Monday, September 22, 2008
“We are at the end of an era — the end of ‘leave it to the markets’ and of the great cop-out that less government is always better government,” argues David Rothkopf, a former Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. “I think, however, it is important to stress the difference between smart government and simply more government.
“We do not need a regulatory ‘surge’ on Wall Street,” he added. “We need a complete rethinking of how we make global financial markets more transparent and how we ensure that the risks within those markets — .many of which are new and many of which are not well understood even by the experts — are managed and monitored properly.”
In sum, government’s job is to police that fine line between the necessary risk-taking that drives an innovation economy and crazy gambling with other people’s savings in ways that threaten us all. We need to make sure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas — and doesn’t come to Main Street. We need to get back to investing in our future and not just betting on it.
A stunning example of the incredible disconnect between the mainstream media and the blogosphere is this video of the interim Fannie Mae CEO, Daniel Mudd, addressing the Congressional Black Caucus, including Barack Obama, at their swearing-in ceremony in 2005.
Although this video is spreading quickly in the blogosphere, you have yet to see or hear anything about it in the MSM. As of this writing, a check on Google News shows NO news outlet has so much as mentioned this video despite the fact of Obama being present and later receiving $126,349 from Fannie Mae.
Ask yourself this, if the CEO of Fannie Mae had addressed a similar "family" speech to a group of congressional Republicans who had received big donations from that organization, do you not think the video would have already appeared on the nightly news of the major networks?
[better question: how does a junior senator, in just two years, receive virtually as much money from this public-private outfit as did the chairman of the committee that supposedly regulates it did in nine?]
Top executives at Lehman Brothers' New York office, who were at the helm during history's largest corporate bankruptcy, have been guaranteed the lion's share of a $2.5 billion bonus pot. Lehman had "walled off" the fund, telling buyer Barclays Capital that it couldn't use the money for anything but severance payments or bonuses.
In a change from the original proposal sent to Capitol Hill, foreign-based banks with big U.S. operations could qualify for the Treasury Department’s mortgage bailout, according to the fine print of an administration statement Saturday night. The theory, according to a participant in the negotiations, is that if the goal is to solve a liquidity crisis, it makes no sense to exclude banks that do a lot of lending in the United States.
Obama seems happier these days. It is almost as if the disembodied spirit of his mentor, Saul Alinsky, is watching and smiling. Americans are suffering. Losses in the stock market, panic in the financial market, pain at the gas pump and in the grocery -- all these miseries of average Americans are a delicious narcotic to socialists like Barack Obama.
What was the historic maxim of the Left? "The worse, the better." Alinsky said that if there was an afterlife, "I will unreservedly choose to go to hell." This is the man whose mind guides Obama's thoughts... [snip]
The hungry Left always imagines that the end, truly, justifies the means. It holds (it thinks) the key to secular heaven and the suffering of ordinary people feeds the bonfires of its march to power. History is the lesson book of man. We do not have to guess about what happens when the people, without hope, give power to those who thrive on suffering. "The worse, the better" always leads to things much worse than the causes that made men barter their rights for promises...
Chevy Chase Wants Tina Fey to 'Decimate' Sarah Palin
Chevy Chase said Monday he wants Tina Fey to go "even harder" on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin than she did in her "Saturday Night Live" skit this past weekend ... and that he wants Fey to "decimate" her. "personally I felt we didn't need the Hillary stuff — I want her to decimate this woman"
Robin Williams' Odious Bigotry
Most conservatives are perfectly willing to laugh at jokes about Republicans. Indeed, Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin on SNL last week was very humorous. However, Robin William’s trademark rapid-fire, ad-libbed, stream-of-consciousness delivery last night on David Letterman served up only increasing derision and condescension toward Sarah Palin and her family without a trace of wit or humor.
"Barack Obama was in Hollywood at a big fundraiser, a sold-out fundraiser featuring Barbra Streisand singing. $28,500 a ticket. All the big Hollywood stars were there. It featured dinner prepared by the finest Hollywood chefs serving an array of gourmet food.
I believe the topic tonight was how John McCain is out of touch with the common people."
Palin is a shining [well, legitimate] example of ethical governance.
She fought for reforms with a political courage rarely seen in Trenton and Washington, taking on the Republican Party chairman in her state for his unethical behavior and winning. She ran against and defeated the sitting governor whose "good old boys' network" was more interested in helping friends and cro nies. When negotiating a deal for the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Alaska -- at $40 billion, the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history -- she took on the major oil companies that her predecessor had been so cozy with and won again.
Like McCain, her career is proof of her commitment to principled governance that puts the interest of the people before self-interest and political interest...
[and that's the long and the short of it in my view: an honest woman with courage and conviction can serve this country better - in all venues - than dishonest men with neither]
News has emerged that the organizers of that anti-Iran rally that famously got snarled up in Senator Hillary Clinton's ire at Governor Sarah Palin last week were threatened by New York Democrats with IRS action against their tax-exempt status if they allowed Palin to speak.
CBS local NY news reported this little fact and so did NBC but most of the national news has ignored this outrageous threat to use the IRS to silence Governor Palin.
[heard the president of the organization on the radio last night who confirmed this was essentially the fact, although their tax-exempt status wasn't threatened directly: their sponsors were and so their only choice was to dis-invite Palin or cancel the rally]
With its nuclear weapons program, its control of Lebanon, Gaza and Syria, its massive influence in Iraq and Afghanistan and its messianic, global ambitions, Iran is rightly viewed as the greatest threat to global security today.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the Iranian challenge is that on the issues of greatest concern to the West, there is no way to divide and conquer the regime. Anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and the quest for Islamic dominance worldwide are sentiments shared by all levels of the regime. The desire for nuclear weapons that can be used together with terror armies to destroy Israel and the West is shared by all members of Teheran's decision-making bodies.
Those who preach appeasement towards Iran claim that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not reflective of the regime. They argue that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is far more moderate than Ahmadinejad, and it is Khamenei, not Ahmadinejad who calls the shots.
While it is true that Khamenei calls the shots, it is not true that he is moderate...
[but we can't even hold a solidarity rally against it due to our politicians]
Russia made clear Saturday that it opposes a Western push for new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Russia spoke out against a fourth round of UN sanctions against Teheran at a meeting of the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany in Washington on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said.
Russia agreed to three previous rounds of UN sanctions, but along with China has slowed down their passage...
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is losing ground on human rights issues at the United Nations to China and Russia, which oppose any interference in countries' internal affairs, a study says.
"The European Union is suffering a slow-motion crisis at the United Nations," write Richard Gowan and Franziska Brantner of the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank.
An analysis of 10 years of U.N. voting statistics shows the EU has lost the regular support of 41 former allies on human rights votes, mostly in Africa and Latin America.
Support for EU positions has fallen from over 70 percent in the late 1990s to around 50 percent in the last two years.
The trend in support for Chinese and Russian positions in the same votes has been almost the exact opposite, leaping from around 50 percent a decade ago to 74 percent for China and 76 percent for Russia in the last General Assembly session.
"This reflects not only their outspoken commitment to sovereignty, but their diplomatic skill in playing the U.N. system," the authors say. [snip]
Rifts between the EU and the United States over human rights and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which prompted the Europeans to withhold support for Washington's candidacy for the Human Rights Council, have weakened the West's position, they say.
[I.e., their America-Derangement Syndrome caused them to cut off their nose to spite their face...
We need scrap the UN and start over with leading democracies - the UN's membership has become more felons than guards]
AT first it seemed like a joke. Unsolicited forumemails informed me I could buy badges (or buttons, as Americans call them) with the slogan Polar Bears for Obama. Good one, I thought. Sometimes elections need to be shaken up with a bit of quirkiness, and if it can be snow-coated, animal-related quirkiness, that's all the better.
Only now I'm not so sure it was a joke after all. The polar bear 'issue' has become big news. Serious newspapers have published articles titled "Love polar bears, loathe Sarah Palin". MSNBC analysed the differences between Palin and her boss, John McCain, referring to Palin as a polar bear hater, and at an anti-Republican rally in Alaska last week one protester wore a polar bear suit and wielded a sign saying: Polar Bear Moms Say No to Palin. [snip]
Today's widespread polar bear concern is shot through with myth and misinformation. In 2001, the World Conservation Union study in 2006 found that the global polar bear population has increased from about 5000 in the 1960s to 25,000 today... [snip]
The political promotion of this animal represents the denigration of human desire, the subordination of the human will to the animalistic fearmongering of environmentalism. It represents the disavowal of human interests, which come to be seen as grubby, greedy and destructive.
The intervention of the polar bear even into the US election is striking. That many Democratic Party supporters and radical activists are claiming to act on behalf of the polar bear shows the extent to which environmentalism threatens to empty politics of its human, self-interested, democratic component.
Polar Bears for Obama does not spring from the typically dumb Disneyfication of US politics but from the misanthropic, people-less politics of 'being green'...
Domestic oil production is declining - down nearly half since 1970 -- so imports are up, from one-third of what we needed in 1970 to just under 60 percent today. The good news is that huge resources of oil and gas exist offshore:
- Recoverable oil and gas on America's Outer Continental Shelf comes to some 85 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and there are another 10 billion barrels of oil in the North Slope of Alaska.
- If full access to these resources were permitted, together they could replace America's imported oil for some 25 years, and no doubt reduce the price of oil, gas and gasoline.
"Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores, untouched because the present administration seems to believe the American people would rather see more regulation, taxes, and controls than more energy."He was talking about the Carter administration, but a quarter-century later the Democratic congressional majority would also like more energy regulation, taxes and controls...
Q: Says here the House of Representatives approved a bill to allow offshore oil drilling, but nearly all the Republicans voted against it. Weren't Republicans the ones chanting "Drill, baby, drill!" at their convention last month?
A: Yep. That's why they voted against this bill. It isn't a drilling bill, it's an anti-drilling bill. If it becomes law, nearly all the oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf would be off-limits forever.
[FLASHBACK: NNBrief 9/17/08: No-Energy Nancy’s Phony Energy Plan - which includes this little graphic:
I.e., all the blue and red off limits, forever]
Arctic should be ours, says Russia
Moscow - Russia must stake its claim to a slice of the Arctic's vast resources, the secretary of Russia's Security Council said at an unprecedented session of the council held on a desolate Arctic island. Russia, the world's second biggest oil exporter, is in a race with Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States
Russia, the world's biggest country, says a whole swathe of the Arctic seabed should belong to it because the area is really an extension of the Siberian continental shelf
Canada concerned about Russia's Arctic intentions
Toronto - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday that his government was taking steps to bolster Canada's presence in the Arctic amid concerns about Russian intentions in the frigid zone. Harper charged that Russia has been showing signs of flaunting international norms in the region.
While Harper didn't elaborate on the military, he has vowed to build two new military facilities in the Arctic.
[energy is power and influence, and we're handing both to our enemies]
SACRAMENTO – A tumbling economy and crumbling housing market sent California's jobless rate to 7.7 percent in August, the highest level since March 1996.
The unemployment rate announced Friday by the state Employment Development Department was up from a revised 7.4 percent in July, and a big jump from the 5.5 percent figure a year ago. Behind the numbers are 1.42 million unemployed Californians, more than triple the 413,000 jobless in August 2007.
[bad policies have bad consequences]
One of the excuses we hear for California’s budget problems is that they are caused by the national economic slowdown. It’s true that the national economy has a big impact on the state, but we’re seeing data that suggests that something went seriously wrong with California’s economy last year quite apart from our national difficulties.
Last year, California imposed a series of devastating new economic burdens, including the governor’s mandate to radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions (with profound impacts on sectors such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and cargo transportation) and major increases in the minimum wage. Ironically, proponents claimed that these changes would greatly improve California’s job opportunities.
What we have seen over the past year is that California’s unemployment rate – that had been tracking very consistently with the national rate – broke radically upward from the national figures shortly after these laws took effect...
Air Force plans to pull out big (uh, little) guns
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio — It may look like a futuristic arcade game, but it's a scene from an official Air Force animated video: Bad guys of indiscernible origin being shadowed, from a careful distance, by small robotic drones designed to resemble birds and insects.
When one of the bad guys opens his apartment door, a tiny robo-bug, looking like a garage door opener with wings, sneaks in to spy...
Saudi OKs Killing ''Immoral'' TV Execs
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's top judiciary official has issued a religious decree saying it is permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast immoral content.
The 79-year-old Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan said Thursday that satellite channels cause the ''deviance of thousands of people.'' Many of the most popular Arab satellite networks ...
[tempting... ...No; this is bad]