Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Public unions are out of control

A labor union, a collection of like-minded workers banded together to use their collective leverage to garner equitable wages and treatment makes a certain amount of sense in a labor intensive commercial enterprise. At one point in the history of America unions may have even been absolutely essential. Many of the benefits all "workers" take for granted today were brought about by men and women demanding a fair shake and we would be remiss in not recognizing these truths. However, once the world opened up for business beyond the U.S. borders private sector unions began disappearing at an incredible rate. They are not coming back.

Not to worry there are plenty of public sector unions...

It was President Kennedy, whom I'm told acquiesced against his better judgement to allow Federal workers to form unions. This is when the seeds of our current fiscal crisis were sown. Cities, counties and states  all over the fruited plain allowed unions to form inside their work forces and during the good times when economies and tax receipts rose year after year no one batted an eye.  Let the good times roll.

Getting a "government" job use to mean decent wages, though not great, but very good benefits and some measure of job security. When the economy began to change in the 1970's it was lower skilled manufacturing jobs in the private sector that disappeared and with them union membership. The industries that remained saw their unions lose power, wages stagnate and benefits cut. This was as much out of necessity as it was good old fashioned corporate greed - or they would see the industry leave entirely. In the meantime public sector unions became more powerful, demanding and receiving better pay and much, much better benefits. After all, the money was still rolling into state and local coffers.

While the paradigm shifted for everyone else the promises of excellent wages, wonderful pensions and marvelous medical insurance for public unions continued on unabated. The political machines responsible for them were rewarded time after time with generous campaign contributions and re-election.

So here we are today. The private sector has done away with unions for the most part - the worldwide labor situation dictated it and it became so. Now state, local and federal governments are broke and it has come like a monumental slap in the face just how much these outlandish contracts and promises are costing all of us. It is clear to everyone who is not in one of these privileged unions that it can't continue this way, it just can't. There is no more money.

Instead of going quietly along so that state and local governments can balance their books (they rely on tax receipts and can't print funny money like Uncle Sam) the unions have thrown a tantrum. The rest of us watch our measly 401k's tank as our PTO hours disappear on December 31st while learning our health care contribution and co-pays are going up again and look on incredulously at these babies who might have to pay a lousy $5 co-pay to visit the doctor's office.

These unions are bankrupting the country and they don't care. How many stories are we going to see of teachers and sanitation technicians and social workers retiring at 55 or 60 with 100,000+ pensions and full medical while the rest of us face working into our 70's to pay for them. Many paid nothing out of their wages for their own retirement. Just because they worked for a government employer instead of a private sector employer they somehow deserve and have the right to these generous retirement lifestyles.

We've learned recently that the Postal Service - which is a quasi governmental organization - is bankrupt. It has made extremely generous promises to it's union workforce and now that the paradigm has shifted they can't meet these obligations. The USPS's fate was sealed when Congress ordered them to fund a $5 billion pension obligation by the middle of next year. The Postal Service is going to have to lay off tens of thousands, close thousands of branch offices and lobby Congress to change the mandate from 6 days of door to door delivery to 5 days. The union will lose thousands of dues paying members, but those generous benefits will continue - and you and I (taxpayer) will end up with the bill, again.

Most of those who work or did work for a government employer worked hard and did necessary jobs that made our lives better, I'm certain of it. Still those of us in the private sector work hard too. What we do is important too - we help make lives better by creating and delivering products and services people need. Why are government employees deserving of worry-free retirements?

Plain and simple fact for you public unions - something's got to give.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Exceptional again?

Having reached the half century mark in 2011 I am starting to get the sense that I've been around the block a few times. Maybe this happens at a younger age for most people, but at last I feel like I have experience and some seasoning and maybe even a little wisdom. We start to see patterns and cycles in our culture and in our economics. These are things historians and professors thrive on. The rest of us come to see these things in the normal course of living our lives. We get to a point where we don't need to panic, and we can reassure younger folks that things will turn around. Up until the last few years I really thought that was true of this current "malaise" America finds itself in. Things will turn around, right?

If you read renown historian and thinker Victor Davis Hanson (and you should if you don't) you get the sense that history surely repeats itself and that the upside must be just around the corner. In a recent NationalReview.com piece Hanson covers the things that America does better than any other culture in the world. We are left with a sense of optimism, convinced an American revival is assured. But I wonder...

It's no secret that I don't care for President Obama at all. Anything the man has done that is good is so overwhelmingly shadowed by the sense of American decline he actively promotes. It is beyond me how anyone, anyone can support his agenda of decline and opt for four more years of it. Each aspect of Mr. Hanson's argument for new round of American exceptionalism as it were is being undermined by the Obama agenda.

1. American petroleum engineers over the last decade have discovered radical new methods of recovering previously unknown or unreachable reserves of oil and gas. Contrary to all conventional wisdom, America’s natural-gas and petroleum reserves just keep growing. Suddenly, we have enough known natural gas to supply 100 percent of our domestic needs for the next 90 years — (Hanson)

The Obama Administration and it's EPA have done everything to make it more difficult to utilize North American energy. The delay of the Keystone pipeline may be the most publicized, but the EPA's rulings on C02, mercury and the process of fracking for oil and gas are not conducive to a domestic energy strategy. Push back on new and expanding energy extraction and a policy of actively subsidizing loser alternative energy technologies is making the U.S. weaker. Every one can see the beauty of the vision of alternatives to oil and coal, but starving ourselves will only make getting to the promised land that much harder.

2. We are worried that China may soon deploy one aircraft carrier. Yet the United States now has eleven enormous carrier groups, each one more powerful than all the other aircraft carriers in the world combined. In areas as diverse as drone and space technology, counterinsurgency, battlefield experience, air power, armor, and ship design, the American military is the best-armed, best-trained, and most lethal armed force around — (Hanson)

The cuts in military spending - especially to our navel forces - will make our forces smaller than at anytime since before WWII. The readiness and abilities of American military will be significantly reduced at a time when China is building theirs up. Can any one honestly say that China will be a more preferable hegemon?

3. A billion adolescents worldwide are growing up with Apple iPhones, iPods, and iPads; with Facebook accounts, Amazon online ordering, Google searches, and Walmart discount purchasing. These are not Russian, French, Chinese, or Japanese companies, but American inventions that uniquely appeal to the human desire for economy, ease of use, wide choice, informality, and transparency. No other country could have invented them — or the next generation to come. The idea of a Chinese-invented Google is a paradox, a Russian Facebook a joke, a Japanese-inspired Walmart impossible. (Hanson)

Here Hanson is right - the ideas, the vision of American business and entrepreneurs is unique and always has been. However, the decline Obama promotes is going to make the brilliant people throughout the world less inclined to come to or stay in America to build their dreams. Many great ideas and products conceived in America have been perfected elsewhere and have benefited the workers of foreign nations. Simply because the poor primary education system and a post secondary system that promotes humanities and lawyers over science and engineering how long can we expect supremacy in the "ideas" arena. The Obama agenda is more and more Federal control over all education.

4. Race, tribe, and religion tear many countries apart, notably in the Middle East and the Balkans. Yet at the other extreme, racially uniform nations like Japan and China seem clumsy when dealing with even tiny minorities, since they define their citizens not just by national allegiance, language, and locale, but by the way they look. America alone –albeit often in rancorous and messy fashion — has no particular national ethnic or racial profile. Even in postmodern Europe, the idea of a Barack Obama as president of France, or a Condoleezza Rice as foreign minister of Germany, is the stuff of fantasy. We will see no prime minister of China or Russia who does not look like the majority of Chinese and Russians — much less a Colin Powell. Most of the world will continue to have some sort of practical or romantic claim on America because of the fact that anyone can be not just an American, but a very successful American. (Hanson)

So true, America is the melting pot. It is the only country in the world of any size that can claim this distinction. But the Obama, himself of mixed race, is far from a "uniter". He subtly promotes a Balkinization that undermines the uniqueness of the America experiment. He clearly courts Hispanics by demonizing anyone who demands the Federal  government secure the border with Mexico. His policies have only hurt Black Americans, further eroding any sense of a light at the end of the tunnel for millions of urban denizens. He has done nothing to take advantage of his unique position in history to heal the wounds of the sins of the past. In this his failure is epic.

To put it mildly Barack Obama is not proud of his country, and there is much to be proud of. There much to be ashamed of too, but the uniqueness of our system is that is it designed to allow us to correct the wrongs. Obama doesn't care about healing or bridging the gaps, he only seeks to divide and rub salt in the wounds until America itself cries "I give up". That is what Obama wants and it has nothing to do with being exceptional again.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Say it aint Joe...

If there ever was a modern day real life John Wayne the sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona is him. Joe Arpaio is the no nonsense lawman who has taken the political correctness out of law enforcement  - and now he has to pay the price.

The U.S. Justice Department released a scathing report saying that the sheriff and his staff have violated the human rights of illegal aliens, accusing Arpaio of violating the constitution. Arpaio has 30 days to respond or face Federal charges against him and members of his staff.

I think this could backfire on Obama's Justice Department. Sheriff Arpaio is perhaps the best known sheriff in the country precisely because of his no nonsense, common sense approach to the overwhelming invasion of illegals from Mexico into his jurisdiction. Furthermore the timing of this seems more than just a coincidence coming on the heals of the U.S. Supreme court agreeing to hear the Federal case against Arizona's immigration and border enforcement law.

Could this be designed as a distraction? The Justice Department is fiendishly fending off questions about the incredible scandal known as Fast and Furious. This is the scandal where the ATF (a law enforcement dept. under Justice) has been shown to have created a program to sell guns explicitly designed to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels for very specious purposes. In the aftermath those very same guns have been implicated in the death of thousands of Mexicans and at least one U.S. Border Patrol agent, namely Agent Brian Terry.

This scandal, which makes Watergate look like a game of paddy cake, is getting very little press attention. No one died at Watergate except the presidency of Richard Nixon. Here thousands are dead and the press has totally insulated Obama since the very beginning. You don't hear about this from  Morning Joe and Mika, nope. Not a word from Chrissy Mathews either. Tom Freidman isn't writing about in the Times and Brian Williams doesn't mention on the nightly news. But if it had been George Bush's Justice Department, well...

Back to Joe.

The good sheriff has had the ire of the progressives who long for open borders for quite some time, but the timing of this just ahead of the political season can be seen as another attempt to rally the president's Hispanic base.  To portray border security advocates as racist and anti-Latino is just another way to drive a wedge into his continuous campaign to Balkanize the United States. Obama and his lackeys have never been 'uniters'. They have no intention of bringing Americans together, theirs is always to divide and conquer. Those who stand up for law and order and enforcing the very laws the constitution requires the Federal government to act upon are somehow unlawful and have to be stopped. I don't know... Maybe America will rally behind Joe.

I'd bet that Sheriff Joe is more popular than President Obama.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Please God, not Newt

Is this the best the Republicans can do? Really?

Newt's a bright guy, no one is arguing that. Is he presidential material? In my opinion - no. Mitt Romney may not pass the smell test for conservative purity (but then neither does Newt). Mitt, however, is presidential, at least in look and manner. That counts for something. But Republicans can't seem embrace Mitt Romney. Honestly they can't seem to embrace anybody. Newt is literally the last man standing.

I find it hard to see the sense in replacing one self interested narcissist with another. 

I think it's pretty clear to those who oppose President Obama that he is a petulant little man. At one time he looked above the fray and quite polished. Now, just listen to the way he talks about those who criticize him... Unlike his predecessor his skin is as thin as crepe paper. To me he seems less presidential everyday. Still, with the press covering for Obama in every respect  -  personality and otherwise  - his failings are being suppressed. This would not be the same for Newt, and his effectiveness would be severely hampered. Mitt on the other hand is squeaky clean.

I think the Obamanauts are salivating over the prospect of Newt being the nominee. I think they worry about the middle of the road voter being disappointed enough in Obama's first term that they might look to Mitt. 

Mitt is not my ideal Presidential candidate, but Newt is my nightmare candidate. Of all of them he is one I wanted the least - I'd take Ron Paul over him, well, OK that may be going too far. Only Michelle Bachmann, whom I love on paper, is more open to slaughter than Newt is. Michelle, God love her, says really stupid things that betray her goodness. Newt does stupid things that betray his so-called genius. It's not his policies, or his smarts that worry me, in fact I agree with him most of the time. I just don't think he's electable in the general. Beating Obama is more important than purity.  It's that simple.

Please think twice about supporting Newt in the primaries and caucuses. Beating Obama trumps conservative purity. Plus someone like Rep. Paul Ryan, as impressive as he is in my eyes, may be too conservative in the eyes of the squishy middle where presidential campaigns are won and lost. If Newt does  win the nomination I will vote for him in the general enthusiastically - here's hoping it doesn't come to that.


Friday, December 09, 2011

The The World Looks a Little Brighter Today - Thanks Barney

It hasn't been since I heard that Yassir Arafat was proclaimed dead that I was so buoyed by a news story. I mean it was a great day for all the world when Yassir Arafat assumed room temperature. This news is a little more specific to the United States, but it's no less a ray of sunshine in what's been a terribly dark couple of years. The news that Barney Frank is retiring from Congress should set all American hearts alight.

Frank is one of the nastiest, most dangerous men in Washington. Dangerous? What do you call it when one of the men most responsible for destroying the mortgage lending market is put in charge of writing the new law to "clean-up" the very system he helped destroy. I call it dangerous!

The mortgage market meltdown has had worldwide implications. The damage caused by Frank and his co-conspirators is responsible for economic hardship on everyone but the super rich. This is not merely middle class folks missing out on a Mexican vacation, this is people losing their jobs and their homes. Frank can say what he wants about President Bush's role in all of this, but he is a liar. There has been deliberate obscuring of the government's role in the subprime crisis. Content to allow the public to believe all the blame belongs to Wallstreet and the "banks", Frank and his partner in crime Chris Dodd - also retiring - walk away millionaires while Rome burns. The passage of the Dodd/Frank bill regulating the banks into the ground will ensure a legacy that lingers (and I mean that in the worse possible "scents") long after they are gone. 

This video is so indicative of Barney Frank's arrogance and willful deception... 

As for the reason Frank is retiring - who cares? In all actuality it's the 2010 census gerrymandering that is the primary reason, he stands a real chance of losing this go round. I would have loved to have seen that.

After sixteen terms, that's 32 years in Congress, Frank will leave a wealthy man. He's just another in a long line of Washington elites that cashed in on his position. He was the benefactor of campaign contributions from the very GSE institutions he vociferously defended right to the point of collapse.

As Doc Zero (John Hayward) says: "Today the man whose personal ambitions and blind ideology wreaked havoc upon the American financial system said he has “no regrets,” and you can be damn sure the media won’t force him to find any.  The absence of regret is one of the things that makes Big Government so dangerous."

 Goodbye Barney - can't say I'm gonna miss 'ya. I'll be too busy trying to elect people who will try to undo the damage you have done.


Friday, November 25, 2011

This is the fraud that never ends...

So much has already been written and debated on the subject of Global Warming and its soul mate Climate Change that along with the general public I have become bored with it. This is possibly exactly what the fraudsters are counting on. So completely have they woven the narrative that mankind is the principal cause of climate change and burning fossil fuels is the culprit that every institution on Earth is "dedicated" to reducing their so-called carbon footprint in one way or another. If that was all there was to it then there is little harm in it. Efficient and wise use of fossil fuels is in everyone's best interest. Unfortunately that's not even close to the end game. Thank God there are dedicated souls ready to hold the fraudsters proclamations and activities up to the light.

Two years ago when a flood of e-mails was leaked out of the UEA's CRU in Britain "Climategate" was born. The e-mails revealed a pattern of concerted efforts to skew the data (or ignore the contradictory data), discredit skeptics and steer the UN's IPCC into global warming alarmism. This severely damaged the fraudsters cause and when coupled with the world economic downturn and rising oil prices the polls showed a significant change in the general publics attitude toward so-called climate change. Of course the sympathetic institutional and media investigations exonerated Phil Jones and Michael Mann and the rest of the players at the UEA.

Now another batch of e-mails has leaked that only bolster the case against the global warming fraudsters. The moniker Climategate 2.0 is being bandied about. In the coming days and weeks as these e-mails are parsed we'll learn even more about the duplicity and fraud the profiteers of this farce have tried to pull off. The question is - is it too late?

As I said earlier nearly every conceivable institution has embraced the Politically Correct position that mankind is a scourge on the Earth. Global Warming is just another piece of incontrovertible evidence. It is all sliding toward government control of the global economy with a World Government as the final authority. The only possible outcome is a decrease in the standard of living for the creative and productive societies. The seeds of this are being sewn as we speak while we watch the normalization of high unemployment and debt-ridden governments as corporate institutions continue to thrive. This is the set up of capitalism as the ultimate scapegoat. After all it is fruits of capitalism that brings us bad things like rich people, debt and global warming. (Never mind that capitalism brings us all the good things too).

Does anyone honestly think Occupy Wall Street is spontaneous? It is amorphous and indistinct on purpose. It is designed to sow discontent while the gun sights are firmly fixed on capitalism itself. It will not succeed on it's own as it is supposed to be just another piece of evidence that our system has utterly failed.

If and when that happens - a global meltdown of the world economic system the only possible outcome is the elimination of millions if not billions of people. This is the actual endgame. First the rich (people and nations) have to be made the scapegoats then the institutions must fail.

As Mark Steyn said in his best selling book America Alone it will be America that has to put a stop to this. Europe is in no position to do anything so momentous. We are literally seeing Germany, the only real rich country in Europe, being set up as the scapegoat for the collapse of the EU. China feels it will be able to fill vacuum when the West falls by it's own hand.

Until now the lynch pin of this scenario has not been mentioned. This is the very reason Barack Obama can not be allowed a second term. He instrumental in this normalization of America as a declining nation. He goes around the world criticizing then apologizing for America. He is in my mind a traitor. To others he is a realist because they are also convinced that for the world to succeed America itself must fail. Once America falls either before or after the EU then the West is lost. Barack Obama is doing his part.

I know it is said every election cycle... This is the most important election of our lifetime. This time it really is.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simply Not True: Lack of Oxygen Leads to Suffocation

I used to enjoy reading the "Onion" a few decades ago. The stories were outrageous but with just enough plausibility to make them outright hilarious. These days, however, with the Onion having gone mainstream with a Internet TV channel to boot I have lost complete interest. It's not that the Onion has changed, it's as good as ever, but because the world has changed. The real news is more fantastic than any made up headline the Onion could come up with. I know this to be true because the mainstream media has more than once been fooled by "Onion" stories and reported them as true. Yeah, they looked pretty silly with onion all over their face.

Today I read with amazement in The Telegraph of London that the EU has banned the claim that water can prevent dehydration.

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Wow. That even makes my stupid headline seem brilliant. A three year investigation? I think a class of first graders could have come up with that in two. Before you think it can't happen here in America consider that the EPA has declared the trace gas CO2 ( an element necessary for life on Earth) a pollutant. The lack of common sense knows no boundaries.

Many Europeans are questioning the usefulness (or is it the uselessness) of the EU in general. With the problems the common currency - the Euro - has been causing of late the whole notion of the European Union is in question.

When one digs down into the minutiae of this issue we find that the German scientists who made the claim that water can prevent dehydration filed it wrong, and they did so knowingly. They were openly testing the new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, now subject to EU approval. So then the claim had to be rejected by EFSA because it was filed under the wrong legal provision (Article 14 of Regulation 1924/2006/EC instead of Article 13). In short, Article 14 deals with diseases and illnesses whereas dehydration was not regarded by EFSA as a disease.

Still, this could have been made clear in the ruling (and the newspaper article) and the issue could have never been brought into the bright light. Instead the claim is rejected outright leaving the impression that morons are in charge. This doesn't make the scientists look stupid, when presented like this after a 3 year investigation it does make the ruling authority look like imbeciles.

Three years ago a simple rejection of the case as being filed incorrectly would have prevented this whole affair. What this has done having been handled this way brings to mind a preposterous (now overturned) ban on curvy bananas and bent cucumbers. Sometimes government is needed to protect the safety of the public from misleading claims and unsafe products, however, preventing the declaration of water preventing dehydration and banning bent cucumbers will not save the public from risk. It will however put common sense in jeopardy.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Legal Graft and other Games

The new book "Throw Them All Out" by Peter Schweizer hits the shelves today. Schweizer has written many good books in the investigative journalism vein over the years, but this one strikes chord with me (after reading a few reviews).

One of the biggest unheard of, unseen scandals in American politics is festering. Will we get the full story of the inside game in DC that shows how the elite political class enriches itself at the expense of the rest of us, while driving our economy into the ground? Do we even want to know? Or does playing ostrich suit us just fine?

It's not new, it's not partisan and it's apparently not illegal, but it is disgusting and morally bankrupt. We have all watched as a nearly 800 billion dollar stimulus package became a funnel to supporters and benefactors, ensuring yet more campaign donations for Obama and the Democrats. We've seen the husbands of Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstien get lucrative deals based on their wives influential positions. John Kerry seems to always come out smelling like a rose with his investments. Republicans are no better, I imagine Bob Dole was not always a very wealthy man, but he was a Senator for a century, right? I mean hasn't Rick Perry done the same thing in Austin Texas? DC has become a profit center for the permanent ruling class and those that support them. They use the government to tilt the playing field in their favor with little regard for the country as a whole.

In her Indianola, Iowa speech last summer Sarah Palin said these same things and the country re-hit the snooze button, and we probably will again in 2012. While there has been a lot of condemnation of Wall Street and fat cat bankers (as well as greedy businessmen) it just misses the boat entirely. It's the ruling class that sets the rules and the rules just aren't going to favor the poor and the middle class. All the more evidence that the Occupy Wall Street uprising needs to move their tents to Washington, D.C. That's home base for people who are really gaming (read: effing up) the system.

In the book’s introduction, Schweizer refers the phenomenon that is the subject of Throw Them All Out "The Government Rich". Yes, these are the same people who are "fighting" for you! Makes you feel empowered, right? These politicians arrive in Washington as people of modest means and somehow become very rich. These elected jobs receive generous pay, but nothing exorbitant. The Government Rich, Schweizer writes, insider deals, insider trading, and taxpayer money have become a pathway to wealth. They walk this exclusive pathway because they get to operate by a different set of rules from the rest of us. Schweizer calls the means by which these politicians achieve wealth honest graft i.e., abuse of their office for personal gain and it's not illegal.

What bothers me more is the attitude of the average citizen. It's either - whataya gonna do? or - boys will be boys, that's how the game is played. Perhaps throwing the bums out will accomplish nothing, Washington will simply corrupt the next batch. Eventually an ethical chap will rise to the top and shame will return as a behavior modifier, right? Am I dreaming?

To think it was not going on when the country was in its ascendancy is maybe naive, but now while we decline it's like rubbing salt in the wound. They probably laugh at the rubes that vote them in time and again and especially at those who put $10 or $50 in an envelope for them. These guys and gals tell us they are fighting for us (the newbies probably believe they are). After a few terms and many flattering (lucrative) meetings with lobbyists and their party bosses they're all playing the game.

Whataya gonna do?


Sunday, November 06, 2011

What a good idea!

This really makes me angry. You should be angry too...

Every time I shop at a home improvement store these days I make sure to buy incandescent light bulbs. Oh, yeah, and I make sure they are Sylvania brand too. The days of finding these on store shelves in America are numbered.

The ordinary light bulb symbolizes the human race coming out of the dark ages, literally. The light bulb is birth of modernity. Just as the light bulb symbolizes mankind coming out of the darkness the U.S. epitomizes the modern technological world. Soon, the ordinary incandescent light bulb will be banned in the U.S. - a dark day indeed.

What this all means is a huge boost to China and the American firms that will complete the Chinese takeover of this industry. All this is happening with the blessing AND the help of the U.S Treasury Department. Perennial light bulb maker GE is already in China making bulbs after having closed it's last U.S. plant in 2010 and laid off many American workers. It's a shocker, I know. In the name of a greener world other major U.S. firms are bankrolling the Chinese lighting industry. And here we thought President Obama's chief  go-forward strategy was fostering a green everything industry.

To be fair to the President the seeds of this were sown long before his time in the White House, but he certainly was a part of the Democratically controlled Congress in 2007 when the Federal law was passed to ban the incandescent bulb. Regardless of the timing it is the notion that there is a concerted effort to build this industry in China with Federal government and United Nations backing. Enter the gigantic investment house Goldman Sachs and networking powerhouse Cisco Systems and a juggernaut is born.

The altruistic underpinnings of this project like all "green" efforts isn't helpful when American and other western workers are thrown out of their jobs. Here the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which invests in projects that can produce global environmental benefits is spearheading this project. Yes, the U.S. Treasury is a major funder for the GEF. This is being done as an environmental benefit by reducing China's carbon dioxide emissions and thereby benefiting the whole planet. So, I guess the ends justify the means and the means is destroying yet another domestic industry.

This new project backed by the aforementioned investors builds on a previous, $26 million GEF/UNDP pilot project, known as the China Green Lights project. That project was a roaring success for the environment and for China. The claim that it saves 15.78 billion kilowatt hours of energy, worth about $986 million to consumers, and, using dubious calculating methods is supposed to have kept 6.8 million tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. All is well. Nevermind that it threw thousands of Americans out of work and shuttered numerous factories.

The fact that the incandescent bulb is being replaced by an inferior and possible dangerous product - the compact fluorescent bulb  - is the just one part of this story that gets the dander up.That they are made primarily in China is the kicker. Perhaps the inevitability of the end of the lowly incandescent bulb was to be expected, but the destruction of an industry in order to force us to buy inferior foreign products is just wrong.

The LED light bulb is making a move.Currently they are expensive, but they are far more efficient, safer and at least for now they are being made in America where they are exported to China. Small victories I guess.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We suck, yes, but, these other guys...

I doubt at any time in American history there has been as inauspicious a beginning to a presidential campaign as we are seeing right now. The incumbent is presiding over a literal disaster. His one truly shining moment was being President when a nearly irrelevant Osama bin Laden was killed. Rumors abound that in fact Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming to his fateful and "courageous" decision to take bin Laden out.

The administration can't point to a strong and growing economy, or robust job growth. We are mired in 9.1% unemployment land. They can't point to seminal legislation that was supposed to address a looming health care cost explosion. The plan was unpopular when it was passed in the dead of night just before Christmas 2009 and it's still unpopular. ObamaCare, as it has come to be known, has done more damage to an uncertain economy than can be measured. Already costs are rising just in anticipation of its implementation.

The Dodd/Frank bill the President signed is paralyzing the banking system even before the actual regulations have been written. Do they not understand that ours is a debt based economy and it's the private sector banks that introduce "new" money into the system. It's almost as if they - the President and the Democrats - are purposely suppressing the domestic economy (and by extension the global economy). To what end? Win elections? Hardly.

If ever there was a ready made situation for a John Wayne character to ride in on a white horse and save us from a deadly mess the 2012 election is it. Obama seems to be saying, yes, we suck, but these other guys, you won't want them, they're goofy.

So we turn to the Republicans which is like admitting to you're pining for hope and change. We hope this current field changes and soon. What a crop of misfits and dopes. Really? Can't we do any better?

I had hope for Perry, but then he opened his mouth and removed all doubt. I thought Obama was petulant little prick. Perry disappoints.

Newt, no.

Bachmann, hell no!

Santorum, Huntsman, Paul... zzz...

Cain. I love him, but every day I wonder if today will be the day he admits he's been yanking our chain.

That leaves Mitt. If it has to be Mitt so be (M)it.

This is the one time Obama seems to be telling the truth, these guys are goofy. But, as I've said before:
dogcatcher vs Obama. Dogcatcher.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy This

I think it's interesting that the kids occupying Wall Street for 4 weeks now still don't know what they want. Mostly what I am hearing is that rich people suck. I'm sure some of them do, but I think some poor people probably suck too.

There, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can delve into the true meaning of this protest. Just as with the Tea Party it's frustration over this country's failures that is driving this. While there is plenty of blame to go around I think the protesters are "occupying" the wrong city. Washington DC is where they need to be.

Simply put it's not capitalism or the so-called rich that have failed us. It is forced socialist policies designed to fail that make everything and everyone they touch fizzle a little bit more with each new layer of government bureaucracy. Am I being facetious when I declare that forced socialist policies are supposed to fail? Not really.

I used to think and still do in some instances that the do-gooders have the best of intentions, but it is the unintended consequences (of human nature) that ruin everything they foist upon us. After reading Bruce Carlton's post: Good intentions? Not so, I have to conclude that the good intentions motivation I have bestowed on extreme leftist (PC) policies are just the opposite.

At least capitalism in it's pure form is honest. Socialism, leftism or PCism - whatever you want to call it is a liar's game. If you believe the lies that America's financial problems are the result of greedy capitalists then no doubt you will side with the Occupiers and demand "someone" gives you what you want for free. The ones who believe the liars are ignorant or deceived or are lying to themselves. A child knows that someone else will always have more than they do, but only a child is allowed to deceive themselves into believing that the unfairness of it all should be rectified with more unfairness.

I have always marveled at the notion that a rich man's inheritors should be forced give a huge percentage of their gains to the government out of some sense of fairness. What fairness is it that the government deserves or has any right to that money? I don't care if it is more money than any one person could ever use - it is theirs. It is more obscene in my eyes that the government can by the use of force take a man's inheritence than it is for a man to have more money than he could ever use. To what end? So that the government can spend it better?

The list of government programs and agencies that have been wildly successful and worked as intended (without costing society in other ways) is very, very short.

The failure of America's financial system, fiscal system, educational system and moral system can be laid at the feet of the men and women in Washington DC not New York City's Wall Street. DC acts Wall Street reacts. This not defending Wall Street, this placing the fault where it belongs.

The totality of "good" government failures (with all the good intentions, or lies if you will) is long. From the mortgage/subprime meltdown and it's inception in government policies to the coming demise of the venerable postal system. Government makes the rules, the rules are fixed so that some succeed and the rest...

So tell me how (real) capitalism has destroyed our country?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Me

My natural inclination would be to scoff at the "kids" putting on this Occupy Wall Street event. In general the proclamations I've been hearing from the participants leads one to believe they aren't really serious. It sounds like "we want everything, for free of course". Of the list of actions they are demanding almost none of them are reasonable or even realistic, but if I really listen what I hear is extreme frustration. Back in 2009 I myself participated in a rally where the overarching feeling was extreme frustration. It was the initial Tea Party rally in my area.

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are two sides of the same coin.

The Occupiers are upset about Wall Street bailouts, so is the Tea Party. The Occupiers oppose bailouts because Wall Street is "the rich" and the rich are the reason they are poor. The Tea Party opposed the bailouts because it's bad policy (so they say) and because it was done with deficit spending. The Occupiers are upset about corporate lobbyists because corporations are rich and the rich are the reason they are poor. The Tea Party opposes corporate lobbyists because they steer public policy so that it enhances their bottom line instead of ensuring that policy is good for the public.

The Occupiers sees corporate America as the enemy, the Tea Party sees an out of control government as the enemy. In some ways they are both right. The truth is the mega-government and mega-corporations are in bed together. It's a symbiosis that ensures riches for the prime movers in both entities. The worker and middle management in both government and corporate America are fungible and ultimately anonymous.

There is a divergence depending on on which side of the coin lands face up. While the Occupiers believe the government should give them the basic necessities of life just because they are breathing - not realistic or reasonable. They see rich corporations walking off with millions and billions while human services worthy or not are getting cut. Whereas the Tea Party sees government, particularly the Federal government as out of control as it exercises extra-constitutional power and enriching the elites inside corporations and by symbiosis the elites inside government as they move from one to other.

The rules are made by the government - and the rules are rigged. This is the source of the frustration for both.

Wouldn't be interesting if they somehow came together? Nah.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Shocker: Lawrence O'Donnell is off his rocker

Late to game yes, I am not the first to notice that Lawrence O'Donnell is insane. His antics are so off putting he is making Sean Hannity, Keith Olberman and Martin Bashir seem like reasonable commentators. It is his absolute pettiness and vitriol that makes him so "icky". Frankly he seems a bit unstable. His utter hatred for George Bush (either of them) is over the top. No one should hate that much. (Don't for a minute equate "policy" differences with Bush with O'Donnell's unadulterated hatred).

Recently his hatred was turned toward Herman Cain, a black man who has the audacity to be a Republican. Mr. Cain is diametrically opposed to President Obama on many levels and this is unacceptable to O'Donnell. A black man has no right to oppose the first black president. According to O'Donnell Cain is a traitor to blacks because he is not aligned with the socialist agenda of the Obama administration. Cain for his part believes that blacks should be allowed think for themselves, asking if they are better off since Obama has been President. I'll answer that Herman, no they aren't.

O'Donnell, in a recent diatribe I heard replayed on talk radio, (since I can't actually watch his show I rely on clips) about how Mitt Romney and Rick Perry don't want you to know their real names. Obviously they are hiding something from the American people. Apparently Mitt is actually Willard Mitt Romney and Rick Perry is James Richard Perry. Wow, men who use their middle name - this has never been done before. What do suppose they're hiding? A birth certificate? A false Social Security number? College transcripts? A forfeiture of their law degrees? Oh, wait, that's what Barry Soetoro has been hiding. Who is Barry Soetoro? Why that's Barack Obama's real name. Well, Lawrence, how about that?

One thing I imagine is that O'Donnell is a hoot at cocktail parties, but to prevent spittle from getting on you stay on the balconies and patios and avoid the bushes.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Fallout in Wisconsin:Walker sees vindication

The truth being revealed in the fallout of the turbulent legislative session in Madison Wisconsin earlier this year is instructive for many public union scenarios.

Racked by stories of destruction the liberal media in Madison and indeed across the country painted a picture of financial carnage for teachers and school districts. Now that some time has passed and the law implemented reality is somewhat different and somewhat rosier.

Byron York in a column on the WashingtonExaminer.com website describes the windfall one beleaguered school district will enjoy.

The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

Far from disastrous, in fact because the bargaining now taken from the unions for contracting for health benefits led to a reexamination of the cost of these plans to the district. Lo and behold, a sweetheart deal for the union was undone and everyone benefited (except maybe be the union itself.)

In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving substantial amounts of money.

The reason this is instructive for school districts in Wisconsin as well as government entities all over the country is because this is the kind of thing going on with many public unions. It's the public unions that fund political campaigns almost exclusively for Democrats. The representatives they help get elected create these spiffy little arrangements. The elected official has a vested interest in the status quo since they derive their war chests from some of this money as it gets folded back. These exclusive contracts cost the tax payer a ton of money. Honestly, it should a crime, but it isn't. This sort of thing wouldn't stand up to public scrutiny, but it never has to because the media just doesn't report it.

American tax payers should be incensed about these things, and Gov. Walker should be thanked for exposing the gratuitous under belly of Democratic politics. He won't be, it just doesn't fit the view of Walker as a cold hearted, anti-worker monster. These sorts of deals and the incredibly generous pensions afforded to public workers are out of whack, and even the retirees will admit this privately - whispering "I don't know how it can go on like this". It can't.

This is the kind of thing Gov.Walker was after. He shoots, he scores!


Monday, September 26, 2011

NEW WEBSITE: Sacracyliac

Sacracyliac - Music, Art, TV, Movie and Product Reviews

I'm launching a new blogspot website today. The site will be a repository for reviews that I do on occasion. The intention is to convey my impressions and information about all sorts of things that I experience while it's on my mind.

Most reviews will be short and sweet, but some will be longer since some subjects can't be handled with a thumbs up or thumbs down. I don't promise there won't be spoilers but I'll try not to ruin "The Sixth Sense" for you. Ultimately I'll use a 5 star rating scale with 1 being don't bother, really, and 5 being a must...

Bookmark the URL and pass it on!!!


What's with the name? Absolutely nothing, I just made it up. I just like the way it rolls off the tongue.

Friday, September 23, 2011

No need for green

The decades long obsession hard core leftists and everyday liberals have had with alternative energy culminating in President Obama's energy starvation policies in favor of "green energy" is based on false premises all around.

Just taking for a moment the whole Global Warming debate and boiling it all down it becomes a matter of burning fossil fuels. The dubious inference that C02 as a byproduct of burning oil and coal is the main cause of Global Warming is the only arrow in their quiver. Almost daily a new story emerges that casts even more doubt on the C02 based computer models that have promised the end of the world. It seems Global Warming, or rather, climate change is a natural, cyclical process.

Without Global Warming the Greens would have to rely on pollution and tragic accidents to make a case against fossil fuels. This may not be enough. Accidents are just that. Accidents are understandable. Pollution is probably not enough to turn the public against fossil fuels since people can see with their own eyes that the environment (yes, with controls, regulations and government rules) is getting better all the time. In my state they discontinued vehicle emissions inspections a decade ago. Air quality doesn't fall below thresholds that dictate such a requirement.

The reason CAGW and pollution are so important to the Greens is because the depletion angle of peak oil has been smashed. In a recent story at Salon.com "Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong" by Michael Lind dispels the notion that the U.S. is hopelessly dependent on foreign sources of oil and that we must move toward alternative energy. Yeah, this was at Salon.com. I know, who would have guessed...

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these advances mean there is at least six times as much recoverable natural gas today as there was a decade ago.

Natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal, can be used in both electricity generation and as a fuel for automobiles.

The implications for energy security are startling. Natural gas may be only the beginning. Fracking also permits the extraction of previously-unrecoverable “tight oil,” thereby postponing the day when the world runs out of petroleum. There is enough coal to produce energy for centuries. And governments, universities and corporations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries are studying ways to obtain energy from gas hydrates, which mix methane with ice in high-density formations under the seafloor. The potential energy in gas hydrates may equal that of all other fossils, including other forms of natural gas, combined.

If gas hydrates as well as shale gas, tight oil, oil sands and other unconventional sources can be tapped at reasonable cost, then the global energy picture looks radically different than it did only a few years ago. Suddenly it appears that there may be enough accessible hydrocarbons to power industrial civilization for centuries, if not millennia, to come.

The realization that we as a society need not rush to the green side needs to have an advocacy and a bullhorn. The green "save the environment" mantra has permeated everything. Every corporation, even the energy companies - the enemy - pay lip service to the greens. There's nothing wrong with being an advocate for clean air and water, but that doesn't mean we should be made to feel guilty about the lifestyle we've created with the viable energy options we enjoy now.

The costs of propping up green energy while at the same time stifling domestic fossil fuel production always falls on the poorest among us. The average person will not be able to afford to fly, or even take a long vacation by car. Major industries will wither (and millions will lose their jobs) during a forced transition. This isn't even taking into account the unreliability of so called green energy. Simply put the technology is just not ready for the utopian dreams of the greens - the reality of a green revolution will be a nightmare for millions.

One day the age of oil and the age of coal will end, but it will be when the magic of solar energy is actually realized (or some other such magic). We need to fight vigorously the forces that would diminish our quality of life with lies about man-caused global warming or the preposterousness that C02 is a dangerous pollutant.

Read the whole story - it's eye opening


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Transfer Payment Casino Society

Occasionally my wife and I go to one of the many casinos in our area. Myself, I'm not much of a gambler but my wife genuinely enjoys it so I go along for the ride and of course the wonderful buffet. I'll pluck $20 or $40 in a few slot machines and play until it's gone. I told my wife once that I might as well just visit the cashier on my way in and give him the money outright. The rest of the time I spend people watching while my wife plays her favorite slots with her own money (we keep separate finances).

What amazes me is that during this so-called Great Recession the casinos are brimming with customers - regular customers. I'm sure the casino operators we tell us that business is down, but if things are that bad shouldn't the casinos be nearly empty? Of course things are bad in general and yet the casinos are bustling with young and old alike with their money presumably experiencing the same fate as mine.

I would bet - pun intended - that a huge percentage of the money filling the casino's coffers are a direct result of government transfers. Social Security and various government employee pension money in the case of the older set. Not to mention the money the senior crowd is NOT spending on prescription drugs. There would also be unemployment benefits and SSI and other direct government payment money, not to mention food money made possible by food stamps, WIC and other benefits the younger set is not spending at the grocery store.

Tim Worstall's interesting article at Forbes.com made me think of my casino experiences of the last few years. How can there be so many people throwing their money away at the casinos when so many people are presumably so poor? Maybe it's not really their money.

In the article "The New US Poverty Numbers: Everyone, Just Everyone, Gets This Wrong" Worstall tells us that poverty numbers as reported in recent years are calculated before said poor people receive government benefits. It used to be that government benefits were calculated into the poverty figures.

We used to measure those who were poor after we’d helped them. Now, by and large, we’re measuring who would be poor if we didn’t help them. These just aren’t the same thing and so the numbers are not directly comparable.

This explanation will also aid you in understanding one of the great conundrums of modern America. How on earth can the US be spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on beating poverty without actually beating poverty? Simple, we spend the money but don’t measure how much poverty we’ve beaten by spending it.

This is just one more way the government and mass media deceive us with calculated dishonesty. We as a society have spent trillions on "fighting poverty" and trillions more on corporate welfare (which is even more obscene) and yet poverty rates are unchanged if not higher. No one is advocating a society without a social safety net, but when will we have an honest policy direction that addresses the reason we are dumping good money after bad on transfer payments that literally do nothing to reduce poverty - except that is for the casino operators.

More power to the casinos, they obviously offer something beyond my comprehension, but it concerns me that people getting direct benefits from the government just take the money they don't spend on their own needs and give it to the casinos. Obviously this paints casino denizens with a broad brush, but do not deceive yourself into thinking that this is not happening.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Go east young man

Need a new job? Go east.

If you think California's economic woes are bad now just wait until 2016. Once the Panama Canal upgrade is finished so too will be tens of thousands of jobs on the western seaboard from San Diego to Seattle.

The canal will be able to support gigantic modern container ships that today are serviced in California where the goods from Asia are then trucked across the country for distribution to eastern cities. Port cities all along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico are completing upgrades of their own to handle the large ships. The opportunities for trucking and railroad companies to expand employment in the east look promising.

The benefits for the distribution system in a vast consumer market like the eastern United States is only part of the story. The entire Eastern seaboard of South America will benefit as well. Ships that used to take the long and dangerous trip around the southern tip of Chile will be able to reach Brazil and Venezuela via the relatively calm waters of the gulf.

While the exact impact is still hard to quantify one thing is certain California will suffer. The Golden State is already on the brink of total financial collapse due in large part to political idiocy and a fatal devotion to public unions and "green" policies. Despite some of the best weather and natural abundance the state government has made California number 50 on the list of "Best States to Do Business In". The Panama Canal upgrade will devastate two of the states thriving occupations - longshoreman and truckers.

There's not much California can do about this. Will this be the final nail in the coffin? It appears the folks up in Sacramento don't care anyway.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The dictator of New York

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Bloomberg has decreed that clergy will be excluded from the 9/11 memorial ceremony. He says the memorial schedule is too busy to allow prayer. What is wrong with this guy? Is he a petty tyrant or just an asshat?

I hope New Yorkers like Mayor Bloomberg. I certainly don't. He seems like a typical dictator to me. His decisions are final and no one is going to change his "open" mind. It's not even his ridiculous decisions to keep firefighters and clergy from the remembrance ceremonies of 9/11 that frost me, but also his numerous bans on foodstuffs, perp walks, indefensible defenses of government funded abortions and mosques in the shadow of ground zero.

On the mosque flap, as many have said, and I agree - they should and do have the right to build their mosque anywhere, but having the right and being a good idea are two different things. My problem with Bloomberg on this issue was his lashing out at those who see it differently than him. It makes him look like a petulant child.

If Bloomberg's open mind is so consistent on the ground zero mosque issue as well as his push back against the atheists protesting the inclusion into the 9/11 museum a Christian cross made from steel beams from the WTC wreckage, then why the attitude toward religion during the remembrance ceremonies?

What about the FDNY firefighters? Why exclude them? 


Friday, September 09, 2011

Are you still talking?

Second verse same as the first...

President Obama's jobs speech as it's being reported was simply more of the same. Maybe a little less blaming Bush, but all and all just another hodge podge of targeted this and one-time that, essentially nothing that would really change the game.

When it comes America's economic woes it's really a matter of global competitiveness. China has the cheap labor and open doors. Oh yeah, and a dictatorial central government. China's economy is what American, Japanese and European business has made it with encouragement from their respective governments. Isn't it time for America to put our spirit, innovation, work ethic and dynamism to work for us instead of for China?

Did the President even hint at this fundamental issue in his jobs speech? Not really.

What we got from the President was a cobbled together rehash of tiny, targeted tax cuts, some that made no sense (a silly tax credit for hiring someone who's been out of work more than six months? Does any business choose or vet a new employee like this?)

He calls for more "infrastructure spending", and more straw men arguments with millionaire and billionaire "fair share" rhetoric. None of it was serious and wasn't meant to be, because it was simply campaign politics. Not that anyone was really expecting different, but why such a build-up, why such expectations only to deliver such a turd? Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of any admission that their philosophy is defective(absent Utopia).

One thing that the President says - repeatedly - is absolutely true. We didn't get into this mess overnight and we won't get out of it overnight. Then why the short term gimmicks and targeted stimulus when fundamental changes are called for? Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of  any admission that their philosophy is defective.

So imagine my surprise to find The New York Times (aforementioned ideological brethren) had published an opinion piece that echoed my previous post The message, not the messenger. The message that Washington DC is broken and both parties are corrupt is so patently obvious to any conscious human being that it seems odd a major newspaper needs to even highlight the subject. In a rare commentary in said newspaper Sarah Palin's substantive words are examined - fairly...

She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a “permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called “corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).

In supporting her first point, about the permanent political class, she attacked both parties’ tendency to talk of spending cuts while spending more and more; to stoke public anxiety about a credit downgrade, but take a vacation anyway; to arrive in Washington of modest means and then somehow ride the gravy train to fabulous wealth. She observed that 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States happen to be suburbs of the nation’s capital.

There's even more cogent analysis of what Palin said in her Indianola, Iowa speech in the NYT article. Perhaps the President should co-opt some of these sentiments as his own. No doubt the adoring media would run with it and it might just be a difference maker in his reelection bid. He won't of course, but why not?  Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of any admission that their philosophy is defective.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Crony, or not to crony

Ben Shapiro a columnist for Townhall.com declares that Sarah Palin was wrong to use the term crony capitalism in her speech last week . He says the term disparages capitalism and that correct term is corporatism. I think it's a distinction without a difference, a 'to-mai-toe' 'to-mah-toe' thing. I knew what she meant and any thinking person knew it too. Whether the rigged game the giant corporations engage in with the government elites (in D.C. or the local statehouse) is technically crony capitalism or corporatism is beside the point.

As Shapiro correctly points out it's nothing new, it's been going on since the so-called robber baron days of the late 19th century. It's always been championed by the Democratic party. The problem is that now it's being used to make American cronies/corporatists (and their government operatives) very wealthy at the expense of American middle class economic power. By exporting the work to Asia along with the technology the corporate/government cabal is in direct conflict with everyday working Americans.

This is one of the reasons I can't understand why the so-called working class in America is so enthralled with the Democrats who support and foster the corporate/government cabal at every level. Oh yeah, the alternative is the corporate jelly party called the Republicans. Now that the Democrat boosters in the Main Stream Media have painted the Tea Party Movement as insanity personified the working class has no real voice. The Tea Party is as opposed to the corporate/government cabal as it is to the Federal overreach into extra-constitutional powers.

No matter, I still think Palin is the only one with the courage to say these things with real conviction, the party and the people dismiss the message at their own peril.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The message, not the messenger

Sarah Palin may be the only one in American politics who has the guts to point out what's right in front of us - the ugly truth amid the obvious dishonesty of the ruling class. Unfortunately while the message is strong and demands a respectable hearing the messenger is weak and does not get the respect she deserves.

As I've said before I don't believe any public figure in politics has ever been treated the way Palin has, but lately she has become her own worst enemy. She has every right to be disgusted and even angry at the major media in this country, still she often acts like the kid banging a stick against the fence just to keep the big dog all riled up - all it does is annoy everyone within earshot.

However she does have something powerful to say...

Some have said if we were to give the transcript of her Indianola Iowa speech cleared of self referential passages to people on the left and the right not knowing who spoke the words they would nod and cheer their approval. She clearly spells out the problems Washington has created for us all. She makes a point that ruling is class is doing just fine by cleverly saying: Seven of the ten wealthiest counties (in the U.S.) are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Interesting isn't it?

From the transcript
Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism.

When the names on the wall of the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Treasury Dept  are interchangeable I defy anyone to say we aren't being ruled under a system of crony capitalism. I urge everyone to take the time to read the transcript, suspend your preconceived prejudices and be honest with yourself. The bottom line is it's as much crony capitalism as pure socialist policies that are ruining this country. People are sick of it on both sides of the aisle.

Palin goes on to give a prescriptive outline for what needs to done, some of it arguable, most of it dead on, but the notion she sells in this statement should be the rallying cry for all Americans pining for our economy back...

From the transcript
So, to make America the most attractive and competitive place to do business, to set up shop here and hire people here, to attract capital from all over the globe that will lead to an explosion of growth, instead of chasing industry offshore, I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax. And hear me out on this. This is how we create millions of high-paying jobs. This is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all.

But here’s the best part: To balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job-creating corporations is: We’ll unshackle you from the world’s highest federal corporate income tax rate, but you will stand or fall on your own, just like all the rest of us out on main street.

The ruling class is the elites in both parties. It's the cozy deals they strike with corporations, farmers and special interest groups while the major media glosses it over that skews everything, skews hell, ruins everything. The lefty's will hate this plan because corporations are evil, of course, but the current tax laws hamper expansion and job creation in this country while simultaneously encouraging outsourcing overseas. This is killing the working class the left claims to care so much about. While I don't see the elimination of all corporate income tax being politically possible, I do see a huge reduction as being imperative. Palin's right about this.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Exporting Exceptionalism

 Shelby Steele, author and thinker, wrote an excellent column for the Wall Street Journal published Sept 1 2011. It's hard to argue with anything Steele posits in this piece. The premise that the President's anti-exceptionalist demeanor summed up in this paragraph is that America comes about it's status illegitimately:

there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-'60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America's exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil—an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America's greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom.

This passage as well as many others in Steele's article is dead on. But I think ultimately pinning the decline of the U.S. power and exceptionalism on this brand of liberalism is not the whole story. Capitalists and capitalism live by the tenet - grow or die. It was inevitable that the world so devastated by war and poverty would not remain so. Capitalists made sure of it

Expanding beyond our borders the market based system was instrumental in the demise of creeping communism. Specific laws helped American brands expand overseas because it was good for capitalism and for the West's battle against Soviet expansionism. Once the Cold War was over and bans on exporting American technology were lifted the race was on.

Some would say, and even I feel it sometimes that American based multi-nationals are disloyal and even treasonous in the way they export American jobs that literally shutter up entire towns across the country. Is it really their duty to maintain expensive operations just because they are American based? Not necessarily. What we find is that the very same laws (tax laws especially) used to great extent to promote market systems during the Cold War now stymie expansion and growth in America by our own companies. It makes it difficult for profits made overseas to be repatriated into the domestic economy. As well, free trade agreements pushed by the capitalists when coupled with intransigent labor unions also contribute to the outflow of jobs and wealth.

We can say that liberal legislatures create legislation that disfavors business domestically, true enough, but, Republicans have not once championed turning this around when they held the power. Can you say campaign contributions? In many respects multi-nationals like the rules the way they are. With business expanding in other countries they have yet to really feel the pinch of the loss of America's middle class. Until now that is.

I think it's imperative Obama be a one termer. His brand of Americanism is dangerous to the world, but Republicans and American mega corporations have failed in every way imaginable as well. It takes two to tango. It's time one party does what needs to be done to expand our own economy again. The debt and deficit at all levels of government will take care of itself when American economic power is asserted once again. We need leaders and statesmen who, one, believe in American exceptionalism (not today's Democrats, unfortunately) and two, will do what's best for America and not their own campaign war chests. Fat chance...


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your Les Paul guitar is illegal

The Holder Justice Department staged a raid on the factories and headquarters of Gibson Guitars in Nashville and Memphis. They confiscated guitars, wood and documents in an effort to implicate the historic luthier in an illegal exotic woods scandal. This is the second time this has happened to Gibson, oddly other guitar makers that use the exact same materials have not been raided. If you are wondering why, consider that Gibson's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor. Chris Martin, CEO of CF Martin Guitars, a darling of the green crowd, is an Obama supporter. Martin, while also implicated in using protected exotic woods has not been investigated - or raided.

In a statement Juszkiewicz suggested the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to snare the company.

The Justice Department refused to speak to - anyone.

While the notion that the Justice Department is being used to exact political revenge is nothing new, especially for this regime, the idea that simply owning a guitar made with these woods puts the musician and collector in jeopardy is distressing.

When a musician crosses an international border with an instrument made of that restricted wood, he will be required to have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument or the origin of the materials. It could confiscated by a zealous customs agent - these guitars can be worth $2000 to $200,000 - as well as face fines and even prosecution.

As an owner of high end guitars that were bought new from the manufacturer I have never been given any document declaring the source of the materials used in it's creation. I never received anything from GM or Chrysler in this regard either. As for the age of the guitar it usually buried cryptically in the serial number and takes significant digging to determine the exact manufacture date if it is possible at all. This places a high burden on the owner of an instrument that doesn't apply to other manufactured goods.

The implications are disturbing to say the least - are rock stars exempt? When will they rise up in opposition? I guess it depends whether it's Toby Keith and Ted Nuggent who gets nailed or Tom Petty and Bon Jovi.

~ from the foxnews.com article linked above: ~ Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers. Mr. Vieillard asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to fill out the correct paperwork—which simply encouraged them to alert U.S. Customs to give his shipment added scrutiny.

There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn't have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling.

Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation.

This is bad, very bad...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is wrong with this guy???

My God I can't believe this guy...

Everyday President Obama succeeds. Yes, he succeeds in lowering my respect for him when I thought I was already at rock bottom. What is it this time? The first so-called black president who was going to heal the racial divide in this country chooses to slap white people upside the head by displaying this painting in the West Wing.

Clearly he only intends to stir things up, not bridge the divide. This painting should be on display, and yes, maybe in the White House, but not in the West Wing. By displaying it in his offices he is making a personal statement that whites should not be forgiven - ever. Tell me, does he have any paintings/art depicting the Arabs destroying the Twin Towers? I thought not...

He has done nothing to help heal the black community, in fact his economic and welfare policies have further devastated blacks in this country. Black youth unemployment is markedly worse under his reign and the issue receives zero attention from his administration. Lately we have seen a disturbing trend in black youth mob violence directed randomly on whites, including to women and children. Is this really the time to endorse this kind of imagery at the Presidential level, especially by this President.

I really can't stand this man.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We Can Only Hope!

This is the first I've heard rumblings of a possible bid for the White House for Rep. Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin Congressman is now the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and has been more visible on the public airwaves than ever before. He successfully passed a rather revolutionary budget through the House this year that received a lot of press. Alas, it received zero consideration in the upper chamber. Harry Reid killed it immediately in the Senate, no hearings, no vote. It did however raise his stock among conservatives and Republicans - as well as the ire of the progressives.

I can't remember the last time I heard a politician talk - about anything - that blew me away. Ryan does it nearly every time I hear him speak. It's not soaring rhetoric or nebulous promises coming from this politician, it's answers, directions, thought-out solutions to real problems. He does criticize the liberals, Democrats and hyper-partisans, but it is not with malice or scorn. It is done with an air of a difference of opinion, rather than a unveiled hints that the other side is somehow evil.

Do I suspect Ryan's answers and solutions are the perfect remedy for America? I don't know. It seems clear though we have tried the Nanny-state prescription since LBJ and we are dying as an economy and as a culture. Ryan's solutions seem to lean towards making the country a place for business to thrive which brings along jobs and prosperity rather than a place for government to thrive. Just who is served by a bigger and bigger, more costly government? Well, it's mostly the government itself and those "bitter clingers" from government-created welfare Moms to corporate chieftains whose lives and businesses are built around government largess.

I would be seriously enthused by a Ryan for President campaign, I would volunteer and I would open my wallet. It is time for something different.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bat Shit Crazy

So, yesterday when an e-mail was circulating the office deriding President Obama for the stock market's woes the defensive mode kicked in almost instantaneously. The replies began flying...

Essentially it was said in so many words that the President didn't have anything to do with the stock market (and even if he did - it was still all Bush's fault). Another couple of e-mails went on to chronicle the Dow's performance under the last 3 Presidents trying to show that Democrats were the superior guardians of the equities.

The President, any President doesn't directly have control over the direction of the stock market day to day, but their policies and the rhetoric absolutely contribute to trends and sometimes even short term developments. Still, that was not what struck me about the e-mail chain. It was one that said - the markets wouldn't be any different today if McCain and that "Bat Shit Crazy" Palin had been elected.

I was struck by how a generally well informed, intelligent person could just label someone they know absolutely nothing about - or rather knows only what CNN, Newsweek and the New York Times has told him - such a derogatory term. In none of e-mail responses did anyone say that "Marxist" Obama or any other , inflammatory descriptor. But it was OK to to just flame Sarah Palin, hell it is expected, right?

I see it all the time with my smart, above average intelligence friends (family) and associates when it comes to Palin. None of them have taken one minute to actually look into this woman's accomplishments. These are the same people who hate (or strongly dislike) Republicans, which is one strike against her immediately. But do they know that it was Sarah Palin who took on the established, entrenched Republicans in her state as a Republican herself and corrected decades of problems. She was a real and consistent problem solver who didn't stand on convention. Palin was a get it done type of leader - pretty much exactly what we need now. That was a picture never painted in the early days of 2008. What they know is what the media and the celebrity class has told them. They don't like her because they aren't supposed to.

Before she had the misfortune of being selected as John McCain's running mate in a year that the Messiah himself was running (oops, I just used a derogatory term, didn't I) Palin was a successful governor of a small state. Her disarming beauty and folksy mannerisms automatically disqualified her among the elites and the intellectuals. Ya sure, she is a dumb hick, dontcha know. Yes, she was out of her element in 2008, she was not ready, she probably should have had more prep and less "handling". But nothing she said or did deserved the drubbing she took, particularly in light of the fact that the media has still not vetted Barack Obama.

Unfortunately "Bat Shit Crazy" is one of the mildest things said about her by her detractors.

I was of the mind that she is so damaged that she didn't stand a chance if she ran for President. I don't know if I've changed my mind yet, but I actually admire her fortitude and her ability to shake it off and keep going. I've said it before that if by some circumstance she becomes the nominee I wouldn't hesitate to vote for her.

Here's the deal:
The progressive attacks will be coordinated and vicious, no matter whom the nominee is this election cycle. One has to wonder who will be able to withstand the pending storm. I believe Sarah Palin has been vetted. None of the others have been prepped to level they'll need to withstand a vicious, blistering attack from every flank. No stone will be left unturned in trying to discredit, embarrass or shame the Republican nominee. The left knows they can't run on their record this time, so destroying their opponent is the only thing they have.

You could say, yeah, well, that's politics. The Republicans play that game too. They did it to Clinton and Gore and John Kerry. Don't make me laugh. Major media constituents votes 90 to 10 for Democrats every time, you can't tell me it's the same thing. President Obama was never scrutinized or demonized like Bush, or Palin, not even close. In fact no politician has ever received the treatment Palin and her family endured in 2008. It's only gotten worse since.

I really like a few of the declared candidates on the Republican side and I like some that haven't declared and likely won't this time. I'd take anyone of them over Obama. The question is are any of them Bat Shit Crazy enough to withstand the coming onslaught?


Friday, August 05, 2011

Escape to God's Country

It's been a strange year...

Every summer for the last 4 or 5 years my son, his friend and I head up to northern Wisconsin for a little fishing and escapism. This year more than most I really needed it. (Yes, we are albino deer country. I hope to see one with my own eyes)

I feel overwhelmed and blessed at the same time. Life, as many of us who have lived more than a few decades know intuitively, speeds up as we get older. Is it because we are going downhill in more ways than one or is it because we don't get to take breaks like we once did? My breaks are few and far between for all kinds of reasons - no need to go into that now - but I not only looked forward to this one, I really needed it!

It seems health is on everybody's mind this year. I had a scare of my own and I've seen my dear mother, my mother and father-in-law, my younger brother and some friends at work all having health scares or issues. My wife had surgery twice. I can safely say we've reached our maximum out of pocket this year.

Of course the national economy and the politics that surround it have filled our hearts with dread as it seems there is no end in sight for this constant stream of bad news. At work we as as busy as I've ever seen but we are not growing the business - we are bracing ourselves for compliance audits. A huge percentage of our work is non-productive CYA work. Not saying it is all necessarily wrong or pointless, but the deadlines are crazy and arbitrary - that's all I'm saying.

On the blessed side I saw both my kids graduate this year, one with honors and one in a blaze of A's and B's on his way out. I couldn't be happier or more proud! Of course I am very happy that both of my wife's surgeries turned out well and she looks to have full recovery in her sights. On the personal side I started writing songs again!!! I am busily recording a new album. It gives me great joy and something to look forward to week in and week out. Nearly all the songs have a personal redemption angle to them. I wrote them in a six week period and tried not to over analyze them as I finished. We have 4 in the bag and I'm really excited to get them out there.

So this little escape to beautiful northern Wisconsin couldn't have come at better time. Hopefully we'll have great weather and the fish will be biting!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hoyt's Mountain

"Hoyt's Mountain"
18 X 24 acrylic

by Craig Willms

For an old friend. His father was moved from his beloved home due to health issues. Here's hoping this painting brings some comfort and joy.

See more paintings at http://static-art.blogspot.com/


Saturday, July 23, 2011

But can he (she) win?

Going into the political season, which by the way starts earlier and earlier each cycle, the field of candidates to challenge President Obama is setting up nicely. Personally I will enthusiastically support any one of them to replace Obama. I honestly don't see how anyone can look at Obama's record and the direction the country is heading and be happy about it. Looking out on the horizon who can see good times ahead?

The truth is America needs to be unleashed economically. Obama and his ilk are restraining the economic engine of the most dynamic country the world has ever seen - and to what end? Someone please answer that.

In my view and the view of many, many others Obama and the "government is the answer" crowd has got to go or this country is going to be ruined. Government should be a facilitator not a dictator.

The Republican field of candidates has two things against them from the get go, and neither of them trivial. One is the power of incumbency and the other is the fawning, adoring media that will not turn on Obama even when this disaster of a presidency is so evident. Each candidate will have to endure a blistering attack from the media while knowing that not one aspect of Obama's shortcomings will even be discussed. Unfortunately the media has already unjustifiably poisoned some of these fine people in manner never seen before.

When each of these candidates is examined against the reality of the pounding they'll get from the media the question "but can he (she) win," becomes paramount. The greatest conservative darling in the world does no good if he or she can't win.

Let's take a look:

Newt Gingrich - no
Too much baggage, conservatives respect him but realize he is damaged and most of it by his own hand.

Herman Cain - maybe
Not well known, but is a marvelous speaker and has excellent business and economic instincts. Very light on foreign affairs. He would need to be more specific in his speeches and debates to balance his beautiful rhetoric.

Michele Bachmann - no
Frankly she's not ready for this. Her Christian morality play will be pummeled and some of her old mis-steps will bury her. While I like her and am impressed by her personal story I find her the weakest of all the candidates when the campaign gets to the major leagues.

Jon Huntsman - maybe
He's not even as well known as Cain. In media circles he is well known and is often said to be the Republican that liberals like. That's low praise in conservative circles. He does not win any points for being President Obama's ambassador to China either. He was a popular governor of a small western state which doesn't help. I don't think he can get the nomination. If he did could he possibly beat Obama, maybe...

Tim Pawlenty - yes
If he wins the nomination that is. Pawlently's problem is two-fold; a mis-interpretation of his personality and Michele Bachmann. Bachmann sucks the oxygen out of the room. He's actually a first rate executive and as wonky as he need be, he absolutely could go toe to toe with Obama. He will not be given the chance unless something breaks his way early.

Mitt Romney - yes
Romney could beat Obama, of that I am certain, but it will be without enthusiastic support from the conservative base. There are many conservatives who will stay home rather than vote for him. He is another John McCain in their eyes. While his business credentials are a major plus as well as his reputation for turning around failing enterprises his support is wobbly in the party and especially with conservatives.

Sarah Palin - ???
Palin is a big question mark. She should be given points for withstanding an onslaught never before seen in American politics. She doesn't deserve (no one does) the vile hatred she has endured for nothing more than being nominated for the vice Presidential post in 2008. Nothing she'd done justified the ridicule and scrutiny she endured and continues to endure. The media has purposely fomented a kind of hatred toward one person that hasn't been seen since Adolph Hitler. I would vote for her in a second just out of respect for the strength she's shown. But can she beat Obama? If she even got close you and I know what she's seen so far would be paddy cakes.

Rick Perry - yes
Though undeclared as a candidate Perry may be the strongest of them all. The media has so little to attack him on. The angle they will take is that both he and George W. Bush are Texan's. That association is the biggest stick they have against him. Unfortunately it would be willow stick. Bush and Perry are not tight, there is no real association. Perry has been a very successful governor of a pretty successful state. Texas has done almost exactly the opposite of what Obama has prescribed for America and Texas prospers and grows, America - not so much. I like what I see with Rick Perry

Ron Paul - no
Ron Paul is an enigma. So much of what he says is right on. He seems to look right through political rhetoric and gets to it's common sense essence. But his manner and demeanor is strange and uninspiring. He would not fair well in a debate with Obama. He would not inspire confidence. Unfortunately for Paul, people like to be bamboozled, they like to believe that those in authority known things we don't and that's why they do crazy, nonsensical things. Paul Paul is too sane. What a sad commentary on American politics. He cannot win.

Obama is beatable - and he has to be defeated before the country (perhaps the world) collapses economically, but the Republicans have to put up someone who can win.