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LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

[ Editado ]

¿Importan los hechos?

 

 Thomas Sowell

ENERO 7 DEL 2009

 

   Los republicanos, por razones desconocidas, no parecen saber lo que es contraatacar. Se merecen perder. Pero el país no se merece ser puesto en manos de un falso y engreído sabelotodo, que no ha logrado absolutamente nada.

     Abraham Lincoln dijo que "se puede engañar un tiempo a todo el pueblo. Se puede engañar todo el tiempo a parte del pueblo. Pero no se puede engañar a todo el pueblo todo el tiempo".   

      Desafortunadamente, el futuro de este país, así como el destino del mundo occidental, dependen del número de personas que puedan ser engañadas el día de las elecciones, dentro de apenas unas cuantas semanas. Ahora mismo, las encuestas indican que una gran mayoría de la gente está siendo engañada durante una gran cantidad del tiempo.

        El actual rescate financiero ha vuelto a proporcionar a Barack Obama una ventaja sustancial sobre John McCain, lo cual no deja de ser sorprendente, ya que su partido es el que tiene una mayor relación con esta crisis. Esto nos hace plantear una pregunta: ¿Importan los hechos? ¿O son la retórica de Obama y la publicidad de los medios suficientes para hacer irrelevantes estos hechos?

           Primero y principal, fueron los demócratas, encabezados por el senador Christopher Dodd y el congresista Barney Frank, los que durante años (incluyendo 2008) negaron que Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac estuvieran asumiendo grandes riesgos que pudieran conducir a una crisis financiera. Fue el Senador Dodd, el Congresista Frank y los demás demócratas quienes durante años se negaron en redondo a las peticiones de la administración Bush de crear una agencia para regular a Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac.

       Asimismo, estos mismos demócratas presionaron durante años a Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac a ir aún más allá en la adquisición de hipotecas de riesgo, que se encuentran en el corazón de la crisis financiera actual.

      Alan Greenspan ya lo advertía de ellas hace cuatro años, así como el presidente del Consejo de Asesores Económicos del Presidente. También lo hizo el secretario de Hacienda de Bush hace cinco años. ¿Qué escuchamos hoy a pesar de estas admoniciones? Que fue la "ideología de derechas" de "la desregulación" de la administración Bush la que sembró los polvos de la crisis financiera. ¿Importan los hechos?

        También escuchamos que el libre mercado es el culpable de la crisis. Pero los hechos demuestran que la culpa la tiene el Gobierno que presionó a las instituciones financieras para que prestasen a deudores de riesgo, mediante normas como la Ley de Reinversión Comunitaria y más tarde mediante amenazas de medidas legales por parte de la entonces fiscal general Janet Reno, si a las autoridades no les gustaban las estadísticas sobre quiénes obtenían los préstamos.

       ¿Es eso libre mercado? ¿O no importan los hechos?

Después está la cuestión de estar en contra de la "avaricia" de los directores ejecutivos y a favor "del pueblo". Franklin Raines ganó 90 millones de dólares siendo director de Fannie Mae y gestionando fatal esa institución. ¿Quién defendió a Franklin Raines en el Congreso? Los demócratas, Maxine Waters incluida, y los congresistas del Black Caucus, al menos uno de cuyos integrantes se refirió incluso al "linchamiento" de Raines, como si fuera racista juzgarle según los mismos estándares con que se juzga a los directivos blancos.

         Después de ser depuesto como director de Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines era consultado este año por el equipo de campaña de Obama en calidad de asesor de vivienda. Se trata de un vínculo que no es unidireccional. Obama ha sido el segundo mayor receptor de donaciones financieras de Fannie Mae justo por detrás del senador Christopher Dodd. ¿Pero cuáles son los vínculos entre Obama y Raines? Ninguno si usted se fía de los medios de referencia.

       Los hechos no importan demasiado si no se informa de ellos.

Los medios de comunicación por sí solos no son los únicos que ocultan estos datos a la opinión pública. Los republicanos, por razones desconocidas, no parecen saber lo que es contraatacar. Se merecen perder.
     Pero el país no se merece ser puesto en manos de un falso y engreído sabelotodo, que no ha logrado absolutamente nada más allá del avance de su propia carrera gracias a la retórica y que durante años se ha aliado con una retahíla de personas que han expresado abiertamente su odio a los Estados Unidos.
 
Los políticos han agravado la crisis
Thomas Sowell

9/30/2008

     Tanto Fannie Mae como Freddie Mac han sido generosos en sus donaciones a las campañas electorales de los políticos, de manera que quizá no sea sorprendente que estos mismos políticos se hayan mostrado en contrapartida tan generosos con ellas

    ¿Quién dijo que "la intromisión errática por parte de las autoridades puede agravar una crisis preexistente"? ¿Ronald Reagan? ¿Milton Friedman? ¿Adam Smith? En absoluto. Fue Karl Marx. Al contrario que la mayoría de los izquierdistas de hoy, Marx estudió economía.

    ¿Va a espolear el intervensionismo errático la crisis financiera actual o en cambio a ciertas reformas sensatas? Predecir lo que van a hacer los políticos es siempre una empresa arriesgada. Tendremos que esperar a ver qué pasa.

     No hay más santos en el Capitolio que en Wall Street. Sólo nos cabe esperar que la "solución" política no acabe siendo peor que el problema.

Hay momentos en los que la intervención del gobierno puede mejorar las cosas. Pero eso no es ninguna garantía de que no las vaya a empeorar. Como dicen ellos, "el demonio se esconde en los detalles".

      Tomando la senda optimista, este gigantesco rescate nunca visto podría impedir que los problemas en los mercados financieros se extiendan a la economía en general –que de momento no se parece en nada al desastre que los medios de comunicación retratan.

      El 90% de los habitantes de este planeta cambiaría su situación económica por la nuestra sin pensarlo. A los medios les encanta exagerar y llevan todo el año muriéndose por utilizar la palabra "recesión", pero no ha sucedido nada que cumpla el criterio de una recesión.

     La economía estadounidense está creciendo, no retrocediendo. Nuestro índice de desempleo ha subido al 6% pero hay países que estarían encantados de rebajar su índice de desempleo al 6%. Nuestra inflación es elevada pero muchos países estarían encantados de reducirla a nuestro nivel.

       ¿Por qué entonces hay un marasmo así en los mercados financieros? Gran parte de estas turbulencias han estado causadas por las mismas personas a las que ahora recurrimos en busca de soluciones –los miembros del Congreso.

     Los congresistas anteriores generaron las instituciones financieras mixtas conocidas como Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac (instituciones privadas con respaldo público e influencia política). Alrededor de la mitad de las hipotecas de este país están emitidas por estas dos instituciones.

     Tales instituciones –exentas de las leyes que se aplican a las demás instituciones financieras y respaldadas por la promesa implícita de apoyo público con el dinero del contribuyente– son una invitación irresistible a la asunción excesiva de riesgos. Cuando todos estos comportamientos imprudentes estallaron en su cara, Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac fueron adquiridas por el Gobierno, con un coste de miles de millones de dólares para el contribuyente.

      Y eso a pesar de que, durante años, el Wall Street Journal había venido advirtiendo de que Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac estaban asumiendo riesgos imprudentes, pero los demócratas y progres en general trataron de minimizar mediáticamente los peligros.

      Allá por 2002, el Wall Street Journal escribía: "El momento de que el sistema político se ocupe de Fannie y Freddie es ahora, no es cuando suframos una crisis inmobiliaria: para entonces será demasiado tarde." La naturaleza mixta pública/privada de estos gigantes financieros equivale a "privatizar los beneficios y socializar las pérdidas" puesto que el contribuyente abona la factura cuando las finanzas no cuadran.

     Preocupaciones parecidas eran expresadas en 2003 por N. Gregory Mankiw, entonces presidente del Consejo de Asesores Económicos del Presidente Bush. Pero el congresista demócrata Barney Frank criticaba al profesor Mankiw, citando "la preocupación por la vivienda" como su motivo para apoyar Fannie Mae.

      Maxine Waters y otros integrantes del Caucus Negro del Congreso también se han encontrado entre los demócratas defensores de Fannie Mae. Apenas el año pasado, el Senador Charles Schumer defendía la legislación que permitía a Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac incrementar su papel, ya de por sí enorme, en el mercado inmobiliario.

    Tanto Fannie Mae como Freddie Mac han sido generosos en sus donaciones a las campañas electorales de los políticos, de manera que quizá no sea sorprendente que estos mismos políticos se hayan mostrado en contrapartida tan generosos con ellas.

     Esto ciertamente forma parte del "desastre de Washington" del que habla Barack Obama. Pero no cuenten con él para limpiarlo. Franklin Raines, que ganó millones a lo grande para sí mismo al tiempo que conducía al desastre financiero a Fannie Mae a golpe de mala gestión, es uno de los asesores de Obama.
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siboneyes
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RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Boehner’s New House Rules Reflect Tea Party Principles

 

 Republican House leaders released a draft of new rules for the 112th Congress, which address many of the reforms advocated by the Tea Party.


The House Rules package shows a greater focus by congressional Republicans on transparency, deliberation, and cutting government spending.


“I expect the Tea Party movement will be excited when they see the new rules proposed by Republicans,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, told Human Events.  “We are forcing ourselves to cut spending, and it’s about time.”


The package includes a Constitutional authority rule, which the Tea Party strongly advocated and was in the GOP “Pledge to America”. The rule states that every bill must include a “statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact” it.  


New Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) appointed a transition office to draft the House Rules package, which was distributed to GOP Members on Wednesday. The rules will be posted online later for the public to read.


The once and future Chairman of the House Rules Committee David Dreier (R-Calif.) authored the package. He will offer the rules to the full House for a vote on January 5, when the new Republican-controlled Congress convenes.


“The rules are focused on our goal to try and reduce the size, scope, and reach of government. It creates a climate which encourages spending cuts, rather than spending increases. It has greater transparency, disclosure, and accountability. It makes things easier to understand,” Dreier told Human Events.  


Many of the new rules are directly from the Republicans’ “Pledge to America,” including the following provisions:


* Each bill will be posted online at least three calendar days before a vote to ensure the American people have the opportunity to read it.


* The budget process for long-term spending is reformed to prevent tricks that allow bills to show balance in the short-term but worsen the deficit later. Under current pay-go rules, a bill must be offset within one, five, and 10-year budget windows. The new rule makes all bills include budget projections for four more 10-year windows. If mandatory spending increases the deficit by $5 billion or more in any of the 10-year windows, the bill would be subject to a point of order.


* All bills that increase mandatory spending bills will be subject to a “cut-go” rule, which means the spending must be cut by an equal or great amount elsewhere. The rule also stipulates that tax increases cannot be used to pay for new mandatory spending.


“Allowing the American people to be heard through their elected representatives is the most important message that will come through. And there are a lot of rule changes that will make that possible,” said Dreier.


The House committees are the focus of much of the new rules. The Republicans reinstated a six-year term limit on committee chairmen, which was a 1994 reform from the “Contract with America” that the Democrats retracted in 2006.


In addition, a new rule states that delegates and resident commissioners (those not representing states) will not be able to vote in the committee of the whole.


The new rules restore to the committees their bill-writing power, while enforcing higher transparency standards. The committees must:


* Both webcast and make available online their hearings and markups.


* Markups, which are meetings in which bills are rewritten, must have three days’ notice, the text of the legislation must be posted online 24 hours in advance, and the votes released within 48 hours.


* Online “truth in testimony” information must be made available, so any conflicts of interest with hearing witnesses are made public.


* Members’ attendance records will be posted for each hearing and markup within 24 hours.


Also, the Republicans made changes in the names of the committees. The Committee on Education and Labor will again be referred to as the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The Committee on Standards and Official Conduct will simply be the Committee on Ethics. The Committee on Science and Technology will be the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.


Boehner included in the package that the entire U.S. Constitution will be read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives on his first full legislative day as Speaker of the House on January 6.


The Constitution read aloud in Congress? There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is John Boehner.

 

Cristal
justiciero217
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Aumentan un 20% las bajas civiles afganas


Nuevas cifras muestran que la cantidad de civiles asesinados o heridos en la guerra de Afganistán aumentó un 20% este año. Según la ONU, los grupos militantes fueron responsables de la muerte de más de 4.700 civiles durante los primeros diez meses del año, mientras que las fuerzas afganas y de la OTAN, dirigidas por Estados Unidos, lo fueron de la muerte y lesiones de 742 civiles. Al menos 162 personas fueron asesinadas y 120 heridas en ataques aéreos estadounidenses.

Diamante
siboneyes
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Is Barack Obama Intentionally Trying to Damage Our Economy and Security?
Big Peace ^ | January 3, 2011 | Peter Schweizer

 

 

     That may seem like an absurd question, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion when you consider what is happening to our energy industry on the Gulf Coast. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, the Obama Administration may have lifted its ban on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but there are still long delays in getting other permits approved to drill for oil. Why? No one seems to know. We assume that politicians do what is in their own self-interest, but in this case Obama seems to be damaging himself because he is dragging down the economy. As the Journal puts it, “The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity.” And Obama doesn’t seem particularly eager to change that fact.

     There are only a handful of possible explanations of why he is doing this. (1) He doesn’t care, and his radical environmental agenda comes first. (2) He hates oil companies so much that he’s willing to have his political fortunes damaged further by dragging down the economy. (3) He hates capitalism so much that he’s determined to “gut” a leading industry such as energy. (4) There is raging incompetence in Washington.

 

    In his recently released book Leadership and Crisis, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recounts an exchange with President Obama during the Gulf oil drilling moratorium. (Full disclosure: I co-wrote the book with Jindal.) After telling Obama that the moratorium would potentially cost tens of thousands of jobs, ”The president went on to assure me that anyone who lost their job would get a check from BP. When I explained that BP might not write them checks because it was the federal government that imposed the moratorium the president said, ‘Well, if BP won’t pay the claim, they can file for unemployment.’ I was amazed by the level of disconnect. The people of Louisiana want to work, not collect unemployment or BP checks.”

       For Obama, getting an unemployment check is about the same as getting paycheck.

      So why is Obama doing this? Take your pick. None of the possible explanations offer much hope for the future. Bottom line: Obama is knowingly damaging our economy, and assuring that more money goes to energy producers like Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Diamante
siboneyes
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

[ Editado ]

Massive Inflation, Right under Our Noses

Kevin D. Williamson

Posted on January 05, 2011 12:06 PM

    It is helpful to remember that there are two sides to every transaction. If the price of an ounce of gold goes up $100, you can say that the price of gold has gone up in terms of dollars — or you can say with equal accuracy that the price of dollars has gone down in terms of gold. A trivial and not exactly blazingly original insight, but one to keep in mind.

     Food prices are hitting record highs. Sugar, meat, oils — boom, boom, boom. Food-related products, like fertilizers, are on a pretty steep upward trajectory. (Even the reliably pessimistic cotton farmers are celebrating.) Inflation is nipping at the Chinese economy and threatens to exacerbate social unrest in the world’s largest for-profit police state.

       Meanwhile, oil prices are zooming, and the boom in gold and other precious metals has been too amply remarked upon to bear further commentary here.

    So, what’s happening? Has the entire planet suddenly got a serious case of the munchies? Sure, there are specific factors contributing to all of this — population growth, higher demand in Asia, non-economic events such as crop failures and droughts, etc. — but we ought to consider another interpretation: The price of food and petroleum isn’t so much rising as the price of dollars, euros, yen, and renminbi is dropping.

     The financial crisis, the continuing fiscal incontinence of the U.S. and European governments, and the global attempt to stimulate our way out of our recent economic troubles has undermined confidence in government finances, and with it confidence in government-issued currencies, which have no inherent value. (No, I am not setting up an argument for gold-buggery.)

     Yesterday, I put up a picture yesterday of a guy sporting my new favorite tattoo: one of the old supply-and-demand graph familiar from your Econ 101 textbook over the motto: “These Laws Cannot Be Broken.” (I want every joker elected to federal office to get that tattoo on his voting hand.) What is underappreciated is that the laws of supply and demand apply to currencies, too: You create new money (and, boy howdy, have we been creating money!), you increase the supply, demand does not change, and the price goes down.

    Usually, this is reflected in currency exchange rates: Uncle Sam creates lots of dollars, and the greenback falls against the euro and the yen. But when all of the major currencies are being pumped up at the same time, the exchange rates won’t move in the same way, since they’re all being devalued at the same time.

      Another underappreciated aspect of our current currency situation: One of the biggest stimulators out there — and one of the biggest money-supply inflators — has been China. China’s money supply, by some estimates, increased by 50 percent during its stimulus campaign. Part of that is the familiar ChiCom program for keeping its currency artificially cheap and its people artificially poor to keep the exports sector booming, but part of it is Beijing doing exactly what they’ve been doing in Washington and London and Tokyo: flooding the economy with free money in the hopes of stimulating economic activity — i.e., the crystal-meth approach to economics.

        It seems to me entirely plausible that what we are seeing is a giant, global vote of no confidence  in the economic policies of the world’s major economies: Europe and the United States, sure, but China, too. I used to say that you could judge how seriously a man took his beliefs about the future by how much of his own money he was willing to bet on a given proposition. But there are things that people take even more seriously than money: things with real value, like food and fuel. Inflation happens when the money supply is increased, regardless of whether it shows up in the Consumer Price Index.

     CPI jumps are not inflation, they are a reaction to inflation. But don’t tell me that at a time when the market is putting high or record prices on everything of inherent value that everything is hunky-dory on the inflation front. When one country devalues its currency in a last-ditch effort to stave off crisis, it’s a banana republic. When the United States, Europe, Japan, and China do it in a coordinated fashion, we’re all part of the Banana Federation of Greater Bananastan.

        Supply and Demand: These Laws Cannot Be Broken.

– Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. You can buy an autographed copy through National Review Online here.

      LLEGO A SU FIN EL REINADO DE PELOSI/OBAMA/REID, TERMINANADO CON LA APROBACION  DE UN 13 %, LA MAS BAJA DE LA HISTORIA, DEJANDO DETRAS DE SI UNA DEUDA DE $14 TRILLONES, ES DECIR UN AUMENTO DE $7 TRILLONES DESDE QUE PELOSI Y LOS DEMOS TOMARON EL CONTROL DE LOS GASTOS DE LA NACION AL FINAL DEL GOBIERNO DE BUSH, HASTA EL DIA DE HOY.

Banned
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

F.D.R. + MARXISMO+ KEYNES = OBAMUNISMO + DEPRESION
STUNNING: this cartoon from 1934 could have been drawn today
Posted by hillbuzz under Uncategorized 
 

1934_cartoon

 

 

Young pinkies from Columbia and Harvard indeed.

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" Jorge Santallana

 

OBAMA, CARTER Y F.D.R.

BY  DQBAN 22

DE 1980 AL 2007 SE CREARON 72 MILLONES DE NUEVOS EMPLEOS GRACIAS A REGANOMICS Y SU REBAJA DE IMPUESTOS.  DURANTE EL MISMO PERIODO, EUROPA CON UNA ECONOMIA MAS GRANDE QUE LA DE U.S. Y MAYOR POBLACION, SE CREARON 4 MILLONES DE NUEVOS EMPLEOS DEBIDO A SUS ECONOMIAS SOCIALISTAS.

     Obama esta siguiendo la misma política errónea de Franklin Delano Roosevelt, las teorías socialistas en boga durante el primer cuarto del siglo XX de John Maynard Keynes, segun las cuales, a través del aumento substancial de gastos del estado se podía salir de la recesión que había heredado del presidente Hoover, y lejos de ello, sumió el país en la depresión mas prolongada y profunda en la historia de Estados Unidos.

       Ese es el mismo camino escogido por Obama, aumento desenfrenado de los gastos y de los impuestos, cuyo inevitable resultado va a ser una hiperinflación con estancamiento económico, como en los tiempos de Carter, intereses al 20%, inflación al 13 % y desempleo 11%.

      El desempleo no bajó del 20% durante la casi totalidad  del gobierno de Roosevelt debido a que los impuestos eran tan onerosos que el estado dejaba a los empresarios sin capital ni incentivos para crear nuevas empresas y con ello nuevos empleos.  Aquellos con ingresos mayores de $200,000 llegaron a pagar en 1944 el 94% de impuestos, aunque Roosevelt quería que el impuesto fuese del 99.5% para aquellos con ingresos mayores de $100,000, con lo cual mató la gallina de los huevos de oro. Roosevelt extendió el impuesto del “income tax” a la mayor parte de la población que hasta entonces no pagaban impuestos sobre ingresos.

       Truman bajo ligeramente el tope de la escala tributaria del 94% al 92% partiendo de ingresos superiores a $400,000. Eisenhouer lo bajo al 91% para aquellos con ingresos sobre $400.000 y Kennedy a su vez lo bajo al 70% produciéndose un gran aumento en la actividad empresarial y comercial y con ello la recaudación de impuestos por el estado  siendo mucho mayor que cuando la tasa era de más del 90%.

     Después del desastre creado por Carter entró Reagan quien bajó los impuestos del 70% al 50% en el 82 y al 28% en el 89 dando lugar al periodo más largo y de mayor crecimiento y prosperidad en la historia de Estados Unidos, bonanza que incluso sobrevivió el impacto negativo del aumento de impuestos que hizo Clinton en 1993 cuando subió  al 39.6% para el tope de la escala del “income tax”. 

       En el 2003 Bush W. rebajo al 35% el tope y con ellos incentivó la economía de manera tal que fue posible copar con el golpe del 9/11 y los gastos de la guerra contra el terrorismo islámico en Afganistán e Irak, bajándose el desempleo a niveles menores aún que bajo Clinton, prosperidad que se extendió durante los primeros 7 años de su gobierno, hasta que explotó la crisis financiera que los demócratas habían venido incubando desde los tiempos de Carter.

        La solución para la crisis no esté en otra guerra mundial, ni mucho menos en el socialismo, sino en regresar a Reganomics y las probadas exitosas teorías económicas de las Escuelas Austrica y de Chicago.

Negros nubarrones se ciernen sobre el futuro de los Estados Unidos bajo el régimen de Obama donde las obsoletas y fracasada tendencias fascistas se entremezclan con las socialistas y keynesianas dejando empeñadas a las generaciones futuras con deudas superior a 13 trillones de dólares, algo inaudito que destruirá el crédito de los Estados Unidos y conducirá una drástica devaluación del dólar destronándole como el medio de intercambio comercial internacional por excelencia.

Dqban22  

 

Thomas Sowell: FDR not best example to follow

Thursday, December 25, 2008

By Thomas Sowell

 

       With both Barack Obama's supporters and the media looking forward to the new administration's policies being similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies during the 1930s depression, it may be useful to look at just what those policies were and -- more important -- what their consequences were.

      The prevailing view in many quarters is that the stock market crash of 1929 was a failure of the free market that led to massive unemployment in the 1930s -- and that it was intervention of Roosevelt's New Deal policies that rescued the economy.

      It is such a good story that it seems a pity to spoil it with facts. Yet there is something to be said for not repeating the catastrophes of the past.

       Let's start at square one, with the stock market crash in October 1929. Was this what led to massive unemployment?

       Official government statistics suggest otherwise. So do new statistics on unemployment by two scholars, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, in their book "Out of Work."

      The Vedder and Gallaway statistics allow us to follow unemployment month by month. They put the unemployment rate at 5 percent in November 1929, a month after the stock market crash. It hit 9 percent in December -- but then began a generally downward trend, subsiding to 6.3 percent in June 1930.

       That was when the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country, who warned of dire consequences.

       Five months after the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the unemployment rate hit double digits for the first time in the 1930s.

This was more than a year after the market crash. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose to even higher levels under both Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, both of whom intervened in the economy on an unprecedented scale.

      For nearly three consecutive years, beginning in February 1932, the unemployment rate never fell below 20 percent for any month before January 1935, when it fell to 19.3 percent, according to the Vedder and Gallaway statistics.

     In other words, the evidence suggests that it was not the "problem" of the financial crisis in 1929 that caused massive unemployment but politicians' attempted "solutions." Is that the history that we seem ready to repeat?

     The stock market crash, which has been blamed for the widespread suffering during the Great Depression of the 1930s, created no unemployment rate that was even half of what was created in the wake of the government interventions of Hoover and FDR.

    Politically, however, Franklin D. Roosevelt could not have been more successful. After all, he was elected four times in a row. He was a master of political rhetoric.

     If Barack Obama wants political success, following in the footsteps of FDR looks like the way to go. But people who are concerned about the economy need to take a closer look at history. We deserve something better than repeating the 1930s disasters.

     There is yet another factor that provides a parallel to what happened during the Great Depression. No matter how much worse things got after government intervention under Roosevelt's New Deal policies, the party line was that he had to "do something" to get us out of the disaster created by the failure of the unregulated market and Hoover's "do nothing" policies.

     Today, increasing numbers of scholars recognize that FDR's own policies were a further extension of interventions begun under Hoover.

Barack Obama already has his Herbert Hoover to blame for any and all disasters that his policies create: George W. Bush.

      Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.

 

 

 

OBAMA LLEVA U.S.A. A LA DEBACLE ABRAZADO A KEYNES Y MARX.

La disonancia cognitiva de los keynesianos

Juan Ramón Rallo

8/30/2010
         Ahora, una de dos: o admitimos que la realidad ha falsado las supercherías keynesianas y que ha llegado la hora de permitir que la economía liquide de manera natural las malas inversiones o seguimos la vía suicida de Krugman y Bernanke.
       La sencillez teórica de la ideología keynesiana sólo resulta equiparable a su desastrosa puesta en práctica. Lord Keynes, que tal distinción se le llegó a conceder, tenía una receta muy facilona para todo: si la economía encalla, si está operando por debajo de lo que de manera un tanto arbitraria consideramos su potencial, si aparecen recursos desempleados u “ociosos” por doquier, entonces es que no estamos gastando lo suficiente.

       Para Keynes todo es un problema de falta de gasto, ya sea en consumo o en inversión, de modo que la solución pasa por promover el gasto como sea. Al lord se le ocurrieron dos maneras fundamentales: una, reducir los tipos de interés para que la gente que era reacia a endeudarse acudiera como loca al banco más cercano para hipotecarse; dos, que fuera el Estado quien gastara en nombre de todos, circunstancia que además tendría unos efectos “multiplicadores” sobre el resto de la actividad.

        Estados Unidos lleva casi dos años aplicando consistentemente el programa de “estímulo” keynesiano. A día de hoy cabría esperar que los recursos ociosos ya se hubiesen esfumado en honor a la sabiduría de Keynes. Ni parados ni viviendas vacías deberían seguir atormentando el presente de la economía estadounidense. Pero no, la realidad no termina de ajustarse a acientíficos moldes de Keynes.

           Por ejemlo, en su plan de despilfarro masivo, Obama destinó unos 25.000 millones para promover la adquisición de vivienda (no tenemos en cuenta los efectos “multiplicadores” del resto de su gasto) y Ben Helicóptero Bernanke ha comprado desde 2009 más de un billón de dólares en bonos hipotecarios a través de la creación de nuevos dólares con tal de rebajar los tipos de interés hipotecarios a largo plazo y estimular la compra de inmuebles.

          ¿Resultado? Apenas perceptible: una pequeña hinchazón que ya ha reventado. Échenle un vistazo a las ventas de nuevas viviendas a partir de 2009 (momento de auge de las políticas keynesianas) y si son capaces de distinguir algo, entonces casi puedo garantizarles que no habrán de pasarse por el oculista durante unos años.

          Miles de millones de dólares para esto. Tan bien han funcionado los planes de estímulo que los recursos que estaban ociosos, siguen estándolo. Ahí están las viviendas nuevas que siguen sin obtener salida, o los parados que continúan sin encontrar un empleo, pese a que el tirón público de la demanda tenía que proporcionársela.

        Ahora, una de dos: o admitimos que la realidad ha falsado las supercherías keynesianas y que ha llegado la hora de permitir que la economía liquide de manera natural las malas inversiones o seguimos la vía suicida de Krugman y Bernanke; a saber, la mayor intervención fiscal y monetaria de la historia no ha sido suficiente y hace falta redoblar esfuerzos.

       El Nobel propone un nuevo plan de estímulo que duplique en importe al anterior y el presidente de la Fed ya amenaza con monetizar todo papelito que le pongan por delante. Salvo rectificar y pedir perdón, cualquier cosa que les permita seguir interviniendo en la economía. Ya nos metieron en ésta y ahora parecen empeñados en no dejarnos salir.

    Los psicólogos llaman a este fenómeno disonancia cognitiva: el contraste entre la percepción de la inutilidad de los planes de estímulo y la fe ciega en que han de funcionar lleva a los keynesianos a huir hacia adelante, a reforzar su creencia irracional reconfigurando los hechos para que tengan cabida en su deficiente esquema teórico. Es la misma reacción que se observa con los movimientos apocalípticos y milenaristas: sus reiterados fracasos a la hora de pronosticar el fin del mundo nunca les llevan a revisar sus exactas “predicciones”, sino a buscar todo tipo de excusas que explican a posteriori por qué el armagedón no se produjo en la fecha esperada.

     Claro que los alocados milenaristas no son quienes rigen nuestras vidas y nuestras haciendas. Obama, Krugman o Bernanke, sí.

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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

DR. KEITH ABLOW: A Psychiatrist’s Advice for President Obama
By Dr. Keith Ablow

Published January 27, 2011 | FoxNews.com

   President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night symbolically kicked off the 2012 Presidential campaign. I tuned in with what psychiatrists call a “third ear”—listening to myself listening, polling my gut for when it alerted me to true or false notes. In my office, it is this “third ear” that allows me to ask questions that get past a person’s more superficial stories, to the heart of that person. In other words, I was paying as much attention to whether I sensed the President believed what he was saying, as to whether I agreed with what he was saying.

      I loathe lip service. I am more than two decades into a career based on detecting it and opposing it. Much of what I can offer patients is help finding the courage and faith to stop running from who they really are and what they really believe—to say what they mean and mean what they say.   

     Authenticity is quite literally part of the cure for depression and anxiety, because self-deception and the manipulation of others are so dispiriting.     They literally remove us from the healing power of God.

     So, here’s what I heard Tuesday night: I heard a man reading a script, acting out a part. The words the President spoke about reducing our national debt, reining in the size of government and working collaboratively with both Republicans and Democrats sounded—to my third ear—like the words of an alcoholic who tells me that he won’t drink, that I should just believe him, even though that he can’t share any compelling insight (let alone a true moment of epiphany) as to why he started anesthetizing himself with booze to begin with, nor any compelling narrative as to why he now believes he has to be sober to walk the path ahead. In short, he sounded like a man with new words, but without the new perspective that would make them his own, and, thereby, make them either credible or moving.

      It was all too “add-water-and-stir” for me. I would have had to be drunk myself to believe it.
     This new fiscally-disciplined, job-focused, centrist, collaborative, entrepreneurial president arrives on the stage with no back story to explain the character “arc” he has traveled on the national stage.

     How did a man who used every iota of power at his disposal to champion bailouts, stimulus packages, 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, unions and health care reform, without accepting any real input from conservative voices, suddenly morph into a deficit hawk who believes we can’t get anywhere as a nation unless we get there together?

     How did a man who apologized for our nation’s shortcomings on trips abroad and who attended a church run by a man who said, “God da...mn America!” come to believe that we are a people that should embrace the core ideas of our Founding Fathers?

     How did this happen? Why did it happen? When did it happen? If these questions cannot be answered clearly, then the only question that really matters is this: Did any of it really happen?
       Might it be, instead, that the president is the same man he was two years ago? Might he be a politician who doesn’t feel compelled to share his genuine thoughts and beliefs with the electorate? Might he have assessed the mid-term elections and decided that the best chance he would have at maintaining power would be to repackage 

    How can a leader who vows to veto any bill containing earmarks, say in the same speech that he will not retreat from his health reform legislation—which earmarks the disposable income of every American and directs it to the mandatory purchase of health insurance?

    Why would he forecast in his speech that he intends to reorganize many government agencies, to make them more efficient, when he ballooned the TSA into the an inefficient collosus? Could it be that the reorganization he spoke of will be an opportunity for him to take one or two more steps in a direction consistent with the true divining rod that guides him?

    As a psychiatrist, here’s my unsolicited advice to the president: Explain to the American people how and why you have changed your tone and agenda so dramatically. Share with us the moments of epiphany that convinced you that the path you so boldly took us on for two years was ill conceived. Make yourself believable so that we can believe we are worthy of more than manipulation.

    Uh, one other thing. It’s really an aside, but I want to mention it. Stop appropriating Bill Clinton’s facial expressions and trying to make them your own. It can be distracting when one man tries to channel another, especially when the mask isn’t held perfectly in place.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. He is a New York Times best-selling author, and co-author, with Glenn Beck, of the upcoming book “The 7: Seven Wonders that Will Change Your Life.” Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com.

 

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QUOTE OF THE CENTURY, MAYBE EVEN THE MILLENNIUM
 Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them, like this quote from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out - we have a lot of work to do.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.  The Republic can survive a Barack Obama who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."
My other personal concern is the evil entities behind the fool.

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siboneyes
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Obama's Louis XV Budget

 

 

 

Amendments Passed to Eliminate Obama Czars and Defund FCC Net Neutrality Rules

 

The House passed two important conservative amendments on Thursday night: to eliminate funding for President Obama’s czars and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from enforcing its net neutrality rules.

The House is in the third day of an open process to debate 583 amendments to the Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill. HUMAN EVENTS
has identified 10 of the amendments which are key for conservatives to watch. 


The base text of the CR would cut government spending by $60 billion for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year.  Each additional limiting amendment, which cuts government funding for specific programs from passage until Oct. 1, would be in addition to the baseline cut.

The Obama czars ban amendment (No. 204), offered by Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.), passed 249 to 179.  The FCC net neutrality amendment (No. 404), which was co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.), passed the House by a vote of 244 to 181.

Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Stearns, the chairman of the  Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, offered the amendment that would restrict the FCC from using CR funds to implement its controversial net neutrality rules.


In December, the FCC set controversial new regulations to empower itself to regulate private sector networks and companies.

On Wednesday, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) introduced a resolution to overturn the FCC rules under the Congressional Review Act.  At a hearing the same day with five former FCC commissioners, Upton said that he and Walden “believe these rules will hurt innovation and the economy.”

While the legality of the FCC rules is still being debated, t
he Walden/Stearns’ amendment blocks all government funding for the current fiscal year from being used to implement them.

“It’s not appropriate for the unelected FCC to regulate Internet services without any input from the United States Congress,” said Stearns during Thursday evening’s debate.  “So Congress must stop the FCC.  This amendment will do that and prevent any money from being spent to implement regulation of the Internet.”

The House Democrats defended the new regulations and the FCC during the debate.


“Vote no on this amendment that shuts down the Internet,” protested Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.), who is a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“The FCC rules were a very light-touch regulation,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), who is the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The liberal Waxman protested that “if we stop the FCC from regulating, then we leave the status quo.”

Rep. Tom Graves (R.-Ga.) who is on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the FCC, responded to the Democrats.

“Let’s make it simple:  Government control means uniformity, regulation, fees, inspection, and yes, compliance,” said Graves.  “The Internet free marketplace is defined by fierce competition.  And that competition has transformed the world with innovation, investment, and what we need most of all right now, jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats were really irked when the amendment to cut wasteful spending by eliminating Obama’s czars came to the floor.

Some of the Democrats believe that the whole amendment is really directed at one of the czars, Matt Lloyd, associate general counsel and chief diversity officer for the FCC.

Lloyd has come under fire from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck because of his views on blocking conservative media under the Fairness Doctrine.

“Why saw this guy’s head off?  Because some talk show host says so?  I think this is poorly devised and poorly thought out,” said an exasperated Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.).

The amendment restricts any CR funds to be used for Obama’s nine czars’ salaries or offices.  The czars are in federal positions in his administration, but not confirmed by Congress.  Of the nine positions, seven are currently filled.

Two of Obama’s czars—White House director of Urban Affairs and assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change—have not been filled yet.

The seven existing czars are in the following positions: director of the White House Office of Health Reform, special envoy for Climate Change, special adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation’s Council on Environmental Quality, senior adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counselor for manufacturing policy, special envoy to oversee the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, special master for TARP executive compensation at the Department of the Treasury, and Lloyd.

Eshoo asserted that the czars are merely “individuals who are carrying out the duties in the Executive Branch.”

The Republicans responded repeatedly that the czar offices are a waste of money and are not transparent.

“In this last election, the American people spoke out [against] lack of oversight.  We need access to people with answers,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R.-La.).  “And the American people have the right to get answers from the White House.  Let’s be open with the American people.  Those who make policy should come before our committees.”

Eshoo complained about the Republicans’ use of the term “czar and czarina” to refer to the political appointees.

“For those who don't understand the Russian word for ‘no,’ it’s ‘nyet’,” retorted Boustany.  “I say ‘no’ to the czars.”



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siboneyes
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Obama: El hipnotista

Alberto Acereda

Libertad Digital

6/6/2099

Esta falta de conocimiento de la historia y estas meteduras de pata son impropias de un presidente norteamericano. De haberlas realizado Bush estarían ya en las portadas de todos los medios de comunicación internacionales.


Ya son cada vez más los que van despertando de la hipnosis y empiezan a ver la realidad de lo que es Barack Obama. Mucho quisiéramos no tener que escribir tanto sobre este personaje, pero la actualidad es la que es. Y aquí, como allí, no pasa día ni una semana sin que Obama ocupe portadas, columnas y programas televisivos.

El joven y apuesto candidato, hecho luego presidente, apareció ante el mundo hace unos meses como figura “transformacional”, como la nueva imagen post-post que iba a cambiar el tono político y arreglar el mundo.

Algunos ya cuestionamos a Obama desde el inicio y, lejos de la hipnosis colectiva, auguramos que su elección y llegada a la Casa Blanca resultaría un error no ya sólo para los Estados Unidos, sino para la mejora del escenario geopolítico internacional.

Los más recientes (y aun retocados) datos económicos no pueden esconder que la economía norteamericana sigue sin levantar vuelo. El déficit y el intervencionismo de Bush son hoy migajas comparadas con el gigantesco gasto público de Obama y la nacionalización del sector privado.

En el interior, y por obra del hipnotista, Estados Unidos ha pasado de “General Motors” a “Government Motors”. En el exterior, Teherán avanza irremisiblemente hacia lo nuclear mientras Israel aparece más solo que nunca. Y todo con el permiso del nuevo revelado.

Porque Obama es un político que supo ver la oportunidad de colarse en la fila, adelantar a Hillary Clinton y ganar la presidencia. Aun así, sus meteduras de pata fueron múltiples en su campaña, aunque bien parapetadas por la gran mayoría de los medios, todos o casi todos jugando a su favor.

Valga recordar aquel discurso donde Obama concluía asegurando que con su candidatura había llegado el momento en que “la subida de los océanos empezaba a detenerse y nuestro planeta empezaba a sanar”... En otra ocasión afirmó que en su campaña había visitado ya 57 estados de Estados Unidos y que le quedaba ya sólo uno más que visitar... Cuando el tornado de Kansas hace ahora poco más de un año, Obama aseguró que habían muerto 10.000 personas, cuando la cifra real fue de 12. El hipnotista poseía ya entonces dotes superiores.

Como presidente, Obama afirmó que Nancy Reagan era capaz de hablar con los muertos... Cuando Gordon Brown lo visitó, Obama le obsequió con un paquete de 25 películas en DVD de imposible visualización en Inglaterra... En el show televisivo de Jay Leno, el hipnotista se atrevió incluso a soltar un chiste sobre los paralímpicos... Otro día, su telemprompter confundió su discurso con el del mandatario irlandés... Y cuando el peregrinaje exculpatorio por Europa, el mundo presenció la magnética reverencia al Rey Abdhulla y la debilidad de Obama...

A su vuelta de Europa, equivocó el nombre de su ministro de Defensa, con lo que Robert Gates pasó a ser Bill Gates por hipnosis neurolingüística... Esta semana pasada, en la nominación de la jueza Sonia Sotomayor, Obama afirmó que la Constitución de los Estados Unidos tenía veinte siglos... Y hace unos días, en exclusiva entrevista a una televisión francesa, el hipnotizador aseguró que Estados Unidos es una de las naciones musulmanas más grandes del mundo...          Y así una pifia tras otra.

Todas estas cosas puede comprobarlas el lector interesado en vídeos e informaciones existentes que prueban cuanto aquí se apunta. Pero lo que ha hecho que muchos, al menos en España, empiecen a salir del estado hipnótico y reverencial hacia Obama, es la afirmación de éste en El Cairo al asegurar que “El islam tiene una orgullosa tradición de tolerancia. Lo vemos en la historia de Andalucía y Córdoba durante la Inquisición”.

Esta falta de conocimiento de la historia y estas meteduras de pata son impropias de un presidente norteamericano. De haberlas realizado Bush estarían ya en las portadas de todos los medios de comunicación internacionales. Al provenir de Obama, otro es el cantar y otro el rasero.

Impropio es también asegurar –como asimismo hizo Obama en El Cairo– que su responsabilidad como presidente de los Estados Unidos es “luchar contra los estereotipos negativos del islam, donde quiera que aparezcan”. Busquen ustedes eso en la Constitución Americana a ver si lo encuentran.

Todos estos errores parecerían menos importantes y quedarían en simples anécdotas y meteduras de pata si se tratara de un hipnotizador de segunda fila. Servirían incluso de cortos para vídeos cómicos de pifias de un presidente.

Sin embargo, hay que entender todo esto en el contexto de algo mucho más grave: primero, en el marco del paulatino deterioro que de la imagen de Estados Unidos como nación fuerte está gestando Obama ante el mundo; segundo, alimentan la convicción de que hay un novato débil en la Casa Blanca cuya ambición está llevando a América a territorios impensables hasta hace menos de dos años.

Porque más allá de las meteduras de pata, lo preocupante es que hay algo siniestro en la obsesión de Obama por pedir siempre disculpas a todos por la historia de la primera democracia del planeta. Obama fue en su día el hipnotista de las masas, más célebre que el mismo Mesmer. El problema es que su hipnosis es inversa: produce cambios negativos.

© Libertad Digital

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sirjohn
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Re: LA RESPONSABILIDAD POR LA CRISIS ¿Importan los hechos?

Vaclav Havel on Obama: Soiling Your Pants Will Not Gain You International Respect
Thursday, December 10, 2009,
Jim Hoft
Foreign Policy interviewed Former Czech President, political prisoner and playwright Vaclav Havel on Barack Obama and the costs of moral compromise.

Question: How, as president, do you decide when these small compromises are worth it and when they might lead to something more dangerous?

Havel: Politics, it means, every day making some compromises, and to choose between one evil and another evil, and to decide which is bigger and which is smaller. But sometimes, some of these compromises could be very dangerous because it could be the beginning of the road of making a lot of other compromises, which are results of the first one, and there are very dangerous compromises. And it’s necessary, I think, to have the feeling which compromise is possible to do and which, could be, maybe, after ten years, could be somehow very dangerous.

I will illustrate this with my own experience. Two days after I was elected president, I invited the Dalai Lama to visit. I was the first head of the state who invited him in this way, directly. And everybody was saying that it was a terribly dangerous act and issued their disapproving statements and expressions. But it was a ritual matter. Later, the Chinese deputy prime minister and the foreign minister came for a visit and brought me a pile of books about the Dalai Lama and some governmental documents about what good care they have taken of Tibet, and so on. They were propagandist, fabricated books, but he felt the need to explain something to me.

I had a press conference with this minister of foreign affairs. And he said, “It was wonderful, meeting, because we were speaking openly. Mr. Havel gave me his opinion, and I explained the opinion of our government. I gave him this book, and he thanked me for it.”

This was unbelievable! Why did they feel the need to explain their point of view to the leader of such a small nation? Because they respect it when someone is standing his ground, when someone is not afraid of them. When someone soils his pants prematurely, then they do not respect you more for it.

Havel Unplugged
Jennifer Rubin - 12.10.2009
Vaclav Havel, in a intriguing interview, explains why “small compromises” on human rights have a dangerously cumulative effect:

We know this from our modern history. When [French Prime Minister Edouard] Daladier returned from the [1938] Munich conference, the whole nation was applauding him for saving the peace. He made a miniscule compromise in the interest of peace. But it was the beginning of a chain of evil that subsequently brought about many millions of deaths.

We can’t just say, “This is just a small compromise that can be overlooked. First we will go to China and then perhaps talk with the Dalai Lama.” It all looks practical, pragmatic, logical, but it is necessary to think about whether it is not the first small compromise that can be the beginning of that long chain that is no good. In this case perhaps it will not be, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.

Havel then shares an anecdote that comes at a timely juncture. At West Point and again in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Obama waxed lyrical about human rights. But in practice he has consistently shoved human rights off his agenda, going as far as defunding Iranian democracy protesters and objecting to support for new media for Iranian dissidents. This as he engages despotic regimes without any sign of progress in their treatment of their own people. Havel argues, “Politics, it means, every day making some compromises, and to choose between one evil and another evil, and to decide which is bigger and which is smaller.” He recounts:

Two days after I was elected president, I invited the Dalai Lama to visit. I was the first head of the state who invited him in this way, directly. And everybody was saying that it was a terribly dangerous act and issued their disapproving statements and expressions. But it was a ritual matter. Later, the Chinese deputy prime minister and the foreign minister came for a visit and brought me a pile of books about the Dalai Lama and some governmental documents about what good care they have taken of Tibet, and so on. They were propagandist, fabricated books, but he felt the need to explain something to me.

I had a press conference with this minister of foreign affairs. And he said, “It was wonderful, meeting, because we were speaking openly. Mr. Havel gave me his opinion, and I explained the opinion of our government. I gave him this book, and he thanked me for it.”

This was unbelievable! Why did they feel the need to explain their point of view to the leader of such a small nation? Because they respect it when someone is standing his ground, when someone is not afraid of them. When someone soils his pants prematurely, then they do not respect you more for it.

Well, that’s one way of putting it. The question is an apt one for the Obami: what have they gained from pushing human rights off the agenda and what evidence do we have that this has produced benefits for America or for those living under the boot of thugocracies? It seems we might earn respect — restore America’s standing in the world, as the Obami like to say — by standing up to Iran, China, Russia, and the rest rather than saving pretty words for West Point cadets and Norwegian elites who are less in need of a lecture than the despots to whom Obama has strained to ingratiate himself.