Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Law enforcement agency conceals Trayvon Martin criminal records

July 14, 2013

Sanford Police Department publicly stated, after Martin’s death on February 26, 2012, that the youngster had no criminal record whatsoever; that he was a good kid, a mild mannered kid. This was a flat-out lie, albeit one swallowed eagerly by a media desperate to find yet another white on black murder.

What really happened was that Martin had the singular good affirmative action fortune to attend school in the Miami-Dade School District, the fourth largest district in the country, and one of a very few that has its own police department.As part of its mission – egged on by President Obama and leading black activists – M-DSPD introduced a policy of diverting offending students,especially black males, from the criminal justice system.

To this end they suspended black male criminals for varying periods from school, while falsely registering their crimes as school infringements. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school in this manner on two occasions. On the first occasion, he was apprehended with a box of burglary tools in his possession together a large collection of stolen women’s jewels. On the second occasion, he was apprehended with marijuana and drug equipment in his possession.

If this information had been presented in court, during the Zimmerman trial, it would have imposed an entirely different perspective on the criminal background of Trayvon Martin. However the six white women jury was never granted the respect of accessing that information.

So all credit to the jury for seeing through the lies of the black activists howling for Zimmerman’s conviction. Sadly, the story is yet far from over. Media pressure is building across the country to ignore double-jeopardy protection for acquitted defendants, to use civil rights litigation to place Zimmerman on trial again, no doubt on this occasion with an all-black jury selected by Al Sharpton.

Spitzer and Weiner should learn from John Profumo

July 13, 2013

Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner are just two low-grade amoral politicians who abused their offices during the past few years. Spitzer abused his position as Governor of New York to rack up some $87,000 in payouts to high-end call girls. Weiner used his position as a U.S. Congressman to mail out photographs of his naked genitals to supposed female admirers. Both men were married at the time. Both wives – in Lady Macbeth roles of career advancement – followed the appalling example of Hillary Clinton in standing by their men. Both Spitzer and Weiner initially lied about their behavior. Both ultimately were nailed, and resigned their positions. But not for long. Like Gary Hart, following his Monkey-Business debacle, they are both running again.

Fifty years ago, in the spring and summer of 1963, an English scandal erupted involving John Profumo, Secretary of State for War in the government of Harold Macmillan. Profumo, aged 48, had become involved with a loose set of people who gathered at Clivedon, the country estate of the Astor family. At a pool party, hosted by the society doctor, he met a young woman, 19-year old Christine Keeler, who was either a dancer or prostitute, depending on who one spoke to. They commenced an affair, which was over by 1962. Keeler was romantically involved, during that period, with Yevgeny Ivanov, the Soviet Naval attache assigned to London. All mature adults were aware that such a person must be a Soviet spy.

Profumo was caught out, and lied, just like Spitzer and Weiner. On the advice of his movie-star wife, he then came clean and resigned his position. Profumo – humiliated on every front page as an adulterer, a liar and a war minister who consorted with enemy spies – was finished. What would he now do? Surely he never stood for public office again. Profumo, unlike Spitzer and Weiner, had a conscience. He wanted to repay his moral debt to England.

He removed himself to a poor, run-down settlement house, called Toynbee Hall, in the East End of London.There he engaged in social work of the lowest order, washing dishes and cleaning toilets. He visited prisons for the criminally insane, helped with housing for the poor, and worker education. This was not for show. he worked at Toynbee Hall in that manner for the following 40 years, until he was 88 years of age.

Now there is a real man whose wife should be proud to stand by him. When he died in 2006, at the age of 91, the front pages of all Britain’s newspapers wrote about him with respect, even awe. He had truly redeemed himself, through humility and genuine public service.

When I view photographs of Spitzer and Weiner cavorting before the media with no sign of humility or conscience, it makes me want to vomit. For I know full well what they were, still are, and will be for the remainder of their wretched lives.

“When they caught him makin’ whooppee
And the campaign had to cease
Gary went into seclusion
He just had to find some peace.
He’s been out in Colorado
Since I can’t remember when
But he must be gettin’ horny
Cause he’s runnin’once again.

So he’s running into the Politics Game
Yes, he running into the politics game
Warren Beatty told him ‘lookie’
You can get a lot of nookie
If you get into the politics game.

John Denver, The Ballad of Gary Hart.

Hat Tip: Peggy Noonan, ‘How to Find Grace After Disgrace’, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2013

More on Edward Snowden

July 12, 2013

Today, Edward Snowden has accepted all three offers of political asylum – from Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela. He has applied for asylum in Russia until such time as his safe passage to Latin America can be secured. It is difficult to reach any of the three destinations from Russia without flying through United States or European territories

What a sorry situation this has become. A patriot who has alerted all countries including his own of massive surveillance by the United states government, is stranded until some method can be developed to get him out of Obama’s flight interceptions.

One method springs immediately to my mind. Vladimir Putin may decide to make a state visit to one of those countries, flying in his own Air Force One. Because of what happened recently to the President of Bolivia, Putin might let it be known that Russian advanced fighter planes will protect his flight from interference of any kind.

Then see how quickly President Obama and his international cronies will climb down and allow the flight to proceed.

DC Council sells its citizens down the river

July 11, 2013

Washington, DC minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, already higher than most states across America. District residents are poorly served by low-priced big retail stores. For several years, a sequence of mayors has tried to lure Walmart to the District. Three Walmart stores are currently under construction. Three more are planned.

Yesterday, the DC Council vented its hatred of Walmart by passing new legislation by an 8 to 5 vote. The Council Bill would raise the minimum wage on retailers with stores of at least 75,000 square feet, requiring that such retailers must pay a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Except that all existing big retailers and unionized retailers – like Safeway and Giant – are exempt from the hike. Only Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto stands in the way of this discriminatory legislation.

Walmart has responded immediately by cancelling the three newstores, should the bill become law. It is reviewing its contracts to determined whether to abort the three stores under construction. No wonder Congress is more than reluctant to grant DC statehood. What manner of corruption and ineptitude would follow when an electoral majority is completely devoid of forward-looking intelligence

Perverse foreclosure laws wreck Las Vegas housing market

July 10, 2013

It is a well-known historical fact that most governments – democratic or autocratic – introduce perverse laws. Ignoring the law of unintended consequences, thoughtless, ill-educated politicians produce laws that achieve the exact opposite of their explicit objective.

Few lawmakers, however, can bathe in the infamy of Nevada, a gamblers’ state whose residents gambled excessively on the housing market bubble that burst in 2007. Las Vegas confronted one of the most serious house foreclosure consequences of this gamble. Well, as a signature gambling state, the Nevada legislature gambled one again, recording another spectacular loss in the arena of the American housing dream.

Between 2002 and 2006, house prices doubled in Las Vegas with many buyers making zero or minimal deposits, and confronting the sketchiest of income and asset evaluations. From 2007 through 2012, average house prices collapsed 62 per cent, driving many households into foreclosure and short sale. What is required in such circumstances is a swift and efficient foreclosure system, removing those who cannot pay their mortgages out of home ownership and into the rental market, allowing house prices to fall quickly to their bottom, and thus encouraging a new inflow of more affluent home owners.

The State of Nevada rejected outright this solution. New legislation – in the form of A.B. 284 – threatens criminal penalties for bank officials who do not follow new rules to certify that foreclosures are processed properly. Further, it makes it a felony for any one who makes a false representation concerning real estate title. Worse still, the wording of the new law, rushed through the legislature, is highly ambiguous. Severe penalties apply to vaguely defined crimes.

The Nevada law simply stopped foreclosures cold. In October 2011, the first month after the law took effect, lenders filed just 600 notices of default, an 88 per cent drop from the previous month. By May 2013, foreclosed homes, which accounted for half of all homes sold in Las Vegas since 2007, accounted for only 11 per cent of home sales. Many mortgage holders have gone 60 or more months without making any mortgage payment and still remain in their homes, without any notification of foreclosure proceedings.

As a perverse consequence of the foreclosure seizure, Las Vegas now has only 4.300 previously owned homes listed for sale, down 70 per cent from two years ago. New home sales, in contrast, are up 87 per cent so far this year. The number of new building permits issued this year is up 52 per cent from last year.

Because mortgages for these new homes are extremely difficult to come by – the consequence of A.B. 284 – most of the new homes purchases are by cash buyers, many of whom are aiming to flip their purchases in order to re-sell at higher prices driven by the foreclosure seize-up of the existing housing stock.

So the New Nevada law has effectively destroyed the market in existing houses and driven a rising bubble in new house construction. When this second bubble bursts – as burst it surely will if ever the existing stock of houses comes onto the market – Las Vegas will be right back in 2007, with an even larger stock in houses that should, but will not be, foreclosed.

Well, it is the gamblers’ city. The game is in play and the tables load up until the dealer calls out : ‘Rien ne vas plus“!

If Obama keeps his promise, he will pardon Edward Snowden

July 9, 2013

“In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama called upon ‘We the People’ to preserve America’s ideals of individual freedom and equality.’ When Edward Snowden disclosed the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes, he was rising to this challenge. Like the nation’s ‘founding fathers’, hw was also defying the usurpations of an increasingly intrusive government. Mr. Obama should therefore call off the campaign to apprehend him and offer Mr. Snowden a pardon instead.” Stephen Walt*, ‘Snowden deserves an immediate presidential pardon’, Financial Times, July 9, 2013

“Mr. Snowden’s motives were laudable: he believed fellow citizens should know their government was conducting a secret surveillance programme enormous in scope, poorly supervised and possibly unconstitutional. He was right….Once a secret surveillance system exists, it is only a matter of time before someone abuses it for selfish ends. Richard Nixon kept his own ‘enemies list’ and used the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on american citizens. Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, J. Edgar Hoover, helped keep himself in office by collecting dirt on officials.” Stephen Walt*,ibid.

“Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush pardoned the officials who conducted the illegal Iran-Contra affair, and Mr. Obama has already pardoned several convicted embezzlers and drug dealers. Surely Mr Snowden is as deserving of mercy as these miscreants. Pardoning him would also show that Mr. Obama’s rhetorical commitment to ‘We the People’, and to open and transparent government, is not just empty words.” Stephen Walt*, ibid.

* Stephen Walt is Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University

When it comes to macro-economic forecasting, LSE failure breeds LSE success

July 8, 2013

“During a briefing on 5 November 2008 – conducted with big wall-chart graphs – about the ongoing ‘financial crunch’, the Queen dropped a (bombshell) question on the assembled throng of academics. ‘If these things were so large, how come everyone missed them?’ The venue (the LSE) was certainly a highly pertinent place for the Queen to ask the question about macroeconomic forecasting, as in the previous year (2007-8) the LSE had been the largest single institutional recipient of UK taxpayer finance for economic/econometric research funnelled via the Economic and Social Research Committee (ESRC a quango, 100% taxpayer-financed). Moreover, it is now openly admitted by a leading (and Nobel laureate) economist at the LSE, Professor Christopher Pissarides, that he and others at the LSE (and elsewhere) had failed to foresee the nature, timing and severity of the crunch.

what has the ESRC actually done?…at an (announced) cost to taxpayers of 5 million pounds sterling, it has set up a new Centre for Macroeconomics, based on LSE and chaired by Christopher Pissarides, but also encompassing (we are told) University College, London, Cambridge University, the Bank of England, the NIESR, and ‘other leading global institutions’ (read a charmed circle of selected insiders’. John Burton, http:// http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/more-macro-quackery

LSE has learned well how to make big money out of its major intellectual failures. Would this happen if the monies had to be raised from private sources? What do you think, dear readers.

Islamic theocracies cannot survive economically in the global economy

July 7, 2013

In a distinctly bad sign for the future of Egypt, the military dictatorship buckled to appease Islamic fundamentalists yesterday, rejecting a secular candidate for Prime Minister after earlier announcing that he had been appointed to that position.

From the perspective of my column posted yesterday, this sets a disastrous precedent. Theocracies fare badly economically in the modern world. Islamic theocracies are also fundamentally hostile to any true concept of democracy.The reason for this is that Islam as a religion is still trapped in the 14th century. Sharia law is viewed as supreme over any secular thinking. And the idea that an illiterate 7th century Prophet can determine institutions required for a modern global world economy is simply ludicrous. It is equivalent to believing that the pre-Reformation Spanish Inquisition could provide good economic governance for the West.

The die, it would appear, has now been cast. Egypt will remain a seriously economically undeveloped, repressive nation for many years to come. The military has chosen England’s 1660 Restoration over its 1689 Bill of Rights. Some 30 years of the equivalent of the Stuart doom will surely follow.

English history offers a parallel for Egyptian political reform (2)

July 6, 2013

In 1689, an unconstitutional English Parliament (unconstitutional because it was not called by the King) met and wrote a new constitution (the original constitution was unwritten). The Bill of Rights narrowed the discretionary power of the monarch, increased the independence of the judiciary, in all but name eliminated any notion of the divine right of kings, and significantly increased the powers of parliament. Most importantly, the suffrage was strictly limited to some 5 per cent of the male population (women had no suffrage until the early 20th century). A high property requirement was set in place for any person to vote. Members of Parliament served without pay, unless appointed as members of the Cabinet. King William III and Queen Mary II were required to sign this Bill of Rights before they could jointly access the throne.

This new constitution significantly reduced the arbitrary discretion of the monarch. Equally important, it set in place a parliament that would firmly establish and enforce property rights, thus paving the way for the Industrial Revolution. Britain became the richest and most powerful nation on the planet, building an Empire on which the sun would never set. Slowly, over time, the suffrage was allowed to expand, until in 1884, individuals without property were allowed to vote. This opened the gates to socialism and to the decline and fall of the British Empire.

Egypt is not yet ready for such a transition. Poorly educated as much of its population is, and subject to Islamic religious fanaticism as one-third of its population, surely is, there is no immediate prospect of establishing and maintaining an effective secular parliamentary system.

So the military, for the time being will have to govern. Since senior members of the military are at this time the primary holders of property in Egypt, this should ensure that an effective system of property rights will be established. If the military is far-sighted, I recommend that tit follows the example set by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile when he seized power from an incompetent and socialist President Allende. The General called in free-market Chilean economists trained at the University of Chicago by Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker and Arnold Harberger to reform the economic institutions of Chile. Remarkable success followed. When the General voluntarily stepped down from power and returned Chile to democracy, the country was the richest in Latin America, and remains so to this day. This time around, it may not be so exclusively the Chicago-boys that are called to service – Chicago unfortunately is no longer an uncontaminated citadel of free-market economics. Other universities – such as UCLA, George Mason University, New York University, and Clemson University – may have to supplement Chicago supply.

While so ruling, the Egyptian military should ensure that all young Egyptians, females as well as males, receive a secular education. They should ensure that the job market is open equally to females as well as to males. They should offer stability of rule for a time-period sufficient for wealth-enhancing institutions to emerge. This may take five to ten years of transition governance.

The military should then write a new constitution for Egypt, modeled closely on the United States Constitution. A strict separation between Mosque, Church and Temple on the one side and the State on the other side, should be imposed. As in 1787, the suffrage should be strictly limited by a property requirement, albeit allowing females equal access with males to the ballot box. The secret ballot should be required. The initial suffrage should be restricted to no more than ten per cent of the adult population. Voters should satisfy both the requisite property requirement and (possibly) should be limited to individuals with university degrees and equivalent professional qualifications.The judiciary should be completely independent from the executive and legislative branches of government.

Then the world would truly marvel at the high rate of economic growth and economic freedom achieved by an Egypt unfettered from the bonds of autocracy and backward-Muslim religious fanaticism.

English history offers a parallel for Egyptian political reform (1)

July 5, 2013

A revolution against Stuart tyranny erupted in England in 1642. Following a violent civil war, King Charles 1 was executed by Parliament in 1649 on the instructions of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell’s Model Army then instituted a newly-empowered parliament. That parliament quickly fell under the dictatorship of Lord Protector Cromwell. When Cromwell died in 1658, and his son Richard (Tumbledown Dick) assumed the position of Lord Protector, the English army, split and its leading generals rebelled against parliament. In 1660, a repentant parliament, acting under military orders, restored Charles II to the throne. Charles II, followed by his brother James, ruled England as Divine Right autocrats until James was deposed in a bloodless revolution in 1688. An outside army from Holland then re-established order and introduced a new constitutional order.

Thus far a parallel with Egypt is clear, though the Egyptian time line is dramatically shorter. President Mubarak played the role of Charles I of England, and was deposed by popular revolution, aided by the Egyptian army. The army played a transitional role in arranging for a president and a parliament to be elected. As with England in 1649, the Egyptian electorate proved to be insufficiently mature to support a pluralistic democracy. As with Tumbledown Dick in 1660 England, the Egyptian army once again intervened to depose the utterly incompetent, religious bigot, President Morsi.

In tomorrow’s column, I shall briefly outline the error made by England in the 1660 restoration, an error that resulted in 28 further years of autocracy before England eventually resolved its political quandary. I shall then outline hoe the Egyptian army might usefully proceed to shorten the time-horizon for evolution to effective governance.


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