This cartoon was in the Chicago Tribune in 1934.
Look carefully at the plan of action in the lower left corner.

Remember the adage: "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."


Commentary: Disincentivizing greed

From - Financial reform is now the law of the land, and by reconfiguring the banking industry and siccing watchdogs on economic shenanigans, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is intended to help avoid another meltdown. If only. The problem with nearly all attempts at financial reform, including this one, is that they try to prevent malfeasance either by changing the economic architecture, like erecting firewalls between financial sectors, or by mandating institutional curbs, like increasing reserves. But the new law gets at only proximate causes. The system malfunctioned because the human beings who ran it were greedy and saw a way to enrich themselves. That means that the recession from which we are still reeling was primarily a result of human nature, which the latest reforms don't begin to address. Indeed, our economic catastrophe actually can be traced to government policies that encouraged this sort of misbehavior. To change that behavior and prevent future disasters, one needs a much different and, frankly, far simpler solution than the one President Obama signed - one that disincentivizes greed. Read more


NY Mayor Bloomberg still doesn't get it

From the New York Post - by Michael Goodwin - With Donald Trump and New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver now urging developers to move the Ground Zero mosque, the New Majority movement continues to pick up broad support. From Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin to Howard Dean and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, top Republicans and Democrats are united in a truly bipartisan cause. Gov. Paterson and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, both on record as favoring another location, met yesterday to talk ideas. The movement would be complete if only Mayor Bloomberg came to his senses to play the role of mediator. Instead, he repeated his off-the-point lecture at a Ramadan dinner last night, saying the mosque must go forward. Read more:

Attention Commander in Chief: Progressive Magazine Offers Military Advice

If President Obama wants to truly demonstrate that he’s in charge of the military, then he must promptly fire the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway. On Tuesday, according to the New York Times, Conway said that Obama’s July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan “was probably giving our enemy sustenance.” And he suggested that Obama set the deadline in part for domestic political purposes. Read more here:

Laurence Kotlikoff - Social Security is BROKE

Social Security
Social Security just celebrated its 75th birthday. Love it or hate it, it has done its job and should retire. We need a new system, the Personal Security System, which retains Social Security’s best features, scraps the rest, and covers its costs. Social Security’s objective -- forcing people to save for retirement -- is legit. Otherwise millions of us would seek handouts in our old age. But Social Security has also played a central role in the massive, six-decade Ponzi scheme known as U.S. fiscal policy, which transfers ever-larger sums from the young to the old. In so doing, Uncle Sam has assured successive young contributors that they would have their turn, in retirement, to get back much more than they put in. But all chain letters end, and the U.S.’s is now collapsing. Read more here:


Patricia Murphy - Sarah Palin Scores Another Victory

Patricia Murphy
Had John McCain not chosen Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election, Palin would likely have been on Tuesday's ballot in Alaska's primary defending her job as governor of the frontier state. Instead, Palin has morphed from a political unknown to the biggest kingmaker the GOP ranks, doling out endorsements and enjoying a better-than-even record as she picks winners and losers in her party's primaries. Palin's most recent victory may be coming in her own state of Alaska, where former federal judge Joe Miller is ahead in the GOP race against Palin nemesis, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Miller stunned Murkowski Tuesday by finishing four points ahead of her, with several thousand ballots outstanding. Read more here:

Sec. of State Hererra's Office Remains in Turmoil

Mary Herrera
From NM - There’s new turmoil in the Secretary of State’s Office. The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Steve Terrell is reporting that Public Information Officer James Flores has been placed on paid administrative leave. Deputy Secretary of State Francisco Trujillo confirmed to Terrell that Flores was placed on leave on Aug. 18. But he wouldn’t go into details because “it’s a personnel issue.” Flores is supposed to return to work today, Terrell reported. Flores has been the office spokesman since Secretary of State Mary Herrera took office in 2007. Flores had taken time off just before being placed on leave to attend funerals for two family members. Read more here:

Social Security a Legalized Ponzi Scheme: Will It Require Fewer Withdrawals?

Hide My Contributions
From the New Mexico Independent - House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, said earlier this summer that if the Republicans regain control of the House this year, among the initiatives they would likely consider would be raising the age of social security retirement to 70. The Independent asked the six candidates for New Mexico’s three congressional seats whether or not they thought the age should be pushed to 70, and what we found was a decided reluctance to endorse the idea. Only Tom Mullins, the Republican challenger in New Mexico’s northern Congressional District 3 said he believed raising the retirement age is inevitable. Mullins is running against Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, who didn’t directly answer the question, instead affirming that the social security program needed to be protected. Read more here:

Gulf War Veteran Miller an Upset Winner?

Sarah Palin
It will be days before Republicans know if another Tea Party-backed, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate has defeated an established politician, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in volatile primary elections. Murkowski, 53, who followed her father into office, was trailing in a close Republican primary contest with a political newcomer, Joe Miller, 43, a Gulf War Army veteran and Yale Law School graduate backed by Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican nominee for vice president. Final results won’t be known before Aug. 31, when counting of absentee ballots begins. Read more here:

Biden: 'We've seen this movie before'

From the Chicago Tribune by Mike Memoli - Vice President Biden today played attack dog for the White House, accusing Rep. John Boehner (R) of being "nostalgic" for the failed economic policies of the Bush administration. At an event where he was to unveil a report analyzing the impact of the Recovery Act, Biden broke from prepared remarks to react to the House minority leader's speech in Cleveland today. What was billed as a major economic address for Boehner offered no new policy other than to fire the White House economic team, Biden said. "[That's] very constructive advice and we thank the leader for that," Biden said sarcastically. Instead, Biden made the case that voters should not hire Republicans this fall. "For eight years before we arrived in the West Wing, Mr. Boehner and his party ran the economy literally into the ground," he said. "We've seen this movie before, Mr. Boehner. We've seen it before and we know how it ends." Read more

Ghost of 9-11 - Napolitano Ignores the Law

Janet Napolitano
From the Washington Times - The Department of Homeland Security is not expected to implement a congressionally mandated program that would confirm the departure of foreign visitors from the United States through electronic fingerprint scans — a so-called biometric exit system. Two department officials, who asked not to be named because the matter involves internal deliberations, told The Washington Times that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will discuss options about the system at a special meeting Wednesday. But the officials said Ms. Napolitano is strongly leaning toward an exit-control system based on gathering the names of departing foreigners, rather than their fingerprints — an option known as a biographical solution. Abandoning plans for biometric exit would require Congress to reverse repeated legislative mandates for such a system, designed by lawmakers to solve one of the thorniest problems in immigration control and enforcement: knowing whether foreign visitors are leaving the country when they should.

Human Tendencies - Lessons from Charles Munger

Charles Munger
Charles Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is a great believer in the understanding of human psychology and resulting behaviors. We begin our discussion with the four most powerful human tendencies:
Reward/Punishment Super Response: Incentives & Incentive-based biases create dominant behavioral forces. When trouble-shooting, first check the structure of the incentives.
Cascade Effect: An extremely powerful consequence from confluence of several psychological tendencies acting strongly in favor of a particular outcome.
Reason-Respecting: Advanced mental skills are widely revered by the vast majority of people. Wisdom is perceived as a precious commodity.
Contrast-Misreaction: Cognition/recognition responses can be incorrect due to slow changes involving low contrasts or by rapid and stark changes.

Powell Outlines His Reform Ideas

Ray Powell
From - The land commissioner is probably one of the most important and powerful positions in state government today. The land commissioner can sell, lease or trade the land without anyone else’s approval. The land commissioner looks after 13 million acres of your state trust land and billions of dollars of raw natural resources, and the land commissioner helps oversee a $14 billion permanent fund. Our working public lands generate $500 million a year. This money supports our public schools, universities and hospitals. This is money that you and I don’t have to pay in additional taxes. Read more here:

China Traffic Jam Could Last Weeks

From the Wall Street Journal - BEIJING—A 60-mile traffic jam near the Chinese capital could last until mid-September, officials say. Traffic has been snarled along the outskirts of Beijing and is stretching toward the border of Inner Mongolia ever since roadwork on the Beijing-Tibet Highway started Aug. 13. The following week, parts of a major road circling Beijing were closed, further tightening overburdened roadways. As the jam on the highway, also known as National Highway 110, passed the 10-day mark Tuesday, local authorities dispatched hundreds of police to keep order and to reroute cars and trucks carrying essential supplies, such as food or flammables, around the main bottleneck. There, vehicles were inching along little more than a third of a mile a day. Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city's Traffic Management Bureau general office, said in a telephone interview he didn't expect the situation to return to normal until around Sept. 17 when road construction is scheduled to be finished and traffic lanes will open up. Villagers along Highway 110 took advantage of the jam, selling drivers packets of instant noodles from roadside stands and, when traffic was at a standstill, moving between trucks and cars to hawk their wares. Truck drivers, when they weren't complaining about the vendors overcharging for the food, kept busy playing card games. Their trucks, for the most part, are basic, blue-colored vehicles with no features added to help pamper drivers through long hauls. Truck driver Long Jie said his usual trip from the coal boomtown of Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Beijing, which normally takes three days, was now taking him a week or more. The delay, he said, meant he would have to raise his rates above the usual 12,000 yuan, about $1,765, for a 30-ton truck full of cargo. Read more

Border Patrol Agent Back on Duty - Holder Investigates

From the El Paso Times - The U.S. Border Patrol agent who allegedly shot across the Rio Grande into Mexico, killing a 15-year-old Mexican boy, has been on regular duty for the past two months, officials said this week. The 31-year-old agent, whose name was withheld by the government, has been with the border patrol for seven years. Michael Przybyl, assistant chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol, El Paso Sector, said the agent was placed on administrative duty for a couple days after the June 7 shooting before returning to patrol. Killed in the shooting was Mexican citizen Sergio Adrían Hernández Güereca.
A.G. Eric Holder
The border patrol said the agent fired after coming under attack by people throwing rocks.Hernández died on the Mexican side of the river from a bullet wound to the head. Przybyl said his agency is not investigating the shooting, but the U.S. Justice Department in June said a civil rights investigation would be conducted. Read more here:

Murkowski Trails - Palin Has Coattails

Sara Palin
Update- Joe Miller held more than a 2,500-vote lead with 84 percent of precincts reporting. In what could become one of the biggest political upsets of the year, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski trailed her tea party-backed opponent by a small margin Wednesday in Alaska's GOP primary with thousands of votes yet to be counted. Attorney Joe Miller, who also had the backing of former Gov. Sarah Palin, led Murkowski by less than four points with 77 percent of precincts reporting and thousands of absentee ballots not yet added to the tally from Tuesday's vote. If Murkowski loses, she would become the third senator this year to be ousted by a primary challenger. Her defeat would also be one of the most stunning losses in the state's short 51-year history and a sure sign that Palin's endorsement still carries weight with voters in Alaska. Read more here:

Walter Williams - Who Cares About Our Future

Walter Williams
My column titled "What Handouts to Cut?" created a number of angry responses, and for the first time in my life, I had some, not much, sympathy for political cowardice. Most letters were from senior citizens angered by my suggestion that they were receiving handouts and those handouts be cut. Federal tax receipts for 2009 totaled $2.1 trillion. The largest items in the federal budget were Social Security ($710 billion), national defense ($689 billion), Medicare ($456 billion) and Medicaid ($327 billion). The primary recipients of federal spending are seniors. Some of the letters argued that it's unfair to characterize what seniors are getting as handouts because they worked all their lives and paid into Social Security and Medicare. Read more here:

McCain Beats Hayworth Like a Drum

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Arizona Senator John McCain avoided a primary defeat after three decades in Congress, fighting off a Republican challenger, the Associated Press said. McCain defeated former congressman and radio talk-show host J.D. Hayworth, withstanding an anti-incumbency trend that threatened his candidacy earlier this year and putting him in a position to win a fifth Senate term in November. Read more here: