Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blog of the Week: Captain Capitalism

An excellent blog, with many useful insights into the contemporary political scene. Yesterday he pondered why some idiots want socialism:

While we listen to talk radio, and we have empirical proof capitalism works, and we have history on our side and know, NOT "feel", but KNOW we are right, we have to understand that too high a percentage of Americans do not think this way. A critical mass (arguably the majority) of Americans no longer believe in freedom, self-reliance, capitalism, profit, manliness, competition, "nuclear" families, and everything else that is quintessentially American.



I like it no more than you. And I'm not saying that you still don't fight the good fight. But we have to realize that we can apply all the logic and empirical evidence we want to help support our case, but it will fall on deaf ears as socialism is not founded in reality. That's the only way socialism can work. That you convince enough sheeple they don't have to work to eat. They're poor not because they produce nothing, but because they are from disadvantaged group "x." Or some preppy Amercrombie and Fitch Harvard elitist fools people that he will bring them "hope and change" and everything will be chocolates and kittens thereafter.

I would like to add that the racist "affirmative action" programs do much to perpetuate the myth that hard work is not important. Like I have said previously, it would be interesting to know Barack and Michelle O'Bama's GPAs and LSAT scores.

Still No Recession

The Democrats are trying their damndest to make sure that the USA has a recession. O'Bama is proposing all kinds of new taxes. The Democrat-controlled congress refuses to allow drilling for oil and gas in many parts of the USA. They don't want energy prices to go down because it helps reduce 'carbon emissions' to help exorcise their 'global warming' bogeyman.

In spite of all these efforts. GDP rose by an annualized 1.9% in the second quarter of this year (April - June).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Is Up With Real Interest Rates?

Look at the yields on the following TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) as of yesterday, as compared with the end of June:

Maturity: 2010 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
-0.454 %
7/29/08 yield
0.297 %

Maturity: 2011 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
-0.011 %
7/29/08 yield
0.692 %

Maturity: 2012 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
0.396 %
7/29/08 yield

Maturity: 2014 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
0.844 %
7/29/08 yield
1.326 %

Why were the yields so low in June? Did investors pile into the TIPS, fearing that skyrocketing energy prices signaled a massive increase in future inflation? And then did they jump out of them later in July when energy prices began to subside?

If there were a big changes in expected inflation, you would think that the yields on nominal treasuries would have increased and then decreased. Here are the yields for the corresponding nominal securities with maturities closest to the above TIPS:

Maturity: 2010 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
2.34 %
7/29/08 yield
2.33 %

Maturity: 2011 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
2.69 %
7/29/08 yield
2.69 %

Maturity: 2012 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
3.08 %
7/29/08 yield
3.06 %

Maturity: 2014 Jan 15
6/30/08 yield
3.38 %
3.42 %

Almost no change in the nominal yields! What has happened here? If anyone has an idea, please send me an email.

Source: Markets Data Center

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bolton on O'Bama's Berlin Speech

The Moustachioed One has an excellent analysis of the messiah's recent speech in Berlin. One excerpt:

First, urging greater U.S.-European cooperation, Obama said, "The burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together." Having earlier proclaimed himself "a fellow citizen of the world" with his German hosts, Obama explained that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Europe proved "that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."

Perhaps Obama needs a remedial course in Cold War history, but the Berlin Wall most certainly did not come down because "the world stood as one." The wall fell because of a decades-long, existential struggle against one of the greatest totalitarian ideologies mankind has ever faced. It was a struggle in which strong and determined U.S. leadership was constantly questioned, both in Europe and by substantial segments of the senator's own Democratic Party. In Germany in the later years of the Cold War, Ostpolitik -- "eastern politics," a policy of rapprochement rather than resistance -- continuously risked a split in the Western alliance and might have allowed communism to survive. The U.S. president who made the final successful assault on communism, Ronald Reagan, was derided by many in Europe as not very bright, too unilateralist and too provocative.

Very true. And I would like to add that during the cold war, many of the left both in the USA and in western europe admired both the ideals and the methods of soviet-style communism. They want the government to control commerce. They want restrictions on freedom of expression. They want to restrict the rights of their political opponents.

Back during the cold war, anyone who criticized communists was derided as being like "McCarthy". The fact that millions of people who directly experienced communism, voted with their feet when given the opportunity, was irrelevant to the left.

The left favored rapprochement with the soviets because they had the same goals as the bolsheviks.

What Warming?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Well Boo Hoo

According to the New York Times, Bill Clintons former supporters in Harlem feel disrespected by the former president:

THE streets were bright with promise on the sunny July day in 2001 when former President Bill Clinton arrived in Harlem, the historic capital of black America, to celebrate the opening of his office on 125th Street. A chant of “We love Bill!” rose from the adoring crowd of 2,000 well-wishers, some of whom wore buttons and waved fans decorated with Mr. Clinton’s face.

After a violin rendition of “We Shall Overcome,” Mr. Clinton and the crowd sang along to a vibrant saxophone version of the soul song “Stand by Me.” “You were always there for me,” the ebullient former president declared before descending into the crowd for handshakes and hugs. “And I will try to be there for you.”

But the relationship between Mr. Clinton and Harlem’s African-American community has gone through a distinctly rocky patch this year. Many black residents say they were hurt and angered by what they perceived as racially disrespectful comments made by Mr. Clinton during the Democratic presidential primary fight between Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya.

Cry me a river, Harlemites. During the eight years that Clinton spent in the white house, you had ample opportunity to observe the fact that his top priority, no... his ONLY priority.... is Bill Clinton.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scottish National Party Has Huge Victory over Labour Party in Glasgow
The Scottish National Party, who favor full independence for Scotland from the UK, have won an historic victory over the British Labour Party:

GORDON Brown was hit by a political earthquake early this morning when the SNP narrowly snatched a sensational victory in the Glasgow East by-election.

John Mason won by 365 votes over Labour's Margaret Curran after recording a 22 per cent swing to the SNP. The declaration had been held up after Labour demanded a recount at 1:30am, with only 355 votes separating the two main parties.

Mr Mason, who had arrived at the count to a hero's welcome from party activists, told The Scotsman: "This is going to have a huge impact. Somebody said it's No 10 on the Richter scale. It just feels tremendous. It was a huge challenge, a huge majority to overcome.

"It is going to send a message all around the country."

This is quite ironic, since Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister is himself a Scot. He will find it difficult to maintain Labour's majority in the next general elections.

The Scots are voting for the Scottish National Party candidates. The Ulstermen are voting for the DUP and Sinn Fein. The Welsh are voting for their Plaid Cymru party. And the English will probably vote heavily for Tories. There won't be very many Labour seats in the next Parliament.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chicago Freedom-Haters Go to the Mattresses to Protect Criminals from Law-Abiding Citizens

We all know how much the stupid whiny leftists hate to lose. Thats why they are still in a state of denial in the state of Illinois:

Chicago Police will continue to enforce the city's handgun ban and firearm registration laws while lawyers fight the pro-gun lobby in federal court.
The National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed federal lawsuits to shoot down Chicago's gun laws after the U.S. Supreme Court voided the District of Columbia's handgun ban last

City Corporation Counsel Mara Georges told a City Council committee Thursday that she's prepared to fight those lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court.
"Chicago's gun ordinance was not invalidated by the . . . decision. Three prior Supreme Court decisions have found that the Second Amendment does not apply to states and municipalities," Georges said. "The decision did not change that case law."
Georges said she's confident that the U.S. District Court will dismiss the gun lobby lawsuit challenging Chicago's existing laws.
"What would happen for it to apply to Chicago is that the district court would have to fail to follow well-established Supreme Court precedent . . . and say that we should be treated like a federal jurisdiction," she said. "That's the difference here. D.C. was considered a federal jurisdiction. . . . We are not."

Blah blah blah......

Hey Mara, read what Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court had to say:

...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.

We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

It is so ordered.

Do you got that Mara?

It is so ordered.

Blog of the Week: The Bleat

James Lileks, a journalist in Minneapolis, has a way with words that I can only envy. From today's blog post about His Holiness' speech about world citizenship in Deutschland:

As a lifelong Star Trek fan, I would love to live in an age when the globe was united in peace and prosperity, but I am unwilling to endure the paradigm-wrecking nation-shattering nuclear war and eugenic-master-race tyranny required to get to that point. Absent those factors, the idea that post-national / trans-national ideas represent a glimmering ideal within our grasp seems naïve at best and alarming at worst, a gilded facade erected by those who wish to pursue self-interest behind a new arrangement that defines traditional concepts of culture and national identity as regressive impediments.

I rather like my first and second amendment rights. There are many countries where they don't have these and there are many people here in the USA who would like to take those rights away from me. Most of the freedom-haters are also Obama fans.

That's why I don't want to merge with other countries nor do I want the USA to submerge our sovereignty in any way to some international organization like the UN. Any world government instituted at the present time would be a totalitarian nightmare, as Lileks says.

One last thing: Obama said "That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand." But of course they must, and will, if national sovereignity has any meaning. If he defines the "wall" as the existence of factual reasons why some countries succeed and others do not, it is unclear how these facts will be overcome. There's not a wall around Zimbabwe that creates a special magical inflation zone. There is, in spots, a wall between the US and Mexico; are we to expect he will make a campaign stop at the border crossing, and ask Mr. Bush to Tear Down This Wall? In a sense that would make him the heir to Reagan - in the same sense Paris Hilton is heir to Conrad.

There is a reason why so many people in Mexico, Central America, the Carribbean, etc., find it necessary to come to the USA to find work. It can be summarized adequately with one word: Socialism.

Unless and until certain other countries adopt free market capitalism and their own equivalents of the first and second amendments, it will be necessary to keep the walls up.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Obamessiah Refuses to Meet with Servicement in Bagram, Afghanistan

Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to ' The War Zone ' . I wanted to share with you what happened.
He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram.
As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand, he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service.
So really he was just here to make a showing for the Americans back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you.
I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States . I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.
If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.
In service,

Bagram, Afghanistan

And Barack wants to be Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces? I would much prefer to have one of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in the white house.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Perverse Nature of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Paul Gigot in the Wall Street Journal has an interesting expose of the politics behind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

I recount all this now because it illustrates the perverse nature of Fannie and Freddie that has made them such a relentless and untouchable political force. Their unique clout derives from a combination of liberal ideology and private profit. Fannie has been able to purchase political immunity for decades by disguising its vast profit-making machine in the cloak of "affordable housing." To be more precise, Fan and Fred have been protected by an alliance of Capitol Hill and Wall Street, of Barney Frank and Angelo Mozilo.
I know this because for more than six years I've been one of their antagonists. Any editor worth his expense account makes enemies, and complaints from CEOs, politicians and World Bank presidents are common. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are unique in their thuggery, and their response to critics may help readers appreciate why taxpayers are now explicitly on the hook to rescue companies that some of us have spent years warning about.

The thuggery that Gigot refers to is the same leftist thuggery that Fannie Mae executives Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick learned from their time in the Clinton administration. The sheer savagery and contempt for law that many in the Clinton administration displayed was appalling. Remember the attacks on Kenneth Starr and Linda Tripp? Remember all the people who were audited by the IRS? Remember the people who were thrown in jail for yelling "you suck" to Clinton? Remember Billy Dale who was falsely prosecuted because Hillary wanted an excuse to clean house in the white house travel office?

Fan and Fred also couldn't prosper for as long as they have without the support of the political left, both in Congress and the intellectual class. This includes Mr. Frank and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Capitol Hill, as well as Mr. Krugman and the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein in the press. Their claim is that the companies are essential for homeownership.
Yet as studies have shown, about half of the implicit taxpayer subsidy for Fan and Fred is pocketed by shareholders and management. According to the Federal Reserve, the half that goes to homeowners adds up to a mere seven basis points on mortgages. In return for this, Fannie was able to pay no fewer than 21 of its executives more than $1 million in 2002, and in 2003 Mr. Raines pocketed more than $20 million. Fannie's left-wing defenders are underwriters of crony capitalism, not affordable housing.
So here we are this week, with the House and Senate preparing to commit taxpayer money to save Fannie and Freddie. The implicit taxpayer guarantee that Messrs. Gray and Raines and so many others said didn't exist has become explicit. Taxpayers may end up having to inject capital into the companies, in addition to guaranteeing their debt.
The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever. Campaigning to spare taxpayers from that result would represent genuine "change," not that either presidential candidate seems interested.

While we're paying the increased taxes for years to come on this ridiculous bailout, remember Franklin Raines earning $90 million and Jamie Gorelick earning $26 million. I can just picture those jackasses chuckling to themselves while they are thinking "those poor taxpayers are suckers!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Much To Bail Out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

After having created the twin monsters known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and having given them a blank check from the US taxpayers, the losers in Washington are trying to figure out how much it will cost to bail them out.

The Bush administration's plan to rescue ailing mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is likely to cost about $25 billion during the next two years, according to congressional budget analysts.
In a letter to lawmakers released this morning, the Congressional Budget Office said there is "a significant chance -- probably better than 50 percent -- that the proposed new Treasury authority" to lend Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money or buy their stock would not need to be used before the authority expired at the end of 2009.
However, "that scenario is far from the only possible result," the letter says, and the cost estimate takes into account "the probability of various possible outcomes." That means rescuing the mortgage firms could cost significantly more than $25 billion if the authority is exercised, the letter says.

Isn't this great? Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick get to keep their millions that they made at Fannie Mae. The federal government will bail out the two quasi-private companies and allow them to continue dominating the mortgage industry with their backing from the taxpayers. The people who foolishly bought more house than they can afford get bailed out.

And what about those of us who have diligently made our monthly mortgage payments? We did not buy more house than we could afford. And what of those people who live in areas where housing prices went sky-high but knew better than to pay $600,000 for a little 3-2 tract house? They toughed it out in tiny apartments rather than take out a mortgage with unaffordable payments. We will have to pay the bill, while Goldman Sachs clowns like Henry Paulson and Keynesian economists like Ben Bernanke made stupid decisions.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wall Street Journal Smears Belgian Vlaams Belang Party

The Journal's editorials are usually excellent. However, their news articles are often written by journalists who have the typical leftwing bias. In Saturday's edition we see how John Miller has smeared Vlaams Belang, the party in Belgium that looks out for the interests of the Flemish people:

BRUSSELS -- A team appointed by Belgium's King Albert II started work Friday to resolve a stalemate between the nation's French and Dutch speakers. At stake is not whether Belgium falls apart, but whether it becomes more like Switzerland.

Ever since elections in June 2007, Belgium has been in trouble. It took nine months to form a government. Belgian newspapers ran alarming headlines warning of the nation's possible breakup. On Monday, the prime minister, Yves Leterme, offered to resign.

But while the glue that holds together this fragile nation of 10.5 million is slowly coming unstuck, it's likely to endure at least another generation, say political leaders and analysts.

So far so good. Now we get to a discussion of the political parties:

None of the mainstream Flemish parties favor independence for Flanders -- a reflection of Belgium's battered but tenacious national identity, along with the costs and complications of divorce, and the gnarly question of who gets Brussels, the wealthy capital city and seat of the European Union.

But what of Vlaams Belang, the party that works for Flemish independence? Does it therefore follow that Mr. Miller does not consider them to be 'mainstream'? Miller proceeds to admit that nearly a majority of the people in Flanders favor independece:

Around half of Belgium's Dutch speakers would like to see a Republic of Flanders, according to some opinion polls.

He doesn't get around to mentioning Vlaams Belang until the last column of the article:

Yet, "no political party except the extremists supports a split," says Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium's economy minister and a Flemish conservative. Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), a far-right party that does advocate independence, generally polls a quarter of the vote in Flanders.

Ah yes, Vlaams Belang are 'far-right' and 'extremists'. Typical smear phrases used by the left.

Here is what Miller is saying:

(1) Half of the Flemish want independence.

(2) Vlaams Belang polls a quarter of the vote in Flanders.

(3) Vlaams Belang are not 'mainstream'.

(4) Vlaams Belang are 'far-right' and 'extremists'.

Am I missing something here? Whenever I try to make sense of anything that a lefty has to say, especially when he or she is a journalist, I inevitably fail to find any thought or logic at all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I just can't get enough of Natalie. She was 100% female.
Another Nail in the Coffin

If there are any leftwing yahoos reading this who still believe that human CO2 emissions are causing global warming, read this essay by Australasian climatologist David Evans:

I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.
FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.
When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.
The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.
But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming.

Why so?

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.
Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

However, Mr. Evans does show ignorance of one crucial fact:

The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.

Mr. Evans probably understands climatology as well as anyone, but he has very little understanding of American politics and our press corps. Al Gore proceeds with his lies because he knows the leftwing press will give him a pass on it. His eight years of experience in the Clinton administration gives him the confidence to lie with impunity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

World Court Orders USA to Halt Execution of Rapist-Murderer Jose Medellin

Jose Medellin, a citizen of Mexico, raped and murdered Elizabeth Pena (16) and Jennifer Ertman (15) in Houston in 1993. He is scheduled to be executed on August 5.

Now the World Court, in direct affront to the sovereignty of the United States, has ordered the USA to halt the execution on an absurd technicality:

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The World Court ordered the United States on Wednesday to do all it could to halt the imminent executions of five Mexicans until the court makes a final judgment in a dispute over suspects' rights.

The row, which has strained relations between the neighbors, centers on the fact that the United States failed to inform 51 of its citizens sentenced to die in U.S. jails of their right to consular assistance.
One of the five Mexicans on death row, Jose Medellin, is due to die on August 5 in Texas.

In 2004, the World Court ruled in favor of Mexico, finding the United States had violated international law, and ordered it to review the 51 cases to see whether the lack of consular assistance had prejudiced the outcome of their trials.

A year later, U.S. President George W. Bush ordered Texas to review Medellin's case but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that Bush had no authority to do so, leading Texas to schedule Medellin's execution for August.

"The court indicates that the United States of America shall take all measures necessary to ensure that five Mexican nationals are not executed pending its final judgment," Judge Rosalyn Higgins said.

This is ridiculous. Had Medellin asked to contact the Mexican embassy in the USA, he would undoubtedly been allowed to do so. This dirtbag confessed to his crimes back in 1993. He has been given a proper trial, attorneys paid for by the taxpayers of Texas, and numerous appeals for 15 years.

The state of Texas should ignore those idiots at the world court and send Medellin to his reward.
Inflation Accelerates in June

Thanks to the Federal Reserve, the inflation rate has jumped up to 1.056% during the month of June. That is a 13.4% annualized rate:

WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumer prices soared at their fastest annual pace in nearly two decades last month, tightening the screws on Federal Reserve officials as they balance a stagflationary mix of rising unemployment, strained financial markets and rising inflation.

Even more worrisome for policymakers than the headline inflation jump may be signs that food and energy prices are starting to filter through the broader economy, as evidenced by sharp price gains last month in housing, transportation and services.
Separately, a heat wave and the end of an auto sector strike gave a lift to U.S. industrial production in June, rising well above expectations.

The consumer price index jumped 1.1% in June, the Labor Department said Wednesday, the second-highest increase since 1982 and the highest since 2005. Excluding food and energy, it advanced 0.3%. Wall Street economists had expected a 0.7% rise in the headline and 0.2% core increase, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

Unrounded, the CPI rose 1.056% last month. The core CPI advanced 0.323% unrounded.

The blame for this may be properly laid at the feet of Ben Bernanke. There was no need for him to drive the Fed Funds target down to 2%. The problems in the financial industry were not due to high interest rates.

InstaPunk Has Figured Out the Left

A blog I have recently become acquainted with is InstaPunk. I don't know this guy (or gal) but I like what he or she has to say about the lefties:

LOOK AT YOU. It's tiresome and I don't want to write about it at all, but it still has to be said. The lefthand 30 percent of the political spectrum in this country is emotionally and spiritually retarded. They're the ones who celebrated the death of Tony Snow in the Los Angeles Times blog, they're the decision makers at the L.A. Times who approved such barbaric comments for publication on that blog, and they're the highly educated, meticulously responsible and objective journalists who will ignore the implications of this kind of disgraceful behavior by those who take loud credit for being the most tolerant, civilized, progressive, humanitarian, and intelligent among us. That adds up to a pretty sizeable percentage of the Obama idolaters in our nation.




There's another larger point to be made here. One that explains what many have regarded as an insoluble mystery. Why you are so quick to side against your own nation and with the funadmentalistic fanatics of Islam who are quite open about their desire to enslave your womenfolk, castrate and behead your gay mascots, and exterminate your right to disbelieve in anything divine forever. It's no mystery at all. You are two peas in a pod. For you, politics is religion. For muslims, religion is politics. The concept of any separation between church and state is as much an oxymoron for you as it is for them. That's the savage incomprehension you share which overwhelms what should be a world-splitting schism between you.

You are the same. Which is to say you've arrived at the same annihilating perspective by entirely different means. The muslims of Jew-hating jihad are historical prisoners of undeveloped consciousness. You are history's greatest historical cowards of consciousness, the ones who fearfully fled the responsibilities of individual conscience for an easy -- and false -- collective rationality that defies the logic of human nature and experience. You have chosen an anti-human evil and draped it in the hypocritical lies of rhetorical altruism.

That's exactly the way I feel. If you lefties don't want to live in a free society, go off and form your own socialist utopia where you may lick the boots of your muslim masters as much as you like.

But leave the rest of us alone. There are some of us here in the USA who cherish freedom and appreciate the sacrifices our ancestors made for us. Losers like you don't deserve to live in a free society.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Makes O'Bama Tick?

There is a really interesting analysis of Obama's political philosophy in an article by Michael Beran in City Journal. One interesting excerpt:

The politics of consensus that Obama favors is incompatible with the Founders’ adversarial system, which permits those whom he disparages as “ideological minorities” to take stands on principle that, at times, frustrate the national consensus. Obama makes it clear that there is no place, in the politics he advocates, for those “absolutists” who would defy the community. The “ideological core of today’s GOP,” he writes, is “absolutism, not conservatism,” an absolutism driven by those who prize “absolute truth” over “communal values.” This commitment to absolute truth, he argues, stands in the way of a politics that can solve our problems and change our lives.

So what happens to those of us who do not submit to the 'communal values'? Many fellow travelers of Obama's ideology believe that dissenting opinions should be suppressed. Wil Barack be any different?

A ticking Time Bomb is About to Explode

There are two quasi-governmental organizations: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who have a major hand in the home mortgage market. They are known as 'government sponsored private corporations', as can been read on Fannie Mae's website:

1968 Charter ActThe 1968 Charter Act split Fannie Mae into two parts: Ginnie Mae and a reconstituted Fannie Mae. Ginnie Mae would continue as a federal agency and be responsible for the then-existing special assistance programs, and Fannie Mae would be transformed into a "government-sponsored private corporation" responsible for the self-supporting secondary market operations. The reconstituted Fannie Mae was to be stockholder-owned and managed. Fannie Mae retired the last of its government stock on September 30, 1968, and transformation to a government-sponsored private corporation was completed in 1970.

As is inevitable whenever government tries to get involved in commerce, they have done more harm than good. Clinton administration officials Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick earned huge paydays while they worked at Fannie Mae, although neither of them were remotely qualified to work in finance.

Now that these 'government sposonred' businesses have gotten themselves in trouble with the home mortgage mess, both the US Treasury and Federal Reserve are planning to bail them out. This will enable Fan and Fred to continue to make the same mistakes they have in the past, and to provide well-paid sinecures for politically-connected people like Gorelick and Raines.

What a stupid idea!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Myth About Guns Debunked

The left are so hell-bent on taking away from law-abiding people the means to defend themselves against criminals and despotic governments that they will lie and twist the facts into a pretzel in order to 'prove' their fallacious points. One myth that they have repeatedly tried to perpetuate is the notion that gun ownership increases suicide rates. Steve Chapman explains why this is false:

Americans often buy guns for self-defense, a purpose that now has Supreme Court validation. But according to advocates of gun control, those purchasers overlook the people who pose the greatest threat: themselves. Anyone who acquires a firearm, we are told, is inviting a bloody death by suicide.
So says Matthew Miller, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. "If you bought a gun today, I could tell you the risk of suicide to you and your family members is going to be two- to tenfold higher over the next 20 years," he told The Washington Post. Since the chance of a gun being used for suicide is so much higher than the chance of it being used to prevent a murder, we would all be better off with fewer firearms around.

It's a rich irony -- as though smoke alarms were increasing fire fatalities. But the argument raises two questions: Is it true? And, when it comes to gun control policy, does it matter?
As it turns out, the claims about guns and suicide don't stand up well to scrutiny. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences was doubtful, noting that the alleged association is small and may be illusory.
Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck says there are at least 13 published studies finding no meaningful connection between the rate of firearms and the rate of suicides. The consensus of experts, he says, is that an increase in gun ownership doesn't raise the number of people who kill themselves -- only the number who do it with a gun.
That makes obvious sense. Someone who really wants to commit suicide doesn't need a .38, because alternative methods abound. Gun opponents, however, respond that guns inevitably raise the rate because they're uniquely lethal. Take away the gun, and you greatly increase the chance of survival.
But in his 1997 book, "Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control," Kleck points out that "suicide attempts with guns are only slightly more likely to end in death than those involving hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning, or drowning." It's not hard to think of some other pretty foolproof means of self-destruction -- such as jumping off a tall (or even not so tall) building, stepping in front of a train or driving at 80 mph into a telephone pole.
People who use guns are generally hellbent on ending their lives. So deprived of a sidearm, they will no doubt find another reliable method -- rather than swallow a dozen aspirin and wake up in the emergency room. Banning guns is no more likely to reduce suicides than banning ice cream is to curb obesity.

God save us from the left.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 12, 1690

Victory at the Boyne!

Tony Snow: 1955 - 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Does Gun Control Work?

The UK has a complete ban on private ownership of handguns, and severe restrictions on long guns. Many gun control advocates have tried to attribute the lower murder rate in that country, as compared with the USA, to the gun restrictions. This is a classic case of data mining: Only using those data points that support their thesis and ignoring evidence to the contrary. For example, Finland and Switzerland have much higher per capita gun ownership than the UK, and yet have much lower murder rates. Brazil has almost no legal private ownership of firearms, yet they have amuch higher murder rate than the USA.

And now we read that banning guns doesn't stop murders. It just changes the type of weapons:

Gordon Brown declared tonight that new anti-knife crime measures will be announced next week after four men were stabbed to death in separate attacks across London in just 24 hours.
The Prime Minister said the latest spate of murders was “shocking and tragic” a few hours after the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police issued a rare appeal for calm in the capital.

One thing you can count on from the left. They'll never let the facts get in their way.

E J Dionne Brainfarts in the WaPo

Whenever there is an economic crisis, the left immediately start howling that free-market capitalism is to blame, and that the government must supervise commerce. They don't explain how government officials have acquired some special wisdom that enables them to shepherd the economy any better than private individuals making their own decisions. They merely take it as given.

It is in this spirit that E J Dionne talks about Capitalism's Reality Check:

The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.
Since the Reagan years, free-market cliches have passed for sophisticated economic analysis. But in the current crisis, these ideas are falling, one by one, as even conservatives recognize that capitalism is ailing.

But Dionne does not mention the names of any prominent conservatives who have made this 'recognition'. The two names he gives are Irwin Stelzer, a guy I never heard of before, and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke:

While Frank is a liberal, the same cannot be said of Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Yet in a speech on Tuesday, Bernanke sounded like a born-again New Dealer in calling for "a more robust framework for the prudential supervision of investment banks and other large securities dealers."

Um, Dionne, I hate to contradict you. But just because Bernanke was appointed by Bush doesn't mean he is a conservative. Ben has always been quite committed to Keynesian economics.

Dionne also quotes Barney Frank extensively, as if the little leprechaun is also a conservative:

Frank also calls for new thinking on the impact of free trade. He argues it can no longer be denied that globalization "is a contributor to the stagnation of wages and it has produced large pools of highly mobile capital." Mobile capital and the threat of moving a plant abroad give employers a huge advantage in negotiations with employees. "If you're dealing with someone and you can pick up and leave and he can't, you have the advantage."

So what is the solution? If the government prohibits a company from moving its operations overseas, what's to stop them from just shutting down? Many will have to do just that if they are unable to compete.

And some more words of socialist wisdom from Frank and Dionne:

He noted that in 1999 when Congress replaced the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act with a set of looser banking rules, "we let investment banks get into a much wider range of activities without regulation." This helped create the subprime mortgage mess and the cascading calamity in banking.

The practice of securitizing mortgages predates 1999 by about 20 years. It was started by GNMA, a government agency. The repeal of Glass-Stegall had no effect on the practice. There are some investment banks that are heavily involved in commercial banking (Bank of America, J P Morgan), and some that are not (Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs). Prior to 1999 the commercial banks could simply have their mortgage-backed securities underwritten by a separate investment bank. It didn't have to be an in-house deal.

Idiots like Dionne and Frank feel that the government can do better. Ignoring the fact that much of the subprime mess resulted from government officials demanding that banks make more loans to people with lower incomes.

So are we to believe that a handful of Democrat government officials, like the previous occupant of the white house, are to be trusted to honestly and intelligently manage the socialist utopia? When you have politicians like the Clintons who rent out rooms in the white house like it is a motel 6, sell burial plots in Arlington National Cemetary, and sell pardons to the highest bidder?

The mind boggles.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Promise of Socialism

I read this interesting tidbit from G. K. Chesterton, an English bloke I nay heard of before, on Protein Wisdom:

A permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.

– G. K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905

I just ordered a copy of Heretics.

The Bearded One Has A Bad Idea
Having already made the poor decision to bail out securities firms that have suffered losses from the mortgage-backed securities, Federal Reserve Board Chairman plans to extend the bailouts:

In an extraordinary action, the Fed in March agreed to let investment houses go to the Fed -- on a temporary basis -- for a quick, overnight source of cash. Those loan privileges, which are supposed to last through mid-September, are similar to those permanently afforded to commercial banks for years.
"We are currently monitoring developments in financial markets closely and considering several options, including extending the duration of our facilities for primary dealers beyond year-end should the current unusual and exigent circumstances continue to prevail in dealer funding markets," Bernanke said in prepared remarks to a mortgage-lending forum in Arlington, Va.
The Fed's decision to act -- temporarily at least -- as a lender of last resort for Wall Street firms was made after a run on Bear Stearns pushed the investment bank to the brink of bankruptcy and raised fears that others might be in jeopardy. It was the broadest use of the Fed's lending powers since the 1930s.
Bear Stearns was eventually taken over by JPMorgan Chase & Co., with the Fed providing $28.82 billion in financial backing.

Underwriting securities is a risky business. The owners and employees of these firms are handsomely compensated for bearing the risk. Many of them earn more in one day than most of us earn in one year. If they make bad decisions, they should eat their losses. The government has no need to bail them out. For every person working in securities, there are at least 1,000 more who would like to. The firms and the individuals who fail can be easily replaced.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm Back
Sorry about the lack of posting. I been down at Galveston Bay for the 4th. We got to see some great fireworks and shot some of our own.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Magennis's Pub in Belfast
The IRA murdered Robert McCartney here in 2006.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Is Google Shutting Down Anti-O'Bama Blogspot Accounts?

It wouldn't surprise me one bit. As the Anchoress said recently:

the “chill wind” that tries to shut down speech it does not like has been blowing from the left.

Very true. The left's stupid ideas cannot withstand the daylight of simple facts and clear analysis. That's why they are constantly calling for libertarians and conservatives to be silenced.

Will Google try to shut me down? Perhaps they will shut down this blogspot account but they won't silence me. The harder they try, the louder I get.