Friday, September 12, 2008

E-mail To Sean Hannity Re the Economy

Dear Mr. Hannity--I listen to your TV program as well as your radio broadcast and enjoy them both. I agree with you most of the time. I enjoyed your exchange with Robert Kuttner but want to take issue with a point with which I disagree--your support for President Bush's economic policies. I think that your position is a mistake from both "conservatives principles" and tactical viewpoints.

I disagree with Mr. Kuttner on many things but agree with him on this point. The Bush administration has permitted the Greenspan and Bernanke Fed to behave like a hyper-Democratic government agency. This was true antecedent to 2000, since the days of President Reagan and Chair Greenspan, and it has not gone away.

If you are a conservative then you probably believe in less government. Artificial stimulation of misdirected (or as von Mises put it malinvested) economic activity is one of the most wasteful and inefficient forms of government intervention. This has been the policy that the Republicans have pursued since the 1980s (and indeed, in the 1970s under President Nixon) and it is antithetical to conservatism if you are adhering to the small government, Jacksonian variant. Of course, it is also possible to be a big government Whig economic conservative, along the lines of Rockefeller and GW Bush, but that viewpoint has come to be viewed as a form of liberalism or left-wing Republicanism rather than the conservatism of Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.

In any case, if you are an advocate of big government monetary expansion, support for big business, government intervention in the economy and Keynesian economics, which are the policies of George W. Bush, you should say so. I don't think that all Republicans or conservatives agree with you. I find this especially troubling because Fox has limited its exposure of conservatives to the Whig-American Enterprise Institute-Progressive conservatism, which is not what many of your viewers believe, and I think there is a sleight of hand going on. You should clarify your position on this issue.

I would hope that you reject big government, and therefore the monetary policies of the past 25 years. I do not believe that government should intervene on behalf of the rich, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, or Lehman Brothers. Nor do I believe in welfare. Many of the Fox pundits believe in welfare for the rich, and this is a serious weakness in your presentation.

In addition, I do not think the cause of John McCain and Sarah Palin is helped by association with the Whig-AEI-Progressive approach to the economy. Americans are by many measures worse off. The average hourly wage has been declining since 1971, when President Nixon took us off the gold standard. It is tragic if you allow the Democrats to steal this issue because of short-sighted fixation on big money donations from the board members of AEI. In the long run there is going to be backlash against the feudal, inflationary economy of post-1968 Republicanism, and if the Republicans don't start re-thinking their position on hard money they ultimately will be thrown out of office.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Contrairimairi on the Obama-McCain Forum

I was raking the first of this years fallen leaves and missed the events in New York today, but Contrairimairi has sent me a an e-mail to fill us in about the campaign:

Dear Mitchell,
It is just a bit ironic to me, that tonight's forum was supposed to be a brief break from campaigning, and take a thoughtful look at service to the Country. It was supposed to be a sort of "" situation for everyone. I just can't help thinking, that despite being on "home turf", his alma mater, BO lost.
I HOPE I am not the only one who noticed that BO made a point to say that he felt older Americans could offer much to schools by teaching Math and Science. Weren't those the very same programs that were attempting to be part of the CAC, and were turned down? Just saying.....who knows, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Maybe BO finally realizes that Math and Science really are important.
I also believe he lost on the question of community organizer pitted against the experience of a small town mayor. Sen. McCain was quite gracious, I think, in handling that fiasco's reference, but BO twisted it to try to make Gov. Palin look like the villain yet again. I find it hard to believe he was "hurting" by making the choice to be an organizer in Chicago. Seems like he made many "allies" during that time.
The moderators stunk! I was also surprised that Sen. McCain came out so clearly against service to Country becoming yet another bureaucracy. I felt BO would start spending immediately, and we know how that "rolls down hill".
I would LOVE to know what BO actually "accomplished" in his time as CO. I feel in Chicago, a lot of that work is just voter registration in an attempt to gain an impassioned voter response in underprivileged neighborhoods, and then, an abandonment of the very people who were used to get a vote result. I believe this has happened often in Chicago, and it saddens me that those who employ that type of technique are very effective with it still. I don't know if the CAC records will relate directly to BO, but I would sure like to have a complete breakdown on where those funds went and exactly how they were used.

Economy Talk

Republican talk show pundits like Sean Hannity are wrong to defend George Bush. In pursuing an inflationary, interventionist policy President Bush and Ben Bernanke have behaved like Democrats, not Republicans.

Nancy and Contrairimairi have sent me e-mails recently about the economy. I agree with any and all tax cuts, and I disagree with the idea that the current problems in the economy are due to tax cuts (or taxes at all). Contrairimairi's brother is a Democrat, and I agree with him on a few points, but the ultimate prescription is NOT that a Democrat can solve the mess that George W. Bush's and Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve Bank has created. From a historical perspective, President Bush has exaggerated policies that the Democrats established. The policies should be abolished.

Nor do I think the current problems in the economy have anything to do with Congress. Moreover, Obama would be worse than McCain. The reason he would be worse is that he is more closely linked to Wall Street than McCain is. The uncertainty and instability that we are facing are all due to manipulation by the Federal Reserve Bank. I've blogged on this alot (also see here, here, here, here, here, and here, here).

The Fed was aggressively increasing the money supply until about five years ago, when it started encouraging foreign governments to purchase Treasury Bonds, boosting the value of the dollar. Long term the dollar is going down, but short term it has been increasing.

The inflation rate has been low because the increased money supply encouraged lower interest rates for many years that made lending easier and this stimulated commodity production. The commodity firms increased production in the 1980s and 1990s and then when prices fell they reduced production. The result was they lost alot of money and they will resist new production. In response to the reduced production, prices started increasing about four or five years ago. What should happen is inflation followed by the Fed's reducing the money supply (raising interest rates) but they have not done that because the Republicans don't want a stock market crash while in office. Reducing interest rates will reduce the stock markets. Thus, the Fed has delayed the usual stock market cycle. Also, the low interest rates stimulated bad investment in real estate and the Fed has also been subsidizing the results. The effects of all the bad investment and subsidies to Wall Street ought to be a combination of rising interest rates and inflation like in the 1970s. But the Fed has performed a trick by getting foreign governments to inflate for us. This will not last forever.

But the pain can continue for a long time as the subsidization of bad investments by increasing the money supply can continue until actual inflation starts. Then the public will deamand action and the Fed will raise rates. This may happen after the election as McCain is envisioning himself as a one term president anyway, although Palin's nomination may change that. It could be delayed for 10 years or more depending on how much strength is in the world economy to keep subsidizing the US economy.

In short, there is a considerable amount of manipulation by central banks right now and the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been willing to subsidize incompetent firms. This will ultimately result in inflation. I would tell you to buy hard assets, i.e., platinum, gold and silver, but the trick that the Fed is playing with the foreign central banks is currently causing a steep drop in the gold price along with an increase in the dollar. At some point in the near future, possibly when gold hits around 700 or 670, then it will be a good time to buy gold and Euros.

I disagree that the Democrats can solve these problems. The problem in our economy is due to policies that were adopted in 1932 by Franklin D. Roosevelt and in 1971 by Richard Nixon. In 1932 FDR illegalized gold ownership and took the Fed off the gold standard. An international gold standard was reinstated in 1944, I think, but in 1971 Richard M. Nixon abolished that one. The cause of the Fed's unlmited power to create money was a three step process. Wilson, a Democrat, founded the Fed in 1913. Roosevelt, a Democrat, abolished the gold standard in 1932. Nixon, a Republican, abolished the international gold standard in 1971. The Democrats have never advocated reinstatment of a gold standard or a monetary rule, which was what Milton Friedman advocated. The end result has been the kind of policies we see today. They are the result of:

1. Partnership between government and business, a long standing policy that the Democrats have advocated
2. Abolition of the gold standard, a long standing Democratic Party policy
3. Keynesian economics, a long standing economic theory advocated by the Democratic Party.

The Republicans have copied the Democrats on this. Blaming the imitators in favor of the originators will not solve the problem. Nor is regulation or deregulation of FNMA relevant. The Democrats show that they do not grasp/do not want to solve the underlying problem by blaming speculators for inflation and bringing up irrelevant topics such as regulation and the income tax when the real problem is monetary policy and unlimited Federal Reserve power to create money. This is the Democrats' policy that the Republicans have adopted. It is decidedly pro-Wall Street, and Wall Street has chiefly contributed to Obama, not McCain.

Contraririmairi writes:

>I will assume you received the "just 2 years" e-mail from Nancy. I sent it off to my brother. He and I had just had a VERY lengthy discussion on many of these issues two nights before. He did, however, take the time to pick the e-mail apart, and I thought you would be interested in his response.

Contrairimairi's brother writes:

The "intertia" of the US economy averages about 5 years (despite this, Congress refuses to go onto 5 year budget cycles and corporations are even worse, with quarterly cycles). In other words, major changes take about 5 years before their full impact is felt.
- Regardless of program changes, the short term result is usually positive since the planning that goes into making such changes is usually focused no further than 12 months in advance, due in large part to a very broken Federal budgeting system and ZERO accountability.
- Due to deficit spending - a situation that occurs when taxes are too low to support the programs that greedy people demands (and compounded with graft and kickbacks to crooked politicians and their lobbyist buddies) - the government has been printing money without substantial basis in GDP valuation, resulting in inflation and radical drop in the value of the dollar - which leads to higher prices, greater control over our country by (hostile) foreign interests willing to cash in on our stupidity, and those two factors in turn lead to massive financial pressure on people - many of whom were not financially prepared for home ownership but were funded in the Fannie/Freddie Ponzi scheme.
- These cost pressures and devaluations/inflation are undeniably tied to Republican actions to cut taxes, mainly on the rich, in hopes the proven-broken "trickle" down theory will continue to hold. Corporations, having no conscience, see no advantage in attempting to radically expand in a stagnant market, while others - like oil companies - benefit from the price increases caused by a weak dollar, fabricated shortages and crooked futures dealers. The result? Higher profits - for a while - followed by sharp cutbacks, which increases unemployment and forces even more jobs offshore, leading to an increase in unemployment and a further drop in the value of the dollar. This situation is called "positive feedback" - the exact same mechanism that results in those painful speaker-system squeals during church or public events when somebody doesn't take proper care to make sure inputs and outputs are balanced. Works for money too.
- Privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (and other government agencies) could result in one of the largest "dumps" ever on individuals, as we (as taxpayers) have to bail out the greedy, corrupt, and inept "management"...
And just to be clear - if Obama gets elected tomorrow NOTHING will change.
- Ask yourself: if taxes were cut to ZERO, how would the bills get paid? Yet the current path is to reduce taxes to ZERO for the rich (i.e., eliminating the Corporate Gains tax, the Estate Tax, etc.). Guess who gets to make up the difference, shoulder the load, and bail out the crooks?"

Nancy writes:

In just two years ..... Remember the election in 2006?
Thought you might like to read the following ~

A little over one year ago:

1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we have seen:

1) Consumer confidence plummet;
2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $3.50 a gallon;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate (stock and mutual fund losses);
5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;
6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.

America voted for change in 2006, and we got it!

Remember it's Congress that makes law not the President. He has to work with what's handed to him.

In Remembrance, September 11, 2001

Seven years have passed since September 11. I was having breakfast in the Times Square area with my professor from my MBA days, Eric Flamholtz. Eric was in town from Los Angeles and I hadn't seen him since 1981, twenty years earlier. When I left the restaurant everyone at Times Square was staring at the electronic news ticker. I didn't pay attention and got onto the subway. The police were talking about a building that had been leveled, but I did not believe what they were saying. In Brooklyn, the train stopped and the passengers were told to take a bus down Flatbush Avenue. (Brooklyn College is located along Flatbush Ave.) While I was on the bus a woman sitting next to me told me that the Twin Towers had been destroyed. When I arrived at Brooklyn College my office-mate was conferring with a student and I told him about the destruction of the Towers. At first he did not believe me. My students asked to be dismissed early. I can't remember if I said yes, I believe I did. We had trouble getting home. I could not take my usual subway line because it went past what is now known as Ground Zero. I took a train that went over one of the bridges. You could see the smoke pouring out of the crushed towers, and the smell was strong. Desperation was everywhere. Upon learning of the full extent of the tragedy, I was heart broken.

Seeing and smelling this horror from a couple of miles away was horror enough. I pray for those who died and for those who lost family members in this terrible event.

If I examine my and others' response of incredulity at the time the attack occurred, the subsequent disrespectful denials, frivolous blaming of the US and Israeli governments, and on Zionists and Jews, make sense. A terrible event creates anxiety and anxiety creates denial. I have nothing but contempt for those who would allow childish fantasies to stain the memories of those whose lives were ended. I pray for the dead, sick and injured and hope that we can properly live up to their memories. I celebrate the courageous police, firemen and rescue workers who risked and lost their lives on that fateful day.

I sincerely hope that we do not give up the effort to capture Osama bin Laden.

Barack Obama Becoming Irrelevant

Sarah Palin has stolen the show. Conservatives have something to be glad about, because she is now a contender for president in 2012. As well, Mr. Obama's odd package of re-heated Progressivism, whimsical recital of the word "change" and lies from the Chicago stock yards, celebrated by cud chewing media bovines, has become irrelevant. This is turning into an election between McCain/Palin and Bob Barr.

New York's Best Newspaper May Close

Although I spend only two weekdays in Manhattan during the school year and fewer during breaks, I subscribe to the New York Sun. As well, I have bought a subscription for my mother who lives in the boroughs. The Sun is the very best newspaper I have ever seen, and the only one I have ever cared about. Sadly the paper may close at the end of this month. The courageous editor, Seth Lipsky, wrote about the paper's prospects today. If you live in New York, please consider subscribing. It's the best journalistic bang for the buck I have ever read. It would be wrenching to see the only high-quality conservative daily in the city to disappear. Mr. Lipsky wrote:

"This morning I write to you about the future of The New York Sun, which is in circumstances that may require us to cease publication at the end of September unless we succeed in our efforts to find additional financial backing. The managing editor, Ira Stoll, who is one of the founding partners in the paper, and I have shared this news with our colleagues, and we would like our readers as well to be aware of the situation.

"When we launched this business in October 2001 and began publishing the daily newspaper on April 16, 2002, it was with two goals. There was an editorial — an idealistic — goal of providing an alternative to the New York Times in coverage of New York City, politics, foreign policy, and culture. And there was a financial goal of making a profit. We have always been, and still are, of the view that the paper needs to achieve both goals to be a success.

"After more than six years of publication, the Sun is now at a crossroads. It has succeeded in establishing journalistic credibility and a reputation for quality and verve, and in becoming a part of the local, national, and international conversation. It is read daily by tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including the political, policy, and cultural leadership in the city. It is read in the nation's capital — in the White House, the Congress, and in the foreign chancelleries. Newspapers and Web sites in the city and around the world follow our scoops, quote our editorials, refer to our cultural criticism, and analyze our sports coverage.

"Even many who disagree with the views of our editorial page enjoy reading the Sun. "A fabulous read for culture," is the way it was described in the Nation. David Remnick of the New Yorker sent a note to say how much he admired what we are doing with the Sun, which he called "just plain good." He added: "OK, I agree with about ten percent of your editorials, but so what. ... I'm a lot happier, and richer, for having faced the Sun in the a.m."

Read the whole thing here. The Sun is a major force for a better New York and better America. Please subscribe.

Contrairimairi On Obamastick

I believe the "MSM" (ooooooh how I HATE that acronym!) has missed the boat on the "lipstick on a pig" statement from BO. He did use the phrase appropriately, but if you watch his "body language" as he begins, you can see he seems clearly distressed over what is coming. The comment was being used to garner the exact reaction that it got, if you ask me. He KNEW the audience would take it for something other than the familiar phrase, and their reaction shows they DID. It was immediately perceived as a response to Sarah Palin, and the laughter and applause were the "knee-jerk" reaction, I believe, the use was meant to evoke. Technically, he did use the phrase to compare Bush and McCain's policies, but the "intent" to smear, I believe, was what he was going for, and subsequently GOT!
He can "say" that he was not referring to Sarah Palin as a "pig", and technically he would be correct, but he took this just one step too far! KNOWING that everyone present would be familiar with her speech line, I truly believe he deliberately, if hesitantly, used the line to smear her. I'll bet, as he rubbed his head, he was PRAYING his argument would be strong enough for the line not to backfire.........WRONG! Women SHOULD be furious over his repeated demeaning of all women by demeaning Hillary and Sarah.
I was particularly worried by Joe Biden's words, however, when he stated how capable and experienced Hillary was, and how she would have made a GREAT VP pick. Are we about to see BO's next "flip-flop"? Will he dump Biden and choose Hillary? Afterall, for BO, second place is NOT good enough. All that really matters to him is gaining the Presidency. I believe he will do anything he deems necessary to make sure that happens. Wouldn't it be a riot if he had already asked Hillary before she agreed to head to Florida for him? Wouldn't it be a bigger riot if she told him where to stuff his VP position????? LOL!
Any thoughts?

My response:

I agree with you completely and am posting your message on my blog as the official position of "Mitchell Langbert's Blog"! BO got away with seeming like a saintly angel of "change" during the primary, but now that he is getting fair scrutiny from Fox and people like you his true nature is being clarified. I sensed that he is a rotten apple back in June when I called him a "sociopath". I stand by that characterization as a good approximation. He is certainly crude and aggressive beneath that charming exterior.

We will see about the Hillary for VP picture. I wonder if she would really reject it given how power hunger she is. But it's certainly possible, and perhaps likely. It's going to be interesting!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Howard Roark and the Ghost of Admiral Rickover

A teaching case that I co-authored with Mike Stanchina and Don Grunewald of Iona College was published in volume 15, no. 2 of Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal this past May. Mike Stanchina is a former student at the NYU Stern School of Business and he was an officer in the Nuclear Navy before attending NYU.

Title: Howard Roark and the ghost of Admiral Rickover
Author(s): Mitchell Langbert, Michael Stanchina, Donal Grunewald
Journal: Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal
Year: 2008
Volume: 15
Issue: 2
Page: 194 - 216
ISSN: 1352-7606
DOI: 10.1108/13527600810870624
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abortion As Art

Candace de Russy has blogged about a gruesome tale of academic horror. A Yale student induced miscarriages on herself and aimed to use the foetal remains as art. Her professor, Pia Lindman, was reprimanded but not fired. (At other institutions professors who glanced at a member of the opposite sex have been put up on charges, interrogated by Yale's thought police committee and fired. At Sarah Lawrence College, where I attended, in the early 1990s a student was thrown out of school for laughing at a joke about gays. But at Yale, the execution and use of human tissue for art is a matter for mild reprimand.)

De Russy discusses performance art, body art (the use of one's own body as art) and the rotten standards in today's university art and literature departments. She conclude:

"Yale’s failure to prevent Lindman and her kind from influencing impressionable undergraduates is testament to the university’s slavish cowardice in the face of a decadent and destructive ideological fashion."

Berg Files Motion For Expedited Discovery On Obama Citizenship Case

Americas Right (h/t Bob Robbins) reports that Philip Berg is filing a motion that Senator Barack Hussein Obama and Howard Dean sit for depositions and that the Democratic Party hand over documentation connected with their presidential vetting process, specifically as it concerns Senator Obama's citizenship and eligibility to be president. As well, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs (h/t Larwyn) links to Obamacrimes, noting that Berg served Obama on September 4 with regard to his case questioning Senator Obama's eligibility to be president. You would have thought the media would have raised these questions, but not even Fox and Bill O'Reilly have avoided spin on the Obama citizenship question. Sean Hannity likes to call Fox an alternative media source, but they have tread carefully with respect to asking hard questions, like "Please give us a hard copy of your birth certificate. Pretty Please?"

America's Right notes that the Berg motion would mandate that Senator Obama hand over his birth certificate; any oath of allegiance; passport records; adoption records; FBI background check; his birth certificate from Kenya; and any and all documents concerning his name changes. I asked for much of that list from various government agencies whose job it is to oversee elections, but who do a dismal job at it, such as Donald McGahan's Federal Election Commission. And these guys want to manage health care? We should outsource the management of the election system. This crew is too incompetent to handle it.

Mr. Berg is certainly to be commended for this suit. The media is avoiding it like the plague. Bill O'Reilly of Fox did not question Mr. Obama about these issues during his mealy-mouthed interview this evening and last week, and Fox is the best media we've got.

Barack Obama: "The B**ch Is Crazy"

Check out this video of Barack Obama talking about Bill and Hillary Clinton (h/t Bob Robbins): "The b**ch is crazy". Mr. Obama is a man of experience. We need him. Really.

Koch Endorses Obama

Newsmax reports that Mayor Ed Koch has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Hizzoner repeats some of the now-familiar and unconvincing ex post arguments about Governor Palin, such as that she lacks experience even though she has more executive experience than Senators Obama and Biden combined, and has more experience than a number of former presidents such as Grover Cleveland, who had served two years as governor and less than one year as mayor before becoming one of history's best presidents. Mayor Koch's endorsement of Mr. Obama demonstrates that he is indifferent to inexperience because Mr. Obama has none. Nor does Mr. Obama's flip flopping on the issue of Jerusalem suggest that he has even a lay person's grasp of international issues, the Middle East or Israel's security.

Mayor Koch's endorsement has substance with respect to one important point. Allow me to quote him:

"Protecting and defending the U.S. means more than defending us from foreign attacks. It includes defending the public with respect to their civil rights, civil liberties and other needs, e.g., national health insurance, the right of abortion, the continuation of Social Security, gay rights, other rights of privacy, fair progressive taxation, and a host of other needs and rights."

Indeed, it is for these economic and social reasons, namely the threat that a Democratic president will further extend Progressivism, that I oppose Mr. Obama. While he was Mayor, Mr. Koch oversaw a city in economic decline due to Progressive, socialistic policies that Mr. Koch did nothing to reverse. These included a bloated city payroll; an incompetently run Department of Social Services (I worked there for a few weeks in the 1970s while I was a student and know about it first hand); a welfare system destructive of human dignity and the incentive to work; corrupt construction regulation; public housing that induced crime and depravity; and massive pension benefits for all city workers. As a result of New York City's pathological Progressivism, between 1960 and 1990 three quarters of the Fortune 500 firms that had been headquartered there left. Mayor Koch, although a noble, feisty soul, did nothing to reverse the People's Republic of New York's destruction of economic opportunity for future generations.

Mayor Koch and the New York Times would like to see Senator Obama impose New York City- and Chicago-style Progressivism on all of America. The result of their ideas will be a two-tiered society and declining economic opportunity for all Americans, especially the working class.

I do not doubt that Mayor Koch is an honorable man and that he truly believes that Barack Obama is capable of improving health care and social security. I happen to believe the reverse. But this disagreement has gone past the point of possible reconciliation. Mayor Koch and the Democrats have forced the nation to adopt failed policies. Now, Progressivism and Democratic Party ideology are irreconcilable with the beliefs of Americans who believe in freedom and traditional values. Either the Democrats will have to compel people like me who disagree with their theories with violence, or they cannot adopt them.

To reduce the tension that the Democrats' insistence on failed Progressive ideas is causing, I have come to the conclusion that the country needs to decentralize into two or more federal regions that offer alternative policies. The thought of social democratic health care, extension of social security, or Barack Obama's extending welfare in ways that Mayor Koch and Senator Obama consider attractive is unacceptable to me and many others. The time is past when the stupid theories of "liberals" can be rationalized as experimental or innovative. They have failed, and I am tired of paying the costs of the New York Times', Mayor Koch's and Barack Obama's dim witted ideas.

Having come from the same city as Mayor Koch, I do not feel any need to share a nation with him. He and Senator Obama are aliens to me. They can take their health care, their welfare, their dim witted programs, their incompetently run bureaucracies, and their chums on Wall Street, and keep them in New York. New York's Progressives have done enough damage as it is. I do not like the country that they envision, and I do not like the policies that they have forced me to support.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jonah Goldberg on the American Dream

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent quote on his blog (h/t Larwyn) about the American dream. Goldberg writes that the phrase "American dream" came from a 1931 book by James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America. Here is the quote:

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

Known as the "achievement motive" to management professors. Somehow, the Democrats don't seem to be familiar with it.

Similarities Between President Grover Cleveland and Sarah Palin

In 1884 Democrat Grover Cleveland defeated Republican James G. Blaine. Cleveland was what was then called a "Bourbon" Democrat, a laissez-faire liberal who favored low taxes, the gold standard, de-regulation and low tariffs. He represented honesty in government, like Sarah Palin. The elite New York and Boston Republicans, known as Mugwumps, backed Democrat Cleveland over Blaine. They were called Mugwumps because they were early "professionals" of the same kind that flowered in the twentieth century--professors, lawyers and physicians as well as businessmen. Some were independently wealthy. "Mugwump" means "Chief" in a Native American dialect, I believe Algonquin.

Here are some similarities between Grover Cleveland and Sarah Palin:

o Cleveland was governor of New York for two years before becoming president. Palin will have been governor of Alaska for two years before she swears in as vice-president.

o Cleveland was Mayor of Buffalo for less than a year before being governor. Palin was Mayor of Wasilla for four years before becoming governor.

o In 1873 Cleveland had an affair with 35-year old Maria Halpin and she bore Cleveland's son, Oscar Folsom Cleveland, out of wedlock. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol Palin, is currently pregnant out of wedlock

o Grover Cleveland's opponent, James G. Blaine, was accused of lying about his relationship with the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad and the Northern Pacific Railroad. Barack Obama has been accused of lying about his background, in his book, about his birth certificate and about his relationship to George Soros.

o Grover Cleveland favored lower taxes and less regulation. Sarah Palin favors lower taxes and less regulation.

o Grover Cleveland attracted bolters from the Republican Party (the Mugwumps) who believed that Blaine was corrupt. Palin is attracting bolters from the Democratic Party who believe that Palin best represents women and that her opponents are corrupt.

President Grover Cleveland was the last true laissez-faire liberal to be elected to the presidency. During his presidency, the average real wage increased by 10-20%. Big business and the left complained incessantly about "depression" but millions of immigrants flocked here to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that laissez-faire offered the poor.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New York Times Lauds CUNY Honors College

The New York Times has written an excellent article about the CUNY Honors College (h/t Sharad Karkhanis). The CUNY Honors College sports an average SAT score of 1399, 267 points higher than the average for CUNY's four-year colleges. CUNY has had an upswing in the past ten years, ever since I arrived in 1998. Just kidding. Good work by Chancellor Matt Goldstein. Oddly, the CUNY faculty union, the Professional Staff Congress, has repeatedly assaulted Chancellor Goldstein. They object to rising standards, higher SAT scores and a better reputation.

New York Post Endorses John McCain

The New York Post has enthusiastically endorsed John McCain (h/t Dan Egers, Vince Tabone and Queens County for McCain). Thus, at least two of New York's leading newspapers, the New York Post and the New York Sun, are supporting him (I haven't seen a Sun endorsement yet but I'll eat my all-weather tires if they don't). The Post writes:

"THE Post today enthusiastically urges the election of Sen. John S. McCain as the 44th president of the United States.

"McCain's lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent..."

In an article today linked to the editorial, the Post notes that "Big Mac" has gotten a "big bounce":

"WASHINGTON - John McCain landed the post convention boost he and his pistol-packin' running mate were shooting for - an 11 point turnaround that gives him his biggest lead over Barack Obama since early May.

"The Republican candidate has the support of 48 percent of likely voters compared with 45 percent for Obama, according to a Gallup Daily Tracking Survey released yesterday.

"While McCain's lead is still within the poll's margin of error, the figures represent a significant jump for McCain, who lagged eight points behind Obama in the same tracking poll before the GOP convention."

We have yet to learn why most of the 20th century media is so passionately in support of Senator Obama. It is encouraging to learn that there is now some diversity in the print media. The Post has made the obviously right choice.

Palin, McCain, Obama Yield Surge in Republican Identification

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air notes a USA Today article that reports a new survey (h/t Larwyn).

"In the new survey, more voters call themselves Republicans. Now 48% say they’re Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party; 47% say they’re Republicans or lean to the GOP.

"Not since February 2005, right after Bush’s second inauguration, have Republicans been within a single point of Democrats in party identification.
What’s more, voters by 48%-45% support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, the party’s narrowest advantage this year."

I can't wait until the left gets its wish and Obama starts talking about the issues. Republican identification will soar to 80%. Only the rich and the idle will remain as Democrats.

Governor Sarah Palin's Security Clearance

I just received the following information from Contrairimairi. You won't be hearing this on Oprah:

Hi, Mitchell,

Not sure where this one originated, but my sister sent it to me and I thought you might be interested. Sarah "alluded" to the fact she had some international experience, but never gave specifics. I guess now we know.

Important info ref: Palin's National Security Credentials

Just picked up some little known info on Palin's National Security Credentials. Some have shrugged off her position as Commander of the Alaskan National Guard but see this:

"Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. Itʼs on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material ay rival even Biden's.

She's also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security's counterterrorism plans.

Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country's defense. Given Alaska's proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don't even know about.

According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets.

She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is."

That is probably at least one click above a "Community Organizer".

John McCain Rally In QUEENS!

I just received the following message from Phil Orenstein of the Queens Village Republican Club. Demonstrating for McCain in the heart of New York City takes chutzpah!

Manhattan Republicans held a huge March for McCain and participated in the 3rd Ave Street Fair today. Brooklyn Young Republicans just today celebrated the McCain/Palin ticket at a Post-Convention BBQ Bash & Fundraiser. Former publisher of the Village Voice, Bartle Bull is the New York State chairman of Democrats for McCain, and is busy mobilizing former Hillary supporters and McCain/Palin Democrats who have chosen character over extreme partisanship. Now it's Queens County's turn to join the march!

Years ago, when I was looking desperately for lawn signs, leaflets and posters, anything to campaign for Bush 2004, they told me you gotta be kidding, there are no Republicans left - forget about New York, go help them in NJ. Then after the election I joined the Queens Village Republican Club and they said I came to the right place! We've have been fighting ever since for New York to score Red and take back Districts and seats galore for Republicans. Who says NY can't be a BIG RED STATE ??

Well, now I hear New Yorkers saying "I'm proud to be a NY Republican!" We all saw the RNC on TV and the thunderous appeal of Governor Sarah Palin for the ticket and the "country first" theme of John McCain's life. The excitement was more like the New York Mets winning a Subway Series. Our delegates have come home from the RNC newly energized and ready to energize the troops. Queens Chairman Phil Ragusa and Vice Chair Vince Tabone met with team McCain 2008 and will be leading a decentralized grassroots campaign to support McCain/Palin in Queens. A mass McCain rally is in the works that will incorporate local campaigns. Veterans for McCain, Women for McCain, Sportsman for McCain and other steering committees are being formed to capitalize on the enthusiasm of the McCain/Palin surge from the RNC to energize all local GOP campaigns in Queens.

Stay tuned for more news of the rally and please let Vince know if you want to participate in one of the committees. Let your friends, neighbors, and families know in advance of the big McCain/Palin rally coming up! Vince also mentioned that McCain posters and literature will be available soon and pending issues will be addressed such as updating the County GOP Website and publicizing a viable phone number that Queens residents can call to get a McCain lawn sign or bumper sticker, or help to get out the vote.

In the meantime Republican activists are on the move. Gerald Bush who staffs the McCain/Palin HQ in Mineola said at last week's Club meeting that we must win New York State for McCain! The Mineola HQ (220 Old Country Rd.) covers Nassau, Suffolk and Queens and lawn signs, bumper stickers and literature are available now. Call 718-465-0925 or 516-741-2555 and ask for Gerry. Or you may call Grant Lally directly: 516-741-2666.

Also take a look at the terrific work of our own State Comitteewoman, Linda Gritch: Queens Broads for McCain Palin 08

While you're at it check out Frank Padavan's new myspace page also set up by Linda:

Also check out my terrific blog refuting Us Magazine's hatchet job on Sarah Palin: Never underestimate the power of a pissed off housewife

My Best Regards,
Phil Orenstein
Queens Village Republican Club
Board of Directors Member

The Coming Media Revolution

All institutions become corrupt over time, and the way that they are recovered has to do with feedback and control. If feedback is available and control can be exercised by a well intentioned principal, the deviations toward corruption can be corrected. From the mid 19th to the early twentieth century, government in the US became increasingly corrupt. This was mitigated by a free press and by the availability of the frontier so that Americans could leave the political establishment. The flexibility to leave has kept New York City at a population of 8 million or so for 50 or more years as successive generations of immigrants have seen that the city does not function well and so leave. In the twentieth century media technology transformed media as radio and then television replaced once partisan newspapers. Many of the papers died, and the biggest ones, namely the New York Times and later the Washington Post, tended to reflect the views that at that time were most prevalent, namely Progressivism, particularly in its New Deal form. The television and radio stations also adopted the Progressive New Deal viewpoint because it was dominant when they were established between 1920 and 1960. As the number of liberal (in the nineteenth century sense) newspapers dwindled to nearly zero in the early twentieth century and the number of conservative-Progressive newspapers also dwindled, the newspapers as well as the radio and television news was dominated by the Progressive-New Deal point of view. By 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran for president, although he could capture a significant share of the vote, he lost in a 61% to 38% landslide to Lyndon Baynes Johnson. (Note that at its nadir, 19th century liberalism could attract almost 40% of the vote.)

The institutionalization of a viewpoint in a corporation is often called organizational culture. The views of the founders, to include not only the entrepreneur but the managers whom he appoints and the relations between the divisions of the new organization, shape the culture. The culture becomes ingrained and is difficult to change, even if a targeted effort is made. Philip Selznick first wrote about the problem of culture change in his "Leadership in Organizations" published int the 1950s. The idea was carried forward aggressively in the 1980s through such works as William Ouchi's "Theory Z" and is today a mainstay of management theory.

There were several factors that caused the institutionalization of the Progressive-New Deal point of view in the American media, the most important of which are (1) the nineteenth century liberal sources that resisted Progressivism ceased to exist or were taken over (as in the case of the Nation); (2) the media formed between 1920 and 1960 adopted the views of founders that were almost universally Progressive-New Deal; (3) the American education system has tended to re enforce this culture; and (4) hiring and promotional policies are inevitably linked to culture, and so there are powerful incentives for media operatives to adopt the Progressive-New Deal line.

Eventually, dysfunctional cultures create economic opportunities for entrepreneurs. As firms insist on a false reality consumers demand alternatives. This happened in Detroit in the 1960s, as a reading of John Delorean's and Patrick Wright's 1972 "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors" reveals. Detroit has hung on for another 35 years, but new firms have gradually eroded their market share.

A similar kind of reality gap is occurring in a range of American industries. In finance, repeated failure, corruption and reliance on government bailouts are greeted with glee, as today's increase in stock market valuations at the news of the government takeover of Fannie Mae reveal. In automobiles, the American car makers still have not found a way to compete successfully with the Japanese after 35 years of indulgence. And in the news media, Progressive-New Deal bias in the media's news, inability to grasp the mindset of the "new conservatism" that is not so new, declining quality of Hollywood films and the invention of new technologies that leave the twentieth century media in the dust are not addressed.

The most recent gaffe is Oprah's refusal to invite a Republican candidate, Sarah Palin, onto her show even though she did invite the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, onto her show (see photo from the Obamafile, h/t Bob Robbins). Oprah has shown bad judgment and bad ethics in using her position of trust as a talk show for partisan purposes. Oprah's viewers suddenly look foolish as it appears that they mindlessly follow Oprah's less-than-ethical whims.

Yet another example that came to my inbox today is Warner Todd Huston of the Stop the ACLU site's excellent analysis (h/t Larwyn) of a laughable San Francisco Chronicle story that claims to be about John McCain but is actually a vehicle to quote Barack Obama attacking John McCain. Ha, ha, the media clowns doing somersaults.

The question is why have no entrepreneurs stepped forward to arbitrage an increasingly inept media. Part of the reason might be the frontier of the new media, the increasing number of cable channels and the Internet. Also, the centralization of media ownership in a few large corporations that benefit from the Progressive-New Deal position and would logically favor a candidate like Obama would likely make it difficult for entrepreneurs to break into the old media. As well, the new media is doing quite a job as it is.

Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder if there aren't some good opportunities, as in a buyout of MSNBC.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

America Can't Be Richer Than Europe If She Does The Same Things The Europeans Do

It should seem obvious but it apparently isn't. I heard Barack Obama on the radio this afternoon. He claimed that many Americans dislike government if they have a job but change their minds when they don't have one. But the more government the fewer jobs, and if the process continues long enough then you have a situation like England's where the bottom 20% have been self-excluded from the job market because welfare pays better, and the country hasn't been innovative in a long time.

I am in the middle of Walter Weyl's 1912 New Democracy and one of the evident fallacies in the book is his belief that America was wealthier than Europe because of natural resources and the frontier. That was untrue. Japan has no natural resources and no frontier, but it is much richer than Russia, which has both. Likewise, Weyl cannot repeat often enough how much ahead of the US Europe is. That's another theme that the social democrats have carried forward through today. I wonder if Weyl's relatives in Europe, if any, were killed within three decades by those wonderfully social democratic Germans he repeatedly extols.

The problem is the way that you become rich, holding resources equal (as e.g., America's and Rusia's resources were equal in the 19th century) is (a) thrift; (b) efficient management; or (c) new ideas, inventions and innovations. There are no other ways The nation as a whole cannot become rich trading stocks or timing the stock market.

For the past century Weyl and his Progressive followers have been telling Americans that they need to become more like Europe. But if you're not more thrifty, efficient or innovative than Europeans, you're not going to be richer. You can expect to live like Europeans. Americans have thought of themselves as wealthier, but they've listened to the Progressives, and now they are going to learn that if you copy Europe, you adopt economic practices and social democracy like Europe's, your natural resources aren't going to be of much help. That's a hard lesson to learn.

We cannot be richer than Europe if we adopt Weyl-cum-Obama style social democracy. Sorry. Because of Obama and the last century's worth of Progressives, Americans can look forward to becoming poorer and poorer.

But at least we'll be happy when we're unemployed.