Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Sing for change"

Regarding the song Tomorrow Belongs to Me from Cabaret; people do confuse it with the Horst Wessel. There is some satisfaction in noting that Jewish artists could make a better Nazi anthem than the real Nazis could.

The bad news today is the closing of the NY Sun. The world is a smaller darker place with fewer brave and free voices being heard against the panic of the herd and the braying of the barbarians.

Sep 30, 2008 - 10:05 pm

Monday, September 29, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Memory lane"

The Republicans have to offer some straight talk. Here is a script proposal.

This financial panic was not largely caused by deregulation. A few good regulations, such as the “uptick rule” and other controls to prevent abusive short selling should be restored. This panic was caused by bad regulations, beginning with the Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to offer loans to unqualified buyers and then sell those sub-prime loans to other institutions. Once the buyers of those homes began to default on their mortgages it created a cascade of bad debt that has swept through the entire system. Banks that did not participate in these risky practices were threatened by Congress members and the very agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that had been created to keep the industry operating smoothly and safely. Senior officers of those agencies collected millions of dollars due to what may have been fraud while concealing the growing insolvency. Therefore any program to restore liquidity to the economy, which is essential so that businesses can hire and ship and qualified buyers can buy the homes that are now more reasonably priced, must include the repeal of those laws and regulations that created this disaster.

In addition no business or agency should be considered “To big to fail.” That would open the public treasury to blackmail by every large and inefficient business competing against clever but smaller new firms. It would stifle the entrepreneurship that renews America. Any large firm facing such a crisis should have an opportunity under the bankruptcy laws to reorganize as smaller units with a better chance of surviving. If a firm is a threat to the overall safety of the nation due to its size and possible weakness then the government might need a procedure to order the firm divided, as we have done in other cases with Anti-trust law. As part of the recovery from this crisis we will propose that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be divided into 12 smaller units. Each will be tied to operate within a Federal Reserve district and operate under the eye of the local Federal Reserve Bank to promote the health of the economy in its assigned region.

This is not a sign of a fundamental weakness in the American economy. We are facing a largely self inflicted wound caused by bad politics and greed. We can fix this and permit the American people to continue to create new industries and build new wealth. Other real concerns that can affect our future prosperity, such as dependence on foreign oil, will have to be dealt with. We will work on that. We will also lay out a policy to expand and restore the global reach and flexibility of our Armed Forces. That will include a significant expansion of industrial activity that will stimulate the economy. For now be assured that this crisis, while serious, can be surmounted.

Sep 29, 2008 - 9:50 pm

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Both Ends and the Middle"

The US needs to ensure the survival of our army in Afghanistan. We would benefit from the Indians placing an army to the West of Pakistan but that just duplicates the problem. How is the Indian army expected to get to Afghanistan or get supplied once it is there? Now if the Pakistanis cannot provide America with a secure route from the sea to the Khyber Pass then we may have to consider writing down our investments in Pakistan and supporting an Indian move through Lahore to the Khyber. If the Pakistanis see this as an existential problem than they might secure transit rights for the Indians and Americans but frankly I doubt it. In all probability Pakistan dissolves and hundreds of thousands or more will die until some new structure is established. We need to be working now on how to keep our army alive during the coming implosion. We may have to march to the sea. What route should it be, East through the Khyber or South to Karachi? While many would hope for a coordinated move on Iran that option is clearly no longer on the table.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Who Won the Debate?"

My theory, and I’m sticking with it, is that the script trolls whether for Obama or Putin are really the same people. In fact I suspect they are the employees of phone/web-chat sex boiler rooms who are rented out for the occasion. They may be domestic or in India depending on the market. Notoriously they are portrayed in literature and TV as little old ladies supplementing their social security by following scripts that protray them as 23 year old bombshells. Posting for Obama is a holiday for them by comparison.