Wednesday, August 29, 2012
In his speech to the Republican nominating convention Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, revealed why he is a Republican. Of course he didn't say it in so many words, but he did reveal a key guiding principle of his life. He said that his mother told him that, if he had a choice between being loved or being respected, choose being respected (see: Politico Story). In many ways this mirrors a theme that I have been espousing of late -- Democrats govern with their hearts and Republicans govern with their heads. And there is no clearer distinction to be drawn between the consequences of these two styles than Christie's success as New Jersey's governor. He took a state broken by the dewy policies of Democrat Jon Corzine and his many Democratic predecessor governors and, in a few short years, has begun to bring this state back to fiscal solvency.
Clearly not every Democrat eschews logic in their administrative styles, but enough of them prosper by pulling the heart strings of their voters for me to comfortably make this generalization. Too many Democrats denounce the economic self interest which is fundamental to capitalism as "greed." Too many Democrats denounce any criticism of Obama's policies as "racism." Too many Democrats denounce a belief in the traditional family unit as "homophobia." Too many Democrats denounce a desire to see people achieve their greatest inborn potential as "slavery." Too many Democrats denounce right-to-lifers as "sexists." Do you see where I am going with this? Using pejorative labels to silence your critics has been a strategy of those on the left for too many years now. Listen to Christie ... it's time for Republicans to stop trying to be loved and go for respect instead.
I actually think Romney gets it.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The meme of the Republican Convention now taking place in Tampa, Florida is that, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, Mitt Romney needs to "connect" with the American people. He has already connected with me but not in the way that the media is touting. These scribes and talking heads, following the narrative so deeply ingrained in the American people, want an emotional appeal from a man who is clearly the antithesis of the current resident of the White House. Barack Obama was swept into the Presidency in 2008 pretty much entirely on emotion (and fainting females) ... and we have seen the unfortunate results ... a nation mired in economic malaise, crippling unemployment, staggering deficits, and intrusive government. So much for the fruits of emotional choices. I can't see that another four years of this reign of incompetence will improve things one iota.
I have connected with Romney much more on a cognitive level. I see what he has been able to accomplish time and time again ... and I find it very easy to extrapolate this performance into the next four years of what would be his first term in office. That is ... if the American voters will just realize how emotional appeals can be dangerous. Mitt Romney recently said, "I am who I am," and I think that this is just the right tone for what I would like to see in his Thursday night oration. I think it would be a mistake for him to genuflect to the media and try to "humanize" himself. All he needs to do is present, in broad-brush terms, how he is going to fix the mess we are currently in. He needn't go into gory detail ... for many of these details will be unpalatable to various sectors of the voting public (probably including myself). But, clearly, we will not dig ourselves out of our current problems without some shared pain. If Romney tells us that some sacrifice all around is necessary, then I think he will have hit just the right note.
Then the traditional balloon drop should inspire a more sober and, perhaps, a more somber crowd.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Just about a year ago, when the price of gold hit an all-time high ($1,900/ounce), I wrote a blog entry discussing this price and the United States' gold reserves relative to the U.S.'s money supply (see: Gold Bug). Now that the Republicans are considering reinstating the gold standard if Romney is elected (see: CNBC Story), I believe my previous analysis deserves to be updated.
Primarily due to the strength in the dollar relative to other currencies, the price of gold has dropped to $1,670 per ounce and Bernanke’s printing press has expanded the U.S. money supply over the last year by 8%+ to slightly above one trillion dollars. Assuming that the U.S. stock of gold still stands at 8,965.6 tons (I can’t seem to find an updated number), this would value our gold reserves at $479.1 billion … less than one half of what would be needed to fully back our current money supply at parity … if we were to go back to a gold standard.
What are the implications of the U.S. re-adopting the gold standard? I can think of three possible impacts:
1) In order to back our money supply at parity, the price of gold could double to almost $3,500 per ounce … and continue to grow at the rate of the United States’ currency expansion. (I think this is result is quite unlikely.)
2) The U.S. might chose to back its currency with a fractional conversion rate … say one ounce of gold could be purchased from the Treasury for $8,000. This option might also be restricted to U.S. citizens or institutions. Even though this would effectively be a gold backing of our currency, very few rational investors would exercise this option. But countries, like China, with huge dollar reserves might be so tempted … only they would have convert their dollar reserves to actual currency and to go through U.S. proxies … and thus would be selling their dollars at a very steep discount.
3) The U.S. dollar would then have the most solid backing of any currency in the world. I could easily see the Euro exchange rate fall to 2 Euros to the U.S. dollar. And China would also be hard pressed to keep its own currency from inflating greatly (a good thing). This should dramatically drive down the price of gold (and oil) … resulting in a continued positive feedback loop. A strong dollar, of course, could impact U.S. exports adversely but this could be offset, balance of payments wise, by our much lower payments for foreign oil … and a stronger Chinese yuan.
Going to a gold-backed dollar would clearly engender very complex financial cross-currents and I’m certain that I have just scratched the surface of possible outcomes. However, it is clear to me that the hay days of United States’ economic hegemony have corresponded to periods of a strong dollar. This might be an easy template to apply to a move back to the gold standard.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Back in 2009 Whoopi Goldberg on The View defended Roman Polanski by saying that his being charged with statutory rape wasn't "rape rape" (see: You Tube View). What (or whom) does this remind you of?
Nike is set to sell its new line of LeBron sneakers for $315 a pair. I direct you to a recent news item on this Nike release more for the extensive comments (tête-à-têtes) that follow after this sign-of-the-times squib than the actual article itself. Please take the time to follow the back and forth between the various polarized views expressed here, They demonstrate more than I possibly could about where we are and where we are going as a society. Here is the referenced item for you to click on: Local 10 Article. Enjoy!
Monday, August 20, 2012
- Her “reset” with Russia has seen Putin re-emerge as the belligerent bully he really is. (George W. Bush had this one wrong too.) Russia has opposed almost every one of America’s foreign policy initiatives regarding Iran, Syria and North Korea. It (and he) is clearly not our friend but, increasingly our adversary. Her silly attempt at cozying up with the Russian Bear has been met with repeated rebuffs.
- Her unthinking support of the Arab Spring has seen the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and now probably Syria. Let’s not forget that her State Department re-established diplomatic relations with Syria only a few months before what is effectively a civil war broke out there. Whether her misreading of what has been going on there is a result of her aide, Huma Abedin (Anthony Weiner’s wife), whispering in her ear is debatable … or her long-standing tilt toward the Palestinians. But she really has botched things up there but good.
- The policy she has pursued toward Iran has been a demonstrable utter failure. We have diddled and dawdled with supposed “sanctions” to the point where an atomic weapon capability in Iran appears only months away. Iran’s Ahmadinejad is now hooking up with Egypt, his considerable friends in Iraq, and even elements in Saudi Arabia to present Israel the gravest of threats. Yes, Syria seems to be escaping his grasp but, seeing how we bungled these other Middle East uprisings, I’m fairly confident we will screw up Syria too.
- Hillary’s and Barack Obama’s treatment of Israel has been nothing short of shameful. We have been disdainful, untrustworthy, and naively dismissive toward it, our only true friend in the Middle East. If and when this tinder box ignites, I (and many others) place it fully on Hillary’s shoulders.
- In South and Central America, Hillary’s and Obama’s deference toward Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the Castro’s of Cuba has emboldened other nations there to drift even further left … Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia … all are sounding more and more despotic and socialistic. I can not think of a single diplomatic success story emanating out of this area of the world during Hillary’s tenure.
- Despite Hillary’s recent swing through Africa, very little progress there has resulted from our State-Department’s policies … which appear vague and wavering. Africa, in general, is in such a state of disrepair that small initiatives and innovative diplomacy should have yielded great rewards. Where have we been?
- Hillary’s singular visible diplomatic success seems to have been in the Far East – Myanmar (Burma). Supposedly through her efforts, this country is slowly emerging into the 21st century. It has freed opposition leader, Suu Kyi, after 21 years of isolation and house arrest to take her seat in Parliament … and begun to introduce gradually democratic freedoms. However, elsewhere, in this area of the world (China, Indonesia, Japan, Viet Nam, etc.) we seem to exhibit no clear diplomatic weltanschauung.
So, although I understand the tendency of many Americans to moon over our former first lady, I believe that a careful viewing of her tenure as Secretary of State will show her to be a titanic failure.
Afterthought: Let us not forget that Hillary's State Department recommended against the building of the Keystone Excel pipeline from Canada.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Mark Halperin of Time magazine recently said that the media pretty much does what Obama wants (see: Breitbart TV).
D'OH! (In both contexts)
Although Halperin is a liberal, let's not forget that, not too long ago, on the Morning Joe show on MSNBC he called Obama "a dick." Welcome over from the dark side, Mark ...
Thursday, August 16, 2012
When a larger-than-life sports star says "its not about the money" ... its always about the money. Now, President Obama has just indicated that he will not jettison Joe Biden as his running mate (see: The Hill Story). So, I'll take a shot and predict that in the late Friday afternoon news dump sometime in the next few weeks, watch for the White House to quietly announce that, because of unspecified health reasons, Joe Biden will not be on the ballot in November. OK, so when Biden is toast and assuming President Obama asks Hillary Clinton to be his running mate this Fall … in other words, save his bacon from the Romney/Ryan fire ... I here choose to parse the ramifications of this convoluted political situation:
- Hillary and Bill Clinton clearly have mixed feelings toward Obama. There must still be a bitter taste in their mouths over the 2008 Presidential nomination process and the loss of what had assumed to be Hillary’s birthright. Yes, Hillary has served Obama loyally as his Secretary of State, but this can also be attributed to her desire to keep her name in the news in preparation for 2016.
- Although Hillary has repeatedly said that she was through with politics and would not be draftable by Obama as his Vice President, she is a consummate political animal … and one can never trust what so pure a politician says. If she runs alongside of Obama and their ticket was elected, she would, accordingly to the normal media narrative, be given great credit for this result and be the overwhelming choice as the 2016 Democrat Presidential nominee.
- If she accepted a spot on the Obama ticket, and this ticket lost for some strange reason, she still would be the natural choice in 2016. Since she would have the 2016 Presidential nomination prerogative in either case (can’t really lose it), she might even gamble and slyly help insure such a negative outcome (as sweet revenge for 2008).
- If she were to refuse Obama’s offer and The Barry runs with some lesser luminary (including Biden) as his second … and this ticket loses, the analysis put forward in the previous bullet point would still hold … but with higher fidelity. This is because Hillary would be viewed with greater sympathy … just like what happened in 2008 when she misted up in New Hampshire.
- The only real danger for Hillary’s Presidential prospects would be if Obama ran with someone other than Biden … and they won. (This outcome must be assumed to be a long shot.) This would cause Obama’s VP pick to be the presumptive Presidential nominee in 2016. And this would put a stake in the heart of Hillary’s Presidential ambition … since waiting until 2020 or 2024 would place her well into the twilight of her political career.
Bottom line, I predict that Biden’s going away would be pretty much sunny-side-up news for Hillary … just like the eggs that would go along with Obama's bacon she might be saving.
Addendum: For more on this issue see: The Daily Caller.
Government is a lot more efficient when you can ignore the will of the people. The Dream Act was introduced over 12 years ago as an attempt to solve our illegal immigrant problems (see: Wikipedia Entry). Congress was deluged with complaints that this was an amnesty program and eventually had to abandon this legislation. Now with the stroke of a pen, “President” Obama has circumvented this country’s Constitutional process and has executive-ordered many of the tenants of this deep-sixed law into effect. Yesterday, this ukase was implemented around the country to an overwhelming reception from hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of those who have, until now, been living in the shadows (see: AP Story and NBC Chicago Story).
Independent of the charity arguments surrounding our tsar of tsar’s action, Obama has clearly and cleverly ignored the legal protocols that have been in place since our country’s founding. He is thumbing his nose at Madison and Jefferson and that great document they crafted. And why is there not a hew and cry from Republicans? Because they are unfortunately realistic … and know that many Hispanics would been even more inclined to vote against them in November. And, to politicians, getting elected usually comes before all other considerations.
But my question is: Is it not also realistic to assume that a large percentage of these newly documented immigrants will also vote against Republicans … despite all laws to the contrary? And, if this travesty of justice does grease the skids for Obama’s re-election, will his highness not take even grosser liberties with that manuscript for which he once was a college lecturer?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Free Beacon Story). This is about as low as political discourse can possibly go ... and this is the good news. The bad news is that Biden is digging himself such a deep hole with all his dubs and flubs that Obama may be forced to find himself another running mate before the debates start this fall. This would be a crying shame since Biden's mental decline is such a detriment to Obama's re-election chances that his removal could do nothing but help The Barry get four more years out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.
Addemdum: To see more of Biden's recent gaffs ... many of which have gone unreported ... see: White House Dossier. I think that it is increasingly likely that we will soon see Biden being dropped from the Democrat Presidential ticket (10:07 AM EST, 8/16/12).
Addemdum: To see more of Biden's recent gaffs ... many of which have gone unreported ... see: White House Dossier. I think that it is increasingly likely that we will soon see Biden being dropped from the Democrat Presidential ticket (10:07 AM EST, 8/16/12).
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
One of the beauties about being in office before an election is that you can direct government funds to the voters with the expectation that they will return the favor on election day. Our President is exercising this same prerogative in Iowa with the following announcement: "President Barack Obama will announce on Monday that the Department of Agriculture intends to buy up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish to help support farmers suffering from the drought." (see: NBC News Story). Now I can understand helping drought-stricken farmers with pork, lamb and chicken purchases ... but catfish purchases?
Isn't this a little like aiding tsunami victims by sending them surfboards?
In the upcoming debates, there are ten questions I would like to be asked of Joe Biden:
1) Since you have in the past been accused of leaking state secrets, have you had anything to do with any of the recent serious White House intelligence disclosures?
2) You voted against the George H.W. Bush's invasion of Kuwait to repel Iraq's invasion? You strongly advocated the splitting of Iraq up into three separate states along the lines of its ethnic minorities. You voted against George W. Bush's successful surge in Iraq. In general your foreign policy decisions have often been sub-optimal. If you were to become President, how can the American people trust your questionable judgement to maintain our hegemony in the world?
3) You have been accused of ... and admitted to plagiarizing part of a law review article in college and a large portion of a speech by Neal Kinnock. Do you believe that this is the character profile that Americans should expect of their Vice President?
4) You indicated to President Obama that the passage of Obamacare was "a big f...ing deal." In particular, which portion(s) of this remaking of the American health-care system are you most proud of? And do you condone the manner in which it was back-doored into law?
5) You chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas … which set the dubious standard for acrimony and partisanship. Are you proud of the what you accomplished with these hearings?
6) You chaired the Simpson-Bowles Commission whose recommendations for fiscal reform many have considered noteworthy … and which President Obama completely ignored. Did you ever go to bat with the President to try to get him to implement any or all of this committee’s findings?
7) You champion yourself as coming from working-class roots. How can you identify yourself as middle class when you live in a 3.5 million dollar mansion in
8) At the beginning of his administration, President Obama created a Middle-Class Task Force with you as its chairman. This task force was purposed with the duty of “raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in
9) Early on, President Obama also gave you the assignment of overseeing our 800 billion dollar Recovery Act ... better known as stimulus spending. Exactly how involved were you in this oversight since "many of its shovel ready jobs weren’t so shovel ready" … and this program has been generally deemed an utter waste of money?
10) Now that you and Nancy Pelosi have had considerable plastic surgery on the taxpayers's dime, do you believe that Medicaid and Medicare should make available equally lavish reconstructions for all their insurees?
Monday, August 13, 2012
In the upcoming debates, there are ten questions I would like to be asked of Paul Ryan:
1) You were a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted against its final recommendations which President Obama ignored anyway ... costing us two additional years of huge budget deficits. If you could do it all over, would you have voted for these reforms?
2) You have been widely castigated for putting forward two federal budgets that, although they passed the House, died in the Senate. You have been around
3) The Democrats are continuing to repeat the mantra that your tax reform proposals will cut taxes for the rich while increasing taxes on middle-class Americans. Without getting too deep into the weeds, how can you simply explain exactly how your and Romney’s current tax proposals will affect the various classes of our citizens?
4) Your suggested reforms to Medicare are being used by your opposition to frighten our senior citizens. How can you here assure our seniors that they will NOT be pushed off a cliff in their wheelchairs?
5) For American citizens, below age 55, you have proposed a Medicaid voucher program whereby they can shop around for health insurance that suits their needs better. Democrats retort that these premium supports will fall further and further behind their actual medical care costs … and the deficiency will come out of their pockets. How do you respond to such charges?
6) Your solution to our Medicaid problems involves block-granting states federal money so that they can solve the escalating costs in these programs each in their own way. How can you be sure that this process will not be equally inflationary and, instead of one large national medical care cost problem for indigent citizens, we will not end up with fifty separate state problems.
7) You voted for Medicare, Part B under President Bush. If you had a Mulligan on this vote, would you do it again?
8) In order to move toward a balanced federal budget, I assume you also would pare back spending in the discretionary portion of the federal budget. Please specify what your top three priorities would be ... and how far would you go with Defense Department cuts?
9) You have virtually no foreign policy experience and, since you are only a heartbeat away from becoming the leader of the Western World, what are your foreign policy concerns and priorities?
10) You are widely respected by your House colleagues for your camaraderie and working relations. What role do you see yourself playing, if you are elected, in helping Romney push his legislative agenda though what might be a hostile Congress.
A long time ago I got a fortune cookie which had the following message: "If your head and your heart agree, you are seldom wrong." Interestingly, I have had this adage proven correct many times since. My last post here discussed the Paul Ryan pick for the V.P. slot on the Republican ticket and concluded that it was a decision of the head and not of the heart ... as a Marco Rubio selection would have been. To me, this had clearly diminished Mitt Romney's chances of being elected President.
The reason that I had thought this is that I believe that the American people too often vote using their emotions and not their logic. However, seeing the enthusiasm at some of the Romney/Ryan rallies over the weekend, has moved the needle somewhat away from my initial conclusion. Also, some of the talking heads on television have pointed out that, recently both in liberal New Jersey and Wisconsin, voters have responded to cerebral arguments about the economic futures of their states. There, they have elected fiscally conservative politicians who have treated them like adults ... and leveled with them about what would happen if meaningful austerity measures were not enacted. And so, although I still believe that the upcoming campaigns will be over-loaded with emotional vitriol, I now believe that the Republicans may still have an outside chance of prevailing.
Incidentally, the last fortune cookie I broke open said, "If all you do is hope, change is dangerous."
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The AP is reporting that Mitt Romney will announce this morning at 9:00 that Paul Ryan is his choice for VP. I would love to see the AP be wrong ... for no other reason than that it would be sullied as a news source. But, assuming that it is right, what is my take on this first important Romney decision?
- It is a cerebral pick in that Paul Ryan is very smart ... he has the federal budget tattooed on the back of his hand. He knows where all the fiscal skeletons are and he can be instrumental in helping Romney fix our crushing federal debt burden. He has lectured the lecturers ... including that pompous one in the White House. And, in the upcoming debates, he will make mincemeat of that court clown, Biden.
- And it is a courageous pick on the part of Romney because Ryan has been twice vilified in the national media for his attempts to put forward budgets that would begin to repair things. Ryan has shown himself to be an easy target for demagoguery ... but then this has not fazed him. His obvious "damn the torpedoes" approach shows that he has a much larger "good" in mind than his own political stardom ... very unusual in these days of almost universal political sliminess. And Romney himself has shown himself willing to pick someone who, in important ways, is his better. This obviously is one of Romney's character traits that has served him well in his business career. It also augers well for the type of people that Romney would surround himself with if he is lucky enough to be elected.
I use the word "lucky" because I now believe that Romney's chances have been diminished by choosing Ryan. As some of you might remember, I would have preferred Marco Rubio mainly because of politics. (He was also Jeb Bush's preference and won the Fox News preference poll.) Rubio would have changed the dynamics of the race by appealing to many who look no further than the face and the name. I am loath to admit that the American electorate have too often proven themselves to be governed by their hearts and not their brains. Witness the elections of Carter and Obama.
For the Romney/Ryan ticket to prevail now, this same electorate needs to become much more cerebral. I can wish this to be the case, but my brain keeps whispering the opposite.
Friday, August 10, 2012
|Jon Hamm and friend|
Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security are being sued for sexual descrimination ... the kind that is entertainingly portrayed in that popular TV series "Mad Men." Having lived in New York City during the early sixties and having had many Madison Avenue friends, I can attest that this show has it pretty much dead on. However, this time around, it is alleged that the top female executives at Homeland Security are treating their male underlings with equivalent condescension (see: NY Daily News Story).
I guess, if one lives long enough, one sees most of the cycles of social intercourese (if you will excuse the expression.) In a very real way this suit might be characterized as "the roosters coming home to chick."
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Rush Limbaugh spent almost his entire program today discussing how Mitt Romney should respond to all the salacious attacks that the Obama team is currently smearing him with. Basically Rush's take was that, if you are on defense, you can't be on offense ... you can never move the ball down the field. You should not respond to such dirty charges as seen in recent Democrat attack ads (such as Romney effectively killed Joe Soptic's wife because Bain Capital ... after Romney was no longer active there ... shut down GST Steel which caused Soptic to lose his job and health insurance ... which was the reason, five years later, that Soptic's wife died of breast cancer) because it just keeps these charges in the news cycle.
Now, I am not a political consultant ... nor do I play one on cable TV. However, as I remember it, when Bill Clinton was under assault throughout his time on the national stage ... with a wide variety of charges from bimbo eruptions, to perjury charges, to the Whitewater scandal, to Monicagate, etc. etc. ... he responded using his rapid-response team with rabid attacks on his accusers (remember how Ken Starr was vilified?). This certainly was effectively offensive defense ... and Clinton is generally attributed with being a consummate politician. And recall what Rahm Emanuel (Obama's former junk-yard dog) has used as his political modus operandi? "If they bring a knife, you bring a gun."
Would it sully Romney's pristine image if his team was as belligerent as Clinton's was ... or as Obama's is? Probably ... however, I still do believe that Romney needs to go on offense with a rigorous defense of his reputation ... much like Clinton and his surrogates (James Carville, Paul Begala, Lanny Davis, George Stephanopolous, etc.) did all those twenty years ago. Unfortunately, Romney seems to have only one surly cur on his side, John Sanunu. He needs to surround himself with quite a few more offensive defenders ... ones the likes of Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, and Chris Christie.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
I have been warned by a friend to not pursue Obama’s possible Social Security number purloining mentioned in my previous blog entry. And there are too two other discordant Obama anomalies that have been deemed taboo by the popular narrative … Obama’s actual birthplace and his missing college records (applications, grade transcripts, etc.). Like a moth drawn to a flame, your blogster’s curiosity is peeked by these no-nos … and recent revelations make it even more difficult to follow the crowd in eschewing these mysteries. Maybe if it were just the birth certificate kafuffle, I would leave it alone. But the fact that Obama’s Chicago legal team has spent millions of dollars to block access to this info, arouses my radical-right tropisms. Here are the references to these recent Obama revelations … along with a few of my observations:
1) Social Security number – See: SS Number Challenge. This woman seems to know her stuff … and has carefully documented her misgivings about Obama’s possible Social Security number malfeasance.
2) Birthplace – See: American Thinker and LA Times Story. Yes, Sheriff Joe does have a bone to pick with the Obama administration … just like they with him. However, why did it take over three years for this “document” to be released? And if Obama’s long-form birth certificate is indeed a forgery, won’t it go down in the annals of history as a major sullying of the U.S. Constitution?
3) College records – See: The Blaze. (If, in fact, these college records still exist.) Again, this fellow obviously has it in for Obama, but why haven’t we seen a slew of thoughtful rebuttals to his recent allegations?
I will leave it to you Obama’s supporters to “snopes” the disproofs to these suppositions. Personally, I have found Snopes, once a fair-minded fact checker, increasingly to seem to be an arm of the Democrat National Committee. And since Harry Reid has established the template that, to clear up his charges that Romney paid no taxes for ten years … Romney must comply with Reid's disclosure demand, can’t the opposition also claim that Obama can solve the above enigmas by letting in the cleansing sunlight of complete disclosure?
I fully expect brickbats to follow … but then I’m no angel.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
In the upcoming debates, there are ten questions I would like to be asked of Barack Obama:
1) It's been speculated that you have a borrowed Social Security number since it was issued in Connecticut, a state in which you never have resided, and at a time when you were a child in Hawaii. How do you explain away this enigma?
2) You have played golf nearly 120 times during your White House tenure ... about once every 10 days. Add this to your many vacations, your pick-up basketball games, your recent constant fund-raising trips, your frequent White House celebrations, and your many other distractions. Do you believe that you have paid sufficient attention to your job-one during these difficult times?
3) Do you still believe that Israel should return to its 1948 borders ... and is Jerusalem Israel's capital?
4) Since your well-over one trillion dollars of government pump-priming spending has not caused an economic recovery in the United States ... do you still believe in Keynesian economics?
5) Seeing that the U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that the penalties specified under Obamacare are a tax, do you still claim that you have not raised taxes on the middle class? Or, to the contrary, if you endorse the Court's decision, are you then willing to reform this legislation to remove this tax?
6) You formed the Simpson-Bowles commission to help solve our burgeoning national debt crisis. You then ignored their recommendations and have instead proposed raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 as your only solution. Have you any other suggestions ... such as some specifics for reforming the U.S. federal entitlement programs?
7) You have been widely quoted as saying "you didn't build that" and accused of being a statist. Did you, in fact, write your two books by yourself ... or did you have ghostwriter help?
8) In order to move toward a balanced federal budget, would you pare back spending in the discretionary portion of the federal budget … if so, where ... and how far will you still go with Defense Department cuts?
9) The Consumer Protection Agency was created by Congress and Elizabeth Warren over two years ago to eliminate the risks to our financial systems like those created by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Recently, two new financial shocks have occurred -- J.P. Morgan’s over five billion dollar trading loss and the Libor interest rate fixing scandal. Is more regulation really the answer to such shenanigans?
10) Two of your foreign policy initiatives that have not succeeded have been your and Hillary Clinton’s “reset’ attempt with Russia ... and reestablishing diplomatic relations with Syria … only weeks before the current savagery began there. What foreign policy initiatives then are you most proud of?
Monday, August 06, 2012
In the upcoming debates, there are ten questions I would like to be asked of Mitt Romney:
1) You took no salary when you ran the 2002 Winter Olympics, nor when you were the governor of Massachusetts. If elected, would you take your $400,000 Presidential salary?
2) Do you believe that private-equity and hedge fund managers should continue to pay income taxes at the 15% “carried interest” rate?
3) Why do Mormons not permit non-Mormons to enter their temples? Do you agree with this restriction?
4) You have been castigated for not releasing 10 years of your tax returns instead of just the 2 years you have disclosed. Have you, in fact, paid considerable federal taxes during each of those missing 8 years?
5) It has been reported that you have off-shore bank accounts in the Bahamas, or Switzerland, or other locales. If this is or was the case, what was their purpose … and have you disclosed these accounts to the IRS?
6) What specific proposals do you have for reforming the U.S .income tax system?
7) What specific proposals do you have for reforming the U.S. federal entitlement programs?
8) Where would you pare back spending in the discretionary portion of the federal budget … and is the Defense Department one of them?
9) What specific regulatory burdens would you focus on removing in order to get Americans back to work?
10) What would your top foreign policy objectives be in the early years of your administration?
Over six years ago I wrote about my pet peeves. Here is an updated version of same:
Pasteurized Cider -- Every fall for many years I had purchased cold, dark, sweet, unfiltered apple cider locally. I would then leave it overnight on the kitchen counter until it started to ferment slightly. Finally, after a day of rechilling, I would then drink my slightly-carbonated, libation to autumn in New England. Now, due to a one-in-a-billion food-processing accident in California, all I can find is a pale, insipid, pasteurized product called “apple cider,” but much more like apple juice. Once again, the food Nazis have made my world a little smaller.
Anonymous Phone-Mail Messages -- It is quite grating to have placed an important and expensive call to an unfamiliar person in Saskatchewan only to get a terse phone-mail message that says, “Hi, it’s us. Please leave a message.” Now, these provincial putzes at least could include their phone numbers so that I know I haven’t called a bordello in Biloxi. (By the way, to be grammatically but annoyingly correct, it is “Hi, it’s we.”)
Magazine Inserts -- My main motivation for becoming insanely rich is so that I can hire a “magazine valet.” This would be one who, dressed in full livery with white suede gloves, would riffle through my newly-delivered magazines and remove all those loose solicitation cards. That way, when I read these periodicals, my lap would not be constantly littered with such detritus.
Friendly Phone Solicitors -- My systolic blood pressure soars rapidly when I answer the phone, then get that tell-tale electronic pause, and finally some boiler-room boor who flippantly says, “Hi, how ya doing today?” As if he cared? I now even get these solicitations after getting on the Do Not Call list. A friend of mine solved this problem with the following dialogue: He quipped to this opener with, “What do you care about me? You don’t even know me.” The solicitor then retorted, “Of course I care. It’s important to us here at Smarmy Credit Cards how you are.” My pal then parried, “But you’ve never met me. I could be a child molester. How can you possibly care for my well being?” In frustration the caller responded, “OK, I don’t care how you are.” With that, a third person (obviously, someone monitoring the call) came on the line and growled, “You’re fired!!” My friend hung up sporting an ear-to-ear grin. We need more of this kind of social protest.
Prolonged Voice-Mail Messages -- Frequently overly conscientious business people feel compelled to leave elaborate and up-to-the-minute phone messages, “Hi, this is Fred Mertz and I am in the office today, Thursday, July 23rd, but may be in a Board of Directors meeting or lunching with the Sultan of Brunei. I am interested in returning your call but, if it is important, you may want to contact my Executive Assistant, Siegfried Sassoon, the fourth, on extension 34895 ... or, if he is unavailable, my Executive Secretary, Nancy Drew, on extension 34897. If this is an emergency, you may call my beeper at 888-555-2345 and then enter 678-999. On Tuesday, my daughter had a bouncing baby boy, Mergatroid, weighing eight pounds, six ounces. We plan to vacation in the Barbados in September. My father’s gal bladder has stopped acting up. Thanks for your call. Please leave a message after the eighth beep.” I have reproduced the whole message here, but I generally hang up somewhere around the Sultan of Brunei.
Neat Litterbugs -- What possesses people to be fastidious while they are trashing things? There is a brand of urban slob who will reach down and carefully place a Starbucks latte cup right-side-up beside his/her car before leaving a parking space. Or neatly wrap a used diaper and put it under the nearest park bench. Do these teeny fits of tidiness really mitigate such gross slovenliness?
Architectural Food -- It seems these days that every dish I order in a fancy restaurant comes piled high as a tottering pilaster ... defying gravity and good gastronomic sense. Has the measure of culinary merit now become altitude and not sapor? Another paradox to ponder -- why are all our newly-built civic monuments flatter than the proverbial pancake?
Public Grooming -- In olden days it was considered impolite to comb you hair or put on your makeup in public ... hence powder rooms. It’s not that I don’t enjoy inhaling clouds of dandruff on a plane, but need I also sit on the finger-nail clippings of others? I suppose public tooth brushing or face shaving are just a whisker away.
Plastic Thread -- There should be a new place in purgatory into which the inventor of clear plastic thread and its users would be hurled. Garment manufacturers, in order to save a few pennies by not having to change thread colors, now torture their wearers with the constant scratching from the cut ends of this filament. This purgatory locale would a briar patch filled with nettles and razor wire.
Big Word Users -- Few scholarly artifices engender my trenchant passions like those literati who espouse antiquated synonyms whilst composing expository prose. These inane and erudite accouterments generally bequeath naught to their reader’s comprehension other than an acute discernment of their author’s ego-inspired hyperbole.
Compulsive Call Screening -- Due to such things as the previously-mentioned friendly phone solicitors, some people never answer their phones. Instead they screen all their calls. This, of course, is understandable, but can sometimes cause extreme frustration. For instance, like when you know that they are at home and you need to reach them in a hurry ... say to tell them that someone with a hockey goalie’s mask and chain saw is jimmying their cellar door.
Airline Lies -- Every time a flight is canceled, airline counter personnel offer the same lame excuses: “Your plane is experiencing mechanical difficulties.” or “Weather at your plane’s feeder airport has forced the scrubbing of this flight.” Just once I would like to hear: “This plane is not fully booked, so we are canceling it and cramming you into a later one so we can generate higher profits.”
Call-Forwarding Hell -- Most of us have had that exasperating experience of calling the “service” department of a company and then entering a maze of call-forwarding message from which there is no escape. My advice is, “Don’t get sucked in ... hit “0” immediately!” or, better yet, hang up. As soon as you hit the first response key, you have made an investment ... an investment that becomes more difficult to abandon the further you go. If it weren’t for that wonderful background music (generally some local radio station blaring either rapper, Ice-T, or napper, Barry Manilow), this process could justly be compared to the Spanish Inquisition. But the worst is, after you have spent 15 minutes of careful call-forwarding navigation, you end up back at the initial message. Uggggh!
Loud, Ostentatious Cell Phone Users -- Need I say more? Come the revolution, these boorish boobs will be vying with overrated movie stars and snotty TV anchor persons for low numbers in the firing-squad lottery.
Ham Rind -- Why is it that many hams and ham steaks now come with a layer of plastic welded to the outside? Ham used to have nice soft tasty fat on its outside, not a cuticle of a non-organic nature that reminds me of the cellophane rind on bologna. And why do U.S. consumers tolerate such nonsense? And while we’re at it, let's get rid of the huge brine injections that meat processors give hams to bulk them up for higher profits. This thumb-on-the-scale trick adds nothing to the taste of ham ... it only causes water to exude during cooking and dilutes the resulting flavor.
“Jumbo” Eggs -- Has anyone noticed that jumbo eggs aren’t often “jumbo” any more? Jumbo egg cartons have “jumbo” compartments, but the eggs you often find there are frequently one or two sizes too small. As an educational exercise sometime, compare the largest egg of a “Large” egg crate with the smallest egg of a “Jumbo” egg crate. Your eyes may be opened.
Strange Names -- Weird spellings of common names is an irksome trend. Novel spellings like Jessye, Eriq, and Alisyn I guess are meant to set children apart ... but they unnecessarily slow the pace of life. How many times a year do people with such nonsensical appellatives have to stop and spell their names during introductions and applications? It’s not just a waste of their time, but also wastes the time of those on the receiving end. It even forces everyone to ask for spelling of those with normal names ... just in case. I suggest that parents endow their offspring with uniqueness in some other, more enduring but less trivial way ... say with character or selflessness or piety or honor. Even common spellings of weird names don’t ensure that the children so named will be so endowed ... witness Chastity Bono.
Commercials on Public Television -- Public television is supposed to be funded by individual and corporate donations and, disputably, the government. So why is it that corporate donations engender what increasingly appear to be commercials? Public television is slowly morphing its segment breaks into product commercials. First, just the name of the company was mentioned. Then a corporate image statement of one sentence was added. Then two sentences. Then product names were introduced. Then favorable attributes of these products were added. And through it all the length of these segment breaks keeps increasing. It won’t be long before public television is as commercial as network TV. Then perhaps we might wean them from our government’s funds ...
Free Handicap Parking -- Now I don’t have any problem with physically handicapped people having special parking places. However, why is this parking free? What about a nabob who has a bum leg? He gets gratis parking (near the action) while a destitute schmo who happens to be physically able must feed a ravenous parking meter. Why do we equate being physically handicapped with being fiscally distressed?
Mothers with Infants Parking -- The other day I saw a sign reserving a parking space in a supermarket lot that said “Mothers with Infants.” Now, since we already have handicapped parking and loading zones, this new category of privilege is a little disturbing. What about “Fathers with Infants” parking? What about “Cars with Faulty Mufflers” parking? What about “Parents with Whining Children” parking? What about “Munchausen’s Syndrome Sufferers” parking? When will it all stop?
Homophobe-Phobes -- People who find in-your-face homosexuals uncomfortable or even offensive are quickly labeled “homophobes” and are automatically criticized or even ostracized by many ... sometimes with a good bit of vitriol. Can we, in turn, stamp those, who rail against “homophobes,” as “homophobe-phobes”?
Trite Expressions of Grief -- A smoldering trend that once erupted into a conflagration with Princess Dianna’s death was the trite expression of grief -- a Teddy Bears tied to a chain link fence, a plastic balloon with a maudlin message, a rubber duck with a [blue, red, pink, black] ribbon around its neck, one rose packaged in Saran Wrap, etc. Such anonymous crepe hanging is like chalk on a blackboard to me. In Princess Dianna’s case, the sheer volume of this banality became a public health hazard. Please, please, please ... when I pass on to that place where there are no more pet peeves; let no one memorialize my death with a plastic balloon of any type with any message, however heartfelt.
Diagonal Parking in Parallel Spaces -- “I’m so important and rich that I get two parking spaces while you get none.” This is the kind of ludicrous thinking that causes people to park their new expensive, usually foreign, cars diagonally across two parking spaces ... denying others the extra spaces. Greed and anal retentiveness trump neighborliness in this ostentatious power play by these boobs. If I were a miscreant, I would “key” their shiny news, but I am not. However, I shall find no real fault with those that do.
U.S. Female Correspondents Wearing Hajibs (Islamic Head Scarves) -- I find it profoundly offensive to see non-Muslim female TV correspondents (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) reporting from the Mideast wearing hajibs or keffiyehs (usually black and white checked) as though they are Muslims and have sided with the terrorists.
Conspicuous Consumption -- Take a few hours off one afternoon and watch some of the teen-directed cable channels (such as MTV) and gag your way through their presentations of the newly rich and famous (rap stars, professional athletes, etc.) giving us a tour of their McMansions ("This is my video game room." "Here are my paintings on black velvet." "This is my large collection of high-performance cars and motorcycles.") And see if you can find any redeeming social value in such lurid displays of conspicuous consumption.
Turkey Pastrami -- pastrami needs to be made from juicy beef and marbled with copious fat … otherwise it is just spiced cardboard. Making pastrami out of turkey is like constructing Manhattan skyscrapers out of Tinker Toys.
Multi-colored Kids’ Plastic Outdoor Stuff -- I don't mind these toddler contraptions hidden away IN THE BACK YARD! But increasingly brain-dead parents are placing them in highly visible locations so that many houses are taking on the appearance of a McDonalds' playpen.
Child Car Seats -- I understand the need for infant car seats … but now we must place children up to their Sophomore years in college in contraptions that cost too much and do nothing but take up sitting space in our cars. Parents with more than two small children are therefore compelled to buy huge SUVs or vans just to hold these child cages proscribed by our nattering class.
"American people want …" -- Politicians who aver (usually on Cable TV) that "The American people want … blah blah blah." James Carville started this smarmy trend … now followed by such luminaries as Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews. How these morons (usually liberal) know what the "American people want" is beyond me? I usually DON'T desire what is claimed of me and strongly resent such words being put in my mouth.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
Senator John Kerry has once again proposed spending taxpayer money to cure a problem that the federal government itself has caused. Fish populations, particularly cod, have plummeted recently ... threatening increased federal restrictions on fish catches and a looming financial catastrophe among New England fishermen. Live-Shot Kerry's solution is to declare this a federal disaster area and start passing out relief checks to his loyal fishermen voters (see: Worcester Telegram Story).
Can we please ask ourselves why are cod populations dropping? And it is not due to overfishing ... by man at least. It is caused by an explosion in the federally-protected gray and harbor seal populations off of the New England coast ... which are decimating the cod fishing industry ... and bringing the great white sharks with them. Seal populations off Cape Cod have grown from 10,000 to over 300,000 in recent years (see: Accuweather Story). I heard a New Bedford fisherman on the radio Friday saying that, when he hauls in his nets, virtually all the cod therein have had their bellies eaten out by seals. This makes them commercially worthless. As a result, he and his fellow fisherman are reduced to going after junk fish ... like dogfish and skate. (Perhaps we might have to change the name of that famous peninsula to Cape Dogfish?)
So Mr. Live-Shot Senator, I have a better answer than more silly government largess. Perhaps, we can start harvesting these pesky seals instead? I'm sure that the cod fishermen would be happy to help ... I suspect by Xmas they would have things under control.
Friday, August 03, 2012
|Picture from the Powerline Blog|
As it turns out the U.S. economy has created only 3.2 million net jobs (not 4.5 million) since January of 2010 (a little over 29 months ago) while, at the same time, our population has grown by 5.5 million ... and 4.4 million people have stopped looking for jobs (left the labor force).
Year-to-date, these numbers show job growth of 583 thousand (not 1.5 million) while our population has grown by 1.1 milliom and 466 thousand people have left the labor force.
And just in the last month, these statistics show that the U.S. economy has lost 195 thousand net jobs (NOT growth of 163,000 as widely reported ... quite disturbing) while, at the same time, our population has grown by 199 thousand ... and 348 thousand people have stopped looking for jobs. And this drop in the number of those seeking jobs is the only way that our current unemployment rate isnot higher than 8.3%.
But even more damning are the numbers since Obama took office (January, 2009). Since then, the U.S. economy has created only 2.3 million net jobs while, at the same time, our population has grown by 7.6 million people ... and 6.7 million people have left the labor force. If the U.S. labor force participation rate was the same today as it was in January, 2009 (65.4%), then our unemployment rate would be a more revealing 10.6%!
As always, I get this data from the CPS Tables and by clicking on the HTML version of the A-1 table under Monthly Household Data. (If you question the veracity of my above assessments, please go to this site and see for yourself.)
Howard Hughes liked and trusted LDS (Latter Day Saints) believers. In his dotage, when he was shuffling around with Kleenex boxes on his feet and with long, uncut fingernails, a phalanx of Los Vegas Mormons ran his finances and businesses with utmost honesty and honor. I, myself, have known over the years a number of Mormons and have admired and respected them all. I have found them all to be straightforward, trustworthy, and very capable.
Unfortunately there is one glaring exception to this generalization ... Harry Reid, the senior Senator from Nevada, the Democrat Majority Leader, and a Mormon. Harry Reid is a sneaky scoundrel; a pious poltroon; a piece of pond scum; a doddering doo-doo-head; a rascally rogue; a slimy snake-in-the-grass, a black-hearted blaggard; a noxious nincompoop; a callow, craven, capricious cockroach; a mendacious magpie; and a jerky jackanape.
Two recent Harry Reid shenanigans point out how low this man can stoop (both literally and figuratively):
1) He went on the floor of the Senate and repeated, without any attribution, what is basically a libelous rumor -- that Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes for ten years. Romney responded with "put up, or shut up." See: Fox News Story
2) He recently cursed-out an (African-American) member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who dared to seem to support the storing of nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain (Nevada). His language was inflammatory and supportive of the above pejoratives I have applied to Reid. See: Powerline Story and note Reid's base language.
Add to this that, in my and many others' opinion, Harry Reid is a primary reason that our Congress has been in grid-lock for the last three years. Reid controls the Senate like a maniacal martinet and will not allow any debate on the numerous House bills that have been forwarded to help get this nation back to work. And he has also not, for this same period allowed the Senate to pass a federal budget ... one of his primary Constitutional duties.
Do I make my point?
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Princess Pelosi is pushing the Obama administration to relax its deportations of illegal aliens who might be LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders). See: The Hill Story. This makes enormous sense since Medicaid has oodles of extra money to spend on $100,000 addadictome operations (a popular transgender procedure).
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
(Reuters) - "President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government ..."
As it turns out, the current White House is transparent where it should be opaque ... and opaque where it had promised to be transparent.