Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Road Block to Fuel Efficiency

Many states, like Georgia, California and Nevada, have annual vehicle taxes or registration charges that are based on a vehicle's assumed market value. This tax, called an "ad valorem tax," provides for a maximized tax level in the first year that a car is taken off the showroom floor. Then, over a period of five, seven or ten years, that tax is reduced on step-basis until some standard or minimum tax level is eventually achieved. This is a class-based tax on the assumption that it targets the "rich" who can afford a new or newer car. It favors the poor of the community who have and hold older cars. It certainly acts as an incentive for someone to keep an older car as long as they can keep it running.

In Barack Obama's acceptance speech of Thursday, he mentioned his goal of getting off Middle East oil in 10 years. Of course, he didn't specifically say how that would be done. He did, however, mention that his plan would include assisting people in buying newer and more efficient cars. I suppose he would do this with some kind of Federal tax deduction as a incentive for buying a new car.

To me, this is another case of the "left" hand not understanding or knowing what the other hand his doing. Because of the prevalence of "ad valorem taxes" in America, mostly in Democratic, tax-it-if-moves legislatures, the ad valorem tax will always act as a deterrence to anyone wanting to buy a new or newer car. That's because the Federal tax deduction, the one that Mr. Obama will probably propose, will only apply in the first year. From then on and until the minimum tax level is achieved, the owner of the car will continue to pay the higher tax for his newer car. Therefore, only the higher income peoples of our society will be able to afford both the new car and afford the tax burden that goes with it. Mr. Obama doesn't know it but, in essence, he had just promised a tax cut for the rich. The rich who can afford new cars and will gladly take that tax deduction against the new and higher taxes that Mr. Obama plans to impose on them.

It is really easy for a national politician to make speeches that sound so rosy. However, the implementation is something entirely different. I guess the "hope" that Mr. Obama is always talking about is the "hope" that you, the voter, can't figure out that he can't really achieve what he is saying. Right, Mr. Obama!

One final note. Barack Obama seems to think that the Middle East is the only source of oil that we should worry about. This just shows how clueless he is. Russia is a big oil producer in the world. Oil is helping to fuel their new military growth. Because both Western and Eastern Europe are so dependent on Russian oil, don't expect any effective or real or substantial actions to be taken against Russia by either NATO or in the United Nations. Also, more closely to home, Venezuela is another oil producer that is flush with cash from the current high oil prices and is heavily buying military equipment from Russia. We should be seriously concerned about any future moves Venezuela can take against its neighbors in South America and, ultimately, against us. Also, the oil markets in the world work like a big commingled bucket that gets dipped into by most non-old and some oil producing countries in the world. While we don't trade with a country like Iran, it is more than likely that we are, today, getting Iranian oil into are ports. A staff writer from the Obama-friendly Associated Press clearly outlined how unlikely Mr. Obama's promise of Middle East oil dependence would be (See Full Story).

Image by Danilo Prates' on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain Gives Women Hope

With Sarah Palin as John McCain's V.P. pick, women may finally have a chance at the Presidency within a few, short years. Of course this assumes that John McCain makes it to the Presidency; does well; and, like a lot of V.P.'s, she is able to run and win the Presidency. Women had their hopes dashed when Obama won over Hillary Clinton and, then, put Joe Biden, not a woman, on the ticket. Now, those disaffected Hillary Clinton voters now have a place to go. Even if McCain only gets 10 percent of the Hillary backers, this may be enough to put John McCain over the top against Obama.

Additionally, Sarah Palin easily puts aside the Barack Obama claim of 4 more years of Bush. I hardly think that Sarah Palin exemplifies Dick Cheney!

Sarah Palin, like John McCain, is a maverick in her own right. She has bucked her party to do what she thinks is right. She has fought big oil and did not cozy up to it like the left would have you believe about Bush/Cheney. Like McCain, she is a "Teddy Roosevelt" kind of environmentalist. She is an environmental realist and not some kind of enviro-nut. She believes in drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge; but, doing it safely and cleanly. Beyond that, however, her stand on the environment could appeal to moderate "greens" in this country.

On typically Democratic issues, she a lot of pluses.

First, she was a card carrying union worker in the past. That's right, there are actually Republicans in the unions (Oh, by the way...Contrary to popular belief, there are actually liberals in our armed forces; and, they aren't all gay!). Her husband is currently a union member working the oil field of Alaska's North Slope. Her mother and father were both union workers. And, to top things off, her dad was a union teacher. Of course, being a woman, she can bring women's issues to the table. In fact, in many ways she almost looks like a Democrat.

But make no mistake about it, Palin is a true Republican which should help John McCain with his own base. She is pro-life and pro-gun and a strict spending conservative. Further, she represents "change" because she is, like John McCain, for government reform and against wasteful spending. Tax cuts and not tax increases are her priority. Like McCain, she has crossed the aisle to get the job done. Her gubernatorial cabinet in Alaska is comprised of both Democrats as well as Republicans.

As usual, the Democrats are already trying to paint Palin as inexperienced. So, I guess we have a choice. With Barack Obama and Joe Biden, you have the choice of a rookie as President with V.P. who is probably better able to be the President than Barack, himself. For McCain/Palin, you get experience in John McCain and someone that is somewhat inexperienced as a politician but has already achieved an elected office as the chief executive of the State of Alaska. Prior to that, she managed a city's affairs as the mayor. In both cases, she had people, budget, and operational responsibilities. No Senator, including McCain, can boast that on their curriculum vitae. Actually, Sarah Palin has held some kind of public office since 1992. That's 4 years longer than Barack has been in any public office. I really don't think the Democrats want to push the "experience" thing with their still-in-diapers choice of Barack Obama.

I think McCain's choice of Palin is excellent. It will disarm any attacks against her because such attacks will just open old wounds that were created during the Obama defeat and treatment of Hillary Clinton. Sarah brings executive experience and a very apparent ability to fast-track to the top. And, most importantly, she will probably skim off some yet-to-be-determined disaffected Hillary voters.

Image by's on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Spiraling Costs: The Biggest Risk in a Nationalized Health Insurance Program

As far as anyone really knows, there are about 47 million "people" in America, not just Americans, that are uninsured. The reason I say "people" and not just Americans is because more than 15 million of those 47 million are estimated to be illegal aliens. Half the remainder of that number are young people who have the available option for health insurance at their jobs but elect not to buy it because they feel they are young and in good health. So, that leaves about 15 million people who truly can't afford health and health care insurance. That's the number that any nationalized health insurance program should aim to fund. But, the Democrats want to fund the full 47 million. (Some actually want a single, socialized medical system in America and that's a topic for another blog entry).

A major problem with any nationalized health insurance system is having a system that truly provides government compensation for those, and only those, who can't afford it. Unless there are controls on edibility for government-funded health insurance, my guess is that the 47 million, who are uninsured today, will easily become 100 million or more in short order. That's because Americans will work the system. Why pay for their own insurance if they know the government will pickup the tab? That's only common sense. Without controls, I would expect millions of Americans to drop their out-of-pocket insurance and apply for government-funded and payed-for insurance. This is when things go completely get out of control and the burden to the taxpayer literally explodes. It will become another nightmare program like welfare, food stamps, and social security that will place unfair tax burdens on the future workers and tax payers of this country.

Along with some form of "means testing" in order to sort out those who can't afford insurance from those that can, we need tort reform. Lawsuits are directly driving costs up with higher and ever higher jury settlements in the millions upon millions of dollars. Every lawsuit that is awarded results in higher insurance costs to the doctors and other healthcare providers. These higher insurance costs result in higher bills to the patient. Additionally, there tons of indirect costs, too, as doctors try to "cover their asses" against being a target of a lawsuit. Even a simple sore throat, that is presented to a doctor, can result in hundreds of dollars in testing to make sure that the doctor didn't missing something like cancer. Of course, if he did miss a diagnoses, you can bet he will get sued. This is the effect that all these lawsuits have had on the medical industry. Costs can be further exaggerated by the use of medical specialist. Again, a general practitioner is less likely to make a diagnosis on their own. They would prefer to send a patient to a specialist rather than solely make a diagnoses. In the past he may have rarely used a specialist. But, lawsuits have changed that practice. So, again, costs are skyrocketed because of the higher costs associated with the increased use of expensive specialists.

Lastly, the preventative drug regimens of today have forced doctors to increase testing procedures to insure that specific drugs like statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) aren't having a damaging effect on the kidneys, liver, or other organs. While the incidence of drug-related organ failure is probably quite rare, no doctor will never risk being sued by passing on blood testing; even though the annual costs of those tests can be quite expensive.

To me, the biggest risk of any nationalized health insurance program is the ever spiraling costs. Unless a national health insurance program has protections against dumping-for-government-coverage and the explosion of lawsuits in this country, it is doomed to fail. That's just my opinion.

Image by interplast's on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Perpetuated Lie on Economics

If you have listened to the speakers at this week's Democratic Convention, you would think that most of America was living a "gulag-like" existence because of the economic policies of George Bush. They would have you believe that it was "Standing Room - only" at the unemployment offices. That soup lines were wrapped around our city streets. That families, thrown out of their homes due to foreclosure, are huddled around abandoned and overturned oil barrels and burning scraps of wood and newspapers to keep warm. Cars are rusting in the streets because the average American can't afford to drive them to work as a result of the Bush friendliness to the big oil companies and the resulting high gasoline prices. Then, amid all this poor and middle class torment, you have the wealthy friends of "W" laying around on their roman-style lounge chairs and watching their flat screen TV's while laughing riotously as they watch the nightly news and see the poor of this country struggling to survive. What a horrible scene they seem to paint.

Of course, this portrayal of the downtrodden is the same populist message that the Democrats and many socialist dictators have used over the years to gain control of a country. From Mao to Lenin to Castro and to, most recently, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, this message plays well to the "working classes" and the "poor" of our society. To some extent, this talk-down of the American economy has worked. In the last 7-1/2 years of polling during the Bush Administration, the majority of respondents have said that they thought that economic conditions in America were bad. However, when they are asked about their own situation, the majority thought that their own personal situation was alright. The national media has done much to promote the false belief about the economy. They bury the good news about the economy in the bowels of their media pages. At the same time, they try to make George Bush look ineffective by putting any economic bad news on the front page. They've done this with the economy and they have done this with the war in Iraq.

Putting the perceptions, as painted by the Democrats, aside, it is the economic facts that tell the real truth. The facts are simple. While Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats keep claiming a woeful economy that is in recession, this week's economic figures continue to say something entirely different.

First, this morning's revised numbers on the Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") showed that the economy just didn't grow at a weak 1.9 percent, as previously thought, but, instead, came in at a healthy 3.3 percent for the 2nd Quarter (See Full Story). Barack Obama has been saying we are in a recession for the last 10 months or more. However, the GDP numbers for the last 3 quarters, alone, prove what he keeps saying to be seriously flawed. In fact, Obama is now running a TV ad that mocks John McCain for saying that he doesn't think we are headed into a recession (Click to see that Obama Ad from August 12, 2008). Apparently, the Obama people are relying on the fact that, with the help of the national media, America will just believe his lie about this economy. But, two strong quarters of GDP make John McCain to be the better prognosticator of what is happening in our economy and not Obama.

This morning, once again, the Jobless Claims number fell 10,000 claims since the rise we saw in and around the increase of the minimum wage (See Full Story). As I had said previously (Click to see my previous blog entry) the "claims numbers" should be rising if we were truly in a recession.

Yesterday, the Durable Goods orders (a measure of expensive capital items being purchased by consumers and corporations) was up at a higher rate higher than expected (See Full Story) . The economists had projected a meager one-tenth of one percent gain. But, the number came in 1300 percent higher at 1.3 percent. This number is significant because it shows that corporations are comfortable enough with their business environments to spend their reserve cash for expensive, big ticket items like heavy machinery, trucks, etc. Items that mean employment for high-paying manufacturing jobs. If a company saw bad days ahead, they wouldn't be committing that kind of money to items that may or may not contribute to the bottom line in the months to come. Simply speaking, they would prefer to keep the powder dry.

Lastly, home sales were a surprise as reported on Tuesday (See Full Story). This is important because it might signal a bottom to the housing crisis. Certainly, we will need next month's numbers in order to confirm a true bottom.

Throughout the Democratic Convention, not once has anyone ever a mentioned 9/11. The reason for that is that they might have to explain why Bush had to implement his tax cuts. It would also lead to an explanation of the Clinton recession that was handed to Bush. Throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has claimed that he, not McCain, is the economic lighthouse that this country needs. Unfortunately, his economic lighthouse is a mirage. A mirage that is sending false economic signals to Americans in hopes that he can win the Presidency and hoist a whole host of expensive socialistic programs on America. Plain and simple, Obama has and is lying about the conditions of our economy for his personal gain. His claims about the economy are similar to his false claims about the surge in Iraq. The Democrats have never (and will never) admit to the fact that tax cuts turned this economy around after the fateful events of 9/11 and Clinton recession of 2000.

They have cherry-picked facts to make the economy look worse than it is. If you listen to Barack Obama, the Clinton Presidency saw a $6,000 increase in the average salary and 22 million new jobs. However, they never admit to the economic situation of the Dot-com boom that really accounted for this fact (Click to see my previous blog entry). They choose to ignore the recession at the end of the Clinton Administration and the disastrous effect 9/11 had on our economy just months after Bush took office.

I have been committed to writing this blog because there is just to much "fog" associated with the politics from both the right and the left. However, my focus has been on the Democrats because of lies that started with Bill Clinton and that have been perpetuated by the left-friendly national media and our Democrats in Congress. I saw Bill Clinton snooker this country with lies about the economy and mistake after mistake in foreign policy. All you have to do is look at his less than bold mistake in Somalia and in the now-famous "Black Hawk down" incident to know this. Also, look at his timidity towards capturing/killing Bin Laden and how that may have ultimately cost thousand of American lives on 9/11. Now, we are possibly at the precipice of another weak President, called Barack Obama, who is using the Clinton lies to bolster his non-existent experience and left-wing garbage about economics. I just think the true story has to be told. I do this with facts and links to the facts rather than make some hollow statements, or by name calling like so many people on the left. There is a reason that there has only been one Democratic President since FDR to get re-elected and, believe me, that should not have happened. But, Bill Clinton was a smooth liar who got elected on an economy-stupid-lie in the first place and, then, got re-elected on the false belief that it was his economic polices and not the boom that was responsible for the good economics of that time. I see the same smooth lies coming from Obama and I will do everything to expose those lies in this blog.

Thor, Zeus, and, now, Obama!

Some people laughingly refer to Barack Obama as the "One" or the "Messiah." If it isn't the mainstream media that is giving him god-like adoration, it is Barack Obama, himself, referring to himself as the "one." He makes statements like "we are the one that we have been waiting for." You've really got to question the use of "we" in that statement. Is "we" the new "holy trinity" of Obama. Is he seated in his heavenly throne with Pelosi and Reid seated to his right and to his left? (Oops! A correction. I really meant to say: "seated to his far left hand and to his farther left hand.") And, what about that utterly messianic phrase of "that we have been waiting for"? I am sure the Magi have packed their bags and climbed onto their camels and are well on their way to Washington, D.C. with an expected E.T.A. of Inauguration Day, January 2009. They will be guided by the "star" that is now over Denver but will eventually swing into position over our nation's Capital.

Just recently, Nancy Pelosi said that "God has blessed us with Barack Obama." How Christ-like. Of course, Nancy should know. She is now one of the new theologians of the Catholic Church (see my blog as of two days ago). Apparently, God has more than just one Son that he was willing to send us earthly mortals.

Certainly, Barack's trip to Europe and his speech in Berlin gave all the appearances of being the "One"; once again. In that forum, he made sure that he was not simply seen as "a" candidate for the President of the United States but as "the" leader of the whole world. Only a true god could speak in those terms!

So, it is no wonder that Obama will have a setting and stage that is fit for a god when he delivers his party's acceptance speech tonight. In the continuance of the god and god-like themes, the powers of Team Obama and the Democratic Party have decided to create a stage that truly mimics the classic Greek Temples that were once built in honor of their gods (See Full Story).

I can just picture it now! Barack will step onto the altar of adoration at the outdoor stadium called Invesco Field. As usual, he will hold his head high with his typical arrogance that is, of course, becoming of any god. Then, 75,000 common plebes of the Democratic Party will present themselves to the "One". The real question of the night will be what protocol those 75,000 temple-goers, at the Shrine of Obama, will use? Will they kneel and bow their heads. Will they bring prayer rugs and throw themselves down before their god? Or, will the Democratic Party, just for this one night, suspend the normal adoration and just allow the followers to clap and shriek in rapture and ecstasy? Any way you shake it, it will truly be the second coming! Or, the first; depending on who does the counting!

Personally, I think the Democrats and Team Obama are making another mistake with the "Greek Temple" theme. I think the voters are tiring of this "god-like" stupidity by the the media, the Democratic Party, and from Barack, himself. He's just a politician and one who's still in diapers. Clearly, the polls are showing that this so-called god is seriously losing his followers!

Image by Great Beyon on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Now, Change You "Can" Believe In!

Real Clear Politics maintains a moving compilation of recent Presidential Election polls (See Full Story).

Yesterday, for the first time since Barack Obama clinched the top Democratic spot, John McCain actually took the lead in the Gallup poll with a 2 point lead. These numbers included the "Biden pick" as V.P. for Obama.

(Update: This morning, the Rasmussen Tracking poll has McCain moving into a 1 point lead from yesterday's tie; and, the Gallup, rather giving McCain a two point lead, has Obama ahead, again, by one point. Click on link, above, to view. )

The Real Clear Politics summary of poll's through yesterday now looks like this:

One month ago, the same Real Clear Compilation looked like this:

Note: You can get an enlarged view of each chart by clicking on it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Update: Barack Obama and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge

On Sunday, I posted a blog entry that talked about the failed Chicago Annenberg Challenge ("CAC:) and Barack Obama's association with the radical William Ayers (See blog entry).

Apparently, the University of Illinois At Chicago will now release 140 boxes of CAC records that they had previously kept from the public eye (See Full Story). It will be interesting to see if there are any game-changing facts that are exposed about Barack Obama and his relationship with William Ayers.

Michael Barone has written an excellent and expansive article that covers Obama/Ayers/CAC issue. That article was published, this morning, on the Real Clear Politics website (See Full Story).

Pelosi: The New Catholic Theologian?

I think Nancy Pelosi's appearance on Meet the Press just shows to what extent pro-abortion Catholics like Pelosi (and Joe Biden and John Kerry) will go to deny their own faith in the protection of Barack Obama's misstep at the Saddleback Forum and in support of Roe v. Wade (See Video).

No matter what Nancy Pelosi says, the Catholic Church is "not" in some kind of quandary over abortion. They are clearly against it. In fact, abortion aside, they have even been against birth control. That belief is as old as the Old Testament reference to it being a sin if you "spill your seed on the ground." The Catholic Church has, as long as I have lived, believed that human life begins at conception. There have been those within the Catholic Church who have argued that a human life is not a human life until the "soul" actually occupies the body. But, the Catholic Church has never been in some kind of "crap-shoot" mode as to when that might actually occur. Instead, without any clear proof as to when a human becomes a "human with a soul", the "Church" has always taken the safe route and have said "at conception".

I can't believe that the Catholic Church hasn't spoken out against what Pelosi said on Sunday's "Meet the Press". To me, this is an attempt to rewrite the beliefs of the Catholic Church and to literally create a Catholic Church according to Nancy Pelosi (for the benefit of a political platform). She did this publicly on a nationally televised show and it totally distorts the truth. What ever happened to the Church's supposed stand against those Catholic politician's who promote or practice abortion? If they would "excommunicate" people like Pelosi, as they have threatened to do in the past, this kind of religious B.S. from a so-called practicing Catholic wouldn't ever happen again. Apparently, having rich Catholics and their donations (like Pelosi, the Kennedy family, and John Kerry) is more important than protecting the teachings and precepts of the "Catholic Church"!

Image of Pope by Agencia Brasil with Creative Commons Licensing remix/adapt/modify permission (Click For more Information). Specifically modified by Cranky George for this blog entry.

Image of Nancy Pelosi is Public Image of the United States Government with public domain authority (Click for more Information). Specifically modified by Cranky George for this blog entry.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Biden's "Foreigner" Foreign Policy

OK. Biden was apparently picked because of his foreign affairs and foreign policy experience. But, just looking at Iraq, you have to wonder about his true capability in that arena.

In the beginning, Senator Joe Biden was all for the war in Iraq. Then, he was against it. He was also against the surge because he "thought" it wouldn't work. Instead, he believed that all the ethnic fighting in Iraq could be solved by splitting the country into three entities: Sunni, Kurd, and Shiite. Then, people would just move around within the country and re-settle into that piece of Iraq that would be compatible for them. How inspirational! How unique! How segregationist and possibly racist! Certainly, the Iraqis didn't appreciate his segregation plan (See Full Story)!

Maybe, we could apply the "Biden Principal" to all the ethnic problems, here, in the United States. We could give either Texas or California to the Mexicans and make them all move there. Then, we could put all the Blacks in Michigan and Illinois. How about those Muslims. They already seem to have a lock on Minnesota. Let's give 'em that State. What about the Chinese and the Japanese? Of course, the rest of the United States could just be divvied up by the Whites; but, by religious breakdown. We could give New York and Florida to all the Jews. That way we could keep relocation costs down. Then, we could give all the Catholics a State like Massachusetts and some of those other Catholic-dominated New England States. After all, we wouldn't want to have to force John Kerry and all the Kennedy's to move out of their not-so-humble abodes. And, those Baptists? There's plenty of Southern States to choose from. Oh, wait a second. What about Blacks and other races that are Catholic? Should religion take precedent over race? I think we need a "new constitution" to address this whole thing! Where is David Duke and Reverend Wright and good Nazi when you need them!

The above satirical view just demonstrates how absolutely ridiculous and callused Joe Biden was to the concept of national unity. He was truly looking like the outsider or foreigner when trying to force foreign policy onto Iraq. Is this what we want from a man that is one last breath away from the Presidency?

Biden has a history of making somewhat "ethnic/racial" remarks and, obviously, has not held to the same standard that a Republican would be held to. As I mentioned in my blog entry of two days ago, he made some rather eye-opening remarks about East Indians at 7-11's and Dunkin Donuts and about Mr. Obama being the "first...articulate...clean...good looking...storybook..." black running for office. (Sorry, Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton!). Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate Leader, made one comment that was less direct and he was excoriated by the Press and the Democrats and was eventually forced to step down. Look what happened to Republican George Allen in Virginia when he made that now-famous "macaca" remark. But, if you're a Democrat like Biden, you just keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny. His reward for all his remarks...the V.P. job!

Biden may be a nice guy and not "intentionally" a racist. Maybe, like Trent Lott. However, he does seem to focus on ethnicity and race a little too much when making some comments and, even, foreign policy. I think he is the loose canon that may ultimately sink Obama's ship. There's a lot of talking to be done between now and election day and it only takes a slip or two to turn off voters.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Change You "Can't" Believe In

Barack Obama's campaign is all about change. A change, supposedly, for the better. However, the one time in his life that he was actually "charged" with making a change for the better, he failed and he failed miserably.

From 1995 until 2000, Barack Obama chaired the now-defunct, Chicago Annenberg Challenge ("CAC") which was, in theory, intended to improve the performance of the city schools of Chicago (See Project Overview). Obama's so-called "neighbor" and "not really" a close friend, William Ayers, a subversive radical leader and bomber for the Weatherman/Weather Underground (See Ayers' Bio), authored the request for funding and outlined the program. He Co-Chaired with Obama. Dissolved in 2001, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge burned millions of wasted dollars and resulted in a failed experiment.

For me, this episode in Mr. Obama's life clearly highlights doubts about his ability to take the highest office in this country.

First, Obama must have thought that this program would make a change in the educational system in Chicago or, else, he wouldn't have taken the directorship. The fact that he wasn't able to achieve the desired results reflects heavily on his ability to lead and get the job done. Further, it is apparent that the thrust of the project was flawed; resulting in its cancellation in six short years and only a year after Obama left the helm. This reflects on Obama's judgment skills. It shows he wasn't able to sort out the merits of a program and whether or not it would be successful. During this campaign, he has outlined a number of programs from universal health care to wind and solar energy programs. They amount to a near trillion dollars worth of proposals. Not just the few millions that were wasted for the CAC. One can only wonder about the successfulness of his near trillion dollars in programs. Programs that, if they were to fail like the CAC, would cost billions of dollars and that would affect an entire nation; not just a few million wasted dollars in the city of Chicago.

Another thing that comes out of the CAC debacle is the fact that, once again (See Full Story), Obama is being closely connected to William Ayers. Obama has claimed that Ayers was just a neighbor and, what Ayers did against this country, he did when he (Obama) was only 8 years old. Obama started his Senatorial campaign out of Ayers home. He associated with him at the University of Chicago. He co-chaired the CAC. He overlapped directorship of the Woods Fund in Chicago. There are just too many connections to Ayers for Obama to claim that Mr. Ayers is just a mere "neighbor". Ayers is an anti-American socialist that doesn't believe in this country. In fact, in a 2001 Chicago Magazine article he was photographed stomping on the American Flag (See Full Story). As the story goes on to say, Ayers has no regrets in what he did against America. Despite all that, Obama appears not to have distanced himself from Ayers. Like Obama, Ayers has also believed in "change" for America. It just so happens that the Ayers view of "change" isn't hardly the popular view of America. There is an old saying about "birds of a feather" and you have to wonder if it applies in this case. From Rev. Wright to Ayers to Bernadine Dorhn (Ayers wife) to Rashid Khalidi (a pro-Palestinian/anti-Jew --- See Full Story), Obama has manage to surround himself with more radical friends that any other American would have in a whole lifetime.

Finally, the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC) houses the "dead" records of the CAC. They are hidden away in a storeroom of the Daley Library. Clearly the CAC was a public program and the UIC/Daley Library is a publicly-funded school. However, access to these records have been blocked. You've really got to wonder what lies in those boxes of records and what nobody seems to want investigative reporters to look at. Is there something about either Ayers or Obama, or both, that is being hidden? Were there misappropriations of public money that aren't being told? I lived in Chicago for years, and that city has a long history of political corruption. I personally think there is a story there. However, don't expect the Obama-loving, mainstream media to uncover the true facts about the CAC and Obama. I guarantee you that if the CAC had been in McCain's past, the New York Times would have already published it. In fact, the "Times" would have probably serialized it on their front page from now until the election!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

For Biden, Silence Would Have Been Golden!

When someone once coined the phrase "The Mouth From The South," they were talking about Ted Turner. However, they obviously kept that statement regionalized because they must have known that Joe Biden held that honor in the Northeast and in the United States Senate. Biden is probably the king of gaffes in the Senate. Now, Obama has saddled-up with that old horse as his V.P. on the ticket. The real question will be whether or not Team Obama can keep Biden's jaws from blurting out an almost endless stream of stupid remarks.

Probably the two most near-racist gaffes of Biden's life were: (1) “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” and (2) when talking about Barack Obama he said: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." So, Mr. Obama, where's all that racial harmony you have talked about? Both these comments by Biden tend to stereotype old-time racial beliefs. Certainly, having Biden on his team and with comments like the above, Barack Obama must know that he will never, ever, be able to throw racial mud at McCain's campaign. With Biden's past comments on race, any mud that Obama throws will just fly right back into Obama's face. So, effectively, the racial arrow in Obama's quiver (that he had used so effectively against Hillary and Bill Clinton) has been literally buried with the selection of Joe Biden.

Also, where is all the "change" that Obama talks about. Biden has spent the last 35 years in the Senate. While not necessarily a dinosaur of the Senate, he's probably only one generation up from that. Only 5 other senators have served longer. He's a guy who believes in all those old-time Democratic ideas. No change there!

As far as the war in Iraq goes, Biden represents the same Senatorial stance that Obama hammered Hillary Clinton on during the primaries. Biden voted for the war. How does Obama square that with his own campaign ideal that he was against the war from the start?

Barack Obama just recently declared that he wanted a person on his ticket that could be the President; if need be. Joe Biden ran for the Presidency twice: in 1988 and 2008. In both cases, Biden failed, miserably, to get the nomination because the people of his own political party decided that he wasn't qualified to be president. Now, Obama thinks he is?

Lastly, by picking Biden, Obama just highlighted every weakness that he, himself, has in becoming president. Biden represents the age and experience that Obama doesn't have. Biden has the expertise in foriegn affairs and foriegn policy that Obama doesn't have. On the flip side, Obama has the hair that Biden doesn't have.

Joe Biden represents a complete contradiction from what Obama has been preaching over his long, long campaign. Unless Obama is completely willing to default to Biden on foriegn affairs, like some puppet being controlled from behind the scenes, Biden's experience isn't going to translate into a more experienced Barack Obama. Also, Biden will be such a rich source of almost laughable ammunition for the McCain campaign.

You've really got to question the judgment that Mr. Obama used in selecting Biden as his V.P. choice!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama Veep Announcement

This is just a guess but I think Barack Obama will announce his V.P. pick this afternoon. To maximize the announcement, I believe he will "text" his choice 15 minutes before the evening news (eastern). If he doesn't do it by then, there is a lot of dead time when people will be doing other things between today and the time when he is supposed to be on the steps of the old Illinois Capitol Building; the place where he launched his campaign for the presidency. Obama is all for maximizing the show. I believe he will, once again, try and maximize this by forcing the Evening News to abruptly focus on him.

Just my opinion.

Time and Time, Again!

If you are a reader of Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report, you may have noticed that Barack Obama will, again, adorn the cover of Time Magazine for the 7th time in a year! Several opinion writers and columnists have written about the fact that the voting public may be tiring of "Obama Overload" and, possibly, that's why he is slipping in many of the recent opinion polls. But, with this "Time " issue, it appears that the mainstream media either didn't get that message or they are choosing to ignore it. Apparently, the only thing on their minds is to keep Obama in the public eye and, in doing so, get this guy elected.

In the past, I have joked that Obama has a campaign staff that goes well beyond his paid personnel. In fact, it appears that his campaign staff includes the all the staffs at Time Magazine, CNN, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and, well, you get the idea. This is consistent with the studies that have done by several media watchdogs which have noted the Obama has had front page treatment at a rate that is, sometimes, 5 times greater per news outlet than for John McCain. For a guy that keeps repeating the same old and hollow message of "change" without real change, Obama sure gets more than his share of press. Of course, the press has to keep up with his ever changing stands on policy and to make sure the public thinks that they are hearing that policy for the first time. Even when Obama does poorly, people like Andrea Mitchell at NBC/MSNBC will try and make him look good by claiming that McCain won the forum at Saddleback only because he heard the answers (See my blog entry) or trying to make it look like McCain, not Obama, played the race card first (See my blog entry).

To be fair, the media bias isn't just restricted to Barack Obama but to all Democrats. For example, it was obvious that the media was willing to give John Edwards a pass on his "affair" because they literally ignored the rumors for more than a year. I guess that's why the Democrat's push for the Fairness Doctrine (See Full Story) is such a joke!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We're Still Waiting....Mr. Obama!

This morning, the first-time jobless claims fell, again (See Full Story). This time by 13,000 "fewer" new claimants than last week. Ever since the jump in claims that occurred in-and-around the effective date of the new the minimum wage, the unemployment insurance claims have been falling.

If we were actually going into a recession, these numbers should be climbing. A best, during any recessionary period, they would just be holding and not falling. The fact that they are falling indicates, at least to me, that the third quarter, like the last two quarters, may be wind up being "positive" in growth. Don't forget, you need two "negative" (no-growth) quarters to normally declare that we are in an actual recession. We had growth of 1.8% in the second quarter and, before that, we had growth of just under 1 percent for the first quarter. Unless business activity completely and literally falls of the cliff in September, I seriously don't think that the this year's third quarter will show anything but positive growth.

Three factors might be accounting for this. First, over the last few years, the U.S. dollar has fallen significantly against other major currencies. This has made our products cheaper to sell overseas. At the same time, it has made foreign products more expensive; especially imported oil. As a result, these conditions tend to force foreign interest in our own products and to force domestic buying in our now-competitively-priced American-made products. Last month that fact was shown in good export/import activity; except for the fact that we keep importing massive quantities of foreign oil. Secondly, the stimulus checks are still in the process of being used up. This is helping our local economies and keeping jobs in tact at service oriented businesses like fast food restaurants, etc. Third, our economy is still pretty powerful despite the oil/energy and credit crises. Our economy has always been strong enough to to support "two" wage earners for most still-married families and, on top of that, absorb an additional 15 to 20 million illegal alien workers. And, do that while still maintaining an unemployment rate of below 6 percent. No other economy in the entire world can boost that fact.

I realize that the Democrats want to see a recession so that they can look like the white knights that "could" save the economy and, so, they can blame the Republicans and George Bush as the culprits for a bad economic situation. As usual with the Democrats, they would just love us to fail. They wanted us to fail in Iraq (which we haven't) and they would love our economy to go belly up. For them, it helps play into their "constant doom-and-gloom portrayals" of the United States. But, my guess is that all bets are off in having a negative quarter this time around. So, that means that we will probably go to the polls with another positive quarter under our belts. It also means that we might not see a declared recession until Spring of next year or even later. I'm sorry, Mr. Obama! Poor Barack has be saying that we were in a recession since 2007. But, well, we're still waiting, Mr. Obama!

Lastly, a couple of comments about the "linked" news report in the first paragraph. That news report states that any jobless claims about 400,000 jobs is considered to be a weak economy. That may have been true 18 years ago but, based on the size of our work force, today, that number is better stated at 450,000 or higher; probably, 500,000. Second, the four-week moving average is high because of a totally unexpected jump of nearly 80,000 jobless claims that occurred around the time of the new minimum wage. With claims falling, that four-week average will be coming down. (Apparently, the CNN writer who wrote that report doesn't know how the calculation for "averages" works!) But, we know that CNN, like a lot of news media, is an Obama supporter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Are A Republic & Not A Pure Democracy

Most people don't really understand what form of government we actually have in the United States of America. Generally, people falsely declare this country as being a democracy. But, in a true democracy, the people govern themselves. Each and every decision in a democracy is voted on and decided by a popular vote. Could you imagine having an general election for every law and policy that is made in this country? For that reason, we are a "form" of democracy called a republic. In a republic, we elect representatives to speak and vote for us.

Further, we are a collection of States with each State having primary control over its own citizenry. Collectively, those States have "agreed" to be part of a "union" or what can also be known as a federation of States. We clearly represent this fact in the "star field" of our American Flag. This federation or federal system of government provides for any laws and policies that are of common interest to all of the States in the union. As part of joining the "union," each state agrees to abide by the greater laws of the federation. A typical example of what a federation hopes to achieve is a single, standing military which would be stronger and more protective than any haphazard collection of militias by each of the individual States in that union.

Now, the purpose of all the above verbiage is to try and give you the rationale as to why we have an electoral college. It all comes down to the concept of individual State's rights. The electoral college is a mechanism by which each state, state by state, can decide on who will be elected as our next president. After all, the office of president is the only elected office in the entire United States government that "isn't" voted on by the electorate within each individual state and, then, sent on to Washington, D.C. Both U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives are exclusively sent to Washington by state elections. But, not the President.

One by one, each individual State decides on its choice for President by awarding all of its allotted electoral votes to the candidate that gets the majority. That's how we wind up with today's concept of red and blue states for Republican versus Democrat. This is also an extension of the concept of a "republic" by using electoral votes to be representative of the population in each state. Could we elect a President by popular vote and not by an electoral college? Sure, we could. However, the States would lose a little more power in doing so. To be true to both our federal form of government and our republic, the electoral vote system should be retained. That's just my opinion.

Image by Thomas Hawk's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing remix/adapt/modify permission (Click to View Other Works). Specifically modified by Cranky George for this blog entry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Update on Obama v. Thomas

In my blog entry below, I mentioned Mr. Obama's "abortion" stand problem. After you have read my blog entry, you should then read Rich Lowry's interesting opinion piece on that very same topic and pay particular attention to the last two paragraphs (See Full Story).

Obama v. Thomas and Obama v. Himself

During the Saddleback Forum this last Saturday, I think one of the most "gotcha moments" for Barack Obama was inflected by himself during this exchange (Click to see the video snippet) If you listened carefully, he said that he wouldn't have voted for Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court because: "I don't think he was as expeh(??) strong enough jurist or legal the time..."

Obama caught himself and stopped from saying "wasn't as experienced". He went onto define inexperience (without actually saying it) by saying "strong enough" and finished with " the time". When he aborted his completion of the word "experienced," he knew damn well that, if he had continued with that line of reasoning, he would have shed light on his own failings as not being qualified to be President. Yet, for Obama, experience was important when deciding upon a member of the Supreme Court. Think what you might about that but, I think it's a bit hypocritical.

When he used the words, "at the time", it was a strange interjection of thought because it sort of implies that Clarence Thomas has, now, become what Obama objected to in the beginning. Does he now mean that Clarence Thomas has become an excellent "jurist" and "legal thinker"? Not listened "on" to what Barack Obama was saying!

I think it was a very interesting moment. It just shows how "crafty" Mr. Obama is as a politician. Totally unwilling to make a firm commitment. This is why, if you listened to him in any unscripted environment, like the Saddleback Forum, he constantly uses "tah" and "ah" as a delaying tactic as he formulates the words that he thinks "you want to hear" and not necessarily what he believes. If he isn't using a teleprompter, he is always in some kind of a dance before his audiences. He can't just say what he believes and go on to substantiate that belief with reasons. Instead, he has to leave the door open on his conviction by making conditional statements like "at the time". That comment, like a lot of what he says, just shows the blanket weakness of his convictions. Or, worst yet, shows that his convictions are so extreme that he cautiously hides them with conditional statement after conditional statement.

As for John McCain, that night, he showed no hesitation or equivocation on "any" of his answers. For that evening, John McCain was absolutely the "straight talker" that he had always been known as. When someone is that direct with their thoughts, as McCain was that night, he was clearly saying what he believes in and not trying to say something that he thinks you want to hear. On the other hand, throughout that "forum", Obama was "strained" on a number of issues. For example, on abortion, he wouldn't define as to when a fetus was actually a human and entitled to any rights. Instead he made his famous "above my pay grade" comment and said that he wasn't qualified to make that judgment from either "a theological perspective or a scientific perspective." Of course, this is just some more Obama B.S. because his voting record certainly shows that no fetus is entitled to any rights as a human until such time as the mother says it can live; even, sometimes, after being born alive (See Full Story).

I think Saturday's Saddleback Forum clearly showed "why" Obama is so able to throw people and ideas under the bus and change his mind so often. He really has no convictions! With that in mind, I defy anyone to actually tell me who Barack Obama really is and what he really stands for! If you do try, my guess is that, within hours to days (and, literally, sometimes, within minutes), he will change his opinion and completely or partially contradict what you "thought" he stood for!

Image by dbking's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Putin Test

Almost a week and a half ago on August 8, when Russia rolled into parts of the Republic of Georgia, both John McCain and Barack Obama hit the airways with their individual comments on this serious situation. McCain was clear in his statement that Russia should stop their aggression and that there should be an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to resolve the crisis (See Full Story).

Obama, on the other hand, showed his weakness by calling for "both" parties to show restraint (See Full Story). How stupid was that! Should a person or party getting pummeled by someone who is bigger than them "show restraint"? Since then, Obama has now come closer to McCain's initial position from his initially weak position.

I think Obama failed the "Putin Test". If I were Vladamir Putin, I would be happy to see an Obama as the President of the United States. With McCain in office, he might have to be a lot more cautious. Obama's failing of this test just reflects what I had previously said in my blog entry: "Are We Ready For The Mistakes Of J.F.K., Again?" (Click for popup link to that blog entry). Once again, history is in the midst of another period when Russia is on the move. Do we really want another charismatic but totally unprepared rookie in the White House during such a critical period?

Image by azrainman's photostream* on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Election 2008: Obama Beats Bush...McCain Wins

For months, Barack Obama has been the self-identified candidate of "change". As for change, his entire campaign has been based on a "change" from the Bush Administration. A "change" in the war in Iraq. A "change" from tax cuts for the rich. A "change" from special interests like the big oil companies. A "change" from no child left behind. Good or bad...just "change"!

Now, Barack Obama finds himself running against a Republican, John McCain, who is "no George Bush". All of a sudden his message of "change" doesn't ring as true because McCain would also be a "change" from George Bush. McCain has always been the maverick who has bucked the Republicans and, all too often, sided with the Democrats. Unlike Bush, McCain is against lobbyists and special interest groups. He had a much different view on how to prosecute the Iraq War than did either Rumsfeld or Bush. He was against all torture when Bush/Rumsfeld believed in its limited effectiveness. McCain didn't want tax cuts unless their was a fiscally responsible adjustment in spending. Most recently, it has become all too obvious that McCain was extremely wary of Vladimir Putin while Bush was too buddy, buddy with the guy.

So what does Barack Obama do in order to keep his concept of "change" alive; as in a change from George W. Bush? His only choice is to try and equate John McCain with Bush. That's why we keep hearing his message that McCain is 4 more years of Bush or the 3rd Bush term. But, I don't think people are buying it and that's why Obama is slipping in the polls.

It was fine to use George Bush as the whipping boy during the Democratic Primaries. It worked. But, Obama isn't running against George Bush in the coming general election. He is running against John McCain and he hasn't shifted his campaign to address that fact. That's why I think that election 2008 will be known for Obama beating Bush (in the Primaries) and losing to McCain in the general election.

Image by openDemocracy's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Saddleback Forum

Last night, Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum between Barack Obama and John McCain was the most refreshing change in Presidential politics that I have seen since the adoption of the town hall format (See Full Story). I have gotten so tired of the debate-less debate format of the past that I generally don't pay attention to them anymore. Warren's format forced each candidate to simply answer a series of questions with the other candidate unable to hear the answers. The viewer was then able to determine whether or not each candidate, independently, had a grasp of the issues and whether or not they were able to effectively express their viewpoints. How simple is that!

A lot will be written about whether or not John McCain or Barack Obama won the night; so, I am not going to get into that. However, I would hope that last night's format was the beginning of new standard for political fact finding in the future. I think that the average viewer walked away from that format with a better understanding of the two candidates than if they had watched ten of the more traditional debates between the two. This format, more than anything else, put style on the back burner with substance up front. For me, it "cut through the fog" of the normal debate format. A great job!

Image by speakingoffaith's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Taking Even More Wind Out of Wind Power

In this blog, I have been consistently negative on any hopes that wind power will be the "savior" of our planet and the "future" of our energy needs. No matter what T. Boone Pickens, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi (who owns a lot of T.Boone's Clean Energy Company stock) say, wind power is not our future. At best, wind might supply 20% of our Nation's power requirements. But, in getting to that level of power production in this country, it will be a road of one court battle after another. Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. famously proved this when they blocked a wind farm near their precious "Kennedy compound" off the shores of Hyannis Port, Mass (See Full News Story). As you can see from that news story, the Pentagon joined the Kennedy's in blocking that Wind Farm because it posed a potential "radar blocking" effect. While that news story is over 2 years old, the wind farm off Cape Cod has been in litigation and the process of environmental impact studies since 2002. Now, after nearly 6 years, the studies continue (See Full Story). The current plans are to "start" building in 2010. All tolled, this project will probably be more than 12 years in the process. Does anyone remember the Democrats and Barack Obama quoting 8-10 years before we would get any oil out of the Arctic National Wildlife Resource (ANWR)? Also, as noted in that first news story, the objections by the Pentagon have jeopardized other wind project projects around this country.

The Pentagon and the wealthy elitists like the Kennedy's aren't the only one's that the wind farm proponents across this country will have to worry about and battle. There are always the environmental and conservationist elitists who are ready to block anything that hasn't been put on earth by God. They will be blocking wind farms because of the impact on wildlife. They will argue that these structures will have detrimental impact on bird migration and their foraging and nesting habits and habitats. Wind farms will pose a threat to wildlife and insects because of the noise and ground vibration they create. For sure, the great "vistas" of this country will need to be protected from these gigantic monstrosities of mankind.

Now, taking even more wind out of wind power, there comes this latest impediment: a health risk to man (See Full Story). You can also expect that many communities will simply fight wind farm implementation over the noise that they produce or how ugly they look (See Full Story). In this country, even if a million land owners agree to put tens of millions of wind turbines on their "own" land, it only takes one lawsuit from an average citizen and one sympathetic judge or jury to put the whole thing on ice.

Believe me, all this campaign rhetoric over wind power is just that. When people like Nancy Pelosi block this country's drilling for its own oil because she's "saving the planet" is just bunk. As you can see, it can take years (12 or more in the case of Cape Code) for a single wind project to be completed. In the mean time, the national oil supply will keep dwindling and our foreign dependence on oil will keep increasing. All this "hope" from the Democrats is pure idiocy. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi "promised" that, if the Democrats won, they would "Take Back America". In her statement of June 2006, she "promised" to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower our costs. Two years later and nothing has happened. We have increased our dependence on foreign oil and our price at the pump has nearly doubled. We are nowtwelve years past the date when Bill Clinton vetoed the bill that would have allowed us to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Twelve years!

To me, the only thing standing between the United States and any true energy independence is reason and our courts. We need to be realistic about wind power. We are not going to have millions of wind turbines blanketing our country. The environmentalists, the conservationists, and the average Joe (who doesn't want to live next to one) aren't going to let it happen. I find it interesting that in 2007, Nancy Pelosi, in her required financial disclosure forms, declared that she got upwards of $250,000 in interest/income benefits from the company called Clean Energy Fuels Corp. That is a T. Boone Pickens company and the same company that will be building the wind farms that T.Boone keeps talk about in his TV commercials (See Full Story). A smart investment? Sure! Especially, if you in a position of power to make that company more profitable. T. Boone Pickens and Nancy Pelosi might be just a little self-serving in their plans for America's energy.

As Americans, we need to send a message that we aren't happy with the status quo. We just can't remain in a state of frozen animation on energy. We can do this in writing to our Representatives or, we can send a message in the General Election with our votes. I would hope that more than just a few Americans choose the latter action.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama's Wheel of Fortune

From what I have read (and depending on who's doing the reporting), Barack Obama has promised between $800 billion and $1-1/2 trillion in new Federal spending. This is for all his new programs and promises on health care insurance, preschool and higher education, tax giveaways to those who don't pay taxes, green energy programs, short-term and permanent stimulus programs, and other giveaways for individuals, families and seniors that are just too numerous to mention. A week doesn't go by that he doesn't promise another government giveaway.

At the same time, he plans to increase the tax rolls by reversing tax cuts for the rich, increasing capital gains and dividend taxes, ending expenses for the War in Iraq, instituting a windfall profits tax, and other things. Estimates for those gains in the Federal coffers are between $250 billion and $500 billion (Again, it depends on who is doing the accounting). Anyway you shake it, there appears to be a shortfall of at least $300 billion and as much as 1-1/4 trillion dollars between what Obama has promised to spend and any new tax income. Of course, Obama and his team would tell you otherwise. That's because they like use the time-honored political mathematic's technique called: the best case scenario. In that "scenario" everything is perfect. There are no unforeseen problems and all estimates are always spot on. Nothing such as a "government overrun" or a "tax shortfall" is ever in a politician's "best case scenario". Of course, the best case scenario has "never, ever been achieved" by any new government program or programs.

Obama is truly the political equivalent of Pat Sajak on the game show called "The Wheel of Fortune". The only difference is that the "bankrupt" space on his wheel is hidden. When the players, the taxpayers, land on that space, it's the Federal Government and the overtaxed businesses and those with high incomes that lose. But, eventually, everyone will lose because taxes will have to be raised to offset the loss of tax revenues. The rich will stay rich and, maybe, move their money offshore to take advantage of a friendlier business and taxation environments. Business will suffer and, ultimately, they will pay less taxes and hire less people. Maybe, too, lay people off. This truly is a game show where no one wins and everyone loses.

There are some that call Obama the "One" or the Messiah. Maybe he "is" capable of Messianic feats. Perhaps, like the parable and the miracle of "The Loaves and the Fishes", he can keep giving money away without the income to support it. Wouldn't that be a true miracle! But, in reality, I see a guy who is just promising anything to get into office. The chances of him doing everything that he says are probably slim. But, if he did, you better hope that he is a miracle worker.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Big Bill Clinton Economics Lie

Bill Clinton took office in late January 1993. If you listen to Democrats, Bill Clinton's years were the most golden economic years of any American President. They always point to the growth in the economy, job gains, and balancing the budget. Take for example, this opinion piece that was just written by two of Barack Obama's economic advisers (See Full Story).

But, Bill Clinton didn't create the economic boom of the 1990's -- he just fell into one. Bill Clinton was lucky enough to take office during the beginning of the Internet Revolution. In 1990, 3 years before he took office, the IBM online service provider, Prodigy, began selling service nationwide and had already achieved 1/2 million subscribers in short order in that year. America Online began operations in the beginning of 1991. Hundreds upon hundreds of companies were started. Companies that were involved with Internet content, like Cnet and Etrade, and others selling equipment and services to access the Internet, such as Dell and Cisco. Cash from Venture Capitalists was going into anything and everything that had a dot-com name associated with it. Jobs were being created at small startup companies like Netscape, Yahoo, Ebay, and thousands of others. Tax paying millionaires and their companies were being created by the day; not by the year. If 23 million jobs were being created during the Clinton Administration, it wasn't because of his policies. It was because of the Internet explosion.

For those Democrats who always point to Bill Clinton's success, I always ask two questions. If Bill Clinton was such an economic guru, why then did our economy start to falter a year and a half before he left office. Why was George W. Bush handed a recession?

Every person who understands the economy knows it takes about 9 months or more to turn it around with any changes in economic policy. When Clinton ran against the first George Bush, it was all about "the economy, stupid!" This is because the first two quarters of 1992 had negative growth and our economy appeared to be in recession. But, what most people don't know or even understand is that the last two quarters of 1992 had come back and had actually booked modest growth of around 2%. Not great. But, growth anyway. Two quarters of negative growth occur quite often but aren't necessarily the start of a recession. In explaining this, many economists like to use the highly technical term of a "blip" in the economy.

The quarter that was underway when Bill Clinton took office, Quarter One of 1993, actually produced growth of greater than 4 percent and our economy was off to the races from that point on. There is nothing that Bill Clinton could have done before taking office to account for this. Even if he could have, it would have taken another 3 quarters past any implementation to have an effect. For example, any tax changes that Clinton would have implemented when he took office would have not seen any impact until, at least, the fourth quarter of 1993. In fact, Bill Clinton's priority wasn't the economy (stupid) when he took office. It was gays in the military.

To me, the economy of the Clinton-Years is more mystique and mythology than truth and reality. At the beginning, Clinton benefited from the dot-com bubble. At the very end, he suffered from the dot-com bust in 2000 and a subsequent recession (See Full Story). For Obama's economic advisers to use the Clinton-Years as their rationale and model for success under Barack Obama (as noted and linked above), is just wrong. The conditions that existed during the early Clinton years will not be present if and when Obama takes office. If anything, Mr. Obama may inherit a recession. This time, it will be a recession that can't be fixed by an economic boom called the "Internet Revolution". His big tax raising plans will just be counterproductive and, I think, a total economic disaster.

George W. Bush's tax cuts turned an economy around that was suffering from the 2000-2003 recession and a recession that had been exacerbated by the events of 9/11. That was reality. The Clinton boom years were are also a reality. However, not from anything Clinton did. Clinton just happened to be there when the dot-com comet came flying by.

Image by John.Karakatsanis' photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where Have All The House Flippers Gone?

Like the old Peter, Paul, and Mary song, house flippers have... "Gone to graveyards, everyone." From the mid-1990's to 2007, the housing boom made many people rich. They could get no money down loans (sometimes for more than 100% of the value of the house) and watch as those properties rose as much as 1 or 2 percent or more per month. Quick buys and sells (flips) were the name of the game.

I live in Las Vegas. Many who live here moved from California and were able to sell their half million dollar homes and buy a near-similar sized or even larger Vegas home for under two hundred thousand dollars. They would take their one-time capital gains exclusion on their California home sale and bank two or three hundred thousand dollars and use that as seed money to flip houses. That's one of the reasons why this town, like places in Florida, have seen a fall in housing prices of nearly 30 percent in the last year. Simply speaking, there are more houses in Las Vegas than people to occupy them.

The days where there are cheap loans and fast appreciating properties are over. The days when the casual and uniformed house flippers can make huge profits are also over. As a result of the sub-prime home loan debacle, all credit is tight. Even for home equity loans and car loans. If you want a loan for real estate, you are going to have to come up with 10 or 20 percent down. Most lenders will go back to the 25% rule. That rule said that your housing expense can't be greater than 25% of you total income. Further, the applicants hare going to have to prove a stable job with years of service. Of course, with housing prices continuing to fall, no one is really going to make a single dollar on a real estate property by carrying a loan.

In the future, the real estate market will effectively be a "dead" money market; except in some yet-unknown hot markets to come. The people who are able to make money in this market will be those who absolutely know the real estate business and who have the capital available to buy and sell without begging for cash from a bank or other lender. Home prices (if they rise at all) will probably rise at a rate that is equal to or below inflation. No more 20% gains per year. It will probably take as many as 10 years or more for your existing home to get to equal the value that it had previously been at the end of 2006. Additional foreclosures, this year and next, will continue to drive inventories up and homes prices down. Don't expect those "House Flipping" shows on cable TV and satellite TV to survive much longer; either.

The consequence of excess is always a diet. Just like someone who overeats, American real estate is on a diet!

Image by 's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing remix/adapt/modify permission (Click to View Other Works). Specifically modified by Cranky George for this blog entry.

Update: Minimum Wage Effect.

Just before the new Federal Minimum Wage went into effect, the weekly unemployment insurance (jobless) claims jumped by 34,000. The following week, the claims jumped by a phenomenal 46,000 in new filings from that previously high week. The week after that, the jump in claims moderated to 7,000 new claims. This mornings numbers actually "fell" by 10,000 new claims from the following week.

I still think that there is a strong connection between those two weeks of high unemployment insurance claims and the new Minimum Wage. You can read "The Minimum Wage Effect?" by clicking on this link: (Click for Popup Link).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Fairness Doctrine: Unintended Consequences

It might just be a totally false belief by the Democrats that the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine (See definition) will benefit them by getting a nemesis like Rush Limbaugh off the air. Take note of these comments by an FCC Commissioner (See Full Story). It just might be the popular Huffington Post and the Daily KOS who gets whacked under that law, too.

Another couple of fat targets for the Fairness Doctrine will be the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). For years, these taxpayer supported radio and television networks have had unimpeded left-wing slants to their broadcasting. These bastions of liberal voice might just have to become a lot more conservative in their programming. You've got to know that every conservative watchdog group in America will be itemizing every time a liberal like Bill Moyers gets airtime and there isn't any offsetting conservative programming. PBS and NPR will ultimately be forced, by the courts, to provide conservative alternatives. Can you picture Nancy Pelosi's face when someone like Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter is forced to get their own show on PBS or NPR! There won't be enough porcelain receptacles on Capital Hill to handle all the nausea and vomiting from the Democratic lawmakers. TUMS will be in short supply for all the heartburn.

ABC, CBS, and NBC will have to watch it, too. There just might have to be a "This Week with Rush Limbaugh" to offset that Clinton guy, George Stephanopoulos. Then, let's not forget about the Chris Matthews Show on NBC. How about an NBC show titled: "The Laura Ingram Show". "60 Minutes" might have to dedicate a few more minutes to conservative viewpoints to offset their liberal pablum. Maybe they will have to call it "90 Minutes" to be fair. Maybe a separate show called "60 Minutes Too!"

I just think the left of the left like Senators Durbin, Kerry, Boxer, and Feinstein and our dear Speaker of the House, little miss Pelosi, haven't really thought through the consequences of reimplementing the Fairness Doctrine. But, "thinking things through" has never been a Democrat's or, for that matter, any politician's long suit. That's why history is littered with so many bad laws that had to be repealed. They are being so blinded by the hatred for Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio personalities that they don't realize that they might be shooting themselves in the foot.

My guess is that, if a Barack Obama is elected, we will the see the ugly face of the Fairness Doctrine. It will become another law that sees too much time in the courts; both in defending it and using it for some biased advantage. Ultimately, it will be rescinded. As for Rush Limbaugh. He will probably keep hammering the Democrats for many years to come and will be untouched by the Fairness Doctrine. Others like Sean Hannity or Laura Ingram might not fare as well but will eventually return to talk radio when the "Doctrine" dies another death. That's just my viewpoint.

Image by Joe Gratz's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Now We Know Why Russia Is Against Missile Defense

Simply speaking, the move by Russia against the Republic of Georgia speaks volumes as to why Russia and Vladimir Putin have been so adamant against the U.S. deploying a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and in Poland (See the story on most recent negotiations).

It is obvious that Russia has plans, again, for Eastern Europe and those defensive systems will only impede those plans. Putin is a hardliner from the days of the U.S.S.R. He wants those glory days to return. Russia's invasion of Georgia is just the first card being played. McCain was right to warn about Putin and Russia (See Full Story). Please take careful note that McCain gave this commentary 5 years ago.

Also, don't forget that Barack Obama is for scrapping this country's plans for a missile defense system (See Video). In recent months, our tests of the missile defense system have been quite successful. Yet, Barack Obama still considers it to be an unproven waste of money. In that same video, Barack Obama would reduce our military strength by cutting back research on new weapons systems and by decimating our nuclear deterrent. In light of the growing Chinese military complex and the now-apparent aspirations of Russia, this just proves how wrong, naive, and dangerous Barack Obama really is. All I can say is that we should all be seriously concerned.

Image by happy via's photostream on Flickr with Creative Commons Licensing. All rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).