Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wal-Mart in Silicon Valley Packed on Black Friday

Barron's Tech Trader Daily reports that Wal-Mart in Mountain View, California was jam-packed on Black Friday.

And that was supposed to be good, that the recession (depression, whatever you want to call it), may be indeed over (as reported by Sergey Brin's mother-in-law).

Wal-Mart in Silicon Valley?? (What is the world coming to?)

Mountain View is located in the middle of Silicon Valley. I used to live in the Valley when I went to school and several years afterwards. It was an affluent area (still is) and there was no such thing as Wal-Mart. San Antonio Shopping Center, which always looked half-deserted, had Sears for eternity but that was about the extent of mass-discounter presence. Now people flock to Wal-Mart??

Stanford Shopping Center has always been upscale. If people flooded that shopping center and were buying, then maybe, the recession is on hold for now.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Shoppers, More Buying on Black Friday

That's what U.S. financial media is hyping today.

Not Dubai, not the fact that the U.S. market is down a sizeable amount after two-day selloffs in Asia. OK, Europe got euphoric today and the bources ended the day up more than 1%, but they are Europeans.

So, here's to you, online shoppers. Buy up all you can, be happy.

Black Friday at

(Full disclosure: I am signed up as associate.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Great Thanksgiving Hoax

or How Pilgrims Discovered Free Market and Thrived.

This is the post I wanted to present on Thanksgiving Day. The article below was written originally by Richard J. Maybury for the November 1985 issue of The Free Market newsletter from Ludwig von Mises Institute. It was later reprinted for Mises Daily on November 20, 1999.

The author cites 'History of Plymouth Plantation' written by the governor of the colony, William Bradford, and tells us a very different story of the pilgrims and their Thanksgiving Days. It turns out that the colonists went hungry for years, because of the economic system that they insisted on having - "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". In other words, early socialism.

It was after the governor gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit - in other words, introduction of a free market - that the harvest was so plentiful that the colonists began exporting. They never went hungry ever again.


The Great Thanksgiving Hoax (Richard J. Maybury, 11/20/1999 Mises Daily, Ludwig von Mises Institute) [emphasis is mine]

Each year at this time school children all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving's real meaning.

The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hardworking or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his 'History of Plymouth Plantation,' the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." The crops were small because "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, "all had their hungry bellies filled," but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first "Thanksgiving" was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty," Bradford wrote, "and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God." Thereafter, he wrote, "any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day." In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop." They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock." A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that "young men that are most able and fit for labor and service" complained about being forced to "spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children." Also, "the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak." So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called "The Starving Time," the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was "plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure." He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, "we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now."

Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. They were in the same situation as Ethiopians are today, and for the same reasons. But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that the annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Thus the real reason for Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.


If the pilgrims and early colonists had stuck to their socialist model, they may still have somehow managed to survive and still somehow gradually conquer the rest of the continent. But they didn't. They very quickly learned what worked - a free market system - and the growth and wealth creation was explosive. The Erie Canal was dug in 15 years instead of 30, and was open for business after 8 years since it was started. Lewis and Clark Expedition of crossing the continent to the Pacific coast and back took them only two years.

And that's what has made this country unique and resilient, because it has been based on individual effort and ingenuity and the free market system that rewards them, to the benefit of everyone in the society.

Don't let anyone (particularly the government) convince you otherwise.

Dubai Fears Continue to Drive Global Markets Down

This is not the post I wanted to write on Thanksgiving Day, but U.S. stock investors may want to prepare, at least mentally, for a severe correction in the stock market.

It already started yesterday in Asia, continued on to Europe today, and Asia again is opening in deep red. U.S. stock market futures are in deep red. Dow futures down 184 points as of 7:44 PM EST.

It is because of the fear of sovereign default (Dubai).

This screen shot is today's European markets.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All That Glitters - Gold Makes All-Time High

on India rumor, and very real U.S. dollar plunge.

Update (8:22 PM PST): IMF sold 10 tons of gold to Sri Lanka. The latest gold price from


Spot gold hit $1,187.40 per ounce today (still trading). This is a screen capture from a gold site

The Indian government is rumored to be negotiating with IMF for the purchase of the remainder of IMF's gold (another 200 tonnes). (Here's's article.)

Big-shot hedge fund billionaires (Paul Tudor Jones, John Paulson, David Einhorn) have all gone long on gold. (Read the article on MarketWatch.)

Many dismiss it as "bubble". (Gold was $1045 when this article was published in early October.)

Many think gold is still "undervalued" (here and here and here).

So far, I'm very happy with my investment in gold ('paper' gold, in the form of leveraged ETN - exchange-traded notes). I wish I had had a courage to double the position when it was less than half the price of what it is at today.

Tax, Tax, And More Tax to Prosperity!

for the U.S. government. Not for the citizens.

Health care deform, oops "reform": increased tax for the "wealthy" as defined by the government, penalty for anyone who don't buy insurance, increased cost (insurance cost, medical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs) for everyone because all these entities will be taxed on their gross revenue of their services and products.

Crap, oops, cap and trade: even the Obama administration admits it will be equivalent to 15% income tax hike, so that Mr. Gore and his ilk can mightily profit from their "entrepreneurship". If the government says 15%, double that as a matter of course. They will cook data to fit the "religion".

War surtax: 1 to 5% extra for everyone with a taxable income, 2 to 10% extra for every corporation with a taxable income, whether you support the Af-Pak war or not.

Trading tax (yes they are yakking about it again): 0.25% on the trade. You buy 100 Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares and pay your discount broker the commission ($6 to 12), and you pay the tax of $50 so that the government can create new jobs. If you use a broker who lets you trade for free, the trading cost skyrockets to infinity. If you trade AAPL 5 times a year (buy or sell) and AAPL remains more or less at $200/share, that will be the end of your first $100,000 transactions for which the government will generously refund the tax. If AAPL surges to $300 you will get to fund the job growth with your $75 that you would have kept otherwise.

What a joke. Every single one of them. I would be surprised if Americans take them lying down. But I've been surprised before.

It would be a miracle if the economy and society ever recover. But a miracle has happened before, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Martha Does Hillary - State Department Makeover

your tax money at work.

State Department Spruces Up (Patrick Gavin, 11/24/09 Politico Click)

"The State Department is not exactly the most modern of buildings. So when it comes to sprucing things up, it probably needs some help.

"As a result, it has partnered with the magazine industry to help decorate 17 rooms for the holiday season. The rooms are in the State Department's Harry S. Truman Building and Blair House, both of which are located in Washington.

"The Magazine Holiday Design Showcase is "part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the furnishings and art in both the Blair House and the State Department," according to a release.

"Better Homes and Gardens will decorate the Blair House's front and back rooms and the garden. Martha Stewart Living will focus on Blair House's dining rooms, entryway and Lee Drawing Room. Mother Earth News turns its sights on Blair House's Jackson Place Sitting Room and Jackson Place Dining Room. Mother Earth News will team up with Natural Home to work on the State Department's Adams Room. This Old House will tend to the Lincoln Room and Truman Study at Blair House. Traditional Home has been assigned the Blair House's Lee Dining Room and Lee Entrance Room."

Maybe Hillary is absorbing the cost, just like the Obamas supposedly did for the White House decoration by the same decorator who picked $87,783 area rug for John Thain.

FDIC's DIF Is Minus $8.2 Billion to Cover $5.3 Trillion

DIF-insured deposits. How?

The government institution that I love to hate, FDIC, has released its Quarterly Banking Profile report for the 3rd quarter that ended on September 30.

They already admitted that the DIF (Deposit Insurance Fund) went negative at the end of September, which was highly unusual as FDIC is not known for timely disclosure of their own problems. Sure enough, DIF is in the hole for $8.243 billion as of September 30. Since then, FDIC has closed 29 banks.

What has caught my attention though, is the sudden jump in DIF-insured deposits in the 3rd quarter. It went from $4.817 trillion in the 2nd quarter to $5.308 trillion in the 3rd quarter, a 10.2% jump. This additional $491 billion, I believe, is roughly the same amount that has been yanked out of money market funds this year. The Treasury Department stopped the guarantee on money market funds in mid September.

FDIC Chairman Bair already mandated that the banks, from "too big to fail" to "too small to bother", prepay 3-year worth of DIF premiums to fill the hole, unduly punishing the more prudent, small banks. All the extra burden on the banks will be passed on to the depositors in increased fees and other inconveniences (such as having their accounts shut down).

Why is Sheila Bair still keeping her job remains a mystery to me. But then, it's a mystery to me that Geithner is still heading the Treasury Department...

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Income Tax for Everyone to Pay for Afghan War?

Influencial Democratic lawmakers called for new income tax for anyone with a taxable income to pay for the Afghan war, which President Obama is expected to broaden by pouring in tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers.

It is the "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010" (H.R. 4130), introduced on November 19, 2009 with 10 co-sponsors. If the bill gets passed (no one at this point seems to think it will), the new tax will be in the form of "war surtax" ranging from 1% to 5% for personal income tax, and 2% to 10% for corporate income tax.

US lawmakers: New tax should pay for Afghan war
(11/19/09 AFP via Raw Story)

"Influential US lawmakers on Thursday called for levying a new income tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan, warning its costs pose a mortal threat to efforts like a sweeping health care overhaul.

""Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for," the lawmakers, all prominent Democratic allies of Obama, said in a joint statement on the "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010."

"The proposal came with US President Barack Obama set to announce within weeks his decision on whether to send more US troops to fight the war, now in its ninth year.

"The group included House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey; Representative John Murtha, who chair that panel's defense subcommittee; and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.

"The proposal, a heavily symbolic measure seen as having next to no chance of becoming law, would impose a war surtax on income beginning in 2011 -- though it would allow the president to delay implementation by one year upon deciding the US economy is too weak to sustain such a tax shift.

"It would also exempt members of the US military who have served in combat since the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes, their families, and families of soldiers who died as a result of combat.

""The only people who've paid any price for our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families," the lawmakers said. "We believe that if this war is to be fought, it's only fair that everyone share the burden."

"If the war is not paid for, its costs "will devour money that could be used to rebuild our economy by fixing our broken health care system, expanding educational opportunities and job training possibilities, attacking our long term energy problems and building stronger communities," they said."

How about not spending?

That aside, I strongly disagree with their statement that the U.S. military families are the only people who have paid any price for the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. What about Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani families who've been killed or injured?

Non-military families of the U.S. have already been paying the price, regardless of whether they support the wars or not. The U.S. budget is a bust, thanks in large part to the ever-increasing defense budget. It is funded by selling the sovereign debts - IOUs that the taxpayers get to pay now and in the future without their express consent. In fact, the taxpayers are taxed twice - income tax, and inflation.

I don't know what the motivation is for these lawmakers (co-sponsors of the bill). Some, I suspect, signed on to this bill as a way to discourage the president from expanding Afghan involvement. Murtha may actually believe this is great idea for the military. Yet others no doubt think it is an excellent idea to grab whatever they can get away with from the least powerful lobby, the taxpayers. I don't know why AFP thinks this has virtually no chance of passing.

Here's more from's Justin Raimondo. He seems to take this seriously.

Lew Rockwell: 30-Day Total Makerover Plan for the U.S.

Lew Rockwell has a plan (actually two plans) for transitioning into a true free market, which I stumbled upon late last night, and it is strangely exhilarating. The plans were written and published almost 18 years ago, but as you can clearly see, they are even more relevant today.

(It could happen if "Dr. No" should become the president...)

Rockwell's Thirty-Day Plan (Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., originally appeared in March 1991, The Free Market newsletter of Ludwig von Mises Institute)

When Eastern Europe broke free in 1989, we all realized just how little thought had been given to the transition from socialism to capitalism. Mises had told us the collapse was coming, and we should have been prepared.

As America comes to resemble a command economy, we need a transition plan here too. Yuri Maltsev proposed a "One-Year Plan" for the U.S.S.R. We're not in that bad a shape (yet), so we could do it in 30 days.

DAY ONE: The federal income tax is abolished and April 15th is declared a national holiday. The 40% reduction in federal revenues is matched by a 40% cut in spending. The budget is still almost twice as big as Jimmy Carter's.

DAY TWO: All other federal taxes are abolished, including the corporate income tax, the capital gains tax, the gasoline tax, "sin" taxes, excise taxes, etc. Businesses boom, and the few legitimate federal functions are funded with an inexpensive head tax. People who choose not to vote need not pay it. (Note: this was a mainstream view in the 19th century.)

DAY THREE: The federal government sells all its land, freeing up tens of millions of acres for development, mining, farming, forestry, oil drilling, private parks, etc. The government uses the revenue to pay off the national debt and other liabilities.

DAY FOUR: The minimum wage is reduced to zero, creating jobs for ex-federal bureaucrats at their market wage. All pro-union laws and regulations are scrapped. The jobless rate falls dramatically.

DAY FIVE: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, like the rest of the Labor Department, is sent to that big hiring hall in the sky. Without detailed economic statistics, future economic planners will be blind and deaf.

DAY SIX: The Department of Commerce is abolished. Big business has to make its own way in the world, without subsidies and privileges at the expense of its competitors and customers.

DAY SEVEN: The plug is pulled on the Department of Energy. Oil and gas prices plummet.

DAY EIGHT: All regulatory agencies, from the Interstate Commerce Commission to the Federal Trade Commission, are deep-sixed. Competition is legalized.

DAY NINE: HUD is squashed like a bug. There's a building boom in cheap, private, apartments.

DAY TEN: The interstate highways reopen as private businesses. Road entrepreneurs price travel according to consumer demand. Using modern technology, drivers get bills once a month. Credit risks – and drunks and dangerous drivers – aren't allowed on the road. Non-drivers no longer subsidize car owners.

DAY ELEVEN: Government welfare is wiped out. Bums work or starve. The deserving poor find a cornucopia of private services designed to make them independent. Private charity explodes, as the American people, already the most generous in the world, find their incomes almost doubled, thanks to the tax cuts.

DAY TWELVE: The Federal Reserve closes its open-market operations and stops protecting the banking industry from competition. But banks can now engage in all the non-bank financial activities previously forbidden to them. The business cycle, which is caused by monetary expansion through the credit markets, is liquidated.

DAY THIRTEEN: Federal deposit insurance is scrapped. All insured deposits are redeemed from federal assets, which include the personal assets of high-level government employees. The threat of bank runs forces banks to keep 100% reserves for their demand deposits, and prudent reserves on all other accounts. There are no more inherently bankrupt banks propped up by the government, at taxpayer expense, and no more bail-outs.

DAY FOURTEEN: The shaky fiat dollar is defined in terms of gold, with the ratio determined by dividing the government's gold stock by all existing dollars on that day.

DAY FIFTEEN: The federal government sells National and Dulles airports to the highest bidder, and stops all subsidies to other socialist airports around the country. All constraints on airline prices and service cease. It costs more to fly during peak hours than off-peak, but overall, air travel drops in price.

DAY SIXTEEN: All government regulations that create and sustain cartels are abolished, including those for the post office, telephones, television, radio, and cable TV. Prices plummet, and a host of new and unforeseen services becomes available.

DAY SEVENTEEN: Centrally planned agriculture, as imposed by Hoover and Roosevelt, is repealed: there are no more subsidies, payments-in-kind, marketing orders, low-interest loans, etc. Farm prices drop. Entrepreneurial farmers get rich. Welfare farmers go into another line of work. The poor eat like kings.

DAY EIGHTEEN: The Justice Department shutters its anti-trust division. Companies, big and small, are free to merge – up, down, or sideways. Stockholders can buy any other company, or sell their stock to anyone else. Marginal producers can no longer battle their competitors with bureaucratic weapons.

DAY NINETEEN: The Department of Education flunks the constitutionality test, and is kicked out. Private charities set up remedial reading and writing programs for the former bureaucrats. Federally subsidized sex education and other anti-family programs go out of business. Local school districts become responsive to parents or close, pressured by a fast-growing private school sector (which many more parents can now afford).

DAY TWENTY: All federal monuments are sold, in some cases to non-profit groups based on the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association, which owns and runs George Washington's home. The VFW buys the Vietnam memorial. There is much bidding for the Jefferson and Washington monuments. Nobody wants FDR's, so it's torn down and the land sold to a farmer. (With the federal government cut back to its constitutional size, much of Washington reverts to productive uses like agriculture, as in late 18th century.)

DAY TWENTY-ONE: The computerized financial and political dossier maintained by the government on every American is erased. The public wanders through the federal offices to make sure, in a reprise of the East Berliners' visits to Stasi headquarters.

DAY TWENTY-TWO: Equal rights are granted to all Americans, even members of non-victim groups. There is no affirmative action, no quotas, no set-asides, no public accommodations laws. Private property and freedom of association are fully restored.

DAY TWENTY-THREE: The EPA is cleaned out, with all "clean air" and similar big-government laws repealed. Ten thousand lawyers leap from their balconies. Private property is established in air and water. Americans harmed by pollution are free to sue the polluters, who are no longer protected by the federal government.

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Americans are given complete freedom of contract, restoring rationality to malpractice and product liability law.

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Government scrambles for more assets to sell (i.e., the National Zoo, also known as Washington, D.C.) to pay off the liabilities of the privatized Social Security system.

DAY TWENTY-SIX: Porno artists have to earn their own livings, as the National Endowment for the Arts tries to raise its budget through sidewalk painting sales.

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Foreign aid is outlawed as unconstitutional, unjust, and un-economic. Foreign politicians have to steal their own money. The World Bank, IMF, and United Nations close their super-luxurious doors.

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: The American people are given the unrestricted right to keep and bear arms.

DAY TWENTY-NINE: The Defense Department is reoriented towards defense. American troops come home from all around the world. We adopt a policy of armed neutrality, remembering the Founding Fathers' teaching that we could not have an empire abroad and a constitutional republic at home.

DAY THIRTY: All tariffs, quotas, and trade agreements are put through the shredder. Americans can trade with anyone in the world, without barriers or subsidies. Japanese car prices drop an immediate 25%.

In just 30 exhilarating days, we have established the outlines of free market. Radical? Maybe so. Me, I can't wait until Month Two.

If you like what you see, he has the plan for Month Two:

Rockwell's Next Thirty Days

Obama Going Nowhere Fast in Diplomacy

says Der Spiegel, a German paper.

Candidate Obama was received like a rock star in Germany. Now the reality seems to have set in, and that's worldwide.

Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage
(Gabor Steingart, 11/23/09 Der Spiegel)

"When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.

"There were only a few hours left before Air Force One was scheduled to depart for the flight home. US President Barack Obama trip through Asia had already seen him travel 24,000 kilometers, sit through a dozen state banquets, climb the Great Wall of China and shake hands with Korean children. It was high time to take stock of the trip.

"Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."

"The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions."

In Japan, the new DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) administration had pulled out of the refueling mission for the Afghan war (although they will pay billions of dollars to the U.S. in exchange), and the relocation of a Marine base remains a highly contentious issue which Obama's visit didn't help solve in any way.

In China, according to the article, Obama even allowed himself to be at the joint press conference with the Chinese president, in which questions from the press were forbidden. He has nothing to offer to the Palestinians and the Syrians, as Israeli prime minister has rejected his call for a complete moratorium on settlements.

The article says that Obama may start adopting a tougher stance, to avoid being perceived as another Jimmy Carter. Already the signs are there in abundance. None of the Bush-era security and anti-terror measures (warrant-less wire-tapping, Guantanamo, etc.) has been cut back or repealed, and his administration is adding more. Just about the very first thing he did upon becoming the president (Day 4 to be precise) was to authorize bombing of Pakistan. On this trip to Asia, he started to use the same rhetoric as his predecessor, regarding Iran this time:

"An end to diplomacy is also taking shape in Washington's policy toward Tehran. It is now up to Iran, Obama said, to convince the world that its nuclear power is peaceful. While in Asia, Obama mentioned "consequences" unless it followed his advice. This puts the president, in his tenth month in office, where Bush began -- with threats. "Time is running out," Obama said in Korea. It was the same phrase Bush used against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, shortly before he sent in the bombers. [emphasis is mine]

"There are many indications that the man in charge at the White House will take a tougher stance in the future. Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter.""

Not that I buy Newt Gingrich's assessment of Carter. I do see that President Obama is increasingly perceived as a good talker (i.e. he can speak unmangled English, unlike his predecessor) and a good brand, but not much more. If you call anyone who sees him as such as "predators, agressors, anti-Americans, dictators" as Newt is doing, it looks like almost the entire world is the enemy of the U.S.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cooking Up Data on Global "Warming"?

Can we kiss "cap and trade" goodbye now?

Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'? (James Delingpole, 11/20/09 Telegraph UK)

"If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

"When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at Hadley CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

"One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:
In an odd way this is cheering news.
"But perhaps the most damaging revelations – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause."

The article continues to list some of their amusing emails.

James Delingpole has several deliciously-titled books like Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn't Work.

Despite the article's title, he is realistic (that nothing of that sort happens any time soon) but at the same time thinks the tide is turning against Al Gores of the world:

"I asked in my title whether this will be the final nail in the coffin of Anthropenic Global Warming. This was wishful thinking, of course. In the run up to Copenhagen, we will see more and more hysterical (and grotesquely exaggerated) stories such as this in the Mainstream Media. And we will see ever-more-virulent campaigns conducted by eco-fascist activists, such as this risible new advertising campaign by Plane Stupid showing CGI polar bears falling from the sky and exploding because kind of, like, man, that’s sort of what happens whenever you take another trip on an aeroplane.

"The world is currently cooling; electorates are increasingly reluctant to support eco-policies leading to more oppressive regulation, higher taxes and higher utility bills; the tide is turning against Al Gore’s Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. The so-called “sceptical” view is now also the majority view.

"Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight."

Saturday Night Live: Obama's China Visit