Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Personal Asides: Heads Should Roll on the Islamic Major Fact-Free News Labeling.
Heads Should Roll at Army and FBI.
News that communications from our Islamic-loving Major Nidal Malik Hasan and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his fiery anti-American teachings were intercepted by federal agenciesand a decision was made to do nothing about them inaction which caused the death of 13 military personnel at Fort Hood--should warrant (a) a top-level congressional hearing and (b) that without much delay, heads should roll: specifically at the Army and FBI.
And the heads that roll should not be those of underlings usually singled out as scapegoatsbut if facts warrant, those belonging to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and FBI Director Robert Mueller. The signs are ever-present that political correctness by the feds led to the disaster, marked by a comment the FBI made to the news media immediately following the blood-bath that the possibility of terrorism is being dismissed.
Its one thing when you have media liberals (locally the Sun-Times Neil Steinberg) fearing opprobrium on Islamic terrorists. Thats the way anti-Catholic Steinberg is constituted. Hes famed as a congenital relativist, no absolutes liberal with a sick comedic sense. He joked the other day that if a woman kills her kids and tells people Jesus ordered her to do it, condemnation of Christianity is equivalent to worry about Islamic terrorists anent the Hasan matter. How the hell the Sun-Times can continue printing what this twit serves up as commentary and give him an entire page to regurgitate his twaddle is astoundingbut thats another issue. The liberal media are one thing but when two major agencies twiddle their thumbs on political correctness its conducting a probe and if found guilty toppling their heads.
Fact-Free News Labeling.
This is the era of fact-free political labeling. People grow up indoctrinated with false ideological and flamboyant labels that liberal media affix. And the labels stick like glue even though most are inaccurate. Therefore, heres some initial debunking of presidents and legislative acts intended for those interested in shaking off false media-fixated history.
#1: Insider Tradings Morally Wrong.
So-called insider trading has been ruled illegal and condemned as immoral. Illegal, yesbut morally wrong? Milton Friedmans view on this as on most things is exceedingly sensible. This Nobel prize winner in economics said, You want more insider trading, not less. You want to give the people most likely to have knowledge about deficiencies of a company the incentive to make the public aware of that. He didnt believe a trader should have to make his trade public because the act of buying and selling is itself information for the market. Friedmans original proposition has been joined by legal scholars Henry Manne, Daniel Fischel and Frank Esterbook as well as conservative economic philosopher Thomas Sowell.
But the issue hasnt been debated fairly since showboat liberal Republican reformer Teddy Roosevelt multi-millionaire scion of a family that owned 24 acres of land now called downtown Manhattan made hay by crusading against people who simulated his own family-- the malefactors of great wealth. His rich country squire cousin FDR blamed much of the Depression on Wall Street insider speculating which was nonsense. The Depression was worsened because original restrictions on Wall Street trading deprived the general public of knowing what was happening to the marketwhich they assuredly would have without the information blockade.
In 1933 the heavily Democratic congress passed what FDR demanded: even further restrictions on information with creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In `34 the president named as its first head Joseph P. Kennedy, the most spectacular insider-trader of his time--who raised a lot of money for activities which he would later pontificate were unethical. Indeed, he had made his fortune as an insider in unregulated marketsthat and a financier of illegal bootlegging. Roosevelt laughed off this complaint saying it takes a crook to catch one.
That was then. But the real popular demonization of so-called insider trading crested with the 1987 film Wall Street, which ultra-lefty producer Oliver Stone utilized as a cudgel to attack the boom times that came in the late `80s under the hated Ronald Reagan. Wall Street told the story of a young broker (Charlie Sheen) who wanted to rise on the Street quickly and so became a toady for one Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) who proclaimed greed is good. Stone banked that overwhelmingly economics illiterate movie goers (gobbling popcorn and slurping cola) would be convinced all stock trading is crookedand many of them did and with the help of todays media still do.
Snarling, soulless Douglas introduces Sheen to insider trading and also to a gorgeous interior designer, Darien (Daryl Hannah). Darien is a money-hungry creature who gets angry with Sheen when he decides to go straight. Its too late, though and the SEC arrest Sheen in his office, leading him away in handcuffs. They agree to fit him with a wire and he entraps Douglas. Darien has learned nothing from this and looks for another sugar daddy. (Incidentally, Daryl Hannah was born in Chicago, the stepdaughter of prominent city investor the late Jared Wexler. Hannah hated the role and was the only player in it who wasnt nominated for an Academy Award because her heart wasnt in defiling capitalism, her stepfathers trade. Ironically, she became the girlfriend of none other than the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., grandson of Old Joe).
Thanks to radical Oliver Stone and liberal Hollywood hustlers, its not surprising that so-called insider trading has been pictured as gangsters no matter what Milton Friedman and other free-market economists have said. But the point remains that prohibitions on insider trading prevent the market from adjusting as quickly as it otherwise would to the demand for corporate assets resulting n prices that lie. Example: the 1970s price ceiling on gasoline. The ceiling caused prices at the pump to almost criminally mislead about the scarcity of oil which prompted us to waste countless hours waiting in line to fuel our cars. Friedman used that as an example to prove that similar waste occurs when corporate assets are mis-pricedthe correction of which would occur when the truth quickly hits the street.
Economist Donald Boudreaux uses this example: Jones & Jones Widget company is on the verge of bankruptcy due to mismanagement. So Jones & Jones can legally hide their financial condition for a time. During that time Jones & Jones price will be too high for its worth. Investors buy Jones & Jones at prices that deliberately hide its near-insolvency creditors extend financing at prices that dont compensate creditors for the risks they are unknowingly taking.
Some Jones & Jones employees decline job offers at other companies believing all is okay at Jones & Jones. Eventually, of course, the true condition of Jones & Jones comes out and investors, creditors and employees all pay the price. And dont forget the economy pays a price as well. Misled by Jones & Jones stalling on the true condition until required to do so, capital that otherwise would have been directed to other more qualified sources dont get to those firms. Other firms dont expand their operations, cant expand into new job hiring.
See what I mean? With legalized insider traders, the truth would get out quick, prices would adjust to match and market participants would be protected quicker. For further information, read Insider Trading and the Stock Market by economist Manne, dean emeritus at George Mason University. Manne says truthfully that Enron and Global Crossing scandals would have been divulged more quickly, would occur less frequently. Legalizing insider trading would add three percentage points to U. S. economic growth.
But dont expect Hollywood will make movies debunking liberal labels. Its too interested in assailing free market capitalism and portraying it as evileven though he has benefited from the system. Thats what Barack Obama-style neo-Marxism is all about.
#2: Harry Truman Was a Great President.
Harry Truman had some good points but also glaring deficiencies. We should get over the idea of the high school-educated bantam rooster good old Harry. He turned out to be better than expected but as an unknown when he succeeded Roosevelt, we expected nothing. We just missed inheriting Henry Wallace the crypto-pro-Left visionary which would have been disastrous. Here are Trumans good points and badand you decide.
Good : horrific as it is to consider, he dropped the atomic bomb and won World War II which saved us at least 5 more years of war and many thousands of young American lives by island-hopping .still a tough decision that would keep you and me awake for the rest of our lives. But it didnt faze Harry who slept a good 8 hours the night after he gave the order. (Good but that gives you pause, doesnt it?)
Good: He finally learned he should stop listening to State Department appeasers and reject the Obama-like idea that pleaded with the USSR: cant we all get along? He pushed the Marshall Plan that stabilized western Europe and largely saved it from Communism and proclaimed the Truman Doctrine supporting those who resisted Soviet imperialism, supported the Berlin airlift. Good: He recognized the new nation of Israel.
Bad: He seized the countrys steel mills to head off an impending strike during the Korean war which was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Bad: He was notoriously soft on corruption which especially hit the IRS: the assistant treasury secretary in charge of tax policy had to resign for doing favors to big-wigs. Bad: After World War II, he became convinced that by possessing the A-Bomb we could cut back on military preparedness so he slashed the Marine Corps to the bone. He fired four defense secretaries between 1947 and 1951. That led to the Revolt of the Admirals which spared the armed services so that they would be ready for the Korean War (which was caused by Truman).
Bad: He caused Free China to fall to the Communists by insisting that Chiang kai Shek accept them in a coalition government (which Mao was committed to reject). Chiang refused with the result that the U.S. ended all military support for him against the Reds and Mao took over in 1949. Bad: his secretary of state said publicly that Korea was outside the perimeter of our defense which triggered the North to invade the South on the pretext that we didnt care. Truman then reversed the policy and ordered us into an extra-constitutional police action which never had congressional sanction. Bad: Having done that, Truman gave World War II hero 5-star general Douglas MacArthur too free a rein leading MacArthur to assume he had the sole right to invade China to punish its entry into the war.
Bad: Having foolishly seeming to give MacArthur too much authority, when things got hot, Truman fired him instead of allowing Mac, a true hero, to resignand bad againfired him via news reports (MacArthur hearing from a radio broadcast that he was removed). This incompetence led to frenetic division in the United States which tore the country apart and encouraged North Korea and Mao-led China.
Bad: He was notoriously soft on corruption which had permeated the IRS where agents on the take were winking at tax evaders. After a congressional probe he called in a special prosecutor who reported to the Attorney General. But when the special prosecutor got close to corruption by the AG, the AG fired the prosecutor after which Truman fired the AG. Government became a musical chair comedy.
Bad: He shut his eyes when it was disclosed by Joe McCarthy and others that the government was riddled with Communist sympathizers and famously charged that McCarthy was dragging a red herring. But pressured by congressional hearings, he set up his own probe which resulted in 2,500 employees being dismissedbut he resisted demanding that all federal employees take a loyalty oath. Bad again: He was warned repeatedly that undersecretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White was pro-communist and should be fired. Truman resisted and instead named White to a high post in the International Monetary Fund. When it got too hot, White skipped out to Moscow as a bonafide Communist, taking with him God knows how many secrets to give to the Kremlin.
While liberal university historians rated him 9th among the presidents and 4th among the six near great presidents, he should be near the bottomprobably in the lowest third. But the legend of Harry Truman the Great lives onthanks to hagiographers as David McCollum. The unjustified glory phase still continues with Republican presidents and candidates who say they will strive to be another Harry Truman. They know not what they mean.
#3. Direct Election of Senators Good Reform.
This nations founders wanted to have the Congress composed of one body elected directly by the people (the House of Representatives) and another to be elected by the state legislatures (the U. S. Senate). Their reason was clear: they wanted state governments to provide a significant check on federal usurpation of the states i.e. the liberal populist sentiment. George Washington himself illustrated the value of the Senate with a cup of very hot tea. He poured some in his saucer for cooling. That is the roll of the Senate, he said, to cool the product of the emotionally-driven more populist House.
Nevertheless, the battle to change the system began as early as 1826 with steady drumbeat of the reformers and lasted until ratification of the 17th amendment in 1913 which gave direct senatorial election to voters.
The 17th was a giant step to the unraveling of the great balance between state and federal prerogatives. And it is not a coincidence thatmost of the great senators in U. S. history were elected by the legislature only a few of whom were Charles Carroll of Carrolton, [Md.], the only Catholic Declaration signer, Daniel Webster [Mass.], John C. Calhoun [S,C,] John Quincy Adams [Mass.]. Sam Houston [Texas], William Seward [NY], Stephen A. Douglas [Ill.], Leland Stanford [Calif.], Henry Cabot Lodge [Mass.], Robert LaFollette [Wis.], Nelson Aldrich [NY] William E. Borah [Idaho], Elihu Root [N.Y.], all sturdy individualists, many of wealth and success who represented a counterweight to the more populist House.
Also, said the reformers, the senate is controlled by big money due to wheeling and dealing electoral process in the state legislatures..
A horrible example they cited came from the journalism of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (whose own father was U. S. senator from California, elected by the legislature)came from Chicago (surprise?) that of Billy Lorimer [1861-1934] the Republican boss of Chicago (doesnt that sound quaintRepublican boss of Chicago?) who allegedly bribed first one Democratic state legislator and then others to enable Lorimer to sneak his election by a narrow vote. One Dem charged he was paid $1,000 to go for Lorimer: soon he was joined by others who made the same assertion.
Then came the inflated, pompous pooh-bah of self-righteousness, ex-president Teddy Roosevelt, running in 1912 as Progressive party candidate, who said he would not appear on the same platform with Lorimer. Immediately, Billy Lorimer was expelled from the Senate by that bodys vote. Lorimer was a crook: no doubt about that. But you change the Founders concept of the Constitution because of him? Nevertheless, Lorimer was the horrible example of the bad apple. His case foolishly pushed the drive to amend the Constitution to provide for direct election of senators.
Has the 17th amendment given us a better class of senators? Take a look at the partial roster of incumbents as 2009 began: the late Ted Kennedy [Mass.] scion multi-millionaire whose family regularly plumped big dough into his and his brothers campaigns, John Kerry [Mass.], the richest U.S. senator who married the Heinz catsup fortune; Chris Dodd [Conn.] under probe for favoritism with Wall Street; Jay Rockefeller [W.Va.] multi-millionaire; 91-year-old Robert Byrd [W. Va.], the longest serving senator in U.S. history, a former Ku Klux Klan member; Harry Reid [Nev.]; Bernie Sanders [Vt.], a socialist and far-leftist since involvement in radical politics at the University of Chicago, who caucuses with the Democrats; Herb Kohn [Wis], multi-millionaire; Diane Feinstein [Calif.], married a multi-millionaire investment banker who has made mega-millions with a construction company doing business in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also the ex-comedian Al Franken [Minn]; Dick Durbin [Ill.]; Olympia Snowe [R.I.], Barbara Boxer [Calif.]; Chuck Schumer [N.Y.].
Demographics show the 17th amendment has produced members more likely to have an Ivy League education (hence: liberal). States are more likely to have split Senate delegations and the Senate is more likely to resemble the partisan temperament of the Housejust the opposite of the lesson Washington demonstrated with the saucer that cooled his tea.
Ill serve up other subjects for debunking later. In the meantime, if you wish, suggest some subjects by writing to me at email@example.com.