Saturday, June 19, 2010

US Turns Down Help Re Oil Spill

Sean Reilley of al.com (h/t Glenda McGee) points out that:

"Some 28 foreign countries and international organizations have offered help in responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but the bulk of those overtures remain "under consideration," according to a tally posted on the U.S. State Department's website."

Obama's been doing such a great job, no wonder his State Department can take months to respond to offers.

Debate in the New York RLC Regarding Carl Paladino


The New York Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) has had a debate concerning its endorsing Carl Paladino and the group decided not to endorse him.  I had led the pro-Paladino argument but was unable to convince the group.  First, one of the members supports the New York GOP's gubernatorial designate,  Rick Lazio, despite irreparable damage to Lazio's credibility because of his involvement as a lobbyist for JP Morgan during the bailout. JP Morgan paid Lazio a $1.3 million bonus. He does a good job of claiming that he is for less government, though.

The other issue was distasteful e-mails that Carl Paladino sent to friends.  When Barack Obama ran for president his associations with racists like Jeremiah Wright and terrorists like Bernadette Devlin and Bill Ayers were downplayed and ignored except on Fox, the Progressive (as opposed to the progressive) TV station. 

Progressivism with a capital "P" was the version of "state activist liberalism" to which William Howard Taft adhered.  Theodore Roosevelt ran for president against Taft in 1912, almost 100 years ago, aiding Woodrow Wilson, who was elected and who established the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. That was the first  battle between the progressives (Roosevelt and Wilson) and the Progressives (Taft).  Progressivism with a small p is the new name that social democrats  adopted when the public realized that their ideas, which had been labeled liberal, had failed.  The social democrats stopped lying by calling themselves liberal and began lying by calling themselves progressive. The difference between Progressivism and progressivism is that Progressives believe that your money should be wasted by giving it to incompetently run banks while progressives also believe that your money should be wasted by giving it to incompetently run banks but that a portion should be donated to incompetently run entitlement programs.  The one area where both GOP Progressives and Democratic progressives agree:  bankers must receive welfare checks from the Fed, and if that's not enough, directly from the US Treasury. 

Since Ron Paul opposes big government, none of the networks, Progressive or progressive, supported him. The Progressive media covered the apparent associations Ron Paul has had with anti-Semites like Don Black, the head of Stormfront (see photo above).  Paul did not deny the evidence, which may or may not have been spurious, posted on Little Green Footballs and discussed in the now-defunct New York Sun.  Moreover, the accusations of anti-Semitism did not inhibit widespread support for Paul in the Libertarian movement. Despite my deep concerns about Paul in this regard, I did vote for him in the GOP presidential primary and supported him.

Paladino's e-mails are less damaging than either Obama's associations with Wright, Ayers and Pfleger or Paul's ongoing support from a wide range of anti-Semites.  Yet, despite the libertarian movement's unflagging support for Paul (with which, in fact, I agree because Paul is the only consistently small government candidate) he has not addressed nor repudiated the associations. In contrast, Paladino has.

Looking at the progressive media's coverage of the e-mails, Huffington Post wrote on April 12 that the e-mails:

>"run the gamut from your standard email chain smut to greatly disturbing racist imagery. Many of the latter type of emails targeted President Obama and his wife Michelle.

>Ahead of Obama's swearing-in ceremony, Paladino sent around a video entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal." The video shows an African tribesman dancing, and is apparently popular among white supremacists.

>An email with the subject line "Proof the Irish discovered Africa" containing a video of monkeys that appear to be doing a Riverdance-style jig.

>A video of a naked woman sent from a government email account.

>A bestiality video involving a horse and a woman.

>A photo of Barack and Michelle depicted as a pimp and a ho.

Much of this is tasteless and childish. As well, it plays on common prejudices and racism. But none involves systematic advocacy of institutionalized racism characteristic of Barack Obama's associates and Ron Paul's supporters for which neither has apologized and which neither has repudiated. In the video below Paladino declares that he is not a racist. Paul never addressed the accusations of anti-Semitism, nor did Obama.

Why would the Republican Liberty Caucus reject the one serious candidate in the past 50 years who publicly states he will cut government by 20%?  I heard him say this in a town hall meeting in Columbia County. No other Republican has had the courage to make such a statement, including members of the Republican Liberty Caucus in New York.  The matter is also complicated by the indifference the same RLC members have displayed toward allegations concerning Ron Paul's anti-Semitism.

One explanation is the deference and sense of inadequacy many libertarians and conservatives harbor toward their unconsciously thought "betters."  Professors, judges, bankers, the New York Times, the Economist, are all part of the P/progessive machine. To reject their smears, innuendo and propaganda requires courage.  Many libertarians still consume pro-bank propaganda sources like network television, the Times and the Economist.

Second, some members of the RLC are more concerned with a successful political career than with combining such a career with the costs of an ongoing commitment to freedom.  They will not support a candidate more likely to push the state and the nation in the direction of greater freedom if it means personal sacrifice.

Third, the libertarian movement is a cult.  Paul is leader of the cult. Paladino is an outsider and so is unpalatable to the cult's members.

Fourth, there may be lingering anti-Semitism in the libertarian movement whereby Paul's possible anti-Semitism, which he does not repudiate, is a matter of indifference but forwarding racist e-mails which the forwarder subsequently repudiates and for which he apologizes is a major offense.

Paladino is willing to put at least $10 million of his own money into the race AND he says he will cut government by 20%.  Yet, the New York Republican Liberty Caucus is unwilling to support him.  Perhaps it is unsurprising that a liberty movement like this, faced with Democrats who march in uniform goose step behind their bigoted candidates, has repeatedly failed. 

Gold Hits Record High

The Street.com reports that gold hit a record high (in nominal dollars) at $1258.30 per ounce.  I view this as a speculative market driven by fear of global monetary collapse and short term investors.  I doubled my gold holding on the hunch that the bubble will continue for at least a few weeks although the market could collapse at any time.  Nevertheless, "expert" gold investors  on Kitco often quote an old saying "sell in May and go away" until the fall. But here it is mid-June and the gold market is breaking new highs.  This seems to be a very strong bull market.

As I noted a few days ago, other commodities are not bubbling like gold.  Silver has its advocates and it went up more than two percent today, but it is not moving as fast as gold.  Nor is there inflation.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there was 0.2% deflation in May although prices increased 2.0 percent year over year.  These numbers are likely understated as the CPI statistics are biased against inflation to minimize social security increases.

There is reason to fear monetary collapse.  The debt that the US government is issuing will need to be repaid. If interest rates rise, then the repayments will become burdensome.  That will put pressure on the Fed to continue inflating.  If it does, foreign bond holders may sell, which would stimulate further inflation.

Modest commodity price increases in other areas suggest that other commodities may be better long term holdings than gold.   The DBA, DBC and SLV, agricultural, commodity and silver indexes, may be less speculative and require less buying and selling.  El Dorado Gold, which I sold at about 17 is now at 18 and going strong.

I don't invest more in gold than I can afford to lose half  in the short term.   In the long term gold will likely go up.  It does not seem that the centralized money supply is a system that will last.  Throughout history monetary collapse has been accompanied by inflation.  Another alternative would be the bankruptcy of the federal government. 

Americans should fear any impetus toward global centralization of the money supply.  Much as the Greek economy has dogged Germany do we really want to deal with Venezuela's economic problems, as bad as America's are?

Bill Gates and Depopulation

On a tangentially related front, there is a video circulating that has Bill Gates saying that he would like to depopulate the world. Gates holds that vaccines will cause lower population. "If you reduce childhood deaths population growth goes down."  However, the fixation on population control is like marijuana (so they say)--it leads to stronger stuff.  When the vaccines are distributed, then restrictions on human reproduction are sure to follow. The video below argues that vaccines are not enough to reduce infant mortality in the Third World.  Undrinkable water, for example, causes a large share of deaths.  So why use vaccines to reduce population? And if vaccines fail to reduce population, what do Bill Gates and the UN next have up their sleeve?

The depopulation issue seems to be related to the monetary issue. Just as government mismanagement leads the greedy government officials to call for more power, so the mismanagement of public health leads to ever greater calls for repression by health officials.  Both lead to increasing centralization. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

David Malpass and Bear Stearns

I just received an e-mail from Robert Cole of the David Malpass for Senate campaign.  Obviously, Malpass is preferable to Gillibrand and most likely to the GOP's Bruce Blakeman.  The Sun has endorsed him.  He has free market credentials.  My problem with him is his association with Bear Stearns. The firm was allowed to die, but that doesn't change the likelihood that his years on the Street have shaped Malpass's attitudes toward government welfare for bankers.  I wrote  Mr. Cole the following message:

Dear Rob: I wrote to the Malpass campaign via its secure e-mail server and no one responded. Perhaps you can answer my question. I'd like to support Mr. Malpass because of the New York Sun's endorsement but I have one concern, which is his association with Bear Stearns. What is his position on (a) the bailout of 2008-9 (b) the Fed (c) further subsidies to banking. Thanks, Mitchell Langbert.

Cole's e-mail follows:

----- Original Message -----

From: Rob Cole

To: mlangbert@hvc.rr.com
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 6:10 PM
Subject: The Strategy
Dear Mitchell,

This is Rob Cole, David Malpass’ senior campaign advisor – and partner with The Shawmut Group, which most recently guided now-Senator Scott Brown’s campaign to victory. I’m writing you today to ask for your support – financial or otherwise – and give you an update on where things stand with David’s campaign for U.S. Senator here in New York.

Momentum

Considering that David has never run for office, the rate at which his campaign has gained momentum since he announced his candidacy in mid-April has been miraculous.

A skilled economist, a former Treasury and State Department official with top-secret security clearance, and a political outsider who nevertheless possesses a deep understanding of federal budgeting issues – David Malpass has unique strengths that make him an ideal candidate for U.S. Senate at a time when concerns about the economy and dissatisfaction with the elected officials are at an all-time high.

David emerged from the June 1-3 GOP convention firing on all pistons – he won the support of 33 out of 62 counties, and handily secured a primary ballot spot.

The outcome of the convention was very encouraging, as it evidenced that David has strong appeal within the party, and proved that he has the political skills necessary to wage an aggressive campaign.

In the past two months, David has traveled to nearly every county in New York, and spoken with thousands of people along the way. The feedback has been consistent:

Job growth and national security are the most pressing issues;

The people of New York are not satisfied with their current representation, and they are angered by Kirsten Gillibrand’s unconditional support of Obama’s costly agenda to expand the federal government;

The time has come for upheaval against Washington’s tax-and-spend culture.

David has the right message to prevail in November.

David’s supporters are growing more numerous by the day, and speaking with their pocket books. Within 24 hours of David announcing that he had won one a place on the primary ballot, the campaign received over $100,000 in contributions.

This summer, we are going to be campaigning hard all across the state – through direct mail and the internet, at county fairs, on radio and TV shows.

Given that there are just under two months between the primary and the November 4th general election, David will need to campaign for both simultaneously. That means not giving unelected incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand the free ride the White House thinks she deserves, and that means speaking out loudly about the many ways that she has failed to stand up for New York.

Opposition

David’s opponent in the primary is Bruce Blakeman, a lawyer and serial candidate who previously served as Nassau County supervisor.

During his tenure as supervisor, Blakeman oversaw the largest single property tax increase in Nassau County history.

Blakeman was overwhelming rejected by New Yorkers in his 1998 bid for State Comptroller, which he lost to Carl McCall by a 2-1 margin.

Seriously lacking in terms of both substance, Mr. Blakeman has already shown he plans to focus on running a negative campaign against David Malpass.

Assuming David wins the primary, his democratic Democratic opponent in the general election will be unelected incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose approval ratings are low and slipping daily.

In spite of her silence on key issues and unconditional support of Washington’s break-neck expansion, Gillibrand has the fundraising advantage (over $8 million) – and strong support from the White House.

Both of David’s opponents are under-qualified for the office of U.S. Senator.

We anticipate that they will attempt to conceal their poor legislative track records and lack of substance by attacking David’s role as the chief economist at Bear Stearns.

We are prepared to confront this hollow critique head-on: David was an economist – not a banker, and his role at Bear was an outward facing one that earned him widespread recognition as one of the best economists in the world.

We need to fight back. And that is why we are going to be asking you to do even more in the coming few weeks so that we can get David’s Malpass’ positive message out there, build the kind of campaign we need to win statewide, and also respond to attacks.

Contrasts

The contrasts between David and his opponents could not be more clear. To name just a few:

Both are career-politicians who are completely wedded to insider party politics.

David is an economist with backbone whose core mission is to stand up to Washington’s deeply imbedded tax-and-spend culture.

Bruce Blakeman voted for the largest tax increase in his county’s history.

David has been arguing for low-tax, pro-growth economic policies on the pages of The Wall Street Journal and Forbes for over 20 years.

Kirsten Gillibrand presided over the creation and proliferation of sub-prime mortgages as head of the Special Products division at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1980s.

During the same period, David served as Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee, where he fought to lower taxes and cut back on government waste.

Fundraising

It is going to require enormous resources to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand and bring the upheaval to Washington’s tax-and spend culture that is so desperately needed. Your financial support is crucial.

The best way to give is by visiting the campaign website, www.malpassforsenate.com. Whether you give $10, $100, or $1000, we want you to know that every dollar counts, and will be spent wisely by the campaign.

In the coming weeks, we will be having a Washington, DC fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a Women for Malpass luncheon featuring Diana Taylor as the guest speaker, and Young Professionals for Malpass reception. If you would like to attend, please call our finance department at 212-512-5126, or email Molly Mandigo at mmandigo@malpassforsenate.com.

Thank you for all you do.

Regards,

Rob Cole
Senior Advisor
David Malpass for U.S. for Senate

Lexus SC

I had to go to Prestige Lexus in Ramsey, NJ today and took the time to check out a little known sports car that is in my opinion very cool, the SC.   What do you think? 

Obama Stimulus Has Failed

 
Remember the 2009 stimulus? Remember Barney Frank and his Merry Band of Democratic Party Idiots and their economic advisors telling us that Keynes's ideas really do work despite a century of failure?  (Their reasoning: how else can we subsidize all-thumbs investment and commercial bankers and hedge fund managers?)

It turns out that a nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus has not improved the jobs picture.  The economics profession is to the economy as doctors like Benjamin Rush who used to use leeches to draw blood are to medicine. 

Unfortunately, quite a few Republicans are just as incompetent as the Democrats. Examples are George W. Bush and his compeer in idiocy and greed, Rick Lazio, the New York State GOP gubernatorial candidate who was instrumental in obtaining $25 billion for JP Morgan during the Bush administration's bailout days.

The ways and means Republicans sent the above table. Scroll down to see how much damage the Democrats’ deficit spending stimulus bill has done in your state.  The three exceptions are North Dakota, Alaska, and of course Washington, DC.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crazy Cop Tickets Councilman Halloran

New York City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran of Queens is a member of the Republican Liberty Cacucus.  Pinni Bohm, my former student graduating from Cardozo Law School and soon to start NYU's Master in Taxation program, forwarded this news story about Halloran's encounter with a crazy traffic cop in Queens.

Taking Ideology out of Your Child's Education

The following article "Taking Ideology Out of Your Child's Education" appears in the Memorial Day issue of the Lincoln Eagle, a Kingston, NY penny saver.  Mike Marnell, the Eagle's crusading editor, does an excellent job in putting it together. It is the only freedom oriented paper in the area, as far as I know.  It does not have a website but it reaches at least several thousand people. 

Taking Ideology Out of Your Child’s Education
Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.*

When I attended high school in New York City, my class was required to read Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto."  But we were not assigned to read any alternative view, such as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations or Friedrich A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.  Communism was extolled, freedom disparaged.  I was recently speaking to a friend whose son graduated from a high school in this region and she told me that the emphasis on Marxism has not changed one bit.  Her son had not been assigned any book that describes free market economics or how and why free markets work better than government-controlled ones.  However, he had been assigned to read Marx and his teacher repeatedly preached in favor of socialism. 

The debate between people who believe in government control and those who believe in freedom is not new.  However, there are many myths not only about the subject but about its history.  The myths come from relentless efforts by advocates of government control to spin the debate. This has led to a takeover of the educational system by left-wing ideologues.  Thus, what students learn in public schools is often socialist propaganda and more often than not ignorant nonsense.

For example, the claim that adding layers of government or regulation is "progressive" is not historically true.  Yet, the students are told that it is.  In fact, the Roman Empire was based on a state-controlled, mixed economy like that advocated by today’s "progressives." What happened to Rome?   

In modern times, the idea of free markets originated out of a debate that had been initiated by advocates of government authority and regulation.  The mercantilists, such as Lord Shaftesbury and David Hume, advocated the use of government force to open markets, print money and regulate trade. Adam Smith responded to the mercantilists' "progressive", state-based ideas later in the 18th century.  Free markets are progressive, not socialism.  Advocates of monetary expansion to stimulate growth, such as David Hume, wrote before the advocates of the gold standard and zero inflation.

This was true in American history.  The first socialist in the history of US government was the first man to conceive of our Constitution, Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton favored the use of paper money to expand the economy; government owned manufacturing; a central bank, the ancestor to today's Federal Reserve Bank; the use of subsidies to stimulate shipping; and taxes to fund government debt.  The problem with Hamilton's ideas was in part that they had led to hyper-inflation during the earlier Revolutionary War.  The central bank led to the earliest examples of corrupt speculation, and the stock of Hamilton's First Bank was the object of among the earliest financial bubbles in American history.  The government owned manufacturing firm he tried to start was associated with the corrupt bank stock speculation.  Hamilton’s Keynesian ideas (140 years before Keynes) failed.

In reaction to Hamilton's big government, "progressive" ideas, Jefferson, winning Hamilton's former ally, James Madison, formed the Democratic Republican Party.   The response to the big government ideas of Hamilton and his Federalist Party was to emphasize freedom.  This reached a crescendo in the 1830s, when Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party and abolished central banking, putting the US on a gold standard.  The most rapid growth in American history occurred during the 80 years that there was no central bank and money was based on the bi-metallic and then the gold standard.  Establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank in the 20th century has led to slowed growth and stagnant real hourly wages.  You are poorer as a result of increasing government involvement in the economy. Much poorer.

The problem with government intervention is that it didn't work. But that’s not what students are taught in school.  

The examples of government failure get worse, though, when you fast forward in time to the early twentieth century.  The hyper-expansion of communism in Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea and elsewhere led to economic retardation and mass murder.  State-dominated economies were utter failures, and repeatedly so.  They failed so frequently and so thoroughly that one would think that anyone seriously studying them in universities would have tried to understand why they failed.  Yet, university professors throughout the communist era, until the 1980s, uniformly claimed that the performance of the Soviet economy exceeded that of the United States.  In other words, virtually 100% of university economic and social science departments ignored reality; preached ideological propaganda in favor of socialism; and excluded anyone who disagreed. 

When the Soviet Union fell in the late 1980s for the very reasons that the critics of socialism such as Ludwig von Mises and Frierich von Hayek had predicted in the 1920s to 1940s, you might think that university social scientists might have reconsidered their dogmatic, religious commitment to socialism. But that is not so.  The intolerance of anyone who disagrees with now obviously failed socialist and big government dogma has become even more extreme in universities.  Any academic who disagrees with the left is slandered and drummed out of universities.

Thus, it is not surprising that the local high schools are purveyors of ideological dogma. Having been educated by ignorant ideologues in universities, the teachers have been trained to be ideologues.

Parents have serious reason to be concerned about their children’s’ education.  The schools today are preaching socialism more aggressively than ever, even though historically socialist policies have repeatedly failed.  In order to counteract this tendency parents might consider taking the following steps:

1. Tell your school board that if the students are reading Karl Marx, they should also be reading Adam Smith.  If they are not reading Karl Marx, they should be reading Adam Smith anyway.
2. Ask you children for feedback about the claims being made by social studies teachers.  If the teachers are advocating socialism, they are incompetent.  If the school is encouraging the teachers to do so, the school board needs to be replaced.
3. Read your children’s social studies text books.  One parent told me that their child’s textbook’s discussion of the Second World War consisted of five pages on the internment of the Japanese (a terrible misdeed) and only one page on the war itself.  That is propaganda. It is not education.

Are your children being told of the advantages of freedom, or are they being propagandized as to the advantages of socialism?  I have worked in higher education for nearly twenty years.  I have repeatedly seen students who have been indoctrinated into failed, socialistic ideas in their primary educations.  I can undo some of the damage done by elementary and high school teachers, who in turn have been brainwashed by ideologues in universities.  You can undo some as well.

*Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D. is a member of the Town of Olive Republican Committee and is associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, CUNY.  He blogs at http://www.mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com.



Managing Psychopathic Employees and the New Health Care Law

My article on managing psychopathic employees appeared yesterday in the Cornell HR Review. Also, my article "How the New Health Care Law Affects Your Accounting Firm" appears in the May AICPA Career Insider newsletter.