For those concerned by the Barron’s piece I linked to Monday, this rebuttal makes a much brighter case. The stock is up about 70% from where we bought it a year ago, but – with all the usual caveats – I’m hoping for a lot more over the next few years.

Oink, oink.


And if so, how did I miss it in the U.S. press?

A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines. . . .


Peter Thibeau: ‘You write: ‘Reagan subverted the will of Congress with Iran/Contra and had to pardon his Defense Secretary.’ Wasn’t it George H.W. Bush who pardoned Caspar Weinberger?’

☞ Oops. Reagan subverted; Bush pardoned. A joint effort.


Lisa S.: ‘I’d like to thank you for a valuable education. I made it a point to educate myself about personal finance when I finished college. The single best book was your 1987 edition of The Only Other Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need. I’ve given many copies away when friends have approached me with questions. I parted with my original copy just last month. However, your political views are blinded by the Democratic party’s support of a single issue – gay rights. How about directly promoting your issues rather than selling out to a corrupt political machine? It appears that the quickest way to political power is to promise anything to special interest groups. And apparently there are more than enough politicians willing to do it. It’s not Democrats versus Republicans. It’s corrupt politicians versus America. Feeding like pigs at the trough as they destroy the greatest nation in history. It’s obvious that the most powerful politicians in both parties are dirty. Clearly these people are willing to sacrifice my country a slice at a time for their own personal gain. This can’t possible have escaped you. You rant against Republican corruption, but turn a blind eye to the equally corrupt Democratic Party while you personally endorse it. Looks like the special interest group technique worked on you. You do a great disservice to your country when you misrepresent the political environment for the promotion of a few personal causes that surely are of lesser value than the well being of your country as a whole. Please, use your influence to trim corruption in both parties. Rather than making strategic alliances with either corrupt party, consider promoting your interests on their own merits – independently of either political party.’

☞ I’m really glad you liked the book. But as to politics, I disagree with you.

Yes, of course, public financing of campaigns would be great, and I support it. (Also, instant run-off voting.) And yes, of course, there are some bad apples (and, in varying degrees of malleability, mealy apples).

But in the main, the Democratic politicians I’ve gotten to know (and I’m sure lots of Republicans I don’t know) are truly fine people, as deeply committed as you to making our country better. Perhaps even more so, because they are doing the really difficult, often distasteful job of running for office, and then serving.

And in the main, the two parties really do have very different policy views.

And – in the main, though not exclusively – the Democratic positions match my own. On tax fairness, on stem cell research, on global climate change, on separation of church and state, on environmental regulation, on choice, on health care, on torture, on bankruptcy law, on minimum wage, on how we conduct ourselves in the world, on how we run FEMA and Justice, on health care, on allowing Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies (did you see 60 Minutes, Sunday? unbelievable!) – and on and on and on.

With all due respect, I think your position is a cop out. Yes, it’s great to work for systemic change. I join you in that. But in the meantime, or at the same time, should we not try to make the current system work as well as possible? Is there really no difference between the America of Clinton-Gore-Daschle-Gephardt and the America of Bush-Cheney-Lott-Delay?

To me, it’s the difference between day and night.

I wish you’d join me in working for day, even if it’s partly cloudy.


PS – You say that the parties are ‘equally corrupt.’ Sounds fair and evenhanded. But is it actually true? I doubt it. Even with this demonstrably partisan Justice Department, the indictments seem to be largely one-sided.

(If you mean soft corruption, as in selling out to special interests, I’d rather be with the party that ‘sells out’ to the environmentalists rather than the polluters; to the health advocates rather than tobacco companies. And, yes, I even think there’s a place in America for enlightened unions and collective bargaining.)

PPS – ‘Gay rights,’ though of obvious importance to me, are not everything. If by some miracle the two parties’ positions were reversed – except on gay rights – I would be a Log Cabin Republican, fighting to change their inexplicably backward, unChristian resistance to my equal rights.


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