Sunday, March 29, 2009

A boot-licker tells us how to "cooperate" with the jack-booted thugs

My friend Charlie sent me the following Deseret News article, written by an evident state-worshipper who wants us to bow and scrape before "authority":
Your rights and the police
By Sara Israelsen-Hartley
Deseret News

There's something that makes our hearts race and our pulses quicken when we see a police car in our rear-view mirrors or hear sirens wailing in the distance.

Although they're hired to serve and protect, many of us fear or distrust our local and state law enforcement officers more than we appreciate them.

Maybe we've had a bad experience. Or perhaps it's because we don't fully understand their responsibilities or our rights. The Deseret News wants to make that line a little clearer.
So is she really speaking on half of the Deseret News, not just herself?
Police say you should cooperate during an arrest.
Sure, sure, in the same way that rapists say victims should cooperate. "To make it go easier," you know.
On a level-one stop, it's just the same as if you approached a stranger on the street and asked for the time. The person can either answer or give you a strange look and walk away.

The same thing applies to officers on a level-one stop. If you don't want to talk, you can simply walk away. But that's somewhat rare for people to do, police say.

"Most people are going to say, 'Sure, what can I do for you?'  " said Mike Larsen, director of the Orem Department of Public Safety and past president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association.
This doesn't even fall under the pigs' so-called "authority" in Utah under section 77-7-15 of the Utah Code, "Authority of peace officer to stop and question suspect -- Grounds.": "A peace officer may stop any person in a public place when he has a reasonable suspicion to believe he has committed or is in the act of committing or is attempting to commit a public offense and may demand his name, address and an explanation of his actions."

Simply asking you a question is something any private individual can do, and you're free to ignore him. However, the nature of pigs being what it is, being the least "uncooperative" (in their perception) will make them suspicious.
For a level-two stop, the officer must have "reasonable suspicion" that you committed or were involved with, say, a car burglary.

As he asks you questions, this becomes an official stop. The officer can also frisk you for dangerous weapons if he reasonably believes he or anyone else may be in danger.
"Reasonably" must mean in the same "reasonable" way Amadou Diallo was gunned down by 41 bullets, or Sean Bell and his two passengers had 50 bullets fired at them.
At this point, you have an obligation to answer questions about your "name, address and an explanation of your actions," according to section 77-7-15 of Utah Code. You cannot just walk away. If you start to walk away, the officer will let you know that you need to stay and answer his basic questions.

If you don't answer, you can be slapped with a class B misdemeanor for failing to disclose your identity.
So much for your "Fifth Amendment right" to refuse to be a witness against yourself.
And even if you disagree, never argue with the officer or talk back. And never, ever, touch an officer.
Of course. Lick the thug's boots upon request, no matter how wrong he is. And every time he strikes you, simply say, "Thank you sir, may I have another!"

The problem with state-worshippers' view of government is that they never, ever consider that government might just be wrong. That's the problem with "rule of law" conservatives like Mark Levin, who insist that whatever is "the law" must be followed. As I've said before, ironically their "But it's the law" stance disappears when it comes to gun control and things they don't like.
And just like any other human relationship, a calm, respectful attitude from both parties goes a long way.
Really, who'd have thought? So how about a calm, respectful attitude from the police? Where was their "calm, respectful attitude" when threatening me with arrest, when threatening to detain my mother "all day" for blowing her car horn at a truck blocking the road?

With the stupid tone of the article, "rights" are whatever the pigs and boot-lickers "allow" us to have.
When citizens understand the role of law enforcement and the extent of their personal freedoms, they can calmly comply when appropriately asked and respectfully report potential violations.
That says it all about the writer's belief. Your freedom is limited by whatever the state dictates.

The comments are too numerous for me to go into, but one struck me in suggesting, "Maybe what should happen here is the Fed, state, county and local Police should pay the same fee for their attorney's as the public has to pay." Uh, no good. Where does the government get its money?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Only idiot "analysts" can't explain rising crude oil prices

"Crude closes above $54 for first time this year"

Oil prices hit a new high for the year Thursday and retail gasoline rose above $2 per gallon for the first time since November as investors wagered that there would be a new run on crude stocks.

Benchmark crude for May delivery rose $1.57 to settle at $54.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, Brent prices rose $1.71 to settle at $53.46 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Gas prices rose 2.3 cents a gallon overnight to a new national average of $2.009 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Pump prices are 10.9 cents higher than a month ago, but $1.252 lower than the same period last year.

Gas prices last hit $2 on Nov. 20.

Analysts have struggled to explain the recent surge in energy prices, especially as reports continue to pour out from the federal government showing that the U.S. economy is shrinking and its oil inventories are bloated with surplus crude.
It is not hard to explain why oil prices are going up, and gold prices, and any other commodities' prices.

The Federal Reserve is creating trillions of new dollars, and that's just this month! First $1.2 trillion under the guise of economic stability, and then another $1 trillion because the federal government has tapped out every source of existing money.

When there are roughly 8 trillion dollars floating around an economy, and the central bank will create over 2 trillion more dollars, who seriously thinks the value of existing dollars won't be reduced?

The ensuing inflation is inevitable, and the effect is simple on commodities markets: with the greater number of dollars floating around, buyers in general have more dollars to use when bidding, and sellers will know they can hold out for more dollars than otherwise.

So there you have it: no surprise, no fancy economic theories, no bullshit analyst explanations of crimps in supply lines versus EPA regulations. Blame it on the Fed:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's another one for boot-lickers to justify

It's irrelevant that Ryan Moats is an NFL player, because this is about pure justice. He and his wife were racing to the hospital, to say goodbye to his wife's dying mother. They ran a red light, and a pig stopped and harassed them, threatening them with jail just for running the red light!

This pig deserves to be found and beaten so severely that he literally becomes the spineless lump of flesh he is. Do you see what he did? Moat's wife's father didn't get to say goodbye. Wife's father, meaning the dying woman's husband or at least ex-husband!

"You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light." Yeah, just like the asshole who told my mother he could make her wait there all day if he wanted, because she beeped her horn at a truck that had stopped in the middle of the road with no hazard lights. Or the assholes who had no warrant, no probable cause, no suspicion, only hearsay, yet barged into my family's home and threatened me, "We can take you to jail right now!"

Not being able to say goodbye is a particularly painful subject for me. My father had terminal cancer and supposedly had weeks or maybe a few months to live, but he suddenly got very bad and died the very night before my flight home. But that was just timing, not a goddamn pig's interference.

Update: I see a comment from someone who understands. "Mike" said, "Unfortunately we don't pay police officers to think, just follow the rules and react." Absolutely right. As my friend Billy Beck put so well,
Many times, I have pointed out the fact that these people are not permitted to reason to a moral conclusion on their own powers. That is not among the values that they act for. They act in order to validate their training, and make no mistake: this is a part of that.

If you are convinced of the value of freedom and they get a hint of it, you will be a suspect to them.

Can you understand what this means two hundred thirty-three years after the Declaration?

Doesn't it hurt your soul when you think about it?
I'm pleased to return the favor of the link. Billy linked my post about two pigs in action, assaulting and kidnapping a woman who dared to assert her rights against their tyranny.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nationalizing the banking industry: don't say I didn't warn you

Americans are more likely to listen to the likes of George Stephanopoulos analyzing Obama's style and glossing over the typical lack of substance, ignorant of what Obama and Geithner are actually proposing.

The bottom line: the Treasury wants the power to take over any non-bank "financial institution" that it says is in need of saving. With this power, it can renegotiate and even nullify contracts (not just with employees, but business partners, so who will want to enter into contracts anymore?). The feds can also seize any and all assets to sell to competitors. Think of how dangerous this tyranny is. Remember how Chuck Schumer caused a bank run on IndyMac with comments he sent out one Friday afternoon? That will pale in comparison to what will be possible. Nothing will stand in the way of a federal bureaucrat at the Treasury who has a beef with a financial institution, or who wants to punish a single shareholder. Nothing will stand in the way of the feds keeping "we the people" in line.

I wrote on February 19th, talking about those liars Greenspan and Bernanke: "Mark my words here: as bad as it is now, we haven't yet seen how finance will become politicians' ultimate weapon to stifle dissent and ensure obedience. Under such a system, much like in African dictatorships, any suspicion that you're not loyal, have mocked or derided a politician, etc., means blacklisting. Financial blacklisting. That means an inability to deposit savings, get a loan, or transmit money electronically. It's not impossible to live that way, but most people don't have the stomach and would rather lick the hands that feed them. Be watchful, for I believe in the coming years we'll see (and most won't realize until too late) what "the mark of the beast" is. Without control of the financial infrastructure, how else could the tyranny of the last days prevent (most) people from engaging in commerce sans the mark?"

I started warning shortly after AIG was taken over by the feds that this was a prelude to nationalization. I also explained how a country can be taken over, quietly and from the inside, as the feds are doing now.

I've warned about Tim Geithner from the beginning.

I warned that, after Hank Paulson said the Treasury was dropping plans to buy "toxic assets" in favor of "injecting capital" into banks in exchange for direct equity stakes, the feds' goal all along was nationalization.

I've exposed the feds' lies and hypocrisy in using certain accounting trickery, which in the private sector would be fraud.

I've warned about scare tactics to make Americans think government intervention is necessary, like "$550 billion was pulled out money markets in just a few hours on September 18th!!!" (Paul Kanjorski, quoted in the second article I linked to, has been spreading this myth, as has conservative shill Diana West.)

Stay strong and vigilant. It's coming.

When the feds came to nationalize AIG, I was silent because they weren't my insurer.

When the feds came to nationalize the top banks, I was silent because I didn't care about Wall Street.

When the feds came to nationalize American automakers, I was silent because I drove a Japanese car.

When the feds came to drive health insurers out of business with a government-run plan, I was silent because I paid out of pocket anyway.

Now they've nationalized everything, doling out only what they say we need, and I am just a worker ant for the state whose job is to stay silent.

[edited the last line to fit better]

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A strong candidate for "Stupidest song ever"

More effective that syrup of Ipecac, worse than any method from Gitmo:

Krugman worship.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama and Geithner's "Money PPIP"

So far, it looks like the White House couldn't make up its mind what to tell Martin Crutsinger about the name of the new bureaucratic boondoggle. This version of his article calls it the "Public Investment Corp." This version calls it the "Public-Private Investment Program."

I prefer "PPIP" because it sounds like the 1986 comedy with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, so named because the lead characters keep pouring money into a house that's falling apart. The federal government is simply pumping our money into sustaining companies that should be allowed to fail, and propping up asset values that need proper valuation. Once more, the government has been behind everything that precipitated this mess, from instituting mark-to-market accounting at the worst time possible to "rescue" efforts like TARP and PPIP that prevent us from placing true values on these assets.

Few realize how government has sparked the "crisis" and is purposely continuing it. I've written about this across many posts over several months, but I'll put it all here; just follow my explanation for each link in the chain. Right when markets panicked and CDOs and other securities plunged in value, the feds deliberately imposed mark-to-market so that banks' balance sheets would be impacted negatively -- and banks are forced to cease lending if their net assets became negative. The assets are deemed worthless, though, only because TARP and the like are discouraging people from sitting down and determining a real value (as opposed to a bureaucrat's politically motivated guess). Let's say an asset on the market is worth 1 cent on the dollar, and an investor might buy it at 10 cents in the hope it will eventually be worth 50. But the feds are talking about buying it at 70 (easy when taxes always come from other people!), so how can anyone determine the true value? Why would anyone bother?

See, it's all "legal" when the feds create a shadow holding company to hide AIG's bad assets on another ledger, the same fraudulent practice that got Enron and WorldCom in trouble. When it comes to mark-to-market, however, banks must list all assets on their balance sheets, thus assuming all liability for losses! So when one doesn't have positive net assets so it can lend under FDIC rules, the feds so graciously step in with a cash infusion (courtesy of everyone who doesn't make a living via government, in the form of taxes and inflation). Now PPIP will "help" banks by effectively whiting-out these assets, putting taxpayers even more on the hook for the initial purchase plus any future losses. The circle is complete.

I've explained before that "There's plenty of investable money around the world, but no one wants to sink it in *these* securities. They're really that bad. Even Warren Buffett wants the federal government to bail things out, instead of seizing a profit opportunity and jumping in himself. Surely he could put up a 'mere' $1 billion without blinking, but he's smart enough to recognize that the possible returns aren't worth the current asking price." Why do so few see the warning sign that when the private sector is staying away from buying these assets, maybe they're not such great deals? Now, a lot of these assets are worth next to nothing and even zero, but some still have value. Who's to say that a particular security, comprised of notes from such-and-such a neighborhood, isn't a good return in the end? Actually, none of us can -- unless you're well-connected with the government, none of us can really tell if any given neighborhood has people who will get a housing bailout!

Note that I was wrong, though, about the source of the funding for all these programs. However, last September I (and most people) just couldn't imagine the initial $750 billion TARP, then the $787 billion "stimulus," the $1.2 trillion the Fed recently announced it will create, and now the new $1 trillion so that the Treasury can buy up "toxic assets" under PPIP/PIC. Every new dollar that the feds are spending can come only from whatever new money the Fed can create. There just isn't enough of a tax base; there just isn't enough money to borrow.

Trillion, billion, the prefix to the "illion" has sadly lost all meaning. This is pure insanity, and with Obama and Geithner accelerating what GWB began, things will stop only with a disastrous crash.

Update: what irony in Christina Romer's misuse of "silver bullet." Over time, it's been twisted into the simple meaning of something that will work effectively. Proper usage refers to killing an otherwise invulnerable creature (like vampires in old pre-Stoker folklore, or Wolfman in modern monster tales). Romer said, "I don't think Wall Street is expecting the silver bullet," so Wall Street had better beware.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A delicious new definition of irony

I can't help but laugh at this: a bunch of explorers started a trek to the North Pole to get evidence about global warming, and bad winter storms not only stopped them but also prevented their latest (very much needed) supply plane from landing. And the idiots are still worried that "the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by the end of this century."

Al Gore, go jump in a frozen lake.


The truth about AIG's payments to "foreigners," and Glenn Beck is a moron

Conservatives are up in arms about AIG paying tens of billions to foreign banks. Conservatives are wont to do that when they think wealth is leaving the country. Glenn Beck blathered, in a perfect impersonation of protectionist Pat Buchanan:
GLENN: $58 billion has gone to foreign banks. Now, why isn't America outraged by that? Because America doesn't know that fact. America isn't talking about that fact. If we would have let AIG fail, then these other banks would have had to come to us and said, hey, what are you going to do on these. And we would have then had to have the discussion, do we send money over to France, do we send money over to Germany, do we send money over to England? And that we couldn't have won. The people in Washington, they would have never gotten that past you.

STU: We're not that into stimulating.

GLENN: We're not that into stimulating. We're not into shifting wealth from our continent to other continents.

STU: That's where we draw the line.

GLENN: That's where we draw the line.

STU: Of all the stuff we do, that's where we draw the line.
Beck is nothing more than a 21st century mercantilist, who thinks that keeping "wealth" within one's country is the way to prosperity. He doesn't understand that international trade, from goods to financing, allows everyone to prosper. He doesn't even understand that when he talks about "wealth," he's confusing it with "money."

As I explained first here, AIG paying foreign banks was not money laundering. Does Beck even know what money laundering is? He obviously doesn't understand what AIG was doing.

Like any insurer, AIG writes lots of policies. But AIG's unprecedented woes are because, unlike most insurers, it sold a lot of policies, specifically credit default swaps, that it couldn't cover. Its people knew they couldn't cover them, actually: they figured that while the economy was good, and bank revenues and tax receipts stayed high, AIG could collect nice premiums and not have to pay out relatively much. But despite their stupidity, the fact remains that AIG had to meet its contractual obligations to everyone, regardless of nationality. No money was being "hidden" at any time, so there was no money laundering done.

It's immoral to make the U.S. taxpayer pay for AIG's massive losses, but I'm putting that aside here to talk strictly about the nature of AIG's debts. AIG just happened to owe more to foreign banks than it did to American ones, that's all. If the bailout had been accomplished privately, AIG still would have had to pay foreign firms. Can you imagine if AIG had paid American creditors first, and foreign firms with whatever was left (if anything)? Any firm who does this will find its reputation quickly shot to hell, and it would soon cease doing business internationally. Foreign firms and governments would start retaliating by pulling business from the United States, exacerbating things for everybody.

Were it UBS that owed tens of billions to non-Swiss banks in a similar situation, would Beck be so adamant about defending it if it said it wouldn't pay American creditors?

I didn't think so.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If you didn't already know that Jim Cramer is an idiot

"I know he's a professor, but man, this guy's good!"

"This Federal Reserve will not be denied. In Ben Bernanke I trust."

Yeah. So sayeth the man who assured us just before Bear Stearns' collapse that it had plenty of liquidity.

There's what the Fed claims it's doing, and then there's the real story if you look carefully

In a discussion last week at QandO about the futility of the tea bag protests (because Americans in the end will still pay up by April 15th), I made the point that governments with central banks have no need to worry about tax revenues that actually come in. I also pointed out a sinister thing that very few Americans realize:

"There isn't enough money in the world to borrow (there isn't enough that lenders are willing to lend, to be more specific), so the Federal Reserve has been buying U.S. Treasury securities like mad. The overt reason has been so it can drive down mortgage rates, including 30-year rates. It's a cover story so the common American voter won't realize how much new money is being created."

If you didn't know this before, now you do. And now your eyes are open when you read something like this:
Federal Reserve to Buy $1.2T in Bonds, Mortgage-Backed Securities
By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 18, 2009; 5:07 PM

The Federal Reserve said today that it will deploy an additional $1.2 trillion to try to lower interest rates and stimulate the economy, an aggressive move aimed at containing the recession.

The central bank will increase its purchases of mortgage-backed securities by $750 billion, on top of a previously announced $500 billion. It also will double its purchases of debt in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $200 billion. Those steps are intended to lower mortgage rates. The announcement of the previous purchases pushed mortgage rates down a full percentage point.

The Fed also said it will buy $300 billion in long-term Treasury bonds, a step it had previously considered but had been reluctant to act on. That move will lower long-term interest rates for the U.S. government directly and, Fed officials hope, will indirectly lower borrowing costs for businesses and individuals.

Following today's announcement, Treasury bond prices spiked and yields on those bonds declined, as traders anticipated the Fed bond purchases. At 2:30 p.m., 15 minutes after the announcement, the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds had fallen half a percentage point, to 2.53 percent.
And of all things, the Fed's statement had the unmitigated gall to claim, "In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability."

Price stability? Price stability?! That's an outright lie. Pumping up the money supply by over a trillion dollars, when there's only $8 trillion currently floating around, can do nothing but cause price instability. Let's take a look at the Fed's own numbers for the last few years, to see what's going on:
                                        TABLE 1                March 12, 2009

------M1------- -----M2----- -------M1------- -----M2-----
----------- --------------- ------------ ---------------- ------------


2006-Jan. 1380.6 6712.2 1375.0 6685.3
Feb. 1379.8 6731.7 1361.5 6702.3
Mar. 1383.9 6749.0 1394.2 6775.9
Apr. 1380.5 6772.1 1393.0 6837.3
May 1386.8 6785.3 1391.5 6771.4
June 1374.4 6816.9 1378.4 6820.5
July 1369.2 6844.6 1367.8 6838.3
Aug. 1369.2 6865.3 1369.8 6853.0
Sep. 1361.6 6890.8 1346.5 6876.7
Oct. 1369.4 6945.3 1359.4 6917.4
Nov. 1371.3 6978.3 1367.5 6976.5
Dec. 1365.6 7021.5 1387.3 7049.2
2007-Jan. 1373.6 7069.5 1368.8 7043.0
Feb. 1366.0 7076.1 1347.2 7050.7
Mar. 1368.1 7111.7 1378.6 7147.8
Apr. 1378.8 7160.7 1392.1 7234.8
May 1379.7 7189.1 1384.0 7175.2
June 1364.5 7212.3 1368.3 7217.4
July 1366.6 7239.4 1365.7 7219.8
Aug. 1368.4 7287.7 1369.0 7279.2
Sep. 1366.2 7322.6 1351.1 7305.0
Oct. 1371.7 7352.8 1361.6 7317.1
Nov. 1366.7 7384.4 1361.7 7376.5
Dec. 1364.5 7417.3 1386.2 7444.9
2008-Jan. 1368.4 7463.6 1364.4 7438.0
Feb. 1371.1 7539.0 1351.5 7517.6
Mar. 1372.9 7600.5 1384.8 7652.0
Apr. 1373.7 7620.0 1387.4 7697.5
May 1373.7 7637.8 1376.9 7632.1
June 1383.6 7648.5 1388.2 7652.0
July 1400.1 7698.9 1399.8 7671.9
Aug. 1392.2 7687.3 1392.4 7682.8
Sep. 1452.1 7796.2 1435.1 7761.4
Oct. 1475.2 7916.0 1464.9 7878.7
Nov. 1524.0 7972.5 1518.3 7968.1
Dec. 1595.9 8154.2 1624.7 8171.1
2009-Jan. 1575.0 8244.0 1568.9 8224.4
Feb. 1558.5 8275.5 1534.5 8256.9
This should not surprise yet still absolutely floor anyone who understands the nature of money. And it's only going to get worse. Much, much worse. We'll be seeing many, many more headlines like these:

"Dollar Trades Near 2-Month Low on Fed’s Plan to Buy Treasuries"

"Canadian Dollar Advances Before Federal Reserve Statement"

Another article that whitewashes the increased inflation:
U.S. 30-year mortgage rates slide toward record lows
Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:48pm EDT
By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. 30-year fixed home loan rates on Wednesday slid by as much as 3/8 percentage point to about 5 percent, nearing record lows, after the Federal Reserve more than doubled its planned purchases of mortgage-related securities.

The Fed announced "a shopping spree that would make Donald Trump blush," said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans in Livonia, Michigan, which already cut the mortgage rates it offers by 1/4 to 3/8 point.

The Fed, as part of its ongoing efforts to cut loan rates to stimulate borrowing and revive the worst housing market since the Great Depression, said it would buy long-term Treasuries as well as more mortgage securities.

An added $750 billion would bring the Fed's total buying of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae mortgage bonds as high as $1.25 trillion this year.

The Fed will also double its potential note purchases from Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Bank System to up to $200 billion and absorb as much as $300 billion in Treasuries.
What would Bastiat say about this? That it talks only about the seen (lower mortgage rates) but ignores the unseen (higher inflation as the inevitable result of monetary expansion). Moreover, with all the irresponsible borrowing that got us into this mess, why in hell do we want to promote more? The radio news earlier talked about lower interest rates being beneficial because they allow people to refinance (implying they need refinancing to get out of otherwise "unaffordable" loans). Again, why do we want that? First, government is saving some from irresponsibility by taxing all with inflation. Second, as is always the case with inflation, irresponsible borrowers benefit while prudent savers (those who put assets away and are the source of loanable funds) are punished. When John Q. Irresponsible refinances, he's lucky enough to pay back an absolute amount with increasingly inflated dollars. Those of us who save will experience a continual decrease in value, no matter what.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Outrage over AIG: the same old hypocrisy, lies and corruption

Let it never be said that I didn't warn about this from the start. I rhetorically asked last November, "what bank would lend you money to repay debts that you owe others, when you likely can't repay that latest loan, and then the bank will loan you an additional 79.4% of the initial amount so you can repay the entire loan?" In February, AIG said it won't sell any assets to repay the federal government, because it couldn't find any buyers. After announcing a $61.7 billion loss in 4th quarter 2008 (the most for any company ever), AIG simply relied on the federal government to give it another $20 billion "infusion."

And it has now given $165 million in bonuses to top executives, the first part of $450 million that it says it has to pay out. AIG claims these were "promised," "contractually obligated" and "retention bonuses," despite the fact that 11 of the recipients don't even work for AIG anymore.

Now every limelight-seeker in the federal government, from Obama to every freshman Congressman, is blue in the face from screaming about this, throwing out words like "irresponsible," "waste" and "taxpayer money." Chief among the critics is Chris Dodd, who received $103,100 in campaign bonuses from AIG during the 2008 election cycle, and snuck in an amendment into the stimulus bill that -- surprise, surprise! -- protects the AIG bonuses.

Congress is looking to institute a special tax on AIG bonuses to recover the money. CBS radio had a soundbite of Chuck "The Schmuck" Schumer saying it would be 100%. The point has already been brought up that such a tax is a bill of attainder, hence unconstitutional. But since when did that stop the federal government from doing anything else unconstitutional? Obama's former law professor has suggested how that can be done via loopholes, and this asshat Michigan Congressman proposing a "surcharge" tax that applies only to companies that are at least 79% owned by the federal government. Of course, AIG is the only such company. That's how the so-called "Amazon tax" survives here in New York state, though its exemptions clearly shows that it was aimed at Amazon.

Pure hypocrisy from the feds should never surprise us. Not to downplay that giving AIG anything is a waste of taxpayer money, but let's put things in perspective. The federal government will blow through $165 million in not even 30 minutes, $450 million in 1.3 hours, and the $170 billion guaranteed to AIG in just under three weeks. And that's going by the "mere" $3 trillion in federal spending for the 2008 fiscal year (not including what's spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which are about $200 billion more!). But why should government ever care about spending and proper record keeping when it's not its money? A "shadow holding company" was set up for AIG's toxic assets so that AIG doesn't have to list those assets on its official books. In the private sector, this is called accounting fraud.

It also turns out that for all their accusations, Obama and Co., particularly Tim Geithner, have known about the bonuses for several months but only now are trying to stop it. Let's not be the least bit shocked, though. It's more than just hypocrisy. Just as this entire crisis has been engineered by the government so it can take over major industries, it's another subtle power grab for the feds. No doubt one of the "critics" will himself say that they can't pass a bill of attainder, so this is a sneaky step on the road to a tax on bonuses regardless of company. Mark my words.

Claire McCaskill threatened, "We state the obvious in the letter, bonuses should not be given for failure." If memory serves, she's the same who said executives of companies receiving TARP funds should be compensated no more than the President, i.e. $400,000 per year, including bonus. I don't know if she's too stupid to see the simple, easy solution, or if she's so agenda-driven that she ignores it out of ideological convenience. How about, you know, not putting Americans on the hook for AIG's idiotic business decisions? Then AIG can pay whatever it wants, and drive itself into the ground for all we care. If it goes Chapter 7 or 11 with no ability to meet these bonus "obligations," then its executives can stand in front of a bankruptcy judge and explain precisely why they deserve the compensation when the company failed.

If "we the taxpayers" hadn't been forced to hand over our money, then we all wouldn't have been thrown into the same leaking lifeboat. We could have all exercised individual decisions in trusting AIG, reaping the rewards, missed opportunities or bad consequences of what was solely our choice.

Had AIG gone bankrupt, it certainly would have affected lots of other companies, but sometimes part of a forest must burn down so it can grow back fuller and with more life than before. But that isn't even an appropriate analogy: when a company goes under, its assets and infrastructure don't just disappear. The Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers buildings and all their employees didn't just vanish from the planet; they were reabsorbed into the economy. So AIG would have been liquidated, with all its holdings and buildings distributed among creditors, who could then make use of "what's left" as they see fit.

The importance of allowing firms to go bankrupt, as Walter Williams recently said, is so that the rest of us can learn from the bad decision. AIG going under would have been a lesson to everyone else: first to those who never wondered if such a big company in precarious financial condition could have trouble fulfilling its insurance obligations, and second to other insurers who are on or thinking of going on the same path.

A friend recently got a new policy with AIG, and I pointed out the craziness of it all: his teenage daughters' future earnings are guaranteeing AIG's ability to pay out on his policy. It really is all so absurd, and it won't end.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

OK, boot-lickers, justify what this pig does here

My friend Charlie sent me this. You can find another version here. Good for Abby Newman, although she could have gone further than resisting: she had every reason to defend her person by shooting dead these two thugs once they assaulted and kidnapped her.

Yes, they committed crimes against her. There wasn't even suspicion she did anything wrong, let alone probable cause (suspicion must become probable cause to justify a warrant for search and/or seizure). They're assaulting her and have the unmitigated audacity to accuse her -- a housewife with no weapon, against two rednecks on a power trip. Yeah.

Goddamn pigs, every last one of them. "Ashamed of themselves"? They should be strung up and slowly eviscerated alive to the cheers of little children. They have no rights after doing this.

We can talk about "due process" all we want, but this is one of those times. This is one of those times when one person on a jury needs to follow justice, not whatever "the law" says,

My comment to some idiot who said it was a lawful stop:
A free clue for you, boot-licker: was there any suspicion of a crime?

No. None at all. Therefore "law enforcement" has no authority to compel her to identify herself.

What you don't understand is that government and its agents doesn't have "rights." It has "authority" to do certain things, but not "rights." Rights are inherent, so it does not apply to government. Government's powers come only from the people; none of it is inherent.

Go submit your rectum if you want. The rest of us will not.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who has the power to nullify?

Earlier this month, we had a discussion going at ThreeSources about who has the power to nullify. I got busy and forgot, and it scrolled off the main page anyway (making comments unpostable). So I will continue it here.

In the end, relying sole on the judiciary to nullify bad laws is counting on the wolf to rule against the fox on behalf of the hen.

To TG:
After the fact? Mr. Monroe was a prominent delegate to the Virginia State Ratification Convention. (And an anti-federalist to boot!) I do not how much more involved you could expect him to be in the formation of the young Republic's new government. (Certainly he did more than Jefferson, who was away in France at the time.)
"Prominent" in one state does not mean a significant role in writing the Constitution, or major activities like writing the Federalist papers. So you and JK give him far more weight, yet dismiss Jefferson as "radical" when Jefferson was as much of a founder of this country as anyone else you can name.
And to be more on point- Perry, I think you are missing the point. No one here has disputed a state's right to secession. Quite a few have disputed a state's right to nullification.
In fact I am not missing the point. I am talking precisely about nullification, not merely secession.
Let us start with the proper authority for the nullification of laws: the judiciary. It is with the judiciary the responsibility lies for the determination of the legality of congress’ edicts. You have stated that this concept began with Marbury vs. Madison, and that I am but a sheep for mindlessly accepting Marshall’s power-grabbing decision.
You state "the proper authority" as if it were established fact. Kindly refrain from begging your own question, ok?
This view is in ignorance of history.
Don't be such a twit as to assert this about someone else's decision in a polite discussion. Be forewarned: if you want a flamewar, then by God I'll give you one you won't believe.
The framers knew and argued for a judiciary with the powers recognized in Marbury.
Now this is an ignorant view, both of historical fact and of my own decision. I and others don't argue that the Marbury decision is wrong because the judiciary has power to nullify a law. It's wrong because it makes the judiciary the only authority to decide. You might as well let the fox appoint himself the watchman of the henhouse.

You're submitting yourself to nine imperfect humans, who have been known for such wonderful decisions as declaring people property, and in more recent years that we have no rights to our own bodies or even our own property. Wonderful of you to do that, and to drag me down with you.
Consider the words of Philadelphia Convention heavyweight James Wilson as he argued for the Constitution during the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention:
So it's fine for you and JK to throw out various names who support your position, then say I can't bring up Jefferson because he was "radical"? How hypocritical of both of you.
And here is Alexander Hamilton, Philadelphia and New York Ratifying Convention delegate, writing as Publius, in Federalist No. 78:

“Some perplexity respecting the rights of the courts to pronounce legislative acts void, because contrary to the Constitution, has arisen from an imagination that the doctrine would imply a superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power...
Hamilton was a statist who advocated one big United State, i.e. one big national government and no state governments. He was a hypocrite who talked big about freedom of the press, then later supported the abominable Sedition Act. So tell me why I should give a flying leap about anything that proto-tyrant said?

But I'll play your game for a minute and go by his own words. Logically speaking, Hamilton proved the very point he argued against. If a court can strike down a law, and we've seen for two centuries that it's done based on personal opinion, then the court is superior to the lawmaker. Think about it: if the British king could ignore whatever Parliament passed, didn't that say the king was superior to Parliament? Furthermore, he argued a strawman. Nobody was talking about lawmakers being the sole judge of whether laws are proper, but whether individual people, and thus their representatives at the state government level, can refuse to obey a law.
These are but two examples I have marked in books that I own. If you wish me to, I could scour the internet for more such quotations
Instead of trying to impress me by a bunch of quotes, how about reasoning for yourself?
The same cannot be said for the states. I find it funny that you fault a SCOTUS whose primary role is to interpret laws “because the Constitution does not explicitly say so”
You're again begging your own question.
and yet gladly hand that power over to the states, despite the fact that the Constitution is just as silent on this matter. Perhaps you own a special copy of the Constitution that contains an article detailing the manner by which states have the authority to interpret federal laws?
Nothing special, just the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. And more importantly, it's the concept of simple justice, specifically that you must resist evil by not obeying it. If a law is wrong, then it's the right and duty of people to disobey it. If a federal law is wrong, then a state government has every right and duty to disobey it, because its powers come from the consent of the governed.

Remember what Jefferson and Bastiat taught us: government's powers are derived from the consent of the government governed [edited the typo in my original draft], and therefore government cannot legitimately do anything more than what people can do themselves. A bad law therefore has no rightful authority over people, and a judiciary cannot make a decision that individual people (and any of their representatives) cannot make themselves. This was the whole basis of jury nullification: ordinary people could declare someone innocent because the law was wrong.

You operate under the presumption that whatever is the law, even in the Constitution, is proper and just. Would you have prosecuted and punished people who helped runaway slaves, though they were doing what was right by breaking the law?

"Just because words are written on paper and subjected to hocus-pocus beneath a soaring marble dome does not mean that these words are truly 'law,' or even that the government officials who wrote and voted for them want them to be taken literally." - Don Boudreaux

Or as a fictional fighter for freedom put it,
"I believe if they set aside their law as and when they wish, their law no longer has rightful authority over us. All they have over us, then, is tyranny, and I will not live under that yoke."

Anti-Federalist #15:
I have said that the judges under this system will be independent in the strict sense of the word: To prove this I will shew — That there is no power above them that can controul their decisions, or correct their errors. There is no authority that can remove them from office for any errors or want of capacity, or lower their salaries, and in many cases their power is superior to that of the legislature.

1st. There is no power above them that can correct their errors or controul their decisions — The adjudications of this court are final and irreversible, for there is no court above them to which appeals can lie, either in error or on the merits. — In this respect it differs from the courts in England, for there the house of lords is the highest court, to whom appeals, in error, are carried from the highest of the courts of law.

2d. They cannot be removed from office or suffer a dimunition of their salaries, for any error in judgement or want of capacity.

It is expressly declared by the constitution, — "That they shall at stated times receive a compensation for their services which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office."

The only clause in the constitution which provides for the removal of the judges from office, is that which declares, that "the president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." By this paragraph, civil officers, in which the judges are included, are removable only for crimes. Treason and bribery are named, and the rest are included under the general terms of high crimes and misdemeanors. — Errors in judgement, or want of capacity to discharge the duties of the office, can never be supposed to be included in these words, high crimes and misdemeanors. A man may mistake a case in giving judgment, or manifest that he is incompetent to the discharge of the duties of a judge, and yet give no evidence of corruption or want of integrity. To support the charge, it will be necessary to give in evidence some facts that will shew, that the judges commited the error from wicked and corrupt motives.
If you want to keep quoting this person and whomever, fine, I can play the game until such time as I get bored. It gets us nowhere in the end. You will impress me as an intelligent person if you provide your own reasoning and your own words.
This brings up the central problem with Calhon-style nullification: despite Jefferson’s protests to the contrary, the Constitution was never a compact between the states. Rather, it was a document ratified by WE THE PEOPLE, and gained its authority not by the states of its Union, but by the people residing thereof. James Wilson detailed this excellently in his remarks to the Pennsylvania convention:
Oh really? Just who are these "WE THE PEOPLE"? I wasn't there. You weren't. Every president since Van Buren wasn't there.

Even at the state level, it was nine states imposing authority on four (think Ethan Allen and his beloved Vermont) who could have otherwise refused to join this new union. You'll probably argue it's moot, but what if they had refused? Would the other nine have taken up arms to force the four to submit?

You quote Wilson as saying: "Because a contract once entered between the governor and governed becomes obligatory, and cannot be altered without the consent of both parties."
Wilson spoke of a plain truth: the Constitution is not a compact between states, nor a compact between the states and the federal government. If either of these were true then Lincoln’s war would have been justified. He would be correct in stating that the Southern states had no right to break the compact they made with Union without the Union’s consent.
No, Wilson in fact argued a strawman. A bad law is a breach of contract, making it entirely void in favor of the damaged party.

The federal government infringed upon the rights of the southern states, which then had every right to cease their association. It's very simple.
All of this leaves us with an essential question: what happens when the judiciary errs? Who shall watch the watchmen? If we have decided that the states cannot do this, that leaves one other option- the citizens themselves.
Now you're arguing the logical fallacy of "either-or." You ignore that I'm not excluding anyone from nullifying a law.
I have one gripe with the way you phrase this concept. You stated, ”It is the right and duty of anyone, whether a private citizen or government official, to nullify a bad law.”
Why? If a law is bad, are you so weak-minded that you will submit yourself no matter what?
I have already discussed why the judiciary is the sole branch of government with the authority to nullify laws; I shall now discuss the implications of private citizens with the power of nullification.
Keep begging the question all you want. I will call you on the carpet every time.
The implications of this notion are – to be frank – dangerous. Indeed, I can think of no quicker way to erode the rule of law than this.
You have no idea what "the rule of law" even means. It is not the idiotic conservative notion that whatever the law is, it must be followed. It means that whatever the law is, it must be applied equally to all, otherwise it's the arbitrary rule of men.
In essence, your view of the Constitution is not all that different than those progressives championing their Living Constitution. In your case, no law is binding. Every citizen chooses which laws he does not think to be Constitutional (i.e. every law he dislikes), and ignores it.
Oh bullshit. I never said any of this, and to compare me to liberals is completely insulting.

Do me a huge favor and stop misrepresenting my arguments. Either that or take some damned reading comprehension lessons, because I won't tone down my rhetoric to suit your limited understanding.

I'm writing as I read, and I see now your general tone. Well, you want a war, you got it, bub.
Think about what you are advocating here. As with Living Constitution theory,
How about you think about the strawman you're creating here.
your would have the Constitution cease its role as the legal document governing the conduct of the federal government, it soon degenerating into the mere opinion of those reading it. The only practical difference between the two philosophies is that progressives concern themselves only with the opinion of the nine justices on the SCOTUS, while your viewpoint will have 300 million individual interpretations of what the Constitution should mean.
And which is worse, 299 million people who refuse to hand over other human beings because the government says they're property, or 1 million slaveowners having "Constitutional rights"?

Which is worse, 299 million people who decide for themselves that they will not sell off their property to the government and government officials' friends, or 1 million property developers who use the Supreme Court and all "due process" bullshit to force out rightful homeowners?

Clearly you believe it's the latter, in both cases. Just as long as everything is done by the book.
Does this destruction of nullification mean that citizens have no method of redress when the government begins to approach their rights? Of course not. There are two options on the table for any citizen who feels a law to be unjust and dangerous. (Hint: nullification is not one of them.)

The first is civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King, in writing his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” outlined the proper way to conduct such a response to an unjust law:

“In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”
First of all, King was a communist state-worshipper, so we must consider the source.

Second, King logically contradicted himself. By disobeying and breaking the law, he was in fact defying it.
The second response is rebellion. If rights are being trampled upon and the Constitution no longer serves to check the federal government, every man can work above the Constitution and exercise his right to protect himself from oppression. But make no mistake, this is not nullification. It is the renouncement of a corrupt government entirely.
You're contradicting yourself here. Like King, you don't see the plain logic that if you "renounce" or do not obey a law, you are in fact defying it. You may be accepting any penalty, but you are still not following it.

You say individuals cannot nullify a law, so how exactly do you suppose they can "exercise" their rights? Get beaten, jailed, fined, executed, etc., and offer no resistance?

What about Sharia law? It's being imposed in parts of the UK, and there's a movement to put it here. If you found yourself under it, would you not say that it doesn't apply to you? What then of your argument against nullification?
If you shoot a police officer for illegally entering your house, he loses both the ability to infringe on your privacy and the ability to protect you from criminals.
You have two fallacies going here. First, you presume a policeman has a right, which he does not have, to infringe on people's privacy. I, for one, do not give up my right to privacy so that a policeman can "protect me." In fact, courts have ruled for a Very Long Time that police have no responsibility to protect and assist, only apprehend criminals after the crime has been committed.

Second, a policeman who enters my house without consent is nothing but a common criminal, and can (and should) be dealt with accordingly.
So it is with government. You cannot elect to break laws that do not strike your fancy and yet hold true to the rest. You are abandoning the entire system. If and when such action is necessary, the Constitution (and all legal laws who use it as their foundation) no longer has any authority from you at all.
The Constitution never had any authority from me from the moment I was born, only such authority as I consent. Go read some Spooner. Those would be worthwhile collections to have in the library you brag about.
Thus, we have two choices when confronted with an unjust law. You can break it and accept the legal consequences for doing so, or you can withdraw your consent for a government that creates unjust laws all together.
So you're saying the colonists were wrong. After all, look what they did in reaction to the law. Why don't you go live in England, then?

To JK:
Thanks, tg, for beating me to a swift defense of James Monroe. Dude fought at Yorktown and served as a foreign emissary to Presidents Washington and Jefferson. Nobody wou;d seriously ascribe the intellectual heft of a Jefferson his direction, but nor would I disqualify his opinion.
Don't be a hypocrite. You disregard Jefferson, yet want someone's opinion counted more just because you like him while deeming Jefferson "radical." So we should consider Andrew Jackson's opinion as having as much weight, because he was involved in the American Revolution?
Our own "Era of Good Feelings" may be as short-lived as Monroe's, however. I take a third tack on nullification. I'm a big fan of Lysander Spooner and consider individual jury nullification as a foundation of liberty.

I certainly don't see it as reserved to the judicial branch, though in our history of tripartite government, they have been the most reliable (not unlike being the smartest of the Three Stooges).
There was hope for you until you said this. You're giving them credit because they're the lesser of the three evils, when in fact they've affirmed every bit of tyranny that the other two branches imposed on us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yes, this is indeed brilliant

My friend Scott just sent me this.

One comment was particularly choice: "The more you tighten your grip, Barry, the more revenue will slip through your fingers."

By coincidence, I had started thinking of him the other day as Darth Obamus...

Don't forget to say to yourself, every time Nancy Pelosi leads Congress in a standing ovation (which is the most exercise she's had in her whole life, I bet):

"So this is how liberty thunderous applause."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The silliness and waste of the modern "Tea Party" protests

Fifteen days ago, in the midst of many Americans talking about mailing tea bags and beatifying Rick Santelli, my friend Billy Beck wrote:
"The tea-bag protest is a fabulous thing,..."

It's rubbish. I guarantee you: everybody talking about this is going to make sure the monster is fed next April 15th and they cannot wait to get in line and vote again.
And he is correct. As if to prove it, Bryan Pick at QandO wrote about Brad Warbiany's idea to minimize automatic withholding, in an effort to "starve the beast."

Brad has been a friend for several years, but certain things must be said here. I left a comment in reply to Bryan that is also for Brad and anyone else who thinks this "protest" will work -- who thinks this "protest" is anything like the Boston Tea Party.
Bryan, don't take too much offense here, but I'll ask bluntly: are you, or are you not, still going to "catch up" by April 15th on what the feds say you "owe"?

If you are, then your "protest" amounts to nothing. Just what do you think you'll accomplish by "postponing" anything? Lack of tax revenue has never stopped the federal government from its real spending. The several so-called "shutdowns" were about budget disagreements on how much to tax and how much to borrow, not an actual lack of revenue.

Regardless of which party controls what branch, the Fed will simply create more money and buy as many U.S. Treasury securities as needed for the feds to keep spending. This means we all will pay via inflation, on top of taxpayers still catching up at the end. So your efforts amount to little children trying to hold their breath at the dinner table. (Not to say the feds are our rightful parents or guardians, but my point is about the efficacy of your method.) You can "protest" until your faces turn blue, but you'll still be all paid up by April 15th.

What difference does it make if your Uncle Sam molests you at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m.? He's patient. He knows you'll eventually submit, and he knows that every applicable November, your siblings will always agree with your parents that Uncle Sam can keep coming over with the specific intent of molesting you (if you follow the analogy, I'm saying Americans just keep voting for the representatives and their bureaucrats who will keep taxing us and spending our money).

Grimshaw is correct. If you want a real protest, then millions indeed must start withholding. This requires a wee bit more resistance than most people are willing to put forth, but that's what it's going to take to change the system.

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." The few, like Wesley Snipes and Richard Hatch, are easily taken out.
I also made a quick followup:
Let me put it this way, saying nothing more.

Was the Boston Tea Party at all about postponing buying the tea? How did it get the attention desired?

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Because liberals deserve no mercy

Check out the latest.

Credit goes to my friend Billy Beck for the original wording: people are too cowardly to go to your door and steal your property themselves. They'd rather vote "peacefully" (when it's not peacefully at all) to rob you, under the guise of a "government."

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm used to disgusting people on Metro-North, but these two took the cake

Metro-North trains tend to have an accurate cross-section of society: yakking women who talk nonsense, rude people who don't care that their cell phone chatter disturbs others, the middle-aged rednecks from upstate who babble about trivial sports trivia, and the poseurs who try to appear like big shots. The latter group includes this idiot who called a friend and tried to talk about shorting stocks, making me want to reach over and slap him out of his ignorance; the quasi-businessmen who keep on their suit jackets for appearance's sake and try to act important, like the two who talked loudly about their alleged dealings with some unmentioned company's board of directors; and a couple of morons who tried to appear as if they had insider knowledge. Specifically, they were talking about Hank Greenberg trying to take back control of AIG...the very day before the feds took it over. Invariably these wannabes only expose how little they really know, and sometimes that they're outrightly lying. I find it inexplicable why they try so hard to impress others, when they must realize (or maybe they don't?) that people like me know they're talking bullshit.

Tonight really took the cake. There's a particular 30-something boor who usually takes my same train to and from the city, my same stop. The first time I recall seeing him was when he and some girl boarded with a few minutes to go, standing room only. Unfortunately there are things in life that cannot be unseen. I happened to be looking in their direction when he tried to French her -- tried because she wasn't expecting it. Yeah. Well, he apparently was being an ass to the point of having a tiff with the conductor later on, because the conductor said something like, "You're getting off at [this earlier station] and that's it!" I was listening to music and didn't catch it all, but when the twit disembarked, the conductor said something I didn't catch, and I kid you not, lots of people started clapping.

Since then, every time I see him, I say to myself without fail, "There's that disgusting boor." Tonight he sat near me, with some other woman who he evidently knew. Her skirt and type of pantyhose spoke volumes by themselves: s-l-u-t. They kept chattering incessantly, but not too badly to prevent me from napping a little. As we neared my stop, I put on my coat and collected my bag, then unfortunately happened to see him get up and straddle her. What else they were doing, I don't want to know. For crying out loud, such societal rejects have no shame, no concept of conducting themselves respectfully in public. I was about to say, "What the hell are you two doing?" but decided I was in no mood for elevating my blood pressure after a long day.

There was some sort of a diamond ring glinting on the woman's ring finger. I feel sorry for whoever she's supposed to be with, or should I not? Her "partner" could be just as whorish, even worse.

My father, despite his myriad faults and failings, nonetheless raised me from my earliest years to conduct myself as a gentleman. My wife is a respectable woman. All my friends and their spouses are respectable people; I couldn't be friends with them otherwise, nor could I imagine being friends for the smallest unit of time with such boorish people as I saw tonight.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I normally don't beat up on little girls, but liberals deserve no mercy

Check it out. Like most liberals, she ignores that I refute her every claim, debunk her junk science, justifiably dismiss her bad statistics, and expose her sources' liberal agendas.

But it's fun, and good intellectual exercise.

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Dissecting James Baker

I wasn't going to comment on Baker's recent op-ed in the Financial Times, but Boulder Refugee mentioned me by name, so I felt compelled.
Unfortunately, the US may be repeating Japan’s mistake by viewing our current banking crisis as one of liquidity and not solvency. Most proposals advanced thus far assume that, once confidence in financial markets is restored, banks will recover.
Good. He seems to recognizes that there was always plenty of liquidiy.
Evidence – a mountain of toxic assets, housing market declines, a sharp economic recession, rising unemployment and increasing taxpayer exposure through guarantees, loans, and infusion of capital
Ahem, and federal laws and regulations that continue to force banks into insolvency despite having capital, and federal mucking of market forces that prevent people from determining true "fair value" of assets.
We should act decisively. First, we need to understand the scope of the problem. The Treasury department – working with the Federal Reserve – must swiftly analyse the solvency of big US banks. Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner’s proposed “stress tests” may work. Any analyses, however, should include worst-case scenarios. We can hope for the best but should be prepared for the worst.
No. It's far easier to, gee, let things fail on their own.
Next, we should divide the banks into three groups: the healthy, the hopeless and the needy. Leave the healthy alone and quickly close the hopeless.
Why bother? The healthy will succeed on their own. The hopeless will fail on their own. The needy will succeed or fail depending on what private individuals deem is better: if there's a good chance for profit, or if they're just throwing good money after bad.

Stein's law about current accounts also applies to this: if something cannot continue forever, it will stop. Despite Paul Krugman's outright misrepresentation, Stein used it to say that active steps need not be taken to stop something that will on its own.
The needy should be reorganised and recapitalised, preferably through private investment or debt-to-equity swaps but, if necessary, through public funds. It is time for triage.
Private investment only. Leave government out of it. Stop the immoral raping of taxpayers to save institutions they don't care about.
To prevent a bank run, all depositors of recapitalised banks should be fully guaranteed, even if their deposit exceeds the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation maximum of $250,000 (€197,000, £175,000).
Actually, a bank run should be allowed to happen. If a bank has been so imprudent, it should be allowed to fail.
But bank boards of directors and senior management should be replaced and, unfortunately, shareholders will lose their investment. Optimally, bondholders would be wiped out, too. But the risk of a crash in the bond market means that bondholders may receive only a haircut. All of this is harsh, but required if we are ultimately to return market discipline to our financial sector.
Again, let them fail on their own. Failure will ensure that bad managers are fired.
This is not a call for nationalisation but rather for a temporary injection of public funds to clean up problem banks and return them to private ownership as soon as possible.
Yes, yes, and similar things "This is not what you think this is" were said about the Anschluss.

If it were the Bush 43 administration, I'd figure they'd be incompetent at worst. But the agenda of Obama's administration is nationalization, and driving our entire financial industry into the ground will soften up enough Americans into accepting a federal takeover.

As president Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the Treasury, I abhor the idea of government ownership – either partial or full – even if only temporary. Unfortunately, we may have no choice. But we must be very careful. The government should hold equity no longer than necessary to restructure the banks, resume normal lending and recoup at least a portion of taxpayer investment.
"There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses."
After replacing bank management with new private managers, the government should have no say in banks’ day-to-day operations.
Say this in your best Captain Kirk voice: "Riiiiight."

Riiiiight. Obama and his Cabinet won't try to inject "social justice" agendas into bank decisions, I'm sure.
The FDIC can assist. Just this year, it has placed more than a dozen American banks – admittedly all small – into receivership. We might also consider setting up something akin to the Resolution Trust Corporation, created in 1989 to liquidate the assets of failed savings and loans. The RTC eventually disposed of almost $400bn in assets of more than 700 insolvent thrifts.
Only a bureaucrat could propose even more bureaucracy. Liquidating a failed business needs no more than a regular bankruptcy court.
To avoid bank runs and contain market disruption, the Treasury should announce its decisions at one time.
That's just the problem: every time Obama or one of his minions opens a mouth, the stock markets tank because consumers lose even more confidence.
Washington will also need to co-ordinate its actions with other major capitals, especially in western Europe and east Asia. At best, this will encourage other countries to take similar steps with their own banking systems. At a minimum, other governments can prepare for the financial turmoil associated with the announcement.
Uh, has Baker been paying attention to the news? Europe can't even get itself together on the bailout.
This approach is not pretty or easy. It will cost a lot of money, with the lion’s share coming from US taxpayers, at least in the short to medium term. But the alternative – a piecemeal pumping of more public money into insolvent banks in the vague hope that things will improve down the road – could truly be historic folly.
Heads, the U.S. taxpayer get sodomized. Tails, the U.S. taxpayer has to perform fellatio. Yeah. Either way, the U.S. taxpayer gets screwed.
Eventually our banks and economy will start to recover. When they do, we would be wise to avoid another Japanese mistake – raising taxes. To counter mounting debt created by government stimulus packages, Japan increased taxes in 1997. Consumption dropped and the country’s economy collapsed.
This much is true at any part in any economic cycle. Raising taxes has historically not produced as much revenue as cutting them.
Our ad hoc approach to the banking crisis has helped financial institutions conceal losses, favoured shareholders over taxpayers, and protected senior bank managers from the consequences of their mistakes. Worst of all, it has crippled our credit system just at a time when the US and the world need to see it healthy.
What did you expect from government action taken to "fix" a crisis that it caused through its short-sightedness and ineptitude?

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