Paul McCartney makes a fool of himself in Parade magazine

Parade magazine recently
ran a short piece on Paul McCartney in which the former Beatle said people
wanting to remember his wife Linda McCartney should send contributions
to Memorial Sloan-Kettering where she was treated for breast cancer before
her death. As an astute reader pointed out in the October 4 issue of Parade,
however, that McCartney said he was opposed to the use of animals but breast
cancer research relies on animal studies.

How does Paul reconcile this ethical
dilemma? He told Parade that he is still “totally against
experiments on animals,” so contributions in Linda’s name would only
go for spending on human trials.

Earth to Paul: the only way a breast
cancer drug gets to the human trial stage is after it has gone
through extensive animal testing. McCartney’s position seems to be that
it is okay to do human trials of breast cancer drugs, but the animal tests
that make the human trials possible should be banned.

“Live and Let Die” indeed!

PETA's Latest Follies

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is back to its bizarre ways (if I didn’t know better, I’d swear
this group had been taken over by hunters looking to discredit the animal
rights movement). In mid-September PETA showed up to protest at the American
Meat Institute convention and held a “human barbecue.” It barbecued
tofu in the shape of a “cattleman.”

“People eat other animals,
why not humans?” asked PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a press release.
“The notion of eating any animals should be as preposterous as cannibalism.
So eating a hamburger is the same as roasting up Uncle Bob.”

If that wasn’t enough, PETA attacked
ads featuring the National Football League’s John Randle, who plays defensive
tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. The commercial, paid for by Nike, shows
Randle making a small football jersey emblazoned with a No. 4 similar to
the one that Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre wears. Randle then
practices chasing the chicken around the field (Favre is known for his
ability to take off running if he can’t find a receiver to throw
to). The chicken keeps getting away from Randle until the finale where
the audience sees Randle standing over a grill where he is preparing chicken.

PETA, of course, is horrified that
the ad is running and wants it pulled immediately. In fact, PETA claims
that “the commercial mimics what psychologists now see as a sign
of criminal mentality, in that pleasure is apparently derived from trauma
inflicted on a vulnerable animal.” According to Newkirk, “Young
people who see Randle as a role model may learn to associate the terror
of defenseless chickens as a form of amusement.”

So eating hamburger is cannibalism
and chasing a chicken is a sure sign that one is a sociopathic criminal.

I know a lot of anti-animal rights
people despise PETA, but in my opinion they are our best ally. No single
person or group does more to discredit animal rights and show just how
bizarre the animal rights agenda is than PETA.

Short Takes – October 1999

George Soros — Socialism For Thee, But Not For Me

       International financier George Soros
has been complaining that free market capitalism is on the verge of disaster
and can only be saved by government intervention. Finally someone took
him seriously — Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohamad decided to try
to shore up Malaysia’s economy by imposing foreign exchange and capital
control measures.

       Soros suddenly got that free-market
religion. “The effect on the economy will be disastrous,” Soros
told U.S. lawmakers. “The measures taken by Malaysia will hurt the
other countries which are trying to keep their financial markets open
because it will encourage the flight of capital.”

       Not to mention the fact that Soros
makes his money by speculating on currency which currency control boards
and make much harder to do — in fact Mahathir complains that Soros caused
Malaysia’s economic problems to worsen by attacking Malaysia’s currency.

       Apparently Soros thinks it is just
the rest of us great unwashed who need the “protection” of government
regulation.

 

When Did Liberals Start Reading the Constitution?

       As far as I’m concerned Investor’s
Business Daily is one of the best newspapers in the country and they showed
why on Sept. 25, l998 with the best commentary yet on Bill Clinton’s potential
impeachment. IBD notes that many prominent Democrats are claiming that
the Constitution sets strict guidelines for what Constitutes an impeachable
offense and, they argue Clinton’s White House affair, however unseemly
it is, doesn’t meet that test.

       In an editorial, IBD wants to know
when the Democrats actually began reading the Constitution. “Where
are they,” IBD asks, “when the federal government repeatedly
ignores the Constitution to build up the leviathan welfare state?”

       Ask a Democrat whether a law is
compatible with the Taking Clause test what the original intent of the
General Welfare Clause was, and their eyes will glaze over.

       All of a sudden, however, liberal
Democrats are turning into regular Constitutional scholars and even going
to the heresy of citing the actual words of the Founding Fathers. As IBD
sums it up, “If Congress cares about the Constitution, it can prove
it. It should ax departments, from Agriculture to Veterans Affairs. There
are also more than 100 programs and agencies that can go, as shown by
the Cato Institute Total Annual Savings? More than $200 billion. It’s
a start. Let’s call it a constitutional test.”

North Korean crackup

       It’s bad enough that North
Korea’s Stalinist government has seen its economy decline 30 percent in
just a few years and much of its citizens faced with massive famine. But
North Korea took the extraordinary step in September of looking to the
past to get itself out of its trouble when it named Kim Ii Sung, who died
in 1994, as President. Sung’s son, Kim Jong Il, will stay on as chairman
of the Central Defense Committee and presumably act as a messenger for
his dead father’s dictates.

       Well, if Bill Clinton could raise
the taxes of dead people, why not appoint one as president?

When Is the Federal Reserve Going to Bail Out My Gambling Debts?

       Living in Michigan means the yearly
spectacle of watching the Detroit Lions consistently perform as one of
the worst teams in the National Football League. But even, though they’ve
only won a single game this year, this should not stop you from betting
your life savings on the Lions to win the Super Bowl. Sure, it’s
a long shot, but if you win the returns will be huge and if you lose,
you can always count on the Federal Reserve arranging a bailout to prevent
you from going under.

       Not likely to happen? Tell that
to the investors of Long-Term Capital Management who got the Feds to help
them organize a bailout simply because its managers made such horribly
stupid decisions with is $80 billion portfolio that the Fed insisted LTCM
couldn’t be allowed to fail.

       LTCM is a hedge fund — banks and
brokerage firms, along with some rich individuals, gave LTCM’s managers
$80 billion to invest in extremely risky arbitrage schemes — the hedge
fund, in effect, bet billions of dollars by buying extremely risky lots
of Russian bonds. When the Russian economy tanked and Russia defaulted
on the bonds, LTCM was on the verge of collapsing.

       The Federal Reserve stepped in to
arrange a bailout of the banks and investors who potentially faced write-offs
of $10 billion and upwards. Although all of the funding for the bailout
was put up by private institutions, the Federal Reserve was instrumental
in brokering the deal. Don’t count on similar help if you get into
trouble gambling your money – this sort of intervention is reserved
for the ultra-rich.

      The whole series of events that put
LTCM on the verge of failure only to be rescued by the Federal Reserve
reveals the perverse effects of moral hazard, when government encourages
people and institutions to take on enormous risks with the belief that
if they fail the government will come to their rescue. LTCM bought Russian
bonds in part because its managers believed the IMF would save Russia
from its own economic mismanagement – after all, the IMF has repeatedly
bailed out nations who created their own economic hell.

       In turn, many of the banks investing
in LTCM have federally guaranteed deposit insurance, meaning even should
they fail due to their risky investments, the taxpayers would ultimately
bail them out just as the taxpayers had to bail out the Savings and Loans
industry for its mistakes.

       Of course the usual suspects immediately
discerned what the real problem was — not enough government regulation
of hedge funds. Hedge fund managers, of course, oppose any new regulations,
but they’ll gleefully take the government-brokered bailout, thank you
very much. Hey, if rich people, banks and others want to place their bets
on the economic equivalent of the Detroit Lions to win it all, more power
to them; but the government should get out of the business of riding to
the rescue of those who voluntarily agree to accept such risks.

Call It Corruption

      With the repercussions of the Asian financial
crisis now spreading to Latin America and now beginning to be felt in
the United States, American taxpayers are being asked to make a sucker’s
bet. Just give the International Monetary Fund $18 billion, so the Clinton
administration says, and this global financial crisis will simply disappear
with the wave of a magic wand and plenty of austerity measures for the
developing world.

       But doesn’t the United States,
along and other nations, give billions of dollars to the IMF and the World
Bank to prevent this sort of crisis from happening in the first place?
What are the IMF and the World Bank doing with all that money anyway?
Where does it go?

       It goes to some of the most corrupt
governments in the world. A recent report by Transparency International
tells much of the story; its 1998 Corruption Perceptions Index tracked
the relative corruption of nations around the world based on how investors,
risk analysts and public opinion evaluated the countries.

       And what do you know, the two nations
that received the most aid from the IMF, Russia and Indonesia, also scored
as two of the most corrupt nations in the world. Russia came in at 76th
and Indonesia at 80th out of 85 countries that were considered at least
moderately corrupt. For those keeping score, the West Africa nation of
Cameroon came in dead last as the most corrupt nation in the world.

       But the World Bank and IMF tend
to turn a blind eye toward corruption – occasionally to the point
of denying it exists even when their own reports document massive corruption.
It recently came out, for example, that the World Bank buried an internal
report citing Indonesian corruption at the same time its officials were
publicly denying accusations that officials in that country were skimming
large sums of money from World Bank projects.

       That August 1997 report concluded
that up to 20% of money the World Bank gave to Indonesia for various projects
was skimmed by Indonesia’s political class. But what was its official
line at the time? In July 1997, Jean Michel Severino, World Bank vice
president for East Asia, responded to allegations of Indonesian corruption
by saying, “We know exactly where our money is going. We do not tolerate
corruption in our programs.”

       Is this a case of the blind leading
the corrupt?

       So after these corrupt governments
have skimmed and diverted funds, and in the process driven their national
economies into the ground, what are taxpayers expected to do — why let
the IMF and World Bank give them even more funds as a reward. Of course
in return the IMF and World Bank will ask for “reforms” such
as raising taxes on the poor to pay for the largesse of the political
class.

       In July, House Majority Leader Richard
Armey addressed an audience on the proposed IMF funding saying, “We’re
being asked to shell out $18 billion of your money for a pig in a poke.”
It’s about time the U.S. put at an end to its participation in this ongoing
fraud.

Impeach Clinton … For Antitrust Violations

       Forget Bill Clinton’s Oval
Office escapades or the issue of whether donations from Chinese interests
found their way into the Clinton-Gore campaign. Instead why not concentrate
on a crime that the Justice Department is currently actively pursuing
all over the country and which Clinton has conveniently confessed to committing
himself on dozens of occasions. Bill Clinton should be indicted and/or
impeached for repeated violations of antitrust laws.

       I’m sure Michael Andreas wonders
when Reno is going to get on the ball. Andreas walked out of a Chicago
courtroom on Sept. 17 facing jail time for his violation of antitrust
laws. Along with fellow Archer Daniels Midland employees Terrance Wilson
and Mark Whitacre , Andreas was convicted of organizing a price-fixing
scheme in the citric-acid and lysine markets. Basically, Andreas and his
co-defendants met with other companies that make lysine and citric acid
and agreed to sell their products at roughly the same price rather than
compete for customers by cutting prices.

       Whitacre, working as a mole for
the FBI, secretly taped ADM meetings caught former ADM President James
Randall as summing up the company’s philosophy as “our competitors
are our friends. Our customers are the enemy.” As U.S. Attorney Scott
Lassar told the jury, “This was a crime of greed – a crime by
an extremely large corporation that wanted to make even more money at
the expense of their customers.”

       If this is the test for criminal
culpability — participating in a scheme that knowingly fixes the price
of a commodity above the market price in order to increase profits —
then the Justice Department has an open and shut case against Bill Clinton
and plenty of others.

       After all, not only has Clinton
signed numerous bills that fixed the price of commodities well above their
market level, but both he and his co-conspirators in the Congress have
repeatedly bragged about their violations of antitrust laws. A couple
of years ago, for example, when Clinton ordered the federal government
to buy cattle in order to drive up the price of beef to help cattle ranchers,
Clinton didn’t even try to hide his actions — in fact he held a press
conference where he bragged that he was colluding to fix the price of
cattle at higher than market levels.

       Similarly Clinton has signed numerous
bills that subsidize farmers and thereby increase the cost of food to
consumers. In fact Clinton recently said that the government doesn’t do
enough to fix the prices of food — he’s threatening to veto an appropriations
bill unless larger subsidies are given to farmers.

       And then there are the numerous
tariffs and other protections on everything from peanuts to sugar to milk
to which Clinton has gleefully affixed his signature after his cronies
in the Congress have given him anti-competitive legislation to sign. The
extent of Clinton’s effort to help “extremely large corporation
that wanted to make even more money at the expense of their customers”
easily dwarfs all private efforts in that vein.

       If the Department of Justice wants
to set an example to deter the Bill Gates’ and Michael Andreas’ of the
world from anti-competitive practices, what better way than to indict
the man responsible for costing consumers untold billions through price
fixing schemes? Isn’t it time to impeach Bill Clinton for violating antitrust
laws?