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An old fashioned libertarian’s view on the world

Archive for the ‘FDR’ Category

Is Paul Volcker Looking For a Job?

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I know Ben Benanke has already been confirmed as fed chief again, but when I read Paul Volcker’s article in The New York Times, he really dances around the concept of “too big to fail”. He really doesn’t, in my estimation, make a good case for bailing out banks, or any other private entity. Just that “Aggressive action by governments and central banks — really unprecedented in both magnitude and scope — has been necessary to revive and maintain market functions.” He really doesn’t disagree with Obama much, and doesn’t really offer a solution other than “protection against the outliers”.  While we should limit the possible effect hedge markets have on banking, I do not see the need to bail the banks out in the future. They will have learned nothing from this experience. May be banking and hedge funds need to be separate entities, and have rules about what can be invested in hedge funds along with how and who. The hedge funds inversely leveraged the debt to the point of it being toxic to everyone. It’s like turning a stick of dynamite into a 50 megaton bomb.

What is missing here is a solution that the banks should have come up with as opposed to having their hand out. It wasn’t forthcoming. Volcker either is pitching for a future seat as chairman of the fed when Bernanke get the bus backed over him, or he’s trying to stay on the inside with Obama. Nothing really changes in either case. It’s more of the Wesley Mouch big government largesse to banks at our expense and detriment. We do not exist because of banks, but the reverse, and the same can be said of the government. It’s about time corporations and government recognize the proper relationship and realize they serve us, not themselves. We also have to take responsibility for voting in self-absorbed, self-agrandizing, and selfish politicians that pass acts like the CRA, and go after corporations because they will not operate outside of good business practices. Lest’s be clear here: The government enable people at large to borrow money they knew they could not pay back, and live beyond their means for a short while. The banks followed suit because of fear of being litigated against or in violation or the CRA. On top of this we had government lending institutions like freddie and fannie leading the way with bad lending practices, and then when the shit hit the fan, the bad loans were securitized into instruments the hedge funds tried to bury, there you have the stick of dynamite transmogrified into tsar bomba. To add to it, politicians like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd to mention only two, benefited with special preferential loans fro lending institutions. The only people left out in the cold to clean up afterwards were the american people not caught up in the mortgage bubble mania.

We don’t don’t need Paul Volcker or Ben Bernanke. We certainly don’t need Alan Greenspan. If Milton Friedman was alive, I’d say give him a shot, but he’s dead. If it were up to me, I’d have a sit down with Dr. Thomas Sowell and ask him what he thought. Too bad it isn’t up to me, because now we’ll have the FDR II show for the next 3 years. We remember how that went.

Thank you for reading this blog.


Written by James Lagnese

January 31, 2010 at 11:04 am

What Worries Me Part 2

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As a continuation of a previous article, What Worries Me, I want to describe the flipside to Obama succeeding in a Fabian socialist agenda, which is Obama losing in 2012 as opposed to winning and succeeding in his agenda. What if the right drives over a cliff and we election another candidate that relies on the cult of personality? Below a definition of cult of personality from Wikipedia:
A cult of personality arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are often found in dictatorships and Stalinist governments.
A cult of personality is similar to general hero worship, except that it is created specifically for political leaders. However, the term may be applied by analogy to refer to adulation of religious or non-political leaders.

I would say that this definition fits nicely with Obama, at least initially. Obama tries to be a modern day FDR, except even more Fabian in nature. This is evidenced not only but the absolute incredulous and irrational adulation of his supporters but the control he has so far been successful with over the mainstream media. He has done so not with fear, but of agreement in principle. This had helped create an image of Obama that got him elected. What he and his magical handlers did count on and what FDR did not have to deal with, is the nature of media today. It’s available to more people today and much, much more quickly. The opposition media in the country has served as a balance to what I like to call the “government run media”. In reality they are the government-controlled media through manipulation through likeness in alleged beliefs. The end result of this is that Obama, as of this date, has an approval rating of 44%, which is a record in terms of the speed of decline for a new president.

So, what worries me? What worries me is that the opposition in this case might use the same tools, the same methods to promote and elect a leader in response to Obama. The difference would be that instead of an alliance between the mainstream media and the democrat candidate, the alliance would be between the opposition candidate and a grassroots mob if you will that circumvents the mainstream media’s efforts. In this case, you could say I am talking about Sarah Palin, although it could be someone else that pops up between now and 2011, when candidates get serious about running.
Why worry about Palin you ask? I will tell you this much: I like Palin, but not for clearly rational reasons. I am intellectually honest enough to say so, whereas some of my colleagues on the right are not so honest, and winning is more important than results afterwards, that we have to live with. Sound familiar? Palin is attractive, communicates well, and connects with people in a way we haven’t seen since Clinton or Reagan. Obama is more of a media creation, and connects with TotUS better than people. Anyway, if I take a step back and analyze what I know about Palin, the picture is not as rosy as her supporters would seem.

Palin is a former governor of Alaska. Sounds good, but not even one full term. Before that she was a mayor of Wasilla Alaska. Before that…? Compared to Obama, she has much more experience as an executive (Obama has none), but she doesn’t have a lot of experience when you compare her to Reagan, Clinton or even W. I am not sure we need another candidate that sweet-talks the camera and appeals on an emotional level. I think this is dangerous and we have seen the results of such choices. I think considering our current problems we need someone that can hit the ground running, not someone that will need on the job training. We have that now. My treatise here isn’t to bash Palin, nor is it about finding the perfect candidate, just the observation that one, we can do better, and two, we need to be careful about who we pick, because it really counts this time, and we have one shot to get it right. I think if she does her homework and does the right things, in 10 years she could be a viable candidate.

So what to do? I would like to see the Tea Party and 912er people get a little more politically involved and spread the liberty theme around, making it mainstream. The GOP has to be made to understand that it is not going to be business as usual: Placate an internal constituency before the election and forget about them afterwards. Republicans are famous for this. If this happens in 2010, the GOP should go the way of the Whigs. The only two things that have been on their side in the last year are an incompetent president and a democrat congress that has been bent on turning our country into a socialist nation. What the GOP should not glean from this is some sort of mandate that allows them to take power like a fat kid gloms fresh baked cookies from his grandma’s kitchen table. Obama made a similar mistake in thinking he got elected because of a socialist mandate. Wrong. In this scenario, Palin would do well as she would say “bugger off, I am doing it my way”. It seems that the GOP is like an ADD kid that needs to be reminded of his responsibilities on a regular basis. After a while, you have to ask, do we really need this?

So, I do worry how this will play out. I am heartened at times, particularly today upon hearing that two large banks, Wells Fargo and Citi, are going to pay off the government loans and get the government out of their business. Bravo and long live capitalism. I am a patient sort, willing to wait and see, are you? What do you think?
Thank you for reading this blog. 

My Love Affair With Teddy Roosevelt

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Is over.

Having grown up on Long Island, it’s difficult to not to know who Theodore Roosevelt was. He was the only president from Long Island, having his residence at Sagamore Hill, and being buried at Youngs Memorial Cemetery, both in Oyster Bay.

So great was this youngest president that not only does he have a monument in Washington DC, but his visage is featured on Mount Rushmore. Theodore Roosevelt embodied the triumph of the individual over anything, by shear will and determination. As much as he came from a privileged background, he had a life where he overcame shortcomings, adversity and tragedy. Anyone who has read his “Man in the arenaspeech has heard this synthesized down to it’s most empirical and elemental form.
As a young man, Teddy was my hero. He always stood up for what was right, did the right thing, and had the balls to back it up. He was also a person that could be at ease with a ditch digger or a King, and was one of the smartest and best read of the presidents, being in the small company of Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington, hence Rushmore. He was an incredible human being and I wish I could have met him, as we would have gotten along well I think on most levels. But.
The presidency of Barry O has let me reconsider Theodore in the light of progressivism. As much as TR redefined the US in the 20th century, I think BHO wished to do so in the 21st. Moreover, I think TR was misguided if not wrong about being a progressive. I agree with his championing universal suffrage and race relations, but I disagree with his stance on the government’s role in people’s lives and taxes. TR was the man who laid down the progressive and socialist fuse for his distant cousin FDR to light. For a man that championed the individual, he fomented collectivism. What irony. If I had to suppose why this is, I’d have to guess that may be TR felt guilty on some level about coming from privilege (in which time there was quite a bit more disparity between rich and poor. Our notion of middle class didn’t exist then as it does now) or may be at the other end, he was an elitist or social darwinist that thought we should care for those less fortunate through government largesse, as a shepherd tends to his flock. May be both. In addition, may be he got off at the power he envisioned the president and the government could wield in this arena. I’ve read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex and I still look for answers. May be it’s a foibles of being a genius. Let me know if you come up.
This reconsideration of TR has led me to accept him for the man he was, but he never can be my hero again. May be that’s ok. Hero worship is such wasted energy and unrealistic anyway and as much as I feel disappointed on some level, he still was one of the greatest people to be president. In fact Barry O isn’t worthy to polish his shoes and in spite of their progressive kinship, they are not matched well at all. How that mountebank became president annoys the hell out of me, but that is another story.
Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

August 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm

What’s Next?

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What’s next? What will Obama do since according to John Batchelor, he’s lost the political narrative? While John believes this is about who controls the fairy tale, I like to deal in reality. I do agree that Obama has lost the information battle at this point as people have responded the opposite of what he expected. How did this happen?

One, Obama mistaken believes that because he is the first black man elected president and that the democrats won a clear majority in both houses that somehow this was a mandate to implement his progressivist socialist-fascist agenda. He was wrong.
It was a rebuke of 8 years of Bush, the war on terror and tiring of the same old shit. Bush failed to lead the country, particularly after the 2004 elections. It was a series of blunders, some of which were rolled up in the Iraq War, some were with his domestic policies that reeked of constituency pandering and showed his true nature as not being a conservative or libertarian and his overall inability to sell sell cheap water to an arab in the desert. I think some of this blame goes to Karl Rove as the win at any cost in 2004 led us down the wrong road and ultimately, created a power and leadership vacuum that allowed Obama to waltz in the white house.
Running up to the election, we ran into a fiscal crisis where it was decided that some companies were too big to fail. Enter the age of Atlas Shrugged. Citizens watched as the TARP bill was passed, and later after the elections, the ARRA was passed, both with majority opposition from the populace. Politicians ignored the cries of the citizenry against these bills, but to no avail. His Arrogance, King Barack “George III” Obama, believed that not only did he control the narrative, the the help of the 4th branch of government, but that his mandate to institute socialism in this country was fait accompli. What he didn’t count on was that the people had had enough.
Like FDR before him, Obama wants to transform American into some sort of quasi-socialist democracy by cultivating and promulgating constituencies that will be beholding to his power to create programs that benefit them. In the end, it’s all about him. Like FDR, he craves the power, limelight and adoration and will do anything to keep power. What he didn’t count on was that people are more anti-socialist than he bargained for because we’ve had 60-70 years to see the failures of FDR and also LBJ, not to mention all of Europe. We don’t want that.
So what now? It is my assertion that Obama and his minions will try to create or create a situation that will both marginalize the liberty movement and rally people around him. It may be a manufactured Pearl Harbor, or Oklahoma City bombing, or may be something else, but whatever it is, he will try to use it to assert his agenda, control the narrative as it were, and carry out his transformation of this country into a socialist country. While Obama is a coward that does not like to confront his adversaries, he likes to be right, even if the evidence proves otherwise. It’s a matter of ego for him, and he won’t take this laying down, as in his mind he has a mandate.
My prediction is that in the next 12 months, he will try something, as if he and the dems continue to lose the narrative, they are out in 2010 and probably in 2012. That just won’t do, at least for him. And if he does do something, it could backfire like the Boston Massacre and cause the people to rally in opposition to the throne. Where were you?
Inspiration from Michael Savage.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

August 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

The Fish Stinks From The Head

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I am sure someone out there will accuse me of being an aphorist, but it’s hard not to be when there are such good aphorisms. Have you ever heard Steve Jobs say, ” Jeez, ya know a Mac is way over priced, even if if it is the best”, or Bill Gates say, “Windows is a stinking operating system that should have been scrapped long ago” or better yet, Joe Torre exclaiming how bad the Yankees suck while accepting the World Series Trophy?

I doubt it. I doubt you ever would, even with no one else around. We have a saying where I come from: Il pesce puzza dalla testa. The fish stinks from the head. Obama has a penchant for speaking ill of his homeland when abroad. Colleen Bottalico’s mom, Moira Quinn, would have called him a stranger lover. Obviously he thinks this effacement is warranted, and agrees with with it. He must think he is currying favor with foreign nationals. To what end? Does he believe he will run for president of the world? Or does he truly hate this country? May be both? Never trust someone that tries to elevate his/herself at the expense of others. This guy has a combination of a chip on his shoulder, marxist/progressivist beliefs, and the political abilities to get to the office of the presidency, as a shadow candidate no less. I would ask how long before most of realize how disingenuous he is, or to put it another way, when will the stench get to everyone?

It’s hard to tell. With the new 4th branch of government, the press, AKA Propaganda and Public Relations, Obama may take his magic act to a whole new level. When he’s done, he may make FDR look like Jimmy Carter. I am betting that at some point, the press will get tired of playing step and fetch it and someone will have to look behind the curtain, but who? Bush never had this acquiescent and docile of a press. Can you imagine? I am not taking sides here, only observing. Such obeisance should be disconcerting to journalists. It also doesn’t do well for ratings. Have they no pride?
Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

June 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Political Correctness and Constituency Pandering Reach Another Level

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On this day I would not want to disparage any people’s contribution to this country, but Obama really pandered today in his laying a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier by laying a wreath for those blacks who served for the Union. What about the half a million white soldiers that died for the result that blacks would be free? Blacks were not freed because of the EP, because had the south won, it would have been moot. Still, Obama’s actions smack of catering to a constituency. May be I am looking too much into this, but when is he going to stop running for office (a problem many pols have today) and do what he was elected to be. On the other hand, may be he should run around the country catering to constituencies, as it might distract him from implementing his progressive and ultimately socialist agenda. In the end, this is no surprise. Obama would rather use emotions to create consensus as opposed to rational thought and politics in general have been fraught in excess with this since FDR and the man behind the curtain pulled the strings of the straw man. May be all of this will turn to be a bad dream like the Wizard of Oz. At least with Oz, good did eventually triumph over evil. In the real word, not so much. So Barry, what’s next?
Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

May 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Obama and His Legacy

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With all the hubbub of his first 100 days, is Obama all what he is portended to be? Some hail the Chicago Magician as the best president we have ever had. Such talk ignores reality and more importantly the ability to judge history correctly. It is very difficult to judge history while in the midst of it. Lincoln is considered one of our best presidents, yet in his day, he was not as well liked as he is now. In fact, he may share more with W than some are willing to admit, but I am digressing here.

What we are hearing now is pure spin from the magic show and the truth is, even though he has relatively high approval ratings, people don’t believe what he is doing will work. The disconnect is caused by the honeymoon period that is being accorded to him.
This is nothing new, and under the right circumstances, it can be promulgated well into the future. Another political magician, FDR, was able to do that. By keeping a balance of despair and hope, he was able to manipulate the populace to keep him in power. Things were always bad enough that we had to keep him in the game, but he was always doing a good enough job that we had to reward him. The truth is, things really did not improve under FDR. In 1938, unemployment was still over 20% and the stock market was as low as ever. All his micromanagement did was create a larger more socialist government that restricted people’s rights and created bureaucracies that will eventually bankrupt the country. All for the purpose of maintaining him in power.
Obama is no different, and in fact wants to take us one or two steps beyond anything FDR could imagine. In fact he says he wants to “remake america“. The difference will be that this pied piper may be judged differently than his acolytes believe. The people of this country still favor a more libertarian approach, and any approbation he receives now may be short lived. The problem though is that when he is done “remaking america”, it may be too much and/or too late to reverse. Look at social security and medicare. It just gets worse. Socialism coopts people by persuading them that they are getting something for free, but when in fact, the people are enlisting themselves willingly into indentured servitude. Like the frog in the warm bath, it will be too late at some point.
What can we do? Stay true to principles, vote, get active in politics and support candidates that espouse libertarian and classical liberal philosophies. Obama will undo himself with his crusader mentality in regards to his socialist agenda. He can’t help himself. May be we can send this Magician back to Chicago in 3 and a half years.
Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

April 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm