Site for Free Markets and Free People

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why the Brits Have Bad Teeth

UK dentists are now taking vacation or playing golf, having met their annual quotas already. Because they don't get paid extra above their quotas, dentists are forcing patients to wait until next year or pay for a private dentist.

It's free - and it shows.

Obama the Athlete

Barack Obama scored a 37 in bowling at a fundraiser in Pennsylvania. And apparently he had his eyes open - that's bad.

Paulson's Financial Overhaul

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced a massive overhaul of the financial regulatory bodies in the U.S. Although I haven't studied all of the specifics, my initial reaction is pretty positive. Most of the overhaul deals with how the agencies regulate banks, thrifts, the exchanges and other financial institutions.

One of the biggest changes is the elimination of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), which will be rolled into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), regulates U.S. banks. The OTS has generally had more lax regulations that the OCC, so some thrifts (primarily mortgage lenders) such as Washington Mutual might suffer from tighter regulations.

More importantly, some Democrats seem to be complaining that the government is "doing enough," which means (hoepfully) that we are not facing regulatory overkill.

Hillary's Bad History

Today's WSJ (subscription may be requred) points out some additional speaking errors Hillary made recently - about economic policy. Last week, Hillary said that "I don't think we can work our way out of the problems we're in in the broad based economy with monetary policy alone...I think the Japanese tried that and tried and tried that." No surprise that Hillary is no economist.

As the article points out, Japan was way too late in cutting rates and could not get in front of the deflation curve. No one in the U.S. today believes we are headed for deflation. More importantly, Japan used a Keynesian philosophy (partly at the recommendation of the Clinton Adminstration) to spend its way out of recession. In 1992, both the U.S. and Japan's debt was roughly 70% of GDP. After massive spending programs, Japan's debt today is approximately 140% of GDP. At the same time, Japan raised consumption taxes and assumed a quasi-bailout of large Japanse banks, which prolonged any recovery for years. And yet - despite my "willing suspension of disbelief," this is what Hillary is proposing for the U.S.

If Hillary really wanted a U.S. economic recovery, she should write all of her best ideas down on paper and then do the exact opposite of what she concludes.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who's Really Winning in Basra

The media is getting excited again at the worsening situation in Iraq, primarily due to the British pullout from Basra without making the difficult decisions the U.S. previously made in Baghdad. But as Hot Air points out, it was al Sadr who forced the ceasefire - and the side that's winning does not call for ceasefires.

Friday, March 28, 2008

EPA Says Not So Fast

The EPA has delayed a decision as to whether it should regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, saying that it should not be rushed into a hasty decision regardless of what the Supreme Court says.

Predictably, Democrats were outraged. The most ironic response comes from Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "Time is not on our side
when it comes to avoiding dangerous climate change." Ok, the planet has been around for eons, the temperature may have risen 1/2 degree over the past 100 years and yet we are supposed to think that any delayed action for a few months (or even years) is supposed to be the doom of us all?

I guess the only downside of the EPA not regulating carbon dioxide emissions is that there is no limit on the hot air that Congressional Democrats can spew.

The Bush Unliateralist Myth

Today's WSJ (subscription may be required) makes a convincing argument that, contrary to the myth coming from the MSM, President Bush has been far too multilateral in his foreign policy approaches:

Mr. Bush came under early fire after announcing that the U.S. would reject the Kyoto Protocol. Of course, the U.S. had never ratified Kyoto, and the Clinton Administration had refused even to submit it for a vote. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 not to endorse any climate change pact that didn't include China, India and other developing countries, as Kyoto didn't. Voting "aye" were Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Harry Reid, among other noted unilateralists.

Iraq is where the unilateral myth settled into media concrete. But in fact, in 2002 President Bush bucked the advice of his more hawkish advisers and agreed to take Tony Blair's advice and seek another U.N. Resolution -- was it the 16th or 17th? -- against Saddam Hussein. Resolution 1441 passed 15-0. True, the Administration failed to obtain a second resolution, not least because the French reneged on private assurances that it would agree to a second resolution if America obtained the first. But who was being unilateral there? As it was, the "coalition of the willing" that liberated Iraq included, besides the U.S. contingent, some 60,000 troops from 39 countries, who have operated under a U.N. resolution blessing their presence.

The article also goes on to describe other multilateral approaches: North Korea, Iran, Israel-Palestine, and Darfur. All miserable failures. The argument that Bush is a unilateralist is one of the biggest lies his critics have been able to promote (perhaps only behind the "Iraq had no terrorist connections" lie).

My question is: what good is multilateralism if it always fails?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obama's Economic Solution

CNBC's Maria Bartaromo interviewed Barack Obama on his economic plan. The interview is laughable. Obama admits that he would raise taxes, increase regulation and sponsor new big government programs but his rationale consists of the following:

1) His universal health care plan is going to somehow help small businesses and offset all the higher taxes;
2) Regardless of his anti-business policies, his redistribution of income will ultimately help businesses.
3) He is not a "liberal" or an "ideologue" (he simply wants to raise taxes and increase the size of the government).

Illegal Immigrant Communities Unravel

The Washington Post has this front page article today, lamenting the fact that the "Latino" (read: illegal immigrant) community is beginning to "unravel" in certain areas of northern VA due to the construction slowdown and stricter local law enforcement against illegals.

With Latinos fleeing the combined effects of the construction downturn, the mortgage crisis and new local laws aimed at catching illegal immigrants, Latino shops are on the brink of bankruptcy, church groups are hemorrhaging members, neighborhoods are dotted with for-sale signs, and once-busy strip malls have been transformed into ghost towns.

Sorry, but if communities have to pay high economic costs of illegal immigrants during a boom economy, then how costly will they be if the majority of them aren't working at all? It's too bad that some businesses might suffer, but catering to illegals is never a great business model.

Clinton's Response to Barack

I have to agree with Bill Clinton on this one. From Red State:

"If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office." (Read: Just shut up and stop whining, Barack.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Three Democrat Stooges

Three Democrat Congressmen went to Iraq prior to the war, courtesy of payments from Saddam's intelligence agency. Michelle Malkin has more.

It's interesting that Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) said at the time that the three Dems
"sound somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government."

Condi as VP?

The rumor is that Condi is on the list of possible VP candidates. More here.

I used to like Condi, but frankly she has done a pretty lousy job at the State Dept., is not a good communicator on the defense of conservative thought and generally seems too conciliatory to Democrat viewpoints, even when they are out to destroy the Administration. I hope she's not on McCain's list.

Supreme Court Swipes Down International Law

As the WSJ (subsription may be required) points out this morning, the Supreme Court decided in Medillin v. Texas, 6-3 that international treaties cannot supercede state laws or the Constitution. Thus, the International Court of Justice at the Hague (or any other UN treaty) is not enforceable if it requires new state legal duties.

Of course, Justices Breyer, Ginsberg and Souter still prefer the UN to trump the US Constitution...

Good Signs from McCain?

I agree with Ankle Biting Pundit's view of McCain's mortgage solution - namely, for government not to get too involved.

Also, as noted in the post below, Hugo Chavez is not a big fan. Finally, even the Euros are beginning to get nervous and talk about the "nostalgia" of the Bush Administration in comparison to McCain's views. (See FT's "Why We Should Fear a McCain Presidency")

The stronger the reaction against a Republican, the more I start to like him.

Chavez: Not a Fan of McCain

Venezuelan dicator Hugo Chavez has spoken up on the US presidential elections. Here is his observation:

Sometimes one says, worse than Bush is impossible, but we don't know...McCain also seems to be a man of war.

Translation: McCain's no pushover - I don't like him. Regarding Obama or Clinton - I can handle them.

Last week was Farraqan and Wright. This week Chavez. Why is it that all the terrorists, dictators, and hatemongers come out supporting Obama and Clinton?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary's Lies

Hot Air has the Hillary video, courtesy of CBS, which points out the lie of Hillary's "sniper fire" story. Does Hillary's lying really surprise anyone?

Dems Want to Indict Limbaugh

Ohio Democrats are investigating "criminal behavior" in the recent primaries, instigated by comments from Rush Limbaugh and his Operation Chaos. Limbaugh simply suggested Republicans vote for Hillary in an effort to keep the feud between her and Obama going.

Just a few problems:
1) Obama and Hillary were also trying to persuade Republicans to cross over and vote for them.
2) Democrats have done the same exact thing in Republican primaries. (Why do you think we have McCain?)
3) There is absolutely nothing illegal about voting for someone from another party.
4) Dems claim rely on an "oath" that they expect voters to adhere to: namely, upholding "Democratic values." This is plain silly - and regardless - all three candidates could fall into that category.

Benefit Programs in Trouble (Really?)

In the master of the obvious category, a new report shows that the U.S. entitlement programs are in some serious trouble over the next few decades.

What the article gets wrong is the timing. The problem actually begins in 2011 (not 2017), which is when the surplus from the Social Security account begins to decline. Because the government uses the surpluses to fund other areas of the government, it will have to come up with revenue or reduce costs elsewhere as the Social Security surplus begins to decrease.

And the Dems can't blame this one on Bush. He did his best to affect changes, but he was stymied by the intransigence of big government, Liberal tax-and-spenders. To Democrats, a "bipartisan" approach means that Republicans must come across the aisle and agree to exorbitant tax increases proposed by Liberals. And any personal accounts are strictly off limits to Liberals because it makes people less dependent on government.

The unfortunate thing is that Congress and all their staffers have their own funded pension plan
outside of the Social Security system.

Hillary's Sniper Fire Explanation

Hillary Clinton was being interviewed by a Pittsburgh radio station today and as an explanation for her exaggeration, she offered this:

"I am a human being like everybody else...and for the first time in twelve or so years I misspoke."

I haven't found the audio, but there you have it - she misspoke for the first time in more than a decade...

In case you forgot, this was Hillary's original "misspeak:"

I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the First Lady. That’s where we went.

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

US Finishes 22nd in Global "Analysis"

According to a UK study, the US ranks 22nd in a list of countries that offer prosperity and stability. Of course, the study does not explain exactly how the criteria is used and analyzed, but it takes into account "achievements and standards" like gun ownership (supposedly bad/unstable), troop deployment (bad) and likely other bogus criteria.

The UK received high marks despite the deployment of combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the suicide bombings in London on July 7, 2005, the continuing threat from home-grown terrorists and the collapse of the Northern Rock bank.

I don't even know what this means or how this analysis can be considered seriously.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Anti-war Protest at Catholic Church in Chicago

I guess this is what anti-war activists would call a "peaceful protest." Right of free speech, right?

The parishioners should have punched their lights out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Bush's Tax Cuts

Bob Novak writes that according to a Frank Luntz poll, only 14 percent of Americans support eliminating President Bush's tax cuts that are due to expire in 2011.

Go figure - let's see if McCain decides to use this in hi campaign.

Hillary Rambo Clinton in Bosnia

Hillary can do it all - real estate expert, loving housewife, world-class cattle futures trader and, according to her, a warrior dodging sniper fire in Bosnia.

Carville: Richardson = Judas

Ah yes, the party that is supposed to be able to "unify" the country is out there bickering and it's starting to get harsh.

Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.

More here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Novak: McCain to Tap Kilberg to Run Convention

According to the Politico, Bob Novak says that Sen. McCain will tap Bobbie Greene Kilberg, a liberal Republican, to run the GOP convention in Minnesota although McCain's aides apparently say that she is only an advisor at this point. The selection of Kilberg is sure to be interpreted negatively by conservative Republicans and is likely indicative of what to expect in a McCain administration.

Kilberg previously worked in the George H.W. Bush administration and is an activist for women's, Native Americans and gay rights. More biographical background can be found here.

Rev. Wright's Successor Not Much Different

Obama's pastor at the Tinity Church has caused so much controversy for Obama that you would expect his successor, Rev. Otis Moss, to repudiate some of the controversial statements of his predecessor. The problem is, he really hasn't. Powerline has more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clinton and Wright

I can't imagine this photo will help Hillary too much. Granted, Wright wasn't her pastor of 20 years, but let's face it - in a race against McCain, both Hillary and Obama are the favored candidate of terrorists everywhere.

Obama's Grandma a "Typical White Person"

Powerline has a good point. Obama's use of the words "typical white person" to describe his grandmother is not particularly PC. I don't think Hillary would take it very well if Obama called her a "typical woman" either.

Democrat Solution to Recession: Raise Taxes

Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) believes that in order to reduce oil consumption, we need to raise taxes by $.50 per gallon.

While the rest of the government is trying to figure out how to avoid a financial meltdown and/or a severe recession, some Dems think that raising your taxes might help us.

Cleveland to Investigate Crossover Republicans

Cuyahoga County is investigating Republicans who crossed over to vote in the Democrat primary a few weeks ago. Coming from the party who encourages dead people and illegal aliens to vote, this is laughable. The Democrats were allowed to select McCain as the GOP nominee, but now that some Republicans are doing the same thing, some Dems want to prosecute.

Obama Not Good With Facts

Gateway Pundit points out that, for a constitutional lawyer, Obama has a terrible misunderstanding of basic facts and showed it in his speech.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

UK Trying to Stop Animal Flatulence

Posed as a threat to the planet, cow and other farm animal flatulence is being targeted by top British researchers in an effort to stop "global warming." According to the Telegraph, scientists are trying to produce foods that result in a lower level of flatulence, which is supposedly 24 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.

No more beans with lunch...

Conyers Plans for Impeachment After Nov. Elections

Rep. John Conyers, Democrat chair of the House Judiciary Committee gave his word that he would impeach Bush and Cheney but not until after the November elections, so it doesn't make Democrats look like nutty lunatics with Bush Derangement Syndrome. Michelle Malkin has the story.

Bush Hails Iraqi Victories

While President Bush is hailing our renewed success in Iraq, Hillary just announced that we can not win in Iraq.

How can she (or Obama) become President of the U.S. when there is zero trust or faith between them and the armed forces? "Vote for me and I'll make sure you come home defeated and dispirited."

The Many Problems With Obama

By now, everyone has either seen or read his famous speech. Liberals may try to compare this to JFK's famous speech on his Catholicism. Umm - I've read Kennedy's speech, and Barack, you are no JFK!

What's wrong with his speech:
1. First, he lied. He was on Fox News Friday and said he never heard Wright use those imflammatory anti-American remarks while he was there. In his speech, he does a 180. I wonder why?

2. He tries to justify Wright's anti-American, anti-caucasion, anti-Jewish remarks. Kennedy never apologized for being a Catholic and Barack doesn't need to apolgize for his church. But there is a clear line between right and wrong and Obama needs to know this, however much he admires this very hate-filled pastor in his church.

3. Comparing his old white grandmother with Wright. The imagery that comes to mind is an old white woman in a dark alley, afraid of black youths (Barack doesn't use these words, but this is an image that comes to my mind in Barack's example). This cannot be analogous with Wright. I suppose only Barack may know how racist his own family is, but I believe most people will be pretty offended by this ridiculous comparison.

4. We're all victims! Blacks are victims because of slavery. Middle class whites are victims because of corporate America's evils. Sounds like Obama has this victimhood agenda which we're now beginning to learn about. It's hard for me to believe anyone would vote for a person who thinks we're all victims - what a mentality! Even for democrats, it's hard to believe they would subscribe to such a mentality.

Obama's speech did not need to be about race. It did need to explain why one of his best and most influential friends (by his own words) absolutely hates the USA. After all, Obama was drawn to church by this man, and after all, he does want to be President of the USA. Rather than doing this, he seemed to justify his racist, anti-American friend. Maybe this is the best way to win the presidency in a democrat's eyes. But I believe most people, even democrats must be pretty offended with Obama's justification of his friend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bob Jones Treatment vs. Jeremiah Wright Treatment

John Hawkins has a good post on the media's treatment of George Bush for his visit to Bob Jones University and compares that to the non-story of Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Obama's Elegant Farce

Victor Davis Hansen sums up Obama's "historic race speech" today pretty well: an "elegant farce." You see, we all are racist in some ways and when we study the context of Jeremiah Wright's background and upbringing, we will understand that we are just ignorant of other people's resentful thoughts.

Oh, and Reagan and conservative commentators, according to Obama, are the main culprits of promoting some racism and ignoring other racism.

And finally, if we just forget about Wright's comments and put it behind us, then Obama can be our hope and salvation. But his judgement for being great friends with an anti-American, hate-mongoring, anti-Semitic racist should not be questioned. Also, Obama admits that he was in attendance for several of Wright's inflammatory sermons, but says that everyone has disagreements about certain views of their pastors.

James Taranto at Opinion Journal didn't care for the speech either and thought Obama stuck a particularly low blow by bringing up his racist "white grandmother."

Interesting WSJ Advertising

A bit off topic.

I normally don't even look at advertising pages, but today's WSJ had two interesting ads. The first one was a full page letter to Ben Bernanke, in which (presumably) a private individual named Andy Beal from Dallas, TX wanted his views heard about the danger of the Fed buying securities in the effort to bridge a buyout of Bear Stearns. I don't have any particular insights (except that in general I agree with him), but it is a good way to get one's point across if he is willing to pay for it. Unfortunately in this case, I'm convinced the greater risk between moral hazard and inaction was inaction.

The second full page ad was a letter to Sens. McCain, Clinton and Obama from the Alzheimer's Association. The ad states, "10 Million Baby Boomers Will Get Alzheimer's. What Are you Going to do About it?" Does anyone else see what's wrong with this? Do we want the government, which brought us the New Deal, the IRS, Medicare, Social Security, etc. to be the ones responsible for curing this disease?

Andy Beal appears to be a wealthy entrepreneur, mathematician, and poker player and has previously taken out ads to get his opinion out.

Schumer's Housing Solution

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) was on CNBC this morning and suggested that it was easy for the government to stabilize the housing market. All it requires is 1) counseling for homeowners and 2) Additional money for them to refinance their homes. And of course, we shouldn't even bother debating the extension of the dividend and capital gains tax cuts.

Great idea - let's just give everyone in the country $100K and they can pay their mortgages down...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kudlow: Bear Stearns a Sacrificial Lamb

Larry Kudlow writes that Bear Stearns didn't have to go belly up, but instead could have survived if the Fed had lent a helping hand earlier. Kudlow says that since Glass-Steagall was repealed several years ago, the Fed should have modified its policies to allow broker-dealers (non-banks) receive short term funding via the Fed's discount window. Thus, Bear was unjustly punished.

Kudlow has a great point, but Bear Stearns also has itself (and its customers, whose confidence was drastically eroded) to blame for its problems. Since the credit problems began last August, Bear has had several opportunities to get rid of some of its assets and shore up its balance sheet, but decided it wasn't a great market environment to do so. And its precarious funding situation and penchant for high-risk, high-reward assets was the firm's ultimate downfall.

NASA Chief: Global Warming Like a Religion

NASA Chief Michael Griffen says that the global warming debate is akin to a matter of faith, where any disagreement on fact is compared to heresy.

Hillary's Reaction to Credit Crisis

After the Fed, Treasury and major banks have been working non-stop for the past few days to work through a major credit crisis, Hillary chimed in:

"...we've got to have more urgency."

And Hillary should know - not everyone can turn $1,000 into $100,000 in 9 months through deft cattle futures trading.

Hillary is "following the developments in our markets closely." Whew - that should reassure the markets.

Rating Agencies Attempt to CYA

The rating agencies seem to have the power to make or break the largest financial institutions in the world these days. Case in point - today Moody's downgraded Lehman's debt ratings from positive to stable because of worries over the credit crisis. This downgrade might well create additional pressures on the bank and cause further liquidity issues.

This of course, after the rating agencies (Moody's, S&P, Fitch, etc.) were nearly entirely oblivious to the mortgage problems prior to late 2007. Now they are trying to regain credibility by its caution elsewhere - downgrading as quickly as possible whenever there is a new headline.

The equivalent of an analyst coming out today and downgrading Bear Stearns because of liquidity problems...

Fed Forced to Come to the Rescue...Again

The Fed set a historic precedent this weekend by opening the discount window, normally only available to banks, to securities dealers. This allows securities firms to borrow money directly from the Federal Reserve in order to help ease liquidity problems.

It looks like an ugly day on Wall Street today and the big question is whether fear forces another institution into crisis. Many Wall Street firms, including Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, announce their quarterly earnings this week - they would do well to "inadvertently" announce them mid-afternoon today, lest fears of bankruptcies become self-fulfilling.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank, feeling insulated from U.S. economic woes, seems oblivious to the entire situation, enjoying the bask of a strong Euro. (I really don't think they will feel so insulated if major banks begin failing.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bear Stearns: From $60 to $2 in Two Days

It's official - JPMorgan offered to take over Bear Stearns for $2 per share. Whether this reassures Wall Street or unnerves it is the question of the week.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saddam's Terrorist Connections

It's a false assumption that the media has made for several years, unchallenged by the Bush Administration: that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had no terrorist connections.

In another must read article in the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes summarizes an exhaustive Pentagon report released last week about what should be headline news related to Saddam Hussein's terrorist connections. The report was based on some 600,000 documents captured in post-war Iraq and contains over 1,600 pages of "strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism."

Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda's second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq's former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.

Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam's use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime."

For more than two decades, the Iraqi regime trained non-Iraqi jihadists in training camps throughout Iraq.

In 1998, the Iraqi regime offered "financial and moral support" to a new group of jihadists in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

In 2002, the year before the war began, the Iraqi regime hosted in Iraq a series of 13 conferences for non-Iraqi jihadist groups.

That same year, a branch of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) issued hundreds of Iraqi passports for known terrorists.

"Captured documents reveal that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al Qaeda--as long as that organization's near-term goals supported Saddam's long-term vision."

And it goes on and on. So with all this evidence, why isn't the story finally getting straightened out? As Hayes explains:

What's happening here is obvious. Military historians and terrorism analysts are engaged in a good faith effort to review the captured documents from the Iraqi regime and provide a dispassionate, fact-based examination of Saddam Hussein's long support of jihadist terrorism. Most reporters don't care. They are trapped in a world where the Bush administration lied to the country about an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and no amount of evidence to the contrary--not even the words of the fallen Iraqi regime itself--can convince them to reexamine their mistaken assumptions.

It's a terrible shame that Bush's enemies can dictate these untruths without rebuttal and that is Bush's real failure. Bush believes that the history books will eventually get it right, but I doubt it if he doesn't bother to correct the record himself.

Obama Didn't Hear Pastor's Hate Speech Before?

Obama is trying to address his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, by saying that he renounces his fiery rhetoric, but insists he had never heard this type of speech before from him.

But most folks aren't buying it. In early 2007, he uninvited Wright from giving a speech specifically because his advisors knew Wright's background. Sweetness and Light has more.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Will Bear Stearns Survive?

After significant margin calls this week, Bear Stearns saw its liquidity dry up almost overnight, to a point where, if it didn't receive funds this morning, it would have closed for business.

The question is: will it survive even past this week? I think the answer is no. The bigger question is whether the markets get spooked enough to find its next target on which to give a no-confidence vote. Unfortunately, the Wall Street firms are only as liquid as investors' perceptions.

Kennedy Dumps Fuel into Nantucket Sound

Ted Kennedy might not want windmills in Nantucket Sound because it's where he goes sailing, but he apparently doesn't mind dumping oil overboard there.

Financial Panic Hits Wall Street

News of Bear Stearns facing a severe liquidity crisis has rocked Wall Street this morning. President Bush is expected to deliver a "bullish" economic address today, but I'm not sure it will do any good. In fact, he might hurt things if he hints at anything like a massive government bailout.

The one thing that could help the markets is the promise of an extension of the tax cuts, but sadly, the Dems are completely clueless.

Explaining Michelle Obama's Lack of Pride in America

In case you missed it, today's WSJ has parts of one of Jeremiah Wright's sermons. Wright has been the Obamas' pastor (and spiritual advisor) for nearly 20 years.

Listening to Wright's sermons make it easy to see why Michelle Obama would hate this country.

Obama's Earmark for Wife's Hospital

In 2004, Obama becomes a U.S. senator. Shortly thereafter, Michelle Obama's salary nearly triples at the University of Chicago Hospital. Immediately after that, Barack Obama earmarks $1 million for the hospital.

Culture of corruption? This is exactly what everyone was talking about in terms of conflict of interest and it's about as corrupt as it gets for a politician.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Obama's Pastor Downright Scary

One thing is certain - the media won't be accused of giving Obama the Mitt Romney treatment over his religion. The media (and Huckabee) made it perfectly clear that Romney is a Mormon, which obviously has theological differences with traditional Christians.

But the public is still unaware of Obama's pastor and close friend, Jeremiah Wright. He is, simply put, a hate mongering, segregationist, anti-American preacher. Perhaps this is why Michelle Obama has never been proud of her country before. Powerline has more.

Plan on Higher Taxes in 2010

It's probably stating the obvious to some folks, but Americans should begin preparing for higher tax rates, as the Senate today rejected a plan, 52-47, to extend the tax breaks beyond 2010.

Even if McCain were to win the election, it will be nearly impossible for him to prevent Congress from raising taxes, which happens automatically if nothing is passed. His only chance is to make it the centerpiece of his domestic policy and bring it up several times in every televised debate to let everyone know how much money they will be losing to the government. And that is very unlikely.

Euros: Iran Might Actually be Building a Nuke

File this under the Where Have You Been For the Past Eight Years? category, but Lord Waddington, the UK's former Homeland Secretary, now says that the ridiculously misleading NIE report might be wrong and - get this - Iran might be trying to acquire or build a nuclear weapon and they might be getting close.

Gee, thanks for the insight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Obama: The Black John Edwards

Geraldine Ferraro stepped down from the Clinton campaign after speaking the truth about Obama. But as John Hawkins points out, McCain wouldn't be where he is if he weren't a POW, Hillary wouldn't be where she is if she weren't wife of Bill and Schwarzenegger wouldn't be California's governor if he weren't an actor. The truth is that the white version of Obama is John Edwards.

Spitzer's Wife Urged Against Resigning

Silda Spitzer has been urging her husband not to resign. I'm not sure what to think of this, but is it possible that she knew some of these details already? Or did she just want to make sure she keeps her job in the government? It seems a bit odd.

Nevertheless, Spitzer is insisting this is a "private" matter.

Fallon Resigns; Paving Way for Iran Attack?

Despite his denials, Admiral Fallon's resignation appears to be due to some differences with the Bush Administration over the Middle East strategy. As today's WSJ points out, Bush might finally be realizing (after nearly eight years) that it doesn't make sense to have key members of your staff (or military) undermining your decisions.

More interesting, I wonder whether Fallon's resignation is due to the intensification of discussions about bombing Iran's nuclear sites. Some sources, including the European Commission Joint Research Center, are now saying that Iran could have a nuclear weapon as early as the end of 2008.

On that note, Debkafile claims that Admiral Fallon was also close to the leaked NIE report that falsely claimed that Iran no longer had a nuclear program - likely as an effort to dissuade any potential attack from either the U.S. or Israel. At a minimum, it's not a stretch to believe that Fallon didn't mind the having the NIE report leaked if it meant that world opinion would be more likely to oppose any attack on Iran.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Romney: McCain is the "Big Dog"

In a classic quote from Mitt Romney via Politico:

Listening to Obama and Clinton discuss their national security credentials, Romney said, is akin to "listening to two chihuahuas argue about which is the biggest dog."

"When it comes to national security, John McCain is the big dog, and they are the chihuahuas," he said.

The question is: does being associated with McCain help or hurt Romney's presidential ambitions?

McCain Slams Rep. King

True to form, McCain slammed Rep. King's comments about terrorists "dancing in the streets" if Obama is elected. (Should that surprise anyone? Dems are arguing for the same thing that the terrorists want: to pull out of Iraq and the Middle East and give up on Israel in favor of the Islamic radicals who want to destroy it.)

If McCain has any chance of winning this fall, he should spend more time pointing out differences between him and the Democrats rather than bashing conservatives who speak the truth.

Media Urged to Restrain Themselves Re: Spitzer

I have heard a few clips on the news about the media needing to act with restraint in the Eliot Spitzer scandal. (By the way, since I haven't heard many people mention his party affiliation, Spitzer is a Democrat.) For example, Jon Friedman of Marketwatch says that the media needs to think of Spitzer's wife and kids and act with restraint. In other words, don't be too tough on Spitzer.

I wonder why the media didn't urge the same "restraint" with Mark Foley or Larry Craig. Hmm...

Ferraro: Obama in this Position Because He's Black

Geraldine Ferraro believes that Obama is only in the Presidential contest because he is black. Hmmm...let's see if she gets the Rush Limbaugh "racist" treatment on ESPN when he made a similar comment about Donovan McNabb a few years back.

Fed Coming to Banks' Rescue

The Federal Reserve announced a new lending program for banks to help ease the credit crisis. The Term Securities Lending Facility will allow banks to borrow an additional $200 billion for up to 28 days and use AAA mortgage securities as collateral.

In addition, the Fed is expected to cut rates an additional 75 basis points next week at its FOMC meeting.

The Not-So-Green Governator

Gov. Schwarzenegger likes to preach his greenness, but unfortunately he doesn't come close to practicing it. Ahnold is now commuting to Sacramento every day in his Gulfstream jet.

This is his money and he should be able to spend it as he chooses. Unfortunately, this is just another sad case of politicians creating a set of rules for themselves while passing another set for everyone else. (Sorry Al Gore, but your buying "carbon offsets" doesn't reduce the CO2 that you seem to find so damaging.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spitzer's Prostitution Problem

Democrat NY Governor Eliot Spitzer appears to be in BIG trouble. It is on Drudge that Spitzer is or was involved in a prostitution ring.

It looks like Spitzer will indeed make "ethics" a centerpiece of his administration...only not how he envisioned.

Reports are that he will resign. How about some jail time?

By the way, I find it ironic that Hank Greenberg was on CNBC this morning as a guest host - it's only fitting on the day of Spitzer's potential disgraceful exit...

*Update 2*
Will Hillary make sure that he is still allowed to cast his superdelegate vote for her?

*Update 3*
Michelle Malkin writes about what Spitzer was up to this morning before his life-changing news broke.

Wall Street: "There is a God."

Obama's Flip Flop on Iraq

The Boston Globe calls it an "evolving view," but Obama's claims today that we should pull out of Iraq immediately are directly contrary to what he said in 2004.

In July of 2004, the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.

"The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster," he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session. "It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died. . . . It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective."

Obama can hold any positions he wants, but to suggest that he has always been consistent is ridiculous. The American Thinker has the "evolution" of Obama's various positions since the war began.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Al Gore Prospers in Bush Economy

In 2000, Al Gore was worth somewhere between $780,000 and $1.9 million. Today he is worth "well in excess of $100 million."

The Bush economy seems to have been pretty good to him.

Friday, March 07, 2008

U of Wisconsin Contemplating Marxist Pricing

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is contemplating formally adopting Marxism to determine its tuition fees ("From each according to his means..."). To some extent, colleges and universities have always used family income as a determinant of what to charge, but now they are considering making it formal policy. It's no wonder that Congress couldn't care less that college tuition has been rising 3x the inflation rate over the past 30 years.

Embracing Marxism - at least they are practicing what they preach...

Jamie Dimon: Democrats are the Worst

JP Morgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon wins the quote of the day yesterday. He blasted Obama and Hillary for vilifying corporations:

"I'm a Democrat," "The Democrats are the worst."

Well said.

George McGovern the Conservative

If George McGovern were running for office today, he would likely be seen as a conservative Democrat. In today's WSJ, McGovern talks some sense about the necessity of the consumer's freedom to choose - among mortgages, health care and yes, even payday loans. He argues that the people who are ultimately helped by choice are those at the bottom of the pay scale.

Hard to believe that a Democrat can talk some sense, but it really does happen occasionally.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rush Helps Hillary Win Texas

Hillary may have to thank Rush Limbaugh for her TX victory yesterday, as it appears many Republicans decided to let the Democrat brouhaha continue for a while and voted for Hillary.

When asked about this on Fox & Friends, Hillary responded to Rush, "Be careful what you wish for." Funny indeed.

On another note, John McCain is the luckiest man alive - perhaps he's due after his time in Vietnam, but first it took a perfect confluence of events for him to get the GOP nomination. Now, he can enjoy a 7-week long fight between Hillary and Obama leading up to the PA vote. They are essentially handing him a script for the general election.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Clinton: Voting Irregularities in OH, TX

True to form, Democrats are arguing about voting "irregularities," including a judge forcing precincts in predominantly black Cleveland to stay open late and a dispute in Texas about vote tampering in TX.

This fight among Dems is very enjoyable...I have to admit, they are both correct that the other is weak, crooked and unequipped to be President.

Some will remember that a Cuyahoga County, OH judge made similar extensions for Cleveland voters in 2006, where Dem Senator Sherrod Brown took his lead from the GOP. Many argue that 2006 was a Democrat test to see how far they could go with this type of urban strategy in the upcoming 2008 election.

McCain Wins; GOP Learning Wrong Lesson?

A few members of the FoxNews panel seem to be drawing the conclusion that the most important thing to McCain's victory was his ability to draw independents and Democrats. Of course they forget that two conservatives were battling for the conservative vote while McCain had the liberal/Democrat/Independent votes to himself.

What I'm afraid will happen is that future GOP races will use McCain's win as an excuse to put up "moderates" rather than conservatives and say that this is the best/only way for Republicans to get elected.

Liberals Admit Dems Would Damage Foreign Relations

Fareed Zakaria, a liberal journalist, admits that for all of the Dems' rhetoric about "improving our relations abroad," the truth is that their trade policies would damage foreign relationships much more than the warm relations of the Bush Administration.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Democrats Now Want to OK Public Management Teams

Charles Schumer now believes that it's the business of Congress to OK the selection of corporate executives of public firms.

In a letter to Bank of America's chairman Ken Lewis, Schumer is putting pressure on the company to re-think its appointment of David Sambol to run BofA/Countrywide's mortgage business.

I wonder what Schumer's views are on the new mailroom clerk at Citibank...

Canada Exposes Obama Lie

According to the American Thinker, a Canadian government memo points out that Obama's campaign did actually speak with a Canadian official about Obama's promise to do away with Nafta. Obama has denied these claims of any conversation.

Now Obama is saying that a conversation took place, but the Canadian official misunderstood the conversation.

Ahmadinejad a Democrat?

I'm pretty sure we all know who the Iranian leader would vote for if he were in the U.S. He says that U.S. troops should immediately pull out of Iraq.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Another Oscar Winner's Conspiracy

Marion Cotillard, some French woman who won an Oscar this year and is supposedly the next great actress, apparently is also the next great conspiracy theorist who doesn't believe that 9/11 happened as explained. She will fit right in with Hollywood.