Monthly Archives: November 2008

So it comes back to this

Our critics are not pleased, but I hope we’ll be forgiven this small observation: The spendthrifts who mangled America with the nightmare of double-digit inflation, record interest rates, unfair tax increases, too much regulation, credit controls, farm embargoes, gas lines, no-growth at home, weakness abroad, and phony excuses about “malaise,” are the last people who should be giving sermonettes about fairness and compassion. March 2, 1984

For all its troubles, the United States is still prosperous, still free; yet America’s leaders speak of uncertainty, self-doubt, guilt, and that word “malaise.’September 16, 1987

Too many of our leaders told us that America‘s troubles were the fault of “we, the American people,” as if somehow we’d let our leaders down, and not the other way around. They told us that we’d caught a disease called “malaise.” And then they turned around and told us that even if we reformed there wasn’t much we could do because great historic forces were at work, the problems were all too complicated for solution, fate and history were against us, and America was slipping into an inevitable decline. December 13, 1988

American prestige seemed like a memory. Our standing in the world had fallen. Our government was talking about a malaise. You remember that talk, and you were the ones that were supposed to be having the malaise. Well, 4 years later America is a very different place. And the Democrats are saying that it’s my fault. They keep insisting that I take responsibility for it. Well, they’ve talked me into it. July 26, 1984

We want growth and opportunity. The other side wants us to lower our expectations. Well, we have a vision of making America great again. The other side speaks of national malaise, a sickness. We offer hope. October 4, 1982

Four years ago, we had to cope with, as Jerry told you, the double-digit inflation nightmare and the interest rates of 21 percent and the highest peacetime tax burden in our history, zero growth, rising crime rate, scholastic aptitude test scores that had been falling for two decades, a foreign policy as feeble as it was fearful, and to top it off, the people in Washington whose only answer was, “All of you suffer from a malaise.” Well, the American people didn’t suffer from any malaise; they suffered from leaders who denied them opportunity, and opportunity is what we’re putting back in the hands of you, the people. September 20, 1984

Four years ago tonight I asked you to join us in a great national effort to free America from leadership that said we suffered from a malaise, that told us we must learn to live with less, and that our children could no longer dream as we once had dreamed. And, yes, that inflation, taxes, no growth at home, and the steady loss of freedom and respect for America abroad were all beyond our control. November 5, 1984

And the headline today:

NEWSMAKER-Volcker brings experience with economic malaise

But aside from the way that word makes me crazy, the news article tells us exactly what we need and why so far the lame duck Bush administration, Congress, and the idiot-money-pundits, have only set us up for a much worse scenario.

Volcker commands respect from Democrats and Republicans alike for his decisiveness in ending a devastating inflationary spiral in the late 1970s. He did so by hiking interest rates to unprecedented levels, launching a recession in 1981-82 that was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

We could have left this behind us in 2002, but Bush wanted to defer the inevitable.  We have made the situation much worse. But we need to stop now.

Instead of a real blog post; a bit of preaching (mostly in quotations)

Don’t have time and too busy.

But if fascination with the collapse of …. a lot of things still to be determined in extent sometimes gives way to fear, here’s something.  Just because God’s taking down a lot of people doesn’t mean you or your family will be included:

Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.

On a related but different note, the present scurrying after a way to increase debt and spending to solve the problems of debt and spending once again show how blind we are to not read the Bible as a political book.

So here is Wisdom:

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler (Proverbs 6.1-5).

While the Bible encourages all sorts of charity, becoming responsible for otherwise unsecured debt is treated as an incredible danger.  Funny, this warning has always seemed overwrought to me until recently.

Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure (Proverbs 11.15).

One who lacks sense gives a pledge
and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor (Proverbs 17.18).

Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners (Proverbs 20.16).

Be not one of those who give pledges,
who put up security for debts.
If you have nothing with which to pay,
why should your bed be taken from under you? (Proverbs 22.26-27)

Of course, all of this assumes no one is stupid enough to give away unsecured debt.  I guess in our case, the populace as a whole, allegedly represented by their Federal Government, is being put up as security for a bunch of rich debtors and bankrupt corporations.

And Jesus speaks directly to it.  Wisdom cries alloud in the market place.

“It is sweet and right to die for your country”

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
–Wilfred Owen

Time to remember those honorable men and boys who died or survived the risk (many wounded) protecting us, and the many more who did so under the false cover of that noble cause–often, in our history, without their consent.

My sincere hope is to live in a way worthy of your sacrifice.

Sums it up pretty well

No He Can’t

by Anne Wortham
by Anne Wortham

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Fellow Americans,

Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the “change” that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared “progressive” whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration – political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Read the rest

Do I panic yet?

I’ve got a draft for this blog about positive changes I hope Obama will make due to his unique stature in American history.  I’ll try to get that finished some time.  But meanwhile, this anecdotal report indicates that the “conservative” response to Obama will be

  1. to demand he be as militaristic as possible overseas
  2. to laud and encourage his national service program

So I’m about to get a lot more lonely than I thought.  My one hope for the Obama Administration was a more individualistic and anti-government ethos from the Republicans.  If all we get is more Red State Fascism, then what have we learned from the deserved reaction against Bush?

No need for Congress to actually authorize spending because they’ve already super-empowered their bailout czar

The fact that we are even talking about bailing out American auto makers, let alone actually going to do it, is an atrocity to all economic and political sense.  Here’s an example of what passes for rational discourse these days==Peter Schiff playing the role of Socrates among the sophists.

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But the insanity is even greater.  No one in Congress is going to have to really make the decision by a recordable and accountable vote.  Now we have Paulson and his unlimited line of credit ($700 billion at a time).

House Democrats Urge Paulson to Give Automakers Access to TARP 

Democratic congressional leaders urged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to use the $700 billion rescue bill passed last month to provide temporary aid to the U.S. auto industry.

“Congress granted you broad discretion to purchase, or make commitments to purchase, financial instruments you determine necessary to restore financial market stability,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid wrote in a letter sent to Paulson today.

After meeting with U.S. auto and union leaders this week, Pelosi of California and Reid of Nevada said they were “convinced that our nation’s automobile industry — the heart of our manufacturing sector — and the jobs of tens of thousands of American workers are at risk.”

They argued that the auto industry may qualify for federal financing under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. “A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s workforce,” they said.

Everyone in Washington has obviously lost his or her mind.


National Review’s Corner blog notices the same thing (citing WSJ):

4th of July? No, more like Christmas Day if you’re the UAW. What would you do on a slow Saturday news day a few days after the election when no one was looking? If you’re Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, you’d write to the Treasury Department to ask for some of that $700B — that was really, truly necessary for financial institutions only and for the totally unique extraordinary purpose of staving off an economy-ruining credit freeze — in order to bail out the auto industry without disturbing any of its insane labor arrangements.