Archive for the 'Big Government' Category
Posted by Kevin Villani on 24th September 2016 (All posts by Kevin Villani)
When testifying in 2010 before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission into the financial crash, then Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke recommended only one reference, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (2009), presumably for the narrative that insufficient money printing in the aftermath of the Great War lead to the next one. Right idea, wrong narrative!
The US homeownership rate peaked at a rate well above the current level almost a half century ago mostly funded by a system of private mutual savings banks and savings and loans. The historical justification for federal “secondary market” agencies was political expediency – exemption from now obsolete federal, state and local laws and regulations inhibiting a national banking and mortgage market. Now government-run enterprises account for about 90% of all mortgages, with the Fed their primary funding mechanism, what the Economist recently labeled a de facto nationalization.
The Historical Evolution
How did the private US housing finance system repeatedly go bankrupt? To quote Hemingway: Gradually, then suddenly. The two competing political narratives of the cause of financial market crises remain at the extremes – either a private market or public political failure – with diametrically opposite policy prescriptions. The politician-exonerating market failure narrative has not surprisingly dominated policy, with past compromises contributing to the systemic financial system failure, the global recession of 2008 and subsequent nationalization.
The Great Depression stressed the S&L system, but the industry’s vigorous opposition to both federal deposit insurance and the Fannie Mae secondary market proved prescient as the federally chartered savings and loan industry eventually succumbed by 1980 to the federal deposit insurer’s perverse politically imposed mandate of funding fixed rate mortgages with short term deposits and competition from the government sponsored enterprises.
The S&Ls were largely replaced by the commercial banks. To make banks competitive with Fannie and Freddie, politicians and regulators allowed virtually the same extreme leverage, in return for a comparable low-income lending mandate – CRA requirements leading to a market dominating $4 trillion in commitments to community groups to whom the Clinton Administration had granted virtual veto power over new branch and merger authority.
The Financial Crisis of 2008 and the aftermath
The Big Short by Michael Lewis and more recent movie portrayed not just banker greed but the extreme frustration of those shorting the US mortgage market stymied by a housing price bubble many times greater than any in recorded US history that refused to burst. The reasons: 1. the Fed kept rates low and money plentiful, and 2. whereas banks would have run out of funding capacity, the ability of Fannie and Freddie to continuously borrow at the Treasury’s cost of funds regardless of risk and their HUD Mission Regulator requirement to maintain a 50% market share kept the bubble inflating to systemic proportions.
The Obama Administration fully embraced the alternative private market failure narrative in Fed policy, regulation and legislation:
- To partially ameliorate the effects on the real economy of disruption to the global payments mechanism the Fed had to bail out the banking system. QE1/2/3/4 and ZIRP (zero rates), now NIRP, did this by re-inflating the house price bubble, postponing defaults while allowing banks risk-free profits. The Fed – and taxpayers – would lose more than the entire S&L industry did should rates rise by a comparable amount if it marked its balance sheet to market.
- Regulators had to appear to punish the banks. In response to paying hundreds of billions of dollars in what the Economist labeled “extortion” – some of which ironically went to populist political action groups – and the subsequent oppressive regulatory regime, U.S. commercial banks are exiting the US mortgage market in spite of ongoing profits enabled by extreme leverage.
- One legislative centerpiece, the Dodd Frank Act passed in July 2010 in direct response to the financial crisis, doubled down on political control of financial markets without addressing the future of Fannie and Freddie. The other, Obamacare, enacted four months earlier, was similarly premised on regulating private health insurers to make health insurance simultaneously cheaper and more widely available.
The Long Term Consequences
Bernanke’s focus on choosing the narrative was useful, but the political choice of the market failure narrative appears to reflect convenience rather than conviction. The direct taxpayer costs of implicit or explicit public insurance and guarantees come with both a whimper – tax savings amounting to tens of billions annually due to the deductibility of interest costs – and a bang – future taxpayer bailouts generally delivered off-budget.
Fannie and Freddie conservatorship deftly avoided debt consolidation while dividends reduced reported federal deficits. The student loan market has also been de facto nationalized, with potential unbudgeted losses totaling hundreds of billions. Obamacare was similarly premised on regulating private health insurers to make health insurance simultaneously cheaper and more widely available, but under-budgeted health insurance subsidies predictable caused massive losses and health insurers are now withdrawing from the market.
Monetary policies caused household savings to stagnate as returns to retirement savings evaporated. Defined obligation public pension funds were all rendered technically insolvent when funding is valued at current market returns rather than the assumed rate as much as ten times that. The failure of the economy to grow per capita was explained as the “new normal”. But politicians made no attempt to reflect the implied technically insolvency of public pensions or Social Security and Medicare.
Private firms fail, but private markets rarely do. Public protection and regulation makes firms “too big to fail” until markets fail systemically. The current and projected future public debt bubble is unsustainable, and financial markets will eventually ignore the accounting deceptions and pop it. The relative weakness of other sovereign debt is delaying the inevitably, making The Really Big Short a good title for a Michael Lewis’s sequel. Politicians and central bankers will again say “nobody saw this coming”. What then?
Kevin Villani, chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985, is a principal of University Financial Associates. He has held senior government positions, been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath. This article was originally published at FFE.org
Posted in Big Government, Economics & Finance, Markets and Trading, Predictions, Public Finance, Real Estate, Systems Analysis | 19 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 25th August 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” (Saul Alinsky)
Hillary is clever to go after individual companies. If she attacked the pharma industry as a whole, it could unite politically in response and perhaps gain political support from other industries that would reasonably see themselves as similarly vulnerable. But individual companies have no defenses against this kind of attack. By singling out one victim she discourages other industry players from doing anything in response, because any company or industry group that responds risks being targeted in the future.
She has done this kind of thing before. She will probably keep doing it because it’s politically effective. Her attack on Mylan destroyed a large amount of wealth, and probably not just for Mylan’s shareholders. Today Mylan’s CEO is groveling in the media. As with past political attacks by Hillary and others on vaccine manufacturers, yesterday’s attack on Mylan will discourage pharma companies from introducing valuable new products and will reduce the availability of current products. We will probably see more of this kind of extortionate behavior by the federal govt if she is elected, because that’s how the Clintons operate and because a Hillary administration would appoint more lefty judges and DOJ and regulatory officials who would go along with it.
Posted in Big Government, Crony Capitalism, Economics & Finance, Health Care, Leftism, Markets and Trading, Politics | 42 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 13th August 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
Thoughts on the nexus between the growth of government and of an elite governing class, and the rise of flagrant, unaccountable, public lying by politicians and other officials who are members of that class:
…This statistical fact is, however, also a good example how radically this new American “aristocracy” has changed America in recent decades. Even President Obama in his first election campaign, only eight years ago, still categorically rejected the label of being a “socialist” for fear of becoming unelectable. Only eight years later, Bernie Sanders, a declared Socialist would, likely, have become the elected Democratic presidential candidate, had the party leadership not undemocratically conspired against his election.
[. . .]
Many, maybe even most presidents before Clinton, of course, also have on occasion been less than truthful; but nobody, except of course Nixon (“I am not a crook”), has in recent history so blatantly lied to the American people as Bill Clinton and, yet, gotten away with it, in the process changing American politics for ever by demonstrating that the modern multimedia world practically always offers the opportunity to relativize the truth of the message (to quote Bill Clinton, “it depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”).
The political “aristocracy” learned this lesson very quickly and, of course, nobody better than Hillary Clinton. She would never have dared to follow through with the absolute insane idea of establishing her own Internet server while serving as Secretary of State, had she not been convinced that she could manipulate the truth, should it be discovered. Piercing her words, as her husband had done so well during the Lewinsky Affair, she, indeed, has successfully avoided indictment by the Justice Department, even though a majority of Americans, likely, believe that she escaped because of special considerations by Obama’s Justice Department. Completely exposed in her deception by the FBI investigation, she, remarkably, still continues to lie in her statements to the public.
Read the whole thing.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, Deep Thoughts, Media, Obama, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, USA | 21 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 11th August 2016 (All posts by David Foster)
Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are seven specific phenomena, incarnated in seven (partially-overlapping) categories of people, which are largely driving this attack, to wit:
The Thugs. As I pointed out in my recent post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents–ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery–have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of national political campaigns.
The Assassins. These individuals go beyond the level of violence practiced by the Thugs, and make credible death threats…which they attempt to carry out…against those whose actions or believe they view as unacceptable. The majority of threats and attacks falling in this category have certainly been the doing of radical Muslims; however, some of the more extreme ‘environmentalist’ and ‘animal rights’ groups have also demonstrated Assassin tendencies. At present, however, it is those Assassins who are radical Muslims who have been most successful in inhibiting free expression. Four years in hiding for an American cartoonist.
The Wimps. It seems that among the younger generations in America, there are a disproportionate number of people whose ‘self-esteem’ has been raised to such lofty but brittle levels that they cannot stand any challenge to their belief systems. Hence they are eager to sacrifice their own freedom of speech, as well as that of others, on the altar of ‘safety’ from disturbing words and thoughts.
The Bureaucrats. Bureaucrats, especially in the universities but also increasingly in the private sector, are eager to provide the altars for the sacrifice of free speech, with Star Chamber proceedings and various forms of witch-burnings.
The Regulatory State. The vast expansion of Federal regulatory activities and authority enables a wide range of adverse actions to be taken against individuals without the checks and balances of normal judicial proceedings. Witness, for example, the IRS persecution of conservative-leaning organizations (possibly extended to pro-Israel organizations as well.) And the Bureaucrats in nominally-independent organizations are really often acting as agents and front men for the Regulatory State. (Consider the 2011 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter sent from the Department of Education to colleges and universities, regarding the handling of sexual assault allegations–which has had, the linked article argues, serious negative impact on free speech and due process.)
The Theoreticians. Various academics have developed the concept of ‘oppressive speech’ and have developed models which attempt to break down the distinction between speech and action. Since everyone agrees that actions must be regulated to some degree, this tends to pave the way for tightened regulation of speech. (I think the conflation of speech with action is particularly sellable to those who in their professional lives are Word People and/or Image People. To a farmer or a machinist or even an electrical engineer, the distinction between speech and action is pretty crisp. To a lawyer or an advertising person or to a professor (outside the hard sciences), maybe not so much. And the percentage of Word People and Image People in the overall population has grown greatly.)
The Fragility Feminists. Actually, the word ‘Feminists’ should probably be in quotes, because the argument these people are making is in many ways the direct opposite of that made by the original feminists. There is a significant movement, again especially on college campuses, asserting that women are such fragile flowers that they must be endlessly protected from words that might upset them. See the controversy over the name of the athletic center at the Colorado School of Mines…here I think we have the Bureaucrats and the Fragility Feminists making common cause, as they so often do. For another (and particularly bizarre) case, read about professor Laura Kipnis, whose essay decrying ‘sexual paranoia on campus’ resulted in a Title IX inquisition against her. In a particularly disturbing note, when Kipnis brought a ‘support person’ to her hearing, a Title IX complaint was filed against that person.
Posted in Academia, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Law, USA | 30 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 1st August 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
When FBI Director Comey publicly took a dive and sold out the rule of law in refusing to prosecute Hillary Clinton’s Cyber-security crimes. He began a new chapter in providing evidence of the validity of “Broken Window Policing” in the field of cyber-security. For which, see the following definition:
The broken windows model of policing…focuses on the importance of disorder (e.g., broken windows) in generating and sustaining more serious crime. Disorder is not directly linked to serious crime; instead, disorder leads to increased fear and withdrawal from residents, which then allows more serious crime to move in because of decreased levels of informal social control.
Hillary and the FBI Director Comey have advertised both outrageous cyber-security weakness and more importantly the breakdown of social mores of “the rule of law” in Federal Government cyber-security. If you advertise you are weak, stupid and capricious in enforcing cyber-security, it is blood in the water for cyber-criminals of all sorts.
Consider this not exhaustive list busted e-mail security associated with Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party surrogates.
1) Hillary’s email system on Bill Clinton’s server.
2) The Hillary Controlled Democrat National Committee email server.
3) The Democrat Congressional Candidates Committee server.
4) Hillary’s election campaign server.
5) Hillary’s several different illicit off-site email servers when she was Secretary of State.
This is a very small fraction of the “Broken Window theory” as applied to cyber-crime. What we see related to Hillary. The problem here is that this sort of political corruption cannot be centralized. If Hillary can do it and get away with it. Exactly how many other illicit off-site e-mail accounts filled with Federal secrets are there now? And how many more will there be between now and Jan 2017?
Lois Lerner at IRS and the EPA director are both known to be using non-Federal government secured public e-mail systems as early as 2010.
Exactly how many other officials at the State Department, Defense Department, Interior Department (Can you say Secret Service?), other non-departmental American intelligence bureaucracies, and the Federal Reserves are there?
That is the real cyber-security “broken window” Hillary and FBI Director Comey have opened. And this is the cyber-security nightmare that will be with America for decades, barring a massive and systematic purge of everyone high and low associated with such behavior by a new President or after another — likely nuclear — Pearl Harbor.
I’ll close with the following Sept 12, 2008 Obama campaign statement that applies in 2016:
“Our economy wouldn’t survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats,” “It’s extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn’t know how to send an e-mail.”
— Obama for President 2008 campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Elections, Human Behavior, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 28th July 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
Millennials cause homeownership rate to drop to lowest level since 1965:
The drop in homeownership is largely due to a delay in homebuying by the millennials, who have the lowest ownership rate of their age group in history. Millennials are not only burdened by student loan debt, but they have also delayed life choices like marriage and parenthood, which are the primary drivers of homeownership.
Why have today’s young people, as compared to young people in the recent past, delayed buying property, marrying and having children?
“While the millennial homeownership rate continues to decline, it’s important to note that the decrease could be just as likely due to new renter household formation as it is their ability to buy homes,” wrote Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “Certainly low inventory and affordability isn’t helping their efforts to own, but moving out of their parents’ basement and into a rental unit is also a good sign for the housing market.”
Why are many of today’s young families choosing to rent rather than buy their homes?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Economics & Finance, Real Estate, Society, Systems Analysis, Urban Issues | 8 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 26th July 2016 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
There was a brief hiccup of indignation last week regarding the French police choosing to downplay the fact that the dead hostages taken by Islamist terrorists at the Bataclan music hall had been viciously tortured and their bodies mutilated. There was the same brief hiccup of indignation when it appeared that the German police likewise chose to downplay those instances of sexual abuse perpetrated on local women by so-called Syrian “refugees.” A commenter on one particular thread discussing this observed, acidly, that we were now well into Pravda and Izvestia country, where the published news stories must be carefully scrutinized and parsed to tease out the actual facts; what is released regarding certain occurrences is not meant to inform us. Instead, such reports are meant to appear as if we are being informed, but the actual intent is to conceal and not to offend those in political power.
I’ve begun to believe, though, that our establishment media and those elements of the Ruling Class (in the Anthony Codevilla sense) who control or collude with them are going well beyond simply obscuring current events – but are deliberately practicing a kind of mass-gaslighting on us all. Gas-lighting? Oh, yes; this is a definition, courtesy of the Urban Dictionary:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Media, Politics, Society | 40 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 19th July 2016 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
So, it looks like Her Inevitableness is tottering on the way to her coronation, attended by throne-sniffing, lickspittle courtiers like Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who most notably got bent out of shape last night by Patricia Smith (the mother of former SEAL Sean Smith, killed in the 2012 mob attack on the US consular office in Benghazi) calling Her Inevitableness a liar. Such “lese majeste!” harrumphs the egregiously offended Mr. Matthews, whom I assume followed this up with a demand that those kids get off his lawn.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Conservatism, Current Events, Elections, Leftism, The Press | 16 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 17th July 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
Seven Baton Rouge area law men have been shot and three are dead in an ambush near Police H.Q. in Baton Rouge. There was as single perpetrator in a black outfit, with a hoodie or other face covering, with a long rifle. He was engaged by Police and shot in the exchange. The USA Today won’t say his race.
The best one-stop place to cover the shooting seems to be this “The Conservative Tree House Blog” thread.
Odds are 9-to-1 that this perpetrator was a single black male with some connection to the Black Lives Matter’s protest movement.
Excerpt from USA Today below —
Report: 3 police officers in Baton Rouge shot dead
Three police officers have been shot dead in Baton Rouge, La., and others may have been wounded, authorities said Sunday.
The three officers were shot near the department headquarters, Baton Route Mayor Kip Holden told MSNBC. At least four others were injured in the shooting, he said.
“They are investigating,” he said. “Right now we are trying to get our arms around everything.”
Two Baton Rouge police officers and one East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy are dead, according to WBRZ-TV’s Michael Vinsanau.
The gunman was shot, a Louisiana State Police spokesman said, but his condition was not immediately clear.
A witness told WBRZ-TV that a man was dressed in black with his face covered was shooting indiscriminately when he walked out between a convenience store and car wash across from Hammond Air Plaza. Police closed the streets between the police department’s headquarters and Interstate 12.
Vinsanau of WBRZ tweeted that more than a dozen marked and unmarked police cars have sped to the scene, and that a SWAT team is on location. State police armed with rifles are posted blocks away, Vinsanau tweeted.
Perpetrator Description —
Posted in America 3.0, Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Obama | 61 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 15th July 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
The headline at the Drudge Report says it all — MOHAMED AND HIS TRUCK.
A Tunisian born Muslim with French citizenship took a box truck and ran over hundreds during the annual French Bastille Day celebrations in NICE, Southern France.
The UK Daily mail article at this link —
…said that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drank alcohol, ate pork, chased women at night clubs, beat his wife and took drugs. He was a petty criminal, publicly violent, and possibly an informant for French police or internal security forces before he was turned into a suicide-murderer by those who he was spying on, according to David P. Goldman of the Asia Times.
See Goldman’s article titled:
WHY THE TERRORISTS ARE WINNING THE INTELLIGENCE WAR
The only thing of importance in all of this is the realization that the law enforcement and internal security forces in the West have lost control. No amount of law enforcement, electronic surveillance or gun control can prevent a suicide-murderer bent on religious self-immolation, and activated by the ongoing world wide social media incitement campaign(s), from killing dozens to hundreds.
What cannot go on, won’t.
Goldman suggests in his article that a General Sherman “March Through Georgia” style of collective punishment of Muslim civilian populations in the West can work to end this random death in the Western civilization’s life support.
The bottom line — as BREXIT proved — is that publics in Western democracies can and will replace elites that say nothing can be done, and that Western publics “…will have to accept more Muslim Mass Immigration & Terrorism, because… (insert P. C. excuse here)”.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, Europe, France, Islam, Law Enforcement, Leftism, National Security, Politics | 61 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th July 2016 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
That is one of those military acronyms which everyone who has ever been in the military for longer than – oh, I don’t know – a couple of years? A single hitch in one of the armed services? Whatever; what it means in plain English is “operations security” – and what that entails in the larger sense – drilled in by basic training, refresher training, briefings, a constant dribble of AFRTS spots cautioning the same in 30 second bites, and occasionally by the direct intervention of a supervisor administering a stern reminder – is that you keep your mouth shut about stuff and treat classified material with every care. Even stuff that seems minor, inconsequential, trivial, and is not in point of fact, actually classified. Because a whole lot of little pieces put together by an expert analyst could reveal a pretty big picture; a big and possibly life-threatening picture to someone, or hundreds, even thousands of someones.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, National Security | 15 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 5th July 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
FBI Director James Comey today in a Washington DC news conference confirmed what many have suspected.
The Rule of Law in America is now strictly a political football for those who are in power.
The FBI has refused to indict ex-Sec of State Hillary Clinton for multiple clear violations of Federal law by hosting an unsecured e-mail server with classified data off-site from the State Department. A server that was know to have been hacked by most of America’s foreign enemies.
Gatewaypundit has many of the details here —
FBI Director Comey: We Found Hillary “Work Related” Emails That Were Not Turned Over to FBI – But Recommend NO CHARGES FIled
Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Law, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Miscellaneous, Political Philosophy, Politics | 26 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 1st July 2016 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Today, Daniel Henninger has a pretty good column on Brexit.
The Wall Street Journal is not exactly on board with the “Leave” vote or certainly with Trump but this is pretty good.
The vote by the people of the United Kingdom to separate from the European Union was actually Brexit the Sequel. The first Brexit vote took place 35 years ago in the United States, with the election of Ronald Reagan, who carried 44 states.
Reagan, in his first inaugural address in 1981, could not have been more explicit about what his election stood for: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Brexit is shorthand for “government is the problem.”
Liberal intellectuals have mocked Reagan for reducing his theory of government to a bumper sticker. But he elaborated on the idea with words that would have fit in the Founders’ debates:
“We have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
Reagan is being misrepresented by a lot of Republicans these days. They don’t remember what a radical he was in GOP eyes back in 1976. I do.
Why even George Will thought he was too radical in 1976.
In a November 12, 1974 column appearing in the Washington Post on a potential 1976 challenge by Reagan to incumbent Establishment GOP President Gerald Ford, (titled “Ronald Reagan, the GOP and ’76”), Will wrote of Reagan: “But Reagan is 63 and looks it. His hair is still remarkably free of gray. But around the mouth and neck he looks like an old man. He’s never demonstrated substantial national appeal, his hard core support today consists primarily of the kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun. And there’s a reason to doubt that Reagan is well suited to appeal to the electorate that just produced a Democratic landslide. If a Reagan third party would just lead the ‘Nixon was lynched’ crowd away from the Republican Party and into outer darkness where there is a wailing and gnashing of teeth, it might be at worst a mixed course for the Republican Party. It would cost the party some support, but it would make the party seem cleansed.”
Will certainly has a way with words. The Administrative State has come to the end of its usefulness, if it ever had any.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Islam, Military Affairs, Terrorism, Trump | 16 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 1st July 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
Part 3: Farage’s Poster Is Racist:
Farage was called a racist (and worse [1 minute mark]) for this poster.
Yet, no one claims this photograph was a fake, i.e., a staged photograph made with actors and props. No one claims that it was photoshopped. No one claims that the skin tone of the people in the photograph was altered or, even, darkened. No one claims that the photograph was out of date. And no one claims that the picture is not representative of the pattern of large scale immigration coming into the European Union (here, Slovenia—an EU member state) from the Third World.
In other words, if you reproduce a photograph of an actual, recent event, you are a racist…
Part 4: Errors of the Labour Party and the Remain Camp:
A fictionalized exchange on television between any Labour candidate for MP and an audience member during the 2015 general election …
[. . .]
Labour Candidate for Parliament: I understand. New immigrants—frequently coming without skills that fit the modern U.K. economy—cause wage compression at the low end of the wage scale. We will make sure employers pay the minimum wage; we will ensure that your economic interests are protected.
Audience Member: No, that’s not my point (at least, that’s not my only point). I don’t like how our society is being changed by mass immigration. I don’t like polygamy. It is illegal, but no one gets prosecuted for it. I don’t like FGM. It too is illegal, but it is not actively prosecuted. I don’t like it when the immigrants’ customs are accommodated in these ways—I don’t want our criminal laws ignored by the immigrants or by the police and the prosecutors. It makes me feel unsafe—it makes me think the immigrants’ way of life is preferred over ours. The immigrants should be integrated into our communities, not the other way around.
Labour Candidate for Parliament: I understand. We will work to ensure that your wages are not compressed.
Audience Member: You’re not listening. That’s not what I said: I don’t like the direction your party’s immigration policies under Blair & Brown have taken our country. I don’t like where we are now as a result—not that Cameron has done anything to modify those policies.
[. . .]
Read the whole series.
Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain, Civil Society, Conservatism, Current Events, Elections, Europe, Immigration, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Trump | 1 Comment »
Posted by David Foster on 27th June 2016 (All posts by David Foster)
No aesthetically-appealing photos or amusing stories today, I’m afraid, just some very serious links and excerpts.
The rockets of Hezbollah. I knew they had accumulated considerable weaponry, but didn’t know it was this bad.
Men, women, Christianity, and Islam
Kevin Williamson on preventing jihadist violence
The impact of Islamic fundamentalism on free speech
James Schall of Georgetown University on Orlando in hindsight:
The Orlando killer was not alone. He was a true believer and other believers in the mission of Islam inspire him. Neither he nor any of his predecessors or future companions are to be explained by psychology, economics, or sociology. They are to be explained by taking their word for what they are doing. If the President of the United States or the British Prime Minister, the media, the professors, the clerics, cannot or will not understand this reality, we cannot blame ISIS and its friends. They are also realists who understand where ideas and reality meet, sometimes on a battlefield in Iraq, sometimes in a night club in Orlando.
The Democrats as the American Totalist Party
Football player Herschel Walker reports that he has had speaking engagements canceled because of his support for Donald Trump. Which is exactly the kind of action one would expect from members of a Totalist party.
Shortly before the Brexit vote, writer Frederick Forsyth wrote about the basic character of the EU: Government by deception:
You have repeatedly been told this issue is all about economics. That is the conman’s traditional distraction. This issue is about our governmental system, parliamentary. Democracy versus non-elective bureaucracy utterly dedicated to the eventual Superstate.
Our democracy was not presented last week on a plate. It took centuries of struggle to create and from 1940 to 1945 terrible sacrifices to defend and preserve.
It was bequeathed to us by giants, it has been signed away by midgets.
Now we have a chance, one last, foolishly offered chance to tell those fat cats who so look down upon the rest of us: yes, there will be some costs – but we want it back.
A former ‘big proponent’ of the EU has this to say:
To be fair, the EU’s main problem has always been its troubled relationship with democracy…This contempt for the will of the people might still be perceived as tolerable if the leaders otherwise seemed sensible – but now that someone as bad as Merkel calls the shots in EU, we’re reminded of just why having perpetual democratic safeguards is so important…the EU’s contempt for European voters and its current attempts to shut down dissenting voices bodes ill for its ability to course-correct on its own. If the EU is to be saved, it first needs to be humbled, nay, outright humiliated in such a manner that no-one can doubt that recent developments can’t be allowed to continue.
John Hussman of Hussman Funds looks at Brexit from an economic and investing perspective: Brexit and the bubble in search of a pin. He quotes his own post from last month:
My impression is that the best way to understand the next stage of the current market cycle is to recognize the difference between observed conditions and latent risks. This distinction will be most helpful before, not after, the S&P 500 drops hundreds of points in a handful of sessions. That essentially describes how a coordinated attempt by trend-followers to exit this steeply overvalued market could unfold, since value-conscious investors may have little interest in absorbing those shares at nearby prices, and in equilibrium, every seller requires a buyer.
Imagine the error of skating on thin ice and plunging through. While we might examine the hole in the ice in hindsight, and find some particular fracture that contributed to the collapse, this is much like looking for the particular pebble of sand that triggers an avalanche, or the specific vibration that triggers an earthquake. In each case, the collapse actually reflects the expression of sub-surface conditions that were already in place long before the collapse – the realization of previously latent risks.
Posted in Big Government, Britain, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Economics & Finance, Elections, Europe, Islam, Leftism, Terrorism, USA | 15 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 24th June 2016 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
The Brexit vote in Britain has rocked the country with elites and immigrants most affected.
The vote to “Remain” was a majority in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in London and several other large cities with large “immigrant” populations.
Protesters are planning to march to London’s Shard building to demonstrate against the ‘racist’ and anti-migrant rhetoric of the EU Referendum campaign.
The march, announced in a Facebook post by the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century, was due travel from a park in Whitechapel to the headquarters of New Corporation next to the Shard at 6pm.
All is proceeding as expected.
The decision has prompted a large market selloff, which will probably persist until the effects are better understood. Those campaigning to “Remain” have used various threats and predictions of doom, so the immediate result is not unexpected. Of course, the political left is hysterical at the idea that voters don’t want to be governed by remote elites.
On Thursday British voters willfully walked off a cliff when they decided to leave the European Union. The “Brexit” victory is a defeat for Britain, Europe and the global economy.
Tens of millions of Britons voted for isolation — to go it alone — rather than for cooperation. The European Union just lost a sixth of its economy, roughly akin to Florida and California seceding from the United States. The impact on the British economy could be catastrophic. Europe’s unified stance against a reemerging and aggressive Russia will be splintered.
Who could imagine that people would not want a thousand bureaucrats in Brussels, or for that matter Washington DC, micromanaging their lives ? Well, I know someone.
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Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain, Elections, Europe, Immigration, Trump | 37 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 24th June 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
The bookies, until the votes were being counted, were showing greater than 2:1 odds against Brexit in yesterday’s referendum. The subsequent Brexit victory appears to confirm the hypothesis that many Brits were lying to pollsters.
The bookies are showing odds of around 3:1 against a Trump victory in our presidential election. Arguing predictions is a fool’s game, but it may be that our election polls are wrong for the same reason as the Brexit polls apparently were. The Democrats and their media allies have demonized Trump as a racist and misogynist, and it seems likely that many people who intend to vote for him aren’t admitting it. We’ll know soon enough.
Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain, Current Events, Elections, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Media, Politics, Polls, Predictions, Trump, USA | 10 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 24th June 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
It should be obvious to the status quo that the crisis has arrived. Brexit, for all its drama, was a warning. The real collision is close ahead.
The basic demand is for a moderation, if not a reversal of the centralizing tendencies. It’s a brief for less immigration, less political correctness and less government.
Unfortunately conceding to these demands this is like reversing the Titanic. There’s so much momentum, it’s hard to stop. But they have to stop. The Iceberg looms ahead. All Brexit has done is give the warning.
From now on, the countdown begins. Can the elites turn the ship in time?
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain, Civil Liberties, Conservatism, Elections, Europe, International Affairs, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Tea Party, Trump | 8 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 22nd June 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
Who said this?
The battle over Britain’s national existence and parliamentary independence is a battle which will be fought through to the bitter end, however long it lasts. It is a battle in which no quarter will be asked and none will be given. It is a battle in the course of which all other political lines and links will continue to be overrun and broken, as it surges one way or the other. It is a battle in which the bitterest foes of the past will stand together and the closest of old alliances be destroyed. I say these things in no spirit of bravado. They are cold and sober deductions from fact, the fact that the fight is about the continued existence of the nation itself, an issue to which by definition all other political issues and causes whatsoever must be subordinated, as to the greater which subsumes the less.
See Seth’s post for the answer.
Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain, Current Events, Europe, Politics, Quotations, Rhetoric | 5 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 20th June 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
UPDATE Via TCTH —
Michael Steven Sandford is in illegal alien.
Update: Trump Assassin Is Illegal Alien – Overstayed UK Visa To Assassinate Presidential Candidate…
The man facing charges for attempting to grab a police officer’s gun so he could allegedly shoot candidate Donald Trump is in the United States illegally.
He had overstayed his visa from the United Kingdom. That information came out during his arraignment at U.S. District Court Monday afternoon.
AP is reporting that Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt in Las Vegas,
Posted in Big Government, Britain, Elections, National Security, Politics, Trump | 28 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 16th June 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
In its public relations on Omar Mateen’s attack in the Pulse night club in Orlando, the federal government is engaged in a propaganda technique know as “The Big Lie”. That is, it’s stating an untruth often enough to get people to believe it.
The Big Lie in this case, stated by both FBI Director James Comey and President Obama is that Omar Mateen was a “lone wolf” that “self-radicalized over the Internet.”
It is four days after the Pulse attack. Omar Mateen spent 18 days in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2011 and 2012. There is no way that all the associates of Mateen in those two trips can be known in four days. Nor what if any training or Islamist materials Mateen might have received on small items like USB drives while on those trips.
See if you can spot all the weasel words from this Fox News story passage quoting the Saudi Ministry of the Interior —
A Saudi Ministry of Interior spokesman confirmed that Mateen twice performed the umrah Islamic pilgrimage and that travel records showed he also visited the United Arab Emirates on one of the trips. But he said Saudi officials, who closely surveil tourists deemed to be a terror threat, had no evidence Mateen traveled to Yemen of made contact with known extremists during his visits to the Kingdom.”
Weasel Phrase #1 & questions raised —
Mateen twice performed the umrah Islamic pilgrimage…
- Did Mateen attend Mosques or other Islamic organizations in Saudi Arabia with ‘extremist’ connections?
- Did people who became extremists after 2011 to 2012 attend Saudi Mosques or other Islamic organizations at the same time as Mateen or travel with Mateen?
Weasel Phrase #2 & questions raised —
…had no evidence Mateen traveled to Yemen or made contact with known extremists during his visits to the Kingdom.
1. Would the Saudis know if Mateen meet ‘known extremists’ in the UAE?
2. Did people who the UAE consider ‘extremists’ meet Mateen?
3. Did Mateen attend mosques or other Islamic organizations in the UAE with extremist connections, and at the same time as then-unknown ‘extremists’?
Given the simple questions raised above, there is absolutely no reasonable way that Pres. Obama and the FBI Director stating that Omar Mateen “self-radicalized” can be considered as anything but a deliberate lie after only four days of investigation.
Given the use of the Big Lie on Orlando by FBI Director James Comey, we now have to assume all the following about organizations, politics and near-future events.
- FBI Director James Comey is President Obama’s partisan “good dog” in the same sense that Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Director of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are.
- The federal government’s top priority in dealing with Muslim terrorism in the USA will remain political correctness in surveillance before attacks and narrative damage control after attacks, rather than prevention of attacks.
- There will be an increasing number of domestic Muslim terrorist attacks because of the Obama administration’s open-borders immigration policy and refusal to properly vet this immigrant stream for radical Islamic Terrorists.
- Republicans now see DHS and FBI counterintelligence as an utterly Democratic partisan organization like the IRS.
- The first Republican-majority government after the San Bernardino and Orlando terrorist attacks will see a new, independent, federal counterintelligence agency with an utterly partisan GOP senior leadership established.
- And last, there will be no indictment of Hillary Clinton over her illegal e-mail server unless and until Donald Trump wins the presidency.
Make your preparations for the future accordingly.
Posted in Big Government, Current Events, Elections, Immigration, International Affairs, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Middle East, National Security, Obama, Politics, Predictions, Terrorism, Trump, War and Peace | 40 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 13th June 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
It’s interesting watching the Main Stream and alternate media “world view bubbles” vie for the narrative following the ISIS Ramadan Massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. The Drudge Report, likely due to Drudge’s ties with the LGBT community in Florida, the UK Media, and blogs like THE LAST REFUGE (AKA The Conservative Treehouse), GATEWAYPUNDIT, AND DAILYPUNDIT drove American television media coverage in a way that effectively removed two days of official denial of Muslim terrorism in the previous San Bernadino ISIS attack time line. During this “vying for narrative” the Institutional Media and Official Government mask slipped and showed that this election is no longer about merely who will be President, but whether American political freedom will survive.
These are the facts of the ISIS Ramadan Massacre in Orlando, as best I can gather.
THE FACTS OF THE ISIS RAMADAN MASSACRE
We know now from the 911 and a Bright House cable News 13 in Orlando call audio that some time before his 2:00 AM Sunday morning attack, OMAR MIR SEDDIQUE MATEEN announced he was pledging his allegiance to ISIS for the atrocity he was going to commit. Some time later (hours?!?) MATEEN began shooting his way past the police officer hired by Pulse Nightclub to guard the entrance to the club. This officer and two more who “rode to the sound of the gunfire” engaged MATEEN and were driven away by MATEEN’s superior weaponry, an AR-15 with “high capacity magazines” and apparently MATEEN’s superior marksmanship (more on this below).
You cannot tell with media and police sources this early, but this implies that MATEEN’s magazines were something more than the US Army standard 20 and 30-round box clips. Aftermarket AR-15 large capacity clips and drums can be had with up to 100 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. MATEEN’s ability to drive away three trained police officers, two of which arrived in a squad car that very likely had an AR-15 in the trunk, per mass shooter protocols, argues MATEEN ran the three police first responders out of ammunition.
MATEEN then proceeded to kill 50 and wound 53 more people inside the crowded venue, and then, finally, to take hostages. It was unclear if the three police officers above engaged MATEEN inside PULSE or not. It is clear they were driven out of the Pulse, leaving those inside the venue to MATEEN’s mercy.
And MATEEN had none.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Current Events, Internet, Islam, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Media, National Security, Obama, Politics, Rhetoric, RKBA, Terrorism, The Press, USA, War and Peace | 49 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 10th June 2016 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
I’m starting to wonder if the Republican Party, that is the institutional party not the voters, really wants to win the election if it means accepting Trump as the nominee.
I was skeptical at first when it looked like Trump was not collapsing of his own weight.
About December, he began to look like there was a real chance of winning.
Now, after months of whistling past the graveyard of Trump’s seemingly inexorable rise and assuring themselves that his candidacy will collapse as voters come to their senses, a CNN poll released Wednesday showing Trump now lapping the field has the GOP establishment in full meltdown mode. The survey shows Trump with nearly 40% of the primary vote, trailed by Ted Cruz at 18%, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio tied at 10%, and the also-rans (including great GOP hope Jeb Bush) limping along far behind.
I am not a Trump supporter but I am intrigued at the steady progress he is making toward success.
I am still not that enthusiastic but it seems that he has attracted a large following of people who might be motivated enough to elect him president. The Republican Party seems horrified by the prospect.
This talk of ousting Trump as the nominee seems more likely to be a big flashing public signal to Trump to get his act together right away. (The smart lefty writer John Judis thinks Trump’s scripted speech Tuesday night is a sign he got this message.) If you were really going to depose Trump from being the GOP nominee in Cleveland, I’m not sure you’d go big with lots of public chatter about it as you’re seeing right now.
For example, Michael Mukasey a former Attorney General, has written a pearl clutching op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about Trump’s feud with the judge in the Trump U case.
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Posted in Big Government, Elections, Politics, Trump | 25 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 8th June 2016 (All posts by Jonathan)
One thing I have noticed over the years is when there is a crisis, it’s a really bad time to pass sweeping legislation. The momentum and justification for legislation comes from fear. “We don’t want that to happen again”, supporters say. For example, 9/11 happens and we get the Department of Homeland Security which is mostly a waste of money and allows the government to pry into all kinds of places it shouldn’t.
Dodd-Frank is a result of the financial crisis. There are so many bad actors in this crisis that it’s hard to list them all, but the root cause was the implicit backing government gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-along with legislation and regulation that encouraged bad behavior. Sure, the ratings agencies were paid by the big banks and slanted the playing field. The big banks knew exactly what they were doing with the mortgages. But, without the implicit backing of government, the game never gets played.
Here are some data points:
Before Dodd-Frank 75% of banks offered free checking
After Dodd-Frank 25% of banks offered free checking
Small business costs are up 15% to comply with new regulation
15% less credit card accounts, and a 200 basis points more in cost
Remember, many small businesses get started by using credit cards. You might think they are stupid. But why should you import your financial/moral compass on them. Maybe they see the annual percentage rate credit card companies charge as cheap compared to the opportunity that lies ahead of them.
In the state of Missouri, there were 44 banks with less than $50M in assets. Prior to Dodd-Frank they were profitable. Post Dodd-Frank, 26/44 are losing money and will either go out of business or be consolidated. Your local community bank which is often the lifeblood of local capital is dead. How many other states are like Missouri? It’s no wonder small town rural America is having a tough go in the Obama epoch.
Dodd-Frank tried to make central party clearing mandatory for all transactions in the OTC market. Professor Craig Pirrong has blogged brilliantly about this and other aspects of Dodd-Frank. It works for a few, but not for all. This makes it more expensive to hedge risks. Businesses pass along the cost to consumers. In many cases, clearinghouses have to become the actual counterparty to the hedge. This stops commerce and more importantly has created more too big to fail institutions. Those too big to fail clearinghouses are now backed by the full faith and credit of the American taxpayer, you.
These are great points and Jeff’s post is worth reading in full.
Posted in Big Government, Economics & Finance, Markets and Trading, Politics, Systems Analysis | 4 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 4th June 2016 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
This is from Trump event attendee Karen Powers:
As a Trump supporter, I was there, in San Jose, attending the Trump event on June 2.
The Trump event attendees were forced to walk past the protesters afterward, after the event was over, to get to their cars. Broad areas of sidewalks and streets, that were not blockaded before the event started, were blockaded by barriers after the event ended, and standing in front of those barriers were lines of individual police officers telling Trump event attendees what route to follow to get to their vehicles.
I had parked in a parking garage right next door to the event. Before the event, an easy walk to the event, after event over, had to square 4 blocks of sidewalk lined with protesters who somehow knew the exact route that Trump supporters/event attendees had to walk, and were waiting for them.
Frankly, it was pretty obvious that either law enforcement personnel or the mayors office, someone in the know, had told the protesters where the Trump supporters would be forced to walk after the event. Attendees only went where law enforcement officers told them to go in order to get to our cars. We followed their instructions. The protesters knew, seemed well informed, of the direction where Trump supporters were going to be heading even before we exited the event, and protesters lined that walking route as a result, literally laying in wait where no law enforcement was present.
There was an intent to force the supporters and protesters together. There was no intent to keep them apart.
Trump supporters exiting the event were literally set up like rats in a maze, forced to follow a prescribed set of boundaries, which led directly to the protesters and not away from them.
The press got their story but the clash was completely avoidable. It was created by intention and by design.
Let’s be really clear about the implications of this report. These rioters were acting as an official arm of the Democratic Party controlled San Jose city government in suppressing the civil rights of Americans. The presidential election in November 2016 is no longer about “Trump” or “Hillary”.
It is about whether we will retain American political freedom.
Posted in Big Government, Elections, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Politics, Trump | 29 Comments »