Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Mole Hills ...

that are being made into Mitt Romney mountains:

- "In Michigan the trees are just the right size."
- He put his dog in a carrier on the top of his car.
- "I like to fire people." (i.e., companies who don't do their job)
- He knows the owners of basketball teams and car-racing teams
- "I don't worry about poor people, they have a safety net."
- His wife has two Cadillacs.
- "Companies are people too."
- An elevator for his cars in his San Diego home.
- "My sons are serving their country by helping me campaign."

And the sad fact is ... a good number of people in this country will vote against Mitt Romney because of one or more of these mini-gaffs ... and for the man who is trying to transform America into that envisioned by his radicalized mother, preacher and friends.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Judas Goat

When processing plants want to slaughter sheep, they use a goat ... a "Judas goat" ... to lead them into the killing chamber.  They then let the goat escape but not the sheep.  Let me now draw my analogy.  MSNBC has a program starting at 6 AM called Morning Joe staring Joe Scarborough (and Mika Brzezinski) which has gotten quite popular.  Joe Scarborough is a former conservative Congressman from the panhandle region of Florida and has very often been an effective foil for the litany of lefties who are the mainstay of this show.

When Joe is away, the show is virtually unwatchable with its liberal demagoguery.  (Guests like Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Howard Dean and Charles Schumer make my skin crawl ... and recently, when Joe returned from a week off, he jokingly ask a smirking Mika what did they do with all the hammer and sickle banners.)  However, slowly, ever so slowly, Joe is being pulled away from his rock-ribbed conservative stances and too often now will start spouting off like James Carville.  He even recently has, without knowing enough of the evidence, accused and convicted George Zimmerman of manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin.  Tsk, tsk. Joe, you really know better than this.

But what has upset me even more is that Joe did not defend Pat Buchanan when he was booted off the show last fall.  I don't think Scarborough necessarily had to resign over this black-listing of Buchanan, but he clearly turned his back on his compatriot -- one of the few intelligent conservative voices on his show.  Now, in order to hear a few of Joe's right-leaning repartees, viewers are now given quadruple doses of left-wing pap.  I'm beginning to get the feeling that we, as conservative sheep, are being led into that slaughter house called MSNBC by a Judas goat whose name is on the marquee.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ode to a Toad

Oh hail to thee amphibia!

Gourmets marvel at thy tibia.

In witches’ caustic cauldrons are thy feet.

What is one man’s poison ... is another man’s meat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge

The Monty Pyton players had a classic routine called "Wink, wink, nudge, nudge (enough said?)" in which Eric Idle confronts Terry Gilliam about his conjugal relations with his wife (for a good checkle, please view this video: Flying Circus Bit).  Although President Obama wasn't referring to sex, he was having a wink-wink-nudge-nudge moment with Russia's President Medvedev in South Korea recently when he, on an open mic, suggested that, after this fall's election, he would have much greater latitude in dismantling the U.S.'s missile defense system.  The Barry has already canceled the installation of this system in Poland and the Czech Republic (see: Maxi-Shield) and clearly has an animosity toward Ronald Reagan's missile defense shield in general.

Here is the actual open-microphone exchange:
President Obama: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space."

President Medvedev: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…"

President Obama: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."

President Medvedev: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin], and I stand with you."
(Thanks to The Weekly Standard for these quotes.)

One could now draw a parallel between Terry Gilliam's relations with his fictional wife and Barack Obama's congress with the American public.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Have a Heart

Former Vice President, Dick Chaney, at 71, got a heart transplant over the weekend  (see: LA Times Story) ... to the consternation of many with Chaney Derangement Syndrome (CDS).  The Internet is full of  snipes deriding Chaney's medical good fortune with churlish comments which don't need any further airing.  I have been listening to talk radio this morning to many accusing Chaney's of line busting (and not).  Bottom line, it appears that, today, people of wealth and notoriety can only earn an advantage in the organ transplant lottery by paying to be listed on multiple transplant lists.

Many knowledgeable callers have said that each of these lists now have strict guidelines to keep movers and shakers from moving to the head of the line unfairly ... and after all Chaney has waited twenty months (with a mechanical heart-pump) for an organ transplant ... unlike Mickey Mantle and John Phillips who, years ago, did appear to have gotten favorable treatment (given the apparent expedited speed of their organ transplant operations.)

But no matter on what side of the CDS spectrum one resides, to me, it is a blessing that Dick Chaney should be with us for some more years.  He is a national resource in that he has been at the center of much of the history-making events over almost forty years and many of his (and President G.W. Bush's) policies are still in effect to push back against international terrorism.  So much of what he knows still is to be captured and writ large in determining how this country continues to navigate our way through the minefields that still await us.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Template

How much longer is the knee-jerk, irresponsible, race-baiting template of the left going to endure?  The Trayvon Martin tragedy has brought out the usual manic actors ... Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Geraldo Rivera, the New Black Panther Party (see: Dead or Alive Poster), Al Sharpton, and even (you'd think he would have learned his lesson from his Cambridge-police faux pas) President Obama.  I'm not sure what all the facts are in this sorrowful shooting incident, but I'm reasonably certain that none of these aforementioned rabble rousers do either.  As Bill Clinton's posse was wont to say when he was (repeatedly) in hot water ... "Let's all take a deep breath and wait for the facts" (or, in his case, "spin.")

Even Conservative legal pundits seem willing to charge George Zimmerman with at least manslaughter (see: Powerline Comments ... and read the Responses too) before a grand jury has sifted through all the evidence.  I, for one ... possibly the only one ... am willing to wait until this highly-charged emotional fog lifts and the facts are verifed by responsible parties before I deem anyone guilty or innocent.

Don't Feed the Bears

Newt Gingrich has called Barack Obama "the food-stamp President" because this U.S. Dept. of Agriculture program has more than doubled under his watch.  See the interesting table here.  Now, in a bit of government bureaucratic irony, the U.S. Forest Service has posted this equivalent notice in many of its National Parks:
Please don't feed the bears. They get used to this
source of food and then can't fend for themselves.
(Thanks to John B. for a heads-up to this tidbit.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Voter Fraud

To the cheaters go the spoils. 

We sneer in this country when we see the massive voter fraud in Russia (more votes for Putin in some areas than there were registered voters) or Venezuela (organized voter thuggery).  But we should be careful in our high-mindedness ... for we are rapidly becoming equally corrupt ... so much so that I fear our democracy is in jeopardy.  We have seen the seedy side of "community organizers" in the exposure of ACORN's shenanigans (see: Many Instances).  We have seen local elections in Chicago and Nevada that were clearly rigged.  We have even had nation-wide elections that are suspected of to have been stolen ... JFK's in particular.  Democrats decry George W. Bush's first election as being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court ... but would have been perfectly happy to have it determined by the clearly-biased Florida Supreme Court.

I have recently read a compelling blog that deals with this subject in a plain-talk manner.  May I suggest that you give it a gander.  It's not very long ... see: The Diplomad.  And, if you like this former U.S. diplomat's  (and UCLA graduate's) style, go back from time to time to read his insightful analysis of the world and national situation.  I have a generic link to his blog on this blog.  (He is about to spill the inside poop on Hillary's tenure at Foggy Bottom.)

Back to voter fraud.  This country is overwhelmingly Conservative (see: Gallup Survey), yet Liberals keep winning elections where they probably shouldn't.  There can be few explanations for these inconsistencies other than Democrat-organized voter fraud.  (There might even be some cheating on the part of Republicans ... particularly in the South.  This too is inexcusable.)  Although many citizens understand this is happening, they do nothing.  And, when they do something to stop voter fraud, they are charged with "voter suppression." 

This electoral misfeasance is a grievous wrong and needs to be remedied if we have any chance of maintaining our Democratic institutions.  Perhaps a political party might be charged under the federal Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes?  (You know which one I mean.)  Wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air?  Perhaps even, if Romney can win the Presidency this fall (despite expected massive voter fraud), his adiministration might begin the thankless job of cleaning these Aegean stables?  And returning us to a nation that our founding fathers would recognize.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Caught My Eye

Four tidbits on the Internet that have recently caught my eye:

1. According to the Congressional Budget Office the cost of Obamacare is now estimated at $1.76 trillion over ten years (and well over $2.5 trillion if you count other implementation costs according to Charles Krauthammer on Fox News last night) as opposed to the "around $900 billion" that Obama promised in order to get this monstrosity "passed" through Congress ... see: Washington Examiner Piece).

2. Relatively unnoticed, President Obama's Pentagon is also proposing to save $13 billion by 2017 by upping the premiums on military health care benefits ... see: NY Post Article.  Shame on them!

3. A relatively obscure Bureau of Labor Statistics table is now getting some media attention.  It is called "U-6" and it highlights the structural unemployment in the United States.  Are you ready for the (more) realistic number?  It's 14.9% ... see BLS Release.  Yes, it has come down too, but it is still quite a bite higher than the 8.3% figure ballyhooed by the national media.

4. As part of its fire-hose crony-capitalism spending,  the Department of Energy provided a loan guarantee to a car company of $529 million to build cars in Finland ... see: ABC News Report.  Here is a quote from Consumer Reports when it tried to check out this new "green" car (the electric Fisker Karma): “We buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.”

Oh yes, and one more ... yesterday U.S. Marines were disarmed when our Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, spoke to them in Afghanistan ... a clear affront to our proud soldiers by our lily-livered empty suits.   See: The Telegraph Article.

And so, to bed ...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mr. Cool

The then Senator Obama once told Harry Reid that his "gift" was being able to read from a teleprompter so easily.  That certainly is true, but he has a much larger asset ... and that is his "coolness".  Marshall McLuhan once prophetically observed that television is a cool medium.  And President Obama fits this medium like a chamois glove.  He even strides "cool."  I seldom can watch him perform on television without singing to myself that old 1959 Coasters' song Charlie Brown:
Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow
Who calls the English teacher, Daddy-O      (see: All Lyrics)
So, in the upcoming Presidential election, Obama (I like to call him The Barry to reprise that other cool media character, The Donald), has the natural advantage in the upcoming debates.  Neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich are particularly cool personalities ... Romney is cooler than the other two, but still boiling hot compared to The Barry.  What does this suggest?  To me, it implies that, if the election is determined on emotion (as it was in 2008), Obama will win in a walk.  However, if the U.S. electorate chooses to view things this fall with a preponderance of logic, then Obama will loose in a landslide.  It should turn out to be a classic battle between the head and the heart.

And what will determine the mood of electorate then?  My guess would be the degree of angst (created by the world situation) that is roiling the voters ... the hotter things are, the less well "coolness" will play.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


A life is a terrible thing to waste ... yet 24 Tibetans (many of them monks) have self-immolated in the last year to protest the Chinese government's repressive treatment of the Tibetan people,  (See: LA Times Story ... please read it to the end).

These protests have gotten scant coverage in the Western media and, thus, these grisly deaths have achieved little purpose in this country.  Why is this?  Obviously, Justin Bieber's mooning over Selena Gomez is much, much more important ...

Friday, March 09, 2012

Carom Shot

Rather than clutter up this blog with attempted aesthetics, I've decided to create a separate blog called Haiku Wanderings.  If you appreciate such doggerel, please click on that link.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


A libretto is the script or narrative for an opera ... often in English.  You can frequently see the standees at the back of the opera houses following all the singing and arm waving with their libretti ... even silently mouthing the words.  Now we have such a narrative for the Republican nomination process which is as melodramatic as many of these German or Italian arias.  Basically, the theme is -- even though Mitt Romney has a virtual overwhelming chance of winning the Republican nomination, there is still a statistically measurable chance (if the moon turns blue on the same night as a Martian landing in Hoboken) that there will be a brokered convention (no candidate gets more than 50% of the delegate votes).

Why do these media pundits sound so slavishly hopeful (and silly) for this to occur?  It's the money honey ...  The news media wants to maintain the high ratings and circulations that they have enjoyed so far in this Wagnerian political songfest.  And, if they can keep the American public on the edge of their seats for the rest of the Republican primary/caucus season, maybe they can just continue to pay those high salaries to their rabid talking heads and Op Ed writers.   How did that line go in the Watergate hearings?  "Follow the money ..."  [Also, many on the media left hope against hope that continued hostilities can also fatally damage Romney.]

Readers, don't be sucked in ... the fat lady has already sung.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


There is now a fourth biggest lie: "Trust us, we have your back."

Until recently, whether the U.S. was willing to admit it, the foreign policy it has exhibited toward Iran was one of "containment" (see: The Atlantic Article and Washington Post Article).  Basically what this policy said to this theist dictatorship was "OK you can get atomic weaponry, but if you use them, there will be hell to pay."  This policy was even overtly stated by our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2009 when she said that the Middle East could be protected by the U.S.'s nuclear umbrella (see: Financial Times Comments, last paragraph).  Not surprisingly, this policy seems strategically silly and certainly catastrophic when one hears Iran's Ahmadinejad continually rant about his Armageddon ambitions (see: Human Events Article).

Now, Obama, feeling the tug of the upcoming elections and trying to hold onto the usually-reliable Jewish vote, has ask for more time to allow his "sanctions" to work.  Basically, in my opinion, this policy is an attempt to thread the needle between Iran containment and the Jewish-voters fleeing the Democrat ticket in droves.  Now, The Barry has the audacity to claim (apparently out of the other side of his mouth) that the U.S. policy toward Iran is not one of containment (see: Boston Herald Story).  The problem with his current posture is that most people breathing can see that it is opportunistic bluster ... and the President of the United States can't be trusted.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu's recently-completed trip to the United States was, to me, his last ditch attempt to get the current administration to abandon our policy of containment and the notion that lily-liver sanctions will cause Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.  My guess would be that Netanyahu hoped that he might get Obama to agree to crippling sanctions against Iran (closing down all bank transfers, stopping all gasoline imports, arming Iranian rebels, etc.) as the only hope for getting Iran to understand the gravity of the suicide track that it was on.  This Netanyahu plea, despite Obama's promise that the United States "has Israel's back," clearly did not sway Obama ... as our President repeatedly insisted that our current sanctions need more time to work. 

And, thus Israel is on its own to watch the clock tick down to its looming nuclear destruction while Obama continues to dither.  It will then do what it has to do to counter this "existential threat" ... and not trust the United States to have its back.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


When I started a software company I was told that the people we should try to attract first were the "early adopters" or "information sentinels" or "technology gatekeepers".  Unfortunately, the definition of such people was a little circular in that they were often described as those people who would be the first purchasers. (Doesn't this seem tautological?)   Moreover, they were imbued with supernatural powers in that they could make or break a new software product.  We, unfortunately, never made a complete Steve-Jobs-like connection to enough of these pioneers.

History and culture are replete with such gatekeepers or vanguard pickets: the Swiss Guard for the Vatican; the Beefeaters at the Tower of London; Charon, the ferryman to Hades; the velvet-rope bouncers for Studio 54; military sentries ("Who goes there?"); and even St. Peter, the Pearly Gates keeper in Heaven.

Gatekeepers often have much more power than their stations in life.  This is why so many people aspire to such vocations.  For example Op Ed writers and talking heads on TV (and even bloggers) attempt to funnel public opinion in the direction of their politics and ethics.  They are very often financially successful and inspire others to emulative their behavior.  Let's call them opinion sentinels.  However, even more powerful are those who control the sources of information that opinion sentinels use to shape their messages ... information gatekeepers.  This was traditionally the role of the various media outlets. 

However, recently there is a newer and much more powerful entrant into this information gatekeeper role ... a role that gives it enormous prerogatives in shaping future events.  As of yet, this gatekeeper has been rather modest in flexing its gatekeeper muscle.  But I doubt that this will be an on-going shyness ... and this worries me quite a lot.  Who is this giant newcomer to this information gatekeeper role?  [Scroll down please.]

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Name of the Game

As promised, to take one of my previous posts (see: Funny Money) a little further, I would like to create an extended metaphor for the U.S. economy under the current administration and our Federal Reserve Bank's (FRB's) new policies.  The metaphor I choose is the game of Monopoly.  Here are the updated rules for the "Chicago-style" version of this old favorite:

- The name of the game has been changed to "Big Government Monopoly."

- The amount of cash in the "bank" (now called the FRB) has been tripled as has the amount of paper money each player gets at game start.

- The railroads have been replaced with government-funded high-speed monorails to entertainment destinations.

- The color of hotels has been changed from red to green.

- Passing GO now gets a player a government hand-out of $1000, but he/she must kick-back 20% to the SEIU.

- Any and all Wall-Street bankers who land on "Go to Jail" are exempted from this fate.

- "Free Parking" exists only for Chevy Volts, Toyota Priuses and other "green" cars ... the "free" refers to electricity plug-in stations.  Gas-guzzling cars landing on "Free Parking" are crushed.

- The utilities (now just solar and wind powered) can no longer be purchased by players.  They are now government-owned and landing on them requires players to tithe to the FRB.

- Players can mortgage their properties for as much as 200% of assessed value.  After four turns around the board, the mortgages are forgiven by the FRB.

- Players wanting to build houses or hotels on their properties must first pass stringent environmental-impact muster.

- An onerous Luxury Tax is charged to only those players who look like they are winning.

... and so it goes ...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Rush to Judgment

I listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio quite often ... although lately he has been more grating than usual.  Although he feigns impartiality, he is totally in the tank for Rick Santorum to be the next Republican nominee for President.  This is based upon his postulate that only true conservatives win for the Republicans ... and Romney is a McCain/Dole/Ford country-club clone who will be clobbered this fall in the debates and at the voting booths.  He says that he will rally behind whomever the nominee is ... but I kind of doubt it.  After all, if Mitt Romney gets the nod and loses, won't this just prove Rush's conservative-purist thesis?

Now Rush is in another pickle.  Apparently, he called that female Georgetown law student (who went viral with her demand that the government ... via this Catholic university ... should pay for her contraceptives) a "prostitute" and a "slut."  Although I didn't hear him say these exact things, I did hear him say that this student was having so much sex that she couldn't afford her own "protection" and so she wanted others to pay for her libido extravagances ... equivalent, I suppose, to these one-word slurs.  As a result Rush has lost, at latest count, seven sponsors, and he was forced to apologize nationally to this woman over the weekend.  (You have to understand, this is something that Rush never does, so this was tantamount to his eating crow in a cow-pie sandwich.)

I am somewhat ambivalent about these developments due to my distaste for Rush's current manic and easily-read antipathy toward Romney.  So as Joel Grey sang in Cabaret, "money makes the world go around ...", and Rush's lifestyle is such that I think he would find it difficult to start to economize.  And I do hope this incident brings a smidgen of humility to his often brilliant political commentary.  Perhaps now we can get a few advertisers also to pull away from Bill Maher (called Sarah Palin a "twat"), Rachel Maddow (called Teaparty members, "teabaggers" ... a sexual act between gay men), Ed Schultz (called Laura Ingraham, a "right-wing slut")  and Chris Matthews (said "Newt Gingrich looks like a car bomber") ... among many other slurs eminating from the Left?  KBI

Funny Money

Quantitative Easing (QE) ... this seems to be the central banks of the world's solution to their mounting debt crises. The European Central Bank (ECB) has just taken its cue from Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) and embarked on a three year binge of QE (see: Article)  What does this mean?

It means that European banks can borrow at a 1% rate from Mario Draghi's (ECB's President) piggy bank and turn around and lend it to various European countries at north of 5% (sometimes well north) ... government largess that rivals the green-energy give-aways in the United States. This is meant  to recapitalize these banks which have been weakened by the haircuts they are taking on Greek bonds (and others to follow?)  I sometimes wonder why the ECB doesn't just give the damn money to these banks instead of this obvious artifice.

This mimics what has been happening in the United States where the Fed has been lending money to our banks at below 1% and they, in turn, have been buying government bonds at higher yields ... not quite as lucrative as in Europe, but largess nonetheless.  And where does the Fed get this money to fire-hose out to the banks?  Not from the U.S. taxpayer, but it creates it out of thin air.  It sells U.S. bonds, bills and notes to get the cash to lend out to U.S. (and foreign) banks (and to fund our huge annual deficits).

And why, you ask, does not all this selling of U.S. government debt obligations push down prices and push up yields.  Simple ... because the Fed buys for its own account around 80% of everything it offers.  This financial slight-of-hand has increased the Fed's balance sheet almost three-fold in the last three years (see: QE Comparison) ... a dizzying statistic ... if we can rely on this reporting since the Fed may also be playing Enron-like accounting shenanigans (see: Finger on the Scale).  Zowee!  If the Wall Street Occupiers only knew these funny-money tricks that were taking place at the Fed, they might move north one block and become Pine Street Occupiers (where the Fed is located).

I'm not quite Ron Paul on this issue yet, but I am getting closer.  For those not yet nodding off, I intend to blog more on this whole mare's nest later ...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Something to Ponder

Why is it that

Just as life begins to get comfortable

Hubris comes along

And sprinkles cracker crumbs

In our bed?