December 13, 2008

Color and sound

I've mentioned Jonathan Glazer's movie 'Birth' before. Glazer made an ad for Sony Bravia tv's - no cgi:

And here's the original sound:

An Intricate Interweaving of Advanced Technology and Sophisticated Traders

One of the critical ingredients in creating the added value which Madoff Securities offers its clients is the firm's intricate interweaving of advanced technology and experienced traders. The firm's position at the forefront of computerized trading is widely acknowledged in the US financial community.
According to the criminal complaint Bernie Madoff made off with $50 b's of other people's money thru The Perfect Ponzi. That's a world record for a criminal charge. My movie about this will be called "The Owner's Name Is On The Door"
In an era of faceless organizations owned by other equally faceless organizations, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC harks back to an earlier era in the financial world: The owner's name is on the door. Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark.
A starring part will be played by The Lipstick Building, Madoff's business address. I love that corner of midtown Manhattan at 54th and 3rd, where you can find a Houston's restaurant and bar beneath a Barnes and Noble in the belly of the Citicorp Building. How ironic...Citicorp! Once the world's largest bank, brought to its knees by The Great Unwinding of 2008, the same rush to liquidity that exposed Madoff. To quote John Stuart Mill:
Panics do not destroy capital; they merely reveal the extent to which it has been previously destroyed by its betrayal into hopelessly unproductive works.

December 09, 2008

Talking about timing tipping the Times (ugh)

Mick makes a good case that a newspaper website won't approach Google in ad revenue. I say there's great potential to improve the NYT content and grow the readership. The NYT is different from all other US papers - it's more widely read by the powerful and wannabes. To the rest of the world, it's the single daily which represents America. It's just that it's so mismanaged and so disrespected that it can't exploit it's uniqueness.

My focus is the stock price. Right now there's nothing in the price for the trophy value or brand value of the business. In a bull market it could easily be worth $5b to own the NYT + 58% of the NYT building + a stake in the Red Sox + + The Boston Globe and some other stuff, but even after the 50% rise since I placed my bet a few days ago the market cap. is only $1b. That $5b guess is without thinking about a hook-up or takeover by a Yahoo! or Google or Microsoft.

Another factor here is that the market may have bottomed - I think so. It touched 7,500 just before Obama started to announce that his economic team would consist of sane experts like Volcker and Summers. Before that it was possible that the US economy would be governed by socialists. There's a Tsunami of money sequestered in zilch interest assets like gold and Treasuries. If that flows back into equities, there'll be an overshoot to the upside taking us back to 12,000 at least. Another tip was Genco (para 6) - a dry bulk shipper under the cosh thanks to the 90% drop in the Baltic Index. Genco's up 60%. I'd still tip potentially bankrupt GM (some good cars, much lower gas prices, incentive to reform the cost base) and Xstrata (base metals). Last Friday the market saw unexpectedly bad employment figures and went up. That's not any bear market I recognize.

December 04, 2008

Timing tipping The Times (ugh)

Yesterday I wrote a discursive piece tipping The New York Times Company. By hideous yet happy chance I seem to be on the same wavelength as the management.Today they announce Times Extra which upgrades their front page to a 3rd party content aggregator. A small step, but significant. The Times has potential. It's America's best known journal despite treachery, disgrace and mismanagement and it's a major owner of the brand value of New York City itself. NYC has global recogniton approached only by London and Paris as a city of the imagination. Once the NYT figures out its global potential on the web, it could gain a massive boost to circulation and advertising. This little step today may prod the market to see NYTco as an internet growth play to own rather than a dead trees decay play to short. Price today - $8.10. Market cap - $1.16b.

December 03, 2008

Tipping the Times (ugh)

This blog is a great tip sheet for those who know. 10 days ago I wrote:
A propos of nothing, on Friday I went long the New York Times at $5.14. I can only imagine good news from here on. How could it be worse?
The stock is presently at $7.70, up 50%. I get a kick from making money from assets which I detest since it proves I can detach my judgement from my emotions. Gold at $250/oz was another case. I dislike gold as an asset. So much of its value derives from the collective mass mania of the world's central banks in the late '70s, early '80s - one of the least remarked, most obscene squanderings of other people's money yet perpetrated. Anyhoot I do loathe The NYT. Also the profession it defiles, print journalism, is obviously done for. So here's why I think the stock can go to $20 within 6 months:

1. Staring death in the face forces management to do what needs to be done.

2. There are ways the Dems can give taxpayers' money to the NYT without a straight bail-out. Job ads is one used by UK government and quangos to boost their favourite organ, the Guardian, which prints a weekly 100+ page supplement for jobs in social work and worse.

3. The NYT brand could become scintillating. There's excellent content and a vast archive. An imaginative editor would ditch the incredibly boring line up of commentators (does anyone enjoy reading Krugman, Brooks, Dowd, Herbert, Rich, Collins? Why not a line-up of Paglia, Kos, Coulter, Steyn, Carville, Richard Dawkins? People who people want to read. Make your own list. I'd call the commentary team ' The Galacticos' after Real Madrid's soccer stars.

4. The first internet bubble was predicated on the value of eyeballs. Eyeballs bring ads and more eyeballs and more ads. The NYT has quite a few eyeballs now, but could attract vast numbers more with a re-design and a think locally, act globally mindset for it's web business.

5. The NYT brand has been poisoned, but there's an antidote -run it as a newspaper rather than a propaganda organ for the eternally juvenile. Maybe now that Bushitler isn't around to shore up the liberals' religion, their energies will be freed to write about the world as it is. Or maybe the scummy propagandists will just go away. I'm not asking for a paper that agrees with me - tho a Paglia-inspired, Palin-loving NYT would probably become compulsory reading across the political spectrum - I'm asking for a proper wall between editorial and reporting, as well as truthful reporting, better writing, better design and a vision to attract a vast pile of eyeballs across the globe.

6. The sun will rise tomorrow. The biggest factor now in the stock market panic is fear of the unknown. When I read today that Obama positively proclaims that there won't be a windfall tax on oil companies, I thought this is proof that he's not insane. The rally of the last couple of weeks is mainly due to that realization as evidenced by his economic apppointments. An unqualified opportunist is ok, a Chavez-like nutcase would not have been a buy signal. Bombed out businesses like the NYT suddenly have a decent presumption of a Clintonesque administration and can bounce back hard. In the last couple of weeks I've loaded up on NYTco, GM, Genco and Xstrata.....the stinkiest stocks I could think of that I vaguely understand. Each is different, but each has been massively depressed by fear of the unknown. You read it here, Anatreptoids. NB these are all highly risky bets that can go to zero overnight, so you should only make them if you can absorb the entire loss or know how to control the loss using attractively priced hedges (that's the black magic).

7. There are plenty of would be predators on the Times. The Sulzberger family must be exceptionally receptive now to a bid at say $20, under $3bn for the Boston Globe, the Times, the NYT building, a stake in the Red Sox and other sundry assets. Compare last year's $10bn valuation for Facebook or $5bn for Dow Jones. Things change.

November 22, 2008

Writer's block

I've been a
 little pre-occupied with my snorkelling trip to St John, USVI, and last week 
a distillery tour in Kentucky with a couple of friends. My wife's invited far more Thanksgiving week guests than we have sleeping places and it's too cold to sleep in the shed. Also I have little to add on American politics, tho I'm mulling a few thoughts on how the new administration is in a great position to do radical things such as cut company taxes, abolish the union stranglehold on public education, commence an infrastructure program, drill for American oil and initiate a nuclear power program. 

But the real reason for writer's  block is my trauma at the new images of the Anatreptic tag team. I have a face like a chimpanzee, while Mick's mask looks like a super-hero, Wonderwoman perhaps. My self image is Green Lantern.

A propos of nothing, on Friday I went long the New York Times at $5.14. I can only imagine good news from here on. How could it be worse?

November 15, 2008

Public squalor, private consolation

Hey ho. America chose government by barbarians, and bullshitters. Voluntarily to be governed by 3 such scoundrels as Obama, Reid and Pelosi says something profound about America. Too bad. It's not just that these folk are political anathema, it's that they seem so unworthy as people. I doubt America will become quite like Belgium, but once the institutions have been captured, it's tough to avert national decay. The USA is now on a flight path to state-funded abortion on demand, human embryos (babies) as inputs to an obscene medical industry, state control of parenting as well as education, re-invention of the Constitution, marriage de-sacralised, normalisation of pedophilia thru early sexualisation (why not? if embryos and other animals are objects to be used, why not children, in fact why not anybody who can be coerced?), state control of speech, the political centre moved to Alinsky/Ayers territory, the abolition of a virile military, the creation of an internal security force of community workers - an American Stasi, state control of private enterprise, und, und, und....Mormons and Catholics, watch out. You'll be tolerated as emblems of freedom of worship providing you turn into non-threatening sects which endorse the social dogmas of the secular religion.

Of course mere decadence is just a phase because the decadents lack courage and will. After some catastrophe the new America (if that country exists) may turn to a Puritan culture, a more compelling religion than liberal dreams. It's called 'Submission'.

The picture is of a daughter's first encounter with a turtle in the wild in St John last week.

November 05, 2008


Mick wrote:
I'd like to be classy too, which for now means I'll have very little to say about the President-elect.

Not me.

1. Barack and Michelle have risen thru affirmative actions and racial preferences, which is as un-American as it gets.

2. He's surrounded by a bodyguard of lies, of which omissio veri is pre-eminent.

3. He lacks both intellect and eloquence.

4. He has always made the most politically cowardly choice in his votes.

5. The campaign finance fraud and electoral roll fraud were close to his team and associates.

6. He killed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois, then lied about it. It's hard to design something more disgusting in politics.

7. The Left will now use amnesty and other tools to re-jig US electoral demographics. The fault lies mainly with the decent people who voted Republican in 2004, but switched or didn't vote this time because they misread Obama, lulled by the media''s utter deceit. I hope this is politics as usual, but doubt it.

By the way, if it was 'the economy, stupid', who of all the candidates had the strongest brand on that issue?

November 04, 2008

Thoughts on election eve

It's 3am. I'm in a house on St John, USVI, with my brother-in-law from New Hampshire and 1 each of our younger daughters. The girls are taking to snorkelling like fish to water. They seem to find the hot tub even more fascinating to snorkel around than the Caribbean. By this time tomorrow Obama will be probably have been elected to run their country. Funnily enough my girl is pro-McCain, tho I've told her nothing except my preference and given her a children's book on both candidates. Her excellent, black teacher is for Obama and world peace. Our delightful, Jewish, Manhattanite neighbours in suburban NJ are for Obama. I'm a gambler and I bet that these folk have more paradise points than I do, but they're for Obama. In 2 weeks I'll be on a bourbon distillery tour in Kentucky with a Buchanan/Gingrich reading PhD student from Houston. He's a 'conservative' for Obama like his law professor friend from Austin and his State Dept friend back in Kentucky from Islamabad. I think his drive is anti-McCain for his aged mannerisms and Iraq war staunchness and he's anti-Palin for her religion. Every day I get sent video links and articles by Brooks/Will/Hitchens and the rest about why not Palin/McCain. The senders range from intelligent friends to sarcastic dolts. They think that they are high info people, but they're not. Their sources have pre-sieved the info and they've pre-sieved their sources.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the zeitgeist calls for a young, black, academic, secular messiah figure to rebalance the interests of state and individual. Maybe if America could just empathize more with the rest of the planet everyone would feel better. Implied apologies are acceptable, no need for America to grovel. How can I be right, when I'm aligned with outmoded Christianity and the busted economics of Thatcher and Reagan?
 Well, gentle reader, I am right, they are wrong, but it's tedious now to rehearse the argument. The mass delusion that floats a total fraud like Obama is the end of Gramsci's 'long march thru the institutions' and I must say I'm impressed. The impenetrability of Obamans to reason argues that this election isn't about reason. There's a hunger for a secular religion and Obama is dish of the day, frothed up to titillate political palates across a broad spectrum of the credulous, whereas Palin or Romney, say, represent self-control, self-definition, service to life, service to patriotism, service to one's spouse, service to Christ, but are a living reproach to self-centredness, to infantilism, to selfishness raised to a principle of therapeutic culture.....that starvation, that aversion to the symbols of reproach. makes Obamans of them all, but not of me. Oh, no.
Assuming Obama, then I doubt the outcome will be accepted as in the past. The egregious fraud, the racist voting pattern, the media treachery, the support of Chavez/Hamas/Ayers/Farrakhan and the Euroweenies renders that outcome disgusting, anti-democratic and anti-American. I think my Obaman friends think it's democracy as usual, but Obama says he'll do some provocative things. The Freedom of Choice Act he plans to sign asap seems so downright evil that it's tyrannical. Then there's The Fairness Doctrine, and a swathe of liberal fascism that may drain democratic consent. I suppose that's why Obama's planning a civilian army. The coercion he's used against straying media will be more vicious when he controls the DoJ and the IRS.
Dark thoughts, but a good thought is the straight talk from the Catholic bishops on politics and abortion. And so to bed.

October 27, 2008

The Declaration of Dependence

I didn't invent the title phrase, but it fits the issue before America. If Obama wins, then America will have preferred a man who

-advocates 're-distribution', meaning 'theft', of private wealth by the state to its clients,
-has a pleasing baritone and non-threatening manner,
-thwarted the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois,
-opposed funding the military in Iraq unless the Commander-In-Chief declared a date for US retreat,
-is a close, long-term associate of anti-American racists, criminals and terrorists,
-is the preferred candidate of Iran, Hamas and the New York Times

over a man who

-is a hero,
-takes political risks,
-was right about Iraq,
-has deep political experience,
-is anti-socialist.

Not a tough choice, you'd think. But for decades the giant US government has paid the Left to re-construct the country's DNA and spawn a coalition of tenurists, identity groups, social engineers, risk-avoiders, radical secularists and naifs who want to expropriate the wealth earned by better men and women and then control their lives.

The time calls for happy warriors like Sarah Palin. This experience is forging her. She will have been tested as very few in politics.

October 26, 2008 down

I'm a minor member of this group blog. The site is down thanks to obscure arguments about processor cycles and MovableType scripts. Meanwhile I commend the site of a fellow member on Uncorrelated, Anne Leary. She and I both use Blogger, the free Google service, which by and large just works.

Christian the lion

What a story!

October 22, 2008

Mark's Republic

I've long assumed that this Presidential election would be a landslide. Obama is so unqualified, so disqualified by background, so left-wing, so unexecutive, so incoherent that my confidence in the US electorate made me confident in a heavy defeat for Obama. That should have been more certain given the VP picks, Fannie Mae, Surge success and so on. But I was wrong. With 2 weeks to go the polls definitely lean Obama. I console myself by imagining a conservative renewal in the next 4 years, but I know that the Left today are more formidable than in 1976. They have no shame and will likely use the DOJ and every other tool to infiltrate Liberal Fascism deeper still into the social DNA of America. As we skip towards that lengthening shadow, let me set down some principles for Mark's Republic to improve the US Constitution:

1. Voting shall be a privilege reserved for adults over 25 who pay tax. Military service also shall qualify a citizen to vote.

2. Taxation shall be the same for every citizen, $10,000 or less per year, and shall only be paid by non-military voters. The only sanction for non-payment shall be omission from the published list of voters. Government shall shrink as necessary to fit this taxation and taxation shall shrink as necessary to fit this government. Unless agreed by taxpayer referenda requiring a super majority to be renewed each year, there shall be no other tax except tax hypothecated for emergencies. Tax from each taxpayer shall be divided equally between each state and the United States.

3. Elected representatives shall serve for the honour of public service, but not for pay, and shall be subject to term limits at the federal level.

4. Preferences on any grounds or none shall be legal in the private sphere, but illegal in the public sphere.

5. There shall be no public health service, but no child or military veteran shall be denied medical assistance for want of funds.

6. Marriage shall be a wholly private institution. There shall be no legal implication other than the overriding social interest to protect children. Spouses or anyone else may use the law of contract to define any material aspects they wish.

If your first reaction is 'how simplistic', think how the Framers would react to what we have now. Imagine the liberating effect on private enterprise, private charity, civic equality and civic pride.

Update: Barbarian Barney Frank provokes this apt quote from Robert Heinlein in The Corner-
The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a "warm body" democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.... [O]nce a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader — the barbarians enter Rome.

October 17, 2008

In praise of stiff lips

Married to a beautiful New Yorker myself, I've heard Madonna's point of view before:
She says he was “typical of emotionally-stunted British men” and refuses to ever date another Brit. The pal said: “Madonna’s convinced British men are light years behind Americans when it comes to emotional honesty and sophistication.”
And she's right about this retard. I avoid emo-diarrhoea and use reticence to protect real feeling and privacy. Moreover it's bad manners gratuitously to inflict my self on others, unless with wit and bravado. It's not an American/British divide at all, more of an Obama/Palin divide or a child/adult divide about what's at the centre of things. Poor Guy Ritchie. Talk about learning the hard way. If you haven't seen Snatch or Lock,Stock you have 2 delights in front of you.

October 01, 2008

The Shard of Glass

Here's a link to a little video about the projected Shard of Glass, which will be the tallest building in Europe. If you know where to look you can see my flat.

September 30, 2008

Armageddon Shmarmageddon

Drudge has some fine links today:

Kiddies on drugs personify the Obama message

Congress is trying to enact The Communist Manifesto

and most essential 
The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.

The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

In contrast, a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources.

Thoughtful advocates of the bailout might concede this perspective, but they argue that a bailout is necessary to prevent economic collapse. According to this view, lenders are not making loans, even for worthy projects, because they cannot get capital. This view has a grain of truth; if the bailout does not occur, more bankruptcies are possible and credit conditions may worsen for a time.

Talk of Armageddon, however, is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen.

Further, the current credit freeze is likely due to Wall Street's hope of a bailout; bankers will not sell their lousy assets for 20 cents on the dollar if the government might pay 30, 50, or 80 cents.

Put Armageddon on hold

My policy is Victory! I'm long and strong mining and building materials from this morning (or possibly long and wrong, if an even fouler crap sandwich gets enacted in which case I'll bail). Best is complete failure of the Bill To Socialize American Housing and Finance, then getting out of the way so that private American ingenuity and guts can let rip, helped by radical tax cuts and radical spending cuts. Let the government promote a national security driven program, a Homeland Surge, to drill for oil, build clean coal and nuclear power stations and renew infrastructure - pronto, pronto - all with private money like an Anti-Keynes. (I said I was long building materials). That would galvanize the markets and galvanize America with a sense of national purpose for your benefit and our children's instead of a nation which buys pills now to be paid for by our children. The moral disgrace of modern public finance saps morale and purpose.

John McCain, can you hear me? You can lead by adopting a coherent, simple message, my message, the House Republican message, your party's message. Oh and no more compassionate conservatism, it's too cruel.

¡Ay, caramba! or, possibly, Banzai!

September 28, 2008

Snobs' corner (continued)

I mentioned a London thread about the US election before. I'm in it for fun rather than intellectual nourishment. My latest post:
Stephen Fry -
I have often felt a hot flare of shame inside me when I listen to my fellow Britons casually jeering at the perceived depth of American ignorance, American crassness, American isolationism, American materialism, American lack of irony and American vulgarity. Aside from the sheer rudeness of such open and unapologetic mockery, it seems to me to reveal very little about America and a great deal about the rather feeble need of some Britons to feel superior.
Ok, if this is about swapping Youtube clips, here's my offering (much profanity):

September 25, 2008


I want to commend Peter Robinson's video interview with Archbishop Charles Caput of Denver, starting here.

His previous interview with another Christian, the thriller writer Andrew Klavan, was equally exhilarating. I am somewhat irreligious, but I am invigorated by the intelligence and clarity of these men.

Wasting electrons

A RonPauline chess opponent of mine asks:
Why do you defend Palin, so wholly unqualified for high office?

What do you think of the ABC News poll that has Obama 9 points ahead?
I reply:
I'll spell it out tho I know I'm wasting electrons:

1. It is beyond dispute that Palin (business, Mayor, AOGCC, Governor) has more executive experience than Obama and Biden, who have none.

2. It is beyond dispute that Biden is a joke.

3. It is beyond dispute that Obama has the most left-wing voting record in the Senate.

4. It is beyond dispute that Obama killed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois.

5. It is beyond dispute that Obama has never crossed his party as a reformer. Palin rose thru that.

6. It is beyond dispute that Palin is more experienced in competitive elections. 

7. It is beyond dispute that Alaskans (80-86%) regard her as a great success in executive office.

There's much more that is beyond dispute before you get to talking about policy where she is far superior, but that's opinion.

Sam Harris partially quotes and distorts her positions and record and family because, like you, he is deranged on religion and Iraq.

Before you question Palin, who is beyond dispute a successful politician and administrator, you need to obtain credibility by answering points 1-7. Unfortunately for your position those points are unanswerable in good faith and I'm not interested in bad faith moonbatism.

Re the ABC poll:

It may be right.

It may be wrong due to grotesque oversampling of Democrats, bearing in mind that it's ABC.

It may be wrong due to an inverse Bradley effect in polls - that is the tendency towards affirmative action answers.

It may be wrong because it conflicts with this mornings WSJ/NBC poll (48/46)

It may be wrong because modern polls have almost always overstated the Dem Presidential candidate relative to the outcome. This is a structural problem.

Again, it may be right. It may be that the overwhelming dominance of the left-wing and culturally depraved in the mainstream media, academia, the legal profession, unions and government employees has so poisoned America that a blatant fraud like Obama can become President. Good luck.

September 22, 2008

A Different Corner (of Hampstead Heath)

Like many worldly folk, I'm a sap at heart. An uber-kitsch song I get sappy about is A Different Corner by George Michael:

George Michael's real life is notably sordid. This weekend he was successful in getting the police to let him off without charge when he was found carrying drugs for the umpteenth time, including crack cocaine which carries a jail sentence, not to mention all the other gross shenanigans he was getting up to. He wept and pled with the police that a criminal charge would get him banned from performing in America. That worked because he's a celebrity and the UK police are crippled up the wazoo by political correctness so 'cottaging' is mitigation rather than aggravation.

The Sun says:
You risk jail for carrying Class A drugs.But if you are a millionaire rock star called George Michael you can and it’s okay with the cops.It doesn’t matter how many times you have been found comatose behind the wheel of your 4x4 in the middle of the road.Michael, like sleazy Kate Moss, has learned there is no limit to police tolerance of celebrity druggies.

But what does this say to youngsters tempted to try a snort?

I hope the US bans him anyway. It's probably in his own interests, but that doesn't matter. It's certainly in the interests of discouraging others from drugs.

September 20, 2008

"I'm skinny but I'm tough," he says.

President Obama would be an embarrassment to America and friends of America on many levels. Can you imagine Todd Palin, say, telling people "I'm tough"? This is more his style:
[on son leaving for Iraq]: He's been trained for this mission and so we've seen that confidence in that young man. We're, of course, nervous.
Come to think of it, I'd be happy with Todd Palin as President. Politics is not a better preparation for the job than character, self-reliance and a quiet articulacy.

Taxpayers can profit from fear and greed too...

Hank Paulson wasn't head of Goldman Sachs for nothing, I trust. World stock markets are surging this morning, maybe 'exploding' is the right word, because of Hank's plan to form a 'bad' bank that will accept the supposedly toxic paper which is thought to poison the banking system. Can I buy shares in the Big Bad Bank? The US should take this toxic waste at distressed prices, tighten a little the screw on those who took out these mortgages to improve their incentives to perform, then simply reel in the scheduled payments which will way exceed the fraction of bad debts implied in the fire sale price. After a period of superior income returns, the Big Bad Bank can re-package and sell-off the newly nutritious CMO's, then distribute its well-gotten gains to their rightful owners, the American taxpayers. Now that's what I call creative destruction.

Obama is corrupt, McCain is right and wrong

The causes of the credit crisis of 2008 are:

1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extorted and recycled forests of toxic paper for the enrichment of its management and a styload of mostly Democratic pigs, principally Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick. McCain was presciently right to support real privatisation or abolition of Sallie, Fannie and Freddie since 1994 for all the right reasons. Kudos, McCain:
These quasi-public corporations led our housing system down a path where quick profit was placed before sound finance. They institutionalized a system that rewarded forcing mortgages on people who couldn't afford them, while turning around and selling those bad mortgages to the banks that are now going bankrupt. Using money and influence, they prevented reforms that would have curbed their power and limited their ability to damage our economy. And now, as ever, the American taxpayers are left to pay the price for Washington's failure.

Two years ago, I called for reform of this corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress did nothing. The Administration did nothing. Senator Obama did nothing, and actually profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairman of the committee that oversees them. And while Fannie Mae was betraying the public trust, somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent's trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search.
2. Absurdly zealous accounting rules post-Enron leading to valuation at firesale prices of temporarily impaired assets which have much higher real dcf values.

3. A disconnect between ownership of firms and the size and type of risks undertaken by firms, often due to perverse incentives. Contrast the ownership mentality of a Warren Buffet towards Berkshire Hathaway which is now snapping up cheap assets, with the annual bonus mentality of bank CEO's despite their stock options or perhaps because their option allotment depended on annual results which depend on high-volumes of trendy risk (pun intended). Repeat after me: the herd is always wrong eventually, whether it's tulips, emerging market credit spreads, house prices, sub-prime mortgages or prime mortgages. The only exception may be "don't sell America short." That depends on seeing America as an organism with a superior immune system based on free speech and a free market in ideas.

Congress and the Executive are principally to blame. Of course bankers and everyone else will go with the herd to make money. Nearly everyone's real business mission statement is "Make as much money as possible without going to jail." One class that is not to blame is the short sellers. Would that there were more of them. That is where McCain is badly wrong. For example:
Mr. McCain added the wholly unsupported assertion that "speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground." It wasn't very long ago that he blamed speculators on the long side for sky-high oil prices. Then oil prices fell. Now Mr. McCain wants voters to believe speculators are responsible for driving mismanaged financial companies to ruin. The irony is that this critique puts Mr. McCain in the same camp as some of the Wall Street CEOs who have led their firms so poorly. They also want someone (else) to blame.
David Einhorn, who shorted Lehman since July 2007, is a hero.

September 14, 2008

Things in heaven and earth

Here are 2 radiant young female primates. Would you say they were intelligently designed? I don't know, but another thinker on these matters had a stronger opinion:
"I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance."

"...the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist."

"[a man] can be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist"... for himself, he had "never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God". He added that "I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be a more correct description of my state of mind."
It is apparent that Charles Darwin hovered between Theism and Agnosticism, never touching Atheism but inclining towards Intelligent Design. Evolution (which convinces me) is considered evidence against ID, but not by Darwin.

The white house in the photo is Down House near London, where Darwin wrote The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man.

September 11, 2008

Idiot's Guide to the US Presidential Election

Here are the contrasting bios of the candidates in the 2008 Obama/Palin Presidential election:

lawyer/sports reporter
community organiser/mayor
abortion: ok into 4th trimester/not ok
executive experience: none / fishing business, mayor, chair of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, governor
visits to Landstuhl military hospital: 0/1
Motto: "People of Earth! Stop Your Bickering. I Am From Harvard, And I’m Here To Help."/ "Life"

September 10, 2008

VP's on the stump

'I put the state's chequebook on-line for all the world to see':

'Quite frankly Hillary might have been a better pick than me':

September 08, 2008

What is to be done?

Once in a while I skim Dailykos, but can't find stimulation there. Markos Moulitsas has a certain realism and transparency, but the rest are dross. Just dross. Kos today:
Republicans are playing hardball and winning.

Just more evidence that their side plays the game far better than ours. Politics is a contact sport, which puts us at a huge disadvantage when only one side seems to grasp the rules.
Very funny. I won't dwell on the whine, but the realism about the state of play is worthwhile while the rest of his gang mouths propaganda. It's reminiscent of Lenin. The realism is dangerous, but fortunately there's no sense of history, no exiled sister, no hanged brother.

September 06, 2008

A conversation

She - Please don't tell me you actually like the gun-toting 'beauty' queen Sarah Palin whose belief in the sanctity of life apparently doesn't stretch to the animals she kills for fun, where your own once did (but perhaps no longer...? are you even vegetarian these days?)

Me - I do like and admire Sarah Palin, so far. As for hunting, that's bad, but buying a hamburger is worse. You will probably be surprised to find out that her acclaimed speech was written by Matthew Scully who wrote "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy". Yes, I'm an imperfect vegetarian, who occasionally eats fish in social settings.

She - The idea of teaching creationism alongside evolution in schools is bizarre - should we teach every theory for which there is zero evidence? There are not enough hours in the school day.

Me - Intelligent Design isn't applied science it's philosophy and as arguable as the opposite. Evolution, which is certainly correct, doesn't say anything about Intelligent Design. It would bother me more if secularist commissars succeed in banishing ID or its opposite from schools. Creationism is simply a special case of ID. In it's biblical form it's a myth. So what? It would be wrong to teach it as science and if Governor Palin proposed that (she hasn't), she'd be wrong. But the issue doesn't have the intrinsic importance you give it. Its importance derives from its status as a badge for bien pensants who want to shut down non-conformist speech. Voltaire would recognize the syndrome.

She - 'Intelligent design' *has* of course been comprehensively debunked, first by Hume and most recently and eloquently by Dawkins. Anyone with a grasp of probability and natural selection applies Ockham's Razor and says, there is a far simpler and more plausible explanation for this phenomenon than to postulate the existence of a god. Natural selection explains the phenomenon that you perceive as design without postulating the existence of imagined beings to explain it - that is its beauty. You might as well postulate the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster if you refuse to accept that the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true.

Me - No. ID and Natural Selection don't conflict at all as ideas. Natural Selection explains a tiny subset of the organized universe. Occam's Razor cuts both ways. If I find an apparent artefact, the simplest explanation is that somebody made it.

She - G. K. Chesterton puts it best: "One elephant having a trunk was odd; but all elephants having trunks looked like a plot." Complexity does not imply design. Even if it did (which it doesn't), it would not imply the existence of a Christian god, any god, or any being whose existence is continuing. I can feel you itching to come out of the Christian closet...

Me - I'm not in any closet, WYSIWYG. What I do see is that free thought and free expression is far more threatened by the modern secularists than by Christians. Dawkins by the way is ultimately agnostic about ID, like me.

Apple should run this ad

Mick Stockinger of Uncorrelated posts on Microsoft's $300m ad campaign with Jerry Seinfeld:

It's probably hilarious to a 'Seinfeld' afficionado, and I can tell there's something there, but it's over my head. You have to feel sorry for Bill Gates. It shows a disfunctional business bringing out an ad about, well, nothing, to go with an operating system about, well, nothing.

September 05, 2008

One day later

One day later, after McCain's fatherly speech, Sarah Palin seems even more significant. She is the future. I suppose that's what others see in Obama. Thatcherites like me are projecting their hopes onto her as liberals project onto Obama. Suddenly, if McCain loses, Palin is front-runner for 2012 nominee. In a way we want to hurry up and get there, skipping over the honourable old man, but the chemistry between McCain and Palin may be special enough that this VP has real power. She'd be an operator with a mandate and a hinterland. This piece by the admirable Barbara Amiel, who is going through her own Purgatory as is Thatcher, makes interesting play with the Thatcher/Palin idea. It reminds me of François Mitterand's aperçu about Thatcher: she has the eyes of Caligula and the lips of Marilyn Monroe.

McCain's speech

I gave up after 24 minutes. He's not wrong, just boring, which may be effective in the context. My mind kept drifting to McCain's betrayals of conservatism like the Gang of 14 and shamnesty and Global Warming and offshore drilling (against, now for) and ANWR (still against) and populist slurs on speculation and Big Oil. I trust his sincerity, but not his understanding of the abstractions which underpin good, stickable, co-ordinated policy. That appreciation took Thatcher through fire. Let's face it, President McCain will need perpetually to be corraled by conservatives, but I don't know what leverage they'll have. Maybe McCain's finally internalised that the msm is a pit of snakes rather than a political base, so that he'll get his kicks from sticking it up them instead of sticking it up conservatives.

September 04, 2008

A star is born

Piper Palin has my heart. She's almost as scrumptious as my youngest. Seeing her lick her hand to wet down Trig's hair made me want to lean into the screen and kiss her.

This whole process is like watching a body that seemed beaten start to fight off a wasting disease. A lot more is being played out here than a Presidential election in America.

Snobs' corner

I've let myself be drawn into battle with British liberals here in a thread about the US election.

Over lawyered

VDH points out that:
every Democratic presidential nominee for president and vice president in the last seven elections — except Gore, who dropped out of law school to run for Congress — has been a lawyer.
Can't resist it: You have a rifle, 2 bullets and face a lawyer and a charging tiger. What do you do? You shoot the lawyer twice to make sure he's dead.

August 25, 2008

Ping pong is coming home

Most of the show around the London Olympics makes me cringe, especially the pc propaganda for 'diversity', cripples as athletes, ant-like communitarianism, wrinkly heavy metal, effeminate male performers, visual cliche's of London buses and bobbies and so on. So the Mayor of London to the rescue in Beijing last night, effortlessly upstaging the PM, David Beckham and Seb Coe:

August 23, 2008

The audacity of verbosity

So where did Obama do his on-the-job training? Berlin? Maui?

I've been wrong in all my 2008 election predictions so far (Romney, Bayh, Kaine, Hillaryputsch), tho I may yet be right that McCain will sweep all 57 states. So here's my instant assessment of Biden as Obama's running mate, based as usual on 5 minutes research:

Now I understand what 'vetting' means. It means picking an admitted plagiarist (both at law school and running for the Presidency), an admitted multi-point liar (running for the Presidency), a man who has no resume' other than in the US Senate where he's been pontificating since 1973...that's his adult life, a US Senator for 35 years...a man with no charisma, no executive experience, no cross-party appeal, no appeal to Clintonistas, he's not a woman, he's a faux-Catholic with a 100% NARAL rating, a noted gasbag and gaffebag who says Obama isn't ready to be commander-in-chief. 'Vetting', eh?

Obviously picking Biden says that Obama feels his own main deficit is zip credibility in foreign relations, but no-one in his party has any whiff of credibility in foreign relations except Hillary, so he should have gone for someone who could charm the Hillary wolves ladies a little...any of Sebelius, Bayh or Kaine...because the pack's going to howl for McCain now.

Update: I just replaced a different video clip with the one above from Team McCain. There's blood in the water now. How do you feel if you're a Democrat waking up to this news and that video? You see Obama's eyes slowly close like a man hearing a death sentence, you realize that Obama has thought long and hard and yet chose Biden, knowing this clip is there so he must be desperate, you realize that Team McCain are pretty competent at sliding the blade between Obama's ribs, the blade he's just given them, and you're waiting for the Obama comeback, but it isn't there, nothing's there, only "a speech that he gave in 2002", and the Convention's convening and the Clintons hate Obama and it shows. A politician doesn't die from knife wounds, but from the gangrene of ridicule. Obama's hair will be white come November. Maybe there will be a Hillaryputsch after all.

Update 2: It's funny how Obama made the VP announcement in European time, giving me the drop on my merely American colleagues. This is fun. Every conservative comment is happy, every liberal comment is wary or rebellious. I didn't realize Biden has hairplugs. It's over, folks. All McCain has to do is not pick Lieberman, Ridge or Michael Moore or Hillary Clinton for veep...even then.

August 22, 2008

You read it here

Been chatting with a RINO friend (just teasing, Chris) who's been chatting with a liberal friend. The image of Obama opposite Putin disqualifies Obama plain and simple in their eyes, so I confidently forecast that McCain will sweep all 57 states.

August 21, 2008

The least of my brothers

Barack Hussein Obama:
I think America's greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we still don't abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.

George Hussein Obama:
"When you have a brother who wants to be the number one most important person in the world, it obviously gives you a lot of inspiration," Mr Obama, 26, said at his corrugated tin shack in a Nairobi slum.

August 20, 2008

Talking heads..

..and exploding heads:

Print the t-shirts

Obama's the One


Obama - Raise taxes, kill babies.
McCain - Kill taxes, raise babies.

from comments here

August 18, 2008

What's the nice way to kill a Presidential candidacy?

Let the candidate do it himself:

I asked "What's the nice way to kill a child?" and "What's the nice way to lie about killing a child?". Now the issue is going critical and may finish Obama off. He's been caught stone cold in the Big Lie that those who said he voted to deny care to babies who survive abortion are lying. This clip is a year old, but do watch it:

Advance, Australia fair

As an equal-opportunity sexist and the father of a tribe of Anglo-Australian beauties, I'm pleased to see that chivalry lives on in Australia's heart:
The mayor of a remote Australian mining town has come under fire after saying that female "ugly ducklings" might benefit from its shortage of women.
John Molony told a newspaper last week that "with five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa".

"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness," he said.
"Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits.."
My own daughters are beyond compare and if I could sell them, I'd be very rich....but have you noticed how often Australian women look like wombats, either the common wombat or the hairy-nosed wombat? This is a hairy-nosed wombat :

Some biologists say it's convergent evolution, some say it's miscegenation. I call it 'wombatitude.'

August 17, 2008


Let's be careful where we draw our lines in the sand. Here are mine:

-Iran no nukes, thru any means short of occupation.
-Israel should be in Nato - ie we'd go to war.
-Georgia and Ukraine - not in NATO, we should not go to war with Russia for the sake of these countries who have not gone to war for us (small forces in Iraq don't cut it) and who are not of vital interest to us. Other pressures, yes. Aid, yes.
-Poland, we should defend. Other Baltic states, maybe.

If you want peace prepare for war, but choose your ground carefully and make it very clear where the line is well in advance. Do not box your opponent in just because it feels good.

Remember the only countries with martial spirit and expertise are the USA and the UK. Token gestures from the parasites in NATO will be no comfort in battle.

America the miserable

The Warren interviews were crammed with direct comparisons between the candidates to McCain's great advantage, but both were weak on the question "What is America's greatest moral failure?"
Obama said America's greatest moral failure is its insufficient help to the disadvantaged. He noted that the Bible quotes Jesus as saying "whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me."
To Obama this means
"whatever government compels you to do for the least of my brothers, you do for me."
Apart from his slander on America, Obama's misreading of Christ defines socialism.
McCain said the nation's greatest moral shortcoming is its failure to "devote ourselves to causes greater than our self-interests."
That's piffle because it's untrue and double-piffle because were it true of government it would be a good, republican thing.

The right answer is
"America's greatest moral failure would be to elect a sophomoric bullshitter as President."

August 12, 2008

Grey lady or bag lady?

Like junk says Bloomberg:
Like Junk
Credit-default swaps used to speculate on New York Times' creditworthiness or to hedge against losses are trading as if the company already was rated junk, according to data from Moody's credit strategy group.

August 11, 2008

'You don't win anything with kids'

Alan Hansen, ex captain of Liverpool FC, is the best-known football pundit in Britain. Dour, battle-hardened, vastly experienced at the top level...the man speaks with authority and his best known saying is "You don't win anything with kids" referring to the arduous Premier League Championship.

Well maybe I'm overexposed to the news, but it seems to me that this kerfuffle in Georgia has done for Obama. No non-pacifist grown-up can think that America is safer with Team Obama facing Putin rather than Team McCain. You don't win anything with kids.

I wish there were a YouTube clip of Hansen saying it, but this may raise a smile:


Saddam invades Kuwait - surprise!
9/11 - surprise!
Russia invades Georgia - surprise!

State Department, led by a Russian specialist, 'We know nothing.'
CIA, 'It happened fast.'

McCain's shown an impressively sure touch so far:
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations now at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said: “What is interesting about the US response is that you have the McCain campaign in one corner immediately understanding the significance of Russia’s aggression and in the opposite you have the Bush administration standing with the Obama campaign taking a much more diluted stance.”
Bolton of course should be SecState in a McCain administration which might lead to State starting to work for America. Tough on State, tough on the Dems who wouldn't confirm him as Ambassador to the UN.

Egosyntonic thinking

Obama repels me. He's a metrosexual phony unworthy of America's history and unworthy of the time. His base is a coalition of 'victims', emos, litigators, narcissists and corporatists. Not my type, not my types. So I may not be objective when I forecast:

1.The present optics of Obama in Hawaii giving spastic interviews to Marie-Claire while Georgia burns and McCain's ads drill into liberal insecurities, them optics is bad. Everyone can see the Clintons despise Him. Therefore I forecast the next polls will show McCain ahead.
2. Liberals can be rational actors. They ditched Dean for the less histrionic Kerry. It would be irrational to gamble the next 4, maybe 8 years of the Presidency on an untested, gaffe-prone, poor debater with terrible baggage who already lags his aged, grumpy opponent in the polls according to my thesis, while the Comeback Couple are tapping their toes at the edge of the spotlight. Man, they won elections and didn't get us killed in office. Man. Bill's blacker than Obama. Man, that Hillary is tough. Maybe this is the time for a pantsuit rather than a pantiwaist. Therefore, I predict an overt attempt to ditch Obama for the Clintons. James Carville, say, could throw a pebble to start a landslide.

My brain says, please keep Obama, he'll be squished in November. My mean streak says, squish him now.

Update: La Huffington frets and she loves the guy:
After a primary campaign in which the Obama camp skillfully went right at Hillary Clinton's strength -- her experience -- and used it to paint her as an entrenched, part-of-the-problem D.C. insider, it's been shocking to watch Team Obama cede to McCain national security and the war on terror -- his supposed strengths.

Making matters worse, they've taken this approach while McCain's Rove-trained message mavens have succeeded in turning one of Obama's real strengths into a negative - continuously reframing the fact that Obama is popular as just empty celebrity.

It's absurd, but it's worked. At least for the moment. Meanwhile, the public's perception of McCain as "ready to lead" on national security issues sits there, untouched.

...come November, national security will once again trump every issue...

Danse macabre

When Putin watches Obama campaign for Commander-In Chief by wiggling his hips at Ellen De Generes, he must feel like a snake watching an insouciant mouse. While the radical chic voters of America get their psycho-sexual thrills from Obama, the world turns. McCain is right to hold the mirror up to infantile America for the whole country to see:

Where's the vast right-wing conspiracy when you need it?

Seems Hillary would be the Nominee had the mainstream media committed journalism on John Edwards.

What's the nice way to to lie about kill a child?

Someone who kills a child born alive despite an abortion is depraved. Someone who kills a child 5 minutes before the child is born is also depraved. I don't give a monkey's whether the child is born or not, it's a distinction without a difference. Barack Obama says he'd have voted to make it illegal to kill babies born alive despite an abortion except that the bill's text didn't neutralize the implications with respect to Roe v Wade. This is sophistry on stilts, but put that aside. It turns out that this depraved bullshitter lied even about that.

August 07, 2008

Like a hell broth boil and bubble

I also like this passage in the American Thinker article cited by Anne:
It looks like Obama's belief in his inevitability may have led him into a blunder, making it easier for Hillary supporters to prevent a nomination on the first ballot. After that point, anything goes, as all super delegates and many pledged delegates are free to vote their preferences.

After accepting the party's decision last June to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida but with half votes, only days ago Obama said he wanted the delegates to have full votes

Obviously, he said this believing he has won the nomination and that pandering to voters in critical general election states is of more importance.

If the party goes along with Obama's request, it reduces the number of super delegates who would need to sit out the first ballot for Obama to be denied the nomination, opening the way for Clinton! Ouch!

This is proof that the man should not be negotiating with Ahmadinejad. If he cannot think strategically and recognize his vulnerability to a last minute ambush at the convention, he would be eaten alive in big league world affairs.

Worst of all, in his letter to the Credentials Committee arguing in favor of full votes for the two delegations, he writes:

Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction.

These words tacitly argue for acceptance of the popular vote results in those states. Obama cannot see one step ahead, for adding them to the vote count would give the Democratic primary season popular vote majority to Hillary.

There are about three weeks to the delegate voting. Things can still happen or even, as sometimes suspected with the Clintons, be made to happen.
You know that The Comeback Kid is muttering incantations right now. It wouldn't take much magic, just a couple more major gaffes by the Obamas and a downtrend in the polls, to induce a change in the msm's religion. If you were the New York Times, having burnt your boats with McCain with false innuendo about an affair with a lobbyist, it might be the lesser risk to start a drumbeat of doubt about a weakened Obama. If McCain is smart (I know, I know), he'll ease back on Obama till the nomination. Hillary is more formidable. The comic possibilities of Obama as underdog on a Clinton/Obama ticket are delicious to contemplate. Hubble, bubble:

August 05, 2008

Retro-authentic is fashionable

Evan Bayh - first impressions

There's talk that Obama will announce Evan Bayh to join his ticket, maybe tomorrow. I believe it. I'd never registered Bayh, so I had no preconceptions other than the routine contempt I have for any modern Democratic senator, especially one who voted against Roberts and Alito. My first impressions, based on a couple of YouTube clips and his Wikipedia entry are super-superficial and therefore fresh and valuable.

Bayh would have been a better nominee than Hillary or Obama. His relative centrism on Iraq and the economy is where Obama is staggering towards. He's a 2-term governor too. Now that Obama's bullshitterism, weathervane-ism, vapidity, liberal fascism, stuttering and pathetic resume are getting rumbled by the public and even the press, Bayh would be an asset.

Against him is his repellent John Edwards haircut and his smoothness. He's fluent, adroit and can think on his feet, unlike Obama, which may disqualify him. A running mate who looks better than his principal is hard to pick. That's probably McCain's biggest problem with Romney, but McCain is a bigger man than Obama. If McCain picks Cantor then the Bayh/Cantor contest might get interesting as mud-wrestling packs more of a frisson when the players start off looking respectable, but it will probably be boring; 2 conventionally handsome, fluent young pols positioning themselves for 2012 and beyond. Since my knowledge of Cantor is a single YouTube clip, it's especially worthwhile.

Bayh's oiliness is on display at the opening of this clip:

July 30, 2008

Liberal traditions

"I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

Object oriented justice

A few moments' glance at this interview shows Gary McKinnon as a likeable nut, but he's about to be smashed by a sledgehammer wielded by thugs:
This London hacker will now be extradited to the US to be prosecuted for hacking into NASA/Pentagon systems. He faces 70 years in jail. The details of damage claimed in the extradition seem blatantly trumped up and the critical impetus seems to be embarrassment at the criminal incompetence of the US in safeguarding its own systems. (The UK is no better as numerous instances show of briefcases of secrets left in trains ). The atmospherics are that the US-UK extradition treaty is resented in the UK given that Congress failed for years to ratify it apparently to shield IRA terrorists in the US whose murders used to be seen as political acts and given the indifference to justice which is rampant in high profile US persecutions.

McKinnon committed this "biggest military computer hack of all time" using a dial-up modem and blank passwords.
...he did admit that he hacked into dozens of US government computer systems. In fact, he calmly detailed just how easy it was to access extremely sensitive information in those systems.
"I found out that the US military use Windows," said Mr McKinnon in that BBC interview. "And having realised this, I assumed it would probably be an easy hack if they hadn't secured it properly."
Using commercially available software, Mr McKinnon probed dozens of US military and government networks. He found many machines without adequate password or firewall protection. So, he simply hacked into them.
The recent shenanigans of US prosecutors in rebus Conrad Black, Lt.Col. Chessani, Hank Greenberg and many other cases have brought US justice into disrepute among Yankophiles like me. The rot of course starts at the top with the grotesque social engineering agenda of the US Supreme Court.

July 29, 2008

From the war against the West

Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani appears to be the subject a political prosecution on charges of covering up the deaths of civilians at Haditha in Iraq.
....The government is doing everything it can to convict LtCol Chessani. He is the political scapegoat they must convict to satisfy Murtha and the press.

The vast resources of the military are at its disposal. The number of military investigators is virtually limitless. Government prosecutors can go anywhere, talk to anyone, and get anything, all at government expense. The Marine command structure is mandated to cooperate.

So far, the government has spent millions of our taxpayer dollars, employed over 65 Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents ─ the largest investigation in that agency’s history ─ and granted immunity to scores of witnesses, all in their attempt to make Jeffrey and the “Haditha Marines” political scapegoats.
If you want to defend a brave man who has defended us click here.

July 27, 2008

Richard Dawkins in a nutshell

The most famous atheist isn't actually an atheist, but he is intellectually honest about it. On a scale of 1-7 of atheism he's only a 6, he says, after all he's a scientist. I have a friend whose self-description as 'local atheist, universal agnostic' fits Dawkins. Tho unimpressed myself by secular humanism, I am impressed by Dawkins when he's not propounding his jejune views on Bush and Iraq. Here's a routine knockout punch by a master:


Polls say 'Obama'

July 25, 2008

You can judge a man by his friends

The sound of air escaping

My instinct tells me that Obama's balloon is overinflated, but at least he has the internet sewn up, right? Wrong:

"When I'm 65"

Happy Birthday tomorrow to one likeable old age pensioner. He and I were both born in Dartford, Kent. Many more, Mick. Here's an attractive Charlie Rose interview:

Obama bombs in Berlin

Says who? Says me. Germans see an anti-Bush, apologizing for America's crimes against the world. I see an image forming, even among journalists, of a callow yet grandiose candidate. The contrast of Obama's sermon to his fellow 'citizens of the world' with his non-show at a US military hospital because he couldn't make it a campaign stop is pretty vile. I still forecast a McCain landslide on the basis that Americans aren't stupid. Next polls will show McCain gaining or I'm a banana and America has mush for brains.

July 24, 2008

Bravo McCain!

Give him credit, he knows how to fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are compromising America's credit-worthiness:
If elected, I'll continue my crusade for the right reform of the institutions: making them go away.

See also Paul Gigot for the lowdown on this gargantuan slice of crony capitalism:
The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans.

July 23, 2008

Does bullshit float?

Obama has good teeth, a pleasant baritone and is good-looking but not a pretty boy. That's it. If this piece of fluff becomes President, America may gain affection among the infantile of all ages, but will lose the respect of adults.

Obama appeals to the gullible and puerile......the press who claims they know better and are more sophisticated are, in fact, far more infantile than most Americans
Maestro Mick:
Almost everyday I find myself incredulous at his vapid statements. Of course what's really remarkable isn't Obama himself, but the moronic media elite who should be euthanized as genetic failures for whom continued life would be cruel.

I find myself losing respect for the American people and democracy itself...
Even a Senator as inattentive to his duties as Obama certainly knows what committees he serves on. For him to fabricate the claim, out of whole cloth, that the Senate Banking Committee is "[his] committee," strikes me as another sign of Obama's megalomania. That, plus more evidence that he is totally at sea without a teleprompter.
America, I'm going to clap my hands and you will wake up. Clintons,Wright,Obama,Moore, these people are grotesques, bright, shining, strutting grotesques. It's not politics as normal, it's fart in your face farce. What do you need? Stick-on noses, clown shoes, Krusty the Clown as running mate?

The long Dark Knight

The Joker is somewhat scintillating, another Loki character to haunt our time, but the rest of the film is leaden, lacking wit or originality. The good-guy trio of Bale, Caine and Freeman is just cringemakingly scripted. I like comic-strip art, especially Gotham gothic, but it needs flair and conviction. This is just actors acting and a director directing. Another view.

July 17, 2008

A trillion here, a trillion there...

...and pretty soon you're talking real money. The USA's triple-A credit rating is coming into question. Outfits like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM, AIG, Citigroup, which once were beyond question, may now get sunk by terrible risk management.

When you consider that Obama. Reid, Pelosi and McCain have all beclowned themselves on oil prices plus the tax and spend dna of both parties in America plus the depressed currency, you do have to wonder whether it's time for a downgrade. It happened to Japan.

What's the nice way to kill a child?

The words Samir Kuntar became famous yesterday. They sound as a curse when you read what eyewitnesses saw him do to a father and his child.

What do you call someone who denies help to babies who survive abortion?

h/t Jill Stanek
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he be cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
h/t Jesus Christ.

July 15, 2008

Bada bing

At a fundraiser in New Mexico last night, McCain cracked this joke at Romney’s expense: “I’m appreciative every time I see Mitt on television on my behalf. He does a better job for me than he did for himself as a matter of fact.” Bada bing. If McCain can start joking about someone, you know they've made it into his mental inner circle. Romney may very well be higher on the short list than anyone realizes. The biggest roadblock for many in picturing a McCain-Romney ticket is McCain getting over his personal reservations about him. But joking about him is a start.

h/t The Corner

..and Romney would do a better job for McCain than McCain does for himself.

July 14, 2008

Drilling thru stupidity

If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither,'' Obama's campaign said in a statement today.

What follows is so obvious that it makes my eyes bleed to say it: present oil prices are high because people project expectations back into the present. The expectation is that Asian demand and the stupidity of American government will expand faster than the supply of oil. Should present actions overturn the future stupidity piece of expectations, then present prices would drop.

An analogy for a would-be Commander In Chief is: imagine you are fighting a terror campaign against America and getting terribly beaten and expect to get terribly beaten in future, then you'd stop now. But suppose America told you that in 6 months it may retreat from the battlefield, then rather than stop, you'd murder as hard as you can now to encourage America to decide to retreat. Altogether now, children and Nominees for the Presidency: " Long-term expectations dictate present choices and present prices".

Update: Aaaargh!
Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on President Bush's announcement lifting the executive ban on drilling in protected coastal areas:

"Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil.

"The Bush plan is a hoax. It will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy independence. It just gives millions more acres to the same companies that are sitting on nearly 68 million acres of public lands and coastal areas.

"If the President wants to bring down prices in the next two weeks, not the next two decades, he should free our oil by releasing a small portion of the more than 700 million barrels of oil we have put in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Present supply of crude oil is not tight (eg prompt prices are lower than forward prices), so to release SPR crude oil onto the market will merely increase the expectation of government stupidity and probably raise prices. The bs about big oil sitting on government land (she means the right to explore which has been bought in competitive auction and which expires) is refuted here.

July 13, 2008

That explains a lot

McCain can't use the internet, so he can't do the type of rapid survey of facts and reactions which is second nature to most people interested in politics. That may explain his tone deafness and msm-reliance on issues like ANWR, global warming, immigration and other 'maverick' (ie anti-conservative) stances. I can see how it might be a good thing to to have an internet illiterate President, but the implication that he's merely doddery and intellectually incurious won't win votes.

He needs Romney badly.

July 12, 2008

Rest in peace, Tony Snow

What a great Press Secretary! His critique of Bush was pretty good tho. Eg:
On the policy side, he has become a classical dime-store Democrat. He gladly will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start. He seems to consider it mean-spirited to shut down programs that rip-off taxpayers and mislead supposed beneficiaries

July 04, 2008

Ultra-light blogging

I'm on vacation in a lakehouse in Maine...swimming at the bottom of the garden,boating,no sand,no sharks,cheaper than the Jersey shore,less sunburn.