Archive for December, 2011

2012: Which fork in the road will Americans choose?

December 31, 2011

As 2011 departs, and 2012 moves center-stage, Americans voters  confront a momentous choice that will determine the well-being of their children and their children’s children for many years to come. November 2012 will be a moment of decision comparable in significance to that fateful election of 1860 when  a struggling nation was simply ripped apart.

The electoral choice for November 2012 is not yet clear, because the Republican Party primaries are yet to commence.  But already it appears likely that Mitt Romney will be the candidate of choice for a political party that must not let the best be the enemy of the good in a must-win election.

The alternative is fearful indeed. Barack Obama has clearly exposed his preference for socialism over capitalism, for Islam over Christianity, for class warfare over pluralism.  He has shown his preference for rule by man over the rule of  law. As a second-term president, who will never have to confront the electorate again, Obama is sure to go for broke.

The result will be either the end of  laissez-faire capitalism as we have  known it in the United States, if  Obama’s coat-tails provide a compliant Congress.  Or a bitter political struggle with Congress that will push the United States into a chronic national debt crisis and oblivion as an international force for peace and stability,  if the electorate divides the spoils and votes Republican majorities into the House and the Senate.

For such a fateful election, there is no perfect GOP presidential candidate on the horizon. Mitt Romney surely should be good enough to beat out an opponent who behaves more and more like Hugo Chavez than Harry Truman. This is not the time for the GOP to throw the dice high. The survival of American exceptionalism is at stake in this election.

 ‘Steady as she goes’ should be the message that emanates from the Republican Party primaries during the first part of 2012!  The future well being of the United States rests on such a far-sighted judgment.

May the American electorate experience an exceptionally sober New Year!

Time to effect regime change in Iran

December 30, 2011

With officials from both Israel and the U.S. calling a nuclear-armed Iran a red line, leaving the possibility of a military option on the table, we must realize that the only possible solution to this dilemma is a regime change in Iran, which a majority of the Iranians support. The price we pay today to save world peace and security will be miniscule to what the world will pay in the not-so-distant future.” Reze Kahilli*, ‘The coming war with Iran’, The Washington Times, December 30, 2011

President George W Bush correctly identified Iran several years ago as part of the Axis of Evil against which the West must be prepared proactively to defend itself. Throughout the first three years of the Obama adminisistration, reflexive weakness towards Islam has allowed Iranian evil to fester and infect other Shiite Muslims across the Middle East. The danger is now more imminent as the Mad Mullahs reach out for nuclear weapons capable of wreaking havoc across the globe.

Of course a nuclear attack by Iran, on any nation, whether directly or through proxies,  would attract immediate nuclear devastation for its entire population as the U.S. responded rightly and overwelmingly with the ultimate sanction.  But that is a high price to pay for irresponsible appeasement now. Retaliation threats cannot be relied on when dealing with the clinically insane. So surgical removal of the Iranian regime is the only rational alternative.

About 40 per cent of the world’s oil, and the majority of all oil exports by eight countries in the Persian Gulf, pass through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that could potentially be blocked by Iranian military intervention. The recent threat by the Mullahs to to close that waterway down is sufficient cause for the U.S., together with a coalition of the willing, to shut down the Iranian regime.

Air intervention should be the preferred mechanism, targeting Tehran and key military and nuclear installations with missiles designed to take down the country’s infrastructure and to destroy the Revolutionary Guards and all their accolites. The aim should be to disturb, destroy, and exit, leaving a potentially free Iranian people to rise up against the monsters who have enslaved them, but who would then be relatively disarmed.

No nation-building should be on the table. That is the responsibility of the Iranian people, and the Iranian people alone. No U.S. boots on the ground. Just lots and lots of U.S.  missiles pouring down on the Mullahs from all directions until, like the Japanese in 1945, they beg for unconditional terms of surrender.

* Reza Kahilli is the pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who now teaches at the U.S Department of Defense’s  Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.

Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve bungles once again

December 29, 2011

Last week the Federal Reserve announced new ‘Enhanced Prudential Standards and Early Remediation Standards as required by the dreadful Dodds-Frank law.  As recent history advises, if Ben Bernanke can mess things up he assuredly will do so.  And once again, the historical message is spot on.

The issue addressed by the Federal Reserve is how to prevent the 2008 financial crisis from ever recurring. To deal with that issue, it is important to identify what did and what did not trigger that financial crisis. So let us start right there – something incidentally that the Fed does not do in some 168 waste-of-time pages.

The 2008 financial crisis was a classic bank run. Investors pulled money from banks that had speculated wildly in junk mortgage bonds that had been packaged and falsely promoted by two corrupt GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both operating under pressure from vote-seeking presidents and vote-seeking congressional politicians.

Center-stage in creating that bank run were two especially unethical politicians, Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank who, in typical Washington Cosa Nostra style, were subsequently empowered to write new financial regulations supposedly designed to secure the public from their own filthy hands.

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury could swiftly have aborted the run – and stopped it for all time – by cutting off all lender-of-last resort funding to the leading five or six insolvent U.S. banks, denying any bail-out funding to anyone involved except the insured bank depositors, and allowing the laws of bankruptcy to take an expedited course. In such an environment, there would be no ‘too-big-to-fail’ moral hazard problem.  And little or no reason to worry over any potential repetition of excessive speculation within the banking system.

Given that the Fed and the Treasury pursued policies exactly opposed to those that should have been in place, moral hazard now exists, and must be aggressively addressed. But not in the shiftless manner now proposed by the Federal Reserve: requiring the bank-casinos to put less than one investor dollar at risk for every ten borrowed dollars; restricting the big banks to betting no more than 10 percent of their equity on a single counterparty; and requiring a bank’s covered board of directors to oversee its its liquidity risk management processes.  Each and every one of these new rules can and will be manipulated by the next generation of corrupt bank employees trained in the ethically-challenged quadrangles of Harvard and Yale.

What is now required is a return to Glass-Steagall separation of commercial banking from casino-banking. Lender of last resort and depositor insurance should be limited strictly to  commercial banks. Anyone who chooses to play in the casino should do so caveat emptor.  Antitrust laws should be applied strictly to the commercial banks as a means of avoiding the too-big-to-fail moral hazard. Strict and completely transparent reporting rules should be applied to the commercial banks. Tier One Capital to total liability ratios for all commercial banks should be held at a minimum of 12 per cent. Expedited bankrupcy should be required of any commercial bank that breaches the rules and/or becomes insolvent.

That is all that is needed to avoid future financial crises affecting the commercial banks. And frankly, who cares about the casinos except those who indulge them? And the gamblers should be strictly on their own; every last tub on its own bottom, so to speak.  

In the  Goldman Sachs’ of this world, no one in his right mind should ever trust. And we cannot write rules to protect the insane, except to incarcerate them in suitable medical facilities.

Obama administration trashes civil liberties in its love affair with Islam

December 28, 2011

“In her keynote address at the conference (the Istanbul Process) Mrs. Clinton noted a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found ’70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with a high number of restrictions on religious freedom.’  What she left out was that the 2009 Pew report ‘Global Restrictions on religion’ found that most states that had ‘high’ or ‘very high’ religious restrictions were countries with Muslim  majorities.  The research also revealed, ‘On average, restrictions are highest in the Middle East-North Africa, where the median score for the 20 countries (4.9) is considerably higher than for the 35 countries in the Americas (1.0), the region with the lowest median score.” Editorial, ‘Obama: Entangled by Islam’, The Washington Times, December 28, 2011

Religious intolerance across Muslim-majority countries is a major reason why President Obama’s craven outreach to Islam has been a total bust.  Since Obama assumed office in January 2009, regard for the United States among the world’s Muslims has declined precipitously.  ‘Bring back W’  is the all-but universal cry, despite the fact that liberal critics deem W to be culturally illiterate.

Religious intolerance is not the only factor that sharply distinguishes Muslim-majority countries from the pluralistic West. Muslim countries are characterized by culturally-based discrimination against both women and homosexuals, despite (or perhaps because) of Obama’s liberal outreach message worldwide on behalf of both communities. 

When President Obama’s commitments to liberal principles and pandering to Islam run counter to each other, it is now clear which principle will be discarded. Obama loves Islam so much that his liberal sweetheart will always be the wallflower at any Obama Ball. What does a liberal principle or two matter when that slinky Muslim temptress winks across the table and  catches his wandering eye.

Abraham Lincoln’s assault on the United States Constitution

December 27, 2011

From the outset of the War of Northern Aggression, President Lincoln infringed the Constitution that supposedly bound his nation together. His first transgression was directed at the State of Maryland. 

Maryland was a divided border state separating Washington from the Northern Union States.  Inevitably, it became a political tinderbox.  Lincoln illegally suspended the writ of  habeas corpus along the line between Philadelphia and  the District of Columbia by placing Maryland under military rule, even though the state had not voted to secede.  Essentially, this was an impeachable act on the part of the President.

 Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Taney, a consistent supporter of states’ rights, invalidated Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. In his alternative role as presiding judge of the circuit court of Baltimore, Roger Taney questioned Lincoln’s action in May 1861 in the case of Ex parte Merriman.

Merriman was a pro-Confederate Maryland political leader who was arrested without trial, under Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, for allegedly participating in the destruction of railroad bridges.  Taney issued the writ of habeas corpus, but the military commander to whom it was addressed refused to produce Merriman to the court.  Taney then issued a writ of attachment ordering the military commander to be apprehended.  Again he was rebuffed. 

Holding a session in chambers, now as Chief Justice, Taney declared Merriman entitled to his freedom, and filed an opinion condemning Merriman’s arrest as an arbitrary and illegal denial of civil liberty. According to this legal opinion, only Congress (under Article I of the Constitution) , and not the President (under Article II of the Constitution), had the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Taney noted that if Lincoln’s action was allowed to stand, then ‘the people of the United States are no longer living under a Government of laws, but every citizen holds life, liberty, and property at the will and pleasure of the army officer in whose military district he may happen to be found.’

Lincoln ignored Taney’s opinion. Worse still, the President attempted to intimidate the Chief Justice by writing out standing orders for the Chief Justice’s arrest.  Fortunately for the Constitution, even Lincoln did not possess the crude audacity to serve that writ and so breach irreparably the separation of powers forged in Philadelphia by the Founding Fathers.

When the Maryland legislature followed up on Chief Justice Taney’s opinion by lodging its own protest concerning Merriman’s illegal arrest to the U.S. Congress, however,  Lincoln did not hesitate to respond with illegal brute force.

Secretary of State Seward ordered a military raid that jailed 31 legislators, the Mayor of Baltimore, one of the state’s congressmen, and key anti-administration publishers and editors. At the state’s mext elections in the fall of 1861, federal provost marshalls stood guard at the polls and arrested any disunionists who attempted to vote.

Lincoln also arranged for special furloughs to Marylanders who had joined the Union army, so that they could return home to vote. Under such circumstances, it is unsurprising that the new legislature strongly endorsed the War. When Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia swept through Maryland in the summer of 1963, it is no wonder that they were received with joyous welcome by Marylanders as they marched to the refrain:

The despot’s heel is on thy shore, Maryland!

His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland!

Thereafter, the Supreme Court  deferred to the internal security policy of President Lincoln even when executive action exceeded the limits of habeas corpus suspension. Ex parte Vallandigham (1864) is one good example.

In April 1863, Union General, Ambrose Burnside issued an order prohibiting in the area of his command any declarations of sympathy for the Confederate cause.  He declared that any person who assisted the enemy would be tried under military authority. Former Democratic representative, Clement Vallandigham, condemned the order and urged resistance to it. He was arrested, tried and convicted by a military commission.  His conviction was commuted by Lincoln to banishment beyond Confederate lines.

From Canada, Vallandigham petititoned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review directly the decision of the military commission.  With Chief Justice Roger Taney not participating, the Court denied certiorari, asserting that the Court lacked jurisdiction over a military commission. This, by then, had become a pattern for the Court of systematically refraining from interventions that might impact on war-related actions by the executive branch. This discretion was systematically abused by Lincoln as he proceeded to violate various provisions of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

Readers will note how closely Lincoln’s dark side of the force mirrors the dark side of the force recently displayed by such Middle Eastern dictators as Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, President Assad of Syria and President Mubarak of Egypt.

Such is always the case with dictators,  in the absence of any constraining rule of law.



President Abraham Lincoln and the dark side of the force

December 26, 2011

If ever the United States required a president capable of working on the bright side of the force it was in early 1861, at a time when internal tensions were tearing apart the Northern from the Southern states.

The Northern states were eager to hide behind trade protection as a means of growing their industrial base in a non-competitive environment. The Southern states were eager for free trade in order further to expand their markets overseas for agricicultural produce and for cotton and tobacco.

The Northern states were anxious about the perceived economic  advantage of their Southern compatriots stemming from the use of slave labor and enraged by the perceived immorality of slavery.  The Southern states were heavily dependent on such labor and had invested large sums of capital in developing slave labor forces.

An uneasy compromise had carried the nation forward for a decade prior to 1860.  The country was divided between slave and non-slave states and the allocation of additional states to slave and non-slave status was determined by the Missouri Compromise.  The Electoral College was carefully balanced in this manner, with Democratic Party victories securing the South from political attack on the ‘peculiar institution’.

In 1860, this delicate political balance fractured.  The Democrats, meeting in Charleston, South Carolina in April 1860 split on North-South lines. The Northern Democrats supported Stephen Douglas, as their best chance to defeat anti-slavery Republicans. However, despite Douglas’s ardent support for slavery, the Southern Democrats considered Douglas a traitor, because he supported popular sovereignty, permitting the territories to choose not to have slavery. The Southern Democrats stormed out of the convention without choosing a candidate.  Six weeks later, the Northern Democrats chose Douglas, while the Southern Democrats chose Vice President John C. Breckenridge.

With the Democratic Party vote split between two candidates, the Republicans sensed a break-through opportunity. Meeting in Chicago in May 1860, they sought a candidate capable of delivering four marginal Northern states – New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Lincoln had made a name for himself in the Douglas -Lincoln debates.  Although personally Lincoln had no time for blacks – later advocating a policy of repatriating them all back to their African origins –  politically he had debated in favor of ending the ‘peculiar institution’.  So the scene was set for a head-on collision.

Fearing for the Union, a group of aging politicians and distinguished citizens, calling themselves the Constitutional Union Party, nominated John Bell of Tennessee, a wealthy slaveholder, as their candidate for president. John Bell promoted moderation with a platform that took no stand on the slavery issue.

With four candidates in the field, Abraham Lincoln took the Electoral College with just  39.8 per cent of the popular vote, 18 out of 33 states and 180 out of 303 electoral college votes. John Breckenridge was the runner-up with 18.1 per cent of the popular vote, 11 states and 72 electoral college votes. John Bell ran third with 12.6 per cent of the popular vote, 3 states and 39 electoral college votes. Stephen Douglas trailed the pack with 29.5 per cent of the popular vote but with only 1 state  and 12 electoral college votes.

The division was worse even that these statistics suggest. In the eleven states that would later declare for secession from the Union, ballots for Lincoln were cast only in Virginia where he scraped up a meager 1.1 per cent of the popular vote.  In the four slave states that did not ( or were not allowed) to secede – Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware –  Lincoln ran fourth in the first three and third in the last-named. So almost all Lincoln’s votes were concentrated in the free states. He won every free state except New Jersey, where the electoral college vote was split.

In such a situation, high quality leadership from a president enthused with the bright side of the force would be essential to preserve the Union. There was, after all, a deal to be struck, if the will was fired up.

Slave-holders had invested in their slaves under the  existing rule of law.  Dispossession without recompense would breach the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. If those who objected to slavery had been urged to put their money where their mouths were, through a tax to free the slaves, thus enabling the federal government to buy out all slaves from their owners at fair market prices, a potential deal might have been sealed.

The price would have been high for the North, but far less than the ensuing War of Northern Aggression. To sweeten the pot, Lincoln might have offered to soften Northern industrial protection in order to allow the reorganizing South to expand its international markets in agricultural products, cotton and tobacco

Instead, a rigid and narrow-minded president prepared for an uncompromising campaign of  Southern dispossession. By the time Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in March 1861, seven  Southern states had already seceded from the Union. Lincoln delivered his inaugural address shielded behind a military cordon, with streets lined with soldiers and with riflemen watching from the rooftops and from the windows in the wings of the Capitol.

The harm inflicted on the Constitution of the United States  by Lincoln’s unremitting application of the dark side of the force following his electoral victory, will be briefly outlined in tomorrow’s column. Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, Abraham Lincoln would not be allowed sufficient time on Earth to slip through the narrow window of opportunity provided by the dark side of the force, once he had won the War,  in order to leave a legacy of goodwill and good cheer to a badly scarred nation.

Ebenezer Scrooge and the dark side of the force

December 25, 2011

In yesterday’s column, I distinguished between two aspects of self-interest: the bright side that enhances wealth and well-being through trade, and the dark side that augments immiseration through conflict. I suggested that a small window exists for trade and wealth-enhancement even when individuals are driven by the dark side of the force.

Today, Christmas Day, I shall illustrate my point by reference to the behavior of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dicken’s famous Christmas story, A Christmas Carol.

Ebenezer Scrooge, when the story begins, is driven inexorably by the dark side of the force:

Oh!  But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.  The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin.  he carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas!

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather shill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. they often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did”. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol  December 1843

There, in consummate prose, dear readers, Charles Dickens defines the dark side of the force.

Yet by story’s end, a radically different Ebenezer Scrooge emerges from those dark shadows into the sunshine of a Christmas Day:

“He became as good a friend, as good a master and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.  Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter at the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms.  His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”  ibid.

Now, how that transformation came about is explained in the story – which you are strongly encouraged to read. Two interpretations are possible. First, Ebenezer Scrooge may have undergone a fundamental  transformation from the dark to the bright side of the force, like Saul to Paul on the Road to Damascus.

Alternatively, Ebenezer Scrooge may have peered into the future in his third dream, and viewed the likely dreaded  consequences of continuing to behave as his instincts signaled that he should. Scrooge may have squeezed through the narrow window of trade that remained open to him on the dark side of the force,  in order  to protect himself from the horrendous future depicted for him by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come!

A Merry Christmas to all you, readers of these columns. May you all and always  enjoy  Christmas Day on the bright side of the force.

And do not ever forget that the force – bright or dark – is always with you.

US politics in 2011: Niccolo Machiavelli defeats Ronald Coase (1)

December 24, 2011

In modern democracies, politicians exert enormous influence – for good or for bad –  over the economic well-being of  those who elect them into office.  Public choice hypothesizes that such politicians are driven largely by narrow self-interest. Campaign funding, personal wealth accumulation, and the vote motive appear center-stage in their individual utility functions. Water, as they say, tends to run downhill for all of us, whatever our station in life.

A key question, in such a political environment, is which side of the self-interest force – the bright or the dark – drives  interactions in the market-place of politics.  Two important economic theorems offer powerful insights into the nature and potential economic consequences of those two competing impulses.

The bright side of the force, advanced by Adam Smith (1776) with respect to private markets, focuses attention on value-adding interactions between self-seeking individuals. In Smith’s judgment, the wealth of a nation depends largely on allowing such value-adding trades to proceed unhindered. 

In 1960, Ronald Coase (University of Virginia) advanced a proposition based on the insight of Adam Smith  that would eventually win for him a Nobel Prize, and that is now referred to as the Coase Theorem:

“It is always possible to modify by transactions on the market the initial legal delimitation of rights.  And, of course, if such market transactions are costless, such a rearrangement of rights will always take place if it would lead to an increase in the value of production.”

Readers should be aware that Ronald Coase did not believe that transaction costs are always zero. A rider to his theorem took the following form:

“These operations (markets) are extremely costly, sufficiently costly at any rate to prevent many transactions that would be carried out in a world in which the pricing system worked without cost.”

In this manner, Ronald Coase left open a role for limited government.  If collective action can lower transaction costs to facilitate wealth-enhancing trades that otherwise would be blocked by high transaction costs, a prima facie  case exists for it so to act.  Note however that Coase here relies on the assumption that the bright side of the force will serve as the driver in political markets much as it typically does in the private market-place.

In 2001, Jack Hirshleifer (University of California at Los Angeles) advanced a counter-theorem also based on the notion that self-interest drives human behavior.  Hirshleifer recognized that there is also a dark side to that same force, in which the self-interest impulse leads individuals into ultimately wealth-destructive interactions, conflictual rather than consentaneous in nature: murder, rape, pillage, violence etc.

Hirshleifer distinguished between the Coase theorem – which in its first form implies that individuals will never pass up an opportunity to cooperate through mutually advantageous trade – and the Machiavelli theorem – which says that no one will ever pass up an opportunity to gain a one-sided advantage to exploit another party.  According to Hirshleifer, neither theorem stands alone. Institutions, nature and culture will determine the actual balance that exists between the bright and the dark side of the force.

At first sight, it may appear that when the dark side of the force dominates, wealth-enhancing trades will not occur. It turns out that such is not always the case.  The window for wealth-enhancing trades surely narrows dramatically, but it does not always completely close.

In my Christmas Day column,  shall explain why the window does not always close completely, why even Ebenezer Scrooge ultimately behaved seemingly more  in accord with the   Coase  than the Machiavelli theorem. 

In subsequent columns I shall demonstrate the extent to which the dark side of the force dominated US politics throughout 2011, and why some albeit fragmentary wealth-enhancing trades nevertheless occurred.

Iraq disintegrates into a second civil war

December 23, 2011

President Obama pulled out all U.S. troops from Iraq last week in order to fulfill a naive 2008 campaign pledge. He claimed that the U.S. had left in place an Iraq that is ‘sovereign, self-reliant and democratic’.  The president is either completely dumb or seriously misinformed. For Iraq hovers on the edge of a second civil war.

The Shiite Prime Minister, Maliki, lost no time in issuing an arrest warrant for alleged terrorism against Vice President Hashemi, a Sunni leader. Hashemi wisely fled to the autonomous northern Kurdish region rather than submit to a taste of  Shiite justice. In the meantime, Prime Minister Maliki moved to break up his multisect coalition and to unseat his Sunni deputy prime minister.

The extent to which Prime Minister Maliki is being manipulated as an Iranian and al qaeda puppet to trigger a second civil war in Iraq as yet is not known. Almost certainly al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for the 16 bombs set off across Iraq yesterday, killing 69 innocents. It would be interesting to know whether President Obama detected a very bad smell in the Oval Office last week, when he hosted the duplicitous Maliki in order to publicize the U.S. pull-out. Perhaps there are so many bad smells in his Oval office that the president has become desensitized to them.

“The signs of trouble have been building for some time.  Mr. Maliki’s forces have arrested a couple dozen people connected to Ayad Allawi, leader of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya party that nearly won the last election.  Violence is rising in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, whose Sunni-dominated council last week declared autonomy.  The Kurds can probably maintain a measure of independence. but the Sunnis, interspersed among Shiites, have nowhere to go.”  Editorial, ‘Trouble in Iraq’, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2011

The White House belatedly understands that Mr. Maliki is stirring up trouble in Iraq. CIA Director, David Petraeus, flew to Baghdad last Tuesday to press the case for moderation. Vice President, Joe Biden, telephoned Mr. Maliki to request an ‘inclusive partnership’. However, with no troops on the ground, the U.S. has no leverage.  Mr. Maliki ignored both requests and signaled his intent to take Iraq to a ‘new stage’ of Shiite-dominated rule.

When civil war erupts across Iraq and when Iranian forces mass on the border to secure a Shiite victory, the
Obama White House will confront a severe headache of its own making, since, by then,  the Sunni-majorities across the rest of Arabia will also marshall arms to let slip the dogs of war.

The lesson for the American electorate by now should be crystal clear: never ever again allow a political naif  to secure  access to the White House.





Wukan villagers prostrate themselves before Chinese Leviathan

December 22, 2011

Following 10 days of unprecedented defiance of the Communist Party of China, the leaders of Wukan,  a rebellious small fishing village in Southern China, prostrated themselves before Leviathan yesterday, knowing that prolonged defiance would lead to many deaths within their community, through government-imposed  thirst and starvation.

The vicious communist-fascist  thugs that now rule China are motivated only by personal greed and by fear for their own necks, should widespread revolution spread across the mainland. There is no remnant of noblesse oblige anywhere within Chairman Mao’s degraded system of governance. Sic semper tyrannis.

“By yesterday morning the tree trunk barricades that have blocked all entrances to Wukan village since December 11 were gone and villagers hung out a large sign ‘warmly welcoming’ senior government leaders as a cordon of armed police melted away…In text messages and TV broadcasts the government had warned on Tuesday that any more ‘disturbances’ could elicit another harsh crackdown.  ‘I think if we don’t cooperate with them, then it will do no good to either the villagers or the government,’ Mr. Lin said.” Jamil Anderlini, ‘Chinese village rebellion ends’, Financial Times, December 22, 2011

The village leaders naturally attempt to claim some benefits for their uprising. The claim is sadly but predictably pathetic.  The local communist party thugs have agreed to release three detained villagers.  The same thugs promise to investigate the death in policy custody of village leader Xue Shibo.  The same thugs also promise that the elected village leaders would not be viewed as criminals.  Whether those promises are upheld rests entirely on the whim of Leviathan, for their is no rule of law in the People’s Republic of China. The thugs and their vicious goon-enforcers will determine the measure of retribution that will be exacted on those helpless villagers.

The village had rebelled against the CPC because the latter had illegally seized village land in order to line its pockets with development monies. The rebellion has failed lamentably to redress that wrong, or even to have it investigated.

Such is always the case with tyrants. The sooner that the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and their rent-seeking supporters are overthrown and executed the better. When the Revolution comes, let us hope that the victorious rebels treat the CPC  leadership exactly as that leadership has treated them. That, after all, is the kind of equality that any good communist should welcome!

Hang the CPC  leaders and their cronies high, in the name of individual liberty!