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Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Join us as we discover, document, expose and challenge the bad people, the bad institutions and the bad ideas that stand in the way of wealth creation -- and show you how to fight back!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

KUDLOW REPLAY   Here's the YouTube video of Friday's appearance.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:21 AM | link  


Friday, May 16, 2008

"BUSY DYING"   Peggy Noonan writes in this morning's Wall Street Journal:
The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They're frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.

...Mr. Bush has squandered the hard-built paternity of 40 years. But so has the party, and so have its leaders. If they had pushed away for serious reasons, they could have separated the party's fortunes from the president's. This would have left a painfully broken party, but they wouldn't be left with a ruined "brand," as they all say, speaking the language of marketing. And they speak that language because they are marketers, not thinkers. Not serious about policy. Not serious about ideas. And not serious about leadership, only followership.

This is and will be the great challenge for John McCain: The Democratic argument, now being market tested by Obama Inc., that a McCain victory will yield nothing more or less than George Bush's third term.

That is going to be powerful, and it is going to get out the vote. And not for Republicans.

My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" responds,
Falling is what happens when you lose your balance. And in politics, that balance comes from having a purpose.

Peggy Noonan's column will get a lot of attention, which is her intent. Noonan mocks the use of marketing language, but when folks say "the brand is broken" and it's true, then it should be said in those terms.

Republicans lost an election in Mississippi because "they" ran the campaign. The Democrats ran a local, conservative and he won a local race. "We" ran against Obama. Trouble with that is that the Democrat in that contest was first to say he was against Obama. The thinking must have been as shallow as, "Yeah, well, we got these ads in the can so we're air dropping them on you."

Put up two conservatives up for one seat and the more authentic and local one wins.

Big changes are coming, baby. Somewhere in the fog in the years ahead, we hope, is a fruitful change, one which leads to a new political structure so that this center-right country can be governed by those who represent the majority.

That ain't marketing.

Update... Gerald Hanner replies,
I've concluded that it would be best if the Dems had a big win and ruled both Congress and the Presidency. Then the voters would get to sample the pain of the Democrat "nitwittery." The Dems won't have the Republicans to blame. It will be something like the four years of Peanut Man. That experience changed the outlook of a whole generation of voters.

Some of the current talking heads talk about how high mortgage rates are. Utter crap. When I returned from a tour of military duty in England in 1982 the mortgage rate we got for a new home was 14¼%. It slowly declined as Volker squeezed the inflationary expectations out the US economy. The elderly were happy with high interest rates because most of their money was in interest-bearing securities. I remember my mother-in-law complaining when the CD rates went below 10%. We didn't; we did a refinance on the mortgage. We did a refi three more time before we finally sold the house.

The Obama worshippers now need to experience that kind of pain in order to see the error of their ways. I'm hoping that they do in spades.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:09 AM | link  


Thursday, May 15, 2008

KUDLOW REPLAY   Here's the YouTube video of yesterday's appearance. Been a long time since I've been on with Barry Ritholtz. Big target.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:23 PM | link  

NOW THIS IS A THOUGHTFUL AND PRINCIPLED ARGUMENT   I guess we could argue for robbing banks of $5,000 each based on this logic, used here to support a new income tax being proposed by House Democrats:
"What we're talking about is a one-half percent income tax surcharge on incomes above $1 million," said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., a leader of the Blue Dog group. "So someone who earns $2 million a year would pay $5,000. ... They're not going to miss it."
Thanks to Kent Seymour for the link.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:21 AM | link  


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WE'RE CITED DEBATING GEORGE SOROS' ETHICS   The Business and Media Institute takes on Soros' anti-capitalism tirade in USA Today:
According to Business & Media Institute advisor Don Luskin, Soros’ “Theory of Reflexivity” could be better explained as an effort manipulate economic and political events. He referred to Soros short-selling the British pound in 1992 after England was pressured to devalue its currency. Soros made $1 billion in one day, which caused the pound to suffer even more.

“Simply, ‘reflexivity’ says that financial markets can have impacts on the real world,” Luskin wrote. “So if you want to move the world, just move the markets.”


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:01 AM | link  

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE YOUNG   Here's how they teach economics to high school students in France:
“Economic growth imposes a hectic form of life, producing overwork, stress, nervous depression, cardiovascular disease and, according to some, even the development of cancer,” asserts the three-volume Histoire du XXe siècle, a set of texts memorized by countless French high school students as they prepare for entrance exams to Sciences Po and other prestigious French universities. The past 20 years have “doubled wealth, doubled unemployment, poverty, and exclusion, whose ill effects constitute the background for a profound social malaise,” the text continues. Because the 21st century begins with “an awareness of the limits to growth and the risks posed to humanity [by economic growth],” any future prosperity “depends on the regulation of capitalism on a planetary scale.” Capitalism itself is described at various points in the text as “brutal,” “savage,” “neoliberal,” and “American.” This agitprop was published in 2005, not in 1972.

When French students are not getting this kind of wildly biased commentary on the destruction wreaked by capitalism, they are learning that economic progress is also the root cause of social ills. For example, a one-year high school course on the inner workings of an economy developed by the French Education Ministry called Sciences Economiques et Sociales, spends two thirds of its time discussing the sociopolitical fallout of economic activity. Chapter and section headings include “Social Cleavages and Inequality,” “Social Mobilization and Conflict,” “Poverty and Exclusion,” and “Globalization and Regulation.” The ministry mandates that students learn “worldwide regulation as a response” to globalization. Only one third of the course is about companies and markets, and even those bits include extensive sections on unions, government economic policy, the limits of markets, and the dangers of growth. The overall message is that economic activity has countless undesirable effects from which citizens must be protected.

Thanks (again) to Jameson Campaigne for the link.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:48 AM | link  

STOIC, IF NOT ARTICULATE   Terry McAulliffe pulls a Bushism. Talking on Fox News about how unfair it is that the media so adores Barack Obama:
?"It is what it is. We’re not complaining,” he stated. “We have to deal with the hand we’re dealt with.”
Thanks to Jameson Campaigne for the link.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:36 AM | link  

HOW NOT TO BE THE NEXT GOP PRESIDENT   Hey, I'm all for pandering, if it will keep Obama out of the White House. But this is just plain stupid. Thanks to Jameson Campaigne for the link.

Update... My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" agrees:

You are corect, sir!

A conservative wins in Mississippi; he just happens to be a Democrat. (Hillary's win in West Virginia is meaningless to everyone, except maybe to her and her campaign-paid hairdresser.)

McCain is running as a third party candidate, trying to use the global warming issue he believes in (why, 'cause he's marinated his brains in the media bowl) to shake his tail feathers at independents and Democrats.

The trouble is that this is a fatally flawed political strategy because McCain is driving some likely voters away in an attempt to attract others who his campaign imagines exist. McCain is a regular guy, despite his dalliances with the international set.

Folks in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arkansas -- the states he needs to carry to get to 270 electoral college votes -- work with their hands; carbon is what they do. They sure don't buy no eco clothes, unless they come printed with their favorite NASCAR number or “Git ‘er done!”.

Think the following announcement would be popular: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Turn off your engines. We are still waiting for our federal emissions carbon offset approval notice."

Here are my observations:

1. This is still a slightly-right of center country

2. "Conservative" is better than "Republican"

3. The biggest threat to blue collar jobs is political, mostly "Global Warming" legislation

4. The Republicans are now the third party, behind Democrats and Independents

5. Brace yourself; the inept Republicans and the kidding-themselves Blue Dog Democrats are about to hand the keys to the government to Nancy, Harry and Barack.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:38 AM | link  


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

POPULAR WITH UNION BOSSES, BUT NOT WITH PEOPLE   My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" writes here about a really bad "change" that the candidate of "change" is for, and the candidate of "no change" is against.
Union leaders are pushing a big money-maker (for them). It goes by the very Orwellian name, the “Employee Free Choice Act.” In fact, if this idea of theirs becomes law, it will eliminate free choice. Instead of a safe secret ballot, employees will be under enormous pressure to sign a “card check” indicating that they will accept a union and the obligation to pay union dues. Senator Obama supports it. John McCain opposes it.

Turns out this idea, once explained, is highly unpopular with the public. One of the best pollsters in either party is a fellow named John McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin & Associates. (Not that old whale on TV.)

Here’s the good John McLaughlin, making it as simple as 1-2-3, backed up by real research:

[1] Labor will spend exorbitant amounts of money to elect a Democratic president and to secure a filibuster-proof Senate, so the threat of EFCA being enacted is real. The irony is that Democratic support for this unpopular legislation could be the reason the party falls short of the magical 60 votes in the Senate.

[2] Voters intrinsically support the concept of private ballot elections. They are worried about the potential of workers being coerced and intimidated under the card-check scheme. And they see little need to change the existing balance in current labor laws to make it easier for unions to organize nonunion workplaces.

[3] More important, they resent and oppose efforts to take away an individual’s right to a private and secret ballot. These inconvenient facts for Big Labor can be exploited to the detriment of the candidates it supports. Smart candidates will not want to be on the wrong side of this issue come Election Day.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:49 PM | link  

WE'RE BROADENING OUT   No longer confined to fighting the conspiracy to keep you poor and stupid, we rae now also fighting the conspiracy to deprive you of your wall ovens.
During a weekend in early September last year, two trucks and their respective containers were stolen from a haulage business in Pine Road, Yennora. More than 170 wall ovens, worth a total $257,000, were inside the containers...

As a result of inquiries by Property Crime Squad detectives attached to Strike Force Luskin, a storage unit in Anzac Street, Greenacre, was raided on Friday 8 February.

During a search of the unit detectives will allege they located and seized 124 of the 171 reported stolen wall ovens.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:36 PM | link  


Monday, May 12, 2008

KUDLOW REPLAY   Here's the YouTube video of Friday's appearance. I think I said a bad word, but you can hardly hear it in the cross-talk. Oops!


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 2:27 PM | link  

KRUGMAN SLIPPERY ON OIL   Here's a bold prediction from Paul Krugman today on oil prices:
...I wouldn’t be shocked if oil prices dip in the near future — although I also take seriously Goldman’s recent warning that the price could go to $200.
But here's where he's really at:
But let’s drop all the talk about an oil bubble.
I'm so relieved. Krugman is always wrong.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:08 AM | link  

AND WE'VE GOT PICTURES!   Yes, "Ronald Reagan is to blame for the credit crisis." So says George Soros. I don't have to time to waste to watch the video in which he may or may not attempt to explain and support this silly claim. But if you do, click here. Thanks to Chris Ciancio for the link.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:01 AM | link  

THAT'S DR. GONO, NOT DR. GONZO   Dr. G. Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe -- a nation experiencing hyperinflation running at rates reported as high as 165,000% -- has a few lessons for Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. From Gono's latest official monetary policy update:
As Monetary Authorities, we have been humbled and have taken heart in the realization that some leading Central Banks, including those in the USA and the UK, are now not just talking of, but also actually implementing flexible and pragmatic central bank support programmes where these are deemed necessary in their National interests.

...That is precisely the path that we began over 4 years ago in pursuit of our national interest and we have not wavered on that critical path despite the untold misunderstanding, vilification, and demonization we have endured from across the political divide. [Bold in original]

...Here in Zimbabwe we had our near-bank failures a few years ago and we responded by providing the affected Banks with the Troubled Bank Fund (TBF) for which we were heavily criticized even by some multi-lateral institutions who today are silent when the Central Banks of UK and USA are going the same way and doing the same thing under very similar circumstances thereby continuing the unfortunate hypocrisy that what’s good for goose is not good for the gander.

...As Monetary Authorities, we commend those of our peers, the world over, who have now seen the light on the need for the adoption of flexible and practical interventions and support to key sectors of the economy when faced with unusual circumstances.

Thanks to "Irrational Exuberance" for the link.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:52 AM | link  

GO (TO SEE) SPEED RACER  

The critics have blessed Iron Man, finding in it a super-hero movie cool enough to permit themselves to enjoy, thanks to Robert Downey Jr's ironic performance. The same critics have panned Speed Racer, and perhaps its because there's nothing cool or hip or ironic about it -- which is sad, because it's probably the best live-action movie based on a comic book or cartoon that has ever been made. From the first frame to the last it consistently presents as original cinematic vision, setting the story in the intensely colored fantasy world of 64-bit video games -- every scene is taken as an opportunity to set a breath-taking new fantasy setting designed not just to entertain but to amaze. The characters are simple and mythic, the action and racing scenes perfectly and very cleverly visualized and executed. And it's not falling all over itself to sell you tickets to the sequel before the movie's even over.

Is the problem that this movie was created by the Wachowski brothers, of Matrix fame? Are the elite critics punishing the Wachowski's for departing from their usual nihilistic life-hating vision, and instead creating a far better movie than any they have made before based on good clean fun, happy endings, and sheer visual excitement?

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:36 AM | link  

McCAIN HAS A MONEY PROBLEM   A Bloomberg story notes that John McCain is having a hard time raising money from some of the usual suspects:
Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is struggling to attract money from some of the same industries that helped bankroll President George W. Bush's record-setting fundraising.

Employees from the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for about a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are turned off by his record and giving more to his Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

``A significant percentage of your base Republican support, whether financial or otherwise, are not fans of McCain because of various things he's done or said or sponsored,'' said Republican consultant Eddie Mahe, who is supporting the Arizona senator. ``Many of them don't see Mr. McCain as being a lot better'' than the Democrats.

My DC-insider friend "Mick Danger" thinks it goes deeper than that, right the core of McCain's prickly personality:Twenty-six years in Congress is a lot of time: tens of thousands of speeches, votes and relationships.

In a great and true line from Barney Frank, serving in Congress is like having a second shot at high school.

So which classic high school character is most like John McCain?

The issue discussed in the Bloomberg story is something McCain needs to deal with and he can. He could start by understanding that not everyone shunning him wants him to lose; some of them just remember his anger at them and his indifference (or worse) to their concerns.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:31 AM | link