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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bono Is Bad For Africa

So Bono, Sir Bob Geldof and Michael Jackson are trying to raise financial aid for the suffering of Africa through their Live8 concert. Noble cause and they will feel really good about themselves. And all of their help will do NOTHING for the recipients.

In a study reported by A World Connected, the futility of the aid provided by these rock stars result in no progress like such charity has done for the past 35 years.

Julian Morris, Executive Director of International Policy Network, said: “Rock star economists see the world through rose-tinted spectacles (both literally and figuratively in many cases). Their belief that aid will help the poor is misguided. The reality is that aid rewards failure and bolsters regimes that would otherwise have been thrown out.”

Swedish economist Fredrik Erixon, the reports's author, says:

“Countries are not poor because they lack roads, schools or health clinics. They lack these things because they are poor – and they are poor because they lack the institutions of the free society, which create the underlying conditions for economic development. Aid has it upside down.”

Foreign aid has the same results as in smaller scale human situations. Parents who support their spendthrift children with no strings attached do not wind up with independent productive adult children.

In African countries their leaders have either pilfered the public treasuries or pursued largely socialist programs that fail.

Kenya and Tanzania were both recipients of large amounts of aid from 1970-1996. Both countries pursued flawed economic policies, such as price controls, marketing boards and import substitution. Their extreme poverty was almost entirely due to those policies, and reforms have not been forthcoming in recent years because of entrenched economic interests.
By contrast, millions of the poorest people in the world live in China and India, whose economies are growing rapidly despite receiving trivial amounts of aid.

Recognizing the follow-through by the rock stars will be minimal, even short-term relief to feed the starving for a few days, may not occur given the our recent experience of tsunami relief (where tons of food has rotted on docks). The chance of success will be nil if any UN-types have any part in the process.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Europe Does Not Even Realize It Is On The Canvas

Now even I feel bad for the Europeans. Because of my critical essays in this blog of the EU, its economic policies, its laziness, its fascisistic constitution, its moral vacuity and its love for Jerry Lewis movies (though that is only France), I have influenced eminent historian Paul Johnson, a European himself, to brutally denounce the EU and its leaders in a WSJ editorial entitled "What Europe Really Needs".

He writes:

That Europe as an entity is sick and the European Union as an institution is in disorder cannot be denied. But no remedies currently being discussed can possibly remedy matters. What ought to depress partisans of European unity in the aftermath of the rejection of its proposed constitution by France and the Netherlands is not so much the foundering of this ridiculous document as the response of the leadership to the crisis, especially in France and Germany.

Jacques Chirac reacted by appointing as prime minister Dominque de Villepin, a frivolous playboy who has never been elected to anything and is best known for his view that Napoleon should have won the Battle of Waterloo and continued to rule Europe. Gerhard Schröder of Germany simply stepped up his anti-American rhetoric. What is notoriously evident among the EU elite is not just a lack of intellectual power but an obstinacy and blindness bordering on imbecility. As the great pan-European poet Schiller put it: "There is a kind of stupidity with which even the Gods struggle in vain."

Did he call them idiots?

He talks about Europe's economic stagnation, its denial of its capitalist origins especially in Germany under Adenauer and economics minister Ludwig Erhardt and its low birth-rate (and I thought keeping the population down was a worthy goal per 1960's theories from pseudo-scientists).

On the birth-rate Johnson writes:

If present trends continue, the population of Europe (excluding the British Isles) will be less than the United States by midcentury--under 400 million, with the over-65s constituting one-third of that.

Just yesterday I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Ellis Island visit showed me that people today from Asia and the Hispanic nations are flooding in much like Eastern Europeans did at the turn of the 20th Century and the Irish and Italians did throughout the 19th Century. They are providing a vibrancy that will carry the US forward through their hard work and talent. The visit to the Statue showed me that ideals can continually inspire if there is faith. Can those very ideals that France contributed to in a meaningful and concrete way be rejuvenated? Sadly, to the Europeans, they are just words lacking the faith the bring them to fruition.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gitmo a Gulag? Not By A Mile

Jonah Goldberg captured the essence of what the Guantanamo Bay prison is about in these 2 paragraphs:

[Mamdouh Mahmud] Salim, a reputed top lieutenant of Osama Bin Laden, was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high security federal jail in lower Manhattan. Pepe was a guard there. On November 1, 2000, Salim plunged a sharpened comb into Pepe's left eye and three inches into his brain. Salim and a compatriot also beat Pepe savagely, in their effort to get the guard's keys and orchestrate an escape for himself and two fellow terrorists awaiting trial. Believing Pepe was dead, the attackers used his own blood to paint a Christian cross on his torso. Pepe was an experienced correctional officer, a member of the elite MCC Enforcers Disturbance Control, and he weighed in at 300 pounds. He survived the attack with brain damage, crippling disabilities and an unending stream of surgeries.

The reason Pepe and Salim are relevant should be obvious. There are good guys and bad guys in this story, and as much as it pains some to hear it, we are the good guys. We are not talking about confused teenagers caught up in events larger than themselves. We aren't talking about mistaken identities. We're talking about the cream of our enemy's crop in the war on terror.

Non-uniformed combatants and spies were summarily executed by the original GW, General George Washington, during the Revolution. The Brits did the same to ours that they caught. Both excepted some wealthy men who were known and were shipped home never to return or were bartered for other captured prisoners. In those times, Washington also captured soldiers and returned them to England. They as well never returned to combat. (Kinda like the freed PLO prisoners Israel releases every 5-10 years-RIGHT!).

The failure of the Left to recognize the danger posed by these prisoners and the correlative inability to recognize the difference between a prison and a gulag makes their message lose all credibility. The realists have to carry the burden of protecting all, including the delusional.

Tim, Don't Tell Anyone But We're Mostly Marxists

The WSJ printed this transcript from Meet The Press on May 22 in an interview with Howard Dean, Democratic Party Chairman:

Tim Russert: "In your home state of Vermont there is a vacancy for the United States Senate. Bernie Sanders wants to run for that seat. He is a self-described avowed socialist. Is there room in the Democratic Party for a socialist?"

Howard Dean: "Well, he's not a socialist really...He is basically a liberal Democrat."

I always suspected that and now it is confirmed by the head of the Party. No wonder they do not want private retirement accounts. No wonder they are against school vouchers. No wonder they oppose the flat tax or most tax cuts on businesses and estates. Liberal Democrats truly want to nationalize all industries under a command economy as outlined by Karl Marx.

Theit party leader has admitted this on national TV!

I hear Dean voices what Democrats really feel deep inside. Now, for someone in that party to save it from its worst inclinations.

Trying To Keep Them In Chains

Not thwarted by his failure in keeping millions of Iraqis in bondage years ago, "Useful Idiot" Sean Penn has taken his journalistic tools to Iran. By providing the mullahs a voice to America, Penn is now unwittingly (is that a word to use in every Penn undirected move?) attempting to keep Iranians in chains.

In Frontpagemag.com, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi and Elio Bonazzi report how the mullahs are feeding Penn propaganda that he is reporting as fact:

Ironically, they [the mullahs] may yet fail, in part, because of Sean Penn. Iranian bloggers and student leaders inside Iran have informed me that Penn’s presence in Iran is having the unwanted (for the actor and Global Exchange) effect of galvanizing the Iranian youth in its stance against the Mullahs. If a movie star of the caliber of Sean Penn is in Iran, the young Iranians figure, this means that Iran is important; the eyes of the world are on Tehran. This is a great chance to let the world know how despised the ruling clerics are.

I guess that is like how Michael Moore then and Howard Dean now are assisting the Republicans.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Honoring Women

Bill Suda sends in this link from BBC reporting from Uttar Pradesh. The title says it all: Woman 'ordered to marry rapist' . Can I hear something from our radical feminists about this Sharia stuff? Have they said anything about the UN Peace-keepers in Africa?

Military Morale Is Still Good

Contributor Retired Army General Evo Riguzzi sends us this message:

On Monday, by sheer coincidence, I met an Army Chaplain while eating breakfast. He just returned from Afghanistan and reports that the morale among the troops is very high. Another friend who is also a Chaplain is currently in Afghanistan and just getting himself acquainted with the mission. Every email has been positive with the exception of the weather.

News from a unit currently operating the Abu Ghrahib prison is also good. While under much scrutiny, they still are able to handle the mission.

Judge Brown Is An Extremist Like Our Founders

I got this from Coyote Blog:

Gary Galles of the Mises Blog has hunted down many quotes of Janice Rogers Brown and compared them to quotes from our Founders. Brown is an extremist? If you think so, then you also believe the Founders were extremists. And you would then agree with King George III, the NY Times and the People for the American Way.

An example:

Janice Rogers Brown: "Where government advances—and it advances relentlessly—freedom is imperiled...When did government cease to be a necessary evil and become a goody bag to solve our private problems?"

Thomas Paine: "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

George Mason: "Every society, all government, and every kind of civil compact therefore, is or ought to be, calculated for the general good and safety of the community. Every power, every authority vested in particular men is, or ought to be, ultimately directed at this sole end; and whenever any power or authority whatever extends further...than is in its nature necessary for these purposes, it may be called government, but it is in fact oppression.

"Thomas Jefferson: ‘What more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?...a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government..."

Capitalism or Starve

Mexico nationalized its oil industry in 1938. Today Pemex is in dire need of foreign capital infusion as it is "running out of easy oil fields to drill" reports David Luhnow in the WSJ (no link yet). It lacks the ability to use advanced technology to pursue natural gas even though Pemex's executives believe their gas resources underground are enormous.

The nationalization of the oil industry is law in Mexico. While heralded as a sign of their freedom it is now proving the flaws of socialism. Because the "energy prices are so high in Mexico...it's sometimes cheaper to make textiles in the U.S. despite lower Mexican wages," said one Mexican executive.

Besides these laws on investment, Pemex has massive benefits liabilities owed to its unionized workers. Mexico may have to do what Nigeria, Indonesia and Brazil have done. Invite in American know-how and capital in order to increase productivity. The cost, of course, is sharing the profits.

Marxists: Do you want 100% of nothing or a share in a large amount?

Answer: They'd rather starve following this failed ideal than admit the truth of capitalism.

Interviews In England: Clothing Optional

An interviewer at an interpreter and translation company in England "wanted a bit of excitement that afternoon, that's purely all it was" and tried to conduct the interview NAKED. He was clothed when the interview started with a woman candidate. He then left and came back just carrying a clipboard. He asked the woman if she wanted to get naked also. She refused.

Reports BBCNews:

The £25,000 per-year executive tried to restart the interview after putting his clothes back on, but his victim fled and reported the matter to police. He initially told police his strip was a consensual "role play" as part of his "tough interviewing technique".

The report did not say whether the woman was good looking or not but our guess is she was under 200 pounds (or is it kilos in England?).

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Spitzer Should Go After Stern

In a hilarious, full page essay in the WSJ entitled "Behind the Spitzer Curtain" , Kimberly Strassel provides the background of Richard Grasso's $139.5 million compensation package and the lawsuit DA Elliot Spitzer is bringing against the compensation board of the NYSE. The compensation board has been interviewed and the WSJ has the comments by the board members. What we see is corporate celebrities hiding behind feigned or actual ignorance about Grasso's compensation package that Spitzer feels is criminally too high.

The one stand-up guy is Viacom President Mel Karmazin, Howard Stern's boss. Again, while other members of the compensation board head for the hills like Madelaine Allbright, Karmazin says plainly the committee "was not comprised of wallflowers" who could be bullied or coerced by Grasso to be paid so handsomely. Another board member, Merrill Lynch Chairman David Komansky, said Grasso was paid his value and "We knew what we were doing when we paid him. We did it purposely, and we believed it was the right compensation."

The best part was regarding Carl McCall, the former NYS Comptroller, who was apparently named head of the committee for "political reasons" (see my fingers doing the quotation sign?). He never fully grasped and could never explain to others anything about Grasso's compensation. According to Strassel, Spitzer has not named McCall, a fellow Democrat, in the lawsuit. Of course, how could he be liable for any criminal charge since he so ignorant about what was happening (though ignorance is no excuse as many directors and officers can attaest these days). McCall's fellow board members felt he was "incompetent", "did not apparently understand the proposed payout very well" and as Leon Panetta said "Carl knew nothing."

The $139.5 million was a one-year pay-up of compensation that had a long tail and presumably the NYSE would have paid Grasso much more money in the future. The board all along recognized that Grasso had earned the money for his past accomplishments and were worried someone of his talents would easily get employment elsewhere so they offered him what he wanted. Spitzer, appealing once again to the baser instincts of the electorate, has seized upon this big number for all it can gain as headlines. He is likely to lose again.

Calling it straight, Karmazin said:

"If Dick is going to resign, why don't we resign instead? The NYSE needs him more than us."

Anyone who knows Karmazin knows he pays well for talent. If Stern gets $40 million a year for saying "dick" and "fart" 400 times each day, then Spitzer has another target for his newspaper trials. But Mr. Karmazin knows that idiots like me listen to Stern every day and that is how the free market works.


Isn’t it interesting that the countries in the UN that were supposed to be such hot negotiators, that we should have used when dealing with the world’s despots a few years ago, cannot convince lifelong socialists to vote in favor of a socialist constitution? Of all people, the French and the Dutch should have voted unanimously in favor of the over-400 page document that codified their every move and thought into a consensus Woodstock. It was a big government, peace-lover’s wet dream.

If Chirac and Company cannot sell popsicles in a heat wave, how were we supposed to rely on their negotiating skills with psychopaths? Maybe Saddam and Kim Jung Il would have been convinced to change their ways by Europe’s “soft powers”. Certainly, the European citizens have not.

That's enough about France for today.

The No-Can-Do French

It has been a few days since I commented on France. John Fund writes about the French ruling elite and quotes someone in the French government actually talking sense:

Jean Michel Fourgous, a parliamentary member of Mr. Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement, bemoans his party's refusal to adopt more transparent and consultative government. He told Time magazine that the country has "been hijacked by an intellectually brilliant elite that's dangerously ignorant about the economy." He notes that while the current government is made up largely of people who call themselves conservative, 80% of ministers have never worked at all in the private sector. The few who have "are tolerated, but shoved into subaltern posts."

Unfortunately, the rest of the French rulers do not recognize that their socialist empire cannot avoid double-digit unemployment, no growth, torpid industry and a continued economic slide. The new prime minister de Villepin has already recanted on a $6 billion tax cut.

As my father-in-law just told me, "They are over". Maybe JFK can replace Chirac so we can see his brilliance in action.

Reality TV in Iraq: How to Slit Throats

Regarding the terrorism in Iraq as its citizens attempt to create peaceful self-rule, Christopher Hitchens questions the axiom that it is better to release a hundred guilty parties in order to avoid injustice to one innocent party.

In "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", he discusses the make-up of this "insurgency" of mostly foreigners who are televised in an Iriaqi reality TV show confessing to beheadings. He then writes:

The forces of al-Qaida and its surrogate organizations are not signatory to the conventions and naturally express contempt for them. They have no battle order or uniform and are represented by no authority with which terms can be negotiated. Nor can they claim, as actual guerrilla movements like the Algerian FLN have done in the past, to be the future representatives of their countries or peoples. In Afghanistan and Iraq, they sought to destroy the electoral process that alone can confer true legitimacy, and they are in many, if not most, cases not even citizens of the countries concerned. Their announced aim is the destruction of all nonbelievers, and their avowed method is indiscriminate and random murder. They are more like pirates, hijackers, or torturers—three categories of people who have in the past been declared outside the protection of any law.
The administration therefore deserves at least some sympathy in its confrontation with an enemy of a new type. I should very much like to know how a Gore administration would have dealt with the hundreds of foreign sadists taken in arms in Afghanistan. I should also like to know how other Western governments, which are privately relieved that the United States assumed responsibility for the last wave, expect to handle the next wave of fundamentalist violence in their own societies. No word on this as yet.

The question I have is, what would Gore and the Democrats (other than Joe Lieberman) have done had they been in charge? We see they have no options for the failing Social Security system. They were against tax cuts that has continued the US's economic success while other countries in the world have floundered since the recession (and filled state coffers with surpluses). What would they have done? Oh yeah, put more troops in Afghanistan. Would that have limited terrorism world-wide?

The Greats Reach Higher

In crises, some people exceed expectations. Some normally high achievers shrink at such times. Then there are the truly special ones who perform at even higher levels at "crunch time". We see it in sports sometime. Superstar Michael Jordan played in (and won) an NBA final game while suffering from a flu that clearly was enough to make the rest of us "sit one out". Bill Russell, a 65% free-throw shooter overall would hit every free-throw in the final minute of games for celtic wins. We all remember Kirk Gibson (any Detroit or LA area blog-readers out there?).

Another superior performer who "raised his game" when it was needed was Rudy Giuliani during the 9-11 period. John Leo assesses Giuliani's excellent performance as prosecutor and mayor well before 9-11. We all saw what he did during 9-11 and the aftermath but his achievements prior to 9-11 make him NY's best mayor since LaGuardia (who designed a whole airport in his free time when he wasn't handling municipal chores or reading the funnies on the radio).

Good News Is No News For MSM

From Mike Taylor:

… just can’t find any good news coming out of Iraq! The number of items of “good news” collected by a blogger in Australia (ARTHUR CHRENKOFF in Step by Step in the WSJ yesterday) is staggering…

The plain truth of the media is that they WANT to report the negative... For television reporters it is much, much easier to chase ambulances and show video of ANYTHING on fire and consider it NEWS. In Iraq, the MSM reporters don’t even leave their hotels. Quite literally. They rely on local stringers to bring back video of car bombs and (again) ANYTHING ON FIRE because that makes for “compelling” video to put on air.

No stringer is going to be paid who offers video of the local Iraqi city council meeting. The arrival of accurate history books arriving at an Iraqi grade school will never be reported by the MSM. These stringers will be told by the MSM reporter “Go get me something blowing up, smoke billowing, women and children screaming in horror… if it bleeds, videotape it! That’s what we’re paying you for!”

If you were to hang out at the county hospital Emergency Room in any major city you would conclude that the entire population is stabbing each other, shooting each other, raping each other or driving drunk. And that’s exactly what’s happening with MSM reporters in Iraq. They’re hanging out at the morgue and concluding that everyone in the country is dying.

To MSM reporters, and their editors back home, a car aflame is a much more telling story than the last nailed being hammered home in a new Iraqi grade school or the signing of the one millionth Iraqi cell phone customer.

Lazy reporting like this just so happens to fit in nicely with “every American military action is another hopeless Viet Nam quagmire”. Easy money for the MSM. Easy money.

If you’ve ever been interviewed by anyone in the media their first inclination is to look for the most negative slant that can be dug out of a story. Fellow Think Tanker Skip March and I have been in the “ranking” business at a market analysis firm wherein we would collate consumer data to rank companies from top to bottom in customer satisfaction.

Skip can back me up on this, NO ONE in the media wants to talk to you about anyone doing a good job, they only want to know who is at the bottom of the list, who is the worst, who is doing a poor job. They don’t want to know how any one company is pleasing its customers, about their innovative services or how hard a company works to please customers or to retain their loyalty.

For many years, the policy of this market analysis company was to only talk about companies performing “above the industry average”. But this policy limited our media exposure.

I remember one reporter from the NY Times telling me that “If you can’t talk about the bottom of the barrel then I don’t have a story”. I never heard from that reporter again.

Recently, the market analyst changed its policy and now releases data on who is first and who is worst. They get a lot more media attention now.

Neal Phenes adds:

Read Michael Fumento who has been in Iraq and supports Mike's comment. He observed:

[T]roop morale in even the most hostile areas was better than I would have believed. Unless I identified myself, nobody knew I was a reporter; there are civilian contractors everywhere. If the troops had antiwar feelings they didn’t hold them back on my account. Yet I heard none. I also carefully read the ubiquitous graffiti in the portable toilets and only once found a negative scrawling – a Bush bash. But three other scrawlings ambushed that first one.

The only real complaints I’d heard were about “the kindler, gentler military.” Political sensitivity – enhanced by shenanigans such as Newsweek’s – are tying at least part of an arm behind our backs.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Competition Hurts and Sometimes Kills But Should Not Be Outlawed

I am far from a gearhead and I employ people to change my cars' oil. But cars are in the economic news.

In a positive take on GM's woes, Gregg Easterbrook, in the NYT discussed that Scumpeter's "creative destruction" means better and cheaper cars to the consumer even though the car-making behemoth is suffering. And not reported by the MSM very loudly, Easterbrook advises:

For instance, the same week that G.M.'s cut made the front pages, DaimlerChrysler announced it would invest $40 billion in North American operations over the next five years, including building a new assembly plant in Illinois and expanding factories in Ohio and Michigan.

In other words, there are competitors who can take advantage of the problems of another competitor. Historically, we have seen large businesses go bankrupt, get gobbled up or become smaller versions of their once great selves (Sears). But we consumers have done well all along.

Says Easterbrook:

Competitors often concentrate their fire on the industry leader because its sales represent the richest target. And in the auto business, the old General Motors was an enchilada with extra cheese.

And remember that the big companies sometimes make big mistakes in marketing, employment practices and other key areas.

Again from Easterbrook:

Many factors contributed to the General Motors decline - health care costs, corporate bureaucracy and detachment from the market. (Toyota, Honda and others have long focused their marketing research on California, to be close to the pulse of car culture. G.M. does its big thinking in Michigan, which is a little like studying fashion in Toledo.) Company executives bet heavily that gas prices and poor fuel economy would not dampen enthusiasm for G.M.'s S.U.V.'s and pickup trucks; now, that is happening.

Apologies to all Toledoans, and I once dated a girl from outside of Toledo and she was very nice, all of this means progress. And when we get better things for fewer peices of paper in our wallets, we are richer. Long live competition!

Do Not Torture Me This Way

If you ever take me into custody for some crime and plan on torturing me, I plead to you, DO NOT do anything to the Holy Bible in my presence. It would be the worst, excruciating pain, worse than actual physical torture, that I could endure. If you pull out pages of the Bible, flush it into a commode or say bad things to me about God, I'll die. I'd be destroyed. So, please, for the sake of humanity and to protect yourself from an Amnesty Int'l label of running a "gulag", do not torture me by defiling my Bible. And if you have to send me to solitary confinement, do not place into my cell any back issues of Playboy (or those Guccioni magazines of filth). Oh, and no DVD player stocked with Greatest Games in Sports or ice cold beer (especially those little ponies that stay cold longer). I beg of you!

See Mark Steyn on the "Quran Desecration Crock".

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Carnival of the Capitalists 061205

Et Tu got a well-positioned link on this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. Check out the other blogs and thanks for checking us out. Neal

Spitzer: Fighting Evil For A Better World

NYT Sunday Business section writer Andrew Ross Sorkin in "Maybe Spitzer's Cape Was Too Big" discusses the acquittal of Theodore Sihpol. Sorkin suggests that maybe Spitzer should just bring prosecutions of his "strongest cases". One would hope so.

But Sorkin is a big fan of Spitzer's. He writes:

Obviously, Mr. Spitzer has done a tremendous amount of good over the past several years rooting out fraud and instilling much-needed new guidelines for how Wall Street does business. Despite questions about his political motives, there is little doubt that his intentions, at base, are genuinely to do the right thing.

That statement makes a number of assumptions.

First, I question that Spitzer can be credited with rooting out fraud on Wall Street. When thousands of years of ethical law has been enforced by the various churches created by man have not rooted out fraud, I wonder how this wunderkind could have succeeded on that note. More like it, the market itself would have weeded out the frauds without a government bureaucrat's help, thank you very much.

Second, it waits to be seen what the efficacy of the new guidelines will have. Normally, guidelines are analyzed and frauds find ways around them. Of greater worry, is that new rules and regs make the cost of doing business that much harder and more costly forcing corners to be cut. Have we really made our elections less fraudulent since McCain Feingold? More democratic? I doubt that.

Third, Spitzer's true blue motives cannot be conjured by you, me or Sorkin even if he is an employee of the paper of record. My guess is Spitzer is pursuing purported "enemies" of the common man. This is populist demagoguing with sights on higher office, no doubt.

Ironically, liberals, who are so adoring of Spitzer yet despise the actions of Joe McCarthy, do not see the parallels. McCarthy at least led an inquiry into the activities of sworn enemies of the United States. And he was only a Senator. Spitzer is a prosecutor whose threat of prison on financial destruction is more dangerous to targets who were chosen to run companies by boards representing shareholders. There is something called D&O insurance to recover lost investments. The prosecutions just drive up the cost of finding competent CEOs and other officers.

Most telling was the comment of the one juror who held out to convict Sihpol. Writes Sorkin:

The lone juror told reporters that she was convinced of Mr. Sihpol's guilt because she just could not believe the government would bring a case if there wasn't something to it.

Always remember who the "little guy" is in America. It is not the Spitzer's of the world. Think of a former accounting firm that had employed thousands (I think it was named Arthur Anderson) before jumping on a prosecutor's bandwagon.

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