Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them - Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Corporatism is King
by

I wanted to follow up my post from yesterday on the FDIC with a couple of related links that I think are relevant as far as the big picture on the economy is concerned. 

Alex’s comment on that post led me to do a quick search of the banks that had closed when the S&L crisis finally came to a head.  The link is to an article from the New York Times that was written in 1988, and I about fell off my chair reading some of the things that ocurred and the analysis of the situation.  Really, it shows that we haven’t learned a damn thing in 20 years.  From the article (emphasis is mine):

As recently as 1980, only 10 banks, with assets totaling $232 million, collapsed in the United States. After the books are closed for 1988, Mr. Seidman estimated, as many as 220 of the nation’s 13,329 banks, with assets of almost $54 billion, will have been either shut down or given Federal assistance by his agency.

Yet the financial markets did not even blink at the report of the seventh yearly record of failures in a row. Depositors appeared to remain confident. No runs have been reported. In a country in which the banking crisis and devastating runs of the Depression days are relatively recent history, perhaps the most striking element about last week’s announcement is the calm with which the public takes such news these days....

For most banking experts, the key to the changing attitudes is the Federal safety net of deposit insurance -a system begun in the 1930’s to insure the life savings of widows and orphans and now expanded to include a Federal guarantee on almost all bank deposits. The agency by statute insures deposits of up to $100,000, but in practice amounts larger than that are covered, in a policy that grew from the near collapse of the giant Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company in 1984. The agency concluded that it could not risk the effects of permitting uninsured depositors of large banks to lose money, and the ‘’too-big-to-fail’’ doctrine(!) was applied for equity reasons to all banks.....

‘’We have become abolutely addicted to the safety net, and we can’t live without it, yet in the long run we can’t live with it,’’ said Mr. Isaac. He believes that one reason the savings and loan industry has suffered losses estimated to range from $50 billion to $100 billion is that deposit insurance is ‘’too pervasive.’’

Analysts like Mr. Isaac point out that managers of banks on the verge of bankruptcy can offer very high interest rates, bringing in vast amounts of new funds and taking even bigger risks, in hopes of scoring big and recovering. If they win, they keep control of their banks. If they lose, the Government pays off.

And in a statement that is eerily prescient of what occurred with the housing bubble, the article concludes with this:

‘’I don’t think the deposit insurance system was designed to protect an investment banking firm that is dumping client money in problem S&L’s,’’ Mr. Isaac said. ‘’If we don’t stop this addition to the safety net, we will be on a path that leads to more and more Government involvement in the operation and control of banks - in other words, a nationalized banking system.’’

Now, the Obama administration hasn’t exactly nationalized the banks (yet), but the fact that TARP basically institutionalized 5-6 major banks/investment firms as “too big to fail” and provided them with a $23.7 trillion line of credit shows that they likely won’t let them collapse--there is too much money at this point invested by the state in their survival, and the Fed and the Treasury have been busy trying anything to keep this stock market bubble blowing up on the chance that the economy shows some sort of real recovery before it pops.  I wouldn’t bet the house on them succeeding though--the math and history, in my opinion, aren’t really on their side this time.

So what is the connection between this article and the post I wrote yesterday?  Well, they tie into the fundamental reason why I believe we are in the current state of affairs that we are economically.  More below the fold----

Posted by on 09/30/09 at 07:21 PM in Life & Culture   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Republican Will Kill You

It’s nice to know that only one of parties is categorically insane.  I’m sorry—what was that, Congressman Grayson?

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) warned Americans that “Republicans want you to die quickly” during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.

His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading “The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly.”

Veteran Tennessee Republican Jimmy Duncan abandoned customary reticence to chastise Grayson.

“That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I’ve ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don’t appreciate it,” Duncan said.

“It’s fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another Tennessee Republican.

But none was forthcoming from Grayson — a freshman Democrat from a competitive district — who said the first part of the GOP approach to health care is: Don’t get sick.

“If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly,” he said.

The thing is, there’s some left wingers punching the air and saying, “Yeah!  Say it like it is, sister!” Grayson is no stranger to stupidity.  Hot Air reminds us that he wants every family to have a federally mandated week of paid vacation in Disneyland.  And he followed up yesterday’s outburst by calling the level on uninsured a holocaust.  I mean, we all know that the second thing the Nazis did, after healthcare reform of course, was to deny insurance to Jews.

Meanwhile, the nut fringe cuckoo bananas opposition has a great and well-reasoned piece from Michael Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru going over twenty deceptions in Obama’s speech (many of which I covered in my fisking).  One quibble—since there is no actual “plan”—still!—nothing Obama said was really false.  I’m sure, somewhere in the world, there was a plan where everything he said was true.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/30/09 at 05:45 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FDIC’s Piggy Bank Runs Dry
by

Well, this is not good at all--the FDIC is running in the red (from Zerohedge, which has a link to the FDIC’s report):

In an unprecedented disclosure, the FDIC has highlighted that it expects the DIF reserve ratio to be negative as of September 30. As there are a whopping 48 hours before that deadline, one can safely assume that the DIF is now well into negative territory: as of today depositors have no insurance courtesy of a banking system that has leeched out all the capital of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Let’s pray there is no run on the bank soon.

Here’s what the FDIC said in it’s memo:

Pursuant to these requirements, staff estimates that both the Fund balance and the reserve ratio as of September 30, 2009, will be negative. This reflects, in part, an increase in provisioning for anticipated failures. In contrast, cash and marketable securities available to resolve failed institutions remain positive.

I bolded the part before the pathetic attempt at happytalk at the end for a couple of reasons.  First off, in case anyone hasn’t been following, banks have been failing at a rate that is, too be quite blunt, fucking scary.  Over 100 banks have failed since the housing bubble popped last September.  Over 100 banks in the span of a year--it’s gotten so bad that the financial blogs, in a bit of gallows humor, have taken to calling the end of the business week “Bank Failure Friday.” I’ve given up trying to count how much wealth has simply vanished with these bank closures, their assets taken over by larger banks for pennies on the dollar.  And the FDIC has had to cover the individual deposits, so this is probably why they are calling in their checks (from Reuters, via Calculated Risk):

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - U.S. bank regulators are expected to propose on Tuesday that banks prepay three years of regular assessments to replenish the dwindling deposit insurance fund, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Such an option would give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp more liquidity to deal with the sharp increase in bank failures, while banks would not be required to report the expense of the fees until they would normally be due.

Don’t be surprised if no banks “fail” this Friday, even though the list of problem banks is staggering. (For fun,--"cough"--check to see if your bank is on the list)

I’d like to blame this all on the housing bubble, but that would only be partially accurate.  The fact of the matter is that the US has been living off of borrowed money since around the oil crisis of 1974, as the charts by Karl Denninger in this post demonstrate.  The housing bubble was simply the latest attempt to extend that debt out even further, as the nation’s citizens, encouraged by the government, started to think of homes as cash registers or separate checking accounts rather than domiciles and places for shelter.  The cumulative debt of this country now stands at over $50 trillion and counting, as Mr. Denninger’s chart below shows:

Posted by on 09/29/09 at 07:26 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

More ACORN

The left and their propagandists in the MSM love to downplay the ACORN scandals. In fact with the exception of the right leaning blogosphere, Fox News, and talk radio, the other players in the MSM did their best to ignore the story, hoping it would just go away and not inconveniencing them. But the right knows they have this collectivist crime syndicate by the balls, and has not given up. And it is starting to pay. These authorities, whom often have given ACORN a wide pass, are starting to have to do their jobs, and it is paying off. Those of us that have followed ACORN’s crime spree know that it is involved in all manner of shenanigans, but the thing that has irked us the most is how ACORN has gotten away with giving the democratic party cover for massive voter fraud. But that was then, and this is now.

Dozens of forged and fraudulent absentee ballots from people registered to vote on the Working Families Party line were filed in the Sept. 15 primary elections in Troy. Documents at the county Board of Elections show the fraudulent ballots were handled by or prepared on behalf of various elected officials and leaders and operatives for the Democratic and Working Families parties. There may be as many as 50 absentee ballots that were forged, according to people close to the case. Countywide, there were 126 absentee ballots applied for on the Working Families Party line.

You say WTF does the Working Families Party have to do with ACORN? Here are the choice pieces:

The Working Families Party is not about working people or families and it isn’t really a party. The WFP is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACORN. Bertha Lewis co-chair of the Working Families Party is the Executive Director of New York ACORN. New York ACORN leader, Steven Kest was the moving force in forming the party and WFP headquarters are located at the same address as ACORN’s national and New York office at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. WFP is essentially a money funnel which pays for an aggressive door to door canvas. Largely funded by unions, the WFP is ACORN’s “political arm” in New York State. Candidates supported by the Working Families Party and issues supported by ACORN are both advocated on the door steps of target voter homes as they share one major voter canvas.

And my guess is that this is just the first of many other such shadow organizations with ties to ACORN that will come to light and end up being investigated. The people saying this ACORN story has no legs or is not as big as we think it is are missing the obvious point that this has started a snowball effect. With the blinders removed, and none of the usual suspects that used to dismiss accusations against ACORN willy-nilly in the past knowing if some other video or audio will pop up, where ACORN personnel are helping someone commit crimes or themselves committing crimes in their jurisdiction, making them look bad for not investigating those past accusations of possible crime by ACORN, the snowball is going to keep rolling and growing. And as they start investigating, they are going to find crime after crime. Especially when it comes to voter registration and vote rigging. People are asking the questions, and even senators are not immune. Lets see if the MSM misses these stories too.

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 05:18 PM in Deep Thoughts   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Vultures lose interest in dead soldiers..

Since the election of Barack Obama many things have changed in this country. Practically all of them for the worse in my opinion. But amongst the most blatant changes is the way the media has been treating and reporting the wars we are engaged in and fighting. Iraq, where we won despite the left’s efforts to incur a loss, has been all but forgotten. Air strikes against terrorists now focus on killing terrorists instead of accusing the US of killing civilians. Even more telling is the fact that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are now real bad guys instead of freedom fighters. And now we are no longer making that many excuses for Iran, and actually reporting that they are trying to build nukes, even if we ignore the fact Obama has known about this since he became president and continues to treat them as if they where gold buddies. And Afghanistan, the only war the left felt was justified because of Bin Laden, has now lost its just cause. Obama, whom promised to get us out of Iraq and to commit troops to Afghanistan to “get” Bin Laden has treated it and its new commander like a leper. The calls of quagmire are not too distant. But one of the most telling things is how suddenly the media’s fascination with showing dead soldiers has become passé.

Remember the controversy over the Pentagon policy of not allowing the press to take pictures of the flag-draped caskets of American war dead as they arrived in the United States? Critics accused President Bush of trying to hide the terrible human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“These young men and women are heroes,” Vice President Biden said in 2004, when he was senator from Delaware. “The idea that they are essentially snuck back into the country under the cover of night so no one can see that their casket has arrived, I just think is wrong.”

In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third.

But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. “It’s really fallen off,” says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. “The flurry of interest has subsided.”

Since now they would have to point out Obama is the CinC, and blaming Bush would be too obvious of a ruse, the interest has died. Change indeed…

Update: Fixed the broken link above.

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 07:38 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The End Grow Ever Deeper

Good Lord.  This weekend saw the “Take Back America” conference.  A number of prominent Republicans were in attendance, aiding and abetting what looks like a big steaming pile of crazy:

The “How to Take Back America” conference was no place for soft critiques of the Obama administration. It was a weekend of speeches and training sessions that were laden with doom, cries of mounting fascism, and long prayers for salvation. It was the kind of event where Schlafly, a conservative icon who’s often seen as a leader of the movement’s far right flank, could take the role of a pragmatist, sticking to the sort of criticism of the Obama administration that might appear on Fox News and asking activists to elect a Republican Congress in 2010. And Schlafly succeeded in bringing big Republican stars to the conference. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) was the biggest draw, but six members of Congress attended, too–Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), and Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). Several 2010 Republican candidates hosted workshops, including Ed Martin and Vicky Hartzler, both running for Democratic-held U.S. House seats in Missouri. But some of the rhetoric went beyond partisan politics. At worst, the speakers argued, fascism was on the horizon. At best, this was a pivotal time in a war on Christian values. Some of the speakers split the difference.

Read the whole thing.  It’s an indulgence of every repulsive faction of the GOP.  Birthers, hysterical anti-gay rhetoric, branding of Obama as both fascist and communist, a far right Christian agenda—all cheered by Republican politicans.  Here is Mike Huckabee riling the crowd with mindless anti-UN rhetoric—the same week the UN served to expose Gaddafi as a deranged lunatic and Ahmadinejad as a pathological liar.  Here are the religious nuts claiming that people who refuse the H1N1 will be put in internment camps and suing schools over Harry Potter books. Here they are saying that we need to be more explicit about what homosexuality entails to fight the “gay agenda”.

You can contrast that against the tea parties, which barely mentioned cultural issues at all and focused heavily on the economy.

What is most amazing is that the GOP clearly believes that this lunatic fringe is going to propel them back into power. Even the most generous assessment would be that they feel the need to cater to this rabble.  Bachmann may be the YouTube Darling of Right Wing Lunacy, but Huckabee isn’t; he finished second in the 2008 primaries.  McClintock is the governor California should have instead of Arnold.

It’s going to be a long eight years, guys.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/29/09 at 07:38 AM in Right Wing Assholes  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

How far have we fallen…

I was dumb struck to see the announcement that the Empire State building turns red-yellow for China’s 60th. That is, the Empire State building has been decorated this way because they are celebrating 60 years of communism in China. The question begs to be asked: Why are we celebrating communism? This ideology murdered over a hundred million people and imprisoned billions in their own prison states in the last century. The last bastions of true communism today – North Korea and Cuba – are virtual third world sh*tholes, with their people oppressed and living under the most tyrannical yokes ever to be laid across man’s back. Even though China reformed its economic policies and abandoned the horrible communist economic beliefs that – thank the powers that be! - resulted in the collapse of the USSR, and the Chinese people have a fleeting feeling of more freedom now than they did a score years ago, they remain prisoners of their state. Why would we celebrate this vile orthodoxy?

I know China owns most of our debt, but research showed me that the Empire State building is owned by W&H Properties, a partnership between the Malkin family and the late Leona Helmsley, the underlying land is owned by Empire State Building Associates, which has some 2,764 investors, and that they have the lease for the building until 2076. So it is not the Chinese that own it. This was willfully done by these people to curry favor with the Chinese. Be it so they could make more money in China, or because they actually think communism is OK, this was a horrible thing to do. We should not be celebrating communism: we should be celebrating its demise.

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 07:21 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Drugged Patriot Act

Oh, come on.  You’re not surprised:

The PATRIOT Act contained a number of tools that expanded the power of federal law enforcement officials. One of these, the “sneak and peak” warrant, allows investigators to break into the home or business of the warrant’s target and delay notification of the intrusion until 30 days after the warrant’s expiration. This capability was sold to the American people as a necessary tool to fight terrorism.

In Fiscal Year 2008, federal courts issued 763 “sneak and peak” warrants. Only three were for terrorism cases. Sixty-five percent were drug cases.

HuffPo has posted the report here (Remain calm.  It’s a government report, not a HuffPo analysis.) The entire point of the Patriot Act was to give law enforcement powers that they had wanted, but Congress had refused, for years.  We can’t be outraged when we find out that terrorism was indeed just the window dressing for a broader assault on our liberty.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/28/09 at 09:47 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Split decision

It looks like the Law Library of the Congress of the United States (LLC) has issued an opinion on the removal and expulsion of Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras. The LLC’s conclusion: Zelaya’s removal was legal but his deportation from the country was not. Here is the relevant synopsis:

The Supreme Court of Honduras has constitutional and statutory authority to hear cases against the President of the Republic and many other high officers of the State, to adjudicate and enforce judgments, and to request the assistance of the public forces to enforce its rulings. The Constitution no longer authorizes impeachment, but gives Congress the power to disapprove of the conduct of the President, to conduct special investigations on issues of national interest, and to interpret the Constitution. In the case against President Zelaya, the National Congress interpreted the power to disapprove of the conduct of the President to encompass the power to remove him from office, based on the results of a special, extensive investigation. The Constitution prohibits the expatriation of Honduran citizens.

The obvious conclusion is that our State Department and president where wrong on this issue. Their argument was that the Honduran Supreme Court had overstepped its authority in ordering the military to depose Zelaya. Let me say that again: “Zelaya, a corrupt and feckless autocrat who was allied with Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and other self-professed enemies of the United States, was lawfully removed from office by a unanimous decision of the Honduran supreme court.” And yet, our leaders sided with him. And it was not because they understood the Honduran constitution or the fact that Zelaya should not have been deported, but because they applied their limited knowledge of our constitution - which doesn’t allow the Supreme Court to give the military orders which could affect the president - to the situation in Honduras. Smart bunch indeed. It is telling which side they chose in this dispute. i wish we could get the real reason for this out here.

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/28/09 at 01:24 PM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some reality about all this talk of economic recovery..

The usual MSM is awash with the WH driven propaganda that they have fixed the economy. What a change from the way economic news was reported during the last presidency, huh? How things change. Anyway, back to the economic news and the MSM propaganda. We keep getting told things are getting better and that what the collectivists are doing is working, but the truth is out there for those that want it.

“Wherever the government is, there is a rally,” says the head of one private equity firm. “Wall Street is out of sync with the fundamentals but if you fight it, you die.”

Still, the correction in equity markets at the end of this week shows just how fragile sentiment is beneath the easy money now sloshing around the globe. This is largely because investors perceive that the government is the only source of liquidity, and that liquidity has to be temporary.

Sadly, the government isn’t just everyone’s favourite financier, it is virtually the only financier around. And there is a limit to how much the central bank and the government can, and should, do. Underneath the euphoria, is a certain ambivalence and even schizophrenia. The securitisation market, for example, was at the heart of the crisis. Complicated structured financing with super high – and undeserved – ratings fuelled the huge growth in credit, was largely responsible for asset bubbles and allowed banks to leverage up way beyond what was prudent and sustainable. It was the perfect example of bad money driving out good.

“CDOs destroyed prudent lending in America,” says this private equity executive. “It was like a nuclear bomb to good lenders.”

It’s all artificial and unsustainable. This government remains hostile to the private sector and the fact the private sector is hunkering down and not playing along is proof of that. We can not continue to borrow indefinitely and have the government spend and prop up the faux economic news. That game is rigged to fail. Especially with the same people that pushed for these CDOs – the democrat politicians like Franks and Dodd - now “fixing” the system.

Update: Another trend, 52.2% unemployment amongst the young, is a guarantee that the economy is not on the right path at all.

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent—a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept.—meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time. And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults—aged 16 to 24, excluding students—getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession—in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost. “It’s an extremely dire situation in the short run,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. “This group won’t do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes.”

All I have to add is that this group will never do as good as their parents. For one they are going to have a radically different country where opportunity has been replaced with a push for conformity and a level of what will be under the best of circumstances mediocre equality, and under the more likely scenario something far worse than that. They will all be in debt because of the borrowing and spending of the collectivist politicians and their government expansion programs. And the worse has not yet come. Social Security and this new healthcare initiative are going to bankrupt the country. at the current rate, the next generation will be lucky to have the living standards we had in the forties.

Labor Dept. statistics also show that the number of chronically unemployed—those without a job for 27 weeks or more—has also hit a post-WWII high.

And the current government policy is guaranteed to make that number grow bigger too. The next time they tell you things are going in the rright direction think about the real facts, not the jive.

Update 2: And as if the above was not enough, we find out that orders for long-lasting goods is heading in the wrong direction too:

New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods fell unexpectedly in August, dropping by their biggest margin in seven months, following a plunge in commercial aircraft orders, the government reported Friday.The Commerce Department said durable goods orders tumbled 2.4 percent, the largest decline since January, after rising by a revised 4.8 percent in July. New orders for July were previously reported to have increased 5.1 percent. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast orders rising 0.5 percent in August. Compared with the same period last year, new orders were down 24.9 percent. Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of manufacturing activity, which in turn provides a good measure for overall business health.

The trend everywhere is bad. But the left and the MSM keeps telling us we are getting better. When will they point out these clowns are doing more damage than good? When the patient dies?

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/26/09 at 10:10 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Obama 2.3

Is our President a robot?

Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

This actually spooks me out even more than the healthcare plan.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/26/09 at 07:38 AM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dolphin Safe Killing

Remember, boys and girls: there are always tradeoffs.  A nice article looks at the problems associated with “dolphin-safe” tuna.  To make tuna “dolphin-safe” means using methods that kill other fish, including endangered ones:

The only species that “dolphin safe” tuna is good for is dolphins!  The bycatch rate for EVERY OTHER species is lower when fishing dolphin-associated tuna vs. floating object associated tuna! The reason for this is obvious- floating objects attract everything nearby, while dolphins following tuna doesn’t attract any other species.

If you work out the math on this (and you don’t have to, because the environmental justice foundation did) , you find that 1 dolphin saved costs 382 mahi-mahi, 188 wahoo, 82 yellowtail and other large fish, 27 sharks, and almost 1,200 small fish.

By trying to help dolphins, groups like Greenpeace caused one of the worst marine ecological disasters of all time. Few other fisheries are as bad for groups like sharks and sea turtles as the purse seine fishery, and none are as large in scale.

Here we get into the ethical debate.

Is it worth saving dolphins, who were not and are not endangered, at the expense of sea turtles, sharks, and many other fish species who are endangered?

Of course, the environmentalists have an answer: just stop industrial fishing.  Left out is that stopping industrial fishing would mean starvation or malnutrition for millions of people.

I’m not fond of many modern fishing techniques such as trawling.  But we have to quit pretending that environmental questions are a choice between absolute good and intolerable evil.  And we especially have to stop informing our policies based on how cute we think the affected species are.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/25/09 at 04:35 PM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Does this sound familiar?

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/25/09 at 03:37 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Iran Gambit

We’re now seeing the larger picture of the Obama foreign policy.  While it still has some bizarrely offensive aspects (they still support the delusional ex-President of Honduras, even though the Law Library has concluded that the legislature acted constitutionally), they’re doing a good job of isolating Iran:

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed for the first time on Friday that Iran was building a “semi-industrial enrichment fuel facility,” designed to produce nuclear fuel that it had not previously announced to international authorities, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The announcement came hours after President Obama and leaders of Britain and France accused Iran on Friday of building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel, saying the country has hidden the covert operation from international weapons inspectors for years.

...

The extraordinary and hastily arranged joint appearance by the three leaders — and Mr. Obama said that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had asked him to convey that she stood with them as well — adds urgency to the diplomatic confrontation with Iran over its suspected ambition to build a nuclear weapons capacity. The three men demanded that Iran allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct an immediate inspection of the facility, which is said to be 100 miles southwest of Tehran, near the holy city of Qum.

This is a sharp contrast to the Iraq situation, when Germany and France waffled.  The success of this gambit hinges on how appeased the Russians are with the re-tooling of the missile defense in Eastern Europe.  If they throw in with us, then Iran is completely isolated politically and strategically.  Mahmoud was allowed to spew his gibberish and then immediately shown to be a bad liar.  Their biggest supporter is uncertain and the big powers are aligning against them.  All of this sound and fury may not stop Iran from developing a nuke.  I have little confidence that anything—yes, even bombing—would stop that.  But the pressure on the Iranian regime—from internal dissent and external isolation—has now been ratcheted up to a level they can not long endure.

Needless to say the Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran crowd will not be happy about this.  This doesn’t show their delusional idea of “strength”.  (And now that I’ve said something nice about Obama, especially on foreign policy, I’ll get flayed for it).  But this move crosses me as one that would be happily at home in the Bush I administration.

Update: It looks like the Russians are on board.  That sound you hear is Mahmoud’s labored breathing.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/25/09 at 09:19 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Obama to break another promise.. But it is Bush’s fault!

Well, it looks like the WH, and the left, are finding out that in the real world wishful thinking is not enough. There are consequences to actions, and such. Making promises you can’t or are not intending to keep can also make life miserable for you.

With four months left to meet its self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Obama administration is working to recover from missteps that have put officials behind schedule and left them struggling to win the cooperation of Congress.

That babble by the WaPo authors is code for “Obama is going to break this promise too”. See, just promising to do so in a vacuum, and then finding out that you can’t make the problem magically go away, even if you believe the hype by the MSM and the left that you are the second coming, is crimping Obozo’s style! Talk is cheap.

Posted by AlexinCT on 09/25/09 at 08:35 AM in Left Wing Idiocy   The Press Machine   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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