Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just 12 Votes

If you listened to Barney Frank after the "Bailout" bill failed to pass in the House of Representatives, you would have heard that it failed, solely, because of 12 votes. According to Frank, it was all because of 12 Republican votes.

The real truth is that 40 percent of the Democrats didn't vote for this bill. 12 Democratic members of Barnie Frank's own House Banking Committee didn't vote for the bill. 15 supposed friends of Pelosi (Democrats from California) didn't vote for it either. Five Democratic Committee Chairman didn't vote for the bill. These are people who are as close to Pelosi as possible. In theory, the Democrats could pass this bill by themselves since they have the voting majority. However, they don't want to be out there on their own on this one. They want political cover.

Frank's blaming of the Republicans is symptomatic of why this bill failed. All last week and right up to today's vote, the Democrats were busy blaming Republicans, the Bush Administration, and greedy Wall Street firms and CEO pay. So it is no wonder why calls into the Congress switchboard were running 10 to 1 against the passage of this bill.

This was not working together. People like Pelosi, Frank, Reid, Schumer, and Obama used this whole crisis as a way of driving a wedge between Corporations in this country (Wall Street) and the average American (Main Street). It was a massive political advertisement being used to get Barack Obama and Democrats elected in a little over a month. There was no real concern about you and I.

A lot was made about CEO pay. But, the reality is that the CEO's could have been paid as little as a buck and it wouldn't have stopped this crisis from happening. The core problem of this crisis was the push by certain socialistic politicians (mostly Democrats) and community agency (like ACORN and ACORN Housing, Inc.) to give home loans to people who should have never had them in the first place. Seeded with Democrats from the Clinton Administration, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, facilitate this until it all began to unravel. The genesis of this crises goes all the way back to the Carter Administration and a Democratic Congress that passed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (See Overview). The potential of this crisis was heightened even further by the actions taken by Clinton Administration in 1995 and 1999 to create the subprime loan vehicle and further home loans to unqualified buyers. So, for the Democrats to blame McCain/Bush and the Republicans, it is purely being done to deflect blame and to protect anticipated gains in the Congress and the chance to own the White House in next month's election.

Politically, the Democrats did nothing to support the bill. They constantly kept referring to it as a bailout for greedy Wall Street. In doing so, angry phone calls into the Congressional switchboard were running 10 to 1 against the passage of the bill. With that lack of public support, it is no wonder why Democrats and Republicans, alike, headed for the hills and voted no.

Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Barnie Frank would have best served their own interest if they had sold this bill as "rescue" of the credit markets and, ultimately, the rescue of the banking activities that would affect all Americans. But, they didn't. Instead they threw leadership and bipartisanship, aside, to take political shots and doom it to failure. Now, the bill is effectively dead until something entirely different is done.

Please take note: As of this morning, Barack Obama has stopped using the word "bailout" and has begun referring to it as a "rescue package". At that same press conference, I never once heard him mention "greedy" Wall Street as had been the case all week. I guess Mr. Obama is "just" starting to figure out how to work on a bipartisan basis. After all, reaching across the aisle is one of his campaign promises. A promise that was totally absent during this last week's push to get this bill passed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama's Forgotten Soldier Moment

I am sure that if you watched Friday night's Debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, you saw the exchange between these two where John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet in the memory of a soldier who died in Iraq. In a "me too" moment, Obama said he, too, was wearing a soldier's bracelet that died in Iraq. Unfortunately, Barack couldn't quite recall the soldier's name so, instead, he fumbled to see the name on the bracelet before he blurted out. What a sincere moment! For reference, that soldier's name was Sergeant Ryan Jopek of Wisconsin.

What's worse about this whole thing is that it is being reported by the father of Ryan Jopek that the Jopek family has asked Barack Obama to stop using Ryan's name in his campaign (See Full Story). However, Barack Obama appears to be ignoring the family's wishes.

Besides the apparent crassness and insincerity of Barack's use of this soldier's name, there are another couple of points that need to be made. If anyone else, like John McCain or Sarah Palin, had failed to remember this soldier's name during a debate or, even, a campaign event, the main stream media would have been all over it. In McCain's case, they would have used it as proof that he was too old. But "no" such chiding of Obama occurred by the mainstream media on the day following the debate. Just like there was no mainstream media coverage or criticism of Barack Obama when he made reference to the visiting 54 our of the 57 states in our country.

Secondly, I think that it obvious that, if a family doesn't want you to use their son's name in your campaign, you should abide by their wishes. However, it has always been about "image" with Barack's campaign. The needs and wishes of the family aren't as important to Mr. Barack Obama than for him to try and project an image that he cares about our soldiers. To me, true caring is being able to instantly recall Ryan's name at any moment's notice! Again, the fact that Obama has been asked to stop referencing Ryan is not being covered by the mainstream media.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Just OK Debate

Well, the first Presidential Debate is over. To me, it clearly showed a contrast of experience versus inexperience.

Often, the split-screen showed a Barack Obama with mannerisms and facial expressions that clearly showed a more adolescent behavior by shaking his head, raising his eye brows, and, quite often, looking irritated. There was no poker face from Barack. McCain, on the hand, would show a small smile when he knew Barack was either wrong or trying to attack. That was interesting in itself because the press build up to this whole debate was whether or not McCain could hold his temper. It many ways, just the opposite occurred.

On the issue of spending, I clearly saw a Barack Obama who wasn't ready to budge on his plans for spending; despite the current economic crisis. Jim Lehrer went after him on that three times. McCain, too, had less specifics on this same topic. However, he did say clearly that he would go through the spending plans for each government agency and department and cut the fat.

There were no memorable lines or gotcha moments in this debate. Nothing that could be taken back to the water cooler on Monday. On many issues, Obama was at a loss to clearly delineate himself with John McCain. I think he said that he agreed with McCain on 7 or 8 issues. McCain was successful in shooting down Obama's campaign thrust that McCain would be 4 more years of George Bush. He did this several times when he talked about Russia, Somalia, and Lebanon. He clearly outlined his opposition to Bush on the proper prosecution of the war in Iraq; going all the way back to 2003. He did it on a couple of budgetary issues.

I think that the liberals will say Barack won. The conservatives will say the opposite. I am not sure that this debate may have changed a lot of minds in the middle; except that, McCain may have looked a bit stronger.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Bounce Is Gone

A quick review of the national polls clearly indicates that the lead that John McCain had enjoyed after his selection of Sarah Palin and the Republican Conventions is almost completely gone. Obama is back on top as if the none of the VP picks had occurred and as if the Conventions were never held. This time, two months ago, Obama had a Real Clear Politics composite lead of 4.6 percent(Click to See Chart). Now, Real Clear Politics has Obama leading by 4.0.

I guess a McCain optimist could say that McCain still has a gain of 6 tenths-of-one-percent over the poll of two months ago. The only problem with that is that most of the change has been in the last week with Obama getting strong gains.

I think two reasons are responsible for the flip in leads from McCain to Obama.

First, the media's negative attacks on Sarah Palin have taken their toll on the positives that she once brought to the ticket. The media has attacked her experience, her position on guns and abortion, and has attacked her on her flips on things like the "Bridge to Nowhere". There has been no such similar attacks on Joe Biden's policy changes and earmark problems. Further, the media seems to has completely ignored his missteps and gaffes over the last 3 weeks.

Second, the economc crisis has been directed at McCain because, well, Bush is Republican and Bush is at the helm during this crisis. All the ground work of making McCain look like 4 more years of Bush is probably paying off for Obama. Forget about the fact that low income workers inappropriately got loans and this fact, alone, is at the core of our current economic disaster-in-the-making. That's not hardly something a Republican would have pushed for but, it seems the Republicans are getting the blame because Wall Steet is involved. The reality is that this "policy" of low income home ownership can be traced back to Bill Clinton and Democrats like Barney Frank who pushed for changes in the laws to facilitate this totally bad economic policy. Further, the main stream media has failed to connect the dots to groups like ACORN (which Obama once worked for as a community organizer) and their role in pushing home loans for unqualified, loan income workers. With only 39 days left before this election and with the main stream media backing Obama, none of those association will be printed and cost Obama the election. Believe me, if all this could be blamed on Bush and McCain, the Democratically controlled Congress would be holding hearings to expose that fact and tank any chances of McCain and any other Republican getting re-elected or into office. But, as I have said before, there will be no such hearings and that says a lot about who is really at fault on this one.

McCain's only hope, now, is that he and Sarah Palin do well in their respective debates. I think, too, that they should pray that this financial crisis is settled soon so that it doesn't linger until the election. Otherwise, I feel that John McCains chances have probably died with the advent of this economic crisis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama MIA On The Financial Crisis

Throughout Barack Obama's political career, he has had a habit of "not" getting involved when there are tough issues facing our government; whether it be State or Federal. He has a history of voting "present" instead of voting "yes" or "no" on the critical laws. With a financial crises of mammoth proportions facing our country, Barack Obama has decided, this time, that even being "present" isn't necessary. Instead, he wants to stay on the campaign trail while the President, cabinet members, and every other lawmaker is in Washington, including John McCain, are actively working on the problem. Is that what he thinks leadership is all about? Apparently, Mr. Obama never heard of the story of Nero who fiddled while Rome was burning!

Mr. Obama claims that he is the leader who can work across the aisle to get things done. Right now, there is turmoil in Washington as to what should be done to solve this crisis. Is Mr. Obama's absence showing any leadership at all? Is this a demonstration of reaching across the aisle to get things done? Or, as usual, is it another attempt by Barack (Our Nero!) to not get involved? You be the judge!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OPEC's Short-Term Vision

Just recently, OPEC decided to cut production to keep oil prices high. The reason is simple: OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela, have become accustomed to the mammoth cash inflows they have been getting into their government coffers for high oil prices. Many are still working off the cost to sink an oil well in the 1970's; so, profits can be as high as 800% on a barrel of oil.

But, OPEC's greed will ultimately hurt them. It will hurt them more than consumer actions that were taken following the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 when small cars became the rage and the demand and price of oil fell dramatically. It hurt them more because, this time, the West won't just cut back on oil usage with more fuel efficient cars. This time, the West will walk away from oil completely as the consumer decides to find other ways to avoid four dollar a gallon, or higher, gasoline prices.

OPEC might not realize it but, this could be the beginning of their end. This country, and the world, has already started moving away from oil for its energy needs. People are buying more fuel efficient automobiles such as hybrids. Expect offshore drilling to become a reality. Electric cars like the GM volt and the Chrysler "EV's" are scheduled to appear on the market by 2010. Wind and solar are getting attention. Hydrogen vehicles are closer than ever in being a reality. And, yes, we might even build a Nuclear power plant our two!

It is possible, that within one or two decades, OPEC will see the demand for oil fall off dramatically. We could do it if we do "all those" things that will cut into this country's "imported" oil demand; including drilling for our own new oil reserves. We could be the leader that the world will follow in becoming energy independent. In doing so, we will become more secure because we would no longer be dependent on our enemies for oil. We won't be sending $700 billion a year to our enemies military coffers. But, most importantly, we can watch the only economic base that many of our enemies have, oil production, just wither away from below their feet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Things First!

Lately, I am hearing a chorus of chants from the Democrats to save Main Street and not worry about those greedy Wall Street bandits. While that might play well on the campaign trail, it is all wrong in terms of solving the credit problems that are squarely before us.

This country's economic system is like a human body. At the fingers and toes, you have Main Street; the individual homeowners and consumers. However, the "heart" of that body is Wall Street. The body is our banking system. Our money (our currency) is like the blood in the veins that flows from the heart to the fingers and toes. You can lose a few fingers and a few toes in terms of mortgage foreclosures and our economy will still survive. But, if you let the heart die, "all" the fingers and toes will die too. Wall Street and their selling of U. S. Treasury Bonds keeps the economy going, and keeps this country from going bankrupt by attracting investment in our government. Foreign investors and their governments invest in Wall Street to help keep this country and our businesses afloat. That's why it is so important to bail out Wall Street and bail it out quickly. People seem to forget that it was the stock market crash of 1929 that preceded the Great Depression of the 1930's. In that case, the heart died and all those on Main Street clearly suffered. The heart died because there was no confidence in our economic system when Wall Street collapsed in that great stock market crash. The entire thrust right now should be to restore confidence in Wall Street so that the heart doesn't die and so that "most" (not all) of the fingers and toes can keep working.

Foreclosures, bad credit, CEO pay, should not be at issue at this time. If our Democratic politicians want to address those issues, then do it when the patient is out of open heart surgery. Let's not worry about an infection in the fingers at a time when the heart is in such serious peril. We need to bolster the confidence in a secure and untainted credit system in this country. By using legislation to prop up bad mortgages and bad debts just leaves a financial system that is still in a critical condition. We are going to have to come to the realization that some of those fingers and toes will have to be allowed to die; otherwise, the blood stream will become so tainted with infection that the patient will be lost.

I don't know if the current course of action will completely put us back on to the road to recovery. But, certainly, having the Treasury Secretary, Paulson, and the Fed Chairman, Bernake, working on the problem is having the best people on the job. I agree with John McCain that an overseeing commission of financial gurus is appropriate so that we have another set of eyes and ears out there to insure that Bernake and Paulson aren't so close to the problem that they literally can't see the forest for the trees. That commission should be independent of Congress, because Congress will just muddy up the waters with concerns over garnering votes and lacks the pertinent focus on the problem. However, that commission should be able to work with the Senate Banking Committee to get any new laws enacted or old laws rescinded in order to right this ship in the water.

Plain and simple. The overall goal should be to restore confidence in our credit system in this country because credit is what keeps us all going. If you can't borrow to buy a car or a house, or you can't use you credit card to carry through purchases each month, our economy will just seize up. If credit does seize up, an economic depression is sure to follow; and, it won't just affect this country. It will affect the entire world!

Racist Americans!

Increasingly, I am hearing a lot of Democrats (I suppose out of an extreme fear of losing the presidency), begin to hoist the concept that, if Barack Obama isn't elected, Americans are a bunch of racists. I guess that, in pure desperation, they have decided to "shame" Americans into voting for Barack Obama. Never mind the fact that he, Barack, has hardly any experience to be President. He hasn't even gained the experience of a full term of being a United States Senator. Never mind that Barack is pretty far left. Never mind that he flips on issues faster than a dime thrown fifty feet in the air. Never mind, too, that he has a history of being surrounded by some of the most radical friends you have ever seen since Chairman Mao took over the reigns of China. But, according to some Democrats, it is race, and race alone, that will determine if Obama loses.

Of course, all of those Democrats, hinting at racism, would never look at their own party. For sure, no Democrats could ever be racists! It must be those racist Independents and all those racist Republicans that are standing in the way of Obama's Presidency. Of course, they seem to forget that Obama didn't really win so handily over Hillary Clinton. I guess all those 18 million Democrats, almost 50%, who voted for Hillary must all be racists. Obviously, when Bill Clinton, the "first black President," made that "fairy tale" remark during the primaries, he too was a racist. Hell, there are racists around every corner. Obama, himself, made that quite clear when he made his "typical" white person remark when talking about his dear old white Granny, or when he said that he (Barack) "doesn't look like all those other Presidents" on the dollar bills.

For years, the Democrats have "used" blacks to their advantage and they are attempting to do it again with this "if you don't vote for Barack, you are a racist" thing. It has always amazed me when I would watch a Democrat like Bill Clinton, Hillary, or Al Gore attend a black church meeting and go out of their way to "talk black" to the congregation. Nothing could be more condescending. If I was black, I would find that very insulting. But, it has been going on for years.

Personally, I think most Americans want to see the day when this country has a black President. I think, in general, it would make them feel good about themselves and it would go a long way to erase this country's historical issues with regard to race. For that reason alone, I would think Barack Obama actually has an electoral advantage in this election; rather than the electoral disadvantage that some Democrats would have you believe. But, the Democrats are concerned about the fact that, with the economy in such potentially bad shape and with this country in an unpopular war and having an unpopular Republican as President, Barack Obama hasn't been able to sustain a big lead over John McCain. They (the Democrats) can't believe that anything other than race is at fault for this. If anything, I believe Obama is getting a bump in all the polls because of his race. And, I believe that bump is because people are saying that they will vote for Obama because they don't want to be perceived as racists. This is more commonly known as the Bradley Effect. To take that further, the lying (Bradley Effect) about voting for Barack Obama has little to do with race and more to do with a comfort level with his qualifications. Time and time again, I have seen average Americans say that they were voting for Obama and, in saying so, were unable to give any other reason than that Obama would be change. Most people are unable to give any real specifics about why they are voting for Obama. This is why America is struggling with Obama. It has nothing to do with race.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Populism to the Left of Me and Populism to the Right of Me

Traditionally, populism has been reserved for the political leftists of the world. It's a technique that drives a "wedge" between the rich and poor of a country. Between the workers and the bosses. Between main street and Wall Street. Between business and the people. It's designed to appeal to the poor and average people of a country. That's why you hear a lot of populist messages coming out of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

But, if you listen to John McCain and Sarah Palin, you'd think you were listening to two Democrats with some kind of populist "we'r agin 'em" message. With the credit market crisis, McCain/Palin keep vowing to go after Wall Street companies and corrupt CEO's. They promise regulation so another trillion dollar bailout doesn't ever have to happen again. Any deregulatory, free-market Republican is probably suffering a massive migraine from these two top candidates of their own Republican Party.

But, McCain is a politician who recognizes that government has a role in keeping both businesses and the workers in line to keep this country on an even keel. He knows that when business gets too strong, the people and the workers suffer. He also knows that when the workers are too strong, businesses and the people suffer. And, he knows that when government gets too strong, the people will again suffer. In any case, the people suffer.

John McCain likens himself to President Teddy Roosevelt ("TR") and that's where a lot of this kind of talk is coming from. Teddy Roosevelt, also a Republican, was big on interstate regulation of the railroad industry. He effectively created what is now known as the Food and Drug Administration to regulate meat and medicines in America. Most importantly, he was known as the "trust buster" who went after big corporations such as Standard Oil. He also acted as a mediator between the coal companies and the workers to avert a potentially disastrous strike in 1902 because it would hurt the average citizens of this country. Always putting Americans first. Doesn't that sound a lot like McCain's slogan of "Country First" ?

To me, John McCain is a person that is more interested in "righting wrongs" than being completely beholding to any party affiliation. He is a Republican because he is a conservative when it comes to government spending. In turn, he firmly believes in reducing the tax burden to the American taxpayers. He believes in a strong military for the protection of America and its citizens. I may be wrong, but I believe he thinks, like Roosevelt, that labor unions are fine as long as the overall or general public interest doesn't suffer. That's why he appears to be against unionized teachers structured environment that prevents an emphasis on science and math; and higher pay for those specialized types of teachers. He has bucked his own political party on immigration and on environmental issues. He apparently believes in the control of Global Warming. He is an environmentalist/conservationist without being extreme. That's why he believes in Nuclear Power and in responsible drilling for oil.

To me, McCain and Sarah Palin are populists when they feel that it is the right thing to do for America. They are Republicans on conservative issues that will best benefit this country and its citizens. And, too, they can be Democrats when they believe it will benefit this country. I think this is in stark contrast to Obama/Biden who have been pure party loyalists, never reaching across the aisle, throughout their political careers.

Just my opinion!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Trillion Reasons Why Obama Won't Give You Any Tax Cuts

Depending on the final number, each man, woman, and child in America will have to ante up about $2,500 to $3,200 to save our credit markets from tanking due to the collapse of the housing market and because of the sub-prime loan debacle. The total amount of debt to all Americans will between three-quarters and one trillion dollars. This doesn't even include the $700 billion in bailouts that have been promised for AIG Insurance, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and all the rest.

Don't pull out you wallets right now. The governement will pay for it by just adding it to the "tab" we've been running for years. That "tab" is commonly called the Federal Deficit. And, what the hell, we'll just make it a little bigger. Our Treasury Department will just have to sell more bonds to cover our debt. Hopefully, we'll be credit worthy enough, after all of this, for domestic and foriegn investors to feel comfortable enough to snatch up all those new I.O.U.'s (Treasury Bonds) and feel secure in knowing that our government will make good on all those future interest payments. So, the next time you see a home that has a sign on it that says "bank owned" or "foreclosure," you can tell your kids that: "We own that house!" Of course, you will own it along with 300 million other Americans who went into debt to pay off a couple of million delinquent homeowners. Also, you really won't own it until we pay off the trillion or so dollars in debt. (By the way. Our government, for years, has had to borrow just to pay off the interest that we owe on our debt. So, that trillion dollars in new debt is a lot higher than what our government is saying. I just thought you'ld like to know that!)

Now, to the campaign trail. In the midst of all this new debt, a debt that is even greater than all the "give away" promises that Barack Obama has made while on the campaign trail, do you really think your going to see all those Obama-pledges if and when he comes to office? I don't think so. But, even as of yesterday, he was still promising stimulus checks of $1000 per person. He was still promising infrastructure rebuilding and "green" projects as if nothing has happened in the last week. He's seems to forget that it was his political party's promises of cheap and readily available home loans to unqualified buyers that got us in this problem in the first place. But, unfazed, he presses on. $65 billion, here. Another, $50 billion or so, there. A few more billion over here. And, well, it just doesn't stop! He seems to think that, some how, a reduction in Federal spending by $250 billion for tax cuts for the rich and Iraq War and, maybe, $50 billion more in Windfall Profits Taxes on the oil companies will pay for a bill that is up to 8 times that amount (2 to 2-1/2 trillion dollars). According to Obama-math, it must be doable. I guess if you're the "One," any miracle is possible!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Barack Obama's Econ Adviser: Austan Goolsbee

I find it quite interesting that Barack Obama is blaming so many people in the Bush Administration for what is happening in the credit and housing markets. He's blaming McCain, too. But, his own economics adviser, Austan Goolsbee, wrote in 2005 (over three years ago): "If you want to make money off the housing bubble, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way: Buy a place with a no-money-down mortgage and then flip it." Isn't that a responsible statement?! (See Full Story).

For years, like a lot of Democrats, Austan Goolsbee has been promoting low-income, no-money-down borrowing for home loans. A primary reason for the mess that we are now in. I think America should take a good, hard look at Obama and his economic ideas. Ideas and tax programs which are driven by a guy, Austan Goolsbee, who, apparently, thought it was fine to keep feeding the housing bubble until it burst. Now, we are all paying for that kind of philosophy. I just think Austan Goolsbee and Barack Obama aren't ready to lead this country. Unless, of course, total economic collapse is the goal!

One last point. It was obvious that Obama's economics adviser knew that a bubble was in progress in 2005. Did Barack Obama ever take the reigns of leadership to address this obviously explosive situation while being advised by Austan and while he was an active U.S. Senator? Not hardly! Maybe it was because Obama was too busy taking campaign money from the likes of housing giants like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae! At least John McCain, the guy who according to Barack doesn't know anything about economics, had the sense to introduce a bill in the Senate to reign in both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. He did that in 2006 and, if passed in the Democratically-controlled Senate, it might have changed the course of history, today!

The Ugliness of Sandra Bernhard

Hollywood seems hell-bent on trashing Sarah Palin in an effort to buoy their candidate of choice, Barack Obama. But, often, they do more harm than good. Yesterday, I saw this headline on the Drudge Report: "Sandra Bernhardt: Palin would be Gang-Raped by Blacks in Manhattan." (See Full Story).

OK. Is she trying to revive an old stereotype of black men and a white woman in an effort that it will make voters look more favorably on Barack Obama? Is this what she thinks angry black men do to woman that they don't like? Especially, white women! Apparently, Sandra Bernhard thinks very little of black men to make such a comment. She isn't hurting Sarah Palin with such an ugly comment. She is hurting herself and Barack Obama and blacks, everywhere. What a moron!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Joe Biden: The New Adventures of a Robbing Hood

According to Joe Biden, wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes and, in doing so, they would be patriotic (See Full Story). So, in essence, Mr. Biden is saying that wealthy Americans aren't patriotic unless they pay higher taxes. I looked up the word "patriotic" and, for the life of me, I couldn't find anything about taxes being the primary qualifier for someone's patriotism. In fact, this country had no system of taxation until the Civil War. Absurdly, Joe Biden must think that we didn't have any patriots in this country prior to our civil war.

Let's be real. Currently, the top 10 percent of wage earners (which includes businesses and corporations) in America foot the bill for 80 percent of all our government's operations. The top one percent foot the bill for 38% of all governement activities. The rich also help this country by buying up United States Treasury bonds that support our deficit spending and national debt. To say that those people aren't patriotic is just ridiculous. Personally, I believe that someone who shirks their responsibility in even getting a simple high school degree; can't work because of that; and feeds off every government program that the Democrats can hand them, are the real non-patriots in America. They are the leaches that feed off our government and create no jobs and contribute nothing to society. But, those are the people that the Democrats always want to help the most. Not the rich. Not the people who create jobs or the wealth of this country. To me, a patriot is someone who contributes to the health and well being of America and not someone who uses or extorts what they can from it.

Maybe Joe Biden and Barack Obama envision themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods. Most people think of Robin Hood as an outlaw who made a career out of "robbing from the rich to give to the poor." However, a closer look at Robin Hood would reveal a person who fought the big and corrupt government in the form of the King of England and fought his top IRS agent of that day, the noted law enforcer and tax collector, the Sheriff of Nottingham. "Me thinks" that John McCain is the true Robin Hood in this campaign and Barack Obama and Joe Biden are just a couple of "hoods" that would "rob" from the rich.

From my second paragraph (above), you can see clearly that the rich are already keeping this country afloat. But, if you keep taking money from them in the form of taxes, they won't have any money left for business expansion. Additionally, they won't have any excess money available in terms of venture capital to float any new businesses. The economy will just stop growing. If you take that scenario to the extreme (which I always like to use to prove a point), you could take all their money in the form of taxes and this country could ultimately look like North Korea. A country where half the population are starving. China and Russia are now flourishing because they came out of the depths of a purely socialistic environment. Barack Obama and Joe Biden want this country to move in the direction that China and Russia abandoned. Europe has reduced it's corporate and business taxes and even subsidized some businesses like Airbus so their companies can complete in the world economy. Barack Obama and Joe Biden want to penalize our businesses and corporations so they can't compete; and, they can't expand; and, they can't create new jobs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

They All Kept Feeding the Monster

I have read many news articles and opinion columns about the collapse of the housing-related credit markets that have literally destroyed the likes of companies such as Lehman Brothers, Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae, Countrywide Credit, Washington Mutual, AIG Insurance, Merrill-Lynch, and more to probably come.

Some of the more political say it was greed, hubris, and arrogance on the part of Wall Street. Some say it was the lack of government regulation. Many technically blame the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act with the Clinton-signed, Republican-sponsored Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. Others think the house-flipping fad of the last 10 years was at fault, too.

To me, it was all of the above. But, the biggest problem, like all boom-bust scenarios, was that it was rooted in the fact that money was trying to find a place to go in order to make more money. The housing market became a "monster" in terms of making money. The money flowing into this market caused home prices to rise at rates that, by any measure, could not be sustained and were doomed to collapse. For years, independent investment experts were predicting that collapse. But, those in the real estate industry poo-pooed those claims because they, too, had their greed. Wall Street companies fed that monster with cheap and low or no money down home loans. Our Congress threw the lending protections out the window when it replaced Glass-Steagall with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. A law that was vetoed once by Bill Clinton until it met Clinton's demand for the easier loan availability for minority and low income borrowers. That Clinton requirement, alone, put a lot of unqualified people into the housing market and situated them for possible foreclosure situations once the market collapsed. To further this problem, numerous ex-Clinton Administration personnel like Jamie Gorelick joined the likes of Fannie Mae and further pushed the low income home buying concept on an internal basis within these psuedo-government run companies.

As long as the monster kept growing, things were fine. Wall Street was happy to blindly make profits by feeding the growing disaster in the making. The Federal Reserve, following the Clinton-recession and economic disaster of 9/11, had lowered interest rates to historic lows to try and get the economy to recover. The historically low interest rates kept money flowing into the housing market as more and more unqualified buyers bought homes at low mortgage rates. The rapidly rising market value of homes attracted more and more investment capital and house flippers. The home builders saw a seemingly endless market and kept building homes and extending their inventories to meet the demands.

But, the party stopped when the Federal Reserve stopped keeping the rates low and, then, began raising rates on a constant two-month clip as Greenspan believed he was fighting inflation. Inflation that was never really seen. The rapidly rising rate increases by Greenspan did not give our economy and the home buyers a chance to adjust. It was analagous to pulling the rug out from underneath the housing market. Once those rapidly rising interest rates reached a tipping point, the market started to dry up and the boom was effectively over. Interest rates were high and a lot of homeowners, that were holding sub prime, floating loans (adjustable rate mortgages), got caught with new monthly rates that were more than they could ever afford. As loans defaulted at a rapid rate, the lenders like Countrywide, were stuck with borrowers walking away from their loans. Those homes were now worth 20 to 50 percent less than the value of the original loans. The banks and lenders ate the difference and they had inadequate loan-loss reserves to cover the massive defaults. This resulted in the potential of bankruptcy for numerous lenders.

During the boom, more than 20 million new home owners were created. Today, 10 percent of those homeowners are in or near foreclosure. It's those foreclosures that have killed the credit market and driven home prices into the ground to a greater extent then if the market demand for housing had just dried up on a normal basis. Also, as a result of the collapse, many of those new homeowners have loan amounts that are now 20 to 30 percent higher than current value of their homes. If they lose their jobs as a result of the weakened economy and can't afford to continue to pay or payoff their inflated mortgage amounts, the foreclosure rate is sure to continue to go up.

What went wrong? A lot of things did. They all contributed to creating a "perfect storm" in the credit markets. You could say the Republican Congress and willing Democrats and Bill Clinton were at fault. You could say that Wall Street greed was at fault. You could say the system of allowing banks to sell off their loans to other lenders so that they could take on more unsecured debt was at fault. You could say our system of loan-loss reserves was too weak. You could say that the Federal Reserve kept rates low for too long and, then, raised its rates too fast. You could blame Hollywood for all those TV shows on "house flipping" and making a quick buck in the housing market. You could blame the lenders for giving people low interest loans with little or no down payments and not enough of a valid credit history to qualify for those loans. Certainly, there were signs that the collapse was coming as early as six years before it actually happened. But, no one acted.

I hardly think that the management of all those companies that are now tanking, like Lehman Brothers, planned for this state of affairs as some politicians would have you believe. We now have lost some business institutions with over a 100 year history of operations in this country. Our government, as usual, has perfect hindsight in these situations but, was never ever willing to act until the worst actually happened. They were more concerned with having hearings on the Bush Administration failings and drug usage in Major League Baseball than having hearings on the housing market. So, we now have the blame-game going on. Sadly, the government regulation that is due to come out of this fiasco will do nothing but hamper our economy and it may take years upon years for us to actually recover than if we simply repealed the measures within the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that were at fault. There are plenty of other measures that exist in regulation that were waived that should be back in force, once again, to take risk out of the credit and housing markets. We don't need a whole series of new regulation.

The subprime mortgage problem actually started to rear it's ugly head in late 2006. I find it very telling that the Democratically-controlled Congress has not acted with their typical and constant public hearings and, even, the creation of a commission to look at all the causes. Do you get the feeling that some guilt is being hidden by not having full-blown hearings and a commission to investigate it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The New Democratic Culture of Corruption

When trying to seat a majority of Democrats to control Congress, Nancy Pelosi, in 2006, said that the then-current Republican Congress had a "culture of corruption" and was the "most corrupt" in history. As a result, she promised "transparency" and an end to corruption if she and the Democrats took control of Congress. Now, more than two years later, with the Democrats clearly in control, the corruption still reigns. This time, from the Democrats. What's worse, Pelosi seems to think her corruption is different. So different, in fact, that she has, on more than one occasion, refused to have her corrupt members of Congress step down from their committee positions and positions of authority.

Take for example, William Jefferson, a Democrat from Louisiana, who has been indicted for conspiracy, racketeering, bribery, honest services fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In January of 2006, it was clear, based on testimonies by his aides, that Jefferson would be indicted. In addition, there were video tapes of him taking a bribe and the money was found in his freezer. Yet, Nancy Pelosi refused to boot him from his position on the extremely powerful Ways & Means Committee. Finally, under public scrutiny and pressure, she asked Jefferson to step down in May of 2006; 4-1/2 months after being clear that he was probably guilty. Jefferson refused and, then, on June 25th, the House took the extraordinary action to vote him off the committee.

Now, fast forward to last week. Charles Rangel, the Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee (the same committee that Jefferson was one), has been exposed for tax fraud and getting gratuities in terms of low cost rental properties in Harlem. Again, while obvious that Rangel might be guilty, Pelosi has refused to ask for Rangel to step down from his committee chairmanship (See Full Story) . I am sure the public pressure will prevail and, again, Pelosi will have to succumb to the public demands and have Rangel step down.

Besides Jefferson and Rangel, there are other "corrupt Democrats" that have been caught since Pelosi promised all that "transparency" and ethics reform. There was Pelosi' good friend, John Murtha. Murtha chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Murtha is under investigation for funneling business to certain defense contractors who were donors to his campaign. Of course, ethics is no stranger to Mr. Murtha since he was once video taped talking to FBI undercover investigators posing as Saudis and offering Murtha a bribe as part of the ABSCAM scandal. While Murtha never took a bribe his words on tape implied that the future of such action might be in the cards. If Murtha is indicted, given Pelosi's history and close friendship, do you think she as him to step down?

Other investigations are ongoing for Mary Landrieu, a Democratic Senator, for appropriating funds after receiving campaign donations. Then there is Alan Mollohon, a Democrat from West Virginia, who is being investigated for funneling earmarked monies into organizations that he has setup and that his friends are running. He also managed an earmark to create a wilderness area that happened to border land owned by the Congressman. Alan has been under investigation since 2007 and still maintains a committee chairmanship on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Related Agencies. No stepping down on this one either. Right Nancy?

Lastly, we have Laura Richardson, a Democratic Representative from California. She has defaulted on loans on eight properties that she owned. She also failed to pay some taxes on those properties. On the foreclose of her primary residence, she said that it was due to her lender not telling her of extraordinary clauses in her contract. But, when the truth finally did come out, she had failed to make payments on that home for over a year. Apparently, one of the loans that Laura Richardson got a loan on was to fund her campaign run for Congress. While her conduct on her personal finances isn't necessarily illegal there are real questions about her Congressional ethics.

So, anyway, the corruption that Pelosi said would end just keeps piling up. It really doesn't matter who's in charge, either Democrat or Republican, the power of Congress and the purse strings that it holds are always going to be ripe for corruption. There is no change from the Republicans as was promised by Pelosi in 2006. She hasn't passed any significant laws with regard to ethics. And, what's worse, she has a tendency to let her members hold committee positions unless she finally get the heat from you and me. You know.... John Q. Public, the voters!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

If The Fundamentals Weren't Strong....

Yesterday, Barack Obama hit John McCain hard for saying that the fundamentals of this economy are strong (See Full Story). Conversely, that means that Barack Obama must believe that the fundamentals of this economy are weak. After all, doom and gloom is the hallmark of any Democrat's campaign.

If what Barack Obama implied was actually true, I guarantee you that we wouldn't have had any growth in the last quarter or the historically low unemployment rate of 6.1 percent that was just reported. There is liquidity our the banking system which can still provide funding to qualified borrowers. Inflation, other than energy, is not runaway. Given the collapse of the housing and the credit markets and the extremely high prices for automobile and home heating fuels, this country should be in a complete recession or even in a depression. But, it isn't. It isn't because the fundamentals of this economy like unemployment, interest rates, consumer activity, and liquidity are very strong. John McCain is right.

John McCain is also right by not causing fear or panic in the midst of a troubling economic situation that is affecting our banks and our credit firms. Instead, we have Barack Obama who wants to scare the pants off you for a few votes. He would have you completely frightened so you run out and pull all your money out of our banks and banking system. Which, in turn, and if widespread enough, could cause our entire banking system to collapse. Just look at the failed IndyMac bank in California and how that may have been caused by comments made by another Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer (See Full Story). In an election year, Schumer did what he did for purely political reasons in order to attack Bush and McCain and bolster Obama.

Obama would also frighten you into not spending any money so that our entire economy seizes and so that our nation's businesses start losing sales and profits. Is this the "hope" that Barack Obama is trying to sell?

Barack Obama is being irresponsible in trying to completely downplay our economy so he can win the Fall election. He has a responsibility to this country to try and maintain calm in this economy by showing some semblance of confidence. Instead, he's the guy screaming fire in movie theater. If he were the President, right now, do you really think he should be telling the people of this country to cower in the corner because our economy is fundamentally unsound? I don't think so! Anyway, I would hope not! That would be totally irresponsible and could have serious consequences by creating a psychologically developed panic and a complete economic disaster.

This man, Barack Obama, is not ready to lead!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Many Distortions of Truth by Barack Obama

If you listen to Barack Obama, he claims that he only wants to talk about the issues and he is not able to because of all the personal attacks from John McCain. His latest TV ad calls McCain out for this and more or less calls him a liar.

Well, I think Mr. Obama should do some self analysis. He has been distorting McCain's positions and words since he clinched the nomination. It started with the constant hammering that John McCain would stay in Iraq for 100 years. That was a distortion because the context that John McCain made that statement was based on the fact that we would remain in Iraq (after hostilities) in much the same way that we have remained in Japan and Germany since World War II. Maybe, 100 years.

Obama's campaign slogan has been that John McCain is four more years of George Bush. This is an outright distortion. McCain has clearly been at odds with Bush on many "major" issues. He was against the tax cuts by Bush on the basis there were no corresponding spending cuts. He was against Bush and Rumsfeld on the war in Iraq because he always believed that it was being waged with too few U.S. troops. He was pushing the surge when Bush and many Republicans were against it. He sided with Ted Kennedy and against the Republicans and Bush on a defeated immigration bill. When Obama says that McCain has voted with Bush and the Republicans 95 percent of the time, he, like almost all Senators, had done the same. Democrats and Republicans, John McCain and Barrack Obama have consistently voted in agreement on the day-to-day resolutions that constantly pass through the Senate. Those resolutions do things like honor people or declare days honoring the World Series Champs or vote on making some month like May or June the national whatever month. That's what voting with Bush and the Republicans for 95% of the time actually means.

Obama has attacked McCain on his age. He has stretched a gaffe that McCain said, and immediately corrected, into a distortion that McCain doesn't know who we are fighting in Iraq because he doesn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. He has distorted McCain's not knowing how many homes he owns and for that reason says McCain is out of touch with average Americans. The reality is that John McCain actually doesn't own any homes. The homes he lives in are owned by his wife, various legal trusts, and by the corporate interests of his wife. It wasn't a simple answer for McCain to handle in a phone interview with a reporter.

Obama has distorted John McCain's exaggerated comment, and acknowledged by him to to be so, about a person being rich if they make $5 million a year. McCain made that comment to make a point; but, in typical Obama gotcha tactics, Barrack has painted that literary style of making a point into a fact. Most recently in another TV ad, Obama has claimed that McCain doesn't use a computer or send emails as if those were prerequisites for someone to be the President of the United States. The fact is that McCain doesn't use a computer or send emails because he is physically unable to do so; due to the beatings he sustained as POW. I think that someone who was a trained fighter pilot, flying in combat at close to twice the speed of sound, could handle a laptop computer. But, that's the Obama distortion machine!

On Obama's own policies and records, he is guilty of his own distortions. He claims that he will give 95 percent of Americans a tax cut. That would be fine if 95 percent of Americans paid taxes. Unfortunately, 40 percent of Americans aren't even eligible for taxes. He claims that people making less that $250,000 won't see a tax increase. That's wrong because he will uncap the current ceiling of $102,000 for FICA taxes so persons making between $102,000 and $250,000 will see a tax increase. Many seniors in this country rely heavily on interest, dividend, and capital gains to sustain them through their retirement years. He will raise the tax rates on all three of these sources of income and that will increase the tax rate for any senior who make less $250,000; probably any senior who is making more than social security pay as income.

Is McCain guilty of stretching the truth? Yes, he is. But, Obama would have you believe that McCain is the only one involved with this type of old-style politics. That, too, is another Obama distortion.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

They Gaffed Until They Couldn't Gaffe No More!

What a week for Team Obama.

It started out with the "lipstick on the pig" remark and Obama was off speed for most of the week (Click to See Video). Whether or not he actually aimed that comment at Sarah Palin and her well known convention speech joke about a pit bull and a hockey mom, it should not have been said. It was a gaffe because it could easily be misconstrued. It was dumb to say and even dumber to continue to defend. As a result, I don't think the women of America were too impressed.

If you happened to be disabled, Team Obama had a gaffe or two for you as well. First, the King of Gaffes, Joe Biden, decided to tell a wheelchair bound State Senator, Chuck Graham, to stand up and take a bow in this video (Click to See Video). I suppose we could cut Biden some slack and just say he was trying out his "faith healing" skills. Right! Then, the Obama Campaign ran this ad that chided John McCain for not being computer literate or even using email (Click to See Video). Of course, the "gaffe" in that ad is that John McCain can't type on a keyboard, or even tie his shoes or comb his hair because of the constant beatings that he sustained as a prisoner of war. Nice, Barack! What next? Challenge John McCain to beach volleyball?

Lastly, Joe Biden, as the VP Candidate, is supposed to fill the role of "attack dog" during the campaign. But, in this video, the attack dog seems to bite his own master by stating that Hillary Clinton might have been the better choice as the VP pick (Click to See Video). Would somebody please call Cesar Millan of Dog Whisperer fame? We have another attack dog out of control!

This is just one week on the campaign trail and so many gaffes. I once heard a TV news commentator say that he had never seen such a disciplined team as that of the Obama campaign. That may have been true then, but now they're looking like a stooge act.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

They Forgot Lieberman/Lamont

How quickly they forget. They apparently don't seem to grasp the concept of been-there-done-that and, if it didn't work the first time, don't do it again. The "they" that I am talking about are the Democrats. The been-there-done-that that I am about to reference is the Joe Lieberman reelection bid of 2006.

In Connecticut in 2006, Joe Lieberman was up for reelection. The far left of the Democratic Party decided that they didn't want Joe Lieberman back in the Senate. He had voted for the war in Iraq and continued to be an advocate for that war. He was also too centrist. So, Howard Dean and the far left groups like MoveOn.org decided to challenge Lieberman with a far-left, anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont. Nobody on the far left cared about the fact that Lamont had no experience and that Joe Lieberman was widely popular on the left, center, and moderate right. To make a long story short, Ned Lamont only won by slightly more than half the Democratic votes and got the Democratic nomination over Lieberman. In defiance, Lieberman ran as an Independent and won.

There are a lot of parallels to what happened to Ned Lamont in 2006 and what might be happening to Barack Obama in this Presidential election.

First, Barack Obama, just like Ned Lamont, was, from the very start, against the War in Iraq. This fact, alone, endears him to the far left Democrats like Howard Dean and organizations like MoveOn.org. Additionally, Obama is a far-lefty, just like Lamont, and that has given him appeal and the backing of the far left likes of Kennedy, Pelosi, Schumer, Durbin, and all the others. Like Ned Lamont, he barely won the nomination over Hillary Clinton. Barack struggled against Hillary in much the same way as Lamont struggled against Lieberman. It wasn't the popular vote that gave Obama his big win, it was those "fluid," decidedly left-of-center super-Delegates that did.

Hillary didn't go Independent to run against Obama as in the case when Lieberman decided to go Independent and win against Lamont. Instead, Obama is having a similar problem against a somewhat Lieberman-like candidate known as John McCain. John is the centrist and the maverick against his own party that, like Lieberman, appeals to the moderate left, Independents, and moderate rights. With the addition of Sarah Palin, he picked up the Republican base that wasn't too enthusiastic about John McCain.

I don't know who will win this election, but there are certainly a lot of parallels to the loss of the party-favorite, Ned Lamont, in Connecticut and what appears to be happening, now, to Barack Obama. In Team Obama's arrogance, they went against a possible win by not picking Hillary as the running mate and snubbing the women of America. John McCain took a calculated risk and may have picked a woman VP that could steal some of those disenchanted and disenfranchised women from the Democratic party and, at the same time, shore up his base; all in one fell swoop. That's why I think the Democrats might be crying in their beers because they had "been there, done that", then lost, and wound up doing it again!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Always Accentuating the 'Obama' Positive

The Associated Press just released their new poll while partnering with GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media. It has McCain ahead of Obama by 4 points. That's 1.2 points greater than their own declared margin of error. Yet, their headlines describe McCain as only having a slim lead. To me, when someone beats the margin of error by more than a point it is a clear lead. Having a 1 to 3 point lead with a margin of error of 2.8 is a slim lead.

If you read their accompanying press release article (See Full Story), it is as if it was written by an Obama spin-doctor. It down plays McCain's lead and hype's all the things that Obama should ferret out of the bowels of their survey. I particularly like the "by killing people" comment of an Obama supporter. These selected up-close-and-personal comments from a handful of people in a country of 300 million is hardly representative of either their poll or this country. This just proves what I have been saying about the Obama-cheerleading Associated Press!

Obama Is Being Im-Palin-ed

If you haven't noticed it, Barack Obama's campaign for the Presidency is starting to look a little like a beginning bike rider who's taking his first ride without training wheels. He's wobbling; can't keep a straight course; and, looks like he is about to fall off his bike. His poll numbers and his favorability ratings are falling dramatically. He's losing more support from women and Independents. He is spending more time defending "they don't speak for me or my campaign" gaffes and his own dumb comments; and, he is spending less and less time talking about the issues.

Whose fault is this? I think Sarah Palin! He's is literally being im-Palin-ed by this woman!

Since the Palin announcement as McCain's running mate, Team Obama, the Democrats, and the Main Stream Media have been in total disarray. Before that announcement they were sitting back in their easy chairs, picking their teeth with a toothpick or puffing on their cigars and nearly nodding off as they thought McCain would pick Romney or some other white guy and they could just cakewalk to the Presidency.

Well, surprise! surprise! McCain and, especially, Sarah Palin have kicked the soapbox from beneath Obama's feet. So, now, Obama has decided to stop running against George W. Bush and John McCain and, instead, has begun running against Sarah Palin. He has decided to go "mano a mano" with this "lady" and that has made him look less presidential and look both weak and sexist. In a parallel path, the mainstream media has followed the lead of the left-wing bloggers and other blindly biased propagandists by publishing false rumors as news in order to protect their candidate, Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the media has consistently wound up with egg on their face because the rumors that they followd have always been proven wrong. Then, you have moronic anti-Palin Democrats popping up all over the place with comments that can do nothing but make Democrats look sexist and stupid. One such dumb comment, just his week, was from the Democratic Chairperson from South Carolina, Carol Fowler (See Full Story). Her fouler-than-any-Fowler remark was that Sarah Palin was only picked (by McCain) because she didn't have an abortion. This is the wife of the other foul Fowler, Don, who claimed that Hurricane Gustav was sent by God to disrupt the Republican National Convention. You've got to wonder. Who's running the Democratic Party? A bunch of escapees from an insane asylum?

I just think that Team Obama is not ready for prime time. His campaign manager, Axelrod, has never run a successful national campaign. His only claims to fame are wins in Democratic strongholds where Axelrod seems to know what appeals to the left and far left of the Democratic Party. In appealing to Independents and any moderate Republicans, he's totally flatfooted. That was obvious from the run to the center by Obama after being so far left. Being left won Obama the nomination. But, quickly running to the center resulted in people on the left questioning their previous votes for Obama. Further, the Independents and Moderates saw Obama either as a flip-flopper, a phony, or someone who doesn't stand his ground. Apparently, Axelrod has heard that you have to start your candidate out from the left so as to appeal to your base and to win the nomination. Then, you are supposed to move to the center to win Independents and Republican leaners. Unfortunately, for Axelrod and Obama, no one apparently told them to gradually shift to the center over time. I guess that's why Obama almost immediately ran to the center on almost every issue right after clinching the nomination. Since then, Obama's poll numbers have done nothing but weaken.

Obama keeps claiming that he wants to get away from the peronal attacks and get to the issues. But Team Obama just keeps up the personal attacks on Sarah Palin. He make a pig gaffe and, instead of saying he shouldn't have said that, he keeps it up by taking it to the Letterman Show that night. Is this guy dumb or what?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two Faces of Evil Now MIA

Sometimes, silence is truly golden.

In the last few days, there have been two news stories that can only warm the hearts of all the good and the free peoples of the world.

First, that nasty little fellow known as Adam Gadahn, that American turned Al Qaeda and a loud propagandist spokesman for Bin Laden, may actually be dead. His vile mouth hasn't been heard from since January and he may have been taken out in one of those U.S. air strikes on an Al Qaeda/Taliban position along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (See Full Story).

Secondly, that little pompous dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, may have suffered a stroke and may no longer be in charge of that country (See Full Story). He was noticeably missing during this week's grand celebration for the 60-years of the Communist control of that country. That's 60-years of violated human rights; near complete isolation from the rest of the world; and, a total economic failure that has resulted in famine for most North Koreans! What an accomplishment! And, let's not forget this little guy's accomplishment of proliferating missiles and nukes to the other bad guys of this world!

Sadly, there are more than enough bad guys in the world so as to make the loss of these two faces of evil really immaterial in the larger scheme of things. I am sure that some day, another misguided American will join the ranks of Al Qaeda and fill Gadahn's void. Also, there are more than enough gray-outfitted little commies in North Korea to continue on with the twisted aspirations of Kim Jong Il.

The world has always had it's share of evil; starting with Cain in the story of Cain and Abel. The prospects are very slim that we will ever see the day when the earth is free of evil. However, it is somewhat comforting that two less symbols of evil may have been taken away from the world's stage. For that, I'll toast to their demise!

On this day, in the remembrance of the events of 9/11, we should take pause to remember the dead and heroes of that day. But, also, we should never forget the evil that took those lives and the lives of all those who are now our heroes in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. We must be always vigilant. And, most importantly, we must do everything in our power to protect those that we love and all our neighbors in the world from those seemingly endless faces of evil that roam this earth.

Image is a Department of Defense picture in the public domain.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama's Juvenile Attacks: Gives Hillary the Finger....Now, Palin's a Pig!

Yesterday, Barack Obama managed a firestorm of criticism by making this "lipstick on a pig" comment that was clearly a double entendre aimed at Sarah Palin (See Video of Barack's Pig remarks). It is obvious that he doesn't even mention Sarah Palin, but it is also obvious that he wants the crowd to make the connection to Sarah Palin and her "What separates a pit bull from hockey mom" joke at the Republican Convention. That's why he makes such a pregnant pause after the word "lipstick" in his comments as he waits for the crowd to respond with laughter. Then, he finishes up his double entendre by relating lipstick with a pig and the crowd obviously gets it by connecting the dots to Sarah Palin by, again, erupting in laughter.

Supporters of Obama say that accusing him of calling Sarah Palin a pig is a stretch. To them, Obama was just using a well-worn political tool that figuratively describes dressing up a bad government program. But, to them, I only have to rewind back to Obama's contest with Hillary Clinton and another attempt to slam his opponent in a similar fashion(See Video). Just like the pig/lipstick comment, he clearly pauses for the crowd to make the connection of his gesture to Hillary Clinton before continuing. I guess that's what they teach you at Harvard Law School!

For the purposes of this blog, I have listened to many of Obama's stump speeches and debates. To my knowledge, he has never used the "lipstick on pig" analogy before. So, it's use now is intentionally new and targeted.

This is so preteen and so teenage from someone who would be our President. This kind of stuff should stay in the "jock locker room" and has no place on the campaign trail. Barack made that gesture about Hillary when "she" was surging with some substantial Primary wins. He made that remark about Palin after seeing his poll numbers go in the toilet. "Barry" (Barack's childhood moniker) is incapable of being gracious when falling behind. Instead of getting smarter and more polished, he falls back to this kind of school yard tactic.

This morning, he defended his remarks by trying to blame the McCain campaign for typical politics. He used his old standby remarks "this is politics as usual" and this is the same old "taking things out of context" from the McCain campaign. Maybe somebody should tell little "Barry" that he should look in the mirror when complaining about "politics as usual" and "taking things out of context." I seem to recall a lot of efforts on his part to distort what McCain has said. He chided McCain on a gaffe about confusing "Sunnis and Shiites" and used that in a TV ad when it was clearly a gaffe and when it had been immediately corrected. He used McCain's failure to answer the question about his homes by stretching that into an "out of touch" message; both on the stump and in a TV commercial. He used the McCain's joke about the rich being a person making "5 million dollars...I don't know" and turning that into a distortion. And, don't forget the distortion of McCain's comment about being in Iraq "for 100 years" in a peace keeping/consulate role. Politics as usual, Barry? The polls, long before the Palin pick and the conventions, were showing that Obama was sliding. It's this kind of two-faced crap that the voters are getting a little tired off.

My guess is that the women of this country will see the "lipstick on the pig" comment for what it intentionally was and is; just like giving Hillary the finger. Barry is just a kid and he thinks he can get away with his childish little caricatures and gestures that he probably got away with as a kid. Would someone please change this guy's diapers!

Obama's Past Tells All About Education

On Tuesday, Barack Obama took aim at George W. Bush and John McCain on education while on the campaign trail (See Full Story).

I almost have to laugh about Obama on education. This is a guy who comes from a city, Chicago, Illinois, where slightly half the students graduate from high school (See Full Story).

Half of those that do go on to college fail to complete their first two years. Obama's one big chance to improve education in that city came when he headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (See Full Story). After $100 million in public and private financing, it was a total failure and had to be canceled in its sixth year. If it had been a success, it would still be in operation today.

That's Obama's historical or, should I say, hysterical, attempt to change poor education standards in the City of Chicago. Now, instead of millions of dollars, he wants to be the President and wants to be entrusted with billions dollars to, probably, get the same results on a national level that was seen in his total failure in Chicago.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Will Obama Suffer From the Bradley Effect?

Right now, most of the polls are looking pretty good for John McCain. On an average of 7 national polls, Real Clear Politics has him up 2.9 percent against Barack Obama. Prior to the conventions and settling in on the Obama/McCain VP's, Obama was generally ahead by the margin of error; about 3 to 4 percent. But, the real question about all of these polls, no matter if Obama is ahead or behind, is whether or not there is an artificial padding in them for Barack Obama.

If you recall from the recent Democratic Primaries, there was more than one occasion when Hillary was shown to be either far behind in the polls or with a somewhat muted lead. Then, when the actual votes came in, she had either significantly closed the gap where she was losing or, in many cases, she actually won with an unexpectedly greater win than the polls were showing. While most Democratic strategists won't talk about it, the reason for this phenomena might just be something called the Bradley Effect.

In 1982, the Black, former Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, ran for the Governor's slot in California. Right up to the night of the election, almost all the polls had him winning; but, to the contrary, he narrowly lost. To make a long story short, a post-election audit was done and it was found that many whites had lied in the polls; saying they were going to vote for Bradley when they actually didn't. Thus the Bradley Effect came into being.

There are a number of reasons for this. Sometimes it is purely racial. Some people don't want to expose there racial bias so they lie about it when being polled. Sometimes it is peer pressure. When that pollster's telephone call comes into a house at a time when the family is just sitting down for dinner, whatever family member answers the phone, they may actually decide to speak for the family and not themselves because the rest of the family could be within earshot. Many of those family members, like children, won't even be voting. Interestingly, the "Bradley" post audit found men being polled to be the biggest liars.

The Bradley effect has been seen many times when a black runs against a white for a public office. It has been seen in Chicago with Harold Washington; in New York with David Dinkins; and, in Virginia when the black candidate, L. Douglas Wilder, ran for the office of Governor.

The impact of the "Bradley Effect" has been estimated by political scientist to be between 4 and 6 percentage points. This means that, right now, Barack Obama could be behind as much as 9 points; rather than the 2.9 percent average that Real Clear Politics is reporting.

I think that Team Obama is probably nervous about the Bradley Effect. Certainly, anytime McCain is ahead in the polls, the Bradley Effect can only exacerbate that lead. I personally think that Obama needs a 6+ point lead in the polls to even feel the "least" comfortable about this election. That's why I am not sure that the those who are looking at Obama's lead in the electoral map are getting or giving the true story.

Of course, the Bradley Effect is bound to weaken over time as the social attitudes towards race continue to improve in this country. Maybe, today, the effect is only 2 or 3 percent from the Tom Bradley race in 1982. After all, that was 26 years ago. Whatever the amount of the "effect" is on today's voting, it can not be ignored. If the contest between McCain and Obama is within the margin of error, the "Bradley Effect" will most certainly favor McCain. Not my opinion; but an historical fact!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Obama-Nomics Lie is Exposed

In his typical campaign-promises-are-always-to-be-hedged-on fashion, Barack Obama is now saying that he may "keep" those nasty "GW" Bush tax cuts for the rich "if" the economy is tanking (See Full Story).

He now feels that taking away those tax cuts could hurt the economy even further. Golly...gee...let me see! Is this an admission that the tax cuts for the rich are actually beneficial to the economy? Is he now admitting that the 2000 Clinton recession and the disastrous economic effects of 9/11 were reversed by those tax cuts for the rich? Are we going to have four more years of the Bush; even if McCain isn't elected? Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings (Psalms 8:2)!

Apparently, the elimination of those tax cuts can only be done during a good economy. That way, hopefully, our economy could survive the consequences of doing so. Hopefully! Now batting, rookie "far left" hander, Barack Obama!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Biden Who?

Everybody's talking politics. Mostly, they are talking about national political newcomer, Sarah Palin. They are also talking about John McCain and Barack Obama. But, the invisible man in this election has become Joe Biden.

When it came to the convention speeches, Obama, Palin and McCain got over 38 million viewers for their performances. Lowly, Joe? Well, he got 24 million viewers. A good number but almost 50 percent less viewers than the others.

To make things worse. Much of the talk in the media is matching Sarah Palin against Barack Obama and not Joe Biden.

I think all this lack of notice of poor Joe Biden shows what a bad choice he was. It is as if Biden has sucked all the air out of the Obama campaign. Certainly, the polls reflected that when he was announced. He can't even be the "attack dog" that Obama hired him for because the cameras aren't being pointed at him. The one attack statement he was able to get in was when he said that Sarah Palin was good looking. Is he tough or what? At least he didn't use the term "clean" as when he described Barack Obama. Even the Democrats are now disenchanted with him. There is actually talk all over the blogosphere about how Obama has buyer's remorse and some speculation that he will eventually dump Biden for Hillary! Me thinks Bill (Clinton) is spreading that one!

I think a lot of people have concluded that Joe was a dumb choice on the part of Barack. Probably, another example of what little decision making skills this guy (Barry Obama) really has (or hasn't at all)! After all, some "losing" dog catcher's in America probably got more than the 9,000 votes that Joe Biden got in his run for the Presidency this year!

Before Sarah Palin gave her speech at the convention, the Democrats where all ready to eat this Republican ticket alive. Grrrr! They were all saying how Biden will tear Sarah Palin to shreds. Now, since her Convention speech, that talk has become much subdued. In fact, some Democrats are advising Joe Biden to bone-up on his facts and not to be the typical bonehead he has demonstrated in the past. They all know that Joe is good for "digging jokes" but tends to be long winded, sometimes short on facts and substance and logic, and has constant habit of saying a multitude of dumb gaffes. In fact, at the convention, Joe slipped again by saying Barack America instead of Barack Obama. It's a good thing Joe was thinking about this country at the time and not some country like Iran. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has shown how adept she is in inserting the knife with a smile and a little humor. Also, she ain't no political hack dummy like some Joe's we all know.

Joe appears to be the "forgotten man" in this election. I am sure that if Barack Obama loses this election, no one will ever remember who he ran with. On the other hand, if McCain loses, history will always remember who his running mate was. My guess is that history will always think of Joe Biden as: Biden Who?

One last thought. Here's something that might help you remember Joe Biden. His middle name is Robinette. Sounds like some kind of "diner" where birds are the main item on the menu. Probably in China!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

I hate to do it again but, I have some more problems with T.Boone Pickens plan for getting us off foreign oil. While I agree that Compressed Natural Gas is a possible means to that end, I, at best, only believe it to be a stop gap and short-lived alternative.

Certainly, natural gas resources are absolutely abundant in the United States and cheaper to extract that oil. As a fuel though, it is a "weak" alternative over gasoline. It really lacks the power for high power applications such as trucks and diesel trains. That's because the energy rating of natural gas is lower than either gasoline or ethanol.

Secondly, because it is primarily a gas and not a liquid, there are serious problems with the on-board storage in an automobile or any other vehicle. When a car is converted to natural gas, several tanks are used to replaced the single traditional gasoline tank. Often, tanks are added below the floor of the passenger compartment. Even with additional tanks, the driving range is generally half that of a gasoline powered vehicle.

Third, retrofitting existing vehicles is very expensive. While there are some claims that an automobile can be converted for as little as $8,000, the general assumption is that cars will, at a minimum, cost $12,000 to be retrofitted. Buses and trucks will cost upwards of $50,000 to convert to CNG.

Fourth, there needs to be an infrastructure built to accommodate CNG powered cars. Up until now, most CNG operated vehicles are fleet vehicles for locally-based operations such as government vehicles or city buses. The filling operations for those vehicles have been built at the parking and garage facilities for those vehicles. Under T. Boone Picken's plan, CNG filling stations will literally have to be built from coast to coast to accommodate the average American driver. Unlike a gasoline filling stations, with their fuel tanks and pumps, a CNG filling station requires more expansive underground storage space because it is a "pressurized" gas and not a liquid. The storage tanks are more expensive because the must handle high pressure levels and the OSHA/EPA requirements are stringent. Additionally, the drive-up filling operation is more complex and needs higher maintenance to insure that there is no leakage. The coupling to a car is under very high pressure and must be checked and serviced quite often to insure a tight seal. This adds to the operational cost of CNG filling station and those costs are substantially higher than the typical gasoline filling station. A CNG service station will cost $200,000 or more to build. That is a cost that is over-and-above typical gasoline service station. Because CNG is less compact than liquid gasoline, the tanker operations to keep these stations with full tanks has to twice as frequent as a gasoline tanker truck operation. The additional capital cost of setting up CNG filling stations across this country could be a seriously limiting factor; especially in small town America where an extra $200,000 might never be available to build a CNG operation. Without expansive refilling operations being available, the consumer will avoid CNG operated vehicles.

Another consideration is the dangers associated with CNG. In an automobile accident, a ruptured CNG tank is actually safer than a rupture of a gasoline tank. If a rupture gas tank catches fire, the gas, which is lighter than air, will escape upwards into the sky and act like a blow torch that is localized at the point of exit. Gasoline, on the other hand, will spread on the ground and a fire could ensue wherever the liquid gasoline winds up. The real problem could be an accident in an enclosed space such as in a tunnel or some kind of enclosed parking garage. In that case the CNG could be trapped and the explosion could be like a bomb going off. Leaking tanks in the average homeowners garage could explode if ignited by a spark from a light switch or from a garage-installed gas water heater.

For those "global warming" proponents, CNG is just another form of carbon-based fuel that will not head off ocean front properties being created in the Rockies when all the ice melts (Just a joke!). Don't expect Al Gore and his Democratic followers to jump on the CNG bandwagon. Sorry, T. Boone!

Lastly, even T.Boone Pickens admits that CNG is merely a stop-gap or bridge to future fuels like hydrogen. Why then would anyone buy into it. That would be like buying a Sony BetaMax video tape system; knowing the VHS would, ultimately, become the standard.

I think that if we are going to have a plan, it should be one with staying power like hydrogen. In the meantime, I think that we should do everything from drilling, to hydroelectric, to biofuel, to nuclear, etc. to get by. Where CNG makes sense, then let's do it. But we should settle on what should be the energy of the future and use our government research and spending to achieve that goal. We have a lot of natural gas and coal, we just need to "wisely" use it to both our short-term and our long-term advantage. But, "completely" investing in a short-term CNG plan is not what we should be doing. That's just my opinion.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Bad Jobs Number?

The headlines tomorrow will read that the unemployment rate "jumped" to 6.1 percent from 5.7 percent. The headlines will also read that it is the worst unemployment rate since 2003 when the full effects of the 2000 recession and 9/11 were being seen (See Full Story).

To me, I am a little perplexed by this dramatic jump in the unemployment rate. Simply looking at the jobless claims numbers, this 6.1% unemployment number seems illogical. Unemployment insurance claims or jobless claims had fallen for 3 consecutive weeks; followed by a jump, yesterday, of 15,000 new filings for unemployment compensation (See Full Story). Yesterday's number was clearly expected (apparently, only by me) because it followed Labor Day and the official end of the summer and the beginning of the school year. A high number of summer jobs losses were expected to have shown up in that report as amusement parks, summer camps, beach operations, and other summertime-related businesses either shutdown completely or pared back staffing levels for weekend-only operations. Actually, I would have thought the jump in claims to be bit higher; probably 20,000 or more. But that fact was probably muted by an economy that had seemed (until this morning) relatively strong. In fact, just last week the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) had to be revised upwards from a previous reading 1.9 percent to 3.3 percent in the face of the export strength in our economy.

Certainly, the Unemployment Report takes into consideration more than those who lost their jobs and have filed for unemployment insurance. The Unemployment Report tries to discern how many part-timers and transient farm workers have lost their jobs as well as full-timers who did not work long enough to qualify for unemployment insurance. Further, it also tries to determine how many self-employed (never eligible for unemployment insurance) consider themselves out of work. It does this through a mechanism called the "Household Survey" and an associated form of statistical methodology. This part of the Unemployment Report is always the weak link and is subject to revisions later on. That's why I think that the "Household Survey" may have got it wrong and, further, I think the unemployment rate will be adjusted backwards to 6 or 5.9 percent when the report comes out in October. But, as usual, I could be wrong.

If the 6.1 percent unemployment holds and even goes higher in October, I think we could seriously believe that economy is either in or extremely close to being in a recession. My guess is that the late October, when the 3rd Quarter GDP is released, it will, again, be positive. But, the Fourth Quarter will, as I have said before, reflect an economic contraction. This will be the first of two contractions that will ultimately signal a recession. Whoever is in the Presidential office at that time will find themselves with and an economy that is both inflationary and having a constrained credit system that is seriously hampering growth. I personally don't think that any amount of government stimulus checks or tax rebates will help a economy in that condition. The only place that a stimulus check will go is to pay off higher and higher bills for energy and gasoline; as well as for rising food and clothing expenses. In other words, the essentials. Those checks will not go into buying the non-essential items that are needed to grow this economy and get us out of a recession.

As I have always said, we need to lower prices for products by reducing taxes on our businesses. With lower price, American products can be more competitive and attractive to consumers. Lowering the tax rate on the consumer will only help the consumer keep pace with inflation and not really address the inflationary effect of high business taxes; which is a core reason for product pricing and inflation. To keep jobs in this country, we need to make American products more competitive than those from other countries like Japan, Indonesia, India and China. Raising taxes on American businesses isn't going to make that happen. This is why Mr. Obama's plan is all wet in the face of a faltering economy. Lowering taxes on the American consumer (the taxpayer) is Ok as a welfare program to keep pace with inflation but does nothing to make our products cheaper and more attractive to the conumer. Raising taxes on business, will just add to inflation and price our products higher than our foreign competitors. We want our businesses to have more available cash (not eaten up in taxes) to expand and buy new equipment and services. This is only logic and not some kind of political gamesmanship.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin Shouldn't Work With Five Kids at Home?

Some of the left wing media is promoting the concept that Sarah Palin is a "bad mother" because she would ignore her five children, one with down syndrome, if and when she takes the office of Vice President.

Just a quick comment. Why were those same news agencies "not critical" of John Edwards when he decided to continue to run for the Presidency; knowing that his wife was diagnosed with incurable cancer? What a bunch of liberal hypocrites!

Wasting $10 Billion a Month in Iraq?

I know I've talked about this before but, Iraq is not the "wasted" amount of money that Mr. Obama would have you believe as he pushes towards the Presidency.

Much of what is being spent on that war is coming right back into our own economy. It is as if no Democrat or Barack Obama has ever heard of the expression: A Wartime Economy.

All the "things" that are used and used up to support the war effort are made by American companies; by Americans; and, primarily, for our American soldiers. Where does Mr. Obama think Humvees are made? Baghdad?! What about all the rations like MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) that are troops are eating? Those aren't hardly Arab dishes that they're eating! Everything from M-16's to the Tanks to tires to the boots that our soldiers wearoing are made here in the good old U.S.A. Further, American contractors, like General Electric and Halliburton (yes, Halliburton!), are using American-made products to rebuild the infrastructure in that country. That, too, helps give Americans jobs in America.

Whenever we pull the plug on the war, there will be a dent in our economy. Jobs will be lost that were once deependant on the war effort. That doesn't mean that we should have wars just to provide support to American companies and military contractors. However, the story that Obama is telling is not the complete truth. It is not totally wasted spending. There has always an economic upside to starting a war and an economic downside to ending one.

My guess is that about 20% of the 10 billion dollars a month, or approximately 2 billion dollars, is spending that is being spent on Iraqi contractors, military, and security personnel and equipment that provides no benefit, at all, to America. Additionally, any equipment like pumps and generators that is used to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure, will remain there. However, America did benefit from that imbedded Iraqi equipment because we got to produce it. And, that meant jobs.

So, the bottom line is that our economy will lose about $8 billion dollars a month in governement spending once the Iraq war is concluded. That's $8 billions dollars that may be somewhat offset by increased activity in Afghanastan. But, there is no way that the level of support in a post-Iraq Afghanastan will equal what we had been spending in Iraq.

Lastly, we could probably argue all day long about the 80% level of spending that remains in the United States. However, whether it is 50% or 40% or 90%, our economy will be affected.