Saturday, September 20, 2008

Question for a Management Class

An NYU MBA student asked an interesting question during the three-hour class's break:

Q: Why does it matter to society, to an executive or to shareholders if a company goes bankrupt or is successful? Also, why does it matter to a society or to an executive if your side wins in a war?

A: With respect to society, a common economic concept of efficiency is "Pareto optimality" named after a Swiss sociologist. "Pareto optimality" describes a situation where you can't make someone better off without making someone worse off. Winning a war is not Pareto optimal since it is win/lose or distributive. Of course, society has an interest in winning a war because winning enhances national welfare and security. In prior epochs imperialism meant that wealth was secured in this way, and that may still be true. But from the viewpoint of the Almighty, it may not matter who wins the war since one side is worse off, i.e., there is no Pareto optimality, although of course there is such a thing as a just war, although each side would argue for it.

However, unlike in military or government contexts, in economies firms can create wealth without taking from anyone else, just as Standard Oil or Wal-Mart have, even if some will argue that they have done so in a non-Pareto-optimal manner. A firm like Apple invents the PC, and we are all better off or wealthier. Thus, capitalism maximizes social welfare. Social wealth corresponds to increase in shareholder value where there are no externalities and no government subsidies. However, if firms depend on subsidies, for instance Federal Reserve credit injections, then their maximization of shareholder value cannot be said to maximize social welfare.

The question is sometimes different with respect to social outcomes. The economist Ronald Coase noted that in a world with no legal* costs, alternative legal rules will result in socially optimal outcomes regardless of whether they favor one side or the other. The reason is that if a rule favors side (a) but optimality requires that side (b) act while harming side (a), side (b) can act only where the profit is sufficient to cover a liability payment to side(a) (again, this will occur where there are no legal costs inhibiting side (a)'s legal case). Thus, side (b) will act just as it would as if the legal rule favored it rather than side (a). Where the losses are too great to cover the legal payment, (b) will act just as they would were they suffering the losses themselves. Thus, socially optimal behavior will occur in this (non-existent) case of zero legal costs of pursuing compensation whether side (a) or (b) suffers the losses. However, that does not depict the real world where there are legal costs.

In general, though, in a free market system, a firm's maximization of profit means that it is also maximizing social welfare. This will not occur if the externalities that the firm produces exceed the value that the firm creates. A perfectly efficient economic system will require that firms that cause externalities (pollution and the like) pay for them out of profit. Efficiency can conflict with economic growth, then.

Here is my question to the class:

The point of maximizing shareholder goals is somewhat different from social optimality. A legal and moral concept describes the duty of a corporate official to aim to maximize profits. It parallels an even more basic legal and moral principle that says that generals and military commanders must aim to win a war.

What legal concept am I describing (a) with respect to corporate officials and (b) with respect to military commanders?

*the technical term used is "transactions" costs rather than "legal" costs, but the terms are closely related.

Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi Re Impeachment of President George W. Bush

PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494
September 20, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House of Representatives
450 Golden Gate Ave. 14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

I have also written to Senator McCain and Congressman Kucinich, John Conyers and my representative Maurice Hinchey concerning the impeachment of President George Bush. I am a laissez-faire Republican who has contributed to several Republican candidates. The recent bailout of AIG Insurance Company is a significant breach of the Constitution of the United States and so provides grounds for impeachment that you hitherto considered to be unavailable. The ownership of an insurance company is not a power granted to the federal government and has no serious justification either economically or because of the federal government's police powers. Justification of the AIG bailout would require accepting the claim of presidential economic omniscience. But the Constitution grants no such omniscience and no such power to the president.

Because President Bush has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution, President Bush deserves to be impeached.

The presidential oath of office reads as follows:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

At this juncture there is sufficient public support for an impeachment of President Bush. You may not agree with my reasons, and I may not agree with yours, but I think that more than half of the public would support a hearing.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Cc: Congressman Ron Paul
2445 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, DC 20515

Letter to John Conyers, Chair House Judiciary Committee, Re Impeachment of President George W. Bush

PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494
September 20, 2008

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
House of Representatives
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Conyers:

I am also writing to Senator McCain and Congressman Kucinich concerning the impeachment of President George Bush. I am a laissez-faire Republican who has today come to the conclusion that President Bush is morally unfit for office and ought to be impeached. As I wrote to Senator McCain and Congressman Kucinich, the recent bailout of AIG Insurance Company is a significant breach of the Constitution of the United States. The ownership of an insurance company is not a power granted to the federal government and has no serious justification. Because President Bush has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution, President Bush deserves to be impeached.

The presidential oath of office reads as follows:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

I believe that at this juncture there is sufficient public support for an impeachment of President Bush. You may not agree with my reasons, and I may not agree with yours, but I think that more than half of the public would support a hearing.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Letter to John McCain and Dennis Kucinich Requesting That Congress Impeach President George W. Bush

PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494
September 21, 2008

The Honorable John McCain
United States Senate
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Dennis Kucinich
House of Representatives
2445 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator McCain and Congressman Kucinich:

This is a respectful suggestion that you jointly, on a bi-partisan basis, initiate impeachment of President George W. Bush. The recent bailout of AIG Insurance Company is a significant breach of the Constitution of the United States. The ownership of an insurance company is not a power granted to the federal government and has no serious justification. Because President Bush has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution, President Bush deserves to be impeached.

The presidential oath of office reads as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Progressivism Bankrupts New York State---Again

As a Brooklyn College professor, I am an employee of New York State. Nataly Billings just forwarded me a Newsday article noting public pension fund losses due to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The article states that 37% of New York State's pension fund is in domestic equities, which seems conservative. But:

"Well before this week's corporate mega-collapses, the state's counties and big cities were sounding their own alarm bells. Lucille McKnight, president of the New York State Association of Counties, said several months ago that lagging population and economic growth, higher costs, fewer jobs and inevitably higher property taxes, drawn from a shrinking base, were components of a 'perfect storm.'"

The article also notes that Wall Street accounts for a full twenty percent of the State's entire tax revenue. Hence, in a bear market there is an automatic decline in the State's most important industry.

What the article doesn't mention and is actually a bigger problem is the unfunded retiree health insurance plan. Such a plan, funded on a pay-as-you-go basis, is feasible only if new firms can replace bankrupt ones like Lehman. But New York suffers from the disease of a century of Progressivism: high taxes, high labor costs, unfriendly regulations, and an anti-business culture. What business would want to open and stay in New York? The state employee unions have not thought this through, with relentless pressure to expand government services, as in the case of Dennis Rivera's Local 1199. The result of government bloat, high taxes, Progressive policies that squash small firms and hostility to entrepreneurship is going to be disappointment when all those state employees retiree in 10-20 years.

Mount Rushmore of Marxism: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bush

With all of George W. Bush's socialistic bailouts and subsidies to AIG, FNMA, and Bear Stearns, my childhood pal from Astoria, Queens, Lenny Rann, just forwarded the above picture that he developed. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bush. "Power to The People, Right On!"

Hugh Downs and Obama

Contrairimairi forwarded an e-mail taken from some other blogs. It is an essay by Hugh Downs, the libertarian news commentator who used to appear on 20/20 and who, in 1985:

"made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for having logged more hours on television than any other person in U.S. history. By May 1994, he had spent 10,347 hours in front of the television camera."

The Advocates quotes Downs as saying:

"This country is a one-party country. Half of that party is called Republican and half is called Democrat. It doesn't make any difference. All the really good ideas belong to the libertarians." (Politically Incorrect, March 31, 1997.)

"From a historical perspective, all Americans are libertarians, even those who are not registered as such. Libertarianism was a prominent political development that distinguished free Americans from those subjected to the British Crown." (Perspective radio commentary, September 19, 1998.)

The article is good and I reproduce it below. In it, Obama is called a flake. I use the passive voice because there is some controversy as to whether Mr. Downs actually wrote it. According to David Emery of the Urban Legends site, Mr. Downs did not write it. As with the Abraham Lincoln/William Boetcker quote, the article may be falsely attributed to Mr. Downs, but I agree that Barack Obama is a flake!


OBAMA WILL LOSE E-mail | 26 August 2008 | Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 7:11:14 PM by ShadoAce

It's time to throw my hat in the ring as regards predicting the election results. So here it is: Barack Obama will be defeated. Seriously and convincingly defeated. Not due to racism, not due to the forces of reaction, not even due to Karl Rove sending out mind rays over the national cable system. He will lose for one reason above all, one that has been overlooked in any analysis that I've yet seen. Barack Obama will lose because he is a flake. I'm using the term in its generally accepted sense. A flake is not only a screw up, but someone who truly excels in making bizarre errors and creating incredibly convoluted disasters. A flake is a "fool with energy", as the Russian proverb puts it. ("A fool is a terrible thing to have around, but a fool with energy is a nightmare".)

Barack Obama is a flake, and the American people have begun to see it. The chief characteristic of a flake is that he makes choices that are impossible to either understand or explain. These are not the errors of the poor dope who can't grasp the essentials of a situation, or the neurotic who ruins things out of compulsion, or the man suffering chronic bad luck.

The flake has a genius for discovering solutions at perfect right angles to the ordinary world. It's as if he's the product of a totally different evolutionary chain, in a universe where the laws are slightly but distinctly at variance to ours. When given a choice between left and right, the flake goes up -- if not through the 8th dimension. And although there's plenty of rationalization, there's never a logical reason for any of it. After awhile, people stop asking.

Obama's rise has been widely portrayed as a kind of millennial Horatio Alger story -- young lad from a new state on the outskirts of the American polity, a member of once-despised minority, works his way by slow degrees to within arm's length of the presidency itself. That's all well and good -- we need national myths of exactly that type.

But what has been overlooked is the string of faux pas marking each step of Obama's journey, a series of strange, inexplicable actions, actions bizarre enough to require some effort at explanation, through such efforts have rarely been offered. It's as if the new Horatio made it to the top by stepping into every last manhole and open trapdoor in his path. And we, the onlookers, the voters who are being asked to put this man in the White House, are supposed to take this as the normal career path for a successful chief executive.

What are these incidents? I'm sure many of you are way ahead of me, but let's go to the videotape.

Here's a young man who graduated from Columbia with high marks, with a choice of positions anywhere in the country. He comes from a state generally held to be a close match to Paradise. One, furthermore, that can be characterized as the most successful multiracial society in the world, with harmonious relations not only between whites and blacks, but also Japanese-Americans and native Hawaiians as well. To top it off, a state controlled in large part by a smoothly-functioning Democratic machine. So where does he choose to go?

To Chicago. One of the windiest, coldest, most brutal cities in the country. One that is also infinitely corrupt in a sense that Hawaii is not. One that remains one of the most racist large cities in the U.S. (Cicero, Al Capone's old stomping grounds, a suburb that is effectively part of the city, is completely segregated to this day.) It would be nice to learn which of these aspects most attracted young Obama to the city. But if you'd asked at the beginning of the campaign, you'd still be waiting.

And what does he do when he reaches the city? Why, he joins a cult. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church has been turned inside out since the videotaped sermons appeared early this year, without anyone ever quite explaining exactly what Obama was thinking of when he joined up in the first place. Street cred, so it's claimed. But there are a plethora of black churches that would have provided him that without the taint of demented racism that Wright's church offered.

Obama apparently had to swear an oath of belief in "black liberation theology" when he joined the church. (It is the little touches of that sort that make it a "cult", and not simply a "church".) Did the thought of his career ever cross his mind? Didn't he realize that church would inevitably cause him trouble somewhere down the line? That he'd be required to repudiate it and its ideas eventually? We can ask -- but we won't get an answer.

Back at school, Obama got himself named editor of the Harvard Law Review. This is a signal achievement, no question about it. The kind of thing that would be mentioned about a person for the rest of his life, as has been the case with Obama. But then... he writes nothing for the journal.

Now, let's get this straight: here we have one of the leading university law journals in the country, one widely cited and read. Entire careers in legal analysis and scholarship have been founded on appearances in the Review, including some that have led to the highest courts in the country. Yet here's an individual who, as editor, could easily place his own work in the journal -- standard practice, nothing at all wrong with it. But he fails to do so. And the explanation? There's none that I've heard. We can go even farther than that, to say that there is no explanation that makes the least rational sense.

We follow Obama down to Springfield, where as a state legislator, he voted "present" over 120 times. What this means, as far as I've been able to discover, is that he voted "present" nearly as much as he voted "yes" or "no".

Now, statehouses work very simply: a member approaches his colleagues and asks them them to vote for his bill. Some comply, some do not. Some ask, "Is it a good bill?" and some don't. Either way, they customarily, except in unusual circumstances, vote "yes' or "no". All except for Barack Obama. And how did get away with it? How did mollify his colleagues? How did he square himself with the party bosses? Echo answereth not.

(A good slogan could be made of this: "You can't vote present in the Oval Office." I hereby commend it to the McCain campaign.)

We turn eagerly to learn what his term in the U.S. Senate will reveal, only to be disappointed. But it's not surprising, really. After all, he was only there for 143 days.

And there lies one of the keys to Obama's rise. David Brooks pointed out in a recent New York Times column that Obama spent too little time in any of his positions to make an impact one way or another. This is what saved him from the normal fate of the flake: he was never around long enough for his errors and strange behavior to catch up with him.

But a presidential campaign is a different matter. A man running for president is under the microscope, and can't duck anything, as many a candidate has had reason to learn. If Obama is a flake in the classic mode, now is when it would come out. And has it?

The case could be made. Here we have a campaign with everything going for it -- the opposition party in a shambles, a seriously undervalued president, the media in the candidate's pocket, the candidate himself being worshiped as nothing less than the new messiah. And yet the results have comprised little more than one fumble after another.

First came the Wright affair. Obama apparently thought he was above it all -- a not-uncommon phenomenon with flakes -- and allowed the revelations to take on a life of their own before bothering to respond. Even then, his thoughtful and convincing explanation (that he hadn't been listening for twenty years) did little to settle the crisis, which instead guttered out on its own after nearly crippling his campaign. Even months afterward it threatens to pop back up at any time. The latest word is that Wright -- now a deadly enemy of his onetime protege -- has written a book. I can't wait.

Obama learned his lesson, and confronted the next threat immediately, tackling The New Yorker cover with the avidity of a man having discovered zombies in the basement. A development that could have been defused with a chuckle and a quip (the customary method is for the politician to ask the cartoonist for the original) was allowed to explode into a major issue. The campaign's relentless attacks on one of the oldest liberal magazines extant merely perplexed the country at large. After all, any Republican has had to endure far worse.

Almost simultaneously, the birth certificate saga was unfolding. On no reasonable grounds, the campaign blew off requests for a copy of the document, at last releasing it through one of the least reputable sites on the Internet, and so badly copied that literally anything could be read into it -- and was. I'm not one of those who believes that Obama was actually born in Indonesia/Kenya/Moscow/the moon, but I still have plenty in the way of questions, almost all of them arising from how the matter was handled. Well played.

The latest pothole (or one of them, anyway) involves Jerome Corsi's "The Obama Nation". Corsi has been given the full New Yorker treatment, with the campaign hoping to avoid John Kerry's "error" in not challenging Corsi's
2004 book, Unfit for Command. What Obama missed was the fact that Kerry's major problem was not with Corsi but with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who were disgusted with Kerry's hypocrisy in running as an experienced military veteran, and set out to take him down. Corsi's effort dovetailed with the veteran's campaign and to a large extent was swept up with it. No such campaign is in operation against Obama. The smart method of answering Corsi would have been to allow the media to handle it, instead of drawing attention to the book and raising it to level of an issue. This appears to be a real talent for the Obama campaign.

We could go on. The victory tour of Europe, and the speech in which Obama declared himself "citizen of the world", a trope guaranteed to focus the attention of Middle America. His inept handling of Hillary, in which he wound up appearing frightened of the opponent he'd just beaten. Allowing Hillary (and her husband there, what's-his-name) a starring role in the Democratic convention is not a solution any sane individual would be comfortable with -- much less a roll-call vote. This threatens the near-certainty of turning the entire affair into BillandHillarycon, with the nominee winding up as a footnote. But it's all of a piece with the campaign Obama has waged up until now.

We've never had a flake as president. We've had drunks, neurotics, cripples, louts, and fools, but never a career screwup. (I except Jimmy Carter, whose errors arose from sincere, misguided goodwill.) And I don't think we're going to get one now. Another three months of flailing, incompetence, and a collapsing image will do little to assure voters concerned with terrorism, the oil crunch, a gyrating economy, and a bellicose Russia. (Anyone doubting that Obama will go exactly this route can consider the Saddleback church fiasco, which unfolded as this piece was being wrapped up. Evidently, the campaign goaded NBC news personality Andrea Mitchell into all but accusing John McCain of "cheating" by failing to take his place within the "cone of silence" during Obama's part of the program. The grotesque element here is that Obama's people and much of the liberal commentariat -- including Mitchell -- apparently believe that the "cone of silence", a gag prop for the old Get Smart! comedy series, actually exists and was in use at Saddleback.)

Many of us have dealt with flakes at one time or another, often in settings involving jobs and careers, and not uncommonly in positions of some authority. We all know of the nephew, the fiance, the boyfriend, whose whims must be catered to, whose reputation must be protected, who must be constantly worked around if anything at all is to be accomplished, always at the cost of time, money, efficiency, and personal stress.

In the fullness of time, we will inevitably see such a figure in the White House. But not this year, and not this candidate. Such acts of national flakery occur only when there's no real alternative. In this election, an alternative exists. Whatever his shortcomings, nobody ever called John McCain a flake.

Barack Obama: Progressive for President

The Progressives believed that socialism should replace individualism and that community was more important than individuality. Barack Obama is repeating 120-year-old ideas in the name of "change". Senator Obama's "change" is the 120-year-old rhetoric of Herbert Croly and Walter Weyl.

The AP Division of the BOIS reports that Senator Obama says:

"Get rid of this philosophy. Get rid of the do-nothing approach to our economic problem and put somebody in there who's going to fight for you."

What a laugh. I doubt Senator Obama could describe the fundamental concepts underlying laissez-faire and I also doubt that he could accurately describe developmental differences between laissez-faire and mercantilist states.

Senator Obama is slated to make some statements on the economy today. I'll try to keep from yawning.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Letter to Robert F. Mueller and Michael B. Mukasey Re ACORN Voter Fraud

Robert F. Mueller,III, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Michael B. Mukasey, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Messrs. Mueller and Mukasey:

There have been allegations on the Internet of an unusually high level of voter fraud associated with a group based in Chicago known as ACORN. For example, Pamela Geller of the Atlas Shrugs blog ( notes that in Illinois:

"Several municipal clerks across the state are reporting fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications, most of them from a nationwide community activist group working to help low- and moderate-income families."

If ACORN is systematically committing voter fraud across the country, there would seem to be a number of federal crimes involved, to include racketeering.

I am sending you this letter to alert you to these allegations of potential criminality concerning voter fraud in this coming election cycle.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Cc: Lynne A. McFarland, Inspector General
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463

Obama Campaign and Voter Fraud

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs (h/t Larwyn and Bob Robbins) argues that Barack Obama's best hope is massive vote fraud in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri and New York. I had e-mailed the McCain campaign on August 6 that it is imperative that they develop a police strategy now. I would also argue that the FBI should be involved in this question now.

Geller writes:

"Several municipal clerks across the state are reporting fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications, most of them from a nationwide community activist group working to help low- and moderate-income families

"The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs. ACORN’s Michigan branch, based in Detroit, has enrolled 200,000 voters statewide in recent months, mostly with the use of paid, part-time employees

"'There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications,” said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office. “And it appears to be widespread.'”

The Democratic Party has deteriorated to the point where its chief hope of winning this yer is fraud. The Republicans need to take action now, and the FBI needs to be involved.

Columbo v. Obama

Bob Robbins just sent me the following:

Excuse me Mr Obama, I mean Senator Obama, sir. Um . . . know you are busy and important and stuff. I mean running for president is very important and . . . ah . . . I hate to bother you. I will only take a minute ok, sir?
See, I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out. You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.
Hey, you have a nice place here! The wife sees houses like this on TV all the time and says boy she wishes she had digs like this you know? Is that painting real? Really? Wow. I saw something like that in a museum once!
Oh, sorry sir. I didn't mean to get off the track. So, if you could just help me out a minute and give me some details, I will get right out of your way. I want to close this case and maybe take the wife to Coney Island or something. Ever been to Coney Island ? No, I didn't think so. .
Well, listen, anyways, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up. These things seem to either be 'locked' or 'not available'. I'm sure it's just some oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are . . . I . . . I . . . have them written down here somewhere, . . . oh wait. Sorry about the smears. It was raining out. I'll just read it to you.
Could you help me please find these things, sir?

1. Occidental College records -- Not released
2. Columbia College records -- Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper -- 'not available'
4. Harvard College records -- Not released
5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released
6. Medical records -- Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule -- 'not available'
8. Law practice client list -- Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published -- None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles -- None
13. Record of baptism-- Not released or 'not available'
14. Illinois State Senate records -- 'not available'

Oh, hey . . listen! I know you are busy! Is this too much for you now? I mean tell you what. I will come back tomorrow. Give you some time to get these things together, you know? I mean, I know you are busy, so I will just let myself out. I will be back tomorrow. And the day after. Who wants to know these things asked Senator Obama? Columbo answered:

The American People

Government Is The Problem: Doug Ross on The Mortgage Crisis

The always-enlightening Doug Ross (h/t Larwyn) blogs convincingly that the roots of the current mortgage crisis are in government regulation. While I was at the health club this afternoon, someone mentioned to me that only if there were more regulation there would have been no problem of this kind. But, of course, Enron cleared the mark-to-market accounting method directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so regulation did not work then. Nor is there reason to believe that greed can be regulated or that government lawyers can outsmart private sector ones. What regulation would accomplish, of course, is to squelch innovation in the future.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the product of government regulation. Further regulation will not solve a problem that regulation created. The concept of business regulation originated in New York State's regulation of the insurance business, which forced Equitable Life to stop selling a colorful product of the late nineteenth century, Tontine Insurance. Insurance in New York is already heavily regulated. Why on earth would anyone believe the old wives' tale that more regulation would solve problems like this?

The excessive risk taking came from financial subsidies that emanated from the Federal Reserve Bank. The entire subprime crisis is a product of government intervention. Only fools would argue that the solution is more government regulation. Government regulation caused the problem.

Doug asks: "But why would anyone underwrite obviously risky mortgages?" and notes that:

"Fannie Mae executives, aided and abetted by Congressional Democrats and the Clinton administration, went hog wild promoting low-quality loans. After all, their stock options and "earnings-per-share challenge grant awards" were at stake. A press release from 1999 -- announcing a $1 billion taxpayer-funded giveaway -- epitomized the era."

The debate in America has become insipid enough that I tune it out. It is refreshing to hear intelligent voices like those of Doug Ross.

Andy Martin Accuses Obama Campaign of Dirty Tricks

Executive Editor

"Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct"




Obama opposition leader Andy Martin says "Obamabots" have launched an unprecedented "cyberwar" against anyone who stands up against or speaks out against Barack Obama

Obama author Andy Martin is under attack from Obama's cyberwar minions

(CHICAGO)(September 18, 2008) Legendary Chicago Internet columnist, public interest lawyer and Obama opposition leader Andy Martin will hold a Chicago news conference today to charge that "Obamabots" orchestrated by David Axelrod have launched a massive cyberwar against the opponents of Barack Obama.

"We are under attack," says Martin. "Our web sites are under attack. Our blogs are under attack. We have to constantly defend against malicious Obamabot attacks.

"David Axelrod is a master dirty trickster, and Barack Obama has run all of his election contests with underhanded tactics. Obama and Axelrod are conducting a cyberwar against anyone and everyone who opposes Obama.

"Google has received fraudulent complaints against anti-Obama blogs (we have the evidence); instead of abating after Obama won the nomination, he has redoubled his cyber attacks.

"We are fighting back and standing up to Obama's onslaught. His blitzkrieg will not succeed," says Martin. "Obama has really declared war on the First Amendment. We will fight back to protect everyone's right to free speech."

Martin will then return to New York where he is based while promoting his book, Obama: The Man Behind The mask.


Internet Columnist-Editor/Obama opposition leader Andy Martin says Barack Obama has unleashed a massive cyberwar on his critics.

Obama author Andy Martin says Barack Obama has unleashed a cyberwar on his opponents.

Southeast corner of Huron and Wabash Streets, Chicago

Thursday, October 18, 1:00 P. M.

(312) 440-4124; CELL PHONE (917) 664-9329




Readers of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask confirm this book is the "quiet bestseller" about Barack Obama, and the only practical handbook on his unfitness for the presidency. Buy it.
Buy now: Immediate shipment available from Signed copies of the book from: Also available from
URGENT APPEAL: The Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama is raising money to fight Barack Obama. Please give generously up to the maximum of $100. Our ability to fight and defeat Barack Obama is directly dependent on the generosity of every American."
The Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama limits itself to $100 maximum contributions; there are no bundlers, fat cats or illegal contributions. Obama is opposed to everything America stands for," says Executive Director Andy Martin. "But while Obama has raised more than a third of a BILLION dollars, his opponents have raised virtually nothing. We can't just sit back and expect John McCain to do the job all alone. Americans can either contribute now, or pay later. If we do not succeed, Obama will."
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have decided to oppose Barack Obama's election and have become Executive Director of The Stop Obama Coalition, and By default, I have become the national leader of the anti-Obama movement. I am not acting as either a Democrat or Republican. I have had no contact whatsoever with the McCain Campaign. The views expressed are entirely independent of McCain. I am not a member of any political organization. I am acting as an American citizen who sincerely believes Obama is not the man we need in the Oval Office. We are running a very dynamic and aggressive campaign against Obama. We know how. We are the recognized experts in the field. I will, however, continue to write my columns for /s/ Andy Martin
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He is currently based in New York selling his new book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin comments on regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law.

His columns are also posted at; Andy is the author of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, published in July 2008, see

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BOIS Reports Obama Ahead of McCain

The New York Times, also known as the Barack Obama Information Service (BOIS), reports an Obama lead. The headline is that "McCain is seen as less likely to bring change". BOIS also reports that:

"Mr. Obama had the support of 48 percent of registered voters, compared with 43 percent for Mr. McCain, a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and statistically unchanged from the tally in the last New York Times/CBS News poll, in mid-August."

Real Clear Politics shows Obama slightly ahead, 47 to 45%. Hence, the BOIS poll is in line with other polls but slightly skewed toward Obama, which is not surprising given that it's BOIS.

Sub-Prime Crisis Results From Regulation, Congressional Black Caucus and Barack Obama

Saying that the sub-prime crisis is due to insufficient regulation is a demonstrable lie. Rather, it is demonstrably true that it is due to Democratic Party political influence and government intervention in the mortgage market (h/t Larwyn). In this video, taken in 2005, Daniel Mudd, Interim CEO of Fannie Mae, boasts to the Congressional Black Caucus that Fannie Mae has leant more money to minorities than any other institution in history. He calls the Congressional Black Caucus the "conscience of Fannie Mae".

The top three US Senators receiving contributions from Fannie Mae have included Senator Barack Obama (number two or three), even though he was a Senator for a brief four years.

The Democrats are more closely linked to Fannie Mae than are the Republicans. Franklin Raines, a Democrat who left Fannie Mae under a cloud, received a $50 million payout from Fannie Mae. The current sub-prime crisis is attributable to the Democrats and is a product of regulation, political influence on the mortgage market and government intervention. Given that the lie that the sub-prime crisis is due to too little regulation has been repeated on CNN, MSNBC and other Democratic Party propaganda sources, it is evident that the informational value of the American news media is nil. CNN is not news. It is propaganda.

Newt Gingrich and Solutions Day

I received the following e-mail from Newt Gingrich, which presumably went out to the RNC mailing list. Speaker Gingrich wants to have a national "talk about the fundamentals" and "solutions for getting the economy back on track". On Solutions Day he wants to get Washington and Wall Street to be like America instead of America's becoming more like Wall Street.

My e-mail response to Speaker Gingrich was this:

Dear Newt--thanks for the message and I'll be glad to post it, but I do have one question for you. Why didn't Congress move to abolish the Department of Education when you were Speaker? Thanks and best wishes, Mitchell Langbert.

This is Speaker Gingrich's e-mail:

Dear Mitchell,

The last few weeks have been painful economically.

Washington politicians in both parties are panicked and as a result they are making things worse. Now we have a Treasury Department which is capriciously deciding which firm to help and which firm to let die.

In the process, it is piling up huge liabilities for taxpayers by "saving" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then allowing Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt before "saving" AIG at a potential risk of another $85 billion.

It's time to have a serious talk about the fundamentals--not politicians taking your money to prop up failed businesses.

On Saturday, September 27 American Solutions will hold its second annual Solutions Day to propose bold, dramatic change for the economy, energy, education, and health. You can participate in this important solutions-oriented dialogue for free by clicking here and hosting or attending an event in your community. Solutions Day will be broadcast live on DISH Network #219, DirecTV #577, and

Despite the mistakes of the last few weeks and the sense of panic on Wall Street and in Washington the basics of America are still healthy.

We now face a fundamental choice of returning to the fundamentally healthy American economy and American work ethic and making Washington and Wall Street more like America OR passing laws which reshape America to be more like the current sickness in Washington and Wall Street.

Watch this short video about America's economic challenges and then register to join me on Solutions Day to develop solutions to get America back on the right track.

Your friend,


Clinton's and Democrats' Responsibility for Sub-Prime Crisis

Merv of PrairiePundit links to an excellent post by Hans Bader of (h/t Larwyn) who in turn quotes Washington Examiner and Village Voice articles that attribute the subprime crisis to regulatory pressure on Fannie Mae and other government-created entities to make excessive loans to low-income borrowers. The video I just posted (h/t Larwyn) provides visual evidence of one facet of this saga. It is outrageous that, given the grounding of the sub-prime crisis in government intervention and Democratic Party politics, Barack Obama and the media that supports him is willing to claim that free markets and the Republicans are to blame. Have they no shame?

The Examiner writes:

"Barack Obama held the Bush administration responsible yesterday for what he calls “the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Obama is hopelessly wrong on the facts. One need look no further than The Washington Examiner and The Washington Post to see that the roots of this crisis sprouted during the Clinton administration’s politically motivated effort in the 1990s to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to expand home ownership. Fannie and Freddie are Government-Sponsored Entities (GSEs) that dominate the U.S. mortgage market...In an oped article published on these pages last February, former Wall Streeter Robert Cox noted that “in response to political pressure at the time, the GSEs took steps to make homeownership more affordable for lower-income Americans and those with a poor credit history.”

Bader adds:

"The current mortgage crisis came about in large part because of Clinton-era government pressure on lenders to make risky loans in order to 'make home ownership more affordable for lower-income Americans and those with a poor credit history,' the DC Examiner notes today."

The Voice argues that Andrew Cuomo, HUD's director under Clinton, was directly responsible for today's meltdown:

"Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

"What he did is important—not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York's attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie."

Merv concludes:

"This election can be turned into a landslide for McCain if he focuses on Democrat corruption which caused this debacle. There is no need for Republicans to be defensive about this. The Bush administration, contrary to the statements of Pelosi and others, tried to do something about the corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and was thwarted by Chris Dodd and the Democrats who were on the receiving end of contributions from those responsible for the problem. The second largest beneficiary was Barack Obama. The ad that needs to be out there almost writes itself and if McCain doesn't produce it some independent group should be doing it today."

Nancy Razik's Questions about Barack Obama

Nancy Razik raises some questions about Barak Obama in an e-mail that parallels Candace de Russy's recent NR article. Nancy picked up the following from a friend's e-mail:

"Obama's radical Palestinian ties used to influence Jewish voters

"A telephone campaign in Florida and Pennsylvania is trying to convince Jewish voters in those states to drop their support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his ties to and endorsement by Palestinian terrorist elements.
The Associated Press reported that the telephone calls are made under the guise of being a legitimate campaign poll, but really have only one purpose: to convince Jewish voters that Obama will sell out Israel to its enemies.

"Jewish voters who receive the calls are asked by the pollsters if Obama's providing funds to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), his endorsement by Hamas, or his decision to hire advisors known for their anti-Israel bias would influence their vote.

"It is now well known that Hamas, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other radical elements in the Middle East are rooting for Obama to win in November. What is less known is his past affiliation with groups that advocate and work for the violent downfall of the Jewish state.

"From 1999 to 2002, Obama served as a paid director for a Chicago-based non-profit organization called the Woods Fund. In 2001 and then again in 2002, the Woods Fund provided grants totaling $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), a radical organization with firm ties to the PLO that laments Israel's existence as a "catastrophe."

"AAAN co-founder, Professor Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University, has openly supported terrorism against Israeli Jews and even took an active role in PLO operations when Yasser Arafat's group was still considered a terrorist organization by the West.

"After learning that Obama was running for president, Khalidi embarked on a serious fundraising effort. The Obama campaign has gladly accepted the money raised by that effort.

"Also of note is the fact that Obama served on the Woods Fund board with admitted and unrepentant US domestic terrorist William Ayers."

New York Jews Favor McCain 54-32

Larwyn just forwarded a Sigmund,Carl,and Alfred blog of John Podhoretz's Commentary blog. Sigmund et al. state of New York's Siena poll:

"...John McCain is now only 5 points behind Barack Obama, 46-41 – not shocking because polls have narrowed to similar margins in New Jersey. (It should be noted, however, that according to a Rasmussen poll released yesterday, Obama is leading in New York by 55-42.)

"No, the shocking detail has to do with a wild, 35-point swing toward McCain among Jewish voters. Obama led among them by a margin of 50-37 in August. This month, McCain is actually leading Obama by a margin of 54 percent to 32 percent."

Has Barack Obama Gone Laissez-Faire?

Call me crazy but I was in the health club of the Emerson Inn and Spa this afternoon and saw a headline that said that Barack Obama has called the AIG subsidy "crony capitalism". Bravo. I sincerely hope that Senator Obama is going laissez-faire, although I can't help but wonder what those contributions from the Pritzkers and from George Soros are all about? Has Wall Street gone laissez-faire too? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Really.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gold, Stocks and The Dollar, Oh My!

The past month has been rather confusing on the investment front. I had been in gold stocks and they plummeted like the dickens into Hades. Presumably gold went down because the dollar went up and oil went down. Now mostly in cash, I watch gold shoot up as the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Dow take their own ride into perdition. What new torments await investors in the first rung of hell? Does the Dow decline further and gold continue upward? Has the dollar ended its six-week ascent? Are foreign central banks and the Fed playing games with the dollar? Why would the dollar ascend and gold and oil decline weeks before the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subsidy of AIG and Freddie Mac? Do we have a free market, or a pretense of one, with the Wicked Wizard of the East making sport of it? With the Dow down better than 700 points this week, is it good idea for the Wizard to remain behind the curtain, pulling strings?

Candace de Russy's "Radical Mind"

My good friend Candace de Russy's article "Radical Mind" appears in the current issue of National Review. (A longer version of the article is available at Family Security Matters.) Dr. de Russy argues, convincingly, that although 63 percent of Americans believe that Barack Obama shares traditional American views, there are serious lacunae in his resume, questions about his upbringing and gaps in what we know about his associations with radicals ranging from the far left to Islamo-Terrorism. For instance, de Russy observes that at Occidental College in Los Angeles he strived "not to be 'mistaken for a sellout," and then continued to fixate on identity politics and radicalism while at Columbia.

Upon moving to Chicago after graduation:

"Obama elected to become a left-wing community organizer in Chicago. He was hired for the job, NRO’s David Freddoso stresses, by persons who had trained under academic-turned-radical-socialist and self-described agitator Saul Alinsky."

At Harvard Law, "He became adept at not giving away his true positions, 'giving warring classmates the impression that he agreed with all of them at once.'" The question that needs to be asked concerns the degree to which Senator Obama has cloaked his actual views over time. One indicator, notes de Russy, is that Obama has longstanding friendships with Rashid Khalidi, "a backer of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department" and William Ayers and:

"While Obama and Ayers served on the Woods Fund board, the trust made substantial grants to the Arab American Action Network, founded by Khalidi. The organization reports that it conducted an oral history project on “an-Nakba,” or the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding."

As well:

"...just as Obama did not in the past hesitate to support the work of Khalidi, so did he not hesitate in his campaign to hire Mazen Asbahi as his Muslim-Outreach Adviser. Asbahi recently resigned in the wake of publicity linking him to legacy groups of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood."

Other of Mr. Obama's radical advisors have included Charles Ogletree, Robert Malley, and Cornel West.

Quite a crew to have running the country.

America's Impoverishment Through Corporate Welfare

The United States became the wealthiest country during a period of laissez-faire, from about 1825 to 1900. The nation has retained elements of that system, but has allowed them to erode and disappear over the past century. As they have eroded, the American economy has become less friendly to workers and more friendly to four groups: the super-wealthy, corporate executives, service providers to large corporations and ultra-smart entrepreneurs. Big business executives', hedge fund operators', investment bankers and related professionals' pay has skyrocketed as average employees have seen hourly wages decline.

This process of wealth transfer from poor to rich is the result of Federal Reserve Bank inflationary policy since 1932, its subsidization of the stock market through low interest rates, and the resulting resiliency of stock prices to small increments in profit margins, for instance through overseas plant transfers. Because of low interest rates, inefficient large firms have been able to masquerade as efficient. Executives whose practices would destroy wealth in a competitive economy appear to increase wealth in an inflationary, Fed-supported one. Investment bankers who produce no wealth can be paid exhorbitant fees out of Federal Reserve Bank countefeit.

America increasingly has become a nation on government life support where those who produce subsidize the ultra-rich via government. Government does not produce wealth, as James Crum recently pointed out. The expansion of governmental systems, regulation, Federal Reserve Bank interference in markets, and high income tax rates on the middle class have squashed the ability of small and intermediate sized firms to compete. Inheritance taxes demotivate inter-generational transfer of firms that might compete with America's mismanaged large ones.

The result has been declining average real wages due to ongoing, systemic inflation. Non-wealth producing fields like law, consulting and investment banking have attracted away America's top talent from productive labor in engineering and manufacturing. This is justified through hollow arguments such as "traders improve efficiency". But such arguments would hold true only in cases where there is laissez-faire. Subsidization of traders through Fed interest rate policy can explain all of Wall Street's gains over the past 70 years.

Thus, big business has had several deleterious effects on the American economy, and it has done so through the Progressive/New Deal system that is the product of both Democrats and Republicans. This system has won the support of the average American, who has been willing to believe that government can produce wealth and that big business is more productive than competition. In a certain sense, the American public has voted for the nation's future economic decline and so future generations will pay for this and the past four generations' bad judgment.

The news this week reports attempts by firms that have paid high executive salaries for the past 30 years to obtain subsidies. These are on top of subsidies to Bear Stearns and Freddie Mac. In addition, in the past six weeks the Fed has intervened in the dollar market, causing the dollar to rise. This may be related to the current stock market correction (the Dow was down over 500 points on Monday, up 100+ points yesterday and as of this writing is down 350 points today). The dollar intervention may help consumers for a few months but it will also disturb the natural correction of markets.

The subsidization of large firms that do not produce value DOES NOT save jobs or preserve wealth. Rather, it creates a new welfare system. New York City DOES NOT NEED 8,000 additional welfare recipients under the employment of AIG Insurance who do not pay for themselves and drain wealth from other citizens. New York would be better off allowing inefficient firms like AIG to die and eliminating the regulation that stifles new job creation. You do not produce wealth by subsidizing inefficiency. It is only by allowing firms that produce wealth to survive that the American economy will prosper.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

James Crum's Abraham Lincoln, No William J. H. Boetcker, Quote of the Day

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."

--William J.H. Boetcker

According to Wikipedia (thanks to comment by R on this blog) the above quote is often mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although it is still good.

Obama's Contributors Benefit From Sub-prime Crisis

Contrairimairi forwarded this story from M. Simon's Power and Control blog. Simon writes of the Superior Bank of Chicago's bankruptcy:

"The uninsured depositors were dealt another blow recently when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court decision to put any recovered money toward the debt that the bank owners owe the federal government before the depositors get anything.

"But this seven-year-old bank failure has relevance in another way today, since the chair of Superior’s board for five years was Penny Pritzker, a member of one of America’s richest families and the current Finance Chair for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the same candidate who has lashed out against predatory lending.."


“The [sub-prime] financial engineering that created the Wall Street meltdown was developed by the Pritzkers and Ernst and Young, working with Merrill Lynch to sell bonds securitized by sub-prime mortgages,” Timothy J. Anderson, a whistleblower on financial and bank fraud, told me in an interview."

Simon adds:

"Well, isn't that special. Kind of reminds you of O's special friend Tony Rezko who worked the low income housing scam in Chicago. Small potatoes that Tony. He only destroyed millions in housing value. Pritzker was involved with trillions. But you know the Democrats really have a heart for the poor. As long as they can rob them blind."

Simon discusses another "thief for Obama", Jim Johnson. As well, he discusses ACORN's many links to Fannie Mae. He asks:

"Which politicians did Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's Political Action Committees support? How about a look at the top five.

1. Dodd, Christopher J D-CT $133,900

2. Kerry, John D-MA

3. Obama, Barack D-IL

4. Clinton, Hillary D-NY

5. Kanjorski, Paul E D-PA

Well what do you know. They're all Democrats. Change we can believe in. Read it all here.

Barack Obama's Leeches

Mayor Bloomberg was on television yesterday. I wasn't paying careful attention but he seemed to be suggesting that American International Group will survive despite financial losses and that markets need to be regulated. The Sun reports today that Governor Paterson is changing New York insurance law to allow the firm to borrow from its subsidiaries. The rule of law is is becoming an alien concept to our increasingly socialistic, government-by-whim society. What especially troubles me is that I doubt that Governor Paterson or Mayor Bloomberg have ever learned about or thought about why the rule of law was associated with the solitary (in world history) rise of technology and wealth under free market capitalism, and how violating it will destroy the incentives and flexibility that enable it. Americans have allowed themselves to be led by fools.

Another potential milestone on America's government-built expressway to serfdom is that, as the Sun's Russell Berman reports, our inept automakers may get a bailout from the American people. The automakers don't think enough of American workers to locate their plants in Flint or Detroit, but they are happy to accept alms from those same workers.

The Sun notes:

"The nation's top car manufacturers are pushing Congress to act by the end of this month to guarantee $25 billion in loans to help them invest in the production of fuel-efficient vehicles. The idea is being greeted warmly by both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, who see it as a way to win votes in the swing state of Michigan while also moving America away from dependence on foreign oil."

The pattern of government support for incompetently managed businesses, from Fannie Mae in Washington to General Motors in Detroit to Bear Stearns in Manhattan, is a function of a failed, mercantilist economic model associated with Harvard University and the New Deal. The vicious harm that this ideology is doing to America's future is evident. When firms are badly managed, they should be closed and replaced by more nimble firms with more capable managements, not supported at taxpayer expense through the printing of money. Readjustments are painful, but the alternative is economic decline as resources are diverted to incompetent and slothful cronies at the expense of innovative entrepreneurs.

In response to massive over-regulation, government subsidized-firm incompetence and failed, New Deal economic theories, Senator Barack Obama, like Mayor Bloomberg a product of Harvard's graduate program, calls for more regulation. This call is echoed by John McCain, Harry Reid and our other illiterate leaders, who tell the American public that they will illegalize greed, all the while snickering as the laws that they pass reflect their own greed.

Senator Obama reminds me of Benjamin Rush, the physician who signed the Declaration of Independence. As a political activist we can respect Rush, but as a physician he advocated the aggressive use of leeches to cure disease. The idea that leeches can cure cancer is much like Senator Obama's and Mayor Bloomberg's idea that more regulation can cure economic decline.

The Sun notes that Senator McCain's diagnosis is as off base as Senator Obama's, and they are right. The state of education about economics is this. The establishment advocates economic ideas that harm innovation and the average American's long term prospects, and they do it in the name of helping the average American. Regulation is a leech-cure that weakens the patient instead of curing him. What is worse, though, is that regulation does protect one group: the physicians' friends, the wealthy recipients of corporate welfare.

Benjamin Rush aimed to cure his patients. Barack Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are much worse. They are willing to harm the American public in order to benefit themselves, their contributors and their fellow Harvard alumni. They may really believe their silly ideas. But alternative knowledge is available, and they are unwilling to be educated.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New York Huckabee Supporters Helping Obama Slide

Pinni is my former student who also happens to be the head of the Federalist Society at Cardozo Law School in New York. Pinni was one of my very few best students in 17 years of teaching, and I pleased to say that he is doing well in law school. He just forwarded a fascinating e-mail from Myers Mermel, former New York State chair of New Yorkers for Huckabee. Mermel points out that McCain/Palin are within 4.2% of Obama. Wow, what a difference a few weeks can make! Mermel is now head of the McCain campaign's grassroots efforts. Mermel is encouraging New Yorkers to go to and sign up for county MEETUPS. Yay!

>Former Huckabee Supporters:

I am sure you have been as encouraged by Gov. Sarah Palin as I have. Her agenda and values are very much like Gov Huckabee's.

The Republican Presidential team of McCain/Palin is now addressing the concerns that we raised during the primaries.

I am writing to ask your help. I have become a part of the McCain campaign and am in charge of our grassroots efforts across New York State. Basically I am in charge of getting out the vote

I have remarkable news. Today Siena released a poll showing Obama was only 4.2% points ahead of McCain in New York State. This lead has been narrowed since June when Obama led by 18 points.

The McCain/Palin ticket is gaining in the polls by gathering the vast support of many Republicans and Democrats across New York State. But we are not there yet. However, we are in the home stretch.

I want to ask you to go back into the fields of politics one more time. We all need your help in order to turn New York into the biggest surprise victory in decades.

Please go to and sign up within your county. I would like you to go to your county and join the local MEETUP group. If there is not a MEETUP group in your county, please form one.

We are trying to get all MEETUP groups to gather around the first debate which is September 26th. From there we will start with targeted get-out-the-vote efforts.

Please consider helping; a lot is at stake. Please let me see you at MEETUP.

For such a time as this,

Myers Mermel

Former Huckabee NY State Chair
McCain/Palin Chair Grassroots NY State

Dow Falls 504 Points as Obama's Chances Fade

The decline in Senator Obama's fortunes in the 2008 election have been followed closely by a sharp stock market decline today due to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. This bodes ill for my home town, New York City, and for my home state, New York, as both depend heavily on Wall Street and finance for their revenues.

Contrairimairi has forwarded a seemingly unrelated piece of news. Jennifer Rubin of Commentary notes that Mr. Obama is one of the largest recipients of donations from Fannie and Freddie Mac. Back in 2007 the Washington Post noted that Senator Obama was the largest recipient of donations from Wall Street. Thus, 17 months ago, before he overtook Senator Clinton in the primaries:

"The Illinois senator raised $479,209 from employees at the banks in the quarter, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Giuliani collected $473,442, and Clinton got $447,625. The figures are based on employers listed by the donors; in some cases, names are incomplete or missing."

This was back in April 2007 when I and many others had heard little about Senator Obama. Of course, with the backing of George Soros and Warren Buffett, Wall Street has been absolutely thrilled with Senator Obama's candidacy. Obama was talking about change for Americans when he really meant million dollar bonuses for the good folks on Wall and Broad.

In June 2008 I blogged that:

"In contrast to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley has traditionally given to Republicans, according to Open However, in 2008 Morgan Stanley has donated $1.4 million to Democrats and only $824.8 thousand to Republicans. As far as the finance, insurance and real estate industry as a whole, open secrets reports that in 2008, for the first time since 1990 when it begins its report, the industry as a whole is favoring the Democrats over the Republicans."

Wall Street has benefited from decades of Republican financial subsidies in the form of artificially reduced interest rates that have inflated the stock market, enhancing stock valuations and hence the turnover of stocks as investors have speculated to a far greater degree than they would have. Clearly, the Republicans have been running out of steam, as their subsidies have gone into the pockets of Wall Street bounders who lack the competence to manage even a subsidized business. Wall Street probably hoped that Mr. Obama was a plumed knight come to rescue them from their self-created dragons of inflation and American economic decline. Wall Street has been slurping up the resources of hard working Americans via Federal Reserve Bank inflation for decades, and now they are going bankrupt nevertheless. This is not incompetence. It is corruption.

I can't help but wonder if the stock market is declining in part as a reaction to the reality that Mr. Obama won't be around to help them in the coming four years.

The Obama Campaign's Meanness

Real Clear Politics shows a copy of one of the meanest smear ads I have ever seen, recently released by the Obama campaign. The ad features a series of vicious lies from the pro-Obama media. I do not really watch or read any mainstream news source except for the New York Sun at this point. And the Sun is slated to cease publication at the end of this month. The video on Real Clear Politics says more than enough about the Democrats and Barack Obama.

Barack Obama for Vice President

I have figured out a way to rescue the Democratic presidential run. Ever since Sarah Palin's nomination was announced, the media has made much of comparing her experience with Mr. Obama's. "She's too inexperienced" complain media pundits, for Governor Palin has two years of executive experience while Senator Obama has none. The comparisons are catching like a California brush fire. Some have suggested that Joe Biden step down and allow Hillary Clinton to replace him as the vice presidential nominee in order to capture the women's vote. At this point, reports Texas Darlin, despite advice to focus on Senator McCain, the Obama team can't stop going after Sarah Palin.

Given the repeated comparisons between Governor Palin and Senator Obama, Senator Biden should step down and Senator Obama should accept the vice presidential nod in place of his current presidential claim. Senator Clinton, who is more appropriately experienced for the nomination could then replace Senator Obama as the presidential nominee.

In that way the Democrats could recapture the women's vote and have an experienced candidate.

Obama Wan Kanobi

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent analysis of the changing fortunes of the Republican Party:

"Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have managed to drive Congress' approval ratings to near absolute zero. Also, if you don't actually think Barack Obama is a higher life form, listening to the press talk like Princess Leia for a year - "Help us Obama Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope!" - can get really old. Republicans feel a lot like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she was the only person in the world who didn't understand why everyone fawned over "The English Patient...

"Changing everything was Sarah Palin. Suddenly, conservatives not only found something to love on the GOP ticket, but the boldness of the pick suggested that the outcome wasn't written in stone."

McCain Ties in Minnesota

Jammiewearingfool (h/t Larwyn) reports that:

"John McCain has now held a steady three-point edge over Barack Obama for three straight days and now has hit the 50% mark for the first time in months, but the big shocker is he's now tied with Obama in Minnesota, a state where he had trailed by 13 points."

Jammiewearingfool adds:

"With Minnesota now a toss-up and a battleground state, it has to be a clear psychological blow to an Obama campaign that may now have to use resources in a state they must have envisioned as a clear slam dunk."

John McCain Rally in Queens

Phil Orenstein has forwarded a letter from Vince Tabone, head of the Queens Republican Party, about a McCain rally on 9/27:

McCain-Palin 2008
24-55 Francis Lewis Blvd.
Whitestone, NY 11357

Dear Neighbor,

I just got back from Minnesota and I can tell you electricity was in the air and everyone left the Convention Center buoyed by our prospects. Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin energized the crowd as they made a compelling case why America needs their leadership and why team McCain-Palin has what it takes to reform Washington, protect the United States and get our economy moving again!

On Saturday the 27th of September at Queens County Republican Party Headquarters located 24-55 Francis Lewis Blvd, we will be holding a McCain-Palin Rally at 3:30 pm and you are invited!.

We will have very distinguished guest speakers and we will distribute lawn signs, bumper stickers, buttons and rally sign. By all means invite friends and neighbors that are as enthusiastic about the McCain-Palin ticket as we are! Republicans, Independents, Conservatives, Democrats all are welcome!

We will also receive campaign updates from McCain NY including Veterans for McCain Queens Coordinator Marvin R. Jeffcoat SFC, USA (RET), the Queens Women for McCain Steering Committee, the Queens Sportsman for McCain Steering Committee and Democrats for McCain.

If you are interested in getting involved in these or any other campaign groups or any other aspect of McCain-Palin’s Queens campaign please email me at or call us as at County headquarters at 718-690-3737.

There probably has not been as important an election for quite a long time. Amercia faces unique chalenges and in many respects is at a cross roads. I hope you can join us at our September 27th Rally for McCain-Palin.

With Warm Regards,

Vince Tabone, Esq
McCain Coordinator
Queens County, NY -USA

Obama Fails Women

Contrairimairi just forwarded the following Baltimore Sun article by Lynette Long. The Republicans are becoming the party of choice for women, which reverses a long standing trend.

"In this election, putting gender first
By Lynette Long
September 14, 2008

"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knows what it is like to be a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister...

"Sarah Palin knows what it is to experience the joys and sorrows of motherhood, to nurse a baby while holding down a job, to leave for work in the morning with a toddler tugging at your pant leg, and to have your children calling you at work to defuse squabbles or ask for help with homework. She knows that once you get to work, you have to speak twice as loud and twice as often to be heard, and work twice a hard to go half as far...

"After the Democratic Primary, I was contacted by a member of Sen. Barack Obama's Finance Committee, and we had numerous contentious conversations. I finally told him I would be happy to vote for Mr. Obama and rally other Hillary Clinton supporters, but in return I wanted Mr. Obama to pledge gender parity in the Cabinet...

"'What if there aren't qualified women - you still expect us to appoint half women to the Cabinet?' he replied. 'There are 300 million people in this country; you're telling me you can't find 10 qualified women?' I said.'

"He responded, 'You can't have that.' We had no further conversations.

"Yes, policy is important, but who decides and delivers that policy is even more important...

"I have given my loyalty to the Democratic Party for decades. My party...stood silently by as Hillary Clinton was eviscerated by the mainstream media...

"I can vote for my party and its candidates, which have demonstrated a blatant disrespect for women and a fundamental lack of integrity. Or I can vote for the Republican ticket, which has heard our concerns and put a woman on the ticket, but with which I fundamentally don't agree on most issues.

"Right now, for me, gender trumps everything else..."

Contrairimairi also forwards a link to a No Quarters post in which Larry Johnson quotes Nancy Kallitechnis, who does a good job of dissecting the sexist differences between questions that Charles Gibson asked Palin versus the ones he asked Obama:

"For example, Gibson asked Obama a lot of questions focused on the positive aspects of Obama being a champion and breaking a glass ceiling for African Americans. Yet he didn’t ask Palin about her potential of breaking the infamous glass ceiling and the benefits that would create for women who are a much larger percentage of the U.S. population than African Americans.

"Furthermore, Gibson often questioned Palin’s ability to lead, but he never questioned Obama’s ability to lead. This is outrageous because Palin has more political executive experience than Obama and far more political accomplishments..."

Kallitechnis in ancient Greek means "beauty of workmanship" and Nancy Kallitechnis writes an excellent blog. In particular, she compares the questions Gibson asked Obama and Palin:


"How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
"How does it feel to "win"?
"How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?


"Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
"Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level"

Women should be offended at the media's bias in this election, much as conservatives and free thinkers have been offended at its ornithoid bias for decades.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Barack Obama Isn't for Change Any More

Texas Darlin (h/t Bob Robbins) has an excellent post on the new John McCain ad on Youtube:

In an interview with Palin on ABC which is full of the pecks and nips that ornithoid Obama supporter Charles Gibson cannot resist making before he flies south, Palin states that she would "reduce taxes, control spending and reform the oversight committees that review spending."

The difference between Palin and Obama, based on that brief interview, is this. Palin does not grasp the underlying issues with the economy but has the right instincts. Obama does not grasp the underlying issues with the economy either, and has the wrong instincts. It is difficult to grasp how anyone could have taken Senator Obama's "change" slogan seriously earlier this year. The media's credulity has done serious damage do an institution with wings already clipped.

I previously have expressed concern that Senator Obama is a sociopath. Texas Darlin carries this theme forward:

>"But McCain’s commercial merely skirts the surface of the Obamas’ disrespect for the precious American ideals of patriotism and public service. In truth, “disrespect” defines the Obamas’ life credo. We witnessed this most profoundly when Rev. Jeremiah “God-Damn-America” Wright was introduced to us as their 20-year friend, mentor, spiritual advisor, and pastor. And of course there have been other indicators (forfeited flag pin, Michelle’s admission that she’s lacked pride in her country, the couples’ longstanding friendships with anti-American terrorists, etc.)."

Texas Darlin quotes the No Quarter blog's discussion of Ms. Obama's indifference to 9/11:

"While spectators viewed Cindy McCain, John McCain and Barack Obama commemorating the lives lost during the tragic day that was September 11, 2001, on their television screens, the eyes of readers of the printed media in Ohio scanned a report on Michelle Obama’s crass and debased identity politics at a largely African-American religious conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Did the aspiring First Lady leave the children at home, or did she decide that they can endure that particular day of their first week of school without her?"

PSC Solidarity Committee and Syed Fahad Hashmi

Sharad Karkhanis just e-mailed this. Jim Perlstein, the Vice Chapter chair of the PSC's Retiree Chapter posted the following on the PSC Alert Yahoo Group on the Hashmi case. Hashmi was a student, not a member of the faculty or the union, accused of terrorism in England and extradited to the U.S. Karkhanis asks: "Why is this then a PSC alert? You draw the conclusions."

Lacking any special access to the case facts, the PSC has been clamoring for Hashmi's release.

>Posted by: "Jim Perlstein"
>Sun Sep 7, 2008 8:25 am (PDT)
>FYI. From the PSC Solidarity Committee:

>>This past spring, you signed a petition regarding the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi, a former Brooklyn College student currently being held in solitary confinement on four counts of providing material support to Al Qaida. We're writing you now to update you on the case and our campaign ­ and to ask you to do a small thing. The trial date for Hashmi's case has now been postponed until the spring of 2009. Hashmi's attorney, Sean Maher, was finally given clearance to see the classified evidence the prosecution intends to present against Hashmi. Maher is forbidden to discuss this evidence with anyone, including Hashmi. Maher's law partner Khurrum Walid, who is helping Maher litigate this case, only received clearance this week. The prosecution has described this evidence as "voluminous," yet only Maher, up to this point, has been able to examine it. Because of the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) imposed upon Hashmi (more on this below), Maher is also forbidden to discuss his conversations with Hashmi with outside experts. Hashmi's right to counsel ­ and a fair trial ­ is thus being hampered in two ways: by the secrecy of the evidence and by the SAMs.

>>Judge Preska is presiding over the case. She was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush. She has frequently been mentioned as one of the current president's possible Supreme Court nominees. She has refused to entertain objections from Maher about the SAMs and the rules of secrecy. She also refused to allow Hashmi
>out on bail: even though his family raised $500,000 from the community to post bail for him, Preska insisted that he had insufficient community and family ties and thus posed a flight risk. 550 scholars, artists, and writers ­ including Henry Louis Gates, Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Eric Foner, Tony Judt, Susan
>Faludi, David Cole, and many more ­ joined you in signing the petition. It was sent to the Attorney General, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the entire congressional delegation for New York, and other local and state officials in New York. Kathleen M. Kenney of the Justice Department responded on July 31, claiming that the petition's signatories could "rest assured that any issue brought to our attention by Mr. Hashmi or his attorney(s) is addressed in a timely fashion." The news media has picked up on our campaign. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a lengthy feature on the campaign...and it was profiled in the New York Daily News and on Pacifica radio station. Journalists at other media outlets have expressed continuing interest, and we expect to place additional stories in the near future.

>>Right now, though, we are asking you take a small but important step to help alleviate the draconian conditions of Mr. Hashmi's confinement. As you might recall, the Attorney General imposed the SAMs on Hashmi in October 2007. They threaten his mental health and ability to get a fair trial. (For more details on the SAMs, go to

>>The SAMs are up for review by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in October. We are asking you to send an email to Mukasey and to Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, asking them to lift the SAMs. To send the email, go to
> We also ask that you circulate the attached description of the Hashmi case and conditions of Hashmi's confinement, and urge friends, students, and colleagues to join in our campaign to lift the SAMs.


Corey Robin and Jeanne Theoharis
Educators for Civil Liberties
It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of those libertiesSwhich makes the defense of this nation worthwhile.
--Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1967

>>Syed Fahad Hashmi is a 28-year-old Muslim American citizen currently being held in solitary confinement in a federal jail on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support ­ and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services ­ to Al Qaida. If convicted, he faces seventy years in prison. Hashmi came to the U.S. from Pakistan with his family when he was three and grew up in Flushing, Queens.

>>He majored in political science at Brooklyn College and then attended the London Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom where he received his MA in international relations. In June 2006, he was arrested by British police at Heathrow Airport (he was about to travel to Pakistan, where he has family) on a warrant issued by the US government. In May 2007, he was extradited to the U.S., where he has since been held in solitary confinement under Special Administrative Measures (SAM) at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.

>>The U.S. government claims that testimony from Junaid Babar is the "centerpiece" of its case against Hashmi. The government alleges that during February 2004, Babar, also a Pakistani-born US citizen, stayed with Hashmi at his London apartment for two weeks. According to the government, Babar stored luggage containing raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks in Hashmi's apartment and then delivered these materials to the third-ranking member of Al Qaida in South Waziristan, Pakistan. In addition, Hashmi allegedly allowed Babar to use his cell phone to call other conspirators. Babar, who has pleaded guilty to five counts of material support for Al Qaida, has agreed to serve as a government witness in terrorism trials in Britain and Canada as well as in Hashmi's trial. Under a plea agreement reported in the media, Babar will receive a reduced sentence in return for his cooperation.

>>The Conditions

>>The conditions of Mr. Hashmi¹s pre-trial detention are draconian. He is subject to a regime of severe isolation. Under the SAMs imposed by the Attorney General, Hashmi must be held in solitary confinement and may not communicate with anyone inside the prison other than prison officials. He is subject to 24-hour electronic monitoring inside and outside of his cell and 23-hour lockdown. He has no access to fresh air, and must take his one-hour of daily recreation - when it is given - inside a cage. Family visits, which were not granted for many months, are limited to one person every other week for one and a half hours; they cannot involve physical contact. Mr. Hashmi may write only one letter (of no more than three pieces of paper) per week to one family member. He may not communicate, either directly or through his attorneys, with the news media. He may read only designated portions of newspapers - and not until thirty days after their publication - and his access to other reading material is restricted. He may not listen to or watch news-oriented radio stations and television channels. He may not participate in group prayer. While the Attorney General claims that these measures are necessary because "there is substantial risk that [Hashmi's]communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons," he was held in a British jail with other prisoners for eleven months without incident.

>>These Special Administrative Measures undermine Mr. Hashmi¹s right to a fair trial: they threaten his mental state and ability to testify on his own behalf; the severity of their constraints casts a pall of suspicion over him, effectively depicting him as guilty before he even enters the courtroom; [PC1] <#_msocom_1> and by prohibiting Hashmi's attorney from conveying the content of his conversations with Hashmi to outside experts, they impair Hashmi's right to counsel. They also rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment.

>>History of Special Administrative Measures

>>The government¹s ability to impose Special Administrative Measures was established in 1996. Since 9/11, it has been dramatically expanded. SAMs can now be imposed for a year; previously it was 120 days. The standards for their imposition ­ and conditions for their renewal ­ have been relaxed. Previously, renewals required an intelligence agency head to ³certify that Othe circumstances identified in the original certification continue to exist.¹² Now, renewals ³may be based on any information available to the intelligence agency,² whether that information confirms the persistence of the original circumstances or not. Of 201,000 prisoners currently within the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, fewer than fifty are presently
being held under SAMs. [PC2] <#_msocom_2>


Smears Debunked: The Truth About Gov. Sarah Palin

I received the following e-mail from Norma Segal this past Wednesday:

Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin supporting Pat Buchanan for President Facts: Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Steve Forbes in 1996 and 2000, not George W. Bush for Pat Buchanan.

While Mayor of Wasilla, AK, Gov. Palin had a policy that if a candidate came to her city, she would wear that button on the day they were there. Pat Buchanan came to Wasilla so the day he came, she wore a button. On July 26, 1999, then-Mayor Palin wrote the Anchorage Daily News to clarify the record because a wire service story the paper had published nine days before "may have left your readers with the perception that I am endorsing" Buchanan because she had welcomed his visit to her town. "As mayor," she explained, "I will welcome all the candidates in Wasilla." (Anchorage Daily News, 7/26/99)

Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin endorsing the views of a Jews for Jesus speaker that spoke once in her church.
Facts: Gov. Palin did not know this speaker would be at her church and emphatically rejects his views.

This is based on concerns about a sermon presented last month at the church she usually attends. The Jewish news agency JTA investigated and reported that 1) Palin would have had no way of knowing that this person would be speaking at church that day, 2) Palin rejects the Christian speaker's offensive views, and 3) Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has seen "no evidence" that she shares those views. (JTA, 9/3/08)

Also, this speaker spoke once at Palin's church. Democrats should be cautious when their candidate, Barack Obama, embraced an anti-American, anti-Semitic pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright who was both a personal friend and mentor for 20 years. Democrats are absolutely attempting to smear Gov. Palin with distorted facts. Democrats are doing a disservice to themselves if they think with one or two distorted facts that they can fool the Jewish community.

Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin censoring library books.
Facts: The Anchorage Daily News found that then-Mayor Palin never proposed to ban a single book. (Anchorage Daily News, 9/4/08) All other rumors and innuendo on this topic are outright smears.

Smear: Democrats lie about Governor Palin seeking to have creationism taught in public schools.
Facts: Gov. Palin took no action to add creationism to the state's curriculum throughout her term in office.

The Associated Press investigated and found that Gov. Palin "kept her campaign pledge not to "push the State Board of Education to add creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum or look for creationism activists when she appointed members." The AP also quoted a political observer in the state who observed, "She has basically ignored social issues period." (Associated Press, 9/3/08)

The RJC is determined to set the record straight in the face of frenzied attacks on Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain. Please let us know if you hear about a smear that needs to be addressed.