Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Lots of Republicans Want the Current Administration to Fail
Wikipedia definition: "[I]t has come to mean someone who is plotting against the established leadership of a political party or other group, a group of such plotters being called a Cave of Adullam."
Cornford definition: "The Adullamites are dangerous, because they know what they want; and that is, all the money there is going. They inhabit a series of caves near Downing Street. The say to one another, 'If you will scratch my back, I will scratch yours; and if you won't, I will scratch your face.' It will be seen that these cave-dwellers are not refined, like classical men. That is why they succeed in getting all the money there is going."
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Parliamentary Government, Unasked For Advice
The Czech Republic won't have a government till sometime this Summer, the Likud Party in Israel joined in a coalition with Labor (traditional rivals) in order to form a government, and Belgium lacked a government for more than three months just last year. What's going on?
In modern Parliamentary democracies, the majority party doesn't get to become Prime Minister automatically, instead they need to form a coalition of parties that forms at least half the Parliament. This is daft, and "not having a government for months on end" is just one of the problems.
The vote of "no confidence" is how these types of governments usually end. It is a way of saying "No" to the current leadership without saying "yes" to any new leadership. A better way exists. Instead of "no confidence" votes, the Parliament should hold a new election for the PM job. Now, of course, you might ask "But if every party votes for their own leader, and no party has more than half the seats, don't you have the same problem?" Not if you use NOT BRAINDEAD STUPID voting systems like we have here in the "Greatest Country On Earth".
Real voting is Cloneproof, Monotonic, and Condorcet, although the absolutely best voting system I haven't had time to prove, I have presented other people's work which shows that Schulze and Tideman are really good.
Come to think of it, in a body as small as the Israeli Parliament (in any body small enough that the members know each other and will have to continue to work together) the Borda system can be even better, and maybe even the Borda-variant known as "Range Voting."
Either way you get continuity of operations in the Parliament.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Cuba and Israel: Get Them To Fight?
El Salvador and Costa Rica have ended their economic embargo/sanctions against Cuba. That means America is the only country left on Earth to have such a position.
In the United Nations, only one country on Earth stands up for Israel, and that is America.
For over a century Cubans in America have been agitating for America to take an active interest in that country (see Grover Cleveland's 1896(?) State of the Union address for an example). This interest, at all times, comes with a cost. Much the same can be said for Israelis in America, except the timeframe is only half as long.
Cubans and Israelis are fighting over scarce resources. If we get them to fight it out, they can become each other's worst enemies, saving rational people the effort of having to point out how stupid America is being in both instances.
Cubans Against Israel is a real group that I just made up that thinks U.S. Foreign Policy towards Israel is shameful, and Israelis Against the Cuban Embargo is another radical fringe element (which I just made up) who thinks economic sanctions against the Castro regime are getting America nowhere, and so the effort shouldn't be wasted.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
My post on Credit Default Swaps (the stuff that continues to sink AIG)
From April of 2008...
Are any of you homeowners?
Even if you aren't, you all know about fire insurance.
If your house burns down,
and you didn't do it,
a fire insurance policy is worth money.
What jumps to your mind
when you hear
about someone selling their fire insurance policy?
Only one things jumps to my mind,
maybe I've just listened to too many 1940s and 50s radio dramas,
That's exactly what the credit default swap market is all about,
a stock market for insurance policies.
It's a little more sophisticated,
as if you could divide up your fire insurance policy
and sell little bits to different people.
But what's more amazing than that,
this has to take the cake,
you can sell as many copies of your fire insurance policy as you want!
Instead of being about a house burning down,
it's about the value of a bond going down,
something the banks call a "credit event,"
like a rating agency downgrade,
or outright default.
The banks who sell these policies,
like I said,
can sell as many copies as they want.
I don't think it takes a supra-genius
to figure out what will happen
if everyone in town
stands to profit
if your house burns down.
Extra Fact: 13% of all the people buying this excess "insurance" are unknown, their names are simply unreported.
Monday, March 09, 2009
New Wars, New Lies
Just how immoral is CNN? Kitty Pilgrim just did a segment for the Lou Dobbs show on Obama not answering "threats" to America.
The first issue was Iran. The simple fact is that there are enough processed uranium molecules in Iran to build a nuclear bomb. Let's put aside that America is violating its NNPT obligations. The simple facts that Dobbs/Pilgrim avoid, showing their lack of morals, are
- All the uranium is under IAEA watch, none of uranium Mullen was talking about is a secret to the IAEA.
- All the uranium in question is enriched below the 5% level. It takes more than 95% enriched uranium to use in a bomb, and there is not ONE IOTA of evidence that Iran has ONE ATOM of uranium enriched to that level. Nor could they enrich it to 95% without the IAEA knowing about it, or throwing the IAEA out.
Remember, the whole point of this piece was to claim that Obama was being a weakling, and to bully the American government into getting more aggressive.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Concerning the Assassination of President Veiera of Guinea-Bissau
The way I remember it, I was happy reading about the coup against him in 1998.
I was especially pleased with the way the Chief of the Army, who ran the coup, set up elections within a year, maybe within 9 months.
I was especially sad to read how, back then, forces aligned with the newly elected President killed the General in his home.
The last line of the AP story is like magic for me, the CPSC being the only group that talked sense after the '98 coup.
Portugal said it would call an emergency meeting of the Community of Portuguese- Speaking Countries, an eight-member organization based in Lisbon.Guinea-Bissau is Lusophone.