Wednesday, June 30, 2010

John Maynard Keynes' Multiplier Effect

Those who follow the Keynesian economic theory firmly believe in the "multiplier effect" as was originally espoused by Mr. Keynes. The multiplier effect is a demand-side economic theory that assumes that, for every dollar that is spent by any government, the economy will actually be stimulated by 1.5 times that amount as that dollar of spending ripples through the system. Simply said, a dollar spent returns $1.50 in economic activity.

But, for me, and many in the economic community, Keynes ignores the supply-side effect in promoting this demand-side economic philosophy. That's because government spending, through higher deficits, additional taxes, and inflation that is ultimately caused by the printing of more and more money, will have a more negative effect, in the long run, because too much disposable income (supply) is being removed from the economy in that government's quest to spend the country back into economic health.

Additionally, there is an immediate "carrying cost" associated with all government spending. By this, I mean, that, for every dollar spent by any government, more than one dollar had to have been collected in taxes and/or penalties. That's because any dollar of government spending is only a dollar after all the administrative costs and interest on that money has been paid. In our country, that carrying cost can be as much as 30% as any dollar of collected taxes tries to make its way through our massive bureaucracy for final distribution. Further, that distribution, especially in the case of the Stimulus Package, is typically to State governments who, in turn, deplete the value of that dollar with their own handling costs before any final distribution to the private sector.

Lastly, Keynes does not take into consideration what ultimately happens to every dollar of spending; once it makes it's way to the private sector. It's taxed! And, because a lot of stimulus money is given to small businesses and contractors for government-let projects, the tax rates are some of the highest in the country. Then, after the contractor pays his taxes on his/her portion of the stimulus money that remains as profits, any stimulus that was distributed to their employees in the form of pay is also taxed.

To me, there is no multiplier effect. If anything, a dollar of government spending was probably more than a buck and a half before the government got its hands on it, completely negating that supposed $1.50 multiplier effect. That's why the Stimulus Package hasn't worked and that is why Keynesian economics has never worked in the past. Further, as governments continue to grow in size, the false theory of the multiplier effect gets even weaker as more and more of any collected tax money yields less and less value after being digested by the government.

This is why lowering taxes is the best mechanism to stimulate the economy. Lower taxes means that any dollar of stimulative spending is a real dollar in spending; long before the government gets its value-shredding hands on it. Then and only then, is there any true multiplier effect!

Capiche, all you Keynesians out there!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Illegals Call Now!

Last week, the Department of Labor released this ad:

Of course, the purpose of the ad is obvious. However, the concept is simply ridiculous.

First, illegal aliens are only being hired because they are willing to work for less. If employers were willing to pay a fair wage, they wouldn't be hiring them in the first place. They would be hiring Americans with higher educational skills and, hopefully, no language issues.

Additionally, this ad is asking illegals to look a gift horse in the mouth. If employers begin to fear that illegals are talking to the Department of Labor about them, they will stop hiring them. Now, maybe in a way, this will actually reverse the flow of workers across our borders. But, it is possible that because they are here already, the reduction in jobs for these workers may actually create conditions which force them to make other choices to stay alive; causing crime rates and gang activity to increase.

Keynesian Economics Is Like A Drug Addiction

In the 1930's, FDR used excessive Federal spending, a cornerstone of Keynesian Economics, in an attempt to revive the U. S. economy during the Great Depression. It failed. At the same time, Europe recovered much quicker without the spend-thrift precepts of Keynes insanity. In retrospect and in a futile attempt to save Keynesian Economics from the trash heap of economic theory, those "apostles of John Maynard Keynes" have concluded that Federal spending during the Great Depression didn't produce the intended results because FDR didn't spend enough; and, because he tried to cut spending at the same time.

In the 1970's, the same Keynesian spending programs were attempted by the Democrats and Jimmy Carter; though much more limited than all the spending that took place during the Depression. But the Keynesian practices of that era, too, failed and, once again, the Keynesian economists claimed it was a failure of not spending enough and not a failure in the soundness of their philosophy. However, and in complete contrast to Keynes, Reagan took the reins and applied tax cuts, not spending, and the country righted itself economically.

Also in contrast to Keynes debt deepening beliefs, both JFK and Bill Clinton spurred their economies on through tax cuts; even though the Clinton tax cuts were primarily driven by a Republican Congress and the implementation of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. Today, Democrats constantly refer to Clinton-economics as being the powerful engine that created a surplus that George W. Bush completely erased. However, in doing so, the Democrats seem to forget that Bush, like so many other Presidents, inherited a recession at the tail-end of the Clinton Presidency and, then, only 9-months into his Presidency, he was hit with the economy killing effects of 9/11. If the Democrats would simply put ideology aside, they would have to truthfully agree that it was the Bush tax cuts that produced a gradual erasure of the deficits for each year following 2003 until the housing bust and recession that started in 2008. This was despite all the spending for two Wars and the dumb excessive spending by the then Republican-controlled Congress.

Now, we have Obama and his economic team. Once again, the principals of Keynesian economics are being applied with all kinds of Federal spending; from the TARP to the Stimulus Package. And, as had been the case in the application of all Keynesian economic spending in the past, our economy seems to be stalling out after only 16 months since the Stimulus was implemented. Now, as before, there are calls for even more spending.

The trouble with Keynesian economics is that all those massive infusions of cash have only a small and temporary impact on the economy. To sustain the benefits, you have to keep repeating the programs until, literally, you go broke doing it. Much the same way a drug addict keeps needing more and more "fixes" to satisfy their habit.

Two perfect examples of this were the "Cash for Clunkers" program and the first-time home buyers tax credit. Both programs created increased buying in their respective areas of the economy. But, once these programs ran their course, the buying not only stopped but, it fell far below the buying that had been seen prior to the implementation of either of these two programs. Of course, this fact, as in all the cases of all other applications of Keynesian economics, resulted in calls by the auto and home industries and some Democrats to extend the spending. And, so, the parallels to drug addiction.

The problem with Keynesian economics is that the effects are always short-term. They focus too much on growing the government when it is the private sector that actually grows the economy. The government, through taxing, only saps our economy. That's why tax cuts and not government spending have always produced better results. Proof of the addictive behavior of Keynesian spending comes from the likes of lefties like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich who are screaming that we need more and more spending. Obama, too, being a good little Keynesian, has warned the G20 member heads of state to keep the spending going to save the world's economies. However, history has proven this to be a flawed belief and most of those G20 members have seen the light. In a direct slap at Obama, most will now cut spending and, maybe, some taxes to save their economies from completely collapsing under the failure of Keynesian spending. Mr. Obama would be wise to follow their lead and dump his head-strong big government philosophy; unless, of course, his true intent is something other than saving our economy from a deep recession.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Black And Blue Uemployment Report?

The next unemployment report is due out Friday. The previous report was both dismal and disappointing with only 21k net jobs being created after deducting the Census Worker count. The next report, based on the economists being surveyed, is expected to be even worse, with a drop of as many as 145,000 workers in June. Also, the survey expects the unemployment rate to rise from 9.7% to 9.8% for the month.

Since the economic surveys of the last 3 years have always been wrong and, since the economy seems to be weakening, my guess is that Friday's numbers will be another shocker to the downside. I don't think that the ripple effect of the Gulf oil spill is being fully taken into consideration in that 145K jobs estimate. Further, the GDP number came in below the expected 3% level at a dismal 2.7% rate. What's important about that number is the fact that history has proven that you need at least a 3% growth in GDP to just to account for population growth. Further, a number higher than 3% is actually needed to address any additional job growth due to immigration; legal or otherwise. A number of 2.7% means that a lot more people may have lost their jobs as our country's production output falls. I wouldn't be the least surprised if Friday will see a near 200,000 jobs lost in June, with the unemployment rate upped to 9.8% or, even hitting 9.9% again.

Of course, my crystal ball hasn't been that perfect, either. To know this, you just have look back at my predictions for oil and gasoline prices of just a few months ago. Predictions that were completely blown out of the water by the potential collapse of some of the European Union's member states and the Union's currency: the Euro. However, my predictions on our economy have been fairly accurate. For that I can thank Obama and the Democrats for making that job much easier because of all their foolish policies.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

For the G20: No Proof In Obama's Pudding

Recently, Obama drafted a letter to the G20 heads of state recommending that they scrap their plans for austerity and, instead, continue to inject more and more money into their economies in order to grow themselves out of their recessions (Click here to See Story: Obama's Letter To G20 Urges World Leaders To Continue Stimulus).

The stupidity of this letter is that the G20 countries, primarily those of Western Europe, are on the brink of collapse because of their spending; and, Obama wants them to spend more. I think he would carry more standing in his comments if our own Stimulus legislation had actually worked. But, recent numbers for our economy show it faltering even with us two-thirds of the way through stimulus spending. Certainly, the unemployment rate at near 10% doesn't bode well for Obama's spending philosophy.

My guess is that the European Union, specifically, is having a good laugh at Obama's expense. His policies have no credibility. If "The proof is in the pudding," Obama's always comes out underdone, sloppy, and distasteful. Worthy, only, of being tossed out!

Is America Tiring Of The Oil Spill Disaster Already?

You can just feel it. Since last week, the focus on the oil spill disaster is starting to wane. No longer does it occupy the headlines or open as the top story on cable news. Once again, America's attention span seems to have run it's course.

During Katrina, the heat stayed on Bush because the media kept it there. Hollywood personalities flooded New Orleans and kept the cameras focused on their activities. From Sean Penn's almost comical rescue efforts to relief concerts.

Now, the mainstream media seems to be satisfied that Obama has done his job by creating a $20 billion BP escrow account. And, Hollywood? From day one, they were nowhere to be found. Yet, the oil is still gushing and the much-needed clean-up equipment continues to be held at bay by the Obama Administration, as they fail to allow any foreign expertise onto our shores without having to go through all the typical bureaucratic rigmarole.

Rarely, now, do you ever really see a story on the destruction in Haiti. Rarely, too, does anyone follow up on the failures to rebuild New Orleans; now five year later. America does seem to have a short attention span and politics is a mess because of it. Anger always seems to fade into complacency and, I am afraid, that the Gulf oil spill will follow that well-worn scenario. Following 9/11 the slogan was "We Will Always Remember". However, today, we seem OK with relegating terrorism, again, to a simple police action. A Mosque will be built at "Ground Zero" in Manhattan. We seem willing to treat terrorists like common criminals and not the destructive and hateful enemies that they are. In a way, the 9/11 slogan would have been more accurately stated as: "We Will Probably Forget!"

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Summer Of Recovery?

Last week, Obama, with Joe Biden as his ambassador, launched his new P.R. campaign with regard to the economy by calling it: "A Summer of Recovery." Unfortunately, Obama forgot to tell the economy to cooperate with his latest sleight of hand that is designed put lipstick on this pig of an economy that appears to be stalling out.

The last two weeks saw nothing but bad news. New home sales fell an astounding 33% in the last month. Existing home sales, too, fell to prior lows. Only 340,000 mortgages out of the 9 million that Obama promised have actually been saved from foreclosure in the last 16 months. The sales of big-ticket orders in America -- like washing machines and airplanes -- fell by a negative 1.1% when, last month, there had been a 3% gain. People are still losing their jobs each week at a rate above 450,000 with yesterday's number at 457,00o and the prior week's number adjusted upwards from 472,000 to 476,000. This morning's Gross Domestic Product (the total economic output of this country) came in lower than the 3% that was expected with a percentage gain of only 2.7% (Click here to See Story: Economy Grew Slower in First Quarter than Expected, Up 2.7%). On top of everything else, this month's Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates and the associated commentary indicated a new and more cautious tone about this economy recovering any time soon (Click here to See Story: Fed more cautious on U.S. recovery, keeps rates at record low).

With all that disturbing news, it's really hard to swallow the "Summer of Recovery" that Obama and Biden want us all to believe. You can't have a recovery when every month this Congress is forced to keep extending unemployment benefits or, when this President sends Congress a letter to enact another multi-billion dollar boost in order to keep teachers, police, and firemen in their jobs. Or, more importantly, the Federal Reserve becomes more cautious about the recovery and continues to hold primary lending rates at near zero.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why McChrystal Had To Go

From our country's earliest beginnings, the founding fathers knew the potential hazard of this or any country being taken over by a stratocracy -- a military dictatorship. To minimize that potential, they drafted, as part of our Constitution (Article 1 section 8), a specific structure that clearly positions the military under the direction of the Executive Branch of the Government and with their funding being controlled by Congress. Thus, their power is balanced between the two most prominent civilian legislative branches of government.

While it is important that we don't have a lap-dog military that can't express any concerns over the commands that they may receive from the Executive Branch, it is also important that they maintain a certain level of respect for the civilian leadership that they report to. That's because any erosion of that respect might actually create a situation whereby the military becomes autonomous to some degree; with the worst case resulting in some kind of coup.

The McChrystal situation presented a real conundrum because he is the primary architect of the military plan that is only half-way implemented in Afghanistan and prior to the draw down of troops starting next year. To lose him over his disrespectful comments may actually jeopardize the results of the war.

One option that was available to Obama was to elicit a public apology from McChrystal (assuming he's sorry). Then, bust him down by one or two stars from his four-star status and allow him to continue in his role as the Afghanistan commander. However, this ignores the fact that there might be a serious dissenting attitude in his command and below towards our civilian government.

I think the only real option for Obama was to have accepted McChrystal's resignation. He probably should have been stripped of some of his rank to show how serious an offense he had committed. For the protection of the precepts of our Constitution with regard to the military, Obama absolutely had no other option.

Our country has, probably, the best military in the world. No one man is irreplaceable. There are a lot of people in the ranks who could replace McChrystal and continue the plan in Afghanistan. Certainly, the replacement of McChrystal with Petraeus was a good choice but it might have just left Iraq exposed. In addition, Obama needs to strengthen his leadership skills so that this kind of disrespect doesn't fester once again. And, too, if we continue to see unrest in the military over the Administration's leadership, it is the people of this country who will need to reprimand Obama for his actions.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When The Ship Is Sinking

More than just some romantic ideal, the captain is usually the last man standing and usually does go down with his ship. Nothing could be more true than in Presidential politics. Especially if the President is in serious political trouble.

This week we have learned that Rahm Emanuel might be leaving after the mid-term elections with rumors that he is fed up with Obama's policies. Also, this week, we learned that Peter Orzag, Obama's Director of Management and Budget, is going to bail next month. After all, you can't blame Orzag for wanting to leave the budgetary mess that Obama saddled him with. Just prior to these revelations, Obama's Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, took a walk and quit his position.

Further, Obama's Afghanistan Commander, General McChrystal, made some very disparaging remarks about Joe Biden and the current Administration; and, indirectly, Obama. He had to fully know that those comments would lose him his job; and, I think he didn't care because the Afghanistan War isn't going well. Let's not forget that when McChrystal took this job, he was never given the full compliment of troops that he said he needed to add in order to win the war. I'll also bet any money, that McChrystal has been getting a lot of more guff than just that about the number of troops and he probably doesn't want to put up with it any more.

All of these situations come only a year and half after Obama took office; making you wonder what's going on internally within his Administration. We know that almost all the dealings with people and organizations that are on the outside of the Administration have to put up with this President's Chicago-style, bullying type of politics. Just look at what Obama has done with the banks, Wall Street, health care, and BP. So, it's probably logical that the same type of bullying goes on internally. Some might call it playing "hard ball" but, all too often, it is a thoughtless form of weak management. I know from the business world that, when you see a lot of people quitting a department, or getting fired for being disgruntled, it is either intentional -- as in cleaning house -- or as a result of bad management. Obviously, the latter must be the case since all of the above mentioned people were hired by Obama. I think this is just the first of many to jump ship and a sure sign of disorder within the Administration.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Failed Obama Plan For The Economy

Back in February of 2009, Obama announced a plan that he said would save about 9 million people from losing their homes to foreclosures. At the time, I wrote the blog: The 31 Percent Solution? In that blog entry, I pessimistically said that, at best case, Obama's plan might save a maximum of one-and-a-half million mortgages. Now, 16 months later, the best that this Obama program has done is to save a meager 340,000 mortgages on a permanent basis (Click here to See Story: Still Few Results From Mortgage Modification Program). More than 436,000 who were accepted by the program failed to achieve any satisfactory mortgage modification in order to keep their homes.

Once again, we have another Obama economic program that has failed miserably against its original hyped objectives. Maybe if the people advising Obama understood the economy, business, and the mortgage industry, they might have gotten a little closer to the actual number rather than missing the mark by an astounding 2600 percent!

Mitch Daniels Might Be Obama's Worst Nightmare in 2012

Mitch Daniels is a man who is relatively quiet and seems to be hardly imposing at a height of 5'7" when put up against the 6'1" frame of Obama. But, in comparison to Obama, Daniels is a man who carries a quiver full of experience.

He's been a business executive and he understands the very essence of what drives business and creates jobs. He knows government too. Currently, he serves as the Governor of Indiana. Prior to that, he served under George W. Bush in his Office of Management and Budgets and also on Bush's councils on National Security and Homeland Security. If ever there was a well rounded person to run this country, a manager and not an Obama-like legislator, Mitch Daniels is that guy.

During his first term and subsequently during this recession, Mitch Daniels, through a combination of some exceptionally minor tax increases and substantial cost cutting and privatization of government operations, has taken Indiana from deficit red to a positive surplus of being in the black. Just the opposite of what most state Governors have done in the last few years. His business-friendly and positive direction for the state has attracted business; not repelled it as had been the case throughout the typical rust-belt states. In 2007, he had three consecutive years of record breaking job commitments and business investment. He's attracted companies like Toyota, Honda, and Cummings Diesel, to build plants in Indiana. So popular, Mitch beat his Democratic opponent in the 2008 election by an 18 point margin.

I think, right now, Mitch Daniels is the man this country needs as a replacement to the failed Obama Presidency when 2012 rolls around. It's hard to criticize his success. For Obama, a man with little success to talk about, Mitch Daniels could be his worst nightmare in 2012. We'll now have to see if he even runs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Death Of A Salesman

From the title, you might think that this blog is about Willy Loman, the famed lead character in the Arthur Miller play "Death Of A Salesman". But, no, instead this entry is all about Barack Obama.

In the Miller play, Loman killed himself because he felt no longer useful in his occupation. In a way. and in the real-world of politics, Obama continues to commit political suicide. The public now finds that he is not, and never has been either useful or effective as a President.

Last week "was the week that was" for Obama. It signaled a week where not only the political right and much of the center disparaged him; but, it also saw the hard left criticizing him. The door to the left's dissatisfaction may have been opened when that Clinton-era icon, James Carville, began openly criticizing Obama for his handling of the BP Oil Spill. From there, we saw the likes of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Maureen Dowd, Jon Stewart, and a whole host of normally Obama-loving opinion writers attacking his broken promises, lack of accomplishments, and, most assuredly, his handling of the Gulf disaster.

The Gulf Oil Spill has unmasked Obama to most of those who had been blindly in love with this guy. The facade and mystique has now faded for many of those on the left. A facade that many on the right saw long before he was even elected. For sure, Jimmy Carter is probably doing cartwheels because his horrendous title of being the "worst President" is in jeopardy; thus bumping him a notch above Obama in history's recollection of his own bumbling administration .

Clearly, the evidence that the fairy tale is over comes from the Rasmussen poll which now has Obama at a meager 41% approval rating. This, from a President who, when taking office only a year and a half ago, had a near 70% approval. And, for now, that 27% percentage point drop in Obama's approval even beats the 25% drop that Bush saw in the polls over his entire Presidency; from 55% when he took office to 30% when he left.

Nothing that Obama has promised has come true. From Guantanamo, the economy, unemployment, to health care and the oil spill. Obama has lied and failed in each and every case. He was going to restore our stature in the world; yet, now the world sees us and, specifically him as being weak and ineffective. Our enemies are starting to walk all over us and we are losing friends such as Israel and Britain. It seems like everything that Obama does, goes against polled public opinion, and it appears that he couldn't care less. He's been against the sentiment of America on the Stimulus; the health care bill; and, now, on the Arizona immigration law. He consistently proves that he has no interest in fulfilling the concept of a government of the people.

Yes, Obama, before he got into office, was quite the salesman. He was going to be all things to all people. If you recall, he said: "There are not red states, nor blue states, just the United States". But, instead, he has become a purely partisan legislator who is not qualified to be President. He was going to "fundamentally change America" and the people who voted for him wrongly anticipated the change would be for the better; nothing could have been further from the truth.

So, this week, Obama became Willy Loman, and he may just have sealed his political fate. History may mark last week as the beginning of the political end for Obama. It might be seen as the figurative death of a salesman who had promised so much, but was totally incapable of delivering any of it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Obama's Silly Man On The Moon Argument

In this week's pitiless and pitifully political oval office speech, Obama threw out another one of his patented and idiotic rhetorical questions. In his immature thinking about replacing oil as an energy resource, he said: "Well, if we can put a man on the moon, why not this?".

The stupidity of that comment is that it cost billions to send a man to the moon. Other than through massive and dedicated government spending, that feat would never have seen the light of day. And, no government, since, has replicated that accomplishment. In fact, this very President, earlier this year, scrapped NASA's plans to return to the moon. Why? Because it was too damned expensive!

Obama is no realist. He's a pie-in-the-sky liberal that seems to think that the replacement of the energy complex in this country is a simple legislative task. The reason that we are up to our eyeballs in gasoline and oil, today, is because it is cheap, portable, relatively safe and compactly storable; and, it is ubiquitous in its application. At the same time, the engines using oil-based fuels are reliable, relatively inexpensive, and powerful. No other energy source can, as of now, claim all those attributes. That includes ethanol, natural gas, wind, and solar.

Sure, we can make cars that run on something other than oil, but those cars have to be economical in both cost and operation before the masses of society accept them in their everyday lives. We have oil-based transportation systems today because petroleum beat out the horse and carriage and other technologies like the steam engine, when automobiles were in their early infancy.

If Obama wants us to get off of oil, he should get the automakers of the world together and ask them how we can migrate away from it. For sure, any acceptable fuel source has to be readily deliverable; so, any new fuel must be able to compete with the currently embedded base of millions of pumping stations that already span this country. That's why a fuel like natural gas has been limited to local fleet operations for buses and some trucks. Because these vehicles come back to a centralized garage everyday, they can easily refuel at that centralized point. But, for Americans to accept natural gas or any other fuel, they need to be able to refuel without going miles out of their way to do so.

Getting off of oil is a lot more complex than this naive President seems to think. There needs to be a decision as to what fuel will best suit us in the future. It can't be a hodgepodge of a bunch of short-term technologies. The conversion away from oil is only going to happen when the majority accepts it. People are not going to plop down thousands of dollars on a vehicle that they know can't take them anywhere but from home to work and back. They need cross country capability.

I personally think that the future is in hydrogen as fuel. It can be produced economically by using the electricity produced from environmentally-friendly wind and solar. Hydrogen, when burned, produces only water vapor. For the climate alarmists and the environmentalists, this is pure heaven because there is no CO2 associated with it.

I think that Obama would be smart to develop some kind of regional plan where the government, in cooperation with private industry, establishes a hydrogen production and delivery system in, say, the Southwest (ie. California because of the existing density of cars). Then, too, the auto industry would have to agree to produce hydrogen-run automobiles that would be targeted for that specific region or area of the country. If both properly implemented and economical, hydrogen's usage will naturally spread across the country; just as gasoline and diesel spread throughout the U.S. in the early days of the automobile. Then, finally, America will be free of its dependency on oil. That, to me, would be the smarter plan rather than punish America economically through some dumb Cap and Trade system that has done nothing, elsewhere, to reduce the world's dependency on carbon-based fuel. In fact, counties that fully embraced "green" technologies, like Spain, are in near bankruptcy and, now, forced to back off of their plans for solar and wind. For once, I would hope that Mr. Obama looks to those failing "green" countries before he tries to impose Cap and Trade or some other carbon tax system.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why BP Is So Bad

As one the world's largest oil companies, British Petroleum is also one of the worst when it comes to safety. If I recall, more than 126 workers have died in recent years working for BP. With this oil spill, it is all too obvious that too many shortcuts were taken on the Deep Water Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, BP has accumulated over 760 safety violations while a U.S. Company, Exxon-Mobil, had a single violation.

But, how is it that they are so bad in comparison to the other big oil companies like Exxon-Mobil? Well, to answer that you have to simply look at an extremely brief history of BP as a corporate entity.

Up until the late 1980's, they were principally owned and operated by the British government; and, I think, therein lies the problem. Even though Marget Thatcher was able to privatize BP, the culture of a government-run operation was ingrained in their corporate mindset. In effect, BP is to the oil industry what our post office is to the freight and shipping business here in America. It is a poorly run and incompetent company that probably shouldn't be allowed to drill anywhere in the world.

Obama and his people should be careful with all the promises that they seem to be getting from BP. That escrow account ($20 billion over "four" years) could very well wind up being a dry well and just a pipe dream. To understand this, you have to recognize how BP operates. They are an arms-length company; meaning that they have little or no hard assets of their own. As much as possible, they lease equipment and contract services. For example, the only thing they owned with regard to that failed oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was the lease allowance to drill the oil; and, that was sold to them by our own government. They contracted that whole operation. So, in all too many cases, if BP does go belly-up in bankruptcy, the only things of value they own that our government could glom onto is a bunch of oil leases that actually belong to us anyway. And, I doubt very seriously the we could even tap any of the foreign assets of the British company without years of litigation in international courts.

The bottom line is that the oil spill was caused by an incompetent company. But, too, it was our own government's failure to properly supervise BP's operations.

The Minerals Management Service (our government) is just as responsible as BP for that oil spill. They should have been all over them; especially because of their known past behavior. For sure, BP is a bad company but, it was our government agency that failed to oversee them and allowed them to live up to it's very bad reputation. And it was the combination of government-run mindset (in the case of BP) and the typical failed bureaucratic behavior of the Minerals Management Service that, in combination, was a lethal mixture. When all is said and done, we are going to find out that BP took too many shortcuts and we will also find that it had the tacit approval of the very government agency that was supposed to watch over them. For this reason, anyone who believes that a government-run anything is better than the operations of the private sector ought to have their head examined.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Persistence of a Jobless Recovery

Some economists seem to think that the recession was over a year ago. However, the group charged with the responsibility of umpiring that call, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), has still not declared this recession as being over. Theoretically, two positive quarters of growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be the signal for such a call; and, we've had three. Yet, the NBER still remains silent.

I think the NBER is concerned about the employment situation; which, by any measure, is stalled out. As a result, any economist worth his/her salt is probably thinking that a double-dip recession is ahead of us. I think this potential reality has kept them in limbo with regard to calling the recession over.

Certainly, the initial jobless claims number that was released this A.M. gave the NBER no reason to think the economy has recovered. Once again, the number came in over 450,000 jobs. In fact, it jumped 12,000 jobs from last week's number to 472,000 claims; and, that previous number, too, was upped by 4,000 additional laid-off workers (Click here to See Story: Jobless claims rise 12,000 to 472,000). Additionally, the number of long-term claimants rose by 88,000 for the month and approximately 350,000 just fell off the roles completely because their unemployment benefits completely ran out.

This morning's horrible number in combination with last week's bad one just shows that the economy is weakening; not growing as the Obama Administration would have you and I believe. Both of these numbers, in conjunction with the miserable unemployment report of almost two weeks ago, speaks volumes as to the failure of the stimulus package to create jobs.

Don't expect anything to get better soon. In fact, the job picture is only sure to get worse next month as thousands of workers are laid off due to the suspension of off-shore oil drilling. Then, too, I think the number of non-spill related job losses is already on the rise as small and large businesses, alike, try to fight to survive the impending impact of ObamaCare and the elimination of the Bush tax cuts in January. Also, lets not forget that companies might further, be in a kind of hiring abeyance as they mull over the impact of Cap and Trade or carbon penalties that may hit their particular businesses as well. No one should kid themselves into believing that this President, his Administration, and the Democrats of Congress are, somehow, economy and job friendly.

Obama's Emergency Budget Request

Late last Saturday evening, a day and time that's truly odd for an American President to introduce any new plan or program, Obama sent a request to Congress to immediately act to appropriate an unspecified amount of emergency funding. This was to be used to keep the jobs of teachers, police, and fireman from being effected by the ongoing budget cuts in state and local governments. This President, who has done nothing to create any real private sector positions, finds himself compelled to fight for the jobs of the union personnel who got him into office.

Of course, the readers of this blog know that I object to any such actions because it only sustains the out-of-control spending by too many Democratically controlled states; many of whom find themselves nearing financial bankruptcy.

Interestingly, many Democrats also seem to be balking at this request for more spending because they know that the voters may be reaching their breaking point. At the same time, I find it interesting that the mainstream media might be tiring, too, of the outrageous and extravagant spending of this President. This is clearly evidenced by an opinion piece in yesterday's normally left-wing Washington post titled: Myths about the teacher layoff crisis. I think it is a very interesting and truthful article that exposes the lies that Obama and the Democrats are willing to put forth to support their personal political agenda. Please take the time to read it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama's Oval Office Speech

Like most of you, my wife and I watched Obama's speech last night. I think my wife summed it up the best. She said it was like being in the middle of a heart attack. You're laying in the emergency room, in overwhelming pain and gasping for breath. Then instead of using every tool in their arsenal to stop the immediate crisis, the doctors sit down and start advising you on proper diet and exercise.

Nowhere in his speech was there a forceful outline to stop the leak and clean up the spill. Instead, he is shamelessly using this crisis as a preface to implementing his foolish and expensive wind, solar, and Cap and Trade plans. He even distorted what China is doing about energy by saying that they were investing in clean technologies. Oh, really Mr. President? China is busy drilling for oil all over the world and quickly building coal-fired power plants so that they can -- using Obama's own words -- kick the world's ass economically. This guy is just unbelievable!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When The Going Gets Tough The Weak Go To The Teleprompter

Using the BP oil spill, Democrats have decided this will be their "sweeps week", in order to, as in the television industry, try and get some major ratings increases. Today, the Democratic leadership in Congress has decided to make a "really big show" by dragging in all of the CEO's of the major oil companies for a public flogging in front of mainstream media's TV cameras. Yesterday, Obama walked the oil soaked sand of the Gulf; ate a snow cone; and, posed with the natives to show that, for only the 4th time, he is fully engaged with the problem. Tonight, he will hit the teleprompter again to give his first-ever "Oval Office" speech. Tomorrow, he meets with the CEO of BP; even though it might have been smarter to meet with Tony Hayward beforehand in order to incorporate the results of that meeting into the speech. But, the all-knowing Obama obviously knows what BP's CEO is going to say, since that was the reason he gave for why he never met with him until the 59th day of the oil spill.

Expect, too, that Bush will be blamed for his obvious irresponsibility. Even though Obama claims that a President can't personally stop the oil spill, he will, however, make it clear that, somehow, Bush was personally responsible; as has been claimed for the last 58 days.

I'm tired of the blame game from Obama. Every speech he gives, he blames BP and provides no solutions. You'd have to be a complete idiot to think that BP isn't responsible. That's a given. So why keep telling us that? Obama does this because of a complete lack of leadership skills. He is not a leader and has absolutely no solutions. This is a diversion by a weak President to keep the focus on BP as a means of keeping the focus off of his own inabilities. It's a typical tactic for a poor leader to hide behind a bogeyman to avoid taking any heat; just as in the case of the Democrats in Congress having their phony show-trials of the oil executives. Quite simply, it's all political theater.

Time is wasted by the day as the oil spill grows larger. Stopping all offshore drilling isn't going to stop the damage or clean up after it. An escrow account, too, doesn't clean it up. Bashing BP and George Bush isn't stopping the leak or cleaning up the spill. Having the Attorney General threaten criminal charges against BP isn't cleaning up the oil spill. And, for sure, having government agencies (reporting to Obama) block one solution after another isn't cleaning up the spill.

Obama claims he can't don a wetsuit and cap the hole himself. Certainly, that's true. But, not allowing foreign vessels to come to our shores to siphon off the oil is something he can do and he hasn't. He could have waived environmental regulations but, instead, he kept Louisiana waiting for weeks before they could build offshore berms to protect the fragile near-shore environment. Their are dozens of creative Americans, who have come up with viable solutions for aiding the clean up. Yet, neither this President nor BP have even contacted those people. A good leader would have allowed trials to be conducted to see how effective these techniques really were and quickly employed those that had proven themselves. But, not Obama. These are all things that don't require superhuman skills and don't require him to don a wetsuit.

The real story here is a lack of leadership. The oil is pouring onto our shores as this President just talks; and, talks. If ever there was repeat of "while Rome is burning Nero fiddles", this is it! And, God help us all if this guy is simply allowing the effects of the spill to worsen in order to push his left-wing, anti-oil, Cap and Trade legislation.

What Moody's Delay In Downgrading Greece Says

Yesterday, Moody's Investment Service finally downgraded Greece's debt to junk status. To most, this was no surprise. But, to many more, the real question was why it took them so long. And, therein lies a problem.

Since the (1) housing bust and (2) subsequent recession, many experts have been analyzing the events and lending activities that lead up to these two economic disasters. While much of the blame rests with the sub-prime mortgages, themselves, that were forced upon the banks due the 1977 Jimmy Carter-signed law, the Community Re-investment Act, others have looked at the actions of Freddie Mac and of Fannie Mae in their pushing of low interest rate loans to unqualified borrows in order to fulfill the political desire for "everyone" to get a home of their own.

However, the little mentioned culprits in the housing bust were the debt rating agencies like Moody's Investment Service, Fitch, and Standard & Poors. In fact, these supposed watchdogs of debt in the world, happily stood by with their high grade investment ratings on a lot of risky and bundled sub-prime mortgage instruments like those Credit Default Swaps (CDS) being sold by AIG. In essence, these agencies blindly assumed that any debt instrument that was being sold by a triple-A rated company like AIG should have that company's same high debt/risk rating. But, as we know now, AIG was just using this very fact to actively promote the selling of their very dangerous CDS's to investors who were literally being buffaloed by the rating agencies into believing these investments would be safe to hold.

The slowness of Moody's to downgrade the Greek debt situation just shows that these agency's can't be trusted with watching the sheep. The whole world has known for months that Greece is teetering on a default of their debt. Yet, it was only yesterday that they decided to announce what everybody already knew. What good was that? If anyone totally relied on Moody's to steer them straight on what investments to hold, they would have sat stupidly holding Greek bonds and other debt instruments for months while the value of those investments collapsed; waiting for Moody's to finally recognize the risk involved.

Personally, I think it's time that Moody's and the others be downgraded to junk status!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Casting Doubt To Save Their Butts

Since last Tuesday, the Democratic pundits have been spinning as hard as they ever have to cast as much doubt as possible on the Republicans chance of winning Congressional, Senate and Gubernatorial races in November. The latest and most laughable came yesterday, from an Op-Ed writer for the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson. His editorial commentary, Calif. GOP primary winners look headed for defeat, seems to focus on the fact that Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman had to run so far to the right during their primaries that they are now unelectable right-wing radicals.

But, to understand why someone like Meyerson would think that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are radicals, you need to understand where Mr. Meyerson stands politically. Harold Myerson's father was the leader of the California Chapter of the extremely left and near-communist, Socialist Party of America. And, like pops, Harold is an avowed, far-left socialist. The fact is that Myerson is so left that even some center-left Democrats look like right-wingers to him. Further, he seems to think that the Democratic competition to Whitman and Florina -- Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown and Barbara Boxer -- are more electable because, somehow, they are more appealing as centrists. But, given his extreme political views, he can't seem to see how far left these people really are.

All of this Whitman and Fiorina talk of un-electability is a desperate attempt by the left to convince voters that casting a ballot for either of them would be a wasted vote because they aren't going to win. However, what Meyerson and many like him don't seem to understand is that the odds are more in favor of a Republican win due to the Democrat's failures to bail this country out of it's economic morass in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Proof of that fact comes from a poll taken by Rasmussen yesterday that shows Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman in a statistical tie with Brown getting 45% of the count and Whitman with 44% and an all-important undecided vote of 7% that could go either way by election day. This, in a state where the number of registered Democrats almost outpace the Republicans by a factor of 2 to 1. Obviously, these early numbers seem to prove Meyerson's theory wrong.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Worst Possible Presidential Cabinet For Our Times

In recent weeks, a lot has been said and written about Obama's ineptness and complete lack of management skills. But, the lack of experience and expertise in addressing the problems that currently face this country go well beyond the President. It goes deep into the cabinet members that he has selected.

Obama has completely surrounded himself with a bunch of cabinet officers who have no management experience. Instead, he has created a cabinet that is completely theoretical and professorial. Worse yet, almost all of these people are anti-capitalists and pro-environmentalists. This, at a time, when we're trying to recover from a recession and when we are now faced with one of the worst environmental disasters that the world has every seen. Most of his appointees have spent their entire lives fighting Wall Street, the banks, big business, and the oil, coal, and gas industries. Yet, these are the industries that they are being asked to work with in their various cabinet positions.

This complete lack of experience and understanding has manifested itself in a variety of ways since Obama took office.

First, we have the failed stimulus package because it was too pro-government, too socialist, too anti-business, and completely ignored the vital elements that would actually help drive this economy and create jobs.

Then, take, for example, John Morton, the Assistant Secretary who is in charge of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Recently, he told a newspaper interviewer that he had no intention of working with Arizona if illegal immigrants are handed over to any of his agents. So, in effect, he was saying the he would no longer fulfill the responsibilities of his own job because of his ideological attitude towards the newly passed Arizona law on illegal immigration. Obviously this man doesn't take seriously the "Enforcement" responsibilities that are clearly spelled out and included in the very title of the agency that he manages. After all, it isn't the Immigration and Customs "Non-Enforcement" agency!

The same, too, is true of the massive BP oil spill. There is no coordination among cabinet members and no centralized control from Obama. For example, one agency has directed BP to use dispersants to break up the oil. Days later, another agency, the EPA, says no to dispersants. Then, for whatever reason, the EPA suddenly changes saying its ok to use them. Then, because dispersants have been used, OSHA says workers involved in cleanup procedures have to take breaks every 15 minutes to avoid getting ill. All along, Bobby Jindal had requested permission to build sand berms to provide protection from the ravages of the oil, however the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers ate up valuable time because they were "programmed" (as in non-emergency times) to conduct an environmental impact study before giving approval.

Thursday, there was another perfect example of why these people that Obama has surrounded himself with should have never been allowed to be in charge of anything. Some days after it was finally recognized that the spill could be a serious environmental disaster, Obama convened a panel of experts to review the situation and come up with recommendations for addressing it. This panel actually reported up to Obama through Ken Salazar; his Secretary of the Interior. Following a review, the panel wrote up their recommendations in a report. But, unbeknownst to the panel, Ken Salazaar, at the direction of the White House (?), wrote into the report, a non-scientific and politically motivated opinion that all new and unfinished offshore drilling should be stopped; and, Obama acted on it. Now, we find out that the panel would have never made such a recommendation because to stop the drilling and idle these platforms could literally be dangerous (Click here to See Story: Experts Say White House 'Misrepresented' Views to Justify Drilling Moratorium). At the very least, thousands of rig workers and support personnel are now without jobs because of Salazar's personal recommendation. Additionally, those rigs, if idled too long, will be towed elsewhere in the world. They contain some highly sensitive technologies that were developed by the United States and, as a result, could result in the loss of any competitive edge that these afford in deep water drilling.

The Salazar (maybe Carole Browner) stunt shows what can happen when you have an agency headed up by an individual who has had an axe to grind with an industry that he/she is responsible for overseeing. This kind of mindset shows why Obama had never met with or even talked to BP's CEO prior to next week's hurriedly scheduled meeting that only resulted out of public outrage.

Watching this mess unfold, one can't help but get the feeling that we have given the keys to this country, to an immature President and a group of children. As a result, I think that history will record this administration's cabinet as being the worst possible to meet the challenges of our time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Lack Of Retail Sales Confirms Last Friday's Jobs Number

Last Friday, the employment number was terrible. If you stripped out the temporary census worker jobs and, then, netted the loss of other government jobs against the slight growth in the private sector, only 21,000 jobs were created last month. On average, that's only 400 jobs added per state. In fact, 400 people would hardly fill "half" the seating available in an average high school gym.

This morning, the Retail Sales number was also abysmal. Sales in the last month fell by 1.2 percent. This confirms why last Friday's employment number was so bad. Since 70% of the jobs in this country come from small businesses and, primarily, from retailers like your local franchised McD's or your local independently owned gas station, it is no wonder why those business didn't hire last month. People just weren't buying as much as they were in previous months. Quite simply, it takes increased buying for any retail business to even consider any new hires.

Now, one month's set of numbers doesn't necessarily spell a trend. However, if the consumer is seen as pulling back in the next report or in the next few months ahead, the economy will have stalled and the economic recovery will definitely be put off. If that be the case, we easily could see the double-dip recession that so many economist have been worrying about.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Press (Again) Fudges The Jobless Claims Numbers

When actually reported "last" Thursday, the number of first-time jobless claimants was 456,000; exactly the same as was reported in this morning's weekly report. Yet, if you read the news headlines, they all say that the jobless claims number fell by 3,000. So, what gives?

Actually, it is a little trickery that is being played out almost every week by the mainstream media and being sown by the government agency reporting that number: Obama's Labor Department.

Every time a jobless claims' number is reported, a revision for the prior week is also issued. As had been the case in almost every report this year, the week's prior number was bumped up (revised higher). In this morning's case, last week's number was upped by 3,000 jobs to 459,000 and, magically, this week's 456,000 claims appears to have been a drop of 3,000. An improvement? Not hardly? If you would read beneath the headlines, you would actually find out that the 4-week moving average of jobless claims headed upwards by 2,500 jobs; not getting better as the mainstream media would have you believe from their Obama and Democrat-protecting headlines.

The most blatant abuser of this fact is the always Obama-loving Associated Press (AP). This morning, an AP writer, Christopher S. Rugaber, actually had the gall to post a headline that read: 'New jobless claims dip for third straight week'. Not actually a lie if you play the "revisions game". But, it is a true distortion in view of the fact that there is, now, a rising, not declining, 4-week moving average. No way in mathematical hell can you have a 4-week moving average that is going up, and still claim that the last 3 weeks had declines. Maybe it's due to Mr. Rugaber's use of the "new math" that they're teaching our kids in schools these days?

So, anyway, here's a link to a CNBC's news report of all the numbers behind this morning's jobless claims: 'Weekly Claims Edge Lower as Jobs Recovery Plods On' (even though, it too, carries the same misleading headline). If you read the report carefully, you will see what I am complaining about. It is this kind of sleight of hand and distortion of the facts that caused me to create this blog and call it "Cutting Through The Fog" so that the lies and double-speak of the news media and politicians can be clearly exposed.

Reselling A Lemon

This week, Obama launched a week where he and members of his Administration will try to resell ObamaCare to the nation. This reminds me of a slick car salesman who sold someone a lemon and is now trying to convince them to keep it. So, in the middle of the BP oil spill---perhaps the greatest environmental disaster the world has seen -- Obama has, again, found time to push his left-wing agenda rather than take care of business.

If ObamaCare was such a great deal, he wouldn't have to resell it. But, a day doesn't go by that we don't find out another pitfall in this pitiful legislation. Direct costs are now well over a trillion dollars however, when selling this pig, Obama promised it would never reach that level. The cost of health care insurance, as noted by numerous independent studies, is only going to go up, not down as promised. Indirectly, corporations will be eating more taxes and, as such, some have already determined that, under ObamaCare, they might be better off dumping their Corporate-supported, private insurance and just paying the fines. Doctor's, too, have weighed in by turning their heads to any new Medicaid or Medicare patients.

The people aren't dumb but, this President is presuming they are with this new sales effort. Like too many things with Obama, he's clueless.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Life Saving Attempt On A Dead Horse

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a "paper" that recommended several proposals to save the dying newspaper industry and television news media in America. In essence, they are proposing a government-controlled media. (Actually, I already thought it was!).

One of the FTC's great ideas is to tax popular news-oriented websites, like the Drudge Report, and then filter that tax money back to the forest-raping paper media. Of course, I am sure that the tax will be applied unequally to websites based on their political orientation.

Another is to create an AmeriCorp for journalists whereby the reporters would actually work for and be paid by the Federal government. I think they had that in Russia during the Cold War. It was called Pravda. Talk about a means of totally killing any criticism of the current Congress/Administration or any Federal agency or policy!

Lastly, the FTC proposes a tax on everything from TV's to radio to laptops and eReaders in order to salvage the dead mainstream media.

What the FTC and their left-wing head fails to understand is that the news media is becoming extinct because of bias. While sources such as NBC news and the New York Times are dying, outlets like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are flourishing. Newspapers are in real trouble because they are buried in paper. If they were smart, they would embrace the new media like the iPad and the Kindle by downloading an entire "paper" to each of these devices every morning. To make that happen, they will have to charge less for the electronic version.

To me, a news agency like AP is so biased to the left that I hardly ever read many of their stories anymore; especially if I see that they were written by certain AP staff writers. What's worse, is if you read any newspaper or go to any main stream media website, many times AP is the persistent source so you're never able to get an unbiased or, at the very least, opposing viewpoint.

News is no longer just news. All of it has become a story with opinion woven into it. For that reason, the free market system is working and the FTC should not get involved. Unless papers like the New York Times start getting "real" with the news, they will continue to lose readers and they will ultimately die. But, hopefully, before that, they will become less biased and regain the readers they have lost. The main stream media is in turmoil because it has abandoned political neutrality. It needs to die and become, once again, the Fourth Estate that Americans can rely on as a counter-balance to government, business, and a world that has gone wild. We need truth returned to journalism. We don't need an extension of the liberal viewpoint that is promoted by the journalism schools of this country.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We All Should Have Some Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy

Recently, an author, Joe McGinniss, who is busily writing a book about Sarah Palin, moved his ugly rear end into the house next door to the Palin's in Wasilla, Alaska. This is just outrageous. While Sarah Palin is a public person involved in political issues, her family isn't. I find the next-door scrutiny as disgusting as any other "stalker" activity in our society. I don't think that paparazzi should have a right to chase down celebrities and their families by any means; including by telephoto lenses from adjacent properties. I also don't believe that the SEIU has the right to trample over someone's private property as in the recent case of a mob of picketers who swarmed over a Bank of America executive's front lawn; all the way up to the windows and front door. Also, I don't think that a group like the West Borough Baptist Church should be allowed to shout out disgusting remarks and carry signs at private funerals of slain soldiers because of their twisted religious viewpoints. Finally, the same goes for those who would disturbingly picket Abortion Clinics; an attitude and practice that may well have cost many lives as a result of associated bombings and shootings. There are other ways to fight an issue without this type of behavior.

In all of the above cases, a citizen's goal of attaining "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is being grossly violated. Every American should have some reasonable expectation of personal space. Violating someone's privacy in their homes, at a funeral or gathering, or by constantly flashing cameras in someone's face while they are trying to enjoy a public environment should be as punishable as any other violation of peeping-tom laws and, while not carrying the same level of punishment as a physical attack, I believe it should be considered a form of assault. As a society, our lust for "snooping" on public persons and the "up-close harassment of people we don't agree with" has gotten completely out of control. It's time that we change the laws to protect everyone or things will continue to intensify, and too many innocent people will be hurt in the process. Just my opinion.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Failure of Communication?

In a recent interview, David Axelrod, the primary political adviser to Obama, stated that he thought that the disappointment with this President over the management of the Gulf oil spill is one of a "lack" of communications and not because of a lack of management of the problem.

This attitude speaks volumes as to what Obama is all about and how terribly hollow his presidency truly is. For him, everything is a communication issue. In Axelrod and Obama's minds, a speech, not action, will smooth everything over. Everything is a photo-op or a staged event. True management skills are secondary to being a great orator. Team Obama sincerely believes that a good speech writer and a working teleprompter will fix everything or convince America to buy into any legislation; even if that legislation is bad.

In the last year and a half, the conditions in this country, and in all the hot spots in this very dangerous world we live in, have only deteriorated under Obama. Employment is going nowhere The debt is massive. Home foreclosures are now worse than when Obama took over. Experts are expressing worry over a double-dip recession. Credit is as tight as it has ever been. At least 5 states, led by California, are near bankruptcy. Iran is another year and a half closer to having a nuke and a missile to deliver it. Israel is a giant step closer to going it alone against Iran. North Korea has tested more nukes and more long range missiles and is on the verge of war with South. We have given up our anti-missile defense system in Europe and gotten zero from Russia in return. We've had three terrorist attempts -- one successful -- in the last few month's under Obama's rule. And, last, but certainly not the least, the oil spill in the Gulf and the lack of action may become the world's greatest environmental disaster.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of more and more people, it's the President's lack of management skills that have made all these things "worse" since he has taken over.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some More 'I'm Sorry" B.S.

This week, that wretch Helen Thomas was caught on video making a comment that the Israelis should get out of Israel and go back to Germany, Poland, and elsewhere. Well, once the video went viral on the Internet, the normally-cranky Ms. Thomas got all apologetic. But, that apology is not sincere. She's held these viewpoints against Israel for years. Just look at this video from 2006 showing Helen's banter with Tony Snow where she obviously condemns Israel's attack of Hezbollah in Lebanon in an attempt to stop the missiles being lobbed into their civilian neighborhoods by this Lebanese, Jewish-hating terrorist group:

The Incongruous "Big" Arguments Of The Left

Its amazing to me that the political left can believe that a company or corporation can be too big. To them, "big" is both abusive and domineering. Yet, at the same time, they firmly believe in a "big" and a constantly getting "bigger" government. Shouldn't government, too, be restrained? Isn't any monopoly a bad idea?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When Tammany Hall Meets Chicago Politics

In the 19th century, the Sons of Saint Tammany (aka Tammany Hall) was a political machine of the dominant Democratic Party in New York City that used bribery, connections, and political patronage to force and manipulate all aspects of politics in that City. In Chicago, the political machine, alive and well today and similarly powerful as Tammany Hall but not as publicly blatant, uses its influence to keep that City in the political pockets of the Democratic Party. In both cases, true choice was, and still is, being ripped from the very people to whom the politicians should be accountable to.

Since Obama has come to office, he has brought with him all that is wrong with politics. With the recent revelations about Blagojevich, Sestak, and, now, Romanoff, we are seeing the merger of Tammany Hall and Chicago-style politics; but, now, at a Federal level. In offering jobs to candidates so they won't run against this President's favored sons, the people's choice is being denied. This goes against the grain of any democracy and that is why, as specified by our Constitution and under law, it is punishable as a crime.

The people deserve to know what went on in all three of these cases. Sadly, though, our government is currently dominated by the very political party that may have committed these crimes against democracy and no legitimate investigation should be expected from them. Also, sadly, the left-leaning press, who should be the watch dog of any and all bad behavior in government, seems to be turning its head because of its love affair with this President and his potential implementation of a very liberal agenda. Hopefully, a newly elected Republican government in the Fall will change all that.

He Who Ignores History Is Doomed To Repeat It

With the increasing volatility in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I would like to take this time to look back at a blog that I wrote about the "weakness" of JFK and how that same weakness is being played out today with Barack Obama. The blog I am referencing, written in March of 2008, long before Obama was even elected, was titled: Are We Ready For the Mistakes Of J.F.K., Again?
"We've seen it all before. In 1960, the electorate got behind a young, dynamic, and good-looking candidate named John F. Kennedy. His speeches moved this country. At that time, he was destined to be the "first" Catholic President. But aside from all that fluff, he had little experience; and in the world of foreign affairs, it showed.

One of the things that JFK gets praise for was the Cuban Missile Crisis. But, that crisis, in my mind and the minds of some historians, was a crisis of his own making. It came about because the then-Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, saw weakness in John F. Kennedy. He saw weakness when Kennedy miserably failed to properly implement the Bay of Pigs invasion by not supporting that invasion with the proper military backup. The way Kennedy handled the post-Bay of Pigs Invasion negotiation for prisoners was also seen as being weak. Khrushchev saw even more weakness during the earliest meetings with Kennedy. And, that belief was never more evident when Nikita Khrushchev stated this now famous line: "We will bury you!" Khrushchev would never have put missiles in Cuba if he had thought Kennedy was strong. Much of the false memory of this event seems to imply that Kennedy, through his strength and determination, simply made Khrushchev back down and come to his knees. However, Khrushchev only conceded pulling the missiles out of Cuba after we agreed to remove our missiles from the borders of Turkey.

Like Kennedy, Barack Obama feels that we can "talk" to our enemies. Kennedy made this a centerpiece of his Administration when, in his Inaugural Address, he said: "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate..." Barack Obama has quoted this famous line and made it clear that he, too, will talk to our enemies like Ahmadinejad of Iran. But, "talking" is seen by a dictatorial aggressor like Khrushchev and Ahmadinejad as a form of weakness. To an Ahmadinejad or a Khrushchev, "talks" with the mighty United States give them a sense of power; a sense of equality, or even, superiority. In their minds, the fact that the United States is "talking" to them must mean that the U.S. fears them. It's an adrenaline rush!

Just like Kennedy talking to Khrushchev while Khrushchev was preparing to put missiles into Cuba, you can expect the same kind of goings on from an Ahmadinejad or a Hugo Chavez or a Kim Jong Il, while Obama talks and talks his head off and tries to make nice with these, our enemies."
No matter what anyone thinks, Obama is a weak international and domestic leader. On the international front, he's being tested by the likes of Kim Jong Il. The same is true with Iran. Turkey and Brazil's alliance with Iran is another direct result of that perception of weakness. Because of this, we are now even weaker in our attempts to thwart Iran's ambitions to gain nuclear superiority in the Middle East. The same is true with Turkey's backing of the flotilla that is attempting to break Israel's Gaza Strip blockade of Hamas. The mere fact that Turkey is even backing this action shows that they believe that Israel has been abandoned by Obama; especially after the most recent put-down of Israel in the security council over Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. It was also apparent from how badly Obama treated Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in their last meeting at the White House.

With Obama, our friends are our enemies, and our enemies are taking us for a ride. Not only is this President repeating JFK's mistakes but, he is also a very bad replicant of the failed and foolish leadership of Jimmy Carter. I fear that, at any minute, we could see a major international conflict breakout. One that was totally spawned by Obama and his lack of international leadership and strength that should come with being the President of the most powerful county in the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Only 20,000 Real Jobs Added To The Economy In May

The May Unemployment Report is out and the numbers are astoundingly dismal. Like I predicted in yesterday's blog, the bulk of the jobs created in May were for temporary Census worker positions. In fact, of the 431,000 jobs created, 411,000 were Census workers; leaving the net increase to be about 20,000. Further, previously reported numbers for March and April, were lowered with a loss of an extra 22,000 jobs. Therefore, in reality, the 20,000 jobs created in May were more than offset by the 22,000 additionally lost in the prior two months (Click here to See Story: Jobs Growth Is Disappointing Due to Weak Private Sector).

Once again, the economists were shocked. They had predicted a growth of 500,000 to 575,000 jobs for the month. Economist and Presidential cheerleader at Moody's, Mark Zandi, had actually predicted 575,000 jobs in May (Click here to See Story: Census hiring to spike job figures in May). For reference, Zandi is one of the economic idiots who wholeheartedly backed the failed Obama/Democrat stimulus package. But, if Zandi and the rest of the economists would simply Google the word "layoff", they'd understand that the employment situation in real life is job losses and not job creation. That's why I've been so negative about the economy for months now.

From a political standpoint, this poor jobs' number will cause the Democrats -- literally in panic for their very own jobs in the Fall elections -- to push for another stimulus package. However, I think they've already proven they haven't a got a clue how to create or even save a single job in America.

Additionally, the Census jobs' number might be phony. The worker tally in the May report might just be a faked number through an intentional process of hiring and rehiring people a number of times to inflate the Census headcount. This charge was made yesterday by a whistle blower who has been rehired and trained by the Census Bureau a total of 5 times:

I read this morning that Obama touted the hiring of all those new Census workers (Click here to See Story: Obama: Economy 'getting stronger by the day'). What most liberals, like Obama, don't seem to understand is that you need to create at least 18 private sector jobs in order to have enough income tax revenue to cover the cost of hiring "one" new, Federal government worker. That's because 1/2 of those newly-created private sector jobs won't pay any taxes; leaving the total burden of paying for any new government position to the other half. The reason being that most government workers get paid more and get more health and retirement benefits than equivalent jobs in the private sector. And for our state governments, the government to private sector job ratio is even higher. This is why countries like Greece and states like California are in such deep trouble. Throughout this recession, Obama and Democrats have been creating more and more government jobs while protecting state government jobs like teachers, police, and fireman. At the same time the number of jobs in the private sector has kept shrinking. That, my friends, is a complete recipe for disaster and easily raises the potential for a double-dip recession in the coming year.

Redux: A Senator As President?

On March 28, 2008, long before Obama was sworn in, I wrote a blog entitled "A Senator as President?". The purpose of that entry was to show how unprepared a Senator can be to rise to the presidential level. Given all of today's problems, with Barack Obama in charge, I think it was fairly prophetic. So, here's a reprise of that March 2008 blog:

It has been a long time since this country has elected a President from the ranks of the United States Senate. The last one was John F. Kennedy in 1960; nearly a half century, ago. And, any Senator becoming President has only happened 15 times (out of 43 Presidents) in all of U.S. history. Only two Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Warren Harding, were elected to the Presidency while still actively serving in the United States Senate. Of those two, only Harding had any previous experience in serving in the Executive Branch of any State or Federal Government.

Typically, a Senator has been elevated to the Office of President after having left the Senate to serve in some other capacity such as Vice President, Secretary of State, or as a State Governor. 8 of those 15 Senators who were elected to the high office, had previously served in an executive capacity as a Governor of some State. One other, William Harding, had at least served as a Lieutenant Governor. Four of those 15 previous Senators (John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson) were serving as Vice President while the then-current President died in office. Only 3 of all of those 15 Senators, who became President, actually served for more than one term as President. And, of those 3 that served two terms, only one, Harry S. Truman, had no previous executive experience as a Governor of a State.

In 2009, it is almost an absolute surety that a U.S. Senator will, again, be elected President. It will be either Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or John McCain. And, this time, unlike any other time in our history, none of them will have had any previous "executive experience" as a State Governor; or, as Vice President; or, having served in any cabinet capacity such as the Secretary of State. The least senior of them, Barack Obama, will not have even served a full term as the Junior Senator from Illinois. Nor, did he have any previous experience in Washington such as a House Representative. Hillary Clinton is barely into her second term as the junior Senator from New York. Prior to that she was the First Lady to President Clinton and the same position to Bill Clinton as the Governor of Arkansas. At least John McCain has served as a Senator since 1987; and, before that, served a single term in the United States Congress.

As pointed out in the first paragraph of this post, "statistical history" has a lot going "against" these three candidates. At the very least, historical fact says that the odds are almost "nil" that any of them will be able to go beyond a second term. It all comes down to administrative experience.

Most all two-term Presidents have had prior experience as a military leader or as a Governor. Obviously, that gave them experience in managing people, tasks, disasters, and budgets. Senators just don't carry those credentials. They typically try to spend money without "any" regard as to where the funding will come from. It's part of their "inborn" and "pork barrel" genetic structure. The same is true with regard to managing people. There is a total disconnect between adding people and what those new jobs will actually do to the Federal budget. Often, if they can add some big government program, with lots of people, they view it as a political feather in their cap. When it comes to the day-to-day operations of government or to any disaster recovery, Senators, like all members of Congress, are great at hindsight; especially when things have gone seriously wrong. They are always on the outside; looking in. Rarely, do any of them even know how to implement the programs and laws they enact. They are certainly clueless as to the everyday operations within government.

So, here we are. In the fall, we will be faced with two Senators vying for the Office of President. While I can't predict whether or not either of them will be a good President, history has spoken, and it says, more than likely, neither one will be good enough to be elected for a second term. My concern is that we will probably elect the "most junior" of them to lead this country: Barack Obama. If so, we will have someone in office who, just three years ago, was shown the locations of the restrooms in the Senate Office Building. He has never managed an operating budget. He has never served in the military and has no understanding of its organization and operational concerns. He has never managed people in a broad organization. While it is true that John McCain is also a Senator without people or budget experience, he did get military leadership experience while being a Navy Officer. Further, he has spent a lot more years in Washington and has a better understanding of the operation of Government.

Barack Obama says he will "change" Washington. To change something, you must have a good, working knowledge of that something. He simply does not have that experience. I liken this to Bill Clinton's stumbling attempt to mandate that gays could serve "openly" as members of our military. It was one of his first executive orders after taking office. It was a political payoff for the "gay" support he received during his campaign for the Presidency. It was a total disaster because Bill Clinton never served in the military and never understood the close quarters that military personnel must live in. His "backtrack" from his original "gay order" resulted in the "Don't ask...Don't Tell policy"; a policy which received nothing but criticism from both sides of the political aisle, then, and still continues to receive criticism, today.

I guess we prepare ourselves for the potential of having the "least" qualified President, Barack Obama, in the history of United States.

Tomorrow, I will re-post another blog that I wrote that was in the same vein.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are There Jobs Just Past That Smoke? Or In that Mirror?

Late yesterday, the Census Bureau announced that they had added more than 550,000 workers to their payroll by mid-May (Click here to See Story: Census workers topped 550,000 in mid-May). At the same time, economists are predicting that the upcoming jobs report, due out Friday, will show 500,000 jobs added to the economy in May. Then, too, yesterday, Obama has predicted that Friday's report will show strong job growth. (Click here to See Story: Obama expects 'strong' jobs growth in Friday's report).

Well, here's the thing. Obviously, Obama was already given a heads up that the jobs growth in May was strong. Otherwise, like last month, he wouldn't have said anything before the report was released. But, unless there are more than 550,000 workers added in the month, there is no real growth because of the distortion caused by all those part-time Census Workers. But, as usual, you can expect Obama and Biden to trip over themselves getting to the microphones to propagandize their great success in job creation. However, don't expect the main stream media to expose the Census "lie". Barack is sure to be protected! I can just see the Associated Press headline now: "Economists Surprised: 550,000 Jobs Added in May". Ya, right!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Obvious Desperation In The Gulf

When our government calls in the Hollywood film director James Cameron to brainstorm with them on the Gulf oil spill, you know that this Administration is at the end of its idea chain. This is the best we can muster? And, from the people that Obama claims to have been in charge from day one! How sad it is that they can't do anything else but bring in an "underwater" film maker to help solve one of the most massive oil spill disasters in the history of the world.

This spill requires years of knowledge of both the oil industry, hydrology, and hydraulic engineering to even understand what is going on at that well head; especially with the intense undersea water pressures that are involved with working a mile below the sea. I'll give you the fact that Cameron is a trained electrical engineer and that he has used that background to do some remarkable film work. However, his real profession, film making, with some smattering of electrical engineering and tinkering around hardly gives him the creds to work on a problem of this magnitude. I suppose we could call in Beau and Jeff Bridges too, because their father Lloyd starred in that famous TV series, "Sea Hunt".

We need the very best in the "oil industry" (not Hollywood) working on this disaster. A call out should have been made early on to Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Chevron and others; and, additionally, to some of this country's best oil service companies like Bolt Technology and Dawson Geophysical to help fix the problem. And, yes, Halliburton too. But, no! Instead, it was nine days into the spill and a few more golf games and fund raisers before Obama even seemed to be engaged. So, now, more than 40 days into the mess, we're enlisting the help of someone who is an avowed left-winger with past donations to the Democrats and Obama? Does everything with the President have to come down to one form or another of political payback? This is unbelievably silly and stupid!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

True Leaders

For years, I have invested in the stock market. Over those years, I have seen companies fall and, in a majority of cases, rise again. I have seen CEO's who have struggled to regain a company's strength and others who literally performed miracles. But, it is in those cases of "miracle recoveries" that you can really appreciate a true leader.

The miracle CEO's don't whine about the past or the mess they inherited. They quickly gather all the necessary data and establish a plan and stick to it without looking back. They let history judge their predecessors. That's not their job. Their job is to go forward. Each and every one of the true miracle workers has an air about them that says that they are in charge without being egotistical. They are motivators and they "lead" people down a path of success rather than "pushing" them from behind. They sway their detractors with convincing arguments so that, ultimately, they become supporters. And, they never once try to "divide" people or groups because they know that it is only in solidarity, and not division, that things truly get done.

For the last year and half I have watched Barack Obama in action and I have never once seen true leadership from him. He complains about inherited problems. He snaps at his adversaries whenever he's criticized. He divides the country up like a ginsu knife on a pile of vegetables by creating ideological, social, and political divisions among us. He lacks the skills to sway his detractors. Instead he uses cheap humor and caustic quips to try to denigrate them. He does not unite. He his no leadership skills. He attempts to lead by force and threats and not by persuasion and the results are a mangled mess. A glaring example is the disaster in the Gulf and how miserably he has handled it.