In recent weeks, I’ve pontificated on Obama’s spendthrift budget, Congressman Dave Camp’s timid tax reform plan, and the corrupt cronyism of Washington. I got to elaborate on all these topics – and more – in this interview with Professor Glenn Reynolds, more widely known as Instapundit. If there was an overall theme, it’s that President […]
Continue reading Assessing President Obama’s Economic Agenda
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Strangely, or maybe not really, advertising agencies occasionally manage to make an ad that speaks to the old American ethics and even the dream. This time it was Cadillac. Here, enjoy: It’s a great ad, until you get to the end. And the problem there is simply that an electric car is not practical in […]
Continue reading Advertising, and Propagating Freedom
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|Frank Huang – Multi tasking
Tonight [Saturday March 8] the fetching Mrs. B and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary my love, Sheralyn! We will celebrate this special night with another great evening of grand music at Jones Hall to hear our great Houston Symphony Orchestra. This will be a special night especially for our orchestra’s string section as the Houston Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Frank Huang will also serve the role as leader [takes the place of the conductor]. I have no doubt that this dual role by Mr. Huang will be served admirably, having seen him perform this dual role a few months back at a free concert given by the HSO at Houston Baptist University.
Not only does our concertmaster’s dual role put the strings in the spotlight tonight, but also the two large pieces for strings that will be played. The first piece has a Latin flavor composed by modern era Argentine composer [specializing in Tango music] Astor Piazzolla called “Cuatro Estaciones Portenas” [Four Seasons of Buenos Aires]. From the Houston Symphony Orchestra’s web site notes: “…the fierce solo tango lines of Piazzolla’s Cuatro estaciones porteñas. Its hints of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons only serve to heighten Piazzolla’s sultry melodies. The heat in this music will sweep you into the South American climate and lively atmosphere of Buenos Aires.”
The second piece comes from one of the great Romantic composers, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, his Serenade for Strings in C-Major. This piece grabs you with its magnificent dynamic sound from the first bows of the strings and holds you until the final chord of the final movement. This is truly a majestic beautiful piece by the great Russian composer. This piece has four movements 1. Andante non troppo – Allegro Moderato 2. Tempo di Valse [Waltz] 3. Larghetto Elegiaco [Elegy] 4. Andante – Allegro con spirito.
On the Houston Symphony Orchestra’s web site they give a preview version of the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, with the following video of the first movement, featuring members of the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. I thought that is a wonderful tribute to these young people, especially the trouble their country is going through right now. I say Bravo to these great young people from Venezuela! Also, I give thanks to sinfonicaJuvenilTC on You Tube, for posting the final movement. Notice how the climax of the final movement incorporates the opening grand theme of the first movement.
So, please turn up the volume and enjoy a little of what my wife and I will be hearing tonight on our anniversary, with the first and fourth movements from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
P.I. Tchaikovsky: Serenade For Strings in C-Major, Movement 1,Andante non troppo-Allegro Moderato:
P.I. Tchaikovsky: Serenade For Strings in C-Major, Movement 4, Andante – Allegro con spirito:
Continue reading Houston Symphony Orchestra’s String Section Shines This Weekend
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According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has formally designated President Obama’s favorite Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, citing a statement by the Interior Ministry.The kingdom has also desi… . . . → Read More: Saudis designate Muslim Brotherhood As A Terrorist Group
It’s time for some Conservative Comedy at the Strident Conservative. As I do every Friday, I bring you some of the best Conservative political satire on the internet, sure to provide a good laugh to begin your weekend. Obama has definitely thrown a darn good scare into Putin with all of his talk of seriously considering joining a coalition of nations in affirming the remote possibility of “costs” for further military activity, which is why Vladimir now says he may not need to immediately invade the rest of Ukraine (boy, that’s a relief!). The fact that he then test-fired an ICBM missile and threatened to destroy the United States economically was probably just a little temper tantrum based on Obama’s clear foreign policy victory. Talk about being a sore loser! In this season of Mardi Gras, the Conservative Comic at Hope n’ Change gives us the proper perspective on how Putin sees Obama’s feckless foreign policy on the matter. We have two reports from Jodi Miller at Newsbusted. Headlines for this week’s episodes include: The Oscars, Arizona’s Religious Freedom Protection law, Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 run for President, and advances in robotics. Some of the other stories covered are: Susan Rice’s similarity to dogs, […]
Continue reading Conservative Comedy 3/7/14
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If you look at measures (such as the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index) of what makes a nation competitive and prosperous, you’ll find some obvious variables such as fiscal policy, trade openness, regulatory burden, and monetary policy. But in addition to those policy levers, you’ll find that it’s equally important that a […]
Continue reading Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which Nations Maintain the Rule of Law Best of All?
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We came across this funny web show on Youtube called Getting Doug with High starring Doug Benson, a comedian who invites guests like Andy Samberg, Aubrey Plaza, Jenny Slate and Matt Walsh (VEEP) to consume marijuana while they discuss the guests high h… . . . → Read More: Getting Doug with High Funny Web Show
Hashtag Productions presents…This week’s exciting new episode of The RJ Moeller Show (feat/Eric Teetsel)! Our guest is Owen Brennan of Madison McQueen. Owen is a graduate of the University of Oregon who now co-owns a production company in the Los Ang… . . . → Read More: Owen Brennan
While being interviewed on CNBC on March 7, 2014, Alan Greenspan spoke a bit on the problem of irrational exuberance in a market. Pointing to the failure of the Federal Reserve under his chairmanship to innocuously dissolve the “dot.com” bubble in the 1990s, Greenspan said he had come to the conclusion that asset-appreciation bubbles cannot be “defused” (for reasons he says are in his new book) “unless you break the back of the actual euphoria that generates the bubbles.”Alas, piercing that wave would involve nothing short of unplugging a basic instinct in human nature; both monetary and fiscal policy would doubtless come up short. However, I suspect that the field of rhetoric may have something to say about how we can deflate societal exuberance, but only on the condition that greater clarity will have been achieved in identifying whether a given market is overvalued due to emotional excess (i.e.g, emotive greed having reached a critical mass) circumventing normal risk-aversion.
Greenspan’s prescription may have more to do with social psychology than economic theory. Even though the former central banker’s expertise or ken does not extend to psychology or sociology, the advice darts right to the central question to be researched. I am not suggesting that the claim be swallowed whole; back in 2008 after Lehman Brothers’s financial collapse and the subsequent portent of a tsunami so powerful it could take the entire global financial system “by Monday,” Greenspan admitted in Congressional testimony that his mental model of financial economics suffers a fatal flaw he had had not seen coming.
Having held a free market, or laissez faire (let it make or do), theory firmly ensconced in his head, Greenspan suddenly realized that the market mechanism may not “price additional risk” once the market volatility reaches a certain point. Instead of asset-prices plummeting until enough buyers return to the market after having been spooked, the financial markets themselves freeze up. This is why Greenspan’s successor, Ben Bernanke, told Congressional leaders in September 2008 that without a bailout “we might not have an economy by next Monday.”
In other words, Greenspan’s paradigm or theory, which had insisted that markets can always self-correct could not account for the credit-freeze that began in the commercial paper market (over-night inter-bank loans). High volatility in a system combines with the high risk (from anticipations of system risk being actualized) shuts down the market mechanism itself. When he ran the Federal Reserve, Greenspan had been very wrong about the impact of the systemic risk on the ability of markets to keep operating.
As if Greenspan’s admission had been part of some nightmare or some figment of the imagination, Andy Sorkin, a financial markets host at CNBC, welcomed Greenspan on the air five years later with such vaunted praise that viewers could be forgiven for not having remembered that Sorkin had pointed to Greenspan’s fatal flaw as one factor among several in the near collapse of the housing market in the wake of Lehman’s bankruptcy. Surely Sorkin was hardly oblivious to the ex-central-banker’s grave error. Why then did the journalist act as if Greenspan were one of the priests at the Greek oracle?
Even after admitting the fatal flaw he had held at the Fed, Alan Greenspan still enjoyed considerable respect. (Image Source: The Guardian)
The short answer may be that Sorkin did not want to lose any of the rich and powerful friends on Wall Street he had interviewed in 2008 for his book. For a person to admit the existence of a fatal flaw in his or her ideology and therefore in any supporting theoretical models as well, and then be treated as though infallible on another body of knowledge (i.e., international relations) stretches the mind’s capacity for holding a logical contraction (i.e., cognitive dissidence). Rather than being limited to Sorkin, I suspect that the refusal or inability to put a person’s present statements in the context of his or her past track-record is by now “hard-wired” into American society. The over-valuing of the new at the expense of the past probably enables the denial.
Regarding Sorkin, his fawning before his notable interviewee, including exclaiming “wow” as Greenspan went on bragging at the beginning of the interview, strikes me as blatant enough to be misleading. Especially in having written a non-fiction book about the financial crisis of 2008, Sorkin should have prepped the television viewers up front, so they would not find themselves back to swallowing wholesale what Greenspan says as the Gospel truth. In fact, Sorkin may have inadvertently opened the door to another systemic bubble hitting us as a complete surprise.
Continue reading Former Fed Chair Greenspan: How to Break the Back of a Bubble
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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.
“A hungry wolf is stronger than a satisfied dog” -Old Ukrainian Proverb
““There’s not a lot of options on the table, candidly … Putin is playing chess and we are playing marbles.” -House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) on “Fox News Sunday”
“Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.” -Sir Winston Churchill, 1916
This week’s winner by a nose, Joshuapundit’s The Ukraine Folk Dance And What It Really Means is my analysis of what’s happening in Ukraine, something several other Council members weighed in on in some great pieces that will reward your attention. Here’s a slice:
The Ukraine exploded this weekend, as Vladimir Putin got backing from the Russian Duma (parliament) to send the troops into Crimea. Russian forces seized the strategic peninsula over the weekend, surrounded a few small Ukrainian military outposts and demanded the Ukrainian troops inside surrender and disarm.
Meanwhile, the Crimea now has its own, pro-Russian government and the new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, mobilized the Ukrainian military and said that that Kiev would request international intervention if the Russian military didn’t withdraw.
“This is actually a declaration of war to my country. We urge Putin to pull back his troops from this country and honor bilateral agreements,” he said. “If he wants to be the president who started the war between two neighboring and friendly countries, he has reached his target within a few inches.”
Except Ukraine will have to do without its 10 ship navy in any hostilities. Just a day after he had been appointed head of the Ukraine’s navy by interim president Oleksandr Turchynov, Admiral Denis Berezovsky let it be known he was switching sides to the pro-Russian authorities.
“I swear to execute the orders of the [pro-Russia] commander-in-chief of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” he said, speaking from the Crimean headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the Crimean port of Sebastopol.
In any event, it’s obvious that what passes for the Ukraine’s army is no match for the Russians in any stand up fight if it comes to that. So Turchynov is pretty much limited to hoping for international intervention, especially since Putin is also likely to go after the Eastern Ukraine as well, which is also predominantly native Russian.
President Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the EU were apparently caught completely off guard by the events in Ukraine. Even the obvious Russian military buildup and the implications of the Russians saying openly that there was ‘ no basis for dialog’ with the Ukraine rebels seems to have escaped them. President Obama skipped out on a scheduled National Security meeting with his team to attend a film festival, but attempted to play catchup with a phone call to Russian leader Vladimir Putin after the military incursion, while Secretary Kerry was reduced to threats of ‘maybe throwing Russia out of the G-8′. As for the EU, Lady Ashton, its foreign policy chief commented, “This is an unwarranted escalation of tensions. I therefore call upon the Russian Federation not to dispatch such troops, but to promote its views through peaceful means.”
I swear, I could almost hear the Russians laughing at these people from here.No wonder the Kremlin spokesperson replied ‘no comment at this time’ to bold statements like that!
Oddly enough, there was a certain former vice-presidential candidate who saw things clearly as far back as 2008:
Yes she was certainly mocked for that one,wasn’t she? ‘Ooh,I can see Russia from my howwwse’ said SNL’s Tina Fey, creating campaign fodder out of something Governor Palin never said but that was linked to her endlessly. Except the joke was on the country, because not only was Governor Palin the only person on either ticket with any executive experience, she was also the only one of the four with any experience actually negotiating anything with a foreign country. As usual, she was right about Russia as well as pretty much everything else, including President Obama and his behavior.
So where do we go from here?
Much more at the link
In our non-Council category, the winner was Allen West with Obama and Hagel have surrendered our military strength submitted by The Noisy Room, in which Col. West takes apart the Obama/Hagel proposed military budget that sharply downsizes our military.
OK, here are this week’s full results.
See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter…..’cause we’re cool like that!
Continue reading The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results
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A twitter friend @remzelk1 sent me this tweet of this awesome bass player from Israel: Adam Ben Ezra. He is fantastic! On twitter he is @AdamBenEzraYou can follow Adam Ben Ezra on youtube here. Now for something completely…
Continue reading Amazing Israeli Bass Player
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Obamacare blocks patients paying for treatment Continue reading Obamacare blocks patients paying for treatment . . . → Read More: Obamacare blocks patients paying for treatment
Public Service Announcement!Learning how to deal with stress is imperative, not only to ensure our overall happiness but to deal effectively with our day-to-day lives as well. This is particularly true if you are a thinking human who is forced to …
Continue reading Political Psychology 101!
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Ron Fournier’s article about Wednesday’s IRS hearing is sloppily written. It doesn’t show he’s interested in accuracy: Conservatives are applauding Issa for shutting down a Democrat. Without evidence, the Right has convicted Lerner, the IRS, the White House, and President Obama of abuse of power. Conservatives like me applaud Chairman Issa for shutting off Rep. […]
Continue reading Fournier’s political circus
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During his confirmation hearing in 2009, Eric Holder made this commitment to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people: “The attempt to politicize the department will not be tolerated should I become attorney general of the United States.” “I will work to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference….” Yet, beginning with one of his first actions as the new Attorney General, when he dropped charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for violating the rights of white voters in a Philadelphia precinct during the 2008 elections, Mr. Holder has established a track record as being more than willing to put politics ahead of the rights of Americans. Just a few examples where Holder has been more than willing to use “improper political interference” has been in the areas of: right to bear arms, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. He recently instructed Attorneys General across the country to ignore the law—in violation of the Constitution—if they represent a state where homosexual marriage isn’t legal. But perhaps one of the most troubling has been in the area of religious freedom. Some of the more notable instances where this has been the case are: In the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. The […]
Continue reading Eric Holder finally defends religious freedom . . . almost
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Ah, Dr. Kissinger! 90 years old and still razor sharp. Here’s some common sense on Ukraine from a master statesman in a must read piece. The contrast between him and the buffoons currently running DC is mind boggling. Here’s a slice:
Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.
Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.
Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.
The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. Even such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.
The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine’s relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.
The Ukrainians are the decisive element. They live in a country with a complex history and a polyglot composition. The Western part was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1939 , when Stalin and Hitler divided up the spoils. Crimea, 60 percent of whose population is Russian , became part of Ukraine only in 1954 , when Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth, awarded it as part of the 300th-year celebration of a Russian agreement with the Cossacks. The west is largely Catholic; the east largely Russian Orthodox. The west speaks Ukrainian; the east speaks mostly Russian. Any attempt by one wing of Ukraine to dominate the other — as has been the pattern — would lead eventually to civil war or break up. To treat Ukraine as part of an East-West confrontation would scuttle for decades any prospect to bring Russia and the West — especially Russia and Europe — into a cooperative international system.
Ukraine has been independent for only 23 years; it had previously been under some kind of foreign rule since the 14th century. Not surprisingly, its leaders have not learned the art of compromise, even less of historical perspective. The politics of post-independence Ukraine clearly demonstrates that the root of the problem lies in efforts by Ukrainian politicians to impose their will on recalcitrant parts of the country, first by one faction, then by the other. That is the essence of the conflict between Viktor Yanukovych and his principal political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko. They represent the two wings of Ukraine and have not been willing to share power. A wise U.S. policy toward Ukraine would seek a way for the two parts of the country to cooperate with each other. We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction.
Read the rest here.
Continue reading A Must Read From An Elder Statesman – Common Sense On Ukraine
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What does CPAC have in common with zombies? Well, on night one of the conference, it bears at least a little resemblance to “Night of the Walking Dead”! You know, traveling can be tiresome! And even though she didn’t go, your fearless host, Liz, is well on her way to becoming a zombie. Yes, there [...]
Continue reading The Right War LIVE on FTR – CPAC and zombie night
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Over the past week, I’ve highlighted the fact that Julianne Ortman said she didn’t favor repealing Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. Since one of the quotes was from the Star and Sickle, aka the Star Tribune, it’s fitting that conservatives question whether the Strib got the quote wrong. This video should dispel any worries […]
Continue reading Julianne Ortman sets record straight
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Decide to troll Alfonzo Rachel? Well, if you do, you might end up with a video dedicated to you. That’s what this edition is all about – setting the record straight with another YouTube user that decided to use ZoNation to get traffic for himself, by trolling Zo!
Continue reading MLK a Republican? Or Just a Dream?
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Last night, Chris Dahlberg criticized Julianne Ortman’s statement that she “isn’t a full repeal person” in this tweet: Chris Dahlberg ?@dahlberg4senate· #Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. It’s a shame Sen. Ortman is standing with Sen. Franken against repeal. #mngop pic.twitter.com/kN5mPU2q6f I don’t know whether Sen. Ortman is honestly against repealing Obamacare or if she’s simply […]
Continue reading Dahlberg weighs in on Ortman
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