Wednesday, September 30, 2009

East Cleveland Mayor Loses Big

People always say that they hate dirty politics. But, when it comes down to voting, they always vote the dirtied politician out of office. What that person did in their job really doesn't matter.

For sure, it happened again last night in East Cleveland, Ohio. The challenger, Gary Norton, beat the current Mayor, Eric Brewer, by a vote of 2015 to 1147. A near 2 to 1 ratio.

As I had written in this blog just a couple of days ago, Eric Brewer was caught posing in some compromising cross-dressing pictures.

Now, certainly, the mayor's job in East Cleveland isn't any big national issue. I wrote about it in my blog because I thought it was funny on the surface. But, in reality, it was so typical of a lot of political campaigns in this country. This was just another example of a below the belt smear campaign that was intentionally initiated on the near-eve of an election. This happens all the time on all levels of politics. Once again, politics remains true to its well known "dirty" moniker.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Taliban & Al Qaeda Now Know That a Win Is In Sight

Like it or not, the President's indecision on additional troops for Afghanistan has just signaled the last piece of information that the Taliban needed to tell them that they are winning.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda, even being trapped in the Mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, are well aware of what's going on in this country in terms of the general sentiment about the Afghan War. Thanks to the World Wide Web, I'm am quite sure the extended donkey-net has gotten word to the Taliban leaders that America's public opinion has shifted away from that war and that the Democrats -- now completely in charge -- have no interest in additional troops or increased expenses for military operations.

So, if you were the enemy, what would you think about this critical information? I'm quite sure you'd be heartened by it.

I think, when history is written, this last week will be documented as the turning point that resulted in our loss of that war. It reflects a point were our "heart" is no longer in winning. Because of this telegraphed attitude, you can expect the battles to get more fierce with the Taliban inflicting more damage and causing an increasing amount of American casualties. Within the next year, we will probably decide to leave Afghanistan; only to return some day when the Taliban and Al Qaeda have rebuilt their bases of operations in that country and have done us some additional harm.

I hope I'm wrong but I seriously don't think so. Somewhere, Bin Laden has to be smiling.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The 'Softer Side' of Mayor Eric Brewer and a Twofer for East Cleveland Ohio


Just when you think you've seen everything in politics, along comes another whacked out story about one of those we have appointed as one of our political leaders.

This story comes from East Cleveland, Ohio. That's where the current Mayor, Eric Brewer, seems to be quite overexposed; and, just before Tuesday's vote for his reelection.

No, he didn't 'streak' or unzip in public. Instead, he was caught cross-dressing in some very provocative lingerie poses (Click to See Full Story: Mayor Eric Brewer's Lingerie Photos Put Reelection Campaign in Jeopardy").

The following is an Action News 19 broadcast regarding the Mayor's little problem:


All indications are that Mayor Brewer is doing a fine job. So, what if he has a kinky side to him? He's actually helping the East Cleveland business community by broadening his buying activities in both men's and women's specialty stores. After all, women's clothing and accessories -- especially makeup -- can be quite expensive. I'll bet he didn't pay off-the-shelf prices for those 'pumps' in a man's size. And, let's not forget, Mayor Brewer could better address woman's issues than his opponent because he does seem to have that 'softer side' to him.

All kidding aside, I'm not sure, if I happeneded to be an East Cleveland resident, if I would either vote against or for Brewer to stay on as Mayor. Those pictures are rather embarrassing and, because of that, they might actually compromise his ability to lead the city. However, looking at his T-shirted and very much younger opponent (as seen in that video), I'm not sure that voting for Eric Brewer should be out of the question.

In politics, the choice is always between one of two concepts: Either picking the better of the two candidates or, more often than not, selecting the lesser of two evils. In this case, though, I'm not sure what choice voters will be making.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Secret Iranian Facility: Another Kabuki Dance

Like I said Friday, I, among others who carefully scour the Internet for news, have known about this not-hardly-secret secret Iranian underground nuclear facility when an Iranian opposition group notified the world of that fact in a 2007 press conference. Click to see story: Iranian Opposition Group Claims Iran Building Secret Underground Nuclear Facility.

However, in the last two days, Barack Obama has been acting like an overly talkative detective who just cracked the crime of the century. But, knowing that this facility had already existed and, now, acting like it was a completely new revelation is truly what Tom Brokaw once called the kabuki dance of politics. At the time, Brokaw was talking about the falseness of the Republican and Democratic National Convention process in nominating a presidential candidate when, in fact, the outcome was already known by virtue of the preceding state primaries. But, in the same vein, that falseness is shared in what Obama is now saying about Iran's underground nuke facility.

Personally, I think Obama is using this "kabuki" to run up his personal poll numbers. Its intention is to make him look like he's finally doing something tough on the Iranian issue after looking so weak in canceling the Eastern European missile shield.

I'm quite sure that this current tough talk on Iran is a very calculated tactic by Team Obama. However, don't be fooled by all the tough talk now. The proof will be in what happens after this. We will have to see if all this talk results in sanctions or other efforts to thwart Iran's race to nuclear success.

Either unwittingly or intentionally, Obama's revelation of this underground site may actually have legitimized Israel's need to attack and take out this and the other Iranian facility. Now, from the mouth of our President, the world has been given the evidence needed for it to accept an Israeli attack. Is this what Obama wanted? Anyway you shake it, this now-public certification of that facility just puts more pressure on Israel to act "immediately" and take matters into their own hands. In a way, it gives the U.S. the cred to act on Israel's behalf and take out that facility. However, don't bank on this President taking any such action.

I think that Friday's declaration has made things a lot more complicated and more pressure packed. I really don't know where this is all going to go. I would hope we are not now on the precipice of a Middle East war; should Israel attack Iran.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ACORN's Lost Plunder Leads To Another Blunder

Angry that two young novice filmmakers have exposed the seedy side of their business, ACORN has now decided to exact a pound of flesh from those two and an internet reporter, Andrew Breitbart, in a court of law. After all, it is only logical for ACORN to fight back since they have been hurt tremendously by these two by losing millions of dollars in funding from our Federal government.

But, once again, ACORN could wind up being on the short end of the stick with this particular legal maneuver.

First, this legal action, against these two young people, will only add to the bad publicity that ACORN already has accumulated. I am quite sure that the majority of the public will side with the filmmakers. Only those on the far-left, politically, are likely to side with ACORN. ACORN already has quite a bad rap in the area of voter fraud. And, their voter fraud rap sheet goes back for more than 3 national election cycles. Now, this aiding and abetting in the illegal trafficking of underage prostitutes and tax evasion in more than three cities in three different states doesn't hardly improve their already tarnished image.

Secondly, and most importantly, ACORN has stupidly unleashed the dogs on themselves. Every aspect of their operations will be under scrutiny by a legal defense team for the filmmakers because of the legal discovery process in preparing for this case. The investigation that ACORN sidestepped in Congress (primarily due to their protection by the Democrats) will actually occur in the public legal arena and the results are sure to become available to all. My guess is that a lot of concerned Americans will contribute to the legal defense of the filmmakers -- just because ACORN will be under legal scrutiny.

I personally believe that ACORN has a lot more to hide than what has already been learned about them. If that is true, I suspect that their lawsuit will be eventually dropped because they can't afford to go under the extreme exposure that it will afford their enemies.

Once again, this lawsuit only shows what kind of thugs are running ACORN. The intent of that lawsuit is to keep people from looking into their operations or they will be punished by having to spend their own time and money on a legal defense. Any legitimate organization would not have done the same. The list of states that are investigating ACORN for voter fraud and other violations of the law just grows by the day with California and Minnesota added just in the last week. That hardly makes ACORN the equivalent of Mother Theresa in the world of community organizing.

While a legal defense fund from a conservative legal group has already been established for Hannah Giles (one of the filmmakers), I would expect that some larger conservative legal group, like the Alliance Defense Fund, will eventually pro-bono their services in defending all of those who are targeted by this lawsuit. I believe this to be more powerful than having three separate lawyers defending the three being sued. It would also provide the national basis that would be needed to do a complete investigation of ACORN.

Friday, September 25, 2009

When Did He Know It and Why Didn't He Say It Then!

The fact that Iran had a secret underground nuclear enrichment facility was formally known to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as of Monday. Iran actually acknowledged it in a letter to the IAEA and, I am quite sure, that all the members of the Security Council were notified immediately. Yet, Obama went through two days, Wednesday and Thursday, at the United Nations and never once mentioned this fact. Instead, he gave his feel good speeches about nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament; as if this new data never existed.

Then, today, he uncorks that very important news at the G20 meeting; an economics forum (Click to See Full Story: "Iran Reveals Existence of Second Uranium Enrichment Plant").

What's the game being played here? You have to wonder if Obama actually hid that information during his U.N. presentations because, to reveal it then, would have ruined his pretty little speeches about deterring nuclear weapons. I personally wouldn't put that past him. He's all about the "show" and, for that information to be released a day or two ago, it would have spoiled his big U.N. appearances and subsequent praise from the member nations. Again, we see another example of the non-transparency of this supposed transparent President.

It should also point out that this "secret" nuke facility in Iran has been known about since 2007; as noted by this story: Iranian Opposition Group Claims Iran Building Secret Underground Nuclear Facility.

This just shows how naive or intentionally naive the world community has been with regard to the threat that Iran poses for both Israel and the rest of the Middle East. This Obama revelation of today was no surprise to many. Apparently, if you read the Internet, you're more informed than our own government. This whole thing with Iran and their nukes is a very dangerous game that could ultimately lead to an outright war in the Middle East.

Obama's Fairy Tale: The United Nations

Wednesday's assemblage of many of the world's leaders at the United Nations was truly a spectacle to behold. On one stage, you had some of the biggest despots of the modern world -- like Ahamdinejad and Khadafy -- and, at the same time, many leaders of the free-world such as Barack Obama. All were competing "equally" for the ears of the General Assembly. What a display of harmony.

I was especially impressed when Obama spoke these words as part of his speech:
"No nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold..."
Certainly, these are noble ambitions. But, in terms of practicality, especially when it comes to the United Nations, those words are naive.

All you have to do is look at the United Nation's Security Council to know that Obama's words were flights of pure fancy and a complete fairy tale.

Among all the nations in the world, there are just a chosen few who have all the power. These are the nations who have been elevated above all others. These are the permanent members of the Security Council. And, contrary to Obama's fantasy world, these 5 countries --- Russia, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, and United States --- hold veto power above all others.

This is why the United Nations is so benign. When push comes to shove over the need to punish a nation for being exceptionally bad, one of these permanent member countries will always play their veto card and nothing will get done. Iran is always being protected by Russia's veto power. North Korea thwarts punishment by hiding behind China and their veto. Hugo Chavez and Venezuela have Russia as their shield. And, so it goes.

If you are a bad guy in the world of nations, all you have to do is link up economically with one of the permanent members. During the run-up to the Iraq war, it was Germany, France, and Russia who threatened to veto if actions were two harsh or if war was to be contemplated against Iraq. Each had oil, arms, and other trading concerns with Iraq and it came down to protecting their self interests. That's the real reason that America had to go it alone in Iraq.

The U.N. is a hypocritical organization. The exposed fraud regarding Iraq's "Oil for Food Program" just proves how corrupt this organization is and can be. Contrary to Obama's words, at the U.N. it's all about "who you know." Like any other political organization, you have power, corruption, and greed. For Obama to say that "no one nation should dominate another" and "no world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed" is a complete antithesis of what the U.N. is all about. The United Nations is literally a "world order" that places a select few countries above all others.

That is why Obama's words are so hollow and nothing more than a fairy tale. A fairy tale that only a fool or a liberal could believe in.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Very Important Commentary

A leading guru in the investment world comments on the dangers of China/Japan not buying our debt. There are inflation potentials of near 20% if we can't continue to sell our debt to these two countries. Worst yet, if they start selling off the current debt they own, it could even be worse.



On Health Care Reform: Seeking The Archimedean Point

In lore, the Archimedean point is a fabled location where all can be seen. It is a place where all sides of an issue are clearly evident so that a decision could be made.

The problem with health care reform is that no one seems to be able to give a clear idea as to what this reform is truly all about. Certainly, Obama isn't able to; and, unlike the fabled Archimedean Point, there is no single place where one can stand that allows you to see all the aspects of the proposed bill without obscuring any underlying problems. That's because health care reform is being made in a sausage-like fashion by a bunch of individual groups that are spread out all over Congress. This is why Obama seems to be constantly getting caught in his all-too-common misrepresentations.

The latest revelation on health care reform shows that the Senate Finance Health Care Reform Bill (aka the Baucus Bill) will cut Medicare Advantage benefits. Once again, this is contrary to a recent promise that Obama had made.

There is a way of somewhat achieving the Archimedean Point. The way to it is by having a Presidential Commission that is totally non-partisan and that is first dedicated to identifying and quantifying the good and bad of our current health care system. Upon completion of that task, the results would be presented to the President, the Congress, and to the American people. This, then, becomes the basis of health care reform.

From there, the same Commission would develop recommended changes. Not just one but multiple options with the upside and downsides being disclosed/discussed. Again, it would quantify all the costs and risks associated with each and any reform option. Those resulting findings would be again presented to the President, to the Congress, and to the American people.

Using the Commissions findings, the Congress would, then -- and only then -- formulate the final legislation; based on the best option.

This is what is missing in this whole process. Currently, it almost feels like the Three Stooges are trying to cobble a bill together with some big game clock hanging over the heads of Congress. Obama is completely AWOL as a true leader in this process. In effect, with speech after speech, he has become a press secretary for health care reform.

A commission would restore order to the process and get the American people on board with it. I am sure that the major objection by the Democrats will be that something like a Commission could add months to the process. But, I don't think the most Americans would mind if it appeared that we were finally moving towards a real, comprehensive, and cohesive solution. After all, much of what the current health care reform is about wouldn't go into effect until 2013 anyway.

And, that's just my opinion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pussy Footin' Again. Now in Afghanistan

When George Wallace ran for President during the height of the Vietnam war, he described the handling of the war as "pussy footin' around." In using that term, he was criticizing the fact that America lacked the commitment to win the war in Vietnam; either in strategy or in will.

If we analyzed the dance that is going on between Barack Obama and his commanding general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, we could easily say that Obama, too, was "pussy footin' around" by ignoring McChrystal's request for new troops (Click to See Full Story: "U.S. commander says Afghan war needs more troops").

Obama's campaign commitment to win the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan was just another campaign tactic that he used to beat McCain for the Presidency. But, like a lot of what he has said and says, it was hollow in intent. It was similar to his promise to immediately withdraw from Iraq. Now, it's looking like both those promises will be broken.

As in Vietnam, the casualties in Afghanistan are rising and the support in Congress is waning; mostly from the Democrats. Also, like Vietnam, we have a corrupt central government in Karzai and an outlying agricultural lifestyle that gets nothing in true support from a central government. The enemy, the Taliban, are more committed to win than the Afghans. For them, this is a religious war. This is similar to the communist beliefs of the North Vietnamese and their fervor to win and convert the South.

For almost a month now, Obama has told McChrystal to hold his report on troop requirements until he (Obama) was ready for it. So, for a month, our soldiers have been dying and McChrystal's request for more troops has been ignored as if Obama is playing some kind of "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" game.

(Maybe if Mr. Obama could give up prepping for and delivering just "one" of his more than 100+ speeches on health care, he could ask for and read the McChrystal report. )

I especially like this excerpt from the aforementioned news story on this situation:

"McChrystal, who commands more than 100,000 Western troops, two-thirds of them American, has drafted a separate request spelling out how many more he needs but has not sent it to the Pentagon, which says it is considering how he should submit it."
Just give me a break! The Pentagon is trying to consider "how" McChrystal "should submit it." What are we talking about: Double-spaced? Two-sided? The color of the paper? My God!

I believe this shows that the war in Afghanistan is doomed to be Obama's equivalent of Vietnam. There are too many excuses being used by both Obama and the Pentagon. Ultimately, we will leave that country as losers; just as in Vietnam. And, just as in Vietnam, all the lives that were lost will be for naught!

If we are "not" committed to winning; then, let's just leave and avoid any more deaths of our soldiers. Otherwise, wage the war as if we mean it. Obama put McChrystal in charge because he didn't like the last commander's advice. Now, Obama doesn't seem to like McChrystal's advice. Who does this guy want in charge? Cindy Sheehan?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Post Mortem On Cash For Clunkers

It has been about a month now since the Cash for Clunkers program (CFC) ended. Cheered as a success by the left, the facts, that are now coming to light, might conclude otherwise.

According to a Cars.com survey of those who bought under the program, about 70% of the buyers were going to buy a car anyway. Therefore, much of the money that the Fed spent could be easily considered a waste of money; assuming that the "real" intent of CFC was to stimulate auto sales.

Other data supports the fact that many of the buyers would have been better off dealing on their own because, under CFC, dealers didn't deal as they would have normally with a trade-in which had value to them and that they could resell. Some buyers actually traded in vehicles that were worth more than the $4500 or $3500 that they got from the government.

As we all know, many dealers are still waiting to get paid by the Fed. This is costing them money in terms of the interest that they have to pay while waiting for the rebates to come through. Also, there were some deals that the Fed rejected because the buyer or the car being traded in didn't meet all the qualifications for the program. In those cases, the dealers are going after the buyers for the rebate amount.

Another surprise for the buyers is the fact that, in some states, the rebate is taxable as a form of income. In other states, the owner could get charged for a sales tax that is equivalent to the $3500 or $4500 they received for their car; even if their cars were worth substantially less than that.

For the dealers, themselves, the foot traffic into the showrooms has fallen back to the pre-Cash For Clunkers levels (Click to See Full Story from the Boston Globe: "Car showrooms quiet after clunkers clamor ends").

Edmunds.com's analysis of September's auto sales clearly shows that the sales going forward will even be lower than before the CFC program. In fact, September sales are expected to tie a 28-year industry low (Click to See Full Story: "September sales rate will tie lowest on record, Edmunds says"). September sales are expected to be almost 12% below June's pre-Cash For Clunkers sales pace. Beyond this record low sales in September, Edmunds.com isn't very positive on industry sales going forward (Click to See Full Story: "Expect decline in car sales after 'cash for clunkers,' Edmunds.com predicts"). This was to be expected. All that CFC did, in most cases, was to steal from future auto sales and compress those sales into a 4 week period. Salesmen are probably closer to losing their jobs than they were before the CFC program.

On the used car front, the CFC program has forced a shortage of used cars and, consequently, higher used car prices are creeping into the market (Click to See Full Story: "Used cars about to get pricier, more scarce, dealers say"). This too was predictable. You can't just destroy 700,000 perfectly viable used cars and not expect the price of all used cars to go higher. Sadly, this effect of the CFC will hit the working poor the hardest.

From an economics standpoint, that $3 billion dollars spent for the CFC program was money that we didn't have. Therefore we will be paying interest on that money for a very long time. Even at a the current low 4.35% interest rate, we taxpayers will continue to pay about $135 million dollars a year for this program; about $174 per car. And, given that we have a national debt that extends as far as the eye can see, we taxpayers will be paying for this program for the rest of our lives; our children's lives; and, their children's lives.

Then, too, a third of that $3 billion was spent on people who were attracted to buying a car and hadn't really planned to. This is about a billion dollars that won't be spent elsewhere; on other things that would better serve a rebound in the economy. Generally speaking, when somebody makes a major purchase, like a car, they tighten their spending for some time after. So, in effect, we might well have hurt many other businesses with the Clunkers program.

Now, if the goal was to save the planet by increasing the mileage on 700,000 cars, think twice. On average, the CFC program might have saved about 5 miles per gallon per car. Assuming an average of 12,000 miles being driven per year and an average of 27 miles per gallon for each new car, the savings adds up to about 88 gallons of gas per-car-per-year. In terms of a barrel of oil, that is about 4.5 barrels of oil per-year-per-car or a total of 3.1 million barrels of oil for all those 700,000 cars. While that may sound like a lot, think about the fact that we import 19 million barrels of oil each day. That 3.1 million barrels a year savings is but one-sixth of a one day's usage of all the oil that America uses in one whole year. In terms of the total world usage of oil, the savings was less than one hour's worth of the world's total annual usage. (Click to See Oil Usage/Import/Export Data)

Lastly, based on an assumption that the price of gasoline holds at $2.50 gallon, that 88 gallons of saved gasoline under CFC would equate to an annual dollar savings of about $220. So, our government spent an average of $4000 per car to save $220/year. It will take approximately 18 operational years for each of the 700,000 cars in order to get a return on that investment. Assuming that the average life of an automobile in America is only 9 years, I don't think we're ever going to get our money back for that program. Of course, everyone seems to forget that we will pay $174 a year in interest expense for every $4,000 that the our government spent on the CFC program. That makes the true savings per year of about $46 dollars. Assuming an average life of 9 years per car, this means that gasoline would have to go above $35/gallon in order to break even during the life span of each purchased CFC car.

I think when all is said and done, the Cash For Clunkers will be a bust. It is just another one of these "sounds good" projects that our government constantly wastes money on. Correction: wastes "our" money on.

Note: The analysis (above) is very simplistic. In business, we would have calculated the return on investment using something like Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCF) that took into consideration the time value. If that type of analysis had been done on CFC, the resulting loss of money over 9 years would be greatly higher than above.

Monday, September 21, 2009

On Health Care, Obama is Not The Salesman That He Seems to Think He Is

This weekend, Obama blitzkrieg-ed us again on his health care program. He gave 5 separate interviews on some very selected networks. Then, too, he will be the single guest on the Letterman show tonight. This comes after a speech to a joint session of Congress, 4 campaign style rallies, a speech to the AFL-CIO, a 60-Minutes interview, and a variety of impromptu appearances and comments; all about health care.

Somebody should tell this President that he is becoming the Presidential equivalent of the "spam" that we keep getting in our inboxes. And, like that spam, most people wind up ignoring it. It seems like, the more he talks, the less support for health care he gets. Just the opposite of what I'm sure he thinks should happen. He is literally becoming that annoying and pushy used car salesman.

In a recent ABC-Washington Post poll, it was obvious that the voters weren't swayed by his speech on health care reform before a joint session of Congress "POLL: Obama's Speech Doesn't Turn the Tide". While he did get an immediate "approval" bump in those daily polls that were taken after that speech was given, the numbers, now, are back where they were before the speech.

In another poll, the Siegel+Gale Survey, it is obvious that America is still confused about the President's plans for health care. In that poll, contrary to what the President said in his speech, only 16% of those polled thought that ObamaCare wouldn't add a dime to Federal spending. Based on that fact, you can conclude that 83%+ of America didn't believe the President when he said that "my plan" won't add a "single dime" to the deficit. Two-thirds didn't believe that the President was telling the truth about health care reform being paid for by savings found in Medicare fraud and waste.

All of the latest polls are starting to show that this President is just "whistling past the grave yard" on his health care plan. The people aren't buying it and no amount of jaw flapping is going to sell ObamaCare as a viable plan. It seems like a lot of people are doing what I would do when confronted with a "pushy" salesman: Just turnoff and walk away.

As I have had to say all too often before, Obama just doesn't get it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Iran Is No Long-Range Ballistic Missile Threat?

Obama's abandonment of the Missile Defense Shield in Eastern Europe has caused many a military analyst to say they smell a rat. For sure, it has our allies in Eastern Europe upset as noted in this news story: "Poles, Czechs: US missile defense shift a betrayal".

Just last April, Obama gave this speech in Prague:



The logic "now" being used by Obama for eliminating the Missile Defense Shield in Europe just doesn't add up with Obama's words in that Prague speech or with what we already know about Iran's nuke/missile programs.

First, the Obama Administration seems to say that the recent intelligence information has concluded that Iran won't have long-range missile capability for some time. However, that does not square with the fact that, in 2008, Iran launched a dummy satellite into space by using what could only be considered a warhead-capable long-range delivery vehicle (Click to See Full Story: "Iran sparks US concern with satellite rocket launch") .

Secondly, they say that if Iran is shown to have developed long-range capability, they can always restart the program. However, it takes years to build and go operational with any long-range missile defense system. So, to stop now, just puts us well behind the curve. If we wait for the day that we find out that Iran has achieved the capability, it may take many years of exposed danger before any system becomes operational.

Gates reassessment of Missile Defense is him just being a "yes man" to something that Obama had in mind for years. This is evident from an Obama campaign pledge of just 2 years ago:



Gates is just conforming to what the naive Obama had planned to do all along; and, he is not really informing Obama of the facts. Obama has always had this fairy tale in his mind that he can "talk" Russia into standing down on nuclear weapons and that he can convince both Iran and North Korea to come to a kumbaya reversal in their evil ways and abandon their nuke programs. Like a lot of liberals, Obama seems to believe that there are no bad people in the world -- only people that are pushed into being bad. That silliness is like thinking that you can take every cop off our city streets and all the criminals will just lay down their arms and stop being their little criminal selves.

How naive! How so Jimmy Carter!

One last comment. The two videos (above) and the recent abandonment of missile defense clearly exposes why Obama is losing public trust on a number of fronts. Like this flip-flop on missile defense, he has flipped, just as notably, on the original intent of the Stimulus and on many aspects of his health care reform plan. More and more, people are seeing that they can't trust anything this guy ever says or promises.

The ACORN and Van Jones Stories Exposes a Real Media Bias

In a recent poll taken by Pew Research, the mainstream media managed to achieve new lows in public trust.

On accuracy in reporting, the opinion of our media fell to an unbelievable 29%.

On the fairness in dealing with all sides of an issue, the number was even more telling with only 18% of those being interviewed giving a favorable rating to the media.

(Click to the Chart from Pew's Website)

I find it interesting that this poll came out at nearly the same time when almost every news agency failed to at least mention the brewing controversy over ACORN. Even before that, the mainstream media completely ignored the background bio on that Obama radical, Van Jones. Instead, the only major media source to expose those facts was Fox News.

In effect, both of these stories had clear ties to Barack Obama and, under normal circumstances, would have been an explosive, paper-selling, front-page revelation. But, obviously, profits, viewership and subscription sales are less important than maintaining this President's image. And, this is why our American media isn't to be trusted with giving us the news.

The contrast in how the media treated George W. Bush and how they are now handling Barack Obama couldn't be clearer. If Bush was to have been seen as having the same kind of ties to someone like Van Jones or to a group like ACORN, you had to know that the New York Times would have spared no ink on those topics. For them, they would have figuratively used it as a means of "serial" killing the Bush Presidency with daily stories on the topic.

I am quite sure that there are thousands, if not millions, of Americans who are totally clueless on both the Van Jones and ACORN stories because they only read the New York Times, L.A. Times, or other biased newspapers and/or they only watch NBC, CBS, ABC, or MSNBC or CNN to get their news.

Today, the mainstream newspapers are near bankruptcy in almost every major city. The network news, too, is sliding in their viewership. Yet, they persist in their left-wing bias towards reporting the news. I had a high school teacher who'd often use the expression "wake up and smell the coffee" when somebody in class was acting a little dopey. Maybe our mainstream media should, before it is too late, "wake up up and smell the coffee" too. That's because, if they don't, they'll wind up in smelling soup in the soup lines and wishing they would have smelled the coffee before their businesses went completely under!


(Click to See Full Pew Research Commentary)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Obama and the Chicago Cubs

It seems to me, that Obama is a lot like the Chicago Cubs baseball team. All too often the Cubs get a good start to a season and the fans start to think that the old cursed saying -- "Wait 'til next year" -- will finally be left behind. But, in the end, the Cubs always manage to lose going into the fall.

At the beginning of this year, Obama too was hot. As a new President, 70% of the population was rooting for him to do well. Now, going into this fall, Obama has suffered some serious defeats. His poll numbers have plummeted steadily from the time he took office. Depending on which poll you look at, Obama is either in a historical first place or third place when it comes to the fastest plunge in a Presidential approval rating.

Certainly, ObamaCare is floundering and needs to be rushed to the emergency room. The Stimulus Package is looking like a non-starter with the unemployment rate close to 10%. Despite a program to stop foreclosures the rate is still rising faster than expected. Most Republicans and even some Democrats are now balking on passing the Cap and Trade bill. He has lost his "green jobs" czar, Van Jones, due to the exposure of Jone's scurrilous past. Closer to Obama's heart, the community organizing group, ACORN, has been hit with more scandals and the Administration has been forced to back off from using them for the 2010 Census. The House of Representatives has voted to cut off all funds to the group. The Senate just voted to bar them from any further HUD funding.

Afghanistan is eroding fast. The six party talks with North Korea are now in the dumpster and the U.S. will have to go it alone. Iran is now ever closer to nukes and it has also been exposed that they are supplying IED's, rockets, and other munitions to the Taliban who are fighting our military in Afghanistan. The Israel/Palestine situation is on the rocks with Israel ignoring Obama's calls to stop the settlements and because Obama hasn't made similar calls for Hamas to stop the rocket fire into Israel.

China may be on the brink of a trade war as a result of last weekend's decision by Obama to impose tariffs on Chinese auto tires coming into this country. If China is annoyed enough, we may have no one left in this world who will buy all the debt that Obama keeps accumulating. That could be very inflationary.

Then, just this week, Obama may have shoved the countries of Eastern Europe to the corner with his decision to abandon the missile shield program. Russia may have also seen this move as a gesture of weakness --- not of strength.

Finally, Gitmo is looking harder and harder to close in the one year time frame that was imposed by this President. Card Check appears to be going nowhere.

Other than a few executive orders, the passage of a questionable Stimulus Package, and his Supreme Court nominee, not much else on Obama's list of campaign promises has gotten passed into law.

Just like the Chicago Cubs, it might be the followers of Obama who will be lamenting with the "wait until next year" chant when this year is finally behind us. But, in Presidential politics, the first year of any administration can wind up determining whether or not he is literally a one-term flop or not. Right now, there are a lot of opinion pieces being written that are drawing direct comparisons to Jimmy Carter's failed Presidency and to how Obama is progressing. One article actually compared Obama to Carter by asking if he was actually Jimmy Carter on steroids. I would think that Obama's handlers might be a little nervous about now.

I should point out that the Chicago Cubs are now in second place in their Division. However, they are 10 games out and it looks to be another year of hopes being dashed for these "North Siders" and any World Series dreams. It has been 98 years since this team went to the series. Some blame it on the famous "Billy Goat" curse. Others think it just has to with not committing the dollars to winning. HBO will even air a special on the topic this month. The special show carries the appropriate title: Wait 'Til Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs"

Friday, September 18, 2009

In Just 6 Months, 25% Of America Became Racists

According to the likes of Jimmy Carter and other Democrats, opposition to Obama and his programs is "mostly" based on racism. So, then, I started to think about this.

In January almost 70% of America was polling for Obama. Now, there are some polls that have Obama's approval rating down to a mere 45%. That's a 25 point differential. Does that mean that, in 6 short months, 25% of the American population have suddenly become racists? This just shows how desperately disingenuous the Democrats are being in using race as the reason why Obama's policies are lacking support. As I have said before, racism is the left's argument of last resort.

Again, Obama Sides with Russia!

Even a high school football coach knows that any good-to-great football team has a balance of offense and defense. Without a good defense, some hot-shot-quarterbacked team might score a few points but is ultimately doomed to fail over the long term. The cheerleaders know this too. When their team doesn't have the ball, the drone is: "Defense! Defense! Defense!

So, here we go with another penny-wise/pound-foolish plan of Obama's, to abandon the missile defense system in Europe. All because this President seems to think that by showing some good faith, Russia will play nice and help with Iran.

The really simple question that Obama should have asked himself before he made this decision is: Why would Russia be so upset with our placement of a "defensive" weapon system in Europe? Gee? Do you think it might be upsetting some future plans for reestablishing the Soviet empire?

Putin is a product of the KGB and the golden days of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (the U.S.S.R). It doesn't take a mind reader to know that he wants to restore Russia to its former prominence as a World Power. Those missile defense systems are an absolute wall in reviving that dream.

Last year, Russia flexed its muscles by moving into the Republic of Georgia. Obama blinked by cautioning restraint on the part of "both" the aggressor, Russia, and the victim, Georgia. This was totally contradictory to any sound thought that should be coming from this country. You don't caution the weaker party unless you condone the aggression and you are siding with the aggressor. Now, he is once again, siding with that same aggressor, Russia, over the missile defense system.

You have to seriously wonder what is going on here with this kind of behavior.

For more on this, please read: "Dismay in Europe as Obama ditches missile defence"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

China Understands and We're Clueless

It wasn't but a week ago that I said, by killing our moon program, the Obama Administration was missing an inexpensive opportunity to prove to the world that we are the true leader in high technology.

As of this morning, this viewpoint was substantiated, in an indirect way, by this news article: "China says will push space programme to catch West".

From that article, I need only point to this quote from China's Vice Minister Of Science and Technology, Li Xueyong, to further my opinion:

"I believe a space programme represents a country's high technology and I believe China has already become a major country in high technology...Our success shows not only the progress of the space programme but also our overall level of science and technology..."

If Money is Fungible, So are Taxes!

Yesterday, Democrat Max Baucus rolled out his plan for health care reform. Looking much like a man with a really bad body odor problem, he stood by his lonesome on a stage to announce his plan. Nary a Democrat or Republican was there to stand by his side.

For those who don't know who Baucus is, he is a Senator from Wyoming and the supposed leader of a group of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats who have been trying to draft a bipartisan bill on health care reform.

The reason that Baucus found out that one "was the loneliest number" on that stage is because neither Democrats or Republicans are united with him on it.

The real stupidity in the Baucus proposal is how it's paid for. The Democrats don't like it because it gets a majority of its revenue by taxing health insurance companies for providing "Cadillac" health care plans -- plans like those that the union workers get. The Republicans are against it because it fails the tort reform test and because it is another $836 billion boondoggle tax scheme.

Baucus seems to think that his "paying for it" plan is a winner because he would hit the insurance companies with a 38% tax for providing certain first-class health insurance plans. Therefore, it would meet Obama's goal of not increasing the Federal deficit. His logic is that America won't balk at his taxing scheme because Americans already hate insurance companies. But, the stupidity of this Senate Finance member is that money doesn't come out of thin air. In order to pay the 38% tax on those Cadillac insurance plans, the insurance companies will have to pass that cost on to the consumer. So, in a round about way, we will all pay the price. It just won't be, technically, a hike in our taxes. It will just be higher prices that are forced by taxes. That's the fungibility of taxes when they are imposed on a supplier of any product or service.

In addition, Baucus would charge doctors and drug companies for a "hit list" of what somebody in government will ultimately determine as being luxury drugs and/or procedures. This form of punishment by taxation may, in fact, put some life saving drugs and techniques out of the reach of many Americans. The insanity of such a tactic is that most all common place medical procedures of today started out as very expensive procedures. Those would include things like stents and bypass surgery for heart patients. Kidney transplants and a variety of other procedures. For drugs, its the same. They start out as expensive "patented" medications and they ultimately wind up as cheap generics. Now, Baucus would make new procedures and new drugs even more expensive. This would either slow or completely stifle any new innovation.

Lastly on the "paying for it" bandwagon: If you don't have insurance, you will pay; and, pay big. A typical American family could get hit with as much as a $3800 annual fine for not having medical insurance. Families with kids who are just struggling to survive can't afford this type of "pound of flesh" punishment from our government.

More and more, I really think we're dealing with a complete bunch of idiots. Obama and the Congress keep telling us that the high cost of health care will break America if those costs aren't gotten under control. So, to control costs, they have insanely decided to raise the costs of health care by at least a trillion dollars. Then, to make sure health care doesn't get any better and maybe less expensive, they would stifle innovation with other taxes. Lastly, they refuse to control the awards for medical malpractice lawsuits -- awards that have been doubling almost every 7 to 8 years.

That's a great future for health care in America!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confused. Dazed. The Democrats Say That It Has To Be About Race!

In psychology, rationalization is a somewhat twisted mental exercise that completely ignores reality and tries to make sense out of things by using possible, but highly illogical reasons, for one's own actions or for the cause of something.

Right now the Democrats are in the process of trying to rationalize all the opposition against their plans for health care reform. They can't simply accept that all this anger in the Town Halls and elsewhere is because people don't like their plan. Instead, they have concluded (rationalized) that any and all opposition to ObamaCare and other Obama policies can "only" be about race. In their dazed and confused condition, the Democrats have come to the ultimate conclusion that, because Obama is a black President, people are really racist and automatically against his policies.

Psychologists believe this kind of mental exercise to be a defense mechanism that is based on some deep-seated and subconscious beliefs. In other words, those who seem to be using racism as a rationalized defense of something, might, in fact, be addressing their own subconscious guilt. A guilt of being a racist, themselves.

This derangement by some Democrats, to play the race card at the mere drop of a hat, does seem to be especially illogical if you look at the simple fact that many Democrats, themselves, are against the plans of the Democratic leadership and of Obama. Therefore, am I to assume, using their own racism defense, that many Democrats, too, are racists? Using that same twisted logic, are all those conservative Blue-Dog Democrats absolute racists for opposing ObamaCare?

The Democrats are playing with fire in constantly using race as the rationale behind everything this country does. And, I repeat, everything! This will only dilute the race argument to the point where people will stop listening; even when racism is a real problem.

On Sunday, that pillar of intelligence at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, said that what she really heard last Wednesday night, when Joe Wilson said "You Lie", were the words "You Lie..boy". If that isn't seeing racism behind every tree, I don't know what is. Apparently, the term "boy" is clearly on her mind. Does that indicate some deep-seated guilt on her part? I don't know?

Joe Wilson said what he said because the Democrats had already blocked any attempted legislation that would exclude illegal immigrants from free health care as part of any health care reform bill. For Obama to say that no illegal aliens would get care under this health care reform plan was, in fact, a lie. While the bill in the House, HR3200, didn't specifically allow illegal aliens to get health care; it wouldn't exclude them, either. Maybe, if Joe Wilson had said "Yes it does!", he wouldn't have gotten into such trouble with the House of Representative's archaic rules on how to talk about the President in any in-session setting. But, then, poor Maureen Dowd would have still have thought that she had heard the words "Yes it does, boy!". And, there we'd go again!

One last thing. In yesterday's vote to rebuke Joe Wilson for what he said, a lot is being made of the fact the 6 Republicans also voted to rebuke him. Those 6 must not be racists. However, someone should also point out that 7 Democrats voted "against" the rebuke. I would suggest that somebody take a really hard look at those 7 Democrats. Because they sided with Wilson, they just might be racists, too!

My Rx on Health Care Reform: Baby Steps

Obviously, the health care reform legislation by the Democrats is in serious trouble. Instead of us doing a "baby out with the bath water" type of destruction of America's health care system, I would suggest that legislation be done in baby steps.

Without even addressing tort reform -- an apparent special interest taboo for the Democrats -- I think Congress could go a long way by making a basic catastrophic insurance policy available to all Americans regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions.

To accomplish this, I would suggest that Congress allow all 1300 health insurance companies to compete nationally rather than be confined to selling insurance on a state-only basis. But, in order to complete nationally, the insurance companies must provide a basic national health insurance policy that is available to all; regardless of any age or health condition.

I think the basic policy could be a basic $5,000 annual deductible-per-person insurance policy ($10,000 max per family) that would cover 100% of expenses once the deductible is met. It would not cover elective or any experimental forms of medical treatment.

In order to share the risk equally, the insurance companies could be allowed to establish a collective "risk pool" for people with high risk or pre-existing conditions and such insurance pools would not be subject to anti-trust laws that would normally be used to bar such activity. To spur competition, no single risk pool could insure more than 10% of the nation's population.

The pricing for the basic insurance rate must be published quarterly so Americans can shop for the best deal. But, any insured person will be restricted from switching from a particular "risk pool" or insurance company until you have completed a minimum of 18 months of coverage with any particular insurer. This should avoid a massive dumping of insurance companies on a quarterly basis.

For low or no income Americans, the Federal Government could pick up the cost of this basic insurance. Above that, a progressive Earned Income Tax Cedit could be applied to income tax filers who file tax returns and who live above the poverty income level. The amount of the tax credit should be a progressive tax with it being completely unavailable to those making, say $100,000 or more. People at the lowest ends of the pay scale would receive a 100% reimbursement.

Beyond the basic national catastrophic insurance policy, the insurer could offer all forms of supplemental insurance that would dovetail with the catastrophic insurance policy; similar to AARP's supplemental insurance for Medicare recipients. Employers would also be able to pick up the cost of both catastrophic and supplemental insurance as a hiring incentive.

Like it or not, the above is really a form of public option "but" -- and a very important but -- without the government. That's important because it insures that there is still competition between the insurers. It provides the portability that is lacking in our current system. And, it should make insurance available to everyone. By allowing national competition for insurance, costs should come down with competition.

Beyond the above, I think that our lawmakers should work on tort reform. I would like to see lump-sum litigation awards be eliminated and some form of annuity-based system instituted. This could reduce the amount of burden on the malpractice insurers by at least 1/3. In general, that would lower the cost of providing health care to the tune of probably $100 billion. Also, the highly subjective "Pain and suffering" awards should be capped at some reasonable number. These awards have been spiraling as juries seem more and more inclined to punish doctors with massive judgments.

Certainly, this is just one idea of many that could stop our doctors from practicing "defensive" medicine to avoid being sued.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No Fox In This Chicken's House

On Sunday, Obama will, once again, try to sell his health care reform plan by appearing on five Sunday network news shows. Of course, he'll be with those always Obama-loving networks such as NBC with Meet the Press; CBS with Face the Nation; and, ABC with This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He'll even do CNN and Univision.

But, obviously missing is any Fox show such as that network's Sunday news show, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Apparently, this President isn't even big enough to take on his detractors. Even though, it would be hard to call Fox News Sunday's host, Chris Wallace, some kind of hard hitting right-winger.

Instead, Obama always takes the bike path rather than any off-road challenge.

If he thinks that he's punishing Fox by excluding Fox, he only has to look at what happened to Van Jones and ACORN to see how powerful Fox has become.

It would be smart for this President to use the power of Fox and not try to be so childish and small minded as to run away from it. If he can't handle Fox, how is he going to deal with enemies such as Iran, North Korea, etc? Is Obama going to spend his next 3 years only dealing with people, groups, and nations who are completely in love with him? Is that what we expect from someone who holds the most powerful position in the world?

A Year After the Lehman Collapse

It has been a year since the Wall Streeter, Lehman Brothers, filed for bankruptcy. It has been a year since the magnitude of the "toxic asset" situation was really exposed to sunlight. And, it has been year since we finally realized that the world's banking system was on the verge of becoming the economic equivalent of the Titanic.

While Obama seems to tout that it was his actions, since taking office, that kept our economy stabilized, the true savior of our economy was those actions that were taken by then-Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, and the current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, in October of 2008. Their simple, but very expensive solution, was to use bailout money for our banks in what we now refer to as TARP. If those remedies had not been implemented as quickly as they were, we truly could have had a complete pancaking collapse of the world's banking systems; not just ours. That's because, at the time, there was a massive amount of world banking interdependency that was built heavily on a massive amount of extremely toxic home loans. The money that was infused by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in October of last year provided just enough cover for any massive bank losses that could have resulted; and, that simply helped to prevent the potential domino effect of one bank collapsing after another as millions of mortgage loans began defaulting.

So, that disaster was averted. However, we are not out of the woods yet. Banks continue to go belly up and foreclosures are an ever-present problem; especially when commercial loans start defaulting. The FDIC, who is responsible for insuring our banks against any depleted funds, is becoming depleted, itself.

On Monday, Obama proposed new, more stringent regulation of our banks. However, to me, the need for new regulation isn't really warranted. We just need to restore those laws that were replaced during the Clinton Administration and to eliminate one very glaring law that was passed under Jimmy Carter. Then, too, we need to make sure that oversight is re-established to prevent any of this from ever happening again. Laws are fine as long as they are enforced; otherwise they are just another hidden piece of paper in a file cabinet.

Just remember, it wasn't the lack of laws that allowed Bernie Madoff to defraud all those people with his Ponzi scheme. Instead, it was the lack of oversight and investigation that allowed him to steal millions upon millions of people's hard-earned money. The same is true for the housing collapse and all those subprime loans that were allowed to go forward with many of our government agencies and lawmakers ignoring the impending doom.

As I alluded to before, the problem of the subprime loans goes back to the Community Reinvestment Act that was passed by Jimmy Carter and the dominant Democratic Congress at that time. That was really the genesis of all these toxic loans that have permeated our banking system and that nearly brought it to its knees. It is the law that allowed groups like ACORN and other activist groups to push banks into giving an increasing numbers of low income and high risk loans. Loans that would have otherwise been denied.

Then, too, you have to go back to the Clinton Administration and one Republican Senator by the name of Phil Gramm to see how some new laws were passed that allowed the banks to get involved in even riskier loan behavior. Because of Clinton and Gramm, some of the regulations and protections that had kept our banks from getting into risky behavior were totally abandoned. One such law, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that Clinton signed in 1999, completely repealed the protections of the Glass-Steagal Act of 1993 and is said to have been directly responsible for much of the subprime mortgage problems as it relates to Credit Default Swaps.

Further, after Clinton left office, some progressives from his Administration populated both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and they pushed these agencies into offering high risk loan sub-prime, Adjustable Rate Mortgages. George W. Bush, too, was part of the problem. He kept pushing a low-income home ownership agenda and Democrats, like Barney Frank, as a senior member of the Senate Banking committee, gladly obliged.

But, let's not forget, the Bush Administration knew that pushing too hard was going to be a problem and that's why they, on more than a few occasions, issued warnings that many in Congress seem to have ignored. Again, this was a failure of oversight. Efforts to reign in Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae were tactically blocked in Congress and it's banking committee because of the ideological whims of people like Barney Frank.

Finally, the real crack in the banking system started to show up as the Federal Reserve Bank, under Alan Greenspan, started to rapidly raise rates in 2004 through 2006 (Click to see a very telling graph). Prior to this, rates were kept unattainably low in order to fight the recessionary effects of the Clinton-recession and the attacks of 9/11. During that time, interest rates were kept so low that millions of Adjustable Rate Mortgages at subprime rates were established with near zero down payments for people who otherwise couldn't have afforded them. Further, as rates started to rise, people naturally rushed in to take advantage of low interest loans before they went higher; thus aggravating the subprime loan situation. Things really started to unravel when an increasing number of those sub-prime loans began to take on their annual resets and those holding those mortgages found themselves falling behind on their mortgage payments. Eventually, the holders of the loans began a process of foreclosure and the housing market started to collapse completely. Ultimately, the housing bubble had completely burst by the end of 2007 and there were signs that we could have a massive recession on our hands.

While there are those who are quick to blame Wall Street, it was a lot of government deregulation and the "gaming" of existing laws that caused the mess we are now in. All those banks, that are now in trouble, were being pushed by a government who saw low-income home ownership as a political tool and neither the Democrats or the Republicans are blameless for that shameless behavior. Congress, more than anything, should be blamed for ignoring the warning signs and for allowing the risk.

A lot can be done, and done quickly, to reestablish order in the mortgage loan and banking system in America. Much of this should have been done by Obama when he took office. Instead, he went on to the less important things like the reform of health care. He was more concerned with closing Guantanamo and paying back his campaign donors than modifying the laws that would protect Americans from another banking collapse.

First and foremost, we need to do something with the Community Reinvestment Act. Either rescind it or modify it in such a way as to insure that it doesn't become an overriding factor for traditional, disciplined loan activity. Whatever is done, this law should no longer be used as a "hammer" by outside groups, like ACORN, to force banks to abandon ethical loan behavior. Secondly, all those Gramm/Clinton laws should be looked at and modified to insure that loan loss reserves are being maintained and aren't being undermined by derivative investment instruments like the Credit Default Swaps. Glass-Steagal should be pulled out of the trash, dusted off, and at least partially reenacted. Lastly, it is paramount that oversight be restored. No one person, like a Barney Frank, should be able to push banks into giving loans that are outside the norms.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae should probably be divorced completely from the influences of our Senate Banking Committee. I think these two semi-government agencies should report to a Board of Directors who is partially nominated by the stockholders and partially nominated by the Executive Branch of Government and approved by Congress. The General Accounting Office (GAO) should conduct annual audits and those results should be made public without any prior Congressional review or tampering. Further, an independent non-government auditing firm should continue the normal quarterly audits.

We don't need new laws. We just need the laws put back in place that adequately protected us from the 1930's forward; like Glass-Steagal. We also need to shore up the ones that were passed in the late 1990's because the laws must be current for a modern banking system. Somewhere we need to make sure that there is clear oversight and protections of an annual audit of our banking system.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Obama Distortion of the Truth

At Saturday's campaign-style health care reform rally in Minnesota, Obama made this statement:

"..nearly half of all Americans under 65 years old will lose their health care coverage...for some period...in the next 10 years"


To say this statement is disingenuous would be an understatement. While there's some truth to every Obama comment, there is always an equal and intentional distortion of the real facts. It's the lawyer in him!

Probably, in the last 10 years, too, nearly half of all Americans did lose their health insurance for some period of time. That's because we have an employer-based health insurance system in this country and about half of all Americans will switch jobs during that 10-year period. More often than not, the vast majority of those people only lose their health care insurance coverage over a weekend as they leave their old job on a Friday to start a new one on Monday.

Others probably did lose their insurance because their insurance company dropped them; for reasons including the non-payment of premiums and, sadly, because of extreme or pre-existing health conditions.

But, the disingenuous part of the President's statement is that it would "lead" you to believe that those 1/2 of Americans would continue on in life without any insurance. Of course, in typical Obama and lawyerly fashion, he didn't actually say that but, instead, he wanted you to formulate that opinion in your mind. Something he does constantly and why so many hear what they want to hear out of his speeches.

If the abstract of this statement were actually true, more than one half of all America would have absolutely no health insurance as of today and that number would just keep growing until none of us had insurance. But, that's not what is happening; and, quite frankly, that is absurd. Even those "evil" insurance companies wouldn't want a situation where their customer base and their business kept shrinking. That's not how capitalism works.

In reality, the only reason the percentage of uninsured has risen in America is because of all the illegal aliens that are now being tallied up in the number. Otherwise, the percentage of uninsured Americans has been fairly static for years. In fact, and hardly reported, the number of Americans who were without health insurance actually fell in 2007; just before the recession hit (Click to See Full Story: "Number of Uninsured Americans Drops"). As that article states, that was primarily due to the increased coverage of "children" resulting from programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But note, too, from this article that this was the first drop in seven years. And, what happened in the last seven years? The answer has been a high influx of illegals.

The continued recession and high unemployment rate is the reason why the number of uninsured has probably risen, again, in the last 18 months. For sure, that problem now lies squarely on Obama's shoulders as a result of his failed stimulus package. With a "jobless recovery" looking to be more evident by the day, the number of uninsured could easily rise above 50 million in the next couple of years.

Contrary to what many might think, workers who lose their jobs due to layoffs and firings don't actually lose their insurance because of a Federal law called the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985; or, simply known as COBRA. Under COBRA, any workers who previously had company insurance and who get laid off or fired are able retain their prior employer's insurance rights for up to 18 months. But, Obama seems to overlook that particular fact when he's quickly throwing all his numbers around.

I really don't know what this President is up to with his latest comment. Most advocates for a single-payer, nationalized health care system will use this exact argument as the primary basis for a government-run health care system. However, in Wednesday's speech to Congress, he "implied" that single-payer was not his goal in what he is now calling "my health care plan". Now, as of Saturday, he again seems to be arguing the opposite.

Obama talks about "stopping all the games" as if to imply that it his opponents that are doing all the gaming. Yet, he continues the "game" by making contradictory statements and nonsensical arguments such as our doctors actually yank tonsils out because they'll make more money; and, that 1/2 of Americans will lose their insurance in the next 10 years. The game he is playing is to try and use absurd arguments to support his program in the audacious hope that you or I will actually believe him.

If Obama is worried about people losing their insurance, there is a simple solution that doesn't take 1000 pages of legislation and over 500 pages of addenda. Simply pass a law that makes it illegal for any insurance company to refuse, drop, or raise rates on someone because of a pre-existing health condition. You can also make it a law that insurance coverage is carried over for a period of 3 weeks past the time that anyone voluntarily leaves a company to go to another job. You don't need a complete and destructive juggernaut solution to solve an extremely simple problem. That's where Obama just doesn't get it.

If you would like to read another article that proves that Obama is stretching the truth, I would suggest this excellent opinion piece that appeared in this morning's Wall Street Journal: "Fact-Checking the President on Health Insurance".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama: "We'll Call You Out!"

In Wednesday night's speech, Barack Obama said "we'll call you out" when talking about the opponents to his health care program.

This just epitomizes what Obama is all about. He is a community organizer who has been allowed to assume this nation's highest office. In many ways, he's acting a lot less like the President and more like the Community Organizer-In-Chief for all his partisan supporters.

This "call you out" thing is what groups like ACORN do. And, let's not forget that Obama trained ACORN personnel -- probably in that very technique. If ACORN doesn't like how many loans a particular bank is giving out to low income people in a certain community, they "call out" that bank by picketing it or by conducting a "sit in" in the lobby of the bank. To heighten the impact, ACORN always makes sure that local news gets a heads-up on what they plan to do. In essence, the community organizing groups use these techniques to embarrass their targets and to direct public anger against those targeted businesses. There's a name for this. It is called a "shakedown" (aka extortion and protection) and the mafia and organized crime have used it for years -- although, in their cases, a lot more violently.

Just think about this. Obama has, over and over, used this "call you out" tactic to try and direct anger against those people or groups that he sees as blocking his agenda. He has personally called out Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News. In one speech he called out conservative opinion writer, Bill Kristol; but, not by name. Then, he has attempted to direct anger against AIG executives by calling on the SEIU and ACORN to picket in front of those AIG execs homes. He has "called out" greedy Wall Street, the banks, the health insurers, and the doctors for their unnecessary procedures. He has similarly attacked all those "want-him-to-fail" Republicans who supposedly give false claims about his health reform plans and who, as Obama says, only want the maintain the status quo. Then there were those cops in Cambridge who "acted stupidly" when "his friend" got arrested. He even publicly denigrated Las Vegas and other business-meeting and convention-dependent locations as places that those in corporate management have no place visiting. No one can really know how much those comments have contributed to the almost 13 percent unemployment rate in Las Vegas.

There are almost as many attacks on fellow Americans by Obama as there are facets in the failing programs in his agenda.

At no time in the history of this country has there ever been a President who has been so divisively oriented. No where has there been any attempt to rally this country into a single, cohesive unit. Instead, we have a President who is constantly trying to pit the country against specific people, groups, and businesses; turning one American against another. At the level of the Presidency there is no room for this kind of public flogging by somone who is supposed to be the leader of all Americans. Obama should realize -- but doesn't -- that some of those greedy Wall Streeters and bank personnel are Democrats, too, who are just trying to survive in a recession that this President seems to be making worse with all his failed programs.

If anyone should be "called out", it should be this President for this "cheap shot" B.S. that we see from him on a near daily basis.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Summer Of Hot Chocolate Rather Than Cold Beer

Oh, yes. Global Warming is a real problem.

This year, throughout the Midwest and Northeast, more than 300 records, in the month of August alone, were set for the lowest temperatures ever recorded since 1895 (Click to See Full Story from USA Today: "U.S. wraps up record summer lows"). Overall, it was the 34th coolest Summer on record for the entire United States.

For the last decade, temperatures have been falling in direct contradiction to the "hockey stick" rise in temperatures that had been predicted by the Al Gore's of the world and by the computer projections of the U.N.'s very political global warming group called the International Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC).

Even so, the world and our Congress seem to be hell bent on stifling any human activity through various means of extinguishing any and all carbon output by mankind. All you keep hearing is things like: "it is a moral imperative" and "we are at the brink".

I just think that these "summer lows", like we've seen this year, are another strike against the "sky is falling" mentality from the environmentalists and those who keep claiming that we are running out of time on Climate Change. That's why I think that increasingly, as shown in one poll after another, people aren't buying the impending stories of doom and disaster anymore.

As soon as the Democrats get their "leftist" brand of health care reform rammed down our throats, they are going to ram their hands into our back pockets and steal any cash they can take with their ideologically-based Cap and Trade legislation. That's because, to them, it is truly a "moral imperative" and because "we need to act now" to save the planet.

But, surprisingly, the saving of the planet won't be done immediately. Like the immediacy of health care reform, Cap and Trade isn't scheduled to start rolling out until 2013 and beyond. So, where's the emergency? When you really think about it, that 2013 date would be the same year that Obama could or would assume his second term in Office. That, to me, says that Health Care Reform and Cap and Trade are less about emergencies and more about the politics of an anti-human expansion and an anti-capitalism agenda. A lot of what is behind Global Warming is the redistribution of wealth from the richer counties to the poorest of nations. For progressives, it is just an expansion of what they have been doing on a national level for years.

The obvious calculus that is being used by the Democrats is to avoid any economic crippling rise in energy bills and health care costs until Mr. Obama has his shot for a second term in office. Don't ya think?

Unemployment as Far as The Eye Can See?

Here's something you won't see on the front page of the New York Times or on the nightly news at NBC, CBS, or ABC. But, it's really big and should have gotten more attention than the near zero attention that it is now getting.

Larry Summers, Obama's economic guru, said Friday that the unemployment rate could stay "unacceptably high" for years. Then, he went on to say the $787 billion stimulus and other programs helped stave off even more economic disaster (Click to See Full Politico/Yahoo Story: "Summers: High unemployment for years").

Of course, this is rather disingenuous in that the name "Stimulus Package" implies more than some kind of stop-gap measure. It was specifically touted to "create and save" jobs and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. Now, were looking at rates in the double digits.

It was supposed to "stimulate" the economy. That was how Obama sold this massive left-wing free-for-all spending package. Now, we are supposed to believe that all this spending was only the equivalent of "two aspirins"! I'm quite sure that the 15 million people who are without a job will appreciate that "happy" news!

This is the kind of "truth" that would seriously damage Obama's agenda going forward and this is why this comment isn't in the headlines in our mainstream media. It appears, once again, that the media's job is to make this President look good at all cost by keeping any "bad news" from getting sunlight.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day of Rejoicing For Some

While most Americans are in deep reverence of this 11th day of September, there are those in the world who are rejoicing over the events that took place on this day in 2001. They are those who are proud of what happened to America, eight years ago. And, on this day of remembrance, we should never forget that.

On that day that the twin towers were toppled, our innocence about being attacked on our own soil was taken from us. 9/11 cost America and Americans a lot. Not only were there many lives lost; but, also, our everyday lives were changed for ever. Our tradition of freedoms was stolen from us. Since 9/11, we have been constantly looking over our shoulders in the concern that something else, like 9/11, will happen again. Trillions of dollars have been spent to protect us all. And, for that very reason, Al Qaeda scored a second victory against America.

Al Qaeda is not gone and we should never become complacent. Even if we catch Osama Bin Laden, there are more than enough haters of America who are waiting in that long line to take Bin Laden's place. I think that we should all fear that Al Qaeda or the Taliban might link up with some rogue state that has nuclear weaponry. That is why stopping Iran's intention of becoming a nuclear power is so important.

We have been safe for 8 years and, I would hope, we can stay safe for 8 more; and, for as long as Al Qaeda still exists. It is good that we remember this day. But, it is more important that we never stop learning from this day. Because, to do so, would be at our own peril.

A Successful $8 Billion In Wasted Money

Just three days ago, Obama's 'space-team' decide that it would be just too expensive for America to entertain any more space shots to the moon (Click to See Full Story: "Obama space panel says moon return plan is a no-go"). This, of course, is after we've dumped $7 billion dollars in, what I guess was just play-money, doing what the Congress had already agreed to. The Obama team seems to think that going to the moon would be just too expensive at a cost of $3 billion per year. However, about that same amount of money was spent in just 3 weeks for the Cash For Clunkers program.

Yesterday, the Ares I rocket engine that would take our Astronauts to the moon was successfully 'bench tested' at ATK's Utah test range:



Sadly, now, it seems like that successful test was just a waste of another $8 billion in taxpayer money.

I just think that going to the moon is a cheap deal compared to all the wasted money on some very silly projects that are in the Obama Stimulus Plan. Obama is literally spending trillions and, somehow, is worried about the figurative pennies being spent to give America some technological stature in the world. Going to the moon helps all our high tech company's sell their products in the world because it shows that we are truly great at technology. A moon shot would be cheap advertising at twice the price. I guarantee you that either China, India, or the European Space Agency will put humans back on the moon before we ever do it again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last Night: They Got Their Thrill On Capitol Hill

Our network media just couldn't contain themselves following Obama's speech last night to the Congress on Health Care Reform. For some, it was almost a 'Kleenex' moment as they tried to hold back the tears. From Stephanopoulos to Olbermann, it was just like Christmas in September. Complete with their own Messiah!

(Click to See Full Story: "'Touch of Greatness' in 'Remarkable' Speech About 'Re-Branding' Obama as 'Centrist' ")

Obama's Speech: Misrepresentations and the Misrepresentations of the So-Called Misrepresentations

If Obama's speech last night was subject to "truth in advertising" laws, he would be sure to find himself in court trying to defend it. Obviously, with all the distortions put forth, we can easily say that Obama is from Venus and Congress is from Mars. And, neither one are from this planet.

From the deficit impact to "Death Squads", there were so many discrepancies that I could write for hours on the topic. But, for compactness, here's my top five:

  1. Deficit Neutral. This is probably the biggest distortion of all. No matter which House or Senate plan is being scored in terms of deficit spending, they all will add a minimum of $1 trillion and upwards of $1.6 trillion to the deficit. Many experts predict 2 or 3 times that amount based on the historical failure of government to accurately predict the long-range costs for past social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and so on. Even simple Post Office rate increases have been wrong. To say that any of the these health care reform bills will be simply paid for by Medicare savings is just blowing smoke. If those savings against fraud and waste are so easy to get, why, then, aren't they being implemented, right now. With Obama's massive deficit spending, we need every bit of savings we can get!
  2. You Can Keep Your Health Care Insurer. This is complete B.S. Every time Obama says this, he is playing a lawyer's game of "semantics". No plan from the government will actually force you to drop your insurer. Instead, over time, you insurer will be squeezed out of business by regulation, ORLY rules, and inability to compete with the "public plan" or "co-op" or whatever the Democrats want to call it at this particular moment in time.
  3. Death Squads. The term "death squads" is a complete gaming of the original intended use of those words. The using of the term "death squads" was a metaphor for the various forms "rationing" and "end of life" counseling that is being proposed in almost all the Congressional bills. It was intended to be a metaphor for rationing attempts like best practices, or QALY, and the resulting limiting of expensive drugs, or unapproved but-life-saving medical procedures. It also targets the attempts at end of life counseling and the pushing of people to end their own lives; rather than be a financial or emotional burden on their families. Just two weeks ago, the Obama Administration announced that it was cutting the reimbursement of fees to Cardiologists and Oncologists. In some cases, these cuts were to levels that were below costs. As a result, the elderly on Medicare may not be able to have access to these two specialties at a time when cancer and heart disease might be threatening their lives. While not a true death squad, this is medical access denied. And, access denied, for some, can be a death sentence. The campaigning Obama used these kinds of distortions, quite frequently, to defeat McCain. For example, he would distort what McCain had said by saying "McCain doesn't mind if we are in Iraq for 100 years". Anyone that knows the truth knows that this was a complete distortion and exaggeration of what McCain actually said. But, that is what Obama does; over and over, again! And, he didn't stop doing it last night!
  4. Abortion is not going to be paid for. I think Obama should spend more time reading the bills in Congress and less time making speeches about them. Abortion is in the bill in a variety of backdoor means. That's all I'm going to say about this.
  5. There Are Those Who Are Putting Special Interests Above the Health Care of America. If ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black -- this is it! The Democrat-defined health care bills are riddled with special interests. To pay for the plan, HR3200 will tax everyone for their health care packages "except" for those plans that are held by union workers -- the Democrat's "BIG, BIG, BIG" special interest group. The lack of tort reform in any of these bills is for the pure protection of another special interest group of the Democrats -- the trial lawyers. To imply that the Republicans are "special interesting" anything is a complete farce. For one thing, the Republicans have had "zero" input into any of these bills. So, how could there be any special interest language from the Republicans?


I really question what the President was trying to do last night. For one thing, he kept saying "my plan" in the speech. Are we now to assume that all the existing plans in the House and Senate are to be scrapped for his new "Wonderful World of Disney" plan that was outlined last night? My guess is not. That rhetoric was intended for us, and the reality is that the House and the Senate Democrats will just continue to do what they have been doing, all along; and, I am quite sure, without any input from the Republicans.

That speech was totally divisive. Once again he attacked the Republicans, the doctors, the insurance companies, the Town Hall objectors, and anyone else who would dare to disagree with him. In fact, if you do disagreed with Obama, he said he would "call you out" in what can only be described as a thuggery tactic used by Community Organizers or Chicago-style politicians. It is an attempt to thwart free speech by this supposed Constitutional lawyer. Further, that is hardly progressing a bipartisan agenda.

Obama's approval numbers will probably go up because of that speech. People always seem to hear what they want to hear when he talks; and, never seem to hear what he is truly saying and how it contrasts with the actual truth. That's how he got elected. In that speech, there were no real details to get all warm and cozy over. Obama was all over the place last night: From fiction to reality; and, from the truth to exaggerations. Much of what he said were complete misrepresentations of the bills in Congress. Then, he even misrepresented what he calls misrepresentations; like the death squads.

In conclusion, it will all come down to the reality of what is passed in both Houses of Congress and what will ultimately be signed into law by this President. My guess is that the final legislation will hardly line up with what he even said or promised. This guy has no track record of keeping promises; and, that speech, last night, will once again confirm that. Like that old, tried-and-true saying : "The devil is in the details!"

JOLTS Says The Unemployed Are Being Squeezed Dry

You may or may not know it but, those same people that keep track of our unemployment rate, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, also keeps track of our national "job postings" in something that is called the "Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey; also knows as the JOLTS report.

The reason that this report is so important is because it tells us whether or not companies are hiring. Unfortunately for the 15+ million who don't have jobs in America, the news is not good. Once again, the number of listed job openings in the nation has fallen (Click to See Full Story: "Job openings down 50% from the peak in 2007"). Statistically, that report now shows that there are about 6.5 unemployed persons who could be vying for each new job opening.

This information coincides with the constantly rising number of people who remain on unemployment compensation rolls each month. Worse than that, it also means that many unemployed workers have little hope of getting another job. No matter how many jobs this Administration says it has saved or created, this is a very painful situation that only keeps getting worse for a lot of American families.