Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Words? Grassroots

Another word the President doesn't quite... get.

First, if it's being organized by the President of the United States it is by definition not a "grassroots movement." Idiots.

"Grassroots" connotes a spontaneous, local gathering of like-minded people who are usually every-day Joes rather than typical political activists. It is a bottom-up formation--"We the people believe"--rather than to the all too common top-down, "Let me tell you what you believe," favored by politicians.

So when Obama sends an email to all his Obamatons that "On June 6th, in thousands of homes across the country, we'll gather to launch our grassroots campaign for health care," he has completely missed the point. He (and, never forget, his minders) want the media to report that this is a grassroots movement because that type of thing sounds good on TV.

So he's either ignorant or being... less than truthful.

Or maybe it's the President's classic "I'll invert the actual meaning of words."


Saturday, May 23, 2009

In the end, Reality Wins.

Something the Whitehouse may one day figure out.

The bottom line: this week was one in which reality rudely intruded into the Obama feel-good continual campaign. The bond markets can’t be spun. The unemployment figures can’t be ignored. The value of the U.S. dollar can’t be sustained when we are printing gobs of dollars. And neither congressional Democrats nor the American people can be convinced it makes sense to move hardened terrorists from a distant, secure location to their neighborhood prison for the sake of currying favor with the American Left and European opinion makers.

This governing business is hard stuff. And it is made harder by an administration which has used photo-ops and speeches in lieu of thoughtful policy.

They're also used to a compliant press doing everything it can to keep bad news from hurting the admin.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Changing Credit Cards.

The Obama admin has a new plan... punish the responsible.

Powerline has more:
The competent subsidizing the careless--that's classic Democratic Party policy. Of course, the new rules will cause banks to lose interest in extending credit to the feckless

Once again, the Whitehouse and Congress show that playing by the rules is a sucker's bet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why Fake Vets?

At Chicago-Boyz, Shannon Love explores why the Dems keep getting tricked by people pretending to be veterans.

If there were a lot of veterans disillusioned with Bush-era policies (now Obama-era policies) why did they find it necessary to rely on a fake vet? If they had dozens or hundreds of real vets ready to sign on to their campaigns what are the odds the most prominent one would be a mentally-ill fraud?

You con someone by playing to their prejudices. Strandlof conned the Democrats by presenting them a fabricated persona and history custom-designed to fit the Democratic narrative. An actor playing a vet scripted to their narrative served their purposes better than a real vet

However, the real reason they didn’t check Strandolf’s creditials is that they didn’t care if he was real or not.

And what is their rational for such deception?

Democrats feel justified in using fake vets because of their utter contempt for the intelligence and wisdom of the electorate. Fake vets are just another version of the “What’s The Matter with Kansas” mindset which holds that most American adults are simply too stupid to understand what is good for them. In this mindset, using fake vets to lie about the American conduct of a war is no more immoral than telling a child that Santa Claus exists.

And it gets worse

The Democrats could easily find veterans who would doubt the wisdom of any particular war or the specific means of conducting a particular war. Why then do they time and time again use fake veterans to front their arguments?

Easy, real veterans won’t lie. In 1971, John Kerry could have found thousands of real Vietnam veterans who believed the war ill conceived and ill fought but he couldn’t find any real Vietnam veterans who would lie about witnessing large numbers of true war crimes. Without fake vets, John Kerry couldn’t make his central argument that the American military in Vietnam had crossed over the line into Nazi-like evil.

John Kerry’s lies eventually got him to within a gnat’s whisker of the Presidency. Younger Democrats have watched the rise of Kerry and others of his generation who lied and they know that deceit not only works but that using it has no negative consequences. For this reason, we will always see fake vets dragged out by Democratic candidates, activists and left-leaning media. They have no reasons, either moral or practical, not to do so.

Of course for this to work, it requires a mass media complict in the deception.

Just imagine what would happen if a Republican used fake vets.

It's not about the facts, it's about feelings.

Enviromentalists are not about science or helping humanity. If they were, they'd understand cost analysis and relative scales.

About 20 million people in America suffer asthma and about 2 million of those suffer asthma so severe it poises a threat to their life if untreated. About 5,000 people or 0.25% of severe suffers die every year. Over the span of 10 years 2.5% or roughly 1 in 40 of severe asthma sufferers will die of the disease.

Let’s suppose that the difficulty in using the new environmentally friendly inhalers
increase the asthma death rate by just 1%. That come to 50 unnecessary deaths a year or 500 unnecessary deaths over a decade. Roughly 150 of those deaths will be children.

And what do we gain by adopting the new system? Nothing. The amount of CFCs in inhalers has an impact so small that we couldn’t even detect it. CFCs used to be used in a wide range of technologies. Every cooling system of any kind used CFCs as did virtually every spray can. Dozens of other less visible technologies also used and released millions of tons of CFCs a year into the atmosphere. It took these decades long accumulation of great gobs of CFCs to produced an effect on the ozone layer. By contrast the amount of CFCs vented from one small compressor would fill hundreds of inhalers. Even if everyone in the world used CFC inhalers we wouldn’t be talking about enough CFC release to have a measurable impact. One volcano erupting anywhere in the world would destroy more ozone than centuries of CFC inhaler use."
Once again, their moral comfort is more important than your life.
This is just a more stark example but it's wholely in line with their views that energy should be more expensive, that food should be more expensive (with less variety and quanity), that all aspects of industry and commerce should be regulated to their morals.

So, we’ve traded zero environmental gain for the very real deaths of people. Why did this decision get made? Certainly, the economic self-interest of companies making the new inhalers played a role. As with the ban on CFCs in other technologies, the ban forced consumers to stop using old CFC technologies that existed in the public domain and instead use new proprietary replacement technology owned by a few companies. Dupont alone made a killing. Likewise with inhalers, anyone could manufacture a public domain inhaler but only a few companies own the patents to manufacture the non-CFC inhalers.

For their part, many environmentalist clearly supported the inhaler ban merely out of quasi-religious fetishism. Their mystical reasoning divides the world into good substances and bad substances. A substance that is bad for in one instance is bad in all instances. They have no concept of tradeoff. CFCs are bad for the ozone so they have to be rooted out everywhere regardless of the degree of harm or the cost in resources or lives. It’s the symbolism that matters, not the physical reality.

What follows is the most worrying part. The creeping effect of such laws.

Had you told someone twenty years ago in 1989 when the ozone banning Montreal Protocol was signed that it would lead to the banning of medical technology for zero environmental gain, people would have laughed at you. Yet, here we are.
What does this suggest about future tradeoffs such as replacing coal with unreliable weather-dependent power sources? Environmentalist claim they won’t chose to starve us for power to save the environment and they mock anyone who suggest they would yet the example of the asthma inhalers should give everyone pause. If they can rationalize the dramatic dangers of putting asthmatics at risk they can readily rationalize the much more subtle harms of starving the economy of power.

Bit by bit freedom gets erroded and people become less healthy and less wealthy. Why? To make some people feel better, to sate the desires of their faith.

Roger Kimball has more

“It’s a plan that will trigger the creation of millions of new jobs for Americans.” How, pray tell? He doesn’t say because it isn’t true. It doesn’t have to be true. As the philosopher Harvey Mansfield observed some years ago, “environmentalism is school prayer for liberals.” Just say something is “environmentally friendly” (it doesn’t have to be so in fact, it just has to look as though it is) and susceptible souls will roll on the ground, wave their arms and legs in hte air, and empty their pockets. The great thing about environmentalism, from the point of view of a politician and an environmentalist, is that you can never be green enough. The amount of money you can spend is therefore endless — a permanent boon to the politician — while the opportunities for smug self-righteousness are also endless, an munificent gift to the environmentalist, who regards his position on “the environment” the way a properly brought up lady in Victorian times regarded her virginity.

And Kimball gets to the heart of it

The Obama initiatives on the environment and health care bring us to the core of his domestic agenda. He talks about job creation, energy independence, and more humane and affordable health care. He has shown us nothing, absolutely nothing, to support those claims. What he has shown us are plans to turn over huge swathes of the U.S. economy to the government.

Power. That's what Hope and Change is all about. Taking power from the people, from the individual.


The President is finding new ways to vote present on all sorts of issues:

The elected official third in line to the presidency has accused the CIA of repeated crimes, and the Agency has responded by essentially calling this official a liar. And the president's representative tells the public he has nothing to say on the matter.

This is, essentially, voting "present."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Is he trying to Ruin us?

If somebody were deliberately trying to undermine the very fabric of these United States, he would first vow not just to change its policies but to completely "change America," and then would do just about everything Barack Obama already has begun to do as president.

The American Spectator has a long list.

He would stop paying for missile defenses. He would stop planning for forces strong enough to handle two regional wars at once, and would concentrate only on counterinsurgency needs while hollowing out our conventional forces. He would repeatedly insult our closest ally (Great Britain) while kowtowing to enemies such as Iran, Venezuela, and Nicaraguan communists. He would travel the world repeatedly apologizing for supposed American sins while failing to defend the USA from verbal assaults from tinpot dictators.

Though I suppose for some, those are features not bugs.

After Hubris....

Victor Davis Hanson points to yet another part of reality the Democrats try to deny.

A Nancy Pelosi, hellbent on releasing once-classified memos for partisan advantage, and eager to begin 'Truth" hearings, suddenly believes such an inquisition will not apply to herself, despite the fact that she, like so many Democrats from Senator Schumer to Senator Rockefeller, in that dark period in 2001, spoke of the need for, or was complicit in, approving enhanced interrogation techniques.

Then the president himself, who jump-started his campaign in Iraq's crisis year by slamming the commander-in-chief on renditions, military tribunals, email and phone intercepts, Predator drone attacks, and Iraq, now suddenly wishes to explain the nuances and complexities of these policies and why he will continue the Bush protocols — apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy involved with his own prior self-interested stridency. These examples could be easily augmented.

The problem is that between 2003-2008 there was such hysterical antagonism to Bush that the combatants never worried about the often vicious means they used to achieve their supposedly lofty ends, and so now, finding themselves in a position of responsibility, are infuriated that anyone, well, would even conceive of playing hardball as they once did.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The National Debt

Using the President's own numbers, historical data and some visualizations to show just how fast Obama's planning to raise the debt.

Via Ace

The difference between Bush's and Obama's deficits is the difference between driving at 63 mph and 174 mph.

One is over the limit. The other is reckless verging on suicidal.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Told you so.

To all those people that though that there'd be no new taxes for 95% of you:

President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Steven Green has it:

Translation: There are massive tax increases coming, on top of the ones already threatened on energy, sodas, Gatorade, cigarets, booze, beer, chips. And also on top of the taxes promised on “the rich,” corporations, etc.

Shorter translation: “I’m going to tax you bastards back to the Stone Age.”

Addendum: “You’re all bastards, every single one of you.”

It's Obama's mess and by-jove you're all going to clean it up for him.

True Audacity-- Biggest Borrower in History Tells ASU Students Not to Live On Credit
Credit, like taxes are for the little people.


It's the Power, stupid

As conservatives size up their new foe, they ought to remember: It’s not about liberalism. It’s about power. Obama will jettison anything that costs him power, and do anything that enhances it — including invite Rick Warren to give the benediction at his inauguration, dine with conservative columnists, and dismiss an appointee at the White House Military Office to ensure the perception of accountability.

Alinsky’s influence goes well beyond Obama, obviously. There are many wonderful Democrats in this world, but evidence suggests that rising in that party’s political hierarchy requires some adoption of a variation of the Alinsky philosophy: Power comes first. Few Democrats are expressing outrage over Nancy Pelosi’s ever-shifting explanation of what she knew about waterboarding. Those who screamed bloody murder about Jack Abramoff’s crimes avert their eyes from John Murtha. The anti-war movement that opposed the surge in Iraq remains silent about sending additional troops to Afghanistan. Obama will never get as much grief for his gay-marriage views as Miss California.

Remember this next time there's an outrage or they tell you to trust them with your money or with any power.

Richard Fernandez has more.

The reason why Nancy Pelosi and now Barack Obama are caught up in having to both simultaneously denounce coercive interrogation and yet continue it in whatever way they can hide it — by rendition, denial, classification, legal parsing; by hearing things they didn’t hear and winking when there was a mote their eye — is that there is often a choice “between our safety and ideals”. Cheney knows it and wants the documents declassified to show it. The right approach would have been to make the choice. In many cases the public should have chosen, through their officials, to have given up some degree of public safety to preserve the national ideals and paid the price that upholding morals has always exacted. At other times, the public may have elected to do what it felt was necessary and taken the responsibility for it; to be praised or condemned as posterity judged, just as Sherman, Truman, Curtis Le May and Franklin Roosevelt are now weighed in the balance.

But they wanted to have it both ways. Now both Pelosi and Obama are caught between the political necessity of preventing another 9/11 and losing their jobs or explaining what might have to be done and risk losing their jobs. Kerry was right: “torture elicits lies”. But not in the way he meant.

There's no principles at work here. Simply a lust for power and control.

At some point a liar begins to believe the falsehoods himself. Self-deception is the most dangerous phase of deceit. At this point you truly believe that you are above the requirements of reality. That at your word the oceans will fall and the world will begin to heal. But it won’t last. Reality eventually taps you on the shoulder and whether you wake to a pleasance or a challenge, you will awake.

Whiskey comments
Geraghty at NRO has a “Alinsky Presidency” column, but the danger from operating on Alinksy rules is that no one trusts your word.

The CIA and Military do not trust Barack Hussein Obama. He and Pelosi (his creature) have made war upon both, promising investigations, hearings, prosecutions, for things they agreed upon earlier.

Pelosi broke her word, and Obama broke his (implicit) word to the CIA and the Pentagon. Both know certainly from Pelosi’s press conference that she plans political show trials for them both, to eradicate them from political influence and indeed their jobs and lives. Obama has done nothing to stop this and no one trusts him.

Darkly amusing but expected. As Obama erodes the trust in the rule of law so goes any trust in his word.

Victor Davis Hanson shows some.... good? news.

In just three months Obama has caused more disunity than most presidents in recent memory. Why and how? He has chosen to demonize as greedy (cf. the Super bowl quips, the “speculators” jab, the “fair share” and “spread the wealth” slips, etc.) capitalists en masse. Why laugh as Ms. Sykes wished for Limbaugh to die of kidney failure, which set a new low for presidential uncouthness. He treats the media with contempt as all earls do to obsequious court jesters. There is a mood of ‘them/us’ and ‘time is running out’, as the Obama administration used the panic over the autumn 2008 financial meltdown to steamroll through a statist, postmodern economic and social agenda before the people woke up. They embrace the term “100 days”; do they realize its genesis is 1815 and Napoleon’s return from Elba? (they should: it ended at Waterloo). The cynicism is now such that anytime Obama offers a grand assurance (most ethical administration, no interest in government take-overs of autos and finance, unwavering support of Israel, no desire to look backward at the Bush administration, etc.) in Pavlovian fashion we expect the very opposite to follow.

HopeChange! Emphasis added.

We are on dangerous ground here with the reordering of the bankruptcy statutes with Chrysler and the UAW; with the strong-arming of stimulus money for California predicated on the protection of unions; with the serial disdain for paying taxes on the part of Geithner, Solis, Daschle and others; and with the selective release of CIA memos, to denigrate those out of office as veritable torturers (they should reread the transcript of Eric Holder’s 2002 CNN interview with Pauli Zahn in which he grandly denies that the Gitmo detainees have any recourse to the Geneva Convention accords and can be held there for as long as we think the war lasts). What separates the US from Mexico, Cuba, or Haiti is the rule of law, the protection of capital and property, the evenhanded treatment of investment, and the faith in a fair media to uncover abuse. I think that is now all in question, as the utopian ends justify the tawdry means.

Ah yes, it's okay for Obama to break the rule of law and go for a naked power grab, because -well- he's such a great guy.

Well at least Obama is going about this power grab in a mature and measured way...

Obama: Hey, How Come I Get No Credit for "Cutting" 1% of the Budget?
Obama seems to want an awful lot of credit for things he hasn't actually done yet.


How callow and juvenile is this "man"? He wants credit for things he hasn't done yet. He doesn't get why he gets less credit for stuff he hasn't done (and won't do) than he gets blame for stuff he already actually did (namely, signing into law a budget loaded with pork).

It's like the US elected a thin-skinned needy man-child with a major inferiority complex.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reality and Math

The "Elites" and Facts

Many years ago, political scientists came up with a theory that elites lead public opinion. And on some issues, they clearly do. But on some issues, they don't. Two examples of the latter phenomenon are conspicuous at a time when Barack Obama enjoys the approval of more than 60 percent of Americans and Democrats have won thumping majorities in two elections in a row. One is global warming. The other is gun control. On both issues, the elites of academe, the media and big business have been solidly on one side for years. But on both, the American public has been moving in the other direction.

And why has the public drifted away from the elites on these issues?

Some of these shifts in opinion may be responses to events that liberal elites have not deigned to notice. Forty of the 50 states now have concealed weapons laws that allow law-abiding citizens to get permits to carry guns. Gun controllers predicted these would result in traffic shootouts and general mayhem. They haven't. It turns out that criminals are deterred from attacks less by gun-control laws than by the possibility that their intended victims may be armed. As for global warming, many Americans may have noticed that temperatures actually haven't been rising over the past decade, as global warming alarmists predicted. The elites are able to hire armed security guards and jet off on private jets, so they are less likely to notice these things.

Simply put, reality does it.

The elites are insulated from having "inconvenient truths" correcting their cherished views, while "regular Joes" have to face reality.

I think there's something else at work here. For liberal elites, belief in gun control and global warming has taken on the character of religious faith. We have sinned (by hoarding guns or driving SUVs); we must atone (by turning in our guns or recycling); we must repent (by supporting gun control or cap and trade schemes). You may notice that the "we" in question is usually the great mass of ordinary American citizens.

Speaking of those pesky reality based facts...

We need to introduce simple arithmetic into our discussions of energy.

We need to understand how much energy our chosen lifestyles consume, we need to decide where we want that energy to come from, and we need to get on with building energy systems of sufficient size to match our desired consumption.

Our failure to talk straight about the numbers is allowing people to persist in wishful thinking, inspired by inane sayings such as "every little bit helps."

Trisksy Math!

As a thought-experiment, let's imagine that technology switches and lifestyle changes manage to halve American energy consumption to 125 kWh per day per person. How big would the solar, wind and nuclear facilities need to be to supply this halved consumption? For simplicity, let's imagine getting one-third of the energy supply from each.

To supply 42 kWh per day per person from solar power requires roughly 80 square meters per person of solar panels.

To deliver 42 kWh per day per person from wind for everyone in the United States would require wind farms with a total area roughly equal to the area of California, a 200-fold increase in United States wind power.

To get 42 kWh per day per person from nuclear power would require 525 one-gigawatt nuclear power stations, a roughly five-fold increase over today's levels.

Remember this when someone tries to tell you how simple "Green Energy" is.

As always look at the math.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Damn those pesky facts!

Someone decided to take the actual unemployment numbers and graph them with the President's projected unemployment numbers both with and without his massive porkulus bill.

Guess where Reality ends up?

Ace comments:
That's right -- the unemployment numbers track exactly with Obama's prediction of what would happen without his Spendulus.

So what has the Spendulus accomplished? According to Obama's own predictions, nothing.

Well who are you going to beleive? Icky, icky reality or the soothing words of the One?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Consequences of the Bully

John Hinderaker gives a spot on summary

Barack Obama's lawless conduct in connection with the Chrysler bankruptcy is sending shock waves through the business community. It is important to understand what is happening here. Many think that Obama is merely engaging in crony capitalism, favoring his political supporters (most notably the Auto Workers Union) at the expense of others. That's true, of course, but it is much worse than that: Obama has tried to bully those who have not bought his favor--Chrysler's non-TARP secured creditors--into giving up their legal rights by threatening to use the powers of the White House to damage their businesses. This sort of lawlessness is common in some of the more corrupt Third World countries, but it is brand new to the United States.

The Change we've been waiting for!

Actions do have Consequences

Why the rule of law is mportant. Glen Reynolds writes.
If I were the Chinese, or other big buyers of Treasury bonds, I’d look at how the Obama Administration is treating corporate bondholders, and wonder why the Obama Administration would treat Treasury bondholders better than it has treated corporate bondholders. And then I’d get out of Treasuries, the way a lot of Chrysler bondholders wish they’d done already. Certainly I wouldn’t want to rely on their belief in the sanctity of contracts, or even their pragmatic understanding of credit markets . . . .

If you start showing that contracts and obligations can be tossed aside when politically convenient, you make potential investors and business-people much less likely to form contracts, take risks, and invest. But hey, at least it's not like we're in a recession and could really use some economic growth.

Who cares about Bankruptcy Code and the Constitution, there's constituents to pay off!
Some background (and this isn't my area of expertise, so this is just general stuff; DWL). Bankruptcy is set up to determine in what order individuals involved with a failed enterprise get paid out of what remains. This is called the "estate" and is usually real property, capital improvements, left over stuff like that. And the Bankruptcy Code is essentially a method of sorting the parties and determining who gets to stand at the front of the line. Secured creditors--like the creditors I've been referring to above--stand at the very front of the line.
That's where the Obama-directed, Chavez-inspired sale motion comes in. They want to move the secured creditors behind certain unsecured creditors (the unions) and thus deprive the creditors of their property. Because if there's one certainty here, it's that there isn't enough money left in Chrysler to pay everyone who's standing in line.


In the words of Justice Brandeis:

"[T]he Fifth Amendment commands that, however great the Nation's need, private property shall not be thus taken even for a wholly public use without just compensation. If the public interest requires, and permits, the taking of property of individual mortgagees in order to relieve the necessities of individual mortgagors, resort must be had to proceedings by eminent domain; so that, through taxation, the burden of the relief afforded in the public interest may be borne by the public."

As interesting as it would be to have it on the record that the President ignored the constitution in order to attempt a robbery, the Bankruptcy Court doesn't have to go that far. The creditor's motion describes statutory reasons for disapproving the sale: it doesn't comply with the Bankruptcy Code. Unless Congress wants to try and make this thuggery legal by altering the Code, the Court has ample opportunity to stop it without discussing the constitutional problem.

Why many investors are turning away from the US economy

This administration has made it quite clear that they can't be relied upon to honor contracts or legal precedents and if I can't know what the rules are before the game starts then I'm not going to play.

Ed Driscoll has his own little roundup.

Starting with:
Jennifer Rubin writes, “Riding roughshod over the law of the land seems to be the price Obama is willing to pay for ‘change.’”

And more on erroding the rule of law for political gain. This time with judges

When legal scholars talk about a pragmatic justice, they’re talking about someone who isn’t bound by the law as written. In rendering a decision, he or she considers the context of the case and outside factors, like the greater social good.

Perhaps you’ve heard me mention this before, but it matters when some literary theorist or lawyer argues that context, rather than intent, grounds meaning. Context is ever shifting — giving interpreters license to argue that meaning, too, shifts with context, and that it is therefore their job to determine meaning rather than to interpret what was intended and apply that interpretation as a matter of law.

Am I alone in finding it very frightening when someone thinks that not being bound by the law is a GOOD thing in government?

And again, why would someone want to take a financial risk in an environment when the rules can change at the whim, in this case, of a judge taht is looking at "the greater social good"?

More on this concept of "Empathy" vs Law

Would you want to go into court to appear before a judge with “empathy” for groups A, B, and C, if you were a member of groups X, Y, or Z? Nothing could be farther from the rule of law. That would be bad news, even in a traffic court, much less in a court that has the last word on your rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Appoint enough Supreme Court justices with “empathy” for particular groups and you would have, for all practical purposes, repealed the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans.

We would have entered a strange new world, where everybody is equal but some are more equal than others. The very idea of the rule of law becomes meaningless when it is replaced by the empathies of judges.


The biggest danger in appointing the wrong people to the Supreme Court is not just in how they might vote on some particular issues — whether private property, abortion, or whatever. The biggest danger is that they will undermine or destroy the very concept of the rule of law — what has been called “a government of laws and not of men.”

Of course if you don't play along, you may simply get threatened
One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight,” lawyer Tom Lauria told Detroit radio host Frank Beckmann Friday. Lauria later said the brass knuckles belonged to White House Auto Task Force leader Steve Rattner.
In short, take da deal or we break your legs.

Lauria’s account raises more than a few troubling questions. The White House naturally denied the threat, but the extraordinary intervention of the President of the United States in bankruptcy negotiations is intimidation enough. Obama unloaded on these creditors last week, accusing them of being “speculators” out to destroy an American industrial icon. Those bullying words come from a man who has the power of the IRS and the SEC at his disposal, not to mention the bully pulpit.


The Chrysler episode is a disturbing sign of how far this president is wiling the bend the law — and the truth — to satiate the demands of a major Democratic special interest, the UAW, which makes out like a bandit in the Chrysler deal, winning 55 percent of the company (the expected investment return, apparently, of committing $25 million to Democratic candidates over the last 20 years).

When asked by Beckmann to counter Obama’s claim that the bondholders refused to make “sacrifices and worked constructively,” Lauria responded that “contrary to what the president said in his news conference,” the bondholders agreed to take a haircut of 50 cents of their investment dollar.

In other words, the president lied.

And here's more of those consequences to actions:

"Speaking personally, I can't help wondering why the Left are so ready to believe that everyone who gets a tax bill for £50,000 will just grit their teeth and pay it, but putting 20p on a pint of beer will force average Joes like us to quit drinking. Either incentives matter, or they don't."
- a throwaway thought in brackets in a long Britblog roundup from Mr Eugenides

And here's some more on Obama wanting to crush "Tax Havens":
So, just to clarify, when U.S. corporations use their own funds to open subsidiaries and factories and create jobs in other countries, it's a bad thing, but when the U.S. government uses taxpayer funds for "economic development" to create jobs in other countries, it's a good thing?

The difference is government control. Moving money internationally is fine, as long as the proper people (read Obama et al) are the ones doing it.

Said "Tax Havens" are not happy

Remember when Barack Obama ran on the promise to restore our diplomatic relations with out allies in the West? The Dutch and the Irish just discovered its expiration date. In rolling out his plan to close supposed loopholes for multinational corporations, the Obama administration attacked Ireland, the Netherlands, and Bermuda as “tax havens” specifically and explicitly acting to deny the US government its due from tax collections.

Smooth... so it's not just domestic companies and investors that Obama's pissing off. It's not like the US nees money or has a bad economy...

A "Speculator" Speaks Up Against Obama
Here's the "speculator's words" Clifford S. Asness
Here's a shock. When hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, and individuals, including very sweet grandmothers, lend their money they expect to get it back. However, they know, or should know, they take the risk of not being paid back. But if such a bad event happens it usually does not result in a complete loss. A firm in bankruptcy still has assets. It’s not always a pretty process. Bankruptcy court is about figuring out how to most fairly divvy up the remaining assets based on who is owed what and whose contracts come first. The process already has built-in partial protections for employees and pensions, and can set lenders' contracts aside in order to help the company survive, all of which are the rules of the game lenders know before they lend. But, without this recovery process nobody would lend to risky borrowers. Essentially, lenders accept less than shareholders (means bonds return less than stocks) in good times only because they get more than shareholders in bad times.

The above is how it works in America, or how it’s supposed to work. The President and his team sought to avoid having Chrysler go through this process, proposing their own plan for re-organizing the company and partially paying off Chrysler’s creditors. Some bond holders thought this plan unfair. Specifically, they thought it unfairly favored the United Auto Workers, and unfairly paid bondholders less than they would get in bankruptcy court. So, they said no to the plan and decided, as is their right, to take their chances in the bankruptcy process. But, as his quotes above show, the President thought they were being unpatriotic or worse.


The President's attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to "sacrifice" some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good? Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power.

Let’s also mention only in passing the irony of this same President begging hedge funds to borrow more to purchase other troubled securities. That he expects them to do so when he has already shown what happens if they ask for their money to be repaid fairly would be amusing if not so dangerous. That hedge funds might not participate in these programs because of fear of getting sucked into some toxic demagoguery that ends in arbitrary punishment for trying to work with the Treasury is distressing. Some useful programs, like those designed to help finance consumer loans, won't work because of this irresponsible hectoring.

And some thoughts on it from Ace of Spaces

The media scoffed at the idea that Obama was a leftist more intent on wealth distribution than sound economic policy. How much harm could he do?, they seemed to think.

Well, here's the harm. Obama is so far to the left he needs to relearn South America banana-republics' unhappy lessons regarding nationalization.

Oh, it's fun to nationalize things at first. You get to seize money and assets from big, unpopular "speculators" and give them to your voters.

And then what? What do you do five years down the road, when you desperately need capital but no one wants to loan it to you, because they have the quite-reasonable suspicion you'll just end up taking their money again?

Actions have consequences. Showing people that you don't respect contracts and don't respect the rule of law (instead preferring mass graft to supporters) really, really destroys economies.

And now more people are coming out agreeing with Thomas Lauria's allegations of threats and thuggery. Hope and change!

Why is the rule of law so important?

Strategypage hits the nail right on the head.

But getting a real democracy going turns out to be more difficult than believed just two decades ago. Turns out that you need more fundamental changes, like widespread education and economic freedom, to make democracy work.


But economic freedom, which requires a reliable judicial system, has to overcome centuries of privilege and corrupt methods that the rich use to cripple completion and maintain the wealth of a relatively few families. In the West, the economic freedom and rule of law is called "civil society." Turns out that, on examining the historical record, one realizes how long it takes for the old customs to be transformed.

Now consider what the Whitehouse is doing. Well, he did promise change.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Truth About the Atomic Bombs

Bill Whittle lays out some history to show why the US used atomic weapons against Japan.

Especially compelling is the timeline. Watch and note how many days pass between the first bomb, the second bomb, and the surrender. Also take note of the invasion plans and the loss of life due to conventional bombing.