“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The statist coup d'etat of Barack Hussein Obama

They do not get any slicker than Obama. He knows the jive for the street or the suite. It got him elected.  Being president is something else. Theory and the theoretical conflict with action and results. The Obama phenomena was hyped on hope, but baked on  wishful thinking. 

Romance on a few drinks, nice music, dim lights, but morning always arrives. It brings unsentimental clarity. Perfume and smoke followed by asprin.  

The moves were made too fast. The breaks will come faster. The shelf life is short for presidents when times are bad.

March 03, 2009
Obama Has No Mandate For Radicalism

By Patrick Buchanan Real Clear Politics

In his campaign and inaugural address, Barack Obama cast himself as a moderate man seeking common ground with conservatives.

Yet, his budget calls for the radical restructuring of the U.S. economy, a sweeping redistribution of power and wealth to government and Democratic constituencies. It is a declaration of war on the Right.

The real Obama has stood up, and lived up to his ranking as the most left-wing member of the United States Senate.

Barack has no mandate for this. He was even behind McCain when the decisive event that gave him the presidency occurred -- the September collapse of Lehman Brothers and the market crash.

Republicans are under no obligation to render bipartisan support to this statist coup d'etat. For what is going down is a leftist power grab that is anathema to their principles and philosophy.

Where the U.S. government usually consumes 21 percent of gross domestic product, this Obama budget spends 28 percent in 2009 and runs a deficit of $1.75 trillion, or 12.7 percent of GDP. That is four times the largest deficit of George W. Bush and twice as large a share of the economy as any deficit run since World War II.

Add that 28 percent of GDP spent by the U.S. government to the 12 percent spent by states, counties and cities, and government will consume 40 percent of the economy in 2009.

We are not "headed down the road to socialism." We are there.

Since the budget was released, word has come that the U.S. economy did not shrink by 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, but 6.2 percent. All the assumptions in Obama's budget about growth in 2009 and 2010 need to be revised downward, and the deficits revised upward.

Look for the deficit for 2009 to cross $2 trillion.

Who abroad is going to lend us the trillions to finance our deficits without demanding higher interest rates on the U.S. bonds they are being asked to hold? And if we must revert to the printing press to create the money, what happens to the dollar?

As Americans save only a pittance and have lost -- in the value of homes, stocks, bonds and other assets -- $15 trillion to $20 trillion since 2007, how can the people provide the feds with the needed money?

In his speech to Congress, Obama promised new investments in energy, education and health care. Every kid is going to get a college degree. We're going to find a cure for cancer.

Who is going to pay for all this?

The top 2 percent, the filthy rich who got all those Bush tax breaks, say Democrats. But the top 5 percent of income earners already pay 60 percent of U.S. income taxes, while the bottom 40 percent pays nothing.

Those paying a federal tax rate of 35 percent will see it rise to near 40 percent and will lose a fifth of the value of their deductions for taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

Yet, two-thirds of small businesses are taxed at the same rate as individuals. Consider what this means to the owner of a restaurant and bar in Los Angeles open from noon to midnight, where a husband and wife each put in 80 hours a week.

At year's end, the couple finds they have actually made a profit of $500,000 that they can take home in salary.

What is the Obama-Schwarzenegger tax take on that salary?

Their U.S. tax rate will have hit 39.6 percent.

Their California income tax will have hit 9.55 percent.

Medicare payroll taxes on the proprietor as both employer and salaried employee will be $14,500. Social Security payroll taxes for the proprietor as both employer and employee will be $13,243.

In short, U.S. and state income and payroll taxes will consume half of all the pair earned for some 8,000 hours of work.

From that ravaged salary they must pay a state sales tax of 8.25 percent, gas taxes for the 50-mile commute, and tens of thousands in property taxes on both their restaurant and home. And, after being pilloried by politicians for having feasted in the Bush era, they are now told the tax deduction they get for contributing to the church is to be cut 20 percent, while millions of Obama voters, who paid no U.S. income tax at all, will be getting a tax cut -- i.e., a fat little check -- in April.

Any wonder native-born Californians are fleeing the Golden Land?

Markets are not infallible. But the stock market has long been a "lead indicator" of where the economy will be six months from now. What are the markets, the collective decisions of millions of investors, saying?

Having fallen every month since Obama's election, with January and February the worst two months in history, they are telling us the stimulus package will not work, that Tim Geithner is clueless about how to save the banks, that the Obama budget portends disaster for the republic.

The president says he is gearing up for a fight on his budget.

Good. Let's give him one.


  1. Come, come. The statist mafia has bought the US gov a long time ago already. And they've been cleaning the taxpayer's pockets empty for years and decades now.

  2. They do not get any slicker than Obama. He knows the jive for the street or the suite.

    Nice phrase.

    But the suite has already tired of him, and what real benefit has come to the street so far? I guess the question is, since he doesn't need the suite, how long will the street stick with him?

  3. consumption link:

    "Today I visited Beijing’s most stunningly dysfunctional, catastrophic mall, called The Place, and all I could think about was what I wrote back in 2006..."

  4. and tens of thousands in property taxes on both their restaurant and home.

    I think that's one thing a lot of people don't understand, how high property taxes are on income producing property.

    There's a pretty good restaurant/bar/pizza place in my town that has been sitting there for a long, long time now, for sale. Great location, right on the main traffic street. Sitting there empty. I don't know what the property taxes are on it exactly, but I know they'd make a man gasp.

    So the people that are trying to sell it are in a really tough position. They have advertised the heck out of it, got big for sale signs out in front, and no buyers.

    Those property taxes don't go away, just because the place is vacant and unused. They are taking a beating.

    I'm waiting for the property taxes to go down. This place I'm speaking of can't seem to be sold at any price right now.

    Property taxes are supposed to be based on some fair market value formula, but I've noticed they always go up much more easily than they go down.

  5. Israel Considers Attacking Iran

    With the stock market tanking, taxes going up, and the recession being the only thing keeping energy prices down, a real blow up in the middle east is just what the doctor ordered, to kill off the struggling patient. Things can get a lot worse, in a hurry.

  6. She noted that the timetable for an Israeli attack might be "significantly" moved up if Jerusalem believed Russia was going to make good on its pledge to supply Iran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which would greatly complicate any Israeli attack.

    If the delivery does occur, the report recommends more arms sales to Israel, such as more modern aircraft, so it can maintain its military edge.

    Later, she said that the aim of the report was to come up with strategies where neither the United States nor Israel was at the point of launching military action.

    "You've kind of lost the ballgame at that point," she said.

    The report recommends more arms sales to Israel.

    Is this likely to happen with Obama sitting in the White House?

    Probably not.

  7. now is the time to attack iran

    with the price of oil low

    demand is down

    BHO is spineless and meaningless

    now is the time

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Most of the aid to israel is for the military threat from Iran...

    destroy the threat?

    no need for the aid (so the USA can cut off funds to israel)

    America has taken public turn against israel so it cant be blamed

    israel should do the following:

    Bomb the fence that separates rafah and sinai and cause a stampede INTO sinai of gazans...

    Attack Iran's major NUKE sites, oil refineries, power generating stations and revolutionary guard command and control

    The moment Syria farts, take out Assad personally (his palace), his 500 tanks, his new nuke/chemical sites

    gaza: destroy all newly acquired targets of hamas cinse operation cast lead..

    lebanon: Hit 30 -40 major long range rocket storage sites, Lebanon's southern lebanon's power generation sites and when hezbollah's leadership flee to iran's bunker in lebanon, level that,,, hit the illegal damming of the litani to open up the water supply BACK to israel

    what this would cause?

    Egypt would have 700,000 palestinians INSIDE sinai

    Lebanon would face the prospect to fighting back and losing major industrial assets or just do nothing, if hezbollah fights back, israel will respond with blistering air responses that will not wait for the civilians to leave...

    Iran: would attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz however then the west would have to respond to protect THEIR own interests with the free flow of oil

    Syria: would try to use their long range rockets (as did hezbollah in 2006) and these are very easy to spot and take out..

    Israel: people (up to 1/3) of israelis would be in bunkers for up to a month as the war works it'sself out...

    in the end IF ISRAEL IS QUICK, a call for ceasefire will be had by the world and Israel will set back several major points ready to explode....

    better to choose the timing then let the enemy choose it...

    sometimes a swift kick in the ass is the best political statement....

    if you wanted to you could also release 3000 hamas prisoners INTO Egypt at the same and quietly spread reports that the ones release up to 10% collaborated with Israel

  10. If Israel does strike Iran, what would The ├śne do? Iran might try to close the waterways, what then? Would Obama try to keep them open? One would think he'd almost have to. Would Israel try to keep them open? Could she? I don't see how the world can function without those waterways open. The 'troubles' may be just beginning.

  11. Iran: would attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz however then the west would have to respond to protect THEIR own interests with the free flow of oil

    You answered my question while I was typing.

    I think that's right, the Straits have to be open.

  12. If any think i am radical...

    The current President of the PA, Abbas is a holocaust denier (got his phd in USSR for it)

    It's LEGAL to execute Arabs in jordan & the Palestinian areas for SELLING lands to a jew....

    Iran calls for the destruction of the state of israel and is close to having nukes...

    Iran has supplied over 40k of rockets to hezbollah and billions too

    Iran has given hamas tens of thousands of rockets and a billion dollars to kill jews

    Even america now gives BILLIONS to the palestinians EVEN AFTER THEY CAUSE WARS AND MURDER

    Change is coming and my solutions quite frankly are very NOT radical

  13. I apologize for interrupting the war planning...

    Balloon Juice has all the good Comedy Central clips from last night, which was a double decker humdinger.

  14. gnossos, it's good to hear you are a fan of Ballard - so am I. Your consumption link was interesting though I think it more the flip side of what Ballard was getting at in Kingdom Come (mind you, I haven't finished it yet). That mall in Shanghai seems to be Ballardian in respect to some of his past writings. The Drowned World for example depicts a largely abandoned world and I can see the similarities between the abandoned newly built shopping malls and the city in that novel. Lest I appear too much of a poseur to you though I must admit it has been a bunch of years since I read the Drowned World. In Kingdom Come however he seems to be talking about consumerism as a primary recreational pursuit leading to some sort of fascism. The mall in that novel is more of a shrine and not abandoned at all - ironic that the Chinese have abandoned some of their newly built malls....

    Yes Balloon-Juice is a good place but I haven't been visiting much of late. I see John Cole made a reference to Jon Stewart's show last night. It WAS GOOD. Worth viewing online the CNBC bashing!

  15. Pat makes the common "conservative" error of not including the FICA in the income tax payments. The Supremes have ruled on this issue, FICA taxes are just income taxes with a marketing twist. Buchanan plays against that reality with a twist and a spin, like the Federal Socialist he is, at heart.

    So, in truth, many of those he claims pay no income taxes, really do, at a rate of 12.4%. Which, in many cases, the employer is subsidizing half of that payment.

    If the eatery owners are working those hours and are netting $500,000 per year, and are taking all that money as personal income, they need better lawyers and accountants. They should be incorporated and funding some trusts.

    Here in AZ the average small business, owner-operated, does a gross of just around $300,000 per year. They net 10 to 15% of that.

    Mr Buchanan lives far from the real world, doubt he could find the eatery he describes.

    His basic thrust on the Obama objective seems to be correct, though. He is proposing to really increase taxes on his upscale electoral Blue State base.
    As he said he would

    He is proposing to borrow a ton of money, from somewhere.
    The Senate, amigos, that's where the fight will be. Are there 40 Senators, loyal and true?

    There do not seem to be.

  16. I must be really out of it. I've never heard of this 'Balloon Juice'.

    Too much time spent planning wars, and such.

  17. Funny thing, too, just how TeamObama has castrated the Maverick, turning a "Raging Bull" into just another steer in the herd.

    The Maverick garnered 59,934,814 votes in November, making him the most popular Republican in the United States.
    His nomination for President makes him the GOP standard bearer and de facto leader of the Party.

    Team Obama has managed to move Rush Limbaugh, with a weekly audience of less than 15 million into Maverick's GOP leadership spot.

    No one in the GOP taking time to read Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", just like they did not bother to read Osama before entering the "Long War".


    I caught the clips, thankfully, before they cut off the international streaming.

    Anyway, funny, funny stuff.

  19. And before I forget: Al Jazeera apparently has produced an excellent series on Pakistan - which might, or might not, be available on the net.

  20. NEW YORK ( -- General Motors Corp. said in a government filing Thursday that its accounting firm has found there is "substantial doubt" about the automaker's ability to survive.

    GM, down 15% today to less than $2.

  21. Blighty: A Nation Sized Experiment in Regulatory Arbitrage |

    Two case studies, Mexico and Britain, were the subject of my February newsletter: Black Swans and Petrostates. Readers already know my views about risk to the UK, from an earlier blog post, Petrostate Tail Risk: The UK Joins My List. Essentially, what's happening to Britain is that an historic financial crisis has arrived not long after the country has tipped from next oil exporter, to net oil importer. That's alot of change to handle all at once.

    Gregor is the man.

  22. Al Jazeera: On the Front Line in Bajawar Part 4:

    The Sons of Pakistan

  23. You're a PC, not a Mac: Gates bans family from using iPods - Technology, Business -

    Most would expect the children of the world's third richest man to have grown up spoilt by a constant supply of the very latest in cutting-edge gadgets. But yesterday it emerged that the offspring of Microsoft's chairman, Bill Gates, are forbidden from owning the planet's number one gadget – the iPod.

    In an interview with Vogue magazine, the billionaire's wife, Melinda, admitted that her husband has banned his family from using any products manufactured by Apple, his company's chief rivals.

    Meanwhile, rumor is, faggot Steve Jobs is dying of aids.

    Bruce Wilder says...

    The plutocracy is very powerful, and it wants its due. The taxpayers are on the hook, for no other reason.

    Sure, the Thatcherite/Reaganite "survival of the fittest" syndrome is on the horizon. Let's understand what that alternative is. Once the national debt is large enough, then health care and social security can be sacrificed to the plutocracy's maw. After all, it is "entitlements" that threaten the long-term future of the country, not the greed and malevolent incompetence of the 1/2 of 1%. We cannot afford AIG and Citibank and the old and sick and poor.

    The spectacle is absolutely disgusting. The struggle to reform bankruptcy law, to aid ordinary folks with a mortgage under water, can be beaten down. The auto industry may be forced into liquidation. But, AIG? Citibank? There's no limit. "Because the system is in jeopardy. We have to save the system." Extortion in broad daylight.

    Bruce Wilder almost gets it right. What he fails to see the game of musical chairs that's being played before his eyes.

  25. Obama to Drop Shield if Russia Helps with Limbaugh

    by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace

    (2009-03-05) — President Barack Obama has reportedly written another private note to his Russian counterpart offering to halt deployment of a defensive nuclear missile shield in Europe, this time in exchange for Russia’s help in dealing with U.S. talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh.

    The White House immediately denied the existence of the letter to President Dmitry Medvedev, but acknowledged “ongoing internal deliberations over a measured response using all the tools of U.S. power, including diplomacy.”

    Dealing with Mr. Limbaugh has taken the Obama administration’s focus off of other global trouble spots like North Korea, Iran and Chicago.

    The rift between President Obama and Mr. Limbaugh started in October when the radio kingpin said of Mr. Obama “I hope he fails.” Tension escalated when Democrat pollsters discovered that Rush Limbaugh is the only remaining divisive Republican with name recognition higher than 10 percent.

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, during his daily review of cable TV and radio personalities, said that President Obama won election, in part, “on a promise to be more inclusive, to talk with enemies, and to present an American face to the world that is more about dialogue and multilateral solutions than confrontation.”

    “If President Obama intends to find common ground with the Mullahs in Iran,” said Mr. Gibbs, “He can certainly find a way to appease Rush Limbaugh.”

    An unnamed State Department source said that when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returns from the Middle East, the president will “dispatch her to Florida to engage Limbaugh in high-level talks to keep this situation from mushrooming.”

    The State Department also released its standard diplomatic response statement, which covers everything from nuclear weapons deployment by hostile regimes, to Israeli destruction of houses in Palestinian ’settlements’, calling Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks “unhelpful.”

  26. 6672.10 -203.74 (-2.96%)

    Man, things are getting serious.

    Why o why did we elect this guy?

  27. Maybe we ought to just close the stock exchange.

  28. But Wal-Mart sales go up a bit on lower gas prices---

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT - News) reported a higher-than-expected 5.1percent rise in February sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, saying lower gas prices meant shoppers had more money to spend in its discount stores.

    Analysts on average were expecting the company's same-store sales to increase 2.4 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.

    "We believe falling gas prices significantly boosted household disposable income in February and therefore allowed for both more trips and more spending toward discretionary categories," Vice Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright said in a statement on Thursday.

  29. Maybe the increase was all in Sporting Goods--ammo and gun sales.

    I think the projected deficit they are talking about is going to be much higher than thought. Where are the income tax receipts if there is no income?

  30. Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year

    By Alison Vekshin

    March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said the fund it uses to protect customer deposits at U.S. banks could dry up amid a surge in bank failures, as she responded to an industry outcry against new fees approved by the agency.

    “Without these assessments, the deposit insurance fund could become insolvent this year,” Bair wrote in a March 2 letter to the industry. U.S. community banks plan to flood the FDIC with about 5,000 letters in protest of the fees, according to a trade group.

    “A large number” of bank failures may occur through 2010 because of “rapidly deteriorating economic conditions,” Bair said in the letter. “Without substantial amounts of additional assessment revenue in the near future, current projections indicate that the fund balance will approach zero or even become negative.”

  31. When I first learned of the stock market, bob, a PE of 15 was considered an extrodinary performance.

    Normal was 7 to 12.

    Value investing was all the rage.

    The other day the Morningstar man presented his scenario. Valuing the companies wth an average PE of 15. When there is nothing extrodinary about them, at all.

    Average the S&P 500 at a PE of 15, it's nominal value should be 900 or 950. Today ...S&P 500 INDEX; ($INX). 712.87 Up +16.54 +2.38% Open: 698.60 High: 724.12 Low: 698.60 ...

    Running at a current PE of around 12, still a tad high, from the value investment standards of 40 years ago.

    We're clearing away 30 years worth of smoke and mirrors, brought to us by the "best and the brightest" and are finding the real underlying values, again.

  32. From Part 4: "The militants pay more" than the PakGov does.

    Interesting, isn't it? It's the same situation in Mexico.

    Once upon a time, it was the same story here.

  33. In Pakistan it is money and ideology, while in Mexico it has been, so far, about the money.

    As long as it remainss economic, in Mexico, there'll be a window of opportunity for success. If the Cartels begin to blend their business with a revolutionary ideology, the flood of refugees will be huge.

  34. Rumor is that CNBC anchor and syndicated columnist Larry Kudlow is considering running for the Senate against Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).


  35. Here in Colombia, Rat, it was both. Money and ideology.

    In Mexico's case, the window of opportunity won't open until they take it in the shorts in their tourism industry.

  36. The true value of those Eastern European countries is coming into focus. Value is not based upon promises of hope and future growth, but on a reality of historical truths and standards.

    Especially when confidence in the System wanes when the luster of the buffing is tarnished by the rust bubbling the paint, from beneath.

  37. Was 'Lady Macbeth' behind Barack Obama's snub of Gordon Brown?

    Posted By: James Delingpole at Mar 5, 2009

    On US radio's Garrison show today, I was asked for my reaction as a true born Englishman to President Obama's double insult - first the sending back of the Winston Churchill bust, then his snub to Gordon Brown. "Tough one. Really tough one," I said, torn - as most of surely are - between delight at seeing Brown roundly humiliated, and dismay at having the special relationship so peremptorily, cruelly and bafflingly ruptured.

    Michelle Obama's dress sense may be impeccable, but what of her politics?

    Iain Martin is quite right here: no matter how utterly rubbish we have become as a nation in the Blair/Brown years, Britain's friendship is something Obama will come to regret having dispensed with so lightly. This was not the act of a global statesman, but of a hormonal teenager dismissing her bestest of best BFs for no other reason than that she felt like it and she can, so there.

  38. Stop feeding them and they'll go away. Literally. Re the theater in Gaza Pakistan Mexico, etc.

  39. I don't see how Mexico has a tourism industry left. Go down there to get kidnapped? No thanks.

  40. All kinds of advisories, on the TV, to not Spring Break in Mexico.

    Wonder if the young folks pay attention to such, I never did, much.

    Any minor decline in tourism will be blamed on the general economic malaise in the US and Europe.

  41. Doubt that the US will permit such action by the Israeli, wi"o", as the US is taking a totally different course.

    Clinton Wants to Include Iran in Afghan Talks

    NYTimes Published: March 5, 2009

    BRUSSELS — Setting up the possibility of its first face-to-face encounter with Iran, the Obama administration proposed a conference on Afghanistan at the end of this month that is likely to include Iran among the invited countries, American officials said on Thursday.

  42. Wonder if the young folks pay attention to such, I never did, much.

    I don't know about young folks, but my dad now refuses to go to Mexico. I also know it's the same story with many of my patients.

  43. The current news is full of the International Courts. Which gets us back to that primary question, ash, who enforces the Courts Writ?

    Beshir lashes out at West as fears mount for Darfur
    2 hours ago

    KHARTOUM (AFP) — Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir lashed out at the West on Thursday over the arrest warrant which has split the world community and sparked fears of insecurity and a humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

    Sudan reacted swiftly to the International Criminal Court decision to seek Beshir's arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity by ordering the expulsion of 10 foreign relief agencies, a move that could threaten aid to several hundred thousand vulnerable people.

    Sudan's allies including a string of African and Arab states and China called for the suspension of the ICC warrant, warning it could undermine efforts to end the six-year conflict in Darfur.

    Khartoum has vowed it will not cooperate with The Hague-based court which accuses Beshir of masterminding a campaign of extermination, rape and pillage in Darfur, one of the remotest areas on the planet.

    And Beshir remained defiant on Thursday as thousands of angry Sudanese staged a mass demonstration in Khartoum, some setting ablaze American and Israeli flags and effigies of ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

  44. Real whirled consequences of an imaginary Court. Because a Court without Deputies is no Court, at all.

    The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the European Union said Beshir must face justice, but analysts say there is little prospect of him being hauled before the court with world powers deeply divided over the warrant.

    "President Beshir will have a chance to have his day in court if he believes that the indictment is wrongly charged. He can certainly contest it," Clinton said.

    Khartoum's allies were pushing for the warrant to suspended, with the African Union holding an emergency meeting on Thursday after voicing its "deep concern" at the ICC move.

    Sudan called on fellow African states to withdraw from the ICC in protest.

    China, which supplies military aid to Beshir's government and relies on Sudan for oil imports, expressed its "worry" over the ICC move.

    Many Sudanese fear the warrant against Beshir could plunge Africa's largest country into further chaos, and aid agencies were already warning of the potential fallout of their expulsion.

    Sudan ordered out 10 international aid agencies which provide essential aid to the estimated 2.7 million people made homeless by the war in Darfur, in the world's largest humanitarian operation.

    The action -- which affects such major organisations as Oxfam and Medicins Sans Frontieres -- drew a swift response from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, but Sudan's humanitarian affairs chief warned that more could be expelled.

    Hassabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman accused the expelled agencies of collaborating with the ICC by sending "fabricated evidence... about genocide," and said others were under investigation.

    Between 200-300 foreign staff are estimated to be affected by the expulsion orders, with one aid worker saying they were expecting to have to leave the country within 24 hours.

    "If Oxfam's registration is revoked, it will affect more than 600,000 Sudanese people whom we provide with vital humanitarian and development aid, including clean water and sanitation on a daily basis," said its international director Penny Lawrence.

  45. Citigroup (C) shares fell below $1 per share today, cementing its status as a penny stock. Citigroup is now the only stock in the Dow and one of six stocks in the growing list of S&P 500 stocks (AIG, ETFC, ODP, GNW, and THC) currently trading under a dollar. The only question now is when does Citi get pulled from the Dow. Although at this point does it really matter? Consider the fact that if Citi dropped to zero, given its weight in the index, it would have less than an 8 point impact on the overall price of the index.

  46. Kudlow v. Dodd would be interesting.

    Dodd should have been put out to pasture 25 years ago.

    I've never been to Mexico. My sis and I were talking about going once, but didn't, a long time ago. Dad went to Mexico City with my brother once. He came back kind of impressed with some of it.

    I've read some of the 'liberation theology'. It takes off from Jesus's concern for the poor. And rapidly tends to morph towards a totalitarianism.

    It's not really possible to deny Jesus's concern for the poor, it's right there in the book. But it is possible to deny he was an economist. Luther took this track in a way, saying some of the demands were impossible, and would make things worse. Of course Luther has been hammered by the Christian left for this.

    If you take the religion out of it, you've got pretty much the same old economic/political arguments that we have now.

    With the difference that our society here is so vastly different from that then there, that comparisons aren't really sensible.

    We could use some toning up of our political/economic word play, much of it doesn't seem to fit the situation any more. Nearly everyone in the United States or the Western Europe would have to be considered rich by the standards of that time.

  47. Jon Stewart Rips CNBC A New One

    A must watch.

  48. I guess another way of saying it is that technology and industrialism have done more to elimate poverty than the Sermon on the Mount.

    Jesus did say, "The poor you shall always have with you."

    But technology and industrialism have made great gains, so that we might not have the poor with us always.

  49. :) hehheh. funny Stewart video, Mat.

  50. We could use some toning up of our political/economic word play, much of it doesn't seem to fit the situation any more.

    Not at all. When the only choice for recreation you have left is the mall, you're poor. This is a very depressing situation you have in North America where what would normally be considered public spaces are no longer so.

  51. :) hehheh. funny Stewart video, Mat.

    The rest of the show isn't bad either.

  52. No one in the GOP taking time to read Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", just like they did not bother to read Osama before entering the "Long War".

    Thu Mar 05, 10:07:00 AM EST

    Expand on that for a Post, above the fold so to speak.

  53. When the only choice for recreation you have left is the mall, you're poor.

    Well, spiritually maybe. But if your belly is full, and you have a working credit card, you're not poor in the old Biblical sense, in the sense of grinding, hungry poverty.

  54. Any minor decline in tourism will be blamed on the general economic malaise in the US and Europe.

    Thu Mar 05, 12:14:00 PM EST

    Worst case is, they get the double whammy: Steep declines due to the economic downturn and the violence, both.

    But in any event, a point of true desperation has to be reached before you get smart and serious. The Come to Jesus moment. That is the general rule.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. not poor in the old Biblical sense, in the sense of grinding, hungry poverty.

    So the Galilee fisherman and Jerusalem carpenter and Samaritan sheepherder weren't poor?

  57. 'Course, *we* could get smart and serious by calling off the war on drugs.

    That'll happen when hell freezes over.

  58. Alinsky's Rules for Radicals
    By Craig Miyamoto, APR, Fellow PRSA


    To paraphrase some sage advice, "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." If your business or organization ever becomes a target of radical activists, it will be extremely helpful to know what strategies of attack will used against you. Short of having spies infiltrate their organization - a practice that is sure to be found out and exposed to your discredit - it would help to study their methods.

    Known as the "father of modern American radicalism," Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. Activist organizations teach his ideas, widely taught today as a set of model behaviors, and they use these principles to create an emotional commitment to victory - no matter what.

    This work, by Saul D. Alinsky frames the standard operating procedures that the President has matured with. It provides the SOP, so to speak, for his Team, it has served him well to date.

    Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work. Here are the rules to be aware of:

    RULE 1: "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." ...

    RULE 2: "Never go outside the expertise of your people." ...

    RULE 3: "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy." ...

    RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." ...

    RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." ...

    RULE 6: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." ...

    RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." ...

    RULE 8: "Keep the pressure on. Never let up." ...

    RULE 9: "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." ...

    RULE 10: "If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." ...

    RULE 11: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." ...

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
    Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

    So we watch as the Obama White House and its' fellow travelers paint the Republican Party as the Party of Limbaugh. Engaging Rule 12

    Limbaugh, being an independent propagandist revels in the spotlight, encouraging Team Obama to continue the campaign.

    This energizes and grows the Limbaugh audience and EIB Network profitability, but it still emcompasses the same core cadre of listeners that could not stop McCain from gaining the GOP nomination, during the Primaries.

    Recalling how both pre-nomination and post election Rush has shared his disdain for the Maverick with his audience, lately labeling him as just another "Washingtonian".

    Mr McCain garnered almost 60 million votes and personifies the Republican Party, at present.

    Limbaugh has from 12 to 15 million listeners, each week. Not all of those are ditto heads.

    By personifying Republicans with Limbaugh, by association, and not McCain, TeamObama presents the electorate with the image of Limbausgh as the Leader of the Republicans.

    While Limbaugh is an entertainer and a propagandist, he is not a functioning political leader. He will strengthen his own personal position, at the expense of the Republican Federal Socialists in Washington.

    He has made that position clear though his Washingtonian line of political labeling to discredit the moral authority of the elected Republican representitives.

    The GOP is now kowtowing to Limbaugh, confirming the White House line. Mr Steele's back bone is not made of steel.

    The National GOP falling into the trap set by TeamObama and baited by Limbaugh.
    Strange bedfellows, indeed.
    The results will prove the relationship beneficial to both TeamObama and the EIB Network.
    Not so much so for Republicans caught in the crossfire.

    The Republicans do not understand the network that has deployeed against them now, any more than they understood that the flypaper strategy was being used upon US, by the jihadi, in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the other way round.

  59. That'll happen when hell freezes over.

    Or when they close the CIA's accounts in the Cayman Islands.

  60. A litle audio from Investors Business Daily

    But Rush, he does understand Team Obama, he speaks of it, back in November.

  61. desert rat said...
    Doubt that the US will permit such action by the Israeli, wi"o", as the US is taking a totally different course.

    The USA is quickly becoming irrelevant in the world

    BHO has shown his true colors...

    Israel has no friend in the White House...

    Israel do what it needs to do to survive...

    Regardless of what the Islamic ruler of the Whitehouse says or does...

    The Illegal alien who now squats as Potus can and will cut off funds to Israel, and the new/old Prime Minister of the State of Israel has historically ONCE before set in motion the termination of all economic aid from the Government of the USA.

    IF Israel deems it needed they will infact take out syria, iran, lebanon and iran...

    What happens after that to the so called stability? Who cares...

    The west will have a pile of crap to clean up because those pesky Joos refuse to allow themselves to be destroyed..

    reality sucks...

    BHO really sucks...

    and his Israel hatred will CAUSE much destruction

    and his America hatred will CAUSE much destruction....

    yep I didnt vote for the illegal alien/moslem, the country did and now he will destroy the country..

    And America deserves what it got....

  62. Hmm,..

    Clinton can very quickly isolate Obama by ignoring him completely on this issue. And if push comes to shove, Obama will lose his presidency. And no one should discount the prospect that such a thought will eventually cross her mind.

  63. Blogger desert rat said...

    The current news is full of the International Courts. Which gets us back to that primary question, ash, who enforces the Courts Writ?

    Yeppers, I've been watching it occur through the press and wondered the same thing. Better he is indicted though than not. Time for the next step - russel up a posse!

  64. Time for the next step - russel up a posse!

    LOL. Well, my vote goes to Qaddafi.

  65. Or when they close the CIA's accounts in the Cayman Islands.

    Thu Mar 05, 02:03:00 PM EST

    Quite nice, I hear, the Caymans.

    My daughter's heading there tomorrow.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. My daughter's heading there tomorrow.

    Out of tuna at home?

  68. She's in school back in the States. I am unsure as to her tuna situation.

  69. So the Galilee fisherman and Jerusalem carpenter and Samaritan sheepherder weren't poor

    Peter is reputed to have had a pretty nice house, Jesus may or may not have been a 'carpenter', and you have your own ideas about Paul:)

    It seems some material support was lent to the group by the women, and the money bag was given to Judas to carry.

    There is such a mix of myth and historical reminiscence in all this it's hard to be sure.

  70. Bob, on that place in the sun. Wait six more months. Will advise.

  71. Jesus may or may not have been a 'carpenter'

    That's not what I'm trying to get at, Bob. Was he poor? Was he "the poor"? Were his immediate family and followers poor, or "the poor"?

  72. You grow food, you have a farm. Are you "the poor", Bob?

  73. I want to know what it means to be "the poor". You're saying the Bible defines it as grinding poverty and starvation. But I'm not seeing that in Jesus or his family and his companions.

  74. I would say Jesus and his immediate followers were not poor. For one thing, they seem to have left their jobs, with no financial consequences. Peter's house is reported to have been substancial enough for the day. Some of the women followers seem to have had some means. There was a tax collector among them.

    They don't come across as beggers, so I'd say no, not the real poor.

    Awfully hard to know much though.

    The type I'm thinking of Mat, would be kind of like the 'gleanors'
    those who picked the leftovers of a harvest, that kind of thing.

    That's the idea I get when I think of Biblical 'poor'.

  75. They don't come across as beggers, so I'd say no, not the real poor.

    There you go, Bob. So what should one make of all talk of camels, needles, and the "Kingdom of Heaven"?

  76. Camels and needles--I think the idea is that a rich man's mind is so overtaken by 'things of this world' (which you can't take with you) that he is barred from a kind of spiritual awakening that was behind the preaching. It's a spiritual saying, not a material one.

    "Kingdom of Heaven" I think is Jesus's term for how the worldd appears to the more illuminated.

    Which I do think he was. I think--just guessing--he had some kind of experience back in his youth--maybe a little like that in Black Elk Speaks. Their lives have a lot of commonality. Going back and trying to help the community, for instance.

    Blace Elk said "I didn't have to try to remember my great vision, it remembered itself all these years."

    I think Jesus had something like that, called it the 'Kingdom of Heaven'

    Just my guess.

    It is indeed hard for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, though.

    And the image has a lot of humor to it.:)

    I remember, or think I do, reading about some gate going into Jerusalem of the time named 'the Camel's Gate'--not sure about this, but the reference may be to that. It was a small gate, hard for a camel to get through.

  77. But the good news is, according to Hindu philosophy, the divine patience is infinite, and all created camels will get through the gate, sooner or later. They also say, I've always liked this since I read it, that the penultimate cause of the creation of the present world is the salvation of those camels that can get through the present gate, so to speak, while the ultimate cause is the Play of the Great Mother Herself, and, to know more about that, you'd have to ask her:)

  78. The Dung Gate (also known as Sha'ar Ha'ashpot, Gate of Silwan, Mograbi Gate) is one of the gates in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
    The gate is situated near the southeast corner of the old city, southwest of the Temple Mount.

    Lost in translation? :)

  79. I think the idea is that a rich man's mind is so overtaken by 'things of this world'

    Really? And the poor man's mind is overtaken with what, things of the next world?

  80. Good thing the Roman scribes found Jesus to keep the poor man's mind occupied.

  81. Really? And the poor man's mind is overtaken with what, things of the next world?

    Yes, in a way, as it is his immediate lived experience that he doesn't have diddly squat here.

    This might well be a prod to some further reflection.

  82. Though I think I mispoke, and the real idea is he does have diddly squat here, and in the next world as well, if he can experience it. The other world being this world experienced by an illumintated mind, while still being the other world.

    It seems these same themes come up, in Jerusalem, or in a teepee in the Dakotas.

    An illuminated mind, which I for one, at my age, wish I had:)

    But the divine patience is infinite, I can count on that.

  83. An illuminated mind, which I for one, at my age, wish I had:)

    Bob, you have better than that. You have a heart of gold. And now I'm verklempt!

  84. Thanks, Mat. I have my up and down days. Sometimes I think I don't know what the moon is made of, but then I remember, cheese!