Monthly Archives: October 2008


When Consumers Capitulate

Ok, so maybe you thought I didn’t know what I was talking about in my essay about Why We Have Government.

If you didn’t like my explanation, then you can read the explanation by Paul Krugman, the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Econimcs.

I suppose I really shouldn’t use worn out phrase, “Nobel Prize winning economist”.  After all Mitlon Friedman was a “Nobel Prize winning economist”.  He couldn’t figure out when to stop touting his own award winning research as the answer to ever possible question.

Well, Krugman is just giving some basic economic lessons in his column.  He explains “the paradox of thrift”. He also explains “a liquidity trap”. His conclusion on what needs to be done comes in the following paragraph:

No, what the economy needs now is something to take the place of retrenching consumers. That means a major fiscal stimulus. And this time the stimulus should take the form of actual government spending rather than rebate checks that consumers probably wouldn’t spend.

Sounds remarkably similar to what I wrote.  Perhaps he learned his introductory economics from the same book that I did.


Why Do We Have Government 3

There was a letter to the editor in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that stated

What Sen. Barack Obama is advocating, “spreading the wealth around,” is simply socialism at its core.

Juan, who commented on this letter, decried Obama’s use of Juan’s tax money for non-free market spending by the government.  I wrote the following response to Juan.

Juan,

Do you pay more taxes than Barack Obama? He probably has more skin in this game than you do.

We the people of the United States have banded together to have a government do the things that we cannot do as individuals.

In these troublesome financial times, most of the wise individuals are slowing spending and trying to increase savings to try to protect themselves from unknowable possible future events. When everyone slows spending, this has very bad consequences for employment and the future of the economy. However, each individual is acting in his or her own best interest. Few people have the wherewithal to take the chance that their assets can withstand any possible future debacle.

However, acting together through our federal government, we do have enough wherewithal to be fairly sure we can weather this storm. The rest of the world seems to think so too as money flows to the safe haven of the United States Treasury bonds and notes.

Acting as a group, we can afford to offset the financial pull back that most individuals must undertake. Increased spending on infrastructure by the federal government will be one of the things that pulls the economy out of the slump.

That is, unless John McCain gets elected. He is promising to cut government spending in the middle of a recession. The last time this was tried we ended up in the great depression.


Reagan Chief Of Staff Endorses Obama

Follow this link to the Huffington Post item on Kenneth Duberstein, Reagan Administration Chief of Staff, endorsing Barack Obama. This item actually has a link to the CNN web site’s story about Duberstein’s appearance on the Fareed Zakaria’s show this Sunday.

The following interview is what Duberstein had to say about choosing a Vice Presidential nominee before either side had picked one.

Kenneth Duberstein on Choosing A VP March 31, 2008

History Shows Democratic Sweep Would Be Better For Stocks

Follow this link to a Reuters report with the above title.

Hardly any Republican would agree with this premise.  The PBS show Nightly Business Report assumes that this is not true. The “Money Honey”, Maria Bartiroma of CNBC, openly assumes in her interviewing and reporting that a Democratic sweep would be a disaster.

However, this is what history seems to show.  Of course we need more than a story from Reuters with just a bit of convincing evidence to make us believe.

In the seven periods when Democrats had complete control of U.S. political power, the S&P 500 .SPX rose 14.7 percent on average while in the eight times a Republican was president and Democrats controlled Congress, the benchmark index rose 7.4 percent, according to data compiled by research firm Bespoke Investment Group, in Harrison, N.Y.

I’ll see what I can do to come up with some corrobarating numbers to make this idea more palatable to the skeptical.

I have posted a comment on the NBR Blog asking them if they can  report what is, rather than what they want to believe?

I did a Google search on Democrats “Stock Market”. There were only 5,660,000 results.

I took a look at the first two results.

The CNN web site had an article titled Surprise: Dems are better for rallies. This was published January 22, 2004.

… study by  two finance professors at the University of California at Los Angeles, Pedro Santa-Clara and Rossen Valkanov.

According to their paper, entitled, “The Presidential Puzzle: Political Cycles and the Stock Market” and published in the October issue of the Journal of Finance, stock market returns are on average about 5 percent higher when the White House is run by a Democrat than during Republican rule.

There is more interesting information in the rest of the article.

The USA Today web site had the article titled Democrats or Republicans? Just the facts. This was published on 12/2/2005.

Many investors assume that Republican presidents are better for the stock market. That’s not true.

There is much more in the article and more nuance.


Who Is Rashid Khalidi

I have been hearing rumors about some story connecting Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi. I decided to find out a little more about this person.

The first item I found was this story about McCain funded Rashid Khalidi. I found a similar item on Huffington Post, McCain Funded Work Of Palestinian His Campaign Hopes To Tie To Obama.

To find out a little more about who Rashid Khalidi is, I read this transcript of Professor Rashid Khalidi interviewed by Joe Scarborough circa 2003. Amazingly, the link to this interview is on the Daniel Pipes web site.  Daniel Pipes is the antagonist of Khalidi in the interview. If Pipes thinks this interview is a good argument against Khalidi, then he really is living in a cocoon of his own making.

Another anti-Khalidi web site led to this item where Jordan Elgrably Interviews Rashid Khalidi. According to this website, “Jordan Elgrably, an Arab Jew, is a writer and an activist who founded the Sephardi/Mizrahi organization Ivri-NASAWI in 1996, and Open Tent Middle East Coalition in 1998.”

For those among my family and friends who grew up with yearly Passover Seders that ended with the phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem”, what Rashid Khalidi says may be hard to take.  However, if we are able to step outside our own milieu and try to see Palestinians as the human beings that they are, then nothing that Khalidi says in the above items is shocking or unreasonable.

Khalidi says several times in these interviews that attacks on civilians are war crimes no matter who commits them.  This applies to suicide bombers as well as some people on the Israeli side. It seems that his antagonists cannot hear what he is saying.  I know some people who will read this and will also not be able to hear what is being said.

It is truly hard to sit down with your adversaries and try to understand where they are coming from.  Frequently the way they tell you what they think is not couched in the best ways to get you to listen.  That is not an excuse for actively filtering out the message.

Despite what your adversaries say and do, it is still in your own best interests to understand them and their motivations.

I suppose that advice applies to me and understanding  many Republicans, but there is a limit to even my open mind 🙂

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On October 30, 2008, Huffington Post brought the following Washington Post editorial to my attention: An ‘Idiot Wind’ John McCain’s latest attempt to link Barack Obama to extremism.

This editorial also fills in some of the details of the story of Rashid Khalidi’s relation to Barack Obama..


Voter Suppression and Vote Flipping

Here is a collection of links to various stories about voter suppression, vote flipping, and other voter fraud. At the end is a compilation of Fox News’ accusations about ACORN.

I found a story on Huffington Post about New Mexico GOP Sued For Voter Intimidation.

Huffington Post has the article  ACORN Ad: Don’t Let McCain Take Away Your Voting Rights about the following ACORN ad.

ACORN Ad

Huffington Post has an article West Virginia Vote Flipping Caught On Tape.

Vote Flipping Video from Huffington Post

My comment on Huffington Post was to the effect that I could buy an off-the-shelf PC, install the Firefox browser on it, and write some code to display a ballot in the browser that would allow me to click on my candidate of choice. This system would work reliably, would not need calibration, and would be cheap in hardware and software.

When you pay big bucks to a contractor, you get an expensive, bloated, poorly functioning product that fails to meet minimal requirements. You’d think you could investigate a company’s track record before you hire them. Just being given a demonstration of the calibration procedure should be enough to make any Voter Registrar customer turn around and run from that vendor.  Even my Palm Centro cell phone allows me to touch the screen to make choices and the people who wrote the software do not come to my house to calibrate the cell phone.

I also found The Wahington Independent article A Myth of Voter Fraud.

The ThinkProgress.org web site has the article Right-Wing Rages Against New Voter Registrations: The ‘Purpose’ Of ACORN Is To Commit ‘Voter Fraud’

Compilation of Fox News Accusations

I suppose there are a number of ways you can view the above FOX compilation. You can views it as a demonstration of Fox’s bias, or you can view it as an explanation as to why Fox viewers think the way they do about ACORN, or you can view it as a truthful compilation of the problem with ACORN.

Jim Hightower’s web site has the article McCain’s Voter Fraud

Finally, Daily Kos has this compilation of items Government of the (Republican) people, by the (Republican) people, for the (Republican) people


Aliens Take Over Fox News

Follow this link to Huffington Post to see this incredible video from Fox News.

Either Shepard Smith is going to be fired, or even Fox News has figured out who is going to be the next President of the United States.