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Monday, August 30, 2010


The Left's Paranoia

Tonight the Mets are in Atlanta, a must series for them (absolutely have to win 3 of 4) if they are to play any more meaningful games this year. But after watching a succession of the Hitless Amazins' failures to hit in the clutch (as per usual), the uncontrolled lunacy of the Marx Brothers won out - Monkey Business and Horsefeathers showing tonight on TCM. I guess Ted Turner knew what he was doing when he traded in the Braves for cable TV and a classic film library.


The secret is out. The answer to the question about where the funding for the Trade Center Mosque comes from is that it is not raised yet. It's all on the come, which may mean that the controversy may prove to be much ado about nothing. They still have to buy the building. That of course begs the question about why a different location can't be selected when the project is not really even started. The answer to that one is simple enough - the provocation is deliberate.

The libs' spin about how moderate this Imam is and how he has helped us in our relations with Middle Eastern countries should not obscure the fact that this controversy has been ginned up for various political purposes. But if Obama and friends thought they could turn this into an embarrassment for the conservative right and for the Tea Party, they seriously miscalculated.

So now that the funding mystery is solved, we can get down to the really important stuff, like finding the President's long lost birth certificate.

To have a really balanced view, it would be a mistake to confine yourself to only conservative oriented opinion pieces. A steady diet of the WSJ (great as it is), Fox News, Mark, Glenn, and Rush, and Redwavemusings will give you a good grounding but you won't have the benefit of understanding what the other side is thinking about and listening to their arguments. As Vito Corleone famously advised, "Hold your friends close and your enemies closer." Until the WSJ replaces the truly awful Thomas Frank, there is no regular columnist representing the left side of the political spectrum there. Of course, it would be great if they could get Al Hunt to resume that position. His columns were thoughtful, challenging, and beautifully written.

One of my college classmates was Mark Kleiman, who has had an outstanding academic career that featured a long stint at Harvard's Kennedy School. He is now Professor of Public Policy at UCLA's School of Public Affairs. An unreconstructed progressive, Mark's blog, The Reality Based Community is certainly worth an occasional visit to review what he and his very notable contributors are thinking. Mark also contributes to other left leaning blogs such as the Huffington Post.

One thing you can't help but notice in reviewing these and other "progressive" sites is their extreme paranoia concerning conservatives, the GOP and the Tea Party. They are convinced that a Republican takeover of Congress will lead to a Presidential impeachment effort, total nonsense in my view in the absence of impeachable offenses. Frankly, I think the hard-headed strategists on the Right like Obama right where he is, viewing him as a relatively easy mark to take down in November 2012. In that, they may be underestimating him, but I think this is the reality of their thinking. There are plenty of other ideas circulating in the left's blogosphere that are equally divorced from reality.

One other thing - the left and the mainstream media keep repeating the Democratic Party's canard that GOP primary voters are doing them an inadvertent favor by nominating Tea Party types over establishment Republican moderates. Of course, they are whistling past the graveyard. Aside from the fact that conservatives don't care, preferring to go down if need be with an "authentic" conservative than win with a RINO (Republican in Name Only), I expect Tea Party candidates to do just fine in November, thank you. In fact, each revised outlook from Charlie Cook's organization seems to put more incumbent Democratic seats in competitive play.

With early voting set to begin in just about a month, it is almost too late for Democrats in many states to turn their debacle around.

Helicopter Ben spoke, the market rallied for one day, then thought about it and resumed its descent. And why not? The Fed strategy of monetizing the public debt is as ill conceived as the Administration's tactic of throwing stimulus dollars into the gutter. Either way, we are headed for severe inflation (following the brief disinflationery head fake we are now experiencing) - in fact quite possibly a more severe episode of what we had during the Carter Administration - high unemployment and simultaneously high inflation. It was called stagflation then. We are going to have hyperstagflation.

Right now, neither employers nor the unemployed have much incentive to become more productive. Employers, facing into the twin spectres of increased costs and regulation, both of which are ill defined as yet in magnitude, would certainly be foolhardy to ratchet up hiring plans. Workers still collecting the first half of a projected 99 weeks of unemployment insurance are in no hurry to return to the work force or be trained in a new occupation. All the money in China cannot overcome these obstacles the Administration has so unwisely put in place.

Already, both the health insurance and financial services reform bills are headed back to Congress for amendment. The haste with which these huge legislative initiatives were passed led to mistakes regulators just can't work around. We haven't even gotten to the mistakes the regulation writers will make in establishing all the new rules.

No wonder the public is disgusted. The mammoth increase in our deficit would make George W. Bush blush, the Federal bureaucracy is growing out of control while private employment cascades, state governments and their workers are doing everything humanly possible to preserve public jobs while milking their taxpayers to the nth degree, and the only answers we get are that we need more stimulus, more tax increases, more redistribution, and more entitlements. No one outside of the public employee unions and the college campuses believes in those solutions anymore.

On August 25, our 250 shares of JP Morgan preferred was redeemed at 50 which was par. When these shares were bought, they were issued by Bear Stearns and became Morgan when it rescued the investment bank. We bought 100 shares in 2003 at 47.35, added another 100 later that year at 50.30 (a rare purchase over par), and added 50 in 2009 at 44.10. Given that we buy preferred's for dividends and not for capital gains, this investment worked out quite well, though we had some anxious moments as Bear collapsed.

On the 26th, we bought 100 shares of ING preferred (ISP) at 20.87 for the IRA. Today, we bought 700 shares of Frozen Food Express (FFEX) at 2.94, a value buy.

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