Thursday, October 30, 2014

Please God, not Jeb Bush

I can already see the establishment in both parties setting up to ram Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush  down our throats. I preface my remarks by stating clearly that Hillary Clinton would be a disaster for this country. She is not a leader, she does not inspire and she does not tell the truth - ever. She will destroy what's ever left of the country after Obama is through with us.

Now, Jeb Bush... I don't disdain the man, I do disagree with him on many topics. I could live with that if I thought he could win, but he cant - he's a Bush for Heaven's sake. I liked G.W. Bush as a human being, but he failed as a President, he just did. Who knows, Jeb might turn out to be a good President, it's possible, I just don't believe the country will vote for another Bush.

We all need something new, something different. Are the Clinton's and the Bushes all this country has to offer? I don't have a wagon to hitch my horse to yet, it's way, way too early, but the media and party establishment are gearing up to give us Jeb and Hillary. In my informal radar scan of conservative and center/right web forums and blogs finds no one is in favor of this, no one. In fact I sense there will be a revolt, enough of a revolt to crush the GOP for another decade. Rank and file conservatives will simply refuse to show up at the polls. Those of us who hale from the center/right and points rightward have got to make it clear we won't support Jeb Bush, we must not vote for him in straw polls or the early primaries. He needs to fade early.

I don't give a rat's ass what the Democrats do. We all know they have but one arrow in their quiver. The left-wing media will crown queen Hillary while they unpleasantly kick any potential rival to the curb. They will push her highness on us ad nauseum for another two years. This means a fresh face coming out the GOP would so be very interesting, particularly if this person can avoid turning off moderates, unmarried woman and young people. Jeb Bush is not that person.

Friends, unless you plan to vote for Hillary join me early on to discourage the establishment form cramming Jeb Bush down our throats.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Income Inequality: Yeah, it's a problem, but the solutions are there

When billionaire Nick Hanauer made his case for the $15 an hour minimum wage in Bloomberg's Businessweek back in 2013 and then in his subsequent TED Talks video it had escaped my interest. Here was another 0.1% guilt trip, knowing that such a change wouldn't affect his fortune one iota. It's like Facebook's Zuckerberg or Bill Gates pushing for relaxed immigration in a nation that already has 25 million native-born workers sitting idle. Unfettered immigration is not going to put those two out of a job. The fact is listening to ultra billionaires prattle on about income inequality is almost offensive.

Sure, they may want to "help the situation" out of some sort of sense of altruism, but their kind of help is so blatantly self serving they'd do best to say nothing. Nick Hanauer so much as say's it straight out - it's fear that motivates his views, he sees pitchforks and mobs in his future when the middle-class is reduced to bare sustenance survival. He says:

 "I see pitchforks, as in angry mobs with pitchforks, because while people like us plutocrats are living beyond the dreams of avarice, the other 99 percent of our fellow citizens are falling farther and farther behind."

Certainly Hanauer say's things I can agree with. He says it's time for American plutocrats and zillionaires to start thinking about the American middle class, and the well being of this country, which is one and the same. I also believe it's true when he says:

 "You see, the problem isn't that we have some inequality. Some inequality is necessary for a high-functioning capitalist democracy. The problem is that inequality is at historic highs today and it's getting worse every day. And if wealth, power, and income continue to concentrate at the very tippy top, our society will change from a capitalist democracy to a neo-feudalist rentier society like 18th-century France. That was France before the revolution and the mobs with the pitchforks.

So I have a message for my fellow plutocrats and zillionaires and for anyone who lives in a gated bubble world: Wake up. Wake up. It cannot last. Because if we do not do something to fix the glaring economic inequities in our society, the pitchforks will come for us, for no free and open society can long sustain this kind of rising economic inequality. It has never happened. There are no examples. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state or an uprising. The pitchforks will come for us if we do not address this. It's not a matter of if, it's when. And it will be terrible when they come for everyone, but particularly for people like us plutocrats."

I just don't see something like a minimum wage hike as any kind of answer to income inequality - certainly not all by itself, I see it as the last thing in a long list of positive changes.

Without a doubt income inequality has worsened in the past six years. Mostly due to phenomenally high rates of growth in the U.S. money supply. The Federal Reserve has been pumping $85 billion worth of government bonds and mortgage-backed securities into the economy every month for years. The equities as well as other financial markets have soared. This has yielded phenomenal increases in wealth to upper income earners.

Subsequently, the president’s poverty programs have discouraged the bottom 15 percent from even wanting to earn an income. Why would they? He gives them a free ride by providing years of unemployment benefits, free health care, welfare and food stamp benefits - as if that's all policy makers can possibly hope to do. It's false compassion if it's done in an atmosphere of economic warfare against the best interests of the national economy.

Prior to that historically low interest rates had pushed home prices up to such a place as to leave only one possible outcome when the economy finally cooled - a disastrous crash in the housing market. This literally destroyed the one piece of the pie most middle-class families had, their house. One lay off and the house is gone. Six years later interest rates are still near 0%.

There are things, many things, which can be done to encourage economic growth and job growth and most importantly income growth for the middle-class. It will never happen unless politicians - our (so-called) leaders - stand up and reject cronyism and special-interests that are skewing everything toward the ultra rich. Not all the answers are government solutions,  but government needs to act - first. 

Here's my bullet-point list to steer income inequality the other way culled from many different sources including my brain. Mostly common sense stuff that takes courage more than anything else to see it through.

# Restrict Cronyism - break the cycle of business and special interests from funding politics in a vacuum, by law if necessary. End corporate welfare. Make it illegal for in-office politicians to get rich off of legislative "favors". Require total transparency for politicians and lobbyists of all kinds, published for all to see. If it means paying politicians more - then do it

# Quality primary education - push toward local control of schools and school choice, away from Federal mandates and funding. End the monopoly of public schools and education unions 

# Encourage marriage/families - how many studies do we need that tell us that intact two parent households are the best predictor of economic success for the next generation before we as a society stop tearing down families? It's in everyone's interest to encourage marriage and discourage welfare life-styles

# Reasonable/Responsible regulation - reduce unregulated power of government agencies that dictate defacto law without elected law maker involvement. Force time restrictions on environmental and economic impact statements so companies and local governments can plan effectively

# College tuition/debt revamp - force the reform of public university tenure/cronyism/sports/endowment systems to bring down tuition. Restructure debt repayment that factors in the Federal tax liabilities of the graduated student in their repayment schedules, to encourage full time employment and repayment. Allow corporations and businesses to concentrate on mutually beneficial apprenticeships and internships for potential workers through public universities and/or private purpose built schools.

# Profit Sharing - corporations should consider equitable profit sharing as a form of compensation. Government agencies could incentivize budget savings with bonuses of half the "saved" money and the other half toward the next year's departmental budget (which is reduced by the same amount)

# Tax reform - reduce Federal income taxes significantly, do away with payroll taxes altogether

# Tax loophole reform - lower corporate taxes to international averages and remove most loopholes permanently

# Infrastructure - increase spending on infrastructure (not vanity trains), airports, roads, bridges, sewer/sanitation etc etc

# Discourage off-shoring/out sourcing - end all tax benefits and government encouragement for American companies to move work overseas 

# Raise interest rates - return interest rates incrementally to historic norms 

# Minimum Wage - finally, increase minimum wage (if even necessary)

To be honest I know that most of these have a zero percent chance of ever happening. There are tidal forces pushing against change that is impossible to resist short of a nation ending catastrophic disaster. 

The fact is without the first one - ending cronyism - the rest will only be marginally effective. That's not to say it can't be done. Frankly no one in power today has the will to fight the entrenched system of crony capitalism, they realize they will be destroyed politically and/or personally. The vested interests of mega-corporations and defense industries are able to sprinkle gold dust on politicians that stops reform in its tracks.

Any real change is a mighty tough sell, those at the top like it that way, and their political benefactors like the sweet life too much to rock the boat. There are also forces within the American body politic and the inside the government that want the American capitalistic system to fail, to utterly fail so that it can be replaced by a centrally controlled solution (they used to called this communism). The fact that the ultra rich control so much of the wealth is the proof to claim that a new economic system is needed. News flash: totalitarianism has been tried and found to be pitiful. 

To those who say market based capitalism itself is an anathema to good economics is like saying air is an anathema to breathing. There will always be inequality because human beings are unequal. Get off the high horse of so-called social and economic justice by insisting that everyone has an equal right to everything. It's ridiculous.

Indeed, both parties flail against the system they themselves create while they reap massive personal benefits - and the middle class falls further behind. Among them may be righteous patriots that truly believe in market capitalism, or on the other side, government controlled socialism, but they won't be allowed to rise in power among the cronies that believe in nothing but their own fortunes.

And so, Nick Hanauer rightly chides his fellow upper crust elite billionaires to wake up and pay attention to the vast middle, it's high time for the political elites to do the same. 



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Border crisis hits home

This was predictable. There has been a giant uptick in serious but rare sicknesses among American school children. In fact I believe I even predicted it in a blog post from July.

quoting myself...
This is a crisis in more ways than one. The Obama Administration's response so far has been limited and predictable. He has called for 2 billion dollars to help facilitate the processing of these children. Where ever these immigrants land it will eventually overwhelm the community or state and exceed $2 billion in a heartbeat. The financial crisis aside the health crisis these unvaccinated, unhealthy third world children could spawn is phenomenal. 

The Ebola crisis has overwhelmed the news of a deadly outbreak of a rare (rare to America) respiratory illnesses that has hospitalized thousands of children and even killed some. The CDC has confirmed hundreds of cases of EV-D68 an enterovirus that is rare in the U.S. but quite common in Latin America where the child immigrants came from in this year's unprecedented mass border crossing. These kids were quickly distributed to facilities across the country by the Federal Government and allowed to enter public schools.

It has been confirmed that schools where outbreaks have occurred all accept “undocumented children” into their programs, although it was impossible to determine whether or not this included this year’s arrivals. Since school districts are not allowed to ask about a student’s citizenship or immigration status, nor can they inquire of parents’ immigration status it's impossible to know for sure that the newly immigrated are causing this - but it's way too suspicious to reject out of hand.

How rare is EV-D68? Between 1970 and 2005, only 26 cases of EV-D68 were reported in the U.S. Yet this year, in less than two months, the CDC has reported 780 cases in 46 states, and there are likely many more undiagnosed. It began just about the time children began returning to school.

Children’s Mercy Hospital’s division director for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, called it “unprecedented,” adding that “It’s worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care…I’ve practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”

The information blackout about this very real outbreak in disturbing. At first the national and local media reported on it due to the sheer numbers, more or less in a matter of fact manner. The interest by the "media" has evaporated, not that anyone was doing an exhaustive investigation anyway. As for the officials, the CDC is nearly silent and state and local agencies have been tight lipped - almost as if they've "received orders". The Border Patrol agencies and those charged with caring for the illegal children were also warned - threatened if they made any public statements as their facilities became overwhelmed.

Regardless of how the Ebola mess ends up this EV-D68 outbreak seems to be a direct result of the Obama administration's actions or inactions. People have already died, innocent people. Children have been left paralyzed. This is a scandal that is being glossed over, just like almost all the rest. If Obama's opposition pushes on this scandal then the spotlight will be turned on them - not what they are sounding the alarms about. They will be called racist and that will be the end of it.

The American Devolution continues.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Madame Blatant: CBS Clones Hillary

The new CBS drama Madame Secretary starring the sharp looking Tea Leoni is the most bald faced manipulation of the fairer sex by the mainstream entertainment media in recent memory. I sit here with episode 3 playing in the background because my wife can't get enough of it.

Can anyone watch this show and not get that CBS is making (re-making) the term of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State a heroic chapter in American foreign policy. Of course it was nothing of the sort. It was a disaster. This manipulation is so blatant that in the second episode ironically named "Another Bengazi" Hillary - err- Tea Leoni gets a re-do of the Bengazi debacle where her heroic out of the box thinking saves the President's bacon. It gets better... Half way through the episode she even gets a Hillary haircut.

The desired effect is when the women of America step in the voting booth in November 2016 and consider what qualifies Mrs Clinton to run the country it will be the image of Tea Leoni's strength of character and high morals that pops into view. It will make them smile and emphatically pull the lever for Hillary.

Hillary's term as Secretary of State will have been four years in the past and any real memory of it will have been replaced with the antics of Tea Leoni slaying the yes men that surround the President with her quick thinking perfectly executed audibles. The only question remaining is... Are Hillary and her people behind this? Or, as I suspect, the Hollywood worship of the thought of a woman as president is all it took to get this green-lighted.

It's not that it's bad. The acting, the characters, the stories as well as the look a feel is very much like the West Wing, which was a very well done TV fiction. Maybe it's just me, but this seems so blatant and so manipulative I would find it hard to believe that others haven't thought the same thing.

Will it work? Never underestimate the power of emotionally manipulating women. Just by writing this I'm bound to piss off many women - good, it should get them pissed off. If you are offended by this notion then take a step back and think about being offended by the mainstream media. It's CBS and Tea Leoni that are trying bullshit you, pull the wool over your eyes, trick you into voting for fiction over truth. Maybe you think Hillary is qualified and the best "woman" for the job, then she doesn't need this bullshit whitewashing now does she?