Moral Hazard is an Understatement

November 17, 2008

Remember “moral hazard?” We heard a lot about it when our government was contemplating the big bank bail out. Now, all we hear is about all those bankers and industrialists who must be given our money, lest their self imposed failure bring the United States to its knees (hey, some of us bought knee pads when the price was low). No more moral hazard for us – don’t mind the fact that we are handing our money to the managers who ran their firms into the ground. Keep every last thieving one of ‘em working. A CEO in the unemployment line would add way too much narcissism to the welfare roles.

CEOs in this country live in a world of zero risk (to themselves). After taking over a firm, they stuff the board with compliant people and cronies, then collect their bonuses whether the firm does well or tanks. They “shoot the moon,” that is, the take enormous risks. If the risks pan out, the CEO gets remarkably generous incentive pay. If the risk destroys the firm, the CEO walks away with only a small bonus for the year, and goes on to another firm.

Stockholder power has been emasculated by US laws that were necessitated by political activists who would buy a few shares of a compnay, then try to push the company into left wing agendas that weren’t at all in the companies’ interests.

The country is fast becoming a parody of itself, as more and more firms, and even municipalities, are begging for a “bail out.” Disgust is the appropriate word.

The Predictable Has Happened – “Putin to Obama: Drop Dead”

August 1, 2013

Little Boy Snowden, the young man who has admitted to having patriotically gotten a job as an NSA contractor for the sole purpose of obtaining gobs of sensitive information so that he could leak it it to the world at large, has been liberated from the Moscow airport transit area. Vladimir Putin, Czar of All the Russias, has granted him one year refugee status.

Now our intrepid President gets to show us (yet again) just what he’s made of. In the previous “reset” with Russia, Mr. Obama gave Mr. Putin everything he wanted, in return for nothing (well, not nothing – we humiliated two newly liberated allies that had just agreed to accept anti ballistic missile systems on their soil). Putin didn’t even like us in return – he just demanded more. It was Cold War redux. One might say that it was Carter-Brezhnev all over, and, predictably, Putin ate Obama’s lunch. If Mr. Obama has any sense of integrity, any sense of self respect, and above all else, any sense of respect for his country, he won’t meet with Mr. Putin in September, or ever, until Snowden is returned. No exceptions. There should be no meeting, at any level, to even discuss the issue. The return of Mr. Snowden should be the precondition for any further discussions. If the Russians want to pick up a U.S. business man on phony charges, to play the old tit for tat Cold War game, we should issue a travel advisory cautioning our citizens to avoid Russia, which is something they should do anyway, given the lack of a rule of law.

However, I expect Mr. Obama to meet with Putin in September, to no effect, though he will tout all sorts of reset accomplishments. I’m not an Obama hater, but the last five years have shown that he has little self respect, and even less respect for his country.

Will Obama Go to Russia in the Fall? Even If They Harbor Snowden?

July 28, 2013

Obama seems to have a need to be liked by dictators – folk like Vladimir Putin. It’s a serious case of recurring weak knee syndrome. So… our President is headed off for yet another “reset” with his favorite KGB agent. We make nice to Putin, and he stabs us in the back. It’s a recurring theme. We have no need for this narcissistic weasel, but our President courts his favor like a little puppy dog. Last time, Obama made nice to Putin by pulling the missile defense rug out from underneath two brand new allies, without even consulting them, and in return got… nothing. The West never learns; you don’t make nice, give something up, then hope to get something back. That’s not how grown ups play. If Putin doesn’t produce Snowden’s ass, in the U.S., on a silver, fully extradited platter, the President should be unavailable for a visit in September, due to “technical reasons,” or he’s a rat’s ass. Period. Anything less is giving away the store for free. Do we understand each other?

Do Not Fear Russia’s New Missile Deployment

November 7, 2008

Why? ‘Cause it’s irrelevant. Russia could obliterate Europe with missiles launched from old SSBNs in a North Fleet port. The missile defense being placed in Easter Europe really is good only for a minor attach, such as might come from North Korea or Iran.

The Russian missile deployment is designed to curry favor with Iran, and her allies. Russia could deploy garbage cans painted to look like missiles on the Polish border and achieve the same effect. No one is suggesting that any of the US missile defenses could repel an attack by a major nuclear power such as Russia.

My final words: This is a kabuki dance. Let’s concentrate on something that has meaning.

I Don’t Care Whether You Did Everything Right and Followed the Rules

November 4, 2008

I made a rare cruise through the Washington Post today, and found yet one more pundit implying that someone who does everything right, and follows all the rules, must by definition have success unless he or she is a victim of some sort of discrimination or unfairness. In the words of “progressivism’s” greatest icon, “life isn’t fair.” That’s right, folks, people with connections who are just a bit less able than you and I probably succeed as often as we do.

The unfairness of a failure to succeed while following the rules is the new shibboleth of progressives (I’m not sure what makes them progressive, really). If you followed the rules, did everything right, and didn’t succeed, you must be a victim of SOMETHING. Hooey.

The New Political Coo-Coo

October 31, 2008

Sperryville, VA – Pundits describe Virginia as a reliably Republican state that is in play this year. When they say that, they are referring primarily to the Northern Virginia area, that slice of the Old Dominion just south of our capital, where all sorts of smart people come to do good, and stay to do well. Demographically and politically it is more like New York than other parts of Virginia. This is a very large state, a small sliver of which actually stretches just to the west of Detroit, encompassing rich farm land and a chunk of the Appalachian coal fields. But the locus of power has, over the last two decades, begun to concentrate itself in Northern Virginia, and to a lesser extent in the Tidewater area around Norfolk and Newport News, where much of the population fancies itself much more advanced thinkers than the old line “southern” Virginians.

Then there is one other Virginia, out here on what one might call “the near Piedmont,” where the well to do who still require access to Washington can live in rural peace, while retaining all the conveniences associated with living much nearer to the over crowded conditions, and perpetual traffic jam that is Washington, DC and its environs. An actual working farmer out here, with a few hundred acres that have been in the family for hundreds of years, is no match for the pocket books of these high powered lawyers, lobbyists, and many of the construction moguls who, having paved the quality of life right out of the Washington suburbs, want a gentler experience for themselves and their families.

Out here, high speed Internet isn’t as high as it is in the big city, but it still supports community conversation, and in this very political year, the net waves are burning up with partisan chatter, much of it full of hate and invective reminiscent of the Republican hate for Bill and Hillary Clinton. In this once very military and agriculturally oriented state, much of that hate and invective is reserved for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Here in Rappahannock County, a remarkably well heeled domain of newly minted manor houses and horse farms, there are less than half a dozen McCain supporters on the local Internet chat list, and all but two keep their heads down, as the Obama supporters accuse the Republicans of every crime and sin except cannibalism. Given the generally held opinion that Obama and his Congressional allies will prevail in a pretty convincing way on election day, one might suppose that supporters of “The Chosen One,” as right wing pundits have taken to calling Barak Obama, would spend their days gloating, but they are obsessed with the sins, suspected or otherwise, of  McCain and Palin, some going back to McCain’s early Navy career, when rumor has it that he had a DUI, that daddy the admiral got covered up.

However, their most recurrent mantra is Republican voter suppression. In fact, this is a nationwide Democratic mantra, and while 2008 looks to be a big winning year for them, it’s becoming clearer with every campaign since the bizarre 2000 presidential one, that any Democratic defeat is now assumed to be due to Republican shenanigans, for which their handy code words are “voter suppression”.

Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps little Karl Rove clones are crawling over every freedom loving, Democratic leaning precinct, ensuring that the Dem’s favorite shibboleths, the poor and people of color, are being deprived of their right to vote for a living. Next to Dick Cheney, who in fact may be the most anti-democratic, anti-freedom office holder since Stalin, Rove is their favorite bogey man. He may not be working on a campaign this year, but the very savvy and advanced thinkers of this area are certain that those working on the McCain campaign were Rove’s apprentices. Perhaps they were, but let’s not worry about evidence. After all, these locals’ patron Saint, John F. Kennedy, was most likely elected not by the populace, but by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s ward healer shenanigans.

The Internet wasn’t here in much force back in the 1990’s, but I’m willing to bet that the antics of James Carville and partners, which often amounted to repeating enormous lies at the tops of their voices until questioners were tired of asking embarrassing questions about the Clintons, were not bothersome to these genteel folk who are the new country squires and their vassals.

The disaster that is the George W. Bush administration has helped make these horse farm liberals into political nut cases. When their lunacy is amplified by that emboldening, impersonal megaphone that is the Internet, an observer must remind one’s self that we are not living in a banana republic, but in a country where over 100 million people will vote in what is a political process, supervised not by wise men, but politicians and their chosen cronies. It always has been, in both Democratic and Republican jurisdictions. In spite of all that, it’s worked pretty well until now. In fact, back when the Democrats appeared to be the county’s permanent majority, most citizens seemed happy with the electoral process. Now, though, a local genius opines that Republicans demonstrating at an Obama rally may be violating the Voting Rights Act of 1964.

I won’t dwell on the army of lawyers that the Democrats have positioned to contest any important jurisdiction that has the unmitigated gall to vote Republican, but I will end with this plea. In the unlikely event that McCain and Palin should win election, it is requested that all available psychiatrists and psychologists in the National Capital Region, report to the Rappahannock County Public Library, where local EMTs will be performing triage on of our brilliant political thinkers, whose nervous breakdowns are the result of “their” election being stolen.

Let’s Beg the Question

October 27, 2008

I’m not sure who started misusing the term “beg the question”, but my first recollection is from a Dan Rather news cast. I’m not going to beat around the bush. “Begging the question” doesn’t mean asking it, it means avoiding answering it. So if the power fails, it doesn’t beg the question “why?”. If a power company spokesman was asked why the power went out, and he said “you know, people really don’t like the power company”, he is begging the question.

Got that, Dan? How ’bout you, Brian and Katie? Good to go? Gosh, is Dan still on the air? (we don’t have TV out here)

It’s Still the Currency, Stupid

October 27, 2008

That’s right, folks, it’s not strictly the economy. We started this brand new fiscal year with a $400 billion deficit, then tacked on a quick extra trillion to help those who’d helped themselves to plenty of their investors’ money. Eventually we will reach the tipping point, where we can’t wholsale our debt to anyone – the Chinese, Gulf nations, ANYONE. Then the full faith and credit of the United States will become less full, and we will be screwed. Congress has no solutions that aren’t based on debt, nor do either of the presidential candidates. This could be a heck of a ride. If we had to live within a budget, Congress couldn’t buy fellow legislators’ votes with earmarks. Then we would experience what it’s like to live in a banana republic, but without the advantage of all that nice warm weather (sigh).

We are England Between the Wars

October 24, 2008

Yup. Watch us accumulate so much debt that we have to beg off on it. Watch is hollow out our military just in time for a major challenge from the new big rival. Watch us invent a new variant on the “English sickness”.


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