100 Days of Solicitude

With President Obama wrapping up his first 100 days in a largely choreographed press conference, what is there to say about this particular chapter of eternity? Softballs from the assembled Washington press corps included one in which a New York Times reporter wondered about Obama’s level of “enchantment” with the office. The toughest question was apparently the one about the now infamous “water-boarding as torture” controversy. Would the President, who states he would use any means necessary to protect the American people, ever consider authorizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” if it could be shown they would get the information needed to perhaps prevent an … Continue reading 100 Days of Solicitude

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

I’ve been wondering about the substance of President Obama’s first 100 days as contrasted with the universally adoring media’s outpouring of congratulations. No one put the facts in better perspective than George Friedman of Stratfor Global Intelligence Services. History makes presidents. Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske Continue reading Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Human Spirits

John Maynard Keynes offered the term “animal spirits” to colorfully describe the human psychology driving economics. In his view, enterprising people would always act in an enterprising fashion with the right incentives. The collective despondence of societies accounted for what turned out to be the Great Depression. Only government leaders could provide the sort of collective intelligence to guide these natural “animal spirits”. Collectivists and statists are as uniquely stubborn in ignoring reality as say traditional conservatives are in holding on to old discredited ideas. (It is, for example, established that the contraction of the money supply by state banking authorities … Continue reading Human Spirits


To an individualist, and thereby a radical advocate of political and economic liberty, there are few things uglier than the spectacle of the executives of leading credit card companies being called into a meeting with the President of the United States for the moral equivalent of a trip to the Principal’s office. Like misbehaved children they received a scolding and instructions for comporting themselves better in the future. Perhaps this thinly veiled threat was accompanied by an actual “or else”. What was this populist show supposed to accomplish? With the help of the media the Great Man was congratulated for taking … Continue reading “Torquebama”

Belated “Earth Day” Thoughts

Many people are not even sure what “Earth Day” is all about anymore. I doubt whether many know of its origins or why it is now an institution. I don’t. And I don’t care that much. I suspect that many share my ambivalence. Therefore I was quite prepared to ignore the hoopla and not even acknowledge it yesterday. The high volume of “a day late and a dollar short” promotions of the “green” variety received in my e-mail today has changed my mind. The related topic of “man-made global warming” represents a sort of rallying cry from political leaders and specially … Continue reading Belated “Earth Day” Thoughts

Punishment and Crime

Reversing the order of Dostoyevsky’s famous title is an appropriate way of looking at the politically motivated efforts to find “war criminals,” or at the very least, prosecutable offenses among the recently publicized internal memos concerning “enhanced interrogation techniques” emanating from the records of the former Bush administration. Factions of President Obama’s political supporters seem to want blood: they want to punish George Bush, Dick Cheney and others connected with the former Republican administration for actions with which they disagree, or which are simply controversial. First priority is punishment, then we’ll find a crime to warrant the sentence. Virtually all of … Continue reading Punishment and Crime

What Capitalism?

It has long been a grievance of mine that people who ought to know better use the term “capitalism” inexactly, or at least are guilty of a failure to define their terms. Am I just being petty? I don’t think so. There is a modern method of smearing your ideological enemies by labelling their values in a negative context using imprecise terminology. The original values of US political economy were labelled as “capitalism”. Ostensibly this meant laissez-faire policy with a social system characterized by individual rights to life, liberty and property. The associated political economy was considered free market oriented. … Continue reading What Capitalism?

Buckets of Money

President Obama announced today a goal of cutting government programs by $100 million within 90 days in an effort to get spending under control. ABC News reporter wonders whether it is just a “drop in the bucket”. Let’s see, the 2009 projected deficit under Obama’s spending plans is about $1.75 trillion according to some sources. So figure it out: $100 million divided by $1.75 trillion, or 1/17,500 works out to about .0057%. One of the necessary steps to allowing the economy to restore itself is to slash government spending. At this administration’s rate of cutting spending this amounts to a … Continue reading Buckets of Money

Naming A New US Political Party

Periodically there comes a thrust for a new political party in the US system. Many remember Ross Perot and Ralph Nader in this context. The organizational results are mixed and the new parties are for all practical purposes, evanescent. The problem has been, in my view, that these populist efforts tend to unite, for whatever duration, around single themes (national referendums or environmentalism, for example) and are in no way revolutionary enough to find broad support. Thus, they fade in impact because the fundamental underpinnings are weak. I’ve heard some speculation that the “tea party” protests could motivate the formation of … Continue reading Naming A New US Political Party

Ammunition for “Tea Party” Supporters

The protesters against big government taxing, borrowing and spending on privileges for the well-connected are under attack from all directions. From cable news channels to the Speaker of the House of Representatives we are now informed of the opinion that these “grass roots” protesters were actually sponsored by high powered elites and thus it was really a day of protest at an “astroturf” level. Calling people names and impuning their integrity is a way to ask for a fight. Big government supporters, and they are legion, are thus contributing to an exacerbation of the class warfare. Those of you who want … Continue reading Ammunition for “Tea Party” Supporters