Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Consider the following examples:
Roosevelt's "New Deal", which tripled the fraction of GDP spent by the federal government on a myriad of make work schemes, was so unsuccessful that Henry Morganthau, Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary said,
"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work... We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. ... And an enormous debt to boot!"
Japan's numerous stimulus packages of the 1990's didn't jolt Japan out of it's worst economic performance since World War II. On the contrary, Japan stumbled along far behind its neighbors while "stimulating" the economy by spending so much that Japan has the highest government debt to GDP ratio of any advanced country. No country has tried harder to use government spending as a "stimulus", and few countries have so convincingly demonstrated that "stimulus" spending simply doesn't work.
Another example of increased government spending arose during the late '60's and 1970's in this country. Those old enough to remember the "guns and butter" debate during the Vietnam War know that high government deficits then led to the "stagflation" crisis of the late '70's, in which high inflation combined with high unemployment and low growth.
As a final example, look at the economic performance of Europe for the past 30 years. If increased spending by governments improves the economy, why have European countries, which have been "stimulating" their economies by government spending at levels substantially above ours, consistently lagged far behind the United States in unemployment, job creation, and economic growth for decades? Europe is a perfect example of the "stimulus" theory taken to its logical conclusion, and its failure is complete.
Keynes' idea of government spending to stimulate an economy seemed like a reasonable theory in the 1930's, but almost 80 years of experience has proven beyond any doubt that it simply doesn't work, and in fact, makes things worse. It's the economic equivalent of giving amphetamines to someone with the flu. It may briefly relieve some symptoms at the expense of the patient's ability to recover.
If there was ever a fraudulent scheme foisted on the American public, this is it. Obama and his liberal friends have tried to justify massive increases in government spending based on a theory that has been overwhelmingly refuted by the evidence. It is a measure of the economic ignorance of the public that anyone buys this snake oil.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Pieces of satellites from previous collisions become time bombs capable of destroying other satellites, thus creating more debris, eventually rendering space unusable. The more satellites which are hit, the more chances of additional satellites being hit.
At the high speed at which satellites travel, about 18,000 miles per hour, even small particles of debris can destroy other satellites, creating additional debris clouds which extend in all directions from the original track. Within a short period of time, all of orbital space could be filled with these lethal objects.
It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to build satellites capable of withstanding such strikes, which would generate additional debris in any case.
Modern navigation has been revolutionized by the GPS satellite system. Communications and television services depend on satellites. The Hubble telescope has shown what space based observatories can accomplish. The manned space station is on the verge of fulfilling its promise of a permanent human presence in space. All of these, and any other space based applications are at serious risk of obliteration.
At this point, one can only hope that a chain reaction doesn't start, or man's access to space may be permanently closed. Right now the news is not hopeful. There have been two such collisions in recent years, the previous one being an incredibly thoughtless Chinese anti-satellite test. Each such collision drastically increases the odds of a space catastrophe.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The poor woman in this picture made the mistake of trying to divorce her husband, who is a prominent Muslim in Buffalo, NY. Muzzammil Hassan is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would help portray Muslims in a more positive light.
However, he couldn't abide his wife's decision to leave him, so naturally did what so many Muslims do, and chopped her head off. What does it take to recognize evil in our midst?
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, whose "crime" was producing a movie called Fitna which juxtaposes verses from the Koran with scenes of Islamic violence, was told by the British government that he wouldn't be allowed into the country for this "crime". When he flew into London anyway, he was detained by police and put on the next flight out of the country.
As we've mentioned here before, Wilders is to be put on trial in Holland as well for criticizing Islam, which is hugely ironic since he is under 24 hour guard after receiving Islamic death threats, which have been carried out in Holland by Muslims against other critics of Islam. So it's illegal to criticize Islamists for killing critics of Islam. A new dark age is descending rapidly over Europe.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The porkulus bill has been passed by both houses with only 3 Republican votes (so much for his bipartisan promises) and with the admission by Democrats that none of them have even read the bill, much less considered it. Obama is using fear and greed as his main tactics to drive the Congressional cattle along in this grotesque stampede - fear of his much hyped econonomic meltdown, and the usual Congressional porkulus greed.
This well written article by Melanie Phillips in the British Spectator magazine covers a number of topics but homes in on the views of our new Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who has made a career advocating unsavory positions, including the right of young teenagers to obtain an abortion without parental notification. According to Ogden,
"There is no question that the right to secure an abortion is fundamental. By any objective standard, therefore, the decision to abort is one that a reasonable person, including a reasonable adolescent, could make. [E]mpirical studies have found few differences between minors aged 14-18 and adults in their understanding of information and their ability to think of options and consequences when asked to consider treatment-related decisions. These unvarying and highly significant findings indicate that with respect to the capacity to understand and reason logically, there is no qualitative or quantitative difference between minors in mid-adolescence, i.e., about 14-15 years of age, and adults."
He also expressed the view that abortion was less damaging to a woman than having children:
"In sum, it is grossly misleading to tell a woman that abortion imposes possible detrimental psychological effects when the risks are negligible in most cases, when the evidence shows that she is more likely to experience feelings of relief and happiness, and when child-birth and child-rearing or adoption may pose concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects ..."
Miss Phillips also links to an article by Charles Krauthammer, appropriately entitled "The Fierce Urgency of Pork".
Krauthammer, one of the savviest pundits in Washington, said this about the bill:
"The product, which inevitably carries Obama's name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.
It's not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It's not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.
It's the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish, he said...
Turns out the "fierce urgency of now" includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance. The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington...
After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end... The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone.
I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks."
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
If these provisions are passed, government run healthcare will be a reality, and we'll all pay a heavy price to cut healthcare costs by reducing healthcare delivery. This is one of the most important articles you'll read this week, and one of the most important bills to be stopped if you want decent healthcare.
Monday, February 9, 2009
"Thousands of rockets have fallen on Sderot. And every rocket launched at the city triggers an air raid alert. Everyone within ear shot has fifteen seconds to run into a shelter. Imagine sprinting for cover 5,000 times.
Do you know what it's like raising children in that kind of environment? It distorts their perception of the entire world.
Michael Yon visited the border with Gaza just after I did. “According to a pamphlet from the Sderot Information Center,” he wrote, “a kindergarten teacher asked her pupils, 'Why does the snail have a shell?' The children answered in chorus, 'So it can be protected from the Kassam rockets.'”
“You have to remember,” Major Deutsch said, “that the damage isn't the number of physical casualties, it's the number of people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The kids in first grade in Sderot were born when rockets were being fired at Sderot. They have lived their entire lives having to think that when they leave the house, when they're walking down the street, when they're playing ball, that they have fifteen seconds to hide from an incoming rocket. And it's not only the kids, it's the parents. I have a friend who won't drive with two kids in the car. If the alert goes off he doesn't want to have to ask himself which of his kids he is going to save. He and his wife don't go out to weddings, bar mitzvahs, or things like that at night because they don't want to leave their kids with a babysitter.”
The report has a number of pictures as well. It's worth the read.
Outgoing President George W. Bush quietly boards his helicopter and leaves for Texas, commenting only: "Today is not about me. Today is a historical day for our nation and people."
Eight years ago: Outgoing President Bill Clinton schedules two separate radio addresses to the nation, and organizes a public farewell speech/rally in downtown Washington D.C. scheduled to directly conflict with incoming President Bush's inauguration ceremony.
President Bush leaves office without issuing a single Presidential pardon, only granting a commutation of sentence to two former border patrol agents convicted of shooting a convicted drug smuggler. He does not grant a pardon to Scooter Libby or any other former political aide, ally, or business partner.
Eight years ago: President Clinton issues 140 pardons and several commutations of sentence on his final day in office. Included in these are: billionaire financier, convicted tax evader, and leading Democratic campaign contributor Marc Rich; Whitewater scandal figure Susan McDougal; Congressional Post Office Scandal figure and former Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski; convicted bank fraud, sexual assault and child porn perpetrator and former Democratic Congressman Melvin Reynolds; and convicted drug felon Roger Clinton, the President's half-brother.
The Bush daughters leave gift baskets in the White House bedrooms for the Obama daughters, containing flowers, candy, stuffed animals, DVD's and CD's, and heartfelt notes of encouragement and advice for the young girls on how to prepare for their new lives in the White House.
Eight years ago: Clinton and Gore staffers rip computer wires and electrical outlets from the White House walls, stuff piles of notebook papers into the White House toilets, systematically remove the letter "W" from every computer key-pad in the entire White House, and damage several thousand dollars worth of furniture in the White House master bedroom.
Headlines for the Bush Inauguration:
"Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die in unarmored Humvees"
"Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
"Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary Americans get the shaft"
Headlines for the Obama Inauguration:
"Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $170 million"
"Obama Spends $170 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"
"Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"
"Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration"
'Some employees are simply irreplaceable. Take Michelle Obama: The University of Chicago Medical center hired her in 2002 to run "programs for community relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity and minority contracting."
In 2005 the hospital raised her salary from $120,000 to $317,000 - nearly twice what her husband made as a Senator. Oh did we mention that her husband had just become a US Senator? He sure had. Requested a $1 Million earmark for the UC Medical Center, in fact. Way to network Michelle!
But now that Mrs Obama has resigned, the hospital says her position will remain unfilled. How can that be, if the work she did was vital enough to be worth $317,000? We can think of only one explanation: Senator Roland Burris's wife wasn't interested.
---The Editors of National Review, writing in the Magazine's Feb 9 issue.'
So there you have it. We can all draw our own conclusions.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
"In 2007, a dollar of M1—base money plus demand deposits—supported 10 dollars of gross domestic product, up from $6.30 of GDP in 1993. Allowing for 3percent growth from mid-2008, a healthy GDP in 2009 would total about $14.8 trillion. If you put the new money in the Fed balance sheet and the Treasury's emergency spending on top of the midyear total, M1 would need to support only $5.30 of GDP to achieve that 2009 target. This is the lowest ratio of GDP to M1 the United States has seen since the early 1970s. New perceptions of risk certainly mean that fewer dollars will be lent on each dollar of M1 for the foreseeable future. But even accounting for that change, it is very likely that enough has been added to the base to restore economic activity."
Some good economic education here.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
One thing the Democratic party/media complex excels in is using key words to frame the debate. They have a built in advantage because the media serves as an amplifier for words the Democrats want to emphasize. But Republicans are often clueless about the importance of terminology in framing issues, so they miss opportunities they could use to their own advantage.
Among Republicans there is a total lack of consistency in getting behind their own key words, without which Democrats dominate the debate, and Republicans merely look obstructionist. Look at the "stimulus package" as an example. If Republican pols constantly referred to this as a "porkulus package", that phrase would get attached to this turkey of a spending program in the public mind. Lots of critical chatter by Republicans simply doesn't have the impact of a single, easy to remember key word or phrase.
The Bush administration will be remembered by friends and foes as almost completely inept at getting its message across. One reason is that it never tried to reduce complex issues to easy to remember catchwords or phrases that the public could get behind.
There are lots of examples of this process at work. Consider the "fairness doctrine". No one could be against "fairness", right? Yet Republicans mindlessly use the Democrats' word and try to explain their way out of the issue. Most of the public won't be listening by the end of the explanation. So Republicans need to emphasize their own word for this attempt to muzzle conservative media. If all Republican politicians used the "unfairness doctrine" or some other similar word or phrase every time they talked about this issue, they'd be much more effective.
Another word in the news recently is "card check", which is the Democrats' phrase for taking away the secret ballot in union organizing elections. Yet I've seen many Republicans talking about this issue without saying that "Democrats are trying to take away the secret ballot" until well down in their responses, if at all.
Perhaps it is the Republican tendency to think logically about issues that gets them into trouble during public debates. Democrats rely on emotion, so naturally think in terms of catch phrases, while Republicans want a logical debate when there isn't the airtime for a complicated presentation.
Whatever the reason, Democrats often control debates by controlling the words used. Republicans should become much more sensitive to this issue, and work on getting their own words out. Just being reasonable and right doesn't cut it.
"In Nottingham, for example, the Greenwood Primary School cancelled a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In Scarborough, the Yorkshire Coast College removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. In Scotland, the Tayside Police Department apologized for featuring a German shepherd puppy as part of a campaign to publicize its new non-emergency telephone number. The postcards are potentially offensive to city’s 3,000-strong Muslim community because Islamic legal tradition says that dogs are impure.
In Glasgow, a Christian radio show host was fired after a debate between a Muslim and a Christian on whether Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.” In Cheshire, two students at the Alsager High School were punished by their teacher for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their Religious Education class. In East London, all elected members of Tower Hamlets town council were told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Special arrangements were also made to disrupt council meetings to allow for Muslim prayer. Meanwhile, the council renamed a staff Christmas party as a “festive meal”."
So far, the First Amendment has largely protected Americans from this sort of thought control, but Democratic attempts to muzzle conservative radio talk shows would be a big step in that direction, if they can figure out a politically palatable way to do it. In Europe, the battle for free speech has apparently been lost.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Among many examples:
"Overall during the 1990s, Japan tried 10 fiscal stimulus packages totaling more than 100 trillion yen. Yet from 1991 to 2006 Japan's economy grew slower than that of any of the other 16 countries listed in the US Statistical Abstract for comparison - even slower than Italy's.
Over those 16 years its GDP per capita grew just 16%. That of its Asian counterpart, South Korea, grew 94% in that same period. The US, Canada and most European countries grew at least twice as fast. And today Japan's government debt is 182% of its GDP, by far the highest of any developed country ."
This is essential reading.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The media has been running lots of stories about the high salaries and corporate jets enjoyed by failing companies. But the American organization that loses the most money by far is the federal government. The only reason it isn't bankrupt is because it can force the rest of us to pay its debts. So why is there outrage about corporate execs' expenses, and not about the far higher expenses of the president of the largest failed organization in the country?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
According to a teacher at the school, the UN administration told him not to speak to the media to correct false media accounts. Of course, when it is no longer possible to maintain the lie, the MSM are simply silent about the truth.
On another front, The Executive Council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research has accused the lead author of a 2006 study suggesting massive civilian deaths in Iraq of violating the polling profession's codes and ethics.
That study, published in the British medical journal Lancet, contended that 655,000 Iraqis died during the US invastion, a number at least 10 times as high as other estimates. This number was widely reported by the MSM in spite of severe misgivings by other authorities at the time.
The study has since been debunked by a number of researchers, but once again, the MSM is largely silent about a false report which it was instrumental in disseminating.
Given the pattern of false reporting of which these are only two of numerous examples, (Remember the fauxtography during the Lebanon incursion? It happened again in Gaza.) the MSM have a well established pattern of operating as the de facto propaganda arm of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Hat tip: American Thinker
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
According to Hans A. von Spakovsky, a career lawyer in the Civil Rights Division for 4 years, the report is a typical liberal hatchet job that combines outright lies with innuendo, while ignoring real misdeeds by Democratic appointees and CRD staff. It's a depressing but interesting read for anyone who wants to understand what's going on there.
The latest prominent skeptic is Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, a founder of the International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, and International Symposium on Forecasting, and the author of Long-range Forecasting (1978, 1985), the Principles of Forecasting Handbook, and over 70 papers on forecasting. A couple of days ago he issued a statement declaring that "the forecasting process reported on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lacks a scientific basis."
Dr. Armstrong and his associate Kesten C. Green state, "We conducted an audit of the procedures described in the IPCC report and found that they clearly violated 72 scientific principles of forecasting (Green and Armstrong 2008). (No justification was provided for any of these violations.) For important forecasts, we can see no reason why any principle should be violated."
One wonders how long the AGW establishment is going to be able to keep their tottering edifice upright.
In this article, economics professors Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian point out how Roosevelt's plan to fix the economy by government intervention seriously lengthened and deepened the initial economic downturn.
For example, "there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32."
Anyone who believes that expansion of government power and control will improve the economy should visit North Korea. Production of goods and services by business is the economy. Government restrictions on business activities, and transfers of wealth from business to government, can only reduce economic output, non-government employment, and wages.
Obama said recently that he expects the current downturn to last years, not months. If his "solutions" are implemented, it will.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Economics is not that hard to understand. The basic principles are quite reasonable, but politicians pay economists to dream up “solutions” like the one above. Are you ready for that plan yet? After all, very reputable economists will tell you that if you just let politicians buy votes using your credit card, you'll be much better off. Reach for your wallet…