Visit this site for verifiably accurate opinions on all things political - in contradistinction to the INcorrect opinions you are likely to find elsewhere. I'm an American Libertarian Nationalist Republican. Ponder that one a while. Almost all are welcome, but at the request of management: no vegetarians or soccer fans, please. We have our reasons. Thank you and welcome to: Revealed Truth.
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Saturday, March 08, 2003
More Buffett Stupidity and Hypocrisy
Poor and Stupid is giving Warren Buffett a well deserved pummeling.
One of the fundamental principles upon which Buffett built his mulibillion dollar fortune was that he never invested in businesses he didn't understand.
Pretty smart, that.
Unfortunately, Buffet never took a corresponding vow not to TALK about things he doesn't understand. He's been blathering a lot about a lot of things lately. Like derivatives (a tool of Satan), and the need for corporations to "expense" stock options they give their executives. Buffett loudly promised that he was going to "expense" stock options at CocaCola - and that he was going to use a market-driven valuation method, rather than the widely accepted Black Scholes method.
Ooops. Apparently Buffet's little reform isn't exactly legal. So back to Black Scholes it is.
As for Buffet's harangue about derivatives? Apparently, Buffet hasn't ALWAYS found them so objectionable. From another entry on Poor and Stupid:
"Now of course, in the obligatory 'to be sure' disclosure, Buffett admits 'Indeed, at Berkshire, I sometimes engage in large-scale derivatives transactions in order to facilitate certain investment strategies.' And back in the 1992 annual letter, Buffett smirked about how simple derivatives are, when taking that view helped buttress his argument that executive stock options should be expensed in corporate income statements.
'...options are just not that difficult to value... In fact, since I'm in the mood for offers, I'll make one to any executive who is granted a restricted option, even though it may be out of the money: On the day of issue, Berkshire will pay him or her a substantial sum for the right to any future gain he or she realizes on the option. So if you find a CEO who says his newly-issued options have little or no value, tell him to try us out. In truth, we have far more confidence in our ability to determine an appropriate price to pay for an option than we have in our ability to determine the proper depreciation rate for our corporate jet.'
"Get it? The guy with the corporate jet can 'engage in large-scale derivatives transactions in order to facilitate certain investment strategies' -- and for him they're 'just not that difficult to value.' But for the rest of you grubby Wall Street strivers who think you can get your own corporate jet someday -- no way. Too dangerous!
Warren's climbed up into his jet and pulled the ladder up after him."
Are the guys at Augusta National reading my blog?
I jest, of course.
But look at this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which it reports that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is possibly going to become the first member of Augusta National Golf Club.
Then look at this, which is my blog entry of September 7th, 2002. Here are my closing paragraphs, in which I advise club President Hootie Johnson how he should head off professional silly-person Martha Burk and her pack of corrosive whiners:
"Sign up some women, real quick.
But not just ANY women. No, the first women to join Augusta National will be closely scrutinized. They will need to be women of unquestioned achievement and intellect. Women who have attained such status that they will actually be seen as elevating the caliber of Augusta National.
It would be uncomfortable for a single woman to be admitted. So it should be more than one. Enough to make, say, a foursome. And I have just the foursome to break this grass ceiling.
Sandra Day O'Connor, Phyllis Schlafley, Ann Coulter, and Katherine Harris.
Be careful what you ask for, Ms. Burk............"
If they actually DO admit O'Connor, I might change the name of this blog from Revealed Truth to Prophecy Today.
Friday, March 07, 2003
If only it were true
Thanks again to Boris Kuperschmidt; this time for this intriguing piece in the Telegraph outlining what the author - Stephen Pollard - believes to be the Bush adminstration's long-term strategy vis-a-vis terrorism.
Pollard talks about Bush willingly giving Tony Blair political cover. He claims that Condoleezza Rice personally informed Blair that " (if) the Prime Minister judged that he needed to soften his tone and, in particular, distance himself from Mr Bush, the President was relaxed. The reason, as Miss Rice put it, was that the bigger picture required that the Prime Minister preserve as much political capital as possible. Both Mr Blair and Miss Rice knew what the 'bigger picture' was without it having to be spelt out. The bigger picture is Iran."
Pollard then goes on to describe Iran as follows, by way of explaining why Bush intends to deal with Iran after dispensing with Iraq:
"Iran is, if you like, the Henry Ford of modern terror: it invented an assembly line, from the local mosque to the terrorist training camp, which is now copied everywhere. That assembly line is today global in scale, and takes in all types of Islam: Shi'ite, Sunni and Wahhabi, as well as Iraqi-promoted Salafism - even more hardline than Wahhabism, and closely tied to bin Laden."
But here's the part that really floored me - and the part to which the headline above refers. I don't believe it for a minute, though it's wonderful to dream about:
"Well-connected advisers tell me that if, as now seems likely, the UN refuses to back action against terror, Mr Bush will announce a "temporary" suspension of America's membership, to be accompanied by an offer: if the UN gets its act together and carries out long-overdue reforms, America (and its money) will return. But if there is no reform, the temporary withdrawal will, de facto, become permanent."
On this score, sadly, I fear that Mr. Pollard's grapevine has root rot. Powell would resign immediately and take half the State Department with him.
Not that that would cause me to lose any sleep. But it would be a political disaster from which Bush would never recover.
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
France Telecom in Trouble
Here's an interesting article.
France Telecom, "the world’s most indebted company," has had to defer a "rescue rights issue" in the amount of 15 billion Euros (about US $16.5 billion). Why? Market uncertainty resulting from the potential war with Iraq.
"Although in public Thierry Breton, the chairman, refused to be drawn on the timing of the capital increase, in private some executives confirmed the decision to delay. 'There’ll be no rights issue before a war,' an insider said.
France Télécom badly needs the cash to ease its crippling €68 billion debt burden. The company had previously signalled it would raise the money during the next 15 months, and had identified three windows in which it could conclude the transaction."
And while I admit to chuckling just a bit over that one, what really caught my eye was this:
"FRANCE TELECOM’S massive loss left the company with a deficit in its shareholders’ equity of €10 billion (£6.8 billion. Negative shareholders’ equity can indicate that a company is technically insolvent, although strong cashflows, state ownership and the vagaries of French accounting law mean that the company is a long way from filing for bankruptcy.
French companies keep two sets of accounts: the consolidated account, which is published to the market, and a second 'social' account for various legal purposes.
A French company can run up a deficit in shareholders’ equity in its consolidated accounts, although investors may take a dim view of the implied balance sheet weakness, but it is not allowed to run such a shortfall on the social account for longer than two years.
However, the rules governing the social account are more lenient. Goodwill acquired with businesses is not written off, which makes it less likely that a deficit will be incurred by a company as acquisitive as France Télécom.
Not surprisingly, then, France Télécom’s social accounts have positive shareholders’ equity of €8.6 billion".
Now I have to admit that I didn't know about this little feature of French accounting. As I think about it, though, I guess I'm not surprised.
What DOES surprise me is that anyone is willing to invest a dime in French corporations, knowing such nonsense goes on. Here in the states when a company keeps two sets of books we tend to look askance. We use terms like "shady" and "funny business."
In France they call it "social policy."
What to Tell Kids About War......NEA Style
If you never link to another article I post on this web site, please look at this piece on James Likeks' The Bleat (found via the Neolibertarian News Portal). I'm positively flabbergasted.
He attended an "Early Childhood Family Education" program conducted by his kid's public school (probably a mistake). Included in the materials were instructions about how to talk to your kids about war and such. I hope you haven't just eaten.
"What if your child asks this: What about bad people who try to hurt us, like Saddam Hussein? The answer to this question will vary according to the age of your child. Young children need lots of reassurance. Tell them that Mom and Dad will always protect them and when they are in school, their teachers and principal will do everything possible to keep them safe from any threat. Then, tell them about the United Nations, and stress that the UN was formed to help the countries of the world live together in peace. Let them know that the United Nations is working on exactly that right now. Also tell them about the World Court and how this was set up to bring bad people to justice.....
"Tell your children that what we put our energy into is what we get. Over the past 70 years or so, our country has become very focused on war. Huge amounts of our financial resources, technological advances, and intellectual energy have gone toward developing the ways of war. We have neglected creating the ways of peace. If we put as much energy into developing the ways of peace, we would stop seeing war as the only option....
"If your children ask, “What if another country attacks us?” tell them that by working with as many countries as possible, eradicating hunger, poverty, and preventable diseases, it will be less likely that this will happen. Tell them that is very important that all of us work to prevent the conditions that lead to war, and these are some of the root causes.
Other things we can do are: Be willing to not build as many nuclear weapons so that other countries don’t feel they have to build them to keep up with us."
That's enough. I think I may be ill.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Ann Coulter Soundbite of the Week
No one understands and exposes the zeitgeist of the American left as well or as forcefully as Saint Ann. Here are a few great paragraphs from this week's column, which can be found in its entirety here.
"Hillary's idea for 'Homeland Security' is a federal program to fund local police and fire departments. I've noticed that feminists have become big fans of firemen since 9-11. Anti-war activist Susan Sarandon was in a play directed by her anti-war partner, Tim Robbins, titled 'The Guys,' about New York City firemen after the terrorist attack. Renowned feminist harpy Anna Quindlen has been on television gushing that 'firefighters' are 'aces.' And Hillary's anti-terrorist initiative is federally funded firemen.
I suppose we've made real progress when feminists are defending firemen rather than suing them. Until Sept. 11, feminists hated no group of people more than firemen and policemen. Remember that? These were reviled white men shutting out women and minorities through their quote-unquote standards, which liberals said were a wily subterfuge to keep 5-foot-2-inch former gymnasts out of fire departments.
It is blatant phoniness for these women to pretend they like firemen. Rich feminists have as much in common culturally with firemen as I do with sumo wrestlers. They hate the way firemen talk, they hate their beer, they hate their moral and cultural sensibilities – including sexist views about sending girls into burning buildings. Sarandon is such a blue-collar-type, she made a movie about two women, 'Thelma & Louise,' who go around terrorizing males. That's their fantasy.
Fawning over firemen is how feminists make-believe they're patriotic. They hate the military but see firemen as gentle warriors who don't kill anybody. While leering over the prospect of a military catastrophe in Iraq, Hillary pals around with cops and firemen. When the war starts, Sarandon will have to make love to a fireman publicly to maintain her faux patriotism. The name of this play ought to be 'The Guise.'"
This just in to our newsroom.... Senate Democrats are lying scum.
The most important battle of the Bush Presidency continues. The Democrats, with no legitimate case against Appeals Court nominee Miguel Estrada, have resorted to chanting: "We just want him to answer a bunch of questions!"
"When a nominee does not answer basic questions, the Senate clearly has a constitutional responsibility to ask for the answers." — Sen. Patrick Leahy, February 26, 2003.
"I believe questions ought to be asked and answered and senators have a right to ask questions and senators have a right to have those questions answered. It is pretty simple." — Sen. Barbara Boxer, February 26, 2003.
"Is it too much to ask of a person who is being offered a lifetime position to simply answer a few questions?" — Sen. Blanche Lincoln, February 13, 2003.
"The Senate has a right to complete and responsive answers to its questions before confirming someone to a life term on such an important court." — Sen. Russell Feingold, February 10, 2003.
"We are straining to find some information on which to base a reasoned judgment about his nomination to the second highest court of the land for a lifetime appointment." — Sen. Richard Durbin, February 26, 2003.
Until he answers these questions, these Democrats have said, they will filibuster.
Well, guess what? White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales wrote a letter to all 100 senators inviting them to sumbit questions to Mr. Estrada, which would be answered "forthrightly, appropriately, and in a manner consistent with the traditional practice and obligations of judicial nominees." He gave them until close-of-business Friday to submit the questions.
Patrick, Barbara, Blanch, Russell, Richard. They all got the letter.
So how many questions did Estrada receive from the Bland Inquisitors of the Democratic Party?
Details in this article by Byron York on National Review Online.
Monday, March 03, 2003
I hope they follow through on this one!
According to this article in Stars and Stripes, the Commander of U.S. forces in Europe is pressing a plan that "would mean a general movement away from housing U.S. troops in western European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom, and to countries in eastern Europe, such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland — and even Africa....He also said that he sees a general movement away from housing U.S. troops in western European countries in favor of eastern European countries."
At least they didn't recommend "Adam and Steve"
But the Speech Police think "Adam and Eve" is horribly sexist and offensive, and instead are recommending to America's schoolteachers that if they MUST use this phrase, they use "Eve and Adam."
A woman named Diane Ravitch has written a book entitled "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn," in which she cites this as an example of PC sensitivity gone amok. Another of my favorites is the term "snowman," which is also deemed sexist. Teachers are advised to use the term "snow person" in its place.
Sadly, this sort of nonsense isn't limited to the left - though they seem to constitute the majority of the offenders. According to this article in today's Chicago Sun Times, the religious right has had references to "witchcraft" banished from texts as well.
But my favorite example cited in the article was the handiwork of a "bias and sensitivity panel," which reviewed proposed questions on a national standardized test for fourth-graders. We pick up our story at this point.....
"One was a story of a blind boy and his attempt to climb Mt. McKinley. They objected to calling a handicapped person 'courageous.' They also thought children who lived where it didn't snow would have a hard time with the material."
I wonder what the politically correct term for "dim-witted-education-bureaucrat-with-nothing-better-to-do-than-neuter-the-English-language" is?
I propose "Shalala."
Human Shields Wanted. No Experience Necessary.
According to the London Telegraph, a bunch of the "human shields" from the UK are crawling back underneath whatever rocks they call home.
"Nine of the original 11 activists decided to pull out after being given an ultimatum by Iraqi officials to station themselves at targets likely to be bombed in a war or leave the country. Among those departing last night was 68-year-old Godfrey Meynell, a former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, who admitted that he was leaving out of 'cold fear'. He had been summoned, along with 200 other shields from all over the world, to a meeting at a Baghdad hotel yesterday morning....
The Iraqi warning follows frustration among Saddam Hussein's officials that only about 65 of the shields had so far agreed to take up positions at the oil refineries, power plants and water-purification sites selected by their hosts."
What a bunch of ungrateful bastards. Here Saddam gives them the opportunity to serve the cause of world peace and they run like little girls.
Maybe they can enlist in the French Army.
Sunday, March 02, 2003
Those Damned Jews!
John Ray is discussing a surge in a fairly virulent brand of anti-semitism on the left on his blog, Dissecting Leftism. He points to a couple of examples; but this article in the Yale Daily News caught my eye as illustrative of another aspect of this phenomenon of particular interest to me.
The author, one Sahm Adrangi, defends a poet who was invited to speak by the Yale Afro-American Cultural Center, against charges that he made some anti-Semitic comments in one of his poems. That doesn't really interest me. But as Ray pointed out, Mr./Ms. Adrangi concluded his article like this:
"Monday's editorial, and the Yale Daily News in general, is a case in point. Obviously, it's one thing to be Jewish, and wholly another to support the Israeli occupation. That said, Jews tend to sympathize with Israel more so than non-Jews. And in my three years at the Yale Daily News, Jewish students have comprised a majority of management positions (namely, editor in chief and managing editor). This year, nearly half the editors are Jewish.
Am I pointing to a secret Jewish conspiracy aimed at promoting Israel at college dailies? Of course not.
But does the prevalence of Jews in American media, business and politics help explain America's steadfast support for Israel, whose 35-year occupation of Palestinian lands is an affront to human decency? Of course."
As Ray points out, this sort of talk - about Jewish control of the media - was unheard of in leftist circles 30 years ago. In fact it was the exclusive province of the fringe right. And of course, leftists who mouth this sort of stuff say they aren't anti-Semitic, just "anti-Israel." And in some cases, this might be true.
But I think there's something else to this: an aspect relating entirely to domestic politics and having little if anything to do with Israel.
It’s no secret that many prominent neoconservatives are Jewish. I think it’s also fair to say that many moderate to liberal Jews have been very supportive of President Bush's actions relative to the war on terror, Iraq, etc.. As a result, I believe that Jews are now getting some of the treatment normally reserved for black and Hispanic conservatives.
For many years, the left has been able to reliably count on them as part of their electoral coalition. Jews have historically voted overwhelmingly Democratic. But with the increasing prominence of Jews in the conservative movement, and substantial Jewish support for President Bush, there is increasing consternation in leftist ranks about yet another group leaving the leftist reservation - about them getting uppity, as it were. HOW DARE THESE JEWS ally themselves with the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy! After all we’ve done for them!
Having left the reservation, Jews are now subject to the sort of scorn heretofore reserved for WASPS - until now the only group about whom it has been acceptable to negatively stereotype in polite leftist company. The REALLY sad part is that they didn’t even have the creativity to come up with new stereotypes, relying instead on tired cliches about Jewish domination of the media. The question I have for the “anti-Israel” leftists is: did they just come to this epiphany about Jews, or have they always believed it but kept their mouths shut for fear of offending an important constituency group?
And the question I have for you, dear reader, is this:
Which answer would be worse?