Fort Wayne Government "Solutions" Ignore Capitalism

In defense of politicians, especially honest politicians, there is a tendency to use the power of government to pursue "public good" projects in direct contravention to capitalistic principles, particularly the built-in checks and balances which swiftly and sometimes brutally end ill-advised economic activities.

Market Minder in Capitalism:Shifted Balance offers this example:

Note, politicians are human, too.

A fun example is Fresno, a little agricultural-based city wanting to make it big in the great state of California. Over the years—in good times and bad—the city government used taxpayer dollars to fund its own brand of stimulus. They’ve either fronted all or part of the money, or engineered deals for various pet projects throughout the years: a ballpark for a triple-A baseball team, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and housing project, and a rock bar sponsored by the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar. And so on. Set aside for a moment the dubious wisdom of using taxpayer dollars for what appear to be superficial glamour projects, and consider why all three projects either floundered or outright failed—most in a short time. There are many factors, but in broad terms, in each case there was little counterparty risk: The developers had great upside potential, but no real downside risk since the worst that would happen is they default on their loans to the city—which in retrospect, bore relatively lesser risk than defaulting on a private loan.

Fresno promised in each case to “drive a hard bargain,” but it never really did. Why? A government in any form can probably never be as vigilant or judge risk as well as a private party. Politicians—always and everywhere—are playing with house money and not their own. Governments don’t use “their” money, it’s taxpayers’ money. If the whole undertaking goes bad and millions are lost, the worst that can happen is the mayor isn’t reelected. That completely alters the incentive system. Our guess is Fresno would never have undertaken such lampoon-able projects had a real counterparty, with a visceral and vested interest, supplied the funding. This is the lesson of capitalism in a nutshell: A matching of risk and return, incentive and responsibility.

Politicians serve only with the consent of the voters, so free government largess to soothe the masses continually pushes us toward socialism. Downsizing government, as opposed to increasing government influence, plus reliance on free market capitalism, is the best economic path for the honest politicians, but feelings get in the way.

Here in Fort Wayne, various failed/failing projects financed through tax-backed bonds include:
- The Grand Wayne Convention Center expansion which did not attract a needed downtown hotel or interested conventions.

- The Police and Fire Academy which was designed to attract regional participation but did not.

- The ill-advised Harrison Square project complete with private financing from Hardball, Inc. and White Hotels to build a new Class A baseball park, world-class hotel, parking garage, condominiums and a commercial strip. Taxpayers are on the hook for at least $39 Million, but performance from the private partners has been all but nonexistent.

Paraphrasing Pete Seegar:

Where have all the politicians gone? Gone to Socialism every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a scam, with no basis in science.

Frank Tipler, the distinguished mathematical physicist at Tulane University offered his own particular view of global warming to Urgent Agenda:

(1) I am particularly annoyed by the claims that the "the debate is over," because this was exactly the claim originally made against the Copernican theory of the Solar System. Copernicus' opponents said the idea that the Earth was the third planet from the Sun was advanced by Aristarchus in 300 B.C. (true), and had been definitely refuted by 100 A.D. The debate is over! Sorry, it wasn't: the Earth IS the third planet.

(2) It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

(3) In contrast, the alternative theory, that the increase and decrease of the Earth's average temperature in the near term follows the sunspot number, agrees (roughly) with observation. And the observations were predicted before they occurred. This is good science.

(4) I emphasized in point (2) that the average person has to be able to check the observations. I emphasize this because I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.

It snowed here in New Orleans last week and it was the second heaviest snowfall I've seen in the 25 years I've lived in New Orleans. According to the local newspaper, it was the earliest snow had fallen in New Orleans since records were kept, beginning in 1850. I myself have looked at the relative predictive power of Copernicus's theory and the then rival Ptolemaic theory. Copernicus was on the average twice as accurate, and the average person of the time could tell. Similarly, anybody today can check the number of sunspots. Or rather the lack of them. When I first starting teaching astronomy at Tulane in the early 1980's, I would show sunspots to my students by pointing a small $25 reflecting telescope at the Sun, and focusing the Sun's image on the wall of the classroom. Sunspots were obviously in the image on the wall. I can't do this experiment today, because there are no sunspots.

(5) Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum.

(6) AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. Stillman Drake, the world's leading Galileo scholar, demonstrates in his book "Galileo: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2001) that it was not theologians, but rather his fellow physicists (then called "natural philosophers"), who manipulated the Inquisition into trying and convicting Galileo. The "out-of-the-mainsteam" Galileo had the gall to prove the consensus view, the Aristotlean theory, wrong by devising simple experiments that anyone could do. Galileo's fellow scientists first tried to refute him by argument from authority. They failed. Then these "scientists" tried calling Galileo names, but this made no impression on the average person, who could see with his own eyes that Galileo was right. Finally, Galileo's fellow "scientists" called in the Inquisition to silence him.

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

(7) I agree with Dick Lindzen that the AGW nonsense is generated by government funding of science. If a guy agrees with AGW, then he can get a government contract. If he is a skeptic, then no contract. There is a professor at Tulane, with a Ph.D in paleoclimatology, who is as skeptical as I am about AGW, but he'd never be considered for tenure at Tulane because of his professional opinion. No government contracts, no tenure.

(8) This is why I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job --- Einstein's idea that time duration depended on the observer was very much opposed to the "consensus" view of the time. Einstein's idea that light was composed of particles (now called "photons") was also considered crazy by all physicists when he first published the idea. At least then he could publish the idea. Now a refereed journal would never even consider a paper written by a patent clerk, and all 1905 physics referees would agree that relativity and quantum mechanics were nonsense, definitely against the overwhelming consensus view. So journals would reject Einstein's papers if he were to write them today.

Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Why can't Newt Gingrich understand this? Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government funding for science.

William Katz at Urgent Agenda adds:
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his famous farewell address as president - the "industrial-military complex" speech - also warned of the intersection between science and government. This is what he said:

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Important Questions About Blagoquiddick

Today's Chicago Tribune carries this story:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attorney hasn't had his day in federal court yet, but critics say he's trying to use a House impeachment committee to launch a criminal defense of the governor against political corruption charges.

The criticism stems from a letter attorney Ed Genson sent to the House panel asking it to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses to testify, including top aides of President-elect Barack Obama.

Lawmakers started impeachment hearings against Blagojevich after he was arrested Dec. 9 on federal charges that included allegations he tried to sell Obama's former U.S. Senate seat for his own benefit.

Genson wants the committee to hear from Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming chief of staff, as well as longtime adviser Valerie Jarrett. He also wants testimony from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., whom the Tribune has identified as one of the potential U.S. Senate replacements mentioned in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich.

The requests, however, came a day after U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked the impeachment panel not to pursue witnesses connected to the ongoing Blagojevich investigation because it could "significantly compromise" his case. As a result, some panel members said Genson is setting them up by purposely asking for something he knows they can't provide.

"This is a smoke screen," said Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who added the panel has plenty of material to review beyond the criminal complaint. "He's asking for subpoenas of witnesses he knows the U.S. Attorney does not want us to have, and I, for one, am not going to allow him to turn this into a circus or sideshow. . . . We have said all along we won't do anything to step on the toes of investigators."

Genson said the panel was using Fitzgerald's request as cover to deny Blagojevich a fair impeachment hearing. Genson suggested last week he was considering a potential challenge to the impeachment in federal court.

"They are railroading him," Genson said Friday. "If a person is telling the truth, what difference does it make if he tells it twice? How does that hurt their case? That's just the legislature and Mr. Fitzgerald trying to put a reality on something that doesn't make sense."

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), who has the sole power to issue subpoenas, said Friday she wasn't sure whether Genson's request would be granted. Panel members have said the impeachment process is a political exercise, not a legal one, when denying previous Genson requests.

The panel is expected to reconvene Monday. Lang said Genson is scheduled to provide a defense as to why Blagojevich should not be removed from office.

Overlawyered has some import questions about these circumstances that need to be considered:
Rod Blagojevich’s attorney seeks to compel testimony from high officials in the incoming administration to resist impeachment, while Patrick Fitzgerald asks Illinois lawmakers to hold back to avoid jeopardizing his criminal case.

Question: assuming Blagojevich is guilty, which is more important, that his impeachment proceed promptly, or that his criminal case proceed without political interference?

Alternative question: Which is more important, good (or at least less corrupt) government in Illinois, or another notch on Fitzgerald’s belt?

Final alternative question: If the Obama team was more involved than its own report suggests, why not let things drag out and get the whole story?

Investigations surrounding political corruption often turn up strange bedfellows. The answer to the primary question is: "It depends on whose ox is being gored."

Eyeglasses for the Masses

From Isogoria:

Oxford University physics professor Josh Silver's 2020 vision is to help one billion of the world's poorest see better by removing the need for a trained optometrist: Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device's tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.

The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered, that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription.

Silver calls his flash of insight a "tremendous glimpse of the obvious" - namely that opticians weren't necessary to provide glasses. This is a crucial factor in the developing world where trained specialists are desperately in demand: in Britain there is one optometrist for every 4,500 people, in sub-Saharan Africa the ratio is 1:1,000,000.

Merry Christmas to all, and say it loud and proud


Merry Christmas to all, and say it loud and proud

’Twas just before something but all through the mall

Clues to the mystery weren’t many at all.

“Only two shopping days” said a jeweler’s display.

Two days ’till what it never did say.

The sign at Penney’s wished “joy” but the reason was “giving”

Another store promised great “last-minute savings.”

But if time is so short there just must be a reason

That goes way beyond some bland “holiday” season.

The Santa display brought nothing to light

But for a reindeer whose nose is quite bright.

At Macy’s the ad mentioned only a “countdown”

Without giving puzzled thousands the lowdown.

Yet despite the recession, the aisles were filled

With shoppers who knew they quite soon will be billed.

But why rush to spend money in cold late-December

When so few are willing to help you remember?

“Give holiday hugs” urged the Build-a-Bear store,

But deep in your heart you know there’s much more.

If you can use “jeweltide” to peddle your baubles,

Why’s the word “Christmas” considered so awful?

Sure, the dread “C-word” was seen in some places,

But not so it’s shoved into most people’s faces.

Kirkland’s gifts proclaimed Christmas, it’s true.

But at Sears “Merry Christmas” was more out of view.

Words on a banner hung high from the ceiling

Where it wouldn’t disrupt that safe holiday feeling.

But why do we all try so hard to ignore

A gift that had seemed to be precious before?

There is more than one faith in America, true;

We are Muslims and Christians and Hindus and Jews.

A few atheists, too – but that’s hardly news.

But if Christmas is just an excuse to go shopping,

Maybe it’s time that we think about stopping.

We don’t really need any more worthless stuff.

The stuff we have now is far more than enough.

But the true joy of Christmas is priceless indeed,

A gift we don’t want but still desperately need.

“Don’t be afraid,” “Peace on Earth,” the angels said,

Knowing we all have some reason to dread.

That dread has been lifted, but at a high price,

And admitting as much would be far more than nice.

The babe in the manger brought salvation for all,

But it’s one gift you’ll never find at the mall.

It’s found in our hearts, the place that faith lives,

Faith that repents the same sins God forgives.

It’s found in our efforts to love one another,

Willingly helping both stranger and brother.

It’s found in death, too, a thing to be feared –

Unless the true Meaning of Christmas is near.

He’s at the mall, true, but you might never know it.

This may be Christmas; the ads just don’t show it.

But there are needs to be met and signs to be found,

And you can see both of them simply by looking around.

Look to the manger, the cross and the grave;

These are the signs of the gift that God gave.

Eternal life, salvation and joy

All because of one little boy.

The birth of God’s son is why we observe

A day suddenly robbed of its nerve.

So “Merry Christmas” to all, and if that offends

I can’t help it now – it’s how this thing ends.

Glenbrook Square Mall will never be the same ...

Kangaroo Burgers Can Save Our Planet !

Good news from NewScientist:

Cows, sheep and goats may seem like innocent victims of humanity's appetite for meat, but when it comes to climate change they have a dark secret. Forget cars, planes or even power stations, some of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters wander idly across rolling pastures chewing the cud, oblivious to the fact that their continuous belching (and to a lesser degree, farting) is warming the planet.

Take New Zealand, where 34.2 million sheep, 9.7 million cattle, 1.4 million deer and 155,000 goats emit 48 per cent of the country's greenhouse gases in the form of methane and nitrous oxide. Worldwide, livestock burps are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions - more than produced from all forms of transport combined. Methane accounts for the bulk of ruminant green house gas emissions, one tonne of the gas has 25 times the global warming potential of the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.

Livestock are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport combined.

Rising populations and incomes are expected to double the global demand for meat and milk from 229 to 465 million tonnes and 580 to 1043 million tonnes, respectively, by 2050. This will almost double the amount of greenhouse gases produced by livestock, dwarfing attempts to cut emissions elsewhere. Apart from all of us turning to a vegetarian diet, can anything be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock?

Several ideas have been proposed to raise animals that are kinder to the environment. In New Zealand, researchers are testing different diets, food additives, vaccines and drug therapies, as well as breeding low-methane animals. One Australian team has even suggested we wean ourselves from cattle and sheep altogether and eat kangaroo instead - they do not emit methane.

Read the whole article. So who wants to bet that Kangaroo meat isn't exactly tasty? Our best hope is that it tastes like chicken ...

Three of a Kind

The New York Times publishes this picture taken in Belgrade in May of 1999:

From left to right: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was later charged with war crimes but died before his trial ended; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; and U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich, who is now governor of Illinois and facing federal corruption charges for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, among other things.

'An American Carol' lampoons the left

From Associated Press' Derrik J. Lang:

..."An American Carol" mixes the narrative of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with Fox News fodder. Leslie Nielsen narrates the tale about Scoorge-ish director Malone stumbling through political-tinted fantasy sequences. A slap-happy General George S. Patton (played by Kelsey Grammer) serves as Malone's patriotic ghost of politics past.

It's a movie genre you don't hear much about in Hollywood: the right-wing comedy. For that matter, it's not much of a genre at all.

But it's exactly what conservative producer-director-screenwriter David Zucker created with "An American Carol." The gag-filled liberal lampoon stars Kevin Farley, brother of the late Chris Farley, as a scruffy Michael Moore clone named Michael Malone, an infamous documentary filmmaker leading a slapstick campaign to abolish the Fourth of July.

"I didn't tell anyone, not even my brother John, I had this part," said Farley, sitting in a conference room chair across from Zucker at Vivendi Entertainment, the film's distributor. "We wanted to keep it close to the vest. Meanwhile, I'm growing a beard and getting fatter. I had just gone through a divorce, and my brother was like, 'You need help!'"

Keeping mum is something both Farley and Zucker said they're accustomed to: In left-leaning Hollywood, conservative political inclinations aren't popular. In fact, when they first met about the role — Zucker said Larry the Cable Guy and Frank Caliendo were also considered — Farley wasn't sure if the veteran director knew he was a Republican.

"I think I've always been on the right side of things," said Farley. "I had a dad that was an influence on me. He was part of the Young Republicans at Georgetown University. He then ran for several public offices in Madison, Wisconsin, which is a bastion of left-wing politics. I grew up in the middle of that, so I'm used to being a fish out of water."

Zucker, who has made over $20,000 in contributions to Democrats over the years, turned to the right later in life.

"It happened gradually for me," said Zucker, director of the original "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" films. "After 9-11, I saw the reactions of both parties. The Democrats were saying, 'How is this our fault? How are we to blame for this?' And the Republicans were saying, 'This is pure evil, and we need to fight this now.' It made me rethink things."

Zucker acknowledges the release of "An American Carol" is timed to the election, when politics is a hot topic, but he doubts the spoof, which features cameos from the likes of Bill O'Reilly, James Woods, Jon Voight and — believe it — Paris Hilton, has the power to influence voters. His intention is to inspire laughs, not change political perspectives.

"I'm always looking for new targets," said Zucker. "In this town, you're only as good as your last target. First, it was disaster movies with 'Airplane!' Then, it was 'Dirty Harry' with 'The Naked Gun.' And then it was horror movies that were silly with the 'Scary Movie' films. Here, we're finally taking on the excesses of the far left in politics."

Opening Friday, "An American Carol" mixes the narrative of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with Fox News fodder. Leslie Nielsen narrates the tale about Scoorge-ish director Malone stumbling through political-tinted fantasy sequences. A slap-happy General George S. Patton (played by Kelsey Grammer) serves as Malone's patriotic ghost of politics past.

Because the movie was filmed months ago, audiences won't see timely jabs about the election, although a mention of the Democratic presidental nominee almost made the cut. In what Zucker said might be the film's most controversial scene, Malone travels to a world where President Abraham Lincoln didn't fight the Civil War and slavery was never abolished.

In the version of the film screened for this story, Gary Coleman camoed in said scene as a car-washing plantation slave who calls out to an off-camera colleague named Barack. When asked about the reference, Zucker, who co-wrote the film with Myrna Sokoloff and Lewis Friedman, revealed it will be left on the cutting room floor.

"It was the one thing I didn't think I could defend," said Zucker. "It's because of certain things that I know about Barack Obama. I would have left it in if he had really believed war was not the answer, but I've read that he said he was only against the Iraq war and he supports the Afghanistan war, unlike Michael Moore, who says he's against all wars."

Moore is hardly alone in the film's crosshairs. "An American Carol" roasts jihadists, Rosie O'Donnell, college professors, Neville Chamberlain, Adolf Hitler, President Jimmy Carter and chanting protesters. One over-the-top sequence finds Malone alongside a judge (Dennis Hopper) fending off a horde of undead American Civil Liberties Union lawyers.

"The intent is not to make people angry," said Zucker. "To get laughs, you have to deal with outrage. You can't be mild in comedy. In movies where I've been mild, they haven't been successful. You can be mild on television, but to get people out of their houses and into a movie theater, you have to do something they haven't seen before."

Here is the trailer:

When Christmas Comes to the NY Times

Hat Tip to LGF for pointing to this fatuous Christmas editorial from the New York Times and Famous Fish Wrap. Note that there is no mention of Christ!

December 25, 2008
When Christmas Comes

This year, you may be wondering about the carbon equation of a Christmas tree. You may have replaced the old incandescent Christmas lights and their crazed, fragile bulbs with strands of L.E.D.’s that turn from green to blue. You may have given each other newly planted trees on the edge of the rain forest or traded the promise of future services with your friends.

This may be the Christmas when you wonder, or are forced to find out, just how much of the material Christmas you can leave behind.

It may be the one that redefines Christmas entirely — for better or worse.

If you look back at the photos of Christmas 50 years ago — not that long a time, really — you can see what a simple place it once was. What you wanted for Christmas was a very short list of possibilities, and what you got was usually the single most possible thing on the list, plus a few of the articles your mother thought you needed. The intent was the same as it is now, more or less, but the means were so much fewer.

You may be finding a way to a new and simpler Christmas this year, but that was once the usual kind of Christmas. What it comes down to, perhaps, is saving Christmas from the idea that Christmas will save us — that the shopping we do this season will keep the economy afloat or give us the buoyancy we need for the coming year.

But, really, Christmas needs no saving. It does not exist apart from what we make of it. And, on its own, it cannot save us, though it contains the gestures of generosity and thankfulness that are halfway to being a better person, a richer community. Christmas is all the better for being a simple place, nothing more, perhaps, than two red cardinals, male and female, against the backdrop of a snowy field. They are there every day. The only difference is that today it feels like Christmas.

Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide !!!!

From the Groupthink Blog at The Peoples Cube:

Comrades...all this consternation about the Daylight Loss crisis is minor compared to the TRUE crisis we are experiencing with dihydrogen monoxide. We have been ignoring this issue for years and it will destroy us.

We must get Comrades Gore and Obama to save us...

Here's what little I know about dihyrogen monoxide... called "hydroxyl acid", the substance is the major component of acid rain.
...contributes to the "greenhouse effect"
...may cause severe burns.
...contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
...accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
...may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
...has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used: an industrial solvent and coolant. nuclear power plants. the production of styrofoam. a fire retardant. many forms of cruel animal research. the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical. an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products.

Only by reducing dihydrogen monoxide can the Lord Obama stop the rise of the oceans.

Global Daylight Change Crisis

Thanks to captainfish at Snapped Shot:

Richard Strimple over at American Thinker has just found scientific proof that the Earth is doomed. We are nearing extinction due to our inability to fight Global Warming.

It seems that our Earth, like in the wholly miserable flop of a movie that is currently playing, is trying to get rid of us. After 10 billion years of inhabitance and the killing of "Mother Earth", she has finally had enough of us.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I have detected a new crisis that I have named "the daylight change crisis". I first noticed it sometime around the end of June this year. I started paying attention and created computer models and sure enough I was right! We are losing daylight at an astonishing rate. Each day we are losing approximately 2 minutes of day light and my computer models predict total darkness by next July.

I have been able to detect this phenomenon around the entire Northern Hemisphere. And here is the scary part: the day light appears to be leaking to the Southern Hemisphere.

His computer models and extensive personal research over many decades have brought up frightening new revelations as to the extent of our possible extinction. You have already heard about the disappearance of our honey bees, right? New evidence shows this....

Many species of birds and millions of individual birds have left the northern hemisphere. The impact of the loss of these birds is unimaginable.

Insect life has been severely affected and most can no longer be observed.

Large mammals have been observed lying in a state of near death torpor in their dens.

Crop production has fallen to dangerously low levels. My models predict famine in the near future.

Where is Al Gore? Indeed!

Merry Christmas ...From The Family

Feds Seize Blagojevich eBay Account

Exclusive Breaking News from the IowaHawk News Cartel:

See leaked documents from the latest federal indictment.

Credit Suisse: Payment in Kind

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss bank Credit Suisse will link payouts for its top investment bankers to illiquid assets in an innovative new bonus system that may set an example for others in the industry.

The new system will cut the bank's risk exposure by linking bonus payouts for 2,000 investment bankers to some $5 billion in illiquid and often opaque assets, which have tumbled in value and been blamed for deepening the credit crisis.

The plan -- which links the bonus of bankers to the risks of the assets and takes risky assets off the balance sheet -- comes amidst fierce criticism that bonus systems were rewarding bankers for taking on irresponsible risks.

"While the solution we have come up with may not be ideal for everyone, we believe it strikes the appropriate balance among the interests of our employees, shareholders and regulators and helps position us well for 2009," a memo from CEO Brady Dougan and investment bank boss Paul Calello said.

Credit Suisse appears to be the first to use tarnished assets to pay employees, linking their rewards to the performance of risky assets they sell to investors.

The memo, seen by Reuters, said investment bank managing directors and directors will receive 70-80 percent of their deferred equity compensation in so-called partner asset facility (PAF) units that "will be linked to the performance of a pool of illiquid assets."

Credit Suisse said earlier this month it was cutting 11 percent of its workforce, or 5,300 jobs, as it revealed it made a net loss of about 3 billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion) in October and November.

The bank said the loss, primarily in investment banking, where most of the job cuts will fall, was due to adverse market conditions and to the cost of reducing risk.

Directors in the investment banking division may also have to hand back part of any cash bonus in subsequent years.

The memo said the cash retention award "will be subject to repayment of the award in the event that a claw back event occurs, such as voluntary termination of employment."

Credit Suisse has also said that, given its performance to date, "it would not be appropriate" for its chairman, its chief executive officer and the head of its investment bank to receive bonuses for 2008.

This brilliant concept has all kinds of possibilities. General Motors could pay laid off and retired UAW workers in script backed by shut-down factory assets, Fanny and Freddie could give executives upside-down mortgages. and Obama could issue almost worthless stock from REITS and financial institutions instead of currency as part of his latest give-away scheme to boost the economy.

H/T: Power Line

In Violation of the First Law of Holes ...

"Make Work" from Red Planet Cartoons

If all we want are jobs, we can create any number — for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again, or perform other useless tasks. Work is sometimes its own reward. Mostly, however, it is the price we pay to get the things we want. Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs — jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume.” –Milton Friedman

John Hawkins: Economics Lessons For the Age of Obama.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party seem to have fallen in love with the idea of “make work” jobs. In other words, they’re going to take money from taxpayers and then use it to “create green jobs,” work projects, and other marginally useful government programs. Then, to add insult to injury, these very same politicians who’ve taken the money out of working people’s pockets will pat themselves on their backs for being compassionate enough to put people to work.

What shouldn’t be missed is the other side of the equation: much of the money paid in taxes to the government would otherwise be spent, thereby creating jobs. Furthermore, since the government is less efficient than private industry and because in most cases, people are better able to fill their own needs with their own money than the government can, the “make work” job process is inherently inefficient.

That’s why one of the worst things the government can do, particularly in a recession, is to try to create “jobs programs.”

The federal government is inevitably slower, dumber, and less competent than private industry. Moreover, just about every truly catastrophic economic event that has occurred in the last century — from the depression to the savings and loan crisis to the current housing crisis — all have at their root government intervention in the market.

That’s why the partial nationalization of this country’s banks and auto industry should absolutely terrify people. There is absolutely nothing that should make anyone think that an “auto czar” or some other bureaucratic flunky who’s answerable to Congress would do anything to help make these businesses more viable over the long-term. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

Over the long haul, the more intimately our government is involved in the market, the more damage it will do to our economy.

Twelve Days of Global Warming

Obama - Blagojevich Relationship

The Rush to Oust Blagojevich

An offensive odor is emanating from Springfield, IL. It started at a news conference called by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (yes, Fitzmas himself of Plamegate fame) to announce the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (that's bluh-goy-evich to stand-up media news readers).

Supposedly, the Feds had been investigating the governor since 2002, but had only obtained permission to wiretap just 21 days before the arrest. Ostensibly, a plot was uncovered to sell the appointment to President-elect Obama's US Senate seat ...but the rush to judgement may have came from an effort to head off involvement by Obama Team members.

The questions arise: With scanty evidence through wiretap conversations, why was the Grand Jury option ignored and does the Federal Prosecutor have jurisdiction in this matter? Maureen Martin, an attorney for the Heartland Institute makes this observation:

The criminal complaint has become a nationwide sensation, but constitutional principles should not be lost in the shadows of TV cameras. Blagojevich will have to be indicted by a grand jury before he can be tried on the criminal charges. That may never happen. Federal prosecutors are still begging people with information incriminating Blagojevich to come forward. And our Constitution does not allow every local bribery incident to be classed as a federal crime. The states retain that power.

Illinois certainly believes in it's power to bring down the "Guv." Starting with State Attorney General Lisa Madigan's (Senate Candidate #2 in Fitzgerald's 76-page complaint affidavit) attempt to have Governor Rod removed by the Illnois Supreme Court for reasons of "disabilty." The Justices didn't buy in. In the end they asked Madigan about her personal ambitions:

I know you say that you haven't been thinking about politics at all, but there have obviously been a lot of questions about politics, and there wouldn't be questions about politics unless your political future was considered very bright and in play here. Given the fact of your possible interest in being governor, given the fact that you've been mentioned as a possible Senate replacement for Barack Obama, was any consideration given to your removing yourself from this issue because of a possible perception, if not reality, of conflict of interest?

Now comes the really scary part. In light of a very expensive election to seat the next senator from Illinois (which would put the seat in play for Republicans), impeachment is the last viable option. Impeachment is under the control of House Speaker and head of the Democratic Party of Illinos, Michael Madigan, Lisa Madigan's father! Will these conflicts of interest never end?

Interestingly, Michael Madigan chaired Rob Blagojevich's 2006 re-election campaign. Throwing political allies under the bus appears to be an Illinois tradition.

As it stands now, only Blago has the power to appoint a replacement for the US Senate seat ...and that replacement may be Rod himself, since impeachment in Illinois is not a civil or criminal court procedure. However,"Dusty" Harry Reid may not permit the Guv to be seated in the Senate Chamber.

Scott Adams Explains Financial Markets

In my capacity as cartoonist, I feel an obligation to simplify complicated discussions until two things happen simultaneously:

1. Absurdity is achieved.

2. The reader feels as if it all makes sense.

My comic from Saturday illustrates that principle.
According to Google Alerts that comic has been posted to more blogs than any comic I have ever created. It inspires me to more fully explain the theory of finance in this blog.

Think of financial theory as a stool. The stool is supported by three legs, or truisms.

* History always repeats.
* Past performance is no indication of future returns.
* Asshats are trying to steal your money.

These three truisms can explain any financial phenomenon. For example, if your financial advisor suggests that you invest in a market bubble that is about to burst, he will explain that the past is no indication of future results. Just because a Price/Earnings ratio of 45 has never been sustainable in the past doesn't mean it won't be perfectly safe in the future.

And when the bubble bursts and you lose half of your money, your advisor will explain it's because history always repeats. In other words, he's an asshat trying to steal your money.

This stool also explains the housing situation. Financial experts knew that making loans to hobos had never been a good idea in the past. On the other hand, past performance is no indication of future returns. Maybe this time would be different. Then history repeated and asshats stole your money. As a bonus, they even stole each other's money this time. You have to admire their thoroughness.

One last thing you need to know: People who say it is a good time to invest are called bulls. The bulls are at the center of all financial problems.

In summary, if you want to understand financial markets find a bull and look at his stool.

H/T: Canthook

Fitzgerald Should Replace Obama as Senator

No, we are not talking about Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Radley Balko at Fox News would like to nominate former Illinois Senator, Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican.

Just about every powerful Democrat in Illinois politics had at one point been mentioned as a possibility. The Democrats know that at this point, anyone Blagojovich names will be tainted. But it seems likely that, fair or not, most leading candidates for the position will have to fight off the perception of corruption, even if eventually named by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.

So allow me to make an unconventional suggestion for the seat: the Democrats should nominate the last person to hold it, former Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican.

It's not as crazy as it sounds. I first wrote about Fitzgerald in 2004, as he was retiring from his brief stint in politics. He served just one term in the Senate. He won his seat in 1998, after defeating the incumbent senator, Carol Mosely-Braun, who was battling corruption charges of her own at the time.

The reason Fitzgerald's career in politics was so abbreviated is that Fitzgerald isn't your typical politician, and he's most certainly not your typical politician from Illinois. He's principled, he's frugal with taxpayer money, and he has no tolerance for public corruption. That's why he retired from the Senate after only one term. And it's why now would a good time to bring him back.

By the time he retired, Fitzgerald had managed to anger most of his state's congressional delegation, his own party's leadership, some of the most powerful lobbyists and special interest groups in Illinois and much of his home state's media — in other words, all the right people.

It's almost eerie just how relevant the stands Fitzgerald took during his six years in the Senate — positions that ended his political career — have become today.

Take pork-barrel spending, a high-profile issue in the last presidential campaign and an issue that has figured prominently in recent corruption investigations of members of both parties. Fitzgerald picked his first political fight in 2000 by ticking off then-House Speaker and fellow Illinoisan, Rep. Denny Hastert, when Hastert tried to secure millions in federal pork for an upgrade to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill. When the bill including Hastert's library earmark reached the Senate, Fitzgerald filibustered, to draw attention to his own party's wasteful spending and the fact that the project wasn't subject to competitive bidding.

Later, Hastert and the rest of the Illinois congressional delegation sent a letter to President Bush urging him to lend his support to more federal pork projects in Illinois. Fitzgerald refused to sign, explaining in a letter to other members of his state's delegation that "the mere fact that a project is located somewhere in Illinois does not mean that it is inherently meritorious and necessarily worthy of support."

Taxpayers are now on the hook for $7 trillion in government promises to private companies that made bad business decisions, leading many to question if the Republican Party has lost its free-market bearings. Fitzgerald fought that fight, too. He was the only U.S. senator to oppose the $15 billion bailout of the major airlines shortly after the September 11 attacks. Before being outvoted 99-1, Fitzgerald took to the floor of the Senate and, in a speech he called "Who Will Bail Out the American Taxpayer?", explained that the airlines' failures weren't due to the attacks so much as to a lack of preparation for a crisis and perpetually flawed business plans. It's a speech the Senate could stand to hear again.

The Night Before Fitzmas ( Part Deux)

With my apologies to Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston and to Attaturk (who composed the original parady piece for Daily Kos' support of Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's idiotic investigation of the President's supposed outing of a CIA agent), here is my updated version of this Christmas classic to cover current events this December. May Patrick Fitzgerald be blessed with success in finding all the bad guys.

'Twas the night before Fitzmas,

when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a spouse;

The talking points were hung at the Obama pad with care,

In hopes that a new Senator soon would be there;

The Prez-elect was nestled all smug in his cred,

With visions of Mary Jane a-dance in his head;

And Barry with a Marlboro, a pack he did tap,

Had just settled down for a leisurely crap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

Barry sprang from the crapper to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw out his uh, ash!

While ignoring the queen of some TV show,

(But it is not nice to put down Oprah y'know),

When what to Barry's lying eyes should appear,

But a black Hummer, and eight gummit agents -- oh dear,

With that federal prosecutor, so lively and quick,

Barry knew at that moment he was going to be sick.

More rapid than eagles Fitz's coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Axelrod! Now, Rahm-bo! Now, Little Jesse Jackson!

On, Tony Rezko! On Billy Ayres! On Rashid Khalidi, if you ever want a pardon!"

Get to the bottom of the Chicago Way! Get them setup for a fall!

'Cuff away! 'Cuff away! 'Cuff away all!"

Fitzgerald sprang to his aides, to his team gave a dead fish,

And away they took Gov. Blago, who swore like a feckin' oirish.

But I heard Fitz exclaim, as they drove out of sight,

"You Chicago guys are all crooks and for sure I'll indict."

Newsweek Blows Smoke

Daniel Stone at Newsweek asks the question "Is clean coal technology fact or fiction?"

Then he proceeds to write an article that says "clean coal" is an oxymoron because burning coal creates carbon dioxide! Wow ...he even cites algore as an expert source.

In the elusive search for the reliable energy source of the future, the prospect of clean coal is creating a lot of buzz. But while the concept —to scrub coal clean before burning, then capture and store harmful gases deep underground—may seem promising, a coalition of environment and climate groups argue in a new media campaign that the technology simply doesn't exist.

The Alliance for Climate Protection and several other prominent organizations—including the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council—launched a multi-pronged campaign to "de-brand" the clean part of clean coal, pointing out that there's no conclusive evidence to confirm the entire process would work the way it's being marketed. In the campaign's TV ad, a technician sarcastically enters the door of a clean coal production plant, only to find there's nothing on the other side. "Take a good long look," he says, standing in a barren desert, "this is today's clean coal technology."

The campaign was designed to combat the well-funded coal industry, which formed a trade association in April to promote the idea of clean coal. Joe Lucas, a vice president for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, says that the technology does exist, although it's still in early development stages. "With the current research being done, we think we can get the technology up and running within 10 to 15 years," he says. Activists like Brian Hardwick, chief spokesman for the Alliance for Climate Protection, aren't so sure. Hardwick spoke to NEWSWEEK's Daniel Stone about why the idea of clean coal shouldn't be considered a solution.

"We want people to know that right now, there is no such thing as clean coal. The burning of coal for electricity emits more than one third of global warming pollution, more than cars and trucks combined. Until we have technology that can capture and safely store all the global-warming pollution, it's not clean. We ought not think that we can stake literally the survival of our planet on something that currently is just an illusion."

So the climate change alarmists keep beating the drums about global warming caused by CO2, climate skeptic experts like Ian Pilmer have a better tale to tell ...starting with the revelation that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
Mankind is naive to think it can influence climate change, according to a prize-winning Australian geologist.

Solar activity is a greater driver of climate change than man-made carbon dioxide, argues Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and winner of several notable science prizes.

“When meteorologists can change the weather then we can start to think about humans changing climate,” Prof Plimer said.

“I think we really are a little bit naive to think we can change astronomical and solar processes.”

Speaking last night after presenting his theory for the first time, to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in Sydney, Prof Plimer said he had researched the history of the sun, solar and supernovae activity and had been able to correlate global climates with solar activity.

“But correlations don't mean anything, you really need a causation,” Prof Plimer said.

So he then examined how cosmic radiation builds up clouds.

A very active sun blows away the cosmic radiation, while a less active sun allows radiation to build up, he said.

“So you can very much tie in temperature, cloud formation, cosmic radiation and the sun,” he said.

The next part of Prof Plimer's research was to examine the sources of carbon dioxide.

He said he found that about 0.1 per cent of the atmospheric carbon dioxide was due to human activity and much of the rest due to little-understood geological phenomena.

Prof Plimer also argued El Nino and La Nina were caused by major processes of earthquake activity and volcanic activity in the mid-ocean ridges, rather than any increase in greenhouse gases.

Nor does the melting of polar ice have anything to do with man-made carbon dioxide, he said.

“Great icebergs come off, not due to temperature change but due to the physics of ice and the flow of ice,” Prof Plimer said.

“There's a lag, so that if temperature rises, carbon dioxide rises 800 years later.

“If ice falls into the ocean in icebergs that's due to processes thousands of years ago.”

On the same basis, changes to sea level and temperature are also unrelated to anything happening today, he said.

“It is extraordinarily difficult to argue that human-induced carbon dioxide has any effect at all,” he said.

Prof Plimer added that as the planet was already at the maximum absorbance of energy of carbon dioxide, any more would have no greater effect.

There had even been periods in history with hundreds of times more atmospheric carbon dioxide than now with “no problem”, he said.

The professor, a member of the Australian Skeptics, an organisation devoted to debunking pseudo-scientific claims, denied his was a minority view.

“You'd be very hard pushed to find a geologist that would differ from my view,” he said.

It is time for the power companies to quit rolling over for the environmental whackos and to build needed plants without useless gimmicks like pumping CO2 into abandoned mines.

Odd Facts And Tidbits Most Americans Are Not Aware Of

From The Peoples Cube:

Did you know....

...that if Pres. George W. Bush really WERE Hitler, most of his political opponents would be dead by now?

...that after almost 50 yrs on this planet, the US Presidency will be Barack Obama's first REAL job?

...that if politicians could run things like the auto industry successfully, the Soviet Union WOULDN'T have collapsed?

...that "free" national healthcare will be paid for by somebody, probably you?

...that Descartes' proof of existence, "I think therefore I am" will not work for a majority of voters in the last election?

...that the news presented on television and in the papers is arbitrarily selected by editors and there is no requirement that it be important or even true?

...that the national media's fantasy that Barack Obama and Chicago's political culture have little to do with each other is less statistically probable than being struck by lightning or winning the lottery?

...that most celebrities are banal vacuous idiots and you'd be better off licking a dead monkey's anus than emulating their lives or listening to their opinions?

...that even though Abraham Lincoln was nick-named "Honest Abe", the state he is most closely associated with, Illinois, is as corrupt as a third-world banana republic?

...that once upon a time Americans solved their own problems and did not wait for someone else to do it?

...that the current Vice President-elect is someone named "Joe Biden"?

...that the US Constitution defines no right to food, shelter, healthcare or any material good but that it is strictly about political rights?

...that Al Gore is not a climate scientist, geologist, or any kind of scientist at all?

...that "Change We Can Believe In" and "We are the ones we've been waiting for" make no f...g sense whatsoever?

...that wealth is not "distributed" by some official or non-official entity but that some people actually go out and earn it by building businesses, saving and investing and/or working for a living?

...that since his election over a month ago, Barack Obama has not helped anyone pay for their gas or mortgage yet?

...that "thinking" has nothing to do with endlessly repeating what other people say, including teachers and TV anchorpeople?

...that until the US invasion in 2003, Iraq was ruled by a brutal dictator who tortured and killed many of his own countrymen and looted his country for personal gain? And that his name was NOT Rod Blagojevich?

...that despite her devotion to Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey is still heavy?

...that if she weren't married to a US Senator from Illinois, it is unlikely Michelle Obama would be a highly paid University of Chicago Hospitals VP or on the board of directors at TreeHouse Foods?

Obama Linked to Sleazy Politics

Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich, December 2

"I had no contact with the governor or his office so I was not aware of what was happening."
- Barack Obama, December 9

The Truth That Matters hits us between the eyes with this post:

I just finished reading the full indictment of Governor Rob Blagojevich and noticed something very interesting that once again is not being covered by the mainstream media. Barack Obama has flatly denied knowing anything about this scandal while two of his own Advisors - A and B and their recorded statements are all over this indictment. The connection between this corruption and Presumed President Elect Obama is quite evident in the indictment. The word "President-Elect" is mentioned 44 (that's right! forty four) times in the indictment. The word Advisor A is mentioned 31 times, and the word Advisor B is mentioned 19 times.

This indictment indicates an undercover operation that began in 2002 and was never brought out into the open until December 5th. Now I find it quite interesting that just when the [recorded] conversations pretty much all headed toward what the President-Elect could or could not do, the recordings suddenly stop. Now listen carefully to what we are saying here. This investigation ran for almost 7 years, and when the phone calls in the last few weeks began to show a clear and definite trail to the White House- Obama White House that is- that the government- FBI abruptly brings the investigation to a close. There may be enough now to indict the President Elect Advisors, and under certain circumstances, a President Elect might be indicted. Anything really linking Obama will simply be covered up. You might ask, why would the 6 year investigation come to a halt 8 days before the Electoral College vote? How about that Obama's team was poking around and when they got to the Justice Department and found out an investigation was going on and might be directly linked to at least 2 of Obama's advisors- (Advisor A and Advisor B in the indictment) they immediately wanted it shut down? Interesting timing wouldn't you admit? Just a few days after Obama is mentioned all over the secret governor's office recordings, they shut down a six year investigation and close down the wire taps? Come on, it was going to show a clear trail between Obama and the man that he wanted in his former Senate Seat and the governor wanted to appoint someone that Obama would find valuable enough that Obama could from the oval office, throw some Federal money and power in his direction. Below in the next paragraph is a direct statement relating Obama to the crimes committed last week. Read carefully.

I will provide you with a direct statement out of the indictment I found quite fascinating, here it is- exact wording from the indictment: - direct quote: "according to Advisor B, from the President-elect’s perspective, there would be fewer “fingerprints” on the President-elect’s involvement with Change to Win because Change to Win already has an existing stream of revenue and, therefore, you won’t have stories in four years that they bought you off.” Did you really pick up what the President's Advisor is saying? He is saying- "hey look, from the President Elect's perspective, he would have fewer fingerprints on his involvement with you getting a lucrative salary by becoming part of an existing 501C non profit organization (Change to Win) rather than having a more direct "payoff" for putting in a Obama's recommendation for a replacement to his Senate seat." This Presumed President Elect is guilty as sin on this one. He has just been letting one of his plebe's do the duty work on this one since he knows the Illionois political corruption process very well. Obama is part of this good old corruption club, he is just smarter than most of them and good at not getting tied directly to anything. But if this investigation goes like others around Obama, the Justice Department will not touch this one with a 10 foot pole. I will say, before the investigation is over, he will not have many of his old buds around on the street anymore because they will all be in the big house.

Obama says he doesn't know anything about this. Wow!
Gary Eubank is a bit wordy and overly convinced that this scandal will soil Obama, but his observations have merit. If you read the entry over at The Smoking Gun carefully, you will find a pattern of negotiations between Blago and Obama's advisors in an attempt to accomodate the Illinois Governor. Advisor A is identified there as none other than Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House Chief of Staff.

Fox News reports below that, quick as a bunny, Obama has began a cover-up which includes having Valarie Jarrett, a campaign advisor, drop out the running as a possible Senate candidate and then announcing her appointment to his White House staff.

U.S. Auto Industry Needs Shakeout Not Bailout

Don’t Bail Out the Big Three

, The American Magazine

The U.S. auto industry needs a shakeout, not a bailout. What we are witnessing is an attempted shakedown.

One day before the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler told the Senate Banking Committee that their industry faced imminent collapse without an emergency infusion of $25 billion, a new automobile assembly plant opened for business in Greensburg, Indiana. Although the hearing on Capitol Hill received far more media coverage, the unveiling of Honda’s latest facility in the American heartland speaks volumes about the future of the U.S. car industry—and shows why the proposed bailout of Detroit’s Big Three is so misguided.

The intellectual arguments against an auto industry bailout are well established. Taxpayers should never be forced to subsidize any company, let alone a poorly run company. Subsidizing the Big Three would be tantamount to subsidizing failure. That’s bad policy.

Corporate bailouts are clearly unfair to taxpayers, but they are also unfair to the successful firms in a particular industry, who are implicitly taxed and burdened when their competition is subsidized. In a properly functioning market economy, the better firms—the ones that are more innovative, more efficient, and more popular among consumers—gain market share or increase profits, while the lesser firms contract. This process ensures that limited resources are used most productively.

Some iconic U.S. automakers are now in dire straits, but the car industry itself is not in crisis. Even if one or all of the Big Three failed, there would still be plenty of strong auto companies operating throughout the United States. The Big Three currently account for slightly more than half of all light vehicle production and slightly less than half of all light vehicle sales in the United States. The rest of the U.S. auto industry includes Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, and the other foreign nameplate producers who manufacture vehicles here. These companies employ American workers, pay U.S. taxes, support local businesses, contribute to local charities, have genuine stakes in their communities, and face the same cyclical contraction in demand as do the Big Three. The difference is that they have been making more products that Americans want to buy and will endure this recession without any taxpayer assistance because they have more efficient cost structures.

The decline of the Big Three is hardly a recent phenomenon. Detroit has been losing market share for decades. It has not produced a top-five selling passenger car in years. Detroit’s once-popular SUVs and large pickup trucks have fallen out of favor with consumers. The Big Three failed to sufficiently diversify into reliable, efficient, and aesthetic passenger cars when they were earning big profits and had the money to do so. Their bloated cost structures have given non-Detroit competitors a $30-per-hour advantage in labor costs.

Want proof that automobile production remains alive and well in the United States? Just look at the success of Honda’s operations in Ohio, Toyota’s in Kentucky, Nissan’s in Tennessee, BMW’s in South Carolina, and Hyundai’s in Alabama, as well as the proliferation of new plants across the country, such as the new Honda facility in Indiana and the new Kia plant in Georgia.

If one or two of the Big Three went under, people would lose their jobs. That’s what happens in an economic recession, when less competitive firms are forced to contract. But the number of job losses wouldn’t be anywhere near as large as Detroit is telling us. Realistically, the failure of one or two major auto producers would improve prospects for the firms and workers who remain in the industry. If GM fails, the market shares of Ford and Chrysler (not to mention those of the foreign nameplate producers) are likely to increase, as they compete for GM’s former customers and best workers.

The bailout sought by Detroit would interfere with the adjustment process, while doing nothing to make the Big Three more competitive. A $25 billion infusion for companies that are losing $6 billion each month is not a rescue plan; it’s an expensive way of kicking the can down the road.

Funneling $25 billion to the Big Three would amount to a waste of taxpayer dollars and also a tax on the successful auto companies, such as Honda and Toyota. Indeed, bailing out Detroit would discourage the successful companies from opening new facilities in the United States.

To dampen criticism, Congressional Democrats speak of a bailout “with strings attached.” But even a strings-attached bailout poses problems.

First, Congress doesn’t know enough about the auto business to dictate operational conditions. “Strings” that cap executive compensation will chase talent away. Strings that force Detroit to produce high-mileage vehicles when gas prices are plummeting will lead to a repetition of past mistakes.

Second, strings will make it easier for the Big Three to come back for more federal aid after they blow through the first $25 billion. Their CEOs will be able to say that they complied with the conditions of the original bailout, which happened to make matters worse for them.

Bailing out Detroit is unnecessary. After all, this is why we have the bankruptcy process. If companies in Chapter 11 can be salvaged, a bankruptcy judge will help them find the way. In the case of the Big Three, a bankruptcy process would almost certainly require them to dissolve their current union contracts. Revamping their labor structures is the single most important change that GM, Ford, and Chrysler could make—and yet it is the one change that many pro-bailout Democrats wish to ignore.

The Big Three, the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Michigan Congressional delegation, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all know that $25 billion is nowhere near enough money to fix the problems ailing Detroit. The politicians must know that bankruptcy is the better course for auto companies and their workers (indeed, it could save 100,000 jobs). But they also know who fills their political coffers, and the UAW leadership is opposed to Chapter 11 because its labor contracts would be deemed toxic and abrogated by a bankruptcy judge.

The U.S. auto industry needs a shakeout, not a bailout. What we are witnessing, unfortunately, is an attempted shakedown. Let’s hope it doesn’t succeed.

Does Hawaii COLB indicate an Obama Derangement Syndrome?

David Horowitz, of all people, went off the reservation with an article for the History News Network entitled "Obama Derangement Syndrome ... Conservatives Need to Shut Up About the Birth Certificate." The reader responses to the article were excellent, but this one from Hank Rand is repeated here because it gets to the root of the Constitutional issue.

I came across a piece today by David Horowitz that, without blinking, lends more credence to the growing "So what" trend that has driven our country's demise in to complacency for decades. And I understand that Mr. Horowitz would not be considered a "ferocious" Obama supporter; still, however, his talk track suggests otherwise. This particular "So what", related to Barack Obama's potentially having defrauded his way in to power. Horowitz asks, "What difference does it make to the future of this country whether Obama was born on US soil? Advocates of this destructive campaign will argue that the Constitutional principle regarding the qualifications for President trumps all others. But how viable will our Constitution be if 5 Supreme Court justices should decide to void 64 million ballots?"

Here is my response....

A proponent of the reality that there is an outstanding question that exists relating to Barack Obama's natural born citizenship (not that I have an answer, but rather, simply, that no answer has been given), my personal opinion is that this has less to do with the merit of a particular Constitutional law...and more to do with the character and integrity of a man who may have gone to such great lengths to, knowingly, break it. And of far greater consequence to all constituents, in 2008 and beyond, in that course of action, our entire country (not just those who didn't vote for him) and our most coveted process of Democracy (our vote), were defrauded.

If he's found to be ineligible per the Constitution, proving he knowingly and willfully defrauded our people and process, it won't be the Justices who will have disenfranchised 64 million voters. It' will be Barack Obama. How many times are you prepared to claim "you fell down the stairs" for this man? I was an initial supporter. I started seeing very real and very questionable issues raised about the nature of his past associations, and the laughable explanations he would give to dumb down credence...and I was sure it would hurt him in the press and among supporters. But what did I see? The press and most supporters, too engrossed in their partisanship to care. In fact, the more reasonable questions came up about him...the harder the press and the 64 million that same press brainwashed, drove to the hoop for him. As I stood back watching this, again, as an initial supporter of his, even making phone calls on his behalf...I realized what I was seeing, was nothing short of WEIRD. Just, plain, weird.

And I thought this birth certificate issue (check that, "Certificate of Live Birth" opposed to "Certification of Live Birth") was cleared up a long time ago. I thought there was no way the DNC would have been capable of such a gross oversight. I thought surely Barack Obama would go to whatever extraordinarily basic lengths necessary to debunk it. But reasonable, grounded, public requests went unanswered. Then the court cases came up, and nothing was done to quell the question....which despite wide-spread rumor by our press and his supporters, was not quelled with the "Certification" of Live Birth he posted on his site, or any of the other 4 half-truth refutations that were offered up to what has become an increasingly misinformed Nation. (See, "Small Price to Pay for Unity", also here at ireport). "You're mincing words Hank. 'Certificate.' 'Certification.' What's the big deal?" Yes, I am mincing words. And I'm doing that, because I have room to. That's the neat thing about truth: when you have it, there is no room to toy with semantics or any other hypotheses. We still don't know the truth, and that's incredible ...because it would be so easy for Barack Obama to give us. But what finally landed me concerned that something is not right, was when Chiyome Fukino, Director of Health for Hawaii, released the statement about his birth. That statement actually did more harm than good (for all Obama-intensive purposes), and it only demonstrated further how moronic far too many public officials and people in the media and governing bodies, think Americans are. No matter how many times the press dices the 4 sentence statement (see Jack Tapper's piece in which, rather than ply the misinformation himself, he decides to cite from another source), the statement still, in a pointed effort to respond to questions about his natural born status, failed to broach even the surface of the issue. (Also more clearly articulated in "Small Price to Pay for Unity".) I digress. I just can't bring myself to touch any of this, without doing everything I can to, if nothing else, make sure those who still operate with independent thought, are afforded the opportunity to do so....specifically independently of what the press has become all-too-comfortable, quite literally, lying to us about.

Anyway. Sure, America has it's slew of idiots. And sure, the aisle that questions Barack Obama's natural born and/or properly maintained citizenship statuses has it's smattering of some of those idiots. But an easily targeted and isolated contingent of whackjobs being on board, doesn't nullify the fact that the question is still outstanding. I hear the same 5 refutations over, and over, and over. "He posted his birth certificate on his website", "Factcheck proved it", "The state of Hawaii released a statement clearing all this up", "There was a birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper", "Judges meritoriously threw it out as 'frivolous'"; and while each of those statements hold an element of truth, an "element of truth" isn't enough to earn credibility. "Truth" earns credibility. And "truth" is objective. There is no debunking it. We should be able to move past this on to more subjective and productive lines of communication...with all the dissent we're accustomed to...netting, like competition, improvement. But here we are. And one man can answer this objective question. And sure, not everyone will get on board if he were to release the actual Certificate of Live Birth (as opposed to the factually less credible, more easily attained and more easily forged "Certification")...but many would get on board. Coming off a platform of transparency, directly in to a promised pursuit for unity...why leave so many of us divided on what should be a simple and objectively debunked question? If the Certification is authentic, then it's more credible parent - the Certificate, exists. But rather than produce it, he has fought those requests so fiercely that he's allowed the same requests to land in court rooms...where he continues to fight them. Yes, that's right....he allowed that to happen. Make no mistake about it. This is in court because of Barack Obama's decisions - not Phil Berg's, or Leo Donofrio's, or Alan Keyes'. Why would he do this? And rather than quell the reasonable, objective and easily answered outstanding question...he opts for non disclosure. As I previously stated, production of Certificate of Live Birth is a very small price to pay for unity. And yet, here we are. And Barack Obama, and Barack Obama only, is responsible for that. I am certain of that beyond any reasonable doubt, because Barack Obama, and Barack Obama only, can quell it...with an actual Certificate of Live Birth, and he has watched requests transition from meritorious public requests - to court cases, and still refuses. So as a first order of business, in a promised pursuit for unity, he leaves us divided, on what should be a very simple, very objective, very basic matter. Who among us can applaud that? "I do, Hank. Because you're all just whackjobs." That's all well and good if that's your opinion. My brother said to me, "Yeah but if we pull him out, we're going to look corrupt to the rest of the world." I replied, "I'd rather look corrupt and not be it, than be corrupt and not look it." So goes my position on being called a "whackjob", for maintaining through nothing more than logic and fact, that there is a still outstanding question regarding Barack Obama's natural born and properly maintained citizenship statuses. I'd rather be called a whackjob and stand by truth, than submit to mistruths and be called sound.

I didn't hear any of the 5 standard press talking points in your piece, which leads me to believe the transition I anticipated is occurring. That is, virtually all of supporters (and I don't know if you were one prior to November 4th or not), will go from, "He didn't commit fraud. He is a natural born citizen", to "So what if he committed fraud. So what if he isn't a natural born citizen." I've challenged others, staunch supporters in fact, as to whether or not they'd concede a gross misstep in character and judgement, and support his being held accountable for that, if he did commit this fraud. They've uniformly claimed they would. However should this matter get the legs it deserves, and he's found ineligible...let's just say I won't hold my breath for those supporters to stand by the principle they claim to now have. Your article, blog, whatever it is...demonstrates the first piece I've actually seen that goes out of it's way to say, "No. I wouldn't. Barack Obama can lie, cheat and steal all he wants. And if he gets held accountable for it, it's the fault of the Justices...because Barack Obama himself, is simply incapable of wrongdoing."

Running that red light you sit at, day after day, when no one is looking, is pretty harmless too. But you know it's wrong. This man, if not a natural born and properly maintained citizen of the United States, will have knowingly and willfully cheated our entire country, and more critical than that - our absolutely, inherently, unquestionably most coveted process of democracy - in what can only be articulated as a relentless pursuit for unapologetic, integrity-free, and division-inducing power.