Monthly Archives: December 2011

I was recently asked to write an Op-Ed column explaining “What Motivates a Tea Party Member” Here is my response.

What really motivates the TP believer …even deep down in their deepest darkest areas …will no doubt disappoint all of you. Very simply:

They like it here (in the USA), by and large they have lived their lives responsibly, paid their bills, made their choices and lived with the consequences…even if they were the wrong ones. The idea of our current debt boggles their minds and the degree of irresponsibility it took to get us here; by members of both parties… offends every fiber of their soul. They had always stayed on the sidelines and not involved themselves politically (except to vote), because by and large their way of life wasn’t profoundly affected and things kept moving forward in an acceptable way. Under Bush the debt grew larger which woke some people up, and 9/11 woke up even more, all to the reality that their way of life was being threatened. Then came Afghanistan, and after that, Iraq and the rest finally came out from under the ether and they all looked around at the role the USA was playing in the world, our eroding freedoms and our unsustainable level of debt. One by one these people woke up to the reality of a different America than they have ever known…didn’t recognize and definitely didn’t like.

This new America:
– Valued illegal immigrant workers ahead of our own legal workers, this new USA
– Ignored laws on the federal level it didn’t want to enforce and enforced only the ones it wanted too, this new country
– Had allowed political correctness to swing the pendulum too far in the wrong direction:
– By offering DMV exams in 26 different languages,
– By ignoring, and in many cases denouncing US exceptionalism,
– By giving billions of dollars in aid to countries who hated our guts and promoted violence against us,

The educational system they woke up too:
– Spent all of their time indoctrinating their children and grandchildren according to left wing ideas on social issues that they felt should not be taught, or championed in the schools.
– And to the degree they were unavoidable, should reflect their values and the values of the majority instead of the minority…and all of this indoctrination was coming at the expense of the actual learning children are supposed to be doing in school as reflected in our dropping test scores.
– They saw a wholesale repudiation of their values and the values they know were the foundation this country was started on and over its 200 years what made it great.

They woke up and looked at where their tax money was going and didn’t like it at all, they discovered that:
– 25% of Americans now collected food stamps

– We have created an entire generation of dependent people, which, with the birth of their next generation had established an entire dependent class of people.

– They saw bailout after bailout of their money being voted on and approved by the leaders who were supposed to be representing them…but clearly weren’t

– They saw public employee unions who had organized public employees against the public they served.

In a nutshell, once they realized where this country had gone and was still headed, they saw their freedoms taken away (for their own good) every time they went thru an airport, they saw with Obama, a man who was not who he claimed to be and who did not represent anything they held to be true, a man incapable of telling the truth about anything and who’s recipe for America was a recipe for disaster. It had nothing to do with race …it had everything to do with what they and we feel is necessary to protect our values, our place in the world, and our way of life ….The bad guy to the tea party is the one they can have the most immediate and most dramatic power over …and that is a government filled with leaders who based upon the job they have done so far …aren’t fit to lead a girl scout troop, to cut off governments blank check, force it to live within it’s means (just like we all do) and to return the power to the people that the government has slowly taken away.

In short they want to pull the plug on this runaway train and not allow it to be plugged back in until it is heading in the right direction and it’s problems are on their way to being fixed. How can anyone be against that? And how can anyone sit back marinating in the false facts, beliefs, and motives the left  has decided they possess and mis-characterize them the way they do …the left is welcome to not support their agenda of bringing greatness and respect back to this country but is it really necessary to vilify them with bad information, false choices, mistaken impressions and all out lies the way they do?

We are 15 trillion dollars in debt! …what part of that are we supposed to like? Then to add insult to injury BHO submits his budget which has 1.6 trillion dollar annual deficits forecast out as far as you can see? He even had the nerve to stand up and tell us all that the healthcare plan would reduce the deficit …a claim he knew wasn’t true when he said it. If you think the deficits from the Reagan era were ‘colossal” then how can you continue to vote for BHO who has added more red ink to the books than any other president ever…and he has only been at it 3 yrs and not 8. Reagan increased the deficit from 1 to 3 trillion but he lowered it as a % of GNP from 6.3% to around 3% of GNP by growing the economy and adding 20 million jobs! If I get to choose between what Obama has done and what Reagan did then please sign me up for Reagan.

Tea Partiers aren’t trying to live in the past …they are simply drawing on the collective and cumulative wisdom of the people who have come before us. Tea Partiers aren’t trying to defend a moment in time but a system of values and relationships; of priorities and responsibilities. We aren’t trying to stifle progress only in preserving a structure that was designed to see us thru good times and bad

How can some people point their fingers and call names at those who are simply pointing out that the direction this country is going is absolutely unsustainable and rather than empowering a giant government in order to save everyone …where we are heading gets us nothing but a government who can help no one. The biggest threat to SS and Medicare Medicaid isn’t a GOP candidate running for office …it’s the leftists of this country being allowed to rocket us down the path to financial collapse

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Too Big to Regulate: “Engineering the Financial Crisis” a review by Jonathan Finegold Catalán

Here is a great review of a book which I consider to be the most inciteful of all of the books I have read on this topic by my friend Jonathan Finegold Catalán.  The book takes a position which is contrary to the MSM and left wing blather of ‘under regulation’ and being too nice and complacent to the abuses of  greedy wall street banksters, and also avoids embracing the overly simplistic idea that  free markets, left alone, always produce optimal results. Instead the authors conclude that “hey, the global economy is a very complex beast and people make mistkes…even when their decisions flow from relatively rational proceses.

I would have liked to see this short (150 pages) book spend more time discussing the role of the non commercial banks (like Countrywide and AIG). People with a limited knowledge base on the subject of bank regulation may find it to be pretty dry reading and will most certainly fail to appreciate the issues raised in this book. Suffice it to say that these guys get to the heart of what caused the financial crisis better than anyone else. Why is it important for us to understand the real causes of this crisis:

“because once one recognizes that ” deregulated ” capitalist finance did not cause the crisis, but rather that regulatory ignorance and ideology, apparantly transmitted to the regulators by modern democracy‘s most trusted academic experts, may have caused it, one has to wonder whether modern democracy has a potentially fatal flaw: the mistakes that may flow from the cognitive limitations of modern democracy’s all-too -human decision makers”. (p.153)

That said …..Here is Jonathan’s review (Cross-posted over at the Mises blog.)

TOO BIG TO REGULATE

“The Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada re-publishes my review of Jeffrey Friedman’s and Wladimir Kraus’ Engineering the Financial Crisis.  I call the book “undoubtedly one of the best books written yet on the causes of the Great Recession” — simply stated, there are few scholars who have done the amount of historical research Friedman and Kraus committed themselves to (that being said, much of the book’s thesis, admittedly, is based on a number of journal articles published in a special 2009 issue on the financial crisis in the Critical Review journal).

The authors may not consider themselves “Austrian,” or at least may not necessarily sympathize with the entire corpus of Austrian theory, but Engineering the Financial Crisis is extremely compatible with the broader Austrian theory of intertemporal discoordination (malinvestment).  The authors also borrow from and develop a particularly Austrian insight: radical uncertainty. Both Friedman and Kraus vehemently believe that, generally speaking, bankers had no idea that their assets would collapse, and thus discard the possibility that the financial crisis was caused by malintentioned financiers.

READ THE REST OF IT AND MANY OF HIS OTHER GREAT INSIGHTS HERE AT HIS BLOG

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Obituary for Common Sense….

Obituary for Common Sense

reposted from Jim Needham …author unknown.  on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:03pm
 
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common  Sense , who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure  how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red  tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: 

 – Knowing when to come in out of the rain; 

– Why the early bird gets the worm; 

– Life isn’t always fair; 

– And maybe it was my fault. 

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge) His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after  lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. 

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. 

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. 

Common Sense finally gave up  the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a  huge settlement. 

Common Sense was preceded in death,

 -by his parents, Truth and Trust,

 -by his wife, Discretion,

 -by his daughter, Responsibility,

 -and by his son, Reason

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers; 

– I Know My Rights 

– I Want It Now 

– Someone Else Is To Blame 

– I’m A Victim

– Pay me for Doing Nothing 

 Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My earlier statement crediting this article’s authorship to Jim Needham was my mistake. Thanks CEJ

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Breaking => NYTimes Poll: Ron Paul #1 in Iowa with 52%!- But What About His Foreign Policy? …The Answer

Republicans better decide who they dislike more: Ron Paul or Obama. If they don’t make Ron Paul the candidate Obama will win because Paul’s base will not vote for another Republican, even if he doesn’t run as a 3rd party candidate.

If he does decide to run as a 3rd party candidate they have 0 chance to win. There are only 2 outcomes: Paul or Obama. If nobody had heard of Paul, Romney’s best showing would be a win by a small margin. Ron Paul’s base is much bigger than that margin. Game Over! wordlyfe

So, you’d vote for Ron Paul if it weren’t for his wacky foreign policy?

U.S. military veterans and active duty soldiers overwhelmingly support Ron Paul for President in 2012. Find out why.

This video explains why they support Ron Paul so overwhelmingly, including a discussion of “blowback” resulting from U.S. interventionist foreign policy.

DOWNLOAD THE .MOV FILE OF THIS VIDEO AND BURN TO DVD:

sendspace(dot)com/file/zrwz13

Special thanks to Chris Rye (creator of the “For Liberty” documentary) and Veterans for Ron Paul.

Music: “Catastrophe and the Cure” by Explosions in the Sky; “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You

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Insiders use the college bowl system to loot American universities

As I sat obediently watching another college football bowl game being played in front of a non existent crowd my mind drifted (as it often times does) as I tried to conjure up some possible way these games could possibly make financial sense to their promoters. What I found shocked me so profoundly I find myself writing a column on college football … something I would have bet anyone would never happen. My conclusion: These “Bowl Games” are one of the biggest, sanctioned, financial rip-offs of higher education dollars ever conceived by clear thinking people.

“Yeah we had a great season and earned the honor of playing in the NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL and if we would have lost we would have gone to the Chick-fil-A BOWL, the FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL or the GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL!” So what! If I were an athletic director I would have been tempted to tell my team to lose the last few games or do something to be banned from post season play in order to save the students and the taxpayers from being fleeced by college football insiders who have taken the art of sanctioned theft, gift wrapped up and marketed it as an honor that college football teams should strive for…huh?

Let’s take a closer look…

The Miami News Herald described the Orange Bowl as “a rat’s nest of corruption and waste” Ostensibly a nonprofit, the South Florida organization that runs the game was named last year in a complaint to the IRS for spending $535,000 on gifts, $40,000-plus on golf outings, and more than a million bucks in salary for its top executives, all while giving only a fraction of the cash the festivities earn back to local charities” and that’s one of the good ones!

College football is the only sport that gives away its postseason revenues. The business model is akin to Walmart keeping its profits for the first ten months of the year and then letting Target pick up its holiday sales.

Check out this article detailing how college football hucksters and middlemen strip mine millions of higher education dollars out of well meaning universities to line their own pockets every single year supporting a system that is ill conceived at best and broken and criminal at worse.

Insiders use the college bowl system to loot American universities

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Barack Obama Throws Bill Clinton, and 30 Years of History Under the Bus

EE at Redstate.com hits this one out of the park. The only question I have is where is the MSM on this and why are bloggers the only ones left with the stones to call out Obama when he gives taxpayer funded campaign speeches filled with revisionist history and outright lies?

Barack Obama Throws Bill Clinton Under the Bus

Posted by Erick Erickson (Diary)

Thursday, December 15th at 4:47AM EST
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Historically when the left takes power in a country they begin to rewrite their history. Barack Obama, a quintessential leftist, has started doing that in the run up to his re-election. In his speech in Kansas last week, Obama claimed that at no time in our history had we ever spurred economic growth and prosperity by cutting taxes and deregulating.

He conveniently had to overlook John F. Kennedy’s tax cutting in the 1960′s. But more importantly and more relevantly, he had to ignore the Reagan Revolution of the 1980′s that brought about an explosion of economic growth. As Newt Gingrich pointed out yesterday, in one month in 1983 the Reagan Recovery generated more than one million new jobs.

Barack Obama and the Left must dismiss and gloss over this point. They must fixate on income inequality. They must fixate on poverty. Never mind that all levels of society saw benefit from the Reagan Revolution. While it was not equal, the overwhelming number of Americans alive at the time saw their standard of living go up.

The left would respond by arguing that it went up too much for some and not enough for others. What they are actually saying is that they’d rather it had not gone up at all then to see some get even richer. While, as Reagan noted, the right measures the success of a welfare program by how many people are able to get off it, the left measures the success of welfare programs by how many people get on it.

And so it is that Barack Obama has to throw Bill Clinton under the bus to make his case for re-election. In an interview with WVEC-TV, Barack Obama claims he has no responsibility for the present economic mess. In addition to the rise of ATM’s and the internet killing jobs, he said, “We didn’t create the condition. We haven’t solved it fully yet because it was three decades in the making.”

Three decades back was 1981, the year Ronald Reagan came to office. And that “three decades in the making” covers Bill Clinton’s term, which until yesterday had been heralded as a success by the Democrats.

But it cannot be a success to Barack Obama. It must be written out of the history books and pretended to have never happened.

Obama must do this because, as I noted, the left measures the success of government welfare programs by the number of people who are on them. The welfare rolls in this country have been growing exponentially. As Newt Gingrich called him, Barack Obama is a food stamp President and Obama is really, really proud of it. He views the social safety net as working.

But Bill Clinton did not. Clinton, to win re-election, swung right. He cut the welfare rolls and reformed welfare. The Democrats have been chomping at the bit ever since to undo those reforms and, during the two years where Obama had a Democrat controlled Congress, they succeeded in part.

It’s not just that though. In addition to reforming welfare, Clinton and the GOP balanced the budget — a feat Obama has been unable to do. Bill Clinton actually cut spending to balance the budget — something Barack Obama is unwilling to do.

CONTINUED AT RS REDSTATE.COM

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Bill Clinton allowed derivatives for the banks to indebt the United States (contrary to the warnings of our founding fathers)


“Banking was conceived in iniquity, and born in sin. Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear. And, they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be the slaves of the bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money, and control credit.”
– ABRAHAM LINCOLN

In the last decade, we experienced the growth of the greatest number and size of asset bubbles in history made possible by a bubble in instruments that Warren Buffett has labeled “financial weapons of mass destruction.” Now that this mother of all bubbles is breaking, who can afford to pick up the tab? (For definitions, please see the glossary at the end of the article.)

In 1999 Bill Clinton Repealed FDR’d Glass Steagall Act Allowing Off Shore Banks To Indebt The U.S. By Constructing empty ‘derivatives’ for mortgage lending.

It is the stuff of which legends are made. A get-together of finance geniuses in 1994 in Florida from JP Morgan (JPM), all brainstorming on ways to increase the amount of money the bank could loan. How could it find a way to free up more capital to loan and make more in fees?

The answer was simplicity itself. Create an insurance policy in which a third party (investor) would assume the loan risk in exchange for regular premiums from the bank. The bank got what it wanted – remove the loan from its books, freeing up money to make more loans. In return for helping out, the investor got paid for taking the risk in a derivative instrument called a credit default swap. It seemed like a match made in heaven.

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace, and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies, all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes.

I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. [As a further undesirable consequence of the war…] Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”
–President Lincoln

Before long, according to Newsweek, investors were being encouraged to buy into riskier emerging markets in Russia and Latin America insuring debt. In the wake of Enron and WorldCom, it became obvious that there was a need for this type of insurance and the industry was well on its way. By 2000, the CDS market had passed the $100 billion mark and by 2004 it had grown to more than $8 trillion, an 8000% increase. It was just the beginning.
The Perfect Petri Dish

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in 2001 and kept cutting them into 2004 in an effort to avert the fallout from the bursting of the internet bubble, it created the perfect environment for a new series of bubbles and real estate was a major beneficiary. Demand for mortgages went through the roof as hordes rushed to buy property.

Banks hobbled by capital reserve restrictions that limited them to $10 in loans for every $1 on deposit needed help in expanding their mortgage businesses and CDSs were the perfect vehicle. Wall Street had come to the aid of Main Street and terms like collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBSs) became new catch phrases in the lexicon of mortgage finance terminology.

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Figure 1 – Credit derivative swaps are now the fastest growing segment of the derivatives market. These instruments traded in the billions in 2000. In 2007, credit derivative swaps (CDS) totaled $62.17 trillion up from $34.42 trillion in 2006.
New financial vehicles led to mortgage tranches in which thousand and in some cases millions of individual mortgages were pooled together by banks into CDOs and resold to Wall Street firms. Rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Fitches and Moody’s also got into the act to provide financial opinions as to the soundness of these nascent mortgage instruments which were in turn insured by CDSs to offset the risk.
But these instruments were only part of the story. Credit derivatives have been issued for everything from credit card, small business and student loan debt to aircraft loans.
Since it was nearly impossible for the investor to access the creditworthiness of a pool of a million mortgages or loans, Wall Street financial engineers thought it prudent to get a second opinion. Engaging the rating agencies was a brilliant marketing strategy. As it turns out, it was nearly impossible for rating agencies to assess the true risk of these instruments as well but I’m getting ahead of myself.

THE REST OF THIS STORY IS HERE
http://politicalvelcraft.org/2011/12/15/bill-clinton-allowed-derivatives-for-the-banks-to-indebt-the-united-states-contrary-to-the-warnings-of-our-founding-fathers/

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