Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The really new media:

On December 29th, 2008, the Israeli Defense Force launched its own YouTube Channel, and within one week it was driving all the News and Politics on YouTube. This was a brilliant Public Relations move in order to circumvent the Leftist Press. More importantly, this should be a model for Conservative and Libertarian bloggers to follow.

thoughts for GOP

Notes on conservatism and Republicanism:

The Jeffersonian yeoman farmer is still a powerful archetype for conservatives. But have even they gone beyond that? Consider "The pencil" -- conservatives argue it takes thousands of people to make a pencil.

But is this close to liberalism's picture of people needing to cooperate?


And trust busting. Was Teddy Roosevelt on to something? Must government act to keep companies from becoming too big, thus distorting the political scene, a la GM?


Economists are still arguing about the causes of the Panic of 1837! Not to mention the Great Depression. And no one one knows what's going on now.

But maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe at a certain point in the growth it doesn't matter. Something will tip over the structure.

Now, that may not be a bad deal. Twenty-some good years, a couple of bad ones.

But can GOP sell that to voters?


And is the real Reagan the hard money guy? Were tax cuts almost a diversion, like blockers sweeping left, while quarterback runs right?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ammo for GOP?

Via Instapundit: Republicans need a message. Why not this?

Lawrence Lindsay writes that tax cuts rather than government spending will have a more immediate and long-lasting impact on the economy:

The relative advantage of tax cuts over spending is even clearer when the recession is centered on the household balance sheet. Some relatively minor changes, like making the current 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains permanent, would not only help household cash flow, but also put a floor under equity prices much as their introduction did in 2003. This would help protect against further wealth destruction and balance sheet deterioration.

[T]he centerpiece of any tax cut should be employment taxes: in particular, a permanent halving of the current 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax on the first $106,800 of wages, split evenly between workers and employers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's next?

This is a great moment for the conservatives -- if we are willing to seize the moment.

Sure, the Democrats are running the White House and Congress. But the Blagojevich scandal is just the first of many juicy issues the party will be forced to deal with. Conservatives must be nimble enough to latch on to them.

The economy is a mess. But conservatives have the only answers that will work. That's why it's so important for conservatives to shape the picture of what's happening before it calcifies into a myth.

The news media's liberal bias has never been more evident. At the same time, however, the traditional media are self-destructing. Conservatives can dominate the emerging media if we act with determination and creativity.

Liberals seem to dominate the universities. But I'll hazard a prediction that the next unsustainable bubble that will that of the universities. Their endowments are shrinking, and parents just can't keep paying a hundred grand a year for Joey or Susie to student gender issues.

But ... can conservatives define themselves?

Sure, modern liberalism is coherent and conservative. But that doesn't make it right.

Ditto for libertarianism.

Can conservatism be clear in the sound-bite age?

Harbinger of change?

2008 -- year of reality?

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All sides can't face reality

Union deep in denial:

Friday, December 26, 2008

credibility, or incredible?

We were just jawing about credibility of journalism. But do we as an industry have much left?

Consider this:

In our view, Nixon was as guilty as sin of more things than were ever proven. Nevertheless, there is another side to this story. The FBI was carrying out espionage against the president of the United States, not for any later prosecution of Nixon for a specific crime (the spying had to have been going on well before the break-in), but to increase the FBI’s control over Nixon. Woodward, Bernstein and above all, Bradlee, knew what was going on. Woodward and Bernstein might have been young and naive, but Bradlee was an old Washington hand who knew exactly who Felt was, knew the FBI playbook and understood that Felt could not have played the role he did without a focused FBI operation against the president. Bradlee knew perfectly well that Woodward and Bernstein were not breaking the story, but were having it spoon-fed to them by a master. He knew that the president of the United States, guilty or not, was being destroyed by Hoover’s jilted heir.

This was enormously important news. The Washington Post decided not to report it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad harbinger?

Science pick questioned by interesting commentator:

Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday. [UPDATE: Mr. Obama did indeed pick Dr. Holdren.]

Bush's legacy

The jury is still out; even conservatives have doubts. Still ....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Painful adjustment

It's true we're in for a period of adjustment.

The Wall Street Journal points out that developers too are going broke. (That's a preview only.)

So we were making stuff we didn't need, to sell in too many malls. Now the party's over.

Here's the scary thought: what if deflation is inevitable if we're going to compete with the rest of the world?

Yet free trade is still essential.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why militant unionism is a threat

Mickey Kaus and Michael Barone have very revealing dialogue on auto co. woes:

Mickey Kaus, pretty much alone among the commentators I've been reading, indicts "Wagner Act unionism" for the decline and fall of the U.S. auto industry. The problem, he argues, is not just the high level of benefits that the United Auto Workers has secured for its members but the work rules—some 5,000 pages of them—it has imposed on the automakers. As Kaus points out, unionism as established by the Wagner Act is inherently adversarial. The union once certified as bargaining agent has a duty not only to negotiate wages and fringe benefits but also to negotiate work rules and to represent workers in constant disputes about work procedures.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brilliant and frightening essay

In finance, once you can have leverage, you must have leverage.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the real problem with a Detroit bailout

No car czar can address the real problem, more and more observers are saying.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The bust

Fascinating piece:

A former Wall Street insider explains how the financial industry got it so badly wrong, why it always will—and why all of us are to blame.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Gates would be hard to fire

From Kausfiles:

On Warren Olney's To the Point, LAT veteran Doyle McManus says Robert Gates

is in the unusual position of not being a cabinet member who can't really be fired because if the president and the secretary of defense were to end up at loggerheads on an issue, that could be politically very damaging to the president. [E.A.]

This seems astonishingly wrong. Obama can fire Gates more easily because Gates is a Bush holdover, no? Obama won an election by opposing Bush's policies. ..


But .... isn't Gates hard to fire not because of political factors, but because he's widely recognized as being ... how shall I say it ... competent?

And it doesn't matter what Obama ran on. (Kennedy won on a "missile gap" that didn't exist.) He has to govern on what is, not what turns on the left. And Gates at least stands for successful policies. (Which are also Bush policies.)

Gates might be hard to fire because, for Obama to succeed as prez, he might have to listen to Gates.

Barack Obama and citizenship

On the brouhaha over Obama's citizenship, one issue is his residence in Indonesia.

As one source reports:

A 2007 Associated Press photograph taken by Tatan Syuflana, an Indonesian AP reporter and photographer, surfaced last week on the photographic website showing an image of Obama's registration card at Indonesia's Fransiskus Assisi school, a Catholic institution.

In the picture, Obama is registered under the name Barry Soetoro by his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. The school card lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His religion is listed as Muslim.

However -- I've been to Indonesia. It's a Third World country. And we're talking the early 1960s. Things are not as organized as they are here, and now.

So what if his stepfather put something down on a school record? It's Indonesia. "Official" records need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Ditto his grandmother's "recollection" he was born in Kenya. Grandmothers "remember" a lot of things.

Of course, if Obama produces the birth certificate, this goes poof.

Maybe he finds other embarrassing info on the form.