Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Credit Where It Is Due

We tend to avoid foreign policy and stick to domestic issues.  However, we are also strong supporters of our military and we would like to state that the military and intelligence community should receive 100% of the credit for incapacitating a dangerous threat in terminating Osama bin Laden.  We would provide our esteemed Teleprompter-in-Chief with some credit; however we cannot do so.  He opposed the harsh interrogation methods used to gain intelligence that led to the termination of Osama bin Laden.  Although the stuttering, stammering, and mumbling incompetent fool that occupies the White House would like to take credit for every accomplishment - and blame every failure on another party - anyone with any ability whatsoever to think critically can easily see through this charade for what it is: a Marxist-Socialist ideologue with zero leadership ability grasping at straws.  

From the L.A. Times:

An Al Qaeda suspect who was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques at a secret CIA prison in early 2004 provided a clue, the nom de guerre of a mysterious courier, that ultimately proved crucial to finding Osama bin Laden, officials said Wednesday.

From the Boston Globe:

Hassan Ghul, an Al Qaeda courier arrested in Iraq in 2004, spent two years in a secret CIA prison, where detainees were subjected to interrogation practices such as facial slaps and sleep deprivation.

Sometime during those two years, Ghul named another important courier, a crucial tip that eventually helped lead to Sunday’s daring raid on Osama bin Laden’s hide-out, according to the Associated Press.

US officials have acknowledged that clues gleaned from the Bush administration’s controversial network of detention centers, coupled with years of patient intelligence work, netted the terrorist mastermind on Sunday. But they declined to say whether harsh interrogation practices — which President Obama opposes — played a role in their historic intelligence success.

Former Bush administration officials say the successful raid on bin Laden’s compound provides some vindication for detention and interrogation policies that have been widely criticized by the legal community, human rights advocates, and Obama himself.

“This would not have been possible if we were releasing terrorists willy-nilly and not interrogating them,’’ Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary under Bush told reporters Monday.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution who has authored books about the legal challenges of detaining terrorists, said it is too early tell what role, if any, coercive tactics played. But he said it is clear that interrogating hundreds of detainees over a period of years “developed a mosaic that led to bin Laden.’’

“There were many people who were far too quick to insist that no good could ever come from coercive interrogation,’’ Wittes said. “Those of us who resisted that proposition were always derided as apologists for torture. But the premise of that conventional wisdom was wrong. Actually important information does emerge from that sort of a program, and maybe even from the portions of that program that we call morally distasteful.’’

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Internal Destruction

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

Marco Rubio on the Administration's Tactics

Part of Marco Rubio's CPAC speech:

“When the president took over as president of the United States, we had high unemployment," Rubio said. “When the president took over as president of the United States, we had an economy that was going through some real struggles. He became president. He had a Democrat-controlled Congress. He got everything he wanted from the Congress. And guess what? Everything got worse.

“The unemployment went up, the debt went up, the economy slowed down. Everything got worse,” Rubio continued. “So, he cannot run on his record. And so if he can’t run on his record, what is he going to try to do instead? And what we have seen is unprecedented. Unlike any leader in modern American history, we are led today by a president that has decided to pit Americans against each other.

“The basic argument that he’s making to our nation is the reason why some of us are worse off than we used to be is because other people are doing too well,” Rubio added. “That the only way for some of us to do better is for other people to do worse. That the only way for some people to climb the political ladder is for other people to be pulled down. This is the argument that this president, unlike perhaps any figure in modern American politics, is making. And he’s doing it because it is a calculated effort to win the election.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Do Not Cry Wolf When There is No Wolf

Zerohedge takes on this (unbelievably irresposible attempt at journalism) by Reuters.  Apparently, according to Reuters "journalist" Patrick Temple-West, we are now supposed to believe that citizens "opposed to taxes and regulations" not only "pose a growing threat", but are also considered "anti-government extremists".  It truly is sad that they are trying to convince us that those who peacefully and legally attempt to promote a monetary policy of sound money, the Constitution, and government responsibility, accountability, and transparency are somehow "anti-government extremists".  Similarly, it is beyond sad when demagogues cry wolf and attempt to portray their opponents as racist for simply believing in conservative or libertarian views of limited government (that is, a federal government that operates within the limits of the Constitution and therefore within the confines of supreme law).

The Big Short is a Big Disappointment

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis was a big disappointment.  Lewis discusses the symptoms and the fallout of the housing crisis.  However, like many others, he completely fails at addressing the real disease and the genesis of the problem: poor government policy.  If one would like a real look inside the "doomsday machine", Thomas Sowell's The Housing Boom and Bust provides further details on the real culprits and their policies, legislation, and accompanying regulation that led to perverse incentives, moral hazard, and outright foolishness on the part of the federal government.

As shown on page 11 of the CBO report: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Role in the Mortgage Market; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae hold over half of the mortgage debt outstanding.  This is due to government policy that, in the effort to "increase home ownership", compelled the three institutions to buy mortgages on the secondary market at a skewed price.  If Congress sets up entities to buy (subsidize) something in the secondary market; albeit mortgages, automobilesethanol, or solar energy, then the end result will be an influx of each from mortgage originators, auto dealers, corn farmers, and  "clean energy producers" respectively.  This influx is not due to a market demand acting upon what is economical, but a distorted and perverse incentive of artificially inflated values of the afformentioned goods.  Also revealed on page 7 of the report, the triumvirate (Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie) dominated the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) issuance market.  Yet somehow we are supposed to believe it was the (not-so-)free market that caused a housing catastrophe.