Category Archives: Conservative

Global Financial Meltdown

How many more black Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays are in store for the world markets? The quickie summit convened by the EU leadership over the weekend apparently inspired the same sort of confidence garnered by Paulson’s plan passed last Friday.

The U.S mortgage crisis and its resulting effect on European banks, combined with skepticism over Paulson’s plan of recovery, sent European markets tumbling. Russia and Italy were even forced to halt trading. According to Le Figaro, traders worry whether the price tag of Paulson’s plan was big enough.

As for their own plan? Reminding everyone why there hasn’t been meaningful progress in the adoption of a European Constitution, EU leaders failed to agree on a solution to the economic crisis.

From the Telegraph:

France, Germany, Italy and the UK could not agree on a single course of action because – as Mr Sarkozy effectively admitted in a characteristically irritable press conference performance – they all have different economic circumstances and needs. He described this as having “different cultures”, but it adds up to the same thing: France and Germany do not have property-owning traditions that produce house-price booms and busts, the UK population has much greater credit liabilities than the French, etc, etc.

Late Monday, the German government provided an additional 15 billion Euros in liquidity to the 35 billion already pledged to help the German lender Hypo Real Estate.

Elsewhere….

Saudi Arabia’s market, the Gulf’s largest, was off 9 percent. Dubai’s Financial Market fell almost 7 percent, its lowest fall since ’06, and Abu Dhabi’s index lost 5 percent.

The head of Al Dhafra Brokerage Vyas Jayabhanu, via UAE’s Gulf News, argued: “Uncertainty prevails despite the U.S. government passing the package, and there is this lingering fear that the $700 billion may not be enough.”

Israel’s TA-25 down 4.63%

Japan:

The Nikkei stock average tumbled 4.3 percent to a four-and-a-half-year closing low on Monday.

The Korea Exchange in Seoul, South Korea finished the day off 4.3 percent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index was down nearly 4.9 percent in late-day trading and the Shanghai Composite fell about 5.2 percent. The Taiwan Weighted shed 4.1 percent.

The Australian Securities Exchange plunged about 3.4 percent to 4,544.70, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 4.7 percent of its value, falling to 16,853.85.

Russia’s Micex Index plunged 18 percent before trading was halted for a second time today.

Europe:

Germany’s DAX: Down 7.07%

Italy’s MIBTEL: Down 8.58%

France’s CAC: Down 9.04%

Sweden’s OMX: Down 7.24%

UK’s FTSE 100: Down 7.85%

With the crisis infecting global stock markets, it’s baffling why neither American Presidential candidate appears willing to blame government officials who fostered this failure through their social engineering and their belief that home-ownership is one of the inalienable rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

Perhaps the shock of looking at the big board and seeing the Dow off some 800 points on Monday will shock the leaders into dialogue, although I suspect one party is a bit more reluctant to discuss their role in the current fiasco.

Madonna and Phelps: American Culture on Full Display

Liberals often obsess over how the United States is viewed globally. Like elementary schoolchildren praying to be accepted by the ‘in’ crowd, they insecurely wait for Obama’s election and the restoration of their ‘cool’ status. U.S. foreign policy would show more deference to our allies, and presumably our enemies. Our warmongering would end. And finally, we would pass our mantle of the world’s most egregious polluter.

But routinely absent from their concerns and arguments about anti-Americanism worldwide, is the impact our culture has had on the image of the United States. In the Pew Global Attitudes project of 2007, 47 countries were asked about our culture, ideas and customs.

Pew asked:

Which of the following phrases comes closer to your view? It’s good that American ideas and customs are spreading here, OR it’s bad that American ideas and customs are spreading here?”

Europeans answered definitively. They consider the spread of American ideas and customs damaging to their respective cultures. Eighty-one percent of French, seventy-six percent of Spanish, and fifty-nine percent of Italians reject American culture, and in looking at last week’s news coverage in Italy alone, that notion is entirely understandable. Photos of our gold medal winner celebrating by stuffing dollar bills in the thong of a Las Vegas stripper appeared in last week’s Corriere della Sera. And Sunday, it was reported in every major Italian newspaper, that our own queen of pop had dedicated her unfortunate hit ‘Like a Virgin’ to the pope in Rome over the weekend.

Today, the story appeared in the English language press. From London, The Times reported:

At her Sticky & Sweet concert on Saturday night, attended by 60,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Madonna introduced the song Like a Virgin — one of her earliest hits — with the words “I dedicate this song to the Pope, because I’m a child of God”. She added: “All of you are also children of God.”

That she was invited back to Rome is amazing. Two years ago, she staged a mock crucifixion at Rome’s Olympic stadium.

As for Michael Phelps, it isn’t my place to judge his behavior, but, in the context of examining how we are perceived abroad, it is a fair question to raise. Couldn’t he have arranged for his own stripper? Or, better yet, couldn’t he have held on a while longer, until the level of scrutiny on him had waned, before hitting the Vegas strip?

For many abroad, their only window into American culture comes through our films, television shows, and our music and pop icons. Sadly, last week, two of our most accomplished performers gave an ugly view, and validated the conclusions of many abroad who enjoy our entertainment but reject its influence.

As Americans, we shouldn’t just strive to move down the list of the largest environmental polluters. We should endeavor to dethrone ourselves, and end our reign as King of cultural polluters.

The Forbidden City? Saudi Women Protest Olympic Absence

Obama’s Silent European Majority

Presuntuoso. Arrogante. Even if you don’t speak Italian, you can probably guess their English equivalents. Those were the first words my in-laws used to describe their reaction to the Democratic nominee for President. You won’t hear regular Europeans interviewed or their impressions discussed in the American press, but I can tell you, there are many more anti-Obamans present and unaccounted for in the old continent.

Presumptuous and arrogant. He already talks like he’s the President.

Their hunch is spot on. By finishing his world tour at a pep rally in front of 200,000 mostly German Berliners, Obama demonstrated his ability to tear down more than just racial walls. Apparently, protocol is another target. In the past, no other candidate for President has ever given a campaign speech in front of a foreign audience, called himself a ‘citizen of the world’, or lamented America’s misdeeds world-wide.

While most of the American press is drooling over the groundbreaking aspect to Obama’s run, in terms of race, and generalizing Obama’s European reception, they should instead focus on his revolutionary assault on what is acceptable conduct by a candidate for President of the United States.

Obama’s European Vacation

The site of the planned Obama speech in Berlin is generating a significant amount of buzz in the German press. The Obama folks and their socialist admirers wanted the Brandenburg Gate, a controversial choice for both Americans and Germans. As a symbol of German unification, many natives wondered how Obama had helped tear down the wall; after all, he was still a law student at Harvard. And as the site of one of the most historic addresses ever by an American President, many devoted Reaganites felt the mere idea was tantamount to sacrilege.

The Brandenburg uproar forced Obama’s posse to settle on the Victory Column, yet another controversial choice. Deputy leader of the free Democrats argued (from der Spiegel)

“The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France,” the deputy told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to “whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world.”

Historical ignorance aside, the most disturbing part of the speech, is the speech. When has an American Presidential candidate ever given a campaign address in a foreign country? But more importantly, when has a foreign presidential candidate ever addressed an American audience? I can’t think of one, which makes me wonder why Obama has thought it prudent to stand before a European audience to rally admirers, most of whom aren’t eligible to vote.

And memo to the American press who will cover this speech, and who continue to mischaracterize Obama’s European support as widespread and sweeping: Europeans aren’t monoliths. Just because you might have spent two months at a foreign bureau, presumably sharing croissants with American journalists, doesn’t qualify you to make a judgment about Obama’s messiah status in the old continent. Just because Germans are disturbingly obsessed with Obama, doesn’t automatically correlate to an Italian fervor over a McCain defeat. There are many plausible explanations for the German-Obama swoon:

  1. Perhaps as the most racist European country, Germans are suffering from ‘white guilt’
  2. They hated Bush more than other Europeans, so they view an Obama victory as a Bush rebuke.
  3. They heard rumors that Obama likes wienerschnitzel.
  4. The largest portion of Obama admirers are former East German communists and recognize a fellow comrade when they see one.
  5. They fell in love with Michelle Obama after she admitted to not previously being ‘proud of America’.

Air-Fore

The coffee is different, and the plastic parmesan doesn’t remotely resemble the fresh cheese from what used to be my local Italian markets. After spending four years in Europe, filled with cappuccino and brioche breakfasts, shopping at the local Orlando market or eating at the nearest diner had become a bit more depressing.

Of course, there is more to life than food, even though people-watching at the mall reveals that many are still unaware of that truism. But at least I had come back to chicken fingers and Cracker Barrel. And hey, we Americans, well, we always have hot dogs. Wieners and cappuccino aside, my reality changed in Europe, and it allowed me to see everything differently. I had never noticed how big our portions were, how cheap our gas still is, and how common sense had either never been preached, or had made a mass American exodus.

There are so many examples of inanity, especially when government is involved, but one of my recent favorites concerns the Air Force and its golf course in Niceville.

My husband Riccardo recently played golf with a friend who lives near Eglin Air Force Base. During the round, Riccardo asked if he had played Eglin’s Eagle course recently.

“Can’t. It’s closed for green reconstruction. They can’t afford to send decent boots or armored Humvees to our troops in Iraq, but they can afford to ruin the best greens in the panhandle. And all because the members wanted them flatter.”

I decided to do a little checking, not about the boots or the Humvees, but about the golf course and its planned remodel. With a struggling economy and a very expensive war, it seemed unlikely that the government would be spending money to renovate a golf course.

My first step was a Google search. Nothing. Never had my search pages come up as empty. Next, posing as a college student writing a term paper on golf course construction, I phoned Eglin Golf Course and spoke to a couple of people. They confirmed that the renovation had begun on all eighteen greens, but when I asked how much the project would cost, they clammed up. Eventually, I was able to squeeze the name of the company responsible, but the budget—it was classified.

Luckily for me, I was able to reach a higher-up in the golf course design firm, and believing he was helping my research, he let loose with the embargoed info. The project was running upwards of $1.8 million. “Normally, the time frame is shorter,” he advised. “But the Air Force has rules about days and hours we’re not allowed to work. They also have consultants which has made the process lengthier.”

The Air Force has golf course consultants? Any guess as to how many other nations have golf course consulting as a part of their military program? And God bless our troops and retired military, but can’t they learn how to put on undulated greens?

I suppose some congressman snuck an ear mark in some farm bill, or perhaps they didn’t even try to hide it. It doesn’t matter. Almost two million dollars to fix a golf course that didn’t need fixing is just one of the many nonsensical decisions that appear more glaring and feel more frustrating, since my return from a place whose citizens can’t afford to neglect common sense.

Obama to Make Berlin Speech?

To some conservatives, Obama’s habit of invoking Reagan’s name on the campaign trail in an admiring, deferential way, has come across as self-serving and transparent. I suppose it’s akin to former vice-President Dan Quale’s mention of Kennedy in the debate with the “what’s his name” he ran against the first go-around. Even though, honestly, I didn’t see the harm in it.

So, I’ll give Obama a pass for his opportunistic use of the father of modern conservatism’s name, though it’s tedious nonetheless. However, I wouldn’t be inclined to forgive a speech at the site of one of the greatest addresses by a President.

From Der Spiegel:

Plans for a visit by Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic candidate for president of the United States, have moved forward — slowly — in Berlin, where he may give a speech before the Brandenburg Gate this summer.

Evidently, Germany’s ambassador is keen on making it happen.

Germany’s ambassador to Washington, Klaus Scharioth, has reportedly worked for weeks to convince Obama’s campaign that the candidate’s only large European appearance should take place in Berlin.

I wonder if the Ambassador has been in touch with the McCain campaign to inquire about his European schedule, if he has any. Hmmm. I’m also curious if there is any historical precedent for a US Presidential candidate making campaign speeches to foreign audiences.

Kennedy and Reagan both made major addresses, but on both occasions they were delivered by Presidents, not aspirational wannabes.

Update: Looks like the Chancellor’s office has put the brakes on the planned speech:

From Der Spiegel:

“The Brandenburg Gate is the most famous and history-rich site in Germany,” the Chancellery source said. In the past, the location has only been used on very special occasions for political speeches by world leaders. In the past, the location has been used only on very special occasions for political speeches by world leaders. And it has been reserved for use only by elected American presidents, not candidates. And it has been reserved for use only by elected American presidents, not candidates. The decision on whether the Democrat can speak at the location ultimately lies with the Berlin state government. The decision on whether the Democrat can speak at the location ultimately lies with the Berlin state government. Chancellery officials are concerned that the Brandenburg Gate could be turned into an “arbitrary stage” that other campaigns could also seek to use in the future. Chancellery officials are concerned that the Brandenburg Gate could be turned into an “arbitrary stage” that other campaigns could also seek to use in the future.

It’s a traditional practice for US presidential candidates to visit Germany before the election. It’s a traditional practice for U.S. presidential candidates to visit Germany before the election. However, the source pointed out that agreements can only be made with elected presidents. However, the source pointed out that agreements can only be made with elected presidents. The source also noted that a the German federal government would also be equally pleased to play host to a visit by Republican candidate John McCain. The source also noted that a the German federal government would also be equally pleased to play host to a visit by Republican candidate John McCain. The door is just as open for him, the source said. The door is just as open for him, the source said.