Archive for the '2008 Presidential Race' Category

05
Nov
08

What Does an Obama Presidency Really Mean?

Ok, enough with the post-election gushing. I personally know a lot of Obama supporters who had lost plenty of sleep over this election and now say that they are relieved as though McCain would have taken away their children.  And now they flaunt “their” victory as though they had placed a huge bet on it. Alas, this is not a football pool. If only they had done a little more thinking about Obama’s platform and a little less blind following in a cult-like trance, they might have seen this.

Barack Obama will enable all Americans to serve:
Obama and Biden will expand AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, engage retiring Americans, and set up an America’s Voice Initiative to send Americans who are fluent speakers of local languages to expand our public diplomacy.

Integrate service into learning:
Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year, and will establish a new tax credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.

So, what we have to look forward to is a fascist-style service to the State (to serve its own ends, not yours) as a condition of citizenship. Please realize that the State does not offer a choice of whether to volunteer or not. Rest assured, Obama will use every ounce of compulsion that George W Bush was able to steal away in his eight years and then some. And for those of us who choose to serve ourselves and our families first, other citizens who exhibit a predisposition toward firearm use will be close by to suggest a more collectivist mindset. But what difference would this really make, anyway? Liberty is for losers … like Ron Paul, right?

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02
Nov
08

Liberty’s Best Week Ever!

NO, I am not talking about the impending undemocratic, non-election about to be perpetrated on us a couple of days hence between Wall Street Candidate A and Wall Street candidate A’ This one has been decided already – ordinary Americans have lost, and the banksters have won.

I am, rather, calling attention to the surprising upside to the continuing global financial collapse. The completely deserted checkout lanes today at my local wholesale club underscored the rapid retreat of consumer spending that’s occurring now. What is occurring now in the public intellectual mind is both thoroughly awful, and blindingly brilliant.

Awful, due to the present and future suffering of millions, nay, billions of people around the world, but brilliant, because the fact is that the economic predictive power of Austrian-School economics has been thoroughly vindicated, no matter what stupid, nonsensical things the Keynesians and Friedmanites say. We were right, we told them all what was coming, and they failed to listen. More Important, we have the correct answers.

And, better late than never, even some mainstream journalists, conservative Republicans, and left progressives are trying to re-orient their thinking in the midst of an unprecedented global financial calamity, where suddenly “Liberal” nor “Conservative” (as we have been brainwashed to call Socialist and Fascist policy ‘solutions’) ideas seem to have no discernible relevance at all.

This week two astounding interviews took place, between serious people of the left, and two of the current stars of the Austro-Libertarian movement.

On Thursday, the charming, brainy lefty journalist Rachel Maddow of MSNBC interviewed Ron Paul, focusing on his eerie (not to us of course) prescience on the economic meltdown, and on the significance of his recent campaign, and what it portends for the future of Republican Party as well as the electoral system.

On Friday, Lew Rockwell, founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute interviewed Naomi Wolf on his podcast. This is a MUST LISTEN interview with the principled, thoughtful left-wing journalist. Ms Wolf, author of several books, including “The Beauty Myth”, and more notably “The End of America”, was last heard of in libertarian circles promoting, along with Ron Paul the American Freedom Agenda, calling for an end to America’s belligerent foreign policy and its depredations on domestic liberty.

Listen to her questioning Lew about definitions of libertarianism, and her response to his answers – I half held my breath throughout the unedited 50-minute conversation, waiting perhaps to hear Lew say something to make Ms Wolf ‘fall out of the ether’ as they say in the car business.

He doesn’t, and she didn’t. It is an extended dialog on the principled embrace of universal liberty, in honest, non-agendized terms that will speak to the heart of every thinking, compassionate person on the left, right, or middle. This shows how there is not, and never has been, such a thing as Democrat liberty, or Republican liberty, only Liberty For All.

Do yourself and your loved ones (particularly intelligent, leftish and rightish ones) a favor and get them to listen to this podcast to give them an understanding why you are a principled, onsistent advocate of liberty.

Then go to www.campaignforliberty.com , and get involved.

UPDATE: If you are still, for some unfathomable reason a McCain supporter, PLEASE watch this video of Dr. Paul taking apart McCain’s dumbass foreign policy prescriptions in the St. Petersburg debate;

27
Oct
08

Lead Pollution Rules Spiked, Or Why Government Doesn’t Work

What Scares The Bush Administration Sh*tless

Scares The Bush Administration Shitless

The United States Environmental Protection agency’s proposal to tighten permissible lead pollution standards tenfold while also increasing the number of targeted lead air monitoring stations was slapped down by the Bush administration on Thursday. The executive-branch agency, created under Richard Nixon, is charged with guarding and improving the quality of the air that Americans breathe, but here we have pretty stark evidence that this isn’t its real mission.

The new rules were proposed, as they all are, by career bureaucrats within the agency, who probably saw a politically weakened Bush presidency in its final months as an opportunity to push through some in their minds overdue regulation. And it’s true that primary and secondary lead smelting has been getting away with murder, in some cases quite literally, when it comes to their trespassing on the properties of others with their pollution, including their bodies.

But look at how it works;

EPA documents show that until the afternoon of Oct. 15, a court-imposed deadline for issuing the revised standard, the EPA proposed to require a monitor for any facility that emitted half a ton of lead or more a year.

The e-mails indicate that the White House objected, and in the early evening of Oct. 15 the EPA set the level at 1 ton a year instead.

According to EPA documents, 346 sites have emissions of half a ton a year or more. Raising the threshold to a ton reduced the number of monitored sites by 211, or more than 60 percent.

In layman’s terms, under pressure from the lead industry, the Bush White House rejected the EPA suggestion for more site-specific monitoring of the amount of lead pollution spewed by lead smelters, recyclers, battery manufacturers, and steel mills.  In essence, the president rejected any reduction of lead pollution trespass at all, simply by preventing monitoring from being done where it would do the most good.

This particular strategy has a new twist, in that while the tighter pollution trespass standard would fall under the standard regulatory procedure, i.e., tighten a regulation so that small businesses are disadvantaged relative to bigger ones, the new monitoring provisions would have more closely targeted both large and small pollution trespassers, resulting in more monitoring stations being placed at their gates and fence lines, rather than in urban centers at some distance from the plants themselves.

But this shows the government’s hand – they have absolutely no interest in preventing pollution trespass at all. They simply wish to preserve their power to manipulate commercial activity for their own benefit, and that of their favored interests. And it’s a peculiarly bipartisan sort of  manipulation. How, for example, will the agency deal with the likely vast increases in lead smelting and recycling that Federal hybrid car mandates will occasion, for example?

The answer is to reconstitute pollution torts as property-rights violations. Once we stop “permitting” polluters to trespass on our bodies and properties and start prosecuting them, there will be no need for these pointless ‘gotcha’ games within the federal government.

02
Oct
08

The Bailout Is Pure Economic Socialism

Hank Paulson Is A Pu$$y

Hank Paulson Is A Pu$$y

Look – I took a BRUUUUTAL beating recently on some mining stocks. If you believe the powers that be, this bailout is the answer to my prayers, a ‘hail mary pass’ that will rescue the markets, refill our home equity and 401-Ks and IRAs, and everyone will live happily ever after.

Even if ANY of it were true, I STILL say DUMP IT. I am standing on principle, on what I know is right, and I’ll be goddamned if I’ll support something so pernicious and evil, even if it would benefit me in the short run.

Because I know what it means. Bailout means socializing losses and privatizing profits. It means massive new inflation, which means more poverty for millions of people around the world, while Wall Street fatcats and the Merchants of Death, who get to spend it first, reap tremendous profits. And, because the government has to spend the money into circulation, it means unprecedented amounts of military spending, and monstrous wars, wars without end.

And it’s empire that creates such horrible things as nuclear weapons and engineered plagues. The anthrax that was used in the only biological weapons attack ever recorded (except for the settlers giving the Indians Smallpox and Syphilis of course) came from the US government lab at Ft. Detrick, MD. The CDC actually sanctioned an Army scientist to reconstitute the 1918 pandemic flu, which killed more people in the aftermath of WWI than the frickin’ WAR did.

This is the kind of madness that is gripping our government. Will you trust your children’s futures to these people?

Even if my balance goes to zero, I defiantly stand and say to the economic fascists “NO BAILOUT – NO WAY!”

24
Sep
08

Hank Paulson’s Taxpayer Takedown Strategy

(CLIP: Leroy Smith Shows How To Set Up An Opponent For A Takedown.)

My local Ron Paul Meetup (yes, it’s still around) has been loosely organizing a letter-writing and phone campaign against the absolutely unconscionable, immoral, illegal, undemocratic bank-bailout bill  that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (R, Goldman-Sachs) dragged up the steps of the Capitol the other day.

One writer suggested this emphasis, I thought it good enough to use, initially;

“I am writing to strongly discourage you from supporting the Treasury Secretary Paulson’s “bank bailout” proposal. This bill will ensure the indentured servitude of Americans for generations to come as it will become increasingly certain that the US will never be able to service is debt obligations. Why should I as an honest and responsible citizen be required to bailout the willfully negligent behavior of executives in the financial industry?

Moreover, I find Section 8 of the proposal particularly disturbing:

Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

This bill in effect makes Secretary Paulson a “Financial Dictator” subject to no Congressional oversight and no judicial oversight. He is immune from any future prosecution with respect to his appropriations of bailout funds.”

Later I remembered what my old wrestling coach taught me about executing a takedown, that the most effective setup is often one where you use your opponent’s own reaction to help you execute the move, so I wrote this;

This bill must be defeated, not modified.

This is a classic setup, a case of action – reaction – action.

If you wrestled in high school or college, you will, upon reflection realize that the Paulson proposal is in part a ‘set-up’ for a financial takedown.

They tie us up with the banking implosion.

Push us (and our representatives) with this unbelievably egregious proposal.

We (and our congresscritters) push back (“we want mortgage forgiveness, salary caps, blah, blah, blah”).

Paulson and Bush then drop down and “Fireman’s Carry” our asses up into the rafters, and down onto the mat – 4 points, and a pin to win.

We never ever see it coming.

Hank’s real goal is to ensure that the bad debt is bailed out at ‘face value‘, instead of at a steep market discount. This will cost further trillions of dollars (money that we do not have) and prevent market prices of the underlying assets from correcting for years, if ever. The bankers will escape completely unscathed, while the taxpayer watches his money rot.

This is why the proposal must not be modified, but defeated utterly.

If the banking system, and our fiat economy, is ready to collapse, then we must Let It Fall.

21
Sep
08

What I Saw At The Great Inflation

I’m on a mailing list for Guided By Voices, a 4-years-defunct band. What keeps it going, I think, are the people who make up the Postal Blowfish community – largely thoughtful, earnest folks.

I’m feeding an off-off-topic discussion (I didn’t start it, honest) about the current financial calamity, and the discussion turned to government-backed and subsidized mortgages;

David;

> But to scuttle the whole system would also keep people from buying houses
> who can repay the loans.  Put the crooks in jail, but leave the
> baby in the bathtub.

Dennis;

Yes, our first house loan was through fannie may. They put us through the credit check wringer and we had to take out mortgage insurance. We paid our way out of that and were able to refinance at a better rate and get the mortgage ins. dropped. These programs can work but people got too greedy and home buyers were fucked in those hot markets like vegas and arizona. A good friend of mine is sitting on a mortgage that is prob twice what the house will auction for in vegas.

My rejoinder;

One thought on this;

My parents, in 1964, purchased a house. A little run-down, not in the best neighborhood, but good enough. They paid $7000 for it. My dad was a pattern maker in a machine shop, my mom was, well, my mom (NOTE: No disrespect was intended to my mom, after raising 5 of us full-time she has gone on to two degrees and two entirely separate careers.)

My uncle financed the purchase, I think for 5 years at 5% simple interest. It was a duplex, and the upstairs rent paid back the mortgage in that time. I remember the day in first grade when my mom said I was getting my own room, after the renters had vacated (it was the same day I came down with the mumps, silver linings and all that.)

Fast forward 35 years to 1999. We have all moved out, except for my brother. My parents have moved, a couple of steps up the nice-neighborhood ladder (the old neighborhood, now home to numerous subsidized renters, has moved a couple steps down), and my brother, an industrial mechanic, buys the house from them at a heavily-discounted $84,000 or so, 12 times what they paid for it. Even with a healthy discount from market (this was before the boom), he had to get an FHA loan to make the deal.

What happened? There is simply no way that house in real terms was worth 12x what it sold for in 1964. The ‘magic’ of inflation, plus demand artificially stimulated by government-backed and / or subsidized mortgages, helped put a very modest home outside of the budget of a working person without help. It benefitted my parents very modestly. For the first time in 30 years, they had a mortgage. Their new crib consumed much more than the cash from the old home.

I’m not saying I have all the answers. But government interference in any market carries costs. Are they too high?

vini

15
Sep
08

If We Could See The Crisis Coming, Why Couldn’t Anybody Else?

We thought that the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch over the weekend, the two latest “victims” in the financial calamity unfolding in our newspapers and on our TV screens, was an excellent opportunity for us to point out how right we were about the mortgage mess even before it started;

Every Homeowner…(6/9/2004);

…especially those who are mortgaged to the hilt, should read this article;

An excerpt;

Signs of a “”new era”” in housing are everywhere. Housing construction is taking place at record rates. New records for real estate prices are being set across the country, especially on the east and west coasts…As one loan officer explained to me: “”It’s almost too good to be true.””In fact, it is too good to be true. What the prophets of the new housing paradigm don’t discuss is that real estate markets have experienced similar cycles in the past and that periods described as new paradigms are often followed by periods of distress in real estate markets, including foreclosure sales, bankruptcy and bank failures.

OOOH, This Is BAD (7/2/2004);

From today’s WSJ;

The Johnsons thought they had it all figured out. After changing jobs, Paul had planned to rollover the $36,000 balance from his former employer’s 401(k) plan into an IRA. But a desire to live closer to their parents and worries that mortgage rates would head higher spurred them to cash out the 401(k) account last year and use some of the money to buy a home…”We’re making more money, but a lot of that is going into improvements on the home.””The couple also still owes state and federal taxes on the retirement-account withdrawal, and they haven’t started to rebuild their nest egg.

No real-estate bubble you say?;

A President’s Job Is Never Done (8/24/2004);

I just spotted this on the Mises Institute blog. James Bovard (always a must-read) wrote in Barron’s about George Bush’s initiative to close the gap between rich and poor. I can’t even start to comment on it. Here are some clips:

* A White House Fact Sheet issued June 17, 2002, declared that Bush’s agenda “”will help tear down the barriers to homeownership that stand in the way of our nation’s African-American, Hispanic and other minority families. … The single biggest barrier to homeownership is accumulating funds for a down payment.””

* Federal Housing Commissioner John Weicher said in January 2004 that “”the White House doesn’t think those who can afford the monthly payment but have been unable to save for a down payment should be deprived from owning a home,”” National Mortgage News reported.

* While zero-downpayment mortgages have long been considered profoundly unsafe (especially for borrowers with dubious credit history), Weicher confidently asserted: “”We do not anticipate any costs to taxpayers.””

Although Barron’s is a pay site, the full text of the article is on the blog if you scroll down a little. I just have one question that Bovard leave’s unanswered: Did we indeed elect Al Gore in 2000?

Some Eagles Fans Have Really, Really Lost Their Minds (2/3/2005);

…and could lose their houses.

From “”The Rude Awakening””, published by Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin, authors of Financial Reckoning Day comes the following;

“”Mr. Dave Brekher, president and co-owner of North American Federal Mortgage Co. in blue-collar Northeast Philadelphia, realizes that enthusiasm is not the same as good credit.

His company has been asked to lend money to local football fans wishing to mortgage their houses so they can afford to go to the Super Bowl. “”No,”” he said.

“”If someone is that desperate, there’s always repercussions,”” he explained.

I Hope the Voters Remember This When He’s Up for Reelection (2/4/2005);

This is from the Philadelphia Daily News:

Kevin P. O’Donoghue, 36, of Glen Mills, sank $4,000 into a Super Bowl package that includes round-trip airfare, a four-night hotel stay, and one ticket.

He said that he told his wife after the Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC championship: “”I don’t care if we have to mortgage our house, I’m going.””

He applied for a home-equity line of credit that required him to put up his home as collateral. He’s getting the money in a few days.

“”Sometimes the cards are maxed out, and you got to do what you got to do,”” he said.

For those of you who don’t know him, O’Donoghue is the township supervisor where I live so he wields fiduciary responsibility over my money. I will surely not forget this next time it comes time to elect a township supervisor. .

We Hate To Say We Told You So… (10/17/2005);

…but the “”crack-up boom”” is about to bite us all in the ass. Just this week;

When you get right down to it, people vote their pocketbooks.

And they are all about to be given a HARD kick.

Taking Advantage Of FHA, Buyers, Beazer Destroys Lives, Neighborhoods (3/28/2007);

When we last left this sorry tale, builder Beazer Homes had sold crappy 2-bedroom starter houses to low-income buyers in Charlotte, NC, an average of 20% of whom, it turns out, have since had those homes foreclosed.

Now the FBI, and the US Attorney in Charlotte are involved, and Beazer’s stock price is tanking, down 17% from an already low point.

As great as it is to see such a corporate pig get skewered, Beazer was only doing what the Bush Administration was urging them to do, which is to sell houses to people who have no realistic way to ever pay for them.

(link from Breitbart.com)

The Fed’s Fatal Overreach (4/1/2008);

Just when you think you have seen it all, a proposal has arisen from the Bush White House to empower the Federal Reserve to take over the entire US financial system.

Now right about now, anyone like us who has followed the Fed-inflated real-estate bubble, followed by the collapse of the housing marketthe Fed origins of the mortgage crisis, and the Fed-caused recession can be forgiven for making a gurgling noise as their head explodes from the unbelievable hubris, the BALLS behind such a move.

The prescient words of the great Ron Paul chill the spine at this moment;

We had missed the 5:30 Ferry, but the good people at Shepler’s quickly boarded us on another boat and made a special run to take us and Ron Paul over to the Island..

… I asked him how much longer he thought those guys in Washington could keep going before everything started to collapse, and he said “”Not much longer, things are starting to fall apart and this time they will not be able to stop it.””

To singlehandedly destroy an economy, quickly steal away from the scene, then return with a flourish annoncing that salvation is at hand is exactly what compulsive arsonists do.

And the people should rise up and put them in exactly the same place as arsonists – in prison, every last one of them.