I wonder if Obama is subject to more criticism from his own left, because the right was so soundly defeated in his re-election. Without the unity of opposition his supporters are more free to dissent.
I think that what cost the Democrats a loss on the gun control issue was a lack of trust. Just as George H. Bush betrayed his’ read my lips’ pledge on taxes, Obama betrayed a pledge not to interfere with gun ownership. Gun control advocates displayed a marked ignorance on the subject and appeared more interested in good intentions than clear results.
Glenn Reynolds. law professor and writer of the highly recommended blog Instapundit, poses his Third Law: any increase in power bestowed on the government will be used to acquire more power. This may explain the trust lapse on the gun issue. ( His first two laws are here.)
The two most important elements of financial success is managing return and risk. Return is easy to measure and compare, but risk is not. Risk analysis requires subjective and philosophical insight. Our financial collapse was largely possible because academics thought that risk could be mathematically quantified. Investment celebrities celebrate their return on the cover of Money Magazine which looks remarkably like People Magazine. Amateur investors flock to the better returns remaining ignorant of the underlying risks. When the risks become obvious is too late.
The same is true of economic and political policy. We celebrate the ‘return’ of growing home ownership while ignoring or burying the risk. The only difference is that instead of just investors losing, the entire economy suffers.
Does economic progress stall as we get used to an onslaught of new regulations, or must it be freed from excessive regulations to prosper? Like a dog gets used to its collar an economy can adjust to regulations that were previously considered onerous. But if the ultimate reward for risk is reduced less risk and its rewards will likely result. Incentives matter only to a point, but they do matter.
from Waking the dragon — How Feinstein fiddled while America burned by Barry Snell in Iowa State Daily
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because in a single breath they tell us that the Second Amendment is irrelevant today and should be repealed because semi-automatic weapons didn’t exist when the Bill of Rights was written, then turn around and say the First Amendment protectsradio, television, movies, video games, the Internet, domain names, Facebook and Twitter. Carrying liberal logic on the Second Amendment through to the First Amendment, it would only cover the town crier, and hand-operated printing presses producing only books and newspapers, and nothing else. Even anything written with a No. 2 pencil or ballpoint pen would not be included. And those of you belonging to religions that formed after the 1790s? You’re screwed under liberal logic, too.
Article is well worth reading in its entirety.
Dan Greenfield write in his blog Sultan Knish The Unverifiable World.
Savages can kill each other, but they can’t communicate with each other. You can’t prove anything to a savage, because a savage does not believe in objective standards of proof. The savage is a subjective creature. All he knows is what he feels and he is unaware and unwilling to discuss the process through which the ideas that shape his feelings have been communicated. This is his ultimate taboo. For the savage, communication is a means of asserting his own strength and power. That is a phenomenon you can study in the Amazon or in YouTube comments. It is not a means of achieving an understanding because for the savage there is nothing to understand. Understanding requires thought and the savage feels, rather than thinks. Only those ideas which come to him as emotions and embody his sense of self are integrated into his worldview.
In the age of the savage, communications can be sophisticated in scope and technique, but empty in content. The savage can develop sophisticated languages and means of transmitting words, but he cannot make the words mean anything. He can deconstruct language, but all he can do is toy with its meanings. The savage does not use language to communicate by transcending his subjective self with an objective understanding, rather he degrades language by distorting it so that it only reflects his subjective feelings, rather than objective truths. Everything the savage says is a lie, because all his ideas are expressions of his feelings. A truth that transcends his feelings is foreign to him.
For the savage, truth is not found in an authenticity conveyed by logic or evidence, but in emotional authenticity. He cannot be communicated with, only related to.
Past FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair
“Dodd-Frank fixed some of that by giving both the SEC and the CFTC authority to regulate the derivatives market. Among other things, the legislation mandated that the SEC and CFTC, working with the banking regulators, set standards for the amount of capital and margin that sellers of CDSs must hold. But Dodd-Frank continues to insulate the CDS market from traditional insurance regulation. Importantly, the new law does not require that purchasers of CDSs have an insurable interest.
When you go to an insurance company to buy fire protection on your house, it will want proof that you own the house. It does not want you buying insurance protection on your neighbor’s house. That would give you an incentive to burn your neighbor’s house down. For centuries, a central tenet of insurance has been to insure only against losses that the insured may actually sustain. Without such a requirement, insurance simply becomes a means to gamble on other people’s losses, creating economic incentives to inflict harm on others to reap the insurance payout.
“Without an insurable interest requirement, the CDS market has become primarily a speculators’ game. The market is heavily subject to manipulation, given the lack of regulation and the ability of speculators to influence prices. Moreover, it has been able to grow to such an astronomical size because speculators are free to bet against default on a wide range of securities without actually owning any of them. Just as there is no limit on the amount of money that can be wagered on who wins the Super Bowl, there is no limit on the number of speculators who can bet on whether the Italian government will default on its bonds or, as was commonly the case in 2007, whether investors would suffer losses on mortgage-backed securities and the infamous CDOs.
Some of the early resistance to our loan modification initiatives came from hedge fund managers, who would make money if mortgage defaults went up. This was because they had purchased CDS protection against losses on mortgage-backed securities they did not own. If they had been required to hold mortgage investments that exceeded the dollar amount of their CDS protection, they would not have had an incentive to oppose loan modifications. Similarly, it used to be that when an investor bought the debt of a company and that company got into trouble, the investor would work with the company to restructure its debt to help the company avoid a costly bankruptcy. Now, with investors being able to buy CDS protection that far exceeds any underlying bondholdings, if anything, they have an incentive for the company to go bankrupt.”
Excerpt From: Bair, Sheila. “Bull by the Horns.” Free Press. iBooks.
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Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bull-by-the-horns/id477114443?mt=11
The lack of insurable interest on the part of those who bought huge amounts of credit default swaps was a glaring reckless negligence on the part of the regulators that Dodd Frank failed to remedy.