grow in spite of him, not because of him.

Obama knows that Biden is not the sharpest knife in the kitchen. You can tell by the way Biden was handled during the general election campaign. The closer we got to November 4th, the less you saw Biden in public. Less of a chance for him to stick a fork in an electrical outlet that way.

Why Obama picked Biden of all people as his running mate is a mystery to me. With his popularity he could have chosen Larry the Cable Guy and still won the White House. But Biden has to be given something to do.

Hence, bolstering the middle class. It's safe, non-toxic, and Biden is unlikely to accidentally poke his eye out with it.

Obama's Blagojevich Report

President-elect Obama's team released its report on staff contacts with Rod Blagojevich today. And just three days before Christmas, too.

Gee, do you think this might get swallowed up in the holiday hubbub? Yes, rest assured it was planned that way. It's also no coincidence that Obama is as far away as he can possibly be and still be on American soil (in Hawaii, spending the holidays with family, as opposed to spending the holidays in Chicago with family).

In any case, Obama's report indicates that there was no deal with Blagojevich over filling the president-elect's Senate seat. Well, did you expect anything else?

I'm not saying that the report is a wash. But it is annoying when you have members of the media like selectively intrepid ABC News man George Stephanopoulos swallowing whole the report without choosing to follow up with some good old fashioned journalism of their own.

Apparently Obama's report is good enough. After all, if The One says nothing was done wrong, then nothing was done wrong.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama's Clever Intangibles

Barack Obama is a clever guy, dangerously clever. If you've been watching him closely, you will see that he has already been dropping the seeds of his 2012 reelection campaign.

During the presidential campaign Obama suggested that America would be able to reduce "our demand for electricity by 15 percent by the end of the next decade." It's impossible to believe that in our increasingly automated and computerized world with a constantly growing population that we will actually reduce our demand for electricity. Just the same it will be easy for Obama to claim that we did depending on which set of cooked numbers he uses to demonstrate such a highly subjective number like "demand for electricity." How do you even calculate such a thing? Wait four years and you'll find out.

Another clever promise Obama has made is how he will save or create three million jobs, a total that was actually revised upward from a month ago. Everyone seems wowed by this big goal, but how exactly are we supposed to know four years from now whether or not he's achieved it?

You cannot accurately predict how many jobs would be saved or lost over a sustained period of time in an economy that is fluid. You can project that, all things being equal, a certain number of jobs were created, but were they created as a direct result of Obama's policies or would they have been created regardless of his policies? Conceivably Obama could take credit for all the jobs created while he was president. After all, President Bush is being blamed for all the jobs lost on his watch.

850 Billion Ways to Say "You're Crazy!'

President-elect Obama has announced plans for an $850 billion stimulus package that is intended to jumpstart our economy but will more likely blow an H-Bomb sized hole in the federal deficit with little long term benefit for the country.

Why doesn't stimulus spending work? Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation put it succinctly:

Where does the government acquire the money it pumps into the economy? Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed: Therefore, every dollar Congress "injects" into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.

But don't tell that to the donkeys. After all, taxation and big government are how they roll and these days they are rolling.

Will dumping a few hundred billion dollars into American infrastructure reinvigorate our financial picture? No, frankly. It's not that our infrastructure couldn't use the boost, but there are better ways to do it than elevating the deficit to levels that will ultimately make us less economically secure.

Caroline Kennedy: NY Socialite to US Senator?

Now that Caroline Kennedy is being seriously considered by New York Governor David Paterson for an appointment to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, it's time to basically run her through the political wringer. Don't get all weak and weepy about the scrutiny that she is going to be put under in the next few weeks - if she is going to be New York's junior Senator, she deserves a good look-see.

Since she is a Kennedy and a big Obama fan, we can make a reasonable assumption that Caroline is going to vote in lockstep with the liberals of the Swamp.

But just what exactly are Kennedy's qualifications to be Senator? Well, she outright ignored that question when it was posed in Syracuse last week. Which is a bit telling in itself. After all, why should this respected member of American royalty have to explain herself to the proletarians, right?

She did, however, bring up a few reasons why she should be seriously considered for the appointment a few days later. She's written some books, she's been a fundraiser, and she's always been interested in politics. She's just never voted very much.

It's pretty apparent what's going on here. Kennedy has probably always wanted to serve in public office. She's just never wanted to go through the trouble of actually campaigning for it. Now an opportunity has come along to fulfill her dream of getting something for nothing (hasn't that been fulfilled already?) and she wants to grab it.

What would be even more appropriate is to have a special election to replace Clinton. Letting the people decide who their representative should be in the Senate would be quaint and clever, and even democratic.

What a Real Auto Industry Looks Like

As President Bush throws a leaden lifeline to the so-called Big Three auto makers, it's worth contemplating what a real automotive industry in America looks like.

Fred Barnes wrote an informative piece in the Weekly Standard about "The Other American Auto Industry", that is the foreign-owned auto plants strung throughout the southern states. Workers are making good money, communities are growing, and decent cars are being made. And it's all being done without unions.

The donkeys are irate about the shoot down of their auto bailout because they missed an opportunity to nationalize yet another portion of the American economy. They blame the GOP Senators from the South for doing it, saying that it's just good old fashioned UAW-busting.

Well, they're right. After all, look at the situation. 2008 is likely to be the last year that General Motors and Chrysler will exist in their current state as independent companies. Tens of thousands of workers in Michigan and other states stand to lose their jobs or face significant cuts in pay and pensions. Doesn't seem like the United Auto Workers has done them much good. In fact, the case could be made that the UAW has a role in the current predicament of our domestic auto industry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NYYRC Prez Lynn Krogh Appointed to NY GOP Planning Commission

NYYRC President Lynn Krogh has been appointed to the New York State Republican Strategic Planning Commission, which has been tasked with developing a blueprint for the state party.

Congrats Lynn!

Here is the press release:

Chairman Mondello Launches Planning Commission
December 18th, 2008
Announces Goals, Schedule, Initial Members

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Joseph N. Mondello today formally announced the creation of the New York State Republican Strategic Planning Commission to study the latest political technology and strategies and develop a forward-looking blueprint for New York’s Republican Party. Andrew S. Eristoff of New York City will serve as the Commission’s Chair.

“Today, our party’s ongoing rebuilding efforts will take a new and significant step forward toward a stronger, more vibrant future,” said Chairman Mondello. “I’ve asked this Commission to do a thorough and independent assessment of the best strategies and techniques to provide a gameplan for moving our party forward. I am confident that this talented group of individuals will provide the quality research, analysis, and proposals we need to be successful.”

In naming him to Chair the Commission, Chairman Mondello cited Andrew Eristoff’s service as a former New York County Republican Chairman, New York City Councilmember, and former New York City and New York State Finance Commissioner.

“I look forward to working with this dynamic group of fellow Republicans to help shape a path toward a bright and competitive future for our New York State Republican Party,” said Andrew Eristoff. “Although we will certainly examine issues related to messaging and communications, much of our work will focus on the nuts-and-bolts of building a vital and competitive state party, such as candidate recruitment and support, registration, fundraising, technology, organization and administration.”

Commission working groups will focus on key rebuilding challenges in three categories: communications and outreach, finance and administration , and operations. The Commission will have an initial organizing conference call before Christmas and will begin working group activity immediately after the first of the year. The Commission plans to provide a preliminary report to Chairman Mondello and the Republican County Chairs in mid-winter on the most time sensitive action issues, with a final report scheduled to be completed in the Spring.

“This aggressive timeframe will ensure our party can begin acting on critical issues quickly in order to be successful this coming Fall, while also providing sufficient time for a thorough and valuable review,” added Chairman Mondello.

The Commission will be comprised of dedicated Republicans from across New York State and includes former elected, appointed, and party officials as well as long-time activists and coalition leaders within the party. Additional members of the Commission and advisory council members will be added in the coming days and weeks to provide additional depth and specialization. Elected officials, Republican coalitions and auxiliary organizations will be encouraged to participate in the process and provide advice and input.

The Commission will also seek the advice and input of party officials, political specialists, party activists, and former party leaders such as William Powers, former New York State Republican Chairman, who has agreed to serve as a Senior Advisor.

The initial members of the Commission include:

Thomas J. Basile, President, Empire Solutions Consulting

Abigail Cable, Treasurer, NYS College Republicans; President, Union College Republicans

Anthony J. Casale, former Member, New York State Assembly

Christopher N. Cox, former New York Executive Director, McCain 2008

Thomas E. L. Dewey, Partner, Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky

Harold E. Doley III, Principal, The Lugano Group Incorporated

Christopher P. Dziedzic, Chair, New York State Young Republicans

Andrew S. Eristoff, Chair

Lolita K. Jackson, Former President, Metropolitan Republican Club

Lynn Krogh, President, New York Young Republican Club

Nicholas Langworthy, Former Executive Director, Erie County Republican Committee

Gary J. Lavine, Attorney

Raymond P. Martinez, Former Commissioner, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

Rebecca M. Marino, Secretary, New York State Republican Committee

Meyers Mermel, CEO, Mermel & McLain

Patrick M. Murphy, Former President, New York City Log Cabin Republicans

Juan Carlos “J.C.” Polanco, Commissioner, New York City Board of Elections

Ron Robbins, North Harbor Dairy, Former NYS Director for USDA Farm Services

Fran Sullivan, Former Member, New York State Assembly

Charles J. Urstadt, Chairman, Urstadt Biddle Propertie

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Federal Spending Has to Come Back to Earth

President-elect Obama's proposed $1 trillion stimulus package is the latest in a long sad history of bad ideas, ranking right up there with Coke 2 and the circular firing squad. His intentions are honorable, but the economy just doesn't work that way.

All that is guaranteed from such a large chunk of money is a larger federal debt. Federal spending rose 25 percent this year, and that was before the bailout. Washington economists have yet to digest those figures. The budget deficit went from $162 billion in 2007 to $454 billion this year.

Want some more numbers to scare the bleep out of you? Good, cuz I got 'em.

The federal government is going to throw away $450 billion this year on interest payments on the national debt. $450 billion. Just for interest. That payment will be the fourth largest outlay behind Medicare and Medicaid ($700 billion), Social Security ($699 billion), and defense ($656 billion).

At current revenue levels, which are mighty lousy thanks to the economy, in 30 years the government will only be able to cover half of its expenses. Now in 30 years a lot of things will change, including the revenue stream. But if Obama continues to spend our money with complete abandon to the consequences he will saddle this country with a debt that no previous president could ever have dreamed of. And he will not save our economy, he will only prolong our pain.

How to Prolong a Recession

Well, our federal reserve system has cut rates effectively to 0%, making money free for banks to borrow. Markets were up yesterday on that news, perhaps out of reflex, but inevitably down today as the obvious market implications began to sink in.

Our federal government is BANKRUPT and in massive debt; it has no money to spend. Furthermore, it has no, and has never had any, power to stop these economic readjustments. If the structure of an economy does not accurately reflect the wants and needs of it consumers (i.e., everyone), there must be layoffs and there must be bankruptcies and there must be a recession. That is how a free market works - by readjusting to changing realities of human desire and natural occurrences. There is no getting around an economic downturn and no such thing as a "soft landing." That talk is government propaganda.

It was Keynes who originated this bad idea, and even he realized what balderdash it was:

According to F.A. Hayek, Keynes idea behind his deficit spending was to reduce real wages by causing inflation, thereby making Britain competitive again. In other words it was a political ruse and had nothing to do with economics.

For the best readable primer on money, visit:

Joe Baker: Nanny for Hire

Rick, you beat me to it, but I thought I'd throw this in too:

NY gov proposes tax on drinks, downloaded music

From the article, the nanny Joe Baker himself:

"People don't really realize the amount of calories they're ingesting through liquids," said Joe Baker acting deputy secretary for Health and Human Services to the governor. "They say, 'Oh, it's just a drink.'"

No Joe, people have no idea that Coca Cola is bad for them. Nobody has heard the exhaustive public debates on what soda does to kids and how it gives them diabetes. Not even the 600 lb. land monster who gulps down 2 liters each day at lunch realizes the number of calories in his Pepsi. They're all stupid, in addition to being fat. Or maybe they're fat because they're stupid, which is it?

I've got it: they're just unenlightened, and that's why God has given them unelected Joe Baker to impose further taxes to discourage their dark choices. Isn't that about right, Joe?

Gitmo Detainees are the Path to Legal Stardom

An interesting op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal on how representing Guantanamo detainees (that's illegal enemy combatants for the realists among us) has become downright popular among private attorneys and large law firms.

It's so popular, in fact, that the Justice Department team is grossly outnumbered and outgunned, so to speak, by the defendants' dream team of attorneys. Consider this:

The imbalance was illustrated by a scene last week at the federal courthouse building in Washington, D.C. There Judge Thomas Hogan was to consider rules governing the habeas corpus petitions of the detainees. That meant half a dozen Justice Department lawyers waiting in a room packed wall-to-wall with high-priced partners -- many backed up by legions of associates, outside legal experts, human-rights centers, and concerned law students.

So, the next time someone complains to you about the plight of the detainees, throw on some hip boots and ask them to cry you a river.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paterson Takes Up the Nanny Mantle

New York Governor David Paterson has decided that he and his cronies in Albany will be making beverage decisions for New Yorkers, thankyouverymuch. He wants to impose (which in this one-party state means "he will impose") an 18 percent tax on non-diet soft drinks and beverages that contain less than 70 percent of natural fruit juice.

Paterson thinks he can fill budget gaps and create a slimmer state with one ill-cast stone. He couldn't be more wrong. Chiseling away at people's abilities to make decisions about their own lives only makes them less capable of making decisions and...more...dependent...on the state.

Wait a second! I stand corrected. Paterson knows exactly what he is doing. Liberals prefer larger government, which is fueled by more taxes, and they love a complacent population that is totally beholden to that same large government.

Oh, very inspired Guvnor. Bravo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Economics for 12 Year Olds


Obama's Economic Team Discussion

The way this man speaks about economic problems, in sentences designed for 6th graders, tells me something about Obama's economic team; namely, that he doesn't have one. He has a pseudo-economic team that takes orders from his political team, directing handouts.

Top 10 Academia Abuses of 2008

Young America's Foundation has compiled a list of the top ten academia abuses of 2008. With all the notorious politically correct indoctrination happening on America's campuses, my only question was how did they narrow it down to ten?

Emanuel Now Linked to Blago in Public Mind

Intended Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel discussed Obama's Senate successor with members of Illinois Guv Rod Blagojevich's team.

This is probably not a big surprise to most of us, Rham and Blago (sounds like a monster movie, doesn't it?) have been thick as...well, they've been friends for some time. Emanuel slipped into the House seat that Blagojevich vacated when he became Governor in 2002.

Nothing is known about whether Emanuel was privy to the Senate seat auction that Blagojevich was planning, but the scandal has now officially breached the inner circle of the Obama team.

For those of you who thought Obama would skate through this totally unscathed, now is a perfect time to reassess your prognostications.

Bush Communicates Mission, Demonstrates Quick Reflexes

President Bush made what will likely be his last trip as head of state to Iraq and Afghanistan this past weekend. He reassured Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Afghan President Hamid Karzai that America will not abandon our mission to bring freedom to those countries regardless of the looming transition of power here at home.

Will our next president follow through with the mission in a logical fashion? Will he be the same friend Bush has been to American troops and our wartime allies by making a few morale-boosting trips into the war zones? Hard to say. Right now, Iraq and Afghanistan are not at the forefront of peoples' minds.

Bush's trip to Iraq to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki probably would have slipped off the front pages altogether were it not for a randy Afghan report who hurled his shoes at Bush and called him a "dog." Bush ducked the attack and joked about it afterward.

If this guy and others like him were so vocal during Saddam Hussein's regime, perhaps we never would have needed to invade Iraq in the first place.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where the Auto CEOs Went Wrong

With the UAW insisting on everyone taking a wage cut but them, the auto bailout bill sank into oblivion yesterday. Better luck next president.

How is it that GM & Chrysler (Ford only asked for a line of credit, not a multi-billion handout) cannot catch a break? According to Andrew J. Coulson of the Cato Institute, they need to think more like the public education system.

Coulson's tongue-in-cheek op-ed "What Automakers Could Learn from Public Schools", is worth a few moments of your time.

Here's a taste:

Detroit's first mistake was to wait until it was in dire straits before wooing taxpayers. Education officials began asking for massive public funding in the early 1800s, when enrollment, literacy and median income were already growing rapidly without much government funding.

What the automakers should have asked for was permanent government ownership and control. Consider how well this has worked for public schools. Between 1970 and 2005, real, inflation-adjusted public school revenues more than doubled.... And the schools didn't have to compete with anyone or show any improvement to get it! According to the National Assessment of Educational progress, 17-year-olds perform no better academically today than they did back in 1970.

If the auto industry had gotten a similarly sweet deal (double the revenue, no improvement required) Chevrolet would still be able to sell 1971 Impalas today, at a whopping $43,479! Due to the rigors of competition, however, they've been forced to innovate and keep prices down. They've had to improve mileage and mechanicals, refine fit and finish, add airbags and On-Star, and they still can't get away with charging more than $21,975 for their vastly improved 2008 model.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Colossal and Egregious Media Failure

Reading news reports these days, you'd think all we have to do to end this bad economy is spend more government money.

From CNN: "For maximum effect, experts say the cash should be doled out quickly. The plan could be approved just days after President-elect Obama takes office. Done right, it could create millions jobs and lubricate the economy. Done wrong, it presents innumerable opportunities for waste and fraud."

Uncritically from Bloomberg: "Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Dec. 1 that the Fed was considering buying “longer-term Treasury or agency securities” in the market to spur demand."

From the L.A. Times: "Most Americans Favor Government Intervention in Economy" (Only later do we find out exactly what is meant by "intervention," and it isn't TARP or the auto bailout.)

Reading these unremarkable articles would give the reader the impression that a) the government can help the economy recover and b) Americans are not generally opposed to most programs. Either out of laziness, incompetence, or something more sinister, most media sources are towing the line for government while it squanders our money and assumes control of our economy. I've yet to have explained to me how spending my money or decreasing the value of my money is the way to prosperity.

If coverage is this bad now, what happens when government starts incorporating nationalized health care into their "recovery" plan?

The Sinking Ship of Rod Blagojevich

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., publicly denied any involvement in Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell President-elect Barack Obama's senate seat.

Jackson is only one of many people tripping over the microphone wires in a mad dash to publicly disassociate themselves from the potty-mouthed governor.

Soon to be former governor? The Illinois state legislature wants to officially boot Blagojevich out of office before he can name a replacement to Obama's seat - which, technically, he can still do. Of course such a move would require an awful shiny set of brass ones considering his current predicament.

Meanwhile, Washington Democrats and Obama are calling on Blagojevich to resign now for the sake of the state, and the party, and Obama's reputation.

Obama was clear about noting that he personally did not have any discussions with Blagojevich about the future of his Senate seat, but no one can really be certain about the rest of his team yet. Chicago's a big town, and all the politicians there swim in the same septic tank. Stay tuned.

Is the Auto Bailout Bill Doomed?

It looks like it. The free wheeling House passed a $14 billion version 237-170, but it looks a filibuster will send the bailout to a much deserved death.

Much deserved because the so-called Big Three automakers need to be restructured from the top down (or the bottom up, who cares which), not given more money to prolong their inevitable demise.

Much deserved because the federal government has thrown all concern to the wind about spending and is using our current financial crisis as an excuse to rack up unprecedented taxpayer liability.

Much deserved because I woke up in a capitalist country today, and in a capitalist country if a company can't hack it, that company fails. Or at least goes bankrupt and rises like a debt-free phoenix from its own ashes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Nation of Czars Makes Us

Lately in the news media there has been a lot of talk of new American "czars." For example, a tech czar, a car czar, an energy czar etc.

Czar, as you may recall, is Russian for the Roman "Caesar," a dictator. It's equivalent in German, Kaiser, is no doubt familiar to those with a rudimentary knowledge of European history.

A true Czar has no peers; like their Roman forerunners, they alone sit atop government as the head of state and dispenser of ultimate justice.

I very much doubt we are creating a Czarist America, though with all those mini-czars running her industries, our federal bureaucracy is rapidly beginning to resemble another Russian institution: the politburo.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

GOP Gets a Boost in N'awlins

New Orleans finally said goodbye to corrupt Democratic Congressman William Jefferson and elected GOP candidate Anh Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese-American ever elected to the House of Representatives.

Republican John Fleming also won in Louisiana's 4th Congressional District, further solidifying the GOP's hold on the state.

Democrats remain confident that Cao is just passing through and that they will regain Jefferson's old seat in 2010. We'll just have to wait and see what unfolds.

U.S. v. Blagojevich


(U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill., Dec. 9, 2008) – Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris were arrested today on charges including an alleged scheme to sell the Senate seat of President Elect Barack Obama. In this criminal complaint, Blagojevich and Harris were charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the people of Illinois and one count of corruptly paying the recently bankrupt Tribune Company millions of dollars in financial assistance from the state of Illinois in exchange for firing Tribune editorial writers critical of Blagojevich.

Click here for the full indictment.

Incidentally - you will have a tough time finding out the fact that Blagojevich is a Democrat in the reporting on this story. Media bias, maybe. But do the math - a Chicago politician in handcuffs...what political party do you think he belongs to?

Settling Down to Humanity

The signs are noticeable that the luster of Obama-mania is finally wearing off. His inability to get his supporters to vote Saxby Chambliss out of office, the dwindling ranks of Obama t-shirt vendors on the street, and this little tidbit about his shrinking YouTube audience.

Sure, he enjoys high approval ratings now, but that's no mean feat considering he has yet to actually assume the presidency.

So, now that I am comfortable with the fact that my (wayward) fellow countrymen are becoming attuned to the fact that Barack Obama is indeed born of this world like the rest of us, I will stop harping on this line of thought and lay it to rest. Besides, there are plenty of more important items worthy of my blogging time.

Blagojevich Taken Into Custody

Late Breaking News!

From Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday morning in Chicago on two counts each of federal corruption charges stemming from allegations Blagojevich was trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Not that Chicago was ever a den of political corruption or anything...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Now They Want to Confess?

So the brains behind the September 11th attacks, currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, finally want to confess to conspiracy charges. They announced this infront of the family members of the victims that perished in the attacks.

There are also a couple co-conspirators that need phych evaluations prior to accepting the confessions... (A COUPLE?)

I ask... WHY NOW???

Interestingly enough, Obama team considers changing interogation policies...

Auto Bailout Questions

A few questions for the coconuts who gave our money to car companies:

1) Why are we using our tax dollars to produce cars that nobody buys? (Or is it that they're not sold at a profit? yeah right...)

2) Why are the car companies not producing cars people are buying? Do they want to go out of business? Do they want to be forced to accept subsidies? Or is it the regulations from government?

3) If it is the regulations, why don't we get rid of them? If not the regulations, we must accept that they are unable to produce a commerically viable product .

4) With the terms Congress is stipulating, will the "Big 3" then make cars people will buy? Does this imply Congress knows more than the auto industry about manufacturing automobiles? If so, why don't these brilliant senators go into the industry themselves and make money rather than immorally spend our tax dollars? This is how capitalism works afterall.

5) If the companies need money to pay their workers because their union wages and benefits are too expensive and economically untenable, why should I, as a taxpayer, be forced to subsidize the production of cars that nobody buys? If the wages and benefits could be renegotiated, why does Congress seemingly always stand with the labor unions? It seems they would rather take other taxpayers' money and give it to auto workers than allow a free market economic calculation of the value of the workers' labor.

6) Is the answer to these questions that Congress feels it would be more expensive to pay for these workers compensation if they were unemployed? If so, when does this logically stop? Is it when there are no unions in said industry to swap votes for tax dollars?

7) OR, are these bastions of manufacturing necessary to produce machines of war and in that regard too important to fail? If so, couldn't we find a cheaper way of preserving the ability to defend ourselves?

Answers, anybody?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Another Day to Live in Infamy...

God Bless those veterans of past and present who gave all to keep us free.

While it is right to honor and remember them, let's be vigilant now to keep our liberties.

This today, December 7, 2008, from the NYT: Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale.

The price signal is going to be destroyed. These programs are the way to poverty not prosperity. Republicans in Congress must oppose these measures at any cost and keep us from further economic havoc.

But that is not enough. As Young Republicans, supporters liberty, we have to make every effort to remind the press of their role in a free society. They are economically ignorant, cheerleading government programs that very well could have us in a similar economy to the Second World' War's. Write letters to editors and post replies on internet blogs urging fiscal restraint and politically expedient DEregulation.

Pearl Harbor Day

We should all take a moment today to remember the lives lost 67 years ago today.

In rereading President Franklin Roosevelt's speech about the attack, I was struck by how certain words he spoke ring so true in the world we now live in:

"Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory... I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God."

That's the FDR that I like to remember.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Juice in the Can

The law has finally caught up with O.J. Simpson, sentencing him to 9 to 33 years for kidnapping, robbery, and assault during his Las Vegas misadventures. There's only one word that I can muster up for the fallen star at this point:


Missile Defense: Told Ya It'd Work

The Pentagon announced Friday a successful test of the missile defense system after an interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California knocked down a missile fired from Alaska. The Alaska dummy warhead simulated the speed and trajectory of a North Korean attack.

The Missile Defense Agency, the organization charged with developing America's missile shield, has been quietly moving forward with the system ever since Ronald Reagan's monumental 1983 speech calling for national ballistic missile defense.

Over the years the plan has received a lot of ridicule, first from Soviet apologists, then from post-Soviet peaceniks. There are still those who think it can't work, and they call each successful test a fluke. Granted, what we have now is far from the perfect system that Reagan envisioned, but Friday's test, like several successful tests before it, proves that missile defense is possible. Why on Earth would we ever pass up an opportunity to protect our country when we possess the technology to make it happen?

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Road to Serfdom?

These are some of my thoughts on the economy and the government at this juncture in history:

The disastrous economic stimulus is a euphemism for a full out socialist economy, and I believe it could lead to the Republican party's destruction. (In a sense, we’d be lucky; it would be reformed on sound principles as opposed to what it’s become.) Washington has, in essence, nationalized banking and insurance, and under Obama, healthcare will likely be next. Talking to people I know, even those in the financial and insurance sectors, it is clear many, if not most, believe that deregulation is the primary cause of this crisis. They've bought the official state/intelligentsia explanation hook, line, and sinker.

We are not financing this "stimulus" - stupid as that would be in regardless - with tax dollars in some reserve, but by printing money. Thus far, we've "spent" 60% of GDP on this so-called rescue. (When will it reach 100%? At that point, will people scratch their heads and wonder how you can save an economy by spending its entirety on itself? Or perhaps they’ll finally stop equating money with wealth?) This freshly created money is currently on banks' balance sheets because, at the present time, nobody is borrowing. A short term "recovery" will occur in the future because of inflationary effects, but will only lead to an even greater downturn. There is reason to think that once banks resume their uneconomical lending with this cheap money we may experience hyperinflation, an unprecedented happening in this country and the start of severe misery. Since government rarely admits error, it will be blamed on private greed of a sector or unfair wages, and so the next logical step will be price controls, coupled with more regulation.

If this sounds apocalyptic, then consider my sources of inspiration: Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and F.A. Hayek, to name a few. In the opposing corner are Marx, Keynes, the Federal Reserve, and the government. Matter of fact, looking back through American history, we can discern that this is not the first time we’ve had this debate, albeit never on this scale and with such immediate consequences. Jefferson held cheap money as a chief enemy to a free society and Andrew Jackson ran a campaign based on it. In modern times, the impotence of government intervention has been demonstrated by the failures of the New Deal and the Great Society. Reagan was correct in doing little after Black Thursday in the 80s (and he was, incidentally, a student of Hayek). We don't have anything like that political will in office now. All that is reported each day are more government bailouts: for mortgages, for banks (even healthy banks), for a sick auto industry, for bankrupt state governments. There is apparently no end in sight, and no talk of restraint. Will credit card holders be next?

Government intervention of this scope is unprecedented: according to the Wall St. Journal, we have spent, since March, twice as much as was spent on WW2, taking into account inflation, and still they talk of spending more. As a population, we seem incapable of taking the necessary steps back and examining the situation objectively. Panic has set in, and we have put ourselves at the will of political masters who we ostensibly believe are capable of economic magic. They are not.

This power grab by the government has occurred under a Republican president. I've spent the last 8 years defending Bush for a variety of things he's done right and trying to criticize him for what I've disagreed with in a civil and measured manner. But after this scandal I believe he may blamed for creating terrible, indeed, unspeakable, misery. These economic distortions can only be put off so long; someone has to pay the piper and it won't be Senators, Congressmen, or the President.

There is an alternative. It is one which requires people to believe that they are no more competent at life than their neighbor; it demands trust of one another; it is respectful of reality and not based on fantasy; it is thus humbling. It is the free market.

Richardson Out of His Depth in Commerce Role

Bill Richardson has been nominated for Commerce Secretary, and so many folks like the good-natured guy that nobody seems to want to question if he is really right for the post. Personally, I think not.

The Washington ComPost makes note that generally the secretary of commerce is someone from the private sector. After all, whoever serves in that role, particularly in this economy, should be someone with a background in...what's the word?...oh, yeah, commerce. Richardson is a professional public servant.

The Obama camp says this job offer is not a "consolation" prize for Richardson because he really wanted the Secretary of State post. I believe them. It's not. It is a recognition of the Richardson's loyalty to Obama after his own moribund presidential candidate failed to catch fire.

Perhaps I am alone in criticizing the abilities of the likable lug from New Mexico, but I stand by my belief that he is not the man for this job. It's nothing personal. It's strictly (about) business.

Say No to a New Fairness Doctrine

New York's fearless senior Senator, Charles Schumer, has expressed interest in raising the so-called Fairness Doctrine back from the grave. Apparently liberals are not content with their present level of influence in American media. They want more, more, more.

Here is one more well-reasoned article about why the doctrine is completely unnecessary in a world of hundreds of televisions channels and millions of Web sites.

After you read this, be sure to send Senator Schumer a note letting him know that the Fairness Doctrine will only stifle free speech, not encourage it. He has not formerly announced new legislation, but why even give him a chance. The Fairness Doctrine is dead. Let it remain that way.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Axl Rose in a Legal Fight? No Way!

Axl Rose's new Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy has been out barely 10 ten days and he is already engaged in legal wrangling.

Turns out that Dr. Pepper promised a free can of soda to everyone in America if Rose completed his magnum opus by 12/31/08. He's been in the studio with this thing for 17 years. In the meantime, Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum moved on with Velvet Revolver, a band that produces better music than what I have heard from the new Axl Rose album.

Well, Rose finally delivered, but Dr. Pepper apparently only promised a 24-hour window to obtain a coupon for the free drink and their Web site crashed before G N'R fans could cash in. Oops.

Now Rose's attorneys, who I assume rarely have down time, have called on Dr. Pepper to make good on its original offer. I do admire Rose sticking up for his fans, but what is it with this guy?

Oh well, the music may not be as good, but at least some things will never change.

How Obama Got Elected

I know, I know...he won, let's move on. But you have to visit this Web site. I laughed so hard that I couldn't tell if my tears were from mirth or sadness. Be sure to scroll down their page to check the poll results and links to stories about how John Zogby has been attacked for conducting it. That's where the real horror begins.

Obviously we get a majority of our political information from the media. But when a large part of that media is agenda-driven by one ideological flavor over another, that's when things start to get really messy.

Here's a sample of the Zogby poll results:

512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

And yet.....

Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

Charlie, Go Home

Here's hoping that Rep. Charles Rangel's days as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee may be numbered. In recent days, editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post have called on Rangel to step down because of the growing list of scandals being associated with the longtime Harlem congressman.

The latest allegation is that Rangel opposed closing a tax loophole for an oil and gas drilling company whose CEO pledged $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service, a pet pork project. Rangel said the timing of the donation was coincidental, but frankly there is no reason anyone should believe him when you consider all the other ethical and legal lapses that have surfaced. In the past few months, Rangel has been accused of paying below-market rents on four apartments, using one of those apartments illegally as a campaign office, ducking tens of thousands of dollars on vacation property, and using congressional resources to solicit donations to his beloved policy school.

This is a sneak peek from the December 5, 2008 edition of the Patriot Post Friday Digest, the Conservative Journal of Record

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Word on the Street -- New Youth Outreach Coordinator?

Fellow YRs... Word on the street is Chairman Mondello is making former Councilman Andrew Eristoff (and former McCain Manhattan coordinator) the new Youth Outreach Coordinator for the NYGOP...

Any thoughts?

*Clarification-After speaking with Andrew directly, I'm happy to report that he has been asked to Chair a Committee to take a look at the entire State of the State GOP. From a personal point of view, I'm happy to hear it. Andrew has been a large supporter of the YRs and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Stay tuned folks!!!

The Rumors of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) resoundingly defeated opponent Jim Martin in the Georgia Senate runoff yesterday, simultaneously defeating plans for a Donkey super-majority in the Senate.

Reporting on this race was mostly muted by the so-called Mainstream Media - the above-cited item ran on page 4 of the Washington ComPost. I wonder how many columns the front page banner headline would have read had Martin carried the day.

Despite Steve Kornacki's obtuse analysis in the New York Observer (Warning: Don't read Kornacki's column unless you can stomach the taste of sour grapes!), this win was quite important and it did carry a multi-faceted message that we should remember well going forward:

1. Barack Obama has no coattails, which means he is going to find it pretty lonely at the top, even among fellow Donkeys

2. The margin of Chambliss's victory clearly demonstrates that the GOP brand is alive and well, just a little bruised

3. Sarah Palin can still draw a crowd

4. Now that the 60-seat majority is out of the questions, Al Franken's damn-the-torpedoes strategy to win Minnesota at all costs may not receive wide support among cooler heads in the Democratic Party

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Where is the outrage? Bailout hits $8.5 trillion

What with the economy still in tailspin mode, this reminder from last week's San Francisco Chronicle:

The cost of the bail out is already $8.5 trillion, or 60% of the GDP.

Let me say that again: in an attempt to "save the economy from itself" (which is in essence the claim of all government intervention in the economy), the government has increased its spending to 60% of gross domestic product.

That means we are diverting 60% of current and future wealth (in some combination) into uneconomic business and business models. In short, we are funding failed enterprise at the cost of over one-half of our economy… and still this number is growing.

...And NOW it's a DEMOCRAT'S turn. Outrageous.