Monday, October 27, 2008

Turnabout is Fair Play

Well, the Democrats have fallen into the carefully laid trap laid for them by the devious McCain campaign. I say, turnabout is fair play. The Democrats started this by springing their carefully laid trap on McCain back in mid-September, when he was still enjoying the Palin Bounce. That's when Secretary Paulson (a Democrat) let Lehman Brothers go under, prompting Paul Krugman to write, "Henry Paulson’s decision to let Lehman fail, on Sept. 14, may have delivered the White House to Obama." It certainly precipitated the credit crisis and prompted McCain's knee-jerk condemnations of Wall Street greed, thus diverting criticism from where it truly was merited, namely, Washington Democrats and the sub-prime culture.

So McCain fell for their ruse. It has taken him a while to get back on message, more appropriately putting the criticism at the Democrats' doorstep. Then along came Joe the Plumber, who got Obama to admit that what he was after was wealth redistribution. This prompted shocked responses from the Obama campaign and from the media in general, who argued that it was not redistribution but "tax cuts" that Obama was after. (Joe the Plumber, they claimed, was a McCain plant, a Rove ruse. If so, perhaps the monicker "McBrilliant" will be dusted off for use again.)

They argue this because they know that opinion polls decisively show that Americans favor wealth creation over wealth redistribution to deal with economic difficulty. They do not like this line of questioning, as witness the over the top response to direct questions on the subject, asked by an honest journalist by the name of Barbara West.

But now there has surfaced audio of Obama arguing in favor of "economic justice" and "redistributive justice," that the very liberal Warren Court really wasn't that liberal because it did not take the step toward this kind of justice, and that community organizing is necessary to organize power to get redistributive justice accomplished in the legislature.

How is the Obama campaign and the media going to spin this? My guess is, by ignoring it. Will they get away with it? Time will tell. I'm sure that talk radio and Fox News, not to mention the blogosphere, will do their best to get this out there. If it does, perhaps people will begin to question the content of Obama "hope and change."

What a ploy, John! Well, perhaps it wasn't in your campaign strategy after all, but it sure couldn't have come at a better time. Or in a better way. They cannot argue their way out of this, they can only hope that people will not pay attention.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The King's Heart

There is another Bible verse we should remember during this time of troubles:

"The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Proverbs 21:1).

The king is the sovereign; in our Republic, it is the people who are sovereign. So, to paraphrase Solomon, the people's heart is in the hand of the Lord to turn it in whatever direction He wishes.

Do we believe that? Do we believe He can actually turn the hearts and minds of the people in the face of the onslaught of monolithic media representations?

Is there anything too difficult for God? Not according to the archangel Gabriel, this time speaking to a frightened teenager by the name of Mary: "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37).

Pray now or forever hold your peace.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Struggle in the Heavenlies

What is happening now is a spiritual struggle the likes of which we may not have seen in our lifetimes. The forces of ungodliness and overthrow, of disorder and irreligion, of Anti-Christ, are unleashed in such coordinated fashion as to be unprecedented. Therefore our calling is contrition and prayer, for if God does not see fit to deliver us from the hands of our enemies, they will conquer us.

The spiritual struggle is going on "in the heavenly places" (e.g., Ephesians 3:10) as well as on Earth. It is like what the archangel Gabriel was alluding to when he said to Daniel (Book of Daniel, ch. 9):

10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

The angels themselves were in a struggle with the political leaders of the day. And I am sure they are struggling with the forces of evil even as we speak. But our prayers are necessary, just as Daniel's prayers and confession of sin were the catalyst of Gabriel's appearance to him.

There is so much at stake in this election. Far more than mere economics. Pray for God's mercy -- we cannot hope for more than that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stocks Are Down...

and the polls seem to show a looming Democrat victory on November 4. Of course, the real reason stocks are down is "investors sorting through earnings reports" or some such claptrap. Ignore the elephant in the room, guys.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Terms of the Debate Have Shifted

Finally, the political debate in an election season revolves not around the question, "who should pay more taxes," but around the question, "why should anyone pay more taxes?" In other words, the very presupposition of the inherent goodness of government action is being questioned. This seems to me to be unprecedented. That it happened only a few weeks before the election, and was precipitated by a mere citizen ("Joe the Plumber") makes it even more extraordinary. The question now is, can it be kept at the forefront of average citizens' minds? Will it make them realize that the government is not the be-all-and-end-all of problem-solving? That the game of salvation by government is a dead end? If it does, the debate which has now hit the mainstream will carry on far beyond this election season. It could signal the turning of a tide.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Was I Right or Was I Right?

Let's see, McCain scores in the debate, polls show tightening race, stock markets go up. Hmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Do Not Wish to Tempt Providence...

but if McCain scores in the debate tonight, especially regarding connecting the ACORN-Ayers-Fannie and Freddie-Obama dots (am I forgetting anything?), not to mention calling Obama on his ridiculous "tax cut" claims, then watch for a solid stock market rally.
Investors of all people do not buy into anti-capitalist rhetoric. At least not with their money. There may be those who want a Democratic administration, but they know that their investments won't be safe, at least their stock investments. This makes such investors schizophrenic -- on the one hand wishing for something which on the other hand they know will be bad for themselves. But that's why its best to view left-wingism as a religion, an expression of faith.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is a Crisis of Trust?

We hear a lot these days about the current financial crisis being one of trust. Banks don't trust each other any more, lenders don't trust borrowers, investors don't trust who or what they are investing in. That is all true, but it does not get to the heart of the matter.

What is trust? It is confidence that commitments will be honored, that agreements will be kept. Which gives us an indication of the true nature of the capitalist economy.

Classical economics has many virtues, but it has also saddled capitalism with the concept of homo economicus, the egotistical, self-serving economic actor as the core of the capitalist system. This is a gross misconception. Capitalism is not built upon self-serving egotists but upon people willing to make commitments to each other, both short-term and long-term, regarding their economic resources. That is what credit and debt, borrowing and lending, are all about. The commitments are mutual. When these commitments are reneged on on the scale they have been in the current crisis, the system fails.

Therefore it is a much better characterization of capitalism to label it the "commitment economy" rather than the "greed economy," which is what the Left paints it as, thanks to classical economics.

Capitalism is commitments, not greed. The trust one hears so much about is trust in keeping commitments. Capitalism, friends, is the commitment economy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Psalm for the Times

If election politics are getting you down, just recall Psalm 93:

1 ¶ The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

And take Natalie Grant's advice:

I have been a wayward child,
I have acted out,
I have questioned sovereignty,
and had my share of doubts,
And though sometimes,
my prayers feel like their bouncing off the sky,
the hand that holds won't let me go,
and is the reason why
I will stumble,
I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved
Bitterness has plagued my heart,
many times before,
My life has been a broken glass,
and I have kept the score,
of all my shattered dreams,
and though it seemed,
that I was far too gone,
my brokenness helped me to see,
it's grace I'm standing on.
I will stumble,
I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved
And chaos in my life,
has been a badge I've worn,
and though I have been torn,
I will not be moved
I will make mistakes,
I will face heartache,
But i will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anticapitalism as Default Mode

What explains the uphill battle Republicans have in convincing people that their agenda is better for the economy than that of the Democrats? What explains the ease with which Democrats can pretend that economic woes are attributable to Republicans, in the face of all evidence to the contrary?

One may blame the monolithic left-wing mainstream media for the one-sided coverage they provide on the issue, but that in fact begs the question a bit. For how is it that the media can come to be so one-sided?

The bottom line is, human beings have a basic anti-capitalist bias that is the default mode in the face of any crisis. Facts don't matter, emotions take over, and no amount of explanation seems to penetrate. Democrats simply appeal to this emotion.

Like taking candy from a baby.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Let Me Repeat This...

(a la Joe Biden) let me repeat this: the collapse of the stock market is not due to the bailout per se, but due to the prospect of an Obama presidency coupled with a filibuster-proof Democratic Congress. The better the prospects become of a McCain presidency and/or Republican holds or gains in the Congress, the better the markets will perform. The world markets are following ours. It is all that simple.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Are Government Buyouts Socialism?

On the subject of bailouts and government buyouts or buy-ups of banks, a caveat: the objection is making the rounds that such activity is "socialism." That is not the case. Socialism endeavors to cancel out the market. When it takes over business activities, it removes them from the sphere of the market. But these buyouts are not doing this at all. In fact, they are intended not to cancel out the market but to restore it. They work within the strictures -- key among which is free ingress and egress -- of the market and seek only to get malfunctioning markets running again. Objections to this activity are certainly apropos, in particular the objection of moral hazard. But that is something other than socialism. Of course, governments can get so involved in markets as to dominate them and in so doing to render them nugatory. That is a danger to be guarded against. But the current buy-up activity is not of that sort. It may be the only thing that will work in the current crisis.

Obama is a Revolutionary

This is the point behind the Bill Ayers connection. No one believes that Barack Obama condones or has condoned the terrorism practiced by Bill Ayers. But the underlying goal of Revolution is what they share. The one tried to accomplish it through violent means; the other will attempt to accomplish it through the ballot box. This explains why Ayers mentored Obama in his early political career. This is the significance of the Annenberg Challenge. Obama's community organizer activity must also be seen in this light. Community organizing (cf. ACORN) is all about mobilizing the proletarian masses to accomplish the Revolution of wealth confiscation and redistribution through the ballot box.

The Revolution pursued by Barack Obama is antithetical to the revolution pursued by the Founders of this nation. In the one case, traditions, customs, institutions are overthrown by innovating government; in the other, traditions, customs, institutions are preserved from innovating government.

Why is the stock market tanking? Because investors see the Revolution coming and are getting out while the getting's good.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's Behind the Meltdown

The stock markets continue to plummet in unnerving fashion. The blame for it is centering on the "bailout" package -- was it too little too late, was it too much, was the passage of it a dispiriting display of bad leadership. I think it goes deeper than that. The bailout was never meant to solve the problem, only to stave off something worse. But what it most of all did was spark the fear of ever-more government takeover of the private sector, which combined with polls indicating Democratic victory in both Congress and the Presidency in November, has spooked the investor class to get out while the getting's good. Let's face it: if the Democrats win in November, this bailout package is going to look like libertarianism compared to the stuff they're going to pull to "solve the crisis."

The Bottom Line: False Weights and Measures

At bottom, the issue involved in this financial crisis is false weights and measures. That is, a standard of valuation that is manipulated, making people believe they are receiving something other (of lesser value) than they actually are.

The Bible has this to say about such false weights and measures:

Le 19:36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
De 25:13 ¶ Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
De 25:14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
De 25:15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
De 25:16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Pr 11:1 ¶ A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
Pr 16:11 ¶ A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
Pr 20:23 ¶ Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Eze 45:10 Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.
Eze 45:11 The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.
Eze 45:12 And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.
Mic 6:10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
Mic 6:11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
Ho 12:7 ¶ He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.

In the current financial muckup, this falsification of the standard of value occurred thanks to a complete failure of functioning by the leading credit rating agencies. Subprime mortgages were packaged into bonds that were passed off as AAA -- the highest rating possible. Given the great demand for such safe-haven assets in a global economy awash in liquidity, these bonds were purchased like hotcakes, making for ever-increasing demand for subprime mortgages to be packaged into these bonds (CDOs, MBSs). They thus spread throughout the world. The questions which now arise are:

  1. How many banks and other lending agencies have these assets on their balance sheets, and to what degree?
  2. What is the degree that each of these assets is contaminated with subprime mortgages which either have already failed or will fail?

The recent "bailout" package passed by the Congress is intended to get this auditing process under way in the US. The question is, will it accomplish what it is supposed to, without subverting the system even further? Be that as it may: who is going to take care of this process in the rest of the world? And what is the best way to take care of it? It is the mother of all tangled messes.

The bottom line is, this was a catastrophe from start to finish egged on and smiled upon by the government, in pursuit of social justice, of Joe Biden's "fairness." It is the government that is supposed to supervise the functioning of such services as credit rating, simply as a matter of averting fraud. Instead of doing that, it turned a blind eye on the whole procedure, the better to achieve the stated goal of affordable housing.

Capitalism was set to work under the constraints set by the government. Now that government has nearly destroyed capitalism, it is going to fix it. How: with more of the same?

The Book of Amos speaks of a judgement upon a nation addicted to false weights and measures:

ch 8, verse 4: Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?

Amos's Israel was judged and found wanting; it was given over to conquest by the Assyrians.

What judgement awaits us? For we keep voting in people who, this time around in the name of the poor, love the false balance, the small ephah and the great shekel, who have hung this catastrophe around our necks and then blame the faithful servant (Wall Street) who in fact carried out their bidding; who want us to return them to office for more of the same.

That in itself is judgement I cringe to think about.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Starting

The Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac push which, I argued in a previous post, needs to be made by the McCain campaign has finally begun. May Senator McCain not let up on this until election day -- and beyond, regardless of outcome.

The consequences of not exposing this are too serious to even contemplate. These people, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, are destroying the entire capitalist edifice. Come to think of it, perhaps they wouldn't mind it so much if the whole thing did go down. They could take over each failing element one by one, until the entire economy is government-owned and operated. What a prospect!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More than an Analogy?

One of the themes running through my head regarding a description of the current financial crisis is that of the similarity of subprime mortgages to HIV. Just as HIV gets in the bloodstream and destroys immune capacity, subprime mortgages were packaged together in MSOs and CDOs which, circulating through the banking system, in turn have destroyed the banking system's capacity to deal with bad risk.

But the analogy is even more appropriate given the latest news that Barney Frank's boyfriend was the one in charge of coming with the affordable housing schemes at Fannie Mae that precipitated this HIV infection of the capitalist bloodstream.

Makes one shudder just to think about it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Maybe the Start?

This ad the National Republican Congressional Committee may be the start of the "onslaught" I advocated earlier. We'll see.

Friday, October 3, 2008

She Did It Again

Sarah Palin starred again, and has truly solidified her status as a Great Communicator of conservative ideals. Not that everything she said last night was conservative, but given the constraints of a McCain campaign, all in all an admirable performance. And what a capacity to bond with the listeners. Which is something altogether different from bonding with journalists and pundits. The quicker the media learn that distinction, the quicker they'll stop making fools of themselves.

And she did mention Fannie and Freddy. Not enough to shut down the Democrat "deregulation as cause of meltdown" argument. Perhaps that is still in the offing. Let us hope so. For it will not be until the root of the problem is recognized that the problem will be solved. To wit, it will not be until liberalism, in the guise of the push for affordable housing, is recognized as the catalyst for the explosion of easy credit and the relaxation of standards, leading to the spread of bad debt throughout the global financial system, that the buck will stop where it should, inside the Beltway, in Washington, from whence this push derived, and for which Wall Street firms were but the willing accomplices.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Have a Dream

I have a dream.

That Sarah comes out tonight and exercises the nuclear option.

That is, that she calls out the Democrats for the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac, and all the rest of it.

This signals the start of an all-out onslaught on the part of the McCain campaign to bring that message directly home to the voters, via speeches, press conferences, interviews, advertisements, whatever. All means available.

Connecting Obama to Fannie Mae's largesse, and his community activism to the furtherance of the overthrow of capitalism.

Morphing a picture of Obama into Ché. Now that would be good advertising.

This would signal the start of a new and decisive phase in the campaign. And might just win not only the presidency but make significant gains in House and Senate.

But only if McCain and Palin stay on message.

But after all, McCain is apparently biding his time before naming names.

We'll see.

The Palin Bounce

Sarah Palin's lift to the McCain ticket seems to be evaporating. Not surprising given the uniformly negative coverage the mainstream media have given her, combined with the rather idiotic strategy pursued by the McCain campaign to present her to the nation precisely via the news media the favor of whom, she claimed in her acceptance speech, she would not be seeking.

She and McCain were going to shake up Washington. But regarding the seminal issue of the day, the "Wall Street Bailout," she has followed McCain precisely in assiduously assigning blame to capitalism run amuck rather than to where it truly lays: in Washington. The issue was given McCain on a silver platter to run on. Instead, it is successfully being used by Obama and the Democrats to undermine his candidacy. Guilt by association, deregulation, Republican congress, eight years of Bush presidency, all of these are the reason for the current crisis, and the Democrats have the echo chamber of the major media to repeat the charges ad nauseum.

The facility by which people swallow this line is yet further evidence of the visceral, yea even religious, antagonism people have to capitalism. The anti-capitalist mentality is on full display here, and the usual demagogues resort to it with impunity, even when they themselves are so blatantly, obviously, responsible for this. The truth is simple, straightforward, and can be summarized in a few phrases, each of which builds on the previous one: affordable housing (Community Reinvestment Act, National Homeownership Strategy), subprime loans, securitization (loan packaging and selling), absurdly inflated credit ratings, home price implosion, foreclosures, collapse in the value of those securitized loans, destruction of the balance sheets of entities holding those loans (Wall Street, banks throughout the entire world), collapse of all forms of credit. At the heart of this whole process were the GSEs (government-sponsored entities) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who while they were sponsoring the subprime securitization explosion, also funded Democratic party activism and paid off Congressional sponsors who looked the other way. And Senator Obama in three short years received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from this sponsor of our economic destruction.

The reason why McCain-Palin ratings are tanking is because McCain-Palin have not acted on their claim to shake up Washington, and instead look suspiciously as if they are holding back so as not to rock the Washington beltway boat. This, if true, is not only a missed chance but a travesty. Come on Sarah! Get that old goat to change his bipartisan ways. If you don't, you may end up going back to Alaska for good. And that's the last thing this country needs.